The Golden Age
The peaceful hills, surroundings of the Retreat House, Belair, played host to 70 members of the Adelaide and Whyalla communities and their children for a weekend meditation retreat. The Retreat House is run by Church of England nuns of the Holy Name order, who seemed to be a little bewildered by our idea of a meditation weekend.
Activities included a showing of "What's So Bad About Feeling Good?", the film mentioned by Guru Maharaj Ji in his Sydney Opera House satsang. The audience saw it a little differently from Maharaj Ji … the cinema-scope film was projected through an ordinary lens when the special lens refused to work.
The PLAyers entertained themselves and everyone else on the Saturday night with a "talent" quest which included several skits and impersonations. Afterwards Rainbow Music's driving beat encouraged dancers to dislodge the ancient floorboards from their ancestral home.
As a balance to these activities, frequent group meditations were held in "the crypt" And aspirants and premies gathered to watch a videotape of Mahatma Padarthanand answering pre-Knowledge questions.
" class OF '75" DINNER
Premies who received Knowledge this year gathered with those who hope to receive it soon, for a dinner-party on Guru Maharaj Ji's birthday.
The group of about 30 took over Corndolly's vegetarian restaurant where premie John Gillis is a chef.
After the dinner, the party re-assembled in the garden of the DUO House, Unley, where the Class of 75 shared their experiences, and the changes Knowledge brings, with those preparing to take the plunge. Despite heat and mosquitoes the outdoor satsang flowed joyfully on until after 10 pm.
A warm sun and the love of a hundred premies shone on Chris and Shane Marshall during their wedding last month.
In a simple outdoor ceremony at Balhannah, in the Adelaide hills, Shane and Chris (formerly Chris Willcott) exchanged vows, rings and garlands.
Soon after the ceremony, a spattering of rain heralded an afternoon of showers. But feasting and merrymaking to the sounds of Rainbow Music continued under cover until late afternoon.
Shane and Chris are the first couple in Adelaide's DUO house at Unley, where their wedding certificate is proudly affixed to their door!
ASHRAM ON THE HILL
One of the Yatala premies, Ray Gunning, 24, was recently released after spending just over five years "in can". The Golden Age interviewed him two weeks after he joined the Adelaide community.
What differences have you noticed between practising Knowledge here in the world, and practising Knowledge in The Ashram on the Hill?
In gaol there's a very limited amount of satsang, and a very limited amount of service you can do, because tasks there are allocated. So all you've got is meditation - and plenty of time. You're in a cell about 12 x 7 feet for 16½ hours a day, or 18 hours a day on weekends, and you only sleep 8 hours. If you've got Knowledge, the only thing you can do with the time is meditate.
So you've got one really strong leg of the old three-legged stool of satsang, service and meditation, but satsang and service are a little bit weak.
I used to do a really long meditation at night, then miss out in the morning
because there was no way of waking myself up early. Out here there's more of a balance with morning and evening meditation.
Then you can go to satsang regularly. You can apply yourself to service. And there are ample reminders to put yourself onto the Word, with so many distractions around!
How do you find being exposed to so much satsang?
Really good. Every time I've been to satsang I've experienced better meditation, and been able to do better service. Even your own satsang is just as good as anybody else's. If it's coming from the centre, then it's worth listening to. It inspires you, and teaches you a lot about yourself that otherwise you wouldn't realise.
What brought you to Knowledge in the first place?
At first I tried the booze trip, the drug trip … everything that was going. And I came to think the whole setup had let me down, and that society was useless. It had caused my problems and therefore I didn't care what I did to society. And this was the attitude that got me into prison.
I was a pretty wild sort of a bloke. I went in on housebreaking charges for a start. Then I escaped, and there was a kidnapping involved in that. Then, while going to court for kidnapping, there was an assault on a prison officer. And I managed to spend six months in separate confinement for assaulting the prison officer.
About three weeks of that time was spent in solitary confinement. There were no books to read except the Gideon bible and no radio, and only one hour's exercise out of the cell each day. In that environment the only thing I could do was think.
I started to re-hash the old society hate that I had. Then I finally came up with the fact that it wasn't society at all, but it was me … it was my mind that was causing all the trouble.
As soon as I got out of the confinement division I started searching through the prison library for something that could open up an interest. I picked up the book "Teach Yourself Zen" and read through that. There seemed to be something there, but it was a heavy trip.
Then I struck up a friendship with a guy there who is practising Tibetan Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism. I listened to what he had to say, and read a lot of books on the subject, and decided to be a Buddhist. I went on the vegetarian trip, although "vegetarian" there meant boiled cabbage and boiled potatoes; I'd realised that it was the only way to be.
Then I tried the meditation techniques which were explained in the sacred texts.
I had some slight results, but kept saying to myself, there's something missing. I re-read the whole lot, only to find that it was just a guideline for something a guru can give you. So I needed a guru. But there was nothing I could do while I was in can, so I made up my mind that I'd go to India when I got out, and try to find a guru.
Daryle Snelling (now a premie) whom I'd dragged into this Buddhism trip, carried on with it after me, and got involved with the Theosophical Society and the Buddhist Society, and so on. Daryle came to me one day and said there were some people from Divine Light Mission who would like to visit me. I'd never heard of DLM, but when he said the name Guru Maharaj Ji something just went bang in my head.
Was that when you started hearing satsang?
Some premies came and told us about Knowledge in a conversational way. Then Mahatma Ji came in and gave satsang. So the first satsang I ever heard was from Mahatma Ji. The whole experience of Mahatma Ji just blew me right out of my mind. His accent was a little hard to understand, so instead of trying to make out each word, I just let it flow through me.
The funny part of it was that I was called out in such a way that I thought I was going to be charged for some offence or other. Then I was told I was wanted for a visit in the chapel. I'd never been to the chapel in all the time I'd been in prison, and had to be directed there.
Every weekend after that the premies would come in and give satsang. After saying "How are you," they'd lean back and close their eyes and meditate on the Word, and I'd feel this incredible tingling of relaxing and peace throughout my body. I'd think "Wow! These guys are having an influence on me, it's so good!"
About six weeks later Mahatma Ji came to the prison and gave pre-Knowledge satsang on the Friday. On the Saturday he gave Knowledge to five of us.
And so you began to meditate.
I went through a stage where I thought I was going to be a mahatma, I was having such beautiful meditations! I've since found out that lots of people go through that.
I was still really into my ego. I was forcing myself to meditate - not because I liked it, but because it was going to make a good premie of me - for incredible hours. Sometimes I did five hours, sometimes seven hours. One night I sat meditating all night. Then during the day I'd remember the Word. And each night I would actually calculate how much meditation I'd done, including the time spent remembering the Word. I'd say, this is incredible, I did five hours today, or seven hours today, or ten hours today, or 15 hours today … wow, I'm really becoming a good premie.
Then it dawned on me … hey, you shouldn't be remembering the times you meditated, you should be remembering the times you're not meditating. It hit me really solidly. It was then that I realised this is no ego trip. I realised what it was.
People spend so many years in prison. Without Knowledge, do you think it does them any good? When someone is in gaol, does he contemplate his crime? Is he aware of why he is in gaol?
No, he's not. I made a study of the guys in prison, once I'd got over my own problems … that is, when I'd made the decision that I needed to do something, and had a rough idea of the plan of action.
The "lifers" are a separate classification. They're in there for murder and, in many cases, it's the one and only wrong thing they've ever done in their lives. Often it's an emotional thing, where something just snaps and -bang - they've done it.
Probably they'll never do another thing wrong in their lives. So they are the least criminal people in there, and they're doing the longest sentences. One man got a 30 year sentence with a minimum of 20 years for killing a man who tried to rob him. And yet there are guys in there doing about six months, who are far worse criminals than this man could ever be.
But taking aside these guys who are doing life, and looking at the rest of the prison population … so many of these guys have been through boys' homes and brought up in a situation which made them anti-social. They're not thinking about the crimes that put them in can … they're thinking about the crimes in the future.
They don't want to change. They're making their way up in the criminal world. Really, it's a pretty cruel state of affairs when someone's only aim in life is his own destruction.
I studied that scene. And I studied the Aboriginal scene. There has been so much prejudice levelled at the Aboriginal people for so long, that when we try to break the barrier down, they put it up again. Frankie Ansell, a part-aboriginal in there, has received Knowledge, which is a bit of a breakthrough, because Frank can talk to both sides. He's helped to bring some dark guys to satsang. But even though the love-vibe is pretty strong, they feel out of place because of this barrier of their own making. So even though they may like it, they don't come again. Like in the gaol, they're not segregated, but they keep one yard to themselves.
I was able to get through to one guy who most of the Aborigines looked up to, so I was accepted by them and could propagate amongst them to a certain extent. But now it's up to Frankie.
What did the prison officers think about Knowledge?
We used to get gibed about it for a start. They used to call us Hare Krishnas. Then they noticed a few people giving their Jai Satchitanand greeting, clasping the hands to the forehead. One or two prison officers used to imitate this when they saw a premie coming, mumbling something because they didn't know what was said.
I pulled them up, and told them "Jai Satchitanand" are the words spoken in that greeting. And they got a really good vibe from that, because it was given in love rather than in a snide way. They picked up on that. And whenever they saw a premie then they'd smile and bow and say Jai Satchitanand, even though they didn't really know what it meant.
As far as the relationship with premies went, there were one or two who were a bit hoity-toity, but they were like that with everybody. Most of them were pretty open …even some officers who weren't able to be open with other people were open with premies.
Will you be going back to Yatala to give satsang?
Normally 12 months has to elapse before a released prisoner is allowed to return on visits. But the Director of Correctional Services said that I should re-apply for permission in six months. He said he was impressed not only by first-hand meetings with the premies, but by reports coming back from the prison.
From what he was saying, it's possible that night activities for the prisoners may be starting up, in which case we may be able to have satsang one or two nights a week. This would give the guys in there more time on the weekends for visits.
There are five people waiting for Knowledge now, as well as three premies. And the number of others who come to satsang varies between about six and twenty. That's amazing, considering the prison population is only 300.
Have you found any prejudice against you amongst the premie community?
What about with other people?
To a lot of people, being in prison is a pretty heavy thing. So I made them aware of it at work. Rather than have them build up an impression of me and have it shattered by their concept of prisoners, I thought it better to let them know I've been in gaol, so they can get to know me on that basis, knowing that I've done can, rather than believing I'm something that I'm not.
So far I've had no prejudice. There are some problems with one guy but I think that's more of a clash of working styles. Anyway I'm able to meditate and stay calm while he flies off the handle, so a scene doesn't develop
What do you see in the immediate future?
I want to balance myself a little more. I've spent so long concentrating on one aspect of Knowledge (meditation) that I want to even things up a bit.
As in the other states, the main thrust of developing the community in Hobart has been in the areas of introductory programs and Knowledge seminars. An introductory program is held each week and new people are coming regularly. A Knowledge seminar has been started two nights a week as well as special satsang in one of our DUO households.
As an aid to develop the understanding throughout the whole premie community, workshops have been held where the whole process and consciousness behind a person approaching Knowledge was clarified through the aid of flow charts, etc.
The community is being reinforced gradually through the development of WWA, PLA and general premie activities. Meditation retreats and film and dinner evenings are held regularly and especially at times like these, it seems more obviously clear what a delicate, yet tightly woven vine of love Maharaj Ji is weaving amongst all his devotees in binding them together as a unit in his universal family.
Sunday is our community day with yoga, group meditation, workshops and community meeting in the morning, followed by lunch and WWA in the afternoon. At the moment we are in the embryonic stage of establishing a phone tree system where premies can share an immediate snippet of news or be informed on the latest 'short notice' premie social function. The two latest happenings (and probably two of the most successful) was the progressive dinner on Christmas Eve involving the two DUO households, ending up at the ashram and the 'never to be forgotten' social garden party (in after-5 dress from any era of your choice) elegantly staged at Grosvenor Street to see the New Year in.
Satsang is developing to cater for people of different time, place and situation. At the moment, this is how our weekly satsang calendar stands
Monday: Group meditation and premie satsang
Tuesday: Premie satsang
Wednesday: Satellite satsang
Thursday: Adult and Eastern shore satsang as well as normal premie satsang
Friday: Introductory program
Saturday: Introductory satsang follow up
Sunday: Community satsang with skits, films, slide shows, etc. to cater for the whole family
Recently a yoga weekend was organised through the Adult Education Centre in Hobart. They contacted us and asked if we could do the catering for twenty people over the two-day weekend period. We were delighted.
Kevin Ryan (premie Naturopath from Geelong) was also contacted and agreed to deliver a lecture on natural health to all interested people on the first night of the school. From all accounts, if any one thing highlighted the weekend it was the food. It created such a buzz between all the housewives who made up a majority of the school, 'But where can I buy buckwheat from?' asked one lady. Everyone was curious about the simple, yet delicious taste of the food. Many hadn't sampled home made rye bread before, let alone tasted tempuras or sipped alfalfa tea. All the premie vegetarian cook books were quickly sold out. There were many inquiries about cooking lessons.
The weekend was a huge success and a similar function is being arranged by the Adult Education Centre for February. This time a 'Natural Living' summer school involving well known organic gardeners and naturopaths from different areas. Kevin Ryan has been invited to deliver another talk and again we are doing the catering, this time giving cooking instructions. The school will last for five days.
WWA has been in existence in Hobart for one year now and it provides service for about 30 premies.
The two main projects at present are prisons and youth, with PLA steadily evolving into a workable unit.
The highlight of the youth project this year was when the staff of 'West Winds' Boys' Home put on a vegetarian feast for ten of the premies that have been involved in service there. The unexpected surprise came when Father Christmas arrived with clanging bell and a "Ho, Ho!" He then proceeded to hand out presents to staff, boys and premies alike. It was a practical example of that family of love which manifests from Maharaj Ji's Knowledge. There were party games, dancing, lots of laughter and to top it off, half an hour in front of one of the housefather's colour TV. The boys' home is visited twice a week and premies are halfway through constructing an adventure playground with the assistance of the boys.
In the area of Prisons, projects involve the maximum and medium security sections of Risdon Prison and the minimum security - Hayes Prison Farm.
A team of premies participate in debating each fortnight with tea and biscuits following. There is always so much love and regard in these gatherings and last week's debate was no exception. The title was 'A woman is always a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke' (Rudyard Kipling). Our Phoenix Debating Team was narrowly defeated by the prison team after an extraordinary battle which even included the Chairman sprouting witty remarks whenever the opportunity arose. The style of the evening was hilarious and our third speaker finished off by explaining that the Rhetoric ancient Greek school of thought had the art of making the ridiculous sound sensible, but that the opposition weren't even pupils, as they made the ridiculous sound even more ridiculous. The whole room often broke into fits of laughter and applause as joke after joke hit the floor. Nobody really cared about the outcome, but only about the beauty of the sharing in that communication of love. All the premies present felt the grace of being thrust into the moment of that service.
As well as debating, the prison program also includes
letter writing and visiting the prisoners. Soon premies will be involved in a teaching program for illiterate prisoners, and, at this stage, the prison administration is looking into the possibility of PLA doing a concert at the prison farm. In addition PLA will be having regular concerts at the Royal Derwent Hospital.
Over the festive season the PLA players very successfully staged a pantomime at the ashram for the neighbourhood children and parents, then immediately rushed to repeat the performance in the childrens' ward of the Royal Hobart Hospital. The players have been approached to do the pantomime for children at the giant East-lands Shopping Complex in the New Year.
MAHARAJ JI IS EIGHTEEN
In our family of love there seems to be a universal zeal for food, laughter and fancy dress parties. To wear a costume brings it home that we are living the play of life.
On Wednesday evening, 10th December, the enthusiasm burst onto the Taroona ashram: numerous wizards (of Earthsea, no doubt), Alice's white rabbit, an overgrown hen and rooster, an oversize hairy baby and even the littlest angel were accosted at the door by Bonnie and Clyde armed with water pistols. MC'ed by the ever-dapper Rob Love, the menagerie barn danced on the ashram lawn, rock and rolled on the terrace and returned to childhood party games.
Then the traditionally heart-shaped birthday cake was brought out; 'Happy Birthday' was sung to our Lord without whom none of this would have been possible.
The site for the meditation retreat was ideal to say the least. Most facilities were to be found in one very large modern complex set amongst lawn and natural bush surroundings. A short walk from the living area would open onto a small beach snuggled into a picturesque setting including some of the most gentle and sheltered stretches of coastline south eastern Tasmania has to offer. This was Conningham with its white beaches, gentle surf, sheltered surrounding hills and a noticeable lazy balanced atmosphere. It was also our home for the next two days. Yet again we had all gathered together as a family unit. Premies, aspirants, friends and children too numerous to tally had assembled in recognition of that thread of love and life-force common to us all. The nucleus of the retreat being Guru Maharaj Ji's eighteenth birthday.
The first night's celebration took the form of a very funny play by ashram premies entitled 'As the years go by' or for the want of a more appropriate title, 'My God, What's Happening'. This was followed quickly (to the delight of all the premies) by the film 'Family of Love'.
The opportunity was also taken to illustrate and emphasise the needs and trends of our particular community and, in turn, our part in a national and international family. This took the form of three workshops: Community Development, WWA and a workshop on Natural Childbirth.
It is not every day the DUO Director gets the opportunity to change his role as an administrator. However, to the delight of 25 children who attended two Christmas parties for a mobile kindergarten our illustrious Nils donned the red and white garb of that mystical character called Santa Claus. He was supported in his role by a colourful premie clown called Mr. Rainbow.
A BARN DANCE EXTRAORDINAIRE
The manner in which Maharaj Ji's birthday has been celebrated by Melbourne premies has differed markedly over the last four years. As time has passed, these occasions have become less ambitious
and complex, and provided a simple opportunity for premies to enjoy themselves and to thank Guru Maharaj Ji yet again for the experience we have been shown.
This year, Fitzroy's infamous Bocskai Chambers, 300 hillbilly premies and friends and Melbourne's premie band from the back blocks, "Magic Pudding", came together to provide a four hour barn dance the like of which has not been seen before, nor is likely to be seen again. Peter Andrianakis spent hours transforming the stage of "The Chambers" into a small forest covered with trees, hay bales, picket fences and archways. The band and comperes were almost lost amid the foliage.
From the outset, the 'Pudding' set a fast pace, instructing the dancers in the intricacies of performing "The Progression", "The Waves of Tory", and various other rustic routines. The dance floor was packed despite the exhausting pace, and by good fortune the only major injuries were raw feet and bruised toes. The comperes, Pete and Dave, filled in the gaps between music sets, and tried to keep the program flowing smoothly despite the apparent threat of bomb scares, car accidents, gas leaks and assassination attempts which might have marred the "perfect program".
The highlight of the evening came when 'Magic Pudding' led the crowd in singing "Happy Birthday" to Guru Maharaj Ji which was followed by the cutting of the huge birthday cake. Pete and Dave drew the raffle; the prize was a new skateboard personally tested and approved by Paul Mayberry, the DUO Director. The third prize was an 'all expenses paid' night at Rosanna ashram and was won by Paul Mayberry. Second prize was 3-weeks straight of coordinating satsang and was won by Paul Mayberry. Rumours were rife at this stage that the raffle was rigged, but the winner of the skateboard proved to be Mrs. Freda Davies (who is not Paul Mayberry's mother despite what some people say).
The evening culminated in one long last barn dance. Then weary dancers collected their portion of the delicious birthday cake, and made their way home.
In Melbourne there has been a lot of activity centered around Knowledge preparation. About 25 premies have been involved in some way or another whether it be by giving satsang, assisting with transport, making the tea or providing the music.
Two Knowledge Preparation Courses have been running simultaneously, involving 20 brothers and sisters. The first five weeks of two nights a week have already covered a general introduction, Service, Satsang, Meditation and Guru Maharaj Ji. In some cases these topics were given a practical flavour to them. With the meditation a special meditation workshop was held, in which everyone was asked to visualise a scene in their mind and concentrate on it. At the same time distractions such as foot stomping and general noisiness were created in order to give a realistic exercise in mind control. With the topic of satsang, everyone had an opportunity to give satsang, whilst with service an in-service day was held where everyone cleaned up the ashram.
Speaking to Cathy Starrs, coordinator of Knowledge Preparation in Victoria, she mentioned how quickly the aspirants were gaining an understanding and, that practical experiences like the Meditation Workshop and in-service day enhanced this growth. It is intended after Christmas that the two courses will amalgamate for three weeks before the actual three day Seminar with Mahatma Ji. During this time more personal interaction will hopefully take place as well as more initiative on the part of the aspirants.
The Pre-Knowledge satsangs, which have been running sideby-side with the courses and attracting up to 30 people each time, will split into two groups in the New Year. The process of coming to receive Knowledge will spread out over four to five months, beginning with a four-week pre-course satsang and afterwards the eight-week course itself. At this stage the three-day seminar with Mahatma Ji will take place and possibly a Knowledge Session. Then there will be a six week post-Knowledge group of satsangs.
Cathy mentioned the possibility of a similar kind of course for premies who feel they could benefit from six or eight weeks of special satsang. She emphasised how instrumental the Knowledge Preparation activities have been in developing premies and bringing about cooperation in the premie community.
GILWELL PARK MEDITATION WEEKEND - Dec. 6, 7, 8.
Gilwell Park Scout Camp, the venue of the last two meditation retreats held near Melbourne, is situated in the foothills of the Dandenongs about an hour's drive from the city. The camp is well equipped for our purposes since it contains an extensive kitchen and eating hall, a separate hall used for satsang and meditation, and numerous comfortable cabins and other small meeting halls. So under the benign gaze of scoutmasters past and present from the walls of Gilwell Park, over 170 premies and friends came together to eat, meditate and make merry.
The blue skies of Friday night unfortunately gave way to rain during the early hours of Saturday morning, but even those camping under canvas were not deterred, and everything dried out during the afternoon. Many more premies came up from Melbourne for the day to swell the numbers, and over 200 people were catered for on the Saturday evening. It was like a mini-festival. People participating in the pre-Knowledge courses and others waiting for Knowledge had been encouraged to attend the weekend, and many came, so alternative activities were arranged during meditation time. Apart from pre-Knowledge
satsang and yoga classes, tapes and reading materials were made available and service was readily found in the kitchen.
During the free time between meals and scheduled meditation, there were activities to suit all tastes. The more sedate took a stroll in the bush or played with children, whilst the more physically inclined could choose from football, soccer, cricket, volleyball, swimming, badminton, etc. etc. Activities for children and parents were arranged by the play centre staff and included an outdoor play for the children, cartoons. and various creative activities including film painting, while some of the parents and teachers discussed their mutual needs. Later, in the afternoon, the WWA coordinator conducted a workshop attended by about 30 premies.
The program on Saturday evening featured some very high satsang and the film "What's So Bad About Feeling Good?" (which you may remember Guru Maharaj Ji mentioning during the Opera House satsang). The plot revolves around a toucan who flies into New York and transmits a virus which makes everyone happy, and touches off terror amongst officialdom at the implications of a happy society. The program finished in the early hours of the morning with tea and biscuits, and singing around the Camp Fire.
Many, surprisingly, woke up early and meditated for several hours next morning before the Community Development meeting at 11 o'clock, which proved most productive in clarifying the focus of the weekend; that relaxation and community among people is the result of two procedures; practising meditation and following Maharaj Ji's direction.
Terry MacKinnell, National Finance Director and recently returned from the Hans Jayanti Festival and a tour of some U.S. communities, was the main speaker on the Sunday morning. He gave satsang about the importance of Guru Maharaj Ji's direction in our life and explained how Maharaj Ji wants all premies to be clear and informed about his direction. Terry went on to say that there was very little difference between the Denver community and the Melbourne community except that the former was a lot larger; the same activities and trends were occurring there as here, because both are following Maharaj Ji's direction.
The workshop concluded with some specific satsang from Paul Mayberry concerning the Melbourne community and a questionnaire was then distributed to premies to obtain some feedback on the feelings and needs of the community.
The weekend officially ended after lunch on the Sunday, but it was such a beautiful day that many lingered 'til late in the afternoon to swim and sunbake by the river. "Scotty", who coordinated the weekend, was sure it was the smoothest, most relaxing meditation weekend we have experienced, and no-one would disagree. The meals which were prepared were, in themselves, sufficient testimony to the love and cooperation we all experienced.
A Community Day in Perth
Community days have become a Sunday feature in Perth, with one planned for each two weeks all during the summer. Nobody knows quite when they started, but some say they evolved from the days when premies would walk and sing through Kings Park (a large park overlooking the city) handing out pamphlets. Community days serve the dual purpose of bringing the community together and giving premies and aspirants alike much needed rest and relaxation.
Sunday, November 30, was rather a special community day as it was the day we planned to celebrate Hans Jayanti. The day began at 9 o'clock with meditation at the ashram, followed by arti and a short community meeting. Then it was down to the beach.
The weather was hot but the water was rough. All water games were scrapped as swimmers just did their best to stay afloat. No-one was surprised when they read in the next day's paper that 70 people had been rescued from Perth beaches that day.
After lunch everybody moved to Perry Lakes to begin the games in earnest. Picking two teams was perhaps the biggest game. The problem of distinguishing who was on whose side was solved when one team painted their noses white with suntan cream. So it was 'white noses' verses 'bare backs'.
A game of softball was followed by a peculiar game of soccer. Each team had about 20 players. Goal posts were two conveniently placed trees. Boundary lines and rules varied depending on the umpire's discretion. Players were often incapacitated by strange attacks of laughing.
After a short game of volley ball, everybody went home for showers and a rest in preparation for the final leg of the celebrations … more meditation, a hungi* feast at the ashram and a very high satsang at the hall that night.
*A hungi feast is of Maori origin. Vegetables are cooked beneath the earth by steam caused by water being poured on pre-heated stones.