The Whole Heaven Catalog
Excerpts from the international propagation handbook.
Getting Ready To Do Propagation - The First Step
Now that Guru Maharaj Ji has shown us how to meditate, the first thing we must do is use it. We must go to that centre inside for the experience. And through the experience of meditation, we will experience Knowledge unfolding within, and Guru Maharaj Ji will begin to show us how to balance our life. By raising our consciousness, we can see our potential for living in peace and harmony with ourselves and others. But first, meditation must be a constant in our life. In other words, it must be consciously active within us.
Meditation is for the individual and to have that personal "life-giving" experience is imperative. It is individual peace for each and every individual. Therefore, we can understand that this is not a "mass movement", it is an individual movement inside one's own being. A person is at peace when peace is felt within and not by someone else's experiencing it, even though we can help each other. Then once we are living in this experience of meditation, we've "got what it takes" to do propagation. Now, we are ready to come together in community,
From Inner Experience to Collective Consciousness - The Community
"The very first thing we have to do is get the community together. There will be all different kinds of programs coming into the community, and then from the community straight out. (To the public). But the main concentration is the community. We develop a strong enough community so that it can develop itself into different, different, different communities.
Now our basic part will not be in such a manner like it has been happening. It will be more concentrated towards prachar. This community has been made to do prachar. Now, your major part is to go out and do prachar. And this is our first step."
Guru Maharaj Ji
January 22, 1975
The collective effort of every premie to co-operate with Guru Maharaj Ji is the force which activates the community consciousness and causes it to grow. It is a life-sustaining process whereby each drop of water (each premie) contributes itself towards filling the bucket (community consciousness). Then the bucket of water can be used to quench the need for others who need this water (propagation).
The community fosters the needs of the premies for living a balanced life, both internally and externally. It provides an environment in which satsang. service, and encouragement in meditation becomes an everyday thing. As this is being done, the public begins to take notice, as there is something happening. Propagation is beginning. By our mere presence we can propagate the beauty of this Knowledge in our daily lives.
Also, in being an integral part of the community, a premie can have that feeling of belonging to a family. In this case, we are infinitely progressive and born from that ever-unfolding experience. We are a family with its perimeters being the entire human family; we can never become closed, or static when we meditate.
Satsang is the Keystone of Propagation
Due to each member's experience of meditation, the family (community) is ready for the next integral part of growing in Knowledge; its manifest activity of doing propagation. The foundation of propagation is doing service through giving satsang.
Satsang is not merely verbalising about meditation. Satsang is being a living example of the beauty of Knowledge as it reflects in a person, as a result of experiencing meditation within his own being. In trying to convey to someone that meditation is a practical and useful tool in daily living, we must be able to show them through our own example. The practical example is always the best medium in communicating anything. If our Speech and actions convey love, care and consideration, this becomes the practical example, more than any beliefs or facts we might try to convey.
Seeing is believing, so why should some believe this meditation is a possible way to improve his life, if he can't see and feel it working for you? To simply speak of the Truth can make a person very arrogant, but to practise the Truth makes a person humble and sensitive to the needs of others. The way it works is if we don't "practise what we preach", neither will we realise the beauty that meditation is, nor will we be able to bring others an understanding of its importance.
Look at it this way - why do we become so inspired, so excited when we are with a premie who is really experiencing meditation? It's because his attitude, speech, behaviour and state of being are all synchronised with each other. There is nothing contradictory about any aspect of that person.
Always, we must be aware not to undermine our communication by the failure of our actions to blend with our words. Our attitude, stemming from our inner experience, determines how we act or speak. If our attitude is negative, our inner experience should be strengthened! So meditate, don't try to give satsang unless you express what you are experiencing from a point of truth.
Talk About The Meditation
Guru Maharaj Ji has made the point many times in the last few years that we should talk about meditation, not about the physical form of Guru Maharaj Ji. And yet, because of the way we have presented ourselves in the past, Guru Maharaj Ji remains a central point of contention among people hearing about Knowledge.
We must always be aware to focus the real question back to its central point. Differentiate when you speak of the living Guru Maharaj Ji and the experience of inner Knowledge. We have a tendency to say that Guru Maharaj Ji teaches us this or that when actually Guru Maharaj Ji has no teachings and no philosophies. It is meditation on the Knowledge that teaches us and that is why we call it Knowledge or self-Knowledge. Through meditation, we become "conscious". References to Guru Maharaj Ji, when made, should refer only to actual points he has made verbally.
Another precaution is not to exaggerate. Be honest and sincere. In simply doing that, your listener will have more respect for you and your message than if you exaggerate or fantasise your experience. Also, so many ideas exist in people's minds about God and religion that it is better to speak about meditation - period! Once people learn more about this meditation, they will gradually understand its importance as a "way of life". It is like gradually acquiring a new set of life-practices, in exchange for older habits and practices which do not bring us satisfaction. They will understand that it has nothing to do with "religion" as most people think of it today; and thAT meditation doesn't manifest in our lives the way "beliefs" do.
We should avoid elaborate philosophical discourses on vegetarianism, marriage, or other social topics. We can easily get questions like this out of the way by saying it's our preference of lifestyle.
But What About Guru Maharaj Ji?
Many times, people who don't have Knowledge ask the questions "Why is Guru Maharaj Ji perfect?" or "Why is he called Perfect Master?" In regards to what is perfection, Guru Maharaj Ji stated that perfection is "everything in its proper place". When we walk into someone's house and everything is clean and orderly, we say to the housekeeper, "You're a perfect housekeeper." Similarly, Guru Maharaj Ji shows us how to be balanced spiritually, mentally and physically, through the simple practice of meditation. He teaches perfection so masterfully, knowing this Knowledge so thoroughly that we call him Perfect Master, which means revealer of a perfect Knowledge. It is the meditation he reveals which is perfect.
The way in which we understand who Guru Maharaj Ji is is through the experience found in meditation on the inner perfection. Therefore, to the non-premie, it is much more relevant to speak of the transforming qualities of meditation in our lives, rather than on concentrating and explaining Guru Maharaj Ji to them. Rather than speaking of Perfect Master, we should speak of meditation which Guru Maharaj Ji said is "perfect concentration upon a perfect thing."
We Are Citizens Of The Twentieth Century
A vital point to remember is that we are citizens in a modern world speaking to 20th century people. Our propagation efforts should be geared to reach the widest number of people we possibly can. We should be objective in relating to our listener(s) by trying to "put ourselves in their shoes, listening to satsang" Then we can get our message across much more clearly.
The following excerpt from a meeting that Guru Maharaj Ji had at International Headquarters emphasises this point beautifully:
Question: Maharaj Ji, I lived in different ashrams and did prachar, and did postering, and things like that. I always felt it was really hard to bring people to Knowledge. We tried to use the tools that were available to us, like leafleting and postering, I just wondered if maybe the world, is it readier now? Are we gonna be able to be more successful now?
Guru Maharaj Ji: Yes, because we've got what it takes. Before we didn't. You were like dumb people, going around trying to give these people these posters they couldn't even read! "There is gonna be a satsang tonight!" and Darshan and posters said … Balyogeshwar Paramsantgurudev. And it was like, "There is gonna be Darshan, and satsang, " and (he laughs) - but it's like, now you have got what it takes to do it, because we understand more now and can use language that people understand.
Of course, you take your chance. But of course, it is true, the bigger the net we will throw, more fish we will catch."
Presenting The Meditation Carefully
As we can see from the above quote, the kind of statements we make about the meditation radically affect the kind of impact they will have on the public. We should be able to present the meditation in a sensible, cohesive, and plausible manner. We want to convey that it is practical in our lives, and that we experience something real from it; that through meditation, we can be together both inside and outside as a human family. Through presenting our experiences in a common sense medium, the public can recognise that we are not an exclusive group, but an inclusive people. If they truly understand this, then they won't be afraid to "come close" and investigate meditation.