Guru Puja 75, Essen, Germany
On the grounds outside the Gruga Hall in Essen, Germany, the site of this year's European Guru Puja festival, a group of premies stood trying to hold a conversation. A German girl was trying unsuccess-
Another premie, an American, leaned over and asked if either of them could speak French. The girl said she could, but the man said he could not. Then still another premie who spoke both Danish and English intervened, and before long the whole group was laughing and talking together; the conversation bouncing from German to French to English to Danish and back again, with all the possible variations in between. And slipped between voices of every speaker a common word could be heard.
"Fantastisch! Guru Maharaj Ji ist der Enziger der Uns Zusammen bringen kann."
-Magnifique. Guru Maharaj Ji seul a la puissance pour nous rassembler - tons ensemble.-
"… yes, it's completely magnificent; we're all here just because we love Guru Maharaj Ji."
Guru Puja in Essen was an eye-opener for everyone who came. Even weeks before the festival began there was something special happening: a feeling that Guru Maharaj Ji was going to come to Essen and take all his European premies beyond the limitations they've been trying to get beyond without success for years.
From the very first time Maharaj Ji agreed to Europe as a festival site, he made it clear that the festival must be well organized and international. It must be coordinated through International Headquarters and it must include the participation of every country in Europe. And this would be no simple job. Divine Light Mission in Europe has not been without problems. Premies in Europe received Knowledge, began to meditate and organized missions in their own countries - but until now they hadn't been able to get completely beyond the limitations of language, culture and nationality that has been the plague of their continent for centuries.
Yet when it came right down to it, the premies took their mutual love for Guru Maharaj Ji and their common experience in meditation, and came together like the real brothers and sisters we are.
On Thursday, August 28th, 8,000 premies swept in to the Gruga Convention Center from countries all over Europe, Scandanavia and the rest of the world. They came in by train, plane and bus - Indians from South Africa, visitors from Hong Kong and Taiwan, and delegates from behind the Iron Curtain. English business suits chatted with gypsy skirts, Italian petro-chemical engineers talked with Portuguese students. Over a dozen languages could be heard, and it was indeed a huge barrier for everyone to get over, but everyone did get over it without much trouble. There seemed to always be a willing brother or sister that could be called on to translate, and if not, smiles and tears of laughter and hugs communicated all that was really important anyway. "When the festival finally began I didn't notice differences nearly as much as I was amazed at the similarities of all the premies who went," one premie organizer said. A reporter for a large German daily newspaper wrote that the premies followed an "unbelievable discipline," and it was probably one of the most organized festivals he'd seen put on by anyone, which in Germany is about as high a compliment as you can get.
Then wherever premies can assemble together and worship their Lord, it's Guru Puja. It doesn't have to happen on a full moon. That love that we experience, that joy, that beauty, that extremely, extremely subtle beauty that we all experience together is what we have assembled here for. We call it post Guru Puja function, but it's got nothing to do with post; this is a function all on its own."
Perhaps Ole Grunbaum, National Director of Denmark, best summed up the feelings on that first day: "When we see each others' faces after a year apart, we recognize how much closer we are to one another. Guru Maharaj Ji is our life, and the closer we come to Maharaj Ji, the more love we have for each other, and the more love we have for the whole world."
The evening program opened up with Michael Nouri, from the United States, walking up to the microphone strumming. After a few songs, Michael's style had the entire audience on theirfeet, clapping and ready for the night to begin. After some more music from London's band Salutations, Claudia gave satsang in German and English, delighted to be attending a festival with Maharaj Ji in her own country.
Then Maharaj Ji came in with Durga Ji and Premlata and the vibration in the hall hit the ceiling. He sat down and asked Salutations to play a short instrumental before he began. "It's really beautiful that we have all had the opportunity to assemble together again. There is no explanation for it. Because it's not a desire and it's not an experienceand it's not a feeling. It's something else. It's love. Before we used to have Guru Puja, Holi, Hans Jayanti, Baisaki - all these festivals lined up, and that was sort of the excuse for all the premies to gather together. So
I was sitting down in the Denver office and I was saying, 'Well look, South American premies, have never gotten any darshan before and this time I am going to South America. That's going to be Guru Puja and nowwhat.' So I said listen, Guru Puja is a Hindi word. It means Worship of Guru Maharaj Ji Then wherever premies can assemble together and worship their Lord, it's Guru Puja. It doesn't have to happen on a full moon. That love that we experience, that joy, that beauty, that extremely, extremely subtle beauty that we all experience together is what we have assembled here for. We call it post Guru Puja function, but it's got nothing to do with post, this is a function all on its own."
On that first night Maharaj Ji spent a little time addressing the problems the premies were having in Europe getting over their national limitations. Yet, his satsang, of course, applies to us all. Maharaj Ji told a story of a small child imagining a fantasy world tor himself - imagining a monster who he has to fight - and getting so caught up in the make-believe world that he himself has imagined, that he forgets what is real. "… And this is what the world is all about. Look out your windows and you'll see that whatever there is in this world - that ten-story shopping center to that little Volkswagen to whateverthere is in this world, it is a make-believe world. It is no different than that make-believe world of that little child. But the only thing is the scale, the proportion that it's done at is so huge that there is so much worthless energy thrown into that and man just wastes this beautiful life.
"Premies, this is supposed to be a festival where all the premies get together. And you know, there's so many things to talk about. But wait. I've just told you about this world's miseries, and I've just told you that man has built a make-believe world of such gigantic proportions that it's incredible. But the most beautiful part of it is that we have experienced Knowledge. That means we have got it made. Because in spite of whatever there is in this world, if we have experienced this Knowledge then everything is okay."
The next morning, Guru Maharaj Ji held a conference with all the National DUO directors and their staffs. After a short address from Bob Mishler and Michael Dettmers, Maharaj Ji gave some very direct sat-sang on the purpose of Divine Light Mission and the importance of dedication and service in our lives, and
then told the Directors in very straight terms how much he is depending on them to get the work done in this world that he has to get done. "And one thing I want all the premies who are here, who are responsible people of their countries, to understand, is that this is no joke. This is an extremely, extremely responsible job. And if you cannot do it, split the scene.
"I couldn't believe what I saw happening," said one premie of the meeting, "Guru Maharaj Ji sat there and told us about his Mission, and how he wanted it run. As I looked around the room I could actually see the premies going through changes right there in the room. All the things Maharaj Ji was saying were things we really already knew, but the combination of Maharaj Ji telling us himself, and the openness we were feeling from the festival, made everything he said have an incredible impact on us."
"Right now everybody's looking at America," Maharaj Ji said, "Well what has America got to do?" America is one of the countries, just like you. There are more premies there, that's because I spend most of my time there. And I decided to make the International Headquarters there.
"The decisions are made by me. It is only circulated by them (the international staff). You see? And it just so happens that on that letter that comes to you, it does not have my signature on it, it has Bob's (Mishler) signature on it. But before that letter goes out, or such an agya is sent out, whoever approves that letter informs me first, and we talk and we say, 'Okay,' or, 'We can't do it this way,' 'No this is the way I want it done.' You know?
"So, it's like, you're sitting here and we have this conference, and this is to have a little more communication between you guys, and try to make you understand what it really involves, what it really takes, and how much effort has to be put together to be able to gain our goal. And believe me we have not come to the end of our effort yet. This is not the end. We will be doing it so much more, and more and more."
On the second night Durga Ji gave satsang, relating stories of her life with Maharaj Ji on the path we're all on: "When we were in Italy, the lights went out. The electricity all of a sudden- just went off. I happened to help the bathroom at the time, and everything wads completely dark. It was just completely black. It was like, 'This is darkness.' There's nothing. You know that there's something there, but I was just groping in the dark, feeling, you know, trying to find a match to light a candle.
"And it was just so beautiful. Because this is the state man is in until Guru Maharaj Ji comes. Because really we have that candle inside us. Maharaj Ji comes and he lights that candle. And then there's light, and we can see. And the more love, the more devotion, the more effort we put intothis Knowledge, the brighter it gets, and we see more, and we understand more."
Toward the end of her satsang, Durga Ji began to cry, describing the love she felt Guru Maharaj Ji has for us all.
The atmosphere was unbelievable. Maharaj Ji told about a film he had seen, in which New York gets hit by a happiness virus, that makes people suddenly start loving each other. He was up there on the stage, telling us all about it, imitating a New York cop suddenly turning happy, and the Mayor of New York thinking at first that happiness is a good idea and then realizing that happy people might be too carefree to vote and … None of us had ever seen Guru Maharaj Ji so completely delighted. It was an incredibly funny satsang. But he was quick to point out the appropriate conclusion. We have the Knowledge, we have that happiness virus. And we must be eager to spread that happiness, that Knowledge throughout the world.
In the afternoon of the third day, the premies came out of their dormitories and began to walk quietly to the main hall for darshan. The line went very fast and was over quickly," said one premie, "but oh, was it beautiful, and oh, was it intense. I felt as though the premies coming through were all really giving their troubles to Maharaj Ji, and were really saying inside themselves, 'Okay, Maharaj Ji, if you take me this time, I'm going to really get into it.' " About half way through no answer: never mind how well Mishler sneaked away from the stage and got in line just to wait their turn and do pranam. When they finally came before Maharaj Ji, he yelled "Get those premies out of line!" and then laughed.
… it felt as if there was just one being called love, all looking out through the same eyes, yelling through the same mouth, and crying the same tears of joy. I left with only one feeling: that this same love, this same utter experience of oneness and joy is possible and that it must be possible all the time.""
That evening Raja Ji and Claudia both expressed how much they are experiencing what all the premies are experiencing - going through changes and growing and learning while they are treading along Maharaj Ji's path. Their stark honesty seemed to open everyone seated in the hall to the love that was there amongst them. It seemed to uplift the program to a beautiful point of reality.
It was after 11 pm when Maharaj Ji, Durga Ji and Premlata arrived. Guru Maharaj Ji was wearing his red and gold Krishna outfit and Premlata was in a coat to match. As Durga Ji took the microphone to speak, Maharaj Ji took Premlata in his arms. Premlata gave a wave to the premies and then reached across to Maharaj Ji's mike and pulled it down to her mouth. She seemed to know all about microphones, and blew into it like a professional.
Maharaj Ji's satsang was very different from the previous night. He was completely regal, instructing his devotees to beware of their mind. He said it was the mind's service to cause confusion, to distract us from Knowledge. And that was why, even after we have Knowledge, we still need Guru Maharaj Ji.
"When the festival first began, it felt like we were all premies, but there wasn't that feeling of real positive unity that was there when we all left," said one premie afterwards. "As the days' programs went on I felt like we all grew a million miles closer to each other - until we were not just close, but one inseparable whole. We weren't just a bunch of premies, and then Guru Maharaj Ji … it felt as if there was just one being called love, all looking out through the same eyes, yelling through the same mouth, and crying the same tears of joy. I left with only one feeling: that this same love, this same utter experience of oneness and joy is possible; and that it must be possible all the time."
OPENED AND RESEALED, FOR CUSTOMS INSPECTION
This issue of Divine Times, initially scheduled to be released on Sunday, September 28th, is late in reaching you because we wanted to include Guru Maharaj Ji's satsang from Guru Puja festival in Essen, Germany. The tapes and film of the festival, however, were delayed in customs preceedings for nearly two weeks; this issue should now have reached most DUO and DIC communities by October 12th. The next issue of Divine Times will be a 20-page special, to be released at Hans Jayanti in Orlando.
"Man has a never-ending thirst inside of him. He has been looking and looking and looking for something, and that quest, that energy inside of him, drove him to so many different things. It was like, 'I want something; I want something.' So he just went wild into this world, because he didn't know what he was looking for; he just knew he wanted something. He never knew at what point he would be able to realize; he didn't know what the thing would look like; he never knew where he would find it. He just kept looking for it. And that very particular thing has driven mankind to where he is today."
- Guru Maharaj Ji
ARE YOU NEW TO THIS?
At one time, so were we. But then we each decided there was a little something missing in our lives. A feeling, perhaps, of waking up in the morning and wondering what it was all for. What was life all about? What is its purpose? And each of us, in our turn, came to the startling realization that we had no idea. We were all going along pretty happily, but there was a small thorn in our sides that wouldn't let us rest. Even when we were in the most comfortable circumstances - even then we couldn't stop. In the back of our minds there was a question and we had no answer: never mind how well I am living, what am I living for?
Divine Times is written by us. We're people like you, only with a difference: We're practicing a unique meditation called Knowledge, revealed to us by Guru Maharaj Ji. Knowledge is giving us that profound and beautiful experience of life that we were looking for. And, while we do practice meditation, the Knowledge is actually much more than a meditative experience of calming or centering our mind-it has become a focus for our lives. Because the more we get involved in the Knowledge, and the more we concentrate on the experience the meditation is giving us, the closer we come to Knowing - for certain - exactly what the meaning of life really Is.
So if you are reading Divine Times for the first time and you'd like to know more about Guru Maharaj Ji and the meditation he is offering, write to us and we'll be glad to let you know all about it. Write or call:
Divine Light Mission
511 16th Street
P.O. Box 532
Denver, Colorado 80201