Hansi's 2nd Party by Sheldon Jaffe

The signs on the trucks said "Gerry Cottel's Circus - Britain's Greatest!," but for the four hundred premies gathered in the red-and-bluestriped tent, it proved to be the greatest - not in England - but in creation. For this was the divine circus of Guru Maharaj Ji.

On a race track just west of London, Cottel's circus (rented for the occasion), put on a special performance - for Guru Maharaj Ji, European co-ordinators, initiators, all of the ashram residents and some premies with children in the United Kingdom. And the guest of honor: Hans Pal Singh Rawat, celebrating his second birthday.

The premies gathered in the big top shortly before 6:00 p.m. as the members of One Foundation, made up as clowns, played "Festival Time Again" in the truly festive atmosphere of the balloon- lined tent. In the center ring, trampolines were set up and sawdust was spread, but all of the premies kept their eyes on the blue velvet box in which Guru Maharaj Ji and his family would be sitting.

Finally, to the loud applause and shouted "Bhole's" of the premies, Guru Maharaj Ji arrived with Hansi in his arms, the two of them dressed in matching black tuxedoes. Looking almost as beautiful as he really is, Maharaj Ji had the circus begin.

"Ladies and Gentlemen," the ringmaster said, "Welcome to this special performance of Gerry Cottel's circus," a remark that brought down the house. And for nearly two hours Guru Maharaj Ji sat in his chair, giving the most delightful darshan and watching the show before him. Sometimes he sat back and laughed and at other times he looked pensive. He would occasionally direct a comment to Durga Ji or Raja Ji, or point out an attraction to Hansi. When Hansi was in his lap, Maharaj Ji would grasp his hands and help him clap, as Premlata ran to the front of the box for a closer look.

And throughout all of this, the premies acted like they were watching a super tennis match - first looking at Maharaj Ji, and then turning their heads to see what had made him laugh, or what all the excitement was about, or trying to guess what he was pointing out to Premlata. It seemed very weird to those performers: an audience far more interested in their Ring Master than in the show before them.

"I don't understand," said one performer later. "You'd think those people would have minds of their own."

A great many people got the opportunity to play for Maharaj Ji that day: lion tamer, tightrope walker, fire eaters, lariot twirlers and several animal acts.

At one point El Hakim, "from the mystic East," entered and walked straight to the front of the ring to bow to Maharaj Ji as the premies all applauded wildly. The fakir then walked up a ladder of swords and lay on a bed of nails.

Samson, the strong man, bent a quarter-inch steel bar into a horse shoe and challenged an initiator to unbend it. (He tried and failed.) Samson then took on ten initiators and escorts in a wild tug-of-war which left them sprawled in the sawdust before Maharaj Ji's feet.

But of all the acts that day Guru Maharaj Ji seemed to particularly enjoy the clowns (perhaps indicative of "the situation" of the world). A number of times two clowns would get into an argument and be at the point of fighting, when they would suddenly kiss and make up - an action that always brought a bright beam to Maharaj Ji's face.

However, the greatest moment for the premies might have come in the middle of the show about the time an aerialist performed a Cor-de-lisse (suspended by a rope above the circus ring) as the ring master sang into his microphone:

When you know you're alone and so lonely and your friends they
have traveled afar there is someone waiting to guide you
Look for a star!

As the ring master continued to sing, the premies screamed, cheered and applauded as Maharaj Ji sat in his chair smiling broadly. And when the ring master added that, "If you wish on that lucky star, you're sure to find someone to love!" all of the premies broke into a loud "Bhole Shri!" as Maharaj Ji leaned back in his chair wearing the largest smile of the day.

For the circus troupe, who had not been informed of Maharaj Ji's "identity," the end provided an opportunity to ask the question: "Who was that?" For the premies it was a time to sit, meditate and know the answer.

The most loving Dad of all had taken a group of his children to a physical circus and even sat and watched and laughed at it with them.

But for all the devotees the Divine Circus of Dr. Lord can constantly go on.