Guru Mission's Earnings Placed At $3.78 Million

DENVER (AP) - The Divine Light Mission. a religious sect headed by 18-year-old Guru Maharaj Ji. has an annual income of $3.78 million from gifts, tithings and earnings, a spokesman says.

Joe Anctil confirmed Friday a published report that the mission, headquartered in Denver, takes in about $315,000 a month, and spent $200,000 last year supporting the lifestyle and spiritual and business activities of its leader.

The mission founded by the guru's father 15 years ago, owns property in Malibu, Calif., valued at $554,000 and a home in Denver worth $86,000 which the guru uses when here, Anctil said.

He also revealed for the first time the guru's private ownership of two cars, a Lotus and a Mercedes-Benz, as well as two Honda motorcycles.

In addition, Anctil said the Mission owns a Jensen, a car valued at $22,800 and used for ceremonial purposes only, as well as a Maserati, two Mercedes-Benz and a mobile van.

Information about the financial holdings of the guru and the religious organization he heads were first published Friday by The Denver Post. Anctil confirmed the details, which the paper attributed to "sources."

Anctil said 60 per cent of the mission's monthly income goes to support the international headquarters, the 20 homes it owns where a 250-member staff lives, and the guru.

Although the sect's leader pays for his own clothes and those of his family from a personal account, Anctil said the mission makes mortgage payments on the two pieces of real estate, provides him with insurance and pays for his travel.

Despite its income, Anctil said the mission is still faced with a debt, although it has been considerably reduced in recent years. A deficit of $650,000 three years ago has been cut to $80,000, he said. The Divine Light Mission, which says it has initiated 50,000 persons into its ranks in the United States since 1971, claims 15,000 regular financial contributors.