Making The First Step
Dedication has to be constant like meditation is constant. People need to have a substantial way to support Guru Maharaj Ji's movement. Unless we are serving Maharaj Ji no worship is taking place.
The following is an excerpt from satsang Bob Mishler gave at a departmental staff meeting on Monday, June 10:
Something is lacking in the lives of many premies. What is lacking is a practical means for them to dedicate themselves to Guru Maharaj Ji and without this dedication there will be frustration in their lives. We can see that this lack of dedication hampers the progress of the mission but that isn't the most important point.
This is the movement for people who participate in it to attain salvation. This organization is not like the army or something. We didn't come to attain any worldly goal. We came to Guru Maharaj Ji to experience peace in our life. And then secondary to that Maharaj Ji said, "'and then we will establish peace in this world." But first of all we came to know the aim of our human life.
dedication to life
Part of our instructions in realizing this Knowledge were to do satsang, service and meditation. The point that has to be understood, and doesn't seem to have been understood very well, is that dedication is not, for the moment but for life. We have to dedicate ourselves to life for life while we are alive.
If the majority of premies properly understood this then we wouldn't have only a handful of premies supporting the movement. I think that much of the problem originated out of the fact that the only examples of devotees we had to learn from were Indian mahatmas who came to help begin the activities in the West.
At that time they were all celibate renunciates who, like modern day evangelists, lived in the ashram structure of Divine Light Mission. Consequently, we imitated this style of devotion and began ashrams. This was a process of growth and development that we had to go through. Now we've come to a point where we all understand that we can't imitate devotion.
Devotion is something that must be experienced from within and is in context with our own being. Although there are many things common to us all, there are other things that are unique about each one of us as well. So although our essential nature is the same there will be unique ways in which we manifestthis life and express the Grace of Guru Maharaj Ji in our growth and development.
lifestyle not important
Moving into an ashram isn't necessarily dedication We have seen there have been those living in the ashram who weren't dedicated at all. So living in an ashram wasn't an indication of dedication and not living in the ashram didn't mean a lack of dedication either. The lifestyle is not important.
A devotee is someone who dedicates his life to Guru Maharaj Ji and who serves in his movement and who doesn't simply come and take Knowledge and go away. It doesn't matter the context within which he manifests that devotion to Guru Maharaj Ji if that flow of dedication is there in his life.
But what is the first step a person can take in dedicating his life? Many conscientious people come to take Knowledge and they see Divine Light Mission and they don't even want to take Knowledge because they can't see a place for themselves to be serving in the movement and yet they have been told that to experience the Grace of this Knowledge they must do service.
Before taking Knowledge all our concepts are supposed to be broken down and so forth. But unfortunately, while those are being broken down, new concepts are being formed. We pick up on the rites and rituals of Divine Light Mission simultaneously while we are receiving Knowledge.
truth and garbage
The pure experience of truth is so powerful for most people that even if they don't experience it immediately in the Knowledge session they do feel the grace of Guru Maharaj Ji flooding into their life. So it's easy for them just to accept and get right into many things that just aren't necessarily true. They just come along as part of the package deal. You get the truth and a whole lot of garbage along with it.
This isn't something to lament, but something to notice and correct. We must be aware of how we condition each other. For a long time householders have said that Ashram premies make it seem like not living in the Ashram is not being devoted. Consequently, it's created alienation and prevented many from coming to the Ashram because they didn't feel comfortable. Instead they felt a subtle intimidation and a sense of guilt-tripping as though not living in the Ashram meant they were fooling around and wasting their lives.
From my experience of being in Divine Light Mission, choosing people for positions of trust and authority was based upon whether the individual was living in the Ashram. Living in the Ashram was the only criterion I had to go by because there were very few people consistent in doing service unless they lived in the Ashram. Although it wasn't fair it became the criterion for deciding a person's dedication.
As our understanding of this Knowledge deepens we see that without a practical means for a person to dedicate himself it is impossible to realize this Knowledge. Maharaj Ji didn't say, "Okay, now just go off and meditate." Maharaj Ji has given the Knowledge of life which requires a commitment to life itself. If you are actually experiencing the essence of life then you recognize that your life is one with all life. Until all life is put into balance and harmony, all of life's forms, you have to exercise the responsibility of what that commitment to life entails. Therefore Maharaj Ji said give satsang to spread this Knowledge and to do service. Because if you don't work in this life you are not realizing what the aim of your human life is.
Guru Maharaj Ji says that if you really love someone you are willing to do for them. That's why the motto of Divine United Organization is "Work is Worship." Unless we are serving Guru Maharaj Ji no worship is taking place.
In order for people to understand who Guru Maharaj Ji is they must look at the effect of his actions on the world. If they look at any single action they might say, "Oh, he rides motorcycles so he is blah, blah, blahs." Or else, "Oh, he married an airline hostess so he is blah, blah, blah." If they take any singular action of Maharaj Ji's they can never understand.
experience of common unity
But if they look at the activities of Divine Light Mission they can see the transformation in the lives of so many people. They can see people who are committed to serving makind and then they will understand the real work Maharajii is doing in the world. You don't evaluate a great man by his personal activity but by the effect he has on the world, by the mark he leaves on society.
Maharaj Ji has completely renovated our social understanding. He has given us the experience of our common unity so that we can really create communities of human beings who understand that they are of one essence. Not just from a theoretical, religious or philosophical basis but from an experiential basis.
An experiential basis requires a commitment to follow through. When you experience something you know it from your being and therefore it has to manifest in your being. If it doesn't, then you won't get peace, you'll get frustration.
Which brings me back to my original point: many premies have not experienced peace. They have not understood how to get themselves synched up with this Knowledge because they haven't been able to find an effective means to plug into service. They are not truly worshipping Guru because they are not working for His movement. They are not plugged into Divine Light Mission.
dedication is constant
Sometimes we tend to be very longsighted but lack shortsightedness. We look way off to goals that are almost etheric if not imaginary rather than seeing that the next step we have to take is right in front of us. Many premies do this with relation to Knowledge and get into all the cosmic trips. You know, it's going to be green fields and daisies and only the devotees of Guru Maharaj Ji will be there and everybody else is going to be blown up.
These things may happen somewhere off in the future but for now it is irrelevant. The point is to take the step right in front of us. What is the first practical step in dedicating ourselves to Guru Maharaj Ji?
Dedication has to be constant like meditation is constant. People have to have a substantial way of supporting this movement.
The first step is to support it financially.
Divine Light Mission should not be seen as synonymous with the Ashram. The Ashram is a particular environment within the movement which serves its purpose and plays an important role in the spiritual development of some premies. But Divine Light Mission is broader; it is the movement itself. All the premies have to support that movement.
What is going to turn the same job that a man does just to feed his stomach into worship of Guru? Into service? A simple change in his mind because, once again, it's our minds that are off, not so much the activity.
You don't evaluate a great man by his personal activity but by the effect he has on the world. Maharaj Ji has completely renovated our social understanding.
If people can just understand the importance of dedication they can turn their jobs into service. By first of all knowing that the top ten percent belongs to Guru Maharaj Ji. Any man can take that step by giving that ten percent. After that they should do whatever they can in terms of supporting the work of Guru Maharaj Ji within the context of the limitations they have.
Today 69% of the Divine Light Mission cash flow comes from the Ashrams. They spend about 29% of that to maintain themselves and the rest goes to support the mission. 40% that is left over amounts to over a half of the support of the entire movement. When you see this, you can understand why the people in DUO are overworked and that some of the ashram premies feel really, really tired. They've been carrying the burden - one out of sixty premies - has been carrying the burden for over half of the movement. This has been going on for over a year or so.
Without the additional support of maybe ten individuals who gave us large inheritances over the last year we couldn't have made it. What it comes down to is that a relative handful in the midst of a multitude have taken the responsibility for this movement.
If premies at least take the first step by regularly giving ten per cent donations they open the door to support the movement physically, morally, psychologically. They are going to be behind it and feel part of it. They will have a constant and continuous way to practically manifest their dedication, to do service which allows them to experience the Grace.