Page Eight
August 31 - September 12, 1974


Judith DownesThe most beautiful romantic dreams cannot change our experience of the outside world. Judith Downes tells how her life was divided between fact and fantasy until Guru Maharaj Ji's Knowledge reconciled these two aspects within a harmonious whole.

Childhood was a time when I wanted to be alone. School meant being taunted, pushed out of games and wandering down to the corners of the grounds where no one ever went. Playing with the neighbours meant being burnt at the stake - and being left there for he rest of the afternoon. Reality for me was being a Spanish princess, kidnapped at an early age by a ???

actually my mother was about the only person I could relate to). Fear of school brought on severe illnesses which confined me to my bedroom world of myths, legends and sleeping beauty wallpaper.

As I grew older the country changed, the wallpaper changed, a piano was added and I closed my doors to the world. At the age of twelve I replaced food with legally obtained amphetamines and looked at life through hazy windows of tragic poetry written in the dead of night. I saw it as my destiny to sacrifice Music to save the earth from the clutches of a crazed humanity - but was continually frustrated in any attempts to do so.

The melodrama played on, leading me into the realms of yoga and mysticism. I began to absorb the contents of a theosophical bookshop. Night after night I would try desperately to convince myself that my Atman was one with the Paramatman. I only succeeded in taking myself further away from a practical existence, all the while being certain that soon I would come upon the ultimate Truth.

Two gentle people befriended me, listened to my fairy tales and fed me marijuana seeds and tiny doses of LSD. We floated about in a half world of old condemned mansions until the sharp contrast between the philosophies I was trying to embrace (I was a quarter way through the bookshop) and my ludicrous double existence of convent-prefect-choir-soprano and barefoot hippie was painful enough to make me leave school, home and Sydney to sort out who it really was who was searching for freedom, for an escape.


I spent some freezing weeks huddled over a gas oven in a grey room in Melbourne, living on raw sugar, cups of tea and the hope that God was very near. One wet afternoon I heard an elderly, silver-haired man speak about the coming Aquarian Age. He seemed like a prophet of all that I longed for - the Brotherhood of Man preparing for a golden future after the end of all evil. I devoted myself to his message. We travelled around the country inspiring everyone to turn to vegetarianism and pure air. I returned to Sydney to spread the message but after a few months of unsuccessful communes and disillusionment, I began to look elsewhere.

In a Rudolf Steiner home for retarded children, I found work as a live-in kindergarten teacher. The answer seemed to be there - an enlightened method of children's education combining spiritual and scientific principles. I became deeply involved in the children's world, seeing in them a strength and honesty usually hidden behind barriers of intellect and social image. But I was faced with my own total inability to do any practical good. You could befriend them, look after them and to some extent widen their spheres of existence - but in so doing you would inevitably increase their experience of pain. The idea of "helping people" seemed to be a myth created to keep "the selfless ones" occupied. As long as you are in some kind of confusion - at the time I knew no-one who wasn't - you can only lead others to experience the same confusion.

The conflict amongst the home's staff made its beautiful principles seem invalid. So I turned again to the Aquarian communities but found that the Brotherhood of Man had narrowed down to a selected few.

I took a job doing night duty in a small psychiatric hospital, and spent my nights drinking coffee with a huge Finnish psychopath and listening to an ancient Russian noblewoman who told me her life story in Russian from her favourite spot under the bed. Nevertheless, their confusion was minimal compared to that of the night sister.


Then the changes began. I was asked to sing at my brother's wedding. A friend called Clive played guitar and the marriage took place in the garden, officiated over by an ex-priest. A couple of days after the wedding, I moved into Clive's house. He and his wife had been going to meetings in the city and he asked me to come along. Divine Light Mission - yes, I knew all about them: group strength and another of the mystical gurus. But he begged me to come along.

Night duty after atsang was a new experience of calm and understanding. However, the next day I had forgotten the previous night and had to be coaxed to further satsang followed by work nights, feeling light and very open.

This went on for some time. As one part of me saw something beautiful to be found another side of me became more and more reluctant - I had heard the words before, I had said them all myself and I was always let down …

I begged for Knowledge only because it seemed I had to. Yet somewhere inside me something knew that there was a step I had to take - although I had no idea what that step was. After receiving Knowledge, I left the ashram and then I became aware of a total change in perception of people, physical objects an of who or what I was.

From the outside, my life has changed from being a constant wheel of Enormous, Intense and Amazing Experiences, to one of quiet, regular, even mundane living. Although I was once surrounded by unusual and beautiful occurrences and objects, they never touched me. But now I can spend weeks and month doing the same thing with a newness and fullness in each moment.

Guru Maharaj Ji has shown me the creative life-source inside which is the culmination of all experience. Each one of us can be shown this state of awareness that cannot be found outside - not even in the greatest paintings, the most beautiful music, the gayest laughter or the saddest tears. For the Word that Guru Maharaj Ji is revealing is the source of all things.