The Heart of the Matter
July 03, 2008
Maharaji in Corleone, Italy

This just in from Jule Kowarsky, Corleone, Italy: 1:43 am

"Corleone is a small town. The bus ride, from Palermo, took a little more than an hour and the route was lined with grapevines, hayfields, mountains, and a picturesque countryside. Grown men, baling and stacking hay, waved at our bus -- the way children wave to train engineers in rural areas.

The Corleone town square, named for two men, many years ago, who were shot for standing up to the Mafia, was smaller than a football field. The local organizers said the event could have been held indoors, but they wanted it in the open air so everyone in town could attend.

The dignitaries, in attendance, numbered about 50 dark-suited men. After meeting with Maharaji in a government building just up the street from the square, they followed him -- in a procession -- as he walked to the square.

The people of the town, standing on their balconies overhanging the square, cheered -- while mothers with small children waved and smiled. A glowing Maharaji smiled and waved back. The mayors of many surrounding municipalities radiated a beautiful pride as they filed into their seats.

During the event more and more people entered the square. Even the scrawny town dogs couldn't stay away! Looking at the old men sitting in front, their places of business and homes at the edge of the square, brought to mind the old photos of Italian communities in New York in the early 20th century.

Huge posters announcing the event were all over town and a car with a loud speaker drove around, inviting people to the square before the event began.

Before Maharaji spoke, local dignitaries got up and made many references to the infamy of Corleone and the Mafia. One very shy man mentioned that he was working on returning land to its rightful owners that had been confiscated years ago.

Before Maharaji began his talk, each dignitary offered a warm expression of gratitude -- mentioning how glad they were that Maharaji had come to Corleone to plant the seeds of Peace.

Here's what I remember Maharaji saying at the event...

He explained that what you practice you will get good at. If you practice kindness, you will get good at kindness. If you practice anger you will get good at anger.

He then spoke of a famous archer who would shoot an arrow high into the air and, while it flew, would split the arrow with a second one. The archer demonstrated this for a bunch of people one day and a single voice from the crowd would repeat "It is just a matter of practice."

After the demonstration, the archer approached the heckler and asked him if he knew how difficult it was to perform his arrow-halving feat.

The man replied "Yes, I do -- but it is just a matter of practice. Follow me".

He then took the archer to a place where he worked filling bottles with oil. The man placed a Chinese coin, with a hole in the center, over the top of bottle. He then took a ladle of oil and proceeded to pour the oil into the bottle without spilling a single drop on the coin!

"It's just a matter of practice," he repeated once again.

Maharaji then spoke about the fact that it is human beings who have created the problems we face and that it is human beings who will resolve them. He spoke of the equanimity of nature which does not say, "I do not like you... no fruit will grow for you".

He spoke of how clouds are created and noted that wars are not created in the same way -- that they begin in the minds of men.

Towards the end of the event, Maharaji expressed how important it was for the Coreleone residents not to dwell on their past, but to look to the future.

He went on to say that people from "tiny villages in India" to cities all around the world would soon be seeing the video of this event, and that the people of Corleone should be proud to know that everyone will be speaking of their town as a place that truly embraces peace and sows it seed.

At that point, everyone stood up and cheered.

The mayor thanked Maharaji again and, instead of referring to him as Mr. Rawat or Prem Rawat, embraced him and called him the Maestro of Peace.

PS: Here's a slide show of Maharaji's events in Palermo and Corleone...

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at July 3, 2008 03:04 AM


Anyone else imagining Al Pacino as a young man walking up that road to Corleone? Ah, what a site that must have been to see Maharaji walking thru the town square, the Godfather of Love and Peace, at least in my own life.

Posted by: Deece48 [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 3, 2008 10:38 AM

What a wonderful review! Visual imagery really brightened my day. I'm so looking forward to seeing the video.

Thanks So Much!

Posted by: Jamers [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 3, 2008 01:20 PM

thankyou for such timely news of the "captain" visiting and sharing in such a beautiful but intimate setting. Wonder blog Mitch keep it up please

Posted by: jez [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 4, 2008 05:26 PM

Great reading this! A breath of fresh air for me, much needed. Great reporting and writing (I've worked as a reporter) and while I read it I could feel the magic and see M walking through the small Italian cobble-stone-street town with the old and young and middle age residents and raggedy dogs following him wrapped in magic, peace and happiness!
Thanks for the report and the posting!!!

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