What is Divine Light Mission About?
Divine Light Mission is an organization of people sharing a concern for each individual's need to appreciate the experience of his own life, and gain a deep awareness of life in general. We strive to help both our membership and the interested public realize the human potential for growth and learning.
The specific program we offer to aid this growth process revolves around the practice of three disciplines: participation in lectures and discussion groups, involvement in service projects, and practice of meditation. Using this approach, people find they can help themselves live more consciously and creatively.
For the interested person, the first step in this process is to become involved in group discussions. Groups vary in format according to an individual's level of involvement, and many include lectures with questions and answers or informal workshops. No matter what structure the group takes, the purpose is the same: participants focus on sharing their understanding of the effect that practicing these three disciplines has on their lives. Through the group dynamic and the articulation of personal experiences, the participants find that what they are learning deepens and matures.
The next step is to become involved in one or more of our cooperative service projects. By channeling their skills and inspiration in a practical way, people can see the effects of a more conscious approach to life. Projects take the form of volunteer work with different community organizations, and the formation of community services such as food cooperatives and clinics.
In addition, members contribute personal and financial support to Divine Light Mission. We have found that in working for the growth and well-being of others, we also discover new resources within ourselves which contribute to our own development.
The third discipline is the actual practice of a specific form of meditation. This meditation is taught by an appointed member of Divine Light Mission.
Through consistent and integrated practice of these disciplines, a process of self-discovery unfolds.
Educational Programs for the Public
Divine Light Mission offers a series of free lectures and courses to the public. The programs are designed to give the interested person an introduction to Divine Light Mission's program for self-discovery. Our aim is to develop the understanding of conscious living. By grading our programs from those of a general introductory and informative nature to more intensive preparation for the practice of the three disciplines prescribed by Divine Light Mission, we provide the individual with a step-by-step method of approaching personal development. The program continues through initiation, with frequent contact and communication with other members of the organization through service projects, lectures, and group discussions.
General Membership Programs
Becoming involved in the disciplines that Guru Maharaj Ji teaches to awaken full human potential is just a beginning. From there a new field of study and living opens up. Divine Light Mission provides different aides for growth in the practice of these disciplines and a supportive environment to encourage a life of continual self-discovery and development. For its membership, the organization offers a range of educational programs utilizing various media, conferences, workshops, retreats, skills training, counseling, and service projects. Because a person's life should be one of consistent growth and learning, we strive to provide an integrated program of meditation, group discussions to share learned experiences, and service projects. In an active and balanced life, an innate excitement for living and growth can be discovered and heightened by each person, for his personal benefit as well as for the society he lives in.
Current Service Projects
Social Service: Members of Divine Light Mission in many cities combine their resources and offer themselves as volunteers to a variety of social service agencies. Volunteers participate in programs in hospitals, prisons, old age homes, youth centers, institutions for the mentally retarded, drug rehabilitation programs, and various neighborhood self-help projects. They provide transportation for the elderly and disabled, repair and construction assistance, massage, homemaking counseling, diet and nutritional counseling, workshops in self-discovery, theater, yoga, arts and crafts, and more.
Cooperative Food Services: Divine Light Mission members have set up non-profit stores, cooperatives, and buying clubs in 34 cities. The overall objective is to create an effective low-cost alternative for food distribution on the principle that food should be provided as a service, rather than as a profit-making business. Storefronts are now operating in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. Although all but one of these services are not owned by Divine Light Mission, they are coordinated through Divine Light Mission for its membership.
Currently conducting an intensive teacher-training program, Unity School has as its objective the creation of a school in which education is an art and a sharing process between teacher and student.
Unity School is in Denver, Colorado. It currently has 60 pupils enrolled. It should be noted that while a majority of the students at this time are children whose parents are members of Divine Light Mission, the school is open to the public.
The educational methodology of Unity School is derived from that developed by the Waldorf School movement, though the Unity School is not itself a Waldorf School. Unity School offers a creative approach to learning the arts and sciences so that the student develops within himself a reverence for life and for work.
History of Divine Light Mission
Founded: 1960, Patna, Bihar, India, by Shri Hans Ji Maharaj, late father of Guru Maharaj Ji.
United States Incorporation: Non-profit corporation organized in 1971 under the laws of the State of Colorado for charitable, humanitarian, and educational purposes.
General Membership: Approximately 1.2 million members worldwide; 50,000 in the United States. There is a core group of 3,000 active members and an additional 12,000 who attend functions and contribute regularly.
Staff: There are 575 staff members in 24 major United States cities and an International Headquarters in Denver, Colorado.
International Representation: Divine Light Mission is represented in 53 countries on six continents, including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, La Reunion, Liberia, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Senegal, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugoslavia, and Zambia.
Biography of Guru Maharaj Ji
(Respectful title given to Prem Pal Singh Rawat)
Born December 10, 1957, in Hardwar, India, Guru Maharaj Ji became leader of Divine Light Mission in 1966 at the age of eight. His father, the late Shri Hans Ji Maharaj, was the founder and head of Divine Light Mission until his death.
Guru Maharaj Ji attended St. Joseph's Academy in Dehra Dun, India, until 1971.
In July 1971, he first came to the United States, and has since traveled worldwide. In 1975 and 1976 his work has taken him to American Samoa, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nepal, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tahiti, United Kingdom, United States, and Venezuela.
Guru Maharaj Ji married the former Marolyn Johnson on May 20, 1974. Marolyn was born on October 25, 1949, in San Diego, California.
On March 9, 1975, their daughter Premlata was born.
Guru Maharaj Ji works closely with his International Headquarters staff in Denver, Colorado, though much of his time is spent traveling throughout the world. His tireless efforts to help others realize their human potential have placed him in a much loved and respected position among those he has inspired.
© 1976 Divine Light Mission Inc.