The Golden Age
The last six days of Ira Woods' Australian tour were spent in Melbourne. While he was there, the video crew took the opportunity to tape four videos for distribution to premie communities; as well as one for public showing. For the crew this was an amazing experience. Whether the subject was "Direction and Grace of Guru Maharaj Ji" or "Service and AMP", Ira remained completely relaxed and attuned the whole time. As one of the crew put it, throughout the taping sessions Ira was an example of how we can be tools for Guru Maharaj Ji. When one sister asked him about nervousness he answered, "I'm numbed to this world … completely immerse yourself in Holy Name."
Many aspirants had been earnestly preparing for Knowledge, particularly since Ira's last visit. At the end of the three-day seminar, twenty were asking for initiation, and by the next day Ira had selected eight for the Knowledge Session.
The evening program after the Knowledge Session was Ira's last in Australia. It seemed as if the energy was almost tangible as the program flowed from one speaker to the next. Julie Collet opened with satsang on the importance of trusting Guru Maharaj Ji on every single level, and that theme was continually reinforced throughout the evening. Midway through his satsang Ira asked all the new premies to come up on the stage and give satsang. One by one they got up and related their experience, while Ira looked on with a radiant smile all over his face. As one put it, "All I want to do now is experience how much love Guru Maharaj Ji has for me."
At the end of the program, Ira took the microphone again. He wanted to stress the importance of looking after the new premies, and to enjoin the community to try with as much sincerity as possible to prepare those who had not yet been initiated. He added that this was the whole purpose of everything, that people be brought to a point of understanding where they can receive Knowledge.
This has been a month of many changes for Cairns. On March 23, Ira Woods arrived and we had our first contact with a western initiator. On the same day, Monique van Dyke arrived to become our new Community Director. While Ira proceeded to raise our consciousness, Monique began reorganising many aspects of our community life.
The Cairns community has never seemed large enough to warrant very much organisation - most things seemed to get done and our growth continued at a fairly even pace. With forty premies and about ten aspirants, we could probably have carried on in our casual fashion for quite a while, but Maharaj Ji's direction is for us to gear the Mission towards future growth.
The main changes have been with regard to the allocation of responsibility and the result has been a greater sense of involvement for all concerned. Most premies have shown a remarkable willingness to accept responsibility and channel their efforts into a particular service. Along with the influence of Ira's satsang, this trend has produced an incredible family atmosphere as we begin to realise that this is our Mission and there is something important for each of us to do.
Cairns has long been a crossroads for freaks, dropouts and truth-seekers of every kind, so a high percentage of Cairns premies have come from alternative lifestyle backgrounds orientated to country living. In the past, many people Were initiated before coming to the understanding that the practice of Knowledge is itself a lifestyle and cannot be conveniently blended to any mode of living that is not conducive to sat-sang, service and meditation. The attachment to country living and the aversion to town living has been a major stumbling-block for quite a few Cairns premies. The most common compromise has been to live in town during the week and retreat to the country for the weekend. Some premies have even continued to live in the country and make long journeys to and from satsang.
In the past few months, the general consciousness change in the community has taken quite a few premies beyond this self-imposed limitation. They have realised that their peace and satisfaction is to be found in meditation and that the community that Maharaj Ji has formed provides constant inspiration to grow in Knowledge. It is much more beneficial to be surrounded by people who are meditating, than by trees and birds and babbling brooks. Now eighty percent of Cairns premies live within one mile of the satsang centre. This means more premies are available for service, more premies attend community meetings so the energy level is higher, and individual commitment is becoming greater.
No. 29, May 1976
Maharaj Ji once used a beautiful simile to describe our getting together. He said premies were like flowers growing here and there, hardly noticed until someone picked them and put them in a vase where each one could complement the beauty of the others. Lately in Adelaide it's been happening through the AMP Committee, which had it's gala launching over :he Easter weekend.
Our AMP groups, chosen for similar lifestyles and interests had previously held two meetings with their reps. The first was to get acquainted as a group and to learn through satsang the aims of the Committee. The second was to share more satsang, and fill out service-availability forms.
Enthusiasm was high, so the Committee - under Chairman Ron Leitch - decided to make the four-day Easter break a real blast of a launching, with concentrated service available to all.
In preparation, the service coordinators met with the AMP reps to work out a list of service projects available. These were rated in order of priority - top raters were painting the tired-looking satsang hall, holding a garden party for the community and some nursing-home residents, and a working-bee to renovate the new community centre at Norwood.
Armed with this information, the reps scrutinised their groups' service forms and allocated premies to various tasks, taking into account both skills and time available. Details were confirmed with each premie. Thus, simply and effortlessly a large task-force was mobilised, and set to work eagerly.
By the end of the holiday period, our satsang hall had been painted, the garden and house at Norwood had been thoroughly worked over, the PLAyers had performed their latest triumph - twice - and Rainbow Music had served the guests at a highly successful WWA garden party.
Coordinator of the satsang hall project was Maintenance Man Ben Warner. "This was essentially a service project," he said, "and it would have been very easy just to paint the hall, rather than doing service. To keep our energies properly directed, we meditated and shared satsang before work, and over lunch. So the whole time was geared to concentration in Knowledge. It was an intense, beautiful experience."
Premies who had been disappointed that AMP seemed to be little more than a financial commitment are delighted at the opportunities the AMP Committee provides to help them become Active Members in the truest sense, positively contributing towards Maharaj Ji's Mission for peace.
After several years of operating from a farm-house some distance out of town, the Mullumbimby community in Northern N.S.W. has now got a Community Centre with a hall attached in Mullumbimby itself. The Centre has three premies living in it, including Robyn Hancock from Brisbane who is serving as Community Director, treasurer and housemother. The opening weekend was full of specials - daytime satsang, seminars, post-Knowledge seminars, meditation and plenty of service.
Then on Friday night, the centre was christened with the birth of a son to an aspirant Carole Kerr. The labour lasted less than an hour and left the premies blinking at her faith in their meditation, her trust in Maharaj Ji, and the amazing ease of the birth. Carole described it in a letter to the Golden Age:
"It is now three weeks since the birth of little Robert on April 2, and still I am feeling the power of Maharaj Ji's presence during the event.
After a powerful satsang, halfway to our farm 25 kilometres away with our daughter Jordi asleep on the back seat of the car, the waters gently broke. My husband was in Brisbane, so I decided to head back for the centre.
At the centre I found a dozen or so premies meditating or settling in for the weekend. It was beautiful to feel the warmth of their love as they moved quietly about dimming lights, making raspberry-leaf tea, arranging flowers and hot water bottles.
Just one hour after the waters had broken, Robert's head emerged. Within minutes, he was lying happily in dimmed lighting upon my stomach. Those who had been meditating joined us in candlelight on the kitchen floor amongst pillows and radiator. Robert had uttered only two little cries and took eagerly to the breast. The power of love, unity and meditation was overwhelming. After tea, we all moved to the bathroom to share Robert's first bath.
Ten of us awoke next morning feeling we'd dreamt it all. Little Jordi who had fallen asleep again just before Robert's birth was delighted to awake to find her new little brother in bed beside her.
I am unable to thank all those who helped me, but besides those present my warmest appreciation extends to Marion Wilson and Dr. Henry in Melbourne for making it clear that it was not so much the birth situation that mattered as my own trust in the process. By Maharaj Ji's grace, that trust came."