In yet another business trip to Denver last month, Maharaj Ji continued to give his direct input into Mission activities. Arriving on October 12, he spent the next week focusing on what he calls in his satsang in this issue, "the fundamentals," spreading Knowledge and caring for the quality of experience people have once Knowledge is received.
His main business for the week fell into two categories: finalizing plans for his upcoming international conferences, and reviewing the new initiator development program being organized by Bill Patterson. The Latin American conference has been scheduled for Lima, Peru from November 17 to 19. Maharaj Ji will then go to the Hans Jayanti festival in Swaziland. From there, he will travel to Frankfurt, Germany, for the European conference from November 27 to 29, and the conference for Indian administrators, also in Frankfurt, from November 30 to December 2.
Between 70 and 80 premies are expected to attend the Latin American and European conferences, but for the first time, these will not all be people with administrative positions in the Mission. The purpose of the conferences is to allow Maharaj Ji to share his vision of the future of the Mission, and he wants to do that with a cross-section of all the premies who are taking responsibility for carrying out that vision. So attendance at the conferences will reflect the combined effort that is taking place now in DLM between responsible community members (selected by the communities themselves), administrators, and initiators or candidates for the initiator development program.
As stated above, the purpose of the conferences is to allow Maharaj Ji to share his vision with premies. In the course of his address, Maharaj Ji is expected to cover such topics as the role of Perfect Master, his communication with premies and his public image, the need for an organization with respect to propagation, the importance of communities, and the relationship of premie communities to the society at large. In addition to speaking to the members of the conferences, Maharaj Ji will produce a film at the end of each conference for the premies in that geographical region. The films will include simultaneous translation and will be similar to the question and answer session taped recently in Denver, using questions gathered from each region.
Upon returning to the States in December, Maharaj Ji is expected to finalize plans for a similar conference to be held for North America in January. Because of the numbers involved, this conference will probably be split up into three sessions taking place in the East, the Midwest, and the 'West. Questionnaires have already been sent out to administrators to begin organizing the format and content of the conferences.
The other major area of concern for Maharaj Ji during his visit was reviewing the initiator development program. The need for many more initiators, especially initiators outside the United States, is obvious and Bill Patterson has been developing a program for prospective initiators to undergo here in Denver. The program lasts eight weeks and is divided into six sections. The first section is on skills training. The participants are introduced to group skills, interpersonal skills, and counseling skills as part of the initiator's service and will also be using these skills in the remainder of the program.
The second session is on the Knowledge process, obstacles the initiators may encounter, preparation for Knowledge, and how people grow in the process of practicing Knowledge. This is not simply a lecture series, but everybody in the program will be working out relevant issues together. They will examine everything possible about how a person can understand the process of Knowledge.
The third session concerns the Knowledge session itself in which prospective initiators are trained in the presentation of the meditation techniques. Each participant will conduct a Knowledge session/review with premies under the supervision of an initiator.
The next section involves understanding the role of the initiator. How to relate to this particular service without getting trapped in it and, for example, losing your identity as an individual premie who is himself striving to realize Knowledge, will be discussed. Another area of concern is dealing with the impact that the initiator's personal behavior and attitude has on aspirants and premies.
The fifth section of the program handles the initiator's relationship with the community and with national administrators. In the past, there have often been differences between these groups, and hopefully this part of the program can deal with some of the problems that come up.
The final week of the program is devoted to the selection and confirmation of initiators. Each person must decide for him or herself if
Divine Times, November 1976 3
they feel willing and capable of performing the service. If they are confident in their capability, the final step is an interview and confirmation bv Guru Maharaj Ji.
The first initiator development program is scheduled to begin on December 6 and run until January 31. Maharaj Ji himself will determine who will enter the program after reviewing personal files on each of the possible participants and personally interviewing many of them, especially those that attend the international conferences. Between 25 and 30 people will go through the first program, with approximately one-third of those coming from North America. The size of the program is limited primarily because of the cost involved in bringing people to Denver and supporting them while they are here. Ultimately, the program may be regionalized so that only initiators who will be performing that service in North America will be trained here, while others are trained in their own regions.
Besides working out all these details while he was here, Maharaj Ji also found time for some more personal activity. Joe Anctil, DLM press secretary, recently had an automobile accident and has been laid up in the hospital. Maharaj Ji visited him and brought a card saying, "It could have been worse; you could have been pregnant."
Maharaj Ji also sponsored a party for one of his favorite projects, Unity School. All the kids (78 of them) were invited to stay after school for a mini-banquet and then Maharaj Ji came and took them all to see Walt Disney's "Fantasia."
- Paul Starr
4 Divine Times, November 1976
We thought it would be interesting to talk to Durga Ji about her experiences as a mother. Rather than conducting an interview, Durga Ji sent us the following article.
The birth of Hans is something I would like to share with all of you. Mere words could not describe such an incredible experience, but once again that is all we have to communicate with. I must admit I had a few concepts about how it would be, whereas with Premlata, I was more open to whatever would happen. But Maharaj Ji seemed to just completely blow away my ideas of how it would be. I figured that since this was the second child, it would be fast and easy. But there was a lot of hard work to be done and it had to be that way. A lot of effort and concentration and surrendering had to be given, and I had to give it. It was wonderful, so beautiful. It has taught me so much. I had the concept that it would be a breeze, but it took my everything, completely my everything to bring Hans into this world. I love him so dearly for it. I can see so clearly the parallel of Knowledge in our lives. When we give our everything, we experience everything in return.
Maharaj Ji shared the whole birth process with me. It was so important for me that he was there giving me strength. And he gave me so much. I was completely ecstatic over Hans' birth. At that intense moment of delivery, I forgot about the child being a boy or a girl, and was completely overwhelmed and surprised when Maharaj Ji exclaimed, "It's a boy!"
Shortly afterwards, Premlata came into our room to see her new brother. The first words that she said were, "Baby out!" She really loves him and always wants to kiss him every chance she gets. As each day passes, I see her love for Hans grow more and more and her complete acceptance of him as a member of our family.
I feel having Hans has really made things so much clearer for me. It is such a beautiful service Maharaj Ji has given me. I realize that I can see it in two different ways, either as a job or as a joy. When I see it as a job, something I have to do, I find myself complaining like, "Gee, I'm so tired," "I sure wish I could get a good night's sleep," "Why is he waking up now?" etc., etc. When this happens, I am missing so much because of it. But when I experience it as the joy it really is, I know what a gift it is to be so fortunate, to be loving and caring for his beautiful children, and I receive so much in return.
I guess the main thing I've learned about being a mother would be "to be able to give is such a blessing." We all need to give. It feels so good and right and being a mother just pulls it out of you in such an incredible, beautiful way."
In the last issue of D.T. we ran a blow-by-blow account of the changes scheduled for D.U.O. communities in the U.S. Now plans have become more specific in terms of the ashram status in various communities. Only eight ashrams will be continuing: Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, Atlanta, Boston and Philadelphia. Sometime in the upcoming year, the ashram in Buffalo will be closed, and those in Chicago and Detroit will be consolidated. Local communities continue to discuss and implement alternative means of organization.
The initiator tours have met with very positive response and seem to be having a dramatic effect, especially in communities where most everyone turned out for Knowledge reviews. Below are the schedules in the U.S. for November through January:
November 5 Montreal
November 11 Hartford
November 13 New Haven
November 15 Providence
November 18 Hartford
November 22 Boston
(and Northern New England)
December 13 Buffalo
December 23 Toronto
December 28 London
December 31 Ottawa
January 3 St. Jerome
January 8 Montreal
January 19 Halifax
January 26 Denver (IHQ)
November 4 Vancouver
November 10 Edmonton
November 13 Calgary
November 20 Regina
November 25 Winnipeg
November 30 Minneapolis
December 8 Milwaukee
December 10 Chicago
December 18 Erie
December 21 Pittsburgh
December 23 Columbus
January 1 Atlanta
January 11 Denver (IHQ)
Divine Times, November 1976 5