Prem Pal Singh Rawat , born 10 December 1957, is an Indian American also known as Maharaji, and formerly as Guru Maharaj Ji and Balyogeshwar. Rawat's teachings include a meditation practice he calls "Knowledge", and peace education based on the discovery of personal resources such as inner strength, choice, appreciation and hope.Rawat is the youngest son of Hans Ji Maharaj, an Indian guru and the founder of the Divya Sandesh Parishad After his father's death, eight-year-old Rawat became the new "Satguru" . At age 13 Rawat travelled to the West, soon taking up residence in the United States. Many young adults took interest in the claim that Rawat could impart direct knowledge of God to his followers, and some have said to have experienced it. Many news media were perplexed by his youth and claims of divine status, and he was criticized for a lack of intellectual content in his public discourses, and for leading an opulent lifestyle. At the same time, internally the movement made a point of focusing on non-intellectual domains of spiritual practice. Time magazine reported that many Indian spiritual teachers were critical of him for starting followers with methods that were too advanced. Tens of thousands were initiated in Knowledge techniques, and hundreds of DLM centers opened worldwide. Some Western followers took up communal life in dozens of ashrams, guided by DLM Mahatmas.
In November 1973, the Millennium '73 festival was held in the Houston Astrodome, and although this was near the height of Rawat's media fame, attendance was far lower than expected. When he turned 16, Rawat became emancipated and got married. He cut ties to his mother and eldest brother, and with the original Indian DLM organization. He retained control of the DLM everywhere else .
In the early 1980s, he began to discard direct references to religion in his speeches and closed the ashrams. The name of the DLM was changed to Elan Vital. From 1980 to the present, Rawat has continued to travel extensively.
In 2001 he established "The Prem Rawat Foundation" to fund his work and humanitarian efforts. Rawat continues to speak for large and/or select audiences worldwide, and on several occasions has received significant recognition for his work and message of peace.