"In service, you have
to try your level best
… There has to be so much Grace,
there has to be so much understanding,
there has to be so much togetherness,
there has to be so much oneness,
there has to be so much sensitivity,
and surrender, that by all means,
that service that has been given to you,
you will be able to accomplish."
Guru Maharaj Ji
Coordinators' Conference, Rome
After two full days of satsang in a large room at the Holiday Inn Parco Dei Medici, the post-Hans Jayanti conference moved to the Auditorium Technica in Eur, not far from the Palazzo dello Sport, where Hans Jayanti was held. And as the third conference day progressed, it was probably safe to say that everyone really hoped Guru Maharaj Ji would arrive.
Already that day, the Indian initiators had been suddenly shuffled off and everyone guessed what eventually was confirmed: All of the Indian premies had been invited to the residence for a darshan which Initiator Padarthanand was to describe as very far out indeed. After that darshan, the Indian premies walked into the hall where the conference was going on, and you suddenly could feel an extra measure of bliss seep into you.
"Maharaj Ji said he is coming to the conference," Padarthanand told the approximately 600 coordinators in the hall. "We should just continue with satsang or music - do something." He was, as the saying goes, "blown out." But he still managed to carry on as the conference M.C.
As it turned out, Maharaj Ji did not arrive on that third day. That may only have strengthened everyone's longing that, on the fourth day, definitely Guru Maharaj Ji should be there.
* * *
"Dear premies," Maharaj Ji began early the next afternoon, "we definitely have more variety of people from different countries in this conference …
"Basically, although they might appear to be very sophisticated conferences, they're not. Basically, the whole focus has to be brought back to one thing and that is satsang, service, and meditation.
"The reason for calling premies together in one hall is not much more than we've had five more days of satsang. What we really want is a central focus," Maharaj Ji said. He told us we have to go beyond an organizational focus and look at what we have realized as individuals.
"I know different countries have different problems. I mean, there's no 'and, if or but' about it. And yet, where we are all coming from is more important than our problems. Because look at it this way: If there were no problems, what would you do? What would be your special service? Why would there be a need for a conference? There's no problems, so you just sit back and go to sleep-in the ashram, become a sadhu or become a yogi. There are no problems, just day-to-day things are flowing by smoothly.
"But there are bound to be problems. Because it's an interface between something - there's two different things. It's like a 'T' and somewhere there has to be a curve, something has to give, so that there can be an even blend so that this river can flow, so that things can happen.
"The first and foremost thing we have to understand is: What are we trying to do? And what we are trying to do is to spread this Knowledge, is to spread this Grace, is to spread this Word."
November/December, 1977 27
This was what Guru Maharaj Ji emphasized in each of two sessions during which he gave satsang to coordinators for about an hour each time. On the second day, he spoke more about propagation, but emphasized: "In no way do I ever want that focus to change from satsang, service, and meditation."
It is a simple message, but one that needs to be constantly stressed to prevent us from getting complicated. "What we have to do becomes clearer, and clearer, and clearer to us, by satsang, service, and meditation. More meditation that we do, the more stronger we become, the more clearer our objective becomes to us."
Premies, Maharaj Ji said, are like tools, and the question that we all have to ask ourselves is whether or not we, as tools, are in shape for use.
"And the answer to that question is nowhere close to: 'Well, I don't think I can do it.' No .. And I know it's like, for a lot of people. service, well - to service, a lot of people go, 'Well, I don't know. I don't really have any experience in this field.' No, no. That's being mistaken by a job. In a job, that's the way things go.
"If your boss takes you and you are supposed to be excellent with a computer and yet terrible at plumbing, then you can complain and say, 'Look. My job is supposed to be operating computers, not plumbing.'
"And then the guy says, 'Oh, there must have been a mistake,' and go reconstruct this and that, and 'Okay, you can be in the computer field.'
"But that's not the way it goes when it's a case of service. If it's computers that you're good at, you might he stuck with plumbing. It doesn't
mean that that's all you're going to have to do. No. In service, you have to try your level best. And that means level best in anything."
Maharaj Ji gestured towards the initiators at that point. "I mean, you really think these guys who are initiators are qualified to be initiators? They were made to qualify for initiators? They weren't. There is no such experience like that that exists in this materialistic world, where you can say, 'Oh
"Do your best,
and Guru Maharaj Ji takes
care of the rest."
28 Divine Times
yeah, I have initiator experience,' and so therefore, it's really good - you qualify. And so when you come into the mission: Bamn! The first service you get is of initiator.
"It doesn't work that way. It doesn't matter if you are dumb and assigned a service of a national coordinator," Maharaj Ji said. "Look. It just doesn't matter. What matters is that when you do meditation, that it is coming from your heart. That you're really doing 'med-i-ta-tion,' not 'concept-i-ta-tion.' Full of your concepts, where you try to program your way out of illusion."
Maharaj Ji said it could be that a drummer would be assigned the service of sweeping the stage and a sound-mixer could be asked to do the drumming. As long as they try their level best, it doesn't matter that a third person might find it all funny. Actually, a person shouldn't be given a service where he has no skill at all, Maharaj Ji pointed out, but the skill is not the crucial point; it's what the individual is experiencing while doing whatever it is he's been asked to do.
"So much is manifesting," Maharaj Ji told the coordinators. "And I don't know what kind of specific instructions are going to be really given to you in terms of what you should go hack and do. I mean, I'm pretty sure there's some people here who have their notepads out, or have got them, at least, in their pockets, and are ready to write.
"None of that is necessary; none of that has to happen. It's just very simple. It's just very straight. It's just very uncomplicated. You get clear. Bring your community together; bring those premies together; bring everybody together, so that they can all have satsang, service, and meditation, and that experience."
Maharaj Ji told the coordinators to let premies have that experience, "and let them decide from there on. But bring them together. Let them have that experience of Knowledge."
In a way, it seemed obvious that no one could really do anything about anyone else's experience or anyone else coming together for satsang, service, and meditation, except to do it for himself and do his level best. To inspire us to do our level best, there was Guru Maharaj Ji radiating so much that you felt you almost needed sunglasses to look at him. And when he started to play with everyone from the 55 different nations represented, it seemed to become the most casual and friendly conference we've ever experienced.
For some examples of Maharaj Ji's humor while doing a roll call of the nations represented, we can try these:
- Australia was told that, while Guru Maharaj Ji couldn't tell them exactly what date he would be there, he could give them "an approximate time: 8:30!"
- The coordinator from Brazil was asked: "What's happening? Has it stopped raining yet?"
- After listening to the coordinator from Chile speak in Spanish, Maharaj Ji replied in Hindi: "A-cha" (meaning 'yes').
- Canada, Maharaj Ji told everyone, was the first place where Maharaj Ji ever saw a river completely frozen over.
- To the fact that Denmark had nine new premies, Maharaj Ji beamed, smiled, and said, "That's Denmark. Slow, but sure."
- The Hong Kong premies were told: "You'd think you'd carry your own microphones. Little bitty ones, in your sleeves."
- The coordinator from Ireland was asked if he ever found a four-leaf clover. "You're the four-leaf clover," Tom Oglesby told Maharaj Ji. The reply was: "Oh, come on!"
- Sweden, Maharaj Ji said, was the "first place where the windows were only allowed to open this much (a few inches)." And if it ever got hot there, Maharaj Ji added, "the houses would melt."
- The United Kingdom was "Her Majesty's United Kingdom." The national coordinator was asked: "What's happening in jolly old Britain?"
- Bill Patterson, the national coordinator for the U.S., was referred to, as always, as "Mr. President."
- Maharaj Ji forgot to call out Greece when he first did the roll call. When he discovered that, he looked back at the list of nations and proclaimed: "You must be in there. But you could have just slid off."
At the end of the first day, Maharaj Ji told the coordinators: "Please don't go to sleep at this conference. I see a lot of people are tired. Drink a lot of coffee." After everyone laughed, he added. "Not necessarily.
"But don't sleep."
If there were any way to summarize such a conference, perhaps Maharaj Ji did it when he said the most important thing in it all "is to get the gist of it." And "the gist of it is: You have to surrender."
"Do your best, and Guru Maharaj Ji takes care of the rest."
The two satsangs Guru Maharaj Ji gave at the conference were recorded on video tape at his request. There's a chance, then, that everyone will get to see the conference for himself.
But one part that was neither videoed nor taped came at the very end, after Maharaj Ji held a special meeting with initiators. Maharaj Ji stood on a balcony overlooking the hall and was asked if he would please stay in Europe, go to Canada, etc. He replied by saying that we are premies now, and there should be no Europe, no Canada, no Australia.
"I'm on the planet," he said. "Isn't that enough?"
November/December, 1977 29