The Counter-Culture Investigates the Divine Light Mission and the Uncoolest Guru of Them All
The main reason that counter culture investigators could learn more than the standard media was that they could relate to the premies, many reporters knew people like Rennie Davis, they were the same age and, to a certain extent, came from similar backgrounds.
I think that there's further reason that Rennie Davis was attracted to Guru Maharaj Ji and that is the Divine Light organization. In less than two years, "by-the grace of Guru Maharaj Ji," the Divine Light Mission has built centers in over one hundred American cities, many of them with teletype machines and WATS lines for inter communication. … In addition, Shri Hans Productions (named for Guru Maharaj Ji’s father) produces a very slick full-color monthly publication callet AND IT IS DIVINE. They have produced documentary films, and stereo record albums, among other things.- Rennie's Rap: How He Found God The Berkeley Barb, April 6-12 1973
They could also be more credulous at times.
Davis estimated the youngster has about 50,000 followers in his U. S. flock and as many as 5 million in his international herd. In fact, after only two years of active recruiting, Divine Light is recognized as the fastest growing, most slickly promoted cult in Western civilization. … It's not all idle talk, either. The Perfect Master and his sales force are putting together a talented organization with that one big asset - money. He draws the money out of the pockets and purses of upper middle and middle class people - most of them college students or dropouts - who have been searching desperately for the past ten years for something to believe in. … Rennie found a lot of familiar faces at Prem Nagar, people who had been in Chicago in 1968 and in Washington on May Day. People who, in the words of one devotee, had "been into a lot of weird scenes and now wanted to be at peace with themselves." - Borrowed Times, May 1973
"Here was this fat little rich kid with this swarm of old men-Mahatmas-bowing and kissing His feet. And instead of acknowledging that respect, He jumped on this big motorcycle and tore off, completely covering them with dust. Then He screeched to a stop, turned around and headed back towards them. At the last possible moment they jumped out of the way-He kept right on going. Then He ended up in this field of mud and got stuck. They came over and eventually pushed Him out, getting completely covered with mud and slime in the process. - The Savior in a Mercedes Benz Ramparts magazine, July 1973
Some of the research may have taken premie propaganda a little too literally. His claim to princehood was tenuous and he was only incredibly rich compared to most Indians and it was his eldest brother, Satpal Maharaj, who became a leader in Uttarakhand.
Who is Guru Maharaj Ji? He is an incredibly rich Indian prince, the pudgy heir to leadership of one of his country's counties, mystical sects, whose privileged caste has felt none of the sting of a century of colonialism. … Gurus are a dime a dozen in India, and Maharaj Ji's cult was in death throes when he devised a brilliant scheme: he would diversify and expand abroad! His product costs nothing to manufacture - and there's a market that will pay any price for it. He's exporting forgiveness to the mother country. To the masses who live in "the belly of the beast" he peddles his spiritual Rol-aids … For one thing, we found very few premies who had actually been involved in, or had had much contact with, political movements. Most of the people we talked to were disillusioned professionals, frustrated college students, bored bureaucrats, or from a heavy drug scene. Many of the premies had been dabbling in other mystical religions, rather than politics, before they came to the conclusion that the Guru Maharaj Ji is The Ree-al Thing. … It is good to know, also, that large numbers of premies have dropped out of the organization, and that D.L.M.'s premie census figures are inflated and exaggerated, since drop-outs are included. - What's Behind the 15-Year-Old Guru Maharaj Ji? The Realist, December 1973
While the Guru Maharaj J1's teachings are reputed to be compatible with any occupation, any social structure, anything, it's effect on devotees causes such pronounced changes in character habits that its versatility is never really tested. … The Australian chapters of DLM tend to feel a bit left out of things. However they do manage to affect the trappings of a fairly glossy propaganda machine with their production facilities, rapturous ravings and condescending goodwill for the skeptics. - The Fastet Rising Guru in the West The Digger, November 27, 1972