By David Rickard
Premies flying from the United States to Spain to share in Guru Maharaj Ji's European Holi heard they were not supposed to bring any satsang literature or pictures of the Lord. Apparently there was something a little clandestine about the program. Even the site was left unannounced, except that it would he in a bullring near Malaga.
Tell them in customs, we were told, that you are coming as tourists to spend "Holy Week" on the Costa Del Sol! And sure enough, for the seven thousand premies that made it, Holi Week was very definitely a "Holy Week." By his Grace.
Some festivals with Guru Maharaj Ji seem to demand surrender. This one invited it. Spain's religious traditions may have made it impossible for her to extend an official welcome to Guru Maharaj Ji, but spring flowers, cloudless blue skies, and the fragrance of orange blossoms made unofficial compensation, greeting weary premies on the road to Marbella, a forty-five minute drive west from Malaga along Spain's southern Mediterranean coast.
Because of transportation problems (most of the airlines were completely booked up with Easter-weekend holidaymakers), a lot of premies, especially the English ones, couldn't make it. Others had to make extra efforts, taking long train rides or hitchhiking. Many arrived late, so that the Plaza del Toros, only three-quarters full on Friday night, was packed on Sunday. As usual, there was just enough room for everybody.
When I arrived on Friday morning, all the signs were pointing the same way (no hotels, no transportation, language barriers, even finding myself at the wrong bullring …): SURRENDER.
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And of course everything worked itself out. And who could resist such an opportunity to let go: One Foundation and Salutations played, Mahatma Jagdeo gave satsang, the stage was finished in haste, and suddenly Guru Maharaj Ji himself was talking to his lovers.
No fancy setting this time. Nothing elaborate. Just a plain white backdrop and the open sky, and the setting sun shining into Maharaj Ji's eyes.
Guru Maharaj Ji said that when he gives satsang to 4,500 people he's not talking to a crowd, but addressing each individual present; surely for each individual that satsang had a different impact. For me the lasting memory is simply a feeling of love, a feeling of the incredible compassion that Maharaj Ji has for me, even when I'm straining to stay awake to listen to him.
Next morning I found myself giving up on the promised buses and taking a walk down little country lanes bordered with bright geraniums and nasturtiums, cacti, and fig trees just starting to put out new leaves, to find the Holi site: a meadow edged with orange orchards on one side and a small river on another, with the stark grey stone mountains of the Sierra Blanca just a few miles behind.
The wooden stage has been built into the shape of a crucifix. Supposedly this was to make it easier to spray everybody without crushing. But I don't know. The symbolism was a little too hard to ignore, as the Perfect Master took the sign of Jesus' love and used it as a platform from which to practically demonstrate that we can experience that love now.
The long end of the cross led back into a simple white pavilion where soon Maharaj Ji was giving darshan. Hour after hour a thin line of barefoot premies moved carefully up the sand path that had been created for that purpose alone. Up a little hill, and into Guru Maharaj Ji's world.
Then they staggered or floated or wobbled or danced or flew or sailed or were carried back down the other side. Many were helped into a little "recovery" tent, others returned to listen to more satsang from the initiators while tears dropped joyfully down their cheeks.
Suddenly the darshan line was over and everyone was rushing to prepare for Holi, forgetting everything in anticipation of the most precious thing of all. And within a few minutes Maharaj Ji was out on the stage, casual and relaxed and adored, taking everyone's breath away with his beauty and giving it back with his love.
Who could possibly describe Holi in words? It's possible to mention the usual pump and hose "problems" that kept Guru Maharaj Ji waiting for 45 minutes or so before he could get us wet (45 minutes of priceless darshan!) It's possible to say that Maharaj Ji was playing with his special new water-gun for the first time, and that he and Durga Ji sprayed and sprayed and sprayed. And the water was cold, but surrender was warm. But really there's just no way to describe that experience that happened inside each premie in his presence as he
4 Divine Times
saturated every one with love.
After Holi, what could satisfy the heart of a premie? Only more darshan and the opportunity to let that joy continue and continue. So the bullring started to fill up early next morning with happy premies with sunburned noses and makeshift sun hats. Maharaj Ji had indicated that he wanted to spend the day with his premies. Hundreds had arrived too late for darshan the previous day, and before long they were lining up in hopes that Maharaj Ji would grant a second darshan line.
He arrived, and without delay they were floating back to their seats. Initiator Dimitri sang the praises of our Lord, and Premlata and Hansi started waving from a little window in the front of the stage. Everyone knew that Maharaj Ji was just a few feet away, hidden behind a thin veil of cloth.
Durga Ji came onto the stage and gave satsang, singing nervously at first "Please, please, please, teach me devotion."
Then Maharaj Ji was with his premies in person again, expressing what we were all realizing: "It doesn't really matter if it was Holi or dry darshan" - it was just beautiful, either way.
And he reminded us not to take the external festival too seriously because, he told us, it would be incredible if there was a satsang program to be held and only one premie showed up … if he were to have that understanding.
The timeless message again in different words: this life is the art school of the Lord, where we're supposed to make something and take it to the Lord himself. But somehow we get confused and make something that we're really proud of. And it's horrible … but if we're sincere, and we say "help!" and mean it from the bottom of our hearts, we can do it, through satsang, service and meditation. We can fulfill the purpose of this life, fulfill the destiny of this life. And we can do it.
"We can make it - and I know that everyone sitting in this bullring has the potential to do it. And you can do it."
Sometimes premies talk about having faith in Guru Maharaj Ji, but at Marbella, Maharaj Ji showed his premies how much faith he has in them. He knows that we can do it, and maybe gradually we're realizing that it's true, we can "be that love-river and never stop."
Singing arti from the heart, and watching Maharaj Ji smile and play with the kids, it was so clear that Maharaj Ji can do it. He can take a sordid bullring and fill it with peace and love. He can do the same with our individual lives, and he can do the same for the world.
for something. And when
that satsang started to
happen there … something
happened to this bullring which
made it completely different."
Miami Beach, April 6, 1978
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