The Golden Age
Maharaj Ji in Denver
From the American Divine Times
Guru Maharaj Ji's first visit to Denver this year was back in January for the Development '76 conference, the first major fundraising conference in DLM history. In late April, he returned to Denver. While he was here, he talked a lot about the need for every premie to focus his life on the experience of Knowledge and on Guru Maharaj Ji.
We have a tendency to sometimes assume too much about our pursuit of Knowledge, Maharaj Ji explained. We try so hard to figure out where we're at and where we're going, that we get lost in the process of our own growth and gradually lose sight of the real focus of our life.
A key word which Guru Maharaj Ji used was "determination". He said there is no substitute for it. We get out of Knowledge what we put into it. The quality of our experience, and the depth of that experience is integrally related to our determination to do service, to do meditation, and to give satsang.
"I can't say anything further than a person has to have determination," he told us. "Am I going to do something or am I not going to do something? It's just that simple."
We should also understand, Maharaj Ji said, that growth is a natural process. If you force it within yourself, or on a group of individuals, it becomes unnatural. We are not trying to force understanding, we are simply trying to constantly focus our lives on Knowledge and on Guru Maharaj Ji. If we can do that, then the growth that we need will automatically happen.
In reference to some of the changes in the Mission that have been discussed over the past few months, Maharaj Ji said that the few days he was to be in Denver this time weren't enough for really considering those changes and implementing them, if necessary. But he reaffirmed that he will be, and always has been, constantly examining the development of DLM and will institute changes as they are needed and in the right time. As he said during his visit in January:
"You see, these changes will slowly, slowly start occurring. I don't know to what extent they are going to occur. I can't tell you. I can't predict that. But we are trying to get rid of the things that were sitting locked up in Divine Light Mission's closet just catching dust, doing nothing to anybody and putting a heavy burden on us. We are just trying to get rid of all that stuff, so that we can really present ourselves properly.
No. 30, June 1976
"As you know, people really don't have the right consciousness about Divine Light Mission. They think it's a cult or a religion. But what do we really teach you? Still, those things confuse people because there are some similarities to be found. Anything that's becoming a burden in the path of Knowledge, I'm just going to eliminate that."
Maharaj Ji also took care of some business matters while here. He reviewed recent Mission activities, gave directions for future development, and finalised plans for his European and North American tours.
Maharaj Ji is expected back in Denver on completion of his European tour.
On 20 May 1976, Bob Mishler, who is accompanying Maharaj Ji on his European tour, telephoned International Headquarters from Geneva, Switzerland. "The Pipeline' IHQ's community newsletter, provided us with these excerpts from the conversation:
"… Maharaj Ji and Durga Ji just had a beautiful anniversary party tonight. They are really happy. To me that is another endorsement of the fact that Knowledge is working, because they are not going to be happy no matter how well things are going for them, if in fact, things aren't going really well in terms of the progress that the premies are making.
Sometimes when we're growing all we feel is the pain of growth, not really recognising the process. But if we recognise the process, then the hope is really clear….
"Maharaj Ji was giving satsang tonight about his readings about the United Nations organisation, because here we are in U.N. territory, Geneva being the second headquarters of the U.N. It's like here everybody is making all the attempts that they possibly can to end confrontation. But beyond that is the actual confrontation that each one of us as a human being has to face in seeing our insecurities and fears and dealing with them in order to be able to open and develop trust and communication with each other. He was saying that when he goes to the United Nations it won't be just for a tour. It will be to really show people that now that we have detente we also have to detente with our own being. But that it is not possible to go through a period of non-confrontation until we actually penetrate through the confrontation of our own fear, and the only thing that is going to make us capable of doing that is to have something that we can have hope in, which is an awareness of what our true source of unity is
"Tell everybody that they should make an effort to really work on their personal relations - that is going to make our functional relations a lot easier.
"Give everybody my love."
The Golden Age
"Keep on Truckin"
Ever wonder what's happening with "Keep on Truckin", the film of the 1975 festivals that Celebration Films have been working on in Melbourne? Well, Project Manager Greg Dee reports that, at the moment, about half the editing has been completed, and that the film should be finished within two months.
The film opens with a bouncy "Keep on Truckin " title sequence that includes falling kids, trucks, a steam train and funky hand-drawn coloured titles (designed by Tony Lunn) that flash on and off, dancing to the music. When this ends, a small cartoon character comes out, and introduces the Caracas sat-sang. A sequence from the Essen festival follows, then two songs - including "Vine of Love" - interspersed with some footage from Sydney. The film ends with the "Keep on Truckin" satsang from the Sydney Opera House.
In the early planning stages of "Keep on Truckin", an animated cartoon sequence was suggested to introduce the film. The idea of a "premie trucker" developed-a funky little character who could, in a few seconds, graphically portray the message of the movie. To get "Frank" the trucker moving, premie cartoonist Jon Puckeridge joined the staff of Celebration Films for a few weeks.
Frank happily trucks onto the screen across a background, turns to the audience and says, "So don't forget, ya gotta keep on truckin'!" So saying, he zips off screen (a la Snagglepuss) and this introduces the opening satsang.
In animation, even a segment as short as this requires a lot of planning and drawing to make it look good. Jon works to twelve drawings per second so a sequence of about 10 to 15 seconds is well over a hundred drawings. Furthermore, the voice track must be analysed on a frame-by-frame basis in order to synchronise the lip movements.
Completed pencil drawings are traced in ink onto separate pieces of clear celuloid. These "cels" are painted in the appropriate colours and are then ready to be photographed sequentially onto movie film. Being clear, the cels allow the character to move across a stationary background placed underneath.
The crew have had to build almost all the equipment for the animation themselves: they now have a small animation studio on the top floor of the Melbourne Divine Sales shop.
All in all, things are progressing well. The voice track has been recorded and analysed and some test footage of Frank looks good. The rest is just steady application and keeping on truckin'!
On the road again
Initiator-on-training Julie Collet is on the road again. Julie,who spent 1975 touring Australia, New Zealand and Fiji with Padarthanand, has been working at National Headquarters for the past five months coordinating the aspirant program Australia-wide. Now, she's off in the field again. On June 4th, she left Sydney for Coolangatta, Queensland.
Other stops planned for up north are Mullumbimby, Cairns and Brisbane. Then it will be back to Sydney for a week at the beginning of July before taking off again for the south. The schedule for the rest of the tour will be:
Melbourne - Monday July 5
Hobart - Thursday July 8
Melbourne - Thursday July 15
Adelaide - Thursday July 22
Perth - Monday July 26
Adelaide - Monday August 2
Sydney - Thursday August 5
No. 30, June 1976
As many of us know, Julie has a lot to give in the way of inspiration and clarity. However she doesn't see it as just a one-way process: on this tour, Julie also expects to learn from the communities she visits. By getting involved with the people who make up the aspirant program at the grass-roots level, Julie aims to get a better understanding of her NHQ service. She's also going to be acting as an agent for The Golden Age, so look out for her reports in the months ahead.
Derek Harper has also been travelling during June - to Melbourne and Adelaide this time. And over in the United States, four of the North American Operations staff (the people at IHQ who are in charge of coordinating the development of the many DLM communities around the United States and Canada) are also visiting the centres they serve.
Why all this travelling? As Jeff Grossberg, one of the IHQ staff going on tour, put it - there is a need for Mission programs to be generated from real experience. Jeff sees staff tours as a major step to practically involving community premies in the development of the overall programs of the Mission.
With five months to go until the tentative festival-convention in November, work is well underway in setting up the organisational structure and slotting in key personnel. To date, IHQ has not confirmed Guru Maharaj Ji's tour schedule, however we are working towards a national convention at the Australian National University, Canberra, in late November. Tentative bookings and arrangements have been made, but further steps cannot be taken in this direction until the site and date are confirmed.
Most of our energies at the present time are going into setting up the necessary organisational structure to carry out the pre-convention planning and design, and the operation of the convention itself. With the emphasis this year on community development, one of the aims of the festival is to take full advantage of the opportunity to experience the nature of our full family. To help this to happen smoothly, we are trying to organise the convention in such a way that "the administration" and other services necessary for the operation of such a function are invisible.
Since the last time The Golden Age reported on NHQ, the staff has been growing. Kerry Gray from Melbourne, and John Cummings from Perth have joined the Productions team, Leslie Lawrence now helps out in the Finance department. Along with the increase in numbers, our awareness of the need for cooperation, and for sound foundations in Knowledge has also grown.
And so we've been looking for ways to get both these things happening, and to keep them happening - we've discovered from experience that it's one thing to have a burst of enthusiasm for getting it on individually and as a collective, but it's a much harder thing to really sustain that energy so that our progress is continuous. What we're doing now is holding a couple of meetings a week: on Tuesday afternoon while the executive staff meet with Derek and Terry, everybody else gets together in the art room; and on Wednesday evenings, we're holding a special staff satsang at the national ashram at North Sydney. Neither of these two meetings have a set format: the plan is to utilise the time in whatever way is most appropriate.
The two Wednesday evenings to date have been - externally at least - like your normal satsang situation: two or three people talking and the rest listening. But because the satsang has been very honest, and because we're all becoming more and more open to being open, both evenings have been very involving for us all.
It's easy when you live in an ashram, do full-time service and work at NHQ to assume that these factors are a stamp of approval on your general state of understanding and experience of Knowledge. With plenty of friends around to help validate your experience or non-experience of Knowledge, life can go on, on, on and, (regardless of what service you do or your regularity in sitting to meditate) you can slip quietly out the window. It's what Bob Mishler calls "unconscious behaviour".
So it is that lately, a good portion of the NHQ staff has been asking themselves "How long has it been since I experienced Knowledge? Is practising Knowledge, as I'm doing it, the same as experiencing Knowledge? Why, if I meditate every day, do 'service' every day, and attend satsang regularly, is my life still periodically dull and my mind dissatisfied and paranoid?"
We've been seeing that, obviously, the practise of service, satsang and meditation isn't enough. What was it that Maharaj Ji said about understanding? And surrender?
So we're feeling like there's a lot to learn. Which is probably a good first step - when you think you know it all, it's not so easy to be open. But once you see that there's a good deal more to understand, a few things start to become obvious. One is your need for Maharaj Ji - directions like "constantly meditate" and "always have faith in God" take on new meaning when you realise you're in unknown territory. And the other is your need for satsang from those who are getting it on - so that you can move towards understanding how to apply Maharaj Ji's directions in your own life.
All in all, it's a very beautiful time around NHQ just now. Feels kind of like we're travelling again.