gurupuja (181K)
Guru Puja '71

Once Guru Maharaj Ji established Divine Light Mission in the West, the numerous festivals annually held in India began to take place in the West. A fact that very few people know, is that the first Guru Puja Festival in the West was not held in Montrose, Colorado, but in Leicester, England on July 8, 1971 and Golders Green, London, England on July 9, 1971. The Leicester Affair was held in the living room of a house and was attended mostly by Indian premies. One eye witness said the room was completely packed: "You couldn't move. You couldn't get in the room. It was completely packed. There must have been more than a hundred people in that tiny house." The Golder's Green Guru Puja was an event that saw 400 devotees in St. Michael's Parish Church.

Guru Maharaj Ji explained what Guru Puja meant at this festival, "… here are some special occasions just for devotees and the most valuable is Guru Puja. Actually Guru …. you know what guru means … and puja means prayer. Prayer is not a good definition, because we won't get an answer from prayer, for puja is done by the heart and not spoken by the mouth … if a devotee has a Guru, then puja is his life."

By Indian standards, neither this festival nor the Guru Puja Festival in Montrose, Colorado in July, 1972 were large, but they were significant .