Before DUO can feed the world it has to feed itself. The first step in this direction is the Shri Hans Food Service which operates co-ops in thirty American cities. In Boston. the co-op runs a store that sells to the general public as well as the premie community. Similar stores will open in Seattle and Denver within two months.
By June 1, the national food service will begin to buy large lots of staple goods for the entire country. Food orders from premie communities will come into Denver. run through the computer, be filled and sent to one of five distribution depots. DUO trucks will transport the food either to Chicago, Denver, Atlanta, San Francisco or Philadelphia where it will be split up and trucked to local co-ops.
Some of the food will come directly from premie farms. Presently there are twenty two functioning farms and of those, twelve to thirteen arc functioning well. They range from a 268 acre dairy farm in Michigan to a thirty acre vegetable farm outside Seattle. Most of these farms provide support to the local co-ops with honey, wheat, beans, seeds, and some perishable items.
Premies skilled or interested in working on a premie farm should contact Mark Retzloff at national headquarters.
SOCIAL SERVICE PROJECTS
Premies nationwide have found deep satisfaction by participating in a range of programs loosely labelled social service projects. These programs vary from giving satsang in prisons to recycling goods to protect the environment.
Of course, the favorites are the places where premies are called upon to give satsang. Most premies find that the intense atmosphere of old folks homes, prisons and mental health centers promotes speaking from the heart. In these tight spots there is no time for intellectualisations or spiritual raps. Only the truth will do.
Chicago premies use the low keyed Alexander massage technique to calm and center the energy of hypertense methadone patients in a nearby drug rehabilitation center. One premie described the technique as "the nearest thing to giving an experience of Knowledge without actually giving a person Knowledge." National WPC plans to establish regional training programs so premies can learn the technique.
As an environmental service and a way to make money, the Boston premies collect discarded paper from computer centers, printers and businesses and sell it to recycling agencies. In Columbus. Ohio thirty premies are training to become volunteer counselors in a mental health project. In Portland, the premie community assists the Metropolitan Food Commission to collect food for the needy.
In fact, for every premie community there is at least one project underway. A more in-depth report on this service will appear in a later issue.
To date, ten Divine Sales stores are operating in America offering goods at bargain prices or for free to people who cannot even afford a bargain.
Divine Sales has developed from its original rummage store concept into a strong helping hand in the community. The stores have begun to donate free clothing to drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers and to police breadlines for distribution among the poor. Welfare departments in some cities refer clients to the Divine Sales store for free clothes and furniture. The work of the stores in New York and San Francisco has resulted in television coverage of their clothing giveaways.
Brian Meyers, national coordinator of Divine Sales and Premie Enterprises, said that various possibilities are being considered to make Divine Sales of even greater service to the premie community and the community at large. "Divine Sales was the first premie enterprise." Brian said, "but there arc others. Premies have formed businesses or are partners in businesses and probably have suggestions for the improvement of Divine Sales. I request that they contact me so we can exchange ideas and experiences. Many premies are interested in forming their own businesses and they need good advice and assistance."
After winter hibernation, Shri Hans Publications is back in business. Although the mission's financial crisis has subsided somewhat, the long lay-off has created some production obstacles and the first issue of And It Is Divine will not come out until June. Despite the delays, premie support through both subscriptions and donations has been overwhelming.
Maharaj Ji has directed the And It Is Divine staff to produce a classic, premie-oriented magazine that contains more satsang than the previous issues. Each copy will be a collector's item. To improve the quality of the magazine the printing will be done on a sheet-fed press rather than a web press. The color sections will be done at Frederick printing and the black and white sections will be printed on a DUO press in Denver.
Divine Times has resumed publication with this issue and will continue to come out every two weeks. Divine Times will present news of Maharaj Ji and his family, DUO and DLM news and anything else of interest to premies.
Contributions, both artistic and monetary, are essential for the success of our publishing ventures according to publications manager, David Passes. Premies who take photographs, design graphics, write satsang or journalistic pieces should contact the following people: for graphics and photography, David Passes; for satsang writing, Paul Starr for journalistic pieces, Jim Bass. All three can be reached c/o Shri Hans Productions, Box 6495, Denver, Colorado 80206.
DIVINE COMMUNITY PROJECT
To extend more and more advantages of Divine Community living to non-ashram premies the Divine Community Project has recently been established in Denver.
Separate from ashram finances, DCP is a group account for applicant ashrams and premie houses. Each house contributes all its income to the common fund and in turn receives money sufficient to cover its own expenses. In this way community resources can be directed toward the greatest needs at any one time and a sense of unity and cooperation can begin to grow.
The DCP system is very flexible, and will include an increasingly greater variety of premie living arrangements. Applicant ashrams for example operate in every way as ashrams to give premies a chance for a month or two to try out the ashram lifestyle before they make their final commitment.
Some premie houses, on the other hand, prefer to remain as such either because married members wish to live as non-celibate couples, because a specific service or job makes conformity to the ashram schedule and discipline impossible, or because some people function best in a more private or settled lifestyle.
A man of 45 with four children, an income of $40,000 a year, and a business which requires frequent travel will not be obliged to discontinue this lifestyle in order to participate in the DUO community. His household may join DCP, to which his income will be donated. He will receive back whatever funds are necessary to continue a lifestyle appropriate to his occupation and family situation. In this way he may propagate the Knowledge through his normal business activities yet at the same time function as an integral part of the Divine community.
Shri Hans Humanitarian Services has opened clinics in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington. D.C., Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Most of the clinics offer non-professional services such as counseling, massage therapy and simple herbology. Premies with more significant illnesses are referred to accredited professionals for help.
The clinics in Denver and Washington, D.C. offer the most complete health service of the eight. In Washington, Dr. Bob Hallowitz was offered and accepted the facilities and practice of a retiring physician for a minimal fee. When Guru Maharaj Ji visited Washington during his national tour he suggested that Dr. Hallowitz and Dr. John Horton collaborate in a group practice which would hire premies, train them when possible and serve as the beginnings of a divine medical school. The facilities in Washington are modern, completely equipped and within a few blocks of the DUO offices.
Dr. Ron Peters is coordinating the operation of the Denver clinic which is located in a three story mansion right in the heart of the premie community. The house was purchased by the older members of the premie community and renovated by Shri Hans Services. The clinic has an examination room, commercial kitchen, and a meeting hall for classes on nutrition, preventitive medicine, exercise and satsang.
Eventually all the national clinics will become completely professionalized facilities staffed by premie and non-premie specialists who will serve the community at large. The philosophy of Shri Hans Humanitarian Services as expressed by Dr. Peters: "Scientific expertise balanced with compassion and love."