The power of magazine events lies in their flexibility, economy and simplicity
Every month at a thousand locations across the great subcontinent of India people gather to hear the words of Maharaji being read aloud. These meetings, which have enabled many thousands of people to hear about Knowledge, are known as magazine events.
With a monthly circulation of 32,000, Shabda Brahm, Hindi for "original word", provides the texts from Maharaji's worldwide speaking schedule.
As the magazine is extremely portable, magazine events are set up where videos cannot be shown, due to poor electricity supply, inaccessibility or lack of money. They take place in mountainous, snow-clad regions and other remote areas, where the terrain is rough. They even take place near the nation's capital, Delhi, where the ease and convenience of organising them means more people hear about Maharaj ji.
As long as there is a responsible person, who can read, the events take place under very simple conditions.
The power of magazine events lies in their flexibility, economy, and simplicity. Numbers attending vary. In remote places, there may be two to four people: a schoolboy could be reading to people old enough to be his grandparents. Other events are attended by hundreds, with excerpts beind by an instructor.
Separate events cater for different audiences: introductory, aspirant, and for those who have received Knowledge.
Always the atmosphere is inspirational, sincere and peaceful, leading people naturally towards a further understanding of Knowledge.
Last May many people in the Philippines were clamoring to see videos. When Chita de la Cruz, now living in the UK, flew to her home country for a two-week visit, she intended to set up a couple of small introductory and follow-up programs—something which had not happened in the Philippines for several years. By the end of her visit 95 new people had attended events.
In Manila, 14 new people came to the introductory event and 11 came to the follow-up. Chita then set up a venue in Kalibo, a smaller town where seven people with Knowledge are living.
Unfortunately on the day of the Kalibo event, a power cut meant the videos could not be shown. "I didn't think many people would turn up, but they did, so I suggested they come to my house in the nearby village the following day," she says.
To Chita's surprise, even more people came to the house which meant 10 of the 30 people had to watch the video while standing outside and looking in through the window. The enthusiasm did not end there; Chita arranged a follow-up event.
"One of the interested people was a nun, who agreed that knowledge of yourself is the best thing you could know," said Chita.
People started arriving at 9am for the follow-up which was scheduled for 3pm. Chita was first greeted by two nuns and six of their friends. All in all 14 people came that morning, armed with food and looking to have fun.
"They thought it was going to be a fiesta," says Chita. "That's why they brought food. I had to explain that this was a fiesta of the heart, not the usual kind of celebration we have."
For one hour they watched two videos. Then, after eating, they asked if there were more to watch. Chita showed them a 45-minute video, after which someone said: "We still have time for another." By 12 noon they had enjoyed five videos and much food.
The day was still not over for Chita. At the scheduled start time, 3pm, more people came, and then at 7pm, others came, also wanting to watch videos. "It was the freshness of the people in the Philippines that really struck me," Chita says. "It was a wonderful two weeks for me."