Prem Rawat (Maharaji) At The Holi Festival Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida, March 1978 HOLI MIAMI


"To us, as I have said before, we just need a
slight excuse to be able to come together.
It doesn't even have to be that reasonable either."

                      - Guru Maharaj Ji
                      Miami Beach, April 8, 1978

By Sheldon Jaffe and Alan Cunningham

The people in the airplanes taking off from Miami must be wondering what on earth is going on down there in the Orange Bowl.

Several thousand people, many clad in yoga whites, are jammed onto the famous field where the champions of college football battle for a mythical crown every January 1. These people are obviously not football players, but they line the field from the 15-yard-line to the 35, surrounding a specially built stage which is connected to a 150-foot catwalk. From the air, it looks like a giant arrow.

The people in the jets don't know it, but these excited players are waiting for a very special game to begin. Most of all, they're waiting for The Coach to arrive.

It is Holi 1978 - Part Two.

*    *    *

Raja Ji reminded us that it was a very special festival, one in which Guru Maharaj Ji played with his devotees. We knew that Lord Ram had played Holi, that Krishna played it, too. We'd seen the films of Shri Hans Ji Maharaj playing it joyously with his premies in India.

But no Perfect Master had ever played Holi like our Guru Maharaj Ji plays Holi. First in Florida. Now in Miami. With a high-powered water cannon, drenching a giant football stadium with gallons of Grace - truly a downpour of the Holy Name.

Maharaj Ji arrived that day with Hans Pal in his arms, as the crowd went wild. He is April/May 1978 15 dressed all in white, as befits Holi. But his white tennis shoes display black tiger stripes. His white shirt is hand painted, by Guru Maharaj Ji himself, in bright colors: "HOLI '78." Slowly, smilingly, he strolled down the long catwalk, allowing his premies to be with him for a long, delicious moment of eternity.

Then he mounted the stage, walked over to the big water cannon, swung it around effortlessly, pressed the trigger and … nothing happened.

"We had the usual pipe blowout," he explained in his satsang that evening. Underneath the stage, Mark the plumber scrambled to gather pieces of wood - and premies to help him - as he sought to shore up the broken fitting. Exactly the same thing had happened in Florida. And,after that experience, the premie plumbers thought they had everything under control here in Miami.

"No matter how together you think you got it," said Mark, "Guru Maharaj Ji is in control."

*    *    *

Twenty four hours to go before the festival starts.

Jim Hartnett, construction coordinator, stands behind the stage area with blueprints and a metal rule in his hand. He says he's having more fun than he's ever had in his life.

He points out the sightlines which were taken into account when planning the setup: from Maharaj Ji's throne to the spot where Durga Ji would sit; from the first row to Maharaj Ji.

"So he can concentrate on us," Jim explains, "and we can concentrate on him."

About 200 premies are scurrying around, setting up lights, building stairways, putting in air-conditioning ducts. The stage is still a skeleton of what it will be when Maharaj Ji walks out the next night, rests his feet in front of his chair and begins to give us his precious satsang.

Maharaj Ji's feet. "The whole stage design," says Jim Hartnett, "starts with Guru Maharaj Ji's feet."

Elsewhere, seamstresses work on fabric that will line walls and cover tunnels. In yet another corner, work continues on the darshan stage.

Prem Rawat (Maharaji) At The Holi Festival Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida, March 1978

At the same time, carpenters carefully prepare the area on which Maharaj Ji's feet will rest during darshan. One has drawn a picture of them. Another has scribbled a note:

April / May    15

Prem Rawat (Maharaji) At The Holi Festival Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida, March 1978 Prem Rawat (Maharaji) At The Holi Festival Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida, March 1978 "Thank you, Maharaj Ji." Tomorrow, the area will be covered with a pale blue rug.

Behind the stage, others prepare a home for Maharaj Ji to live in when he's in the hall. Living room, kitchen, playroom for Premlata and Hansi, a room for watching the program on a video monitor, and the dressing room where all hope Maharaj Ji will change into his Krishna outfit for Arti on Sunday night.

Thursday arrives. After weeks of anticipation, the familiar cavalcade of premies is pouring in, once again, by every conceivable means of transportation.

There's a long wait in the tropical sun, as the scheduled starting time of 4 p.m. comes and goes. But we all know that happens on the first day of most festivals. What's a few more hours after weeks of anticipation?

Many last-minute arrivals don't have registration passes yet. They're routed to a preprogram satsang elsewhere in the giant convention center. Initiators are there, some telling beautiful stories about the Holi in Florida two weeks earlier.

At last, the main hall opens at 8:05, as the people without passes make their way through a long line to get them. Then, just like that, it is 9:15 p.m. and Maharaj Ji is before us, radiant, sharing his darshan, welcoming us to yet another experience of devotion.

Worth the wait. Any wait, anytime, anywhere.

*    *    *

Prem Rawat (Maharaji) At The Holi Festival Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida, March 1978 Darshan day starts early, with the doors opening about 9 a.m., and the line actuallystarts to move at noon. The rumor in the hall is that Maharaj Ji has predicted it will end at 9 p.m. It does.

Raja Ji visits us that night, sitting at the bottom of the six steps which lead up to the stage. A simple stage this time, in contrast to the big sails in Kansas City, which Maharaj Ji had said were too beautiful and thus a "dis-attraction" from the true experience.

A stage which changes color each night. Very appropriate for a festival where Maharaj Ji comes to play, to drench us with his Holi colors.

*    *    *

Saturday in the Orange Bowl. As Mark the plumber scrambles beneath the stage, Maharaj Ji and his family are up on top playing their own game of Holi, to the delight of all the premies.

First Hansi squirts his Daddy with red from a little water pistol. Then Maharaj Ji pours a pail of blue on Hansi and Durga Ji. "I don't care if I even get wet." said one premie transfixed by the sight.

Now Durga Ji pours yellow on Maharaj Ji, who retaliates by coating Durga Ji. Raja Ji also gets his share. Soon he is almost unrecognizable. Maharaj Ji is gentler with Hansi. At one point, he places a daub of color on each of his son's cheeks - and plants a kiss along with the colors. Soon, everyone onstage is covered with the hues of Holi. It won't be long until we all are.

Below, the fitting is fixed and the colors are readied. Ed and Richard begin to mix vegetable food dye with water, swirling them together and sending them through an injection system up to the water cannon. Nearby, covered by an aluminum pyramid, John and Mike are getting ready to man the pump, providing Maharaj Ji with all the pressure he wants.

Prem Rawat (Maharaji) At The Holi Festival Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida, March 1978 Finally, Guru Maharaj Ji turns on the twin nozzles and lets fly with a spurt of bright sea-green water. For a moment, it appears the pressure may be inadequate.

Will this be a repeat of last year, when those on the far reaches of the crowd were too far from the gun to get really wet?

No way. Maharaj Ji motions for the pressure to be turned up. It soon becomes apparent that this water cannon, with our Guru Maharaj Ji at the controls, can reach all over the field. Even into the stands.

Water. Pouring at a rate of up to 500 gallons a minute. With such pressure - an average of 80 pounds per square inch - that the premies in front not only are covered with Holi colors but with carnation petals as well, the stream tearing them away from the flowers which line the stage.

Water that is one moment blue, next red. Now orange. Yellow, purple, green. Then, after Maharaj Ji has been with us for more than an hour, the dye runs out for a while, letting the water go back to its natural, clear state. An amazing transition, as Bill Patterson points out in his satsang that night: first, we're dyed with the colors of the Holi rainbow, then we look down at ourselves and discover we have been washed clean.

16 Divine Times

Prem Rawat (Maharaji) At The Holi Festival Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida, March 1978 Almost as if we've been through a colorful, private joke - just between us and Maharaj Ji.

Swinging the big cannon up and down, effortlessly - it has been placed on special bearings to case its rotation, but still takes much strength to raise and lower. Adjusting the nozzles from a fine spray to a wide spray, as if he intends to water some giant rose bush with the Holi colors, then back again. Making it go high, so the colors rain down on us, ever so slowly, while rainbows sparkle in the bright Florida sun.

Then he points it straight out until it almost knocks somebody down. Turning it on the cameramen over and over, drenching them unmercifully with his mercy. Maharaj Ji seems to love this and so do his victims.

More than two hours go by as we barely notice time is passing. Almost 35,000 gallons of water fly through the air -three and a half gallons per drenched devotee. Water. Water that evaporates in the hot sun and, later, drips down from towel racks in more than a dozen hotels. Water that soaks the grass with pools of different colors. Premies close to the stage immerse their faces in these puddles, doing pranam, after Maharaj Ji abruptly shuts off the water cannon and strides back down the catwalk.

Water, running down through the Orange Bowl's super-efficient drainage system, which was designed to handle the downpour from a hurricane, and disappearing from the place by the time we do.

*    *    *

Here and there, in the big hall, are people who came, not as premies, but simply to do their jobs. But some are beginning to feel that they, too, are part of Maharaj Ji's loving family.

Jerry Barish, who manages the hall, says he is blissed out. Barish says he has worked with many groups, even circuses, but nobody else ever hugged him, held his hand, told him they loved him.

"You don't get that with Ringling Brothers," he says. I'm pleased as punch that I've been recognized, even as a non-premie, as an accepted part of the program."

With his bright red sport coat and gold neck chain, he's become a familiar sight to the premies doing service. They ask him his opinion of the food at every meal (it is always high) and, after every program, he goes home loaded with flowers.

Prem Rawat (Maharaji) At The Holi Festival Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida, March 1978
"Holi is, to me, such a beautiful,
beautiful excuse for
Maharaj Ji to come and to
play with us. "

- Claudia

Prem Rawat (Maharaji) At The Holi Festival Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida, March 1978 After darshan, two young brothers walk over to the canopy, take a blossom and put it in Jerry's pass. He says he knows the flower is important to them, yet they put it in his pass!

Also doing his job is Tom Mincy of "Gopher Baroque," the company that provided the sound for the festival. There were many problems with the sound this time. The convention center was set up length-wise rather than widthwise, which meant sound had to be sent a greater distance.

During the Holi play Tom and his assistants took down the two speaker stacks and rearranged all of the speakers in an attempt to improve the quality of the sound in the back of the hall.

The improvement, though noticable, was still short of perfection.

"It's higher pressure and lower pressure at the same time," said Mincy of his

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Prem Rawat (Maharaji) At The Holi Festival Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida, March 1978 experience working with Divine Light Mission. "It's not like a rock concert. When that man comes on, you've got to hear him."

"But," he added, "the people are much less short-tempered and less demanding."

The secret, according to Mincy, is to go with the flow. "You watch the screen and watch Guru Maharaj Ji. When he smiles, you know you have it right."

*    *    *

This four-day festival is rich in its experiences for everyone. We've already had darshan and Holi, yet there will be many more hours with Maharaj Ji before it is time to leave.

Saturday night. Maharaj Ji comes to the hall early, announcing his presence with a toot of his own horn as Michael Dettmers is giving satsang.

"There is nothing else to say," said Dettmers at that point. "Guru Maharaj Ji is here!"

Maharaj Ji speaks for an hour and 17 minutes and stays for nearly two, telling us he has given us four precious things: our own lives, Knowledge, Grace and, best of all, himself.

And he declares: "It would sure be nice to have our own place. Some day it's going to happen, so we might as well come together and start working on it."

He tells us we can never hear enough satsang. If we doubt this, we should check "the gauge of our own confusions."

Following Maharaj Ji's preference, the music this time is softer than it has been at some festivals. This time, it appears he wants us to sit quietly and soak up the experience rather than dance exuberantly to fast rock and roll tunes. And a frequently played song is "Teach Me Devotion," which Maharaj Ji had mentioned in his satsang in Florida.

Maharaj Ji leaves us on Saturday night, but makes a brief re-appearance, barely visible to us as Premlata pops out and waves, holding her Daddy by the hand.

Sunday. Stage changed from blue to red with gold curtains. Durga Ji and Claudia both appear before us on this rich, final night. So do Premlata and Hansi, in an impromptu performance which delights everyone.

As always, Durga Ji seems to be humble, full of love and devotion for our Guru Maharaj Ji, telling us we must understand that we are like drowning men lying on the beach, while Maharaj Ji gives us mouth-to-mouth resuscitation with every breath.

When she is finished One Foundation begins to play. Maharaj Ji returns to the darshan stage.

Claudia comes on to give satsang as 139 more premies, all of whom missed the Friday darshan line, are allowed to pass through the blue tunnel and come before Maharaj Ji.

Prem Rawat (Maharaji) At The Holi Festival Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida, March 1978

18 Divine Times

Unexpectedly, after Claudia finishes, Premlata pops into view, grabs the microphone and proclaims "Jai Satchitanand." For 20 minutes after that, she and Hansi take turns at the mike. Wadi really hams it up, and the premies love it.

But all of this, of course, is only a prelude to the one who has brought us all here. The one whose darshan has lured premies from as far away as Australia, whose words are being translated into five languages for 1,000 persons who can't speak English, and whose voice is going out on telephone feeds to Europe, Australia, Israel, to Malibu and Denver for those who had to stay behind.

Minutes after the children are carried back to their seats, Maharaj Ji is with us, beaming.

As he has done so many times, he again implores: "Don't leave the boat." And, this night, he talks more than ever before about how beautiful it would be to have our own festival site.

"We want to build it for something that will accommodate up to 100,000 people," Maharaj Ji declares. "And we'll outgrow it"'

It is obvious that Maharaj Ji is overjoyed as he goes on and on, imagining a place where premies could till the soil in between festivals and hundreds and thousands of his children could come together for just one reason: satsang. And he says it is not a case of "could be," but something that "is going to be.'

Guru Maharaj Ji leaves the stage just before 10 p.m., returning 23 minutes later in the Krishna costume. Durga Ji crowns him and we sing Arti. Then, after many soft songs of love between master and devotees, he calls for the wireless microphone to bestow his final blessing.

We'll meet again and I hope very soon. Keep on truckin', I love you and my blessings to all the premies.

Our Guru Maharaj Ji has sprayed us with paint, given us his darshan, showered us with blessings. Another festival has ended, and the premies file out of the big hall "into the next darshan line."

Prem Rawat (Maharaji) At The Holi Festival Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida, March 1978
Prem Rawat (Maharaji) Being Crowned by His Wife, Miami, Florida, March 1978

Prem Rawat (Maharaji) At The Holi Festival Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida, March 1978 THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING

Medium Waltz Tempo

Guru Maha-raj Ji, thank you for every-thing,
For teaching my heart to sing, and showing me Light.
I'm in your world now.
No one can do me harm.
Don't want to leave your arms anymore.
It's you I a-dore.

MIDDLE:

You are my guide, lover in-side,
And you show me what I need to know.
When I am still, my heart you fill.
Oh, Maha-raj Ji, say you will
Love me for-ever.
Don't let me stray from your sight.
Loving you keeps me right where I want to be.
It's all that I need.

(REPEAT MIDDLE)

Love me for-ever.
Don't let me stray from your sight.
Loving you keeps me right where I want to be.
I'm in your world now.
No one can do me harm.
Don't want to leave your arms any-more.
It's you I a-dore.
You I a-dore.
You I a-dore.

1978 Divine Light Mission, Inc.

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