Express & News July 9, 1971
Divine light in Golders Green
WHEN Bal Yogi Guru Maharaj was three years old his father died. Everybody mourned. But the child told his mother to stop crying, declaring with absolute authority: "I am the same man."
Three years later he gave his first talk on his philosophy of life to a mass audience and declared: "I am god." He was already carrying on the work of his father who led the yoga-inspired Divine Light mission in Dehradun, in northern India.
Nobody laughed at this precocious behaviour and now, at the age of 13, he has thousands of disciples in India.
And he seems to be gaining a following outside his own country. Many Europeans crowded with Indians into the lounge of the Odeon, Golders Green, on Sunday, when he spoke as part of his European tour.
Indians seemed neither surprised nor intruded on as numerous hippies crept in quietly, sitting on the floor while the Indians occupied the seats.
With their casual dress a stark contrast to the sleek saris and Sunday suits of the Indians, many silently meditated to a mesmeric recording of Indian music. An unspoken bond seemed to be present between Indian and European, turning the cinema lounge into an unpretentious temple.
As an obliging European tried to divert the audience by groping for words to express the elusive experience of personal peace, the boy, looking remarkably mature, unostentatiously arrived 30 minutes late and settled in a white-draped chair.
Firing words like grapeshot at his rapt audience he emphasised the need to seek inner truth, delivering that vague and well-worn directive to scorn worldly wealth and meditate until higher consciousness is attained.
He said a lot, sometimes growing incoherent or not cogently developing lines of thought, but in essence insisted: "Concentration is the greatest thing in the world and harder than seeing god. Very few can fully concentrate, but the man who can goes beyond. When you can't imagine where your body is, you have this consciousness of mind and you can do it with the grace of a guru.
"Absolute truth is our aim, not riches, food or pleasures. India and America are countries of fame, but people there are dying. You can corrupt a policeman so you don't have to go to jail but you can't bribe death.
"We say we're unhappy, but we're not so unhappy that we are honestly seeking truth today, because we can get material things and our ideas are not going beyond the world.
He assured his audience he could give them the vital knowledge he was hinting at, if they discussed their doubts with him, but he pointed out he was soon leaving for the Continent.
However, there are two Divine Light centres in London - at 4 Alba Gardens, Golders Green, and 5 Lincoln Street, Chelsea. His appearance was arranged by the Shri Sai-Hindu Centre, Golders Green.
13-YEAR-OLD PROMISES 'THE SUPREME JOY'
A 13-YEAR-OLD boy told an audience in Exeter yesterday : "I can give everybody the inner concentration of mind that everyone in the world is searching for."
Guru Maharaj Ji; whose followers say he was born to bring God into men's heart's, added: "I know the technique by which you can obtain the inner concentration, the peace of mind. If people come to me I can tell them the supreme technique so that they can find the supreme joy".
The Guru was speaking at Exeter university. He was dressed in white robes and sat on a large chair which was draped in white cloths and surrounded by flowers.
He is touring England to propagate the teachings of a religious order called the Divine Light Mission.
Before his 20 minute address two of his followers spoke for an hour-and-a-quarter.
Show you God
One, a young Englishman, said the Guru "is able to give you the direct knowledge of how to go within yourself and find your Creator. He can say without any hesitation "Come to me and I will show you God".
The other, an Indian, said the guru began deep meditation at the age of two and started giving "holy discourses" when he was three.
"One day he will shine before the whole world as the sun shines in the sky," said the follower.