Young Guru's Mother Replaces Him
Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File); Apr 12, 1975; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Los Angeles Times (1881 - 1986)  pg. A2

NEW GURU - Bal Bhagwan Ji is blessed by mother after she named him new leader of Divine Light Mission
NEW GURU - Bal Bhagwan Ji is blessed by mother after she named him new leader of Divine Light Mission
(AP) Wirephoto

Young Guru's Mother Replaces Him

NEW DELHI (AP) - Shri Mataji, the Holy Mother of the Divine Light Mission, says she has named her eldest son to replace his brother Maharaj Ji as guru of the movement because her youngest son became a playboy after he moved to the United States.

"Whatever a mother does, she does for the good of the child," said the widow of the founder of the movement "Once he has fallen from his high pedestal because of his own misdeeds, he cannot deserve any more to be respected because he has broken the discipline and ideals that behoove a guru. But I will accept him as a son any time." Bal Bhagwan Ji, 24, is her choice for the new leader of the movement, which claims more than 8 million devotees, most of them in India. Maharaj Ji, the youngest of four brothers, is 17 and has been the guru of the movement since his mother blessed him as a Perfect Master after the death of her husband in 1966.

Shri Mataji, in a statement last week, accused Maharaj Ji of adopting "a despicable, nonspiritual way of life" while living for the past two years in the United States, most recently in Malibu, Calif. His headquarters in Denver says he returned to India this week to oust his mother and eldest brother from the Mission, but he has not yet surfaced. There is speculation that the youth may be trying to assess his strength in India before making a move. A test could come this weekend, when separate festivals have been announced for the rival gurus to celebrate the Hindu spring harvest holiday.

The Denver headquarters said Maharaj Ji would hold his festival at Lucknow, in northern India. Shri Mataji and Bhagwan Ji plan their celebration at Hardwar, in the Himalayan foothills on the banks of the sacred river Ganges. Interviewed Friday in the Mission's headquarters in New Delhi with her new guru sitting beside her, the 49-year-old mother blamed the downfall of her youngest on a handful of American associates, including his 26-year-old secretary, whom he married last year.

"They have spoiled him," she said, speaking in Hindi. 'These people, because of getting so many donations, have corrupted themselves and Maharaj Ji.

They are using him like a hen that lays golden eggs, as a tool to get more and more money and gifts for a few American followers who are living in a high style."

Shri Mataji angrily denied she had renounced Maharaj Ji because she and Bhagwan Ji wanted a share of the funds collected in America.

"There is no jealousy about this," she said. "No guru or holy person should want money."

Bhagwan Ji, who speaks fluent English, said he did not expect his brother to try to contact him.

"He can't face me," he said. "He's shy. He has an inferiority complex and knows I had been doing a lot of his work in the past, before he started showing disrespect to our mother.

"Ultimately, Maharaj Ji will understand he has done wrong and he will come to us for forgiveness. We will then accept him as a member of our family but not as guru."