Elan Vital

A spiritual organization focused on inner peace and enlightenment, evolving from the teachings of Prem Rawat.

History and Transformation

Elan Vital emerged as a successor to the Divine Light Mission (DLM). In the United States, it was registered as a non-profit organization in 1971 and recognized as a religious organization by the IRS in 1974. The transformation to Elan Vital occurred in 1980s, with Prem Rawat, also known as Maharaji, as the central figure.

Teachings and Practices

Prem Rawat emphasized that he was not creating a new religion and that his teachings, focusing on the inner experience of peace, transcended traditional spiritual categorizations. The central practice, known as “Knowledge,” consisted of four meditation techniques aimed at enabling practitioners to access their inner peace. These techniques were meant to be practiced for an hour daily.

Organizational Focus

Elan Vital functioned as an umbrella for several independent organizations across various countries, supporting the work of Prem Rawat. These organizations were involved in fundraising, organizing speaking engagements for Rawat, and broadcasting his addresses. While initially rooted in Hindu and Sikh traditions, Elan Vital evolved to become independent of any specific cultural or religious background.

Key Principles

Prem Rawat’s teachings centered around the idea that peace is inherent within all individuals, and a teacher is required to show the way to access this inner peace. The teachings were presented as universal, suitable for individuals with or without religious affiliations. Efforts were made to remove cultural and religious trappings that were initially part of the teachings when they were brought from India.

Institutional Evolution

Elan Vital underwent significant changes over the years, particularly in its approach to teaching the meditation techniques. The organization transitioned from the traditional initiation method to a more modern, accessible format, emphasizing the importance of personal practice and commitment.

Disbandment and Successor Organizations

Elan Vital announced it would cease operations in 2010. However, entities like Words of Peace International, Inc. continue to promote Prem Rawat’s teachings on inner peace and self-knowledge.