An Introduction to Divine Light Mission
Divine Light Mission was the brainchild of one man, Satgurudev Shri Hans Ji Maharaj, Guru Maharaj Ji's father. For several decades he traveled across India, from village to village, giving spiritual discourses to small groups of people, and initiating the few sincere seekers of Truth in the Knowledge of God. In 1961 Shri Maharaj Ji founded the mission. He sent his mahatmas, close disciples who have been empowered to reveal Knowledge, out into India to spread Truth. Free public programs were organized in every large city.
In 1966 Shri Maharaj Ji left his mortal body. The youngest of his four sons, known as Balyogeshwar Shri Sant Ji Maharaj, then only eight years old, addressed the thousands of mourning devotees:
Satguru never dies
"Dear children of God, why are you weeping?" he asked. "Haven't you learnt the lesson that your master taught you? The Perfect Master never dies. Maharaj Ji is here, among you. Recognize him, obey him, adore him. I have come in this young form to spread this Knowledge to the whole world in my lifetime."
From that moment on Guru Maharaj Ji took the reins of DLM and propagation continued. A few years later the first Westerners began to discover Maharaj Ji's ashram near the Himalayas. Typically, they would come to Maharaj Ji, receive the Knowledge and spend a few months practicing meditation and hearing spiritual discourses. Then Maharaj Ji would send them back home to tell their families and friends about the experience.
Knowledge in the West
In October 1969 Guru Maharaj Ji sent a mahatma to give Knowledge in the West.
"Divine Light Mission is not going to give you peace," says Guru Maharaj Ji, "the revelation of who you are is going to give you peace." So why does Divine Light Mission exist? We are only a small group of people, numbering six million throughout the world, but we have come into this organization for one reason. We have been let in on a secret. And the whole purpose of Divine Light Mission is to let everyone in on this secret, for once this happens, peace will be established on earth!
The secret is that there is concrete proof that the Lord is walking on this planet today! This proof exists as Knowledge, a direct experience which Guru Maharaj Ji reveals, which establishes peace in every individual who makes this connection. The secret is that the Lord has come this time for one reason only: to liberate every human being and establish peace on earth for 1000 years. He has chosen America for the advent of the Millennium!
To its members, Divine Light Mission is the logical destination that this generation was striving to reach. In America, most of Guru Maharaj Ji's disciples are veterans of one movement or another.
There are about 50,000 people in America who see that America's future and the world's future is brighter than anyone could imagine. They have found that Guru Maharaj Ji is so compassionate and so powerful that he can save this world in the twinkling of an eye! He does this by revealing the Knowledge!
Divine Light Mission would be just another idealistic effort to prevent social injustice if it weren't for Knowledge. This direct experience unites people and gives peace like no philosophy can. Mike Donner, vice president of DLM and formerly an activist in SDS, compared the mission with other social groups. "These other attempts are based upon some ideology or philosophy shared by its members. But ideas cannot be shared. Everyone has a slightly different feeling about goals and ways to achieve them. That eventually leads to the downfall of that particular movement. But having Knowledge puts us all in touch with the same experience. From this base of common experience we can move toward bringing about those changes that are needed."
Another unique aspect of DLM is that it seeks social change by starting within. Donner adds, "The only real social change must start within the individual first, because until everybody has peace and is in the same place mentally, you will have to be putting people in jail. In a society based on Knowledge everyone will be on the same level of high awareness and pure love."
Because the members of DLM are so willing to get the message across, and therefore utilize any technological means possible, some people have concluded that DLM preaches corporate yoga. Actually, by breaking these stereotypes of what spirituality is supposed to entail, DLM has opened the way for thousands of people to consider checking out Guru Maharaj Ji's claim to "show you God face to face!"
Serving humanity within DLM takes place on two levels. First, it involves informing people that the source of their life and the aim of life is to insure that everyone on the planet has the basic material requirements needed to live comfortably.
The basic service arm of the mission is the World Peace Corps. The WPC organizes public programs, puts on festivals, runs transportation for people and products, serves food, does construction work and practically anything else that involves putting manpower to use effectively.
Medical service is handled ** There was a small error in the printed newspaper with the succeeding section being printed in an incorrect position ** through Shri Hans Humanitarian services. They plan to open a clinic in New York. Dr. John Horton, director of the organization said, "We treat the whole person, not just the symptoms. We employ all kinds of healing techniques from patent medicines to homeopathic cures. But the most essential medicine is love."
Shri Hans Education
All written material is published by Shri Hans Publications. To date, two magazines are being published monthly, And It Is Divine and Divine Light. The former is a general interest magazine that treats worldly topics with spiritual insight, and the latter prints the discourses given by Maharaj Ji and members of his family. The Divine Times and the soon to be published Aquarian Times are newspapers. The Divine Times is also published in England, Switzerland, Germany and soon in South America. In October, Bantam books will publish the first DLM book, Who Is Guru Maharaj Ji? Four other books are in progress.
Education based on Knowledge is under the domain of Shri Hans Educational, which is opening a trans-generational boarding school in December. The artistic resources of the mission are coordinated by the Players of the Living Arts. Musicians, actors, dancers, directors, stage designers and artists work together to provide free entertainment that is uplifting as well as engaging.
Money to finance the mission's activities (all public meetings, programs and festivals are free), is raised by Divine Sales and Divine Services. The former operates thrift stores in 19 American cities, recycling goods to the public at low cost. Divine Services has offices in 35 cities throughout the U.S., offering household services as well as yard care, landscaping, and various other endeavors.
Shri Hans Films has so far produced five films about Guru Maharaj Ji and Knowledge. The latest film, Who Is Guru Maharaj Ji?, was screened at the Atlanta Film Festival in September.