No. 36, February 1977

Fiji

Premie children at birthday celebration, Suva From Kari Kristiansen, who recently spent four post-university exam weeks in Fiji with three other Melbourne premies.

I didn't want to let too much time go by without writing this article, because the experiences in Fiji were so interesting - definitely worthy of sharing.

Certainly it was a very challenging experience to arrive in the middle of the Suva premie community. According to national coordinator Chotubhai Patel, there are about 300 people who have been initated (sic) in the whole of Fiji. The bulk of them live in and around the capital, Suva, which is situated on an island called Leyu. There are, however, quite a few premies in other parts of the country.

The premies are all Indians and moreover, all except for one married couple are Gujerati - that is, they come from a state on the West coast of India called Gujerat. In Fiji in general there are three distinct groups of people: the Fijians, born and bred there; the Fijian-born Indians whose ancestors came to Fiji as indentured labour around the turn of the century; and thirdly, the Gujeratis, who were born in India and came as young men to Fiji to enter into business.

Chotabhai Patel and his wife Bhuli Ben received Knowledge in South Africa in 1971, whilst visiting Bhuh Ben's parents there. Her parents had received Knowledge in

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The Golden Age

Last night in Suva - Kari with some of the Suva premies India during the time of Shri Hans Ji Maharaj - so the story goes. Upon their return they started telling some of their business colleagues and Gujerati friends about Knowledge, so that by 1973, when an initator - Durga Bai from India - came to Fiji, there were a lot of people interested in receiving Knowledge. She initiated about 150 people altogether. Rajeshwar came in 1974 and held quite a few Knowledge sessions, and so too did Padarthanand in his two visits. Meanwhile Guru Maharaj Ji himself came in 1974. Ira revealed Knowledge to only one person from Fiji during his stay earlier this year.

Satsang is held each Tuesday and Saturday evening in the home of premies and the average attendance is about 30. Each evening between 6 and 7, time is set aside for group meditation, and there is children's satsang on Sunday mornings.

We found we had a lot to share. During our stay, one of us was asked to give satsang almost every time, and this was translated. Everyone was very loving to us. The premies are all in families: father, mother and children have all received Knowledge. Every day someone would call around to take us out or talk to us - little children or the wives. They would bring gifts and ask for satsang. In the end they were coming and meditating with us in the mornings, as they all live close by.

On Guru Maharaj Ji's birthday we had a huge celebration in the Suva Town Hall. About 300 people came and there was Krishna Lila dancing and satsang. Again, we were asked to give satsang and everyone really noticed how happy the four of us looked. All the time I found myself conveying something very simple and practical, and above all I tried to be an example.

One Sunday the premies hired a bus and we all went down the coast to the beach, and had a picnic: a really beautiful day just relaxing with everyone. Other days were spent visiting premies' homes, eating numerous hot, hot, oh so hot curries and just talking We also visited their businesses such as clothing stores, supermarkets and duty-free shops.

After we'd been in Suva for about two weeks we decided to go and see some of the islands and perhaps even live in a Fijian village. So we drove up the coast for a couple of hours and took a 3-hour ferry ride to an island called Ovalau, on which the old capital of Fiji, Levuka, is situated. When we arrived, we took a stroll down the main street, and walked into a clothing store, where we noticed a photo of Guru Maharaj Ji. Yes, some long-lost premies! That night they asked us to have a satsang program in their house. Meanwhile we met some Canadians at our guest house who came also, and in the end there were Indians, Fijians, Gujeratis and Europeans all together in satsang. Which for Fiji is remarkable.

All in all, it was quite an amazing holiday. Just the opportunity to share so much satsang was something I really appreciated. As I found myself pointing out over there, although my understanding is fairly meagre, I still had something to say. I guess there's some potential within everyone who's trying to practise Knowledge - the point is just to let it out and build from there.

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