Interview with Derek Harper And Terry McKinnellNATIONAL


"We want to create one thing - that is the love, the peace that we have to accomplish on this earth. And I think that it's my mission to do it, but whoever joins Divine Light Mission, it becomes also his sole purpose to accomplish peace on earth."

Guru Maharaj Ji

The Australian DUO Director, Derek Harper, and our national finance director, Terry MacKinnell, had the good fortune of attending the Hans Jayanti '75 festival in Orlando, Florida. The Golden Age interviewed them on their return.

After the Hans Jayanti festival there were the Orlando administrative conferences. What were the main themes and realisations?

Derek: In most cases it was confirming what we'd already found out in previous mailings from Denver or had worked out from our own experience.

The conferences were an opportunity for everyone to have the same understanding about where the Mission is and where it's going in the future. Fortunately in Australia we're one of the more developed of the countries, insomuch as what was discussed, we were already implementing or about to implement and it gave us that fine tuning, that extra direction.

You also attended a National Directors meeting with Guru Maharaj Ji. What did Maharaj Ji cover in his satsang?

Derek: Guru Maharaj Ji was talking about the responsibility which we all have in practising Knowledge and doing whatever service we've been given. He considered all the DUO Directors responsible for what was happening in their country and they should approach this service with understanding and responsibility in order to help Guru Maharaj Ji as much as possible, and he said that over and over again. It was quite interesting to know that Guru Maharaj Ji held me personally responsible for whatever's going on in this country, so it makes you want to make sure that everything is going all right because when he comes here he's not going to wonder why someone else in some other city isn't doing it properly, he's going to be asking me what's going on, so it's added incentive to make sure everything's happening.

Terry: The most profound thing at the conference was the personal agya Maharaj Ji gave to his DUO Directors. He said that not only do they have the responsibility to do it but that they could do it. Probably the most humourous part was when Maharaj Ji was talking about some DUO Director asking to leave because he became a DUO Director by default, and thereby may not be able to follow agya. Maharaj Ji gave the example that if God walks down the street and knocks on the wrong door and you answer it, you don't tell him to keep out, you invite him in. Because I think that applies to anyone, I think everyone's got his position by default one way or another.

What do you see is the first step to be taken this year for propagation?

Derek: The word that Guru Maharaj Ji has coined for this year is understanding, and it's really easy to see why that's so because you get to a stage with Knowledge where you've got to get to that point of understanding of what Guru Maharaj Ji has in store for us.

The thing that springs immediately into mind is that the first thing always to do with propagation is to emphasise the necessity of practising meditation. We have the material side of things pretty well together with our introductory programs, the satsang halls are of a reasonable standard, the satsang itself is improving but the thing that is going to be stressed is that premies should understand more and more what this Knowledge is and what Guru Maharaj Ji has actually done for us. It's not any use having the meditation, it's not any use going off to satsang and doing service if you don't actually understand what it all means, what the real meaning of this Knowledge is and what the real purpose of having this Knowledge is. And so that's going to be reinforced in any way


No. 23, January 1976

that we can from our end by just trying to provide regional centres with facilities and with the materials which will make their job easier and make the premies' job easier to understand what Guru Maharaj Ji's actually doing. There may be other more tangible propagational changes, different types of programs may be developed, different ways of doing things, but essentially the main emphasis is going to be on directing our attention towards the premies so they're in a better position and a greater understanding to be able to propagate Guru Maharaj Ji's Knowledge.

Are there any interesting personal realisations that you gained in your travels?

Derek: I've had the same realisation about 100 times a year, and even every couple of days and that is that I should be doing more, I should be doing Guru Maharaj Ji's agya more. I should be doing more service, I should be doing more meditation, I should be doing more satsang because it becomes clearer and clearer to me that this is the only source of happiness, the only source of love and satisfaction in my life. I'm slowly but surely starting to have it sink in, like even into my brain, and my mind is beginning to understand that this is where it's at, and even if my mind doesn't understand, I'm going to do it anyway.

Terry: The main personal realisation I gained from the whole trip was really understanding what Guru Maharaj was wanting each premie to do and more specifically what he wants me to do and just doing it. Like I got into a sort of rut where I wasn't reading Guru Maharaj Ji's satsangs or following what was going on, because I thought I got to a place where, well, you know, you're doing service, satsang and meditation and you've just got into this routine and then I discovered that if you aren't continually advancing then in fact you're going backwards. You can't even stand still on this path, you've either got to go forwards or backwards, and the only way you can go forwards is by following Guru Maharaj Ji's agya. And when I sat down and started reading Guru Maharaj Ji's satsang and listening to his satsang and understanding what he wanted, he was really clear. It was made clear to me that every day in life there's always situations that will come up, and it doesn't matter who you are, whether you're an ashram premie or a married person or a householder or just someone living with their parents or whatever, that you're always given a choice, you can do one thing or the other, you can follow Maharaj Ji's agya, or you can follow your mind. It's always clear cut. There's never any shades of grey, it's always black or white and by following Guru Maharaj Ji's agya all the time you get what Guru Maharaj Ji's trying to give you. And you've only got to not follow Guru Maharaj Ji's agya one time and you'll find yourself in the peril of your own mind. That's my own basic personal realisation from the whole visit; there's no shades in this game, it's either one or the other.

What are the main areas that need to be strengthened in our own communities?

Derek: You could have the biggest, best satsang hall in the world, you could have meditation retreats, people going away every weekend, you could have people living in housing complexes, you could have anything you like on the material level, but I think the main thing that must must be done is that more people should understand exactly what's involved with practising Knowledge, more people should realise that commitment, more people should understand the beauty of the gift that we've got, and then take the appropriate action. When I first received Knowledge I didn't realise what it was, and so I went and lived in the country, and just continued to do all sorts of things other than practise it. But as time has gone past, I've just realised more and more how beautiful it is and the more I realise the more involved I become, so I choose to do service as much as possible, I live in an ashram, I do whatever I can to facilitate that experience and I think as time goes past more and more people are going to realise how beautiful this Knowledge is and will start to do whatever is necessary to facilitate the practice of it. So I expect more people will want to move into ashrams, more people will want to move into DUO households, more people will want to do service, contribute to AMP, attend satsang, just meditate, raise their consciousness, and then be a part of Guru Maharaj Ji's Mission, to become a really beneficial part of Guru Maharaj Ji's Mission rather than just being a spectator on what's happening, to really become involved and to really understand what Guru Maharaj Ji is doing for us.

Terry: When everyone's consciousness is raised the community is naturally together. Each premie has experienced that time when there might be a day or a week or some time since they've had Knowledge when they're right at the point where they're so blissed out at satsang and they're just loving doing service, they're just really feeling beautiful. Because their consciousness is raised, and sometimes they get to this point and they drift out again and you can see various premies at various times going in or out of this period. But everyone knows that if all the premies were in this place most of the time, then community does exist, that the community is not just food-coops and all these sort of things, it's a manifestation of this consciousness. It's the consciousness of the community which has to be raised, and I think one of the things we are going to realise is that what Maharaj Ji's saying is true. That the way you do it is Service, Satsang and Meditation. And I sometimes think that people are doing meditation and they're getting the service, but they don't take full advantage of satsang, or they don't realise just what satsang is because there seems to be a general shying away from sharing satsang with each other. There's a tendency to stay on the level of "howya going" or "oh yeah I saw this nice movie last night" or this joking sort of thing, because there seems to be an embarrassment for people to share satsang, to really communicate that experience that they're having inside. I think that that's one area in the community that is going to be strengthened. Premies among themselves are going to realise that satsang really has a clarifying effect, satsang can really kill the mind, and I know for instance that sometimes I give satsang and it feels dry and you listen to other people and it doesn't matter who they are and it just doesn't come through but sometimes you can be just sitting down with someone and you just start talking, and you just leave all the "how ya going mate" trip behind and be open with someone, satsang just starts to come out and there's a real shared experience between those two people and from that point onwards, whenever they see each other, they identify with that other person, with that point of Truth in that other person, that purity, rather than their minds. And I think that with the community on the whole, when people start to identify more with each other, that Truth in each other, Guru Maharaj Ji in each other, rather than their personalities, then the community will become a real community.