This transcript of Prem Rawat answering questions at the Development '76 Fundraising Conference held at the Executive Towers hotel in Denver on January 25th, 1976 is a combination of partial transcripts published in the National News article in the February 29, 1976 edition of Divine Times, pages 2 & 3, in Just Relax and Try to Concentrate published in the June 1976 edition of Divine Times, in the November 1976 copy of the Brotherly Love newsletter and in Chapter 12 Soul Journeys by James V. Downton. The conference was discussed in "DLM of the Future: Rethinking the Vision" and Feedback from Development '76
Feedback from Development '76
Guru Maharaj Ji, isn't it still at the point, though, that we can serve you most completely on every level if we move into an ashram?
Maharaj Ji: No. See, then you are categorizing the services. Don't do that, because services cannot be categorized. This is what I say. A person who is a janitor - okay? - from that all the way up to the grade of the president, it all carries the same weight. Service is service. Whatever we can do should be done to our maximum capacity. You can't do five hundred things in an ashram either. It's like, okay, in the ashram you can dedicate your life, but you also dedicate your life outside the ashram.
See, let me tell you what the ashram really is. There are a lot of concepts that have been all over the air about the ashram. As a matter of fact, in our development programs. one of the very important aspects will be to make all these things clear. So I'd like to define ashram to you.
Ashram is like a hospital. You can be cured in your home, but you go to the hospital so that you can have intensive care. If anything does go wrong, you can immediately correct it. Otherwise you can go and recuperate at your home. Knowledge, satsang, service, meditation - those are all portable things. They are inside of you. You don't really have to be in an ashram to do that. Ashram is for intensive care. If somebody's mind is really, really strong and it keeps popping right back up again and again and again, then he needs to go to the ashram so he can completely surrender himself and start a fresh way to understand things.
Is there a way that we can be completely guided by you in our lives without living in the ashram?
Maharaj Ji: Definitely. Definitely there is a way.
Maharaj Ji: Completely. There definitely is. See, it's like this. Let me give you an example. Lou lives in an ashram. Right, Lou? If he is traveling from the ashram to the office in a car, is he surrendered or not? Because a car isn't an ashram. Or, he is driving a car from Denver to Los Angeles, and he takes a rest and checks into a motel. Well, the motel isn't an ashram. Does that mean that I can't really use him? But I can. Really, everybody can dedicate.
Now look at me. I don't live in an ashram. But I have dedicated my life and Guru Maharaj Ji is using me. Ashram is an intensive care unit. See, don't expect that all these premies who are in the ashram right now are going to stay in the ashram; I hope they don't. Some day, when they really surrender and really realize this Knowledge, really realize the importance of service, they will go out into the world and tell people and make room for the other patients.
Sometimes we get locked into our concepts. It's a very common thing to happen. And sometimes we can't even help the fact that we get locked into our own mind or our own concept about things, but things are really quite a bit different. If living inan ashram were the only way to really dedicate yourself to Guru Maharaj Ji, then I think it would be very, very difficult for the other premies. But there are other premies who do not live in an ashram, and who have dedicated their lives and are doing as great as a premie in the ashram.
Maharaj Ji, how can you know the difference between when you are doing service and when you are not doing service?
Maharaj Ji: Well, let's go one point beyond that. The point is, if we have surrendered ourselves to Guru Maharaj Ji, to our Lord, then we are doing service. And if we haven't, then we won't be doing service. We'll be doing service to our mind. The point is not that I tell somebody and they do it; the point is surrendering. If they have surrendered, then automatically the inspiration will be there, and if not, then there will be quite a bit of variables. There are premies in the ashram, as you know, who occasionally freak out and do things that they are not supposed to do. The reason for that is because they really haven't surrendered themselves yet. Their mind still keeps getting in the way. That's when the mind comes in and tells you, "Jai Satchitanand, Premie Ji, I've done enough meditation. Let's get outa here."
If you are hanging half out of the train and half in the train, then it's very, very questionable if you are going to make it to your destination. But if you are in the train, chances are a hundred percent that you are going to make it. Now, the train example isn't completely right, because a train isn't the Lord and isn't perfect. When you surrender yourself to the Lord, to something that's perfect, then there's nothing that can go wrong.
See, we have to become clear ourselves. We can't really sit down at our tables and say, "Okay, well, this is service and this isn't." The point is to surrender ourselves. There are so many things that we do in one day, or in one hour - breathing, blinking our eyes, hearing, sneezing if you have a cold, or coughing if you have a cough, or having a headache, or walking, or getting bumped into … I mean, there are so many small things that we do. How in the world are we ever going to sit down and make a list of things that we do and say, "Okay, these are services and these aren't"? That would be very, very difficult. I guess if somebody was really out to do it, he could, but still it wouldn't be a perfect list.
How do you know when you're surrendered and when you're not?
Maharaj Ji: There is no blinking light that comes on and says, "Okay, you're done." When you are cooking in an oven you can set the time and the bell comes on and you know. But when you are not cooking in the oven and you are just cooking a dish that you are not even supposed to taste, if you are a cook, you'll know it's done just by the color of it.
You merge. We just merge. How do you know you are sleeping? It just happens and you are sleeping. That's the feeling it is. It just takes place within inside, and it's really beautiful.
But we have to understand that we have to really surrender ourselves before any of that can happen. If you are not surrendered, then it's exactly like if you were to have one leg in the boat and one leg dangling in the water. Chances are, something is going to come and get us, or a big wave comes and we are in the water and that's it. But if you are in the boat, you are safe and sound inside, unless the boat sinks, and when you are talking about Lord how can you say the Lord is going to sink?
I have surrendered, but there was really no point when I could say that it happened, say, twelve-thirty in May of 1957 or something like that. No. It just happens and you don't know, because that thing that makes you know and not know is also gone. I'm not talking about the brain, but about the mind. See, brain is what we need to function. The brain tells us, "Okay, pick the flower," so we pick the flower. Mind tells us, "Smash it." That's the difference.
It's a feeling that you can't really distinguish, but it's so beautiful. It's just like going to sleep. Either you are sleeping or you're not sleeping. We call an in-between stage drowsy, but still you can get up and go to your bed. That means you're awake. To even know that, "Oh yeah, I am very sleepy," still means you are not sleeping; you know that you are very sleepy, but you aren't sleeping. What needs to happen is that you just need to go to sleep, and when you go to sleep, it's perfect, it's beautiful.
Ask anything. Yes?
Guru Maharaj Ji, I have a problem in understanding that we have to make an effort to meditate. What is that effort?
Maharaj Ji: Well, it's like this. You have to make an effort to go to sleep. But once you go to sleep, you don't have to make any effort. See, meditation is such a thing that you really can't make an effort. Like, I can't sit down in a lotus position and say, "I have to meditate," and just keep on repeating to myself, "I have to meditate, I have to meditate, I have to meditate, I have to meditate, I have to meditate." Because that will put me in the meditation of, "I have to meditate," and not in the real meditation. So when we actually sit down to meditate, just relax. You know? And don't fight with your mind.
Mind will be there so far as you fight it. That's the whole gimmick, the whole thing that mind wants. Mind wants you to fight with it so it can stay in the battlefield.
Just try to concentrate. After a little while, all those ideas will be brushed out of you and you'll really, really become one with that Word. Then you just get into that flow of meditation. But if you sit there and try to fight it, then you waste your time.
Again, mind knows that it can be brushed out just like that. Once you are really in the rhythm of meditation, you can almost feel your mind trying to get you. You can almost feel it trying to pamper the ideas into you, putting thoughts into you, saying, "How about your refrigerator? Maybe it's too cold," or "How about your water? It's been boiling for too long," or "How about the car? Maybe you left it running." I mean, your mind never usually bothers you about those things. Sometimes you leave your car lights on and you don't even bother about it. Nothing tells you that, "Oh maybe you should go check your car to see if it's still there and if the lights are on." You don't even bother about it. But then when you come to do meditation, from out of the blue this idea comes into you that you should go and check your car and make sure that the lights are off and it's still there.
When you really start getting into the rhythm, you can feel it; you can really feel the mind trying to come into you and distract you from Knowledge and take you into something that's absolutely crazy. But that's when you have to just walk right through it. When you are riding a horse and crossing a river, there is no road in the river, but you make one; you go right through it. That's the effort that we have to make; it's a combination of a lot of things.
I was talking to Bill Patterson when he was in Malibu, and we started talking about surrendering. But after a little while, we had to just stop talking about it, because we found that we were repeating ourselves and that we had already repeated ourselves about fifteen times. Surrendering is nothing to talk about; it's something that just has to happen inside of us. And what do you say? You come to Guru Maharaj Ji one day, put yourself at his feet, and say, "Guru Maharaj Ji, I have surrendered," and then you walk away.
There are a lot of concepts about surrendering, like, "Oh, Guru Maharaj Ji, why don't you put some strings around my hands and my legs so I can be your puppet?" Well, no. It's not like that. Surrendering is something that is within inside of us. It's all built in. It's like, all the sunroofs that are electronic also have a manual handle on them in case it breaks. It's up to you. You can always use the manual handle, and then somebody comes along and says, "Look. Are you crazy or something? You can use the electronic switch. That's what it's for. That's for emergency." You know?
This is such a path that things start happening, just small realizations. The more and more we meditate, the more and more easy it becomes for us. Not at first. It becomes very hard at first, because mind is trying to struggle with us. This is why we need satsang, service and meditation, to help us along that path. Service is not the way to liberation, but those things help us along the path, make it easier for us, make it easier for us to surrender, make it easier for us to really realize. Yes?
Is it possible for us to stay in constant contact with that God who is omnipresent, to be constantly in contact with the source?
Maharaj Ji: Well, the thing is, we already are.
I mean, consciously.
Maharaj Ji: Then there's a difference. And the difference is, if you want to know consciously, "I am doing meditation, I am doing meditation, I am one with God, I am one with God," then you won't be one with God. You will be one with something else. See, those things are so tricky because they sort of look like they come on at the same angle, but they don't; they are quite a bit different. We can always be in that Holy Word. And if we are one with that Holy Word, why would we want that to pause and another idea to come in telling us constantly that we are one with God or one with that omnipresent power? It's just that, when that happens, we know it. We know it. We don't even have to make an effort to try and figure out, "Am I doin' meditation or not?" We are doing it.
I don't sit down and say, "Am I doin' meditation?" or even try. Because, so far as I am doing meditation, I'll know I am doing meditation, and it won't be with my mind knowing it. It's just because I'll feel it, I'll really see that. When you become one with it, you'll find out the way it works. It's very tricky, because, see, we are always used to our external perceptions: "Is it cold or is it warm?" But when it's the perfect temperature, just that right temperature, which is not cold and not warm, then what do we say?
Maharaj Ji: Just right. And then we don't even have to say it's just right. Because it's too hot, we want it a little bit colder, or if it's a little too cold, then we want it hot. But if it's the right temperature, then we don't even need to say anything, because it is the right temperature. We just say, "Perfect." And when it is perfect, you don't even need to say perfect.
It's just a stage. And it's so hard for us to comprehend that there even is a stage like that, because we have been going from one point to another point to another point, back and forth, in our mind. But when it stops, there is such a stage, so subtle, so fine, that it's perfect. Then that thing that keeps telling you, "Look, you need to do this," and "Look, you need to do this," stops. Because you don't need to do anything. You just sit there, and it's right there. It's harmonious.
Brotherly Love transcript
Understand? It's just like we know, because we had always been varying so much in our life so far, from point A to point B, to point A to point B, to point A to point B, and there's never been a time when it was perfect.
It's like the driver who is drunk. He needs to sit there with his hands on the wheel and make sure that, "Yes, my hood ornament is in line with the white lines. I am doin' great." You know? But when you are driving right, you just sit back, keep an eye out for things, and
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It's almost like saying, "Okay. If grace hits us in 1976 just right, this is what is going to happen, this is possible that, yes, fifty thousand more people can receive Knowledge." So the planning is really nothing. It's just a very, very, very delicate part of our approach, the way we want to do things. It's like we have never walked before. You see? And so we almost have to plan it. Premlata is on the verge of walking and she already knows crawling. So she almost has to plan, "Is it worth it for me to walk that much distance? Am I gonna get anything, or should I just crawl over there? Or should I just stay here? Is it even worth crawling?" I mean, we have never done this before. We have never taken such a mission on our hands to give this whole world Knowledge - you know? - and now we are. So we have to say, "Well, look, are we gonna just go out in the street with microphones and start revealing Knowledge to people? Or are we going to do it in such a way that this precious seed won't be wasted on the sand and on places it's not supposed to go, where it's not going to grow?"
It's just so delicate. And grace is the only thing that's even going to give us the inspiration to say, "Okay. I think you should do this thing this way." That is what inspires me, and then through that inspiration, I take it upon myself, as an agya, as a duty, to complete this work in the most efficient way. And then the grace, again, carries it out. But, as I remember, Shri Maharaj Ji said, "You've got two feet. Get up and walk on 'em." You have cars, you have everything else; but you have also got two feet.
We have a capability of planning, and we are going to plan so that we don't blow it. You see, we can organise 15,000 satsang programs very, very easily in the United States. But then, do we have anything to back up those premies, those those aspirants with Knowledge? And then to keep those premies active? Because those things are important. Understand what I mean?
So it's such a delicate point. Our plans are inspiration; they are really not plans. To me it's like, this is what Guru Maharaj Ji wants me to do, so let's do it the right way. That's all.
And then again, we could make the most fantastic plan in the world and get a prize on it and it won't manifest. There have been a lot of plans in this world. Hitler made a plan to conquer the world, but he couldn't. But our plan, our path is so beautiful that's it's an inspiration, it's a grace, rather than a solid plan to sit down and work it out from our minds. As you can see, that plan is not done by mind. It's done by inspiration.
It confuses me when you speak of Guru Maharaj Ji and yourself as different that Maharaj Ji has taught you, or Maharaj Ji teaches you or leads you when you're Maharaj
Maharaj Ji: Look. It's like this. There can be one mother and one father in the same family. And a father and a mother have a baby. And the baby goes out and gets married and has a baby. So it's just like that. Guru Maharaj Ji that gave me this Knowledge is my Guru, and that's whom I am referring to. Of course it's not physical. What I am actually referring to is that omnipotent power.
Maharaj Ji: Well, we can't really harness Him down into words; it would be kind of hard. He is the one who gave me the direction, "You take over my work. You do this." I am your Guru Maharaj Ji, and he is my Guru Maharaj Ji. It's as simple as that. Since there is nothing like "Grand Guru Maharaj Ji", we just call it straight Guru Maharaj Ji. There is no Grand Maharaj Ji, Great Grand Maharaj Ji, Great Great Grand Maharaj Ji.
Guru Maharaj Ji, a lot of things seem to be changing in the Mission. Like we change the name from mahatma to initiator, things like that …
Maharaj Ji: I'm only controlling what I feel that I can control. Some of the approaches we were taking were definitely wrong. They, in fact, were not helping people but were confusing people. Say I am going out on the street and distributing leaflets. Somebody comes up to me and asks me what I am doing, and I give him satsang. He says, "Okay, where can I receive Knowledge?" and I tell him, "Well, you go to a mahatma." He says, "What's a mahatma?" By the time you finish explaining everything to him, he doesn't know what he understood at first that made him even ask all the questions. I think that's just crazy. So initiator is a straight word and it tells you what the person does. He initiates. And then, premies call me Maharaj Ji. That's the premies' feelings, to call me Maharaj Ji. I can't do much about it, because it's the premies' affair. There are somethings that premies control, there are some things that I control. The ones I control, I want to take care of them on my part.
You see, these changes will slowly, slowly start occurring. I don't know to what extent they are going to occur. I can't tell you. I can't predict that. But we are trying to get rid of the things that were sitting locked up in Divine Light Mission's closet just catching rust, doing nothing to nobody, and putting a heavy burden on us. We are just trying to get rid of all that stuff, so that we can really present ourselves properly.
As you know, people really don't have the right consciousness about Divine Light Mission. They think it's a cult or religion. You know how difficult this is. Those things confuse people, because there are some similarities to be found Anything that's becoming a burden in the path of Knowledge, I'm just going to eliminate that.
Guru Maharaj Ji, do you know how much all the premies love you?
Maharaj Ji: Well, frankly, no. The reason is because that love that they love me from is infinite. So how can I put my finger to it and say, "Okay, they love me three quarts"? That love is just there and I can definitely feel it, and that's why I do the programs that I do, and that is why I have dedicated my whole life to this. It could very well be that, "Look, I have got nothing to do with premies. They have received Knowledge, they should do meditation for themselves, and that's it. I'm movin' on to other people who don't have Knowledge." But that's not true. As you know, when premies receive Knowledge, I become more involved with them - more and more and more, and every year it's been more and more. As a matter of fact, we've been thinking about putting in a few more programs. Why limit it to the dates of Guru Puja and stuff like that when it rains? We want to have them so that more premies can come, and we can get more involved, and that love can evolve around us more and more.