About one year after I received Knowledge I stopped practicing for a few weeks. I felt meditation was too difficult for me. I thought if I could just get my trip together externally I'd be fine. Mentally I made a deal with Maharaj Ji: I won't do anything for or against you; please reciprocate. I began a methodical re-entry into my once-familiar world of the intellect.
It was a bore. Only one thing had any substance for me, and that was the incredible love of Guru Maharaj Ji. I hadn't known the strength of his love. In trying to leave it I suddenly found that it was the one thing that had real meaning in my life.
Love. Before I received Knowledge I was ashamed to admit I wanted it … especially to myself. I couldn't stand it; I didn't believe in it; I wouldn't accept it; and I couldn't get enough of it. Love. A lot of people loved my mind or my work or this or that about me; a few people professed to love me. I maintained a good relationship with my parents. I got married. But my life had no meaning. Whatsoever.
I quit my job and moved temporarily into a basement apartment. My husband was in a Ph.D. program in another country. My meagre savings were rapidly disappearing. I had no idea what to do. It looked like the end. I couldn't have guessed that it was only just the beginning.
My husband burst in unexpectedly one day with the news that he had quit school and that it was important that we go to New York City immediately to check something out. I learned the details en route: a strange poster of a child god named "Balyogeshwar;" a bald man with poor English and an incredible claim; an overwhelming sense that this was something big. We were in search of Divine Light Mission. (Divine Light Mission? I envisioned soup lines of derelicts withstanding a religious rap in exchange for a free meal.)
The address we had turned out to be an empty building. Directory Assistance had no listing for Divine Light Mission.
In another city, someone handed me a pamphlet announcing the arrival in the West of "Guru Maharaj Ji." We were not sure when we went to the program whether this was another name for the Balyogeshwar of the poster. My husband wanted to hear more; for myself and a couple of friends who went along, it was a lark. One brought a bottle of champagne and straws.
Curiosity-seekers filled the auditorium. The place was busy with barking dogs, crying babies, conversation. In the center of the front section sat a small band of people wearing huge buttons and beatific expressions: the followers of the guru, oblivious to the melee around them. They listened with rapt attention to the bald man - we had found him. He was one of the guru's initiators.
My husband started going to something called "satsang" to hear more. 35 miles away. Every night. After a couple of weeks, from curiosity and with the assurance that no one would speak to me directly, I went with him.
A bearded fellow in bib over-alls spoke first. I couldn't really follow what he said, or how it related to what other people said later. All I could think about were the cramps in my legs that came from sitting cross-legged on the floor. The tranquil mannerisms and ubiquitous smiles of the "premies" got on my nerves. I also objected to their high-flown manner of speech: in describing their guru and his Knowledge they would wax into such indiscriminate use of the superlative that I felt embarrassed to listen.
Each night, upon leaving, we agreed not to return. And the next night, after supper, we would get up and drive 35 miles to the center. Sometimes we went early to see if we could catch the premies off-guard. But they were still smiling.
Eventually we moved into the city near the center. In a few months my husband went to Canada to receive Knowledge. Although I was still drawn nightly to satsang, I felt no desire to go with him.
I received Knowledge a week later. It's impossible to explain. Something came over me, or overcame me. I found myself packed into a small room with about 150 others as an initiator selected people for a Knowledge session. I ached with a need for the experience of Knowledge. There was no room even to wonder where that need came from.
I emerged from that Knowledge session with a child-like feeling of relief, of wonder. But the first few months were not easy for me. The Knowledge itself was doubly crippling to my ego: first, it was so simple; and second, despite its simplicity, I couldn't do it.
One problem was my relationship with Guru Maharaj Ji. Even in the first weeks after I received Knowledge, I felt that the key to whatever this was I'd become involved in centered around meditation. The initiators at the time were all Indian, and it seemed obvious to me that worship of a guru was part of the Hindu religious trappings they brought with them.
Nevertheless, when I had a chance for some impromptu "darshan" (i.e., a chance to see Maharaj Ji up close) I got in line. I felt that a boy of 14 who could command the adulation of so many people deserved some respect, and I didn't mind taking a closer look.
In those few seconds before Guru Maharaj Ji, he provided me with ample evidence of the existence of a Superior Power. It was a revolution that completely undermined my personal cosmology, top to bottom: the most traumatic and most mystical moment of my life.
Physically, here is what happened: he looked at me.
All that was seven years ago. What has happened to me since then is impossible to explain. Whatever I think I understand is contradicted by what I experience. What I have seen surpasses what I can believe. I want to say that it's love, incredible love, but what I feel for Maharaj Ji, from Maharaj Ji, has so little to do with the cheap emotions anyone calls love that all those things sound silly and flat, and finally I am more and more amazed.
Standing in the presence of Maharaj Ji as he danced at Hans Jayanti and Holi, I felt the life in my body leap for joy towards him, and it felt like my real self, home and truly in Love, at last.
- M.K., Denver
As each day of my life unfolds, I become more and more in awe of the majesty and magnificence of the World of Guru Maharaj Ji. I am 33 years old. In trying to be a sincere devotee to our Perfect Master, logic and under-standing of his vastness have just gone out the window.
For four years I have been a biology teacher, and recently I was appointed assistant principal of a Catholic high school. That doesn't make any sense to me at all because I am surrounded by people who are very into "past-perfectness." Yet, Guru Maharaj Ji has graced me to have a very honest, open, and incredibly loving relationship with all the good sisters (nuns), lay faculty, priests, and especially the student body.
Already this year, by Supreme Grace, I have somehow been given seven school days to be with Guru Maharaj Ji. No arguments, no deceitfulness involved, just openly asking to be allowed to go and be with my Guru Maharaj Ji. When I return from each festival my principal, a nun of some 26 years, asks, "So how was your trip?" Satsang happens very deeply, and her respect and understanding of Guru Maharaj Ji's work in today's world unfolds.
Last year when I returned from Hans Jayanti in Rome, I shared my darshan experience with her. No holds barred; I told it all. I looked in her tear-filled eyes, and she said, "For twenty-five years I have worn these clothes (black and white nun's habit), done all the prescribed rites and rituals. And yet I have never experienced the experience of God that you just shared with me."
When the sister asked me to be assistant principal, I told her yes, with one condition. I told her that if Guru Maharaj Ji ever called me to serve him directly, and he gave me only a week to get it together, I would have to go. She smiled, and said, "I'd rather have you here in this school for however long I can. And if you are called - you have my blessings."
O Guru Maharaj Ji, you are so incredible. You are the Master Magician who can make the impossible possible. Please let me serve you and experience you in everything I do, wherever you have me doing it in this world.
There is a song that rings through my being an awful lot these days. And the most significant line goes: "Keep on usin' me till you use me up."
I guess it all comes down to, "Pranam Guru Maharaj Ji. I love you."
- R.S., East Orange
I heard a premie tell a story the other day of how she had repeatedly invited a friend to attend a festival with Guru Maharaj Ji, but he had never been quite interested enough to go.
Finally, he ended up going to a festival and seeing Guru Maharaj Ji. At one point during the festival - she was seated beside her friend - he turned to her with tears in his eyes, and he asked if all the festivals had been as beautiful as this. She nodded in affirmation, and he said, "Why didn't you tell me?!"
That's the feeling you have a lot of times as a premie; that if people really did know what you were experiencing, they'd get mad at you for not having told them sooner. Yet that's what makes premies so ever again eager to talk about Guru Maharaj Ji.
There's something there at the very beginning when you start to experience Guru Maharaj Ji that tells you that this is it. This is what you were always looking for, though for sure you weren't looking for a guru. This is what people are really looking for in this world, though coming from the most unexpected source in the most unimagined way.
This is it.
You almost get the feeling when you start to introduce someone to Guru Maharaj Ji that you should begin by saying, "You're not going to believe this, but …" However it really doesn't have to begin that way, because it isn't, "Here's the trip. Here's the explanation; now try and accept it, now try and swallow it."
The most wonderful thing is that if you are trying to talk about Guru Maharaj Ji, you don't have to convince anyone of anything. And if you're trying to listen, you don't have to be convinced of anything either. Guru Maharaj Ji is real, and we are here just sharing that real experience, maybe with hopes that by listening, someone else can draw a little closer and start to feel that experience for himself.
You look at it for one minute and ask yourself, "What do I really know about this life? What do I really know about this world? Where have I come from and where am I suppose to be going? Do I really know? Does anybody really know?"
So many things have been studied from anthropology to zoology. We've classified all the living species - both plant and animal - with Latin names, we've gotten to the moon and sent a robot to Mars; we've got computer watches. If you check out the local drug store or department store you can see we've got hundreds of ways of brushing our teeth, arranging our hair, and clothing our bodies.
But how much do we under-stand about the purpose of our own lives? How well are we able to answer the most basic question: "Why am I here? Why was I created?"
For some people that would be a philosophical question. But is it really? Or is it a most practical question for each of us? Is it philosophy to ask yourself where you are going before you go out and hop in your car to take a drive? No, it's the very first thing you want to know before starting the engine up and burning up all your gas. You want to know where you're trying to go and why you're trying to get here.
In this human life, first we go running around from thing to thing without perhaps considering that besides just maintaining this human life, keeping it fed and clothed, there is a purpose to it, there is a destiny to it. It's not just a vehicle through which man views the different sights of this Earth, tastes its cuisines and covers himself with its cloth.
It's a vehicle through which we can know and experience what we truly are, know and experience that Almighty Power that lies beyond the stars, that makes the seas move and this minute makes our hearts beat. We are real. It's not just a flim-flam world, a fly-by-night affair. There's something permanent and wondrous in us. The true joy and quest of life is becoming one with that reality, knowing what we really are.
We're like one of the characters in the Wizard of Oz, believing ourselves to be heartless or heavenless, thinking we're here to do our work, eat our dinners, have our houses, and believe, but not really be able to know, unable to go beyond wishful hoping or wild speculations about what lies beyond us.
But no, we are the very ones who are born out of the true love that has created all. We're here to know that love; our roots lie in that love. And we're made to live from these roots, speaking, acting, and living out of love. We're not a creature of darkness and fear, but a creature of love and light. And since man has been on the Earth the Creator has been calling out to man to know his true self, to realize his true nature, to live in the love and joy that his atoms, life, and breath were created out of.
Where does Guru Maharaj Ji fit into this? What is Guru Maharaj Ji? How does one speak of Guru Maharaj Ji? I don't even know. With words one can't even begin. But I can tell you what I know for sure. Guru Maharaj Ji is the embodiment of that love that is within us. He is the giver of love. He knows us in the deepest way that we can be known. He loves and sees us in a way that we could never love or see ourselves or one another.
He is pure in love, pure in faith. He is the only one who has unshakable faith in the power of love. He sees what we truly are and can bring us to be what we truly are. He is our Father, here to bring us to our true home.
That's not to be believed or to be convinced about - nor even words to be thought about. There is only one really important thing to see, and that's what Guru Maharaj Ji is saying: "I can help you." Not in a physical way, not in a financial way; but help you to know that true experience of life.
Guru Maharaj Ji says, "Come to me with an open heart. Come to me with a sincere thirst to know who you truly are and I can show you." It's so simple. Guru Maharaj Ji can show you the wondrous joy of life and all he is saying is, "Give me a chance."
And I guess what I want to say here is that he really can. You just take a couple of steps into it in the beginning and you find that there's more to discover than you ever could have imagined. Love, true love, is the one thing that never ends, and Guru Maharaj Ji is the door that opens into that love.
And there really need not be words around it, except maybe to point the way. You don't really talk to your dinner; you eat it so it fulfills you. Guru Maharaj Ji and the Knowledge he reveals aren't words; they are food for hungry souls. When eaten, the blissful Truth is known. You're home. You're where you always wanted to be.
Life's play comes to its most excellent point with Know-ledge, and as Guru Maharaj Ji put it once, when you really let go to that love, "… not only will you laugh and dance, you will laugh and cry at the same time …"
This is an excerpt from a satsang given by initiator Loring Baker.
A number of premies say they want to live in Miami now. Some have already moved. But I actually don't understand why. Guru Maharaj Ji, it seems, gives his darshan and I can't chase it at all. I recall once in a conference at the Astroworld Hotel, I jockeyed for a front row seat just to look as closely at Guru Maharaj Ji as possible. To me, there's nothing more beautiful than Guru Maharaj Ji's form. I wanted to feast my eyes on him. When he arrived, he sat down. He set a briefcase on the corner of the desk and opened it up. The cover hid him from me. He was merciful. He lowered it later.
The opportunity to stand close to Guru Maharaj Ji and just watch his incredible form move in the way that nothing and no one else moves in the world is a privilege that he has given to me a few times. I long for it. I once "started" an ashram for the sole purpose that by being the community coordinator, there was, the way I reason-ed it, more of a chance to see Guru Maharaj Ji. It paid off after a year and I got to stay in the same house with him for two days. At one point during those two days he walked across the room for no apparent reason and stood next to me while I could hardly keep from gasping, maybe fainting.
But once - no twice in a row - I saw only Guru Maharaj Ji's physical form and the magic was gone. I was frightened. What had happened? A short circuit from lack of satsang, service and meditation? Someone said to me that Guru Maharaj Ji just wanted to drive me inside. But then Maharaj Ji allowed me to be in his presence the very next day and there it was again!
Guru Maharaj Ji! Do you have any idea how beautiful you look to someone as spaced out and clumsy as me? Do you control the experience I have of you or do I just block it out so much that out of mercy you, once in a while, lift the curtain for me?
Sometimes I fantasize that I can tell Guru Maharaj Ji what a beautiful beauty he is, but there's no words even in a fantasy. Gorgeous. Immaculate. Radiant. A million prenames. Help! The prayer you gave at Hans Jayanti is so true. I am the worst. You are the greatest. What can I do about it?
I hear you say do satsang, service and meditation, and surrender will manifest. It does, in fact. I flee from it. I cry over the whole business sometimes. A premie? I don't qualify. A devotee? Qualify even less for that. I almost want to apologize for going before you in a darshan line. I do, in fact. I could never find you by myself and I could never chase you. But you are too much to resist and what a pitiful business it is to think I could serve you. Every action I ever took thinking it was for you turned out to be for me instead.
A saint of some kind or another once said something like, "Never have such riches been clothed in such poverty." That's me. And you? Never has there ever been a saint like Guru Maharaj Ji today. He has brought Knowledge to a person like me and keeps me around. I hope.
What's the use of going on like this, except to try to thank Guru Maharaj Ji, reach out to Guru Maharaj Ji and … experience that longing, that Love.
C.B., Los Angeles
6 DIVINE TIMES