Lima was Maharaj Ji's first port of call on his lightning world tour at the end of last year. He spent six hours there answering questions and giving satsang in conference with the national coordinators from Latin America, as well as personally interviewing the initiator candidates and selecting five of them for the upcoming program. Francisco Arce, the regional coordinator for Latin America, likened the conference to a "feast" of satsang, meditation and music. Maharaj Ji also held a program with the local Lima community; this is the satsang he gave.
Guru Maharaj Ji speaking in Lima, Peru on 19 November 1976.
The reason why we have all come here together is simply for satsang. Satsang is such an important part of our lives, and it only becomes important if we are actually proceeding towards satsang, service and meditation. Otherwise it really doesn't have any significance. It can have significance for a person who wants to realise Knowledge, and it also has a lot of significance to a person who has realised Knowledge, but the person has to be advancing in that process to be able to understand the meaning of satsang.
In this world there is a lot of craziness going on, there's a lot of things going on under the pretension that they are beneficial for humanity. This kind of challenge, this kind of statement, was not only made in 1976; it was made a long, long time ago. For people have come together and said, "Yes, we are doing this and we are doing that" - a lot of political things, a lot of getting together and so on and so forth. But to me, through my own practical experience, there is only one way, and this one way is through Knowledge.
When I was in school, I was the monitor of my class, and it was different. It was a different kind of class; I didn't go around scolding every kid. I didn't go around constantly telling them to shut up. But in fact I said, "Okay, listen: do whatever you want to do as long as you keep quiet and do what is in line with your education." And that was fine; that was great. Possibly they were writing things that they wanted to do, finishing their homework for the next period. I understood that it was love that kept my class so neat and clean. It was love, not authoritarianism, it was true love that really kept them together, that made them understand what I wanted them to do. In the same way, premies, I believe this world is existing right now because of love. I think there is still enough love left between human beings to keep us pulling together.
But that is not the only answer. The love that is holding
The Golden Age
mankind together right now is literally deteriorating, because the mind that man has is far ahead of himself. The kind of mind that is affecting mankind today is so strange that it is actually beating him in his own game. Man has come so far that he doesn't even know where he began. Actually, he takes great interest in finding out where he began. Mankind today has gone back and researched how civilization was, how people came together, what was the kind of rule, what was the kind of answer, and of course, all of us are interested in the teachings of the past Perfect Masters: Jesus, Krishna, Mohammed, and the other saints. Why? Because we have lost touch with our race. And the only way we think that we can get our race back again is to explore, to find out where the door is.
It's like having a glass room where even the door looks like glass. The door is slammed shut, the blindfold is put on you, and you don't know where you came from, and where you're going to go. And then you just try to figure it out, you try to touch every glass, you try to open every door that's possible for you. And this is what a lot of people are trying to do. They're trying to search. It's a constant search. The intention behind the search is good - they want to know what is Truth, what is reality - but the way people are proceeding today to find that reality is absolutely wrong. Because that is not the way that they're going to find it. This is not the first time that mankind has made this mistake. The Bible is a witness, Gita is a witness, Koran is a witness, and all the scriptures are witness to the fact that when a Perfect Master came and offered a way - an easy way of realisation - that it was either refused or put down. But now is a time for all of us to understand the true possibility of getting together as brothers and sisters, and proceeding towards the real goal of life - realisation of this Knowledge.
The pendulum of history
You see, times and ages have passed and the whole of history is like a big pendulum. It starts from one point, goes all the way to the other point, stops there for a second, and then goes right back up again. I'm seeing that this is exactly what's happening: mankind started from a great search, great enthusiasm, and is turning back to that spiritual life, to purity, to what is real in this life. Because today we face such an artificial life, that reality is a very precious thing to us. Why? Because we've forgotten, we have lost touch with base so long that we really don't know what reality is. What is real? Today the greatest question asked is, "Who is God?" Why? Because that is real. "What is Truth?" Why? Because that is real. What is real is a big question for us, while it used to be an answer for mankind at one time; it was meant to be an answer for mankind. It was meant for mankind to base himself upon reality because he was a production of reality. But today, is that the way we see ourselves? No.
Man starts off as a little child. Look at Hans - he's very calm, very beautiful. All he needs is his life support system. All he needs pretty much is to breathe, to have milk, to be secure, and to be comfortable in the diaper; he needs to be changed every time he gets wet. That's all he wants, that's all there is to him. It's the same way with Premlata, too. That's all she wanted when she was a little baby; now she's growing. You know, premies have been sending so many gifts and toys to her. She looks around and she sees all the toys - "I want this and I'll play with this" - and she plays with it and then she throws it away. She plays with something else and she throws it away. In the Residence she has little places where she stores all her toys, and every morning she has to go there and pull all her toys out and play with them. Then she leaves and the premies come to put all the toys back. That's a baby schedule: all play and play, and sleep and eat.
And then I look at people; there's a lot of difference between Hans and Premlata, but there's an extraordinary difference between Premlata and them. I know when Premlata doesn't get something she'll just cry it out. She gets what she wants pretty much - she's hardly a crying baby - but sometimes when she gets mad over something, she'll just cry it out, and that's fine. But man grows up; he doesn't cry any more because it's not worth it. That's not what he wants. It's not crying, it's pursuit. pursue that goal that he has made until he has got to it.
I've been to a lot of places in South America. I've been to Lima, to Bogota, to Buenos Aires - it's a different part of the world. It's a different part of the world, but people's pursuit is exactly the same. Maybe people in America want to buy a new car because the 1977 cars are coming out. While in Lima, 1975 will do pretty good. Pursuit: quality of pursuit, way to pursuit, and the volume of pursuit are identical. Only the options are different. Maybe in America or in Western countries we go out and we want to buy suits. But in India you want to buy a dhoti and a kurta. The value of pursuit is identical but the option at the end is different.
To a poor man it's like, "Oh wow, if I had this, this, and this, I would be happy." The rich man goes, "If I didn't have this, this, and this, I would be happy." After this mental chase that people have all their lifetime, they decide, "Now wait a minute, maybe peace, maybe Truth is worth something." That is the conclusion that they come to. This is a fact, because there's so many people who are pursuing that fact. How? Maybe a lot of people are not going around shaving their heads. Maybe a lot of people are not going around wearing kurtas and visiting India, but happiness is their pursuit. Happiness is what they want; that is why man today gets up at a certain hour and works all day long. For what? Is it going to make him live longer? Is that the reason why he works all day? Actually it shortens his life span.
A cosmetic show
So finally he decides, "Well, maybe I want happiness out of all things. So to me happiness is … " and he makes his list. "Okay, I'd like to have this particular kind of home, this particular kind of car, this particular kind of wife, this particular kind of children, this particular kind of job and this particular kind of faith, and if I can have all this, it will be my happiness. I want Mr. Joe's house, I want Mr. Span's job, I want Mr. Ribbon's car, I want Mr. Jones' pay, and I want So-and so's wife, and So-and-so's kids." But the fact is that if you were to bring all those people together - Mr. Ribbon, Mr. Joe Doe, everybody together - and to bring that one person and ask him to ask all these people who have come together if they are happy, most definitely they will not be happy. Because that kind of happiness is superficial. That is happiness, but it's not the happiness that you are looking for. It is superficial, it's cosmetic, it is fake.
So what is man doing? He's putting on a grand show. Every day we get up, we have to put on a certain kind of perfume,
No. 36, February 1977
to have a certain kind of toothpaste, to have a certain kind of suit, a certain kind of this and that and geez, for what purpose? I have seen two people wear the same suits in an airplane and one person's going to take off his jacket so that it doesn't resemble the other guy's suit. Because it's all a cosmetic show. The real reason for our lives is gone so we try to put on a big show.
Let's forget our cosmetic shows, let us forget our superficial dreams and realise what we are doing on this earth. To me, man hasn't really advanced; he has explored, he has investigated, he has searched. You know they didn't bring Apollo out of the moon, they brought it out of here; every resource, every technology, everything was right out of here. To me, you take this paper and take this glass and put it on top of this paper and it looks different. You take that rose out of that vase and you put it on the table and it looks different. You take this microphone and you turn it around and you put it on this end and it looks different. That was changed from one structure to another structure. You take a metal, it's in one structure, in the earth, pull it out, you make it go through some chemical changes, then it becomes something else. I mean, everything is just right out of here. We could have always done that and actually tried to witness nature and tried to see some of the ancient things, the kind of tools that they used in the Bhagavad Gita. It's simply amazing, because the kind of tools that existed at that time would beat any kind of tool that exists now.
So the problem is not what we have achieved in this world, the problem is what we have forgotten. This is what we have to remember: what we have achieved isn't a great matter at all because to whom does that credit go? To nobody, except one person, the creator. He created us, and gave us the intelligence to be able to create anything else. And after we give the credit for creating the ability to create, even still the credit goes to the Almighty because He's sustaining it in that form, because He can destroy it just like that.
How to touch base
What we have forgotten in all of our adventure, in all of our research, is the reality, a way to touch base. And to me, that is the most important thing. And this is why when we received Knowledge there was such a change, there's an immediate change in people's lives. Sometimes people receive Knowledge and they have a very nice experience, then they go back home and two days later, all of a sudden, just like a big grenade, it blows up. "Fine, yeah, I have received Knowledge" - all of a sudden, "Zap!" and you realise something. Like, "Wow, wait a minute, this isn't another trip, this isn't another adventure that I have gone through. This is reality that I just came into. This one I didn't go through, this one I was brought home to."
That's when the beauty begins, that's when the understanding begins, that's when the love begins. Because what they want in this world is love, but there's a little bit of difference, because the love that premies experience is a little more real, has a much more solid bond to it, has a lot more solid core to it, is a lot more substantial than a love where people can say, "Oh yes, I'm in love with 'this person," and then days later you find they're getting a divorce. So what happened to their love? It flew out the door, out the window. But the love that we experience is true, is genuine, and it comes from Knowledge. But let us not forget - satsang, service and meditation. Sounds like the same rhythm, same old saying. Well if it is the same old saying to you, then it's the same old thing inside of you which is making you tick. So let us not forget it, and let us proceed in it.
A lot of premies just say, "Well, I do satsang, service and meditation, but I have a lot of problems." I was talking to initiator Bill Patterson in America. I said, "Bill, how many premies do you really think do one hour of meditation? You know, my recommendation is at least one hour for meditation." And he said, "So far as I know, just about everybody does about an hour's worth of meditation." I said that that shows our curiosity, our great effort that we are making towards this Knowledge. How? It says the least, and that's what we do - not a little bit more, the least of the standard is what we come to. Just one hour. Over an hour: too much meditation; under an hour: it's okay. I mean, you have to understand something. Imagine, just try to feel it out in your own lives how far we have come, how far we have drifted from our original base, from that reality. If it is only this much distance, I'd say that's fine - an hour's worth of meditation, take a dustcloth every time you go to the ashram, show you're doing this for everybody, that much service, go down to satsang and fall asleep - that's fine. But this is not the distance that we have from where we should be and where we are. If I had to show you the distance, literally I would have to be like a rubber band - to be able to extend my arms infinitely to show how we have lost touch with our base.
Premies, we have to try. It is our effort. This Knowledge is Truth, this Knowledge is real, but we have to put in our own effort. Not somebody else - not an initiator, not your community coordinator, not your regional coordinator, not Guru Maharaj Ji - we have to put in our own effort as individuals to come closer and closer to that realisation, to that understanding. A lot of people have huge concepts, they have this extreme idea that, "Oh, maybe the realisation of Knowledge is that we'll be sitting down in meditation one day and whammo! our spine will lift out of our head, it will sunrise behind our head, nobody will be able to see us and we'll be able to see everybody."
To me, those people are on the right vehicle but on the wrong flight. They're on the right plane - yes, it is a 747 that takes you there - but they're on the wrong flight; they're going to the other part of the world. They might be sincere, but it's going the wrong way. It's going to an imagined experience; it is going towards that experience that they have imagined. So what you are fulfilling in your life by doing meditation is the imagination, not the purpose that you actually want to realise Knowledge, that you want to experience Knowledge. Because the experience of Knowledge is as intimate and as constant and as flowing as you are living right now, as your life goes on.
So premies, there's so much to say and I've said it so many times, but let's not forget one thing: satsang, service and meditation. This satsang, service and meditation that we do is not for Guru Maharaj Ji; this satsang, service and meditation that we do is not a cosmetic thing. This satsang, service and meditation that we do is not for the people; it is for ourselves. So why should other people be a hindrance, why should other people be the reason we don't do satsang, service and meditation? No, it's our effort that is going to bring us closer and closer to the experience and realisation of this Knowledge.
The Golden Age
There are a number of things that we can do. There's a lot of premies that are really getting involved in community activities - just in the Mission - and that's okay. That's fine, getting involved in community, that's fantastic, I'm all for it. But I'm also all for doing satsang, service and meditation. That is a necessity; it is the food for premies. Without that, we are no longer premies, we are no longer the people who have tied into that true love, the true love which is sincere and the true love which is real. This is our food: satsang, service and meditation.
A lot of people are getting so involved in their communities these days that it's becoming some kind of political issue. I don't really know how to express this, but they're getting involved in such a way that it is detrimental to them. They're not getting involved in the community for its purpose; they're getting involved in the community for some other purpose, but they're not coming as people who are premies. What does premie mean? Lovers. We are lovers, we have understood Knowledge, we have one Guru Maharaj Ji, we have the same Knowledge, and we all come together in a community to share that experience, to share that love, to share that enjoyment. Because that is beautiful, that is very precious.
Sometimes we start saying, "Oh, tonight I missed my dinner, so tonight I miss satsang; it doesn't matter, I've got a lot more to attend to." Well, that's one way of looking at it, but maybe not the correct way of looking at it. To me, that's not the way it goes. It is very very precious because it has to do with something which sustains me, which is what life is all about. So if you start putting your life away, the life source away, that realisation for which you are here, then what is the purpose of humans in this world anyway? If you can put aside your goal, if you can just say, "Forget it," then you tell me, what is your purpose?
All too easy
You know, this has all come too easy for us. Punch a button and this happens, punch a button and that happens. I'm interested in electronics sometimes and I have watched since I first came into the West how it's really happened. I remember in India we had a turntable that you cranked up and it took these needles, like pins, that you screwed in. The speaker was right on the arm. Then I remember I was really excited; we got this turntable which had a little switch on it and it took a 90 volt battery and you wouldn't have to crank it or anything - even had a speaker built into it. It even had a volume control and a tone control.
I came to America and I looked at these things called record changers - it was fascinating for me. You stack up all your records, turn it on, and play one side, it drops the record, play the other side, it drops the record - great. I took one to India with me; it blew up, didn't last very long. I watched this happen, and now they have come to a stage where it's totally remote control; you don't even have to touch it by hand. You put your record on and you punch into this little gadget what number song you want to play. If you want to play the fifth song, just put "5 Play" and the needle gets up and goes exactly to the fifth song and drops down, plays the fifth song, and comes right back up. You can punch twenty-four songs in it, in any sequence you want - last one first, first one last - twenty-four times, and it'll keep on doing it.
I've watched all this happen. I remember when the first camera I had was a little box camera. You just guessed. To be sure to get the pictures, I would move my camera to all the possible settings. So for one picture, I would take twelve pictures, to make sure that one would turn out. From that time, look at where we are now. All you have to be able to do is look through it - and they're coming out with a camera which even focuses automatically - and press the button and that's it. I'm pretty sure they're going to come out with a camera where you just look through it, blow in it, and it will take a picture.
I've seen all this progress happen, and I've also seen the state of unhappiness rise to an extreme. People are unhappy. In America, the big thing was, "Let's get this Vietnam war over with and then everybody will be happy." Yes, the Vietnam war is over, and who's happy? I remember when the gas crisis came to America; your gasoline was rationed, and everybody was saying, "Well, as soon as this gas crisis is over, everybody will be happy." The gas crisis is over, at least you can go to the gas station peacefully and get gas. And that hasn't done anything for peace. When are we going to realise that that has nothing to do with peace, that has something to do with running your car? And the car has something to do with taking you to the office, and the office has something to do with money, and money has something to do with your stock. Period. That is not the solution; and that is not the answer. To me, it doesn't matter. It might, in its own way, okay? I want to wear clothes because I want shelter on my body, not because I want to wear clothes for peace. That is what I don't understand. Development is development, guns are guns, and so on and so forth. They might be pertaining to a particular subject, but they should not have the false pretenses of being for peace. They cannot bring peace. Peace is peace. Peace is reality.
Under a waterfall
Why do we have to wait for another example? Why do we have to wait for the pendulum to come right back again and hit us on the heads? There's no need for that. So this is the time, and how fortunate are the premies. They're extremely fortunate in this time when everything is going ding-dong. Who knows, somebody might get freaked out in the morning and blow up half the world. It's really funny, we have Knowledge, we have the source of peace. We couldn't be more fortunate. It's like they're in the middle of the desert where everybody's crying water, water, water and every one of us is sitting under a waterfall. How more fortunate can we be? Not only is there water there, but we're sitting right under it. And this opportunity is available to everybody. You see, a saint once said, "It makes me laugh to hear that the fish is thirsty in the water; it makes me laugh." And it makes me laugh that the opportunity is there, it's all around us, but we are screaming that we are confused. Confusion is something that we have invited upon ourselves. Confusion is like a ghost; it doesn't even exist. This is what we have to realise.
So premies, let us all come together and take advantage of this opportunity that has been presented to us. Let us take great advantage and let us take time to thank Guru Maharaj Ji and thank this Knowledge for what it has brought to us and for what it promises us. Thank you very much.