The other night I found myself with one other premie in a group of people at a very raucous party. We gravitated to a corner and began to have satsang - Guru Maharaj Ji, darshan, the first time we ever saw him in his mala. Favorite pictures. The whole works.
Because, Guru Maharaj Ji is Guru Maharaj Ji. He is who he is.
In the Bible, when the Lord first approaches Moses, Moses is afraid.
"Me?" he asks. "Me?"
Moses had never really been a Jew. He had no leadership ability, and he stuttered. Yet God chose him to lead the children of Israel out of bondage. And he told God, everyone would ask who had sent him to deliver the children of Israel.
"I am who I am," responded the Lord. "Tell them, 'I am' sent you."
And that's it with Maharaj Ji. He is everything to me. He is the source not only of this Knowledge, but of the inspiration, the love, the understanding, the purpose, everything I have in this path. He is who he is, and nothing can change that.
In 1972 I was on the roof of Prem Nagar ashram in India. And from any floor, including the roof, you could look down into a center courtyard where premies would hang out.
So there were maybe 30 to 40 premies on the roof and another 200 in the satsang hall watching a performance of "Krishna Lila." It was just before Guru Maharaj Ji's 15th birthday. Or maybe the day after. Guru Maharaj Ji was on the roof playing with some fireworks. (When 1 say fireworks I don't mean big bombs. Small penny-bottle rockets and tiny firecrackers.) Maharaj Ji would shoot off a firecracker and we'd all laugh. Or he'd drop one down on the courtyard and someone would jump and bliss out. And then Maharaj Ji would shoot off a bottle rocket and we'd all run around. It was fantastic.
Someone said we should go watch "Krishna Lila". And then Guru Maharaj Ji looked up. with a match in one hand and a bottle rocket in the other, and said. "This seems like a pretty good Krishna Lila to me." We all stayed.
My friend told me about a friend who's not a premie. hut who does "a meditation that relaxes him." People shouldn't meditate on Knowledge because it's not relaxing, he claimed. As a point in fact, he contended, it could actually cause stress.
"I told him that if Maharaj Ji asked me to do something, I'd do it." my friend replied. Because Knowledge isn't something that "relaxes" you, or lowers your blood pressure. (Well, it actually does, but that's not the point.) It opens you up to that incredible love, a love so fantastic that the word love just isn't adequate.
There's a commercial on TV these days for a spaghetti sauce that has a singing meatball. It sings I love ya, love ya, love ya. to a little kid as he eats.
If that's someone's notion of love, then how can I possibly call the experience Maharaj Ji gives love? But the love of Guru Maharaj Ji is that love that enabled the Gopis to dance all night with Krishna: that enabled the disciples to drop everything and follow Jesus: that enabled the Jews to spend forty years in the desert with Moses.
And it's that love that enables me even to use the word love. Because before I received Knowledge I couldn't even sign a card to my parents "with love" because I felt like a complete hypocrite.
Once a photographer I work with told me that he'd be interested in learning to meditate, hut that he could not get into following "that Guru."
"Well," I said to my friend, "you're missing the best part."
And that's it. The best part. The icing on the cake. And the cake, too. That's Guru Maharaj Ji. That love. That meditation. That everything.
In the preface to the Ramayana, the author explains why he is writing up the adventures of Lord Ram. All of the miraculous things done by Ram, he writes. are also done in greater quantity by the power of Holy Name. But that Holy Name can never be written. And so, without any other recourse, he has to write the story of the Revealer of the Holy Name.
But I could never begin to describe the glory of my Guru Maharaj Ji, Who is that name. that love, and Who has revealed Himself to me.
- J.P., Chicago
I haven't heard any stories directly about this man, but premies have been telling me about an aspirant who hallucinated that Guru Maharaj appeared to him on several occasions. (A lot of talk about it: wide-eyed marvelling.)
I look around me in satsang, and wonder why. Each premie that has stood up tonight has revealed a life more incredible than the last. Powerful feelings for Maharaj Ji, strong feelings about what they think is going on in their lives, incredible revelations, details of totally different worlds … the river of satsang runs high with the lives of devotees. It's a saga of Grace. And Guru Maharaj Ji is there. You can feel it. That's what makes it satsang. That's what makes it beautiful.
So a man claims he sees Guru Maharaj Ji. So what?
Doesn't He manifest for us all and to each in a different way? And what would happen if I started wanting him to come to me in a certain way?
Do we crave miracles?
Do we still look for proof? The sensational or the deep: the mind pulls one way. Guru Maharaj Ji pulls the other.
Wouldn't it be incredible if Maharaj Ji came and we didn't go bananas because we were expecting him, are always expecting him? It would be so outrageous, at least to me it would, if he could just walk into my kitchen and sit with me and have it be easy. Because He's already there, because my desire was already there, because that's all I wanted all along. Because the natural thing is that when I am calling him with Holy Name, he always comes.
- E.E., Boulder
The following article is reprinted from the Harvard Class of 1968 Alumni Report.
There is a young man from India, now twenty years old, known as Guru Maharaj Ji. He has been saying since he was eight that he can reveal the ultimate experience of peace, love and truth within inside any human being. About five years ago I discovered, quite by accident, that he can.
I was walking down Divinity
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Avenue from Lowell Lecture Hall, where I had just attended a program called, "Who is Guru Maharaj Ji? - Rennie Davis Will Speak." At the time I considered myself something of an expert in Yoga and Eastern Mysticism, and my only motive for attending was curiosity. I wondered what Rennie was doing involved in the lunatic fringe of the lunatic fringe.
What I had seen and heard at the program had impressed me very little. It sounded pretty much like the usual Eastern rap. The devotees themselves, after the program, had impressed me more. They were honest and open, high and happy, obviously experiencing something.
But it was walking, alone, back to my illegally parked car, that I noticed the incredible, gentle glow within my chest. I had been touched. So subtly that I hadn't even been aware of it happening. So deeply that I knew right then my life would never be the same. And it hasn't.
If not for that night my story here would be very similar to everyone else's. I would be reporting on my marriage, my children, my successful business career, my interests and accomplishments in life so far. I was definitely headed in that direction. But I was plucked out. And now I hardly know what to say, how to communicate what is going on. Described externally, this life might sound interesting, might sound boring, but both are far from the reality.
If I tell you that I have been the head of accounting and data processing for a multi-national nonprofit corporation, or that last year I traveled about thirty thousand miles all over the United States and Canada and to Rome, it might sound exciting, perhaps even worthy of comparison with some of my achieving classmates. But if I tell you that I have been cleaning old refrigerators in the back of a used furniture store in Buffalo, maybe even the anti-achievers would cringe a little.
Both are true, and neither conveys even a hint of what I am actually doing. Because the essence of it is an internal experience that I cannot describe in words, an experience that is there simply because I am alive. Merging my whole life into that experience is a full-time endeavor, and is my only real occupation.
I tried a lot of times, but I could never do it on my own, and I could never do it with anyone else's help. Guru Maharaj Ji just simply gave me, for doing virtually nothing, what I would have done anything to get, but never could get. He is just giving me everything. It is in his ashram, his shelter, that I live. It is in his service that I do whatever I do. It is to sing his praises that I speak, and it is upon his Knowledge. upon his Name, that I meditate. It is to experience his physical presence, to feel his love and to adore him, that I travel. It is a life that is different from what is going on most everywhere. From the outside it might look very small. But from the inside it looks very, very big.
I think that we are all looking for something. Why else are we doing all the things that are described in this Class Report? Call it satisfaction, love, peace, anything. We need it, and we are never going to find it in the fragile and temporary objects we pursue with so much dedication and sacrifice. The real love, the dependable satisfaction, is right inside of us. Guru Maharaj Ji can show us that, can weave us into that experience.
His love is coming, so be alert. Highly contagious and unpredictable, utterly disrespectful of our doubts and defenses. He is here, and if he taps you on the shoulder one day while you are very busy doing something else, turn around and take a good look. Listen to what he has to say. He is very beautiful, and he is you.
- S. K.. Buffalo
Jim Downton's first book was about commitment and charisma in political revolution. But he felt he had been unable to grasp "the personal drama which leads ordinary people to experience a change in values."
So when he began his next book he knew he wanted to focus on individual lives. and in particular on what he calls "the processes of transformation that brought them into the movement and transformations that were the result of their involvement." The small group of ordinary people he chose to investigate were premies.
Downton did a series of in-depth interviews with these premies and kept in touch with them over a five year period. The result is a book called Sacred Journeys.
The publisher, Columbia University Press, is going to put out hardcover and paperback versions and really push them, to take advantage of the recent concern with cults. They'll position it as going against the grain of media negativity. And that much is true. It's not sensational. It attempts to be honest, it's critical, and it can he confronting. In fact, it may make your own current line-up of concepts about Guru Maharaj Ji and Knowledge more apparent.
Jim Downton is a sociology professor at the University of Colorado. Sacred Journeys will be available in June. An excerpt from his conclusions:
"There is little doubt in my mind that the lives of these premies have taken a positive turn since 1971. After five years these premies seem less guilty, afraid, alienated, aimless, confused, introverted, frantic and worried; less repressed in communicating their 'weaknesses' and emotions; less reliant on drugs; less 'counter' to our society; more accepting of themselves and others (including non-premies); more peaceful, calm. loving, confident. outgoing and positive; more willing to encounter and learn from their negative experiences. more appreciative of common, everyday events, and more at one with others, nature, and life in general."
I remember, as a child, the excitement of secrets. First a moment of anticipation: a friend knew something I didn't, something important -- and its importance grew with every second until finally the words were whispered. Then the complete private joy of knowing - at last.
The secret behind secrets, of course, is that holding secrets in is what carries the wonder. Silent glee - that's it. Hold back … hold back. Until you must tell or explode. Magnificent!
Telling kills the high. It's gone from your pocket and now
If you would like to send a contribution to the Premie Satsang section for the next issue of Divine Times, please address it to: Divine Times, P.O. Box 532, Denver, Colorado 80201.
there's a strange discomfort. As with anything spent, more has turned to less.
Maharaj Ji owns a secret. He shares it with his premies and still owns it. Each one of us carries it and we are bursting to tell it all. But we can't. Not all!
There's the beauty of it. The secret of Knowledge can be let out in glimpses, through sat- sang. Yet spending it never depletes the teller. The more we share, the more the secret grows. It opens out, visions expanding. turning gardens to fields to countrysides. Feeling so good - to he filled with the secret. and let its essence fly into every corner of life, and still he filled with the secret.
Maharaj Ji, every moment whispering, "Psst … wanna hear a secret?"
"But you told me …"
"You ain't heard nothing yet."
- C.Y., Miami
Other people told me they could offer me their hearts. What Guru Maharaj Ji has done is offer me my own heart. And as often as I can, I live from there, in acceptance of that gift. And more and more, my heart becomes his heart. And there is always before me the prospect that our hearts will soon be one. And that is what I live for.
I saw him for the first time in Portland. My first darshan. was an aspirant.
I came around a curtain on the darshan line - crying and trembling, I don't know why -- in a movie theatre on a bitter cold Portland afternoon, and there he was.
He looked enormous. I thought he was the largest person I had ever seen. I have a dim memory of trying to walk and figure out how he could he so big at the same time. I couldn't do either. I floated.
Afterwards, when I found out his actual height. I couldn't make it compute with what 1 had experienced. The simple facts about Maharaj Ji are never statistical.
When he was younger, Maharaj Ji went on a talk show in Boston. The host, Paul Benzaquin, sat there and was amazed.
"You're ageless!" he exclaimed, maintaining his professional cool while expressing genuine personal amazement. As the show went on. Benzaquin leaned closer and closer to Maharaj .i. perhaps unconsciously, naturally bathing in the glorious presence of Guru Maharaj Ji.
At the end of his show, he urged his listeners to go and see Maharaj .1i at the program in the Hub.
"Physical proximity helps. folks," he beamed. He was sky high.
I learned the same two lessons that Benzaquin did during my first darshan. The simple facts about Guru Maharani are never statistical.
I received Knowledge a few months after Portland. I remember when: it was when I finally saw that there was just me and him. That it was himself I wanted, not a meditation, not a vegetarian lifestyle. And that nothing stood between us not an organization, not an initiator. No one to please but him.
And when there was enough love there to make it practical for him to teach me how to love him. I received Knowledge.
I can share this experience: it's strange to he born so late in life. It's amazing to wake up in the early stages of what is commonly called middle age to find that I have had no real experience. I haven't done it yet. It hasn't happened. I'm not awake. (They asked him once: what is a dream? He answered "This! This is all a dream".) And strange to know that from this dream I could not wake myself.
And then to find, as a baby premix. that that awakening was finally beginning. To realize that something was growing in me, a happiness, a joy, a life. How do you thank him for that? It's too big. It can only be paid for with a life.
One of my strongest early impressions was of hearing him laughing in a recording studio, an incredible true laughter. an indelible moment. And the words: "I think happiness is the practical solution."
How deep has that message sunk, that same message over and over in a thousand different ways: that happiness is the practical solution. The only thing that will save you is real happiness. And sometimes it is just not enough to translate it from the Hindi as "the consciousness of bliss." Real happiness! Not the happiness with the crimes in it. Not the fleeting happiness of a moment's achievement. Not the happiness of an imaginary journey home. Not a happiness that can be described. Real happiness. Is there anything wrong with it?
Real happiness? echoed the world. You have no right to it. You don't deserve it. ( Anyway it doesn't exist and even if it does, play fair like the rest of us. Do it yourself. Suffer. And be inventive. Take a stab in the dark at that priceless needle in the cosmic haystack.)
Believe it or not, it took me two years to say no thanks to that.
And on New Year's Eve this past year I heard him say, "Come on. Give yourself that freedom that we all really want. Give yourself that freedom. give yourself that joy, give yourself that happiness, give yourself that pleasure, give yourself that true peace that you want so bad. Guru Maharaj Ji says, basically, give yourself a break."
It was too much. As if in my life there had come a knock on the door. It's room service.
Guru Maharaj Ji. standing there with a silver platter.
- F.C.. Sacramento
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In 1970 I got a call from the State Department. Could 1 go to Vietnam to entertain the troops?
They wanted me to do seven shows a day. They were going to fly me, which they did. But I told them there's no way you're going to get me to travel from area to area by truck or jeep through a country where mines are planted. Because I was in the service in 1950, in the Korea thing, and I remembered. So they treated me like Bob Hope. I had a full colonel and a helicopter at my disposal. Which amazed me. I had been a sergeant in Korea. This time I got to play movie star. (You know, walk through the hospital, shake hands with the injured and the dying.)
It was nothing cosmic. An outrageous perspective, yes: death, dying, and luxury. Totally insane. It was show business too, but it was a chance to be away from show business and be for real, too. I didn't have to put the audience on. Because you couldn't put those guys on. They're going to die any second. You can't put them on.
And how does that apply to us?
When you're an entertainer you get to see people like you've never seen them before. In Vegas, for instance. The only reason they come is to be entertained. Because they're not being entertained 'out there.' Because if they were, they wouldn't be in there catching my act.
So a guy goes out and loses three, four thousand dollars in a casino, and his wife wants to sit ringside and the only way to get ringside these days is to give the maitre d' a hundred. So it's going to cost the guy a hundred to sit down. Dinner is $42.50 each. Another hundred. He's got to tip the waiter. So that dinner's going to cost him near $300. He just lost S3,000 in the casino and his old lady wants to sit up front to ogle Tom Jones. The guy's getting this weird feeling, he's out of money. and here 1 come. I better be funny.
And that guy's going to be sick before I walk off. Because I know where he's at. I've been there, and I know the feeling. So I stand up there and I say: "I know what you're thinking. I better be funny. right? You just thought that, right?"
I knew. I was telling them the truth. Because the truth is very
funny. It reveals a lot. It's the funniest.
And when Maharaj Ji gives satsang at a festival, sometimes I think it's like that. Because that's my perspective. We've been out there in the Big Casino, and we've been taken. And we've been made fools of. And Guru Maharaj Ji knows. He knows. And he just tells us the truth. And sometimes it's pretty funny what he shows us about ourselves.
Guru Maharaj Ji's made me aware that there's no business like no business. It's his show. And it's okay if I'm only an extra. See, that's it. Some people protest because they want their own little dramas. (Lousy little dramas, really, but they're the stars. That gets them.)
Me, I'm happy to be an extra
- really. I have no desire to expand in this world in any way. The only desire I have is to be with Guru Maharaj Ji. It's not us
- it's him. We're just a costume for him. I have to remember that. Because every once in a while I get to thinking I'm pulling the strings. But it's him. He's the great puppeteer. The greatest. And I'm just blown away by the fact that he's here.
- D.P., New York
I have had darshan so many times in the past five years that I can't remember all the places. From rooms in downtown Denver to womblike stages in Rome and Montreal. Once he drove past me on a mobile cart. Once I ran past him while the Supernatural Family Band played the Lotus Blossom Special, with all the bluegrass they can put into it. So many darshans blend into one: the quiet dark of a tunnel opening into the white of a darshan stage.
I've felt it in so many ways, so many ways.
How to express it? It seems as though the real thing that goes on is so much beyond emotions and concepts and expectations. Just those few seconds in our lives do so much. Who knows what it sends flying? Who knows what it plans? Who knows what it nurtures? Who knows what it annihilates? Who knows just what that experience does to us?
And if there is some way to give back some love, pay some respect, to offer one's life - even that seems like the most trivial thing. It seems like the least thing that could happen there is just laying your life at his feet.
Once, in Kansas City. I had service in the darshan recovery area. And there we were, caring for premies who had to be carried in, had to be laid down and had to be watched. And for four hours I was in a place of wonderment, of really experiencing joy and utter amazement at the beauty that I feel lies within all the premies. that I saw reflected within me.
People came in crying or laughing or crying and laughing. or just "completely out of the picture." And there they lay on these little simple army cots, with simple little woolen blankets over them, in this quiet little room that had the scent of the darshan tunnel, and the music from the darshan stage filtering in. They'd come in droves and then it would slow down. And then they'd be carried in in droves and then it would slow down.
It struck me as though I were watching gods and goddesses in repose, beautiful brothers and sisters lying on their hacks, in that state of being with their Lord, their faces radiating love. Their bodies were there to house love. Their bodies were there to emanate serenity, love, and surrender. They seemed to be just beautiful babies lying there, a scene from a dream. So beautiful.' Their faces were … within my heart - how can I describe that? Who can describe that thing that makes tears start from utter joy, just from watching?
One sister told me later that the love was so great she had "to let it carry her." And it carried her away from the kind of consciousness we're used to. She tried to fight it. Then, she said, she recognized that she was fighting love and she had to completely give in to it. That's where He wanted to take her and that's where she must go. Who can talk about lessons learned from an experience like that?
When I left the recovery area after four hours I walked out feeling: "God, on the day the Lord is giving darshan to his premies, everyone's voice should be hushed, everyone should tread lightly, everyone should just be living in utter respect for the incredible grace that's happening."
I walked out into the hall after this incredible experience. There was so much going on. And I thought, we've got so much growing to do, we've got so much to understand, and we've got so much grace at our disposal to do it. So much grace is propelling us.
Because, really. Guru Maharaj Ji is the ultimate of ultimates. He's the ultimate thing in this universe and I can't imagine a more ultimate thing than kissing his feet. I just can't imagine it. There's absolutely nothing else that enters that realm. There's nothing else that even comes near the borders of that realm.
I don't know if there's anyone other than a premie who can conceive that. And yet, why not? Why not accept it as possible, or even probable, or even as true - someone's sharing of his experience that there is an absolutely ultimate, ultimate, incredible, incredible, experience available? Why not accept that? Because that's the question I ask myself: why not accept that the love is there all the time? Why not accept that living in an experience of love 24 hours a day is not only possible. but the reason we're even horn.
Because I've had the experience, and I know it's true. It's there and it's real. And I'm not to the point where it's there all the time, but for me, it's growing more and more. It's there at the time that I want it and it's there when I open up to it. It's given me every indication that it's constant. It has proven its constancy to me time and time again through as many different and varied experiences as I could imagine.
And I know that nothing keeps me from it but that imaginary line of my own creating - my own imaginary barrier.
- S.T., Detroit
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