India Looks Into Funds Of a 14-Year-Old Guru
NEW DELHI, Nov. 14 (AP) - The Indian Government is looking into finances of a 14year-old guru, Maharj Ji, whose followers claim five million adherents in this country, 40,000 in the United States and thousands elsewhere. The difficulty began for the guru, or spiritual guide, when he returned to India last Tuesday in a jumbo jet with 350 American disciples and a suitcase reportedly containing about $65,000 in money, watches and jewels, which the authorities impounded. The spiritual movement's public relations director said that the money had been intended for travel and food expenses of 3,000 Western devotees who came to India with the guru in seven chartered Boeing 747's for a month of meditation, and that the watches and jewelry were gifts for the guru, his family and the mission's 2,000 priests.
The guru, known to his followers as "lord of the universe," "prince of peace" and "the perfect master," denied any connection with the suitcase. He said the controversy was "an attempt to harm the divine-light mission." $60,000 in foreign currency, gold and diamonds he brought home to India with him after a recent tour.
JAMES F. CLARITY
Copyright The New York Times
Originally published November 15, 1972