Light in the World of Private Enterprise
Premie-owned businesses get their start.
Lately we've heard a lot from premies around the country - satsang - about a new feeling they're having with their lives in the Knowledge. It's a feeling of growing maturity, of "at-homeness", of "just feeling good about being here on earth"; a feeling that as long as we've got Knowledge and are going to keep on living, it's about time to settle down and get to work.
Premie businesses, owned and operated not by DLM, but by individual premies in communities all over the country, are a natural offshoot of this inner solidity. The new entrepreneurs combine their clear, human sensitivity towards life with a new brand of level-headed businessmanship. The outcome is something unique in the world of private enterprise.
In this issue, Divine Times takes a look at three of the many premie businesses now in operation. One, The Wooden Peg, Inc., is a booming furniture shop that makes its own hardwood products; another, The Tackery, is an upholstery shop begun on a prayer; and the third, New Day Educational, is a non-profit day-care center initiated with a beautiful ideal for childcare at heart.
Down to Brass Tacks
Michael Daugherty is the premie owner and chief tacker of a small upholstery shop in Denver, The Tackery. Together with his seamstress Julie Gaunt, he solicits a small neighborhood business and spends his spare time working on furniture for Guru Maharaj Ji's residence.
"The shop is new, but Julie and I have been working together a long time," said Michael. "We sort of became official when we upholstered the thrones for Maharaj Ji at Millennium '73, but we go back even farther than that."
Michael began the trade in Detroit, back in the days of Divine Sales, working on the old chairs the premies had jumbled up. His mother had taken an upholstery course and he learned from her. "Pretty soon I was working inside people's homes on their own furniture," he said, "Then I needed a helper and Richard Royal, our DUO director at the time, asked Julie if she wanted to do it. She did, and it all began."
Until becoming Michael's assistant, Julie had been doing a lot of sewing, making clothes and alterations for the community premies, so changing to upholstery wasn't very difficult. "At the time we were living in the ashram in Detroit and our shop was out back in the garage," said Julie, "Sometimes we'd get so mad at each other we'd chase each other around the garage with our brooms. We went through every trip together. Michael is like my real blood brother. After Millennium festival, I came to Denver, living in the ashram there, and Michael stayed in Detroit. But when it was festival time, Guru Puja in Amherst, we came back together sewing and tacking."
Last March Michael moved to Denver, found a little storefront and set up shop. "I always had faith that we would succeed," he said, "The premies here have helped us a lot." To get business going Michael has leafletted and put up signs in the premie laundry and the local Rainbow Grocery. A lot of customers come by chance: "One sister happened to be talking to Sam Brown, the Colorado State Treasurer, and found out that he needed his sofa redone. Now we've done a lot of work for him and we'll probably do more."
Sometimes people just come in off the street and need something fixed. Julie tells of the time that an old Jewish man came in, his face twisted in a sad expression. "Can you fix this?" he asked and took his yarmulke off his head and showed her a rip in it. "Sure," she said and sewed it right up. And given such a warm introduction, the old man comes in a lot now, 'just to talk' - a subtle route that leads to friendship and satsang every time.
"As far as business goes," Michael said, "We're not in this for the profit. Of course, we want to make ends meet and have a little left over, but basically we're doing service; trying to change the business world by conducting our business in a more human and spiritual way.
"We do a lot of work for the residence here, and that keeps us going. Once Julie was asking me about it and I just said, 'do you think it we're working on our Lord's furniture, he's going to let all this fall apart?' "
"The Wooden Peg started out in Atlanta in the early fall of 1974. It rapidly materialized into an upstart furniture business with its grand opening on Christmas Eve 1974. Business has been consistently on the rise ever since and the word of our work is spreading fast. We are incorporated, have 4 employees, an accountant and a lawyer, a good Dun and Bradstreet rating, multiple credit allowances, and in general one might say we have established a bit of a track record of being solvent. Our shop is 4,000 sq. ft. split down the middle with half being a retail outlet and half our production shop. People really like the idea of the furniture being made right there on the scene, and this intimate vibe with the premie designers and craftsmen has brought us a flourishing custom order schedule. Jack Anderson is our chief designer and shop foreman. Along with Jack, Paul Caron and Don Gulick manifest some outrageous energy to keep our production schedule running smoothly. Joe Norley keeps the business end of things developing.
"The Peg only works with solid wood furniture, no veneers or plastic laminants. People are really into getting quality wood pieces these days, and we are into providing the best quality we can. Most of our furniture is contemporary, although we have a light concentration of California Burlwood products. From our retail outlet aside from our own furniture we also sell pottery made both the Divine Potters in Micanopy, Fla., stained glass creations made by a budding premie artist, David Simmons, terrariums, plants and various fine art pieces.
"In recent months we have started to do some small manufacturing business. We have put some immediate energy into setting up accounts with exotic hardwood dealers. We want to resell the wood at The Peg both in the raw state and in finished furniture. We don't think it will take long for us to be known as the place with the finest hardwoods in town.
"Some other long term projects are presently being worked on at the Wooden Peg. For instance, a couple of weeks ago, we were working in the shop one afternoon when a young businessman stopped in to rap about his ideas. He was the manager of a 40 store mall in Atlanta that has been struggling for years to keep up with the so-called "trend setter" malls which surround it on 4 sides. He wanted us to re-do the entire place into a fine arts and crafts oriented scene and he said he had the mall owners backing to proceed. He said that he thought we were among the most happening shops in Atlanta, and after much satsang and talk about our various "connections" both inside and around the country, we found ourselves with a very blissed out manager really wanting us to help him put the entire project together. No doubt, the grace was flowing.
"The next day, much to our amazement, in strolls the manager again, but not alone. He had brought with him none other than the owner of the mall himself. The guy was strictly business, so we were too. We talked about our capacity to handle the entire mall project, our financial picture, his financial picture, and other assorted topics. He left feeling that we might be just the people he needs to put his ideas in motion. We stayed, feeling he might have just what we need to begin setting up a viable outlet for premie craftspeople and artists. He asked us to go to work on a presentation and proposal for him about our place in the developments of the project.
"Since then we have feverishly plunged into development of a sophisticated package for presentation to him. The W.P. Inc. proposal will include our being responsible for setting up the detailed marketing approach, remodeling and decorating plans, deciding on lease application or space fit into the concept of a top quality fine arts and crafts mall, and various other co-ordinating activities."
If you feel you would like to be involved in the Wooden Peg's mall adventure, opening a shop there, having your crafts represented in an art/craft co-op store, giving advice, whatever, write to Joe Norley at The Wooden Peg Inc., 4075 Peachtree Rd. N.E., Atlanta, Ga. 30319. (404) 237-1967. Include a resume of your experience as well as your name and address, ideas, helpful hints, etc.
Hugs and A Bundle Of Life
New Day Educational - a premie day care center in Oregon
If you are in Eugene, Oregon take a walk down the little road called Garden Way. By and by just at the point where the land begins to turn from city into rolling hills of rich Oregon farmland you will come to a freshly painted light green farmhouse. Pause, then open the gate - Go in. You have just arrived at New Day Educational, a very special day care center run entirely by premies.
New Day began in October, last year. Like many other premie projects it started out as nothing more than a run down building and a heart full of dreams. But the premies having the unique ability to see heaven anywhere went right to work and redid everything. Old kitchens, bedrooms and sitting rooms over the months became school rooms. "But," said Karen Gottlieb, the center's director, "we didn't do it alone. We had a tremendous amount of support from people in Eugene - our landlord gave us carpets, local merchants have given us discounts. All kinds of people have donated things.'"
New Day opened officially in January with complete state and federal licensing. "Right now there are about 40 children going to our school," Karen continued.
"We start our day at about 7:15 a.m. and close at 6:00 p.m. We have free play while the children are arriving, doing quiet centering activities, and around 9:30 or 10:00 we have circle time, where we all gather together and sing songs, do fingerplays, and play games. After washing hands we gather together to share a little snack and before eating we sit, hold hands, close eyes, take a deep breath and have a little sat-sang about how the food that we are placing in our body nourishes our bodies of light. After their snack, there are art activities, stories and dramatic plays. The children choose one of these, or go outside and play. At 12:30 we have lunch and then at 1:00 rest. In the afternoons we some-times show little movies, cartoons and nature films or maybe we'll play some music with the kids all beating drums, clanking bells, singing and humming together.
"Outside we have 4 chickens, a pyramid jungle gym built with poles from the forest, tire swings and a log cabin (in the planning stages). Inside there's a main room, with a piano and pillows, which we use as our main gathering room. In it there are shelves full of blocks, wooden dolls, stuffed animals and other toys made by the community here. We want to use only wooden or cloth toys and stay away from plastic and metal. We feel it has a better vibration - makes the kids less aggressive.
"Off the main room is a science room with an aquarium, goldfish, shells, skeletons, bones, astronomy posters, a microscope, telephones and other science equipment. Another room (the favorite) is The Fantasy Room, which has a large two story castle for the children to crawl under, over and through. Then when they slide down the other side they find a puppet stage around the back. There are many dress up clothes in this room - all a kid needs to make-believe. There's also an arts and crafts room with table, benches, and art supplies, and behind that there is a small room with a table converted into a cornmeal box (an indoor sandbox) which the children love. The rear of the house has a large dining area and kitchen and office with a couple of bathrooms."
Summing up Karen said: "Our aim is to create an extended family home atmosphere. Mainly what is happening here is a lot of hugging, holding crying children who miss their mommies, and just giving as much love as we can to these children. One parent has received Knowledge, and another has moved into the Divine Meditation Retreat, still checking us out. Many parents ask for satsang. It's more than I have words for. We just want to be examples of total premieness for them. Sometimes it's so high that parents come in and say, 'Wow, I feel so much power and energy here and I think it's love.' "
The scene opens with the premie approaching the house. He stops at the steps and writes down the street address. There are lights on in the windows, and it looks as if there will be someone home to answer the door.
It is duskish, a summer evening. There have been children playing in the streets and riding their bikes. The good humor man jingle-jangles by.
The premie goes up to the door and knocks, waits, meditating. The door is opened by an elderly woman.
Eye contact. Premie smile.
"Hello," says the premie, "My name is Tom Munger and I'm with the Divine Light Mission. We're doing a survey on meditation."
Scenes like this are typical of a new method of propagation that began last month in Detroit. Both there and in Washington, D.C., premies are beginning, once again, to go door to door to try and share Guru Maharaj Ji's Knowledge. And the results are good. "People are open to a survey, where they might not be open to anything else. You are asking their opinion, and, in a rare occasion, satsang is begun on their end. Oftentimes what happens is that the person expresses all the problems that meditation is the answer to.''
In addition to using their contact to introduce people to meditation and Knowledge, the premies are collecting their survey information in earnest. Randy Stein, the Washington, D.C. DUO director, adds that they are investigating getting their results published.
Our editor's note in issue no. 4 that people interested in starting more starships to tour around the country should contact International Head-quarters has received a good response. In fact, an additional star-ship (11), operating out of a completely refurbished school bus is now on the road. Both vehicles will soon be tour-ing Florida, in preparation for the up-coming Hans Jayanti Festival. We have been asked to say, however, that until the Mission's plans are set for propagation in 1976, National is not accepting any more new offers for starships.
Spring Valley, New York: When premies went to do a show on a local cable TV station, the station's manager was really moved by the satsang and promised them a half hour of air time every week.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Fertile Earth Restaurant, "Milwaukee's only true vegetarian restaurant," run by premies, has two exciting new dinner specials, "Cauliflower Quiche a la Darshan" and "Premlata Jamboree." The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.
Albion, Michigan: "Our premie pop-ulation has recently doubled and our active membership is still 100%. There are four of us here now."
Boston premies set trend in theatre satsang.
"Welcome to 'Life Tours'. Step to the right, please."
This is no ordinary program on meditation. Eight booths illustrating various life styles (and poking fun at them a bit) have been constructed around the sides of the large Boston University hall, and the stage seems to be set like some sort of cross between a barroom and a hotel lobby. It seems like you're supposed to tour the booths: "Why, that looks just like Filene's Bargain Basement! And look, Betty, that guy drinking beer and watching TV is my husband to a T!" "You're right, Sally, but they've got us here too - look at that koffeeklatch scene!"
Soon the lights dim, and the audience of 500 (including about 250 non-premies attending a satsang program for the first time) settle down to be entertained and uplifted by the premiere performance of the play "The Hotel". It is a full-scale presentation of Durga Ji's parable about the parade to heaven which she told in Toronto last November, and although the Boston premies have been planning the program for six weeks, the final script has only been completed two days ago, and this performance is actually the first time that all the scenes have been done in proper sequence.
Eight people enter from the back of the hall, all smiling and childlike. They have been told to come to the hotel (which it soon becomes clear is the entire hall) to wait for the incredible parade to happiness which is scheduled to leave first thing in the morning. But no sooner have they arrived than they are lured into the booths surrounding the audience, forgetting their purpose for coming to the hotel.
A series of skits is presented illustrating what goes on in several of the booths - we see three army veterans in their 10-year reunion, three professors arguing on the "Marsha Wallets Show" over the topic, "1975: where does civilization go from here?", and a young couple whose marital bliss fades away right amidst their annual vacation. The skits are biting but gentle in their satire of modern life. The energy builds as characters from all the scenes come together in a masquerade ball in the hotel lobby (onstage), and comes to a climax as the "Smith Family" from one of the booths (see photo) find themselves in the middle of the mounting chaos.
Suddenly, everything stops, and a sign "Paraders to Happiness"' hung over the stage. Slowly a play within the play, "The Seed," begins to unfold. The Seed evolved as the product of about 6 months of improvisations, and was first performed at New England's Regional Holi Festival last March. In it, a troupe of professional clowns gradually lose their ability to perform for their audience, completely lose the will to entertain, and then are saved by the entrance of another clown called "the seed," who teaches them how to be spontanious all the time - by planting himself in their hearts. Meanwhile, in "The Hotel", the awakening of the clowns is also the first awakening of all the people who have been captured by the attraction of the booths, and also of the audience themselves. The program ends with the entire cast of about 65 premies in a line at the front of the stage singing "Peace Now," leaving more than a few of the audience in tears.
The director of "The Hotel" was Jim Colpas, who said the most incredible thing was the way the play brought the community together: "It was as if Maharaj Ji himself were coming. There was no question for whom we were doing service." And Rosie Lee, Boston's programs coordinator, summed up: "For a while we thought that we had bitten off too big a bite in planning this program, but I know once again that Maharaj Ji's grace can transform the world. That night I saw that he can bring peace to the world. Everyone is seeing more and more how yes, we really are on the right path, and yes, you do have to give him your one hundred percent, one hundred percent of the time. Then we can watch him play with us and actually feel his hand of grace within us."
1st Prize in Bristol, R.I.
Premies' float wins in 4th of July parade.
Small children echoed shouts of delight as our thirteen foot fantasia-colored swanboat with a huge canvas portrait of Guru Maharaj Ji for a sail floated past. Our float was part of the traditional, and nationally known, Bristol, Rhode Island, Fourth of July parade. Spilling out around the banner, "Sailing on Waves of Love," a contingent of premie clowns did routines, hula-hooped, blew bubbles, shook hands and hugged whomever they felt like as they skipped by the estimated 150,000 onlookers in this small New England town.
A flower-festooned Cadillac pulled the float, while a clown-wagon for sole-weary jesters brought up the rear. There were the bliss-outs: guys in the midst of a barroom brawl who broke into smiles as the car driver blew his horn … An older woman yelled out "Jai Satchitanand!" as the swan glided by.
For weeks premies had been working steadily on the float - a hand-made paper mache and chicken wire structure. Then the day before the parade, clowns and marchers came together for a mini retreat in an abandoned Bristol farmhouse, where the float was assembled and given the last finishing touches.
Driving the swan to the parade grounds the next morning, amidst all the commercial, ready-made floats, we realized what a labor of love it had been, and could see other people realizing it too … Like the man who walked up to us during the parade to say, "I really admire perfection." It was a golden chance to see how only concentrated effort allows perfection and beauty to shine through. So it was a surprise, but not a big one, when the float was awarded "Ist Prize - Beautiful." Because it was.
Hans Jayanti '75 promises to be the best festival ever. Yet, in order to follow through on all the commitments the Mission has made in advance for the festival, we need you to preregister now. The festival will takeplace in early November, but the work done and the money spent organizing the event will be spent far in advance. This means we must raise money immediately.
To register, get a form from yourlocal DUO director or DIC representative, and return it to them with your payment-as soon as possible.
Pitch in, do your part, and the festival will be a beautiful, loving success. For your convenience, charter and group flights at reduced rates have been arranged by Divine Travel Service, from cities throughout the United States. For more information, contact your nearest DUO office or call Divine Travel Service (303) 623-8280.
Prison propagation continues
"My first service here was working in the business office of Prison Industries. I did my service eight hours a day and for the first time in my life whatever happened in the way of profit or loss didn't affect me in the least. It didn't interfere with my meditations, my satsang to the other inmates or the meditation programs I was teaching in the evenings. What a difference it made!
"I don't know how many premies have ever had the golden opportunity to surrender completely to the Lord, in an atmosphere of intense meditation, without any responsibilities or pressures. You see, within two weeks of receiving Knowledge, I was already immersed in service. It seems I never really had enough time between trying to get my minimum hours of meditation logged and keeping on top of my duties, to deeply reflect on the tremendous beauty of this Knowledge and where my center in it should be.
"When I first talked to the Catholic priest and the Protestant chaplain here, they assured me that no one here would ever be interested in anything to do with Guru Maharaj Ji. Apparently, some premies from the Houston ashram had given two satsang programs here and the few fellows that attended walked out during the program. So I decided to use the back door approach. The first thing I did was to convince the head of the psychology department of the great therapeutic value of Hatha Yoga and Transcendental Meditation as a rehabilitation program for the inmates. As a test run, I put the three psychologists through a four week program and they really turned on. Then I tried my experiment: "If you now want to go on from T.M., which is a limited mantra type of meditation, to the highest experience of meditation, then you must receive the Knowledge of the Perfect Master who will reveal this experience to you through one of his mahatmas.
"After the four-week pilot seminar, Dr. Lazar decided to approve the whole program for the prison's use. One of the other psychologists needed to write his doctoral dissertation and Dr. Lazar suggested that he do it on the effects of Yoga and Meditation on inmates so he in turn could take the data and submit it to the Bureau of Prisons in Washington, D.C., and implement the program in prisons all over the country. We later did a very professional one hour videotape of my presentation in introductory form to send to all the other federal prisons. We then wanted to try the program for the prisoners; 104 residents and staff signed up at the first lecture. Now we are ten weeks into the program and seven people have already received Knowledge.
"Dr. Lazar eventually had me transferred from the business office to the psychology department and my only job now is teaching Yoga and Meditation. I'm running three different two hour classes a day in addition to formal satsang at night, which comes under the heading here of 'Advanced Meditation.' So far 64 residents and staff have completed at least Beginning Yoga and Meditation and there are still over a hundred on the waiting list. I try to keep the number of participants for each class down to a manageable 25. However, satsang is open to all the atthe moment about 26 residents are attending. Because of the results of the program so far,the associate warden has given me the go-ahead to bring the next group of aspirants for Knowledge down to San Antonio whenever a mahatma is scheduled there. This will definitely be a first in prison administration here. Dr. Lazar thinks that this could possibly be the biggest breakthrough in the Bureau of Prison rehabilitation attempts. They have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to implement rehabilitation and so far, by their own admission, they have nothing. This is the first program that they all feel is really working.
"Most people especially prisoners, are so hungry for true inner peace. Now that everything else has been stripped from them and prison seems to be the end of the line, they are most anxious to experience trading in their troubles for inner peace. The biggest boon to the program so far, besides pure grace, has been the enthusiasm of the fellows involved who are communicating their experiences to the rest of the compound. The word is out - 'Meditation really works!"
"As for myself, I have never been more at peace, and grateful for the opportunity to more fully realize this gift of Knowledge. The four to five hours a day I spend in meditation now has given me everything I was hopelessly chasing all those years before Knowledge."
- Michael Clegg, Segoville, Texas
Michael Clegg is a premie serving time on charges stemming from pre-Knowledge business activities. Before taking Knowledge he was a T.M. instructor for several years.
Note: There are now scores of prisoners in institutions throughout the U.S. who would love to hear satsang. In some cases there are WWA programs that come to them, but in many more there is no way for these aspirants and new premies to hear about Knowledge except through loving letters written to them by individual premies. If you would like to take part in this service, once or on a regular basis, contact Carol Bourne, DUO Communications, P.O. Box 532, Denver, CO 80201.
Behind Bars in Atlanta
Premies Charlie Riggins (seated far left), Steve Lesser (center) and Richard Carnes (with guitar) pose in Georgia prison classroom after meditation seminar. This program began on "Day of Thanks" when "Seymore Light" band played at a Thanksgiving Day dance. Since then Steve has been holding meditation seminars once a week. In March, five inmates received Knowledge. Three have since been released and the other two, Charlie and Richard, stand above. Steve, who has been with the project eight months, tells a story about his experiences in this service:
"The administration loves us and we love them. I asked the assistant director if he had any concerns or questions about our program (expecting to have to answer about Guru Maharai Ji's lifestyle, etc.) and he ust said, 'All I hear is good things about your program; that the men come away with big smiles on their faces. Anything that makes people happy has got to be good, so keep up the good work and let us know how we can help you." When it came time for the Knowledge session they bent over backwards getting us a quiet room, blankets for the windows, and so on.
IT'S HIS PAPER!
Not long ago we opened up the Divine Times to the premie populus, freely asking - urging you to contribute to its pages as often and in whatever way you felt moved. "It's Your Paper," we said, meaning we want your participation. We asked for your feelings about the parts of the paper that inspired you most; we asked for news of your communities; and we invited you to send to us your articles, stories and Insideout shorts.
In a sense Divine Times doesn't have an editorial policy, but rather a raison d'etre - a reason for being. Divine Times is a tool for Guru Maharaj Ji to use to communicate with his premies, to inspire us and give us that practical direction we need in our lives. Through Knowledge, Guru Maharaj Ji is actually changing the way we see things; he is changing our perception of life, and that's something we've never been through before. Divine Times is His paper. It's here to be an expression of the way Guru Maharaj Ji is changing us, of our thankfulness to him, and of the goal he is bringing us towards. We wholeheartedly urge you to take part in this expression.
To date we have received hundreds of responses to the "It's Your Paper" poll, and more are coming in every day, despite the fact that the poll was first printed almost four months ago. For what inspiresyou most to read in Divine Times, the results are as follows. You will remember that YES next to an item meant you would like to see more of something in the paper, and marking NO meant you wanted to see less:
1) National/International News 70% yes
2) Inside Out 58% yes
3) Mission Trends 58% yes
4) Knowledge in Action 43% yes
5) GMJ in the World Press 42% yes
6) Mahatma News 34% yes
7) Saints, religion articles 33% yes
8) Columns 32% yes
1) Reviews 28% no
2) World News 22% no
3) Intellectual articles 21% no
56% said they wanted to see the paper come out biweekly, with 26% voting for weekly. 85% said they read every article, and 8% wrote in their responses separately, saying they didn't want to cut up their Divine Times.