An Interview with Bill Patterson

Bill Patterson, National Coordinator Divine Light Mission 1976 What happened during your recent stay at Malibu?

From about late September Guru Maharaj Ji had given me the job of working on the Initiator Program - some kind of program to get new initiators out on the road. We had designed a whole program and then Maharaj Ji came here to Denver before his tour to Swaziland and he spent about four hours with me going through a lot of different things, confirming it. Then he went on the tour and came hack, and I knew that he had changed a lot of his feelings from having that direct contact with premies on the tour, so I called him to find out if he wanted to go ahead with any of the plans, and he said that I should come out to Malibu. It was three days before his birthday so he said, "Why don't you come out, and you can be here for the birthday, and then we'll sit down and talk over the plans."

The birthday happened. It was really beautiful; Maharaj Ji was really excited because he felt the love of premies. Then after that, things started changing. We didn't have any meetings; I just spent time doing really simple service. And Maharaj Ji was just doing really simple things, relaxing and resting. Every now and then he'd call Mike Dettmers and me in to talk about the Mission and some of his feelings. And probably four days after that, one evening, he called me in and told me he wanted me to do the service of National Coordinator.

He said he'd get together with me right away and go over what that meant. But we didn't get down to any specifics until after Atlantic City. It was such a beautiful thing to see how Maharaj Ji worked. Because a lot of the time that he spent out in Malibu was relaxed, yet he was working all the time. He was really reading the hearts of premies. He's already done the things that were most needed.

He knew that there was such a need for initiators. He had given a lot of inspiration in Atlantic City, and the first priority that he had to follow up on was to get a lot of inspiration happening. When premies are inspired, it's something so contagious, so strong, that you can't hold it back.

He almost acts without acting. He just does things. All of a sudden things happen. All of a sudden the first Initiator Development Program is happening at Malibu. Maharaj Ji invited five premies out, five of the people that he'd interviewed in Atlantic City. We had a really relaxed week out there. We had satsang together and Maharaj Ji came in every now and then.

We'd meet upstairs in this little room and during our breaks we'd come out and watch Maharaj Ji fixing the engine of the Aston Martin, or just walking around. It was something so natural, yet really focused, really specific. And Maharaj Ji gave a Knowledge Review which was really significant. Maharaj Ji has been working, has been doing things, but in a very gentle way.

He wants to do it personally. He's the only one that really knows what the Mission is, and has that broad enough perspective to know what is best. Even in making me a National Coordinator, Guru Maharaj Ji was very specific, saying, "Well, you're not a director, because who are you directing? Who's directing whom?" And he said that, "I'm the one that really knows the direction in which this thing needs to go." He said, "I would like to be the one who can direct. But I'd like to have enough people who are surrendered enough to be able to really do what I want." Maharaj Ji would explain it so clearly. This has been his message for so long: that he knows what is best for premies and what he wants is the best for us. He wants that love, that deepest experience of love for all of us.

Did Guru Maharaj Ji get into any guidelines for your work, - what he wanted you to do as National Coordinator in the next months, or the next year or so?

Yeah, he did. The very night when he told me he wanted me to be National Coordinator, he said, "Really what I want you to do is consider yourself an initiator." He said that as far as he's concerned that's the main priority right now: to make sure that the focus is kept. That focus of understanding, that focus of dedication, that focus of love for Guru Maharaj Ji. And then, at the same time, he wanted me to work with the Mission, but he really wants it to be simplified. And I see that Guru Maharaj Ji wants to be involved in it. But at this point he hasn't acted directly because he feels that he wants more time for premies to be able to open themselves up. He wants to give time to premies to really get into the very simple practice of satsang, service and meditation, so we can be in that place that's open enough.

He knows the organization that's needed. It'll be simple. Because like he said, so many times we've gone about things backwards. We've created a whole department, and we've

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got a bunch of full-time people working in this department, and then we have to go out and try to fill up the time for all those people. But he said, "Well, why don't we reverse it? Let's go back to the real essence. Let's find out what we really need, and then as real things come up, then we'll just start adding people. And let it build from a real level, from a real place."

You were saying earlier that Maharaj Ji was dictating a lot of notes about where the Mission would be going: the ashram, the Active Membership Program, and so on. Could you talk about any of the plans Maharaj Ji has in those areas?

Bill Patterson, National Coordinator Divine Light Mission 1976 He's got a lot of plans, and he's already working on them. For example, the Initiator Program is really important. He gives a really high priority to that. And he's already got something moving on that. He's not moving ahead too quickly because he knows the stress that is there, to do that service, there's a lot. And so he's just working with a few people.

The same with the ashram. He is working out a whole plan for the ashram and the main thing is the supervision, so that the ashram can be a spiritual environment, where people who are living in the ashram are really getting spiritual guidance; they're able to have that really deep experience of Knowledge.

So there the main priority as far as Maharaj Ji sees it, is to develop a group of people who can serve as Ashram Supervisors. And it's likely that he'll be doing something similar to what he's been doing with the initiators, giving them some kind of training so that they can give Knowledge Reviews and really give that kind of direction.

He knows that every premie needs that shelter. And he knows that every premie is in a different situation and he wants to provide something for every premie. Some premies, during their vacations, may be able to go to retreats, maybe others will be able to spend six months or a year and be in a really intensive environment of satsang, service and meditation. Maybe other people feel really deeply that they just want to dedicate themselves and that they don't want to have any other plans.

It's like he's trying to work out a system that's broad enough in its approach to help every premie in the maximum possible way to get into Knowledge. [hat's the only way we can move ahead, when premies have that deep dedication. And the only way that real dedication comes is by having a real experience of Knowledge.

As far as the Active Membership Program goes, that's a really key part. Because Maharaj Ji has a lot of things he'd like to do. He'd like to make a tour. He'd like to go around to the communities, because it's Guru Maharaj Ji's direct inspiration that can really do this. He's the one that really can open up people's hearts more than anything. But in order to do that, the Mission has to be on a stronger financial footing. He'd like to do movies, he'd like to do so many things that he can be involved with personally. But until there's a financial basis to support it, he really can't do it.

As premies open up more and more to that love, naturally there's that feeling of wanting to give. And right now, if we can get that Mission going, where the focus is right, where the inspiration is there, where it's strong enough financially, think how Maharaj Ji can work with it. He can do the projects he wants to do; he can make the tours. It's just incredible the energy that Guru Maharaj Ji's putting into it. And he wants to go, but a lot of times he's hindered. He had a bunch of film waiting that he wanted to start working with but it requires practical things. It requires money to be able to pick up the film from the processors.

Active Membership can help Guru Maharaj Ji in his Mission but even more it helps individual premies, because that's a service. At this point, to help get the Mission strong is definitely a service. Because we're serving Guru Maharaj Ji.

We're building a strong tool that Guru Maharaj Ji can use in his work. And I know that that's a strong emphasis that Guru Maharaj Ji's giving, "Yeah, as much as possible, premies really can be involved." But it has to begin from that point of inspiration, and that's why Maharaj Ji has new initiators out on the road. He feels that's really significant. Out of that inspiration comes love, and out of that love comes dedication, and out of that dedication we can make a strong Mission.

Maharaj Ji gave a Knowledge Review to the initiators while you were in Malibu. Could you tell me some of your realizations from that review.?

Since I've received Knowledge that's been a thing at the back of my mind that I've wanted, to have a Knowledge Review from Guru Maharaj Ji.

We asked him, "Maharaj Ji. why have you waited so long?" Because he did clarify things. He made it simple, so pure. Not to say that it's a new Knowledge, but I mean it was just so pure that it turned us around. And Maharaj Ji said, "Well, the timing wasn't right." And now he feels that the timing is right.

Mind can't sit down and analyze it or evaluate it. It's much purer than that. And it really requires surrender. It requires putting the mind aside, to be able to step back to that place behind the mind and intellect. To have a genuine experience of Knowledge. It was so beautiful.

Now the initiators are out on the road and they're giving the Knowledge Review. Along with the Knowledge there was a really precious opportunity - but I know that also there's a certain responsibility that goes with it. Because Maharaj Ji really wants us to meditate.

At his birthday party Guru Maharaj Ji mentioned that he had a big surprise for everyone in 1977. What do you think

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Bill Patterson, National Coordinator Divine Light Mission 1976

he's keeping under wraps for us?

In the month 1 spent out there with Guru Maharaj Ji, I really experienced a lot of surprises, just in terms of the experience of Knowledge, the experience of Guru Maharaj Ji. There is something in this Knowledge so profound, so real, that we can enter into the world of Guru Maharaj Ji, where all there is is love. If I want to try to understand the surprises of Guru Maharaj Ji, all I can do is surrender. Maharaj Ji showed so clearly that he's got so much in store for premies. There's so much he wants to do. There's so many ways he wants to be involved. There's such a beautiful experience that Guru Maharaj Ji wants to give to premies. And it's totally surprising to have an experience of Knowledge that is so profound that it is beyond all words and ideas.

When premies really are confident in their experience, and really have that faith and have that dedication, then to go out and communicate to people about Knowledge and about Guru Maharaj Ji is so powerful. No questions can be asked because it's beyond mind. And yet mind recognizes. Because even mind in comparison to this Knowledge is humble.

I see that that's the invitation Guru Maharaj Ji's giving now: if premies can really hear his message to get into satsang, service and meditation - do it in a real way - then there are infinite surprises for us.

Will you be doing any initiating?

Boy, I sure hope I can. Especially after the Knowledge Review, it takes on such a new significance for me. And again, Maharaj Ji told me that I should consider myself an initiator. Every time I've been able to work with aspirants, it has been so good for me. Because there is an openness. An aspirant has something so precious. And I guess that's one of the things I would want more than anything else in this world, to be an aspirant.

It's such a hunger, and it's such a thirst, and it's something so beautiful. I don't want to be a finder. A finder means that there's a bit of ego there, "I found it. I was looking for it. I found it." The only thing that's really higher than an aspirant, as far as I can see, is a lover. That's why I feel so happy being a premie. Love is so dynamic; love is so powerful. Love breeds upon itself. ,And love takes us towards its own goal. There's nothing in this world I would rather be than a lover of Guru Maharaj Ji.

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