SPAIN

With our hopes rising and falling by turns, we arrived at the Orlando Conference and there, in the blue book at the end of the section previewing Guru Maharaj Ji's activities ti 1976 … we saw Barcelona and Madrid." Thus remembered Julio Castro, the national director of Divine Light Mission in Spain. The Spanish premies' hopes were to be realized with Maharaj Ji launching This May-June tour of Europe with his first visit to Spain.

To bring the premies together in preparation for Maharaj Ji's programs, Julio toured the DUO communities and the Canary Islands while his communications coordinator, Ramon Uriach, visited the center communities. During their travels, they ran the slide show of Orlando Hans Jayanti and the film, "Dreaming We're Awake." A fundraising program in Madrid coincided with the first Spanish festival of devotional music, giving impetus to the premie musicians and providing a forum to select those to play before Maharaj Ji in Barcelona and Madrid.

In preparing for Maharaj Ji's programs, Julio felt that the greatest discovery was that each one's cooperation can help Guru Maharaj Ji in carrying out his plan and can also help that individual premie to get his life together. It was beautiful to see how premies rushed to help in whatever way they could."

Maharaj Ji's first program of the European tour was to start in Barcelona on May 7. Before it began, four hundred premies and one hundred aspirants from towns and cities such as Valencia, San Sebastian, and Zaragoza in northeastern Spain, were welcomed at a workshop-program in a hotel fifteen miles from Barcelona, towards the Costa Brava. One-to-one satsang on "Guru Maharaj Ji in our lives" and "Coming together as premies" began the program, followed by question and answer time with Bob Mishler, Jos Lammers, the European director, and Julio Castro. The film, "Family of Love," was shown, mothers' satsang was held, and a game of frisbee took over the nearby beach.

p05 (102K)After lunch, everyone boarded buses to go home and change for Maharaj Ji's evening program in Barcelona. The program site was a hall in a new exhibition center next to "an incredible old palace complete with fountains." The stage itself, with its homemade curtains and cushions of brown and cream material, was prepared by middle- aged women premies who worked on it for several weeks in a small village twenty miles out of Barcelona.

Six hundred and fifty-five premies and aspirants enjoyed the night's program dressed in headphones, as the satsang was translated simultaneously into Spanish. The music of Sanjivani served as the opening event at 7 p.m. followed by the vocal group, The Golden Age, satsang from Arthur Brigham and Bob Mishler, and more music from the Iman rock band. Then Durga Ji gave satsang, explaining that we have the way to experience fulfillment in our lives and that we have to practice the way. She described how Knowledge lets us be free because we don't have to be self-conscious - we can just be conscious of life and Guru Maharaj Ji in our lives.

In his satsang, Guru Maharaj Ji set the theme and message which he was to emphasize throughout his European tour: do service, satsang and meditation. This, he declared, was the something that "has to happen in between us and the Knowledge" so that we can take ourselves from the finite to the infinite stage. Maharaj Ji defined his reason for concentrating on premie programs in Europe and later on in the United States as a way to help premies have the strength to manifest what we want to manifest, for "it is the truth that if premies are together, then everything can be together." While Maharaj Ji was speaking, Premlata delighted everyone with her grins and dances and occasionally made hearts skip a beat when she wandered close to the edge of the stage.

After satsang everyone sang Arti to Guru Maharaj Ji while Premlata climbed up onto his knees. Then the darshan line began. It was a new approach, with premies filing by and looking at Maharaj Ji, without pranaming. However, on this occasion, after the line had run, Maharaj Ji invited the premies to come around again and do pranam. Different darshan line methods were to be used throughout the tour at Maharaj Ji's discretion. As the premies walked past, Premlata returned smiles with bursts of laughter.

At the Madrid program, Guru Maharaj Ji was welcomed by the "Tuna," a group of student troubadours in traditional Spanish dress, who serenaded him with guitars, mandolins and tambourines, and then danced out of the hall past the audience of five hundred and thirty. Later on during satsang, Durga Ji and Maharaj Ji alluded to these musicians, likening their music to the harmony created when premies come together.

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