As part of our coverage of regional activities, The Age looks at the DUO community in Tasmania.
Since darshan, premies are really beginning to experience that Grace which is our very life and are settling down to serve Maharaj Ji. Of course here in Tasmania we are limited by our size and DUO activities are only beginning to take seed. We are a community within a large community and anything we do is noticed by many.
Already we have established contacts in many fields and I now see the need to provide service opportunities within the premie community. As our DUO community strengthens it will be able to absorb more people and enable them to tune into Guru Maharaj Ji's love. I see the first step in providing the opportunities for all to share more time in work and and play. When we are united, understanding each other, we will be able to help this society.
A contract has been signed for the land and the plans have been submitted to the council for a mudbrick and timber pottery which will be built by Roy and Tony Taylor (premies from Melbourne) with the potters and local premies assisting as best they can.
A premie couple, Keith and Carol Millard, have taken out a lease on The Coffee Shop at the popular Arts and Crafts Market at Salamanca Place. The coffee shop is the focal point of the market and is one of the main meeting points for many people. The committee is very open to their intentions, that is, to have a more wholesome menu with homemade bread, health drinks and even light lunches. This venture will provide an excellent opportunity for premies to contribute their time and energy in service.
SOUL FOODS / DIVINE SALES
A Food Co-op is functioning with great success, operating from the ashram and serving the premie community with all food items except fruit and vegetables.
Each week Soul Foods have had a homemade bread -cakes etc. stall at the market (Salamanca Place). This has been very well received and is excellent propagation.
In November the market moved outside on the lawns with tressles and coloured umbrellas. We hope to have a stall of handicrafts, including candles from Melbourne and later some local pottery.
SOCIAL WELFARE WORK
This vital service has been most successful and many sound contacts made:
1. Regular help to "Meals on Wheels"
2. Regular help to an old peoples' home opposite the ashram
3. We have assisted the Apex Clubs in their food appeal and they have mentioned DLM in their annual meeting.
4. Austcare - Freedom from Hunger call on us for assistance, including helping on UN Button day appeal for UNICEF on December 6th
5. Carol Singing for patients in hospitals is being organised for Christmas time.
6. A premie visited the Night Shelter for old men last night and they asked if premies could return regularly
7. Today we are going to an old peoples' home for a Christmas party
The DUO activities here are few but the love from premies is gently touching people's hearts. It is this quality of love alone that makes DUO different from any other organisation."
PEACE FOR SOME
AT last I have found peace.
Something I've searched for in the hustle and bustle of city life.
This "peace" is not for me but I admire the the serenity a group in Hobart have achieved.
The advertisement said "permanently satisfying … natural … free."
So, not knowing what was in store. I went along to the house leased by the Divine Light Mission.
The mere sight of the house was enough to make me wonder - what was a non-profit organisation doing based in what could only be called a mansion
The house seemed completely cut off from the outside world, perched in the middle of its beautifully landscaped 2 ½ acres of lawns.
It is leased on a communal basis.
I was greeted at the door by a quietly spoken young man who later turned out to be Nils Koren, the group's secretary, and shown into one of the rooms.
This, after removing my shoes - to help preserve the tranquillity of the household.
The house itself overpowered me -- you somehow knew there was never a loud word spoken, never a voice raised in anger. It was, for want of a better word, peaceful.
Pictures of the founder of the Mission, Guru Maharaj Ji, adorned the walls walls among the simple furniture.
According to Nils, "knowledge" revealed the flow of perfect energy within us.
It was not based on scriptures, or any written word.
"Nothing about it is fanatical or compulsory," he said.
The "knowledge" consists of four simple forms of meditation.
Gaining of the "knowledge" apparently leads to a recognition of "peace and love within each of us."
The number of people in Hobart who take an active part in the community is growing steadily all the time - around 70 right now.
The mission, which is international has a total membership of around 10 million, he said.
Activities of the group range over a food co-op, Sunday picnics, Salamanca Market Stall, and welfare work.
The community helpes such organisations as Meals-on-Wheels and UNICEF.
It was good to meet such gentle people.
A feeling of tranquillity settled led on me talking quietly to them.
But I think the peace I seek is the kind one gets by turning the radio off!
The publicity blurb, "John McLaughlin -- greatest guitarist since Hendrix", enticed me to buy a ticket to hear the Mahavishnu Orchestra perform at the Hordern Pavilion.
As I was entering the Pavilion, the lights went out before I could find my seat. I sat down in the nearest seat just in time to see McLaughlin walk onto the stage double-neck guitar in hand, to take his place in
front of the ten-piece orchestra/band. After saluting the audience in much the same way as premies salute each other, he requested a preliminary sixty seconds of silence meditation, but was denied it by most of the audience who obviously wanted him to get on with the music. After a few words of introduction, the band pushed off in a bracket of almost non-stop music that lasted about three hours.
Like most things, the concert had to be experienced to be believed. In almost every song there were about six different musical styles blended perfectly within a framework, the only exception being a short blues number which was "cosmofied" to a far cry from the familiar negro-type blues.
Some critics class McLaughlin's music as jazz-rock, but it went far beyond such a classification. The nearest efinition would be jazz-rock-classical-country- IndianTurkish-blues-folk-electronic. At certain moments the music more than hinted at what I've heard in my meditation occasionally. It was undoubtedly a giant step beyond any worldly music I have ever heard before.
Mainly sticking to the bottom neck of his twin-necked instrument (six strings below, twelve strings on top), McLaughlin played with mind-boggling speed and precision. His musical gymnastics were matched by French electric-violinist Jean Luc-Ponty who shared the limelight alongside McLaughlin.
With similar playing styles and McLaughlin's guitar running through a distortion device, it was hard to tell at times if the guitarist or violinist was making a particular sound.
McLaughlin also proved outstanding in his occasional conducting of the classical section of the band, consisting of acoustic violins and cello which, while sharing very little of the solos, gave the music much of its cosmic flavour. The rest of the troupe was composed of the usual rock line-up of bass guitar, drums, piano/organ and another devotee of Shri Chimnoy who swapped from tambourine to a variety of wind instruments.
Mahavishnu Orchestra has opened up new doors in the world of music; they have taken another step in the attempt to capture the Music of the Spheres. Although relying heavily on improvisation, their music was not as free-form as the average concert-goer may have thought. The basic structure of all the musical statements presented were brilliant in their arrangement, implying that an incredible amount of hard work had gone into getting the music into a concert hall. It's experimental, progressive, and very cosmic.
There is a National Training Orchestra, and it is quite good. Their recent concert at the Sydney Opera House opened with two short contemporary pieces. The second work, Stop, by Stockhausen, featured a small bracket of moo, synthesizer music which by itself made the piece worth hearing.
These modern pieces were followed by Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 12 in A. It demands a fanciful interpretation which the orchestra justly performed under the conductorship of David Ahern. On piano, Colin Forbes seemed to be creating the music rather than just playing it.
The second half opened with two Australian works: Madrigals by Cameron Allen, and Cycle for Strings by Robert Irving. The pieces, to say the least, were fantastic. Because of its soft, hardly audible quality, Madrigals made one aware of the beauty in the simple sound of a chair squeaking or an usher trying to suppress the sound of his footsteps. Irving's work was a disquieting construction of repetitive notes which somehow fell together into a mellow, floating sound. A Cage Concerto and a Satie work finished off the concert.
The ABC radio will be broadcasting the concert on New Music on a Monday Night in three months. The program is at 9.15. So in February, turn your radio on, switch your lights down low, relax on the couch, get onto the Word …