Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File); Nov 27, 1974; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Los Angeles Times (1881 - 1985) pg. B2

Maharaj Ji Buys $400,000 Home Base in Malibu Area

Times Religion Writer

The 16-year-old Guru Maharaj Ji, the Indian-born "perfect master" who claims six million devotees worldwide, has moved his home to the Malibu foothills, it was announced Tuesday.

Land and buildings purchased there for $400,000 will also serve as the West Coast headquarters for the young guru's movement, known as the Divine Light Mission.

A spokesman at the world headquarters in Denver said Maharaj Ji has 3,000 followers in Los Angeles County, about 9,000 on the West Coast and 50,000 in the United States.

Though he has had homes in Denver and India, Los Angeles information director John Berzner said Maharaj Ji has lived about 75% of his time in a Pacific Palisades home.

The move to Malibu in part was to find more secluded surroundings for the guru, his wife and entourage. Non-members sometimes would seek out Maharaj Ji at odd hours, including one who stood outside the house at 2 a.m. one night yelling "Maharaj Ji! Maharaj Ji!"

Spokesmen, citing security reasons, would not disclose the exact location of the new property.

The young spiritual leader was married last May to his secretary, Marolyn Lois Johnson, 24, with special permission from a juvenile judge. The guru will turn 17 next month.

Maharaj Ji has made a considerable impact among American youths since first visiting Los Angeles in 1971.

He attracted about 20,000 followers to a gathering one year ago in Houston's Astrodome. Onetime radical Rennie Davis is one of the most widely known believers in Maharaj Ji as "Lord of the Universe."

The guru has been criticized for his expensive cars and luxurious living.

But Berzner said Maharaj Ji has broken from the traditional image of spiritual sages to become relevant to a technological age. His spiritual insights should not be disregarded because of his lifestyle, Berzner said.

The Divine Light Mission handles about $300,000 a month in income - half from contributions of disciples and half from various business investments, according to an official at the Denver headquarters.