PORTUGAL

p06 (178K)

"We really start feeling that love, then we really start understanding a lot of things, then we start knowing that we're just not something out of somewhere, but we are a part of that Knowledge. We are a part of that peace and in this lifetime we can be where there is complete love, where there's love inside and there's love everywhere. In fact, we can create an environment which will fulfill us completely."
- Guru Maharaj Ji, Lisbon, Portugal, 14 May 1976

Over four years ago in the city of Ibiza, Spain, a thirty-five year old woman was initiated into Knowledge and then traveled to Portugal. In November, 1972, with an architect who had received Knowledge in England, she began Portugal's first ashram in Lisbon. From the Montrose Guru Puja in Colorado, more premies arrived to help and others came from England. At first, due to Portugal's political disagreement with India over Goa, Indian intiators were not allowed into the country. Aspirants had to travel to England and Spain for Knowledge. Still the Mission increased in" numbers until in 1973 there were fifty premies and another ashram had been established north of Lisbon. In April 1974, Portugal had a change of government, the political climate improved and initiators began making tours of the premie community. Now Portugal has a community of about four hundred and fifty premies.

This community came together in workshops shortly before Maharaj Ji's visit. In one-to-one groups they asked each other two questions, "What is the importance of Guru Maharaj Ji in your life?" and "What is the importance of your relationship with other premies?" One community premie felt that these discussion groups began with little open communication and "showed clearly how all of us are so superficial in everything concerning Guru Maharaj Ji and the real purpose of our life. However, it was possible for us to open up and to see the direction in which we have to put our efforts to go deeper with Knowledge. It seemed that for the first time we were understanding something about the importance of communication."

Another premie saw the workshops as helping "the community become more homogeneous. The fact that we brought up our limitations was an invitation for us to be more sincere and less paranoid in our relationships. After all, we are all in the same boat."

On 14 May in Lisbon, about three hundred and fifty premies and one hundred aspirants attended Maharaj Ji's program. It was a short event, with one song in the beginning and then satsang from Arthur Brigham, Bob Mishler and finally Guru Maharaj Ji. One twenty-two year old community member described the audience's reaction as if it had "bumped very hard on something strong: that was Guru Maharaj Ji's satsang. Some were laughing, others were crying. After such a program, there are not many alternatives. Guru Maharaj Ji has shaken us. He has detached us from him and has shown us his role, giving us the opportunity to find our roles, and that is the question now. At the same time people were encouraged to continue on this path, they also felt disappointed. Many concepts were blown away. That was natural, it happened to all of us. At the end, everything was so beautiful. I think we'll never forget what happened."

p07 (178K)

7