Maharaj Ji Speaks At Capital Luncheon
On February 22, Guru Maharaj Ji gave an address at a luncheon hosted by the United States Citizens Congress, a conservative political group organized by Rabbi Korff (who was widely publicized last year for his outspoken support of former President Nixon).
In a bicentennial theme, each speaker at the luncheon was honored for his role in some field of leadership. Guru Maharaj Ji, first on a bill of speakers which included such political figures as Secretary of the Treasury William Simon, Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz, Admiral Burke, Senator Curtis and Senator Strom Thurmond, was invited in recognition of his role as a spiritual leader and his contributions to the spiritual well-being of the nation. This was the first time Maharaj Ji has accepted an invitation to speak at such a gathering, and his speech before the 500 guests gathered in the Mayflower Hotel in Washington was very well received.
In his message, Maharaj Ji emphasized the interdependence of struggle and destiny - factors more familiar to us as effort and grace. In the bicentennial theme, he evoked the pioneering spirit which characterized the U.S. in its first two decades of growth and pointed out that it is just that sort of spirit which must be used to lead civilization into a new age. The complete text of his speech appears below.
The idea of Maharaj Ji's appearance at a political luncheon brings visions of the Washington, D.C. DUO staff working overtime setting up all the right contacts in the foot-in-the-door tradition of the pre-Millenium era. Actually, the invitation was totally Rabbi Korff's idea and came as a complete surprise. Apparently, Rabbi Korff, impressed with the positive influence Maharaj Ji has had on a premie he knows, persuaded the conservative Citizens Congress to honor Maharaj Ji with an invitation to speak.
So many awards and introductions were to be made during the luncheon, that the head table stretched the entire length of the ballroom. At one end of the room, a stage held a band which played during lunch. Round tables were placed around the room, several of which were "vegetarian tables" and accomodated thirty or more premies from the D.C. area.
As Maharaj Ji came to the podium to speak, he received warm applause. He spoke from a prepared text, something he had never done previously before an audience. His speech was clear and succinct, lasting about three minutes, and he received an even warmer ovation at the close of his message.
The speakers who followed Maharaj Ji were more familiar to the audience in both the style and content of their speeches. Strom Thurmond, renowned conservative senator from South Carolina, spoke on several politically significant topics, Secretary of the Treasury Simon and Admiral Burke each introduced the recipients of awards, and Martha Roundtree, president of the Leadership Foundation, gave an address on the theme of cooperation.
A Closing Comment
The meeting closed on a high note, as Secretary of Agriculture Butz took the podium. Taking the opportunity to lighten up the atmosphere a bit, he began with a comment on "the sinister programming which made Butz the tail end speaker." He then addressed himself to his "fellow taxpayers and the rest of the upper crust at the head table," going on to explain that the "upper crust is a hunch of crumbs held together by the dough." That had the audience laughing as did his astute observation that Strom Thurmond had gotten so carried away that he had promoted Rabbi Korff to the rank of admiral (Senator Thurmond had referred to the rabbi as Admiral Korff).
Butz then went on to quote President Eisenhower, saying that he didn't foresee any problem in the military or economic strength of the U.S., but he did have a great deal of concern for our diminishing spiritual strength.
As if in response to this closing remark, quite a few of the honored guests at the luncheon stayed a moment at the head table to thank Guru Maharaj Ji for coming and to comment on his address. As Bob Mishler put it in describing the luncheon, "It's obvious that people in all walks of life understand that there is something of value in life - whether you call it religious or patriotic or whatever - which, when it is missing, makes our lives seem less worthwhile. Because of this, people understand there is a great need for spiritual strength in our lives."
Maharaj Ji's Address
Rabbi Korff, Admiral Strauss, Members of the Cabinet. Members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives, and distinguished guests..
It gives me great pleasure to be with you on this occasion commemorating America's Bicentennial. This nation was conceived and born by the dedication of individuals seeking the freedom to pursue life's goal. America has grown for two centuries. But let us not forget that .freedom and peace did not come without effort. In the beginning there were great difficulties for the young nation struggling for independence, and growth over the rears has not always been tranquil and harmonious. Yet always the Grace of the Almighty Lord has guided the destiny of this nation along its path to greatness.
As George Washington noted in his first message to Congress, No people can he bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States." Certainly the Almighty has bountifully blessed this land upon which generations of Americans have strived to realize the ideals which inspired the nation's founding fathers.
As America enters its third century, many of the frontiers of land and space, science and technology, have already been crossed. Yet with endless frontiers of human experience ahead, let us pray that the pioneering spirit which has allowed this nation to excel will not falter, and that, as you go forward, you will continue to be blessed with the broad vision, temperance and wisdom to allow America to lead civilization to a new age as the befitting sequel for this first nation of the new world.
GURU MAHARAJ JI
Guru Maharaj Ji is currently at his home in Malibu with Durga Ji. On March 9, they held a party for Premlata who was one year old. The party was a simple stay-at-home affair with a few of Premlata's grown-up friends attending dressed up in animal costumes. Durga Ji thought this was a fitting occasion to announce that Guru Maharaj Ji and she are expecting another child to be born in September.
In mid-April, Guru Maharaj Ji will begin a tour of Europe. Right now, there is a European National Directors Conference happening in Amsterdam, Holland. Attending this conference are 30 representatives from 15 countries as well as Michael Dettmers, DLM Vice- President, and two others from IHQ. On the agenda are discussions of "the growth of Divine Light Mission, the role of the European community, setting objectives for each country's development in preparation for Guru Maharaj Ji's programs, and the formulation of actual tour program content."
We are looking for a place for us all to get together again sometime in July of this year, but nothing has turned up yet. If and when this happens, however, it won't be called Guru Puja, instead it's the "North American Convention." The change in name reflects a changing consciousness about the purpose of our coming together and about what we'll be doing when we get there. As Bob Mishler puts it, "When such a large portion of our family is gathered in one place, at one time there is a real potential for sharing information and consciousness that we are just starting to take advantage of. In the past, the only thing of real value happening at our festivals has been Guru Maharaj Ji's satsang with everything else as frill for that. Now we are seeing that we can participate in more meaningful activities the entire time we are together, activities that will complement Guru Maharaj Ji's satsang and help us leave the festival with a greater understanding."
Michael Donner, DLM Vice-President, is returning to Denver this month after 12 months of imprisonment for charges stemming from anti-war activities in the '60s. Michael is being released on a program which will enable him to do service at IHQ during the day while living at a halfway house in Denver.