Guru Maharaj Ji In Europe: Wrap-Up
The second half of Guru Maharaj Ji's nine-country European tour took him to Hamburg, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Paris, and Leicester. The programs ranged from the very intimate atmosphere in Amsterdam, where two hundred people attended, to the largest gathering of the tour which was four thousand, three hundred people in England.
Everywhere he went, Maharaj Ji continued to remind premies that the way to really experience truth and to fulfill the purpose of your life is to be strong in satsang, service, and meditation. He talked about realizing Knowledge as a complete way of life, that it is continuous and infinite.
The greatest effect of the tour was simply the reuniting of Guru Maharaj Ji and his European premies. Many premies felt that it had been a long time since they'd gotten much attention from Maharaj Ji and Maharaj Ji seemed to feel the same way, saying that it was too long since he had given satsang (the last large program having been in Orlando).
Although no theme for the tour was made, an impromptu theme emerged around a premie's relationship to Guru Maharaj Ji and to his guidance. At the day-long conferences held before each satsang program, discussion often centered around trying to really understand what is the value of Guru Maharaj Ji in our lives and how each of us sees our relationship to him.
For many places, it was the first time all the premies had gotten together in their individual countries and everyone wanted to make their time together as focused and worthwhile as possible. As a result, the level of concentration reached by the time Maharaj Ji came to speak was very high. The small size of the programs and the lack of extraneous side attractions, unlike past experiences at festivals, also contributed to everyone's ability to listen closely to what Guru Maharaj Ji had to say.
Where the programs were smallest, as in Holland, a very warm and close relationship was generated between the audience and Maharaj Ji and Maharaj Ji's satsang tended to become more open and his direction more specific. But still, his main emphasis was on the understanding each premie has about his own life and his relationship to Knowledge. Guru Maharaj Ji's continued one-pointedness and the love with which his guidance is given helped everyone appreciate more deeply than perhaps they had done before, the real role of Guru Maharaj Ji in their lives.
The following is taken from a letter written by Jean Locke, the British photographer who traveled with Maharaj Ji on his tour:
"So what about the real stuff - Maharaj Ji and the Knowledge? It's still a little hard for me to write about it. I'm so absorbed by it that I can't get outside to take an objective look. All I'm sure of is the specialness of darshan; it really takes you to a place well beyond its logical power to do so. Maharaj Ji didn't give me much special attention, just a couple of moments when he visually teased me by standing in the one place where it was impossible for me to photograph him, and things like that. But by the end of the trip, I felt such a stream of love flowing between us that it felt as if I could grab onto it and use it to pull myself into him. I feel very inarticulate about it all, it was such a personal, subtle thing. I'm so afraid of exaggerating my experience to impress people, or whatever, but I really came to know that flamboyant statements like "Satguru" or "Living Perfect Master" were impossibilities. The only real thing anyone can say about Prem Pal Singh Rawat is how they personally react to him, and I only know that for myself, my life is bound to his by a very unemotional kind of love. We're just tangled up together. No choice about it. I noticed in England that when Maharaj Ji arrived at the program, I felt really contented, really whole. Everything was completely okay - he's here with us. Nice, but undramatic. I think the best word to describe how I felt after the tour, apart from totally exhausted, was completed."
Following his tour in Europe, Guru Maharaj Ji met with Mission directors at IHQ. In the initial meeting with Guru Maharaj Ji, the directors drew up an agenda that focused broadly upon membership development. The area of major concern was the role of the organization in Guru Maharaj Ji's work and how we can develop an organization compatible with Guru Maharaj Ji's purpose. This included evaluating where we are at as an organization and what sort of a consensus we have about how to facilitate our continuing development.
Based upon initial discussions with Maharaj Ji, issues were identified for meetings that have been scheduled for July, between tour stops. Among the areas itemized on tentative agendas for these meetings are Knowledge as a process and the development of the Mission's membership in general, the purpose of the ashram, Guru Maharaj Ji's function and image, the function of IHQ, and possible tours over the rest of 1976.