14 - Bennington Banner, Monday, October 23, 1972

15 Benningtonians to fly to religious rites in India

Fifteen Bennington disciples of the 14-year-old Guru Maharaj Ji will fly to India for a giant religious festival in the guru's honor Nov. 8-10.

The fifteen, including four Bennington College students, will be among 2,400 Americans flying on chartered 747 jetliners to Delhi, India, for the event. The group plans to return to Bennington on Dec. 6.

Organizers of the "Hans Jayanti" festival hope to attract two million people from around the world. Maharaj Ji is a 14-year-old religious leader who has amassed a following in India and other parts of the East. He reportedly began preaching at the age of 2½, and two years ago set out to spread his message on a worldwide basis.

Since that time, he has established Divine Light Mission centers throughout the world, and claims over 30,000 followers in the United States.

Bennington residents attending the festival, who are affiliated with the Divine Light Center at 219 Bradford St., are: Lynne Salomon, Gregory Winterhalter, Barbara Hertz, Robert Paulding, William Harris, Peter Wholley, David DiGiacamo, Laura Chapman, Robert Woods, William Snow, Margery Burt, Randall Duryea, Ellen Chapman, Jennifer Brian and Cynthia Hicks.

Center members also attended a festival at which the guru was present in July at Montrose, Colo.