by Carol Greenberg - Director, Information Services
In recent weeks, Divine Light Mission's financial situation has again been a subject of interest for the national media. Although there has been a consistent effort on our part to have the media focus its attention on the Knowledge rather than the external operations of the Mission, media representatives have tended to dwell upon aspects of the Mission which they believe will interest popular taste.
For example, NBC News carried a report on its May 26 network television news which implied that Divine Light Mission is financially irresponsible. Stating that DLM failed to pay the Houston Astrodome and a firm hired in connection with the making of a film about Millennium '73, NBC neglected to point out that in both cases, original contract agreements were honored. The money allegedly owed has to do with costs incurred beyond contract prices. Furthermore Divine Light Mission continues to state that the film company owes them $1,000 in overpayment, and that the film company actually kept 6,000 feet of unused film belonging to Divine Light Mission. As the film compnay fficials could not agree, the possibility of a court settlement arose. In the case of the Astrodome, a dispute over a payment plan arose, and this also will be settled in the courts. This is standard practice when disagreements of this kind arise.
Another factor which has contributed to some financial disagreements was the shifting of Divine Light Mission's work center from Houston to Denver after the Millennium festival. When the festival ended, there were literally hundreds of accounts and the bookkeeping entailed was enormous. The size of the Denver staff was relatively small but the Mission stayed in close contact with all creditors and has worked out payment plans with them, to the satisfaction of all parties.
Regardless of what else happens, the Mission that Guru Maharaj Ji has started will continue to grow, for there is always a need for people to come to terms with the meaning of their lives and to manifest it in various constructive social ways. Divine Light Mission is not concerned with an image but is concerned that people in this world understand that peace is possible, internally and externally, on a global basis.
The Mission works for these aims within a bleak world situation. The economic status of this country at present has made it difficult for many well-established business concerns to maintain, let alone expand, their activities. The severe tightness of the money market, strong inflationary forces and the radical fluctuation in the nation's economy have caused more than mild disturbances within some of the major corporations which are the backbone of America's economy. In this context, it is a wonder that an organization such as Divine Light Mission even exists.
This makes support from all premies a practical necessity. In the near future, after Guru Puja, premies should seriously consider dedicating ten per cent of their weekly incomes to the Mission as a means of providing a continuing, broad base of support, without which no organization, regardless of its aims, can work effectively.
Shri Hans Ji Maharaj Ji once said that for every 10 handfuls of grain, the devotees should dedicate one handful to him. Then, he said, if you ever need anything, come to me and I will take care of you. The 10% dedication of income from each premie works the same way. Although this is a minimal expenditure for each individual, on a co-operative basis it means the establishment of a strong, firmly rooted Mission, through which Maharaj Ji may do His work. When the support is there, then the Mission can provide the life-support systems that Maharaj Ji has talked about so much in the establishment of a world community. It is a beautiful time now, brothers and sisters, and when we become conscious of our own role in this unfolding life, then everything can swing into motion.
Editors note: The following letter was written by a group of premies in the Bay area and sent to the DUO director in San Francisco. Because it expresses the feelings of many premies we thought it appropriate to print it here.
March 1, 1974
A number of premies here on the peninsula have found that we have very similar misgivings about how the Knowledge is presented to people. We were in the process of formulating a letter to Guru Maharaj Ji with our feelings and our questions when he came to San Francisco and answered most of them.
There is no need to quote him exactly because you also heard him. Some of his statements which answered our questions were the following (paraphrased): 1) Give satsang to people that they can relate to, 2) Stress the Knowledge, not me, 3) If someone lays a trip on you about what you should be doing, then they are probably not meditating enough, 4) Mahatmas are not necessarily in perfect God-realization all the time.
One crucial question he did not answer: Why, oh why, when Guru Maharaj Ji is so clear and so simple about how to present Knowledge, do many Mahatmas and other premies do the opposite of what he recommends and freak out interested people? Lots of good people stay away from Knowledge simply because of the presentation.
It is clear that the Knowledge embraces every spiritual path and every aspect of life, but we see a narrowness rather than an open-embracing of life from too many premies who tie into DLM. Since the Holy Name does not set limits or make separations, how can it come from the meditation? Along with the pure meditation, people in DLM often get plugged into a belief-system and pass it on to otffers. The Knowledge has been brought over from India with Hindu "packaging." Many people are expected to accept the Hindu theology, faith, and belief structure even before being allowed to receive Knowledge. A person should not even have to believe in G-O-D to receive Knowledge, just have a strong desire to know truth and lasting inner peace. Satsang is not meant to program people into certain values (i.e. you should do service; you should sacrifice; you should give your money to DLM), but rather to inspire people to meditate and find their own intrinsic values. We find that we value the experience of perfect love most highly, and from that place it is completely natural to sacrifice, give, serve, and give sat-sang. We came to experience this through our own free will and choices, and all our brothers and sisters are entitled to the same freedom to discover truth without coercion. Service, satsang, and sacrifice are automatic when a person finds his own values within himself. When values are grafted on from external authority figures (i.e. Mahatmas, premies, scriptures) and a person does not yet want to do these things from his heart, it can cause a great deal of guilt and conflict within an individual. If on the other hand a person arrives at the same values through meditation, then a great deal of premie confusion and frustration would be eliminated.
Being narrow and stressing that "this is the only way" will lead only to conflict, not the love and unity that we want to manifest, If we can only have love and unity with people who have received Knowledge, then we are limiting the Knowledge. For it enables us to experience that oneness with everyone. Remember that fellow who gave Knowledge and said, "Love thy brother as thyself … and love thine enemies, anyone can love their friends"?
We realize that, being active premies, we are DLM in this area, and we try to present the Knowledge as Guru Maharaj Ji does. But we also want to ask for more openness and acceptance of everyone from DLM people in San Francisco and on a national level. Guru Maharaj Ji wants everyone to cooperate with DLM, and we certainly wantto. However, we can cooperate only if we feel accepted with the consciousness we have as premies, and if we feel that DLM treats seekers of Truth who approach Knowledge as individuals to be respected and listened to, not just beings to be satsanged.
We hope you realize that we are writing because of our dedication to Guru Maharaj Ji and the Knowledge, so that more and more people can receive this purest and most wonderful gift available to humanity. Also that this is our own perspective based on our own experience. We hope that this letter will serve to bring us all closer together as God's children, and not create any resentment or alienation. We definitely want to have more opportunity to share what we feel in our hearts with you and other people.
The signatures below are all of us who decided to cooperate and send you one letter expressing our common feelings.
In loving service to Guru Maharaj Ji,
Jan. 24, 1974
It has been a year and a half since I first learned of Guru Maharaj Ji. And yet, the love and devotion of premies around the world never ceases to amaze me.
When I first heard of Guru Maharaj Ji I was incarcerated. The turning point in my life took place when I was fortunate to meet a premie from Florida. Since our first satsang session, I have experienced more freedom and peace than I could ever believe existed.
I hope to receive Knowledge in the very near future. Many brothers and sisters have helped me make a long climb upward from despair to happiness and peace.
All my life I had been searching for true peace. The love and peace I have found are far more valuable than the most precious jewels in the world.
The Light has come once again. I feel blessed being warmed by His Glow. Jai Satchitanand! Your brother under His shelter,
Richard S. McCain
Chatham Co. C.I.
P.O: Box 7150
Garden City, Georgia 31408
I am in Harris County (Houston) county jail. I will soon go back to the Texas State Penitentiary for around nine months. I must do time for a couple of charges I had committed before I received Knowledge Aug. 29, 1973. It is a great opportunity for me to tell many others of Guru Maharaj Ji. I also have a lot of time to meditate. People keep asking why I'm always smiling! And why I never seem down. There are 40 other people in here with me, some leave, others come, day after day. Many are interested a little and a few are very interested in what they must do to receive Knowledge. I give satsang every day. I have the Sept. '73 and the July '73 issue of And It Is Divine; I also have the Millennium edition and Oct. 16 edition of Divine Times and the book Who Is Guru
Maharaj Ji? I would like information on receiving Knowledge as I am only a young premie and don't know what to say to all the people inquiring. Also send as many back issues of Divine Times and And It Is Divine. I am having a really blissful time propagating for our Lord. I know I can face the days and months ahead easily now. I have fully dedicated my life to our Lord now. I'm ready to serve him totally. I am going to have a lot of time to write a story of what Guru Maharaj Ji did for me while at the penn. I will see you all as soon as I get out. Very much love, "Steppy".
Robert M. Gladson
P.O. Box 24
77002 P.S. I would like to hear from other premies very much! JSCA.