No. 27, March 1976
Guru Maharaj Ji himself may not come to town very often to give us his special inspiration. But on occasion he almost makes up for it by sending one of his initiators. On January 22 Ira Woods arrived in Melbourne for a momentous eighteen-day visit.
At South Yarra Library, the venue for our regular introductory programs and the setting for Ira's first program, everyone was given a glimpse of how incredible the next eighteen days would be. Ira, radiating the clarity and dedication of someone firmly fixed in Truth, really gave us a chance to blast off and get into the nitty gritty of practising Knowledge. From the outset he put it simply; man, he said, is suffering from amnesia. He likened man's dilemma to that of a person who wakes up on the day of a wedding at which he is supposed to be the best man. He gets dressed and prepares to leave the house, but as he goes out the door he forgets what he is supposed to be doing. It completely slips his mind. So he goes to many different places, doing a lot of other things, simply because he's forgotten that he's meant to be at the wedding. All the time he's thinking to himself "there's some place I'm supposed to be." Finally he meets a friend who reminds him that he's supposed to be the best man. When he hears that he's completely elated and at the wedding there's so much love and happiness as he realises where he's really meant to be.
Are you new to this?
If you are, you're probably wondering what exactly is going on.
The Golden Age is a newspaper produced by, and for, people who are doing a special form of meditation, which is taught by Guru Maharaj Ji.
Meditation is something you hear about quite frequently nowadays. People with many different interests, professions and lifestyles are investigating meditation as a means to relax their minds. Living in a society where everything is changing so rapidly, we need way to slow down.
Meditation implies concentration. By focusing the mind on one thing, it is possible to escape from regrets of the past and worries about the future that sometimes occupy our thoughts.
Meditation isn't really something new; in fact, we've been doing it all our lives. A mother who stops her baby's crying with a favourite teddy bear is really offering him a form of meditation. While his attention is directed towards the toy, he forgets the problem that was making him cry. As a child grows up, teddy bears no longer hold his interest, so he gives his attention to more satisfying things. A sling-shot, a racing bike, science-fiction stories, movies, a girl-friend, a university course - the things he chooses change with age. What was satisfying to a twelve-year-old is no longer good enough at twenty-two. Concentrating may be something we just do naturally, but finding something worth concentrating on doesn't seem to come so easily. We always seem to be looking, moving on to something better.
Those of us who practise Guru Maharaj Ji's form of meditation have found that just as it is natural to focus the mind, there is also a natural point to focus on. A point that is always satisfying. That point is inside us. In fact, it's inside everyone. It always has been, because it's the basis of our lives: the energy which keeps us moving and breathing and looking for satisfaction in the first place. It's just that most people aren't aware of it. Guru Maharaj Ji's function is very simple. He just shows you where that point is, and through four simple meditation techniques, teaches you how to contact it at any time.
Once you can experience this energy inside, it becomes very clear why teddy-bears, and sling-shots, and even ultimately girlfriends and university courses are not completely satisfying. Because what a human being is designed to know is something much simpler and much greater. Through meditation, he can fulfil Socrates' injunction to know himself. By going inside, he can find who he really is, beyond all the personality layers that have built up over the years.
On one hand that's quite a big deal. It's 'knowing' at the deepest level; that's why we call it Knowledge. It involves an exploration of life itself, a voyage beyond the last frontier. On the other hand, that voyage is the most natural activity anyone can undertake. Meditation feels a bit like coming home. It reminds you a little of summer mornings when you were a kid. It shows you that the love you felt at different times never really went away. But ultimately, it takes you beyond all memories into a totally new experience, which deepens every day.
That's why we write about it. When you see how beautiful life can be, all you want to do is share that understanding. So if you would like to find out more about the Knowledge Guru Maharaj Ji is revealing, contact the Divine Light Mission centre in your state - they'll be happy to supply any information you want.
NEW SOUTH WALES
63 William Street, East Sydney. 2011. 31-3057
322 Brunswick Street,
Fitzroy, Melbourne. 3065. 419-1184
178 Grote Street,
483 Adelaide Street, Brisbane. 4000.
225 Abbot Street, Cairns. 4870.
16 Dyer Street, West Perth. 6005. 21-6296
20 Grange Avenue,
Taroona, Hobart. 7006. 27-8969
24 St. Stephens Avenue, Parnell, Auckland.
The Golden Age
Throughout all seven of his advertised public programs, Ira made his points clearly and with real sincerity and warmth. As he said, "I've got some good news to share". Drawing from his own experience in life both before and after receiving Knowledge, he managed to pave the way for a response from the public like we've never had before. Midway through his visit over 100 people had already put their names down at the Information desk to find out more.
In two public Question and Answer sessions, Ira patiently answered a myriad of questions ranging from 'How can Knowledge bring world peace? to the usual queries about Guru Maharaj Ji's lifestyle and activities. He summed up by saying:
Those people who limit themselves to the world have narrowed themselves down. Those people who limit themselves to this Knowledge have the whole world opened up to them.
There were opportunities on quite a few occasions for premie satsang with Ira. Many premies received Knowledge Reviews, and in some cases had an opportunity to speak to him individually. He made it very clear to us that the purpose of receiving Knowledge is to fully realise it, and nothing short of that. He reminded us that we had come to Guru Maharaj Ji because we wanted to know Truth, and emphasised how necessary it is to put everything we've got in the right direction and serve Guru Maharaj Ji. Within each one of us is the seed of ego which only the Perfect Master can destroy. Sometimes, losing that ego is a painful process, but if we're patient we realise it's allowing us to become free of all of the obstacles our mind creates. And as he said, there isn't anything to match the fantastic feeling of walking towards Guru Maharaj Ji.
Ira made an effort to spend as much time in and around the community as possible, and his wealth of understanding, gained in over ninety premie communities, really showed up here.
An inspiring afternoon was spent at the North Balwyn ashram where Ira gave satsang to the ashram and pre-ashram premies. He outlined what it means to live in Guru Maharaj Ji's shelter by explaining that when a premie chooses to live in an ashram he is choosing to dedicate his life to Guru Maharaj Ji on every level. But whatever environment we live in, whether it be in an ashram, premie house or anywhere, our first duty is to do service, satsang and meditation.
At the satsang held for the premies participating in the aspirant program and satsang co-ordination, Ira pointed out that the whole aim of the aspirant program is to bring people to the consciousness of the aim of human life. It was clear that only those people who are completely open and trusting can receive Knowledge. He mentioned this at all the public programs also to let everyone know that to give this Knowledge to a person without understanding is like giving a diamond to a monkey. He'll never understand the value of it. As far as the responsibility of the premies doing service in the aspirant program was concerned, he said, quoting an old proverb, "Only the tortoise who sticks his neck out moves forward."
"It was incredible. People just wanted to stay on and talk afterwards." That was how Dolly Huang described Ira's visit to her home for satsang with the older premies. Over forty people, premies and newcomers alike, crowded into her living room to hear him give satsang. Some were obviously curious to see one of Guru Maharaj Ji's western initiators, having seen Padarthanand come to the house on other occasions. All in all, the newcomers ended up very impressed and the premies even more inspired by the tremendous feeling of love and togetherness which Ira's satsang let everyone experience.
And of course Ira's visit was very special for the aspirants. About forty aspirants had been involved in the Knowledge Preparation satsangs and seminars, and all of them had an opportunity to meet with Ira on several occasions. His satsang to them was straightforward: receiving Knowledge is no joke. "Look at Knowledge as something you can give your whole life to. Unless a person can surrender their ego, do service and take direction, the Perfect Master
No. 27, March 1976
can do nothing." The climax of the visit as far as the aspiriants were concerned was the three day seminar. About thirty aspirants and ten premies joined in three days of satsang from 9.30 in the morning to 4.00 in the afternoon, with Ira giving two satsangs as well. As you can imagine, by the end of three days everyone was really shining. Whether they were aspirants or premies, everyone concluded that the whole experience had done wonders in increasing their understanding of Knowledge. The next day -.wee radiant brothers and sisters emerged out of the Knowledge Selection with the prospect of receiving Knowledge the following weakend at the Meditation retreat..
The YMCA Camp, Shoreham, became the home of over 250 premies, aspirants and interested friends, for a Meditation Retreat on the weekend of February 6, 7 and 8. The camp itself was in ideal setting, only an hour's drive from Melbourne and five minutes from the beach. On arrival the campfire looked like a tent city with numerous tents and huts scattered all around the central marquee, the venue for satsang and meditation.
Friday night set the ball with some satsang 7 Ira about the importance of meditation, and the need to fight the mind if we are to succeed at all.
With that inspiration behind them, many people stayed up determined to experience Holy Name without interference.
Arti, more meditation and service in the kitchen and around the campsite got everyone up and about on the Saturday morning. The aspirants had no trouble occupying themselves with satsang, tapes of Guru Maharaj Ji, films and reading material. Assorted premies were seen with children and babies under their wing while the parents had an opportunity to meditate. Swimming ran a poor second to meditation during the day as many premies realised what a good chance it was to do more meditation. As Ira put it, "You've got no commitments over the weekend, so sit down and do a few hours meditation." In the afternoon, we held a fiveminute-per-premie satsang, introduced by Derek Harper with his customary innovative flair.
The main event of the day for three brothers and sisters was the Knowledge Session. Early on Saturday morning in a tent in a far corner of the site, Ira initiated two brothers and one sister into Guru Maharaj Ji's Knowledge. That evening all three gave satsang and we were reminded of the complete Grace and love which Guru Maharaj Ji has for us all. This was even more obvious when 'Family of Love' was shown and the whole marquee became filled with the unity and real joy which only the Knowledge can show. Ira followed up with some very beautiful satsang about Guru Maharaj Ji and the opportunity we have to dedicate our lives to him.
On Sunday, we had a community satsang with Ira and Paul. Ira's satsang emphasised the importance of satsang in the community. He stressed how premies need to give satsang in order to develop their understanding of Knowledge. Paul followed on with a resume of what satsangs are held in the community, and some satsang about the aspirant program. He made it clear that preparing people for Knowledge is the responsibility of the whole community, and doesn't rest on just a few shoulders.
After more meditation and lunch everyone prepared to go home. It had been an incredible weekend, a practical example of the cooperation which comes after making a real effort in meditation. With Ira there moving freely around the camp, queuing up for meals, meditating with us and generally inspiring us, the whole focus of the retreat couldn't help but be on meditation.
When Ira left for Adelaide the next morning, he left the community imbued with a real desire to move forward in Knowledge and dedication to Guru Maharaj Ji. As Paul said, "We've had so much laid out in front of us. We've really been lifted to a new understanding and a new awareness. It's an incredible opportunity to get behind Maharaj Ji's mission."
"I thought I couldn't meditate. I thought I had half a dozen insoluble problems. And in a breath they vanished, and I meditated." This was how one premie described her first encounter with Ira Woods on February 9.
Guru Maharaj Ji has appealed to us this year for understanding. But, knowing what children we are, he's sent an older brother to help us.
The entire community has responded with joy to Ira's directness and clarity. It seems as if we're finally seeing things in perspective, which means we're seeing Knowledge as the reason for our living … some of us for the first time.
Ira has worked tirelessly, giving fascinating public programs and direct premie satsangs. He has given individual satsang to troubled people, and inspired glowing aspirants. And he tells us it's like a holiday!
His Knowledge reviews have been common-sensical rather than cosmic. The general reaction has been a beautiful realisation of how simple meditation is, and how much energy we waste when we try to contrive it. To a much greater degree, we're now channelling that wasted energy back into meditation. The results are rewarding.
Ira has also made us aware of our responsibility, as knowers of Truth, to the rest of the world. He's reminded us of the whole purpose of Maharaj Ji's Mission … to bring peace to the world.
Premies are responding with renewed dedication. A Community Centre, a Family Community Centre and more AMP households are being set up; all in all, thirty premies came to a meeting to discuss a one hundred percent lifestyle. Premies who have been hovering on the fringes of the community are becoming Active Members. A steadily growing number are volunteering for service.
The whole Adelaide Mission, on the eve of its third birthday, has irreversibly shifted up a gear. Perhaps the most amazing thing about it is the lack of emotionalism. This is no trip … it's a change in consciousness.
After spending nine days with the Adelaide premies, Ira flew on to Perth. Recrossing the continent with short stopovers in Adelaide and Sydney, he joined the Queensland premies on March 6.
April 1, Ira returns to Sydney for a week. Then on the 12th he leaves Australia for a tour of New Zealand, Fiji and South-East Asia.