Page Twelve
August 3 - 16, 1974

People Who Did Not Find Peace People who found Peace.

Some people learn life's lessons the hard way. Through all extremes of emotion and self questioning, Neville Ackland searched for the experience of ultimate Truth …

From my early childhood I can remember praying to God. Often at night I would kneel before my bed and have long involved conversations with what I imagined might be a semi-transparent old man with flowing robes, beard and hair. As I grew older I was sent to Sunday School where this concept was reinforced. But although I prayed day and night he never appeared before me. Whenever I thought about what God really was I became totally overwhelmed.

As the years went by I realised Sunday School just wasn't enough, in fact it seemed to hinder rather than help my relationship with the Creator. Sunday mornings dragged on. No one enjoyed it, least of all the teachers, who more often than not had their hands full just controlling the class.

With great relief I left the church and proceeded to involve myself with every kind of sin possible. Smoking drinking, sex, violence, not a stone was left unturned. Every night I would pray harder and harder for forgiveness, but the next day would invariably be a repeat of the one before.

By the time I was 17 I'd had enough. All that my adventures had brought me was worry, migraine headaches, and a long list of nervous habits.

Trying to reach Jesus

One day I went to see an old friend and found he had changed completely. He had accepted Christ Jesus as his saviour and was on the road to Heaven. Within a matter of minutes I had made up my mind, there was no hesitation. I surrendered my life, heart and soul to Christ and vowed to live only for Him.

A week later my friend was baptised officially at the Baptist Church. It was a momentous occasion. I was the only one crying and the rest of the congregation thought I was in pain. A month later I received the Holy Spirit and was confirmed a member of the Christian Church - the greatest moment of my life. Tears of joy streamed down my face, which embarrassed the minister somewhat.

The next year was spent spreading the word that salvation was available to everyone. One by one my friends left, never to return. All I spoke of was Jesus and His written word. I refused to disobey His commandments and relentlessly witnessed for Christ in the most unusual situations. During this time I prayed and prayed yet nothing I did gave me a direct experience of Jesus. Christ was alive within me this I believed with my whole heart, but try as I might, I could not find a way of perceiving Him. Eventually I went to the minister of the local church and found to my dismay he could not say for sure if he had had a direct experience of God, knew no one who had, and was doubtful that it was possible until after death. I pointed out that Jacob had said, "I have seen God face to face and my life has been preserved". (Gen. 32.30) which only added more fuel to what had become a fire of confusion.

My faith in the Christian path to liberation was shaken so badly I vowed to leave blind faith forever and search for Truth, rather than accept a concept - someone else's idea of what God might be. I realised that my baptism in the Holy Spirit had been a wonderful step to take but that being content with such a revelation was still being satisfied with a concept of an old man in the sky, and I knew God was far beyond my imagination.

The next few years were spent in a search for fulfilment, love and peace. Through hard work and determination I purchased a pair of flats that provided me with an income. I retired to Queensland for six months where I surfed and lay around in the sun. Upon returning to Melbourne, wine, women and song did little to appease my restless mind and soon I was off again around Australia. Six months and twelve thousand miles later I returned home, opened a surfboard shop and began to fulfil a dream. But money and status were not enough, and once again I set off, this time around the world. Whilst hitching towards Cairns someone gave me a book called "Finding the Third Eye". I couldn't put it down. In a matter of hours what I read reminded me of my search and how imperative it was to find Truth (whatever it was). Several months later a friend and I were headed towards India, "the last frontier of spiritual advancement".

Our first stop along the way was New Guinea where we lived in the jungle with a native family. Although they lived in poverty, without any of the material luxuries of the Western world, they appeared to be happier than the missionaries who were trying to convert them. It soon became apparent to us that what we needed and what we wanted were two completely different things.

We left New Guinea by boat bound for Singapore where once again we plunged into the Maya. Driven by an overwhelming desire to be happy and content we travelled South East Asia for months, stopping wherever we pleased.

A Shock in Paradise

By a series of amazing coincidences we arrrived at Krabi, a small fishing village on the West coast of Thailand. To our amazement we discovered a dream come true. Tucked away from the rest of the world, far removed from the madness of the 20th century we found a host of tropical islands. White sands, blue lagoons, cloudless skies, and smiling people - everything we had dreamed Heaven on earth would he. Here we stayed until something happened that really shocked me. I became bored. Here I was surrounded by beauty, fulfilling the dream of the working-class hero and yet I was still restless and unable to find peace. Only then did I realise happiness didn't depend upon where one lived - it was an internal thing; the answer was inside.

We headed towards Bangkok and on the way I read the book "Be Here Now". Once more I was reminded of my search and my desire to get to India became stronger. Somehow we ended up in Vientane, Laos, in the middle of a war. Here we lived on the banks of the Chang Mi smoking opium and snorting heroin. Once again I forgot about my search.

Eventually poor health and boredom drove us back to Bangkok and the Atlanta Hotel, where I met a girl called Poppy. She was also consciously searching and it amazed me to be with her. Our romance was cut short by an unexpected raid by the Bangkok drug squad who arrested Poppy along with 20 others in the hotel and charged her with possession of my opium (which I had left in a jar in her room). I escaped arrest as I was already in gaol owing to overstaying my visa. Poppy was sent back to Australia and I was deported to India.

After a week in Calcutta we headed towards Nepal. During my wanderings I had cultivated an image - that of an experienced traveller. I was very conscious of what people thought of me and made sure I appeared outwardly cool and knowledgeable.

Upon arriving in Katmandu I found hundreds of other freaks all doing the same thing. I was shaken and disillusioned and realised the futiltity of the game I was playing. My ego had grown out of all proportions and it was out of control.

The Ego Game

The next day was Buddha's birthday, a very important social event in the lives of the Nepalese. My friend and I sat in the shadow of the Monkey Temple and ceremoniously consumed a large quantity of LSD in the hope that it would lead us to higher spiritual experiences. All day I prayed for an experience of Truth. Eventually I fell to the ground in tears and begged for guidance. The next morning I read the I Ching, the Chinese scripture. It said "If you want to find the man go to the South East". It spoke about a "little boy" and explained the way was "to follow After another brief gaol sentence my friend and I headed for the South East.

It was in a hotel room in Delhi that I decided to go ahead and destroy my ego, even if it meant I would lose my personality completely. Following eight-fingered-Eddy's instructions I lay on my side in the foetal position and began the terrifying process of dying. My life flashed before my mind's eye and I saw my ego for what it was. I cried in mental agony as it tried unsuccessfully to destroy itself. Almost at the point of no return I was saved by a banana milkshake and a warm smile from an understanding friend.

A Change of Perception

pwfp2 (24K) It wasn't long before we were on the road again headed towards the Himalayas and the holy towns of Hardwar and Rishikesh. When we arrived at Hardwar a trishaw driver took us to the gates of Prem Nagar Ashram. When I was told that a 14 year old Guru could show me God face to face I didn't believe it. It was just too good to be true. However I stayed at Prem Nagar for about 5 or 6 weeks and received Guru Maharaj Ji's Knowledge. To my disappointment I saw very little light, heard no music and didn't taste nectar. The Word technique seemed no different to any other form of meditation. I made an effort to practise for about a week but without the support of other devotees I soon stopped meditating and tried once again to find peace through drugs. To my surprise and dismay I found I had changed. My discrimination and perception had been raised to such an extent that I could no longer be satisfied with these things in which I'd found some temporary peace before Knowledge.

I left India and headed towards England. By the time I reached the Middle East I was going crazy.

Although there were many beautiful places to see and things to do, nothing interested me and the journey overland to England was nothing short of Hell on earth.

Immediately I arrived in London I contacted the nearest ashram. When I told them of my plight they just smiled and pointed out to me how powerful guru Maharaj Ji's Knowledge was. From that day until this I have followed the direction of Guru Maharaj Ji and have experienced the Consciousness of Bliss. I can never repay him. What he has revealed to me is priceless. Guru Maharaj Ji is revealing Knowledge of the Holy Spirit and I would like to recommend this experience to all my Christian brothers and sisters who wish to be closer to, the Lord and know the Light and Word of God.