Newsround

NATIONAL INFORMATION NUMBERS

[]=Country Code ()=City/Area Code


EUROPE

Austria [43] (1) 710 3585
Denmark [45] (31) 59 03 02
France [33] (1) 47 64 15 17
Germany [49] (30) 3 48 26 20
Greece [30] (1) 748 8650
Israel [972] (3) 5465023
Italy [39] (51) 232871
Netherlands [31] (20) 422 3818
Portugal [351] (1) 397 3253
Slovenia [386] (61) 483 212
Spain [34] (1) 413 19 11
Sweden [46] (8) 80 05 37
UK [44] (191) 263 0100


NORTH AMERICA

Canada [1] (514) 969 4108
Mexico [52] (5) 286 4770
USA [1] (818) 889 0500


PACIFIC/ASIA

Australia [61] (7) 3241 4131
Japan [81] (75) 495 4520
Malaysia [60] (3) 783 6017
New Zealand [64] (9) 537 1704


SOUTH AMERICA

Argentina [54] (1) 807 2219
Brazil [55] (11) 852 7141
Chile. [56] (2) 232 9691
Peru [51] (1) 222 1653
Venezuela [58] (2) 561 1716

Prem Rawat's Connect magazineBridging the Gap

Clarity, passion, profundity and wit on the subject of life

A simple step forward

After the 1997 events in Europe, Ireland began to organise and promote more introductory events. A large number of guests came, more than 100 last August alone. Numbers remained very positive for a number of months, but the follow-up events were not so well attended.

Among the reasons were inadequate information and irregular scheduling, but something more seemed to be missing. Irish organiser John McClean says: "There had to be an elegant solution to what should have been an elegant process. We felt that very few people, having heard the introduction, were continuing to engage in the learning process on offer.

"When we carefully observed what we were doing, it seemed that without even realising it we were making it hard for people to discover for themselves what the whole thing was about.

"The one-off follow-ups we planned to the introductory events seemed inadequate. Apart from not working, they even seemed to be putting a little bit of pressure on people. There was no smooth easy transition from one stage to another. We began to think how we could build a bridge for people, to make it simpler for them between the introductory process and the aspirant process."

A chance breakfast chat

A small team of people worked at finding a way to bridge this gap. But it was a fax of the schedule of events in Seattle, USA, which finally helped formulate a new approach. This arrived in Bangor, Northern Ireland, after a chance breakfast chat with a local Seattle organiser at last year's Long Beach event in California.

"When I read the fax," said John, "I knew it contained the kernel of the solution. Here was simply another signposted stage in the process called Finding out more.

"It made such simple sense: there would be regular events each week where people would come, whenever they felt like it, to find out more and to get a better feel for the thing."

An important part of the picture was a brochure for guests setting out simple steps for anyone wishing to know more about Maharaji and Knowledge. This enabled them to choose the pace of their own involvement. "Suddenly there was extra space for people to explore for themselves in a very natural way.

"Choice was at the core of it," explained John. "The number of people wanting to actively pursue Knowledge grew dramatically."

Ira Woods, an instructor visiting Ireland, helped to fine-tune these new developments. In his experience, practically every city he visited around the world, seemed to have its own approach to catering for the needs of interested people, so he wrote a report based on the Irish experience for all the other instructors to consider.

In the UK, the approach was adopted as Learning more about Knowledge. In this way, visiting instructors were able to work with the local effort, build on it and harmonise it.

John concluded: "I know there is no magic solution to propagation and no formula that can do the trick. No matter what we come up with, people still have to be inspired enough to want to let others know, and a heart needs to be touched. However, I do believe that whatever we can do to make sure things are simple and clear can only bring forth good results."


NOW & THEN

WEMBLEY EVENTS

Prem Rawat's Connect magazine Once more, Maharaji attends an event at one of London's premier halls, the Wembley Arena - a venue which, together with the adjacent Conference Center, has hosted 10 similar events since 1977. Last year the doors were opened to the public at a major event attended by 5,500 people. Prior to that, Wembley events - usually extending over two or three days - have included question and answer sessions, aspirant programs, practice sessions, introductory, and general events.

Those who attended Wembley programs in the'70s will remember Maharaji sitting on lavishly decorated stages bedecked with flowers on a grand scale. Audiences, consisting of anyone and everyone, would have awaited the moment he came on stage with much anticipation - not knowing what time he would arrive nor how long he would remain. The precision timing of current events was unknown at the time.

Video presentations were rare, so a day of waiting in the hall was usually filled with music and inspirational talk from instructors.

During the'80s Maharaji's visits tended to be short and sweet. Sessions were separately targeted at those with Knowledge or the public. In July 1990, a three-day event at the Arena and Conference Center included an open event for new people and a separate address to a Hindi-speaking audience.

4 Connect 1998