Fifth Estate Magazine
Guru Goons Loose
An intense investigation has revealed that two followers of the 15-year-old Guru Maharaj Ji who nearly killed a Fifth Estate reporter August 7th are still active, secretly, in the Guru's Divine Light Mission. This is so even though the Guru publicly purged the two "overzealous" followers as renegades after the incident.
Fifth Estate staff member Pat Halley had placed a shaving cream pie in the face of the teen-age god on August 7 during a session of Detroit's Common Council. "I don't want the man hurt or arrested," explained the embarrassed child-god to his followers and the press as he wiped the soap from his face.
However, one week later the pie-thrower was brutally beaten from behind by two of the Guru's top devotees.
THE TWO FOLLOWERS OF MAHARAJ JI WHO TRIED TO KILL A FIFTH ESTATE REPORTER ARE STILL ACTIVE AT THE TOP LEVELS OF THE MISSION.
The two men, one an older Indian and the other a young American, had tried to reach Halley for several days after he threw the pie. They told him they wanted to "expose" Guru Maharaj Ji as a fraud.
The older man claimed he had traveled all the way from India for that purpose. To track down the story, and aware of the warnings from other Fifth Estate staff members not to accompany the men alone, Halley led them to his apartment.
"For forty-five minutes or so they told me what a great thing I had done, that the guru was evil, and that they would show me the hypnotic techniques he employs so that I could tell the world," he recalls. "Then the older man told me to close my eyes, which I did while he walked behind me. I heard the sound of metal scraping metal, and thought it must be some kind of flashlight they used to produce their divine light or something. Then I saw the
THEN I SAW THE LIGHT ALL RIGHT - AND LOTS OF STARS. I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON UNTIL I HEARD MY BLOOD SPATTER ON THE WALL AND STARTED SCREAMING.
light all right - and lots of stars. I didn't realize what was going on till I heard my blood splatter on the wall."
He screamed, the men fled. Luckily friends were next door and managed to get him to a hospital. He had received six skull lacerations and contusions; for the rest of his life Halley will have a plastic plate over his cerebrum where the skull bone was shattered.
His friends had seen the car in which the two men drove off and had already copied the license plate number. By the time the car was traced to the Detroit Divine Light Mission, the two were in the DLM's Chicago ashram. The DLM national headquarters in Denver released a statement to the press which read in part:
The Guru immediately requested that the Divine Light Mission conduct a full investigation … As a result of this investigation the assailants were located, confessed their part in the incident, and offered to turn themselves in. The local authorities were immediately notified but apparently made no effort to arrest. The young Guru … extended his regards to Pat Halley's family and friends with the assurance that the Divine Light Mission wished to help in whatever way possible to see that the persons responsible are brought to justice.
The men were identified as 25-year-old Richard Fletcher and 55-year-old Jupteswar Misra. All attempts to find out more about them were rebuffed by the DLM's national leaders, one of whom told the Fifth Estate, "You're just trying to destroy our organization - I don't have to tell you anything." A felony warrant, which as of this writing is still in effect, was issued in Detroit against the two men, charging them with "assault with intent to do great
ALL ATTEMPTS TO CAPTURE THE TWO ASSAILANTS WERE REBUFFED BY DIVINE LIGHT. "YOU'RE JUST TRYING TO DESTROY OUR ORGANIZATION," SAID ONE SPOKESMAN.
bodily harm" (although no extradition proceedings were initiated by the Michigan authorities). "Those two were not devotees of the Guru Maharaj Ji," a DLM official told me later. "They ceased being that when they first thought of an act which is so contrary to Guru Maharaj Ji's principles."
Have they? When I talked to Rennie Davis just before Houston, he admitted to me that the two are still very much a part of the DLM. In fact the Indian turns out to be Mahatma Fakiranand, one of the first two mahatmas to give knowledge in America. Mahatmas are an elite clan who are solely endowed with the power of giving Knowledge. "He gave Knowledge to thousands of people in this country," said Davis. "Was he at least stripped of his mahatmadom?" I asked. "No, he wasn't - he was just shipped off to Europe and he's there now giving Knowledge."
Davis claimed that the mahatma's American co-conspirator "was completely innocent - Fakiranand was behind the whole thing." Fletcher and his twin
RENNIE DAVIS ADDED - "I REALLY FEEL MAHARAJ JI IS DOING EVERYTHING. HE HAD THE PIE THROWN IN HIS FACE AND HE HAD FAKIRANAND DO THAT. IT'S A BIG GAME."
brother are considered to be the reincarnations of St. Peter - "They are the most meditative two people in the United States; they meditate four or five days non-stop."
Ranhan Chadha, one of the leading DLM officials in India, elaborated further: "There are no hard and fast rules to being holy. In India there have been gurus who have led their followers into full-scale war's. The Perfect Master does whatever the best thing is for that time and space. When you realize what devotion is, you become a fanatic - you really want to please Guru Maharaj Ji."
Rennie Davis added, "I really feel Maharaj Ji is doing everything - he has the pie thrown in his face, and he had Fakiranand do that. The whole thing is one gigantic lila [i.e., game] that operates on many levels." Including, apparently, both felonious assault and its cover-up.
STAFF NOTE: Parts of this article appear in the November 29 edition of the New York Review of Books. Its author, Ken Kelley, has worked with the Ann Arbor Sun, Berkeley Barb, Sundance Magazine, Ramparts, Rolling Stone and numerous other "alternative" publications. Kelley has been investigating the Guru Maharaj Ji and the Divine Light Mission over the last year. He plans to publish a book about the teenage Guru phenomenon in the very near future.