Behind The Scenes

A report from Teddy Tannenbaum, New York community coordinator

Guru Maharaj Ji was supposed to arrive in Allentown, Pennsylvania, at 10:00 p.m. Sunday. He was going to come to the program by 10:30. We were on our way back to New York to put the finishing touches on a hotel suite that supposedly was completely beautiful and completely together.

So we were just driving in from the Poconos, blown out because Maharaj Ji was going to surprise the premies. He was due to arrive back in New York at the heliport at 4:00 a.m. We had a few hours to get it together. Everything was lined up to meet Maharaj Ji at the heliport.

We got into New York, and as soon as we arrived we got a phone call saying there had been a change. Maharaj Ji wasn't going to go into Allentown. He wouldn't be able to make it that night at all. He would arrive much later, and wouldn't be able to fly to the retreat due to ground fog at the Allentown airport. The flight was to arrive in New York, and we had to shift everything around to meet him at the Newark airport.

There were only four or five premies in New York at the time and we were thinking, "God, how are we going to …?" Because there weren't any cars available to rent at the Newark airport. In fact, there weren't any available cars in the entire city of Newark. Just three cars waiting on the East side of Manhattan, but we didn't have anybody to drive them.

Then we walked into the hotel and the place was a dump. I started to realize something was going on. But I had no idea what it was. There was no time, and even if there had been, it seemed there wasn't much we could do.

No one to meet Guru Maharaj Ji! When I called a premie who was at the airport with a luggage van, he said he couldn't get any limousines. And I just said, "Well, forget it, man. We're just going to have to … I don't know what we're going to do."

At four in the morning, I was trying to figure out the shortest way to the Newark airport. But suddenly I was in an unfamiliar area. I wasn't sure which way to turn, it was dark, and then I heard a squawk from the radio I was carrying, which was linked up to Maharaj Ji's plane. And I went, "Oh no, they're here."

"Hi, Steve, this is Teddy. Marino is fogged in (at Mount Pocono airport with Raja Ji and his party) and I'm on the way to the airport."

Steve Braband, on the other end of the radio, just said, "Our ETA is eight minutes. What's yours?"

I looked around and said, "About fifteen." I was starting to shake, you know.

He went, "Okay, we'll be taxiing in. What's the transportation arrangements?"

I said, "Well, Steve, as far as I know right now there's one premie at the airport with the luggage van, and this is the only other car available."

And he went, "Ten four on that."

Finally I got to the airport. Just as I pulled in and told Steve on the radio that I'd arrived, the first limousine

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drove up. We ended up having four limos there. I was going, "What's going on?"

I hopped out of the car, ran right to the driver, took him aside and just started yelling at him, giving him satsang and shoving money in his hand. I didn't get a chance to put my radio back in my pocket and he goes, "Ohh, I thought this was a normal run, but I see this is government, isn't it?" He was getting really jumpy and everything, shaking nervously and fixing his tie.

I said, "No, man, it's okay. It's not government." He goes, "Show business?" And I go, "No, no."

Steve was calling on the radio, "What's going on?" and at the same time I was trying to tell the limo driver that this was a very special person. I had just enough time to see the car, empty the ash trays and start to sweep off the floor … It was completely crazy. And yet, like Maharaj Ji said in the satsang, there was Grace there.

I got such a sense that he's really ready to move. This wasn't even a surprise program. It was like, "Look, I'm coming." It wasn't like, "I'll give you a week; I'll give you three days; I'll give you ten days." It was: "Look, is everything together? I'm coming." And wow, he just wants to do that; he wants to be able to just go.

And in one sense, yeah, it didn't work. You know, nothing was together. And in another sense, who's to say that it would have ever worked perfectly, at least by what we would think was perfect some other time? I just saw the opportunity that we have, and that we had here, to be the object of that perfection for those few days.

And that's just a limited perspective on what was happening …

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