Hans Jayanti '97
Sometimes a simple little thing can make life hell. Like a buzzing mosquito. On Thursday evening, Maharaji brought a funny story from India about the man at the airport who told him he didn't need to use mosquito repellent. "Oh, sir. This is India, you don't - you can't shoo these mosquitoes away." Maharaji said, "I'm not trying to shoo the mosquitoes away. I'm just trying to protect myself." And the man said, "This is India, accept the mosquitoes, suffer."
But there is another side to India,
Maharaji explained, "a completely different experience. So beautiful, so clean, so sweet. A system of love, a system of excitement. A system of enjoying, a system of rejoice. And that's the possibility that Knowledge brings."
This year's Long Beach event, with almost 9000 participants, seems enormous. Yet it is dwarfed by the November Hans Jayanti event at Shri Sant Yog Ashram in Delhi, which was attended by 60,000 people. Before this event, Maharaji visited Kathmandu in Nepal and Caleutta. Kathmandu's event, on November 8, was attended by 12,000 people. In two Knowledge sessions, 1527 people received Knowledge. Calcutta's two-day event, on November 4-5, was also attended by 12,000 people.
Getting there was different. Visitors, who came from more than 40 countries, had to reach the ashram through the Delhi traffic. The Delhi taxi driver's solution to a traffic jam is to cross to the wrong side of the road, place his hand on the horn, and floor the accelerator.
The three programs were held in the late afternoon on a huge grassed area, larger than three football fields. On-stage, Maharaji was bathed in the amber light of the setting sun. He talked until after dark, lit by powerful floodlights. He spoke of his students cooperating with each other, the importance of the living master, and of not being bound by the rules of the past.
In the days before the Delhi event, Maharaji gave Knowledge to 7040 people in two sessions. The Knowledge tent was 100 meters in diameter, with translation facilities and overhead video screens.
The evenings finished as they had begun: in a peaceful, orderly fashion. Tens of thousands of guests were fed from the "CK", or Central Kitchen. The food was cooked in massive pots suspended over pit fires, then dispensed at several points throughout the site. Most slept in a "tent city".
Every event has its lessons, and the lessons from Hans Jayanti were profound. There was one in particular that many Westerners will take home with them. The Indians achieved a vast amount in pulling their program together, yet the emphasis was never on achievement, attainment, or getting things done: it was unfailingly on enjoyment.
by John Macgregor.