DLM/EV History: Early Years

Divine Light Mission founded, Maharaji becomes Satguru

Maharaji's father, Param sant Satgurudev Shri Hans Ji Maharaj, established Divine Light Mission (DLM) in India circa 1960. Pictured at right holding his youngest son Maharaji, he and his wife, Mata Ji, also had 3 older sons who were given religious titles: Bal Bhagwan Ji, Bhole Ji, and Raja Ji.

Hans Ji Maharaj with son, Maharaji.

Shri Hans initiated 6-year-old Maharaji and his three elder brothers at the same time in 1963. Speaking about it later, Maharaji said:

'I was given Knowledge and didn't realize it straight away. I knew it was my duty and in about a month, I realized it'.

Maharaji said that his father's voice came to him three times, the last during the funeral, saying:

'This is the last time I will tell you. You are He. You must take this Knowledge to the world'.

Maharaji was recognized as his father's successor following the funeral, but DLM ex-President Bob Mishler later related how an attempt was made at the time to have the eldest son, Bal Bhagwan Ji, crowned in his place.

New Satguru, Maharaji, at age 8.

Born into the family cult, Maharaji was involved in propagation efforts from a very young age. At a 1996 event held in Rome, Italy, he described his early role in his father's mission:

'I was his attractor. Events would often be set up and nobody would be there. So, I would get up and I would start speaking. And people would hear my voice and they would all come.

I remember there was an event in Nasik in the middle of these apartment buildings, and nobody had shown up. It was Sunday morning and nobody was there, except for a few people who had Knowledge. I went out and I started speaking. And when they heard this little boy speaking, everybody started coming out to see what was going on, and the next thing you know, the whole place was packed. And then Shri Maharaj Ji came and spoke to the people.'

On July 19, 1966, Shri Hans died. He is said to have previously named the 8-year-old Maharaji as his successor by having written to his wife:

'I send my love to our three elder sons and complete prostrations to our youngest.'

Westerners in search of eastern mysticism had been arriving at Divine Light Mission's ashram in Prem Negar on the banks of the Ganges throughout the '60s. In October 1969, Maharaji sent one of his high-ranking devotees, Mahatma Guru Charanand, to open the first western ashram in a London apartment.

At the 1970 Hans Jayanti festival (celebrating Maharaji's father's birthday) held in Dehli, India, Maharaji gave a discourse to those attending which has become known as his 'Peace Bomb' satsang. In it he stated:

'I declare I will establish peace in this world'.

When later asked whether this would be in the next 20 years, he replied:

'No, no, no, no, no, very soon, very soon'. (Who is Guru Maharaj Ji. p99)

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