Nevada State Journal, Wednesday, November 8, 1972  --  13

Devotees Hail Guru In India

Devotees Hail Guru In India

NEW DELHI (UPI) - Teenage guru Maharaj Ji, called 'Lord of the Universe" by his followers, landed at New Delhi's airport Tuesday and was met by 10,000 devotees, some of whom rushed to touch and kiss his feet as he was swept through customs. The crowd, including some 3,000 young Americans and other foreigners, sang "The Lord of the Universe Has Come to Us," as they waited for the plane carrying their leader to arrive from New York.

Bedecked Throne

Upon his arrival back to his homeland after almost a year and a half mission abroad, the pudgy 14-year-old was led quickly through customs to a flower-bedecked throne - mounted on a Jeep. He then released four white pigeons handed to him by a follower and gave his blessing to all by extending his arms and wriggling his heavily-ringed fingers.

Indians in the crowd said thousands of peasants were trucked to the capital city to participate in the welcome.

Followers from abroad paid $430 for round-trip tickets that brought them to India on chartered jets for a three-week pilgrimage.

Before Maharaj Ji's plane arrived, young Westerners in the crowd strummed guitars and sang. An Indian band hired for the occasion played a somewhat incongruous march - "Colonel Bogey" - from the days of British rule.

Feet Kissed

When he stepped from his plane and was garlanded, Maharaj Ji was hustled to customs where some of his followers knelt and kissed his feet.

Once on his throne, the young guru scattered some flower petals over those persons nearby, released the pigeons and after giving his blessing, was driven away in a gaily decorated Japanese sedan.