Catholic seminary, marriage, dope and other scenes …. Frank Starrs describes his search for peace:
I was born in a Catholic family, the oldest of nine, seven sisters and one brother. From a young age I prayed very earnestly to God and was both horrified and fascinated by the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. I knew I was not really good and I used to beg God again and again to make me holy though I never expected to become so.
I lived in a fantasy world of stories, intricate games and books. I used to come top of the class but there was something about school I always hated. I suppose it was this feeling of being forced to do things and behave in ways that were absolutely useless.
My decision to become a priest seemed to give adults the shudders. I used to go to Mass many mornings a week and often serve on the altar. Taking communion became an ecstatic time for me. Confession gave me an intense consciousness of sin. I could not shift it from myself but God through the grace of the sacrament or an act of sorrow and humility on my part could wash me completely clean for a time.
A Discipline of Sorts
At fifteen I entered a seminary and trained there for three and a half years. My visions of God, my prayers to Him and faith in His manifestation through the Church were gradually eroded as I came face to face with the reality of the "spiritual life" of Catholics. A spiritual discipline of sorts was maintained but in essence it was confused. No-one could clearly establish a path to God.
After I left, I experienced emptiness and despair. I used to drink a lot of brandy. I felt as if had stepped out of a colourful medieval world into the grey mechanism of modern faithfulness. My experience of God slipped away with my departure from the Church and soon I becaaame an atheist, anarchist and amoralist.
But not before I had taken drugs. As soon as I heard of LSD I wanted to try it. I took trip after trip and smoked joint after joint. I became an actor, wrote poems, wrote a science-fiction novel, made a movie, dressed fantastically as possible and took a James Bond attitude to sex.
Freak - Outs
The freak-outs started to come after a while. On LSD one time I believed I was dead and suffering eternal torment in hell. From then on there was always a chamber of horrors ready to spring on me unexpectedly when I was tripping. I started to think seriously about subjects like karma. Then suddenly I fell in love, which was utterly fantastic.
At the end of a half-year together alone in the country, Maggie and I had a hippie wedding and I slipped permanently into a psychotic world. Sometimes I would feel energy roaring through me. Other times I would be primal screaming, other times freaking people out with intense talk about the meaning of life. Other times utterly peaceful in love and always penniless. I was believing in God again.
The I met John Pilgrim, an English medium and clairvoyant, who told me to give up drugs, dress respectably, look after my wife and meditate. I got a job in a health food shop and spent the next eighteen months earnestly exploring all the spiritual trips around and having some very amazing experiences. Then our son David was born.
When he was three months old, Maggie went insane. She was taken to Royal Park Psychiatric Hospital. She had a kind of frenzied hatred of me. They doped her up and she turned into a zombie; she couldn't even speak properly. Her whole character changed. All my worlds crumbled around me. I felt as though everything I was doing was a failure. My faith in God never really slipped but I felt stretched and worn and was always looking for the miracle to save me that would never come.
One morning I refused to talk to anyone or get out of bed. I knew I had come to the end of the line. There was nothing more I could do. Suddenly the name Guru Maharaj Ji popped into my head. Three of my sisters had taken Knowledge but I had thought of it as another spiritual trip. Now it suddenly gleamed before me.
Love for One Another
I leapt out of bed and headed for the local Divine Light Mission, Adelaide. Mahatma Padarthanand Ji arrived the next day and Maggie and I spoke to him. She decided to look after David and leave me. When I saw the film, "Who is Guru Maharaj Ji?", I was crying and crying with joy. Mahatma Ji told me to wait for Knowledge and at last that threw me into despair but after I accepted it I found that I had a high, beautiful blissful wait. I found at DLM what I had found nowhere else, "the sign by which men shall know you for My disciples, that you have love for one another".
I took Knowledge two days after Christmas 1973. I had lots of spiritual experience but this was so beautiful, so peaceful. I felt like I was getting married. The light was so beautiful.
Guru Maharaj Ji has put me through some freak-outs since then but only to purify me. Maggie and David have come back to me and I am really happy studying at teachers' college and most of all I am safe and rested in his beautiful Word. Guru Maharaj Ji looks at me with love through all the beautiful illusions of this world. Now I am at peace.
Guru Maharaj Ji, the Perfect Master
Where does our breath come from?
Basic questions are the hardest to answer.
We breathe because something greater than us allows us to. Some force more powerful than our own desire keeps us alive, enables us to continue.
But for what purpose?
Why did it begin and where does it end?
Find out that energy source and you have discovered the key to every question that ever arose inside you.
The energy that sustains you is pure love. The universe does not thrive on hate; the energy that powers suns and human bodies is positive and loving.
Once you know that love, you know why you are alive, and why your breath continues without your interference or effort.
The answer is inside you.
An open secret that is simply revealed by one who is already aware of it.
One who is merged with that love energy all the time.
We must return to wholeness of being and individual responsibility for all our actions, otherwise mankind will have no future. This was the view of Mr. J. Coats, the international president of Adyar, Theosophical Society, who recently gave a public lecture in Sydney.
Mr. Coats believed man's roots are in the spiritual world and it is the corruption of these roots that have led to past civilisations collapsing. Today we have enormous ecological problems because man does not realise his oneness with the universe and refuses to take on individual responsibility, "All the pollution problems are man-made, so man must solve them. For instance, how many women really watch the type of powder they put in their washing machines, and how many men try to choose the least harmful sprays and fertilisers for their crops?"
It is now being said that the pollution of our earth is leading to changes in the atmosphere and cloud formations. Some scientists are linking the spreading Sahara Desert, and famine, with this type of cause and effect.
Mr. Coats quoted Dr. Stephen Boyden on the John Curtin Medical School in Canberra, who predicted that it would be a fallacy to believe that the new environmental consciousness is making pollution better. In actual fact, every month it grows considerably worse. Dr. Boyden warns, "If environmental threats are only half as bad as predicted, it is still worse than any war the world has ever faced."
The country that has been one of the great spiritual resources of the world is presently turning to rapid industrialisation. Mr. Coats lived for six months in India recently and reports that their industrial plan takes no account of the immense pollution it will cause. He does not deny there should be development but insists that it should be development with responsibility. The reports that Mrs. Gandhi's government is thinking of killing cows for export markets will have immense consequences for the whole nation and are likely to cause rioting and protests from the Hindu population.
Ahimsa, or the philosophy of a life devoted to activity that is harmless and loving, is what Mr. Coats recommends for all of us trying to bring change to the world. He stressed that everything we do comes back to us and everything that happens to us is engendered by ourselves. "If we could become individually, responsible and recognise the universal law of cause and effect, we would be more sensitive and aware of our effect on others and on the universe".
He sees Theosophy and other spiritual movements which concern themselves with meditation, yoga, a), ESP, as the great hopes of the world. "Every spark of the flame must one day return to deep, conscious realisation of its oneness with the flame. Through the t ages religious teachers have told us this".
This is what man must learn. He can actually live the way he thinks he should live and not be caught in the duality of existence, where he denies personal responsibility and his spiritual evolution.