FIESTA DE AMOR
Guru Puja festival held in Caracas, Venezuela.
"This is the first time that I have ever come into South America, and it's really beautiful. Because the aim that brings me here makes everything so beautiful, so perfect and so blissful.
"You know, there were people who came the same day as I came into South America, into Caracas, but they're not the same. Those people are not exactly enjoying that bliss, that harmony, that most peaceful thing that we are all trying to enjoy, that we all have assembled here for."
At the far end of a 40 x 30 foot room just outside the main arena of the Poliedro in Caracas, Venezuela, Guru Maharaj Ji sat greeting his Latin American premies. Never before had he come to their continent, and for nearly all of the premies who came to the festival, it would be the first time - after loving and serving and knowing him for so long - that they would actually meet their Perfect Master.
"The festival was explosive," said one premie who went, "We've never seen anything like it - such an intense release of so much stored up love. It showed just how much love can manifest between Guru Maharaj Ji and the premies; much more than we ever thought possible.
"To a certain extent, many premies are used to Guru Maharaj Ji, or at least they think they are. But there are some premies in Latin America who have been meditating for three or four years, and the only Guru Maharaj Ji they've known is inside, the one they've experienced with the Knowledge. Not only hadn't they seen Guru Maharaj Ji, it was rare to even know anyone who had. "
For most of the premies the festival was the materialization of a dream they'd held long in their hearts. To get to Caracas they travelled long distances, often going overland through the (literally) treacherous terrain of the continent, through jungles, deserts, and over the high peaks of the Andes mountains. And even higher, for some, were the mountains of bureaucratic red-tape, formalities, political divisions and economic difficulties that they had to overcome - and that some of them did not overcome."
"It amazes me that it was successful," said Francisco Arce, the Latin American DUO director. "There were so many variables. We were so over-burdened and so unskilled in what we were doing, yet the festival went beautifully. When Guru Maharaj Ji was boarding the plane to leave for Mexico and then the U.S., he turned to me and said 'It was smooth, really smooth; the smoothest yet.' The premies themselves were the ones who came through. Even before the festival, when I went around fund-raising, the premies surprised me with their understanding. In Argentina, I would go into a city and raise as much there as I was expecting to get from the whole country. And later when the festival began and so much was happening that we could no longer control things by ourselves, it was the premies who cooperated and helped things continue to flow.''
Before Guru MaharajJi left, he told the premies that if they work hard, the Mission in their part of the world can grow so much that they might be able to do a Hans Jayanti festival there. "It's not an impossibility," said Maharaj Ji. "It is very, very possible. I mean, look, at one time I had never heard of South America. When I first came to England, I didn't even know Canada existed. All I knew was London and America. That was it. And now I don't even know the names of some of these places. I know they exist, but I don't even know the name of them, and still there is prachar there. It's because of the premies that it's been made possible. This is why I say it's very, very possible that everybody in this world can have Knowledge. We just have to be in it; we have to be there."
Joe Anctil, coming back from his service at the festival said: "I had a tremendous realization there. We often give satsang about how Guru Maharaj Ji is bringing peace to the world, but when I was in Caracas I had my first vivid experience of it. I was in a foreign country, surrounded by thousands of people from a different culture, speaking a totally different language, yet when we met we greeted with a 'Jai Satchitanand,' and a deep smile that went right to my heart. They were my brothers and sisters, and in a huge, beautiful way I saw the family that Guru Maharaj Ji is building all over our planet, and I saw that, my God, he really is going to do it, he really is going to bring peace."
14 August 1975
I would like to bring to your attention the fact that Hans Jayanti is very close and we are all full strength ahead for its preparations.
We want to make this Hans Jayanti a unique festival and something that will be remembered for a long, long time. And for us to be able to make that possible is only by Grace and your cooperation.
You see, this Hans Jayanti has taken a lot of planning, but that's not the end of it yet. There is a lot going on and still a lot more to happen. It's really beautiful.
But at this time, we are running short of finances because many things must be paid in advance which makes it really hard on this organization.
What I would like all the premies to do is to send their registration money now or as soon as possible. Please register so that we can meet these advance payments and continue with preparations for our program. This is really important, so I hope you understand.
I have been taking care of a lot of things in Denver and it has really been beautiful to see this plant grow and take the shape of a tree, growing from just a small fragile plant. It's really incredible to see this Prachar spreading in leaps and bounds.
So I hope to see you all in Hans Jayanti. Keep on doing satsang, service and meditation.
Blessings to all the premies.
I love you all
Guru Maharaj Ji
OUR GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY
Guru Maharaj Ji visits International Headquarters to take personal charge
Tapping the microphone gently before he began, Guru Maharaj Ji's voice crackled over the office loudspeaker at DLM International Headquarters. "Dear premies. This is pretty much my last day in Denver. I'm going to be heading back. My visit here has been really nice.
"For every premie, not only in this office building, but anywhere doing service, the very important thing is that everybody should understand that they are doing service to Guru Maharaj Ji. This is very important to understand so that you can focus, you can aim the energy of that service toward Guru Maharaj Ji's purpose which is to reveal this Knowledge to the whole world.
"… All three things: satsang, service and meditation, are very, very important, but the most beautiful part is that, at this age, now, it is very possible to do service. This beautiful opportunity has been given to us so that we can do prachar, so that we can do service, so that we can really do meditation.
"It's really beautiful if you can realize the Grace here … Here we are and we have that golden opportunity to serve.
"I would like to make one thing really clear to all the premies who are working here; that they should really concentrate on this service. Because this is an opportunity. This is something that you are doing to me, for me, but you are also really doing this service to
(continued on page 2)
(continued from page 1
yourself … It benefits you as much as it does anybody else.
"So you know, just don't space out. Just don't let your mind drive you. Let this Knowledge come to you. And do meditation."
When Guru Maharaj Ji arrived in Denver last month, he made it clear from the start that he had come with a definite purpose. He had come to visit his International Headquarters. He wanted to see exactly how his Mission was progressing, how it had been reorganized, and to see firsthand how well it is carrying out his Agya, his instructions. He wanted to make sure that everything at headquarters was really set up for propagation, and most of all, that the premies there understood the service they were doing. He even said, "It is better not to have a department than to have people in it doing service but not understanding."
The Mission directors first planned a thorough and intensive agenda and then took Maharaj Ji through a complete step-by-step overview of the Mission and all its activities. They spent hours together reviewing the organization; how it has grown and evolved, and the changes it has gone through since Maharaj Ji met with the Directors in January. He would listen carefully as each thing was presented, and then would begin giving satsang, saying things like, although the organization is working now, an organizational model is only good for a limited amount of time and the Mission will grow beyond all our ideas for it.
Maharaj Ji met with the Directors for three days, going over all the programs of the Mission: AMP, Knowledge seminars, WWA, the Mahatma Training Program, the Aspirant Program, the Noviciate Training Program, the Ashram, propagation strategies and approaches - literally everything. When they discussed fund-raising, Maharaj Ji talked about his commitment to make it known to the premies that he wants them to support the programs of the Mission; and when they queried Maharaj Ji about propagation, he told them to plan out an approach for the whole of 1976, including his own personal involvement. "The major thing that's missing," he said, referring to the direction of DLM/DUO, "is my communication and relationship with this organization." Later, plans were announced that Raja Ji would be doing a short national tour this fall before Hans Jayanti, and that Maharaj Ji himself will tour major U.S. cities in 1976.
On the last day, Maharaj Ji went over the role and duties of his mahatmas, clarifying their service giving people Knowledge - and then held a conference with all the mahatmas and OT.'s who were touring North America at the time, personally going over the Knowledge session with them. He also appointed four new (Knowledge-giving) mahatmas - (see story, p. 13), and wrote a letter to be used in Knowledge packets around the world.
Yet while Guru Maharaj Ji's visit achieved so much on this one level, he came to do more than check out the particulars of the organization. He wanted to be completely sure that his premies were understanding the service they were doing. His message was sobering: we must realize, he said, that when we dedicate our lives to him our commitment has got to be 100%.
Just before leaving for L. A. and then Caracas and Guru Puja, Guru Maharaj Ji called Bob Mishler into his office and told him the kind of satsang he wanted him to give the next day to the premies on the International staff. Yet, like the satsang he had delivered earlier over the loudspeaker, his words were valid for every premie in the world.
"Maharaj Ji's message," said Bob, "is that service is just as important as meditation. And if you think that when you're doing service, you're just a physical person doing a physical job, and that meditation is the important thing, because that's what's really spiritual - then what you've done is you've conceptualized the Knowledge to the point where you're fragmented. You're two different things. You're a physical being and you're a spiritual being, when actually there is only one being. Maharaj Ji said in his satsang that this was 'a golden opportunity ' What does that mean? Golden means most precious, and Guru Maharaj Ji is saying that this is our most precious opportunity to do service. And we shouldn't blow it
Before he left, Maharaj Ji wrote a letter to Mahatma Gyan Baraganand, the president of the Indian DLM, saying that the Indian devotees really have an extraordinary chance to do service now. Because India has always been the land of the Perfect Masters, but they've never been able to understand him or what he was here for. And Maharaj Ji said that the only thing that can possibly help a Perfect Master is his devotees. He was charging Mahatma Gyan Baraganand with the responsibility to help the premies; to bring them all together and to help them understand the importance of the opportunity at hand.
Guru Maharaj Ji was firm: to get done what he is here to do, he has to depend on his premies. He said we are the only ones he can depend on and if he can't depend on us then there's no reason for him to be here at all - "shape up or ship out" to the extreme.
Maharaj Ji told a story to illustrate his point. Maharaj Ji said his residence in Denver is his home. Attached to his house there is a garage. The garage itself has nothing to offer that would make him want to spend his time there. Yet every time he comes or leaves his house, he goes into the garage - because that's the place where his car is. He doesn't even like to go to the garage, except that the car is there. And just as the garage is only of any use to him if the car is in it, the car is only of any use to him if it is tuned, has gas in it and is ready to go.
The same thing, he said, is true of this world. Maharaj Ji has no reason to come into this world; this world isn't the abode of Guru Maharaj Ji; it's only part of it. He doesn't go into the world except for one reason: because his devotees are there. He comes to this world only for his devotees. He doesn't go into the garage unless the car is there and road-worthy, and it doesn't do him any good to come into this world if there aren't any devotees, and if they aren't ready to follow his Agya ; if they aren't ready to strive for perfection.
"So we would rather you weren't here," said Bob in the staff meeting, "if you're not here to attain perfection. And you can only attain perfection by striving for perfection. Maharaj Ji described humanity as an ant trying to climb along a wall of infinity - we're not perfect, it's true, and we'll never attain perfection by our own efforts. But as long as we're striving for perfection, then we're going to be pulled along by the Perfect Master. You become one with Knowledge. That doesn't mean we're all going to become the Perfect Master, but we are going to become perfect, going to become one with that perfection."
The night that Guru Maharaj Ji left Denver, he started giving some really powerful satsang, saying that if we have complete and utter faith in him, there's absolutely nothing he can't do for us. He can even do the most miraculous thing; he can finish us off while we're still alive so that we can experience this perfection.
"So remember what Guru Maharaj Ji said: 'This is your Golden Opportunity to do service.' You're here to do service. Why? Because you want to attain perfection. And we're not going to do that without a lot of conscientious effort."
Maharaj Ji left his staff with one last parting word: "Tell the premies that I'm coming back to Denver. Tell them that, first there was this whole family thing going on, and then there was Premlata coming and being born and everything, but now, Divine Light Mission has progressed to the point where I'm gonna be taking the time to become personally involved in what every premie is doing."
Prem Rawat's Divine Light Mission International Headquarter's staff in Denver Colorado, 1975
We all need someone we can lean on. Guru Maharaj Ji's International staff. These are the people who: communicate with and coordinate the activities of premies in 201 DUO and DIC communities in the United States and hundreds more in 66 countries around the world. They write, edit, design, layout, print and distribute Divine Times, And It Is Divine (in four languages), an international premie newsletter and all other DLM propagation materials; posters, leaflets, radio shows, slide shows, films and photos. They provide all the backup systems to keep the International Mission running; all the work behind the scenes, organizing festivals, mahatma tours, and most of all, Guru Maharaj Ji's travels throughout the world. On a rare occasion, the entire staff came together to take this photo to send to Guru Maharaj Ji so he could see how happy his kids at headquarters are to have his Knowledge … by his grace.