Page 6 - The Ruston Daily Leader - Wednesday, April 9, 1975

Guru Tries to Take Control of Mission

DENVER (UPI) - Aides to Guru Maharaj Ji say the 17-year-old spiritual leader has left for India in an attempt to wrest control of the Divine Light Mission from his relatives and consolidate his position as the mission's "perfect master."

"The guru's intentions are to assume control of the mission in India and put the management in the hands of trusted followers," news secretary Joe Anctil said Tuesday. "The new management will not include his mother or his eldest brother."

Earlier this month, the guru's mother issued a statement in New Delhi saying she had disowned her son because of his pursuit of "a despicable, nonspiritual way of life."

Sources close to Rajeshwari Devi said she was upset because of her son's materialistic lifestyle, including a fondness for expensive homes and sports cars, and because of his marriage last year to his secretary. The guru and his wife have a daughter.

Anctil said Maharaj Ji, named as successor to the mission's leadership shortly before his father's death in 1966, had the overwhelming support of the bulk of the mission's 6 million faithful followers.

"It is important to point out that with the exception of his mother, eldest brother and a small handful of others, Guru Maharaj Ji's 6 million followers are firmly behind his leadership and inspiration," Anctil said.

“The opposition of his mother and these few others has failed to stop him and he is now reorganizing the mission in India under his leadership."

Anctil said the guru flew to Bombay Monday and will appear in Calcutta, New Delhi, Lucknow and Patna later this summer.

The spokesman also said the mission's membership is growing and he expected the organization to have all its bills paid by next fall.

Michael Garson, a former financial aide to the guru, said earlier the religious leader's lifestyle left the mission $300,000 in debt.