MILLENNIUM '73 EDITION
Rennie & Paul - Part II
On the afternoon of Saturday, November 10, the following colloquy took place between Rennie Davis and Paul Krassner. In an informal sort of "debate", Paul, Rennie and moderator Ken Kelly sat at a table in the Astrohall, surrounded by about 50 reporters from such publications as Rolling Stone, Newsweek, the Berkeley Barb, and The Village Voice. The atmosphere was both relaxed many of the reporters and participants were old friends from the Peace Movement days - and expectant - many felt that if anyone could "expose" Divine Light Mission and Guru Maharaj Ji, it would be Paul Krassner, well-known for his open cynicism and cutting wit. Ken Kelly, who writes for The Berkeley Barb, Rolling Stone and Ramparts magazine, acted as moderator. The first half appeared last issue; the debate concludes below.
KEN: Do you feel that you are closed-minded about the Knowledge?
PAUL: No. It has to do with whether the Knowledge contracts or expands. I think that the Knowledge that Rennie says he has found should also include the sub-Knowledge, for example, the implications of such facts as the people who came to the Houston Astrodome from Canada found that if they mentioned that they were going to this event, and they were long hairs, they were not hassled at all. They were put through very quickly with no hassling, no searching for dope. Things that would not have happened if they would have been going to a political demonstration. Coming out of the fusion of mind and body and soul, one might speculate that there is some collusion between the government of the United States and the Divine Light Mission in that kind of activity. Let me get back to these two women in Berkeley who did their own investigation. They went to the national headquarters in Denver and then went to the state capitol building where they checked the incorporation papers of DLM. They discovered that the mission has four stories of office space rent free from a person named Joseph Gould in exchange for janitorial services. However, the same Joseph Gould gets a large chunk of his money from real estate speculation in Nevada and in Denver, which is going to finance the Divine City in California, which is an 11 billion dollar undertaking. Nevada, as we all know, is owned by Howard Hughes along with Richard Nixon. So it does make one who seeks Knowledge suspicious along the path.
KEN: Did Guru Maharaj Ji give Richard Nixon a political contribution?
RENNIE: The answer is yes, he gave Richard Nixon his life. I can really dig what you're saying. People do get kind of blissed out around premies, all kinds of people. It is true that you tend to get less hassled when you're feeling this incredible joy inside your soul. Everywhere you go you are just beaming. It's like you had an overdose of a love potion of some kind and you're just in love all the time. People are affected by that. Joe Gould is our landlord in Denver and we happen to have an office there. I think he's here at the festival. I think he's interested in receiving Knowledge. He has been very effected by being around us.
Paul, I think that was true of the movement as well. There was a joy and an energy and an optimism and a hope that the people in the movement had and still have. It affected people who still had crazy financial dealings in the outside world. It seems to be my karma to be forever answering the question, "Where do you get your money?" First it was in the movement, now it's in this, I guess it's just going to go on and on. With respect to the question about Canada and the
customs example, I think that the governments of this world are rather like the movement at this point in terms of their understanding of Guru Maharaj Ji. That is they have no understanding, so they have different kinds of views. They may at this point view it as a very good thing, "Look how neat and clean the kids are. And they just walk around all day long Missed out. Far out, surely this is a good thing." And you may be right. It's just that this happens to be the most serious revolution ever to take place in the history of the whole world. Because it happens to be a revolution that will affect the whole planet, and I think, rather, affect the relationship of this planet to the whole universe. And it will bring about a revolutionary change in the human species itself as well as in all society. Every government that is now based on ego and pride and arrogance is in big trouble. Every institution that is based on ego is in big trouble. Every individual that is based fundamentally in his own ego is in trouble. So in that sense, why challenge the ego, why challenge the mind? In fact, it's going to overtake ego and mind on a world scale within the next 20 years.
KEN: Is Paul Krasner in trouble?
RENNIE: Paul Krasner is not in any trouble at all. He's just the most fortunate person to be here and to be born in this century, because this century is a century where every single person is going to see and experience for himself how human beings were meant to be. We are going to experience, everyone of us in this room, the kingdom of heaven on earth. No one who has a human body can be considered to be in trouble in this, age.
PAUL: The thing switches to Detroit. There was a reporter for an underground paper, the Fifth Estate, who chose to throw a pie in the face of Guru Maharaj Ji. Whether one approves or disapproves of that kind of action, is irrelevant in the face of everything being perfect - is a perfect reaction in that context. Throwing a pie in someone's face has an element of violence to it, but it might have been compensated by the humor in the reporter's statement that he always wanted to throw a pie in God's face. And I swear to the Indian baby that was born on Alcatraz, if a giant pie had come down from the sky and had hit the reporter in the face, I would have been converted on the spot. But what happened instead, two individuals went to that reporter and beat him on the head with a hammer after they had him close his eyes to gain meditation. There are people in Detroit who got got the license plate of the car and found that it belonged to Divine Light Mission. The statement at that time was, that it was two premies, but they were like "the rotten apples in the barrel." But today, at the press conference this morning, shades of Ron Ziegler, that statement was rendered inoperative, and all of a sudden they were not premies. So it feels like being with the committee to reelect the President rather than Divine Light Mission.
KEN: What do you mean they are not premies?
PAUL: That was a statement that was made at the press conference this morning by one of the mahatmas.
KEN: What is your reply?
RENNIE: You know this whole thing with Detroit seems to have gone on on so many levels that it's hard to sort it out. There's a level of appearance: what happened was Pat came up with a pie (Pat is the reporter) which was actually a shaving cream thing and put it in Guru Maharaj Ji's face and made this little funny statement afterwards. Guru Maharaj Ji's reaction at this point, I thought, was interesting. Immediately, the first thing he said was that he wanted to apologize to the young man who had just done that. The
and carrying out what we talked about in the streets of this this country."
police went after him and tried to catch him, but Guru Maharaj Ji said, "No, no, no, no one should hurt him. He should not be arrested." Then he went on to say that someone who does something cannot be held responsible for his actions if he really doesn't know what he's doing. He has spoken many times about this idea. Sometimes he uses the example of a blind man walking toward a ditch and you're standing there and you watch the blind man fall into the ditch and hurt himself. So who's responsible? And he says you're responsible. He spoke then about that view of responsibility and consciousness. Then the incident happened that Paul described and then again I think it needs to be brought to people's attention that Guru Maharaj Ji was the first one to denounce it in the strongest terms.
PAUL: Nixon renounced Watergate but that doesn't prove anything.
RENNIE: I'm just trying to tell you what Guru Maharaj Ji's position was. He also offered to send financial help to Pat and the family. Guru Maharaj Ji seemed to be very upset that this whole thing happened. Especially since he made it so clear himself that no one should do anything about it, because he wasn't responsible. And you know he also said we should cooperate with the authorities, and then whatever Pat wanted to do with respect to arrest or anything like that. I think, Paul, the only thing that can be said in honesty - the position of DLM and certainly Guru Maharaj Ji is quite clear.
It is wrong for people to think that this Knowledge is some kind of instant sainthood. It is not. It is wrong to think that people that receive this Knowledge can't get back into their heads and do crazy actions. All Guru Maharaj Ji is saying is that this Knowledge is a seed. And if you take care of this seed, if ,you meditate on the Knowledge, if you practice this Knowledge, then you will realize perfection. You will realize the peace that he's talking about, and that is all he has ever claimed to say. I apologize for the things said this morning. Mahatma Ashokanand is from London. He is not familiar with this incident and he has just come here and he was asked about the statement. I think one of the problems is that it wasn't in his realm of belief that it could be premies who were really involved, who could have done a thing like that. I'm sure he spoke from the heart, but just to set it straight, it was premies who did that, there is no question about it. And it must be said again that it is most important that you meditate on this Knowledge and not space it out and not get back into your head.
I just think it's too bad if you take this incident or other things in this realm and use them essentially as a block to coming and finding out the basic thing that is being said. You do have to spend more time in DLM because there are really some beautiful brothers and sisters who are going through some amazing and profound changes in their lives. They are working together in the world in a fantastic way. But to understand what is happening here can only be done by taking this precious gift that he has brought for us all.
PAUL: I guess it depends on if you accept the necessity for leaders to begin with, and then if you accept the necessity for a spiritual leader. It depends on what your standards are for spiritual leaders. My personal standard for a spiritual leader would be one who sets an example for his followers and I don't know if driving around in a Rolls Royce is an example to set, in this time and space.
RENNIE: I think Guru Maharaj Ji really does set examples for us. And basically his examples - what he says and what he does - and the main thing that he is doing, is teaching us that this whole material world is really to be related to in a way that doesn't hang you up and tie you up and this is mine, this is mine. The main way that Guru Maharaj Ji relates to the world I think is through play. If you really will spend time around this mission and particularly wherever Guru Maharaj Ji is speaking to the premies who have the good fortune of spending time with him, he would no doubt just blow your mind. And mainly he does this through his constant play and he is forever playing. The play is funny, delightful, joyful, it's light, it's childlike. Guru Maharaj Ji's actions in the world are teaching us to be children again. And really you ought to blame me and the other premies for where Guru Maharaj Ji is staying and how he travels, because in a way Guru Maharaj Ji is at our mercy, he's our guest here in this country. We invited him to come to America. Guru Maharaj Ji came to America only because there were devotees who cried and prayed and telephoned and sent telegrams and wrote endless letters and begged him to come. It was in response to that that Guru Maharaj Ji came for the first time and is here now. It has been our efforts to find a place and find a means by which he will travel. He receives the gifts of his devotees, and you can say to us and maybe you're right, well it creates bad PR.
Guru Maharaj Ji's PR seems rather atrocious at times for people in the outside. But when you receive this Knowledge and start going around the country telling people that the Lord is on the planet and then he comes to the city where you are and you have the responsibility of figuring out where he is to stay at night, really, it's not that he won't stay and sleep on your floor if that's what you offer him, he will; but I don't believe that you will want him to stay in your apartment. I think that you will try to provide the most magnificent place that you can possibly provide him when you're thinking the Lord is here and he's going to be for a short time in a proximity to your life. But maybe not, maybe you'll come from another place. I would give anything for Maharaj Ji, everything, because Guru Maharaj Ji is giving me everything.
PAUL: I would love to have Guru Maharaj Ji stay at my apartment. I wouldn't want to stay at a hotel where there is a swimming pool. The sense of play, of throwing someone in the swimming pool - you know play is a two way street. I don't see any premies throwing the Guru in the swimming pool. And it's easy enough to play and it's nice to play sitting on a throne and holding a bar of margarine and
suddenly having a crown come on your head while there are women working hard in the kitchen complaining about it. I think the complaints are relevant, because I think that the struggle, the human struggle today is not between Communism or Capitalism so much or between Eastern religion or Western religion; I think it is between programming and spontaneity. I think that it gets basically back to what happened in the kitchen. There was that spontaneous thing, "Why should we be doing all this work with all this food? All of us females here working on this food." And then very shortly after that say, "Oh we shouldn't say that, we must do service." There you could see in a microcosm the struggle between spontaneity and programming. The problem that I find in meeting with people who are giving satsang is that they are giving programmed responses rather than having spontaneous discourses. The nature of evolution is spontaneity. Human beings just happen to be the only species that can prevent their own programming. That is how I view the Divine Light Mission. I'll be ready to receive Knowledge and if it happens I'll give up the Realist.
KEN: Give up the Realist? Is there a possibility that the Realist could replace And It Is Divine?
RENNIE: I don't know. I agree with what Paul said about being programmed and spontaneity. The place to be is spontaneity. It's not that we are there, honestly. We know we are not continuously in the here and now, completely open to every single flow and every single moment. But all 1 can say is that I feel more than ever before in my life that this is the direction of this community of brothers and sisters. That is really the direction of this Knowledge. Sure we get into ideas, "Oh, I don't like my service, I should be president of Divine Light Mission instead of doing this food." The problems that plague every organization like, what is the relationship between leadership and people doing all sorts of kinds of work within the organization, creep in through our minds. The thing that is really going on, you view it as bad, I view it as very good, that people are basically getting into the view here that our aim is to realize this Knowledge. But we discover from our own experience that the way to do that is to do service in a selfless way in this world. And actually the function of service has no relationship to the results of the service, to the fruit of the service.
If we start thinking that I'm doing this service, then we start coming down. If we just start doing the service, and making the effort and staying in this meditation, we are absolutely amazed, first at what comes out of our hands, and the quality of the service and secondly, what actually happens and transpires in our life. The main thing that happens is that people get into spontaneity. Incredible things happen, you begin to discover that the whole universe is grateful, the whole universe is playing. And the whole universe is incredibly conscious. The level of coincidence goes up as we begin to see that actually the whole universe will begin to play with us, in the most spontaneous and joyous, playful way. You don't need Guru Maharaj Ji's darshan to play, because Guru Maharaj Ji is literally everywhere. He's the whole universe and he will play with you like a child once you start to flow with the life force of this energy, and become totally spontaneous. But the way you become totally spontaneous is to get completely out of all programmed ideas and "I'm doing this, I'm in this service, I'm in this role"; it's the suspension of roles that is being taught here, that is leading to complete spontaneity and leading to a playful relationship with the universe itself. I think many, many people are experiencing this. I think that you have characterized what is going on here in an accurate way, I really do.
PAUL: Well, somebody at the press conference asked the question to the Guru did he think President Nixon should resign? Someone said that's like asking someone, "Who's going to win the World Series?' Let's say he said please don't ask me that question. I suppose that avoidance is a form of play. But take it away from that question, which is kind of a partisan one, and to the level of a question like say, "Should marijuana be legalized?" That would be an interesting question for the Guru Maharaj Ji to answer in terms of play. People play a lot. One of the by-products of marijuana in this country is that it has enabled people to recapture the sense of play. I can sit here and hear what you're saying and that you believe what you're saying about this mission. But I think that you're limiting your consciousness when you don't at the same time be aware that there are people who are for smoking marijuana and are in prison now. And our play is polluted by their lack of the freedom to play.
KEN: Will Guru Maharaj Ji come out on the legalization of marijuana in the near future?
RENNIE: The thing is Paul, when you ask a question like that, it puts it at a level that I think just falls short of the dimension of what is happening here. Guru Maharaj Ji has come into this world in a rather more subtle way. Basically, it's going to be more like a flower in springtime. It just sort of naturally unfolds and everyone just sort of sees the flower. It's beautiful. Some people are thinking that it's not springtime yet and others are seeing that it is. And they are just watching,this flower unfold. I think you'll find mainly what's happening here is that Guru Maharaj Ji is here. And it is our duty to realize that Guru Maharaj Ji has come. That is really the play that is going on right now in this world. That he's here. It's rather like, I make a comparison to the sun. The sun comes up in the sky and people wonder why the sun doesn't call itself the sun. It's just that it is. It's just there. It's for us to enjoy its warmth. To have whatever relationship we want to its warmth, to its brightness. The point that's really going on is net going to be a series of political statements by Guru Maharaj Ji on anything much. But more, that he is here and he's saying that anyone who wants peace can have peace. Anyone who wants to really know what's going on, I have it here. That's about the extent of it and now our duty is to realize that the sun is in the sky, that he has
MILLENNIUM '73 EDITION
That is a very precious point in your life, because then you, from your heart, want to know who Guru Maharaj Ji is."
actually come. It's a very joyous thing. I rather like it, to tell you the truth. It's not instantaneous, he didn't bolt down out of the sky with God monogrammed across his forehead and everybody out of fear rushes to whatever he has to say. It is a very slow and subtle, beautiful, joyous unfolding. And you really come to appreciate not only these weeks, months and years before you received Knowledge, but your whole lifetime. All of your lifetime has been unfolding like a flower for this precious time of spring.
PAUL: I don't know how much or what else there is to say. I do appreciate that you accepted my challenge. I trust people will come to their own conclusions about our dialogue. I recall when we first announced the formation of the Yippies in 1968, there was a press conference in New York and I was talking about those people with long hair who were not allowed to go campaigning for Eugene McCarthy, because they were worried about the image. One of the reporters stood up and said, "Well, would you cut your hair if it would end the war?" Before I could answer, Allen Ginsberg spoke up and asked the reporter, "Well, would you let your hair grow if it would end the war?" The question was never resolved. I think that growing your hair long and seeking personal salvation come out of the same stem, from the same freedom. I have asked people in Divine Light Mission why it's a specific requirement to cut your hair, as it would be in a corporation. They aren't told the rules, they can sense them by osmosis. When they reply they talk about, "Well, we cut our hair because… and we wear these suits and we act this way because we don't want to offend people." So it's amusing that Guru Maharaj Ji compares himself to Christ, who wasn't worried about offending people. He chased the money lenders out of the temple. It strikes me less as a religion than as a public relations outfit.
KEN: Rennie is there anything that you would like to ask Paul?
RENNIE: I don't, know what to say, Paul. I don't really know that there is anything that I could say to you that would convince you that what we're saying here is true. All I am fairly certain of from my own experience of coming to Guru Maharaj Ji, and from talking to hundreds and hundreds of people who have come to Guru Maharaj Ji, is that there comes a time in a person's life when he has heard enough satsang and he has been around us enough to see that really something is going on here more than public relations. There is something that is holding this together more than just a faith. There is something going on here more than that the movement ended and out of desperation we all turned to religion, or the drug scene got too heavy so we got into spirituality.
There is something else happening here, and not knowing quite what that something is, there comes a point in a person's life when he stops being closed and starts being open. That is a very precious point in your life, because then you, from your heart, want to know who Guru Maharaj Ji is. There will then come into your life a set of experiences that will be precisely tailored for you and only for you. They will answer every question that you have. Guru Maharaj Ji has the most beautiful way of answering every human being's questions at the very moment he sincerely wants to know. I know that this is true and that at any point anyone who wants to know really can know. And not only that, but he's going to let our generation do it. Really if it were true, think, obviously you and everyone would be into it. It would be the most far out thing imaginable. It's just that it is unimaginable. It's rather unthinkable. So we resist and resist. All we're trying to do, those of us on the inside of this thing, is to speak here, continue to try and relate to old friends as brothers and sisters. We have to remember, man, that it has been only a few months since we were in the streets together. Now people don't know, because it just doesn't make any sense, but there must be an explanation for all that past stuff too. Really the thing is that we aren't so far apart in time or space or anything. And we're really trying to speak from our hearts that something is going on here and just telling people to be open, because we know from our experience that the point when that comes is a precious moment. Because Guru Maharaj Ji answers the question himself who he is. I'm just waiting for the day when we are all back together as one movement, as one world, and carrying out what we talked about in the streets of this
country. I just see that it's coming very soon now.
PAUL: In response to that, the final question; what occurs to me when you talk about a 1,000 years of peace, which has kind of a deja vu sound about it, is that that is what the Third Reich talked about. It's hard enough to conceive of 1,000 years, let alone eternity. I just wonder what your vision of the next few years would be in terms of structures. If you're talking about the Lord is on the earth, I have to assume that you mean the Lord therefore surpasses all the structures and institutions that operate, which are only temporary. What changes do you see in the structure? Do you think that the DLM will replace the Republican and Democratic parties? Will you be the President? Will the Guru be Henry Kissinger? What do you foresee in the next few years as 'opposed to the next 1,000 years from now?
RENNIE: In the next few years, I sort of see a series of examples happening. We have been talking here in this festival about building a city. I think this will really be the first project on our agenda after the festival - to put a city up in this country, I hope it will be in this country, I don't know for sure. The city will be the city we have all talked about. This is probably a freaky term, but really it will be pure communism. It will be like heaven on earth, which is probably a better term. There won't be any money, people can go into the stores and take what they need. The main thing will be that everyone will be into service. When anyone has a need, people will be right there to help out that need. The thing is that people who come in from the outside will look at the city and they will see that it's fantastic. There will be lots of examples like that. This organization that we're starting here at this festival called Divine United Organization is another example. Up until now, what has been happening is that people have been receiving Knowledge and have been starting to get a glimpse of what this Knowledge is. And now out of this festival we're really going to start doing projects. And they are going to be all over the country. In black communities, poor communities, and chicano communities, and native American communities.
I think the movement is going to have to judge on the quality of our work and the integrity of our work, whether or not it fits with a lot of the things we all believe in. At that level, people are going to really see that it's possible to work with efficiency and a harmony and a togetherness that we 'never dreamed possible before, through the common experience of this Knowledge. What type of institutions? I don't know. I think DLM will be the organization of the world.
You know you and I are very gross beings. I would really dig it if a UFO would come out of the sky tonight and land outside the Astrodome. And space saints would walk out and come into the Astrodome and prostrate at Guru Maharaj Ji's feet. The whole world would freak out - and would want to get it on. That might happen, but I don't expect it to happen. I think that it will be more subtle - I think God is more subtle than that. More like an unfolding. And everyone will say this is the way things are going, it's just in the flow of things. It just sort of happened. I think the institutions of Washington, the corporations and all that stuff - I think they are all coming down. But the tools of this civilization are not coming down. I don't think that we are going to get thrown back into the Garden of Eden or something like that. I think these microphones and all this technology, it's all here so Guru Maharaj Ji can speak to the world. And it will not disappear, but in fact it will be at our disposal, to travel in space and operate in the universe and not just the world. I think it's going to be fantastic. I don't have any blueprint. Guru Maharaj Ji has not spoken of his blueprint. It's best to ask Guru Maharaj Ji those questions because I don't really know. I just trust that because of my own realizations of who Guru Maharaj Ji is.
Ping pong balls?
KEN: Rennie, one thing, you tell us to ask Guru Maharaj Ji and at the press conference yesterday, Guru Maharaj Ji told us to ask you. Are we all to be that sort of perfect ping pong ball set between the two of you?
RENNIE: That's true I guess, you should just take this Knowledge and realize its power and then you see that that's the only aim of human life. That everything else is given. Everything is going to be given to us including the first thing which was our own life. It's just that now we don't accept that, we continually conceive in our mind, - "I'm doing this, look how great I am, I'm so far out. I do this, I do that." The thing is you haven't got anything. You haven't created a single thing. Guru Maharaj Ji has done it 'all. The only thing the human being has to do is to realize this truth. When we realize this truth then truly everything will be given.
KEN: Can the realist realize this truth?
PAUL: Well, it's a very subjective thing. I think that ultimately Rennie and each of us, all of us will do what we have to do. We will each make our own choices and our choices will make us. God is in the words that were mentioned in a moment of passion between Doris Day and Sly Stone, "Que sera, que sera."
KEN: So on that note, press, we should all do what we have to do and resume the coverage of Millennium '73.