Words Of Peace Global Reports, 2010
Report: 2010 India Tour
Throughout November and early December, Maharaji traveled across India to speak to audiences in Jaipur, Mirzapur, Gorakhpur, Ranchi, Delhi and Raigarh. Regardless of his audience's size or stature, he spoke with the same characteristic enthusiasm, wisdom and humor throughout his tour.
A Helping Hand for Haiti's Cholera Victims
The massive earthquake that struck Haiti's densely populated interior nearly a year ago could scarcely have found a more vulnerable target. Battered by political violence for much of its history, the island nation, the poorest in the Western hemisphere, lacks the infrastructure to respond to such crises. It had still not recovered from the four tropical storms of 2008, which damaged its transportation network and the agriculture sector on which two-thirds of its population depends.
International aid missions found about 1.5 million displaced Haitians living in improvised tent cities and camps. Overcrowding, impure drinking water, improper sanitation, and contaminated food make such conditions breeding grounds for disease. When cholera, never before reported in Haiti, first broke out in October, it soon reached epidemic proportions. Rising floodwaters in the wake of Hurricane Tomas abetted its spread. According to UN estimates, by mid-December the death toll had reached 2,400, and as many as 600,000 may be affected.
Report: Event in Barcelona - December 19, 2010
On the morning of December 19, 2010, over two thousand people crowded the lobby of El Centro de Convenciones Internacional de Barcelona (CCIB) to attend an all-day event with Maharaji. While many would-be attendees were stranded due to record-breaking snowstorms in Europe and the United Kingdom, the majority somehow managed to make it. Split into sessions, those lucky few had the chance to listen to and interact with Maharaji throughout the day: ample opportunity to be reminded of why they had booked their trip in the first place.
Building Strong Bodies, Brighter Futures for Ugandan Orphans
Between 1996 and 2002, civil war and epidemics of cholera, malaria,
and HIV/AIDS devastated western Uganda's Kasese district, creating a
generation of orphaned street children. While political conditions have
now stabilized, overwhelmed government agencies have been unable to
provide basic necessities such as food, clean water, and education to
many of these children, estimated to make up as much as 17% of the
With neither families nor social services to help them, the children exist as wild scavengers, with little hope of developing into healthy, productive adults. In 2004 the Kikimu Agriculture Research Centre (KARC) launched the African Ark Preparatory School on an acre of land in Nyakasanga Umoja, an urban slum in Kasese to help these orphans. The school's mission was to improve the lives of 200-250 vulnerable children from grades 1-5 through education. The program included a morning snack, but that wasn't enough to assuage their gnawing hunger.
Food for the Forgotten
local agencies scramble to respond to widespread disaster, it's
inevitable that the needs of some of those affected will not be met.
That's what happened to some farming families in central Thailand when
the Chao Phraya River overflowed its banks during the last monsoon
season, causing the worst flooding in 60 years.
The floodwaters inundated 38 of the country's 76 provinces, according to local news sources, turning nearly 1.6 million acres of farmlands into swamp and causing an estimated $333 million in damages. Five million Thais were affected.
Report: Event in Montevideo - September 23, 2010
In Uruguay's capital, Montevideo, 460 people came to hear an intimate talk by Maharaji. Over the hour or so that he spoke, he reminded them to differentiate between the real and the make-believe, and to take time to get in touch with what's real.
Recovering from Mudslides in Peru
Unusually long and heavy rains wreaked havoc in the Peruvian Andes earlier this year, reducing many villages and outposts to rubble. The damage was severe enough to shut down Machu Picchu, the country's most popular tourist site, for several months.
In April, the Rumichaca Lagoon in northeastern Peru, swollen by the persistent rains, overflowed into a ravine, sending an avalanche of mud and rocks hurtling into the small city of Ambo below. In moments, more than 25 people were killed, about 50 injured, and 500 rendered homeless.
Report: Event in Lima - September 19, 2010
On Sunday, September 19, the Auditorio San Agustín quickly filled with guests waiting to hear the second address to be held in Lima, Perú during Maharaji's 2010 South American tour. Hailing from Perú, Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela, the audience laughed and listened while he reminded them to stay in touch with the core of their existence.
A Noon-Day Meal For Hungry School Children in Rural Mexico
is a sobering paradox. In the Mexican economy, ranked the twelfth
largest in the world, many rural populations struggle to survive. The
small community of Kunché, in the coastal state of Yucatán, is one such
Yucatán was once the center of the ancient Maya civilization, and is still home to many of these indigenous people. The inland settlement of Kunché has 600 Mayan residents who grow corn as their main livelihood and source of food. Unfortunately, the crop has failed to support their families in recent years, and despite efforts of the women to do handywork to bring in extra income, the 200 school children of this village often go hungry.
A Call for Help to Support Food For People
The success of the current Food for People facilities in Nepal and India is something to celebrate, and the members of the Facebook: Food for People Cause
have done much to make that possible. In the communities served, adults
are working more productively, families are beginning to support
themselves, and children are better able to receive an education that
will help the entire community in the future.
This Cause has been growing at a rate of over 1,000 new members per day, reflecting the good will of people all over the world to lend a hand to those most in need. Together they can demonstrate the power of global teamwork to transform the lives of children caught in relentless poverty.
The challenge: Everyone donate just $10 in December 2010.
Report: Two Days in Delhi - November 7 and 8, 2010
Last month, more than 80,000 people gathered over two evenings in the south of India's capital, Delhi, for a special event held to celebrate the 110th anniversary of the birth of Maharaji's own master, Sri Hans Ji Maharaj.
From Grasping for Survival to the Chance to Thrive
Hundreds of children, some as young as seven, scavenge the notorious Steung Meanchey landfill site on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Wearing flip flops, or even going barefoot, they pick their way through mountains of garbage that include hospital and chemical waste, gathering scraps of plastic and metal to sell to recycling centers for the equivalent of a few cents.
The 100-acre garbage dump is not just where they work long hours with little reward; it is also their home. Many of these children and their families live in makeshift huts next to "Smokey Mountain." The dump is literally on fire. Methane gas from rotting garbage burns easily, generating clouds of toxic smoke. Each day, the will to survive battles with hopelessness.
Report: Event in Lima - September 18, 2010
Near the end of his South American tour, Prem Rawat flew to Peru's capital, Lima, to give two talks in the intimate surroundings of a university hall. He spoke about how much he had missed the city and its people in the more than 20 years since his last visit and reminded his audience that 'fulfillment is a fundamental right.'
Report: Event in Santiago - September 15, 2010
After speaking in Brazil, Prem Rawat traveled to Chile's capital, Santiago, on the next leg of his South American tour. In this beautiful city, ringed by mountains, he spoke about fighting and winning the war for truth, peace, tranquility and light.
Third TPRF Food for People to Open in Ghana in 2011
The success of the TPRF: Food for People Cause
on Facebook and the generous contributions from Friends of TPRF across
the globe has made it possible for TPRF to initiate a third Food for
People (FFP) facility. After much research, it has been decided to
locate the facility in Ghana, in the village of Otinibi on the outskirts
of the capital city, Accra.
After many consultations with village leaders, including Chief Nii Kweidza Mansa III, Headmistress Grace Ninsaw, and village elders, a plan is underway to build a Food for People facility on land adjacent to the school. The project was introduced at a village-wide Durbar, or ceremonial meeting, where Chief Mansa, the headmistress, and representatives of TPRF and the local sponsoring charity formally presented the project and responded to questions.
Report: Event in Florianópolis - September 12, 2010
On Sunday, September 12, a light autumn day in Florianópolis, Brazil, Prem Rawat spoke to a hall full of guests and people interested in his message. The talk was his second in this island city.
"Where there is water, there is life …"
Nowhere is this truer than in central Tanzania in East Africa.
A country known for its picturesque Serengeti grasslands and towering peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania has, at its heart, a vast plateau of rural outposts where people exist on subsistence farming.
Here, the focus is on growing food for basic survival rather than having a surplus to sell at the market. This hard way of life is perpetuated by unpredictable rainfall and a lack of nearby drinking water and proper sanitation.
To find water, these Tanzanians travel an hour or more to places most commonly used by cattle or wild animals. Besides decreasing the farmers' productivity, visits to such crude water sources impact the health of their families. Each year, approximately 21,000 young children die from diarrhea-related illnesses due to contaminated water.
Report: Event in Miami Beach - October 2010
On Saturday, October 23, over 2,000 people gathered in the Jackie Gleason Theater in South Beach for an extraordinary event which included videos, music and — eventually — dancing. Prem Rawat spoke twice during the all-day program and spent most of the evening session interacting with members of the audience.
The Gift of Sight
In the overcrowded, poverty-stricken Palestinian communities of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza, blindness is ten times more common than it is in the West. For the third consecutive year, The Prem Rawat Foundation has given a grant of $25,000 to help St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital expand its in-house and mobile services to the area, ensuring that the children of the Gaza Strip will grow to become active, productive adults.
The Palestinian Territories are home to one of the world's fastest growing populations, now reaching just over 4 million—more than half of whom are under the age of 18. Poor nutrition and lack of access to healthcare services contribute to the skyrocketing rate of vision impairment among these children. So does the high incidence of consanguinity. Marriage between first cousins is not unusual throughout the Middle East, and the lack of mobility among residents of the Gaza Strip has made the practice more common. As a result, about half of the children are affected by congenital disorders, many of them vision related.
Report: Event in Florianópolis - September 11, 2010
On September 11, Prem Rawat spoke in the island city of Florianópolis, in southern Brazil, as part of his South American tour. Known as one of the best places to live in this vast South American country, Florianópolis attracts tourists from within Brazil, the United States and Europe. This Saturday, though, the city saw another kind of visitor — people from across the continent and abroad who had come to hear Prem Rawat.
Feeding the World's Neediest Peoples
Niger, a parched and landlocked country in the West African desert, is ranked by the United Nations as the poorest in the world —— and among its most destitute people are the nomadic Tuareg and Wodaabe tribes of the central Agasez region. These tribes, which have relied for generations on their herds of goats, sheep, and camels for sustenance, receive virtually no assistance from government or NGOs. Now increasing desertification, drought, and political unrest are threatening their very survival.
TPRF has given a grant of $30,000 to Rain for the Sahel and Sahara (RAIN), one of very few organizations that is helping these nomads help themselves. Headquartered in New Hampshire but administered largely by Nigeriens, RAIN is helping this disenfranchised minority overcome chronic hunger and its attendant diseases and high mortality rates. The grant from TPRF will fund three meals a day for 135 schoolchildren for a year. RAIN will also use part of the funds to purchase animal feed to be sold at cost to the area's 50,000 herdsmen.
Report: Event in Buenos Aires - September 5, 2010
On a bright, sunny Sunday, Prem Rawat spoke again in Argentina, in a small town 40 kilometers outside of the capital, Buenos Aires. The event was attended by about 2,700 people, who thronged the tented lobby before entering the hall to hear Prem Rawat.
Food for People Nepal Praised by Social Welfare Council
In a recent Newsletter from the Social Welfare Council (WSC) of Nepal, TPRF's Food for People (FFP) program in the Dhading district, west of Kathmandu, has been recognized as an "innovative intervention in Nepal." WSC is a government body that regulates NGOs (nonprofits) in the country.
Food for People is "an exemplary model in Nepal," they write, praising the feat of having distributed a record-breaking 110,138 meals by the end of January 2010. The article reports that since the opening of the facility in April 2009, "the children of this region do not have to worry about the lack of food; they attend the school regularly with pleasure and on time. The attendance of the school children has gone up in all the schools in and around the region, with the record of 90% from a low of 40%, along with an increase in the number of student enrollment in the schools."
Report: Event in Buenos Aires - September 4, 2010
On September 4 and 5, Prem Rawat held two events in Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires. The first, which was held on a government-owned farm with the permission of the city's mayor, took place on a rainy Sunday and was attended by his students.
Freedom Inside: Speaking at a Women's Prison in Argentina
"In this place, where everything is darkness, where everybody is locked up, you brought the key for my inner peace. My body lives in darkness, but my spirit lives in freedom."
P.L., a female prisoner in Unit 31
Ezeiza, Argentina, Unit 31, Our Lady of San Nicolas women's prison. Tuesday, September 7.
It's very early in the morning. We're thirty kilometers outside Buenos Aires, in an area marked by federal penitentiaries. We've arrived with the production team to set up the hall: a large high-ceilinged gymnasium in Unit 31 of the women's prison here.
The inmates are already waiting for us. Benita, who received Knowledge here in prison, Marcelina, a very young woman, Emma, Patricia, Graciela, 'Granma', Alexandra, Mirta and the rest. Before we can ask, they're sweeping the floor, washing the bathrooms and wiping the chairs. Some go to the prison bakery to fetch us breakfast: fresh-baked bread and biscuits.
Amid Overwhelming Conditions, A Hand of Relief in Pakistan
Pakistanis are used to heavy rain during the annual monsoon season, but this year the situation is different. Many areas of the country have already been inundated with the worst flooding in more than 80 years. In fact, whole villages have been washed away by floodwaters rushing down Pakistan's great waterways such as the Indus River, and sending residents running for their lives with nothing but the clothes on their back.
The Pakistani government estimates that more than 13 million people so far have been affected. That's 2 million more than in three recent mega disasters — the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake — combined. And the monsoon season is only half over.
With the government of Pakistan battling insurgents on many fronts and still reeling from the aftermath of a recent hurricane, the need for non-government (NGO) help is great.
Water Both the Problem and a Solution in Pakistan
The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) has awarded a grant of US$100,000 to the international charity WaterAid, in response to the overwhelming need generated by the recent floods in Pakistan. This year the monsoon rains have been torrential, causing rivers to break their banks and flood vast tracts of land. The deluge has engulfed everything across 62,000 square miles, a huge area bigger than the size of England.
More than 1,700 victims have lost their lives and as many as 20 million people have been significantly affected, their everyday environment rendered completely uninhabitable. Entire villages, schools, health clinics, fields of crops and livestock, stores of food stockpiled to feed thousands through the lean winter months—all have been submerged by the raging waters.
Report: Event in Toronto, Canada - August 2010
On August 28th, after eight stops across America, Prem Rawat arrived in Toronto to speak about the urgency to know — rather than postpone — a feeling of fulfillment.
Packing the House for Peace
Musicians and Londoners celebrated the International Day of Peace with a night of music, words and images. Wendy Lewis, one of the vocalists, gives her account of the night.
London, England — The 24th of September at the 52 Club, a basement hangout near London University. The place is packed, music throbs through the air, people are squeezed onto the dance floor like sardines in a tin and there isn't an inch of seating space in the house.
As one of the organisers, it was particularly satisfying to see the smiles on people's faces and the many requests to do more of the same in other parts of the UK.
TPRF: A Facebook Phenomenon
On September 21, the United Nations held its annual International Day of Peace, an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date. To celebrate this day, the UN hosted a 5-day, worldwide broadcast featuring programs submitted by participating charities such as the UN World Food Programme, The Peace Alliance and Amnesty International. TPRF was one of those, contributing a unique and innovative video called A Message of Peace.
While it's impossible to say for sure, this broadcast seems to have had a tremendous impact on its viewers. The TPRF: Food for People Cause — hosted on Facebook — appears to be going viral. In the last two weeks, the supporters of this cause have grown by 100,000 new members, averaging over 7,000 new members per day. If trends hold, membership should easily top 250,000 over the next week. TPRF is rapidly becoming less of a well-kept secret.
Become part of the upsurge by joining the TPRF: Food for People Cause on Facebook, or become a fan of TPRF.
Report: Event in Boston, Massachusetts - August 2010
Due to speak in Baltimore the following day, Prem Rawat arrived in the heart of Boston's Back Bay to remind his audience of the importance of taking care of their inner, as well as their outer, life.
Report: Event in Columbus, Ohio - August 2010
On a warm evening early in August, Prem Rawat arrived in Columbus, capital of the midwestern state of Ohio, on the fourth stop of his North American tour. Speaking at the historic Southern Theatre, one of Ohio's oldest surviving playhouses, he reminded his audience that there is a difference between believing and knowing — and they have the opportunity to choose.
On August 25th, Maharaji spoke to 355 people at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, NY — 220 of whom were seeing him for the first time. Of these 220, fifteen were my friends — people who had heard about Maharaji for years, but had dismissed his teachings as not compatible with their own, particular path.
Ah, Woodstock! Worldwide symbol for peace and love. Bob Dylan's adopted home. Utopia, not suburbia. Haven to just about every spiritual tradition known to man — a kind of New Age melting pot with more yoga studios than most cities have Starbucks.
To me, it was fitting for Maharaji to visit Woodstock last week. After all, his message is about the same timeless topic that inspired 400,000 people, 42 years ago, to gather at Yasgur's Farm — peace and love. The world needed more peace and love then. And it needs more peace and love now.
Report: Event in Seattle, Washington - August 2010
On August 1, Prem Rawat arrived in Seattle's Lynnwood Convention Center to speak to 930 people about each person's fundamental quest for contentment. Throughout his talk, he emphasized that each individual has the capability and the need to recognize and fulfill their own life.
Report: Event in Berkeley, California - July 2010
During the 1930s, students of the University of California's Berkeley campus began holding annual "peace strikes." In the 1950s, this same university became the center of nationwide controversy when many of its professors, acting against political repression, refused to sign an oath declaring their political beliefs.
Over the years, this tradition of standing up for humanity's rights, for the truth, and for peace has become the hallmark of Berkeley, California — and the tradition continues. On the last day of July, Prem Rawat arrived on this historically-renowned campus to speak to 1,573 people about each human being's fundamental right to experience inner peace: regardless of opposition or oppression.
Report: Event in Newcastle, England - July 2010
On a Sunday evening on July 18, over 700 people came to listen to Prem Rawat near the starkly beautiful city of Newcastle, close to England's border with Scotland. The event — the result of an impromptu invitation from a Newcastle resident — marked Prem Rawat's first visit to the city.
Report: Event in London, England - July 2010
On a late afternoon in central London, around 2,000 people congregated in the lobbies of the Hilton London Metropol Hotel hoping to listen to Prem Rawat speak. The event was only one of two in England taking place that summer — the other would be in the far northern city of Newcastle the following day — and, as a result, had drawn large numbers of people, many of whom didn't have tickets but hoped to get in all the same. In the end, space was found for about 1,500 people, who packed the long, red-carpeted hall.
Report: Event in Dublin, Ireland - July 2010
On a typically breezy Dublin afternoon at the end of July, 800 people from all over Ireland, Britain, and the European mainland filed through the grand stone façade of the Royal Dublin Society to listen to Prem Rawat. After watching a powerful video documentary about the effect of his message on the lives of three people and their families — people who had lived through war, disease, and death — he spoke.
Report: Event in Munich, Germany - July 2010
Built on the site of a former airport, the International Congress Center of Munich has quickly become one of the city's most modern exhibition centers. On July 10, guests leisurely strolled the open grounds before that evening's address, enjoying the complex's extensive ponds.
Tuning into the Heart
With the information superhighway, Wi-Fi-capable mobile phones, upwards of 500 television channels and innumerable media gadgets at our disposal, does anyone listen to the radio anymore? Apparently in Ireland they do, and what some find is a unique programme called "From the Heart."
Claremorris Community Radio, the station broadcasting the programme, is the only community radio station available in this area of rolling hills, woods, and impressive lakes. Located in County Mayo, Claremorris is a charming town steeped in the rich history of western Ireland. The programme, featuring the message of Prem Rawat along with other added materials, is now broadcast twice a week there: live on Sunday mornings and repeated once before the next show takes place.
Report: Event in Lisbon, Portugal - July 2010
In the early afternoon of July 8, a long line of people formed outside the doors of the Camoes Theatre in East Lisbon, near the river Tagus. Many had come at the last moment hoping to get a ticket to the address Prem Rawat would be giving that evening. As the afternoon wore on and the crowd swelled, it became clear that the hall would soon be packed. Anxiety grew as the number of available tickets shrank, leaving over 300 people waiting to get in. In the end, space was found to fit everyone and the event began.
Report: Event in Rome, Italy - July 2010
On July 6, in the plush amphitheater of the Auditorium del Massimo in Rome, Maharaji spoke of the need to acknowledge the present, reminding his audience that contentment is always independent of external circumstances.
Report: Event in Barcelona, Spain - July 2010
On a hot evening on July 4, close to 3,000 people from across Europe gathered at the CCIB Forum (Centro de Congresos Internacional de Barcelona) on Barcelona's seafront to listen to Maharaji. In a wide-ranging talk touching on subjects spanning from the recession to war and peace, he spoke of the need for people to live consciously.
Prem Rawat Addresses Peace Conference at European Union
Prem Rawat was invited by Gianni Pittella, First Vice President of the European Union, to share his vision of peace at a special event called "Words of Peace for Europe," held at the EU Parliament House in Brussels on June 29, 2010. Mr. Rawat spoke to a diverse audience of diplomats, local leaders, and other honored guests from many countries.
Mr. Rawat's remarks offered a clear and challenging perspective. "If we have the power to make such a mess out of this earth, then certainly we have enough power to bring peace to this earth, too," he said. "The question remains whether or not it is something that we want to do, because peace begins with every one of you. It is individual human beings who need peace; it is individual human beings in whom the desire resides; and it is on the individual human being's stage that peace needs to dance."
Prem Rawat Receives Seal of Padua Province, Italy
On June 24, Prem Rawat was greeted by an enthusiastic audience in the Theatre Verdi of Padua's town hall. A city of over 200,000 people, Padua is located on the Bacchiglione River near Venice. Home of the renowned Universita' di Padova, where Galileo Galilei once lectured, it is one of the oldest cities in northern Italy. The event itself took place under the patronage of Padua Province, the Veneto Region, and the Ministry of Justice.
Anna Milvia Boselli, member of the Padua City Council, welcomed Prem Rawat on behalf of the city and later presented him with the seal of Padua. Province Alderman Leandro Comacchio conveyed greetings from Padua Province emphasizing that, after hearing about Prem Rawat for over 30 years from a friend of his, he was very happy to finally be able to hear him speak in person.
Officials Name Prem Rawat "Ambassador of Peace in the World"
In the peaceful village of Sondrio, Italy, in the foothills of the Alps, government officials and townspeople alike gathered to honor Prem Rawat's efforts to encourage world peace: a peace that begins with each individual.
On the invitation of the Sondrio Town Hall and under the patronage of the Province of Sondrio, the Lombardy Region, and the Ministry of Justice, Prem Rawat arrived in this northern city on June 22, 2010. In a private meeting of the Sondrio City Council, officials graciously awarded him the title "Ambassador of Peace in the World" and presented him with a symbolic gift from the nearby city of Tirano as well as a plaque from Lombardy adorned with the official symbol of the region, the Camuna Rose.
Prem Rawat Honored in Europe
Prem Rawat has been an honored guest at three events in Europe in the last week:
On June 22 in the Piazza Garibaldi, a peaceful village square lying in the heart of the city of Sondrio, Italy, in the foothills of the Alps, Prem Rawat was greeted by the town's mayor, Alcide Molteni, along with Marina Cotelli, Town Hall Alderman. One reporter quoted Prem Rawat as saying, "Peace is not impossible; it is very possible. From personal fulfillment to our collective compassion for humanity, we can make tremendous strides."
Words and Music: A Welcome Fusion
When George Worthmore, a well-known guitarist and singer, was touring the Michigan region recently he met Candice Wilmore at a local club where she asked him to play at what would later be called "Words and Music."
The next time he came through Lansing, Candice and her friends rented a community center and invited people to hear him and watch a DVD about peace. The evening was billed simply: "Words and Music: Words from Prem Rawat; Music from George Worthmore."
By the end of the evening, thirty people were bouncing their heads to George's famous ragtime blues. A new way to introduce a simple message had arrived.
This first event with Worthmore drew several of his local fans — people who would probably not have come otherwise. Candice and her friends saw the potential — and so began what is now a series of live music and video presentations.
Report: Event in Miami, Florida - June 2010
Immediately after speaking in Miami, Florida on June 13, Maharaji gave a rare, off-the-cuff interview to Words of Peace Global. Standing in the darkened backstage area of the James L. Knight Center before leaving, he spoke briefly about the audience, his upcoming tour plans and his views on various types of events.
"It's a privilege to speak to people who have such passion for Knowledge and for peace", he said, referring to his message. "It's always fabulous".
"I'm on my way to Europe to do some events and I'd like to do an event in Barcelona, but I'll be back in the U.S. to do a tour up and down the East Coast, as well".
Report: Event in Hapuna, Hawaii - May 2010
After addressing tens of thousands in India, Maharaji stopped over in Hawaii to speak to just 100 people on his way back to the United States.
Hope for Peace in the Balkans
Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is regrettably best known for its violent past. In 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was unexpectedly assassinated there, sparking the first World War. More recently, it became the site of the longest running siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare, lasting from 1992 until 1996. Despite this recent period of civil unrest, a few individuals have continued to make a stand for peace: not just societal peace, but a tangible peace that can be felt within each individual.
In Spite of War
The message of Prem Rawat first came to Sarajevo in 1975 when Seid Trnka—who first heard about it in Germany—informed his local friends. Soon there were quite a few interested in learning more, many of whom ended up receiving the techniques of Knowledge, a practical method that Prem Rawat teaches to experience peace within. As a result, approximately 150 people were listening to Prem Rawat's teachings in Sarajevo before the war began in March 1992. Interest was growing steadily.
Report: Event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — May 2010
On May 15, Maharaji arrived in the capital city of Malaysia to speak to 2,230 people about each human being's quest to be fulfilled. Kuala Lumpur, a melting pot of Asia, already hosts a broad array of cultures, many of its residents Malay, Indonesian, Thai, Chinese, and Indian. With an influx of international visitors, it was soon a full-on global event. One thing the guests had in common: they had all made that trek in order to hear that night's speaker. For many, it had been over a year since they'd had an opportunity to hear Maharaji live.
Much was said during the hour or more that he spoke, and he illustrated his points poignantly with stories, anecdotes, and his usual sense of humor. Throughout his address, he returned to the nature of love. "Are you not in love with life? Are you not in love with living? Are you not in love?" he asked. "Because if you're not, that's the source of your ailments. You're not in love from your heart."
Report: Event in Chennai, India — May 2010
It was a special day for the people of Tamil Nadu and Southern India. Many in this region had eagerly been awaiting word of a local event, and soon guests from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa, Andra Pradesh, Sri Lanka, and Bombay were rushing to Chennai — the home of the top-ranking SRM University, and where Maharaji would speak — by train, car, or bus. Soon they were idling under the campus' serene, well-tended trees, cheerfully waiting for the doors to the hall to open.
After a brief introduction by the MC and a couple of introductory videos, Maharaji came on stage to speak to the audience about the need for each human being to understand their nature and to take responsibility for their own consciousness.
Report: Event in Delhi, India - April 2010
Harsh seasonal conditions prove to be no constraint for those who wish to listen to Maharaji. Approximately fifty-five thousand came to attend the latest event in Delhi during one of the hottest weeks in April, the temperature nearing a scalding 40º C (104º F). The news that there would be yet another event with Maharaji in Delhi had spread like wildfire, with people flocking there from every region of India as well as many western countries. Attendees began arriving before 6:00 AM, carried there by buses, tractors, trucks, and any or all feasible means of transportation.
Despite the overwhelming heat, many of the guests seemed happy to wait in the scorching sun, while a few felt inspired enough to dance. When asked what could cause such energetic displays of happiness in that sort of weather, Sukeshi Singh, one of the attendees, explained that physical inconveniences were minor compared to the joy of hearing Maharaji. "As people fast and travel long distances to be in joy, similarly I can bear this heat and have less food to listen to Maharaji and to be in joy," he said.
TPRF Grant Provides Food for Chilean Earthquake Victims
The 8.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Chile in late February has left 80% of the people of Rio Claro homeless and without stores of food for the winter. Even as high-magnitude aftershocks continue, many are facing the cold Andes winter with only makeshift shelter and no stock of provisions. The grant from The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) will provide a month's supply of food for 1,000 people most in need.
Senior adults, pregnant women, and children are particularly at risk in this town, which relies on seasonal work growing crops. The earthquake not only crumbled homes beyond repair, but disrupted water supplies, causing many crops to fail just prior to harvest time. Fundación Origen, the Chilean charity receiving the grant, is focusing on providing food for the most vulnerable population through the winter months. Providing food is considered to be the most effective way of relieving people's suffering in the area, since most other aid is dedicated to rebuilding.
Report: Event in Jaipur, India - April 2010
It's unbelievable to think that over fourteen thousand people could turn up on a day's notice to listen to Maharaji, but yes, it happened. Through word of mouth as well as satellite announcement, news of the impending event in Jaipur quickly spread throughout India. Soon people were heading there in droves, traveling by whatever transport they could find: trucks and buses brimming with passengers, tractors pulling carts full of villagers, families squashed into motorized rickshaws, scooters carrying 4 to 5 at a time, not to mention hired cars and numerous bicycles. Some traveled by foot from areas nearby, while others braved a day's journey by whatever means they could find. Two young women, Ritika and Geeta, had started their trip nearly as soon as they heard, taking a train over 700 km from faraway Kanpur.
It was one of the hottest days yet in Jaipur, with the mercury just touching 43 ºC (109.4 ºF). Despite the pressing midday heat and a later starting time of 5:00 pm, people began arriving as soon as 1:00. Enthusiasm was contagious as the gathering crowd began to move across the parched Rajasthan soil toward the awaiting field, avoiding the thick, harsh thistles that jutted from the arid ground. While many came donned in fluorescent reds, yellows, and greens, the poorer in the crowd arrived in plainer clothes, wearing smiles as bright as any garland. Many in the audience huddled close to the ground as others stood in watchful anticipation, the field filling to near capacity. Now all they had to do was wait.
"Peace Bus" Touring Eastern Europe
The sight of an orange double-decker bus is drawing positive attention throughout the countryside of Eastern Europe. Wherever it goes, strangers can't help being intrigued by this 1959 London relic with the words "Peace Bus" flanking its sides, the "a" in Peace the same flower that represented the "flower power" movement some 50 years ago, originally the symbol of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. It's a nostalgic message that puts smiles on people's faces.
The crew hails from the city of Ljubljana and, during the spring and summer, they travel from town to town throughout Slovenia and surrounding countries, often parking at festivals along the way. Wherever it goes, passersby are invited to climb the circular staircase to the upper level, where they can take time out to watch videos that talk about the possibility of peace within each individual.
Report: Event in Miami, Florida - March 2010
On March 13, over 1,700 people gathered to listen to Maharaji in Miami, the second event to be hosted by WOPG's sister organization Words of Peace International. Some had heard little about him, while some were people who had come to hear him again and again to benefit from his inspiration and perspective. For the volunteers who helped with every aspect of the event, it was a matter of passion and joy. "I've always found that helping to prepare an event prepares me to see him," recounted Susan Alaimo, who helped organize seating. Gladys Stone, an usher, confessed that "being with Prem Rawat is one of the highlights of my life. I wouldn't miss the opportunity to help out."
The event was open and free of charge to all who wished to attend. People flew in from as far away as England, France, Switzerland, Venezuela, Brazil, Jamaica, and Canada, not to mention various states within the continental US. They were drawn there by one common wish: to hear Maharaji speak live. Amalia, another attendee and willing volunteer, seemed to sum it up well. She explained how other types of events "end when they're over. With Prem Rawat, the experience of his words continues growing and growing."
Report: Event in Santa Monica, California — March 2010
Maharaji launched his 2010 world tour at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, where he was welcomed by an enthusiastic crowd of nearly 2,250. Although he was speaking to an audience of thousands, he began by making it clear that his words applied equally to each individual. "What is this message all about? Really, it goes back to what this life is all about, what this existence is all about," he said. "Even more so, it goes back to this little story that is yours. Your story."
His words profoundly touched many of his guests. Jennifer Edwards, actress and mother, commented, "I feel the utmost hope when I listen to him. I feel senses and nerve endings I never even knew I had. When I see him live, there's a connection, an energy," she said. "I've never been an unhappy person. I've been able to make myself happy on the outside, but I always knew something was lacking. When I first heard Maharaji, what he said made total sense to me. I thought, 'Ah, that's what I've been looking for.'"
Like a Glass of Fresh Water in Cameroon
"This gentleman's words are very enjoyable. I like it a lot."
"After listening to him I feel as if I'd just drunk a glass of fresh water."
"When I heard the Introduction to The Keys, that night I slept as if I was under an air conditioner."
With comments like these, people of the Republic of Cameroon have been expressing their appreciation, respect, and sincere thankfulness for the message of Prem Rawat, whose words have been enjoyed especially by those in the country's villages via DVD presentations.
TPRF Gives $50,000 for Clean Water Initiative in Haiti
As the weeks go by since the January 12 earthquake in Haiti, clean water and medical treatment continue to be crucial elements for survival. A grant of US$50,000 from The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) will help provide a two-week supply of bottled water for 42,000 people; distribute purification sachets to produce 13 million gallons of potable water to communities where none is available; and distribute oral rehydration solution and salts (ORS) to treat 125,000 children and adults at risk of severe dehydration and water-borne illnesses.
The AmeriCares Foundation, recipient of the grant, has developed a three-pronged initiative to address the water crisis during the acute phase of disaster response, six to eight weeks after the quake. As clean running water is scarce due to the breakdown of water mains, bottled water is being delivered to shelters, camps and medical facilities.
TPRF Grant Provides Eye Care for over 13,500 people in India
The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) gave US $25,000 to sponsor multi-day eye clinics in seven cities December 2009 through January 2010 that provided eye care free of charge to over 13,500 people in India.
Almost 10,000 people received prescription glasses, over 10,500 were given eye drops for infections, and more than 1,700 were diagnosed with cataracts and referred to hospitals for further treatment.
In 2007, the Health Ministry of India estimated that 1.1% of the population suffered from blindness, 80% of which was preventable. Yet millions are unable to receive the care that could preserve their eyesight.
Conversations with Prem Rawat
A spirited conversation about self-discovery. Renowned journalist Burt Wolf attended two live events with Prem Rawat and found his message to be timely, significant, and entertaining. Over the course of that next year he taped a series of conversations with Prem Rawat where they exchanged ideas about life, the world today, and what motivates human beings. Here is a glimpse into this dynamic exchange.
Words of Peace Welcome at Columbus, Ohio Festival
"Let us come together in a show of solidarity with people around the world who seek peace, justice, and economic well-being for all of humanity."
This was the main objective of last November's "It's Your World" Festival in Columbus, Ohio. Sponsored by the United Nations, the 54th Annual Columbus International Festival honored the unique traditions and perspectives of a variety of cultures. This event was an opportunity to celebrate and experience the beautiful diversity of our world and to expose attendees to a multitude of international traditions through crafts, performances, and cuisine.
Given its global appeal, it was an ideal forum for promoting initiatives of peace and understanding. For Denise Cartwright and a number of others who have been inspired by Prem Rawat, the two-day festival seemed like a unique opportunity to introduce others to his message of peace.
TPRF Provides Food for Earthquake Survivors in Haiti
Less than twenty-four hours after the Haiti earthquake, The Prem Rawat Foundation began an ongoing fundraising campaign to help the survivors. The response from all over the world was immediate and heartfelt.
Three days after the quake, the Foundation was able to make a grant of $50,000 to Friends of the World Food Program to help bring immediate aid to the survivors. Because the World Food Program (WFP) has long run a food-aid program in Haiti, they were in a position to begin food distribution in the first twenty-four hours of the crisis. See press release here.
This is just the beginning. TPRF is planning to provide ongoing essential aid as people in Haiti begin their long road to recovery. People all over the world are joining in — making donations by mail, through the TPRF Website, and via the Foundation's custom campaign on Facebook. It is heartwarming to see the response from all those who support the Foundation's efforts to help provide those in need with the essentials of life.
WFP Haiti photo credit: WFP/Alejandro Chicheri