NORTH AMERICAN TOUR
Maharaji's North American Tour: A New Beginning
From one point of view, Maharaji's four-city tour of North America this past February and March may not have seemed unusual. After all, Maharaji has been speaking publicly about Knowledge to people in North America since 1971. It is not at all surprising that more than 6,000 people came to hear him in Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Montreal. But something unprecedented and historic did happen during this tour. In Los Angeles and Miami, for the first time ever, Maharaji personally conducted Knowledge sessions - instructing 21 people.
Not only did he reveal the techniques of Knowledge himself, but he also worked closely with Knowledge candidates beforehand in small group meetings. Not since the early 1970s when there were very few instructors has Maharaji worked so intimately with people interested in receiving Knowledge to ensure that their questions were adequately answered, that they were clear about what was being offered, and that they understood what was required of them to benefit from this gift. Dividing his time between introductory programs and small group meetings with people already involved in the process of preparing for Knowledge, Maharaji finally selected and gave Knowledge to 11 people in Los Angeles and 10 in Miami.
Maharaji's respect for Knowledge and his care for the people he met with were evident throughout the tour (see "Meetings with Maharaji"). For example, in Miami he spent one morning meeting with the candidates, then returned in the late afternoon to conduct the Knowledge session. On the following morning, he met with the group again for 90 minutes to review the techniques and to answer questions. In both Miami and Los Angeles, Maharaji conducted these sessions himself - demonstrating, once again, his desire to work more closely with people coming to receive Knowledge.
Maharaji was very pleased with the outcome of the tour. Indeed, he has indicated that on subsequent tours he would like to spend more time in each city–perhaps to conduct a number of introductory programs, smaller question-and-answer sessions, Knowledge selections and Knowledge sessions. He has also spoken of doing a series of "modified, mini-Rejoice" sessions during the summer for people with Knowledge.
At this point, it is clear that Maharaji will continue meeting with and selecting people who want to receive Knowledge, but only after they have already been working closely with instructors. While the specifics of this new approach are not yet obvious, one thing is clear: that Maharaji is now able to conduct each step of the Knowledge process exactly the way he wants.
A Follow-Up Look
MAHARAJI'S NORTH AMERICAN TOUR GAVE EVIDENCE OF A DISTINCTLY NEW APPROACH HE IS TAKING TO HIS WORK. BELOW ARE SOME OBSERVATIONS BY INSTRUCTORS IN THREE OF THE CITIES HE VISITED:
"Maharaji had a lot to say. He evoked something. And people want to hear more," explained Loring Baker in Miami, where many new people are attending nightly presentations and over 50 are waiting to receive Knowledge. "There is more understanding now than ever before about the process of coming to Knowledge," added Loring. "Maharaji is setting a standard and bringing things up to that standard."
Ira Woods noted that Maharaji's visit to New York also had a big impact. "It was definitely a turning point. One thing that became clear was that there was going to be a lot more involvement from the people with Knowledge here. People, in fact, are already beginning to take more responsibility and initiative than ever before. People here are also realizing that giving Knowledge is Maharaji's work. It's always been a fact, but now it's much more so. A step has clearly been taken. A seed has been planted. How it's going to grow, I don't know. The impact of his visit to New York was so much that people are still taking it in."
In Los Angeles, Maharaji's visit left a strong impression on Rosie Lee. "After the public program, he emphasized two things: the importance of laying a proper foundation, and the need to understand and appreciate the practice of Knowledge. I think we're learning to create a welcome environment for people. We're learning to welcome them into the ongoing process that happens before and after someone receives Knowledge."