Teen-age Guru Has The 'Knowledge'
NEW YORK (AP) - An apparently snowballing movement - in assets, operations and fervent young crowds - is building up around a teen-age guru from India and his promise of "the knowledge."
Just what "the knowledge" is, however, is hard to pin down, either in listening to Guru Maharaj Ji, a lad of 15, or questioning his devotees.
"It's the greatest thing," says Grace Wallace, 27, a brunette secretary working in the guru's second-floor office here. "But it can't be confined to the limitations of words or explanations.
"It can only be experienced." However it is characterized, the lure of that nebulous "the knowledge" preached by the youthful Maharaj Ji - which means "king of kings" - has put him astride a busy, spreading enterprise in this country in which he's starting his third "peace" tour.
"I'm just an humble servant of God trying to provide the knowledge." he says.
When interviewers try to get it defined, he often turns to illustrations of the difficulty.
"It's like trying to explain the word, 'pinch'," he says. "You can say, 'well, it hurts'. But that doesn't explain a 'pinch'. If you fall on your knee, it hurts. But it's not a 'pinch'."
A short, black-haired youngster, the Maharaj Ji spent most of his week's New York visit at a spacious, ranch-style Long Island home in Westbury, N.Y., donated to him by a follower.
At times, he received groups of disciples. They would kneel silently before him as he sat on a cushioned couch. He also was the central attraction for a big rally Saturday night at the Louis Armstrong Stadium in Flushing Meadow Park in Queens.
He "represents divinity," says Christopher Ullman, 24, a publications official of the movement, called the "Divine Light Mission," which claims 6 million followers world-wide, 40,000 in Ihe United States.
It has branches in 30 U.S. cities, a monthly magazine, "And It Is Divine!" with 90,000 circulation, a bi-weekly newspaper, "Divine Times," with 60,000 circulation, and U.S. headquarters in Denver, Colo.
The organization also has a public relations organization, a dance ensemble, a theatrical troupe, a food cooperative, a film-production agency, an aviation service, a wholesale firm dealing in electronics and office equipment.
Two full-length documentary films have been issued, "Satguru Has Come," and "Who is Guru Maharaj Ji?" plus a long-playing album and a paperback book of the same name the latter being issued by Bantam Books in October.
It's by former radical activist Rennie Davis, now a disciple of the guru.
The Maharaj Ji is to hold rallies at major centers in Boston, Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta and Kansas City on his two-month tour, and a three-day celebration Nov. 8-10 in Houston's Astrodome.
Actually, I'm the biggest businessman - I've got big business in spreading the knowledge," the guru says. "I'm offering my voluntary services to give people peace."
He is termed a "Perfect Master - one who teaches perfect truth - a title inherited at the age of eight from his late father who had founded the movement in 1960 in India.
"I got blissed out just listening to him," says Ullman, explaining his steps toward "the knowledge," which he says he attained at 4 a.m. on last Feb. 28 in Chicago.
"He really opened my third eye and I saw something so incredibly beautiful. I definitely could see, taste and feel something," he adds. "It's not an intangible, but a conscious happiness, a real experience. He reveals to you the knowledge of God. Religion talks about it, but religion can't reveal it. Religion doesn't have the source. Guru Majaraj Ji is the source of the revelation."
Ullman adds that "the knowledge" is achieved through meditation on four concepts - the "light of God," the "sweet nectar of living water," the "Word of God" which is the ultimate existing in everything," and its "vibration which is the collective harmonies of the universe."
"It's picked up by the soul, by the cosmic consciousness, by the true self," Ullman says. The more you meditate, the more knowledge has been revealed. But it's a new technique of meditation.