If you had about 150 people staring at you as intently as the 150 premies were staring at Guru Maharaj Ji and Hans Pal on Hansi's first birthday, you might get a little edgy, too. Hansi took to wriggling and whining for a while at about the time his Dad was cutting the birthday cake. And the way everyone was crowding in on him, it was no wonder.
But as the afternoon glided forward, young Hansi adjusted very well. "He's quite a boy!" is the way Guru Maharaj Ji put it at the end of the birthday celebration.
The party was held in Malibu and invited guests included the initiators, the national staff, a small band, some parents with children, and many of the premies who do service in the Malibu area. If Maharaj Ji had His way and it was physically possible, the whole world probably would have been there.
But there's always a bit of a problem with events like this. Eager premies swarm around and almost volley for position to see their Lord. Somehow, everyone needed to learn to relax just a bit more and let Maharaj Ji move around to give His darshan in a natural flow of Love and Grace.
"You see," Maharaj Ji said about Hansi mid-way through the festivities, "He's alright now." Maharaj Ji was still holding Hans Pal and both were right in the midst of a gang. "He's getting used to it."
The party started with cake-cutting. The cake had a small menagerie of lions, tigers and giraffes on it. Some of it eventually worked its way downtown to the Shrine Auditorium where excited premies blissed out over tiny pieces.
Then there were some pinatas set up. One was a bull. Another was a matador. Maharaj Ji wanted the children to have a front row scat for the breaking of the piñatas. But everyone felt like a kid, or so it seemed. So the pinatas were moved to another location where they would be more visible for a later part of the ceremony.
A small cart pulled by a goat became the center of attention. (Well, actually, Guru Maharaj Ji is ever and ever the real center of attention. But we can pretend about the cart.) With Premlata and Hansi aboard, the goat -- with considerable coaching from its keeper, Michael Stubbs -- managed to wheel the children around the driveway once, twice, thrice, and again for a fourth time. Wherever you stood, you had Guru Maharaj Ji passing by every couple of minutes. It was quite Divine.
While John Miller made corny remarks, Maharaj Ji next took to the piñatas with a big stick. The bull and matador were stubborn, but their resistance was short-lived. The candy fell to the ground and the kids gathered it up.
Hansi next took a crash course of a music lesson. Dad coached. The instrument was a cello. Hansi didn't quite get the knack of drawing the bow across the strings, but Dad did show him how to beat on the garage door with it. It was music enough.
And then things seemed to be getting towards a finish. Maharaj Ji waved Hansi's hands good-bye and then had a gift He made for young Hans brought out for all to see. It was some kind of electronic gadget, and though hard to identify, whatever it was it worked just fine. It amplified Maharaj Ji's voice for the joy and delight of everyone on hand. Hans stared out at everyone just as though he hardly knew what to make of it all.
Next there was Arti. Sung in the direction of the house. Pranam!
And then He was out of the house again, standing before everyone holding a microphone and, of all things, thanking us for being there. "You have to go now so we have time to clean up the mess you made," He said. Then quickly He added: "No. I'm only kidding."
But Maharaj Ji went on to explain that there is Premlata's birthday and then there is Hans Pal's birthday and now there is Navlata's birthday. It is Raja Ji's turn next, he added. And with all these children and with all these birthdays, Maharaj Ji pointed out that there were just going to be lots of excuses for us all to get together on occasions such as this.
It seemed as though Maharaj Ji didn't want to move, and neither did the premies. Before the party began, He had peeked out from behind a screen door on the second floor a few times, evoking a few gasps and quickened pulses from those who spotted Him. At the end of the party, He tossed the microphone about almost shyly. Then Maharaj Ji had Hansi speak.
"Aaah," Hans told the premies.
"Aaah," Guru Maharaj Ji repeated.
Then it was: "I'll see you at the program." Maharaj Ji was radiant. He was beaming. He was beautiful.
He is radiant. He does beam. He is beautiful. What kind of magic is this? Guru Maharaj Ji's world.
Quite a party.