Glen Whittaker

Jun 29, 2022

“Prem had been invited to Glastonbury, and people had been preparing the ground for several days, assuming he would go, but he was not so sure. On the day in question, he asked my opinion. I told him I felt he should not go because the event would be a loud assembly of stoned hippies who would not give him the respect or attention he deserved and that it would be better if he only spoke at events that had been arranged specifically for him. He agreed, but during the evening increasingly pleading phone calls led him to change his mind.

“‘Let’s go,’ he announced, with Bihari Singh and Carol following him hastily out of the house.

“Just as a rainstorm ended and a bright moon emerged from the clouds, clearly showing the old Cortina he was riding in edging slowly through a sea of people, Carol leaned over the steering wheel to see if she was about to run over anyone in the mud in front of the vehicle.

“A hasty conference ensued. Yes, the group on stage would reluctantly interrupt their set for a few minutes to allow Prem to make his address. A few sari-clad women hurriedly lifted his chair onto the stage and arranged things quickly to give him the maximum time to deliver his message.

“This was as different a circumstance from his address to 400 attentive listeners in Conway Hall a couple of days previous. Here he was in the open air on a gigantic stage, speaking to around 10,000 people. The size of the crowd did not faze him, for this is what he was used to in India. But there was a strict time limit. He would only be given a few minutes to speak. And it was always possible that the festival organisers, who had been willing to add him to the bill as an interesting diversion at the behest of his persuasive followers, might have second thoughts upon his sudden late-night arrival.

“Prem shouted in his small, earnest voice to get across to the noisy, confused crowd.

“‘I want to thank the organisers for giving me this opportunity to talk to you. I am bringing a very important message. The love you are looking for in religions and sects, I can show you  is already in your heart. I know of a way. I have a Knowledge that can take you there.’

“After a few more minutes, someone pulled the plug on his sound. But he had delivered his message and was soon heading back to London, he and Bihari-ji serenading Carol with Indian songs to help her stay awake.

“In the weeks and months that followed, thousands of people at Glastonbury received Prem’s gift of Knowledge. It was the beginning of a tremendous growth in his popularity. Two years later, when the film of Glastonbury hit the cinemas, Prem was so famous that he was, ironically, billed as its star.”

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