Long Beach, Calif., Wed., April. 2, 1975 INDEPENDENT (AM) PRESS-TELEGRAM (PM)- 9
'Playboy, not holy man'
Guru's mother rejects him as religion chief
By MYRON L. BELKIND
NEW DELHI, India (AP) - The mother of Guru Maharaj Ji, the 17year-old Indian religious leader now living in the United States with an American wife, renounced her son Tuesday and accused him of being a playboy instead of a holy man.
In a signed statement, his mother declared she was removing her son as spiritual leader of the Divine Light Mission and no longer recognized him as the "perfect master," as he is known to his followers.
KNOWN as Shri Mataji, or holy mother, she said her son, "under the instigation of certain bad elements in the United States Divine Light Mission, has continuously disrespected my will by adopting a despicable, nonspiritual way of life."
Susan Butcher, a. 30 year-old Canadian devotee of the Divine Light Movement, said the Guru's relatives in India were upset with the way Maharaj Ji was living in the United States.
"He has not been practicing what he has been preaching," said Miss Butcher, who became a devotee of the Guru when he visited Toronto in 1971. Speaking in behalf of the Guru's mother, Miss Butcher said, "He has always preached and recommended his devotees to live a life of vegetarianism, celibacy and abstaining from alcohol and all excessive forms of materialism. Now he himself is indulging and encouraging his devotees to eat meat, to get married and have sexual relations and to drink. He's not living a spiritual life, He's being a playboy."
MISS BUTCHER said she thought many of the guru's devotees, which number eight million in India, would still remain faithful to the Divine Light teachings, although they would not recognize him as their leader.
The Divine Light Mission was founded in 1961 by the guru's father, who died in 1966. After his death, his widow proclaimed her youngest son to be the next head of the movement while she remained its patron.
The guru was last in India in June 1973 when he posted a $13,000 bond with Indian authorities. He had become embroiled in a customs case involving several hundred thousand dollars worth of jewelry, other valuables, foreign currency and travelers checks seized from disciples who traveled with him.
C. L. Tandon, general secretary of the Divine Light Mission in India, claimed the guru had "shown disrespect to his mother by removing her pictures from the American Divine Light missions, saying she is not worthy of worship but that his wife is."
The guru married his American secretary last May. They had their first child, a daughter named Prem Lata, meaning Vine of Love, last month.
The American Divine Light Mission is headquartered in Denver, Colo., but the guru and his 26-year-old wife were last reported living in a mansion in Malibu, Calif.
A spokesman for the Divine Light Mission in Denver said the guru was en route to India for an April 13 festival at Lucknow, India.
"It is ridiculous," said Joe Anctil, press secretary to the guru, of his mother's statement that he was being removed as spiritual leader of the religious movement, which claims 50,000 followers in the United States.
The guru took over management of the missions in December 1973, of his 16th birthday because his mother "had mismanaged the mission which caused us to be in debt at the time," Anctil said.
On the charge of being playboy instead of a holy man, Anctil said Maharaj Ji "is not following any traditions or Indian concepts as such. Maharaj Ji has no teachings and no philosophies."
"In Knowledge sessions he reveals a meditation which is a practical experience. Anyone can choose a life style and do what he wants. Maharaj J does not say what to eat drink or smoke. He want to change the hearts of men and not their habits,' Anctil said.
When the guru's mother was in the United States “she lived exactly the life style" of her son, Anctil said.
The guru's mother was in the United States a few months ago, Anctil said and attempted to gain control of the American mission, but "was unsuccessful and went back to India where she gathered 20 to 30 followers and claims that as the mission."
Miss Butcher was director of the mission in Canada before being fired by the guru, Anctil said, for "mismanagement of the Canadian mission."
The guru left Miami Tuesday morning by plane, Anctil said, but might be traveling to India by other transportation.
The guru had been in Miami for a meeting of his mission directors from several countries. "His devotees are behind him 100 per cent. I can say Maharaj Ji is the spiritual leader of the Divine Light Mission," Anctil said.