"Now it's time to utilize our energy to do prachar. I was talking to Bob Mishler, and we came to a point where we were going to make this 1975 a year for prachar. Where it's like, we are going to get every premie on his feet, everybody on his feet, and tell them to do prachar.
"I told Bob: look. We have been working for such a long time to develop this organization, and now we have come to this point where we can do it. We have manpower, we have Grace, we have this most beautiful Knowledge, and we got everything just perfect. We can do it, I mean, there's not even a question."
- Guru Maharaj Ji
With the Directors, January 22, in Denver.
Following is an interview with Bob Mishler, International Director of Divine United Organization.
Maharaj Ji recently flew into Denver for a flash visit in which he met with mission directors. What was the thrust of that meeting?
It seems that every year Maharaj Ji sets the tone for the coming year. In 1974, after an intense period of propagation, he said that we should spend the year developing an organization and communities to adequately take care of the people receiving Knowledge.
So in 1974 we spent most of our time learning the lessons of 1973. We saw that our organization and communities were rather flimsily put together. In our efforts to propagate in 1973, we strained ourselves beyond our capacities. We could not meet the demands placed on us by a burgeoning premie population and the world around us. So we took time out to develop our communities, tighten the organizational structure and become more mature in Knowledge.
Maharaj Ji kicked off the whole campaign himself in early 1974 by doing a complete tour of N. American DUO communities. In that tour he did no public programs at all, only premie programs.
year we should appreciate what he has already given us. The only way is to practice Knowledge. Then we recognize how much we have to share with other people. When we move to a community we can settle down with our families and have premies to keep Holy Company with you. We have satellite satsang and social service projects in which to use our energy. We don't have to feel so out of it anymore. These are the benefits of the work Maharaj Ji has done to develop these communities. Now there is a place to keep it together as a devotee.
So what is ahead of us in 1975? Where are we now and where are we going?
We have to see where we are in terms of his perspective. Much of the problem we used to have was trying to figure it out, like the old saying about trying to put Knowledge into your mind. Many people put Knowledge into their minds and tried to unravel the intricacies of the world's problems. With Knowledge they thought they had a new factor to plug into their equation to work out the cosmological solutions to the problems of humanity. They related Knowledge to their own personal theories. But Knowledge is not another factor to add to the equation; it is the solution. What we really need to do is put the equation into the solution and be done with it.
Specifically 1975 will be a year of intensified propagation. We are going to plan out a propagational campaign and then launch it. Propagation will be done through the premies because that is the way that Maharaj Ji wants it done.
He is quite optimistic about the place the mission is in. He told me that this is the first time ever that we have been at a point where we are really ready to do prachar. Not because of our finances or because we are gung-ho, but because we are more mature and have a greater awareness of what Knowledge is.
At the directors meeting someone asked Maharaj Ji if people in the world are more ready to hear about Knowledge than they were in, say 1973. Maharaj Ji said that they weren't ready to hear about Knowledge in 1973 the way we were telling them about it. Maybe we didn't really understand enough about Knowledge to be able to communicate it properly to people at that time.
But Maharaj Ji also emphasized that we must continue to realize this Knowledge no matter what else is going on in the world. All premies must maintain a balanced spiritual life of service, satsang and meditation. We are not here to be organization men; we're not going to get any medals for that. We are here for spiritual realization.
So this year we'll resume propagation full scale?
Yes. Maharaj Ji has been waiting for us to grow a little more mature. We are the first wave of propagation in this Western world and he has chosen to spread Knowledge through his devotees.
In the directors meeting he said that if one person brings another to Knowledge and that person brings another and so on, that it is inevitable that his plan will be accomplished.
But the thing which makes it possible for a devotee to bring someone to Knowledge is that premie's personal understanding of the Knowledge. Like the story of the king and the mango. If the king's ministers had not tasted a mango, how could they have talked the king into tasting one? You cannot recommend something unless you have done it. We have to know what this Knowledge is before we try to tell others about it.
What is the tone of propagation going to be in 1975?
I don't think the sort of evangelism that went on in 1973 will happen in 1975. We've gone beyond that point. We see that for the world to realize that there is something deeper in life to be known that it must be communicated in a way that people can understand. It must have relevance and importance to people.
Understand something: much of the hysteria we saw in 1973 came from fear. A person without Knowledge senses a lack of something in his life and can become desperate and fear-motivated. This can last after he receives Knowledge. Until he practices Knowledge and becomes fulfilled that fear will still be there. Quite often premies projected that same fear they were feeling onto other people. It didn't help bring others to Knowledge. Often it made them skeptical about us. We are not in the same place anymore. We don't want to go out and scare people into Knowledge.
We should be careful not to make the same mistakes. Just because Maharaj Ji has asked to resume propagation let's not think that this is the year that the world is going to come to the Lotus Feet of Guru Maharaj Ji. Let's not coin any unrealistic prophetic visions of what is going to happen.
What Maharaj Ji is saying is that the most important part that premies have to play in this pageant of world peace is to be peaceful individuals within themselves. Then the next important thing for us to do is spread Knowledge to others.
Are there any specifics about the campaign?
Not yet. We are still planning. The main thing is we have the capacity to be uniform in our propagation and that is an important factor in the learning process - reinforcement.
Maharaj Ji says that when a person sees a poster or leaflet in one city, then sees the same leaflet in another city, he can see premies and recognize them. People learn better if they have broader exposure. One person coming to Knowledge may require hearing satsang from ten or twenty different premies in different contexts and at different times. So no matter what we do, our program will have uniformity.
As for Maharaj Ji, he will probably not do any nationwide touring. What he is likely to do, to add energy to the campaign, is appear on several nationwide TV programs. Very likely he will only do the two festivals and those will be mainly for premies.
In the past year we have learnt much about propagation. We learned the value of satellite satsangs, Knowledge seminars, social service programs and so forth. At present we are compiling the information we've gathered over the past year and soon we will have a projection of how we can do extensive prachar in 1975 and what it will cost us.
Speaking of money, what is our financial situation as we start this year?
We spent almost the whole of 1974 recovering from the debt we incurred at Millennium '73. A year ago, we were running a monthly deficit of $50-75,000 and we had cut back drastically. This year we're in a better situation - we still retain a large carry-over debt but it has been reduced by two-thirds.
Our income comes from donations; the income apart from donations is almost insignificant. In 1974, 90% of the donations came from ashram residents - less than 1 /50th of the total number of premies. In the latter half of 1974 we started the Active Membership Program, hoping that the rest of the vast majority of premies might understand the situation and come forward to support Maharaj Ji's mission in a consistent and regular way. Now AMP has been started, though it isn't in full swing, and the scales are slowly beginning to shift.
There is reason for optimism; the premies have given a lot in the past year, and their dedication has made the mission possible. Looking into 1975, given the fact that there is a severe recession approaching, and that Maharaj Ji has said we will be doing propagation again, there are many unsolved questions about our financial situation. We still have a ways to grow. Maharaj Ji alone knows how long that will take, but it all depends on our dedication. We can only do as much as we have money for, and that lies solely in the hands of each and every premie.