"He has to be in the core of Guru Maharaj Ji's world"
The initiator candidates interviews with Guru Maharaj Ji
Q: What happened in your personal interview with Maharaj ji?
ROBIN: Well, I went in there because I was very upset also. But I was also feeling a lot of love for Maharaj Ji, so everything was cool. I just went in there and he just beamed and smiled at time, which made me feel good. And he said that my application for being an initiator had been accepted, but the Mission would have to go, to quote his words, "Cockabunga" or "Crazy' before they got to the position where they would allow married initiators.
But he said I was to try to keep myself together to the point where he could contact me at any moment. And at that particular moment in time I would be ready; I would be in a space where I could take on the service. It gave me a bit of a start really. Since then I've been doing about 3 or 4 hours of meditation a day.
Q: Did he ask you lots of questions?
ROBIN: No. Then he said to me, "I hear you're upset." I said, "Well, yes, because I am in the position where I may well regret being married." I suppose a lot of married premies have all gone through that moment where you regret. Maybe you shouldn't have done it.
And Maharaj Ji was really annoyed with me; he was very, very annoyed. He was upset that I'd even considered what he'd given me was possibly wrong. You know, if we surrender our lives to Maharaj Ji, if we consciously surrender our lives, every day, to Maharaj Ji, and we're practising the Knowledge, then the situations we find ourselves in are surely those that Maharaj Ji wants us to be in.
He was emphasising the fact of how little my faith was. Also how irresponsible I was to him, even thinking for a moment that he wasn't giving me what I needed. One never gets what one wants, but Maharaj Ji always gives you what you need. And he really cleared the situation up. I felt really clear about my situation in the world, knowing that Maharaj Ji's taking care of it all.
He hit my concepts, my consciousness. He hit that niggling little thing in the back of my brain that was saying, "You shouldn't have got married; it's all wrong. You can't possibly serve Maharaj Ji."
He made it clear to me that all he wants is for premies to be strong in Knowledge and then he can use us to do satsang service and meditation, then we're in a position, we're empty enough, where he can use us. And you know all premies will be playing all sorts of roles. We can't have the same role - you know, ten thousand premies being initiators, or all being married or all being truck drivers. He can use us as he wants to. Which is nice. because it had been niggling away for a long time.
Q: What did Maharaj Ji ask you about in the interview?
GUY: The first thing - Maharaj Ji was into Polish jokes, and he was calling me 'Polak,' Mr. Polak, and it was really funny. We went into the Intercontinental Hotel on the Tuesday I think it was, and about 16 of us , who applied to do the initiator service, just waited in one of the rooms and we had some satsang, meditated together. Maharaj Ji had been shopping, and then he came back and started the interviews. Marino was at the door with a walkie-talkie; every so often he'd get a name, the next person to come through. And then I got told to go through to see Maharaj Ji.
You had to walk down this corridor, you know, just like an ordinary hotel corridor. I'd been going up and down it all day. But when I was going to Maharaj Ji's suite, where Maharaj Ji was interviewing people, that time it seemed to go on and on for miles. I was just going through so much, you know, just walking down this corridor to see Maharaj Ji; I was alternately feeling nervous, at being, you know, with Maharaj Ji, and also, I was feeling love for Maharaj Ji; I was just going through those two things.
So I got to the suite, and took my shoes off, went inside, and Maharaj Ji was sitting at a desk, with all these forms and he'd got his attache case, and there was really beautiful lighting, same sort of studio lighting. Maharaj Ji had got a really beautiful suit on, Raja Ji was sitting on the floor next to him, and Dettmers was there, and I think Arthur. I went in, pranamed to Maharaj Ji and just sat down in front of him and he started asking me about the ashram, how long I'd been in the ashram, and he asked me about the service of initiator, what I thought it entailed. And he gave me some satsang about the service of initiator, how it is a total dedication, and the sacrifice that was involved. He just talked for quite a while about that service, and asked me some more questions, asked me about the ashram lifestyle, the aspirant programme in London, how it was going; and then he said, 'O.K. I'll be in touch.' And then I told Maharaj Ji how much I loved him, and pranamed and left. It was very beautiful.
Q: How did you feel after that?
GUY: I walked back down the corridor - I forgot to put my shoes on. I went back in the room where everyone else was hanging out; I kinda collapsed a bit there, and then somebody put me in the lift - you know, to go down to have some tea or coffee or something like that - and I just felt really overwhelmed with the love Maharaj Ji had, the love that I experienced from Maharaj Ji and I started crying a bit, I was just overwhelmed.
.. I just meditated for a while and then I went back to the main group. We were in this room on the 17th floor. Everyone was having satsang, and Judy Collett, who has been an O.T. for a while in Australia, going round giving Knowledge Reviews was giving satsang when I walked in. She gave very beautiful satsang about what she'd been going through and when she finished, John Sheridan gave satsang. He gave fantastic satsang; he was saying how he just felt like a dog; that Maharaj Ji could just take a stick and say, "Here Rover, fetch this", and he'd just go right off and fetch it. Maharaj Ji just patted him on the head, and said, "Good boy, good boy". He said he felt just like that. And then Bruce gave some satsang; he was just saying like he had had a car, a really beautiful B.M.W. car; and then he'd gone to this back alley scrap merchants and bought these fixtures - side mirrors, wing mirrors and things - to stick on the side of the car, and he'd just completely lost the original B.M.W. which was a whole thing, a total thing, beautiful. It was like, he just added all this stuff to it; and he wanted to take it along to the car cleaners, but because of all these fixtures, it couldn't go through it.
And then Nick gave satsang; he just gave really beautiful satsang, reducing everyone to tears. I can't remember, it was just beautiful. And then Arthur said, maybe we should just have a little break now. And I was feeling like, WOW, those three guys, they should be initiators, they're the ones, they're the ones. It was fantastic, really incredible satsang. I couldn't give satsang like that, and still I was feeling really, really like I should go back to England, and just live in the ashram and do service for Guru Maharaj Ji, just very simple service, for the rest of my life. I was just feeling, how could I even be sitting, thinking that I could go before Guru Maharaj Ji and say, "Yes, Guru Maharaj Ji, I can do this service, Peter Ponton. Because I couldn't. I was just feeling totally useless, totally useless.
And then we had this break; everyone was moving round and laughing and talking, and all I could do was just sit there doing nectar technique and just meditating and kind of hanging on. And after the break we just sat there and meditated; it became very, very still and very quiet. Eventually, I guess about half an hour later, someone came to the door and said, Maharaj Ji will see everyone individually. Everyone was really happy, it was incredible. I was just really scared. In a few minutes I was going to be alone with Maharaj Ji. All the rest of the conference I'd been with other people and I hadn't had to say anything. I could just be quiet. And now I was just going to be in front of Guru Maharaj Ji, alone - like naked, really. And I felt like the day when I was waiting for Knowledge, only much more aware of what that was like - that day when I was going to go in front of Guru Maharaj Ji, and say, Guru Maharaj Ji, I surrender my life to you. But I didn't really know then what that meant. I felt now, I was a little bit more aware, a little bit more clear.
I don't know if it was so much that, actually. It was like, I felt like I was waiting for Knowledge, I knew nothing, and I was going to Guru Maharaj Ji. And people carried on giving satsang, but I really couldn't get into anything, I was just still going through a lot. And Peter Dawson had a tie for Maharaj Ji; I didn't have anything, but I realised that I'd blown it again. I'd forgotten - here I am, going to see Guru Maharaj Ji on my own, and I haven't even got a present, completely blown the opportunity. I was feeling very, very miserable.
So this room was like the Headmaster's waiting room, the Head master and the Head Master. That's how it was. There we were in this room. I was sitting on the bed worrying about the fact that I had not got Guru Maharaj Ji a present. And then there was a scrabble: Are there any envelopes in the room? And we were opening drawers and eventually finding Intercontinental Hotel note pad and envelopes. And we were grabbing bits of paper and looking round for pens and making out little notes, putting them in envelopes. So I was thinking, should I write Guru Maharaj Ji a letter and put a bit of money in? Or shouldn't I? Because that would just be copy. There was complete nonsense going on in my head, so, anyhow, I thought, what have I got to lose? I wrote Guru Maharaj Ji a little note, "Dear Guru Maharaj Ji, Once again I've blown it. I haven't got anything to give you, I'm just aware that all I've got to give you is my life, I've got nothing else. Please accept it.' And I just signed it Peter Ponton,
and I slipped ten Deutsch marks in. And I was writing Guru Maharaj Ji on the envelope and my hand was really shaking; there was this squiggling all over the place. And meanwhile satsang was going on. Peter Dawson was the first person in, so it felt like, the English people are going to be the first. So I mean, I could have been next; it seemed like ages. He was gone a long time … and then Bruce went off, and I kind of felt it's going to be my turn any minute. I thought that when Bruce went in, maybe I'd just give a little bit of satsang, and try somehow to express just what I was feeling. It definitely wasn't devotion, I definitely wasn't confident or anything. I was just feeling totally useless; and so I gave a little bit of satsang and that's basically what I said - that I was feeling really scared. I don't know about anyone else, I was feeling really nervous. Everything had been turned completely upside down, I don't know, I just don't know anything.
And then Peter Lee looked in. Peter Lee was asking Peter Ponton. There was this long corridor where you had to walk down to room 1701. And walking down that corridor, seemed like an eternity. What I went through in that corridor; there were just all these nonsense things, you know, my whole life. So much happened in that corridor that by the time I was getting to the door I was just thinking, maybe when I walk in the door, I'll fall over, burst into tears, and I just wouldn't know what to say. Guru Maharaj Ji would ask me a question and I won't be able to answer it; or he will just take one look at me, and I'd just have, just have to walk out again.
But when I got to the door, John Miller, the guy who opened the door, just did it with so much love, so gentle, and the atmosphere in the room came out of the door - that kind of atmosphere that's around Guru Maharaj Ji. That coolness, that simpleness, it completely stills you, it completely calms you, removes all your fear, just like how different it was, once you'd crossed over the threshold into Guru Maharaj Ji's world. It was just like walking over the threshold, and just being completely taken into it.
John Miller pointed to my shoes, so I took my shoes off. I wasn't shaking, my heart wasn't beating, I wasn't scared any longer. I peered round the corner and Guru Maharaj Ji was sitting with a low table in front of him and all the application forms out on the desk, and a pen in his hand. There he was, and when I walked in, he was pulling out my application form. He was just looking down at it; it was lovely; I just went in and I felt so light, you know, so good. All that stuff just wasn't there - none of those worries, none of those cares. They just went and I pranamed before Guru Maharaj Ji. No fuss, just knelt down and pranamed before him, and then knelt in front of Guru Maharaj Ji. He just looked at me and said 'Peter Ponton' in a really quizzical way, grinned, and I felt just like a little kid. You know, Yes Guru Maharaj Ji?
I felt really like a little kid. He said, do you under-stand what this service involves? I said, 'Yes, Guru Maharaj Ji; total surrender, complete dedication.' He just looked at me and smiled, and he said, 'You don't want to get married, do you? Do you want to get married?' and I said, 'No, Guru Maharaj Ji.' and he said, 'Now about this question 9' - because on the application forms there were all these questions, and question 9 was 'What do you feel about Guru Maharaj Ji? ' After doing about half a dozen drafts trying to a answer this question, Sandy and I shared some sat-sang about it, and I just didn't know what to write. What can I say, maybe we could share some satsang about it? That was roughly what my answer was to the question. So when Maharaj Ji said, 'What about question 9? ' I said, 'That's the question about Guru Maharaj Ji' and he smiled and said, 'Maybe we could share some satsang about it? ' And everything just started to well up and I just started crying. I was saying, 'Guru Maharaj Ji, I just didn't know what to write, I just didn't know what to say. What can I say about Guru Maharaj Ji? ' I was crying and he just looked at me and just smiled and said, 'Are you involved with the aspirant programme? " And I said, "Yes, Guru Maharaj Ji. I've been travelling around all over the smaller communities in the country, just helping them to start off their Knowledge courses. He said, there doesn't seem to be any more point asking you any more questions. I've already decided about your application last night, he said, 'See you in Denver. And I just completely broke down and just cried and cried. I crawled under the table and kissed Maharaj Ji's feet, crying. I looked up and Raja Ji was sitting there, bouncing up and down, laughing and giggling, and Maharaj Ji was smiling. I just went out and cried my eyes out. I just walked out the door saying, 'Thank you, Guru Maharaj Ji.', and everyone was grinning - John Miller was grinning, Mike was grinning, Raja Ji was grinning.
I walked out of the door, crying and crying, and walked down the corridor, just crying. It was coming on stronger and getting deeper and deeper. I got back to the room, the Headmaster's waiting room. I don't think anyone else had actually been in there; when I got back I was crying and crying and sat down. People were handing me handkerchiefs and putting their arms round me. What happened, what happened? and I just related what happened, how beautiful it was, and everyone else's hearts were beating.
And then I just went downstairs and had a bit of cheesecake. I was completely a million feet off the ground and then so grateful. A little later on I was talking to everyone else. I found out that Guru Maharaj Ji had said to me definitely, 'See you in Denver.' I found out that he was going to be reviewing the whole programme. He wanted to have the maximum involvement, as much involvement as possible. And I imagine that there will be other people applying, and it's beautiful.
So when everyone had finished I went up and saw Mike Dettmers. He asked me how I was feeling and I said, so good. Arthur was there. I think Arthur was just completely wiped out. Everybody was wiped out. Mike Dettmers was saying, 'What happened? ' No one knew. Arthur was saying that his mind was completely blown; Maharaj Ji just completely blew everyone. It's amazing. I went back to the room and had some prasad from Guru Maharaj Ji. I was just thanking everybody and put my arms round Arthur and hugged him, shook his hand and said, 'Thank you very much.' I felt really close, it felt like we'd all been though so much together, and it brought us all really, really close.
GUY: I really want to give a lot of satsang about the festival, because, through satsang, I'll become clear about what really took place.
Q: Which festival?
GUY: Aah, I keep calling it a festival.
We came out of that situation - we all went down in the lobby and everybody was completely some-where else by that time. It was like, what had happened in three days, I just couldn't believe that it could have happened. It felt like it was a year. And then we had to go back; we left really late, and we were just driving along and as we were driving we really felt like we were in Maharaj Ji's world, like we'd been in Maharaj Ji's world. He just made it very, very obvious exactly where his world was, exactly how you could get there, exactly how you could be there, exactly how you could stay there. It doesn't matter whether you're married or not married, he just made it very clear - dedication was dedication and you have to dedicate completely within the limits of what was actually possible.
And I could just say another thing that I really feel seeing the situation in England and seeing how it was in Germany - that the state of the community is directly mirrored in the state that the premies are in. And this is something that we see all the time. It is like very valid all the time. And that's if premies in the community is meditating, they are attending satsang and they are really open and giving and loving the satsang is high and clear, then the community is a strong community and the aspirants are strong. Clear aspirants can come up from that community. But if the premies are not meditating, are not attending satsang, then the community is losing.
I don't know what's going to happen in the future, but if we really look inside ourselves, how devoted we are or not and how dedicated we are or not, and adjust ourselves to that, becoming more devoted and dedicated, that's going to have an impact on the community, and we're going to see that. But when I don't know - maybe three weeks or one month, some time in the future. But we will definitely see some changes.
GUY: At the conference, Maharaj Ji was turning the power up so much and making it so clear what we should be doing and how our dedication should be. It just got to a point where I was unable to comprehend what he was saying as Guy, you know. I was with these limited ideas, and this way of looking at things. And it just kind of blew something; as far as I could comprehend, you know. I stopped at this certain point, but Maharaj Ji didn't. He just carried on and on and on. It was like, he just destroyed reality, completely destroyed my false sense of reality and he started to talk about Maharaj Ji's world. He said there are two worlds; one of them's the world we see, and one of them is the world of Guru Maharaj Ji. And over the period of the conference he just destroyed the world. For a while, he destroyed the world within me and he started to show me Maharaj Ji's world. He started to take me into his world. He said, in Maharaj Ji's world it's like, you're there, you're walking around in the world, but really you are filled up with love, experiencing love. That's what Maharaj Ji's world is. And It's like there was kind of a barrier almost; it felt like there was a barrier of my world - the way I perceive things, the way I see things. And he just destroyed it. He just destroyed that world and took me by the hand into his world, where truth is, where reality lies, where reality is, and that reality is something that we can experience, that all of us can experience. Through surrender to Maharaj Ji, through just simply practising satsang, service and meditation. Then he'll take us into his world. We can experience reality, which is love, complete and pure love.
You kind of believe him to be real with everything that you've built up and you see what you have to do; it's very clear, the faults that you have. I'm very aware of what I need to do and I'm also very aware that I want to do it. Because, just being with Maharaj Ji for a short while, reminded me of reality, just gave me that understanding of where everything is really at. And where that's at is not something that I create. Reality isn't something that I create, that any one of us individuals create, but it's just there as an experience of truth within inside us, and the only way to reach it is just completely surrender to Maharaj Ji, to allow him to take us there. And that's what he wants to do, that's what he really wants to do. It's how he really wants to work with us. And that's the only way he can work with us - when we're surrendered.