TWO
THE GOLDEN AGE
No. 19 APRIL, 1975

Fiji

There are more Indians in Fiji than native Fijians. The majority come from the Gujerat state of India and form the backbone of the business world in duty-free Fiji. So far, all premies in Fiji are Indians and can be recognised by their devotion, humility and simplicity. Wherever Mahatma Padarthanand Ji travelled he was greeted with utmost respect. Each morning, before the children went to school, one family would arrive to prostrate before him with their offerings of fruit and flowers. In some of the smaller country towns, even people on the street would recognise him as a saint and greet him with folded hands. Prior to the main program at Levuka, the original capital of Fiji, Mahatma Ji was met by the local Brahmin priest who, without hesitation, undertook to introduce the program and welcome Mahatma Ji to the island. At this program, as in others, the crowd stood up when Mahatma Ji entered and took his seat. The Brahmin's face unfolded like a flower during satsang and at the end he sang the praises of the darshan and satsang of a saint.

Mahatma Padarthanand Ji has now visited Fiji three times and as a result 400 brothers and sisters have received Knowledge in Fiji. The highlight of Fiji's premie history, however, was the recent visit of Guru Maharaj Ji and Durga Ji and their program on November 11 last year.

There has been no need to channel much energy into establishing a premie community in Fiji. A strong community of Indian brothers and sisters exists naturally and now part of that community is united in extending Maharaj Ji's love to the native Fijian community. With no premie in full-time service and no ashram or centre fully devoted to propagation, progress at the moment is a little slow. However, as a result of Mahatma Ji's tour around the main island and smaller islands, hundreds have now heard about Guru Maharaj Ji and Knowledge.

During his tour, Mahatma Ji adopted many modes of travel: a nine-seater aeroplane, a chuggy cargo boat, crowded buses and various premie vehicles. The programs were all well attended, ranging in size from 40 to 400 people in temples, picture theatres, halls and private homes. Mahatma Ji stayed in premies' houses - mostly situated above or behind the family's duty-free shop.

Premies in Fiji have been able to express their business expertise in two major fund-raising ventures. In September 1974, a 12-mile "walkathon" was organised and as a result $ 1,000 was raised to help purchase Who Is Guru Maharaj Ji?, a projector and screen. The second venture was the Arland Bazaar, which sold secondhand clothes and delicious Indian foodstuffs. From the $400 profit, news of Mahatma Ji's visit was taken to the main street of Suva.

Mahatma Ji returned to Australia with a gift from Fiji - four small Super 8 films of Guru Maharaj Ji's and Durga Ji's visit to Suva, which features premies singing Arti to the source of their devotion and the children performing Raas Lila (Lord Krishna and Gopis) in traditional Gujerati costume

As there are many more sisters than brothers in the community, regular "sisters' satsang" is held each Monday and Thursday afternoon. And each Friday after school 40 or 50 children gather to conduct their own "children's satsang". Their gatherings vary - either a formal style satsang highly coloured I with the stories of great saints and the distribution of prashad, or peels of laughter and noise as they try to work out a satsang play for a special occasion They're a real joy to be with and they certainly keep the community on its 1(w

Propagation in the South-East Pacific at this stage is linked in a beautiful triangle - Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. As these Missions grow, it becomes obvious that more than one Mahatma is needed to attend to premie needs and propagation.*