PACIFIC GURU PUJA
"I love them, they love me" was Guru Maharaj Ji's simple answer to a reporter's obvious question: Why do all these people come to see you? And over the last few years that love has been manifesting throughout the world in a festival celebration known as Guru Puja. Many countries have played host to a high moment of love: Guru Puja in London, Copenhagen, Amherst, and most recently of all, Caracas in Venezuela. Now Guru Puja comes to Sydney, Australia in an October Guru Puja festival shared by premies from Australia, Fiji and New Zealand with Maharaj Ji himself.
Australia has seen two Guru Puja festivals without Guru Maharaj Ji's personal presence:- one in Adelaide ('73) and Melbourne ('74), both rainy and cold yet imbued with the special warmth of a family gathering together. Both hastily organised, yet splendid rehearsals for the events of the coming October. As premies are assembled to prepare the festival organisation, the golden opportunity dawns upon them: to do service for Guru Maharaj Ji by preparing his Pacific Guru Puja; to serve as hosts at an international party. The sense of a game and a challenge is also evident as the organisational intricacies pile upon each other, threatening to topple over unless supported by constant effort, once again made easy by that indefinable force of love called Grace.
Preparing for the Guru Puja festival carries DLM Australia into another dimension of consciousness. Although not nearly as large as some overseas festivals, catering for 2000 people makes it the biggest event so far on the local calendar. It means setting up an organisation much larger than Divine Light Mission. It means forming new departments to handle new events - to look after Guru Maharaj Ji and his entourage, to manage programs, to provide transport, to supply information, to hire buses and charter planes. Each week the number of premies needed grows, and as the festival grows closer more and more meetings are held between the organising committee and the various departments, between the departments and their different sections, to fill in all the empty spaces, to provide for emergencies, to ask and answer the little questions: where do 1500 people have breakfast, who opens
Maharaj Ji's car door at the Opera House? For the play to go on smoothly and beautifully, a lot of marvellous events take place behind the scenes.
Perth and New Zealand get an early start to the Pacific Guru Puja when their planes arrive on Friday, October 17. The following afternoon everyone else arrives and most go to their hotel accommodation in the Kings Cross area. And Saturday night is the first darshan program at the Capitol theatre in the inner city area of Haymarket.
After sufficient time to recover from the previous night's revelries, Sunday begins at the Sydney Showground with a full-scale fair, featuring music, plays, films, games, learning exchange workshops, bazaars, and the long-awaited darshan line with Guru Maharaj Ji. Then the whole day culminates with Sunday night at the Opera House, its concert hall ringing with satsang from the Perfect Master. Monday rounds off the festival with more workshops and the premies returning by charter flight to their various states and countries.
When we come together the love that manifests reminds us of our simple reason for receiving Knowledge - to have peace and happiness in our lives. What does the Pacific Guru Puja mean for us? It means a unique chance to serve Guru Maharaj Ji, to get to know each other through play and co-operation, to gain a greater insight into the personal link between devotee and Master.