The Secret and Open Pictures of God
The word festival comes from "feast", and Hans Jayanti 1978 was truly a feast for me: A feast of satsang, a feast of service, a feast of meditation, a feast of love. But most of all for a premie, a rich feast of our Guru Maharaj Ji -- the like of which words can't describe. Our hearts swell when we try to express it. He showed so much of himself. There may be many hundreds of images of beautiful moments and beautiful events which come back for review, and yet behind them all -- above them all, through them all - the most dominant, powerful experience is that it was Maharaj Ji who had impressed himself deeply into my heart. It was Maharaj Ji giving himself to us in countless ways, revealing his endless glory; destroying us, rebuilding us, bringing us home.
His satsang flowed generously, truly like a river -- pungent biting into our mind, releasing us, challenging our concepts, making us free. At least 21 times he gave satsang -- including to the initiators and to the premies from India. He gave darshan formally for four days for all the premies; once again for the new premies, once again for the ecstatic premies from India; once again for the initiators.
He seemed to he intent on giving himself completely, going beyond our puny expectations, giving us more than our hearts could hold. The procession alone was such a total experience. Maharaj Ji -- so majestic, so overflowing with grace, blessing us again and again. At dusk, even the sky seemed to want to pranam, the daylight withdrawing before his glory. The endless line of thousands of devotees, a whole world at his feet, all shouting the praises of their one true Lord.
For some premies, seeing Guru Maharaj Ji has been perhaps an annual pilgrimage at the most. But even for those who've been with him more, it must have been an unprecedented experience! He just lifted the lid on how much he always has to give us. We get many hints of Guru Maharaj Ji's endless store and in Philadelphia Maharaj himself spoke so movingly of how his very hands are yearning to hoist us away to safety in that perfection where we want to be.
When Maharaj Ji met with the initiators after the festival, he talked about how he had given up trying to finish the movie of Shri Maharaj Ji, basically because, as he said, "How can you present perfection!" We don't know him completely. We can't praise him. We can't provide anything for him which would do him justice. Only Maharaj Ji himself can create the setting for his divine play. Before his devotees he is in his element: so powerful, so happy, so authoritative, so sublime, so detached, so sweet, so caring. None of us can describe him or paint his glory with a whole thesaurus full of adjectives. Only that Love that he has put in us can respond to the Love that he can show; can vibrate with his Love; can recognize his Love; can share his love and serve Love.
There's a satsang of Shri Maharaj Ji in which he says, "In whose heart attention is fixed on Guru Maharaj Ji alone, he starts seeing the secret and open pictures of God." How much we need to see our Guru Maharaj Ji's glory! So he provides that setting where he can be the Guru Maharaj Ji that we need him to be and which he has come only to be, where he can show us the potential of his Knowledge, take us beyond time, beyond space, beyond personaity, beyond all forms, all dimensions, into his world, where there is only that totally unreasonable Love. Maharaj set up the true environment for that devotion to emerge, to be expressed and grow stronger, by concentrating us into a pure experience of service, satsang and meditation. He freed us from our humdrum preoccupations and allowed us to experience a pure dose of his 'tender loving care' as full citizens of his world. Premies. Not mothers and fathers, doctors and nurses, English and Fijian.
If Krishna stopped time for ten thousand years so that he could dance with his gopis, Maharaj Ji creates more and more room for satsang, service and meditation to turn our lives towards him, to draw them into him. To be able to hold a month-long festival or to be able to experience his Love our whole lives through. It's never our bosses' resistance we have to go beyond. It's our own resistance. It's our resistance to his Love, our lack of faith, our lack of trust. And yet, how he's providing for that trust to grow. How he feeds that "little love" that he asks us for and turns it back to us in all these ways.
He even showed us how to speak our hearts, scripting our prayers in his satsang, showing us how to beg.
The Love affair which grew hour by hour climaxed when Guru Maharaj Ji danced with us. After dancing in the Krishna suit on Saturday night, blowing our hearts with little touches like Hansi handing him the Krishna flute, Maharaj Ji pushed the festival into an extra day and took us absolutely flying with him by dancing again on Sunday night, this time in a beautiful flower mala. The measured, full majesty of his dance, the power and authority in his every movement, lifted us higher and held us there as he continued to dance. Now from the chair, he invited us all with gestures, motioning us to rise up to him, to keep going, to dance on, to go beyond ourselves and join him.
Rising again, he danced on and on, destroying our reserve, blowing our hope, embracing us in ecstasy. On the one hand an experience so completely out of this world; and on the other hand, for our hearts so open in Love, the most natural moment in our lives. Our hearts chanting, shouting, dancing freely with their liberator and Lord!
And yet, all along the way to that highest of highs there were so many highs. It was really Maharaj Ji's show. And because he was calling the shots, there were so many heart-opening, beautiful touches. The opportunity to be able to do service in such a beautiful environment gave each premie his place in Guru Maharaj Ji's world - releasing us from the circumstances that might dog us in our normal living situations. So many premies had such a personal encounter with Guru Maharaj Ji through service. For the initiators there was the agya to do Knowledge sessions at the festival, the incredible openness of the aspirants, the lila of trying to pull it together and knowing all the while it was Maharaj Ji's show. It would unfold as he wished.
The beautiful film of Shri Maharaj Ji … Hansi's new confidence … satsang in the rain … Guru Maharaj Ji making all the food bog prashad … Durga Ji singing Love Me Tender so simply, yet so deeply, and turning it into a song of intense devotion … Premlata stroking Guru Maharaj Ji's hair back and kissing him simply with such purity, full on the lips … Guru Maharaj Ji, Love itself, so simple, so pure, receiving these tender signs of love … the Indian premies exploding, rejoicing, dancing for joy in the rain … Maharaj Ji, Maharaj Ji, Maharaj Ji -- Lord -- bursting through our minds, exploding our hearts, leaving us helpless to do any more than just wail "Oh Maharaj Ji, Oh Maharaj Ji" as he lifted us higher and higher … Maharaj Ji like a huge ripe seed-pod bursting open -- ready to shower the world.
Wow! What he asks us to do, by his grace we just have to find the effort to do. The more that devotion flows into him, the more he manifests his potential to us and lifts us higher and higher, beyond any place we ever even dreamed about. How could we ever get there by ourselves! Only his grace has opened up that possibility. And yet, we have to offer ourselves to him, and to him again, to make that choice the time: to turn away from the phoney promises of the mind and try always to reach out to our Guru Maharaj Ji. He can give that experience to us. He's also given us the opportunity, the grace, to always make effort to surrender our lives into that true purpose, to come to him, to know him, to honor him, to obey him, to love him, to serve him, to completely let go to him.
This is his show completely. He can do anything. Give us any experience at any time. The night I arrived at the festival site, satsang was happening in one of the dining tents. Maharaj Ji arrived by helicopter --- satsang completely erupted in joy as together we all realized that it was true, that he really was going to be on the site with us. Then the satsang monitor asked me to give satsang. Traveling so far to get to the festival, I didn't know whether I was asleep or awake and I didn't feel in any way capable of trying to speak adequately about our Guru Maharaj Ji. As I pranamed and asked Guru Maharaj Ji just to take over, he completely dissolved me, inside, in the most intense experience of his Love, which left me gasping for words and showed me that we just belong to him, our lives are in him; that the real experience of life has got nothing to do with our external attachments and pursuits, that he sits on the throne in our hearts and that if we just turn a little bit towards him, he can give us so much.
This is his show, completely. He can do anything! I was caught in a Port-O-Let when Maharaj Ji raced up Concept Street and proceeded to mow down some of the tents of the initiators, using the bumper of the jeep to tug away the uprights and dent the corner struts, threatening to mow down the lot of them with a 'dozer. Such a joy to see him play. He is so free and there is nothing in this world that he cannot do to free us from our concepts, to liberate us from our stupidity, to wake us up from our deepest sleep.
If God is that old guy sitting on the chair in the clouds, if God is the dry disciplinarian, the judge, or the sophisticated system of theology, then I don't know anything about God! I probably don't know anything about Guru Maharaj Ji either. But he is Supreme and I can only fall at his feet and beg him to take me, to make me his; to shatter my delusion, destroy the ego that was conceived in that delusion; to let me serve him; to make me true, to be his faithful lover. And yet all of these prayers seem ridiculous, because he so completely contains us. He embraces us. It's within him that we live and move and have our being. Opening our hearts to him, we find ourselves in our true element, in our true nature -- like fish in water, birds in the air, we live in his Love and we are home!
-- Vic Marsh