The Living Daylights was an Australian counter-culture/radical politics magazine published in the early 1970's.
The Living Daylights: November 20-26, 1973
And Then He Blissed Me
On November 8, 9, 10, in between the Melbourne Cup and the royal wedding, the Divine Light Mission held a festival. Millennium 73, in Houston, Texas, as a platform for Guru Maharaj Ji's plans for world peace. Five hundred devotees turned up. The event was virtually ignored by the press.
Rennie Davis, field marshal for the 60s peace movement and defendant at the Chicago Seven trial, where youth, the Left, and the dreams of the new world stood before an inflexible and incorrigible order. Davis' speech to the bench, an impassioned plea to stop the Vietnam war, still rang in the ears of the thousands following the '68 Chicago riots of demonstrators who massed together in Washington in 1971 under his guidance in a concerted and successful effort to close down the nation.
Last year on a visit to Paris to meet madame Binh, Paris Peace Talks negotiator, he met with devotees of the Guru Maharaj Ji and subsequently acquired the Knowledge.
On the second day at the Astrodome (where rain falls when the air conditioning is turned off) Rennie sauntered into the press boxes. He was very relaxed, his face often lit by a beatific smile or broad grin. Gone were all the hassles of the Chicago trial, the trips to Vietnam and the peace demonstrations. We sat down and by the time I had my tape rolling, about 30 reporters and photographers had gathered. He laughed. He was obviously enjoying himself He answered all the questions slowly and carefully.
MICHAEL McDONALD talks to Rennie Davis in Houston
What is Guru Maharai Ji doing at Millennium?
He's offering the greatest scoop in the world and there's not a single newspaper that has caught on.
Where's the breakdown?
The human mind cannot comprehend the unthinkable. It's interesting to me because reporters have a professional ethic about objectivity. There's a claim being made here, the authenticity of which can be observed objectively. Reporters go by the direct evidence of his or her experience. You go out and you see it with your own eyes, then you make your statement of fact. And we're making a big statement, the Lord is on the planet and Guru Maharaj Ji has brought with him the tools for altering human consciousness, to bring about a physiological as well as spiritual transformation. Anyone who would like to come and find out can easily come and find out.
A professional newsman goes into an interview. He is not Democrat, Republican or Protestant. He doesnt have a family, he has nothing. He is totally empty and void, waiting to receive.
But no, you have come in with your hat pulled quarter down. If you came in empty, open like a human being, you would go away with the greatest gift personally and the greatest piece of news ever.
He has to personally invest his emotions and his mind.
You invest your experience. A claim is being made here. The only way to know is by the evidence, that is, what is Guru Maharaj Ji saying? Guru Maharaj Ji is saying that the reason we have a crazy, crazy world is that they have no answer to "What is God?" If people knew God is omniscient, omnipotent, there would be no need for sheriffs and policemen, because people would mind each other, but they only believe, they dont know. So we go around in our confusion, saying I do this and the idea that there's a force behind every action is hidden. But Guru Maharaj Ji says, would anybody like to know if God exists? and everybody's immediate reaction is oh, it's another religion talking about God and we all know about religions; they're just leaps of faith.
Guru Maharaj Ji says, no I havent come to establish a religion, my theory is that you shouldnt believe without proof. And that's right in line with a reporter. Guru Maharaj Ji says, I've got the proof, it's right inside. All I do is show you how to see it. I say, Mr Newsman I've got a box here and there's a hole in the box. If you take a look in there you can see God. And you say, come along man, dont give me that, that's crazy. But eight million people came up, took a look and said, I saw God, and they include every creed, every nation, nationality, they include every religion, the anti-religious as well as the religious, and why dont you take a look? And that is precisely what is being said here: that God is in a human body.
Guru Maharaj Ji is basically saying, I can give you peace and we can bring peace to the world, and this is an opportunity for the press to help out. Any enterprising reporter can easily put together from the satsang of Guru Maharaj Ji or the publications of the DLM a little synopsis of this century. The trouble with reporters is that we basically have our preconceptions and we are basically lazy. What we do is put people in categories and the category here is Guru, religion, a kind of interesting one because he rents the Astrodome, he has a rock band, drives a Rolls Royce and he gets an ulcer and he's supposed to be perfect. These things make interesting newscopy.
He says we're not here to discuss the problems of Watergate, we're here to find solutions. Now what does that mean?
Guru Maharaj Ji is basically speaking about a law of nature that in this century we are going to discover to be true. That law of nature says that everything in this outside world is the direct product of our minds, and now science is beginning to suggest that mind over matter is a law of cosmology. Guru Maharaj Ji says that our minds are actually connected and we, by our minds, create this planet, this environment that we live in, and consequently our minds are directly responsible for Watergate, the Middle East, for war, for human suffering, for misery.
He says that in order for there to be peace in the world we have to understand that we need a solution that basically comes to grips with what is causing war and misery and difficulty in the world. The actual solution is to create minds that are peaceful, and if everyone had peace inside you would discover that it is a law of nature that there would be peace outside and that everyone would actually discover that on this planet something like the kingdom of heaven on earth is the reality.
What we must do is take our minds out of the ego, out of the arrogant idea that we are the masters, and plug it instead into our souls – which is actually who we are, which is actually what created this mind and this body, what we were before we were born and what we will be after we die. Guru Maharaj Ji says this Knowledge is the missing link for the human being to reach a stage of evolution, to discover what a human being really is.
The external world gives the impression of conflict but what Guru Maharaj Ji is saying is that you will discover there a peace where there is no competition, no conflict, where there is a consistency that is permanent and literally perfect. The external world which is always changing is, in a sense in conflict, in motion. But inside there is something permanent, and the search through life and all the changes and trips we go through in that search is at its roots the search for this truth, and whether you are a reporter, whether you are a revolutionary or interested in political change, whether a businessman or militarist engaged in game plans of warfare, whether interested in wealth or fame. Religion, whatever it is, is the search to know what is fundamentally unchanging, what is fundamentally true.
To say, I want satisfaction, is to say you really want to know this thing that is inside. The only reason that the human being has been brought on this planet is to realise this Knowledge. In fact, Guru Maharaj Ji says you have no idea what it means to be on this planet Earth, and that in this age you are going to become conscious of the fact that this earth is part of a much larger living organism.
How do your colleagues in the Chicago Seven trial feel about this?
We're the Chicago Nine first of all, my two lawyers have been added to the defendants. Well their reaction is pretty much like my own when I first heard about Guru Maharaj I. They seem to be treating me a little more warmly, brotherly, than I might have treated a similar co-defendant if he instead of I had returned from India saying, the Lord is on the planet. I think that we're all going to be pretty naturally sceptical and cynical. The Nine pretty much run the gamut of being very open and interested to being somewhat hostile and pretty closed to the thing.
Looking back from this perspective, how do you view the trial and what led to it?
I have a view now of the 60s, and I also have a view of American history that I think we will all come to share together. My view of the 60s is that there was a vision, a hope that was articulated sometimes from commune; from the streets of this country, through searches into drugs.
We got labelled by the media as a generation of peace but the vision that was proclaimed from the streets of this country in the 60s we will actually carry out in the decades of the 70s and 80s. More than that, the generation of the 60s will be that generation that will carry it out – and I think that we are actually going to come to recognise that we are an wcredibly priviliged generation, and the real search that was going on in the decade of the 60s was the search for this truth, a search for, if you will, Guru Maharaj Ji.
There has been a lot of scepticism from the press today and other times. Guru Maharaj Ji is offering so much for so tittle.
You could say that about life itself. The mind has a lot of resistances. He
THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, November 20-26, 1973 – Page 3
Satsang with Premie Rennie continued …
comes on last night – I'm trying to think from the point of view of an outsider, I'm just blown out by the whole thing. Here is the Lord of the Universe speaking on top of a stage in the Houston Astrodome and saying it is time we brought peace to the world, let's get it on, and I've got a way to do it. And then my mind is tripping on what do people think of him who are not on the inside, who have not been let in on the secret yet.
And you see the flashing lights, this huge mammoth stage, this kid, he's not like Jesus, he doesnt speak the way you know we saw that play yesterday with the sermon on the Mount, and we have this image that whenever Jesus opened his mouth, the sentences were perfectly balanced and they were tremendously poetic. And Guru Maharaj Ji, he mixes his language up with aints, parables about automobiles instead of fishermen and their nets, he's like, he's too real. If you found Mr Average man on the world. if you drew a computer picture, you'd find Guru Mabaraj Ji would fit Mr Average man perfectly, absolutely perfectly, and because he's so like Mr Average, he can't possibly be the one who can save this world.
How can someone from India have this lingo? He seems to me very unreal, very programmed. Even to the aints.
As someone who's spent a lot of time with Guru Maharaj Ji personally, I havent been able to find someone who gives him direction.
Doesn't the Holy Family talk amongst themselves?
Whenever the Holy Family are around Guru Maharaj Ji, they lay their foreheads at his feet.
Don't they have family conferences to figure out what to do next?
Guru Maharaj Ji gives direction to the family as well as to everyone in Divine Light Mission. Guru Maharaj Ji clearly is the one giving direction. Guru Maharaj Ji is making his own decisions.
In the 1960s, you were concerned with social class and race. How do you feel about issues like that now?
I feel very deeply about them all.
If the average poor person found peace in poverty, would that be satisfactory?
No. I dont think Guru Maharaj Ji is in any way suggesting that everybody get blissed out and live in squalor or rat-infested apartments. He's trying to say that the rat-infested apartments, the poverty of this country and of the world, is again a direct cause of human consciousness, and the whole human race needs a mind overhaul, needs to be plugged into a whole new understanding to bring about the change we all want to see.
What is the correct analysis of what causes suffering and what is the correct strategy for dealing with that suffering? What is the correct organisation and leadership for carrying out that strategy. And by correct I dont mean any leftwing term, but correct in a scientific or objective way. We're trying to suggest that Guru Maharaj Ji is putting forward a correct strategy and is offering a correct and perfect leadership.
Are you the political arm of Divine Light Mission?
No, I'm a devotee.
Is there a political arm?
I think I'm speculating some, I have a view that the way things will proceed out of this festival is: the main message up to now has been to realise this Knowledge, to receive this gift, to understand that the first step is to have peace within; now there are many millions of people who have had this Knowledge, and are beginning to have some glimpse of what its practical consequences could be. While the Knowledge will continue to be given, I think we will begin to show concretely in the world, how people can live through the experience of this Knowledge.
You are looking at God
The first project will be to build a city. I rather suspect it will be in America and I think this city will really blow people's heads. It will show a large city where people live on a level of material and spiritual community and efficiency that seems to defy all known laws of human nature, and everyone coming to the city will agree: this is the most fantastic place I've ever seen in my life. I think it will be a combination of building examples of how the world can be as well as doing work in the world through feeding people and providing clothing and building houses, hospitals and schools that will begin to show people that we're sincere, we're practical.
We're out in the world, we're not a contemplative withdrawal type of society. We're trying to deal with the problems of the world in as direct a way as we can. They'll on the one hand see this as evolution and on the other hand they'll see their cities as impossible to live in.
In the Movement we had the idea of counter-institutions and tried to build examples: our examples were always a little screwed up, they never quite came off as divinely as we had hoped. The reason that the political left came to reject the idea of counter-institutions as a political strategy was it didnt come to grips with the fundamental problem of power in the society. You could provide a beautiful city out here where everyone could be in peace and joy. But what about the Pentagon, what about the military, what about the people who maintained their livelihood off the maintenance of war. How are you going to deal with them? This rather makes essential the question WHO IS GURU MAHARAJ JI?
Because my perspective of the thing is that there is no coincidence at all, no accident at all that Guru Maharaj Ji is on the planet and Watergate is happening, the Middle East is happening, famine is breaking out in north Africa and vast sections of India. Everyone, housewives, talk about the crisis of inflation, the crisis of war, crisis of energy and all these crises. The world is going to become unlivable. Guru Maharaj Ji puts it rather nicely. He says, life is like a chess game, and very soon the whole world will be checkmated.
The main thing is you can come and find out if this is true, or you can sit on the sideline and watch the whole thing unfold. It doesnt really matter. Everyone is going to find out.
Could you talk about the followers of Guru Maharaj Ji? I mean, sociologically?
The general view is that it tends to be young, white, middle class, under 25, but actually that's not the case at all. If you look at the Divine Light Mission on a world order, I would say it tends to be predominantly over 40, working class men. It you look at India where the largest numbers of people are, they're basically made up of peasants and working people. It seems in South America many young people are coming, but interestingly, many men, heads of families over 40, are the first to come to receive Knowledge.
When he travelled to Africa, did he give segregated satsang?
He was the first public person to speak everywhere throughout the country to integrated audiences, and he also did it without total repression coming down on Divine Light Mission, though at times it has been a little touch and go with the Government there.
Where does Guru Maharaj Ji get the information to exploit issues like Watergate and the economic crisis?
I dont think he is exploiting these issues. Guru Maharaj Ji is saying that these are the consequences of our mismanagement with the creation that Guru Maharaj Ji has offered us. He said once, if a father is sitting watching his own child crawl into the fire, and he says, supposing I am a father and the child is getting closer and closer to the fire, would the father sit back and do nothing at all while the child crawled into the fire? Obviously not, he would stop the child. He said, people think that God is a father, and isnt it true that the whole human race is crawling into this fire, and no one has any regard for human life anymore? Do you think, if God is a father he would sit back and do nothing about the situation right now? He said if he did he wouldnt be a father. He might be something else, but definitely not a father. Then he goes on to say: But no, God is a father, and that's why God has manifested Himself. If I had come one year later, it would have been too late. Now I invite you to listen to what is being said.
Is the Guru predestined to lead a celibate life?
My opinion to that is no. I think Guru Maharaj Ji is going to completely blow our minds about everything. Nothing would surprise me about what he might do. His father, after all, married and gave birth to four incarnations of God.
Why do members of ashrams lead celibate lives?
I think we have grown very out of touch in this age with what is a natural human being; what it means to be a man, what it means to be a woman, among other things. Sex is one of those areas where we are very much out of touch, and the ashram is basically a place where we try to create the best kind of environment for the realisation of this Knowledge. The ashram is really the spiritual centre for Divine Light Mission.
I believe the reason why there is celibacy in the ashram is so that we can set aside certain things we are very confused about right now, in order to focus on the main thing, and as we come to realise the Knowledge then we will investigate what is the relationship of men and women.
Why do you give up dope?
Most people give up dope not because Guru Maharaj Ji says, simply because when we take this Knowledge and meditate on it many of the things we did before drop away, quite naturally.
For example after I received Knowledge, after a couple of weeks back in the United States, I was in a room and a pipe was going round, and I thought, well I shouldnt. Then it passed a second time and so I just tried a little bit and it brought me crashing down. It was the first time that it had ever happened to me and the reason I wouldnt smoke dope now is just because this is a higher place to be and it's a better trip. Really it's the ultimate trip and people give up drugs because they're all downers, compared to this Knowledge.
TLD has sent Mike O'Rourke in search of Knowledge. His perfect report will appear next week
Page 4 –THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, November 20-26,1973