"I see we have quite a representation here from the United States and outside," Guru Maharaj Ji said as he began presiding at the fourth coordinators conference in the U.S. in as many months. This one brought more than 150 coordinators together from more than 20 countries. It took place at the exclusive Royal Biscayne Resort and even the coordinators in attendance did not know where it would be held when they boarded buses that morning in front of the Algiers Hotel.
"You see, these chains of programs that have happened have been very, very good," Guru Maharaj Ji told the coordinators to open the conference. "But most important is the follow-up. How is that going to happen?"
Because the inspiration point is high, Maharaj Ji said, the service of coordinator "now becomes more important than it ever has been.
"If you have a baby, you can't start teaching it 'a, b, c, d,' when it's two or three months old," Maharaj Ji explained. "Only a certain amount of attention has to be paid to that baby.
"But then, as the baby grows, the times start to become more proper. The time becomes more ripe where in fact you can start to teach that baby."
Maharaj Ji spoke about Divine Light Mission and emphasized that it is a tool that has to remain simple if it is to be truly useful. If a machine took a half hour to cross the conference room, he said, then it would be obviously easier to walk across the room than to use the machine.
Also, he cautioned, a coordinator should not try to be a middleman of any kind. "If you try to be the middleman, it doesn't work. You can't get squeezed in there. It's just two things: Guru Maharaj Ji and his devotees.
"You are not trying to be a middleman. You are a devotee, period."
The coordinator, he said, has to maintain the level of inspiration because he is in a key point of communication. "You have to really try to bring the focus back to satsang, service, and meditation."
When Maharaj Ji opened the floor for questions, there proved to be very few. Most premies just wanted to take the opportunity to invite Maharaj Ji to their country or to their community. Maharaj Ji accepted each invitation with love and often responded with humor.
When he was invited to Colombia, he said, "Colombia? Yeah, when I come to Colombia, I'll bring earplugs with me. Drums beating all night long."
When he was invited to live in England, he responded: "Yeah, I'd live in England but you see, the thing is, there's a few things I like where I live … And some nights at Rygate (the English residence) you wouldn't be surprised if you saw Dracula going across the front yard, it was such a spooky joint."
When he was invited to Finland, he replied: "Yeah, I've got a cold in Florida. I don't know what's going to happen when I get to Finland."
At one point, when he spoke to the coordinator from Japan, Maharaj Ji simulated a Japanese accent. And when he was invited to Vancouver, in Canada, and was told that the weather was very warm and beautiful, Maharaj Ji quipped: "Yeah. High's 52. Low is 31."
"No," responded the coordinator, "80 degrees. Even in May."
"For two minutes at twelve o'clock," Maharaj Ji replied.
In all, 162 coordinators, national staff members, staff members of the Office of Guru Maharaj Ji, and initiators, were able to attend the conference. It was cancelled the previous day because Maharaj Ji was not feeling well and an arrangement was made to hold it near the hotel where Maharaj Ji was staying, rather than in Miami Beach itself. Since security is sometimes a problem at conferences, the location of the conference was kept a secret, even from those who were to attend. Everyone simply boarded a bus at the Algiers Hotel and, as one coordinator put it, he "half expected it to go around in a circle and return to the Algiers."
In all, 23 countries were represented by a coordinator, and there were 54 coordinators from the U.S. This included 31 coordinators from centers. One center coordinator thanked Maharaj Ji for the opportunity to attend.
"They couldn't believe, where I come from, that you had the conference in Denver and you opened it up to the centers and that I was able to come and represent it," the coordinator said. "And they took it so personally."
"That's good," Maharaj Ji beamed. "That's primarily the idea. Maybe we will open up to all the premies. We'll just have a conference in the satsang hall. We'll have to get a little switch, a little chair. Take the microphone for that person, and if he starts to ask a looney-tune question, we just push it to disconnect the microphone."
In this way, Guru Maharaj Ji provided everyone with an exhilarating combination of humor and the most profound,
Divine Times, April/ May 1977 21
penetrating satsang. The love in the room was completely thick.
One coordinator told Maharaj Ji that initiators had been giving "pretty rough satsang about attending these programs" and Maharaj Ji responded by saying, "It's not a matter of what somebody tells you to do. If that is how simple it is, then when I say do a lot of satsang, service, and meditation, why don't they?"
But Maharaj Ji also used the comment as a launching point to speak about the need for cooperation among premies. He spoke about a festival complex where everyone could be accommodated for less than five dollars a person. To accomplish that, premies would need to learn sacrifice as well as cooperation. Maharaj Ji also spoke about bringing stability to communities so that everyone could more easily afford to attend programs through a collective effort.
"Still I don't see - still I am missing that flow of people between having to see that we are all brothers and sisters," Maharaj Ji said. "There has to be not just a verbal communication, but a real emotion or a real feeling from your heart, right in here," he pointed, "that we are all brothers and sisters."
And Maharaj Ji said he would continue holding programs "until it comes to a point where there's no premie at all. "Then," he said, "I won't be interested in giving satsang to the walls. Though they might be very eager to hear it."
Maharaj Ji also spoke about a new ashram program at the conference. "There are a lot of houses that are getting set up and as soon as I come back from Europe, or even in the middle, I might actually officially start putting some ashrams together. There are a lot of houses that are opening up and if you have any questions about that, about the premie houses, just go ahead, get a house.
"Don't affiliate it with Divine Light Mission," he said. "Get a house. Start living an ashram life. Ashram supervisor will be sent to you. Then you will become an ashram. And what your ashram supervisor will be will be an initiator. A full, qualified initiator with the I.D. card and the whole works. And then you become an ashram."
As Maharaj Ji closed out the conference, he ended with this simple and direct message: "If you don't want to experience anything in your life, sit tight in your home, you know? And if you really want that satsang, service, and meditation to accomplish the goal of our lives …"
He paused for just a moment. "Look what people have accomplished in these worlds - look at Columbus. He sailed all around the world. What for? Because he had that desire. We can do it, you know? Anything is possible, but it depends how much of that strong will we really have.
"Thank you very much," Guru Maharaj Ji said as he left. "And I'll see you at the next program."
22 Divine Times, April/ May 1977