Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File); Apr 10, 1976; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Los Angeles Times (1881 - 1985) pg. A27


Teen-Age Gurus Sect Grosses $3.78 Million

DENVER UPI - The Divine Light Mission, a religious sect headed by Guru Maharaj Ji, 18, has an annual income of $3.78 million from gifts, tithes and earnings, a spokesman says.

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

The mission owns property in Malibu 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-Benzes and a mobile van.

(The Divine Light Mission does not consider itself a religion except for tax purposes, says Bob Mischler, the guru's executive director, according to United Press International.)

Anctil said 60% 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 says it has initiated 50,000 persons into its ranks in the United States since 1971 but now claims only 15,000 regular financial contributors.