No. 38, May/June 1977
It seems that playing music for Guru Maharaj Ji is the only event that can keep the members of One Foundation in the same place for as long as a day. On their return to Australia, Ross Hannaford, Joe Creighton and Geoff Bridgford went their various ways in Melbourne, but in Sydney we managed to capture Kim and Lindsay Field for a couple of hours and recorded this interview:
What was the band's initial reaction to the news that you'd be travelling overseas to play for Guru Maharaj Ji?
Lindsay: Shock. Derek rang me up about 8 o'clock in the morning; I was still asleep and it was just amazing. On one hand it was blowing me out from the outside and on the other hand it was exploding inside. I rang Joe up and told him and he said, "Oh, oh, I have to go back to bed for a while and try to work it out." But it was incredible, everyone was just right there. It was like Maharaj Ji just pressed the button and everyone stood up. I had to go down to see Ross because he's not on the phone, and he stepped out of bed and almost got dressed ready to go there and then.
There wasn't any question whether everything would be got together in time or not. You just knew that that was going to happen. It was almost instant focus. Everything just fell into place behind it.
Kim: Another thing, just working as musicians in the world which all of us have been doing for the last few months, you can build up all these little plans and desires, to do things in the world musically. We suddenly realised that the most real thing is to actually do service for Guru Maharaj Ji. It makes everything else seem insignificant. I know that all the things that we had been doing suddenly became insignificant and just that feeling of being able to serve Guru Maharaj Ji became so big inside of us, and everything redirected itself around that.
Maybe you could go through what happened in a chronological order, starting with your arrival in England, and going into rehearsal, Maharaj
Ji's visit there, and the first program.
Kim: Well, we arrived in London and we were taken out to this house which was owned by the mother of the guitar player in Salutations. It was a big mansion in the country. We rested there for a day and then we heard that day that Guru Maharaj Ji wanted to see the band in rehearsal. So the next day they hired a rehearsal studio. It was just a dingy little place in a poorer class London area. All the security guys, Maharaj Ji's security, came in and said Maharaj Ji's going to come this afternoon and they looked around the place and made sure everything was all right.
Then Maharaj Ji eventually came about 3 o'clock. Everyone was apprehensive about seeing him because we hadn't seen him for so long and we'd almost forgotten how we should feel for Guru Maharaj Ji because it's just been so many months since we'd actually seen him, especially so close. He came in and it just seemed to completely break down that whole apprehension that we felt. Maharaj Ji broke it down and made everything relaxed right from point A and he played himself down so far that he was just talking to us about music on a mundane level. Everyone immediately felt at home with him.
He told us how he wanted the music to be in the program and the whole vibe that he wanted to create was a really natural one, no hyped-up music or anything out of balance. He said that he didn't want any of the guitarists to be louder than the band or any of the vocals to be standing out; he just wanted a really mellow feeling in the band, and to carry all the premies along with it but not to try to direct them in any way. He had our song list and he told us what songs he especially wanted us to play. He really liked Power of Love. He said that Power of Love was the hit record that brought us out there, so that we should play it really well.
Lindsay: It's your number one hit record.
Kim: He got us to play that, and he was standing in front of us all the time, just tapping his foot and giving the odd glance of approval whenever he thought the music was good. He said, "Now play something mellow, Arti's mellow, play Arti," so we played some of Arti for him and he said, "Oh, that's okay, just play it a bit slower."
All the time Durga Ji and Hans were rocking away in the background and she made it much easier, too, by being there and enjoying the music. Apparently, Vine of Love is Premlata's favourite song - it was written for her - but she was asleep in the car and Durga Ji asked Lemon, one of the security guys, to see if she was awake.
She wasn't, but eventually they woke her up and brought her down so we could play that song for her.
She just sat there, listening to it. Then Maharaj Ji went to see the other band, Salutations. They'd been broken up for months and months, and he wanted them to come together and play at the program as well. He just said, "See you tomorrow and get some rest," and left. But seeing him again brought back all the confidence in our ability to be able to serve him, because you can lose that really easily and think that you haven't got enough potential to even be a premie, to serve Guru Maharaj Ji the way that he needs to be served. He just gave that back to us.
Lindsay: He was really specific about the whole London Program. He organised everything himself, did it all himself, like even down to which songs we'd play. He was going through the song list and he'd say, "What's this song?" and we'd play a verse and chorus of it and he'd say, "that's okay," and all the ones he asked for, that became the program list.
We'd go on about ten minutes before he arrived and play songs from the list, and then when he came on stage, play Power of Love and it was really incredible because there was nothing to think about. It was completely away from the way I've experienced festivals before, where you're wondering whether you've done the right thing or not, whether it's the right combination of events or whether it's together. Maharaj Ji had completely taken that out of our hands and said, "Okay, do that," and it was incredible; you just put your whole self into serving him.
The London programs were both like that. The first program started during the day and it was just initiator satsang all day. It was really good because the focus was there all the time and was never actually allowed to get spaced out. They had acoustic groups playing during the day, little spots of music in between satsang, and then the first night they had one stage with both bands set up on it. After Maharaj Ji finished giving satsang, we played Arti then we played a few songs and it was beautiful.
He'd just sit there about twenty feet away and if he wanted a particular song, he'd request it via the security guys. But on the second night he said to set up One Foundation on the other stage where the initiators were giving satsang, so he could have both bands there. After Arti, he called for solid music, and we just alternated song by song with Salutations. It was really amazing, really beautiful, because Maharaj Ji would request songs and Raja Ji was racing round …
Kim: Raja Ji, and Durga Ji with Hans in her arms, were running from one stage to the other stage telling us what to play. They were always different stories and it was really funny. Raja Ji would come up and say, "Play this," and then Durga Ji would say, "Oh, no, no, they should play this … "
Lindsay: On the last night, Guru Maharaj Ji had a remote control microphone with a switch for the power for both bands, and when he left the stage Salutations started playing, then suddenly everything went dead, no power anywhere, and everyone was trying to work out what the hell had happened. They thought they'd blown fuses and everything, then Maharaj Ji's voice boomed out across the hall from backstage somewhere.
Kim: Two days later we left for Montreal. The programs in Montreal were the same format. They started at 12 o'clock and the only satsang that was on all during the day was just initiator satsang, and they had one play …
Lindsay: It was a lot bigger there, and consequently it got a little more complex than the London thing. It seemed to be going through a few more channels and got a bit congested at times but Maharaj Ji had designed the stage again and it was really incredible. He just had it to completely focus the premies all the time. There wasn't any entertainment or anything like that.
It was really specific, and in the direction Maharaj Ji was giving us at the rehearsal in London it was really clear, he was saying that we're not there to entertain or create any vibe at all, but to bring out the things that people are experiencing already, to provide the focus so that there's no hype at all by the time Maharaj Ji comes on for satsang, and afterwards to be playing the songs that everybody knows, that everyone can relate to and join in. It was so intense. I could look at Maharaj Ji but I couldn't even look at the premies. The whole hall was full of people singing.
Kim: That's right, there was a whole sea of heads. When everyone had finished Arti, the whole audience would be standing up. They linked arms and were swaying, and all up the balcomes all you could see were these swaying heads, rows and rows and rows of them, it was amazing.
Maharaj Ji designed the stage and everything for the darshan setting and he made the whole thing super-personal. In Montreal he had a blue tunnel which you walked through and at the end of the tunnel Guru Maharaj Ji was spotlighted. He was sitting there in a white suit and that's what you saw; you walked down this dark blue tunnel and at the end of it was Guru Maharaj Ji and there were no security people pulling you away while you touched Guru Maharaj Ji's feet, you could take your own time and Guru Maharaj Ji made sure that he looked at each person as they had darshan. He just wanted the premie and him at the time of darshan and that was the only thing he wanted to be focused on. He made his own tapes of his favourite songs for the darshan line and he had them playing.
Lindsay: Yeah, it was really beautiful. I really noticed a difference myself between the darshan line in London and Montreal, just a difference that the satsang had made. The first night in Montreal really pulled me apart and darshan the next day was a totally new experience. It was like being filled up already, just being so filled up that night that pranaming was like saying thank you, it wasn't asking for anything. It was the first time I've been in a darshan line where I hadn't been really subtly looking for an experience and I had the most incredible experience I've ever had in my life.
Maharaj Ji didn't come to the program that night. It was ten o'clock by the time he'd finished. The last day in Montreal was incredible, Maharaj Ji was saying that in the last couple of festivals he'd really felt that it was the first time people had really been singing Arti and really experiencing it in their hearts, not just going "Jaigurudevmaharaji", but really experiencing something beautiful. It was incredible, he gave satsang for 55 minutes and said that he wasn't going to say very much at all because you just get to a point where the words stop and the experience has to carry on. He was saying this is where I want everybody to be, 24 hours a day.
We'd gone through a lot over that period of time between leaving Australia and the end of the Montreal festival. It was like a really intensive seminar, there was satsang all the time. We got back after the first program in Montreal and we were sitting it out in our hotel room, having something to eat, and we got a phone call, "One Foundation party, what are you doing?" It was Padarthanand. He and Julie came up for about an hour and a half, just raging really, telling stories, satsang, so much energy, it was incredible.
That whole thing was happening all the time, it was very difficult to escape it. There was nowhere left to run, for your mind, it was completely boxed in to the point where you could get out of it, get beyond it, just leave it there, park it. Guru Maharaj Ji was saying to send it on a vacation, it deserves it, it's earned it, just send it away, give it a complete vacation.
Then we were fortunate enough to go to the conference the day after Montreal finished. It was about 50 miles out in the country and we all went out in buses to a ski resort. It was beautiful; it was just satsang for about an hour and then Guru Maharaj Ji said that now we'll have crazy hour where everybody asks their crazy questions, and even that turned into something really beautiful. Everybody was just thanking Guru Maharaj Ji, expressing what they felt and maybe asking him to visit where they were. The whole family thing became so real. It was just an incredible family. It was a father and children, there was no differentiation among the children at all. You could draw superficial lines between the initiators and national co-ordinators and things, but as soon as Maharaj Ji walked in the room, they disappeared. To him there weren't any lines. That whole vibe lifted you up and you experienced that indebted feeling, that love that you have between you and Maharaj Ji is the only real thing, that's the only thing that matters at all.
I was talking to Joe Anctil afterwards, and he was saying, "What do you do back in Australia?" Then I realised that you just fill in time between opportunities like that. Just trying to do your service. That was the completely meaningful experience of life, serving Guru Maharaj Ji. It's not necessary that that ends when a festival ends. For me it was like a beginning again, almost like a rebirth, something that you can really carry on with by living in it.
Kim: The main thing I got from the conference was how much energy Guru Maharaj Ji's got and also how much he's ready to do for our development and for his own mission in the world. It's completely up to us, that's the main thing that he said
in the conference. When he's actually sitting there and he's saying that he's ready to go much faster and to go forward and that actually in a way we're holding him back to a certain extent, you become really aware of how urgent he is in what he's trying to do, and how really slack most of us are as premies.
One of the community coordinators from one of the European countries was talking about a bit of separation that was happening in their country and he was joking about it and Guru Maharaj Ji kept the joke going for awhile, but then he cut them off completely and said, "The trouble is with you guys you joke one too many times about this mission and about what I'm trying to do." There was sort of a silence for a minute and it was true, all of us joke too many times about our life and what Guru Maharaj Ji's trying to do. For those few seconds the intense seriousness of what Guru Maharaj Ji's trying to do came across and then he lightened it out again because otherwise, what can you do, you can only go as fast as you're going.
But that's the main thing I got from the conference. Durga Ji expresses that all the time. Since I've seen her this time she's really, really aware of how important Guru Maharaj Ji's mission is and how important to him it is, and really urging the premies to listen to him and to take him seriously. Obviously she's with him all the time and she sees how dedicated to it he is himself, and perhaps how much less dedicated we are to it as premies and how much more we could be.
Lindsay: He even mentioned specifically that in Australia there's still a lot of premies who practise Knowledge like it was a hobby, just tack it on to their lives, still not really understanding the reality of it; and it really is true. He was saying that he's doing his bit, pumping in the Grace all the time but it's up to us now to do it, to put ourselves in a place, to focus ourselves. We asked him when he would be coming here and he wasn't specific, he said, "Oh well, maybe, sometime soon, we'll let you know," but you could really see from what he was saying that he wants everybody focused when he does come. It's not as if you can make yourself perfectly open for him when he comes - I don't know, it seems he does that for us - but so that you have the situation where once he gets here, he doesn't have to jump up and down and clap his hands just to attract our attention, so that at least everybody in the community is focused on Maharaj Ji.
He really wants everybody just to do it a hundred per cent from where they are, however they're living their life, just to be dedicating themselves 100% towards realising Truth, towards realising Knowledge and that ends up being 100% devoted to Maharaj Ji in whatever way you're living your life.
For me, this whole experience has been like a taste of that and it's so incredible, so beautiful, so positive that in the past, I've thought about 100% dedication as being a goal rather than a reality and I've seen how close that reality is, if you're having the experience. It's really easy to make that dedication as long as we can understand that that's where we want to be, then we're putting our heads in the right direction. Maharaj Ji's just saying "Look, turn towards me then I can pull you towards me but if you're not turned towards me, then what can I do?"
He was very direct about Australia, that we need to be doing that and you can see it happening - he seems to do it anyway. He mentions it one day and then the next day it's automatically unfolding. But to really put ourselves into satsang, service, and meditation, put ourselves right into the experience of Knowledge so that automatically we're in service, sharing satsang, and we're in meditation as much as we can be. That's completely simple, no complexity at all. He was saying that's all we need is just service, satsang and meditation, tons of Grace, and lots of darshan.
It's been 18 months since Maharaj Ji was here and darshan's obviously something we really need. I know just how much it's changed me. It's almost like being open to Guru Maharaj Ji, open to experience him when he's here, is the only reason that you do satsang, service and meditation, because that connection, that devotion that you feel between you and him is so strong, so real, so complete, that's the fulfilling thing of your life, that is life.
Kim: We sent a message to Guru Maharaj Ji asking him what we should do, hoping that he'd say, "Oh come to the next festival and play," but he hadn't planned anything. He just said to come back to Australia and he asked us to make a tape for him, and that's it.
We saw Ira and the first thing he said to us when we saw him was, "I've gone through so much since I last saw you guys," and he actually seemed to have - I don't know if it's the right word -but he seemed to have softened out; he said he'd stopped trying to fight his mind and he was learning to surrender.
Lindsay: Yeah, he was really beautiful. He was telling me all the stuff that he'd gone through since he was in Australia and you could see the parallel in your own life, just learning to surrender, just learning to be there. He talked about the Knowledge review that Guru Maharaj Ji gave the initiators. Ira was telling me when they were going over the Word technique, Maharaj Ji sat and meditated with them, and when he turned the lights on again it was just complete absence of mind, total unity there between the 6 or 7 initiators that were there and Maharaj Ji.
Guru Maharaj Ji was blissed out and saying that this is it, this is where you should be all the time, this is where I want you to be, just to share it with you; but the mind's been kicked out so far that when it realises what's happened, it's going to be really angry and really come back with a vengeance. And Ira said all the initiators were going, "Oh no God, please Guru Maharaj Ji, don't let it happen, anything but that because we wouldn't be able to handle it." And Guru Maharaj Ji said that if you stay surrendered there's nothing to worry about.
And that same lesson applies to all of us. That's the whole thing he was saying through all the satsang: Just stay on board the boat, just be surrendered and everything else will be cool, it doesn't matter what comes at you then. It's been like a whole lot of people standing by the dock and saying, "Well, we've just got to get on board and stay surrendered and everything will be okay," but it's not until we actually get on board and surrender, that we experience what that really means.
Once you experience it then it becomes the most meaningful thing in your life. That's all he wants and then you realise that's all you want because then it's a completely fulfilling experience.