The old-timers of Millennium '73 at first found the context of the festival strange. No flashing neon scoreboards, only the bare wire crochet-work of the tennis fence. No multi-tiered, multi-coloured stage, only a small platform against a stone wall. And although the crowd could be numbered in the hundred, the veteran festivalgoers, after a period of adjustment, realised that the old familiar feeling of love was permeating Hans Jayanti again.
At the Mosman ashram, Sydney, on the tennis court and in the gardens, the DUO community had gathered to celebrate the birthday of Guru Maharaj Ji's father. It was one of those "isn't the weather perfect?" days. Our amiable compere announced the beginning of the peanut hunt, with the necessary proviso that penalty points would be allotted for empty shells. Young and old alike foraged throughout the grounds. The final top score was somewhere around 135 although the judges suspected an underhand organisation of peanut co-operatives, proving that community togetherness often ignores the much-lauded spirit of competition.
The volleyball game was soon to discount this theory. Teams varying in size from 30 to 5 members punched and slapped a plastic beachball over the elevated tennis net with a vigour usually reserved for mealtimes. Although points were contested closely and strongly, most expletives were explosions of laughter. In fact, the vibe of the whole day could be summed up in a phrase from an old T.V. series, "working and playing together as only true pals can".
The morning's exertions called for luncheon on the grass, followed by swimming at nearby Balmoral Beach. Those who did not escape to the harbour, however, found themselves entangled in the intricate steps of folk-dancing. The Premie Polka was a rare sight indeed as "head office" deskholders threw caution to the wind, let down their administrative hair and gave themselves totally to the enchanting strains of Greek and Yugoslavian folk music. The day's dancing culminated in the Hammerschmidtzellen, a Swiss frenzy of slapping and clapping, which had everyone reeling with laughter and exhaustion.
More sedate events ensued. Three-legged sprinters tore up the lawn, often collapsing in piles of legs and arms as sandshoes blew out and feet crossed each other at the wrong time. Human wheelbarrows sped across the grass, shortening track records and the length of their hands. Mystery competitors in baby strollers and wheelchairs heightened the drama of the afternoon's athletics. Apple- bobbing was voted the most amusing sport, as heads and teeth disappeared into plastic buckets full of water in quest of the magic fruit. And that evening's satsang at Wentworth Avenue was somehow imbued with the spirit of the day, featuring, just before Arti, a rousing game of "holy charades".
The co-operation and harmony of a local Hans Jayanti '74 had taught us something about love between each other, which goes to make a real community. Love is not just a doeful stare or a beautiful phrase but something that can be practically manifested in every act. And the actions of that day had expressed the bond of love between us all.
Whilst we are applying for Mahatma Padarthanand Ji's Australian residency, he is busily propagating in other Pacific countries. On December 12, he leaves Fiji for a one-month tour of New Zealand, and then returns to Fiji. If all goes well with his application, we can expect to see Mahatma Ji in Australia around February. If you wish to write letters to Mahatma Ji in the next month please send them to:
Mahatma Padarthanand Ji
Divine Light Mission,
24 St. Stephens Avenue,