Guru Maharaj Ji meets with DLM International Directors after Hans Jayanti.
An inexplicable 'something' happened at Hans Jayanti. Guru Maharaj Ji not only told premies about his plan for the world, he showed them by revealing it within their hearts.
Immediately after the festival, Maharaj Ji met with Directors of Divine Light Mission from around the world in the first and major installment in a series of conferences to be held in the upcoming months. The conference, like the festival itself, was an important point in our growth. It was the third time Maharaj Ji had ever met with such a wide range of the premies who have taken on those responsible roles within his Mission.
The first conference with Maharaj Ji was in 1972. Cliff Bowden, a long-time member of the National staff, remembers: "That was when Maharaj Ji told the General Secretaries that it was time for haircuts. There was so little understanding that one brother told Maharaj Ji that he thought he was on a control trip. Can you believe that? Maharaj Ji answered him saying that this is not his control trip, it's God's. And, 'Buddy,' said Maharaj Ji, 'God is control tripped.' "
The next time Maharaj Ji met with Mission leaders was at the Millennium festival in Houston. "At that time, he laughed and joked a lot with the directors," Cliff related. "There wasn't much more he could do. He introduced the idea of an International Headquarters, but it was almost as though we didn't really believe Maharaj Ji. It seemed like something so far in the future. Though, at that meeting, when I looked around I felt Maharaj Ji was sowing the seeds for something really vast and yet not too far away. He was talking about the Headquarters, and it became clear to me that he was serious. He was going to do it."
"In Orlando Maharaj Ji really wanted to make sure that all the premies understood his agya" said Connie Best, a premie who was at this year's conference. "He wanted us to know he was serious about his service and the opportunity Guru Maharaj Ji had given him, and that he expected them - that is, us - to be serious about ours. When he spoke to the International Directors he stopped his satsang several times to pull any remaining questions out of his premies, to get at those doubts they might still have."
Maharaj Ji made a point of giving satsang to each of the groups attending the conference separately: the International Directors, the North American DUO Directors, and the mahatmas. For each group he had the same message, though prepared especially for them: grow, mature in your service so that you can be my tools and bring this Knowledge to the world.
The amount of energy Maharaj Ji was obviously putting into this gathering to make his point and help us understand it completely inspired everyone attending. The conference became a 24-hour Knowledge seminar. Cloistered together in the Hotel Solage, with nothing but more hotels as far as the eye could see, the group of 130 premies began to share the understanding of the message Guru Maharaj Ji's been telling us for years. French, Austrian, Malaysian, Venezuelan, American or whatever, they began to scratch at the surface of the opportunity Maharaj Ji was providing for them, as human beings, to serve him.
After he held the meetings with the different Directors, Maharaj Ji left it up to Bob Mishler, Lou Schwartz and Michael Dettmers - his executive staff - to get down to specifics.
The first four days of the conference saw presentations in areas ranging from the purpose of the Ashram/Novitiate Training Program to the mechanics of balancing a financial statement.
One of the main points covered was about this thing we call 'community' and its role in spreading Knowledge and in our lives as premies. Presentations focused a lot on the nitty-gritty of what it takes to organize a community which can support the growth of consciousness in premies. Community is a very basic tool that Maharaj Ji has chosen to use. He is depending on us to develop 'independently strong communities' to support his work. That is, communities of premies who really know why they're together and who are willing and capable of fulfilling Maharaj Ji's agya.
"Maharaj Ji loves unity," said one premie. "Like he said on the third night of the festival, only when a car's parts are all together are they worth anything. He loves it when premies come together and cooperate, when they do service together, because then the power of the Knowledge becomes really obvious to everyone. It's up to us not only to have that experience ourselves, but to manifest it, to make it real in the external and practical sense."
When Maharaj Ji was speaking to the North American group, he first told premies that they "don't even know how to spell the word community," and then went on to define community as a friendship between premies who are dedicated to Guru Maharaj Ji. And he emphasized that community happens when premies agree that they are going to serve Guru Maharaj Ji and to focus their energy to one point. Because they know they will serve Guru Maharaj Ji much better that way than trying to go about it separately.
"There is a context that organizational detail happens in," Michael Dettmers, the V.P. of DLM's International Group, explained after the conference. "The different cities and countries have to be legally and financially strong, for sure; they have to be run in a practical and responsible way. But as well as sharing information about organizational procedures and tools, the leaders of the Mission have to develop a consciousness of what we're doing and why we're doing it, in the broadest sense. If a person is conscious - and this applies to all of us - then they will know how to act in every situation. They will be using their brain and meditation together. And they can be a channel of consciousness for the agya of Guru Maharaj Ji to work through."
In the last few days of the Orlando meetings the focus turned to workshops. "This was the most explosive time," one DUO Director said. "We'd heard Guru Maharaj Ji tell us what he wanted; we'd seen presentations about it; and now we were going to try to make it practical for our own communities. While the workshops covered things like 'what is the role of the DUO Director?' and 'the aspirant program', when premies come together to try and fulfill Guru Maharaj Ji's agya, something else always happens … something mysterious - like satsang.
"Running a DUO community may sometimes seem to come down to driving the ashram residents to work in the morning, sweeping out the satsang hall, paying the rent during the day and locking up the windows at night. But it's all very profound when you get the whole picture of why you are doing it, and that whatever service we are doing, it has a beautiful place in Maharaj Ji's plan of bringing peace on earth."
In describing his experience the last few days of the conference Cliff Bowden said, "I took part in the workshops that dealt with the development of the premie community in the U.S. I saw an amazing thing happen there: we were having real satsang with each other and we all felt such a sense of unity. But what was most exciting was that we had real, down-to-earth things that we were going to do to manifest this unity, love and devotion in the world."
"When we left Orlando, we had a good feeling that in order to help Maharaj Ji we had to be together; and since we were together, we could go ahead."
Later, Michael Dettmers said the conferences were still going on back in Denver and probably wouldn't be through until the end of December.
"Does the growth of consciousness and understanding that you saw in the Orlando workshops affect the Mission's plans in the coming year?" we asked him.
"Affect our plans?" he said. "The growth of consciousness is the plan."