INFORMATION FROM ELAN VITAL
It's been quite a few months since the last "Newsline". During that time, the work of Elan Vital has been steadily growing, both in this country and around the world.
One small indication of this is that Ireland, for many years coming under the wing of the U.K., now has its own registered Elan Vital, and all over the world many smaller countries are stepping out of the shadow of their bigger neighbours and saying, "Hey, we're here too, you know!"
Another sign of the growth in the teaching of Knowledge is that the first International Organisers' Conference recently took place in America, with representatives attending from 48 countries.
This was followed by an event to celebrate Maharaji's birthday – held at the Long Beach Convention Centre on 13th December (3 days after he actually turned 29) – which had an international theme and was also beamed live by satellite to cities around the States.
Since then a series of instructor conferences attended by Maharaji has seen the numbers of instructors in Europe and South America grow by three times, and more are to take place in the next few months in other parts of the world.
Yet another very important step has been the purchase by the Elan Vital Foundation of a plane to replace the old leased one it has been using for several years.
On a much smaller level, but still a sign of progress, is the taking on of a four roomed office in Brighton, or Hove to be precise, as we move away from the London offices we have been sharing until now.
P.S. We do not yet have details of a visit by Maharaji to this country, but will inform you as soon as arrangements are made – it will probably be during the autumn.
Hope you enjoy the newsletter!
Maharaji, his wife Marolyn and sons Hansi and Amar enjoy the entertainment at the Long Beach birthday celebration – daughters Wadi and Daya were on stage helping to provide the laughter as part of a humorous all-girl group. Previously, Maharaji had talked about his goals and thanked everyone for their support. (above).
Plane Takes Off
The Elan Vital Foundation, the Swiss-based organisation which undertakes all the international work associated with teaching the Knowledge, has asked us to let our readers know that, thanks to generous support from wellwishers all over the world, it has now obtained the private aircraft it needed to meet growing demand for the Knowledge.
The new plane has a longer range than the aircraft it has been leasing until now, which will allow much greater flexibility in scheduling its activities and arranging its itineraries.
Now flights can be made across the Pacific, so that events in Australia and the Far East can be reached without a long and complicated westward journey.
Amongst other direct routes opened up by the purchase are South America to Europe, and Africa to the U.S.A.
This will increase the ability to cover events to which Maharaji has been invited as guest speaker during the course of each year, which last year numbered 100, in 34 countries.
This is especially true of instructor conferences. Areas which previously joined together for such conferences now have enough instructors and instructor candidates to merit their own.
Another advantage for the Foundation owning and operating its own plane is safety. When a plane is leased, there is no guarantee as to its real condition. Sudden cabin decompression and engine failure are just two of the potentially disastrous hazards which have occurred while using a leased plane, besides minor break-downs which have caused delays and disruptions.
Another factor is comfort. The plane has enough headroom for example, to make stooping unnecessary, and it has more adequate bathroom facilities.
The fuel cost in flying the new aircraft is extremely low. What does require high expenditure, besides actually repaying the monthly installments, are all the operating expenses – parking space, hangars, maintenance, landing fees, and the use of agencies to supply flight plans and other essential information. Permission to overfly restricted territory, knowledge of local conditions, advance refuelling arrangements, meteorological data, remote airport opening times – these are all part of the essential support activities requiring sophisticated international back-up.
To sum up, buying a long range private plane opens the door to a new phase in the work of Elan Vital, but a tremendous amount of support is needed to keep up the monthly payments.
Elan Vital has now moved to Hove, in Sussex.
Our new address is:
PO Box 131
Until now, we have been sharing office space in London, which has really restricted the amount of work that can be done. Now, with our own place, volunteer helpers will be able to come along and share the workload, especially at busy times. As time goes by, it should really make a big difference in what can be accomplished.
About 1,000 of you were kind enough to fill in "Feedback" forms at last summer's Convention. These were all read and appreciated, but are still in the process of being sorted out and categorised. If you were not at the Convention but feel you have something to offer, please write in and let us know. In the end, we hope everyone who would like to be involved in some way in our work will have the opportunity, quite apart from those who become instructors and those who support us financially.
After our last appeal for donations, which went specifically to people who have donated before, several people let us know – very nicely that they should have been included but were not. It goes to show our records are not complete, so do let us know if you think you are missing from a list you should be on, and we apologise for any omissions.
We are hoping to produce some kind of introductory brochure about the Knowledge. It's quite a challenge to know what ought to be said, and to say it in a clear, attractive way, but if any reader would like to try their hand, we would be glad to hear from them.
"Be Thankful for What You Have"
Long Beach – a suburb of Los Angeles famous as the home of the old "Queen Mary". It was not on the ship, however, but in the nearby Convention Centre that, on December 13 last, Maharaji attended a birthday celebration held in his honour by Elan Vital in the USA. Here is an edited transcript of the informal talk he gave, not only to those present but to a nationwide audience watching via satellite link-up.
First the M.C., film star Michael Nouri, had introduced Maharaji in a way that had a few people wondering what he meant. Maharaji picked up the theme …
Thank you very much. Thank you. Well, I'll just assume you're all out there, otherwise they must have pretty good sounding speakers here to be able to reproduce the sound of people clapping, because I can hardly see you out there.
And I'd like to welcome everyone. I don't know if I'm a jeweller or if my job is to go and bring "scattered beads together", but if it is then that's certainly one thing I haven't been doing! It sounds good, it sounds really good, but what does it mean? That's what I was thinking about back stage.
And really what it's all about is that as human beings, we are trying to understand, trying to realise, trying to cope with what this life is as it is presented to us. Not the way it is, but as somebody tells us it is. "By the way, guys, this is the way everything is." And it is just taken for granted that there's a lot of hard work you have to come up with before you can start feeling good about what you have. And I suppose that fundamentally, Knowledge disagrees with that, and tells us that what we need to begin with, what we need to start with, is an appreciation of life as it is, for its own sake.
And one morning – in fact, it was the morning that this International Organisers' Conference started – I was down in my office, oh, around five forty-five in the morning, getting my materials together, and all of a sudden a quote hit me. I went ahead and put it down, and another one came and then another. And one of the quotes that I came up with that morning says – it's a little bit of a snapper, so you have to think about it – "Be thankful for what you have, be grateful for what you don't, and work for what you need."
And when you say "grateful for what you don't have", all of a sudden everyone scratches their head and thinks, "How can I be grateful for what I don't have?" But believe me, if you had all that other stuff and all the troubles that come with it, you really would be grateful for all things you don't have. And at the same time, be thankful for what you do have because it's an incredible, amazing life. This life in itself is complete. It doesn't need to be augmented, nothing needs to be done to it. It is perfect in nature, it is perfect in design. It is perfect in its quality and it's perfect in its experience. What seems to be missing again and again is where it's aimed for … what we do with it. Because in its perfection, one of the qualities that we have been given is that the steering wheel has been handed to us to take it wherever we want to go.
And sometimes we try to make our lives no different than the Titanic's. You see, to me, the Titanic represents something. And what it represents is that we all want to be able to come home one day and say "Well, everything is perfect now. Nothing can ever happen to me again. That's the way I want everything to be." And that concept is, perhaps, not that far away from what you and I sometimes start thinking about. And what was that Titanic? This incredible, immaculate ship that had everything. In fact, so resistant to any hazards that it could plough right through all of them. And somehow I see a lot of people trying to build their lives like the Titanic.
It took a long time to build the Titanic, and the amazing thing was that as it went on its journey the thought that never crossed anybody's mind was, "Something bad may happen." Because the concept, the design, of the Titanic was that it was supposed to be disaster-proof. And that ship, which so many engineers took so long to develop, that concept that everyone thought had become a reality, took one iceberg. Just one, which happened to be, I suppose, strategically placed that night. And down it went.
And so to me, I see a lot of people who are taking the most beautiful thing, and it's like having a candlelight dinner. You've got your candles and you light them up and they look beautiful. They look so beautiful in fact that you want everyone to see them. So you get some strong lights and you turn them on so you can see your candles lit up. But pretty soon you can't really see the flame on top of the candle at all. It has become self-defeating.
There are so many people who can come up with an idea of how we "ought to be", or the "ideal society", or the "ideal human being". And there are plenty of people who can go out there and say, "By the way guys, this is how we ought to be." No shortage of it. And all I do is I carry a little mirror with me, and anytime somebody says, "Well, how should I be? What should my goals be?", I just try to whip out that little mirror and say, "Look, do you even know what you have?"And then people can take a simple look at a very simple life, at a very simple concept of being alive, of being here – It's very, very simple, it is so simple, so sweet and so kind.
And all along there is just that simple purpose. Oh, people are looking for the big, great purpose. But do you realise how long people have been looking for this purpose? I suppose since the caveman first came out, lit his little fire, sat down next to it, warmed himself up, had a moment or so to think because the dinosaurs were asleep, and said to himself, "Gee whiz, I wonder what I'm doing here?" And like wildfire, it's caught on. "What are we doing here? What are we doing here?" Nobody's saying, "By the way, I'm here." It's always, "What am I doing here?"
Because it's only human beings who can take a coconut and say "I wonder what the purpose of a coconut is?" While everybody else on the beach might be enjoying themselves by drinking the milk from the coconut, enjoying the middle part, there are some people who are starving and at the same time wondering what the purpose of a coconut could possibly be. If a coconut falls on one of their heads, that person writes down, "The purpose of the coconut is to hit you on the head." If one falls on the foot, somebody says, "No, no, no, no. We're all mistaken. The purpose of the coconut is to fall on the foot, not on the head." And then somebody gets hit on the shoulder and says, "The ideal usage of the coconut is to throw it at your enemies when they're coming too close." But all they have to realise is that all along, all through this, the purpose is that enjoyment that life is offering, every single day.
Being able to be thankful is such an art. By the way guys, it's not so easy as we think. It really isn't, "Gee whiz, just go out there and be thankful." It really isn't. Life is immaculate and so has to be its appreciation. Immaculate. You have to have the eye, which you all do, to be able to see what it is all about. The problems we are caught in are so trivial, so trivial, that maybe it takes an intense moment in our lives for us to even realise, "My goodness, that was really trivial."
And all along there is just that simple purpose. Oh, people are looking for the big, great purpose. But do you realise how long people have been looking for this purpose? I suppose since the caveman first came out, lit his little fire, sat down next to it, warmed himself up, had a moment or so to think because the dinosaurs were asleep, and said to himself, "Gee whiz, I wonder what I'm doing here? And like wildfire, it's caught on. "What are we doing here? What are we doing here?" Nobody's saying, "By the way, I'm here." It's always, "What am I doing here?"
And then, all of a sudden, the game begins. I saw a comedy two nights ago, it just cracked me up. There was this lady and her job was to teach people in her class how to be able to say "No". She had realised that these people who she was teaching needed self-esteem. So she would throw little tests in there – for example, she would say, "Could someone please come up and erase the board?" And if somebody said "Yes," she would say, "Now, now, now, you don't have to say 'Yes' to everything. I want you to say 'No'." And it went on for a while and it was like, "Yeah, right. That makes a lot of sense, right?" At the end of the whole session, the lady, who couldn't drive a car, went to catch her bus. But when she was flipping through her purse she realised she didn't have enough money for the bus fare. So she went back to her students and said, "Can any of you please lend me some bus fare?" And they said, "No." She said, "But I'm serious. I really need it." But still the answer was, "No." And they would all just smile at her and say, "Aren't we doing good? Isn't this wonderful?" And I just got such a laugh out of it.
Because it's very much like that. Nobody is saying, "Gee whiz, I've got a coconut in my hand. There it is, me, as an individual on this earth. And I have the capacity to think, I have the capacity to admire. I have the capacity to understand, to comprehend, to move and to be moved. And I can appreciate that I have the quality to be able to appreciate, and that's a quality in itself." Don't throw it away. You know, when you start throwing your baby clothes away, don't throw away the baby with the clothes. You've got to let the baby grow up and make sure the baby isn't in the clothes. And sometimes we do that. Very much so. And to me, how wonderful and beautiful it then becomes, just to go place to place. And people come. Boy, do people come. They want to hear. Some people come for a big philosophical discussion. Some people come to see what it's all about. And all I have to say is so utterly simple. I'm saying, look, of all the places you could go and all the things you could be, there you are. And you are what you are. Realise in that what that Creator, what that Maker, has accomplished by creating you. Because something has been accomplished. And the rest is an open book.
A few days ago, in fact till December 9th, I was in a conference, the International Organisers' Conference, I.O.C. … and if you see me sweating, by the way, this is a natural reaction to those lamps back there. You could probably cook an egg on my back right now, it is so hot. They've got studio lighting here without the studio air conditioning. So anyways, on the 9th I was completely under the impression that I was going to be thirty years old. And I was thinking to myself, you know, "My God, that's a big event, thirty years. I mean, thirty years in this world." And I'm not the sort of person who says, "Well now, what are you going to do for the next thirty?" But more like, "This is it. I'm going to be thirty years old. And it's been good, it's been fun. A lot of changes, a lot of ideas, a lot of growing up." And you realise that you grow up more in the second thirty than in the first thirty. And that you grow up in the last thirty more than you grow up in the first thirty or the second thirty, all put
An Evening With Maharaji
The Knowledge is a means of experiencing a very simple and beautiful feeling of contentment within us, which puts us in touch with our own life and who we really are. It is taught free of charge by instructors in every part of the world, and throughout Britain.
Maharaji makes himself as available as possible to speak about and discuss the Knowledge. Last year, for example, he spoke to a total of 617,000 people at 106 public meetings in 34 countries.
What is presented here is a typical talk, followed by questions, during a recent tour of Britain.
Maharaji was born Prem Pal Rawat in 1957 in Northern India and began teaching the Knowledge in 1966. He settled in the West in 1971 and married his wife, Marolyn, in 1974. They now have four children and live in the U.S.A.
An Evening With Maharaji
First of all, I'd like to offer you all a very warm welcome to our meeting this evening, and I hope you enjoy it. In a sense, what we are going to consider is a different topic from our normal concerns, because with our daily lives and our involvement in everything around us, very seldom are we able to turn inside and try to tune into a very beautiful and simple feeling that exists within each one of us. And it is this I would like to consider tonight.
The point is that although people have a lot of ideas about how the world could be a much better place, no-one ever seems to come up with the answer. And all I would suggest is that somewhere along the line all the focus has to stop going on the outside and has to turn to the inside, to an experience of contentment and fulfilment which does exist within us.
It is an experience that cannot be expressed in words, and it cannot be confined to any language or culture. It is fundamentally universal, because it is central to our being and doesn't have anything to do with the targets and goals we set ourselves in the world about us.
Besides all the accomplishments we have achieved in the world, there is still a voice inside that calls out for a simple contentment. It is saying, "OK, whatever there is, is fine, but there has to be something more."
Contentment is a feeling which everyone has to know for themselves. It is something that, when we have it, we know it. It really comes down to a question of what life means to us. It is something that we go through every day, never giving a second thought to what it means? I am born, I fit into the system, whichever system it is, and within it I go about the business of existence. Or is there more to it?
Isn't that inner desire for quality in our lives, for us to know what we really are, and for us to be able to enjoy the experience of being alive, here with us all the time? It is a universal and fundamental need, and what can satisfy it is something equally universal and fundamental. Not satisfaction brought about because of some situation, some change in the circumstances around us, but just satisfaction that comes from the capacity to enjoy life itself, as it is.
Because life is satisfying, it is enjoyable to the nth. degree, and it is constantly with us, through thick and thin. Maybe you did something terribly wrong, and your friends and family leave you. Life is still there, saying, "It's OK, I'm here, don't worry. I'll stand by you."
I'm not saying that Knowledge, which allows us to have an experience of that contentment, of what being is all about, and which allows us to feel what existence really is, takes away our problems. It's not that once we are in touch with that beauty inside we will not have our ups and downs, but because it is packed with beauty, kindness and gentility, life can help us overcome pain and tears. That's what life is able to do, when we can experience it for what it is. This is what we have been gifted with, the most precious thing, and then to have no idea what it's all about, to me, that's the biggest shame.
I know I can't convince anybody of anything. Ultimately, when it boils down to it, if some chord in me is not struck, a person hasn't convinced me of anything. But there's more to it than coming and listening. There is a way to be able to experience that simplicity, that beauty, inside us. If there wasn't a way, the whole thing becomes hypothetical, and then I would become just another philosopher. But I'm not a philosopher. I'm able to show people something very simple, something very beautiful. And more times than not, when people see and feel that for themselves, it brings the most real smile to their faces.
I am talking about a potential that is already there. Not what you can accomplish but something that was already accomplished on the day you were born, and is still being accomplished with every second that goes by, with every breath that you take. And why do we need to know what that is? Because in feeling that, there is a great amount of contentment, beauty, comfort and joy.
I'm not trying to change people. I'm not trying to deal with people's philosophies. To me, it's as simple as this: Socrates said, "Know thyself."
It's a nice phrase, but what does it mean? How many people, after hearing that phrase on their college course, think, "My goodness, what could he possibly have meant by that?" Just by hearing it, we do not understand what he meant.
To me, it's a matter of feelings.
There is no intellectual debate about it. In a debate like that, there can be winners and losers, but in the process of life, to me, everybody is a winner; nobody is a loser. We have to go on what we feel, and what I offer is an avenue where we can come closer to recognising the simplicity and beauty that lies at the heart of our lives.
So I think that's all I have to say. If you have any questions, please ask them and I will do my best to answer them.
First, I would like to say how much I've enjoyed listening to you. What I would like to know is, if I obtained Knowledge, what would I have to do to sustain it, to continue it on in my life?
You would have to practise it by giving it a few minutes of your time. It's quite simple. You can even practise it when you are in some odd circumstances, because what you are experiencing is always with you. The Knowledge is merely the tool that allows you to tap into it. That's all there is to it.
Would you mind saying a little bit more about what Knowledge is?
Well, I think the way I just expressed it sums it up. Knowledge is just a tool which allows you to tap into that which is inside you, that which gives us life, that which can give us a beautiful experience if we are connected with it. It's not that I am giving you the experience. All I'm doing is giving you the means to be able to get to the experience.
Is it meditation?
If you want to call it meditation, you may. But it's not particularly like that. It doesn't really follow your typical meditation where you sit in a room and think of something nice or focus on something. It's not like that, but it's hard to express it in words. I suppose if you really want to know, you'll have to get it for yourself. But do come again and put questions to me or to an instructor, just to explore more and pinpoint exactly what you want to know about it.
Could you explain the origins of Knowledge, how it evolved and also whether you feel it originates mainly from yourself or from a wider basis?
Well, it's true that every time you buy a car you get a log book with it. The history of the car is important, but the main point is what the car can actually do for you now. With Knowledge, basically there is something there to experience and this is a way to be able to experience it. Before me, my father taught the Knowledge and now I am teaching it. But I have no idea who is going to do it after me. It's not as if it's passed on in the family. There's no tradition about it.
And how the Knowledge originated, I don't know. All I know is that it does bring people a beautiful experience, and it is being presented entirely on its own merit. Tonight the only person I have referred to is Socrates. All I can say is that it does exist, it's here now, and whether it came originally from India or China or Great Britain, I don't know. To tell the truth, I have talked to people who have tried to follow up on its history but they keep running short … it just seems to disappear into nothingness after a while. To me, the only thing of value is the experience it brings.
You say that like all of us you have your downs as well as your ups. Do you feel that eventually, through your Knowledge, you will achieve the feat of removing the downs entirely from your life, and if you can do it, can we achieve that too?
Well, first of all, you make it sound as if there's a great separation between you and me, by virtue of suggesting that I sit up there somewhere, as if I've taken the malaria pills, so I can go into the jungle and not worry about mosquito bites. But it's not like that at all.
The thing I see in myself is that I want to enjoy my being here, my being alive. I do want to learn, but I can't say that the object of my learning is never to have downs again. I don't even know if I would remember the value of the ups if that happened. I think I will always make mistakes and I will have to suffer the consequences of those mistakes. I'll try not to make them again, but I probably will.
And yet there is a rhythm and beauty to this life, to being here, and I want to recognise and experience that. It is not a matter of ups and downs. Kahil Gibran said: "Joy is your sorrow unmasked", and that is a very deep saying, because both elements are there. What I want is, through my ups and through my downs, to be somehow in tune with enjoying myself.
I don't want to change the way I am as a human being, because being a human being is itself the greatest thing going on. It really is. Nothing else tops it. There is such a joy, such a pleasure, in that. In the whole process of growing up, we are never in touch with that real something inside that's saying: "Beauty. That's what's you are." But there needs to be that connection. That's what's happening for me, and that's what really needs to happen for everyone. Then we can all enjoy being human, and not have any barriers of any sort.
Maharaji, is this one way of many to realise your true self, or the only one?
Well, it might be, and it might not be. You'll have to be the judge of that. You can try out whatever you want to try out. And then you can come and try this one out and see if you like it.
Can this happen to you spontaneously, without this method of yours?
I personally think we taste it at different times in our lives. We don't get the whole cake but sometimes we smell it, or see it, or taste it. These are the times when you feel really, really good, and there's no reason at all for it. You feel thankful; you feel good about yourself. There aren't too many days like that, I'm sure, but there are some. And I think it's having these feelings that makes us want to pursue something like this, that makes us say to ourselves: "It's hard to put my finger on, but I want something more in my life."
Well, it's been very enjoyable for me to be here and I hope you have enjoyed yourself too. At least it's been a different kind of evening, hasn't it? I hope to be back again before too long, and in the meantime, if you are interested in receiving Knowledge for yourself, or just knowing more about it, you are most welcome to contact your local instructor. You are not joining anything, and it is free of charge. It is just, as I have been saying, a simple way for you to experience something really beautiful in your life.
So, once again, thank you very much for coming, and I wish you a very goodnight.
Taking it further …
To know more about the experience spoken of by Maharaji, please contact any of the following instructors.
… There were 40 instructors in the UK …
Instructors are not only there for people interested in hearing more. If you have already received the Knowledge and would like to discuss any aspect of it you are welcome to contact them. Most instructors also hold public meetings and will be happy to give you details of time and place. When calling instructors, please bear in mind that they are voluntary helpers and the above are their home numbers.
"Be Thankful for What You Have"
together. And what does thirty years mean? Well, when I was one year old I had no idea I was one year old. It didn't mean anything. In India they don't really have this ritual of cake and candles and anything. I remember I was ten or eleven years old before I had a cake. The attitude is, so it's your birthday? It just so happens you were born on that day, and that's it: no special celebration, no special anything.
But now, here comes thirty years. And you look back and think, "What have I been doing with my life?" But then I said to myself, "No, it's not a matter of what I've been doing, but of something that has been happening for thirty years." I discounted the first few because I didn't have the awareness to remember what happened. And my feeling was, "My goodness, thirty of them have gone. One less to go." Whatever. I was thinking all these things and then, of course, I had to go to the conference, so I put it out of my mind.
And then, all of a sudden, that evening, I was told, "You're only 29." And I was. I didn't know what to make of that. I mean, all of a sudden I'd gained a year. One whole year, just like that, because I was convinced I was thirty. And now I have a whole extra year to live and think about what it's going to be like when I get to thirty!
What I'm getting at is that we often think in these terms: "Another day to go. Another year to live. Another this, another that. I've got to do this, I've got to do that." But let's stop for a moment. Step back. Think. Organise. And then proceed. Proceed on to those goals which we establish. Which we set. Which we have been given. To use those tools and experience what we have been given to experience. A simplicity. A joy. A joy that nobody could ever think could be so joyous. A life.
It's amazing. You know, we do all these things, we have our friends and we have our good deeds and bad deeds and this went right and that went wrong, and all our decisions. And you get one day when everything will be very clear to you. One day. On that day you know exactly who is your friend, who is not your friend, if everything you did was right, if everything you did was wrong. You will know, absolutely.
Guaranteed. That's the day you go. So, it's like a game. Before that, it's all speculative. One day you will finally find out, but after that you can't do anything about it. Nothing.
And to me, that is just the way it should be. Yes. We always like our life to be on the table, every card flipped. A little suspense is what we can't stand. The ultimate turmoil of "Am I happy?" Or, "Could I be happier?" is what you're caught in, between the rock and the hard place. And that's where the only tools you have are the faith, the belief, and to know. To know, by yourself. And that is what's so beautiful about what we're talking about, about what that experience brings us, about that Knowledge that allows us to open those doors for ourselves, and to walk through and see what we want to see and feel what we want to feel and realise what we want to realise and enjoy what we want to enjoy. Not somebody telling us what we need to enjoy. For too long people have set the table. For too long everybody else in our lives comes together and says, "That's the definition of happiness, by the way." Everybody else. They're the same people standing under the coconut tree, wondering what the purpose is. Again and again and again and again.
This is a beautiful moment for all of us, when we can be here, together. And this is being linked to something like twenty-one or twenty-two cities within the U.S. We have people here from forty-eight countries who were in the International Organisers' Conference where forty-eight countries were represented. It's amazing to see everything coming together. Slowly but surely everything having its purpose, its definition. And nobody's defining it. Step by step, for the first time in a long, long, long time, forty-eight countries came. And what did we talk about? We talked about how everything can be done so much better. Where everybody can benefit so much more from my visits and from what they have been given. So that everybody around the world can participate in this festival of life. Nobody excluded and no reason ever to exclude anybody.
I also today have some statistics which I just finished compiling. You may be wondering what has hap-
Being able to be thankful is such an art. It is not so easy as we think. Life is immaculate and so has to be its appreciation. Immaculate.
pened. I mean, really, our push came in '85. In '85 it was a matter of, "Okay, let's get it together." There were too many people standing outside the place going, "Am I supposed to enjoy this celebration of life or not?" Sitting there wondering, "Should I? Shouldn't I?"
It reminded me of a really old story I used to tell. There was this guy who went to a fair, and he came across a booth where the guy was saying, "Look, I have this fantastic powder and all you have to do is brush your teeth with it once and it will take all the stains away. All you have to do is just brush with it once and all the stains will be gone." And he would call people from the audience and say, "Try this powder. Try it." People would, and sure enough, their teeth would be shining bright. Now, this guy's teeth were definitely in bad shape and he thought, "Hmm. I definitely need to buy this." So he stood there with twenty cents in his hands, you know, a dime and a dime, and he would go like this with his hand, saying, "Should I buy it? Shouldn't I buy it? Should I buy it? Shouldn't I buy it?" And as he did it he would just rub the two dimes together. Finally everybody bought theirs and left. And there he was, "Should I buy it? Shouldn't I buy it? Should I buy it? Shouldn't I buy it?" There was only one bottle left and he finally decided, "Well, I should." And he said, "Oh, okay, I'll buy it." And he threw the two dimes on the table. The guy picked them up and said, "They're no good. You rubbed them clean off. They're not worth anything any more."
Sometimes we think we've got all the time in the world to appreciate this experience. And then one day you make up your mind, you realise you should do it, and you say, "Okay, I'm ready." But then somebody comes knocking on the door and says, "Well, let's go. It's time to go."
We have so much more to do. So far only 36 countries have been visited and yet we know that 48 countries were represented at the Conference. I have been offered invitations to go to many more countries in which there are a lot of people and where the interest is amazing. In fact, one of the instructors who was in the Ivory Coast stopped off in Senegal just to check out the scene. Ninety people came to her meeting, from all religions, all walks of life. And never before had any activity been done there. After that she left a phone number and people just kept calling and calling and calling.
And to me it becomes very obvious that we have to make a sincere effort to reach those people not living in those 36 countries already visited. Because there is amazing potential. And I'm glad to say all over the world, everywhere, I'm trying to reach everyone. Last year there were 209 events in 94 cities. There are about 320 instructors as of right now, and around the world, approximately 21,000 people received the Knowledge this year alone to date. It isn't a very stunning figure, but it's with quality, and that's what counts. Not "The more the merrier", but with a lot of quality. Next year I'm looking forward to attending a lot of Instructor Conferences. One is already scheduled in South America, we need to do them in Europe, in Africa, in the North and South Pacific, and the Indian region, and of course I think it's looking good for one in the United States. We need more instructors. We need to go to more places. You see, once you have touched 959,121 people, you've got to go and say "Hello" to them again, as well as seeing all the others who still have to be reached.
It is a quiet love, that draws us as a whisper draws the listener
closer. "I love you." It glides on a silence of air, almost shy
to approach us, falls on our ears as a leaf falls on still waters
and flusters them. A ripple runs through us, like petals stirred
in the finest breeze. We breathe more than speak what a listener
must whisper back. "I love you."
This heart, this parabolic dish angled to capture and focus impulses emitted from infinity, sweeps no familiar skies, but inward heaven for its signals.
Nor do we yet speak this language for which we listen. Creatures of hour and place, we bend our attention to the transmissions of a source beyond time's boundary: amateurs of a moment, we wrestle with the cryptography of perpetual love.
These poems were composed by Charles Cameron and were first read at the Birthday Celebration on 13th December 1986. © Charles Cameron
It's not growing because there is an ambition for it to grow but because the people who hear about it want it to grow. It's always amazing whenever I go to Ecuador. They just let anybody come whether the people have Knowledge or not. One day I was there and those wanting to be instructors were supposed to show up the next morning. And a whole bunch of people showed up who didn't even have Knowledge and they wanted to be instructors. They were serious. They just said, What do we have to do?" There's just a wonderful enthusiasm for it and for that growth. So I hope that all of you keep in mind the true spirit that prevails in all of our hearts. I know that Christmas is in the air everywhere. Somebody, one of the people that came from one of the countries, started flipping through the TV channels on Sunday morning. And the only comment they had that day – they had never seen American television – was "Oh, my God, God's for sale here." And I can understand why they felt that.
A lot's going to be happening this Christmas. Already the speculation of the businessmen is, "How is this Christmas going to be? How many Father Christmases are we going to need? How many elves are we going to need?" And all based on computer projections.
But let me tell you the true spirit of Christmas is that spirit that lasts all the time. Sometimes people want to call it the spirit of Christmas. Sometimes they don't want to call it the spirit of Christmas. In some countries they don't even believe in Christmas. But there is the spirit there just the same. It doesn't have to have any name. It doesn't need any name. It is the spirit of life. And it is demanding, it is insisting, that we enjoy it.
I think we are truly fortunate to be just a part of this life.
Thank you very much and I hope that you enjoy yourself for the rest of this evening. And enjoy yourself for the rest of the days of your life.
A Question Of Support
While Knowledge is given free of charge, tours and all the work that goes into the presentation of Knowledge are funded entirely by voluntary contributions. Donations of all sizes are important and are appreciated.
Unlike many worthwhile charities which appeal to everyone, Elan Vital depends only on people who have received the Knowledge for support, and the simple fact is that we have no large benefactors. With rare exceptions, the funds we receive come in small regular donations from £1 to £100, the vast majority being in the lower half of this scale.
This is a marvellous way of receiving funds because it means everybody's contribution is really valuable and everybody is able to do their little bit.
But unfortunately, very few people actually take the opportunity of helping financially. As we mentioned in the last "Newsline", about 10% of the 9,000 on the mailing list made a donation during 1986.
But the backbone that keeps our work going, week after week, are regular donations, and less than a third of our financial supporters make regular donations. It's not many, is it! So what we really want to do is to ask more people to join that small number who make regular donations.
It does not have to be much. Even £3 a month adds up to quite a significant £36 in the course of a year, £5 becomes £60, and for the very wealthy £25 becomes £300!
Much of the work involved in teaching Knowledge goes unseen. But nevertheless it is done – basic groundwork, without which tours, newsletters, instructor application processing, instructor training and many other activities cannot take place.
So the opportunity is clearly there to become part of the foundation of our work. The speed we can go at, and the progress we can make, depends on this support. We would like to help instructors with their conference costs, for example, but simply do not have the funds to do so. We would also like to purchase some of the equipment used at the conferences instead of having to rent it at high prices, equipment such as large screen video projectors which could also be used in between times more locally. And the videos themselves which we have used in this country, such as those shown at last summer's convention, are very American in tone. It would be nice to make some British ones, especially for public use.
These are just some simple examples of the kind of projects and activities that are "waiting to happen". There is so much to be done, and it depends on individuals all over the country making a personal decision to help. If you feel that you would like to discuss, or know more about, the fundraising situation before making a decision, you are more than welcome to write to Glen Whittaker, the National Organiser, or Ann Garaway, Accounts Manager.
In mentioning accounts, by the way, we are looking for some temporary assistance during the summer months, and perhaps longer. If you have accounts experience, and are interested, please let us know.
As usual, donations can be sent by cheque, P.O. or cash to:
P.O. Box 131,
We will be happy to send you a Standing Order form, and can now accept donations through Access or Barclaycard – just let us know your card number, and how much you would like your account debited by.
Let's hope '87 is the year when the financial support aspect of Elan Vital's work really gets off the ground!
An Elan Vital Meeting In London
It is about a year since we had a meeting on the work of Elan Vital, including its financing side, and we thought another "annual report" might be a good idea. So all people with Knowledge in the London area are invited. We hope to show a video and will serve tea and biscuits afterwards, for which there will be a £1 charge. If there is a good response, we will repeat the meetings in other places. Camden Centre
Opposite St. Pancras Station Wednesday 22 April
Over six months have now passed since 44 new British and Irish instructors were appointed, three full-time, the rest part-time.
Making people with ordinary jobs and regular family lives into instructors was said by Maharaji to be the greatest breakthrough in teaching Knowledge since he came to the west, and we can expect many more in the future.
It means people can learn about and receive Knowledge without difficulty, and can be given very personal attention in the process. The instructors are carefully trained and can spend sufficient time with everybody, answering questions and covering all the necessary ground before the techniques are taught.
They are also there to discuss the Knowledge with anyone who has received it, and many people have said what a step forward in understanding and clarity such a meeting was. Introductory meetings, by the way, are open to everyone – your support will be welcome – if you would like to help your local instructor, please let them know.
"Full Time" instructors are a resource to help part-timers and at present cover the following areas Irene Hall in the South of England, based in Brighton; Peter Dawson in London, the West and Scotland; and Ramesh Raithatha in the North as well as covering all Hindu and Gujerati speaking areas. The Midlands area including Norwich is being covered by Michael Finch, a part-time instructor who has the time available to help in this way.
Another instructor conference for U.K. candidates will probably be held, jointly with the U.S.A., in June, in Miami. So it might not be long before we are mailing you a new, longer, list of U.K. instructors hopefully with details of Maharaji's visit later in the year.
There are also plans in the offing to hold a course for people who would like to speak about the Know- ledge, but who do not wish to become instructors. If you are interested, please let us know.
On 14 March, Maharaji gave a brief talk which we were able to receive on a phone-feed. Unfortunately it was arranged at too short notice to obtain suitable venues in many places. Even then, there was no time to send a letter of invitation to people with Knowledge in the areas which did receive it, and a hastily-arranged information phone-tree system was put into operation to let as many people as possible know.
We're sorry if you missed out, either by being in a location where the 'feed' was not received or by not hearing about it. Given the short notice, however, it was the best we could do to ensure that at least some people were able to hear it. We'll work on this sort of situation so that in future we might be better prepared for it.
In case such an event does happen again, as well it might, you may like to inform us of your phone number if we do not already have it so that you can be contacted. It would also be helpful to know if you would mind being a phone-tree contact to pass on some information, where there's not enough time to use the post, to, say, a dozen or so other people in your area.
The name Elan Vital is the property of Divine Light Mission. Regd. charity No. 264682