Boy GuruBoy Guru

All brothers of love come to welcome Guru Maharaj Ji. He is coming in the clouds with great power and glory and his silver steed will drift down at 4 p.m. at Los Angeles International Airport, TWA Flight 761.

It was a modest enough announcement for a guru who claims 3 million followers throughout the world. But then Balyogeshwar Sri Sant Ji Maharaj, who appeared as promised last week at Hollywood's Divine Light Mission to begin a three-month tour of North America, is not the usual bearded wise man from India. In fact, at the age of 13, Guru Maharaj Ji has no beard at all.

The son of an Indian holy man who died in 1966, the Maharaj began meditating with his father at the age of 2. At 6, he startled crowds with hours-long discourses in English on the nature of truth, and at St. Joseph's Academy back home in Dehra Dun, India, he is perhaps the only ninth-grader with a bodyguard, an appointments secretary and 2,000 mahatmas who call him master. As he sat amid papers marked "Top Sacred" at the crowded Divine Light Mission house last week, some of the faithful who came daily to sit at his feet sought to define his relation with God. "You give your devotion to God through me," the Maharaj explained. "I multiply it many times and then send it to Him." Did that mean, asked one disciple, that they should call him God? "I am human - hands, bones, lungs," the boy responded. "But guru is greater than God because if you go to guru, guru will show you God."

NEWSWEEK August 2, 1971