The Golden Age
A party for Premlata
Guru Maharaj Ji is currently at his home in Malibu with Durga Ji. On March 9, they held a party for Premlata who was one year old. The party was a simple stay-at-home affair with a few of Premlata's grown-up friends attending dressed up in animal costumes. Durga Ji thought this was a fitting occasion to announce that Guru Maharaj Ji and she are expecting another child to be born in September.
In mid-April, Guru Maharaj Ji will begin a tour of Europe. Last month, a European National Directors Conference was held in Amsterdam, Holland. Attending this conference were 30 representatives from 15 countries as well as Michael Dettmers, DLM Vice-President, and two others from International Headquarters. On the agenda were discussions of the growth of Divine Light Mission, the role of the European community, setting objectives for each country's development in preparation for Guru Maharaj Ji's programs, and the formulation of actual tour program content.
American premies are presently looking for a place to get together sometime in July of this year. If and when this meeting happens, it won't be called Guru Puja, instead it's going to be the 'North American Convention'. The change in name reflects a changing consciousness about the purpose of premies coming together. As Bob Mishler puts it, "When a large portion of our family is gathered in one place, at one time, there is a real potential for sharing information and consciousness that we are just starting to take advantage of. In the past, the only thing of real value happening at our festivals has been Guru Maharaj Ji's satsang with everything else as frill for that. Now we are seeing that we can participate in more meaningful activities the entire time we are together, activities that will complement Guru Maharaj Ji's satsang and help us leave the festival with a greater understanding."
Michael Donner, DLM Vice-President, is returning to Denver this month after 12 months of imprisonment for charges stemming from antiwar activities in the sixties. Michael is being released on a program which will enable him to do service at International Headquarters during the day while living at a halfway house in Denver.
Over the last few weeks, we've decided on the site for our November get-together (festival? convention?). It's going to be in Canberra. Although no details are finalised yet, it's likely that we'll be staying on the Australian National University campus, in the residence halls that the students there use during term time. Workshops will be able to happen in lecture theatres nearby. At Wentworth Avenue, a pre-festival planning committee is holding regular meetings to work out what needs to be done, and who can do it. All in all, it looks like Guru Puja'76 - or whatever we end up calling it - is going to be something really special. Don't forget to start saving your pennies now, and arranging your holidays, so we can all be there.
Several premies have mentioned that they would like to see more news from overseas included in the Age. So we've borrowed a little from Premies, the English equivalent of The Golden Age, and from New Zealand's fast developing national magazine, Turning Point.
More premies live in London than in any other city in the world. Since the first initiations in 1969, thousands of people have received Knowledge here - all kinds of people, from all kinds of backgrounds, with all kinds of talents and resources.
Until recently, we have made little effort to harmonise and channel this wealth of potential into what could be a truly divine united organisation.
Our separate abilities remained sadly separate; for most of us, the London "premie community" was no more than a nice idea, totally removed from our actual daily life.
It's always been difficult to set up an effective communications network here, partly due to the immense size of this city. But now, there are seven regional Community Advisory Councils around London, where premies can come together and simply get to know each other. Each council has its own representative who organises local WWA projects, satsang programs, group meditation sessions and even football matches. He is also a vital link in the grapevine, passing information and feedback between the premies in his area and the London DUO office.
Throughout the week, AMP meetings, community workshops, "PLAshops" and Knowledge courses (there are now seven running simultaneously) vie with regular satsang as the premies participai: in the building of their corn-runity on every level. And or Sundays, all the London premies come together for a community night at the Palace of Peace. The program usually ends at nine o'clock. which leaves an hour for tea and biscuits.
It is all beginning to create an intimate feeling and desire for deeper co-operation. But all these revolutionary innovations only form the bare bones of the family of love. The flesh and blood, and n-important of all, the moti~ ing spark of life, can only come from us. We still have lot of old concepts, doubts and fears to work out, so premies are going through powerful internal changes at exactly the same breakneck speed as the external innovations are taking place.
Guru Maharaj Ji asks us to practise understanding, so we spend some time going purple in the face in the attempt to do this, and eventually come to the realisation that we don't even know what understanding is. This brings us to point of surrender, and only then are we flexible enough for him to work with us. In this way, he makes sure that the community grows in a completely natural way, and we slowly learn that there is no need for us to force anything. All we have to do is make ourselves available, and let this feeling carry us to the place where we've always wanted to be.
For over a year, the premie community in Auckland, Now Zealand, has been centred in Parnell, a classy neighbourhood close to the city. The house itself, when we moved in, was somewhat deteriorated and one of our community projects was to renovate it to
No. 28, April 1976
a reasonable looking home, ashram and centre for the Auckland premies.
Known locally as "the house on the hill", 24 St. Stephens Avenue, Parnell acted as National Headquarters as well as being the centre for all regional community activities.
Now, our regional centre and offices are at Karangahope Road, right in the centre of one of the two major shopping areas of the city. Flanked by a billiard parlour and a night club, it seems a far cry from the gardens, trees and shrubs of Parnell. But no matter where the building is, that premies' love comes through.
Satsang, introductory and public programs will all be held here. All the furnishing, partitioning and modelling has been done by skilled premie labour and when it's complete, should do a lot to raise the standards of our presentation.
As far as community development here goes, we've been finding lately that workshops have been a good way of coming together and sharing our understanding and experience of Knowledge. On Sundays after the Community Meeting, lunch is served and then workshops are held. Quite often, we have to split into two or three groups and with no exaggeration, we have all really been getting blown out with the beautiful satsang that is shared and the clarity which comes from participating.
Workshops haven't just happened on a formal basis. They seem to crop up everywhere. Premies working on the new centre at Karangahope Road would regularly call a "down tools" - i.e. "Okay, what are we decorating Karangahope Road for?" - have a short workshop, share that understanding, and carry on with the service: the results - amazing!