This list of references to Prem Rawat's (aka Guru Maharaj Ji aka Maharaji) opulent lifestyle and insatiable desire for money was created by the indefatigable Will Beback on Wikipedia. It refers mainly to articles related to Rawat's early career as that was the only time he was successful, controversial and ridiculous enough for the media to be interested in him. The later quotes are mainly from academic and popular books in which he is mentioned. This is not an exhaustive list as continuing to examine the public record for further information on this topic is far too boring a task for me. In fact, it is later that his wealth and cash flow increased to greater levels as his desire for the latest personal jet, bases (mansions), cars, electronics and general all round luxury really took off and enough of his followers were wealthy enough to provide the money.


The Opulence Of Prem Rawat (Maharaji)
Quotes from the media

Reporter: It's hard for some people to understand how you personally can live so luxuriously in your several homes and your Rolls Royces.
Maharaj Ji: That life that you call luxurious ain't luxurious at all, because if any other person gets the same life I get, he's gonna blow apart in a million pieces in a split of a second. … People have made Rolls Royce a heck of a car, only it's a piece of tin with a V-8 engine which probably a Chevelle Concourse has. (see quote #14 below)

Quotes
  1. Colorado Satsang, Prem Rawat 17 September 1971
    What is materialism? To have a beautiful car, to have so many things around you, this is materialism. Sometimes the car breaks down, then you pay money for it to be repaired. It is a fine. Sometimes a television breaks down and you pay money for it to be repaired. It is also a fine. Really it is a fine. You are being fined. So why do you have things for which you will be fined?
  2. "Gifts for a Guru" AP, printed in Stars and Stripes November 15 1972.
    But he said the government is concerned about the growing financial resources of the Divine Light Mission abroad, especially in the United States, where the American devotees recently purchased two small air planes for the guru's use. Brigham, however, said all money received by the mission has come from private donations and all purchases are made with a logical purpose. Defending the purchase of the two planes, Brigham said: "There are so many hijackings of commercial planes. This is why he needs his own planes. Guru Maharaj Ji's life is supremely valuable."
  3. "Junior Guru", Time Nov. 27 1972:
    The grateful faithful have also laden their lord with gifts, including a Rolls-Royce, a Mercedes and two private planes.
  4. "Through a 'Third Eye' Comes The Divine Light", By PHIL HASLANGER (Of The Capital Times Staff), Capital times, February 16 1973
    If suffering is not a problem, neither is wealth. "If you are perfect," Mahatma Ji [Mahatma Ji Parlokahand] maintained, "material things are good so long as tkey do not poison you." The Guru himself reportedly is personally wealthy. The Mahatma explained, "People love him, so they purchase for him an airplane, a car (a Rolls-Royce), all these things. He doesn't want all these things but their love is so strong."


  5. "What Is He—a Lord or an Incredible Fraud?", Nicholas Von Hoffman, The Capital Times April 27 1973
    The Yippie God-King is also into expensive motor cars and electric trains. If that sounds preposterous, all religions do to non-believers…It makes good sense if you believe, and none if you don't.
  6. "The 'boy god' with a taste for ice cream…and the good things of life" Richard Herd, Daily Mail , July 12 1973
    For his part, the luxury-loving holy boy, Guru Maharaj Ji, for short, hopes to double his British following of 6,000 - doubtless boosting the amount they pay for the privilege of seeing the Divine Light. His Divine Light Mission, which claims a world-wide following of six million and the fastest growth of any religion today, already has a capital of £100,000 in Britain, including a luxurious £40,000 London HQ and a fleet of 36 vehicles, one of them a £9,800 Rolls used only by the boy god. Critics ask how he can require his worshippers to exist on basic essentials while he lives in high style on his jet trips round the world.
    Finances: There is a bland stock reply: 'I do not ask them for a penny. They give because they love.' The mission is currently planning to buy a £65,000 meeting hall in East Dulwich and a country mansion with 40 acres of grounds fit for a god to live in. Maharaj Ji, 5ft. tall and a waddling 13st., grows fat on his good life. He eats elegantly with prepared vegetarian food, followed by liberal portions of ice cream. Exercise is rare, and his chauffeur-driven limousines turn out for even the shortest journeys. His only boyish traits seem to be passions for water pistols, horror movies - and those fattening mounds of ice cream. The guru's glossy publicity brochure refers to Him and His Holy Family, always with a capital initial. Followers call his possessions 'divine' - he lives in divine residences, has his food cooked in the divine kitchens and rides in a divine Rolls-Royce.
    Special investigators from the revenue department have been trying to find out just how much he is worth and how much wealth the mission has accumulated in other countries. It is an offence in Indian law to have a bank account abroad without permission from the Treasury, but the guru set up in Britain as a charitable trust which banks all the income. Now the Indian Government will decide whether or not a charity abroad benefiting Indian nationals is contravening the law.
    The headquarters is a walled fortress in Delhi. There, as in all his missions, the guru has his own private padlocked suite.
    A 21-year-old American at the HQ, Gary Cashin, explained that the guru was 'completely unattached' to his Rolls and Mercedes. 'He really is. He wouldn't mind at all if he had nothing.'
    Fellow American Frank Donado, 20, who is collaborating with Gary to produce a book on the boy god, added: 'One day a devotee's Volkswagen ran backwards and crashed in Maharaj Ji's Mercedes. It was terribly damaged. The devotee was prostrate with anguish at having damaged the car. But the guru smiled. "Please do not worry about it. I don't mind in the least being without it," he said.' Of course there was another Mercedes on order next day. Just above their sparse, Spartan room, completely devoid of any simple comfort, where they sleep on blankets on the stone floor, is the guru's luxurious suite. They're not in the least envious. They believe that the guru himself would live in their room if it were ever necessary. But of course it never has been, nor is it likely to be.
    The mission's solicitor, Mr Clive Sell, says: 'I was suspicious at first, but I am convinced now that the movement does a great deal of good. The guru has taken a lot of young people off drugs. I would estimate the movement in this country is now worth about £100,000 - there is an awful lot of money coming in.'
    The mission's headquarters at Woodside Avenue, Highgate, London, N, has two chefs ready 24 hours a day to cook for the guru and his family.
  7. San Francisco Examiner, July 21 1973, as quoted in "What's Behind the 15-Year-Old Guru Maharaj Ji?" Gail Winder and Carol Horowitz, The Realist December 1973
    The boy guru, 'the perfect master,' picked up his $50,000 car yesterday, along with his 45 strong-arm 'disciples.'
    As the guru, looking like an overweight schoolboy, inspected the Mercedes 600 - with cocktail bar, fridge, intercom and TV - his guards repeated 'The prince does not wish to talk about his car … Go away …'
    The guru, who came to Britain to spread his word, has three planes, based in the United States, TV and radio stations, and an IBM computer. His temporary home is a $125,000 'divine residence' in Highgate, London, with his mother and two brothers.
    When asked why he doesn't distribute his money to the poor, he replies: 'I have something far more precious to give them than money and material things - I give peace.'
  8. Milner, Bart. "Casting some shadows on the movement of Divine Light" in The Times. UK, September 23 1973
    Mahara Ji is probably the richest boy in India (his Mission holds £100,000 in England alone) but he advocates total self denial for his followers.
  9. "Bliss and a Regular Coffee", New Yorker, October 1 1973
    …it is being operated by devotees of Guru Maharaj Ji, the chubby fifteen-year-old "perfect master" and Rolls Royce fancier who may or may not be God. p.32
  10. "The guru who minds his mother", By MALCOLM N. CARTER, AP. Novemebr 4 1973 Stars and Stripes
    He likes gimmicks and wears an electronic digital watch, flies an airplane and fiddles with quadrophonic stereo equipment to hear Hugo Montenegro or Ray Conniff. Members of the public relations staff, which numbers more than 50, met recently to talk about the guru's image, concluding he was seen as a "fat 15-year-old with pie in his face … and a Rolls-Royce … who was arrested for jewel smuggling." … He has a sprawling $80,000 split-level house here, plus homes in Los Angeles and India. There are two Mercedes- Benz automobiles for use in the U.S. and two airplanes. In London, his followers have given him a Rolls-Royce. Queried about this opulence, he asks whether he is supposed lo throw away gifts the mission accepts in his name. However, he once said: "We haven't to touch this materialistic world, because as soon as we start touching it, the vibrations of imperfection start touching us, and make us imperfect." …It's a far cry from the headquarters of only last April, when the mission was paying $200 a month for a building that also housed the staff, the guru and his family. Today the rent is $3,500 monthly, and 120 disciples work there. Where does the mission get this kind of wealth? Donations, the executive disciples answer, refusing to detail them. The mission is a tax-exempt religious organization with a host of subsidiary corporations In the most recent tax return available, it declared only $5,646 in total assets at the end of 1971. The growth since then has been clearly a wonder. For example, the mission keeps track of devotees with an IBM computer it leases for $2,400 a month. It has just bought a $69,000 printing press and expends about $70,000 monthly on publications, films and recordings. It owns about 100 automobiles and a half-dozen trucks. … ONCE A FOLLOWER receives knowledge, he can ask to join an ashram — typically a big old house with sparkling windows, picnic benches in the dining room, a "satsang" room, shared chores and crowded bedrooms. The devotee fills out an application for "personnel" with much more detail than the usual employment application. Besides questions about skills, education and arrests, two of the application's four pages ask for minute financial information, such as conditions attached to any trust funds, obligations on cash value of insurance policies, assets and mortgages….And the 29-year-old publications director from Tallahassee, Fla., Mac Avery, likens the mission to a family enterprise: "His father gave up the business, but it was up to him to do something about it."
  11. "The Cult of Guru Maharaj Ji" Jonathan Rawson, The New Republic, November 17, 1973 p17-18
    The first step was for everyone to take all the money out of his pockets, present it at the foot of the altar and express eternal gratitude and devotion to Guru Maharaj Ji. "If all you have is a check, sign it so that it can be cashed," instructed the mahatma. One boy was found to be holding out enough for his bus fare home. "What if Guru Mahrark Ji doesn't want you to go home?" asked the mahatma. […]
    He gave us a greeting to be used in addressing other premies and passed out pieces of paper with his name and address. "Send your worldly possessions here," he said. "Do you love Guru Maharaj Ji, or do you love your money?"
  12. "'You're a Perfect Master'", Newsweek November 19, 1973
    Such ascetism forms a provocative contrast to the guru's own life-style. In London, Rolls-Royces, Jaguars and a $100,000 town house permanently staffed with two cooks await the Perfect Master's visit. In Denver, a chauffered Mercedes limousine and an opulent split-level mansion stand ready, and he has two estates elsewhere in the U.S. All these trappings are said to be gifts from disciples, whose offerings include two airlpanes, the Perfect Master's digit wristwatch, his quadrophonic stereo equipment and his motorcycle. … The luxuries that such lolly can supply are scarcely distateful to the youthful religious leader or to his three older brothers who, with their mother, compose the "holy family" that makes them the Rothschilds of the guru busiiness. Yet followers see no conflict between the worldly and spiritual riches. "Maharaj Ji's luxuries are gifts from a Western culture whose fruits are watches and Cadillacs," explains spokesman Richard Profump. "He isn't saying, abandon the material world. He's saying it our attachment to it that is wrong."
  13. "Oz in the Astrodome" Ted Morgan, NYT Decemebr 9 1973
    Q. Why don't you sell your Rolls-Royce and buy food for the people?
    A. What good would it do? I could sell it and people would still be hungry. I only have one Rolls-Royce.
    In the lobby of Houston's Warwick Hotel, on the first day of Millennium '73, two lange men with Texas drawls were talking. "What's this here guru preachin' about, conservation?" the first one asked. "Naw" said the other, "it's the who am I to refuse gifts from my followers kind of thing" The question of his emerald green Rolls-Royce, his Mercedes 600, his houses in London, New York, Los Angeles and Denver, and his private wealth and jewelry keeps coming up. "What do you expect him to do," a premie said, "travel from LA. to Houston on a donkey? Christ came on humble; well Guru Maharaj ji comes on like a king, we want him to have the best." In Houston, the best was the Astroworld's six-bedroom Celestial Suite, with its P.T. Barnum Circus room, its Tarzan Adventure room, and its Sadie Thompson room, with real mosquito netting over the bed. It goes for $2,500 a day, but the guru got a special rate. To come here from India, he had to post a bond to recover his confiscated passport while his assets are being investigated following the seizure at customs of cash and gold watches worth $65,000. More than half of it was later confiscated. "If he really was a smuggler," a premie said, "all he had to do was give each premie going to India a gold watch to put on his wrist."
  14. "BLISSING OUT IN HOUSTON", Francine du Plessix Gray, New York Review of Books December 13, 1973
    By the hangar of the Hobby airport premies weave garlands of carnations and snapdragons, and complete the festooning of the emerald-green Rolls Royce which will carry Perfect Master back to the city.
    Reporter: 'What about your Rolls Royce?'
    Maharaj Ji: 'If you're going to feed a child this morning he's going to be hungry again this afternoon…all a Rolls Royce is is a piece of tin. If I gave poor people my Rolls Royce they would need more tomorrow and I don't have any more Rolls Royce to give them.'
  15. "The New Messiahs attract youthful converts" By VICTORIA GRAHAM Associated Press Writer, Dec. 22, 1973
    The Divine Light Mission is an Indian sect led by Guru Maharaj Ji, a plump, high-living 17-year-old compared by his followers with Jesus, Buddha and Krishna…. Maharaj Ji lives with his wife and child in a Malibu, Calif., mansion and has two airplanes, a Rolls Royce and three Mercedes Benz autos.


  16. "Guru's Followers Meet Here Nightly" By SUSAN LANDON, ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL , January 12, 1974
    Dave Miller noted that the guru had been criticized because he drives a Rolls Royce. "IF GURU sold,his car, the money he received would only feed poor people for a couple of days," Miller said. "It's more important to feed people spiritually than to feed them physically."
  17. "Guru Maharaj Ji: Over the Hill at 16?" Ken Kelley, Ramparts February 1974
    Cars, particularly, dominate the divine homily-not surprising, since at last count he owns six-mostly Rolls Royces and Lincoln Continentals.
    "Guru," the woman from a Houston radio station drawls, "if you're so concerned about the poor, why don't you sell one of your Rolls Royces and buy them some food?" He answers, "if I gave them a Rolls Royce, they'd just come back in the afternoon and ask for another one, and I don't have another one to give them."
  18. "Jet Set God" By Kathleen Jeremy, Pageant February 1974
    The adolescent god lives in considerable luxury, traveling around the world in Rolls-Royces and private planes. He has a personal cook who prepares his vegetarian diet and is on duty 24-hours a day - in case his plump, young master should require sustenance in the middle of the night. The guru's "Divine Residence" in London is worth $125,000 and is only one of his many homes around the world.
  19. Time, Feb. 11, 1974 [1] quoted in Back To Godhead magazine, January 1975
    A.C. Bhakivedanta, Swami of the Hare Krishna movement, at a news conference in Hong Kong last week denounced a rival guru: self-styled divinity Maharaj Ji, 16, now counseling his disciples in California. The ascetic swami, whose followers constitute a kind of saffron-robed Hindu version of the Salvation Army, began by saying, "You've got to decide whether he is God, or a dog." Noting the young leader's luxurious life style, the swami declared rather ominously, "He is cheating people, but he will be cheated in a bigger way. When God meets cheats, he can be a better cheat than they."
  20. "Godhead Hi-Jinx" Richard Elman, Creem, March 1974
    Among the non-profits the guru has amassed are a $12,000 Mercedes Benz, a $26,000 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud, a $30,000 Cessna Cardinal single engine plane and a $190,000 twin-engine job, as well as enough motorcycles to fill your average aircraft hanger.
  21. "An East Indian Teen-Ager Say He Is God", Ken Kelley, Vogue March 1974
    Shunning the austere, simple life of traditional godheads, he has decided to make the best of his self-proclaimed divinity. At last count he owns six cars (all in the $15,000 to $30,000 range), two airplanes, a string of mansions from Los Angeles to Long Island, and real estate running into the millions of dollars. "Last time around the Messiah came as a beggar," says Rennie Davis. "This time he's come as a King!" … Guru Mahraraj Ji lives a life of royalty on a sale with King Farouk, whose younger pictures he more than slightly resembles.
  22. Levine, Richard. "When The Lord of All The Universe Played Houston: Many are called but few show up" in Rolling Stone. Issue No. 156, March 14, 1974, pp 36-50:
    To the side, a group of girls is decorating the hood of the Guru's emerald-green Rolls Royce with a heartshaped floral arrangement of red and white carnations. It is the most blissful of devotional services, and they are singing, "Maharaj Ji, Maharaj Ji/ We love you, we love you/ Satguru, Satguru …" to the tune of "Frere Jacques." The car's California license plate spells HANSA, which is, according to one of the girls, the Hindi word for "swan," the symbol of the Holy Family. Inside the Holy Limo one secretly glimpses a telephone, a framed picture of the Guru on the dashboard and a stereophonic tape deck loaded with a cassette recording of Your Saving Grace by the Steve Miller Band.
    Reporter: It's hard for some people to understand how you personally can live so luxuriously in your several homes and your Rolls Royces.
    Maharaj Ji: That life that you call luxurious ain't luxurious at all, because if any other person gets the same life I get, he's gonna blow apart in a million pieces in a split of a second…. People have made Rolls Royce a heck of a car, only it's a piece of tin with a V-8 engine which probably a Chevelle Concourse has.
    Reporter: Why don't you sell it and give food to people?
    Maharaj Ji: What good would it do. All that's gonna happen is they will need more and I don't have other Rolls Royces. I will sell everything and I'll walk and still they will be hungry.
    But there are only a handful here today, largely because a memo has been circulated directing all premies to look for jobs during the Christmas season in order to make up the organization's considerable debt. In normal times the DLM's $250,000 monthly operating budget is met through gifts from wealthy premies (at least one premie has donated a trust fund of over $100,000), the income from ten Divine Sales rummage stores across the country and several other small businesses ("Happy People Make Good Workers," reads the advertising handout for Divine Painters, Inc.) and the salaries of the 1200 premies who live in ashrams, most of whom hold outside jobs and must hand over their paychecks to the Mission. However, the expense of putting on Millennium has left the Divine Light Mission several hundred thousand dollars in the hole (aside from the $75,000 Astrodome rental fee, DLM officials refuse to divulge the costs of the event), necessitating the emergency measure.
  23. "Who Was Maharaj Ji? The world's most overweight midget. Forget him." Marjoe Gortner, OUI, May 1974
    And cars. … He talks about cars quite a lot in his parables. Probably because he loves them and has so many: Rolls-Royces and Mercedes, motorcycles, and that sort of thing-all gifts.
  24. Current Biography Yearbook 1974
    The mission is supported by members (many of whome turn over all their worldly goods to it) and by thrift shops and various other Divine Light business enterprises p. 254
    But he is no "ripoff", according to Khalid Shah, a correspondent for the Illustrated Weekly of India: "In India there is a guru on every corner, and every guru has a guru; the competition is very fierce. But I do not think guru Mharaj Ji came here for the money. He is a member of the highest of the high Brahmin caste. His family is quite wealthy. p.255
    At a press conference given during Millennium '73 a reporter asked GUru Mahraj Ji about his much publicized (and much criticized) Rolls Royce. "If you're going to feed a child this morning he's going to be hungry again this afternoon…" he replied. "All a Rolls Royce is, a piece of tin. If I gave poor people my Rolls-Royce they would need more tomorrow and I don't have any more Rolls-Royces to give them." p.255
    [Premies] are also encouraged to turn over their fortunes and incomes to the Mission. Complete devotees are provided with all necessities of life, but receive no salry, unless they bring in one from a job outside the ashram. There are approximately fifty ashrams in the United States, in addition to the stores and other enterprises run by the Mission. p.257
    In Denver, state and city sales tax agents have been investigating the legality of some of the tax-exempt purchases made by the Guru and his followers. But it is unlikely that the tax-exempt status of the Divine Light Mission can be successfully challenged, so wrapped is it in constituional protections. Tax experts cite a March 1, 1974 ruling in which a federal judge in California declared, "Neither this court nor any branch of this government will consider the merits or fallacies of any religion." p.257
    The site of the wedding was the $80,000 home that the Divine Light Mission maintains for Maharaj Ji on Dahlia Street in the Colorado capital. The DLM also provides him with expensive residences in London, Los Angeles, Old Westbury (New York), and several Indian cities. In addition to his automobiles (A Rolls-Royce in Los Angeles and Mercedes-Benzes in Denver and New York), the Maharaj Ji has received among other gifts from his followers, two Cessna airplanes (which he can pilot), a cabin cruiser, a motorcycle, and gold digital watches. p.257
  25. "Investigation under way into Guru's business activities" AP Jun 24, 1974 GREELEY (Colo.) TRIBUNE
    The mission reportedly has used its sales tax exemption in purchasing each of its 56 cars about $5,000 in sales taxes when and trucks and one motorcycle. Included in that fleet are a Maserati, Rolls Royce and three Mercedes-Benzes which are reserved for the personal use of the guru and his immediate family. The five cars are worth more than $80,000, meaning the mission managed to avoid paying about $6,000 when it bought them. Moreover, its exemption from specific ownership taxes saves the mission more than $1,000 a year on those five cars alone. Other items purchased without paying the sales lax include dresses, suits, formal wear, luggage, socks, underwear, wristwatches, patio furniture and a 22-foot ocean-going power boat. Many of the items have been purchased in leading Denver department stores. One of the mission's favorites is Joseph Magnln, which sports a higher priced line of men's and women's fashions.
  26. "GURU'S HELPERS DEFEND PURCHASE OF BOAT, 56 CARS" UPI Los Angeles Times; Jun 24, 1974; pg. 2
    Officials of Divine Light Mission say there is nothing illegal about their using their religious tax exemption to buy beach umbrellas, a boat, and 56 cars, including a Rolls royce, for their 16-year-old guru. "All purchasing activities are in accordance with state and federal laws," said Cliff Bowden, a spokesman for the Denver-based mission which claims more than 60,000 followers for the guru Maharaj Ji in the United States. Officials at the Colorado Sales Tax Division and the Denver sales tax office think otherwise and have begun field audits on the mission's use of the tax exemption.
  27. "Guru Maharaj Ji--mystic and business mogul", Patsy Sims, Chicago Tribune, July 14 1974
    [The operation is] One that owns at least 56 cars and trucks, plus another $80,000 worth of Maseratis and Rolls Royces reserved solely for the guru and his family…Is the guru a savior, a Christ reincarnated as his followers claim? Or is he just an expert fuind raiser, or even a dictator whose followers follo without question?
  28. "Notes on People" Albin Krebs, New York Times November 30, 1974
    The Maharaj Ji, the 16-year-old guru who has a penchant for sports cars, has a new car, a 1974 English Jensen four passenger touring model. Joe Anctil, spokeman for the youthful guru, who is said have 6 million followers throughout the world, issued the following explanation in Denver: "We had been looking for some time for an open-topped car which Maharaj Ji could ride at festivals, parades or large gatherings. When we found this car we snapped it up because it was such a bargain." The bargain price was $22,000.
  29. Current Biography Yearbook 1974
    The mission is supported by members (many of whome turn over all their worldly goods to it) and by thrift shops and various other Divine Light business enterprises p. 254
    But he is no "ripoff", according to Khalid Shah, a correspondent for the Illustrated Weekly of India: "In India there is a guru on every corner, and every guru has a guru; the competition is very fierce. But I do not think guru Mharaj Ji came here for the money. He is a member of the highest of the high Brahmin caste. His family is quite wealthy. p.255
    At a press conference given during Millennium '73 a reporter asked GUru Mahraj Ji about his much publicized (and much criticized) Rolls Royce. "If you're going to feed a child this morning he's going to be hungry again this afternoon…" he replied. "All a Rolls Royce is, a piece of tin. If I gave poor people my Rolls-Royce they would need more tomorrow and I don't have any more Rolls-Royces to give them." p.255
    [Premies] are also encouraged to turn over their fortunes and incomes to the Mission. Complete devotees are provided with all necessities of life, but receive no salry, unless they bring in one from a job outside the ashram. There are approximately fifty ashrams in the United States, in addition to the stores and other enterprises run by the Mission. p.257
    In Denver, state and city sales tax agents have been investigating the legality of some of the tax-exempt purchases made by the Guru and his followers. But it is unlikely that the tax-exempt status of the Divine Light Mission can be successfully challenged, so wrapped is it in constituional protections. Tax experts cite a March 1, 1974 ruling in which a federal judge in California declared, "Neither this court nor any branch of this government will consider the merits or fallacies of any religion." p.257
    The site of the wedding was the $80,000 home that the Divine Light Mission maintains for Maharaj Ji on Dahlia Street in the Colorado capital. The DLM also provides him with expensive residences in London, Los Angeles, Old Westbury (New York), and several Indian cities. In addition to his automobiles (A Rolls-Royce in Los Angeles and Mercedes-Benzes in Denver and New York), the Maharaj Ji has received among other gifts from his followers, two Cessna airplanes (which he can pilot), a cabin cruiser, a motorcycle, and gold digital watches. p.257
  30. "Teen guru--God to some, a 'bunch of bunk' to others" Patsy Sims, Chicago Tribune July 15 1974
    A movement whose leader lives luxuriously with three houses (at least one of them with a swimming pool) $80,000 worth of Maseratis and Rolls-Royces, and two Cessnas, while his followers turn over to him their salaries and their possessions in return for a place to sleep (usually on a thin rubber pad or a sleeping bag), $1-a-day in vegetables, and whatever clothes the mission decides they need. A movement that, after taking those salaries sometimes forces followers to seek extra jobs or to turn to parents for additional money to pay for services at clinics and schools set up with their incomes. A movement which has at times encouraged its followers to try to talk parents into signing over inheritances sometimes amounting to millions of dollars. … With one exception, the mission's far-flung use of its tax-exempt status has not been challenged. That exception is a current investigation by the Colorado Sales Tax Division into the tax free shopping sprees by the guru and his followers. The likelihood of any serious repercussions, however, seems doubtful. One attorney interviewed by the Denver paper said the guru's personal use of several fancy automobiles and the tax exempt purchase of luxury items vilated "standards of reasonableness" … In Houston, Arthur Lord, Houston bureau chief for the National Broadcasting Corp., said that the mission left about $150,000 in unpaid bills after last November's Millennium. Some of the businesses have received all or partial payment, but at least 25 have received no money at all. Cliff Bowden insists he and fellow followers bestow the expensive cars, houses, and boats on their leader "because we JUST love him so much." Besides, Bowden says "to me Guru Maharaj Ji is not living a luxurious lifestyle." Luxurious or not, even a disenchanted follower agreed the riches are not contrary to what a "spiritual" leader should be. "It would" the former premie shrugged, "be equally silly for a guy who's trying to be God to ride around on a camel or in a Volkswagen."


  31. "Growing Pile of Unpaid Bills Beneath Guru's Spiritual Bliss", Deborah Frazier, Denver (UPI) March 23 1975
    Garson said one method used to balance the budget is asking rich premies — those who have recently become devotees — for donations preferably their entire savings. He said one woman, Darby McNeal of Canada and her $400,000 trust fund, is a good example of that. "Bob Mishler, the mission's executive director, talked Darby into signing over power of attorney shortly after she joined," said Garson, who says he was instructed to collect the money for the mission. According to Garson, the mission has been given several trust funds and several families, including Miss McNeal's, are contesting the action.
  32. "Newsmakers" Los Angeles Times; Mar 23, 1975; pg. 2
    Beneath the spiritual bliss of the Guru Maharaj Ji's Denver-based Divine Light Mission lie more than $300,000 in unpaid bills and a never-ending fund drive, according to the mission's former financial director, Michael D. Garson. Garson quit his job in February "because I could not tolerate the contradictions." He said there was a continuing $300,000 debt caused by declining revenues and the demands of the recently married 17-year-old guru. "When the guru wants something, be it a $30,000 car or a new house, he gets it," Garson said. Meanwhile, other mission bills go unpaid. For example, Millennium '73, the mission's huge festival at the Houston Astrodome, was paid for only after mission equipment and property had been repossessed. Many of the problems are caused by a lack of business understanding that stems from the mission's contention that it is a spiritual not a business organization, Garson said. "There are some people that are trying to get the mission on the right track," he said. "But it takes a lot of money to keep a guru."
  33. "THE NATION" Los Angeles Times Mar 25, 1975 pg. A2
    A spokesman denied claims by a former aide that the Divine Light Mission was in serious financial trouble as a result of expensive tastes of its leaders, teenaged Guru Maharaj Ji.
  34. "MOTHER OUSTS 'PLAYBOY' GURU" in the Los Angeles Times. Wednesday April 2, 1975, PART II, p. 6A
    [Abstract: "The mother of Guru Maharaji Ji, the 17-year-old Indian religous lea[d]er now-living in Malibu, Calif, with an American wife, renounced her son Tuesday and accused him of being a playboy instead of a holy man."]
    [Susan Butcher, speaking on behalf of Shri Mataji (Rawat's mother), said,] "He has not been practicing what he has been preaching. …He has always preached and recommended to his devotees to live a life of vegetarianism, celibacy, and abstention from alcohol, and all excessive forms of materialism. Now he himself is indulging and encouraging his devotees to eat meat, to get married and have sexual relations, and to drink. He's not living a spiritual life. He's being a playboy."
  35. BELKIND, MYRON L. "Guru's mother rejects him as religion chief" in INDEPENDENT (AM); PRESS-TELEGRAM (PM). Long Beach, California, Wednesday, April 2, 1975 - 9:
    KNOWN as Shri Mataji, or holy mother, she said her son, "under the instigation of certain bad elements in the United States Divine Light Mission, has continuously disrespected my will by adopting a despicable, nonspiritual way of life."
    Susan Butcher, a. 30 year-old Canadian devotee of the Divine Light Movement, said the Guru's relatives in India were upset with the way Maharaj Ji was living in the United States.
    "He has not been practicing what he has been preaching," said Miss Butcher, who became a devotee of the Guru when he visited Toronto in 1971. Speaking in behalf of the Guru's mother, Miss Butcher said, "He has always preached and recommended his devotees to live a life of vegetarianism, celibacy and abstaining from alcohol and all excessive forms of materialism. Now he himself is indulging and encouraging his devotees to eat meat, to get married and have sexual relations and to drink. He's not living a spiritual life, He's being a playboy."
  36. "Guru Tries to Take Control of Mission" in The Ruston Daily Leader, April 9, 1975:
    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.
  37. Time Apr. 07, 1975 [2]
    Even Guru Maharaj Ji, 17, Perfect Master of the Divine Light Mission and well-known lover of sports cars, cabin cruisers and good living, may soon face some economic problems. At least he will if a British Columbia court believes Michael Garson, 35, the guru's former financial analyst. Garson claims that the mission has been more than $240,000 in debt for over a year and its donations declining. He testified as a witness in a case seeking to prevent U.S. Heiress Darby McNeal, 31, now a British Columbia resident, from signing over an estimated $400,000 inheritance to the Divine Light Mission. Each week about $35,000 in donations and income flow into the mission's Denver headquarters, said Garson, and "approximately 60% of the gross receipts are directed to maintain the life-style of the Maharaj Ji and those close to him. So far as I could see, the whole function of the organization was to provide an opulent existence for the Maharaj Ji."
  38. The Spiritual Supermarket Robert Greenfield 1975
    In one or another of its corporate incarnations, Divine Light Mission owned Cessna airplanes, Rolls-Royces and Mercedes automobiles, and palatial "divine" residences in Denver and Los Angeles. Its total real worth was probably somewhere around the million-dollar mark. p.14
    In interviews, speeches, and public appearances it had fallen to Rennie Davis to convince both the youth of America and their parents that Guru Maharaj Ji was not a smuggler, an ulcer-ridden puppet who drove a Rolls Royce while thousands starved in his native India, or the boss who had ordered a Detroit reported beaten unconscious. It was a task no sane Madison Avenue public relations firm would have attempted. For once those issues were dealt with, the questions of where all of the guru's money came from had to be answered. And, like any true nightmare, that question occurred again and again. p. 35
    At a post-Millennium meeting in Denver, Guru Maharaj-ji sugested to his disciples that they go to work to help pay off the organization's debts. Quickly, save for an occasional joke in some gossip column or natural news item like the guru marrying his twenty-four-year old secretary (after having obtained permission from a judge because he was underage, with wedding gifts which included a silver Maserati), or an advisor being indicted in a stock swindle, the activities of the Divine Light Mission have passed from the pages of newspapers and magazines and now are of interest to disciples only. p.275
  39. "Young Guru's Mother Replaces Him" Los Angeles Times Apr 12, 1975; pg. A2
    Interviewed Friday in the Mission's headquarters in New Delhi with her new guru sitting beside her, the 49-year-old mother blamed the downfall of her youngest son on a handful of American associates, including his 26-year-old secretary, whom he married last year. "They have spoiled him," she said, speaking in Hindi. "These people, because of getting so many donations, have corrupted themselves and Maharaj Ji. They are using him like a hen that lays golden eggs, as a tool to get more and more money and gifts for a few American followers who live in a high style." Shri Mataji angrily denied she had renounced Mahraj Ji because she and Bhagwan Ji wanted a share of the funds collected in America. "There is no jealousy about this," she said. "No guru or holy person should want money."
  40. "One Lord Too Many", Time Apr. 28, 1975
    Nowhere is the boy guru's universe better furnished than in the U.S., to which he brought his movement in 1971: a string of 45 ashrams (retreat houses) and information centers in 110 cities across the country tend to the spiritual needs of the Divine Light flock, whose tax-exempt offerings have furnished the teen-age Lord with, among other things, an $80,000 pad in Denver, a $400,000 estate in Malibu and an armada of limousines and racing cars…. Taxmen have been picking over the Divine Light Mission's finances. Even as contributions have been rising, the guru's bookkeepers have been busy juggling some $206,000 in debts; only recently they paid off the Houston Astrodome for a 1973 rally proclaimed "the most significant event in the history of humanity."
  41. "Seventeen-year-old guru likes pizza and sports cars", DEBORAH FRAZIER UPI Santa Fe, July 13,1975 THE NEW MEXICAN.
    The guru Maharaj Ji is 17 years old, likes pizza, drives a Masarati, sports a mustache and is Master of the Universe to millions of followers. Groomed to lead since birth, Pralap Singh Rawat Balygeshwar Satguru Shri Maharaj Ji picked up his taste for sports cars and gold watches since bringing the Divine Light Mission to the United Stales in 1971. "A wealthy Boston premie (a term for the guru's followers) gave Maharaj Ji the Masarati for his wedding, just as you or I would give an apple," said Joe Anctil, a former Houston, Tex public relations man who now is the guru's press secretary. Anctil said he was hired after reporters asked the guru about his sex life.
    "It does take a lot of money to keep a guru and he does live well, but what he teaches I will believe in for the rest of my life," said Michael Garson, the guru's former financial analyst who left the Mission because of management disputes. In his first three years in the United States, new converts were common and their contributions led to the Maharaj Ji's homes in three states, a fleet of cars, a wardrobe of flashy clothes and two airplanes. Followers are encouraged to live in ashrams, communal houses where the virlures of celibacy, poverty and meditation are practiced. "If I gave poor people my Rolls-Royce, they would need more tomorrow and I don't have any more Rolls-Royces to give them," the guru once said in defense of his worldly goods.The guru has had money problems. By 1973 the mission was $682,000 in debt, disorganization was thinning the ranks of the faithful and worldwide criticism was beginning to sting.


  42. "LEADER OWNS LUXURY CARS: Teen-Age Gurus Sect Grosses $3.78 Million" in Los Angeles Times April 10, 1976, pg. A27
    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.
  43. Guru Maharaj Ji and the The Divine Light Mission Jeanne Messer in The New Religious Consciousness, Glock & Bellah, 1976
    But we share the habit of expecting holy men to have renounced material pleasures--witness what we pay our preachers--and to be aged and erudite. This leader of sime five million devotees is really a child and a lover of machine-age toys: cars, airplanes, stereos, rock band equipment, even computers, which fasinate him. p.52
    Divine Light Mission operates almost entirely without capital, and this is the source of great numbers of "grace" stories. In 1972, for example, the Mission wanted to buy a small plane to transport Guru Maharaj Ji and his family around the United States. They had negotiated a price and secured a lon from the bank. The down payment was nearly $18,000, with no serious chance of generating it even in donations. The owner of the plane eventually put up the money himself, to satisfy the bank, because he "liked Guru Maharaj Ji." p.66


  44. p.143 Enroth, Ronald. Youth, Brainwashing, and the Extremist Cults Zondervan 1977
    If nothing else, the movement has clearly furthered the financial status of its teen-age leader. The guru smiles all the way to the bank in his $50,000 refrigerator-equipped Rolls Royce … His affluent life style, which hardly befits the ideal of traditional Indian gurus, caused a family feud when his mother, charging that Maharaj Ji had become a playboy, named her oldest son to replace his brother as new guru of the Divine Light Mission.
  45. All God's Children - 1977; THE CULT EXPERIENCE: SALVATION OR SLAVERY? CARROL STONER AND JO ANNE PARKE 36 The New Religions … Why Now?
    The guru began leading a life that was not in keeping with his image as a holy man, and his mother fumed. He countered by saying that the "souls" in the United States were "poor in spirit but not in body," which by implication says one must live frugally only when trying to evangelize among the poor, and not the affluent.
  46. Worshipping the Absurd: 'The Negation of Social Causality among the Followers of Guru Maharaj Ji.' in Sociological Analysis Foss & Larkin 1978
    For instance, Guru Maharaj Ji's enjoyment of lavish material luxury (when celibacy and poverty were enjoined upon ashram residents) has from time to time been taken for an enormous lila. It is not that the premies necessarily find anything the least strange in his collection of cars, planes, Divine Residences, tape machines, and other baubles. After all, why should they begrudge him a white Mercedes if they would not have felt the same about Janis ("Lord, won'tcha buy me a Mercedes Benz") Joplin? Nevertheless, the flaunting of conspicuous wealth by religious dignitaries is alien to the religious traditions of the middle class from which most premies derive (though not to the religious traditions of the Fundamentalist lower classes, both black and white) and is the object of the contempt and derision of the media, middle-class parents, and rival sects; so the subject kept cropping up in satsang, especially with non-premies around. The premies retorted that it is all lila, a gigantic joke played upon a money-crazed and contraption-collecting society in which Guru Maharaj Ji holds up a mirror to a debased consumer culture. This is proof that he is Perfect Master of this Age.
  47. Pilarzyk, Thomas. "The Origin, Development, and Decline of a Youth Culture Religion: An Application of Sectarianization Theory" in Review of Religious Research. Autumn 1978, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 23-43:
    The youth culture's response to the DLM was somewhat ambiguous, combining indifference with some instances of overt hostility. Its most visible response came from media accounts by youth culture publications.2 Most of these responses were made from a decidedly leftist political ideology. Such criticisms usually focused upon the alleged phoniness of the "blissed-out premies" (followers of the guru), the "hocuspocus" aspects of the meditation, and the "materialistic fixations" and the physical condition of the guru (Reed, 1973; Kelley, 1974; Levine, 1974; Baxter, 1974). These accounts commonly pondered the authenticity of conversions of past political activists who became premies. Others questioned the use of movement funds (Kelley, 1974. Morgan, 1973). Premie and former political leftist Rene Davis became a popular target of such publications (see Davis, 1974). In general, most accounts have been quite negative and full of distortions from the DLM's point of view. However, it should be noted that the movement has received positive comments from such youth culture "folk heroes" as anti-war activist Rev. Daniel Berrigan, radical lawyer William Kunstler, and singer-songwriter Cat Stevens. Typical reactions by DLM converts to the negative reports varied from bewilderment and amusement to extreme defensiveness. […]
    At the local ashrams, dissension among premies emerged over the reported leadership conflicts, the guru's physical image and his increasingly materialistic lifestyle. His marriage also held important implications for membership disintegration. For example, reactions to their spiritual leader's marriage included the departure of an estimated 40 to 80 percent of ashram premies nationwide as members redefined their own lives regarding celibacy and marriage. Stories of spontaneously-planned marriages between some ashram premies circulated between local centers. At one commune, the ashram membership dwindled to 9. A New York ashram also was reduced drastically in size from 48 to 28 full-time members. Therefore, the marriage of the movement's symbolic leader led tot a critical re-examination of premie life and to a subsequent mass exodus of ashram premies across the country. This decline in ashram residency had profound effects on the whole movement. Foss and Larkin (1975) note that conversions declined in 1974 to less than 6,000 nationwide.
    2 For example, one can compare reports by establishment mass media with youth movement sources. For the former, see Newsweek (August 2, 1971), Pfarrer (1973), Morean (1973), de Plessix Gray (1973) and Baxter (1974). For the latter, see Jacobi' (1972), Reed (1973), Kelley (1974), Davis (1974) and Levine (1974).
  48. Sacred Journeys The Conversion of Young Americans to Divine Light Mission, James V. Downton Jr 1979
    Luxury and service were his birthright and later became his peronal life-style when he was elevated to his father's position as Perfect Master at the age of eight. (p.2) Reports in the media were unfavorable, repeating often that he seemed to live more like a king than a Messiah (p.5) Then, of course, there were the numerous newspaper accounts of the guru's life-style, which pictured him as more interested in accumulating wealth and power than in changing the world.(p.188)
  49. PRISON OR PARADISE? The New Religious Cults, Rudin & Rudin 1980
    The Mission incorporated in Colorado as a tax-exempt church and grew into a multi-million-dollar a year business enterprise. According to Michael Bergman, the group's Executive Finance Director, between January and June, 1973, its business concerns grew 800 percent. They invested in real estate, operated a printing businesses, a band, and restaurants. Income came also from large gifts, tithing of all members, and from the assets turned over by premies whol lived in the ashrams. Maharaj Ji rode in a green Rolls Royce, a Mercedes 600, a Lotus sportscar, and on several motorcycles. The group owned houses in London, New York, and Denver. In 1974 the Mission purchased the four-acre Anacapa View estate in Malibu, California, for Maharaj Ji and his new bride. The mansion on the ocean with swimming pool and tennis court costs a half a million dollars. p.63
    The guru's mother was so upset over the marriage and her son's opulent lifestyle that she disowned him… p.65
  50. Bromley and Shupe 1982 (Have purchased book freom Amazon)
    That marriage also brought to a climax the rift between Ji and his mother in India. In his years in the United States, Ji had begun to undergo changes she did not approve, including a fashionable hairstyle, Western clothes, a luxurious lifestyle complete with mansion and limousines, and hippie vocabulary. p. 45
    As a result of some overly ambitious projects designed to spread its message, Divine Light Mission has faced severe financial difficulties. Despite these problems the Guru Maharaj Ji was continued to maintain an extremely affluent lifestyle, complete with mansion, limousine, and expensive, fashionable clothing. According to some reports, during the mid-1970s the guru was receiving five hundred dollars per day for his personal expensies. Some premies, according to reports, decided thair guru needed his own private Boeing 747 (sic), and Maharaj Ji responded with delight at the idea. However the guru's lavish lifestyle has been the source of considerable controversy and even defections among premies due to Divine Light Mission's precarious financial condition. It is fair to conclude that Maharaj Ji comes closest to fitting the anticultists' sterotype of a leader living in luxury at the expense of his followers. p.137
  51. (In Dutch:) Schnabel, Paul. Tussen stigma en charisma: nieuwe religieuze bewegingen en geestelijke volksgezondheid ("Between stigma and charisma: new religious movements and mental health"). Erasmus University Rotterdam, Faculty of Medicine, Ph.D. thesis, 1982. Deventer, Van Loghum Slaterus, ISBN 90-6001-746-3. On-line version (2007): http://www.dbnl.org/tekst/schn016tuss01_01/index.htm in Digital library for Dutch literature- Chapter II, page 33, Chapter IV page 99, page 101-102, Chapter V, page 142
    The intelligent, ever-changing Bhagwan who gives daily performances is not more a charismatic leader than the pampered materialistic and intellectually quite unremarkable Maharaj Ji.
  52. The Guru p. 207 Bob Larson 1982
    The Astrodome gathering rang up huge debts, and questions were raised about the Guru's true age and materialistic preoccupations…Maharaj Ji's passion for automobiles extended to a Jensen, Mercedes-Benz, Maserati, Lotus, and a mobile van.
  53. "Whatever Happened to Guru Maharaj Ji?" in Hinduism Today by Himalayan Academy, USA, ISSN 0896-0801, October 1983. Web copy at hinduismtoday.com
    […] Oddly enough, the DLM-related business could not be located via normal channels in the U.S. […]
    […] Incorporated in Colorado as a tax-exempt church, the Divine Light Mission grew quickly into a multi-million dollar-a-year enterprise, Between January and June of 1973, its business concerns ballooned 800%. Income rolled in from premies renouncing all personal assets and paychecks, gifts, real estate, printing businesses, construction companies, film studios, restaurants and even a rock band. […] The young holy man owned a green Rolls Royce, a Mercedes 600, a Lotus sportscar, several motorcycles, homes in London, New York, Denver and the palatial Anacapa View Estate (complete with tennis courts and swimming pool) overlooking the sea on 4 acres in Malibu, California. […] However, certain internal and external forces coalesced with the 'Millenium '73' festival and set changes in motion that would make these highly visible DLM enterprises either non-existent or renamed and untraceable before the end of the 70's.
    […] Flying to major cities around the world almost continually in his private jet, this dynamic wielder Vishnu's discus, dressed in a Western business suit that belies his Eastern background, has taken his message to more than 50 countries, giving sermons to groups ranging form 1,000 to 10,000. […]
    […] With his family usually on board joined by a large staff for cooking, filming, controlling crowds and making arrangements, he touches down wherever the spiritually thirsty congregate and offers them his teachings, his inheritance from his successful father, Shri Hans Maharaj Ji, for 40 years guru to millions in northern India. […]
  54. "New Religious Movements Turn to Worldly Success" KIRPAL SINGH KHALSA Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1986, 25 (2): 233-247
    Divine Light Mission, on the other hand, which has its roots in Hinduism, does not draw on a religion which has traditionally encouraged material growth. Hindu saints and sages usually renounced the world called Maya, the illusion, and led ascetic lives free from worldly entanglements. Guru Maharaj Ji's teachings concerning material growth are in fact quite simple. What is of prime importance to a devotee of Guru Maharaj Ji is receiving knowledge (the personal initiation given by the Guru or by his initiators in which it is believed that God is revealed). Everything else in the devotee's life will take care of itself if the experience and practice of knowledge are the primary concerns in one's life. In the words of Denver's DLM director, "He (Guru Maharaj Ji) doesn't give any teachings about the material life. He is not a marriage counselor, dietitian, (or business advisor). He is not here to give that kind of attention. Basically have the experience he has to offer and when you become rooted in that experience it (questions about material life) will become known unto you." Thus we find no encouragement from the leadership or from the group itself to pursue material goals. Material goals are not seen as evil or wrong and conceivably a devotee can be very rich and still practice knowledge. However, the material world is generally seen, by the devotees of Guru Maharaj Ji, as a distraction to spiritual growth and an area in which one must only necessarily be involved, ideally minimally, but only to meet the basic requirements of life.
    The resource mobilization approach is also useful in analyzing why Divine Light Mission rejected the turn to worldly success. DLM was faced with the same changing social conditions that faced 3HO Foundation and Vajradhatu. Guru Maharaj Ji, however, decided to keep DLM a small movement without a complex organizational structure. The decision was made for the following practical reasons of group survival: 1) the financial crunch was critical and DLM had to cut back; 2) traditional Hinduism has never supported worldly success as religiously significant and the decision was consistent with Guru Maharaj Ji's teachings: and 3) group dependency on the charismatic leader remains firmer in a smaller group. Thus DLM, like 3HO Foundation and Vajradhatu, underwent changes in its structures and practices that were initiated by the charismatic leader, that promoted group survival, and that were consistent with its ideology.
  55. Melton J. Gordon Encyclopedic Handbook of Cults in America. New York/London: Garland, 1986 (revised edition), ISBN 0-8240-9036-5, pp. 141-145:
    [Around May 1974] Premies purchased an estate in Malibu into which the couple moved. Mataji, Maharaj Ji’s mother, disapproved of the marriage and the life style of the now successful guru. Relations within the Holy Family were strained considerably. Accusing her son of breaking his spiritual disciplines, Mataji took control of the Mission in India and replaced him with his eldest brother.
  56. CULTS: Faith, Healing, and Coercion Marc Galanter 1989
    He began dressing in western clothes and adoped a luxurious lifestyle that included setting up residence in a mansion and being ferried about in a limousine. p.24 In 1984 Maharaj Ji moved again, with his wife, four children, and considerable assets. This time he went to the affluent beach community of Malibu in West Los Angeles but did not ask his followers to join him. p.25
  57. Jacobs, Janet Liebman. Divine Disenchantment: Deconverting from New Religions. Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis, 1989 ISBN 0253323967
    The demands on the premies seemed endless. Now Maharaj Ji needed another airplane, the jet they bought him last year was already inadequate. Two hundred thousand dollars had to be raised in a matter of weeks. Sandy and Mark and their two children joined the other premies in a massive fund-raising campaign during which all of their time and enrgy was spent in collecting money that was sent to California. When Sandy complained to the local representative that devotion seemed to be measured according to one's ability to raise funds, she was told that a perfect devotee coujld show her love for the Lord through many forms of service and those who were lazy and unworthy were those who made false distinctions between spiritual devotion and other types of service to the one true Lord on the planet earth. p.22
    Among the more obvious contradictions are the lifestyles to which the leaders become accustomed as their power and influence grow. Especially in the Eastern-based groups, the guru represents a person who has transcended the profame and mundane aspects of life and yet once in the United States, the connection to materialism seems to transform what had been a more pure and spiritual movement in the East. Here this changed in discussed by a Divine Light devotee who left the group after a twelve-year commitment:
    They told us the Maharaj Ji was bringing peace to this planet, but living in this age required airplanes and luxury hotels, the finest food in the world for the Lord, the finest clothing and everything which developed into thousands and thousands of people who were working their butts off, seven days a week. I sometimes feel in the beginning he was really sincere. When I first saw him he was really sincere. But I think a lot of it just came from being corrupted by the lifestyle. Even his personality decayed. p.103
  58. Radical Departures: Desperate Detours to Growing Up (State Library of QLD) p.105 Levine 1989
    …true believership is in by far the majority of instances a temporary phenomenon. It is followed…by a stage I call "seeds of doubt." This is typified by the member seemingly suddenly being aware of two major issues which had for many months (usually) or year been buried. The first is the apparent inconsistencies and hypocrisies in the group itself: for example, living at subsistence level in the Divine Light Mission while the Maharaj Ji lived in ostentatious opulence.


  59. Jones, Rebecca. "Former Guru on a Different Mission" in Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado, January 30, 1998. Available via HighBeam Research
    Things haven't gone so well for the guru in the last 20 years, though success is relative. He didn't bring the world peace, as he promised, but at last report he was living in a Malibu mansion valued at $15 million, with other homes in England, New Delhi, Rome, Madrid and who knows where else; driving his choice of a Rolls-Royce, a Maserati, a Ferrari or a garageful of other expensive cars; jetting around the planet on a $25 million Lear jet; or sailing on his $3 million yacht.


  60. ALTERNATIVE RELIGIONS: A Sociological Introduction Stephen J. Hunt p.117 2003
    Leaving his more ascetic life behind him, he does not personally eschew material possessions. Over time, critics have focused on what appears to be his opulent lifestyle and argue that it is supported largely by the donations of his followers.
  61. Barrett, David V., The New Believers: A Survey of Sects, Cults and Alternative Religions (2003), Cassel, ISBN 1-84403-040-7
    The Divine Light movement used to be criticized for the devotion given to Maharaji, who was thought to live a life of luxury on the donations of his followers; Whittaker, clearly conscious of past criticism, is emphatic that Maharaji has never earned anything from Elan Vital or any other movement promoting his teachings.
  62. "Maharaj Ji" in The Houghton Mifflin Dictionary of Biography. U.S., 2003, ISBN 061825210X, p. 994
    On moving to the US in 1971, he adopted an increasingly lavish lifestyle while the movement lost much of its original Hindu ethos.
  63. p.101 Encyclopedic Dictionary of Cults, Sects, and World Religions. Zondervan 2006
    Though his following continued for some months, gradually the numbers lessened because of the extravagent lifestyle that many observed the "incarnate" youthful god to be living in the United States. A passion for automobiles, real estate, and the best of foods convinced many that hey had been duped.
  64. Peace Is Possible p.219 Andrea Cagan 2007
    [Describes his lifestyle as] affluent [and] privileged.