It seems like Maharaj Ji had it in mind that some premies would come to this year's Holi festival, and others would not. For almost a month before the event rumors had it that Holi would be held in Los Angeles. Two weeks before it was an "established fact." Everyone was talking about making it to California, packing up their cars, getting vacations from their jobs and heading off for the fun.
The only trouble was nobody asked Maharaj Ji. Maharaj Ji was in L.A., Premlata had just been born, of course that's where Holi would be. But the fact was Maharaj Ji had other plans: Holi this year was to be at the exact same location it had been last year - on the beach on the East coast of Florida. Guru Maharaj Ji had asked the premies organizing the festival to keep the location very quiet; he wanted the event to be very small, and if hordes of people came he would have called the whole thing off.
Premies from the East coast of Florida even went to Los Angeles. In all, 200 premies arrived in L.A. to see Maharaj Ji at Holi. Then he flew to Miami. There were about 300 people at the Florida festival, and then about 600 at the satsang program Maharaj Ji held the following night.
On the other hand there were the premies that Maharaj Ji seemed to want to go to Holi. Some of the stories are real winners. Francisco Arce, who has recently been touring Latin America preparing the countries for Guru Puja, arrived at Holi after a cosmically curious chain of events. Francisco had been on his way from Caracas, Venezuela to Bogota, Colombia. When he tried to present his transit visa to the airport officials in Bogota he was refused entry into the country. When he arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the next stop, an airline executive met him to apologize - the visa mixup had been the company's mistake. He then presented Francisco with a return ticket to Bogota. I'm sorry, said the man, but there are no non-stop flights from San Juan to Bogota - would he mind going first to Miami and then to Bogota ? Not at all, said Francisco, not at all.
Guru Maharaj Ji stayed in Miami for a total of five days, giving one program and spending a day on the beach showering everyone with colored water and grace.
Holi will be covered in full in an upcoming special issue of "And It Is Divine".
DENVER - Guru Maharaj Ji, accompanied by his brother, Raja Ji, and Bob Mishler, International Director of DLM, arrived in Bombay yesterday. He is now shuttling between Bombay, Calcutta, New Delhi, Lucknow, and Patna, meeting with Mission officials. His intentions are to assume control of the Mission in India and put the management in the hands of trusted followers. At this time the new management will not include his mother or his eldest brother.
LUCKNOW, India - (AP) - The 17-year-old Guru Maharaj Ji said Sunday he is still a "perfect master" worthy of worship by his devotees even if his mother thinks he is a playboy in the United States.
But he backed off from a personal confrontation with his mother.
Local authorities withdrew premission for the guru's Divine Light Mission to hold a planned festival that was to become a test of strength between his supporters and those of his mother, Mata Ji.
Maharaj Ji held a news conference on the lawn of a luxury hotel - his first meeting with the press since his mother renounced him two weeks ago and accused him of leading "a despicable, nonspiritual way of life in the United States."
"It is funny and ridiculous to say they have removed me from office as if it is a public office to which I was elected or appointed," Maharaj Ji said. "Nobody creates a guru. He is self-existent. Nobody can make a guru except the Guru Maharaj Ji himself.
"I am not leaving my job. These accusations have not changed me. These will result in only further perfecting of the perfect master."
The guru said he planned to return to the United States soon without going to see his mother. The Divine Light Mission, which has its U.S. headquarters at Denver, Colo., claims 50,000 American followers and eight million in India.
"But I will come back again and again to India and many other countries to spread my message," Maharaj Ji said. "This time I came to set right wrong notions, ideas and feelings among my devotees. My duty is to save people and to spread happiness and peace."
Joe Anctil's phone has been ringing constantly for the last four weeks. He's flown to Los Angeles, Miami, Denver and New York to handle situations with the press. Time, Newsweek and People magazines have spoken to him in depth. Inter-state television networks and international press representatives have come to meet with him in person - all with one common thing in mind: to get a little clarity on the recent stories that have broken about Guru Maharaj Ji, his family and his Divine Light Mission.
In the midst of all this, we decided to drop in on Joe and see what was really happening.