Talk:Prem Rawat/Archive 36

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Shri Hans

Following his death, Shri Hans Ji appointed the youngest of his four sons, Sant Ji as the next Perfect Master and therefore he assumed the head of the Divine Light Mission as decreed by his father. Perhaps the source should be re read to resolve this howler ?--Nik Wright2 (talk) 23:13, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

That is what the source says, probably a mistaken construction of the sentence. [1]. In any case we are not using that wording in the article, are we? So there is no problem that I see. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:37, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
If I read other accounts correctly, didn't Prem Rawat imply that his father had made some communication after death to signal his choice? Or am I remembering incorectly? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 01:43, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Really? I have never heard or read about such a thing. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:31, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

<outdent>You're right, Will, but he didn't imply it, he described it as a voice he heard after Shri Maharaji's death. It's from Who Is Guru Maharaj Ji, in Part I, Chapter 2, "Who Is Guru Maharaj Ji."

This is the way Satguru Maharaj Ji describes the experience of realizing the task that was before him at the age of eight.

On the day Shri Maharaj Ji left his body, a disciple tearfully begged to speak once more with his master. The young Guru Maharaj Ji had replied, "Shri Maharaj Ji has only left his body, but his spiritual body is still here, and he will appear again after a few days." At the time, he did not fully realize that this power was within him.

"I went home (from school) and everyone was, weeping. I was just sitting there not weeping and something began to happen to me. I began to feel that I am not this body; that I could not move these lips. I always thought that the soul would leave by the mouth, but my mouth was shut. Still I felt like I was leaving my body and my soul was everywhere going out. And this voice came to me saying, 'You are he, you are the one to continue.'

"Then I puzzled over the voice. Thirteen days later, I was doing pranam to my Father's ashes and bones. You know, in India they burn the bodies and thirteen days later you go and collect the ashes. I bent down to touch the ashes, the voice came: 'You are he. You are the one to go and give this to the world."

On August 1st, Guru Maharaj Ji, eight years old, stood in front of the thousands of devotees present at his father's funeral. The voice came again, saying: "This is the last I will tell you. You are he. You must take this Knowledge out to the world." -- Sylviecyn (talk) 11:58, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Cynthia, I had just found the quote and was about to post it when I read your post! It is a little surprising that Jossi claims to have never read or heard of such a thing, considering this was a central justification of Rawat's authority amongst his following. Also, Jossi has a copy of WIGM, and has quoted from it here before. If he hasn't read it all, which I would find surprising, then I recommend he does so, so that he can better understand how Rawat was presented in the 70s. --John Brauns (talk) 12:52, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
 ???? What does have to do with this? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 14:52, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Will asked if it had been reported that Rawat received a communication from his father after his death. You said you had never heard or read about such a thing, so Cynthia gave the quote, and I suggest you could better contribute to thes discussions if you had read the book. Is it clear now? --John Brauns (talk) 16:53, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
I have the book, and I have read it, and I do not see anything in that text that asserts a "communication from his father" as you argue. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 18:07, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
You have a point - he doesn't say the voice is his fathers although I clearly remember that was the belief amongst premies. He does confirm he had a conversation with his father in his speech on July 31st, 1966, where he says:- "I will tell you what happened at Dehra Dun after Guru Maharaj Ji left his body. I was sleeping. On one side of me Mata Ji was sleeping and on the other side a cabinet was standing. On that side, I suddenly felt that there was a man. I looked closely, wondering what this was all about. Then I saw that Maharaj Ji was there. I turned around and Mata Ji was still sleeping so I looked again to the other side and saw that Maharaj Ji was there. I talked with Guru Maharaj Ji about certain matters."--John Brauns (talk) 18:59, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

The source says that Hans Ji appointed his successor after his death. This account seems to confirm it. I think we should report this in the text. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:52, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

As you have argued in a previous debate, this is a single source with that crazy assertion. All other scholarly sources do not make such assertion. The sentence it is obviously mistaken in its construction. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 05:37, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Do you accept that argument? I thought you were arguing the opposite. Anyway, if it agrees with the official version that Hans came to his son in a dream, then who are we to argue? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 06:32, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

New Lead Image?

Okay, just an idea. I've seen the current lead image, and looking at the date at it, it could probably do with a new one. This is the current image

Current image

. I propose replacing it with a cropped version of

New image?

. Now, I'm rather good with images, and I'd be happy to do this myself. Any thoughts? Steve Crossin (talk) (review) 16:25, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Alright, I've gone and replaced the lead image with a cropped version of the second image. I feel it shows the subject of the article clearer, but if there are objections, feel free to discuss it, I saw it as an uncontroversial change, and as I'm the mediator, I'm an uninvolved party, I merely saw an improvement to make and I made it. Steve Crossin (talk) (review) 17:10, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

I have no objection. I see that you have uploaded the cropped version to commons. That is good as it makes it available to other wiki projects as well.≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 18:09, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
I like it, slightly less formal looking, no longer pointing at anyone accusingly, (as if to say, why did *you* edit my wikipedia page like that?!) :) -- Maelefique (talk) 15:25, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Maelefique, i dont see a reason for the above piece of text by you. Do you mean to pass sarcasm on the Subject? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Taxed123 (talkcontribs) 18:20, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

DLM/PR coordination

We now have a well-developed article on the Divine Light Mission. Some organizational topics are better handled there than in this biography. Other topics are more biographical and should be covered here. Viewed from the perspective of this article here are some topics that I think can be expanded or reduced in this article:

  • Millennium '73 - covered at "DLM" and more relevant there - a couple of short sentences would suffice here.
  • Marriage - many details of the marriage are better suited here.
  • Pie - the main notability concerned the attack on the reporter that followed, which makes it DLM-related, but it might be worth brief mention here.
  • Ulcer - the ailment was reported on widely and repeatedly in articles about the subject. Not DLM related.
  • 1972 charges in India - the smuggling charges are about the subject personally, so that should be in this article. I understand that the subject couldn't leave India for several months before finally posting a bond, and then charges were later dropped.
  • 1974 lawsuits in India - those cases were more about the control of the DLM, so they're handled best at "DLM".

So at least one large topic can be reduced, another expanded, and a couple added added. Thoughts? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 09:46, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

  • Teachings - still needs work, I haven't had time to work on the Teachings article for a few days, I still plan to, it's just one of those things I haven't got to I don't think we need to have nearly as much about his teachings here if we have a separate article anyway.

And regarding the smuggling charges, I could be wrong, I'll have to try and find it, but I think Downton touches on that and says it was based on a mistaken identity, he was released immediately with the apologies of the Indian government, but I'm not 100% sure on that, it might be some other incident I'm thinking about, I will find that today. -- Maelefique (talk) 15:19, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

I have no problem in moving material around if these moves will make the articles better. But this would have to be done with caution. I do not see what is the encyclopedic value of a report on an ulcer, though. The "smuggling" incident, is also problematic. To cover it properly we will need to list many competing reports about it, as there are many different reports on what happened, who was charged, and why it was dropped. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:30, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree that the "Teachings" article needs work. We've discussed it a bit over at that talk page.
I haven't put it all together yet, but apparently Rawat flew to India for the November '72 festival and that's when the briefcase was found. Singh, in the NYT article published in April '73, says that Rawat couldn't travel because his passport has been confiscated. News reports in August say that Rawat posted a $13,000 bond in order to leave the country in June 1973 (his first stop was London, presumably for the festival there). One news account quotes his mother as saying Rawat was cursing her for having him come home, indicating another early source of tension between them. It appears that the episode lasted at least ten months. It was a big topic in India, where the case was discussed in Parliament. The whole matter was widely and repeatedly reported and this biography is incomplete without it.
The ulcer is "encyclopedic" because it was widely reported and because it had theological implications. Ulcers are associated with stress while Rawat promised peace. DLM officials and even Rawat's doctor offered theories for the illness that involved claims about Rawat's place in the scheme of things. ("He said there was no contradiction between the concept of the guru's being master of perfection and the vulnerability of his body. "His body obeys physical laws just perfectly," [his doctor] continued. "He's here to show what perfection is, and he's here to show what's human, too. Some people expect physical miracles in him.") There's no indication in the press reports that Rawat's handlers were making any attempt to maintain his privacy or keep the condition confidential. Just the opposite. That said, I don't think more than a sentence or two is needed. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 17:14, 22 May 2008 (UTC)


Sure, a short sentence about the ulcer could be enough. As for the Indian customs incident, the sources I have indicates that there were many conflicting reports about that incident, but the conclusion was that no charges were ever filed. It would be not easy to come up with a factual account of it, but we can try. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 17:47, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
The peptic ulcer sentence lacks context. I suggest to add that his doctor attributed it to His body has become weakened by the pace because of continual travel. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 19:59, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Done. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 20:19, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
This ulcer thing does not have "theological implications" it is yet another example of the need for intelligent editing. At the time (early 70s) it was believed that peptic ulcers were caused by stress, and there was indeed a question in many people's minds about this apparent contradiction, (including my own at the time.) Ten years later it was shown by Australian researchers that this type of ulcer is almost never caused by stress, but by a contagious bacteria common in developing countries, the helicobacter pylori [2]. Rumiton (talk) 13:12, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
It has theological implications because of the explanations given by Mishler, et al. I'd have to look it up again, but IIRC he said something to the effect that the subject's ulcer was due to stress caused by taking on the cares of the world. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:54, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
The context needed is that in those days everyone, including Mishler, believed that ulcers were the result of stress. Nowadays no one does. For NPOV, this needs to be explained. I propose adding this explanation to the article. Is there a consensus to do this? Rumiton (talk) 16:22, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Explanations for the physiological causes of ulcers can be found in the linked article. For this article we should use the comments about the subject's ulcer, comments which explained that it was due to stress, etc. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 00:10, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps you might consider a less pontifical communication style? This Voice-of-God thing is wearing very thin. Yesterday you said that the ulcer issue needed to be included as it had "theological implications." Now, after it has been shown to have no such implications, you still want it in, and want to smother the explanation in a link. It clearly belongs in the text, if this private health matter needs to be in the article at all, which I greatly doubt. Rumiton (talk) 13:32, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
You misunderstand my point. The ulcer was attributed by Mishler to Rawat carrying the weight of the world. That's where the "theological implications" come from. If the people around Rawat had said something simple like "he's got a minor ailment and is expected to recover shortly" then it would probably have not been reported on at all. But they did give details of the diagnonsis (contrary to Cagan) and explanations for it (even if they were based on a faulty knowledge of science). ·:· Will Beback ·:· 18:41, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

<< Here's what Horton and Mishler are quoted as saying about the subject's physical condition:

  • Weighing 160 pounds at 5 feel 5, the guru might blame his girth on an obvious sweet tooth. But his personal physician and disciple, Dr. John Morion, attributes the boy's weight to a sedentary life of making decisions. The decision-making has left another mark, says Horton. The reputed master of perfection who promises bliss, harmony, love and inner peace has an ulcer. It was the intestinal ulcer that caused the guru to cancel appearances this summer in Allanla, Denver and Kansas Cily. He passed up Detroit because of "fatigue," but did appear in Boston, Chicago and New York. Horton, a 30-year-old graduate of Duke University Medical School, says the guru's body "obeys physical laws just perfectly. He literally feels responsible, and is, in a real sense, for the peace of mankind." Adds mission president Robert Mishler, 28, "It's not his anxiety — it's the world's anxiety." The day after his release from SI. Luke's Hospital here, where he underwent tests over Labor Day weekend, the guru was back at mission headquarters in a seven-story building in downtown Denver.
    • "There are many evaluations of Guru Maharaj Ji" By MALCOLM N. CARTER Associated Press Writer, Sept. 26, 1973

So the doctor is saying that Rawat is responsible for the peace of mankind, and that related decision-making is responsible for the ulcer. Mishler is clarifying that the anxiety doesn't come from Rawat, but that it's the world's anxiety instead. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:57, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

If this article were about the doctor or Mishler this stuff would be relevant. It is about Rawat. The relevance to him is that he was wrongly criticised for picking up an infection. You said, "The ulcer is "encyclopedic" because it was widely reported and because it had theological implications. Ulcers are associated with stress while Rawat promised peace." They are not associated with stress. I am not "misunderstanding your point," your point is clear and it is wrong. Rumiton (talk) 13:47, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
The scientific origin of the disease is not our concern. This incident is noteworthy because it affected the subject's life, because it was widely reported, and because the subject's closest associates made comments that put the disease into a context concerning the subject's "responsibility for the peace of mankind." The fact that medical knowledge has progrssed since then does not negate any of those factors. This article is a biography, and this incident occured in the subject's life. We can add quotes from the doctor and Mishler to expand on the context. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 19:11, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
"The fact that medical knowledge has progrssed since then does not negate any of those factors." I disagree, it negates them utterly and totally. Wikipedia must not, and need not, perpetuate an old injustice. If no consensus can be reached on this fundamental question we need to post a request for comment. Rumiton (talk) 12:25, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
What you are suggesting is original research - WP:SYNTH. If we don't have a sourece that says Rawat's ulcer was caused by bacteria we can't assert that. We have Rawat's private physician, a graduate of Johns Hopkins, giving his diagnosis and explanation. That is what was reported. We cna't go beyond that. If readers want to follow the link and read about the latest views on Peptic ulcers then they are welcome to make up their own minds on the matter. Perhaps you should read that article too, especially this section: Peptic ulcer#Stress and ulcers. It's not as simple as you depict it. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 16:43, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Customs incident

<<< On November 7 1972, Rawat returned to India from the U.S. to attend the annual Hans Jayanti festival celebrating his father's birthday. A suitcase containing cash, gems, and wristwatches was not properly declared to customs, leading to accusations of smuggling. As argued above, this can be easily seen as a coatrack. If this is to be included, a statement about the fact that no charges were ever filed, is needed. What is the point of having discussions in talk, if editors chose to make unilateral additions while we are discussing the issue? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 20:06, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

It now says " The charges were later dropped." Actually, I can't find a source for that. We could say "No charges were filed", but I don't have a source for that either. Can you find one? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 20:19, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
'Spokesmen for the Guru explained that the money was to pay the expenses of Western devotees during their stay in India, and that the watches and jewelry were gifts for the Guru's mother, brothers and mahatmas. Smuggling charges were never filled. H. W. Wilson Company, Current Biography Yearbook (1974) ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 20:53, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't have access to that book right now. It contradicts other sources that say the money, etc., was part of a "bank" belonging to followers from the U.S. (Of course there may have been multiple stories given out and if necessary we can report all of them). If the date of publication is 1974 then it may have been written before the matter was resolved. The fact that Rawat's passport was condfiscated and that he had to post a bond to leave the country make it appear that some legal action was taken. Let's keep trying to find a better source. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:08, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Added. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 22:39, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
The "posting bond" is dubious. Also, there are so many conflicting reports about the value of the contents of that suitcase ... one source says £60,000 later corrected to £13,600 (Daily Mail), another £27,000 (The Times), another $35,000, etc. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:18, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Why is the posting bond assertion dubious? As for the purported values, I've seen figures all over the map which is why I omitted specifying an amount. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:27, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
  • A teenaged guru touring the United States had to post bond of $13,300 before being allowed to leave India to spread his "Perfect Knowledge," the government says. Minister of State for Finance K. R. Ganesh told Parliament yesterday that the guru had to post the bond because he is under investigation and may be charged with smuggling. He did not say whether the government plans to prosecute Guru Maharaj Ji, the 15-year-old leader of the Divine Light Mission.
The bond was reported by a government minister speaking in Parliament. The assertion that his account is false would require a highly reliable source. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:30, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Because I said I would find it... "First, there was the claim by the Indian government that Guru Maharaj Ji and his family had smuggled jewels and large sums of money into the country, a charge which was eventually dropped with the apologies from the government." from Downton, pages 187-188. Doesn't clarify anything I don't think, but there it is. (If someone wants to complain about that cite, I'll do one). -- Maelefique (talk) 21:49, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
In many BLPs, if an allegation or civil/criminal investigation is found later to be without merit, these are not included in the BLP. That is my recollection from several BLPs that were brought up at BLP/N, regardless of the press that was generated before the allegations were found to be without merit. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:09, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Which is why we don't mention that murder charge in the OJ Simpson article, right? But seriously, the case was international news and it affected the subject's life and reputation. As Jossi himself has pointed out, the case is mentioned in even short biographies. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 22:35, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Simpson was charged, prosecuted, and found not guilty, please... Here is a case of an alleged smuggling of an estimated value of £13,600 found in a suitcase, which some sources report being the property of an individual other than PR. The charges were never filed, the government apologized for the mistake, so why we should perpetuate that in WP? If we mention this, it needs to be explained in detail, but f we do we will be giving it undue weight. So why keep it? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:35, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
We keep it because this is a biography, and it's an important biographical detail, as shown by such reference works as Current Biography Yearbook. Even the subject's own PR team acknowledged it was a part of his image. I'm not sure why there's a requirement to cover it in greater detail. Like any topic, it should be given space proportionate to its importance. I think the present length is sufficient. What details do you want to add? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 03:58, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
As its stands it is (a) incomplete; (b) misleading. Not saying that it was a paltry sum is misleadding. Not saying that the government apologized is incomplete ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:45, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
So you want to add the bond amount? OK. Glad to settle this. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 04:55, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Done. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 05:04, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Not the bond amount. The alleged value of the suitcase content, and the fact that the government later apologized. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 05:16, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
OK, but I don't think we should give every possible amount - just the range. I think the low I've seen is around $27,000 and the high is $65,000. (I've seen one that says a couple of hundred thousand, but I expect the writer misread the amount and added a zero.) Shall we also add that six MPs complained that he wasn't charged, and that Mrs Ghandi reportedly took an (unspecified) interest in the case? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 05:37, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Why was the bond amount removed? I thought more details were reqested. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 06:32, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

There, chronologically arranged, are the sources I've found regarding this incident. The range of values is $27,000 to $80,000.

The text now reads:
  • Cash, gems, and wristwatches worth a reported total of US$27,000 to $80,000 were not properly declared to customs, leading to accusations of smuggling.[34] Rawat was not able to leave India due to the investigation until he posted $13,300 bond in June 1973. Charges were never filed and the government later apologized.[35][36]
I hope that is sufficiently short, complete, and neutral. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 10:28, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
That seems not far off what happened, which was (according to a close friend of mine who was on the flight, note the impeccable attribution!) that all the westerners had been invited to stay in the Delhi ashram during the festival, and ashram rules forbade the possession of personal money and the wearing of jewelry or watches. Someone went around the plane collecting the valuables, and when they went through Customs nobody thought about declaring it. Rumiton (talk) 12:43, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
The explanation given out at the time was that the watches and jewelry were gifts for Indian mahatmas and others. I don't recall reading any account that matches your friend's recollection. It may be right, but it isn't verifiable. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 18:38, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

<<The problem with that sentence is that it misses important information. IMO the "smuggling charges" are less encyclopedic than the reasons why that happened. I will assume good faith here, and not complain about why that information was not used. Here is a proposed edit that puts that material in the appropriate context.

Rawat returned to India from the U.S. on November 7 1972, together with 350 American disciples in one of seven Jumbo jets that were leased to bring thousands of Western followers to a visit to India.[1] When clearing customs, a suitcase containing cash, jewels, and wristwatches worth a reported total of US$27,000 to $80,000 were not properly declared, leading to accusations of smuggling.[2] The director of the movement's public relations division said that the money was to be used to support the local travel and food expenses of the visitors,[1], and lawyers representing the Divine Light Mission reported that Joan Apter, one of the travelers, forgot to declare the currency and valuables. Rawat posted bond in June 1973 to enable him to resume traveling and attend a planned English-American tour. Charges were never filed and the government later apologized.[3][4]

≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:44, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Just for another viewpoint (not needed to be used here, but that it is quite accurate and provides a glimpse of other outrageous accusations against the young PR), is what Cagan writes about the incident:

Some of his students in the United States and Britain organized five chartered jets to take a record number of Western students there in late 1972. By the time they all arrived in India, however, an innocent customs incident involving two people, some cash, and wristwatches soured the press toward Maharaji. They started writing articles that accused him of being involved in smuggling jewels and cash. Not that they needed any more ammunition, since they were already accusing him of lying about his age and of being a CIA agent. Needless to say, these frivolous assertions were never substantiated, but that never stopped detractors from repeating the stories. [...] When the word got out about the difficulty at customs, a reporter for the British Daily Mail announced inaccurately that Maharaji had to face questioning for allegedly smuggling a brief-case containing jewels into the country. Maharaji was called to Delhi repeatedly to attend meetings with lawyers about the incident or to be grilled by the police, questioning his motives. At one meeting, his passport was temporarily taken from him, and he was not sure how long he would have to remain in India. So in the beginning of 1973, the fifteen-year-old was facing yet another challenging time in his life, having to stay in India in order to deal with the false allegations, when all he wanted was to return to his work and his friends in the West. Maharaji’s students explained that the briefcase in question merely held a pool of petty cash for the journey and safeguarded some personal jewelry. Maharaji and the organization would eventually be cleared on all counts.[5]

≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:58, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

I quite dislike Cagan's prose, which apparently is by its very style inaccurate. Take these three consecutive sentences:

[...] When the word got out about the difficulty at customs, a reporter for the British Daily Mail announced inaccurately that Maharaji had to face questioning for allegedly smuggling a brief-case containing jewels into the country. Maharaji was called to Delhi repeatedly to attend meetings with lawyers about the incident or to be grilled by the police, questioning his motives. At one meeting, his passport was temporarily taken from him, and he was not sure how long he would have to remain in India. [...]

It is obvious that she characterises the content of the claims included in the first of these sentences as "inaccurate" and attributes them to the British Daily Mail. But what about the next two sentences? Impossible to say whether she continues to relate what she perceives as inaccuracy (by the Daily Mail?), or whether somewhere she has switched to telling what she thinks really happened. --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:12, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
It does not matter as I am not proposing we use that source. My proposed edit is above it, which provides the necessary encyclopedic content for that incident, which is that 3,500 Westerners managed to charter 7 Jumbo jets and get themselves to India, and that facing opposition from the establishment, they try to make a storm in a glass of water. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:20, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
It's not clear in Jossi's draft, what the source is for this assertion: "...lawyers representing the Divine Light Mission reported that Joan Apter, one of the travelers, forgot to declare the currency and valuables." Also, why is the bond ammount omitted? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 18:21, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't think the bond amount is important. As for the source, here it is Disciples of Guru Maharaj Ji, the 15-year-old Indian boy-saint, are to press Indian customs officers to release £13,600 in currency and valuables, the contents of a "divine bank" confiscated last year. Official assessments of the contents - currency notes, travellers cheques, watches and jewellery - earlier varied between £50,000 and £60,000. The "bank" was confiscated at New Delhi airport last November when the young Guru led hundreds of Western disciples in nine Jumbo jets to India to hear his teachings. Lawyers representing the Divine Light Mission say they will tell Indian customs officials that Miss Joan Apter, a leading American disciple, was not trying to smuggle the "divine bank" into India. In the excitement of the Guru's return she forgot to declare the currency and valuables. [6] You can use the source also to replace "US$27,000 to $80,000" with the correct amount of £13,600. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 18:40, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
The *British* Daily Mail, is that what this is cited to? No problem for me, but you do realise this doesn't do Ms. Cagan's reliability status much good, who quoted the Britsh Daily Mail as notoriously inaccurate on the subject (...or the reliability status is affected the other way around, and then we shouldn't be trusting the Daily Mail on the correctness of amounts etc...) --Francis Schonken (talk) 18:52, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
The correct amount is available from other sources as well, and newspaper reports are not always consistent, as it can be seen from the many competing comments made during that time in regard of this incident. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 18:59, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
The bond amount is rather large, so I think we should include it. Where did Jossi get that clipping? From here? I've avoided using that site for references, but if we're considering it to be accurate then they've got a lot of useful stuff. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 18:55, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
No, not from there. I have a large collection of materials I have amassed over the years. Should I ask you from now on where do you get your sources? I do not thing that it is necessary, is it? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 18:59, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
It's just unusual to have such a tiny clipping from so far away and long ago. Does anyone here object to using the sources posted at They appear to be accurate. Also, if that Daily Mail source is accurate, then the official valuation they list for the suitcase would be over US$100,000. However since this is the only source , out of many, that mentions this story I think it's an anomaly. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 19:12, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
That is not where I got that material, and the valuation of the suitcase is set at £13,600. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 20:26, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I am still awaiting to close this discussion and this edit to be made. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:02, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
We don't have consensus for your proposal. The Joan Apter version only appears in one, very brief, undated news clipping. The more widely repeated version of events is that the cash was a "bank" and the jewelry were gifts (though that part is less weidely reported). ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:37, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Also, if I read it correctly, it is the DLM officials who put the value at £13,600, and customs officials who valued it at £50,000- £60,000. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:38, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
(ec) No, it is the custom officials, not the DLM officials. As for Apter's being there, I am sure you have that info. And if not, check any of the online newsarchives.≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:57, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
As I already explained, I posted above all the resources I could find. None of them mention Apter. We have several reliable, dated sources that give a different interpretation. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 22:04, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I must say I'd try to still shorten it a bit. Apparently the incident caused quite some nuisance for Rawat at the time, but a still shorter mentioning would do for me. --Francis Schonken (talk) 21:54, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Shortening only if the context is left there intact. This is not a tabloid. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:57, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
The conflicting stories of why the stuff was brought to India and why there was no declaration don't appear to be necessary context. In order to keep the material short I think it can be omitted. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 22:14, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, but I do not understand what you are saying. The context I am referring is the fact that PR was traveling with 300 other people, and that another 7 jumbo jets flew there at the same time, as well as the fact that the suitcase was someone else's than PR. How can that not be context needed in a bio of PR? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:44, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't dispute the first parts, which are part of the general story and mentioned in numerous sources (though the numbers vary). I'm talking about the assertion that the suitcase belonged to Apter, which is only found in one problematic source and isn't mentioned in many reliable sources. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 22:56, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
You may not be aware of this, but Mrs Apter was the person that organized the chartering of the Jumbo jets. This make sit very plausible that she carried the pooled moneys that were collected to pay for accomodation, etc. Remember that most of the travelers were young and many of them, hippies. Very plausible indeed. If this material is in one source, that does not invalidate it, is it? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:02, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
She is mentioned in that role in an clipping of Charleston Daily Mail, Thursday, November 9, 1972, and I am searchin my clippings to see if I can find another source for the assertion that the suitcase was in her possession when clearing customs ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:06, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
If we can find sufficient reliable sources that attribute the mistake to her then we can attribute the mistake to her, even though it's derogatory information about a presumably living person. Also, if we have reliable sources about her position in the organization at the time then perhaps it would be better to describe her by position rather than name. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 04:46, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

<<< Derogatory? What is derogatory? I disagree with the concept of "sufficient sources". We have a source, that describes the situation pretty unambiguously and that is what is needed. As for her "position", there was no such a thing in these days. Apter was one of the first people from the West that met the young PR in India in 1967; when she returned to the US she and others organized the chartering of these Jumbo jets. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 05:55, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

<<< BTW, there may be no consensus for my proposed version, but note that there is no consensus for yours either. So, remove it from the article and lets agree on a consensus. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:45, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

You cannot just throw this jewel-smuggeling allusion into the encyclopedic room and then leave it uncommented. This is mere mud-slinging and may serve only as an example for the kind of reporting the press tends to wallow in. I am going to delete it after a decent term, if it is not amended.--Rainer P. (talk) 07:16, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
Rainer, it's our job to report biographical events. It's a fact that this incident occured, and we ahve ample reliable sources for it. We don't censor information. How would you like the material amended? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 01:38, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
The problem, Will, is that this that what was reported is an exaggeration. According to an article in the NYT, dated July 18, 1973, the suitcase contained one necklace (not "jewels" or "gems" as reported by the wires), foreign currency and traveler checks, which is compatible with the assertions that these were pooled moneys by the travelers (if it was a "smuggling" why traveler checks, lol!). So, yes, WP is not censored, but WP is not a tabloid either. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:14, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
So long as we're following WP rules then we won't be a tabloid. I don't see any rule which tells us to exclude this well-reported incident. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 04:26, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Our job is not to multiply gossip and add dignity to the yellow press. The noteworthy content of the whole thing is at best the way the press has treated Rawat, it can be used (if there is a consense to use it at all) to show that. But then it must be displayed accordingly in a detached way, as is possible after all this time. Otherwise all that sticks is Rawat tried to smuggle jewlery. Which means deliberate mud-slinging. Maybe there is no explicit WP-rule against that, but there is a margin of discretion, I am sure. I wonder, how can a sane person wish to support such an obviously invidious and prejudiced scheme?--Rainer P. (talk) 10:19, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
The New York Times and the AP don't report gossip. They report news. Those, and numerous other respectable news sources reported on this "smuggling" issue. There seems to be an effort here to characterize any mention of certain biographical events as "tabloidism" or "gossip". It's our job, as Wikipedia editors, to verifiably summarize reliable sources using the neutral point of view. When we do so we're not engaging in "tabloid writing". Just because tabloids reported on Paris Hilton's arrest doesn't mean Wikipedia shouldn't either. Rawat subject had his passport confiscated and had to post bail to leave the country. Those are historical facts, as is their extensive media coverage. I still see no WP policy being advanced for the deletion of this material. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 10:37, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Is this issue already on the list for MedCab? If not, how can I add it?--Rainer P. (talk) 10:43, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Proposed edit 2

This proposed edit is factually accurate, and presents the incident in the correct light:

Rawat returned to India from the U.S. on November 7 1972, together with 350 American disciples in one of seven Jumbo jets that were leased to bring thousands of Western followers to a visit to India.[1] When clearing customs, a suitcase containing cash, traveler checks, jewels, and wristwatches was not properly declared, and was inpounded. An investigation was started by Indian customs officials. [7] The director of the movement's public relations division said that the money was to be used to support the local travel and food expenses of the visitors,[1], and lawyers representing the Divine Light Mission reported that one of the travelers, forgot to declare the currency and valuables. Rawat was forced to post bond in June 1973 to enable him to resume traveling and attend a planned English-American tour, while the investigation was ongoing. Charges were never filed and the government later apologized.[8][9]

It has been a few days now that there is material in the article on this incident that is misleading by virtue of being incomplete, and it as about time his is fixed. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:39, 24 May 2008 (UTC) ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:39, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

  • What is "India investigates guru's finances, The Times, November 29, 1972"? Can you poste the text or point to an online source? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 01:47, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
You have made many edits and did not provide full text sources, so I do not see why are you doubting the sources I provide. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:34, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
This is what I used from that press clipping:
Mr. Arthur Brigham, from Denver, Colorado, director of the movement's large public relations division, said the money was to be used for meeting the local travel and food expenses of about 3,000 Western devotees, mostly from the United States, who came to India in seven chartered Boeing 747s to meditate.[3]
≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:40, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. And I've always provided quotes when asked. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 03:47, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Also, you were insistent before that we include the estimated value of the stuff. Why are you now omitting it from your draft? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 01:50, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
I think that it is not needed when we have the whole context. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:34, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Does anyone object to adding the actual amounts -both the value of the material and the bond? Both are widely reported and it's more context and detail that allows readers to evaluate the case for themselves. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 03:47, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
I mean, these were paltry sums (10K pounds sterling for moneys pooled by 300 people is not that much, is it?). What is encyclopedic, is that an hostile press and a concerned conservative government made a big deal of it. You will find many wires carrying that story, but very few that reported that the moneys were finally returned and that nothing happened. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:55, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
How many scholarly sources say it either? Or other sources of any kind? Cagan, of course, puts the best possible spon on it. Anyway, if they are paltry sums then it shows the readers that large sums weren't involved, which they may not understand otherwise. Using the actual amounts gives readers the necessary context. ·:· Will Beback ·:·
In any case, I would argue that the proposed edit can be made straight away, and we can then discuss if to add or not to add these sums. There is no reason and no objections to omit the material I have added, is it? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:57, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
We're discussing the amounts. Is there some reasin for excluding the sums, which I contend are usefl context and detail? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 04:12, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
I know we are discussing the amounts. That is why I am asking that we make the edit as is, and continue the discussion about the sums. There is no objection raised to have the additional context added. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:36, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
One thing at a time, please. We can discuss the other edits next. Is there a policy reason to exclude the sums? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 00:06, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, FWIW, Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)#Unnecessary vagueness which rather invites to give numbers instead of speaking about "large sums" etc. The guideline gives no advice however if no clear unambiguous number is available in applicable literature: than you'd be back to WP:NPOV I suppose: give the major viewpoints. --Francis Schonken (talk) 04:45, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
We are not talking of "large sums", on the contrary. My view remains that the encyclopedic value of that material is related to the fact that there was nothing wrong, that an hostile press made a big deal of it, and at the end no charges were filed, the government apologized, etc. The official sum was 13K pound sterling that is really not that much for a pool of money. The "gems" or "jewels" reported was a single bracelet; the rest was cash and travelers checks. So, let's stay out of sensationalism and report the incident. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 05:34, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
If we are not talking about large sums then best way to convey that fact to readers is by quoting the sums. There was no "official sum" - there were many reports. Reporting the sums gives readers the information they need to establish its value. I still see no reason for excluding it. It's not sensationalistic. I don't know what source Jossi is using for stating what the "truth" is - I'm just going by what's in the sources, almost every one of which reports numbers. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 06:41, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
I can see no good reason not to include the numbers, if we are going to include the incident, let the reader decide what is, or is not, a "large sum". Some may think $26,000.00USD (approx) is a large sum, others may not. If we have the information, put it in, let the reader decide. -- Maelefique (talk) 07:19, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Proposal #3

OK. Here is proposal #3:

Rawat returned to India from the U.S. on November 7 1972, together with 350 American disciples in one of seven Jumbo jets that were leased to bring thousands of Western followers to a visit to India.[1] When clearing customs, a suitcase containing cash, traveler checks, a necklace, and wristwatches worth an estimated total of US$27,000 to $80,000 (later assessed to be £13,600) was not properly declared, and was inpounded. An investigation was started by Indian customs officials. [10] The director of the movement's public relations division said that the money was to be used to support the local travel and food expenses of the visitors,[1], and lawyers representing the Divine Light Mission reported that one of the travelers, forgot to declare the currency and valuables, and that the goods seized did not belong to Rawat.[11]He was forced to post a $13,300 bond in June 1973 to enable him to resume traveling and attend a planned English-American tour, while the investigation was ongoing. Charges were never filed and the government later apologized.[12][13]

≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 18:47, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

I replaced "jewels" with "one necklace" as reported by the NYT article India still studying goods confiscated from youthful guru", July 18, 1973. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 18:50, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
That's better since it includes the value of the suitcase. What's the exact source for "(later reduced to £13,600)"? Why are you omitting the bond amount? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 19:08, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
The source is the Daily Mail. Do we need the bond amount? If that is really necessary, it can be added. Bond amount added. Any other objections/suggestions? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 14:57, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
The Daily Mail doesn't says "later assessed" at - it simply gives another number. Since the article is undated, we don't know when it was published. The NYT, considered one of the most reliable newspapers in the world, published a figure of "more than $80,000" on July 18, 1973. I suggest we omit "(later assessed to be £13,600)", as it's not supprted by sources. That value is included in the range already listed. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 19:15, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Proposal page versions

I've posted revised text at User:Steve Crossin/Mediation/Prem Rawat/Proposal1#Proposal 2. It includes additional information and tightens up the writing. I believe the idea with the proposals it that we should discuss them on this page. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 20:20, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Nope. Actually on the Prem Rawat mirrored talk page. Or on the proposals talk page, even better. Steve Crossin (talk) (review) 20:33, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

First Impression (Again)

Hi, all. Coming back to this article after several months, the first thing that struck me about this article is that the references section is completely out of hand. There are some cites that go on for paragraphs, and the references themselves sprawl on farther than the article itself. I understand that there may be more pressing matters currently in discussion, but for what it's worth, a cleanup (or at least slimming-down) of the references should be considered for the future of this piece, IMO. Mael-Num (talk) 13:18, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

We have discussed this already. Once the article is stable we shall remove all the notes, leaving the refs only. For now, it has been agreed to leave them so that they can be referred to while debating. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:34, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Also, on a similar "what are best practices?" note, do all the message boxes that appear on the top of the discussion page belong on the discussion page, rather than the article itself? In particular, the probationary note should definitely be on the main page, otherwise what's the point of having a warning at all? Mael-Num (talk) 14:00, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
All these templates are for talk-page only. These are never used in the article's themselves. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:34, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Hi Mael-Num. I agree that the it would be helpful for probationary warning note(s) to be placed upon the main article page so that unaware editors will be clear about what the limitations are on making edits to the whole series of Rawat articles. I also agree that the references section makes the article "bottom heavy," but for now I think it should remain as it is for the reasons Jossi stated. I was unaware of (or maybe forgot or missed) any previous agreements to clear out the reference notes once the article is stable. Jossi, would you be so kind as to provide a link to that previous discussion? Thanks in advance, and it's good to see you, Mael-Num. Cynthia Gracie Sylviecyn (talk) 19:19, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Hi Jossi and Cynthia, it's good to see you both as well (and good to be seen!) After taking a more careful look at those templates, they are certainly meant for talk pages. Though, given the consequences of someone making an "improper" edit to probationary articles, there really ought to be a warning right out front so enthusiastic-yet-unobservant editors have fair warning. Thanks for explaining the reason behind the extensive notes. If editors need those notes for reference, then that's fine by me. I simply didn't know that's why it was all there, and you gotta admit, that section is jaw-droppingly long. Mael-Num (talk) 20:15, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Earlier this month I reviewed the sources in use and found several glaring errors. (See Talk:Prem Rawat/Archive 35#Incorrect sources). In one case a source was referring to a different "Maharaj Ji" (it turns out to be a common title for gurus in India). A recurring problem we have, partly due to one editor, is that sloppy editing can result in citations being moved from the the material they cite, or the cited material may be deleted while the citation is left attached to different text, and similar mix-ups. Let's all be diligent about making sure the cites for each sentence are correct, are correctly placed, and that they stay that way while we edit. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:15, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Most of the work on refs is tedious, time-consuming, somewhat unrewarding — but completely uncontroversial. I've done some of it, and would do more, but this generally should be done directly in the article (nearly impossible to suggest via {{editprotected}} — unless multiplying the "tedious, time-consuming, somewhat unrewarding" part with a disproportionate factor, and then one would still need an admin prepared to decipher the suggestions and apply them correctly)
Does anyone else see in this a sound rationale for unprotecting the page? --Francis Schonken (talk) 18:54, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Well, I had that in mind. There's a solution. [4]. Done before it got protected. Steve Crossin (talk) (review) 19:04, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Yes, thanks for reminding... should've paid better attention. I've un-collapsed the footnotes section there - no need to make the footnote work more tedious than it already is. (collapsing prevents to jump down to a footnote). --Francis Schonken (talk) 19:24, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Yep, I saw. Fair enough. Steve Crossin (talk) (review) 19:36, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Also a note to all parties. Changes on this page, if discussion is needed, should be discussed on its talk page, and not this one. Steve Crossin (talk) (review) 19:17, 28 May 2008 (UTC)


IMO the "criticism" section (unjustifiably renames into "Opinions") is organized in wrong way. It must not be a chaotic list of blurbs by varuious people. An encyclopedic article must describe particular items criticized confirmed by references to critics, not vice versa. Mukadderat (talk) 17:18, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Please see the discussion above (#Viewpoints). No need to start a new section. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 17:30, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

  • Looking at several other spiritual leaders' biography pages, it appears to be the wikipedia standard to put reception and criticism in its own section. I think the reason for this is self-evident in an encyclopedic article: it allows for easy reference if a party is interested in such information. Therefore, shouldn't this be in its own section? Mael-Num (talk) 20:00, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Jossi, your opinion is disagreed. Your revert based only on your personal opinion without discussion is disagreed. "Criticism" is a valid section and used in many. Your attempt to derail my sugestion about correct arranging the material is abusive. We don't need a coatrack of hundreads of "opinions". We need a discussion of subjects of criticism. The only one valid argument for existence/nonexistence of this section: whether criticism of Pream Rawat exists or not. If it exists and to a notable degree then in belongs to wikipedia (provided the rest of wikipedia rules: WP:CITE, etc.). Mukadderat (talk) 21:01, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Please see discussion above, and note that this page in under probation. I will post a message to this effect in your talk page. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:16, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
I appreciate that there has been some prior discussion of this subject, but in this editor's opinion, that discussion appears to be insufficient as it doesn't answer a fairly basic question: would an easily referenced criticism section make the article easier to use? With respect to this question, we can see that other articles of a similar nature to Prem Rawat's include a criticism section and, to be sure, if one is looking specifically for such information, it is beneficial to be have it gathered in one area for ease of reference rather than forcing a reader to parse-and-pick information they would want from information that is worthless to them. I think it would be a disservice to readers to not organize ideas as best we can. Mael-Num (talk) 21:53, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
I understand where you're coming from. I think there are a couple of concerns that editors have. One is that the article won't be NPOV without the full range of views and a "criticism" section is seen as a logical way of presenting one set of POVs. Another concern is that if material is interwoven throughout the article it is harder to maintain, and that some editors may remove it bit by bit until none is left.
There are some real benefits to not focusing on a "criticism" section per se. For one thing, "criticism" can mean a variety of different things. To give a trivial example, is it criticism to assert out that someone is gay/marxist/capitalist/foreign-born/recovering alcoholic, or are those just descriptions? More topically, if a scholar says Rawat is a charismatic leader, is that criticism or praise or neutral assessment? If we decide that it's criticism and put it into a criticism section, then it's a POV rather than a scholarly assessment and so editors may seek to find some other opposing POV to balance it. If it's praise the same thing may happen. Another issue is that, for a variety of reasons, some editors of this page are adamantly opposed to having a criticism section. Rather than fighting about the same thing over and over it may be better to find a new way of arranging the article. Also, it's just better style to fully cover each event or topic as it comes up rather than giving one side in the main text and another side at the end.
I can't suggest a surefire way of ensuring that material doesn't disappear if the range of viewpoints are spread through the article rather than lumping them together. One way may be to get the involved editors to agree to material, and then that agreement can be referenced should the material be removed. I know all the long-term, involved editors here have a hard time trusting each other. Unfortunately Wikipedia can't solve that. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 01:58, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Forgive me for writing a brief response to your detailed and thought-out post. I've gotta run, but I wanted to at least put this up. As far as gay/capitalist/alcoholic/etc., I would say that these are descriptors which happen to have a negative stigma association (in addition to any other associations or more formal definitions for these terms). Same with charismatic leader, which was what I (apparently unsuccessfully) was trying to convey before. Criticism, at least in my book, means kind of the same thing that a "critical review" in academia means. They check you out to see if you're right. If you're wrong, someone says, "Hey, that's wrong and here's why."
Arguably, the mere existence of an article on Prem Rawat or DLM or EV or whatever is a tacit approval (pro-POV) of the subject it details. These articles already give Rawat's POV on Rawat, DLM's take on itself, etc. The "pro" side is already there. Without criticism, a "con" side, we're not giving the whole story; it's undue weight. Mael-Num (talk) 02:13, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Are we going to define WP policy in these debates? Redefine NPOV and WP:UNDUE? I don't think so. These are well established principles in WP. We could argue about the application of these principles, of course, but making assertions about this article giving Rawat's POV undue weight is preposterous. Can you please show me where exactly is that material in this article? Maybe some people here need an NPOV refresher? If so, I would recommend Wikipedia:NPOV tutorial and Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view/FAQ. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:58, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I can't speak for anyone but myself, so naturally I have no idea what "we" are going to define. However, in the context of an article, and indeed the english language, "Criticism" is defined more-or-less as I have stated above. calling someone a capitalist isn't properly criticism, just as describing someone as a guru isn't. Rebutting their ideas is criticism. If you'd like to debate that further, then I'm all ears.
As to the rest of it, I have already stated where that (pro-POV) material is in the article. I'm a little surprised that I'm having to go over this again. It's a fairly basic concept of rhetoric: saying something is so is an assertion that it's factual and correct, thus it is "pro". That's the underlying logic for including criticism to begin with. Mael-Num (talk) 07:35, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
@Will. You said I can't suggest a surefire way of ensuring that material doesn't disappear. Have you forgotten that this article is in probation? Are you dismissing the fact that we have agreed to discuss in talk and seek consensus before making edits? If we do that, the result is that we all will end up defending the article as a consensus version. So, rather than be skeptical, let's keep working toward that stable version that we can live with as well as be willing to defend in the long run. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 05:01, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I wasn't born yesterday. I don't expect editors to change their behavior, though I'll be pleasantly surprised if they do. However with probation, editors either need to be reasonable or be banned. Let's hope that it handles the problem. Now back to the issue of a "criticism" section... ·:· Will Beback ·:· 05:29, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
As I have pointed out multiple times across these articles, if even Mother Teresa and the Pope can have criticism sections, I don't see why Prem Rawat wouldn't have one. -- Maelefique (talk) 07:01, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I couldn't have said it better myself...are you sure you're not me? Mael-Num (talk) 08:06, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Those are not quite the same. One is an external links section and the other covers a nearly 2,000-year institution . A closer comparison is Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama which had a similar section.[5] Coincidentally, it doesn't have one now. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 07:28, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
The Dalai Lama is also a good example. Ghandi also has a pretty robust section of criticism. The current pope...not so controversial (yet), but Pope John Paul II had his fair share. Mother Theresa has her own criticism section, and still more criticisms such as those of Christopher Hitchens are found elsewhere in the text of her article. Mael-Num (talk) 08:16, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
They are nearly all dead. There is only one sentence of criticism in the living one, the Dalai Lama. He gets a simple statement that British journalist Christopher Hitchens criticised the Dalai Lama in 1998, questioned his alleged support for India's nuclear weapons testing, etc. Even that has left the article under an unresolved neutrality dispute, same as this one. It is circular thinking to use that as an example of a BLP. Rumiton (talk) 13:14, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I wasn't noting Hitchens re:Gyatso, but rather re:Mother Teresa ("found elsewhere in the text of her article"). However, your point further illustrates what we're saying. Even the widely respected 14th Dalai Lama has all sorts of criticisms in his article. Clearly, an article is incomplete without it. I don't think that can fairly be up to debate any more, given the overwhelming evidence. What remains to be decided now is how best to organize that info. I'm still waiting to hear why organizing critical responses together isn't a good idea.
I also feel compelled to add that Gyatso's article, which does not have a clearly identified section for criticism, is being disputed for a biased POV. I believe there could be a connection. Mael-Num (talk) 21:08, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
There is an important difference, which perhaps evades the sight of editors who are familiarized with the subject: Everybody knows Gandhi, Mother Theresa, the Dalai Lama and the Pope, normally in a positive connotation. So a little criticism does not much to distort the picture, but may provide balance. Prem Rawat may be new to many readers, who seek primary information. There is no assumed positive status that requires balance for NPOV. Just being mentioned in WP does of course not automatically imply a positive connotation, which has to be balanced by negative judgment. So if you have criticism, you must first have an objective description without relying on assumptions. Criticism is the conditional shadow, the person is the unconditional object, in this case the subject. Describing the shadow will not automatically describe the subject. A discriminating reader may notice this. Insofar e.g. the smuggle-issue and the celibacy-issue and the house-issue and the ulcer-issue and whatnot do more to describe the social and mental environment in which the subject acts with a sense of self-evident preconceived underlying opinion, with an unspoken objective of perpetuation. Even the New York Times must serve this purpose. But an encyclopedia, having more distance and detachment and being free of the pressure of daily circulation numbers, can well afford a more sublime sight, or rather is obliged to. That’s why the NPOV can not be debated. So, before criticism as an exercise in social orthodoxy, there must be a clear exposition of its object. The lack of this is one shortcoming of the article, where you can learn more about the critics than about the subject.--Rainer P. (talk) 09:05, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
So, your entire argument is based on the premise that because Prem Rawat isn't as well known as Gandhi or the pope, we should censor criticism of him? Mael-Num (talk) 21:20, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Easy, no need to put words like "censor" in my mouth. I pointed out the special responsibility for a reasonable balance, which is IMO missing. When you read the Teachings-article, there are a lot of scholarly findings on a higher factual level than the negative aspects in the "Critics"-chapter. If they were in the article, there would at least something substantial to balance. The articles Teachings-chapter does not really represent the teachings, but is contaminated with criticism. Maybe the Teachings-section can be merged in the article, perhaps only in a shortened version. Hm?--Rainer P. (talk) 06:48, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I think your point is valid. Also, looking at "comparable" articles, especially Pope John Paul II (who I don't need to point out is not a living person anyway) the criticism included is all about the stances he took towards gay marriage, condoms, the Eastern Church, abuse scandals, etc. They were intelligent disagreements with his views, not the ill-informed, damning, religiously motivated attacks that Prem Rawat, as a representative of an Eastern school of thought, received from Protestant sources on his arrival in the west. These were more insults than criticisms, and the authors, it should be noted, were not used as sources for any articles on the papacy, Dalai Lama etc., though they had plenty to say about them also. Rumiton (talk) 13:02, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
"Ill-informed, damning, religiously motivated" are all strong opinions, but they're just opinions. I realize they're your opinions, so you probably think pretty highly of them, but not everyone is inclined to do so. Come with some facts and less "truth" and then we can talk this out.
Oh, and knock it off with the "this is a BLP, and those aren't" argument. You're right, of course, but when it comes to the matter up for debate, it's totally irrelevant. Mael-Num (talk) 21:20, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I have asked a question above, which has not been answered as yet. An editor is arguing that this article as it stand now represents "Rawats POV" or that has a "pro-POV". I read the article in its entirety and found no such material. I am awaiting for that editor to provide an explanation on where that material is. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 14:31, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Jossi, "Pro-" material exists throughout the article. It also exists implicitly through the selection and prominence given topics, and the omission of other topics. There's a whole block of "Pro-" material sourced mostly to self-published websites and press releases:
  • In 2001, Rawat founded the The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF),[82] a Public Charitable Organization for the production and distribution of materials promoting his message, and for funding worldwide humanitarian efforts. TPRF has provided food, water and medical help to war-torn and impoverished areas.[83] In June 2005 San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom declared June 16 as Prem Rawat Day. A proclamation by Newsom acknowledged Rawat as "a humanitarian leader and a steadfast proponent of peace" whose message of inner peace has inspired more than nine million people in 50 nations.[84][85] In 2005, Rawat introduced The Keys, a set of five DVD's which prepare the student for receiving Knowledge, as well as a sixth Key which is a DVD presentation of Rawat giving the Knowledge.[86] In 2007, during a two-month tour of India, Sri Lanka and Nepal, Rawat spoke at 36 events, addressing over 800,000 people, and by live satellite broadcasts reached an additional 2.25 million.[87]
And that's not to mention the problems with the intro. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 19:30, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Three sentences in a pretty long article.... Is that "pro" material or factual material? WP:SELFPUB is part of our policies, which allows material to be used from self published sources under such caveats. And I have not heard any specific concerns raised about the lead, just a general comment. That is already an item added in the mediation page anyway ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:06, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I count six sentences. I haven't discussed the intro because we already have plenty to discuss at the moment. One way of looking at factual material is that it's neither positive nor negative. However that view doesn't appear to be widely-held on this page, as reports of factual information are repeatedly described as "tabloidism", etc. As for this material, it's self-published and self-serving. Does self-serving="pro"? Does deleting embarassing details from the subject's past count as a "pro" edit? I'd say so. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:15, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, but I take exception with that assessment. That material is 800 characters in an article that contains 22,700 characters. A negligible percentage. What is self-serving about the fact that there is a Foundation established to address humanitarian concerns? What is self-serving to assert the fact that PR introduced DVD presentations in 2005? What is sefl-servig in reporting a statement by the mayor of San Francisco? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:25, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, but I can't seem to find a point to your argument. Why are you counting letters? You've already agreed that there is pro-Rawat content in the article, therefore under Wikipedia Policy, not guidelines, we are required to present the other side of the debate to maintain a neutral posture.
However, rereading what you're saying here, and the written policies, I think you may have inadvertantly raised another issue. As stated:
"An article should not give undue weight to any aspects of the subject, but should strive to treat each aspect with a weight appropriate to its significance to the subject." (From WP:DUE)
You seem to be of the opinion that there is a shortage of "pro" commentary on Rawat. If this is due to the fact that Rawat's detractors far outweigh his supporters in the volume of acceptable material produced, then the article must reflect this. Or in other words, if there is more negative response published on a subject than positive, the article has to be written to reflect this. Mael-Num (talk) 21:53, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I think you are misunderstanding WP:NPOV. Per WP:NPOV, we ought to represent[ing] fairly, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources, and that is exactly what we are doing. We have close to 125 sources we are using, most of which are fairly neutral, and some of which are critical. Balance in an article is not achieved by stringing "pro" or "con" sources, rather, the policy requires that where multiple or conflicting perspectives exist within a topic each should be presented fairly. None of the views should be given undue weight or asserted as being judged as "the truth", in order that the various significant published viewpoints are made accessible to the reader, not just the most popular one. It should also not be asserted that the most popular view, or some sort of intermediate view among the different views, is the correct one to the extent that other views are mentioned only pejoratively. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:04, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Nope, understood it perfectly. That was rather my point. Reread what I wrote above. If we take your statement (there isn't enough "pro" material available for Rawat) with respect to the policy, then we aren't bound to reduce the amount of "con" material to obtain balance. Quite the opposite, in fact. Hopefully, that will become obvious to you as you reread the policy as written. Mael-Num (talk) 22:22, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
 ??? NPOV articles are not written in a manner in which we look for "pro" or "con" material. NPOV writing is something very different. In any case, as asked before by me and others, shall we move on and start writing content? I think we have cover this enough for now. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:34, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Certainly, though I do hope you'll come back later and reread what was discussed here. I suspect by your responses, repeating yourself over and over, that not much progress has actually been made. Mael-Num (talk) 22:54, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
If you didn't like Mother Teresa and the Pope, how about Deepak Chopra and Tony Robbins (coincidentally, they use Randi as a critical source, no freaking out, go figure...), both alive, both claiming to help others, both having "Criticism" sections. I also agree with Mael-Num above, when he said it makes sense to have the section just for reference purposes too. If someone wants to look up that information, it should be findable, not hunt-downable after having to read lots of unrelated material, this is an encyclopedia remember. -- Maelefique (talk) 15:37, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
For each article one can bring up with a Criticism section, we can find another one without it. As per {{criticism section}} (please read the commentary on the template page) there is no reason to segregate critical content into a separate section, same as we do not segregate positive content to a separate section. See also Wikipedia:Words_to_avoid#Article_structure, and Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view#Article_structure ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:05, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
"there is no reason to segregate critical content into a separate section"
Of course there is, Maelefique and I have stated it several times: it helps organize information in a way that is easily retreived. If there are articles where this rational application of what are obviously good practices aren't being utilized, and you feel they should be, then go edit them. For now, my attention is focussed on this article. Furthermore, it doesn't matter that there are articles without criticism sections, you're missing the point. We don't need to show that every article follows this format, we simply have to show that there is a precedent for doing so. If there were not, there would obviously be a reason for not doing so here, but clearly this is not the case.
So now that we've addressed Jossi's concerns as to reasons for a criticism section, and provided a solution for his apparent concern for other badly formatted articles, may we now all agree that a criticism section would benefit this article? If not, speak up...and do try to give a rational objection, not mere gainsaying or hand-waving. Mael-Num (talk) 19:16, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Hrm...I think this is the rhetorical equivalent of having your opponent score a touchdown in football, and rather than try to score on your own, retroactively moving the end zone [6][7].
Now all's you need is an audience who'll fall for such a transparent tactic. Let me know when they get here, would you? Mael-Num (talk) 20:54, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
While you make some good points, I suggest we focus on the material in the article rather than the section headings. So long as editors don't say something like "you can't put that here - this section is only for viewpoints" then the section heading is of minor importance. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:08, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
That is good advice. Also, I would re-affirm the need to re-read Wikipedia:Words_to_avoid#Article_structure, and Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view#Article_structure in which these issues of segregation of materials per POV is discussed. Again, we are not here to re-invent the wheel, but to follow as closely as possible established guidelines and principles. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:21, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Done and done. Seems to me that you are worried that we, as your fellow editors, will be forced to resort to a "tortured form of writing", as that's the only viable objection out of all your cited guidelines. While this is indeed troubling, I think for the sake of our readers we should at least make an effort to endure such hardships. Perhaps we can avoid the torture altogether? After all, we've all but agreed that a separate criticism section would make for easiest reference; it's the least we can do. Mael-Num (talk) 21:28, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
We have not reach that agreement as you argue. Quite the contrary, if judging the nature of discussion and per established guidelines. Now, can we move on to write content rather that keep beating a dead horse? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:07, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

<outdent>...I'm sure I saw it twitch... I only see one editor not in favour of that section (insert shocked surprised gasp here) "An informal method for identifying approval of a proposal placed before a group. Consensus is not the same as unanimity." So I think we may have already reached consensus, and you're right, now we can move on to filling the section with appropriate commentary. BTW, I must admit, I did laugh out loud when I saw who had changed the criticism sections listed by Mael-Num (who *still* isn't me, he's confirmed) above. Very funny! -- Maelefique (talk) 05:52, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

So I think we may have already reached consensus, No, we have not, as made obvious by the page protection that resulted from a dispute about that section naming. As for the Mael-Mael coincidence, what does that have to do with this? I see nothing "funny" about it, unless I am missing something ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 14:45, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
You are. What's funny, is you ran out and changed two articles I referred to in an attempt to dilute my point, even though you had never touched those articles until I mentioned them. Also, "because Jossi says so" does not mean we have not, in fact, reached consensus, but you can say it again if you think it will help (I gave you a helpful definition above, if you took the time to read it). And if you want to talk more about Mael-Mael being funny (which if you re-read, that's not what I said), that should be moved to my talk page, this is not an appropriate place for that. -- Maelefique (talk) 15:20, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Re: Jossi's statement: "No, we have not (reached consensus), as made obvious by the page protection that resulted from a dispute about that section naming."

Maelefique's statement was made today, and was clearly referring to the present, including discussions after the page protection had been made. As such, the page protection cannot be used as an argument regarding the current state of consensus or lack thereof. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

I recollect reading here the advice (good advice, I think) that separate criticism sections worked as "POV magnets," so criticisms should be woven into the body of the article. It also seems to me that if a Criticism section is required, NPOV would require an "Acclamation" (OED = "shouting in a person's honour") section as balance. I volunteeer to start one. Rumiton (talk) 15:05, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

The criticism policy WP:Criticism clearly provides cases both for and against separate criticism sections, depending on the context of the criticsim.

For example:

Reasons to create a separate "Criticism" section include using a source which only criticizes the topic or only describes criticisms of it. (Even this might be made better by naming the section after the entity doing the criticism, however.)


Criticism that is integrated into the article should not disrupt the article or section's flow. For example a section entitled "Early success" should not contain one paragraph describing the success of the topic and three paragraphs qualifying or denying that success. This is often why separate criticism sections are created

provide examples where a separate criticism section is appropriate, whilst:

In general, making separate sections with the title "Criticism" is discouraged. The main argument for this is that they are often a troll magnet:


If the reception (history) of a topic is composed of as well positive and negative criticism, and other significant events that usually aren't qualified as "criticism" (e.g. about a book, notes about when major translations appeared,...), it is often better to have a "Reception (history)" section than a "Criticism" section, and to integrate the "criticism" topics in that Reception (history) section;

provide reasons for not including a criticism section. My points are: a) (almost ironically) that WP:Criticism has been written from a NPOV through presenting fairly weighted cases for and against separate crticism sections, leaving the editors to reach consenses for a particular article. b) The policy explicity states that it is trying to find middle ground between "never have criticism section" and "always have criticism" section.

BTW: my personal opinion is that there should be a criticism for this article, based on the amount of well sourced material that is critical of Prem Rawat, and as such to ensure NPOV within context of the whole article. (talk) 19:46, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

FYI: WP:Criticism is not a policy or a guideline. It is an essay. Essays do not carry any weight besides rrepresenting the viewpoint of these that contributed to it. See Category:Wikipedia essays ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 19:54, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Fair point - I missed that. Thanks for the info. (talk) 20:20, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Proposals Page

Well, from what I gather, there are portions of content in the article that have been proposed for either augmentation, alteration, addition, or removal. As I previously mentioned, I feel it's a good idea to use a proposals page in this circumstance. We will start with a topic, pick one that's under discussion, and I'll create a page for it. Steve Crossin (talk) (review) 18:16, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Steve, I bumped this section up above references per other editors' request to keep that section at the bottom of the page.
I also think it could be helpful to have a proposal page, or perhaps at least cleaning up this (very long) talk page to keep focus on current topics of discussion, and archive the rest. If you're taking suggestions for a place to start, I am interested (once again) in the question of wheter criticism (reception/response...however it would best be described) belongs in its own section. Mael-Num (talk) 20:00, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
A proposals page could help. The most cogent arguments here are falling, it seems to me, on hearing-handicapped ears. The topic I feel most urgently needs resolving is the way the article should deal with old criticism that time has shown to be wrong-headed and simplistic. One main issue that keeps coming up is the scoffing attitude of many religious commentators towards the Knowledge techniques, which they apparently assumed someone just made up and foisted on a gullible public, but which have been shown to be ancient and revered techniques of Raja Yoga. The other is the furore which arose in 1974 over the subject's believed peptic ulcer. The belief at the time that ulcers were caused by badly handled stress has (in 1982) been shown to be false. They are caused by a stomach bacteria common in India. Attempts to have the article reflect this better understanding have not been well received. Off to the proposals page? Rumiton (talk) 13:29, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Weren't those scientists even rewarded with the nobel prize for discovering the real reason for peptic ulcers, which were then amazingly fast deleted from the list of psychosomatic illness - where they used to occupy a seemingly unshakable place! So things can change. Now it serves only as another historic example for the petty and abject style of contention, the unconcious extensions of which we have the chance to witness here.--Rainer P. (talk) 14:31, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes! Rumiton (talk) 14:36, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm all for the 'truth' being told where possible, but this conversation brings to mind a past discussion here where I was arguing that something was clearly untruthful (although from a so-called reliable source) and I was straightaway reminded by Jossi that the truth takes second place to what is reported by sources. Well which is it to be guys in this ulcer matter for example? Truth or source? PatW (talk) 18:10, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I understand your point, but I think the "truth" here is now self-evident. Those who jibed at Prem Rawat over his illness were wrong, and the article should say so plainly. Rumiton (talk) 12:51, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
If we have a source that says Rawat's ulcer was caused by bacteria instead of stress then of course we should add that. I don't think that Wikipedia editors can re-diagnose the subject 37 years later. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 16:24, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I would agree with Will and Jossi, here, "truth" is not the issue, verifiability is (give it a minute, I'm sure Jossi can post a policy link for us confirming this...). Besides which, if the "truth is now self-evident", we don't need to point it out anyway. Stick to the sources. If there's a contradictory source, quote that too -- Maelefique (talk) 16:34, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I see no need to 'nanny' people over any of this stuff. Present it all in a factual, historic way and let people draw their own conclusions. Smoking and alcoholism are also known to be contributory factors towards ulcers. Maybe that was a factor. Who knows? It seems totally speculative to conclude that 'those who jibed over his illness were wrong' at any rate.PatW (talk) 21:43, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

All of you, take note. I've made a first proposals page, and an article sandbox. It's an exact copy of the article as it stands. Edit that version, not this one? Alright? Steve Crossin (talk) (review) 14:51, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for setting that up, Steve. I have added there two proposal that have been discussed for the last week or so and that may be close to consensus. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:32, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Jossi, are they seperate proposals? As in, seperate portions of content? Steve Crossin (talk) (review) 15:40, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Yes... Did you mean to create sub-page for different proposals? If so, please move the second one to /Proposal_2 subpage. Sorry for the misunderstanding. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:02, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Never mind Jossi, I moved it. Most aren't familar, but I have a dedicated mediation page. It's for my use, but also contains a lot on the archives of cases I've mediated. As the article is currently protected, I've mirrored a version. Also, I'd request that discussion related to the mediation is moved on that talk page, which is here. My mediation page, with all the subpages, and links to the proposals pages, is here. Steve Crossin (talk) (review) 16:24, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

So, let me be clear on the process:
  1. Make proposals for changes in the proposals page
  2. We discuss the proposals in User talk:Steve Crossin/Mediation/Prem Rawat
  3. When there is consensus for a change, we can add it to the mirrored article (or would it be easier to add it directly to this article via an {{editprotected}} request?)
Please confirm this is is your proposed process ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 17:09, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

That's just about right, yes. I feel it best the changes be made to the mirrored version, and once we have a complete article that is agreed on, the whole article can be copied over :) Steve Crossin (talk) (review) 17:14, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Mmmm... that may take quite a long time. Would you consider to change this so that once we have a section or addition agreed upon to make that edit in the main article instead of waiting for the complete article to be agreed upon? That may give us a better sense of moving forward. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 17:32, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Hmm, you have a point there. That seems a better idea. We will do that then. Steve Crossin (talk) (review) 17:53, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree, let's work on very small sections at a time. If we try to revise the whole article at once it'll be chaotic. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 19:32, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Steve, I have some suggestions about the way you set up the proposals page. Nothing serious, just practical stuff. I can't read the color highlighted text without getting blurry-eyed and headachy. It's a middle-aged eyesight thing. Would you please remove the text highlighting from your template? If you're married to the colored text, maybe just color-highlight the section headings. Next. I see no reason not to have people sign their proposals. All one has to do is look at the history page to determine who wrote what and folks are owning their proposals on the talk page anyway, so it would be far simpler to have people sign their proposals. Next. Your page(s) is titled "Proposal1," then the subsections are "Proposals 1, 2, 3" etc. It's confusing set up that way. How about retaining the page title as "Proposal 1, 2, 3, etc." and then titling everyone's contribution as drafts, as "Draft1, 2, 3." It would be much more clear that way, imo, for referencing purposes in discussion (and for future referencing) editors can then more clearly say, 'refer to Rawat "Proposal1, my draft4.' Please think it over and lemme know. Thanks. Sylviecyn (talk) 11:43, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Section break

Concern about the proposal

I am concerned about the proposed use of administrative privileges such as {{editprotected}} requests, given that the current mediation is completely informal and voluntary. As per the Mediation Cabal page:

The Mediation Cabal is a bunch of volunteers providing unofficial, informal mediation for disputes on Wikipedia. We do not impose sanctions or make judgments. We at MedCabal are not at all official and are just ordinary Wikipedians. We facilitate communication and help parties reach an agreement by their own efforts.

By contrast, the official Dispute resolution groups are:

  • the Mediation Committee, which provides official mediation (and maintains the Wikipedia:Mediation page) and
  • the Arbitration Committee, which produces official resolutions and sanctions.

It is not within the remit of an informal mediation process outside the governance of the Mediation Committee to use or request the use of administrative privileges as part of the informal mediation process. I understand in good faith that the formal protection of the main page was undertaken completely separately from the informal mediation process. As such, I would expect that a request for formal mediation through the Mediation Committee would be undertaken prior to any consideration of using the administrative privileges associated with a protected page as a mediation tool. (talk) 18:33, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

I'd ask the IP to identify themselves. Thanks. Steve Crossin (talk) (review) 18:36, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Hi Steve, I'm also relatively new to Wikipedia, and have not yet chosen to register for a Wikipedia account. I live in London, England and wrote a brief description of my very limited involvement in this topic during the Arbcom hearing of this article.
I'll briefly reply to Mael-Num below: I absolutely agree that Steve or anyone else is entitled to request protection of an article. My concern was with the proposed process for informal mediation that involved administrative assistance in arbitrarily moving sections that have obtained consensus to the the protected article. I personally think this is a great idea, but am concerned that it is not within the remit of an informal mediation process (talk) 19:12, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
London, eh? Given that your IP responds to Amsterdam in the Netherlands, that must be one heck of a long cable running out of the back of your computer.
Far be it from me to doubt your stated intent, given that you've been thus far demonstrably disingenuous in at least one respect, but I wonder why you'd be concerned with the mediation cabal's charter and attempt to engage in a round of rules lawyering if you thought it was a "great idea". I know I must sound like a cheerleader, but I think Steve's doing a damn good job, and I don't want to see his efforts discouraged. Let him do what he needs to. Mael-Num (talk) 19:29, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I think he's doing a great job as well! I was concerned that others may attempt to use the rules lawyering you refer to against him. As such, I'll shut up for now, being a newbie. BTW - I'm definitely in London last time I looked out the window. (Blueyonder/VirginMedia ISP). Try typing my address at (talk) 19:46, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, it looks as though I've misspoken. ARIN WHOIS resolved your IP as belonging to an outfit in the Netherlands, which explains my mistake but doesn't excuse it, and I am sorry. Worse, it seems that all my barking and growling has scared you off the premesis, and for this offense I am also truly sorry. Please take me at my word at that, and please contribute as you see fit. "Newbie" or not, you should feel empowered to improve Wikipedia. Mael-Num (talk) 20:39, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks - appreciated! (talk) 21:46, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Okay, thanks for pointing out who you were. I'd invite you to create an account though :) As it has many benefits.

  • Now, onto my full reply, albeit a shortish one. Informal mediation, aka MedCab, is just a place where people can request mediation from standard editors. The actual nature of how we mediate a dispute, is really up to us. Myself personally, I have a wide range of mediation styles, and I have many tools in my mediator toolbox ;). And, yes, the technique I have chosen for this dispute, while unusual, I felt would be the best way to handle this dispute. As we are all aware, this article is under probation, as is all related articles. Additionally, the Arbitration Enforcement noticeboard has been used for Edit warring recently. I, in my judgment, considered the circumstances, and felt that this would be the best approach, a structured approach where portions of content, under dispute, can be discussed and negotiated until a compromise is formed, and a solution is made. Then, that would be added with an {{editprotected}} request. This would continue until the dispute is resolved. While an unorthodox approach this is, I feel that in unusual cases, unusual methods can be used. And that's not a euphemism, no ;) Steve Crossin (talk) (review) 19:40, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm concerned that has no idea what he's talking about. Kindly point me to where it is written that Steve can't request admin assistance to protect an article? Hell, you, me, or anybody can request article protection[8], so why are you asking Steve to tie his arms behind his back? Mael-Num (talk) 18:50, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

The protection of any article can be used in a content dispute, it's in our protection policy. This may not include active edit warring, but the current consequence of edit warring is outlined in the terms of its article probation, as imposed by the Arbitration Committee. The fact that the article is under mediation does not disqualify it from protection. The criteria for protection still apply, and if they are met, protection can be used, mediation or not. Steve Crossin (talk) (review) 19:06, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Nitpicky, but anyway (MedCab article title)

Quick question. Would Wikipedia:Mediation Cabal/Cases/2008-04-20 Prem Rawat be a better title for Wikipedia:Mediation Cabal/Cases/2008-04-20 Divine Light Mission? As the articles all relate to Prem Rawat, it may be the best title. Thoughts?

Agree. The center of editing and disputes moved to the DLM article while the Prem Rawat article was protected and it was during that period that mediation was requested. Once this article was unprotected it moved back here. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 16:54, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

My bot can also fix any redirects. Steve Crossin (talk) (review) 16:56, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Steve Crossin (talk) (review) 18:18, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Viewpoints section

This section needs expansion with material from other authors. As it reads now it contains only these authors that expressed criticism. What about the many other viewpoints of scholars that weren't? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 06:00, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Listing viewpoints from authors is what many of us would like to avoid. Many of the authors have written entire chapters or papers on the subject and it is difficult to accurately summarize their entire viewpoint in a paragraph. A better solution is to use the authros as sources for viewpoints on specific topics or events as they are covered in the article. The opposition (ex-premies and ACM)) should be covered in their own section. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 06:24, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Same as it ever was, I see...
I'm still catching up on all the recent history of this (and other related) articles, but working backwards and offering up one more opinion on the way, I think I am inclined to agree with Will Beback. I don't believe listing authors' opinions for the sake of having a list of opinions is worthwhile (or a very good policy in general). I also think that criticism (or opposition, in Will's words) almost always deserves its own place within an article, particularly articles on controversial subjects, if for no other reason but to maintain proper balance and avoid giving undue weight to the subject of such an article. Mael-Num (talk) 13:07, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Then, why do we have a Viewpoints section with only a few scholars and authors? What I am arguing is that the section is a WP:COATRACK as it stands now. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 17:28, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Calling it a WP:COATRACK isn't WP:AGF. I'm calling it a badly titled section...not properly descriptive. I like my terms better. The solution's simpler. Mael-Num (talk) 00:11, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Fine. As for the opposition, does anyone object to naming a seciton for them, "Opposition"? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 18:50, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
An editor keeps saying in a thread below to see here for a discussion of the "criticism" section. What's the discussion here saying about it? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:28, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
That may not be the bes way to split that section. Criticism is interspersed already in other sections of the article. We have new section forming up that addresses scholar opinions of the Webertian concept of charismatic authority. Let's continue developing these sections. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:41, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Do you agree with splitting the opposition into a section with that name? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:45, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Creating an opposition page would only lend credence to a small minority of vocal critics. As discussed in the past this whole idea of "criticism by former followers" is misleading. It is a small group of people and individuals that have taken upon themselves to criticize PR and what he represents, and while it is present mainly by virtue of the Internet, their existence and/or impact has not been covered by scholarly literature besides a small mention here and there as we all know from the sources that we have available to us. I know this statement of mine will raise a bit of a debate here, but facts are facts. Regarding this, all but a small mention of the fact that there are some people that oppose PR and his message, based on such sources, is all what is needed in the article. That sentence can be included in the Reception section. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:34, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Heh...see what he did just there? Jossi just declared that all the critics of Prem Rawat are due in this article is a " the Reception section." Really? Is that due weight? All of his criticisms rolled together and brushed off into a single sentence, presumably cast adrift in an entire section of non-critical reception? Mael-Num (talk) 00:08, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Jossi is repeating Elan Vital's unsourced claim that critical former followers of Prem Rawat are a small minority. Given that all the people who have ever been followers could be described as a 'small minority' I assume he means a small minority of former followers. He has no evidence of this at all, and he should be warned about using these pages to make unsupported allegations. The evidence is that over 100 former followers care enough about their opposition to Rawat to write their testimonies on my site. Over 200 have posted their details on my site's White Pages. Many more that this have posted in support of the view that Rawat is a fraud and a cult leader on the many discussion forums that former followers have set up. Given that even posting on the internet is a minority activity, and given that there is no online presence that I am aware of, of former followers who think Rawat is a good thing, it is reasonable to deduce that those former followers who are critical of Rawat are in the majority. --John Brauns (talk) 00:31, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
If I am "repeating Elan Vital's unsourced claims", you are repeating John Braun's personal and unsubstantiated opinion. No m,atter how you try to spin this, how can anyone assert that 100 people is anything else but a minuscule minority?≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:07, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
100 people is a group. They clearly have a voice that's loud enough to be heard by you. That right there...that's the litmus test. It should be included. Considering, once upon a time, there was an entire article on criticism of Rawat, I'm a little surprised that this is being discussed.
Or, for something completely different, I would argue that even if there were only one ex-premie speaking against EV, DLM, PR, and whatever other acronyms I've missed, it could still pass WP's standards, provided the critic could be considered an authority or expert on the subject. I'd like to hear why a former student of Rawat's isn't considered an expert on the subject of being a student of Rawat's. If not such a person, then whom? Mael-Num (talk) 01:17, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
For the same reason that current followers (like me) are not considered experts on the subject. We have a lot of information but are unable to present an objective analysis of it. We need professional scholars for that. I must say I thought that these issues were all resolved months ago. Rumiton (talk) 10:53, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, you are right, and Mike Dettmers is such an expert. He ran Maharaji's affairs from the late 70s to the mid 80s including his organisations (Divine Light Mission/Elan Vital), his personal finances, his aircraft, and even on occasion his sexual partners. How can Jossi argue that his testimony should be excluded? Regarding the several hundred who have expressed their opinion on the internet, opinion polls in the UK, a country of over 50 million, typically canvass 1500 people, and get pretty accurate results. If critical former followers are not the majority view, then where is that majority view being expressed? --John Brauns (talk) 07:16, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Don't forget that material about the DLM is better in that article. If Dettmer talks about his time in the DLM in a reliable source that'd be useful there. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 07:33, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
The only publications I am aware that include Dettmers testimony are former followers' websites, and Macgregor's Good Weekend article. Much of that testimony is not related to DLM but to Rawat personally. --John Brauns (talk) 07:46, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
They clearly have a voice that's loud enough to be heard by you. This is an encyclopedia, and we only describe significant viewpoints as published in reputable sources. As for your second question, an expert on the subject is not based on being a former or a current student. Expertise, in this project, is asserted by publication in reputable sources, not on personal opinion. For example, I could argue that I am an expert on the subject, but that does not really matter; what matters is what research and significant viewpoints I can bring to this article which as being published in reputable and verifiable sources. I think that editors involved in these debates need to start learning these basic principles. I have no intention, at this stage, to start inculcating basic WP principles and policies. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:48, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm certain that the articles currently being discussed here and mediation at least pass muster for publication, and can be verified. Otherwise they surely would have been tossed aside, and the debate would have long since been over. Am I mistaken? What source, specifically, are you referring to, Jossi? Mael-Num (talk) 07:48, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
How did we reach to the conclusion that Brauns site has 100 unique users and not a single user creating multiple posts? - Taxed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Taxed123 (talkcontribs) 18:27, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
It's not a page, it's a proposed section heading to handle the various types of opposition to the subject. That opposition isn't limited to the "ex-premies", but also includes the anti-cult movement and other opponents. That certainly requires more than a sentence. "Viewpoints" is not a good heading for them either, as some of them have gone beyond simply having viewpoints and have done some measure of organization. Mentioning their existence doens't give them "credence". There is no doubt that they exist and we have reliable sources which confirm it. I dont see why "criticism by former followers" is misleading but I think we can improve on it by expanding the scope to include opposition from all sources. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:46, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
If I might make a suggestion, I think a major heading of "Reception" with appropriate subheadings (such as "Criticism" or even a subheading called "Ex-Premies" instead of "Criticism by Former Members" would be appropriate (if someone can't divine what an "ex-premie" is by context I'd be surprised...we can define the term in the first sentence just in case). It's how it's done elsewhere in WP. Alternately, just a major heading of "Reception and Criticism" is also used in articles on WP, and I have no objection to its use here. Mael-Num (talk) 07:56, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I have not seen any material offered for specific opposition from the ACM. Once that material is offered for assessment here in talk, we could comment. As it is now, I do not see any material specific to create an "Opposition" section, based on the arguments presented. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:52, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
The material for the proposed "Opposition" headig is this:
  • When former officials of Rawat's organisations voiced their criticism in the aftermath of the Jonestown drama in the late 1970s they didn't limit themselves to the movement, but included its leader in their comments,[71] for instance that money was increasingly diverted to Rawat's personal use.[17]
  • Critical former followers became known as "ex-premies" and some have undertaken illegal activities against Rawat and his followers.[120] [121][122] A website started in 1996 utilizes the term,[123][122] Elan Vital has characterised former followers that became vocal critics as disgruntled former employees.[121]
There is additional material we can add, so length isn't a reason to avoid such a section. What title do you propose as an alterntive? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:58, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
That material does not warrant a specific section per WP:UNDUE. Just include that material in the "Reception" section. Also, some of the material there is still under discussion, and there is no consensus for its inclusion ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:00, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't see anything in WP:UNDUE that directly addresses this issue. Since we don't know how many followers the subject has, it's difficult to say that the opposition is an insignificant minority. The ACM view of the subject needs coverage too. If I understand you correctly, you odn't want an "oppostion" section and you don't want a "criticism" section either.[9] Just how well do you understand the concept of WP:NPOV? You do know that we have to include these viewpoints, right? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 00:09, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Will, please do not misquote me. I m not opposed to the material, I am opposed to a WP:COATRACK section as per {{criticism section}}. The fact that there are no official numbers reported, does not mean that these detractors are not in the minority. They are in the minority because there are no scholarly sources that describe them at all, besides a small mention in a couple of sources. Given this, anything beyond quoting these sources is most definitively WP:UNDUE. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:04, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I think you might need to reread WP:COATRACK, as I don't think it applies here. If you think it does, could you cite what specific model listed in that article this instance most closely resembles, because I'm just not seeing it at all. Mael-Num (talk) 08:00, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Since former followers started publishing their testimonies on the internet there have been no scholarly sources at all, so of course none mention former followers. None also mention current followers, or Prem Rawat, or Divine Light Mission, or Elan Vital, so should we delete all these articles, or should we recognise that these days Rawat is an obscure subject of insufficient interest to warrant serious study? --John Brauns (talk) 07:10, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
this one? (2002) - or is that a republication of an older work, or not really scholarly? --Francis Schonken (talk) 18:13, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, it is a reprint - it was originally published in 1981. --John Brauns (talk) 05:56, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Tx. --Francis Schonken (talk) 06:02, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Some of the Christian ACM opposition have written books, which is where I've seen the material. I haven't taken notes, but I can find them again. I don't see a specific section heading as a neccessity, just a logical arrangement. What I don't want to see, and have seen before, is where someone chnages the name of a section and then removes material that no longer fits the heading. So long as there aren't any games like that again there won't be a problem. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 05:10, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

<outdent>This is a French article that was published in 2001 by Combat magazine. It's a lengthy series of articles concerning Prem Rawat and Elan Vital. It is still online at Combat en Ligne. Among many other topics on Rawat and EV, this article includes an interview of Jean-Michel Kahn, now an ex-premie, who was a member of the French DLM board of directors, translator (English to French) of Prem Rawat's speeches, and he is also a former Knowledge Instructor who was appointed by Rawat. Kahn also mentions Michael Dettmers role(s) in this interview. This was published in print as well as on-line I remember there being a translated online version, but can't find it at the moment. Perhaps, John knows if one still exists online. I read the Google translation to get a rough idea of the content because it's been some years since I read the article. Hope this helps. Sylviecyn (talk) 12:17, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

A site with a motto of "Cotre touts les dominatios" and that touts to be run by volunteers (Le site combatenligne est réalisé par une équipe bénévole.[10]) does not seem to be a site with the type of editorial controls expected from a reliable source. (from WP:RS: Reliable sources are credible published materials with a reliable publication process; their authors are generally regarded as trustworthy or authoritative in relation to the subject at hand. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:19, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
The mere fact that the staff volunteers doesn't mean that a publication isn't reliable. The piece in question in an interview. Is Jossi asserting that the publicaiton changed the replies of the interviewee? If not it's a reliable source for the interviewee's comments. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 19:20, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Based on your post above, Jossi, you're making my argument to remove Cagan as a source for anything in the article. Anyway, it was an interview of J-M Kahn that was published in print, and the article has remained online for seven years. Volunteerism isn't basis by which to judge a publication's veracity or reliability. On that basis, Elan Vital would have no credibility since it says that it's mostly made up of volunteers. Btw, didn't Maharaji divert his jet landing in France that year after publication of the Combat article because it had created a mainstream media interest and the media had gathered at the airport to meet his jet? I know I read about that somewhere, but I might be mistaken. Sylviecyn (talk) 16:55, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Back to our choice of words: There is criticism, and there is opposition. And there is demagogy. Criticism is an academic and scientific virtue and should not be given a bad name here. Opposition is a personal attitude and is based on personality. Demagogy is an appeal to low instincts of an underinformed mass, a natural tendency of mass media. I think it’s o.k to mention and differentiate criticism and opposition in the article, and possibly also to flag demagogy.--Rainer P. (talk) 08:04, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't know what your point is Rainer. Please explain it. Sylviecyn (talk) 11:21, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
I mean, we can have a section „criticism“, where there is genuine criticism, possibly from scholarly side. Then we could have a section “opposition”, which characterizes more or less organized activities against Rawat. A section “demagogy” can probably not be realized, but a lot of the media coverage would belong there. It can as well remain as a section “media”.
All this can of course only be meaningful, when there is enough positive material, for example in the “teachings”-section. You can not (sorry, Sylvie) just display the motives of the opposition, when there is practically no reference to the motives of the multitude of supporters, even when they are not spread as boisterously as the opposition’s.--Rainer P. (talk) 13:57, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, Rainer. Jossi and yourself may have jumped to conclusions with regard to my posting the Combat article link. If you read my first post about this, you'll find that I didn't propose it's use for anything in particular. Please try not to read things into my posts that aren't there. I'm a very straight shooter, and I always say what I mean and mean what I say -- I'm not shy. Gets me into trouble sometimes...but I'm a strong believer in "live and learn" and apologies.  :) I provided the Combat link for the purpose of providing another published source for Michael Dettmer's roles concerning Maharaji, because that was disputed in this discussion of the "Blinded by..." article. That's it. I don't have many motives right now other than to get myself outdoors to enjoy a spectacular, #10 Vermont day. Be well. Sylviecyn (talk) 17:19, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Proposed expansion to material about charismatic authority

Propose to expand that material, under a sub-heading TBD, with additional material:

Several scholars have discussed the Weberian aspects of charismatic authority as it relates to Prem Rawat. The Dutch sociologist Paul Schnabel described Rawat as a pure example of a charismatic leader. He characterized Rawat as materialistic, pampered and intellectually unremarkable compared to Osho but no less charismatic. Schnabel stated that Rawat's charisma was in a certain sense routinized (inherited) charisma, but that this was hardly a factor for how he was perceived by his Western following. There, his charisma was primarily the result of careful staging supported by a whole organization.[14] Dupertuis describes Rawat's role as Master as emerging from both theological and experiential aspects, and as not being the sole focus or generator of charisma. Dupertius observed that charisma was not an impediment for some devotees to discover that they have learned the "experience of God" on their own and drift away, not in in disillusionment but in fulfillment.[15] David G. Bromley describes the difficulty of a charismatic leader in proving to be above normal human failings such as not suffer ill health or indulge in worldly pursuits, and presents Rawat's marriage as such a situation, which is then exploited by the media to discredit charismatic claimants in the eyes of the general public. [16]

Ron Geaves, a Professor of Religion at Liverpool Hope University in England who is one of the earliest Western students of Prem Rawat,[17] writes that Prem Rawat himself has stated that he does not consider himself to be a charismatic figure, preferring to refer to his teachings and the efficacy of the practice of the four techniques on the individual as the basis of his authority.[18]Hunt, describes Rawat's charisma in a similar manner, observing that the notion of spiritual growth is not derived, as is traditionally the case with other gurus, from his personal charisma, but from the nature of his teachings and the benefits to the individuals.[19]

≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 17:48, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

  • That material appears to be a discussion of leadership style or authority, which are terms proposed for section headings. If we have a section on that topic we may be able to find additional sources too. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 18:48, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
That material can be added straight away, and if you find some more material, please add. The naming of the section can be discussed separately; I understand you proposed "Leadership", and may be other proposals as well. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:19, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Let's see if there's a consensus - other editors are more familiar with this material than I am. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:27, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
The definition of "charismatic authority" or "charismatic leader" is closely intertwined with cults (or new religious movements, if you prefer), as in "a cult is usually headed by a charismatic authority". I can't really recall when I haven't heard the term used in connection with that, except of course academic discussions of Weber's century-old use of it as above. In common parlance among psychologists, I know that when the term "charismatic authority" is used, we are talking about cult leaders. Mael-Num (talk) 23:28, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Would any of that affect the proposed text? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:31, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
I'll leave that for you fellows to decide. I'm just throwing in my two cents. Mael-Num (talk) 23:58, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Common parlance? Not really. Charismatic authority is a concept widely used in sociology as one of the aspects of leadership and it is not exclusive of religions. May I remind Mael-Num that this is an encyclopedia? Check List_of_charismatic_leaders (which is based on the Weberian classification) and unless you believe that Bill Clinton is a cult leader.... Note that this smaterial is based on scholarly sources, mainly from sociologists and have nothing to do with "common parlance" ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:40, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
I think you mistake me. I'm not saying my definition is exclusively correct, I'm just describing how it is used within a certain discipline. You can disagree with me on that, hell I could be wrong about the author's use of the word despite the context given above as the authors aren't psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, or PsyR practitioners (AFAIK). I simply think the term should be handled with care.
Not really. Charismatic authority is well studied subject in Sociology. No more care should be ascribed to that term than many others covered in this article. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:51, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
No, really! But, hey, if you think you know the ins and outs of reserved terms in psychology and sociology, the subtexts thereof, and how they are used in contemporary settings better'n I do, more power to you! If you don't mind using the term "charismatic authority" or "charismatic leader" to describe Rawat, I certainly don't. ;) Mael-Num (talk) 07:43, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
(And FWIW, one could easily argue Clinton was a rational-legal authority figure, lists be damned. ;) ). Mael-Num (talk) 23:58, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

<< Are there any specific comments/suggestions on how to improve the proposed additions? Otherwise, I may be time to make the edit. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:09, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Let's wait until Francis is back. He is up on these issues. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 19:21, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I haven't a full proposal yet, but for a first sentence of the revamped section, maybe something along these lines:

Several 1980s scholars referred to Max Weber's classification of authority when describing Rawat as a charismatic leader.[20][14][21]

For the second sentence,

According to Geaves in a 2006 article, Rawat doesn't consider himself to be a charismatic figure, preferring to refer to his teachings and the efficacy of the practice of the four techniques on the individual as the basis of his authority.[22]

I'd be happy to work on a more complete proposal at User:Steve Crossin/Mediation/Prem Rawat/Proposal2 – just haven't come around yet. --Francis Schonken (talk) 18:44, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
(Updated, but still not more than two tentative sentences. --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:45, 29 May 2008 (UTC))
There is a proposal on the table at User:Steve_Crossin/Mediation/Prem_Rawat/Proposal2#Proposal_1 with additional material I have researched from three sources. You are welcome to start a new proposal at User:Steve_Crossin/Mediation/Prem_Rawat/Proposal2#Proposal_2 ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 19:32, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Excellent :D. All parties, have a look on my Mediation page. It also has a box for making a new proposal. It's rather simple to do. :) Steve Crossin (talk) (review) 18:57, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Proposal 2 in mediation page

Please check User:Steve_Crossin/Mediation/Prem_Rawat/Proposal2 for a proposed expansion for this subject. Discussion is here≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:19, 30 May 2008 (UTC)


That whole paragraph needs to be removed. If we cite McGregor we will need to provide context about his legal entaglement and subsequent apology, and don't think that it is necessary. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 20:43, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Do we have a non-Cagan source for his apology? The article he wrote appears similar to Collier's book - a memoir by a former member. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 20:46, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
No, Will, Macgregor's Good Weekend article was not his personal memoir. It was well researched and he contacted Dettmers, Donner, Heller and others quoted in the article to confirm their testimonies. I know this because his articles are on so I checked with his sources after his 'apology'.--John Brauns (talk) 00:17, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
His apology is not disputed, nor the statements he made under oath. Delete the lot and let's move on to more useful endeavors. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:01, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
What's a reliable source for it? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:04, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
An affidavit signed under oath filed with the Supreme Court of Queensland. Yes, it is a primary source, but my argument is that it is not disputed. Better, as proposed, is to delete the lot. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:06, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I can send you a URL via email to download it if you want to read it. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:07, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm asking for a reliable source. Private emails aren't reliable sources. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:10, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
You are missing my subtle point. I do not want to post a link here as to not escalate this issue and upset certain editors. You have mail ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:12, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
The link is the first external link given in Wikipedia talk:Requests for arbitration/Prem Rawat/Evidence#Are Apostates bad? - then on that external page, the second PDF linked from the page. --Francis Schonken (talk) 21:22, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
For the record, Jossi sent me a link to the Elan Vital website that hosts a PDF of a purported affadavit by Macgregor. Oddly, it's dated April 27, 2005, but according to notations on the page, wasn't marked as submitted to the court until January 9, 2007. Given that it's hosted by a partisan site, I think it's dubious as a reliable source for a contentious issue concerning living people. By comparison, the GOOD WEEKEND article is published in a reliable source. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:31, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, that's the same. I agree re. Good Weekend carrying the reputability here, not needing to elaborate on dubious discussions in other less reliable sources when we quote MacGregor. This article is on Prem Rawat, it isn't a bio of MacGregor. --Francis Schonken (talk) 21:43, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Who cares when it was filed? And how that is relevant? Again, for the nth time, I am not arguing for its inclusion. I am arguing that if you mention this protagonist, you cannot omit the context of his demise as a journalist. Delete the whole thing and let's move on. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:49, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Jossi, why do you refer to John Macgregor's 'demise' as a journalist? He has contributed to the Bangkok Post as recently as last year. I suspect if John is reading here he would take issue with your allegation. --John Brauns (talk) 23:20, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
The affidavit is disputed, inherently, by an organisation that describes that "the court found Macgregor guilty [...] of contempt of court", and that some of MacGregors actions were influenced by "emotional and personal difficulties". No, the affidavit is a primary source: interpretations vary, but none of these are afaik currently given in RSs. --Francis Schonken (talk) 21:20, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Neither the affidavit nor the apology are disputed. These are factually verifiable. As I said, the whole lot needs to go. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:26, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
They are primary sources, their interpretation is disputed in various sources, none of very high reliability. It is difficult to establish notability on primary sources alone. Jimbo has been known to remove material exclusively based on court proceeding reports, while considered OR by him. --Francis Schonken (talk) 21:43, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I am not arguing about interpreting anything,. What I am arguing that it is a fact that the affidavit by this protagonist was filed with the Supreme Court, and it is a fact what is written there. I am arguing to avoid all this and delete the lot. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:00, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
re. "it is a fact what is written there", no much of what is written there is very much disputed.
Avoid all what? --Francis Schonken (talk) 22:12, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
We still don't have a reliable source for the affadavit, so it hasn't even risen to the level of being a usable primary source.
As for the material in general, would you characterize it as good encyclopedia writing? Was it a helpful addition by an editor who sought consensus first? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 22:09, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I find it exceedingly worrying that Jossi should contend that the affidavit is not disputed, firstly Jossi was aware of the disputation as of June 2007 and I reiterated the dispute at: in the following terms: The affidavit was the basis of complaint which I sought to have resolved in a number of ways – [[11]] which includes the following salient points regarding the affidavit: Authenticity: The linked .pdf document has no proof of authenticity. There is no identifiable named Notary, neither is there any identification of a legal case in which this document has been tested, nor any evidence that the claimed respondent has even received case papers, let alone lodged a response. There is no means for a Wikipedia reader to verify the existence of the document, other than as an item published by Elan Vital. It is acknowledged by the publisher of the .pdf document – Elan Vital, that at the time this affidavit is claimed to have been taken Elan Vital was seeking substantial costs from the claimed author of the affidavit, raising serious questions about the freedom of expression available to the claimed author. Subsequent to writing the above, a copy of the affidavit was added to a list of documents at [12] bizzarely the submission date is 18 months ! after the case was closed, the affidavit is item 59 while item 58 is 25/07/2005 Notice of Discontinuance (Whole Proceeding); the affidavit remains untested in the Australian Courts. Further the respondent’s name does not even accord with case number. In the light of the above, for Jossi to endlessly repeat that the document is not disputed raises questions of either contentious editing and/or lack of good faith. --Nik Wright2 (talk) 22:15, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I know you are upset because your name is in it. That is understandable. The question is: is that document real? Yes, it is. Was that document filed with the Supreme Court of Queensland? Yes it is (there is an obvious seal in each page). Did this protagonist affirmed its contents? Yes. Did he apologize publicly? Yes, he did. Thus, these facts are verifiable. Again, I am not arguing for its inclusion in this article I am arguing for the deletion of the lot. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:39, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Just for the record, Jossi, in which publication did the protagonist publicly apologise? --John Brauns (talk) 22:56, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

<<< Per recommendation from MedCab, I propose to remove that whole sentence from the article until consensus is reached on how to proceed. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 22:52, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Can you post the diff where the MedCab recommends deleting material? I haven't seen that. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:00, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Don't play games with me, Will. You have taken an attitude that goes against the mediation and the recommendations presented. Why? The recommendation is to reach consenus in talk before editing. You have still to agree to that, and I am waiting. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:03, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm not playing any game. You're misstating the recommendation and mis-characterizing my comments. I have been supportive of the mediation. The recommendation is to "seek" (not "reach") consensus before editing. It says nothing about deleting material. Have you talked to the editor who added it repeatedly, without even seeking consensus? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:10, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
My request to the mediator was made after these incidents. I may have missed the whole brouhaha. What I am asking is very simple: discuss (and seek consensus) before rather than after. I am asking this from everyone, not just you. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:20, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Actually, your timeline is off, if I read the record correctly. You posted this request (which you oddly describe as being "from" the mediators) at 05:36, May 23, 2008.[13] Momento added the Macgregor material at 10:44, May 23, 2008 [14] (He also made many other problematic edits in the same session). Here's Momento asking me to reinsert the Macgregor material, in case you missed it.[15] You were very vocal in defending Mometo on WP:AE, and yet here you are again complaining about his editing and his failure to seek consensus. I guess this is another incident to add to the report there. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:31, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
You are still not answering my question, and I am still waiting for it. I will resume this discussion when you do. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:36, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Can you restate the question please? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:51, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Sure. Do you accept the recommendation of Steve (the mediator) to seek consensus in talk before an edit? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:56, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
I've already answered that at the mediation page. I don't know why I'm the only one you're asking. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 02:05, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

<<< My contention is that the current modus operandi is NOT working. And that we sought help from MedCab, and we are not using that avenue. Instead, more and more contested material is added resulting in frustration, stonewalling and what not. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:39, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

John MacGregor's published article "Blinded by the Light" has nothing to do with his legal "entanglements" related to the affidavit in question. Those are two separate things altogether, that have nothing to do with Prem Rawat personally, so MacGregor's article can be mentioned without explaining anything else in this article about him. Neither John nor the article publisher, Good Weekend, that is distributed by the Sydney Morning Herald as it's Sunday magazine supplement, ever retracted the "Blinded..." article, and it still stands unchallenged by Prem Rawat personally. It was after the article was published that John unfortunately took possession of computer documents that were taken by another person from George Laver's (a premie) computer, who is a private person. George Laver was(is?) on the board of directors of Ivory's Rock Conference Center, which is the entity that owns and operates the land in Australia called Amaroo where Rawat holds events once per year, sued MacGregor. It was George Laver that took legal action against MacGregor, not Prem Rawat. Therefore, MacGregor's affidavit and legal matters have nothing to do with Prem Rawat, who is the subject of this article and Cagan doesn't need to be the source for the "Blinded..." article. For the record, I was John's source on the "Blinded..." article to confirm the gold-plated toilet that Maharaji had installed on his first B707 executive jet because I worked with Rawat on that project. And that was the only contact I ever had with him (John).  :) Sylviecyn (talk) 00:46, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
Taking your argument, why are we mentioning Macgregor at all? Should we mention that a current student, who is a noted author, published a book in which he praises PR? Of course not. If such author is notable, we can mention that fact in the article about the author, but not here. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:56, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

Is there any objection to using the Macgregor article as a source? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 05:39, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

No, as long as it is used only for non-controversial content ("number of children" and such), like the Cagan book. Is this salomonic? Otherwise it seems kinda hard to explain why a newspaper article should carry more dignity than a biographic book.--Rainer P. (talk) 06:35, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
Rainer, there is a big difference. The 'Blinded..' article was published in one of the major reputable Australian magazines, and had to pass the stringent editorial process of such publications. It is irrelevant that the particular journalist who wrote the article used to be a follower of Rawat. The Cagan book was commissioned by Rawat's followers, and they had to create a publishing company to get it published.--John Brauns (talk) 08:12, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
John, can you name a reputable source that confirms that the Cagan book was commissioned by Rawat's followers, and they had to create a publishing company to get it published ?--Rainer P. (talk) 10:52, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
Rainer, as I'm not suggesting that my assertion is used in the article I do not need such a source, but I assure you what I wrote is true. If you want Cagan's book to be included as a reliable source for the article you need to establish its reliability. --John Brauns (talk) 17:35, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
You missed my points, Rainer and Jossi. Jossi said that if the "Blinded by..." article by John MacGregor is used, then it follows that his whole legal entanglement must be discussed, too. That's incorrect. The former has nothing to do with the latter. John's "legal entanglements" and "The Blinded by..." article are two separate unrelated events and not "all about Rawat" as Momento stated above. One must separate out the two in one's mind to process this factual information. John's article was published by a mainstream media organization, stands on its own merits because John was already an award-winning journalist, Cagan isn't needed as a source for using the "Blinded by..." article. I don't know how to explain it better. If the "apology" is undisputed, Jossi, why don't you tell us where it was published and provide a link? (I dunno why my formatting is messed up, sorry) Sylviecyn (talk) 10:25, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
  • removed separate mentioning in body of text;
  • recuperate re-used ref;
  • add to ref list.
(and fixed formatting of Sylviecyn's edit above: avoid starting a new line in an indented paragraph) --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:34, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
Sylvie, I disagree that McGregors legal entanglement and the “Blinded…“-article can at all be understood seperately, knowing the content of his apology, which I am sure you’re familiar with. It’s a bit like still giving the Nobel-prize to that South-Corean scientist, who was caught faking his stem-cell research, and claiming the two things have nothing to do with each other.--Rainer P. (talk) 11:03, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, it is exactly like that. He disowned his previous statements. If this article needs to run to such detail, they can be mentioned, but only with that explanation. Rumiton (talk) 13:21, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
No it is not like that. His article is well-sourced, accurate, and published in a reliable source. His so-called apology and affidavit are unsourced, and from my personal knowledge of events at that time I have no doubt were coerced from him by Elan Vital in exchange for a financial and legal settlement following his contempt of court charge. Even then he did not withdraw a single factual element of the article. --John Brauns (talk) 17:30, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
Your assessment of that article, is of course, your opinion that you are entitled to. My opinion of that article is very different. Your assertion of coercion is also unsubstantiated. Now to the facts: The facts we know, as stated in his affidavit (which is in the public record and easily verifiable), that what he wrote in these articles had "a goal to defaming Rawat and his students", and that the implications in his writings were "absolutely false and unfounded". Enough said. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 17:43, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
Jossi, did you not read Nik's post above? The provenance of the affidavit is very much in question. No identifiable notary, lodged with the court papers for a case that had been closed 18 months previously, never tested in court, and with a different name to the name in the court case. Your repeated insistence that this dubious document should be a source for Wikipedia flies in the face of everything you have previously stated about Wikipedia reliable sources. May I ask you a question - did Macgregor send his so-called apology to Good Weekend magazine for publication? --John Brauns (talk) 19:43, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
As I said, people are welcome to hold conspiracy theories if they wish to do so. Facts, on the other hand, are undeniable. This protagonist signed that affidavit, the affidavit is in the public record., and the fact that he he wrote what he wrote is also a fact. In any case as that material has been deleted, we can stop now, per WP:NOT#FORUM ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:16, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
BTW, Jossi, why did you mention Macgregor's 'demise' as a journalist? --John Brauns (talk) 19:45, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
John, didn't McGregor ask you, after his apology, to remove his postings from your Website, which you denied to do?--Rainer P. (talk) 19:07, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
I took the view, correctly in light of private information I have since received, that John's request was coerced from him by Elan Vital; and to protect other contributors to from similar harrassment from Elan Vital I refused. As I have repeatedly stated, Macgregor did not retract a single factual statement in any of his articles. --John Brauns (talk) 19:43, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
The affidavit is of questionable provenance and the apology wasn't public because it was placed on the ex-premie discussion forum. That's not a published journalistic retraction. But, this is going way off topic. The contents and veracity of the "Blinded..." article are not in dispute because it was so well-sourced and researched, very unlike Cagan's book. The sources for that article are not anonymous either. Cagan didn't even interview Prem Rawat nor does she provide standard cites and sources for a biographical work. Neither Prem Rawat nor Elan Vital ever took any legal action against John MacGregor because of the contents of the article. That's a fact. Also, please place into perspective that John MacGregor didn't rape or murder someone. By reading EV's faq one would think that he did commit a heinous crime or something -- it's so blown out of proportion to what really happened. Anyone that knows anything about investigative journalism is aware that it's quite common for a journalist to take possession of whistleblower's documents, regardless of how they were obtained. Please stop smearing other people's names. Rawat is a public person and, like every other person that puts themself out in the public, he is subject to public scrutiny. Sylviecyn (talk) 20:17, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, sorry for going slightly off topic. Got carried away a little. I have the impression that McGregor in his apology actually abrogated all his releases made during his ex-premie period, without going much into single factual statements. And still I don't think Cagan's book is so inferior. I found it rather well researched, and nobody had to apologize in the end. To my mind it is being inadequatly supressed in this article. Maybe it is not sufficient for the scientific community's standards, as it was probably written to pay by circulation, which I hope it does. But it is by light-years not as tabloid as some of the stuff that is given space here.--Rainer P. (talk) 22:18, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
Let me explain why Cagan's book is a poor source - she did not speak to Mike Finch who organised Rawat's first visit to Britain, she did not speak to Saphlanand, Rawat's first western mahatma, she did not speak to Mike Dettmers who ran Rawat's organisation, she did not contact any former follower whether they post on websites or not. Her explanation of Rawat's wealth ignored the fact that his followers are still giving him money to this day. And she didn't even speak to Rawat himself. --John Brauns (talk) 23:55, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
So what? An author choses the protagonists he/she wants to interview. As for your other assertions, I remind you that this is a BLP, and making statements that are opinion and not substantiated, is simply out of the boundaries established. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:56, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Let's try to keep these threads on topic. The Cagan book is already being dicussed in the previous thread. It is also on the list of items to be mediated. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 01:40, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Attempted Summary

Jossi, Ranier P. and Rumiton are arguing in various terms that articles written by MacGregor can not be cited unless accompanied by citation of two other documents a ‘so called’ affidavit and a ‘so called’ apology.

Other editors are challenging this connection between published articles on one hand and the affidavit/apology on the other – this challenge can be summed up as a charge of ‘false proposition’.

  • Status of articles written by MacGregor published by reputable sources. The reliability of this material is not governed by what MacGregor believed at any given time – he was not for instance writting op ed or authored column pieces in which his personal opinion was relevant - the repute of the material is based on the editorial control exercised over the material at the time it was published.
  • The claimed affidavit: There is a non sequential document lodged with the Queensland Court service – this is claimed to be the same document that is published on an Elan Vital website, however it is a matter of WP:OR as to whether the one is in fact a duplicate of the other. Jossi contends that the affidavit is a ‘primary’ source, however a Court judgement would clearly be a primary source, which rather brings into question how an untested affidavit could be considered to have the same force as the conclusion of an entire case.
  • The ‘apology’ has no reliable sourced publication and in any event has no characteristic that provides for challenge of the editorial control that provides repute for MacGregor’s journalistic work. In this context one might consider a notable television sports journalist who presents reputable material for many years, followed by his proclaiming himself Jesus, rejecting all his previous journalistic work and promoting a notion that alien lizards are in league with a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world. The ‘exceptional’ claims of the later period have no impact on the editorial repute of the work of the earlier period.

Conclusion – neither the ‘affidavit’ nor the ‘apology’ stand as potential sources for WP, for the purposes of WP:Cite neither exists. Further, even if either ‘affidavit’ or ‘apology’ qualified as citeable, neither provide challenge to the editorial repute of MacGregor’s journalism. For those editors opposing the inclusion of Macgregor's journalism without reference to the ‘affidavit’ or the ‘apology’ it is now necessary for them to provide additional evidence that shows these items are indeed citeable, or othwise drop their opposition so that consensus can operate. --Nik Wright2 (talk) 11:59, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, but no. The affidavit is a public document and easily verifiable. In it, there are unambiguous statements about these articles, which cannot be ignored by any editor with a basic sense of good editorial judgment. The current emerging consensus is not to mention these articles or the comments the journalist made about these in his affidavit. Let's move on, as there are many other issues being mediated. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:00, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
"Articles should rely on reliable, third-party published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy.[23]" (first sentence of WP:V#Reliable sources - bolding added): the "third party" requirement does not necessarily make the source less or more "reliable" sui generis, but it is at least also a notability threshold built into WP:V. Wikipedia is a general purpose encyclopedia: only if a court case has sufficient coverage in third party published reliable sources, would we write about it, and not outside what these third party published sources contend (if they describe the outcome of the case we could *quote* from the court documents, but then we would not quote about petty thievery included in the case, if no general news outlet reports about that part of the case). --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:50, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
What emerging consensus, Jossi??? The only consensus possible as I see it is for Rawat's supporters here to respect [WP:RS], and stop trying to enter documents that have no provenance. --John Brauns (talk) 16:59, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Take the affadavit to RSN. I don't think editors there would agree that it's a reliable source. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 00:00, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
I'd advise against taking this anywhere else:
  1. even if RSN thinks the source reliable sui generis, it's still not "third party published", and would for that reason again be refused as a source here: taking it to RSN would be loss of time and energy at best.
  2. more importantly, this has gone quite far enough in bringing an outside conflict in Wikipedia, imho. --Francis Schonken (talk) 05:23, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
So, don't bring the outside conflict at all. All it takes it to omit this protagonist's article that was so obviously repudiated by its author. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 05:39, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
We don't have s reliable source for his "repudiation". ·:· Will Beback ·:· 05:12, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Of course we do. An affidavit siged by the author of that article, that is filed with the Supreme Court of Queensland, and that is verifiable as such. It may be a primary source, sure, but primary sources can be used for descriptive aspects. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 14:46, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Not if they're not published by a third-party publisher. Elan Vital is not a third party publisher w.r.t. the affidavit (and afaik it is the only publisher of the affidavit thus far). Again, that is not (necessarily) a reliability threshold, but it is at least also a notability restraint laid down in Wikipedia guidance at policy level, so you'd need a very good excuse to ignore the guidance in this case. You could argue WP:IAR, but I'd advise against it: claiming IAR for the importing of an outside conflict, well something tells me the Wikipedia community is not going to be in favour. --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:46, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
If Macgregor has said, in a reliable, verifiable source, that what he wrote in the Good Weekend magazine is untrue, or if the publisher has issued a correction then that'd be worthwhile. But the article was published in a reliable source. Just because a writer later has a change of heart doesn't make his previous statements untrue. There's no doubt that he wrote and published the article. If and when we use it as a source we can also use whatever reliable sources we can find that give other viewpoints. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 20:46, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
It seems that you and Francis are already set in your minds about this, and keep ignoring the arguments made which are pertinent. That is fair enough, if that is what you want to do. But the facts remain facts, and these cannot be ignored ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:12, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Jossi, I know you have warned me in strong terms on my talk page that you will not respond to questions from me that are not 100% related to article content but others here may request that you respond. Did lawyers representing you and others try to present Macgregor's affidavit as evidence in a civil court case in California, and did the judge reject it? --John Brauns (talk) 01:55, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
  • The fact is that Macgregor published an article in a reliable source. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:33, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
And the fact is that Macgregor made an affidavit, dated 27th April 2005, which says in part "based on no factual evidence, I arranged to publish in two Australian print media publications articles that Rawat and/or the volunteer entities were cult-like or involved in illegal or immoral activities. These implications are absolutely false and unfounded". It is lodged with the Queensland Supreme Court. Cagan, a reliable, published secondary source, confirms on page 283, that Macgregor testified under oath on 27th April, 2005.Momento (talk) 22:13, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
  • We only have the assertion by Elan Vital that the affadavit exists. Do you propose that we allow documents posted on webistes as reliable sources? There are many documents on other websites concerning the subject - shall we use those too? MightyRiver is not a more relaible source than Good Weekend. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 22:24, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
It's easy to verify. Contact the Queensland Supreme Court and ask for file 59538/03.Momento (talk) 07:58, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
That's original research. There a large distinction between something being a public record, and something being published. The affidavit has never been published. The apology was never published. The "Blinded by..." article never was retracted by the publisher Good Weekend, nor by the author,and furthermore, the legal matter (once again) was never between MacGregor and Prem Rawat or Elan Vital, although EV is mentioned in the court proceedings during which the judge referred to Elan Vital as a cult. The legal matter (once again) was not about the "Blinded by the Light" article. It never was and never will be about the article, regardless of any pretzel logic employed. The legal matter was between George Laver/Ivory's Rock Conference Center (IRCC) and MacGregor. Why EV even discusses it on its FAQ is strange and mysterious since EV Australia didn't take the legal action, IRCC did. This argument is getting repetitious and is going nowhere fast. Can it be moved along, please? Sylviecyn (talk) 11:58, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Orignal research is something completely different. The material is verifiable, and there is no pretzel logic: it is very obvious despite attempts to dismiss as irrelevant. It can be understandable the attempt to dismiss that document, as it paints quite a damning picture of certain people, but the argument for dismissal cannot be based on their discomfort. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:13, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
No one said anything about discomfort -- I didn't say anything here about that. Therefore, please don't try to escalate the conversation, Jossi, by inserting your assumptions about what other editors may or may not feel. Your attempt at baiting isn't helpful. The fact is that the "Blinded by..." article is a published article that was never retracted by its publisher. Sylviecyn (talk) 23:34, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Close thread?

There are at least three living people possibly implied by the above discussion based on what is essentially and unambiguously a flawed source, per WP:V#Questionable sources: "... Such sources include websites and publications that ... are promotional in nature ...", which applies to the Elan Vital website that published the affidavit:

  • Rawat
  • MacGregor
  • Now jossi added, after I had warned "... this has gone quite far enough in bringing an outside conflict in Wikipedia ..."

Before we have flat-out BLP infringements (maybe we already have), I propose this discussion thread to be closed by an uninvolved hand, or mediator or so, possibly even deleted if that is deemed necessary. Can everyone live with that? --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:29, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Full-time membership of German premies

The quoted source [16] says apparently:

"Another more detailed assessment for West Germany covering many more movements concludes that well over one million people are involved or 'influenced' by new religions, with a 'full-time' membership of 64,200. The estimated full time membership for 12 of these movements is: " [table] ([17] - bolding added)

- don't see the need to change that to "active students" or whatever less faithfull to the source. Thoughts? --Francis Schonken (talk) 17:04, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

I was not aware the source used this explicit wording. It just sounds weird. Then it could be kept just "members", without the "full-time", as there were no part-time members. That's what the source seems to say.--Rainer P. (talk) 20:35, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm supposing the data may have been collected from the German tax office, in which case "full time membership" makes perfect sense (without therefore implying they did or did not show up at any DLM/Elan Vital gatherings). --Francis Schonken (talk) 03:13, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
The DLM is covered in a separate article. Statistics of membership belong in that article. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:28, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
I think it important to give some general idea about *Rawat*'s following in this article, across organisational names etc. --Francis Schonken (talk) 03:13, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm worried that we're using second hand sources without making sure we know what the oringal sources acutaly claim. For example:
  • Petersen states that Rawat claimed 7 million followers worldwide in 1973, with 60,000 in the US.[24]
Has anyone read the acutal source, and if so does it list followers of Prem Rawat? Or does it refer to members of the DLM? If we're getting this info from then that is the source we should cite. And if the source, whatever it is, lists members of the DLM then that is how we should describe them, not as "followers" of Prem Rawat. Again, statistics about the DLM belong in that article. Among the pitfalls of including that info here is that many members of the DLM in India weren't necessarily followeres of Prem Rawat after 1975. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 00:22, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Petersen is quoted quite a few times at [18], e.g.

Petersen, William J. Those Curious New Cults in the 80s. New Canaan, Connecticut: Keats Publishing (1982); pg. 146.: "Guru Maharaj Ji... In 1973 he claimed to have some 7 million disciples around the world, including 60,000 in the U.S. "

I'd still try to give a general impression of Rawat's following in this article. Even if in some cases it is an adherence through his movements, if that is what we have the data for. --Francis Schonken (talk) 03:13, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Re. "Among the pitfalls of including that info here is that many members of the DLM in India weren't necessarily followeres of Prem Rawat after 1975." - read the two paragraphs currently in the article under the "Following" subsection title as a whole please. --Francis Schonken (talk) 03:24, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Do you mean where it says " became less certain over time", and "By 1993 it was no longer possible to obtain estimates from Rawat's organisations"? I think if we're going to give numbers for India published after 1975 we'd need to insert the caveat that DLM members in India weren't necessarily followers of the subject. But instead of giving so much detail here, which we already have at DLM, why don't we avoid too many specifics. Maybe summarize it as something like "it had as many as a dozen Western members in 1971, and up to 50,000 by 1973, after which it declined to X number in (latest date available). In India it had X million in 1966, X in Y year, and X when the Indian branch split from Prem Rawat". There are other things we can say about the following, so we shouldn't spend too much space repeating numbers from the DLM article. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 03:36, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
We don't report on DLM followers in India after 1975 in the Rawat article - they're not Rawat followers. The only data that would make sense in the Rawat article about Indian followers after 1975, are DUO (India)/Raj Vidya Kender adherence numbers. I don't think such numbers are available, at least I haven't seen any, and they wouldn't be available before 1976, because only then this organisation was started. The only uncertainty is in the period of roughly 1975 to the early 1980s (the Elan Vital rename for Western DLM): not all authors are very clear which part of DLM they mean in that period: the Western part and/or the Indian competitor. Rudin&Rudin are clear on the point, so that's the ones we quote.
Re "summarize it as something like "it had as many as a dozen Western members in 1971, and up to 50,000 by 1973, after which it declined to X number in (latest date available)"" - we couldn't, for WP:NPOV reasons: sources of comparable reliability are too contradictory. Personally I think 50000 is a mythical number, repeated as a mantra until the turn of the century by Latter day saints and a reprint of a 1978 book, but nobody being able to certify it any longer, as Melton admits in 1993. --Francis Schonken (talk) 04:00, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
I would argue that it would be simpler that all numbers about membership, be featured exclusively in the Divine Light Mission article, and not here. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 05:53, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
I just re-read that section and it is not that bad. With the exception of the last sentence: Outside the US, Paul Schnabel indicates a decreasing number of 150 DLM adherents, 15 of which living in a community setting, for Netherlands in 1980.[113] For West Germany, 800 members were recorded in 1987.[114] that could be omitted. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 05:57, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Again I ask, who has actually read Petersen? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 06:27, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
If no one will take credit for it, I'm going to change the cite and the material to match what's in, since that appears to be the real source. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 18:45, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Why? Are you suggesting that the source is incorrect? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:20, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Two points - if the material comes from then that is how the citation should read. Second, if the source says the DLM had X number of members, then that is how we should phrase the material. We shouldn't say that they say Rawat had that number of followers. The material should match the source: we shouldn't put words in the author's mouth. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:23, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Is there an argument that # of followers is different that # of members? If so, on which basis is that argument made? In any case, why is this such a big deal? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:29, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
If you have a source saying that they're one and the same then that'd help. Until then we should strive to accurately summarize sources and to use correct citations. Is that a problem? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:32, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
I think that common sense should prevail, after all, we do not need a source to assert that lettuce is a vegetable, do we? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:36, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
If asked we wouldn't have any problem finding one. I don't understand why you're making such a big deal about correcting in improper citation. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:39, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
This is not a big deal. I would have no objection to using "members of the DLM" ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:42, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

I agree to Will's recent edits to the Prem Rawat#Following section, except (but that is a minor remark) I'd prefer to keep the subtitle of the Palmer and Keller publication ("A Latter-day Saint View") in, that is: in the body of the article (not only in the ref note). --Francis Schonken (talk) 18:08, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Why include that book title? If I understand correctly, we're not quoting tht book directly, we're just quoting the site. From that little bit it appears to be a tertiary, or even lesser source. I doubt that it's among the highest quality sources, and I'd be more inclined to omit it rather than add more. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 05:24, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
We're quoting the Latter-day Saint View, which is more recognisable than "Palmer & Keller". If they're open about which view they represent in the subtitle of their book, I see no objection. From 1993 it is no longer possible to corroborate numbers of adherents, according to Melton et al. Palmer & Keller do not seem to pretend they're publishing some scientific research contradicting Melton's assertion, they're publishing a "view". I think it best that that is clear from the body of the text, not from the footnote alone. --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:06, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
If it's just a "view" then why report it? We don't include other book titles, interesting though they may be. I think it's better to drop it entirely, especially since we're just quoting Why don't we just give a range of values and point readers to the site for more information? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 20:58, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, jossi added it, if I remember well. It was originally added citing the 1997 version of the book. only cites the 1990 version of the book. I have no idea whether the 1997 version is a simple reprint or a generally "updated" version. I do tend to think that the Latter Day Saint view on the numbers brings little relevance to the article, except that 1997 *might* be the latest date any actually updated numbers were printed. If the 1997 version of the book is however no more than a reprint of the 1990 version, thus predating Melton's 1993 assessment that corroboration of numbers was no longer possible, I see no reason whatsoever to keep a reference to that book in the article. If you understand what I mean. Would try to explain in simpler terms if unclear. --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:05, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Hello Francis. Good to see you back. I think it was Momento who added that, but Jossi didn't object. If my memory is correct. I had many long, ongoing arguments (which I lost as usual) with Momento concerning this source and the issue of its accuracy. My assessment of the source has always been that the numbers represented in the 1997 edition is a reprint of old numbers only, not an updated count of followers in 1997. Momento argued that if the edition was dated 1997, then the numbers were from 1997. It's an absurd argument but at the time, I lost. I strongly disagree then and now. I don't think that source is reliable for that reason and should be omitted. Btw, I don't understand why some people think the LDS folks are so accurate with numbers (which was a large part of Momento's previous arguments), when the Mormon church has suffered its own great controversy when it was discovered that the Mormons practice(d) baptizing deceased Jewish people (some from the Holocaust), in order to add their names to the Mormon Church's roll of members. That's off-topic, but Google the matter and you'll see it's true. Sylviecyn (talk) 19:02, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Section naming

The section named Prem Rawat#Disappointment is not encyclopedic. A possible alternative "Perceptions" (per User:PTR edit), is more aligned with encyclopedic content. If PTR's edit is not good enough, I look forward to hear further proposals. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:19, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

Didn't mean to step on toes. "Disappointment" seemed so glaring and "Perspective" seemed a better fit since, according to the text, Kent was disappointed but his companions spoke glowingly. I usually do copy editing only and make sure text is supported by refs. I don't know enough about the subject to be an involved editor. --PTR (talk) 21:55, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

How about: "Reactions"? That includes even Mr. Kent's genuine disappointment. And the undying righteous indignation of ex-followers, who were not ready to follow any more, when things did not go as expected. And the almost continuously flippant way of reporting of the self-assured media - the mightier, the more. And the warning noises of clerical staff. And, of course, last not least, the excitement and gratitude of active students.--Rainer P. (talk) 23:17, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
Removing unencyclopedic sections headings.Momento (talk) 23:22, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
I undid Momento's removal of criticism related section to due to lack of consensus and and prior discussion (as per mediation recommedation), but immediately self reverted and left request on AE page for decision/closure of claim of edit warring in criticism section, mentioning most recent removal by Momento. (talk) 00:04, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
What exactly do you mean, "Authority"?--Rainer P. (talk) 23:38, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
I propse we go back to the section name I used initially - "scholarly assessments". ·:· Will Beback ·:· 01:41, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

For the two paragraphs that used to be under the section header ===Authority=== [19] a fuller title might be: ===Sociological analysis: charismatic authority?===; NPOV is respected: Schnabel makes the analysis, Geaves, based on statements by Rawat, covers both components of the "charismatic authority" qualification too: "does not consider himself to be a charismatic figure"; "... refer[s] to [...] as the basis of his authority" (my bolding) --Francis Schonken (talk) 04:50, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Too complicated and too long. "Viewpoints" is more encompassing in a "Reception" section. KISS≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 05:57, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Hence ===Authority=== for those two paragraphs. Rawat disputes the "Charismatic", he doesn't dispute "Authority". --Francis Schonken (talk) 06:06, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Maybe the "Authority" subsection could read thus (this is not a tabloid, remember, nor an indiscriminate collection of information):

Do people accept Rawat's authority? And if so, where does such authority stem from? A 1980s sociologist, and Rawat himself (as reported by Ron Geaves) have provided answers to these questions.
In 1982, the Dutch sociologist Paul Schnabel described Rawat as a pure example of a charismatic leader. He characterized Rawat as materialistic, pampered and intellectually unremarkable compared to Osho, but no less charismatic. Schnabel stated that Rawat's charisma was in a certain sense routinized (inherited) charisma, but that this was hardly a factor for how he was perceived by his Western following. There, his charisma was primarily the result of careful staging supported by a whole organization.[14]
Ron Geaves, a Professor of Religion at Liverpool Hope University in England who is one of the earliest Western students of Prem Rawat,[25] writes that Prem Rawat himself has stated that he does not consider himself to be a charismatic figure, preferring to refer to his teachings and the efficacy of the practice of the four techniques on the individual as the basis of his authority.[26]

--Francis Schonken (talk) 07:13, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

"Authority" carries in our society some loaded connotations and assumptions, which makes the use of the word ambiguous. Some perceive it, some don't. Should not be used in this encyclopedic context. I find "Viewpoints" more neutral.--Rainer P. (talk) 08:31, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

<<< Re. "some perceive it, some don't" – care to give some examples where Rawat is perceived as void of authority? At least Rawat doesn't eschew the idea. --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:52, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

For example in that utterly dispensable Kent-quote (disappointment, paired with surprise over others' recognition of Rawat's authority).--Rainer P. (talk) 15:24, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
...thus recognising Rawat had an instant "authority" over his comrades. I never said all fell for the authority, or even knew about Rawat's existence, but all who knew him recognised that at one level or another there were at least some people over whom he had authority. --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:36, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Or another possibility, trying to make the section title as hasslefree as possible (KISS per Jossi); avoid undesired connotations (Rainer's suggestion); and yet lead to the core of the context (leadership type analysis):

===Leadership type===
In 1982, the Dutch sociologist Paul Schnabel described Rawat as a pure example of a charismatic leader. He characterized Rawat as materialistic, pampered and intellectually unremarkable compared to Osho, but no less charismatic. Schnabel stated that Rawat's charisma was in a certain sense routinized (inherited) charisma, but that this was hardly a factor for how he was perceived by his Western following. There, his charisma was primarily the result of careful staging supported by a whole organization.[14]
Ron Geaves, a Professor of Religion at Liverpool Hope University in England who is one of the earliest Western students of Prem Rawat,[27] writes that Prem Rawat himself has stated that he does not consider himself to be a charismatic figure, preferring to refer to his teachings and the efficacy of the practice of the four techniques on the individual as the basis of his authority.[28]

--Francis Schonken (talk) 13:04, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

I don't see a need to typify Rawat's leadership style. It should be left as something sui generis, which it is in my opinion. Any attempt to compare or stereotype in this case would not be really descriptive and mean an unnecessary loss of information.--Rainer P. (talk) 15:24, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, at least, balance: if there's a scholar publishing the evaluation, with all the characteristics of a RS, mentioning the subject directly, the Rawat article would arguably not be NPOV without it. --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:36, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Actually, the more I think about it, "Viewpoints" seems best to express the remarkable range and variety of assessments, and their dependence on the beholder. Typifying assumes a consense that is not really there, not even among scholars. Typical is at best the extreme variability in this case, so that should be mentioned. Sorry, what is RS?--Rainer P. (talk) 15:44, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
RS = reliable source ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:50, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Sorry for the WP:WOTTA, my bad :) - anyway the Schnabel quote comes from a section called "De betekenis van het charismatische leiderschap in nieuwe religieuze bewegingen" ("The Significance of Charismatic Leadership in New Religious Movements") [20], and presents itself as a sociological analysis referring to Max Weber and the concepts he introduced (among which charismatic authority == charismatic leadership; "routinization" of charisma;...), there's no doubt there. That's an essential context for understanding this Schnabel quote imho. Not that we should start expounding on Weberian theories in a biographical article, but the same questions seem to be popping up again and again (see e.g. above #geroutiniseerd), so I'm convinced we should find a short way to make clear that is the context.
Further, see also this policy section: Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not#Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information, that's my objection to unstructured information (like ranging a number of topics under the vague mixed bag term "viewpoints" - yeah, sure there's always a viewpoint involved, as we learn from WP:NPOV): it results in bad encyclopedia writing. --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:15, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Sure, but the problem is that we are discussin many such scholarly opinions, such as Bhakti, Sant Mat, etc. And yet, we do not have sub-headings about these aspects, do we? maybe all is needed is to conflate the whole section under "Reception" and without subheads. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:18, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Anyway, I would not want to go back to a "by author" organisation of the reception material, but "by topic". That was one of the very first remarks I made regarding the article, one and a half year ago, before my first edit to the article. Not so long ago Will said he thought it would ask too much work. I disagree, I'm quite sure it should be done. I'm afraid if we don't make the topics clear, it will slide back in mixed bag mode that in the end stops making sense (the type of "troll magnet section" Jimbo referred to [21]). --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:37, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree with not wanting to go back to having a list of cherry picked quotes from scholars or others. It's better to cover important topics and include the necessary viewpoints on them. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:57, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
On more careful review of the issues involved here, I suggest splitting-out the sections of "leadership" (covering the charisma bit) and "opposition" (covering the ACM, deprogramers, former members, etc.) What other topical headings should we have? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 10:59, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

{{editprotected}} I suggest to revert the section title of Prem Rawat#Viewpoints to Prem Rawat#Authority, per WP:WEASEL — until a revamp of the section, including a possible section title renaming, can be agreed upon. --Francis Schonken (talk) 18:01, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Considering the range of material in that section, I don't understand the benefits of "Authority" as a heading. While "Viewpoints" isn't ideal, at least it's broad enough to include a variety of material. The material proposed at User:Steve Crossin/Mediation/Prem Rawat/Proposal2 may fit well under that heading. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 05:20, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Please look again, the material in that section is about Rawat as a charismatic authority (first paragraph - material exclusively based on a book chapter discussing "charismatic authority" in NRMs), and Rawat seeing the basis of his authority elsewhere (second paragraph). That's the only two paragraphs in that section. "Viewpoints" is WP:WEASEL. --Francis Schonken (talk) 05:29, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
You're right. I had lost track of the changes to section headings. I withdraw my objection. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 05:50, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done PeterSymonds (talk) 10:14, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Current proposals

There are four active proposals on subpages:

I urge editors to work towards consensus on these proposals. Each proposal has an associated talk page for discussion. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 19:37, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Updated --Francis Schonken (talk) 13:04, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
FYI, Proposal3 concerns the Prem Rawat article, not the DLM article. The topic is covered in both articles. It's covered in detail in the DLM and the PR article just needs a summary. The proposal covers that summary. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:10, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Civility Issues

Just another note about incivility/personal attacks. I'd advise all editors here to refrain from doing so. Remember the article is still under probation. I personally don't want AE to be used any more than it needs to, but incivility, from any editor, isn't tolerable. I understand this is a controversial topic, and that there are most likely strong feelings on each side of the dispute, but let's refrain from name calling and similar things, shall we? Thanks. Steve Crossin (talk) 03:08, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

I think (sometimes) civility is less of a problem than loquaciousness. ;-) Jayen466 23:34, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
And people who use unnecessarily long words. :-) Rumiton (talk) 16:22, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Come on people, let's not turn this notice into something silly. It was meant to be a serious notice. Steve Crossin (talk)(email) 16:26, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

OK, it was just a little facetiousness to divert from the immense seriousness of our endeavours. :-)  :-) Rumiton (talk) 16:33, 1 June 2008 (UTC) What are you doing still up? What am I doing still up? Rumiton (talk) 16:35, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

For your info, I woke up at 6pm local time :). If that's what you are referring to. Steve Crossin (talk)(email) 16:40, 1 June 2008 (UTC)


  • There is also a website that utilizes this term, Ex-Premie.Org.[29][30]

An editor (temporarily) removed this with the edit summary: violates BLP and EL, [22]. However I don't see how either applies. There is no policy that prevents us from mentioning the existnce of a website, or giving its domain name. WP:EL applies only to links and an unlinked domain name is not a link. I don't see how WP:BLP could apply. The existence of the website is established by reliable sites. Note that this material has already been discussed at Talk:Criticism of Prem Rawat#"Extremist websites". ·:· Will Beback ·:· 04:32, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

It does not apply? You have got to be kidding. I'll better leave this to others to discuss. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 05:18, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Which provision of WP:BLP is relevant, in your opinion? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 05:28, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Directly from the WP:EL Page, under important points to remember..."This guideline does not apply to inline citations, which appear in the "References" or "Notes" section." and under the heading of "What Should be Linked" from the same policy, "Sites with other meaningful, relevant content that is not suitable for inclusion in an article, such as reviews and interviews." and under the heading "Links to be Considered", "Sites which fail to meet criteria for reliable sources yet still contain information about the subject of the article from knowledgeable sources.". However, under the heading "In Biographies of Living People" it says "material available solely in questionable sources or sources of dubious value should be handled with caution, and, if derogatory, should not be used at all", but I would contend that, while it may have some derogatory information, has sources such as copies of the Divine Times that are not questionable, or dubious, and therefore, since it's not both, the guideline doesn't apply. Having said all that, I think I would tend to agree with Jossi, that the insertion of the name of a website is de facto the same as inserting a link to a site. Add it to Steve's list if we haven't already. -- Maelefique (talk) 05:44, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't think that analysis is correct because we're not using it as a source or as an external link. We are mentioning its existence, which is established by reliable sources, as an example of the use of the term "ex-premie" and of organized opposition to the subject. It's no different than mentioning the existence of any non-internet organization. If there were a "Committee to Impeach Prez. Bush" it would be comparable. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 05:52, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm, I may have misunderstood it's original usage, and since you've explained (re-explained?) it I see your point, still seems a little but of a fuzzy interpretation, but its fuzzy both ways so I'm gonna sleep on this one. -- Maelefique (talk) 06:11, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
As the webmaster of of course my view is that a link should be included. I would also argue that the quality of many of the first hand reports is of sufficiently high journalistic standard that I think it should also be used as a reliable source for much information that is not available elsewhere. I would also argue that the only reason that information is not available elsewhere is that no reputable journalist or academic (apart from the Professor described by his colleagues as 'Rawat's Goebbels'), has found Rawat of sufficient interest or importance to research and write an in-depth article on Rawat. Of course if Rawat continues to promote himself, it's only a matter of time before such an article is written. Anyway, I have no intention of spending the necessary time to try to further argue my view here, so in the meantime I would be happy with a link. :-) --John Brauns (talk) 12:01, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
In 2006, after much wrangling about this, neutral editor P Jacobi opined that because Elan Vital criticise this website (amongst others), characterising them as 'Hate Groups' then the ex-premie organisation deserve mentioning as significant critics. That is obviously because Elan Vital have made some public efforts to counter them here for example. PatW (talk) 13:33, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Well on the one hand, if EV can talk about them, I don't see why WP can't. On the other hand, while it seems obvious that they are referring to, they don't mention it by name, so I'm not sure we can definitely say that's who they mean. I must say I find that page to be a bit surprising in its exaggeration of claims. Flooding the internet? By using a whole 3 sites?? I can't think of any other company of this size that would put up material like this against such a small number of people, seems quite strange to me. -- Maelefique (talk) 15:10, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
I think that, having argued about all this many times over the last years, I should let others discuss it. However if Jossi and Ruminton present all their historic arguments I may chime in again for balance.PatW (talk) 18:55, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
WillBeBack, perhaps you can explain why you removed sourced material about the two "ex-premies" mentioned in the sources provided? Don't you think readers have a right to know who these critics are?Momento (talk) 11:03, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
  • I don't base editing decisions on what readers have a "right to know". Instead, I try to make sure that articles cover their topics completely and neutrally. The lives and criminal records of ex-premies are not the topic of this article. Neither do we report Rennies Davis's criminal record, nor Geaves's academic credentials, nor how Mishler died, nor the weather in Haridwar, nor a thousand other facts that aren't relevant to this article. Do readers have a "right to know those facts"? Hey I think readers should get whatever info they want, within limits of this project. But this article is about Prem Rawat, and readers of this article only have a right and expectation to read things diretly related to Rawat. Unless the crimes of the expremies are related to the subject of this article they don't belong here. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 11:20, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
If that's the case, please reinsert the sourced material on MacGregor since it is all about Rawat. Thanks.Momento (talk) 11:25, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
And please remove the bit about the boat not being paid for as that has nothing to do with Rawat. Thanks.Momento (talk) 11:26, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
  • I identified Macgregor, added some context, and placed the material in the "2000s" section. We should summarize his criticism briefly. As for the boat, it's a sourced detail that does concern the subject. However in the interests of keeping the bio focused I'll remove mention of the wedding gifts. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 11:39, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes there is more MacGregor material to add. The trial, skipping the country, perjury. Since the ex-premie org is in then the Elan Vital website material must be included. And Ackland seems to have gone missing.Momento (talk) 11:46, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
  • I don't know what you mean by "ex-premie org is in". We are only mentioning its existence, not using it as a source. We also mention the existence of the Elan Vital but we have to be extremely careful about using it as a source. What're our sources for the trial of Macgregor? And what can we say about Ackland? That he drove a truck in front of a facility where Rawat was staying? OK, I guess that's relevant but it should be kept brief. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 11:57, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
  • You don't know what he means? It's there, for goodness sake! The reader can paste it right into the http box and go straight there. Wikipedia is directing its readers to an unmoderated attack site against the subject of a biography of a living person. It has to go. Rumiton (talk) 13:47, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Could neutral editors please ask Rawat's followers here to desist in their repeated attacks on former followers of Rawat. Rainer has been allowed to compare us to restaurant garbage, and now this from Rumiton. is NOT an 'unmoderated attack site'. There are only two people who have access to update the site, and in recent years, updates have been very rare. Since taking over the site I have asked readers to correct inaccuracies and apart from some minor errors of wording no one has done so. All the substantial critical information about Rawat is corroborated, and it only looks like an attack site to Rawat's followers because they find any criticism of Rawat blasphemous. --John Brauns (talk) 17:29, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
I echo John's sentiment. It's all too easy for people who are anonymous, like Rumiton and Momento, to make personal attacks on others with whom they are corresponding on this talk page, whose real names are out here front and center, like John Brauns's and my own, Cynthia Gracie. Now, if this doesn't stop, I'm going to take the same measures that Jossi did (rightly so) last week when I lost my cool and called people names. It's all too easy to demand "civility" and "good faith" of others while tossing out insults and being impolite. This behavior doesn't help to form concensus here nor does it promote good will and faith. This name-calling, innuendo, analogy-instead of name-calling, and false reporting of facts concerning former followers and their websites must stop here and now. Please don't forget, we are living people too, just like Prem Rawat is a living person. Just some food for thought. So, this is the last warning for anyone thinking about issuing personal attacks against others here. Next time it goes on the notice board. Sylviecyn (talk) 18:15, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Additionally, it would also help smooth out the process here if editors Jossi, Rainer, Momento, and Rumiton would consider being more polite to all other editors here, instead of framing their posts here in the form of demands. In other words, please try to make your requests more polite and civil instead of making demands of others as if you are everyone else's supervisors on this article, i.e., "This is in!" "This is out!" "Change this edit now!" "Slow down!" "You can't!" Thanks!  :-) Sylviecyn (talk) 18:23, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Getting back to Rumiton's post, I'm guessing that "ex-premie org is in" was Momento's way of saying that if we're using that website as a source then we should use the Elan Vital website as a source for rebuttal material. If so it was a faulty premise because we're not using that website as a source - we're simply mentioning its existence. The existence and the relevance are established by reliable sources. If editors here agree to mention it without giving the unlinked domain name then that's what we'll do. Pending such a consensus I can't see a good reason to delete the name of something we refer to. We're not "directing" people to the Astrodome by naming it. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 19:20, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
BLP policy is clear - "External links in biographies of living persons must be of high quality, and in full compliance with this and other policies and with the external links guideline". Just because it isn't a hyper-link doesn't excuse it, it's still a link to a "site that misleads the reader by use of factually inaccurate material or unverifiable research. See Reliable sources for explanations of the terms "factually inaccurate material" or "unverifiable research"".Momento (talk) 22:40, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
It's not an external link. BLP does not say to censor all mention of opposing viewpoints. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 22:45, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
It is a link to a site that is external, ergo it is an external link. And it is not about censorship, EL doesn't differentiate between POVs, only that we should avoid links to a "site that misleads the reader by use of factually inaccurate material or unverifiable research".Momento (talk) 22:59, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
It isn't a link of any kind - it's a domain name. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:10, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
So that would mean the Wiki EL doesn't actually mean anything because there are no such things as links, they're domain names.Momento (talk) 07:35, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps you're not familiar with the terminology of the Internet and the World Wide Web. A link is an object on a website that a reader can click on to be taken to a different page or website. See hyperlink for more information. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 07:56, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Which, in addition to other arguments, is not notable. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:41, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Not notable enough to have an article about it but notable enough to have been noted in reliable, 3rd-party sources. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 01:05, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes Will, I am familiar with the terminology and there is a difference between a "link" and a "hyperlink" which is why the guideline is called "external links" not "external hyperlinks".Momento (talk) 00:59, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Source? According to whom is an external or internal link not a hyperlink? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 01:12, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
A hyperlink is a link from a hypertext file or document to another location or file, typically activated by clicking on a highlighted word or image on the screen. The phrase "" is a link to a website not a hyperlink.Momento (talk) 03:46, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps you (Will) are not familiar with the Wikipedic injunctions against "gaming the system"? Gaming the system means using Wikipedia policies and guidelines in bad faith, to deliberately thwart the aims of Wikipedia and the process of communal editorship. Gaming the system is an abuse of process and disruptive. Related terms are wikilawyering and pettifogging, which refer to following an overly strict interpretation of the letter of policy to violate the spirit of the policy. An editor gaming the system is seeking to use policies with bad faith, by finding within their wording, apparent justification for disruptive actions and stances that policy is clearly not at all intended to support. Rumiton (talk) 13:09, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
It's not a link, policy does not apply. Will is correct. My original indecision on this point was based on the assumption of a certain level of intelligence that is required to use the reference without it being a link. After reading some of the arguments in this section, I think I may have over-estimated what I was considering "average intelligence". Having said that, if Jossi & friends (sounds like a Saturday morning puppet show, just an observation) don't like it being in there, it seems simple enough to go and start re-working the policy page so that the section defining links, also includes the mention of domain names, which are not links per se. After all, it wouldn't be the first time a policy page was re-worked (bye-bye "guru") to be less problematic would it? -- Maelefique (talk) 16:16, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I find your remarks and tone offensive. Your argument having failed, you seem to be reverting to name-calling. Please explain why you feel that drawing the reader's attention to a site that exists only to denigrate the subject of a living biography is acceptable in Wikipedia. Rumiton (talk) 15:46, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Rumiton, please don't make demands of others to not indulge in name-calling, when you just mischaracterized EPO the way you did. That website has many purposes, among which is to provide a repository of DLM/EV materials that were banned in the 80s by DLM/EV. It's a website that's critical of the subject, but your characterization of it's purpose is inaccurate and isn't helpful here. John Brauns, along with all previous owners of that website have always asked for anyone to correct errors. Sylviecyn (talk) 16:16, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Rumiton, have you actually read my site as it seems you haven't? As stated, the site,, exists to provide information about Prem Rawat and his organisations that isn't available on Rawat's official sites. All the substantial information is corroborated to a level usually found in quality newspapers, and personally I see no reason why it shouldn't be a source for this article, let alone be mentioned. Due to the nature of the man and the organisations a lot of that information is not complimentary, but that is the fault of Rawat and the organisations, not the fault of the site. Please do not use these pages to repeat your prejudicial and apparently uninformed views. --John Brauns (talk) 18:21, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
I have certainly read your site. I even posted on the forums for a while in an attempt to give an alternate point of view, but I was howled down by people whose only interest was in reading and writing insults. It seems to me those people have convinced themselves that Prem Rawat is a uniquely flawed individual and they don't want to hear otherwise. Therefore my statement that your site "exists only to denigrate the subject" stands. As an example, when you discovered as you did earlier this year, that Prem Rawat encouraged people to leave the western ashrams many months before they were actually (in your words "brutally") closed, did you amend your site to take that new information into account? My respect and apologies if you did. There are plenty of other examples where I was present during interactions between Prem Rawat and others that are described on your site in the most hostile terms. I and many others saw the sincerity and reasonability that Mishler speaks of, but for some reason your correspondents saw something despicable. This is what John MacGregor realised and repudiated. It was the poisonous tone of his writings during a time when he said he had been suffering from depression that he repudiated, not the bald outline of events. Rumiton (talk) 12:45, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
I heard that both MacGregor and his accomplice were virtually forced to sign prepared 'confessions'. If true that's a fairly good example of what paranoid lengths that are gone to to stifle opposition. Anyway, Rawat only discouraged people to leave ashrams (in the 80's) in the most joking way..I was there I heard...there was NO caring vibe it was effectively 'If your commitment isn't absolute then get out..You're not up to the standard' I should know.. I was eventually booted out. Why? Because my elderly mother gave me a car so I could visit her occasionally and I refused to give it to the ashram co-ordinator who demanded I hand it over for his personal use. (I don't think my mum would have been too pleased). Actually I'd been told to accept the gift and to look after the car and use it for service by the Uber-Ashram co-ordinator (an Australian who's name I forget). Some people had different ideas. It was an utterly corrupt mess actually and Prem Rawat had nothing to do with it. I later actually asked Dettmers what Maharaji thought about all this at the time and he said that he believed Maharaji didn't really care about Ashram premies at all. Didn't know who they were and gave them no thought. He was much more concerned with his new jets and stuff. He also said Maharaji could be really nice, kind and sincere and also was a flawed. Nobody denies that. For some reason you don't consider the obvious possibility that Rawat is sometimes sincere and reasonable and sometimes not. Why does him being sincere mean he is not flawed? 'The road to hell is paved with good intent'. PatW (talk) 13:47, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
WP:NOT#FORUM' ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 14:43, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Lord of the Universe

If he was proclaimed LOTU, I am not clear why that isn't covered here. Claims of divinity are reasonably notable, I think. Hohohahaha (talk) 18:45, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

I will look into that, I was meaning more in the article itself as opposed to just the lead. Hohohahaha (talk) 21:44, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Where would you suggest adding it? I haven't seen any source that traces its use. I may have read that it appeared on posters in 1972, but I'd have to find who said that - perhaps Collier. The documentary about the Millennium festival used it as the title. In proposal3 I'd dropped mention of it from the festival paragraph. The documentary might be better placed in the "media" section. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 22:00, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
That answered my question... there aren't the sources for it. Hohohahaha (talk) 22:44, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
We have lots of sources that mention its use. What I meant is that we don't have any sources (that I'm aware of) that say when it started or who coined it. We do have a spokesman (Anctil) saying in the mid-'70s that they were dropping it. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 22:56, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Let's also remember that in Indian religion, there is no separate creator God comparable to the Christian god. The divine is held to be immanent in everything, in the disciple as much as in the master. In the master, it is believed to be more visible, that's all. In other words, claims of divinity are a standard element of the Eastern guru tradition. Jayen466 23:32, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
So what Jayen? If you'd been there you wouldn't keep bringing up this misleading speculation. Please stop it- it's getting a bit annoying and sounds like an apology from someone who does not know Prem Rawat and never did. And you don't know do you? Firstly, the Lord of the Universe proclamations and beliefs about Guru Maharaji were mainly from utterly western people - they were mainly from a Christian background (like myself) and our characterisations of Rawat as the LOTU were perceived in the context of our upbringing NOT from an Indian religious context - although the two cultural influences may have become blurred- as we did not see the differences you make. Please will you remember that Rawat was brought up in a Catholic school and was not unware of Christian concepts of God. But I don't think he was so concerned with either refined concepts as you wrongly suggest. In fact Collier was right - he just went along with whatever peoples idea of the LOTU was - all that mattered to him was that he was the Satguru - The Living Lord - The Living Master - The Big Kahuna - The Child that will lead the world to peace - The 'Boss' (he was called that for a while). The Indians followers and Mahatmas may obviously have had a more Indian view of things but...what's all this trying to make out that Indians have such a different view of God and Avatars than Christians?? Plenty of Christians believe that the Divine is immanent in everything. All religions revere their Avatars more or less as incarnations of something greater than the average priest or guru. What do you mean that for Indians 'there is no separate creator God'? That is not true. Indians bow down to their Avatars just like Christians. They sing 'You are the Superior Power in Person' Your retrospective armchair theological speculations are so way off the actual reality of what went on it may be better if you listened and read a bit more before commenting. PatW (talk) 09:29, 1 June 2008 (UTC).
Pat, please refrain from personal comments. Jayen goes trough quite somme efforts to catch up on reading, for instance not everyone would order an out-of-print book from an another country, in a different language, for the benefit of Wikipedia. Well, that's what Jayen did, see Talk:Criticism of Prem Rawat#van der Lans: context --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:40, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
That book is apparently not about Rawat it is a general commentary about meditation..again nothing to do with what we should be concerning ourselves about here which is what actually happened ..what was reported that Rawat and followers said and believed. We do not need to get into the theological why's and wherefor's unless there is a clear source commenting as such. I strongly agree that any reading Jayen does at this stage would be most useful but I would suggest that rather than reading more Indian Philosophy he read old Divine Times magazines and all the books and reports that will inform him on what is actually pertinent to these articles. If a scholar clearly says something pertinent to why people called Rawat 'Lord of the Universe' fine. But we don't need to hear 'apologetic' ideas about Indian religion from anyone- and certainly not have suggestions made as to why Rawat said these things. In sort we do not need to remember all these things that Jayen keeps reminding us about what Indians apparently believe and I personally wish he'd stop suggesting that it is relevant to these discussions. NB. This is not an attack on Jayen it is a counter argument about what he keeps suggesting. No more no less.PatW (talk) 10:05, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Please catch up on your reading ;) The book is very explicit about Rawat ("Guru Maharaji is an example of a guru who has become a charlatan with a double life [...]" - not really the description of an apparent LOTU, see User:Andries/Prem Rawat/Non-English#Lans 1981), and was the subject of a Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard debate. --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:17, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
"Lord of the Universe" has resonance in both Hindu and Christian contexts, which coincides with Rawat's mostly Hindu and Christian following. On the Hindu side, Jagannath, "a very merciful form of Krishna", means master (nath) of the universe(jagat). (Incidentally, the word "juggernaut" is derived from the huge Jagannath festival chariots. Please, no "I'm the Juggernaut..." jokes.) The use of "LOTU" appears to have been official. According to source documents on another site it was used in DLM publications and there was a "LOTU" song. To the extent that Rawat or his people may have claimed he was the actual "LOTU", versus just an incarnation of Jagannath, versus a hundred other interpretations is beyond us. As editors, all we can do is summarize the meager material available on the topic while avoiding making our own conclusions. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 09:56, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Here is Rennie Davis commenting on the use of the term:
  • When a devotee makes the outrageous statement that Guru Maharaj Ji is the Lord of the Universe, it's cause enough for a chuckle. But it also happens to be true. Guru Maharaj Ji is the Lord of the Universe and anyone can find out who sincerely wants to know. Introduction to Who is Guru Maharaj Ji [23]
He seems to be saying that it is an actuality rather than a metaphor. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 00:08, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
I rest my case. All this theologic musing (that not only Jayen have indulged in) is not really relevant or supported by what you can read on the matter and just sounds like an apology for Indian religion. Ie some people want to draw attention away from the bald fact that many if not most western followers and Indian ones alike all believed he was the LOTU (whatever that meant)! And Rawat was happy to be perceived as such despite contradictory statements that were clearly designed to provide those who could not stretch to such outrageous beliefs with a more acceptable view. Will, if only more people actually did the reading you have obviously done things would be a lot more plain sailing. What this article needs is more neutral editors to really read all available materials before speculating. I guess it's a big job but it's the only way forward. PatW (talk) 09:49, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. I'm still learning. A few months ago I couldn't have picked Prem Rawat out of a lineup, and knew little of the matter. Since then I've scoured a dozen online archives, checked out a score of books, traveled to several libraries, photocopied hundreds of pages, and, worst of all, read through countless talk page archives and article revision histories. This topic needs more uninvolved, neutral editors and I'm glad to help. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 10:06, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Yes, articles always benefit from more eyeballs, and if that is what you are saying, then I agree. But I do not see any evidence of having neutral editors involved, besides the mediator Steve. All active editors have their POVs, including you, Will. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 19:33, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
My POV is in the middle - I'm not a partisan and have no previous involvement with the subject, nor do I even know anyone who's associated with this topic. Of course folks who hold extreme POVs may see those in the middle as being extreme in the opposite direction. This topic needs more uninvolved editors. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:13, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
You may not be the best person to judge where your POV is. I think your past editing would be much more approved of by one side in this debate than the other, which suggests you may not have been "in the middle" at all. Rumiton (talk) 12:54, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
You may not be a "partisan", Will, but my assessment of your POV is quite different. You are not a "uninvolved editor", or "neutral". You have your POVs and you bring these with you when you edit, same as everybody else. That is not a problem, thought, and your contributions and the contributions of others are welcome. But please, do not cast yourself as neutral or uninvolved, because you are not. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 14:38, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
No wonder this topic has a reputation for driving away neutral editors. If you feel that every non-partisan editor is biased against you then perhaps the problem isn't with the non-partisan editors. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 17:10, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
I did not say that you are biased against me, did I? What I said is that you, as well as everybody else have their POVs, which is quite different. Once can call you quite rightly "non-partisan", but one would be hard pressed to call you "neutral". That's all. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 17:58, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
But you do have a point! I only want to prevent that people fail to see your point because of digressions consisting of comments on others. I did above, no matter how valid the point, the attention is diverted to the inappropriate comment. Please retract the last sentence of your 09:29 comment, it spoils the lot. --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:58, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Francis, I sincerely mean that I think that Jayen should read more and I'm sure he's adult enough not to cry about objections to his argument or suggestions that he is extremely 'way off'. However, since you perceive things as too personal I've struck out that sentence . NB. I always do what you suggest don't I? :-) To Jayen: I hope you take my points and don't feel 'attacked'. I totally welcome and accept your contributions I just happen to strongly disagree with your present line of argument. That really is all there is to it.PatW (talk) 10:21, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Tx. --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:31, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
The issue here is how to deal with the oft-used title "Lord of the Universe". We mention "Guru", "Satguru", "Perfect Master", and of course "Maharaj Ji/Maharaji". "LOTU" was a common appellation in Rawat's heyday. I think that the article would be remiss to not mention it at all. The "Intro" proposal (User:Steve Crossin/Mediation/Prem Rawat/Proposal4) would mention it. The video by the same name should be mentioned. After a careful search I still can't find much more to say about it. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 10:13, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Here's some quote in support of your point:
There was a period during 1974 when there was an outright war, really, in the Divine Light Mission, between his mother and elder brother, [...]. Maharaji took control of the mission. During this time, he began to rely on me very heavily, and then after that I lived with him. In living with him, I began to see a lot of the excesses in the devotion and practices that I felt were detrimental to the spiritual development of the devotees.
I had attributed these to his mother and brother, and with them out of the way, that didn't necessarily need to be the case any longer. This was in my opinion, at least, as I had always found Maharaji to be very sincere and reasonable. In fact, during that period, we did decide to make some changes. At the beginning, well, around the end of 1975, we started what I would call a major change of emphasis in the Divine Light Mission.
This was something that Maharaji and I arrived at as being necessary not only for the devotees but also for his own welfare as well. That was to change this belief that he was God, by actually coming out and denying it, and by taking some responsibility to de-program our own membership away from this belief. This was so that he wouldn't become the kind of cult leader that in fact he has become today.
About half way through 1976, Maharaji got very insecure about what was going to happen to him if we continued with this. He realised that he was going to lose his automatic hold over the devotees that he had had up until that point.
Radio host
Was this a conscious thing on his part?
Oh, yes. This was a very conscious thing. We discussed it, and we outlined all the different perspectives that would be involved. At the time, what I had planned for him and with him, and up to the middle of 1976 he was largely agreeing with, was to use a lot of the money that had come to him in the form of gifts from his followers, to set up some investments. This would enable him to become financially independent from the continued support of the devotees.
He had grown accustomed to a very luxurious lifestyle. A lot of the necessity of keeping the members believing that he was God was to ensure that they would continue to support him in this lifestyle. If it meant that he was going to have to make any sacrifices in this lifestyle (and it had become apparent by the middle of 1976 that this was going to be the case) then he didn't really want to have to do that.
That's where we came to a parting of the ways, so to speak. As a result of that, I just left, because I recognised that I couldn't change him. If he wanted to change on his own, then that was something I was very willing to assist with. If he wasn't going to change, then I certainly wasn't going to continue to stay while he turned what was originally a mission to spread meditation to people freely into something that solicited donations to do this type of work and had all of its funds essentially going to support his luxurious lifestyle. February 1979
(in other words: the "akin to divinity" kind of terminology, surely including "LOTU", appears to have been a deliberate choice by Rawat at the time, imho enough to warrant a mentioning in the lead section) --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:10, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Is this about "Lord of the Universe"? I don't see the direct connection. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 10:34, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Inserted a comment above as to where I see this becoming relevant. Sorry for the quote being rather large, I wanted to make sure to include the relevant context. --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:39, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
IMO, we've got enough on our plate to describe the usage of "LOTU" regarding the subject. Whether "LOTU" refers to the divinity of Rawat is a different level for which we don't appear to have any sources. If we were ever to compile sources for a paragraph on divinity then this could be useful. I don't see that being proposed and I suggest we avoid it as it's a bone of contention. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 10:51, 1 June 2008 (UTC)


(repeating last part of Will's "Divinity" comment above:) If we were ever to compile sources for a paragraph on divinity then this could be useful. I don't see that being proposed and I suggest we avoid it as it's a bone of contention. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 10:51, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

True, but it may be worth looking here for views about Rawat's motives for not dispelling the perception he was LOTU or God. Mischler's replacement was Miike Dettmer's who also clearly shares Mischler's extremely prosaic and cynical views about Rawat's motives. Both Elan Vital and Cagan have mentioned these 'disgruntled ex-employees' and rejected their claims as lies and heresayPatW (talk) 10:55, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

<<<Indeed, this is a different topic:

  • Divinity aspect is currently treated in 5th paragraph of Prem Rawat#Coming of age, 3rd paragraph of Prem Rawat#Teachings, and 2nd paragraph of Prem Rawat#Criticism. Above (#Criticism: section content) I proposed to update that last paragraph in a section covering the psychological aspects more comprehensively (as different from the sociological aspects currently elaborated in User:Steve Crossin/Mediation/Prem Rawat/Proposal2), and possibly name such section "Rawat and his students" or whatever TBD alternative.
  • BTW, I don't see Mishler's views as cynical, he appears to have been talking with a lot of respect regarding Rawat, considering they'd parted ways, e.g. "...I had always found Maharaji to be very sincere and reasonable" - that was the context I was eager to include.
  • Pat, please make some actual proposals, for instance in the format, I would replace sentence(s) "..." in paragraph [...] by "...alternative sentence(s)...", or I propose to add [...this...] information from source [XYZ], also citeable from source [PQR] — Of course, you can also start User:Steve Crossin/Mediation/Prem Rawat/Proposal6 on this topic, and insert your suggestions there, and/or use the User:Steve Crossin/Mediation/Prem Rawat test page.

--Francis Schonken (talk) 12:59, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

FWIW, there is a useful discussion of the "Lord" concept in Dupertuis's paper "How people recognize charisma: the case of darshan in Radhasoami and Divine Light Mission" which is available online in a couple of places. She doesn't use the LOTU expression, however. At any rate, we need secondary sources to cover this. "Well, I thought he was God" doesn't cut it for an encyclopedia. --Jayen466 15:55, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Re: "which is available online in a couple of places", see the link in this footnote: [21] --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:15, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
    • ^ a b c d e f India investigates guru's finances, The Times, November 29, 1972
    • ^ "Young Guru Castigated As Smuggler By Critics", UPI, FLAYGROUND DAILY NEWS, November 20, 1972
    • ^ "Boy Guru Suspected of Smuggling", AP, Sat., Oakland Tribune, Aug. 25, 1973
    • ^ Current Biography Yearbook by H.W. Wilson Company, 1974, p. 256
    • ^ Cagan; 2007: 181-2
    • ^ Disciples plead "release cash", Daily Mail, (missing date) 1973
    • ^ "Young Guru Castigated As Smuggler By Critics", UPI, FLAYGROUND DAILY NEWS, November 20, 1972
    • ^ "Boy Guru Suspected of Smuggling", AP, Sat., Oakland Tribune, Aug. 25, 1973
    • ^ Current Biography Yearbook by H.W. Wilson Company, 1974, p. 256
    • ^ "Young Guru Castigated As Smuggler By Critics", UPI, FLAYGROUND DAILY NEWS, November 20, 1972
    • ^ The New York Times, India still studying goods confiscated from youthful guru", July 18, 1973.
    • ^ "Boy Guru Suspected of Smuggling", AP, Sat., Oakland Tribune, Aug. 25, 1973
    • ^ Current Biography Yearbook by H.W. Wilson Company, 1974, p. 256
    • ^ Cite error: The named reference Schnabel1982 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
    • ^ Dupertuis, Lucy, "How People Recognize Charisma: The Case of Darshan in Radhasoami and Divine Light Mission", University of Guam,Sociological Analysis 1986, 47, 2.111-124
    • ^ Hammond, Phillip E.; Bromley, David G. (1987). The Future of new religious movements. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press. pp. p.36. ISBN 0-86554-238-4. 
    • ^ Cagan, Andrea, Peace Is Possible: The Life and Message of Prem Rawat, pp.109, Mighty River Press (2007), ISBN 978-0978869496
    • ^ Geaves, Ron, Globalization, charisma, innovation, and tradition: An exploration of the transformations in the organisational vehicles for the transmission of the teachings of Prem Rawat (Maharaji), 2006, Journal of Alternative Spiritualities and New Age Studies, 2 44-62
    • ^ Hunt, Stephen J. Alternative Religions: A Sociological Introduction (2003), pp. 116–7, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 0-7546-3410-8
      The leader of the Divine Light Mission, the Guru Maharaji, was 13 years old when he spectacularly rose to fame in the early 1970s. It was his young age which made him different from other eastern gurus who had established similar Hindu-inspired movements at the time. He was the son of Shri Hans Ji Maharaj, who began the DLM in India in 1960, based on the teachings of his own variety of enlightenment through the acquisition of spiritual knowledge. When his father died in 1966, the Guru Maharaji announced himself as the new master and started his own teaching. His global tour in 1971 helped to establish a large following in Britain and the USA. In 1973, he held what was intended to have been a vast, much publicized event in the Houston Astrodome. "Millennium '73" was meant to launch the spiritual millennium, but the event attracted very few and had little wider influence.
      Perhaps because of this failure, Maharaji transformed his initial teachings in order to appeal to a Western context. He came to recognize that the Indian influences on his followers in the West were a hindrance to the wider acceptance of his teachings. He therefore changed the style of his message and relinquished the Hindu tradition, beliefs, and most of its original eastern religious practices. Hence, today the teachings do not concern themselves with reincarnation, heaven, or life after death. The movement now focuses entirely on "Knowledge", which is a set of simple instructions on how adherents should live. This Westernization of an essentially eastern message is not seen as a dilemma or contradiction. In the early 1980s, Maharaji altered the name of the movement to Elan Vital to reflect this change in emphasis. Once viewed by followers as Satguru or Perfect Master, he also appears to have surrendered his almost divine status as a guru. Now, the notion of spiritual growth is not derived, as with other gurus, from his personal charisma, but from the nature of his teachings and its benefit to the individual adherents to his movement. Maharaji also dismantled the structure of ashrams (communal homes).
      The major focus of Maharaji is on stillness, peace, and contentment within the individual, and his "Knowledge" consists of the techniques to obtain them. Knowledge, roughly translated, means the happiness of the true self-understanding. Each individual should seek to comprehend his or her true self. In turn, this brings a sense of well-being, joy, and harmony as one comes in contact with one's "own nature". The Knowledge includes four secret meditation procedures: Light, Music, Nectar and Word. The process of reaching the true self within can only be achieved by the individual, but with the guidance and help of a teacher. Hence, the movement seems to embrace aspects of world-rejection and world-affirmation. The tens of thousands of followers in the West do not see themselves as members of a religion, but the adherents of a system of teachings that extol the goal of enjoying life to the full.
      For Elan Vital, the emphasis is on individual, subjective experience, rather than on a body of dogma. The teachings provide a kind of practical mysticism. Maharaji speaks not of God, but of the god or divinity within, the power that gives existence. He has occasionally referred to the existence of the two gods – the one created by humankind and the one which creates humankind. Although such references apparently suggest an acceptance of a creative, loving power, he distances himself and his teachings from any concept of religion. It is not clear whether it is possible to receive Knowledge from anyone other than Maharaji. He claims only to encourage people to "experience the present reality of life now." Leaving his more ascetic life behind him, he does not personally eschew material possessions. Over time, critics have focused on what appears to be his opulent lifestyle and argue that it is supported largely by the donations of his followers. However, deliberately keeping a low profile has meant that the movement has generally managed to escape the gaze of publicity that surrounds other NRMs.
    • ^ McGuire, Meredith B. Religion: the Social Context. Belmont California : Wadsworth Publishing, fifth edition, 2002, ISBN 0-534-54126-7, Ch. 5 "The Dynamics of Religious Collectivities", section "How Religious Collectivities Develop and Change", sub-section "Organizational Transformations", p. 175 – first edition of this book was 1981, ISBN 0-534-00951-4
    • ^ a b DuPertuis, Lucy. "How People Recognize Charisma: The Case of Darshan in Radhasoami and Divine Light Mission" in Sociological Analysis: A Journal in the Sociology of Religion. Chicago: Association for the Sociology of Religion, ISSN 0038-0210, 1986, Vol. 47, No. 2, pp. 111-124. At JSTORWeb version at
    • ^ Geaves, Ron. "Globalization, charisma, innovation, and tradition: An exploration of the transformations in the organisational vehicles for the transmission of the teachings of Prem Rawat (Maharaji)" in Journal of Alternative Spiritualities and New Age Studies, 2006, 2 44-62
    • ^ The word "source", as used in Wikipedia, has three related meanings: the piece of work itself, the creator of the work, and the publisher of the work. All three affect reliability.
    • ^ Petersen, William J. Those Curious New Cults in the 80s. New Canaan, Connecticut: Keats Publishing (1982); p. 146.
    • ^ Cagan, Andrea, Peace Is Possible: The Life and Message of Prem Rawat, pp.109, Mighty River Press (2007), ISBN 978-0978869496
    • ^ Geaves, Ron, Globalization, charisma, innovation, and tradition: An exploration of the transformations in the organisational vehicles for the transmission of the teachings of Prem Rawat (Maharaji), 2006, Journal of Alternative Spiritualities and New Age Studies, 2 44-62
    • ^ Cagan, Andrea, Peace Is Possible: The Life and Message of Prem Rawat, pp.109, Mighty River Press (2007), ISBN 978-0978869496
    • ^ Geaves, Ron, Globalization, charisma, innovation, and tradition: An exploration of the transformations in the organisational vehicles for the transmission of the teachings of Prem Rawat (Maharaji), 2006, Journal of Alternative Spiritualities and New Age Studies, 2 44-62
    • ^ "Former Guru on a Different Mission", Rocky Mountain News, January 30, 1998.
    • ^ Listing, International Cultic Studies Association
      The Elan Vital - Divine Light Mission Papers "The primary purpose of this website is to provide information to current and prospective followers of Divine Light Mission/Elan Vital, that is not made available on Prem Rawat's official sites."