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Divine Light Mission


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A new religious movement, founded in the 1960s by Shri Hans Ji Maharaj, and derived in part from the syncretic Hindu-Sikh sant tradition. The spiritual leadership of the movement passed to Ji Maharaj's youngest son, Guru Maharaj Ji in 1966, when he was eight years old. In the early 1970s he moved to the US, where he attracted a substantial following, propagating the ‘Knowledge’, a form of primordial energy, which was to be obtained through four types of meditation designed to realize the inner divinity of the individual. His followers, known as ‘premies’, established a network of āśrams, both in the US and around the world, but the movement went into decline and lost most of its Indian religious dimension after Maharaj married one of the premies. This caused his mother to return to India with many of the Indian teachers of the ‘Knowledge’. In 1983 Maharaj Ji reconstituted the movement as ‘Elan Vital’, and subsequently changed his name to Maharaji.

Subjects: Hinduism.


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