Joe Anctil: Press Secretary

Joe Anctil had the unfortunate position of being Press Secretary for Divine Light Mission during what we could call the Controversial Years and not to put too fine a point on it he was the Professional Liar for Maharaji. In an interview in the Divine Times he said, "The main thing is for the premie really to understand that Guru Maharaj Ji has given me direction on my service, how to be up-front with the press and really not hide anything." To give him the benefit of the doubt, not everything he told the press was a lie.


  • Maharaj Ji never said 'I am the only way.'
  • Asked why some ex-members have been so critical, he said they apparently had inflated expectations of a "high," but "we're down here."
  • He said Maharaj Ji always wanted to simplify the program and reduce the esoteric externals but "his mother wouldn't let him." The guru and his mother, now in India, had a falling out more than a year ago when he married an assistant. "The mother wanted to build up beliefs about him, so she would be all-powerful," Anctil said. "But experience didn't bear it out. It was only empty words. They didn't mean anything." - Spiritual group's claims, practices are changing March 6, 1976
  • Joe Anctil, Balyogeshwar's press secretary, defended the perfect master on the grounds that he wasn't following any traditions or Indian concepts and so couldn't be bound by Indian social taboos. Mr. Anctil argued that "Maharaj Ji doesn't say what to eat, drink or smoke. He wants to change the hearts of men and not their habits." - The World of Gurus
  • The Maharaj Ji, the 16 year-old guru who has a penchant for sports cars, has a new car, a 1974 English Jensen four-passenger touring model. Joe Anctil, spokesman for the youthful guru, who is said to have 6 million followers throughout the world, issued the following explanation in Denver: "We had been looking for some time for an open-topped car which Maharaj Ji could ride in at festivals, parades or large gatherings. When we found this car we snapped it up because it was such a bargain," The bargain price was $22,000. - The New York Times, Published: November 30 1974


  • Regarding previous portrayals of him as the one, perfect manifestation and channel of divinity in this age, a reflection of Hindu concepts of "avatars" of successive periods, Anctil said some still see him that way, but added: "There's going to be less and less of that. We're throwing that out. - Spiritual group's claims, practices are changing March 6, 1976
  • He said some of the past grandiose representations of it resulted from "the desire of people for something mystical. But it didn't make sense."