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Divine TimesCome Up To My House

As we rushed up to see the newly arrived photos of the L.A. Father's Day party, held last month at Maharaj Ji's residence, we decided they just had to be shared. This beautiful report is a letter we received from Kathy Sisler who was cooking for Maharaj Ji at the time of the party.

As you know, Maharaj Ji came back to Los Angeles on June 7th and he was so glad to be home - really. He kept mentioning how good it was to be home. All through that week before Father's Day, it was really beautiful serving him again and being with him. But there was a part of me that kept hoping he would see his premies; I just knew they wanted his darshan so.

And it was funny, because all through the week I started seeing in Guru Maharaj Ji a desire to see his premies! When we'd mention a program for Father's Day he would say, "Well, this is Tuesday that is Sunday, so …"

Then Saturday afternoon before Father's Day we were all sitting around and Maharaj Ji said, "How about if we have the premies come up here?" We all got into it immediately, saying, "Oh really Maharaj Ji, that would be incredible." And just as we got into it, Maharaj Ji sat down and said, "No, this is my residence." Of course we all sat down and agreed. It's funny you know, because Maharaj Ji knows what he wants to do, but he plays with us and even his seeming indecision is a beautiful part of the play between Lord and devotee.

So we continued making dinner and tried to take our minds off the affair. Suddenly Maharaj Ji walked into the kitchen and said, "Call the ashram and tell the premies we are having a party up here tomorrow at 6 p.m." We exploded with joy.

I got on the phone and called the satsang hall. You could feel the wheels in motion. The premies were so beautiful, organizing food and transportation and clean-up. In the morning Maharaj Ji said, "All is going to be smooth and disciplined because the premies know where they are coming." All we could do was trust and prepare. The vibration was high all day long; Maharaj Ji was so excited getting ready; he even strung lights all over the house, decorating it for his premies.

At 6 o'clock, when the premies started arriving, Maharaj Ji got up from the dinner table and looked out the window to see his children. It was beautiful, joyful beyond description to see the love he has for us.

Then when everyone was there Jiva played, the premies danced and Maharaj Ji and Durga Ji and Premlata just walked around.

Maharaj Ji's main message to us was to please enjoy ourselves - and to begin to see that this is his message to us everyday of our lives: please enjoy yourselves. Stay connected and enjoy.

Divine Times

Divine Times

by Cliff Yudell

Latest in the current series of disaster films is a movie of almost infinite length, "Life," now showing at your neighborhood world. While its maker obviously intended it to be a serious work of creative art, the results are often hilarious unintentionally so.

This is no fault of the director. The blame must be placed upon the actors, who have thrown themselves into their roles with such intensity, they have all but lost sight of the artistic force behind the camera, in a slapstick attempt to control not only their own dialogue and action, but the entire plot.

While this conceit is often amusing (we can think of nothing more tragi-comic, for example, than "heads of state" actually believing they control life and death), the comedy wears thin after awhile. We are expected to sit through endless scenes of both military and psychological warfare, whether they be out on the battlefields (spectacular effects here), in drably decorated conference rooms, or inside "typical" family kitchens. At first the carnage is overwhelming, but soon the illusion becomes painfully clear; from then on, one can only squirm in his seat.

This is not to say there are not moments of extreme pleasure in this film. Even the actors must receive credit where it is due, for they have mastered the art of performing as if they were not in a movie at all. One can only admire their skill. Deserving of special mention are certified public accountants and members of an organization called the Secretarial Pool, who go from home to office in complete seriousness, dedicating themselves to paperwork and believing in it. To mention but a few of the other excellent performances, admiration must be given to philanthropists and social workers, who do an outstanding job of losing themselves in the illusion of benevolence; and to "social activists" and "Libbers", who delude themselves as to the nature of personal freedom. They will be remembered at awards time.

But the finest performances of all - strictly on a technical level - are given by a small group of people who find themselves in a place called Hollywood. They are actually called actors, and spend their time portraying people who are at least twice removed from their true identities. These are masterpieces of characterization, and in the film's funniest sequence, we are treated to an effective use of the movie-within-a-movie technique, as people line up in front of "theatres" to watch the "actors" perform. Both sides approach their roles with a seriousness that can only be marvelled at; thus we see people laughing, crying, even applauding, while the "actors" re-create the illusion outside the "theatre" (scenes of war, international intrigue, comedy and human love). Perhaps most skillful of all are the films portraying emotional chaos and the spiritual "search" - realistic mirrors of the film we are reviewing here.

Visually, the movie is a knockout. Exhibiting the excellent taste we have come to expect, the director has commissioned the sets from Nature, best known for her previous work with The Flood and Lilies of the Field.

In her best work to date, Nature has teamed up with Time, that old standby, to create one extremely funny illusion. Filmed on location (the studio has spared no expense), the sets are divided into what the actors call "seasons" - special effects that prevents visual boredom and gives Nature a chance to display her considerable gifts. The peak moments - hurricanes, tidal waves - are spectacular in their own right, but it is the more subtle changeovers (between the illusions of "Spring" and "Summer", for example) that thrill the true connoisseur.

With all this said, criticism must be levelled against the plot, which can only be called hackneyed. We have seen it all before: birth; the tears and joys of childhood; the self-involved period of adolescence (complete with Rebellion - are we spared no cliche?); and finally, the quest for satisfaction in middle and old age. Once again, the actors look outside themselves, convinced that their happiness lies in power, amusement and romance. Once more they are disappointed, yet they refuse to accept reality and even - despite previous films that cannot have gone unnoticed - try to deny the presence of the Saviour. And so there is only the illusion of death. Must we sit through grade-B re-runs of bodily demise, complete with hysterical relatives and rain-soaked funerals? By this time it is difficult to retain any semblance of compassion; the actors have done a commendable job, but their tendency towards obstinancy and self-pity robs them of nobility.

The one spark of lasting admiration one experiences must go to a small but growing fringe group of actors who do step outside the action from time to time, choosing what they refer to as the "Path". In the film's only moments of Truth, they portray dedication and love of reality, and for the one who has revealed it to them (here we are granted a brief but memorable appearance by the director himself, a-la Hitchcock). Witnessing this devotion is thrilling to the soul, and certainly worth the price of admission (a human body). However, the outcome of their considerable effort is endangered by the actors' reluctance to continually take direction, and they occasionally heed the call of the celluloid itself. This viewer departed before the movie's end, and can only hope these actors do not become spiritually star-struck, but instead realize the true nature of their roles before the final and inevitable "cut".