What Was Your Question?
In "The Teachings of Don Juan," Carlos spends a considerable amount of time preparing sacramental doses of fairly poisonous weeds (Datura inoxia sounds fairly poisonous and weedy) in relation to the short and confusing flights of time that the ingestions provide. And he always wakes up to the ever-agitated Don Juan, who like as not, has just dumped him this side of corporeality. At these moments Don Juan invariably has Carlos recite exactly what he has seen and experienced in detail. When he is sure that he has got a correct account of Carlos' experience he asks, "What was your question?" "What question?" asks Carlos. This invariably perturbs the imperturbable Don Juan. Carlos has received a beautiful sign, a very painstakingly drawn answer, an experience of great import from the allies of the earth, but what the hell good is the answer (and the effort of the allies, including Don Juan) if Carlos cannot carry into the present the deeply internal question which started the whole vision off?
For me, on a time-out from the most incredible saving detour from the flow of my BK (before Knowledge) life, that detour having lasted four years, I now find myself in a position to take up right where I left off (except now, as T.S. Eliot said, "knowing the place for the first time"). But first I have to incorporate the experience of the last four years into the deepest part of my doug bernard life, i.e. I have to see what question I was asking when I asked for this Knowledge, because whatever it was it has been answered.
All over in the mission people have left the ashram with all kinds of feeling about it. It's kind of like the Erhard Seminar Training dilemma; everyone wonders if they "got" it. A certain existential dread at having to live thirty or forty more very human years makes us think there was something in the past years with Guru Maharaj Ji that we were supposed to get, but, due to inattention or something, we didn't get it. But I suggest that if my personal cosmology holds (that not a leaf on a tree moves without his permission) then we all did get it. We got it!
Everyone got what they wanted. They got the experiential answer to whatever question it was they asked. Now the important thing to recognize is that you can't make use of Maharaj Ji's answer to somebody else's question. How life manifests and works for Gurucharnanand is for Gurucharnanand. It isn't necessarily at all applicable to you. What is going on with you is the answer to whatever question your life posed at the moment you were in that initiation room and the "moment" arrived for you to make some promises to Guru Maharaj Ji (a very heavy moment, if you will remember).
For a lot of us who on a superficial level wanted to "serve God," "serve Guru Maharaj Ji," "realize the aim of (whose?) human life," "become a career servant in DLM," etc., mainly because we wanted to do what was right, the events of the last few months have shown us that the method for accomplishing these superficialities is highly personal, specific and different for every individual. Mahatmas used to tell stories illustrating the principle that none of us are getting into heaven by committee, family, affinity group or what have you; it's an individual trip. It isn't so much that Saint Peter only lets you by the table one at a time or that the line is single file - it's that there are as many heavens as there are individuals. Sorry folks, you don't get to go to "the" heaven; you get to go to your heaven, just as soon as you decide on what it is.
I suppose Paul Tillich, a wonderful old theologian now in his appointed heaven, was heading in that direction when he said: "My religion is the answer to the question that I am." This particular living, breathing, walking question is out here in Oregon, looking over the manifest realization of the last four years, not as something I did, but as something that was done … in answer to the question I was having a hell of a time answering by myself. And now, like little Carlos, I find myself having to retrace my steps and get in touch with my beginnings, my reasons for coming to Guru Maharaj Ji, the orginal question which prompted his beautiful sign, his painstakingly drawn answer, his individually designed experience of great import woven through the last four years of my life.
- Doug Bernard
Doug is a former staff writer for Divine Times.
A Letter From The Divine Light Dance Ensemble:
We are extremely happy to announce that the dance company is preparing for a national tour of America for the fall of 1977. It will take approximately one year to set up. We hope to arrange this tour through premie communities. For this reason we need to know which communities, small towns or cities would be interested in scheduling a performance date.
This will not only be an opportunity to experience his manifestation of love through the form of divine dance and theatre, but also an excellent introduction to satsang and the Knowledge for the public. This has been our experience for the past four years.
Unfortunately, "Krishna Lila" is no longer a part of our repertoire. Instead, we will offer two full evenings of dance/theatre entertainment. This will include one evening of original music and new dance works, with another evening show presenting the authentic choreography and dances of Isadora Duncan, in honor of her 100th birthday. We will offer a children's theatre piece as a daytime performance, with master classes to be given that day also. Arrangements can be made for the entire program or a portion of it. In order to make this tour a success, we need the help of our family. If you or your community are interested and would like more information, please contact us as soon as possible.
Cheyney, PA. 19319
Divine Times interviews, systematically or maybe just consistently, more brothers, quotes more brothers, and gives copy, picture, and importance space to a far greater number of brothers than sisters. Your intentions may be great but your performance is lacking in recognition of sisters. The facts and figures speak very loudly. DLM is de facto discriminatory by sex (if the law of the land applied it could be sued over that, many times over) and so is Divine Times. I love the publication but the bias really gets to me. Will you please straighten it out? I've been feeling this for three years, I'm just letting myself say it now. If you want I can be more specific - just let me know!
28 Divine Times, November 1976