No. 36, February 1977
MAHARAJ JI ON THE MOVE
Quite a few months back now, Guru Maharaj Ji told some premies in Denver that he was "going to start getting into Divine Light Mission." Perhaps at that time they wondered what exactly Maharaj Ji meant-how much could one person do? The answer to that question is becoming plainer every day: if that one person is Guru Maharaj Ji, he can do a lot. More, in fact, than one could imagine possible….
First, there was the Atlantic City festival. Guru Maharaj Ji explained himself in the satsangs he gave, how he came to be there. On his way back to Malibu to rest after his tour of South America, Africa and Europe, he was handed a premie-made brochure inviting him to a weekend meditation retreat being held in mid-December at the New Jersey seaside resort by the communities in the area. Impressed but tired, he said nothing. Then next thing anybody knew, he was in Atlantic City, and so too were 3,200 premies from all over the eastern United States and Canada.
There was a Saturday night
The Golden Age
birthday party with Maharaj Ji, complete with what he called "casual satsang", and a huge cake. There was slow, personal darshan on Sunday, and a powerful evening satsang program. The following day Maharaj Ji met with the coordinators of the east coast communities; he also found time to interview about 15 initiator candidates.
Many people who attended the weekend felt it was "really a turning point" for them. Maharaj Ji himself was very pleased with the program - as Bill Patterson told the Denver staff, "Atlantic City was really significant, Maharaj Ji really felt that. He was very happy with the whole thing that happened there, the response of premies, the love that was there, the sincerity that was there. Something happened that was more than just a satsang program, there was like a change there, it was something …."
Then it was back to California, where Guru Maharaj Ji spent the weeks around Christmas personally supervising the initiator training program. The first group of five North American premies spent a little over a week at Malibu with Maharaj Ji and initiators Jagdeo and Ira Woods, before being sent out on tour in their respective countries. That gave the U.S. communities four new initiators: Sherry Weinstein and Michael Parragon from Buffalo, Richard Neal from Philadelphia, and John Hampton, who has been travelling with Maharaj Ji. Anne Johnston returned to Canada to tour the eastern cities there.
A week later, a second group of premies, including Australia's Julie Collet, arrived at Malibu for a ten-day stay with Maharaj Ji. Once again, Ira and Jagdeo were there to help out, and so too was Bill Patterson on his return from Denver (see p. 11). And once again, Maharaj Ji confirmed five new initiators at the end of this program. Besides Julie, there was Barbara Kolodney, who has been answering Guru Maharaj Ji's mail - Barbara has been touring the Rocky Mountains region of the U.S. since she became an initiator; Francisco Arce, regional coordinator for the mission in South America - Francisco went to Denver at the end of the program at Malibu; Randy Prouty from the U.S.; and Diego de Alzaga from Argentina. Guru Maharaj Ji instructed Randy and Diego to stay at Malibu for the time being. Krishnasukanand, who also participated in the program, has been in Canada since then.
From all accounts, the programs were an amazing experience for all who took part in them. Maharaj Ji played with the premies, gave satsang, urged them to ask any questions they might have, and to top it off, each group received a Knowledge review from Guru Maharaj Ji personally.
At the end of the second program, Maharaj Ji took his family, Bill Patterson, Michael Dettmers and the premies who normally do service at Malibu, and set off northwards for a camping holiday. Julie, who watched the little caravan of vehicles wind around the hill from the residence, remarked that she wondered what Maharaj Ji would get up to during the two-week journey. She felt sure, from her experience at Malibu, that he'd be doing something - for the premies who went with him at least. But as it turned out, more premies than just the few that travelled from Malibu benefitted from the trip: late in the evening of Wednesday, 26 January, premies all over North America were phoned and invited to a program with Guru Maharaj Ji, to be held on Sunday 30 January at Portland, Oregon, a town in the north-west of the United States. Surprise!
About 2,400 premies managed to arrive in time. On Saturday evening, there was a beautiful premie satsang program. Sunday afternoon, there was a slow, intimate darshan line. At the Sunday evening program, Guru Maharaj Ji spoke about the current situation of the world, and the necessity for premies to have much determination in their practice of Knowledge now. He told everybody the secret of meditation - just do it! After satsang, arti was sung, and Maharaj Ji went backstage to return with Hans Pal in his arms, followed by Durga Ji holding Premlata.
Again, Guru Maharaj Ji said he was very pleased with the program. On Monday, he met with all the community coordinators still in Portland.
When he returns to Malibu early in February, Maharaj Ji will be holding a third initiator training session.
There are ten premies in this group: Loring Baker, national coordinator from Venezuela; Celso Lousada, Brazilian national coordinator; Mattias Bretscher from Switzerland (Mattias, some Australian premies may remember, visited Australia to work as a ski-instructor in 1975); Nadine Le Bas from France; Claire Tremblay and Stuart McDougal from Canada; Judy Osborne from England, who had been doing service at Malibu - Judy was the midwife at Premlata's birth; Canadian Brian McDermott, who has been coordinating Unity School in Denver (see p. 22); Americans Joan Apter, who has been doing service in Los Angeles while Raja Ji was there, Eliot Brye, who has been working in the kitchen of the IHQ offices, and Los Angeles community coordinator David Smith.
Guru Maharaj Ji has also asked all the initiators currently touring in North America to return to Malibu this week. Maharaj Ji said that he had "put the engine in" and now he wants to "tune it up".
Raja Ji, Guru Maharaj Ji's brother, and his wife Claudia have recently left Los Angeles for Rome. They plan to spend four months in Italy, and will be attending programs throughout Europe.
THE GOLDEN AGE
We had planned to include in this issue a financial breakdown of the costs involved in producing the Golden Age. As most people probably know, the 60¢ charge per issue does not cover our total production costs:the balance has, in the past, been met through AMP.
However all this may soon change. We are hoping that the paper has matured to the point where it can be self-sufficient. This will mean a price increase-probably to $1-00 or $1-20. It will also mean, however, that more AMP money will be available for programs, community activities, etc.
Anyway, we will let you know the financial details next issue-the reason they aren't included here is because we are still investigating the possibility of reducing costs in a couple of areas.
One point that may be worth mentioning is that whatever the price increase now, it is unlikely to rise again in the near future. Increased circulation is a good counterbalance for inflation, and our circulation has, over past weeks, begun to increase once more. We even received an order for 70 copies per month from South Africa recently….