Guru Has a Plan For World Peace

Tribune Religion Writer

Vice Mayor Frank Ogawa greets 14-year-old guru

Oakland's newest honorary citizen, 14-year-old Guru Maharaj JI, has a plan for world peace.

The guru, spiritual leader of 5 million devotees according to claims of his followers, was named an honorary citizen of Oakland and given a key to the city at a ceremony yesterday in the city council chamber.

"We are very honored to have you here," Vice Mayor Frank Ogawa said in welcoming the young guru from India.

It is a great pleasure to be here," responded Guru Maharaj Ji. "I pray to God to bless this city of Oakland."

In his lectures, the guru has a simple formula for assuring world peace - the individual must find peace in himself and then his actions will be peaceful.

According to an aide, the guru made the one-day stopover in Oakland on a trip from London to Japan because of a "'beautiful letter" from Mayor John H. Reading. Reading wrote in a Sept. 1 letter, "I had the opportunity to peruse the booklet entitled 'Reflections on an Indian Sunrise,' and enjoyed reading the quotes and articles written by you.

"I was amazed by the knowledge you have gained at such a young age, and commend you upon your wisdom and talents," Reading continued. He is presently away on a trip.

Guru Maharaj Ji believes both India and the western countries limp, but for different reasons.

In his "Reflections" booklet he observed. "India has a long, long spiritual foot, but a very short materialistic foot. The western countries have a very long materialistic foot but a very short spiritual foot.

"When these two walk, they cannot walk straight," he contended. "They have to limp about."

The guru finished his formal schooling last year and has made several trips to Europe and America since then, bringing his spiritual message to the western world.

At his talks, like the one at the Oakland Auditorium last night, the guru does not attempt to get on-the-spot converts.

"Maharaj Ji says you can never understand his teaching with your reasoning," an aide commented. "You have to experience it." This takes time, he added.

Followers of the guru have opened an Eastbay center - Divine Light Mission, 607 Brooklyn St. Their 7 p.m. spiritual discourses every night are open to the public free of charge.