Prem Rawat's Teaching about Arti - In His Own Words
The Divine Light Mission version of Arti is an astonishing song of worship (lines include "Scriptures sing Your glory, Heavenly hosts sing Your praises") to the Divine Perfect Master Prem Rawat (Maharaji) or Guru Maharaj Ji or as he used to call himself. The lyrics, some of which he claimed to write himself, are explicit eg "Sacrifice yourself to Satguru"
Phipps Auditorium, Denver Colorado, 2nd May 1974
And it's the Grace that brings us there, the Knowledge which brings us there and I can tell you one thing right now, that in Guru Puja I really, really intend to get this mind straightened out, out of almost everybody who comes to Guru Puja. Because (Bhole Shri Satguru Dev Maharaji Ki Jai from crowd) because it's getting pretty heavy each day and the way, the way we will set up Guru Puja will be better than Montrose, the one we had in Montrose, will be a lot more beautiful and it's like there'll be Arti two times, and everybody will receive Holy Breath, everybody will receive Darshan, who hasn't and there will be Arti two times, one in the morning and one just before satsang program and it's like if this Guru Puja goes the way I have planned it in my head, by the time it's over, the mind should be out, I mean out (enthusiastic Bhole Shri Satguru Dev Maharaji Ki Jai and Hooray from crowd) and so I want, that's all I want you to do is to get the word around that ah how important it is, how fantastic it is, really.
Perfect Master Tape 014
December 10, 1976, Guru Maharaj Ji's birthday, Malibu mansion
So I think if we start to load now, you guys will be able to get back home before sundown, or maybe with sundown. When we have a big program for all of the Los Angeles community and around Los Angeles, then everybody can come together and sing Arti. Huh? Are there people from Miami here? You guys aren't supposed to come! There's nothing much more to say. I guess if we have questions and answers we can get into that, but that's a bogus thing to me. I've already been through that once, and mind is like dirt, the more you kick it, the more it comes up.
The Golden Age February 1977 Number 36 and Guru Maharaj Ji's World booklet, 1980
Coordinators' Conference, Portland, Oregon, January 1977
This is really beautiful, you know, that everything is starting to happen over again, that premies are really understanding. But one of the things that we have to be sure about is that when premies do Arti, they understand what they're saying and that they mean it. Because there's no point to just sit there and blab about it and not even mean it. You have to really mean it. You have to really understand it. Because its a prayer. And the same thing with really listening to satsang.
page 203, Sacred Journeys, James V. Downton
Guru Puja Festival, Miami Beach, Florida July 29, 1977
But nevertheless, this is what this whole program is all about. It's about Guru Puja. I think all of the people understand the meaning of "Guru." I hope all of the people understand the meaning of puja. Because puja means worship. And how do you actually worship Guru Maharaj Ji? Though it's like worship, you don't exactly just go with an arti tray - or as the tradition is, with an arti tray and what-have-you - the red stuff, and this and that and piles of coconut and banana leaves, and the whole tradition - and try to put on more of a show than actually worship. That's not really worship. And how do you actually worship Guru Maharaj Ji?
Today, everybody's pursuing liberation. Today, everybody is pursuing this or that. And even people who receive Knowledge pursue things, via Knowledge. A lot of people receive Knowledge, "Oh, Guru Maharaj Ji, I want to have a kid." They say, "Okay, he's a powerful person. Maybe he's strong. Maybe he has the power to give us a kid." So they receive Knowledge. They come every day, bow their heads, sing arti. Do this; do that. Maybe the kid never appears, never shows up. And then the faith starts to dangle away, fade away. Then you don't see them anymore. Because they are pursuing a particular definite reason. And that reason is they want to have a kid -- a materialistic reason. Or a lot of people say, "Maybe Guru Maharaj Ji is all-powerful. And if I pray to him, maybe he'll make it manifest for me.
Élan Vital, Volume IV, Issue 2, Summer 1980
Guru Puja, Geneva, Switzerland, 10 September 1978
And, "Oh Guru Maharaj Ji i, that's what you are to me. And you are my father to guide me, to help me. You are my brother, and you are my friend. You are riches and you are wisdom." But how far does it strike us, how much of this wisdom from Guru Maharaj Ji do we in fact take? "You are my all." How much do we really believe that Guru Maharaj Ji is our all? Besides, even going to the next line, the next word: You are my all, my Lord to me. What do we know, what is "all"? What is a Lord? We go on, and we sing Arti and we do that, and it's very beautiful to listen to Arti. Just the way all the premies sing it, it's incredible. It's got so much power and it's got so much sincerity in it. Yet what about individuals, when broken down? I know a lot of people don't even know Arti, but they just can tag along because everybody is singing. But let's, for instance, take the point of knowing and not knowing Arti is irrelevant. But here is an experience that this poet writes. Or for instance, Brahmanand writes that, "Oh Guru Maharaj Ji, you have taken all my illusions away." And mind you, the illusions that exist right now are no different than the illusions that existed at that time. Amazingly enough. I was right, nothing has changed. A lot of other things have come by, but that's it. Nothing has changed.
Guru Puja, Geneva 1978, Divine Light Mission booklet
Denver, Colorado, 25 February 1979
But when that faith becomes weak, when that faith becomes no good, when that Arti's meaning is nothing but a recital … You know, last night when all the premies there were singing Arti in sign language, it was just so beautiful. I do not understand sign language, but I could understand them. Because what they were trying to say, and even just the way they designate "heart," was just so beautiful. And that language of Love is what we can all talk, we all can understand. But, premies, we have to have that faith in Guru Maharaj Ji. We cannot just stand there and say, "Because everybody is singing Arti in this hall, chat along, kiddo." But mean it. Even if Arti changed tomorrow. You know. It is not the matter of just mere words, but it is meaning it in your heart, and not going, "You are my mother, and you are my father." But. "Yes, Guru Maharaj Ji! I love you because you have mothered me. And I love you because you guide me. I love you because you are my friend." And we have to stay conscious of what Brahmanand wrote. because it was Brahmanand's feelings that he put down into Arti: "Oh Guru Maharaj Ji, take this heart, for in you it will mellow."
Divine Times Holi Issue, 1979 Volume 8, Number 2
Guru Puja 1979
"Because Guru Maharaj Ji can show that to us now in this lifetime while we are still alive. Guru Maharaj Ji can give us that love, Guru Maharaj Ji can give us that realisation now. We have to just let go to Guru Maharaj Ji, give ourselves to Guru Maharaj Ji, not in a theory, not in a song, not in an Arti that we sing every night. I give you my heart, for in you it will mellow, Maharaji my Lord, my life is your play. I mean those are pretty heavy duty statements, you know. You are my mother, you are my father. What, what, what are we saying? And yet do we even have an essence of meaning to it? What we sing is right, it's true, it is an expression of a devotee. This is what a devotee would understand of his Guru Maharaj Ji. That you are my all, he doesn't have to go into specifics about your brother, sister, mother, father, cousin, uncle, aunt. And yet in a very humble and beautiful way we are trying to express that you are my all, every relations, you are my all, you are above and beyond. You know, and really the whole essence of prayer is let me really give myself to you, (the song "Always There" joins in the soundtrack) let me surrender to you, you have come singing the glories of Guru Maharaj Ji is what Arti is all about. Oh Guru Maharaj Ji you are my father, you are my mother, you are friend. I see you in those respect, you need to teach me a lesson, you need to give me the fathering, you need to give me that mothering, you need to give me that support and yet you are my all, my Lord to me."
Guru Puja 1979 DLM video
Guru Puja, Miami Beach, Florida, Saturday, 21st July, 1979
"O Guru Maharaj Ji, you are my mother. You are my father." Which one? Mother or father. "You are my brother. You are my friend. You are riches. You are wisdom." I mean this kind of stuff starts happening. And the mind starts popping like popcorn. Have you ever thought what it all means? "You are my mother." Okay, fine. But that's only a comma, you know. "And you are my father. You are my brother. You are my friend. You are riches. You are wisdom. You are my all, my Lord to me." And this is where mind just says, "What's all my all? What's all that?" "I give you my heart." We all sang it last night. And I see they're ready there again. And they have got their lines down right. There's some aspirants here who will, when they receive Knowledge, be given a pamphlet in which there is Arti. A Mahatma from India who is here cannot sing Arti in English. I don't blame him. But he tries awfully hard to "lip-synch" it. And he stands up and squints his eyebrows and every time I look at him it makes me laugh. Because he doesn't know the Arti. He doesn't know one word of it. And yet he sits there and he's just moving his lips. He's just "lip-synching." I had to throw that in. Because that made you all laugh. If you can laugh at that example then you're laughing at yourself. Because you're also "lip-synching." That's what you're doing, too, every time you sing it. Do you really give your heart? "I give you my heart, for in you it will mellow. Maharaj Ji, my Lord, my life is your play." All you're doing is "lip-synching." Really, is this life really Guru Maharaj Ji's play? Have you really given your heart to Guru Maharaj Ji so it'll mellow? Is Guru Maharaj Ji really … "You are my all, my Lord, to me." I see absolutely no difference between what he tries to do and what you do. It's called "lip-synching." Anybody can sing that. Brahmanand wrote this Arti originally and this is a translation. And it's a word-to-word translation. Everybody sings it. It goes, "Twameva mata, cha pita twameva. Twameva bundu, cha sikha twameva. " And word to word it's a perfect translation. "You are my mother, you are my father. You are my brother; you are my friend." It just goes on. But when is it going to gel in our lives? We seem to be the kind of freezers that can never make ice. We can get the water in there and it gets cold enough but for some reason the water never turns into ice. And that's our purpose, for that experience that Guru Maharaj Ji gives, for it to really make it gel in our lives, something in that experience to penetrate and really hit home. Home. The real home.
The Golden Age, October 1979, Number 55
Milwaukee Wisconsin, October 10, 1979 - Evening
Guru Maharaj Ji is offering us that opportunity for which the saint says that you can take all the pens -- all the wood in the whole world and turn it into pens -- and take all the oceans and turn them into ink, and take all the earth and turn it into paper and try to write the glory of Guru Maharaj Ji: you cannot! Even our arti, the way we sing, "You are my brother, you are my father, you are my … you are my everything." And we have to make that a reality. Guru Maharaj Ji really has to become everything to us: our friend, our life. We have to somehow disappear. And that is the only way we can disappear: by our devotion, to be completely locked in Guru Maharaj Ji's love; by our devotion, to completely merge in Guru Maharaj Ji.
Affinity magazine, February 1980
Hans Jayanti, Friday, November 8 1979
So premies, I guess it's time to be blissed out again. I guess the Holy Jester band - after arti, I guess - the Holy Jester band will play for you and you can all sit there and enjoy yourselves. Premies, thank you very much and good-night.
Élan Vital, Volume IV, Issue 1, Spring 1980
Hans Jayanti, Friday, November 9, 1979 - Afternoon
This could go on forever. This looks like, seems like, feels like, it never has to stop. So what? So what if there's no cold water anymore. (I shouldn't say that, right? Nobody will shave. So what? We'll all have beards. So what?) Finally it'll get warm enough that cold water will feel good: May, June -- gets really warm, hot. And this can be. Wake up every day: meditation, arti, have satsang. And every month have one darshan. I mean, we could just be all here and three days out of the month we'd all have darshan. Three days out of a week have darshan, and it just could be going on.
Affinity magazine, February 1980
Hans Jayanti, Friday, November 10 1979
And sometimes it is like that. "Here I am, this premie, Maharaj Ji. Look at me! Look how good I am now. Look how professional." There is a thing, I guess, called being a professional premie. "A professional premie." And then an amateur premie. You're professional when you know all the strings, back and forth. You know all the things to do: how to do arti, how to take charanamrit, when to do arti, when to have charanamrit. Become professional. Become good at it. "Been doing it for years and years and years and know all the terminologies. Bog prashad and everything." Know all the famous Hindi songs. Can talk half in Hindi; talk half in English. Can say "Jai Satchitanand" without an accent. Can say "satsang" without an accent.
Divine Times, Volume 9, Number 1, January/February 1980
Cancun, Mexico, January 16, 1980
So premies, I've been trying to learn a few words of Spanish but I'm not having very good luck with it. But again, today somebody asked a relatively stupid question. And the question was, "Should we sing arti in English or Spanish?" I think that's fairly stupid because it's like asking, "Which colour should the sun shine in?" I mean, perhaps you have a green suit on and you would like the sun to shine a little bit green that particular day. But it doesn't work like that. The sun is what it is and its going to shine just the way it emanates, just the way it is, the way it has been created. That's exactly the way it is with that love, with that devotion, with that inspiration from a devotee's heart. Whether it be Spanish, whether it be English, whether it be Hindi, whether it be any language, if that love is sincere, if that love is true, if that devotion is true, then it really doesn't make much of a difference in which language it's expressed.
Affinity, June 1980
Rome, Italy - June 25, 1980
"Your commitment, that's, you know, that's basically what I have to say nothing new probably to what I said at the last satsang or last to last satsang or last to last satsang. You know. In essence, what I'm trying to say is that when you get up and say "Bhole Satguru Dev Maharaj Ki Jai" mean it! Not just say it because uh 9,000 other people are saying so, so you say it too. You know. And when you sing Arti, mean it."
Rome Ashram Satsang 1980 DLM video