The latest figure for aspirants in 22 European countries is 2,021 as of the end of April this year.
Countries with the most people waiting are the United Kingdom with 845, Spain with 252, Italy with 162, France with 123, Germany with 116, and Greece with 110.
Tiny Luxembourg currently has one person waiting for Knowledge, and in next-door Belgium there are six.
In Scandinavia, there are a total of of 83 people: with 20 in Denmark, 11 in Finland, 15 in Norway, and 31 in Sweden. Further south 15 people wait in Portugal and 21 in Israel.
Yugoslavia has 34 aspirants and Croatia and Bosnia both have six.
Nearly a third of this combined total, 634, have been watching videos regularly for over five months.
The origins of Baisakhi
Each April for over 15 years, DUO in India has invited Maharaji to attend a Baisakhi festival. These spring events are held at Shri Sant Yog Ashram in New Delhi.
It takes its name from the word Baisakh, the brightest constellation in the April night-skies. This traditional festival also heralds the new year in many parts of India, particularly the North, and has inspired a well known Hindi song: Color my clothes with the color Baisakhi.
Maharaji has been visiting Japan for over 25 years and has always expressed a keen interest in the country with its distinct culture.
Last October he attended a participation meeting in Japan where he stressed the need for change and - for people with Knowledge to take responsibility, and enjoy life. On March 30 this year, he returned for a two-day visit, which began when he addressed 405 people at Tokyo's R'n Hall.
Speaking to a mixed audience of people with Knowledge and aspirants, he said: "In this world, there are many kinds of people, but, for the purpose of what I have to say, you can just break them down to two categories: those who seek the answers within them, and those who seek the answers outside.
"Those who understand about within, understand that your universe is not out there, your universe is inside of you. For the universe out there, all you need is a very nice telescope. For the universe in here, you need the gift of Knowledge. Once you decide in your life which one of those two you are, then you can begin to understand what Knowledge is all about."
He went on to describe Knowledge as "the medicine that removes the ailments of ignorance", and stressed the importance of enjoying life. "Every day, I need to welcome it. Every day, I need to embrace it. Every day, I need to be excited about life."
The following day Maharaji gave Knowledge to 25 people and later spoke to 304 people at a participation meeting. Focusing on propagation and team effort, Maharaji encouraged everyone to help others get to know about Knowledge, but stressed the need for communication and synchronised effort.
"There are four very important aspects that anybody who is going to help , in any way needs to remember: synchronise, synchronise, synchronise, and synchronise."
He also dwelt on video events, telling the audience that by organising them they were inviting his message to their communities, as it was not always possible to invite him in person. "Because of the time constraints, that video event is as close to inviting Maharaji in real terms as you can get."
At last year's meeting, he consulted with the Japanese people who have Knowledge how to best deliver his teachings in their unique cultural context.
Much of what he said then defied the restrictions of culture: "Inspiration has to come from inside. You have Knowledge, you have a master. You have a beautiful opportunity for service, and if you recognise that much, then that should be more than enough."
He concluded by saying: "But what does Japan need? That's what we have to look at. And it's time to take on the responsibilities and, yes, it is time for change. Everybody has to take responsibility, everyone has to enjoy. The past is gone. And we are here."
Knowledge figures grow
An overview of last year's statistics
Already 1998 looks set to break the statistical barriers of last year. Record Knowledge sessions have already been held in India, with 3,656 and 3,360 people in attendance on consecutive days in April at the first major event of the year.
Last year's big figures are fairly well known by now: 17,113 people received Knowledge during 1997 in a total of 21 Knowledge sessions in every region of the world.
It was almost double the 1996 figure of 9,386. It also included a session for 3,554 people in New Delhi on November 15. Almost the same number, 3,486, received Knowledge the following day, a total of 7,040 new people in just two days, and still 8,000 aspirants were left to receive Knowledge at a future date. And once the planned new 10,000-capacity Knowledge center building is erected, we will probably see that filled to capacity as well - testimony to the success video screenings of Maharaji's Hindi presentations are having around the towns and villages of India.
Almost as impressive are the figures for Nepal, where on the two consecutive days of 9 and November 10, 778 and 749 people received Knowledge respectively in the new facility specially built for the purpose in Kathmandu - a total of 1,527.
In the West, the pace is more sedate, and the figures are small in comparison. But they represent a steady effort in a growing number of countries to make people aware of the gift Maharaji offers.
The numbers receiving Knowledge at the sessions held during the rest of the year ranged from 33 in Tokyo in September to 366 in Abidjan in July. The African session was the largest ever outside India and Nepal. This same month saw Maharaji conduct two sessions in North America - for 166 people on the West Coast and 167 in Miami - and follow them with sessions for 211 people in Venezuela and 162 in Santiago, Chile. This American activity came after a European tour which saw Knowledge sessions of 153 in Barcelona, 91 in Milan, and 201 in Brighton, England. In August it was South Africa's turn, with figures of 64 in Durban and 112 a few days later in Mauritius, where land for a Knowledge center has recently been found.
In September it was the turn of the Pacific region, where 40 people received Knowledge in Taiwan, 216 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and, with the major event at Amaroo intervening in the meantime, the Knowledge session in Japan taking place on the last day of the month. People in Australia had their wait for Knowledge ended with a session in the Amaroo Knowledge Center for 101 on August 24 - the one day Maharaji had free between two weeks of eight-hours a-day conference activity.
Quite a feat
In Africa aspirants traveled from many neighboring countries to be able to attend these sessions: at the Cote d'Ivoire, Abidjan, session, for example, 102 Ghanaians and 31 from Benin attended, quite a feat considering the difficulties of traveling in West Africa.
No matter how few needed it, high quality simultaneous translation was provided for each language. The 1997 series of Knowledge sessions represent an impressive tour de force, made possible not only by his indefatigable traveling and effort, but by the contribution of everyone who helped, directly or indirectly, to make them happen.
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