Changing the World by Changing People's Hearts
Peace is Not Just the Absence of War
If all the armies packed up their weapons one day, and all the nations signed treaties with each other, many people would say we had achieved peace on earth. But there would be one peace still lacking, and that would be peace of mind.
No mere signature (whether it's on a treaty or a marriage license) can bring us the kind of trust between individuals that we must have if we are to live together happily and creatively, without anxiety. A treaty won't heal the sadness of parents who cannot communicate with their children, ease the anxiety of a family when a father loses his job, or help the woman who is searching for a sense of freedom and identity as a whole human being. Truces and treaties cannot help us answer the question "Who am I?", nor can they help us find intimacy in a world which becomes more impersonal each day.
Peace is not the absence of war or tension. It must be the presence of something else. It's not a philosophical idea or ideal, either. It's something that exists inside every one of us, as real as our heart beat, closer to us than breathing itself. And because peace is something we are born with, because peace of mind is a natural part of our lives, it's not something we have to learn. We only have to discover the way to tap into it more and more often.
Self Knowledge … Through Meditation
Meditation is a tool which helps us gain an understanding of ourselves, and to find the source of inner peace. Through meditation, all our deepest questions are answered. Meditation is not some mysterious practice for cultists and yogis — it is a practical way to handle life's problems. In its simplest form, it plays an important part in all our lives. We feel relaxed watching the clouds float across the sky, seeing the waves break on the beach, or listening to music — because we are absorbed, and our minds are concentrated. Basically, meditation means concentrating the mind and stopping it from wandering.
In recent years more and more people — doctors and school-children, grandmothers and construction workers — have found that meditation can open new vistas of understanding and inner calm. Meditation hasn't taken them away from an active life: rather, it has helped them to live more fully by experiencing each moment.
There are many forms of meditation, all designed to bring the mind some stillness, some peace. But to experience constant and unbroken peace, we need to meditate on something constant and unbroken — something that is with us 24 hours a day.
How It Works
Guru Maharaj Ji shows us how to meditate on that inner current which is our own life force. We can practice this meditation constantly, without interrupting our daily activities. We can experience it while eating, walking, talking, working, or playing. This meditation allows us to maintain an inner calm no matter what external situations we find ourselves in. Through this meditation, we come to know and recognize the source of peace and love within us.
This life force is inside everyone, therefore this meditation is available for everyone to experience. Because the meditation is concentration on a practical and ongoing experience, we do not have to have blind faith in any philosophy or theory. And, since it is with us at all times, our peace is not threatened by changes in the world around us. We are at peace with ourselves.
Because this meditation leads us to know — through direct experience — our real self, we call the meditation "Knowledge".
Knowledge is not a new thing. Many of the great philosophers and saints throughout the ages have taught this Knowledge to their disciples — Moses, the Buddha and Christ among them. David, of the Old Testament, experienced this Knowledge and declared, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me." (Ps. 139:6). Christ spoke of this Knowledge (Luke 11:52), and called it the key to the Kingdom of Heaven. Krishna, in the Bhagavad-Gita, stated, "This Knowledge is a sovereign science, a sovereign secret, supremely Holy, most excellent, directly enjoyable, attended with virtue, very easy to practice and imperishable." And the Chinese sage Lao Tzu remarked, "Knowing others is wisdom, but knowing the self is enlightenment." Knowledge provides us with the deepest and most satisfying experience we can have in this life.
Through this Knowledge, Guru Maharaj Ji shows us a way to live together in peace and harmony, a practical way to "love our neighbor."
Effects of Knowledge
It is a part of human nature to want to feel love. But for most of our lives we confuse actual love with an event or situation which triggers the feeling of love within us. We forget that the joy we feel in loving comes from the giving and receiving of love — the feeling of that love flowing inside us. As a result, we can become confused. We may think love comes from outside and depends on our external situation, or the people around us.
Guru Maharaj Ji shows us that the source of love is within us, not outside of us. He teaches us the way to start that love flowing within us directly. Knowing this inner source allows us to share love freely without expecting anything in return. Being freed from that expectation is the unique key which allows us to experience that love, no matter what our life situation is and no matter who we come in contact with.
Learning to Meditate
Guru Maharaj Ji's meditation is revealed during a special instruction program known as a "Knowledge session." These sessions are conducted by representatives appointed by Guru Maharaj Ji known as mahatmas (meaning "great souls"). These mahatmas travel from city to city, visiting local Divine Light Mission centers and teaching the meditation to those who are ready.
The main qualification for being taught the meditation is sincerity. This meditation requires dedication and continued practice to reap its full benefits. So before asking to "receive Knowledge", it is good to hear as much as possible about it and the effects it will have in your life. Divine Light Mission sponsors regular programs where people practicing Knowledge talk about their personal experiences with it. These programs are an excellent preparation for someone wanting to learn this meditation.
Changing the World by Changing People's Hearts
Unless people are at peace with themselves, they can never be at peace with each other. When we are all willing to open our hearts, to share love with one another, whole communities change. It is only when each one of us is transformed, that a real transformation can take place in the world around us. And as each of us takes the personal responsibility to change our own life, it becomes possible for hatred, greed, and isolation to be replaced by cooperation, trust, and harmony.
The purpose of Divine Light Mission is to further this process by educating people about the benefits of meditation, and by offering individuals a way to experience the peace inside themselves.
Only through the strength of self-knowledge and self-sufficiency, can we work towards a world community, cooperating through that common experience of truth, love, and happiness.
Divine Light Mission
Changing the world by changing people's hearts is an enormous task, and so it is important for those of us whose hearts are already feeling the change, to come together and work towards this goal.
Divine Light Mission is the body which has been developed to carry out this work. It was founded in Bihar, India, in 1960 by Shri Hans Ji Maharaj, the late father of Guru Maharaj Ji. With International Headquarters now located in Denver, Colorado, the Mission operates branches in 55 countries on all six continents, and has 175 chapters in the United States and Canada. Membership is estimated at more than one million worldwide, with over 50,000 members in the U.S. and Canada. Divine Light Mission is a non-profit organization, operated and funded solely through voluntary membership donations.
In all the Mission's branches, the chief activity is the sponsoring of free, educational programs on meditation and the practical effects of Knowledge in everyday life.
The Divine Community
We are not alone. No matter where we live or what we do, we have to relate to other people. Each of us lives in some sort of community. And each community has a common bond which ties it together as a distinctive unit. Perhaps it is an "inner city", "ethnic neighborhood", or "suburb". The Divine Light Mission is fostering a new kind of community based on a shared experience of inner peace.
Since Guru Maharaj Ji first brought this Knowledge to the West in 1971, two things have been happening. Individuals have been experiencing something of the beauty and perfection inside themselves and recognizing the same beauty in each other. And as this recognition has grown deeper, it has inspired them to lower the barriers that normally separate one person from another, and to join together in a community of love.
Today there are hundreds of these communities across the world, linked together by this common experience of love. These communities provide people with opportunities to come together in cooperative efforts to improve the quality of their own lives and the lives of those around them. Among the projects which have been undertaken in these communities are the following:
World Welfare Association
A volunteer service organization, the WWA brings personal visits and entertainment programs into prisons, hospitals, nursing homes, alcohol and drug centers, and mental institutions. The WWA approach is simple: love can heal the deepest wounds.
It is the love that the WWA volunteers bring, rather than any specific academic approach, which produces results. WWA is currently operating in 140 cities across North America, and sponsoring 280 on-going programs in a variety of institutions. In addition, WWA volunteers are also involved in community service projects such as neighborhood cleanups and community gardens.
Many of our communities have opened non-profit food stores which offer low prices and healthy foods to the public as well as to members of the Mission.
Performers of The Living Arts
PLA artists, clowns, musicians, dancers and actors give their time to bring a light-hearted note into prisons and nursing homes through WWA programs. They provide musical and theatrical entertainment at the Mission's own informational programs, and present skits and plays at street fairs and other community gatherings. PLA aims to use the creative arts as an inspirational tool.
Community Health Services
Currently operating full scale clinics in Denver, Colorado and Washington, D.C. with pilot projects in other cities, the health services provided by medical professionals within these communities aim to treat the whole person. Referrals are accepted from various professional agencies, and programs are then designed for the individual patient. The goal is to provide preventive medicine wherever possible.
Shri Hans Educational
Shri Hans Educational is the agency of Divine Light Mission responsible for providing children with schooling based on a unified vision of life. It seeks to help children acquire real skills and an active intelligence, without losing the loving spirit and natural inquisitiveness they already have.
At the present time, the main project of S.H.E. is the Unity School in Denver, Colorado. It is currently serving elementary grades and preparing for expansion into the secondary grades. A teacher training program associated with the school is an integral part of the project.
Divine United Organization
DUO is the administrative and community-coordinating agency which oversees most of Divine Light Mission's activities.
The Guiding Force — Guru Maharaj Ji
Guru Maharaj Ji is the spiritual head of Divine Light Mission. He is the teacher who can reveal the perfection that is inside each of us, and so we call him "Perfect Master" — the master or teacher of perfection.
Guru Maharaj Ji's work in this world started at an early age. Born in Hardwar, India, on December 10, 1957, he became the spiritual leader of Divine Light Mission at the age of eight, after the death of his father, Shri Hans Ji Maharaj. At that time, Guru Maharaj Ji declared, "I have come in this young age to spread Knowledge of peace to this whole world, in my lifetime."
Guru Maharaj Ji attended St. Joseph's Academy in Dehra Dun until 1971, when he left India to come to the West. Since that time, he has made a number of world tours, speaking to large crowds in the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, South Africa and Europe. He was married in 1974, and has one child, a daughter. Working out of the Mission Headquarters in Denver and his residence in Malibu, California, he spends much of his time on tour around the world, speaking about Knowledge and inviting people to experience this meditation.
One Chain of Peace and Love
"There is love in this whole world and we are missing it. Can you believe that? I think it's incredible, because that love that we want to feel for everybody is right there in our heart. But we have to open up to it. And how? By meditating …
"Our minds are unfocused, they are completely scattered into this world. We just cannot comprehend, we cannot focus on that perfect love and perfect harmony within inside us. But when we are focused on it, it's really beautiful. Then we are in complete harmony with that perfect, perfect vibration that is sustaining life …
"So if you want to know this Knowledge, if you want to recognize it, you are most welcome, ladies and gentlemen, you are most, most welcome. You can recognize this Knowledge, you can realize this perfection and peace in your very lifetime …
"Our mission is to bring peace, love and truth into this world. Man is supposed to be human, but actually he has lost his humanity. That's why there is so much frustration, so much jealousy, and so much hatred between human beings… . But every person who receives this Knowledge becomes a member of this family, and we are now a big, beautiful family and we are growing. This is how we are going to hook every brother and sister in this world, every human being, into one chain of love and peace — by this Knowledge. Because this Knowledge can do it. Knowledge is the only thing that can tie everybody — it doesn't matter if he's Indian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, anybody, it doesn't matter who he is into one thread, one thread of this most beautiful Knowledge. And then this whole world will be a most beautiful, beautiful garden… .
"This is the Kingdom of Heaven, when this peace and this harmony become one to the heart; when there is this incredible love — so much, so much love that it is completely indescribable."
— Guru Maharaj Ji
For more information contact Divine Light Mission Box 532, Denver, CO. 80201 © Copyright 1975 by Divine Light Mission