In spreading his message of peace to the world, Guru Maharaj Ji has traveled extensively since he first left India in 1971, visiting over 30 countries. To help him in his mission, Guru Maharaj Ji has appointed "initiators," men and women who reveal the meditation techniques of Knowledge. Their service involves traveling to cities, towns and villages all over the world.
… And what are initiators? I mean what is the function of a microphone? There is an amplifer – okay? – and there is a person speaking, and there is a mike before him. The thing is, if I did not have a mike, I could still give you satsang. Because I have got a pretty loud voice. But maybe, if there were seven times, or eight times, or two times, or three times as many people here as there are, then I might have to give the satsang two times which will take longer … But one mike simplifies the whole problem. But remember – a mike is a mike, and it's dead. It doesn't do anything until a person speaks. And that's what initiators are. Initiators are mikes. And they help – I mean, more than help – to convey this message of Knowledge, of peace, of truth, of love … to so many people at one time … But the thing is, you have to understand that even for them, they need Grace. They still need development in their life; they still have to go somewhere. They have realized Knowledge, and a lot of it … but the thing is, they are still trying to realize Knowledge more and more …"
– Guru Maharaj Ji
The following interview is with Bill Patterson, president of Divine Light Mission and one of the first American initiators appointed by Guru Maharaj Ji.
What is Guru Maharaj Ji's mission in this world?
First we should try to understand what Guru Maharaj Ji is, because those words denote so much. People hear the words "Guru Maharaj Ji" and they immediately think that it's something really strange. Immediately, just so many little images come up. But it's good to bring it down to that point of something very practical and very real because Guru Maharaj Ji in essence is so natural that all it is is that he has something very profound he wants to offer. He's not making any claims more than that he can show us the very deepest part of our being. He can give us a life that can completely transform us.
Guru Maharaj Ji has even talked about wanting to change this world by changing people's hearts. That's really Guru Maharaj Ji's mission. He wants to bring peace. But maybe people think that's impossible. Yet the peace that Guru Maharaj Ji can reveal and the experience that Guru Maharaj Ji can give – there's no denying it when we can really open ourselves enough to experience the reality of it.
Guru Maharaj Ji is really doing something in this world that so many people have tried to do and have had so many motivations to try to do. But it's really true that you can't change the world until you change their hearts. Otherwise you just change people's ideas, you change their concepts, and you change their modes of living and it's all very superficial. It's all very cosmetic. But Guru Maharaj Ji is that one who can penetrate deeper than that. He can show us something so much more real and something so much more perfect that lies within us.
That's all. At that point, we can just put a period. Because at that point we have to see. Maybe one part of us says "that is impossible and that is ridiculous" and "oh, I've never heard of anything like that." Yet maybe we look around and see that life does show certain possibilities that maybe we can't conceive of. Just the very fact that life is here and the very fact that we're alive shows that there are certain possibilities that are marvelous. Life itself is such a miracle. Then Guru Maharaj Ji comes to show us that deepest part of ourselves and to lead us on the path of Truth which is an internal path, which is a path of really coming to know ourselves.
It's a deep path and that's why Guru Maharaj Ji comes as a living Master to teach the way because even what we could get through scriptures or through any other medium still allows too much room for our concepts, our fears, doubts, confusions and all our limitations. Guru Maharaj Ji comes as a dynamic Master, who can not only bring that essence and reveal that true experience but can guide us and inspire us and love us and put us through that whole process that we need in order to really open up to what is already existing.
What Guru Maharaj ji is saying is look, that very life that keeps us alive is so precious, don't just experience it subconsciously, but become completely aware of it. That's the path that he opens 1,1) to us. By being able to share our experiences, by having someone, who is really experiencing that Truth in their lives being able to share that experience, something very profound can happen. A lot of understanding can happen. Just by being able to be involved with service that has some other motive than selfishness. we can really open up. Yet, Guru Maharaj Ji doesn't just limit it to that, because he can actually reveal us that Truth. And that's what we can experience through meditation.
Meditation isn't something that we kind of incorporate into our life to improve our life as it is. Meditation is something that's really profound, that can really transform our whole perspective of who we are. It's the kind of a force that Guru Maharaj Ji wants to reveal to us. Maybe there are other people who can bring change in this world, but Guru Maharaj Ji is bringing change based on an essence, based on an experience that is beautiful. The essence of what Guru Maharaj Ji is revealing is life, and its beautiful. It brings a lot of peace and a lot of love and a lot of joy to our hearts. He's revealing us that harmony that really brings us peace. He's revealing us that real vibration, showing us that essence, connecting us with it, letting its have that experience of Grace in our lives. By basing our lives on that experience, Guru Maharaj Ji offers us a total life that is completely lived within the realms of Truth. It doesn't deny anything and it doesn't restrict us from anything. It just opens us up to something so much more than anything else- that we could ever experience in this life.
That's why it's so positive. Guru Maharaj Ji doesn't come and say, don't do something … He doesn't whine and judge or deny or critize or condemn. He comes and offers, saying, look, here. Here's something that you can have. Here's an experience that you can have and it's beautiful and it'll change you. But it'll be a beautiful change, because it'll bring you to that place where you can really experience genuine peace, a love that's not just a limited selfish love or an emotional love, but that true experience of really understanding what the purpose of life is.
It's very simple and very natural. And Guru Maharaj Ji is very simple and very natural. Yet, to really understand what is Guru Maharaj Ji we have to come and open ourselves.
What is your experience of the path of Knowledge?
We can just really go back and ask, "Well, what is it that we're wanting to know?" I could look at my whole life as the path of Knowledge because ever since I was the tiniest little child I was wanting to know. I was wanting to know everything. Even when I was really little, I always used to ask so many questions. Yet, as I grew up more and more and got involved in so many things, and got more and more aware of what was going on in this world, I just saw that what most people knew, what they were basing their lives on, was so superficial, so artificial and ultimately so frustrating.
Actually, to talk about the path of Knowledge, is a very simple thing satsang, service, and meditation. In essence what it is, is that Guru Maharaj Ji is revealing us an experience that takes us really deep inside, that opens us up to a whole new experience within us, which is that power which is keeping us alive. As we have more connection with that, then we just auto matically want to share it, because it's beautiful and that's what we call sat-sang – sharing that experience of Truth. As we have more and more of an experience of that, we really want to help other people, we really want to do service. It's not a service that comes from any other motivation than just love, just that joy that is there.
To walk the path of Knowledge is so simple, so joyful. It's not an unreal thing. It's not that we're somehow trying to separate ourselves from the flow of life, or to somehow separate ourselves from this world, but what we're trying to do is experience the Truth of life in everything we do.
The path of Knowledge encompasses every moment of every day, because we have a chance to do actions. But it can be something really pure, something really selfless, something with one aim – which is to uplift. We can take time, stop, and come to a clear understanding of what our life is all about. That's the experience we can have in satsang, just to let everything settle out and to come to that place where there is clarity. Life is more than eating, drinking and being merry, trying to grab as much gusto as we can in this world. There's something else very real. There's a very deep, very meaningful purpose in our life, which is to realize Truth.
All that just leads to inspiration. The inspiration of doing service and the inspiration of satsang leads us to really merge ourselves into that perfection that is deep within thin us, that is hidden by a veil. So many people, even though that Power is giving them life, are under a veil of ignorance, concepts, doubts, and fears that we call "mind." That's why Guru Maharaj Ji has come to reveal us that Knowledge. That is what walking the path of Knowledge is – opening up more and more to that guidance and that love and inspiration that Guru Maharaj Ji
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can give us.
It's just so full, so beautiful. To me, it was a profound change when I met Guru Maharaj ji and when he gave me Knowledge because I realized that I had everything. I had someone I could really trust. And yet, he immediately turned me around right back within myself and said, look, there is the Truth. Go deep within. Don't go back to just more thoughts and more ideas and more subconscious confusion, but go to that depth and experience the Truth, experience that light, experience that inner music, experience that love, that vibration which is the essence of all.
Its not something I can do on my own. It requires a Master soul. It requires someone who can come and ignite my soul. That is what Guru Maharaj Ji is. That is what a Perfect Master is. He's the one who not only comes and guides and inspires and helps us, but he is that Master soul who can come and awaken our heart, awaken that latent Knowledge within us, so that it can tangibly be experienced in our lives.
To me, it's priceless. It's very subtle. It's not anything that I have to go out and lay a trip on other people. But, it's undeniable to me what Guru Maharaj Ji has done. He has done that ultimate miracle. He has awakened me to something that always was there, but now is just coming out.
I see that is the service we're all wanting to do. If more and more people could have this experience, it would change this world, because as more and more people start walking the path of Knowledge, they start coming together. There really can be a basis for harmony. So this experience is not only the fulfillment in each individual's life of connecting with the Truth within themselves, but it's also a thing that can really bring people together in a spirit of cooperation and harmony to do serviee, to help this whole world.
To me, this is not just an ideal or a hopeless dream, but it's a reality, because I've seen it. For the 6½ years that I have had Knowledge and been walking on this path of Knowledge it has jut gotten stronger and stronger and stronger, more and more natural and so firm because I'm seeing that Guru Maharaj Ji has shown me everything.
I guess the only way I can really even begin to describe what it is to walk the path of Truth is that it's beautiful and it's full of a lot of joy. I see that's what Maharaj Ji always talks about. He wants us to have the victory of joy in our life, that true, deep joy, the unsmiled smile that is within us. The only way you can really have that experience is to go to the deepest level of your being and really experience that. And Guru Maharaj Ji can do it.