The Miami Herald Sunday, April 8, 1979
– BATTLE VAUGHAN / Miami Herald Staff
Let Us Spray
As rock star Rod Stewart's recorded voice blares out "Do You Think I'm Sexy," the Guru Maharaj Ji blasts 10,000 of his youthful followers with colored water from a water cannon in the Orange Bowl Saturday. The followers were alternately colored red, orange, blue, and green, depending on the whim of the guru at the water cannon controls. The mass shower had no religious significance. "This is just a chance to play with someone you love," said Andy Harris, the Washington coordinator of the Divine Light Mission. (See story, Page 1B.)
'An Exchange of Love'
Guru Blasts 10,000 With Color
By JOHN ARNOLD
Herald Staff Writer
Grinning like a small boy armed with a garden hose, Guru Maharaj Ji blasted 10,000 of his youthful followers with colored water from a water cannon in the Orange Bowl Saturday.
The guru is spiritual leader of 1.2 million people worldwide.
Saturday he was out for a good time.
The followers, many clad in loosefitting pajama type garments, were alternately colored red, orange, blue, and green, depending on the whim of the guru at the water cannon controls. They cheered and clapped.
Disco and rock music played over the massive Orange Bowl speakers.
Rock Star Rod Stewart's recorded voice sang Do You Think I'm Sexy, Do You Want My Body?" as the guru aimed a powerful stream of orange from his double-barreled cannon at a part of the crowd that until then had been colored green. The crowd became orange. They loved it.
"Do YOU think this is strange?" asked Karen, one of the guru's followers from Philadelphia. She and her husband John, a painter, are among the 10,000 in town for the four-day convention of the Divine Light Mission, which the guru heads.
Mission spokesmen hastened to explain Saturday that the water cannon and the release of 150,000 balloons that preceded the water blasts were not part of any religious ceremony.
The big water fight with the guru on one side and the 10,000 followers on the other was just for fun. "This is an exchange of love," said Andy Harris, the mission's Washington coordinator. "This is just a chance to play with someone you love. We love him and he loves us."
The serious preaching by the guru is being done during the meetings of the "premies," as the guru's followers are known, during convention sessions on Miami Beach.
The celebration in the Orange Bowl had its origins in an ancient spring festival held in India, where the
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Guru Blasts Followers With Color
FROM PAGE 1B
celebrants are doused with water, premie participants said Saturday.
BUT THIS year the 21-year-old guru, whose ownership of lavish sports cars and expensive stereo sound equipment has been widely reported, was using a new, improved water cannon. Last year a similar water fight was staged in the Orange Bowl during the mission convention.
Divine Light Mission construction crews have been at work for a week installing the special cannon mounted on a high platform surrounded by a canvas-covered frame. A long walkway decorated with flowing white material led from the scoreboard to the cannon platform.
The cannon had controls for the guru to change the water color to any in the rainbow. He also had control of the range of the water blast.
One premie noted that the celebration this year was the best because the water cannon could shoot farther than the one used last year.
At one point, the guru paused to dump a bucket of inky dark coloring over his wife Marolyn's head. His wife and the guru's brother Raja Ji, with a tinier cannon of their own mounted on the sides of the platform, soaked the guru.
OUTSIDE THE stadium, refreshment stands offered snacks to the vegetarian premies – avocado and cheese sandwiches, yogurt and fruit punch.
The premies were worried Saturday about how their play session appeared to those outside their mission.
Karen, holding her 4-year-old daughter Santa Lila, said the idea was to have fun and to be close to the guru, who had given her understanding of the meaning of life. "We are being washed in the colors of God," she said.