Rennie Davis, Antiwar Activist
Rennie C. Davis, the antiwar activist, held a news conference here the other day to explain the new focus of his life: a 15-year-old guru in India called Maharaj Ji.
"My main message is that there is now a practical way to fulfill all the dreams of the movement of the early sixties and seventies," Mr. Davis declared. "There's a practical method to end poverty, racism, sexism, imperialism" and the economic system that he says puts greed above social need.
That method, he said, involved "receiving knowledge - that is, experiencing the source of life---from Maharaj Ji, whom he described as "the one perfect master" on earth at this time.
The guru, whose followers are said to total several million including 25,000 in the United States received public attention last November when it was reported that he had tried to smuggle money, jewels and watehes into the country, and that the Indian Government was investigativg his finances. He is still in India but followers say he will be visiting here within a month or so.
Speaking at the New York headquarters of the guru's Divine Light Mission, at 142 E 35th Street, Mr. Davis, who was a defendant in the "Chicago Seven" conspiracy trial in 1970, Said he had first heard about the guru from some friends last January during a flight to Paris, where he was to meet with Mrs. Nguyen Bo Dinh the negotiator for the Vietcong.
Mr. Davis said that he never had been religious and that his first reaction to news of the boy had been skepticism and even hostility. Nevertheless, he accepted a free plane ticket to India, he recounted, and "received knowledge" there from a disciple of the guru after eight days.
Initially uncomfortable with the boy, Mr. Davis said he now loved him. "I would cross the planet on my hands and knees to touch his toe," the 32-year-old activist said.
Copyright The New York Times
Originally published May 6, 1973