What really happened in Orlando?
For all the hundreds of people that have given satsang, and for all the thousands of premies who can remember Hans Jayanti, the experience was different. For each of us the festival had - and has - its own special value. An experience of Guru Maharaj Ji acting upon our lives. No newspaper article can properly represent an experience that deep and personal. The photos will probably do the most, but the only way to really come close is to take a few moments, close your eyes, immerse yourself in meditation and remember that experience inside yourself; because it's still there.
"Well, I don't know what you all are feeling, but I've never had as hard a time controlling my mind as I have since the festival. I used to think of myself as a 'model' premie; you know, I was 'clear' and I gave satsang like I was a seasoned veteran of the spiritual path. But now I feel like I don't know very much about this path at all. The prospect of realizing God in my lifetime - though I know now more than ever that it is possible - it is too big to tackle on my own. More than ever now I feel the need for Guru Maharaj Ji in my life - for Guru Maharaj Ji's direction, and mostly for Guru Maharaj Ji himself because he knows all the highways and byways of this Knowledge so intimately, so perfectly, and I don't know them at all."
In the weeks following the festival - as is the custom with all festivals - there was a flurry of satsang in communities across the United States, Canada, and South America, premie after premie coming to the front of their satsang hall to tell about their experiences:
"I feel like I've been away a long time," said one sister. "And I feel like I went someplace much farther away than Orlando, Florida. … And I don't quite yet feel like I've come back."
"While I was at the festival I felt myself being gradually released from having to come from my standard personality, and my standard ways of relating to things. Each night I heard Guru Maharaj Ji's satsang it seemed like I changed a little more; until, by the last night, Maharaj Ji had finished giving satsang and all I could do was ask, please, could I please hold on to this feeling? The only reality I had then was the presence of Guru Maharaj Ji and the echo of his words still lingering in my ears. I walked away from the stage and for hours everything I saw, everyone I met and talked to, felt new and different than before.
"Now I'm back, and I can gradually feel myself slipping back into my old trips. Yet the memory I have of Orlando - if I can really call it a memory - that feeling won't go away. Because it isn't really Orlando that I remember, but that place inside. That's where the real journey took place. Not from New York to Florida or Daytona to Orlando, but from the mundane to the real. Inside me there's a connection; I made a real connection with Guru Maharaj Ji and with the reality of the Holy Name. And every time I turn around and my mind tries again to deny it, there's a little niche in my heart that I can go to. My mind quiets down, and I can feel the Holy Name again."
"I stayed on at the festival site for about a week after the festival, attending the conferences. Each day I would look out my hotel window or walk by the site and see a little more of the festival trappings disappear. First the chairs were collected and taken away; then the tents were gone. Little by little, the sound towers disappeared and then the stage. The barge that the stage rested on was being towed away, the lumber being hauled off, and small fires were burning the pieces that couldn't be given away or sold. Pretty soon, I was walking by an empty field with a small lake beside it. Turning around, I faced a whole row of hotels; coffee shops, restaurants, International Drive. Why, I wondered, hadn't anyone built a hotel right there, next to the lake? It seemed like the perfect location for it
Then all of a sudden I realized that right there, only a few days ago, Guru Maharaj Ji had sat on the platform we had built for him, given us satsang, and taken us to another place of existence - just way, way above it all. There will be pictures, I'm sure; we'll look at them and they'll tell us that indeed the festival happened. But what really happened there, on that field, in November, somewhere near Orlando, Florida, we'll never be able to say. All we can say is, 'something happened,' and that something is more real, and more precious to us than any experience we have ever had. Because Guru Maharaj Ji sat with us, and for a precious few hours we had no doubt in our minds who he is or what it is we're doing here with him."
A Simple Second of Darshan
An interview with Mahatma Satchitanand (Bill Patterson)
It's interesting that we have this darshan. It's so short, just like a minute, when we go through. And now it's double lines, it's super-speeded up, and everybody has such a short time there. But really, every time I have a chance to have the darshan of Maharaj Ji, it is something special, something complete.
For a lot of people it's like they'll wait and wait and wait and wait, and then finally have just a second of darshan. But the transfer that's made from that little tiny bit of contact, is something very, very, very profound.
Maharaj Ji has spent so much time patiently sitting, sitting, sitting. He's made this whole arrangement here just so every single premie can get darshan; because it's something really, really important. Just that instant of contact when we touch Maharaj Ji's feet is a connection so powerful, that it can last for months and months and months and keep us high. And that's the difference, that's why we need a living Master.
"This simple thing, that would otherwise be nothing, with the grace of the Perfect Master becomes everything. Just this one simple second of darshan."
People can keep doing service, people can keep meditating. But without that one simple little second of contact … Maharaj Ji has said lots of times that there are 4 wheels on this car. If one wheel is flat, you have to stop. And the 4 wheels are satsang, service, meditation, and darshan. Darshan is just one tiny, tiny, little second, when a premie can touch Maharaj Ji's feet; but that's equal to all the others.
D.T.: What's the difference between being with Maharaj Ji physically, just being with him, and touching his feet, kissing his feet?
Mahatma Ji: I was in Guru Puja, down in Caracas, during the programs and everything, but my only contact with Maharaj Ji was just one split second in darshan. Yet that was everything. South America was a very beautiful example, because there were so many premies there that had had Knowledge for years and years but had never had darshan. Even more than the programs of satsang, when everybody was able to see Maharaj Ji for a long time, that instant was everything. Maharaj Ji was on stage for 4 hours altogether during the whole festival, and people could sit there and watch him and see him. But the experience that was everything for all of those premies, was that one instant when people entered that room and had a moment to see Maharaj Ji, and had one instant to touch Maharaj Ji's feet and receive Holy Breath.
I tell you, you can't explain it. You can't explain what is grace of the Perfect Master, except that it's everything. Without the grace of the Perfect Master, there is nothing. This simple, simple thing, that would otherwise be nothing, with the grace of a Perfect Master it just becomes everything. Just this one little simple second of darshan - it's incredible. It's like, Maharaj Ji gives one little touch of love for everybody, but that's enough.
It's like, if I have a candle, that's just there, and somebody else comes along with a lit candle, the contact isn't very long to light it, but then that candle's going to burn and burn and burn and burn and burn. This one second when you can have that physical contact with Maharaj Ji is that same kind of thing. It sparks something, and then there's a connection that's made inside. And it just keeps burning.
DT: You've had Knowledge for what, about 5 years; has the experience of darshan changed at all during that time?
Mahatma Ji: I tell you, it's like, darshan is change for me. I can almost see my life since I've had Knowledge as periods - betweendarshans. Because every time there's a darshan, the time before it is then established; it has become a complete experience. It's like Maharaj Ji stamps it, seals it, and you begin anew. It's a complete, fresh thing. Maharaj Ji, in that instant, just takes everything, and then it's like being fresh. If you've ever had the experience of making clarified butter, you put the butter on the fire, it boils up, and all the impurities come to the top.
Then you take it off the fire and you skim off whatever impurities are there. And you put it on the fire, more impurities come up, and you take it and skim those off. For me, darshan is like that. Maharaj Ji just skims off all of the confusions and everything that has been accumulating in the past few months. Sure, there's still lots to go, there's lots of impurities inside. But it's like, that bunch is out of the way and I can go back into the fire. And the heat's going to keep building up and building up. It's a process- until finally - yeah. I'm just experiencing more and more.
"Dear brothers and sisters …"
Dear brothers and sisters in love,
I have just come back from Hans Jayanti. It was completely inspiring. For the first time I know that our father can bring peace to this crazy world. But peace has to start with each one of us. That is why I really want to become an Active Member - not only by giving 10% - but also by giving 100% to Maharaj Ji in everything I do.
This festival has given me a great starting point and I know we can just keep on trucking if we really have that desire. If at any time you might need my direct service, please don't hesitate to call. I love my Lord and at last I know that he loves me. Jai Satchitanand
… I am very interested in Divine Light Mission. Next time Ruth Cohen has a meeting at the apartment, Daddy, Aunt Doris and myself will go. I'm quite enthusiastic after hearing Maharaj Ji speak. I really got an entirely different opionion of him - he seemed very honest, knowledgeable and convincing … I think the movement is wonderful and if it gives you peace of mind it's serving its purpose. We love you no end,
"Premlata doesn't quite know what to think of this … I don't know what she's really thinking, but when we came on stage on the first night of this festival, she just looked at Maharaj Ji and then she looked at me and then she looked out at the crowd and then she looked back at Maharaj Ji - and it was like, 'Oh, that's my daddy, and this is for him!' it was like some understanding happened. And it's just so neat to think about how she's going to just fall completely in love with her Guru Maharaj Ji and her dad.
"She can almost walk now. She crawls up to Maharaj Ji when he's sitting down, and she'll put one hand here and one hand there and then she'll just stand up and balance on one hand. And then she gets so excited that she wants to clap, and she goes, 'Boom!' and falls down. But it's just so incredible to watch her, because we're doing the same thing."
- Durga Ji at the ashram tea held in the Carlton Hotel on Sunday morning, November 9th.