PROPAGATION: THE NATURAL STEP
Introduction to Propagation - adapted from the DLM Propagation Handbook
Getting Ready To Do Propagation - The First Step
Now that Guru Maharaj Ji has shown us how to meditate, the first thing we must do is use it. We must go to that center inside for the experience. Through our experience in meditation, we will experience Knowledge unfolding within, and Guru Maharaj Ji will begin to show us how to balance our life. By raising our consciousness, we can see our potential for living in peace and harmony with ourselves and others. But first, meditation must be a constant in our life.
From Inner Experience to Collective Consciousness - The Community
"The very first thing we have to do is get the community together. There will be all different kinds of programs coming in to the community, and then from the community (to the public). But the main concentration is the community. We must develop a strong enough community so that it can develop itself into different, different, different communities."
- Guru Maharaj Ji
Our collective effort to cooperate with Guru Maharaj Ji is the force that activates community consciousness and causes it to grow.
The community fosters our needs for living a balanced life, both internally and externally. It provides an environment where satsang, service, and encouragement to do meditation become an everyday thing. As this is done, the public begins to take notice; there is something happening. Propagation is beginning. By our mere presence, in our daily lives, we can propagate the beauty of this Knowledge.
Satsang: The Keystone of Propagation
From the experience each of us has in meditation, the family (community) is ready for the next integral part of growing in Knowledge: actively doing propagation. The foundation of propagation is doing service through giving satsang.
Satsang is not merely verbalizing about meditation. Satsang is being a living example of the beauty of Knowledge as it reflects in a person, as a result of experiencing meditation within our own being. When we try to convey to someone that meditation is a practical and useful tool in daily living, we must be able to be an example. The practical example is always the best medium in communicating anything.
Talk About the Knowledge
Guru Maharaj Ji has made the point many times in the last few years that we should talk about Knowledge; not about the physical form of Guru Maharaj Ji. And yet, because of the way we have presented ourselves in the past, Guru Maharaj Ji remains a central point of contention among people hearing about Knowledge. We must always try to focus the real question back to its central point.
What this Knowledge is, is really practical. So when you have such a tool, why not use that tool? Just talk to people straight about this Knowledge."
Another precaution is not to exaggerate your experience. Be honest and sincere. In simply doing that, your listener will have more respect for you and your message than if you exaggerate or fantasize your experience. Also, so many ideas exist in people's minds about God and religion that it is better to speak about meditation. Once people learn more about this meditation, they will gradually understand its importance as a "way of life." It is like gradually acquiring a new set of life-practices, in exchange for older habits and practices which do not bring us satisfaction. They will understand that it has nothing to do with "religion" as most people think of it today; and that meditation doesn't manifest in our lives the way "beliefs" do.
But What About Guru Maharaj Ji?
Many times, people who don't have Knowledge ask the questions "Why is Guru Maharaj Ji perfect?" or "Why is he called Perfect Master?" In his own answer to this question, Guru Maharaj Ji often gives an example, saying that a Perfect Master is just like a mathematics master; only he has mastered and teaches perfection rather than mathematics. We call him Perfect Master because he is a revealer of perfect Knowledge. It is the meditation he reveals which is perfect.
We Are Citizens of the Twentieth Century
A vital point to remember is that we are citizens in a modern world speaking to 20th century people. Our propagation efforts should be geared to reach the widest variety of people we possibly can. We should be objective in relating to our listener(s) by trying to "put ourselves in their shoes, listening to satsang." We'll get our message across much more clearly.
The following excerpt from a meeting Guru Maharaj Ji had at International Headquarters emphasizes this point beautifully:
Question: Maharaj Ji, I lived in different ashrams and did propagation and did postering, and things like that. I always felt it was really hard to bring people to Knowledge. We tried to use the tools that were available to us, like leafleting and postering, I just wondered if maybe the world, is it readier now? Are we going to be able to be more successful now?
Guru Maharaj Ji: Yes. Because now we've got what it takes. Before we didn't. You were like dumb people, going around trying to give these people these posters they couldn't even read! "There's gonna be satsang tonight!" and darshan and posters said … Balyogeshwar Paramhansatgurudev. And it was like, "There is gonna be darshan, and satsang," and (he laughs) - but it's like, now you have got what it takes to do it, because we understand more now and can use language that people understand.
Question: One thing I remember Maharaj Ji, you once criticized us when we said, "Guru Maharaj Ji is the Lord of the Universe." Because people haven't got any understanding to even know what Lord means - because they've never experienced it, and how can they know who Lord is or even what is Lord?
Guru Maharaj Ji: We are talking about Knowledge, you know. We are not talking about Guru Maharaj Ji. Guru Maharaj Ji is going to go on television shows, and he's going to talk about Knowledge. In fact, it all makes a difference in which motive the propagation is done. Now, it can be really picked up wrong. "Fifteen year old God," or, "Fourteen year old God," and you know, they made a joke out of it. But if it is properly motivated, we can prevent that. The way that propagation is going to be pulled to the front, depends upon what we are going to say.
Presenting the Meditation Carefully
As we can see from the above quote, the kinds of statements we make about the meditation radically affect the kind of impact they will have on the public. We should be able to present the meditation in a sensible, cohesive, and plausible manner. We want to convey that it is practical in our lives, and that we experience something real from it; that through meditation, we can be together both inside and outside as a human family. Through presenting our experiences in a common-sense medium, the public can recognize that we are not an exclusive group, but an inclusive family. If they really understand this, then they won't be afraid to "come close" and investigate the Knowledge.