It's Really Very Simple
July 09, 2012
My Tray of Hors D'oeuvres Is Empty
I have been a student of Prem Rawat (AKA Maharaji) since 1971.
For the past 41 years, inspired by the feeling of deep peace and gladness he has awakened in me, I have been attempting -- in various unsuccessful ways -- to describe who he is.
In the beginning, my descriptions were extremely effusive. Borderline inflated, you might say, and tinged with a hint of the zealot -- not unlike the poetry of one in love for the first time and badly in need of an editor.
Charming? For sure. Engaging? You bet. Attention getting? That, too. But also confusing to anyone sincerely wanting to understand what the big deal was all about.
In time, like wine, I've mellowed, no longer ruled by the need to label, define, and explain. It's a game I choose not to play any more.
What does Maharaji say when people ask him who he is? "Just a human being -- a mirror that helps people see their true reflection at that moment in time." This has been my experience completely. Allow me to be more specific...
The year was 1983 and I was living in Los Angeles.
Although I had enjoyed some wonderfully casual moments with Maharaji throughout the years, most of my contact with him had been at big programs, him on stage, me straining to see from the mezzanine, wondering how to get a better seat. Like most of his students I wanted "special" time with him, away from the crowds.
And so when a friend asked me to be a waiter at a party he was throwing for his neighbors I jumped at the chance. I rented the outfit. I shined my shoes. I showed up early. Nobody but my mother could have guessed I wasn't a waiter by profession.
And then, with a signal from the caterer, my adventure began -- silver tray of hors d'oeuvres in my left hand -- spreading out with the rest of the waiters among the guests, each according to our designated areas.
The first thing I saw was Maharaji.
Technically speaking, he wasn't in my "area," but since none of the other waiters were approaching him, I decided to fill the void. This was my chance, I reasoned -- especially since I hadn't talked to him for three years.
"Hors d'oeuvre?" I asked, extending my tray of goodies in his direction.
Maharaji pulled his head back, looked away, and extended his hand in a slow, downward motion as if to say, "Keep that thing away from me!"
I smiled and continued on my way, wondering if his refusal had any kind of cosmic significance. Was it me or the pizza puffs? Was he seeing some deep, ancient flaw in me? Was I hopelessly uncool?
Fortunately, the day was too beautiful to obsess on my thoughts for long and so I kept moving until I located my area in the field behind his house.
From where I was now positioned, there were absolutely no sight lines to the party, no chance to see, I thought, Maharaji. The only thing interesting to look at was the ocean and the sky.
And so it was: Every 10 minutes or so a few guests would make their way back to my area, surprised to see a waiter, umbrella in one hand, tray in the other, standing in a field so far from the party.
It took about ten guests to empty my tray. After that I would head back to the waiters' shed for refills. This must have happened at least 20 times during the day and each time it did, Maharaji would somehow enter my field of vision -- standing, talking, eating, walking, and doing all the things that a person does at a party. And though I could never predict what he was going to be doing when I saw him, I could predict the feeling I would have.
"Jazzed" is how I would describe it. Pumped. Buzzed. Blissed. I was a curious hybrid of boy seeing Santa and a Grateful Dead groupie with a lifetime back stage pass.
"It's "him," I would think to myself again and again. "Him!"
This little scene played itself out several times during the day. I could have gone on like this forever. But then something curious happened.
About the 20th time I saw him, I felt nothing. Zero. Nada. Zilch. An unwelcome sense of normalcy began to take me over. Seeing him was suddenly no big deal. I wasn't awed. I wasn't amazed. Neither was I captivated, astounded, excited, glad, grateful, inspired, delighted, or energized.
I wasn't anything.
My concept of Maharaji was being deconstructed before my eyes. My "mental model" wasn't working. Something I had counted on for years -- that seeing him would always be uplifting -- was no longer operational.
Was it him? Was it me? Was it both of us? Neither? Something else?
One conclusion I could have easily drawn was that Maharaji was nothing special -- a Wizard of Oz made great only by my own neurotic projections.
Yes, if I wanted proof that he was nothing but my own self-invented hype, now I had it. But having received Knowledge from him 12 years earlier and having experienced the many benefits of his guidance in my life, I could not bail out at such a simplistic conclusion.
Something else was clearly going on.
Looking back, my 'buzzless' series of waitering moments at Maharaji's party felt like the unceremonial end of my extended honeymoon with him -- that formerly delightful time of spiritual romance in which I had been protected from (or blinded to) the moments in which one's "significant other" does not appear very extraordinary.
In marriages, this either marks the beginning or the end of the painful acceptance of the apparent mundane -- the time when the husband no longer seems heroic and the wife is no longer recognized as goddess.
It was confronting to admit it, but the part of my relationship to Maharaji that I had fabricated was becoming undone. Without knowing it, I had become a fan and a groupie in addition to being a student.
Like my previous strategy in my personal life of creating short-term love affairs to keep me feeling studly, I had been orchestrating my relationship with Maharaji to provide well-timed payoffs. Did it work? Yes it did. But it went only so far.
I was not alone.
In my experience, lots of Maharaji's students have set him up in this way. Ruled by the very human need to define and categorize, we turned him into many things: a superstar, a hero, an Avatar, an anthropomorphized version of our own private God -- projecting all kinds of images on him, not unlike small children do with their parents or teachers.
Inevitably, this leads to disappointment. Which leads to doubt. Which leads to anger. And it is this anger, born from the gap between who he is and who we imagine him to be, that is often the reason why some students of Maharaji eventually reject him.
"He is not who I thought he was," they claim. And of course it is true, because, in many ways, it is impossible to know Maharaji (or anyone else for that matter) through the medium of thought.
More relationships are ruined, I believe, by expectations than by anything else.
Husbands do it to their wives. Wives do it to their husbands. Parents do it to their kids. The Master/Student relationship is no exception. Somehow we get it into our heads that a Master has to be a certain way.
Casting directors in our own "B" movie, we patch together our favorite stereotypes and create a picture of how the Master should be -- and then proceed to compare everything he does to that picture.
Of course, we're going to be disappointed. How could it be any other way?
The alternative? Live and let live. Be who you are and let Maharaji be who he is. Give up the addiction to having everyone and everything fit the Procrustean bed of your spiritualized imagination.
Allow the simplicity of love to be the fulcrum around which your life revolves. Appreciate each breath. Be grateful. Live and let live. Savor the opportunity to be alive and enjoy all the many blessings in your life. Take off the rose-colored glasses and those rose-colored explanations. You don't need them anymore.June 19, 2012
Sweeping the Path
As a middle class American male with a healthy dose of resistance to household chores, the broom has never been one of my favorite tools.
While I've certainly appreciated its timeless design and universal appeal, the act of sweeping has always felt like somebody else's job.
This belief radically changed for me one fine Spring day in 1980. That was the day I got word that my teacher, Prem Rawat, was coming to visit the house I was living in -- a funky old dwelling on Detroit Street in mile high Denver, Colorado.
Clearly, my housemates and I weren't ready. The kitchen was dirty. The bathrooms were a wreck. The lawn needed mowing. Mucho stuff needed to be done.
My task? To sweep.
Grabbing a broom like some kind of over-caffeinated Clint Eastwood on steroids, I pushed open the front door, surveyed the scene, and got busy.
The porch was a piece of cake. A few flicks of the wrist, a few energetic downward strokes in both directions and I was done -- leaves, twigs, and dust sailing over the edge onto the waiting lawn below.
Now it was time for the front walkway.
A sweep to the left. A sweep to the right. A sweep to the left again -- me a human metronome in tune with something beyond time. Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.
I paused to view my handiwork. "Not bad, not bad at all," I thought to myself.
But though the porch and walk were much cleaner than before, my increasingly perceptive sweeper's vision was seeing things it hadn't noticed just ten minutes ago: a pebble stuck between cracks, a rusty bottlecap, a flattened piece of wax.
Whoosh to the left. Whoosh to the right. Whoosh to the left again.
It felt good getting ready, good preparing the way for the man who, nine years ago, had shown me -- in a heartbeat -- what life was really all about.
Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh.
Ta da! The porch was clean! The path was clear! All was right with the world! But wait! The sidewalk, in front of the house, was a complete mess. Bits of paper were everywhere. Plastic spoons. Shards of glass. And dirt, dirt, dirt.
Obviously, I had more work to do.
Whoosh to the left. Whoosh to the right. Whoosh to the left again.
I closed my eyes. I took a breath. I opened my eyes again. But wait! The road in front of the house was a wreck -- the very same road the person I loved the most in the world would need to cross if he parked his car on the north side of the street. Cigarette butts, oil spots, and leaves were everywhere. My hands began to twitch. My mind began to race. Wherever I looked, nothing was ready to receive him. Nothing was good enough. The world, it seemed to me, was one gigantic mess.
I wondered how far onto Detroit Street I needed to sweep -- how far I needed to go to prepare the way. At this rate, I might never come back.
And then, like one of those moments I used to read about in Zen Buddhism books, it hit me.
It wasn't the front porch that needed sweeping. It wasn't the path... the sidewalk... or the street. It was me. I was the one that needed to be swept -- swept of my clutter, swept of my assumptions, swept of whatever junk stood in the way of being able to receive my teacher in a way that was clean.
I didn't need to sweep the porch. I didn't need to sweep the street. I didn't need to shine my shoes... or cut the grass... or buy a suit... or lose five pounds... or iron my shirt... or paint the house... or wash the car... or buy a dozen roses. I could, of course, if I wanted to. I could if these things really needed to be done. But something else -- much more central to my life -- was going on.
And that something was me getting ready for the one whose gift of Knowledge had, long ago, opened my eyes and my heart.
Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh.May 30, 2012
Off the Coast of Love
April 09, 2012
The One For Whom It All Makes Sense
I have written a thousand poems for you
that have never left my room.
They fill the pages of notebooks
stacked high on a shelf
no one can reach.
Orphans they are, beggars
afraid they are not
noble enough for the King,
would never make it
past the guards.
I make a vain attempt
to dress them up,
disguise their ridiculous origins,
but still they smell bad.
Even so, there are times, late at night,
when the world has shut down and they think I'm asleep,
I can almost hear them talking to each other,
conjuring ways to make it to your court.
Oh, the arguments they have!
The lunatic moments of staking their ground.
Some of them actually believe
that all they need is a shower and a shave.
Others, unsure of who they are
or might have been,
insist on practicing, all night long,
their perfect way of greeting you.
Of course, there is much to be said
for these backroom bards,
these arm wrestling vagrants from another world.
Indeed, if I was dead,
my slightly deaf biographer, after paying his respects
to my dear, sweet wife,
would borrow them just long enough
to search for pearls,
find the perfect turn of phrase,
the sudden storm of brilliance
even my harshest critics would have to praise.
He'd think of clever little titles for the tome,
describing, in his mournfully halting way,
the "man who left his muse too soon"
or some such thing
that might make you wonder
why I never gave these poems to you --
the one for whom it all makes sense
even when it doesn't.
The Stillness After Maharaji Speaks
After great performers come to the end of a performance, it is not uncommon for grateful audiences to give them a standing ovation. They clap, they cheer, they focus all their attention on the one who has just opened the door to magnificence. Think Pavarotti. Think Martin Luther King. Think anyone you've ever stood your ground for and loved.
What I find amazing is this is how Maharaji's presentations begin.
Before he utters a single word, audiences are on their feet, applauding. And when he's done? Pin drop silence.
Somehow, through his own unique alchemy of wisdom, humor, and insight, he finds a way to bring everyone to a place of perfect stillness, back to the very beginning, where there is nothing left to do, but be.
When Maharaji's done speaking, I find myself barely able to move. I am stunned, pinned to the back of my chair by the invisible arrow of love. All dramas in my life disappear and there is no "me" left to applaud the end of the show.
What remains is a feeling.
Sitting in the afterglow of this man's communication of truth is a complete and total joy. Oh yes, I know I must move from my seat eventually. Oh yes, I know I will soon be walking and talking and asking someone to pass me the grated parmesan in that great little Italian restaurant just down the road, but now -- here in this sacred moment after he speaks -- nothing else matters.
I close my eyes and breathe. Then I open my eyes again.
I see people sitting. I see people standing. I see people moving toward the stage, wanting to linger just a little bit longer in this extraordinary state of arrival.
Some walk in silence toward the exits, eyes down, not wanting anyone or anything to distract them from the deepest of feelings welling up within them far beyond time.March 27, 2012
May I Stay Here Forever
May I stay here forever in this perfect place of peace with you -- the sacred space between in breath and out, timeless moment before the need for anything has risen, Buddha enjoying his late afternoon nap with no one around to extract any meaning from it. First, there is a breath. Then, there is a second. This is how I begin my long walk with you by the water's edge, cool white sand beneath both our feet.February 04, 2012
WATCH NOW: Prem Rawat in Miami
Watch Prem Rawat's presentation at the Jackie Gleason Theater, in Miami Beach, on January 22nd -- now featured on Words of Peace Global's premium channel.
January 30, 2012
"Make a difference this year. Of all the years you have been alive on the face of this earth, make a difference this year. Light up that lamp inside, because that's the only way there can be light on the outside."
- Prem Rawat
New on the WOPG Premium Channel
Words of Peace Global's new Premium Channel is now featuring a 60-minute talk by Prem Rawat delivered on 9/11/11 in Melbourne, Australia -- a great way to learn more about this extraordinary man's very powerful message of peace.
"By its nature, peace is something that brings a lot of joy. It's beautiful. And it is something that we need. It's not a concept, it's not an idea, it's not a luxury. This is a necessity. The desire for peace does not come from thoughts; the desire for peace does not come from hopes. The desire for peace comes from every single human being." -- Prem RawatJanuary 24, 2012
Prem Rawat in Long Beach, 1/29
Long Beach, California, located 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, is the 36th largest city in the US and the 7th largest in California -- with a population of 465,000.
On Sunday, January 29th, its population will increase by another 2,000 or so -- at least for the evening -- as people from far and wide will be flocking to the Long Beach Convention Center, at 6:00 pm, for an inspired presentation by Prem Rawat, widely known as "Maharaji". Admission is free, but if you want to attend, please click here to request an invitation. The event is open to everyone.January 20, 2012
Longing for Long Beach on 1/29!
Turn up the volume! Go full screen! Here is a fun way that Stuart Hoffman, Jennifer Edwards, and Hannah Blake are getting the word out about Prem Rawat's upcoming Long Beach event on 1/29. Forward it to family and friends! Dance! Sing! Breathe! Do whatever it takes to get there on 1/29. And if you can't, watch it two weeks later here.January 18, 2012
The Impact of Prem Rawat
Two years ago, Prem Rawat (aka Maharaji) came to my little town of Woodstock, NY and spoke to 350 locals. Instead of me trying to describe his impact, here's what eight people (most of whom had never seen him before) had to say about it:January 17, 2012
Introducing the Premium Channel!
Premium Channel broadcasts will be high quality, full length, and available every Friday night (give or take a few). This new feature is a departure from previous WOPG "Lifestreams", insofar as the Premium Channel will be pay-per-view. WOPG.org will continue offering lots of videos, online, for free.January 15, 2012
Maharaji Coming to Florida & California
If there's any way you can go, go! Time is passing, but at the same time there is something timeless -- and that is what Maharaji is offering to help you experience.
Two years ago, he came to my home town and spoke to 350 locals. Here's a few of their comments -- some inspiration for you to make whatever effort is necessary to see him in Miami Beach or Long Beach, CA.December 26, 2011
A World of Peace Inside
December 08, 2011
Questions and Answers with Maharaji
Informative Q&A video of Maharaji (aka Prem Rawat) talking with Indian engineering students. (In Hindi with English subtitles).December 06, 2011
Just in Case You're Interested
For those of you are intrigued by Prem Rawat's message, I'd like to direct your attention to some resources that will give you more of a sense of what it's all about. In a time when too many people are down, deflated, and depressed, this man is showing a simple way to access what's real, joyful, and timeless within the human heart.
A FEW SIMPLE WAYS TO FIND OUT MORENovember 27, 2011
When I was a young man (that's me to the left), I thought the "spiritual journey" was a very serious affair.
Serious, as in heavy. Serious, as in ancient. Serious, as in the world is a big, bad illusion and I better figure out what's real before I die.
Like many people in the 60's, I tried a lot of things in a slightly self-absorbed effort to wake up and experience "the Truth".
And then I met Maharaji -- who was only 13 at the time, but spoke with the power and presence of the greatest of sages...
It was the singular most significant moment of my life.
Receiving his gift of Knowledge, practicing it, and listening to his inspiring words of wisdom transformed me over time.
Heavy became light. Feeling balanced out thinking. And I began to experience life in a much more enjoyable way.
In time, I became happier, freer, relaxed, and far more appreciative of all the blessings in my life.
I stopped trying to out stare others and started looking within.
It's 40 years later and I am still his student, still learning, still enjoying the extraordinary ways in which he and his gift of Knowledge are waking me up to the beauty of THIS moment.
Popcorn, anyone?November 26, 2011
Happy Almost Birthday
Maharaji (aka Prem Rawat) will be 54 on December 10th. When he first came to the West, he was only 13. Here is an inspiring 3 minute video, on Words of Peace Global, that will give you some insight into what his work is all about. Enjoy!November 21, 2011
The Joy of Heckling
If you talk to a thousand people who are (or have been) students of Maharaji, you will get a thousand different impressions of who he is and what he does. Your guess about the accuracy of their perceptions is as good as mine.
But if you really want to know the answer, you will need to have your own experience, while being mindful of the words of Anais Nin, "We don't see things as they are, but as we are." Allow me to be more specific.
When Maharaji was 16, he married -- not to an Indian woman chosen by his parents, but to a 24-year old American. This troubled some of his students -- especially those who, at that time, had chosen celibacy as part of their path to enlightenment. How could Maharaji get married, they reasoned. Marriage was so mundane... such a distraction... so unspiritual.
And so, when Maharaji said "I do," a bunch of these people said "I don't" and split the scene.
Other students of Maharaji had a different response. They thought his marriage was cool -- more proof that he was free of old-fashioned concepts -- a liberated move that only deepened their love and respect for him. His actions, they concluded, were a kind of divine permission to do the same. And so they did. Got married, that is.
Still others, with no absolutely no desire to stop practicing Knowledge or settle down with a soul mate, had yet a different response. They sent wedding presents. They sent gardenias. They sent roses and cards and effusive telegrams.
Me? I was happy for Maharaji, wondered what kind of gift I should buy, figured I couldn't afford it, and did nothing -- thinking my long distance thoughts would somehow be enough.
ACT ll (three years later)
As far back as I can recall, Maharaji used to conduct "instructor conferences" -- intensive retreats for handpicked groups of his students on how to best represent his message in the world. Like many of his students, I wanted to be invited -- not only for the sheer joy of being with him, but for what I imagined was undeniable proof that I was "getting somewhere" with Knowledge.
Eight years passed. My love for Maharaji and Knowledge continued to blossom. Not once, however, was I invited to attend one of these events.
And then, completely, out of the blue, one unofficial day -- VOILA! -- I got the word. "Get down to Miami. You've been invited to an instructor conference... but not as a candidate -- as a guest."
A guest? Now I was really confused. I mean, Maharaji was inviting me, but he was also not inviting me. Huh?
For three days I sat in the back of a large conference room and watched Maharaji, like some kind of improv laughing Pied Piper Buddha, in perfectly creased pants, bring everyone to a place of exquisite attention, learning, and relaxation. A magician he was. A conductor of joy. A man on a mission.
And then, before I knew it, the conference was over. Or at least I thought it was over. It wasn't. There was one more thing still to come -- a "Celebration Dinner".
The first thing I noticed when I walked into the room were the champagne bottles -- one on each table. "This is gonna be interesting," I thought, amused by the fact that 98% of the people in the room hadn't had anything stronger to drink than a smoothie in the past few years.
Someone led me to my table. It was next to Maharaji's.
Feeling suddenly mid-western, I surveyed the room in a noble attempt to figure out what I was supposed to do -- how I should act. Clearly, no one had a clue. Things were just happening. There were no reference points, no sign posts, no correct courses of action -- only the sound of corks popping and a palpable wave of joy.
Good guest that I was, I raised my glass and drank, occasionally sneaking glances at Maharaji like some kind of wide-eyed tourist.
The next thing I know, he's asking if anyone has a good joke.
There's the usual self consciousness... the pregnant pause... then someone stands up, mounts the stage, and begins. The joke isn't funny, but it breaks the ice. In a flash, someone else mounts the stage, only this time the joke is a lot better and X-rated, to boot. I look at Maharaji to see his reaction. He is laughing. Of course he's laughing. The joke is funny! A third person gets up. Then a fourth -- each joke raunchier than the one before -- and everybody crazy with laughter.
At the telling of the fifth joke, I shout out a heckle like some kind of wise guy from Brooklyn. Irreverent. Unrehearsed. And way funnier than the joke itself.
"Who said that?" Maharaji asks, looking in my direction.
"I did, Maharaji," I say.
Maharaji laughs and points at me, "One point for Ditkoff!"
Now here is where all logic breaks down... where what I am about to say may seem as strange as my son's one-time fascination for Pokemon. I got completely ecstatic. In a blink of the eye, a major concept of mine had evaporated and I felt infinitely lighter.
After years of trying oh so hard -- in oh so many futile ways -- to have my special, timeless, sacred, holy, cosmic, blissful, meaningful moment with Maharaji, I finally have one -- and it's for heckling an aspiring yogi at a dirty joke contest.
ACT lll (18 years later)
Not long ago, I read an account of this very same event by someone who was also there -- someone once very close to Maharaji. This particular fellow described the contest accurately. The only thing different was the conclusion he drew.
For him, the contest was inappropriate, off-putting, poorly timed, and in bad taste. For me, it was perfect, divine, liberating, and transcendental -- exactly what was needed for that particular group of people on that particular night, so focused on the "path" that they had forgotten to smell the roses... or accept themselves for simply being human.
Looking back, it's fair to say that I learned more in those few joke-telling moments about life -- my life -- than I did from years of meditating and reading holy books.
A Red Sea parted. For me, it parted. Not for that other guy. He had a different experience. He tells a different story now. Which, of course, is his right, but does not make him right. That's just one of the amazing things about this life. We all see it differently -- based on where we're coming from at any particular moment in time.September 11, 2011
Free At Last
July 24, 2011
Don't Worry, Be Happy!
July 18, 2011
Off the Coast of Love
My wife tells me I should pay more attention to details -- the house, the car, the lawn -- there's a thousand things, by sunset, that need to be done.
She's right, of course. It's true.
If only I wasn't floating three feet off the ground today, caught in the updraft of a single gaze from you, spinning like a thousand cyclones off the coast of love.July 03, 2011
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face June 04, 2011
Maharaji in Sao Paolo: 4/17/11
"What is the first thought that comes into your mind in the morning? Is it something to do with your responsibilities? Or is it something to do with your contentment? It's a good question. Responsibilities? Or contentment? As a human being, you still have that part in you that wants contentment. And if your first thought is about your responsibilities, then you are empty-handed. And you will go empty-handed. Why? Because the responsibilities will never end."May 25, 2011
Why Are They Having Such a Good Time?
May 23, 2011
Why Is This Woman Smiling?
1. Did she just get a job promotion?
2. Did her boyfriend just propose to her?
3. Did she just get her nose pierced?
4. Did she just listen to Prem Rawat in Barcelona on April 3?
Long Before Words
Being of the Jewish persuasion, I'm not exactly the kind of person given to confession, but allow me the ecumenical luxury of confessing at least one thing in this first paragraph of what may well turn out to be the Mahabharata of blog postings:
Writing about Maharaji and the gift that he offers is not easy.
It's not easy for a few reasons.
First off, what I want to say existed long before words -- long before nouns and verbs and the leaky vessels we construct to float our shaky boats of babble.
Secondly, words are approximations of the real thing at best. Like menus, they indicate something's cooking in the kitchen, but they are not the food itself.
And thirdly, the dog ate my homework.
I don't know how it works, but there are decades of my life I can barely remember, but seconds with Maharaji that remain a vast eternity, indelibly impressed on my heart like some kind of rock 'n roll Rosetta stone.
I never laugh so hard or cry so long as when I'm in his company. I never feel so good.
The first time I heard about Maharaji, I was both ecstatic and afraid -- ecstatic at the thought I might finally experience what I'd been born for -- afraid that somehow, grand impostor that I was, I would be the only person on the face of the Earth not to get it.
Forget it. I got it.
Yes, that moment happened -- the moment of ooooooh -- the moment of aaaaaah -- the moment of finally coming into my own after years of imagining my own was someplace far away -- in a forest, cave, or future lifetime.
What has he taught me? How to wake up -- and stay awake. How to appreciate. How to feel.
What Maharaji offers is not so much a teaching as it is transportation to the place we've either been seeking our entire life or have given up on long ago -- the place of no judgment, the place of no doubt, the place of no worry, no fear, no problem.
Here! The place of remembering. And what we remember here is love -- plain and simple.
For love is the name of the game, no matter how we play it.March 31, 2011
Maharaji's March Tour of India
Read more about it here.
March 23, 2011
March 02, 2011
I wrote the following upon returning home from one of Maharaji's events, in Australia, a few years ago.
People ask me what it was like being with Maharaji five days in a row.
Here's what I tell them:
It was like spinning around in a monsoon, cup in hand, trying to catch the rain. Every time I noticed that my cup was full, I opened my mouth to sing, but my mouth filled up with water. I gulped, I drank, I bailed my boat of joy.
Somehow, in between the tidal waves of love and my odd little habit of trying to understand what in the world was going on, I heard what he said:
"Get wet! Get wet!"February 25, 2011
It's Like Water
One thing I love about Maharaji's message is this: it's for everyone -- these women from India, truck drivers from Ghana, doctors from Australia, housewives from America, waiters from Germany. And everyone in between. The experience he reveals is like water, he once said. It doesn't matter if you're a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian. Both kinds of people need water. And that's what he's offering.February 20, 2011
Maharaji in Malibu
Maharaji and his grandson, Jeevan, at the surprise Malibu event last week.
January 29, 2011
Do You Want to Bloom?
"There is a saying that I like a lot: 'Today is the first day of the rest of your life.' It is true: today is the first day of the rest of your life. What do you want to be? A real flower or a fake flower? Do you want to bloom? Do you want to give off that beautiful perfume, and dance in the wind?" - MaharajiJanuary 13, 2011
Maharaji in Barcelona: 12/19/10
"From the heart, accept what is given to you, and make it so that the heart sings out in the sweetest gratitude. You cannot write a song for this heart. You cannot. Make things right, and the heart will sing. Let there be song."
Excerpted from Words of Peace GlobalDecember 13, 2010
I Want to Tell You About My Master
A few nights ago, I was sitting in my kitchen with my wife, Evelyne, and our good friend Hudson.
Hudson had recently been diagnosed with cancer and the sobering reality of life's fragility was upon us. As we sat there, we started talking about how our lives would change if we knew we only had another year to live. We each took turns reflecting on what we would do differently -- what we'd stop doing, what we'd start doing, and what would guide our choices. For me, a few things became clear: 1) I'd take the practice of Knowledge more seriously; 2) I'd stop worrying about all the crap that now occupies my mind; 3) I'd dive a lot deeper into writing about the beauty of having a living Master in my life.
Towards that end, here's a little something I wrote a few years ago. I want to share it with you now, while I'm still alive. Enjoy!
I WANT TO TELL YOU ABOUT MY MASTER
I want to tell you about my Master,
the one who teaches from within,
that like a heartbeat longing to be heard
becomes the twin I never knew I had.
Him! That one!
He is calling me,
not with music, that would be too easy,
but with silence --
that's his choir!
I cannot describe him,
my words only exclude.
Better simply to say, "The one I love,"
answer to a prayer much too subtle
for anyone else to hear,
keeper of the flame,
who I am, was, and will be
when there's no one around to remember my name,
why you like candlelight,
want a child, dream,
the one with no other master plan but love.
I have met this man,
or should I say observed,
struck dumb by his simplicity
and the unspeakable glory of seeing
what these eyes first opened for.
Radiant Being of Light
Radiant being of light,
vortex of love,
magnifier of prayer,
the one I dream about
and the one who
wakes me from the dream,
why the dervish spins
and the earth,
teacher, teaching, and the taught,
first breath, last breath,
what lovers look for in each other,
but rarely find,
center around which everything revolves,
endless night of love
and the ecstatic aching
of a moon-howling heart
that does not want the morning to come.
At a Loss for Words
A few weeks ago, I flew from Newark to Miami to attend a one-day event with Maharaji. As always, it was a memorable adventure. Energizing. Inspiring. Enjoyable. And totally worth the effort -- me being once again reminded of how simple it was to experience the joy of life.
What wasn't simple was describing my experience when I got home.
"What did he say?" my friends asked. "What was it like?"
Two understandable questions, for sure -- ones that deserved an understandable response. But that's where I became totally cro-magnon.
Despite my love for the English language and the fact that I've been trying to answer those same two questions since 1972, I found myself at a complete loss for words.
Let's start with the first question: "What did he say?"
I tried to remember what Maharaji said in Miami and actually managed to recall a few soundbytes, but my retelling sounded too much like a 11:00 news report.
Efficient? Yes. Comprehensible? Sure. But something was definitely lost in translation. I was conveying the words, but not the mojo that animated the words -- which is something that Maharaji has in spades.
Mojo. Major mojo.
I know my friends' request was a simple one. But simple isn't always easy.
Then of course, there was their second question: "What was it like?"
What was it like?
What... was... it... like? Hmmm...I could feel my mind dutifully trying to access its hard disk of metaphors, but the little "clock" icon, on my desktop, just kept spinning.
What's being with Maharaji like?
Well, it's like nothing else I know. It's in a league of its own. It's unique, singular, incomparable.
Try as I might, I can't compare it to anything else and, even if I could, I'd only be feeding people words too easily misunderstood. False impressions. Idols. Fool's gold to the treasure hunter.
And so, out popped the only thing left for me to say: a phrase that left a lot to be desired: "You had to be there."
As they say in the old country,"oy!"
For me, the whole thing with Maharaji and Knowledge is all about being. Being and feeling. Feeling and appreciating. Appreciating and enjoying. And even more than that, savoring. Savoring what? This! The present moment! As if it were my last.
Or my first.
Maharaji, quite simply, has a way of making it easy for people to access the experience of fulfillment -- a way to take people to a place where the past is gone... where the future is pure fiction and the only thing that remains is the present -- the sweet, sweet moment of remembrance -- the kind of present, like a rose, that keeps opening and opening and opening the more he speaks... and the more I listen... and the more he pauses and just sits there beaming.
It's a moment I find impossible to describe with anything but a smile... or a nod... or a few laughable pirouettes around my living room when no one is watching.November 02, 2010
But I Already Know This!
This just in! Words of Peace Global has just added a blog to it's already superfine website.
The first posting is all about the phenomenon of people thinking "but I already know this" upon first hearing the words of a great teacher.
The kickoff entry was written by someone my two teenagers keep telling me embarrasses them, no end. If I ever meet this guy, I'm going to give him a piece of what's left of my mind.
Check it out -- and please feel free to forward it to friends or family who may be familiar with the "I already know this" phenomenon.
Illustration: Sara Shaffer
Maharaji in Miami: 10/23/10
"Knowledge doesn't create an experience. Knowledge puts you in touch with an experience. Big difference."
"We are the union of the infinite and the finite."
"Be in the present. Live your life consciously. Be fulfilled. Recognize the importance of breath. Be aware."
"Hate is a bad sword made of plastic. Love is the real sword."
"When you have the eye that comes from the heart, it all makes sense. Look with that special eye and you will see reality, the good, the beauty, the heaven, the God that your heart is."
"Without the Master, there is no show."October 19, 2010
People Talking About the Value of Maharaji as Their Teacher
One thing I find moving about Maharaji is the heartfelt gratitude of his students. Here's a six-minute video of some of their comments and accompanying responses from Maharaji.September 05, 2010
Maharaji in Woodstock, Part 7
This is the seventh in a series of comments from friends of mine who attended Maharaji's Woodstock event on August 25th. Most of my friends had never seen him before. The following comments are from Evelyne Pouget, not just a friend of mine -- but my fabulous wife since 1991. (Be sure to click on the headline, to make sure you are reading the entire article. MD)
"In 1979, I met my Master, Baba Muktananda, and have been on the spiritual path ever since. Years later, I married a man who happened to have a different Master, Maharaji.
Maharaji has been very present in our household. I have enjoyed his talks whenever I've had the opportunity to hear him, in person, and he has always been an inspiration to me. But he was Mitch's teacher and I had my own."
"This dynamic was reinforced by Maharaji, himself, some years ago, when I asked him if I could receive Knowledge. He encouraged me to stay with my path. So, I gave up the idea of receiving Knowledge.
For the last few years, my husband and other students of Maharaji who live in the Woodstock area have been in a state of effervescence, making plans for his visit.
As the date of Maharaji's visit to our town neared, it became clear that some out-of-town guests would need a place to stay, so we invited Charananand -- one of Maharaji's long-time students -- to stay in our guest house.
On August 25th, the day of Maharaji's event, everyone was busy except for Charananand (the story teller supreme!) and me. So, I got to spend some time with him.
I had a marvelous and revealing three hour talk with him, reduced to a puddle of tears for most of it, as he opened my mind, again, to the possibility of viewing the Keys and receiving Knowledge.
He explained how the process has been refined and was more inclusive than in the past.
He helped me let go of the misunderstanding that Knowledge was a gift only for my husband and others, but not me.
The more I listened, the more I realized that receiving Knowledge was not going to make me a "traitor" to my own path.
I felt the possibility.
Gratitude for my connection to Charananand, his all-inspiring devotion, and the space that was now opening in my heart overwhelmed me.
As I drove to get my tickets to see Maharaji, I prayed to my Guru for a sign.
A few minutes later, a baby deer crossed the road in front of me and I stopped. It felt like an instant response to my request.
"Look right in front of you! Take in the moment! Receive the gift!"
In that frame of mind, I continued on to the program, found my seat, closed my eyes, and nurtured the space in my heart.
When Maharaji came out on stage, I felt wide open. His message went right through me. It was so simple! So generous! So inclusive! His presentation, so seamless.
I wasn't listening to my husband's Master any longer. I was listening to Maharaji for the first time.
Whenever I saw him looking in my direction, it felt like he was speaking directly to me. Sorry everyone else! He was!
It is now one week later and I've just started studying the Keys with three of my friends, who like me, have decided to receive this gift.
Please, Maharaji, come back soon, I have so many more friends!"September 02, 2010
Maharaji in Woodstock, Part 6
On August 25th, Maharaji spoke to 355 people in Woodstock, NY. What follows are the comments of Ilfra Halley, a long-time Woodstock resident, seeing Maharaji for the first time that night.
"I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to attend Maharaji's presentation at the Bearsville Theater. It was an important and memorable experience that touched me deeply.
It began from the moment I entered the building where I was kindly and warmly welcomed by the staff. From that point onward, every single person I encountered was caring and helpful.
I was struck also by the sweetness and comradeship among Maharaji's students, many of whom had traveled distances to attend the evening. Clearly Maharaji's teachings have touched his students' core and resonate through their lives.
The most special gift of the evening was to sit in the presence of Maharaji who embodied gentleness, generosity and boundless love. His radiant heart filled the room.
Indeed, Maharaji himself was the teaching.
There was no rhetoric, only the experience of his Being which was his invitation to us to be authentic, to manifest our true human inheritance of unconditional love and luminosity.
I know that I will carry this experience with me always with a deep smile of gratitude for this sublime inspiration."
-- Ilfra Halley
Maharaji in Woodstock, Part 5
Ron Brent was one of 355 guests who attended Maharaji's Woodstock event on 8/25. It was the first time Ron had seen Maharaji since 1971...
"I was very impressed by the seamlessness of the evening.
The staff appeared to be focused and relaxed (an ideal combo!), and that lead to all of us feeling very welcomed...
I have a good idea about what it takes to do these things right (as well as to do them 'not so right'), and it's not always as easy as it seems to the casual observer.
It's a little different presenting your Teacher than presenting an entertainment act. Whole different dynamic. I thought everybody was great!
The video was very powerful. The people in it came across as very real and authentic. And so easy to identify with.
What they shared addressed the fears that most of us harbor regarding our own mortality -- and the well-being of those we love.
Their ability to convey what these experiences are like when you have Grace in your life were delivered loud and clear!
After a while I get very suspicious of people giving testimonies that feel like sales pitches to convince me to follow their path. This video wasn't like that.
As for Maharaji, I really enjoyed being with him once again.
In 1971, I was able to spend a little time with him when he first came to this country. He was a 'mere boy' of 13 then, but I could see that he had something very special.
It was wonderful seeing him and hearing his beautiful and timeless words.
I loved that he sat in front of a microphone in a modest chair -- with no flowers, incense, photos, fancy rugs, or any other items that might distract us from hearing what he had to say.
He eliminated almost every item that we could possibly use to go off into our own worlds and not hear his message.
In his talk, I noticed references to quotations from some of the 'usual suspects' -- personalities and holy books -- but Maharaji delivered them from his own experience and with the confidence to take ownership of their truth.
His attire was elegant, professional and totally appropriate! No trappings! I'm very appreciative of his absorption of western culture and the simple 'no frills' approach to his presentation. You have to look very closely to see the roots of the ancient mystical tradition standing behind him.
Nothing compares to even a few minutes in the company of teachers like Maharaji. Nobody walks away without taking something of great value with them.
Maharaji reminded me once again what is really important in my life -- to tend the garden well, and see to it that only the best plants are allowed to grow there. And of course, to never lose sight of what's truly important within us.
I would say it was an evening very well spent!"August 30, 2010
Maharaji in Montreal
Last night, Maharaji spoke to approximately 900 people at the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel in Montreal. What follows are selected excerpts of his talk -- my best approximation of what he said, scribed in the moment, not a word for word transcript. Enjoy!
"You should be fulfilled in such a manner that the fulfillment lasts you for the rest of your life."
"The only way your lamp can be lit is from another lamp that is lit."
"Heaven is here and Hell is here. You get to choose."
"There are the ones who know and the ones who don't know. And there are the ones like me, trying to convince the ones who don't know to know."
"Being at peace does not mean sacrificing your emotions. Being at peace means you're in a place where your heart is full."
"Why is light important? Does it change anything? No. The only thing light does is illuminate what is there so you can choose."
"Find your way in this life. Find your niche where you need to be. The good news? That place is inside you."
"What do I do? I put people in touch with that place. I have a way. Don't worry about it. I have a way. I call it 'Knowledge.'"
"You are concerned about the well. I am concerned about the rope and the bucket. Get the rope and the bucket, then go to the well which will quench your thirst. That's it. That's the whole game. That's the whole nine yards of wisdom."
"There are those in the world who are very good at making us believe things. Then there are those who are very good at making us know things. Your choice."
"Not knowing something doesn't make you inferior."
"This body is the vessel to go across the ocean -- the ocean of ignorance, pain, suffering, and doubt... What we need is a Master with strong arms who can row this vessel across."
"I'm telling you the truth that comes from my heart. I'm trying to light lamps."
"Listen to this because this can save your life. Know the Divine is inside of you and be thankful."
"I can't pull rabbits out of a hat -- I don't want to -- but one thing I can do, through the gift of Knowledge, is to put you in touch with what's inside you. I've done it for thousands and thousands of people. That's what I'm good at."August 28, 2010
Maharaji in Woodstock, Part 4
It's two days after Maharaji spoke to 355 people at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, NY and the stream of positive responses just keeps flowing. This one is from Deborah Cohen.
"I came to the event with the thought 'This probably isn't for me, but I love my friend, Joan, I love her space, and I am curious about what she would love about this'.
I knew my thoughts weren't a good test for reality, but nonetheless there they were! And yet, I was totally surprised and delighted by the event. The video moved me to tears. I thought, 'Yes, I want that!' That peace... it is what I have been seeking.
I loved Maharaji. He is delightful, charming, and penetrates to the essence. Six billion reasons for peace. That is my life.
The Keys he talks about seem to be compatible with any system, belief, or culture, I love that it is given freely.
I loved the warmth and love that was present. I loved that there is a simple system to follow at your own speed. I am already taking the steps to start the Keys process. Thank you!"
August 27, 2010
Maharaji in Woodstock, Part 3
This just in from Mary Anne and Richard Erickson, long time Woodstock residents and owners of the fabulous Blue Mountain Bistro Catering Company right outside of town.
"What a treat to finally meet Maharaji after hearing about him for years!
We were moved by the joy and love that permeated the room even before he stepped on stage. So much love in our small community and eager faces, beings, waiting to hear his words -- experience his presence.
The introductory video was profoundly moving, sharing stories of those who have faced tremendous challenges and with his gift of 'Knowledge' were able to access the love inside -- and still shine.
Maharaji was a delight!
His simple presentation struck me as very direct and to the point: everything you seek 'out there' lives inside you now.
He spoke of the same things I've heard from other spiritual teachers, but in the manner of someone of our culture. No bells and whistles. No hocus pocus. No special wardrobe needed. No money involved. 'This is free", he said! 'Really?' I thought. 'That's impressive!' You mean no one is going to try to register me into a class to learn this?
So yes, now I am curious -- to know more.
Thanks to those who worked diligently to bring Maharaji to Woodstock. May his visit bless the town and bring us more peace within and amongst ourselves."
Mary Anne and Richard Erickson
Maharaji in Woodstock, Part 2
"I loved how simple and straightforward his message was.
I loved how joyful he was and how simply he delivered his message.
I wanted to have dinner with him. I suspect everyone in the room did.
I loved how of the moment he was. I responded to his NOWness -- the fact that he is very much a man of this century, of this moment, of this culture.
In fact, he is many cultures -- all wrapped up in 'modern man'".Maharaji in Woodstock, Part 1
Maharaji gave his first public talk in Woodstock last night. It was, shall we say, "beyond words."
For those of you who have asked me to describe the event, I've decided to let my guests do the talking.
What follows is the first in a series of postings from friends of mine who attended the event -- all of whom were seeing Maharaji for the first time.
Here's one from Barbara Schacker, a long-time Woodstock resident and the co-founder of Stroke Family.
"I woke up on the day of Maharaji's event not feeling so great and a bit worried about giving my virus to other people. But I decided to just put on my shoes and head out to get my ticket.
It was about 4:50 when I got there and saw so many people I knew that I started feeling more comfortable. Because I was alone and there were single seats inside the theater, I was given a ticket to be in the main room.
What can I say? He's got it. I love him! I could listen to him forever!
I felt quite healed when I left. Thank you so much for leading me to him.
He is the lighted candle that can light others. It was perfect for me. I wish Melissa, my daughter, could have been there.
I want to pursue his teaching more. He is the best teacher I have ever encountered."
"OK. So it is a couple of hours later and I still have no cold symptoms. Zero. Zip! I guess it is just a little tap on my shoulder to let me know that something profound really did just happen with Maharaji. It goes beyond just being there and having him teach.
He reminds me of the little smiling Buddha statue -- with a touch of attitude.
I am laughing to myself about this real magic and feeling really good! I have to keep realizing this doesn't have to go away -- that this is real.
"I am not a joiner. I am not even much of a 'follower'. I don't care for religion -- even good ones. And having almost lost a family member to a cult years ago, I am wary of 'teachers'.
But this man really has a gift for communicating and connecting on a spiritual level, with absolutely no pretense, no ego, no hidden agenda, no mysterious 'secret', no formula, no 'joining' anything, no contributions needed.
It's a free ticket back to ourselves, back to here and now, back to Heaven.
I recall a picture of me when I was about 3 years old.
I am standing on a picnic table in my backyard wearing nothing but ruffled panties and my dad's old cowboy boots. My curly blond locks are uncombed and tumbled. I have my hands on my hips and my feet set apart in a very strong and natural stance -- my smile, my eyes, my face -- a radiant light.
This was before all the things that happened to me.
Before the educational system and the church. Before almost dying five times. Before my father's stroke. Before my lost loves, my lost friends. Before my husband's brain trauma and all the challenges I face now.
Maharaji inspired me last night and brought me back to feeling like that child again.
It was a realization that all of the stuff that happened to me is just "zero" and that I am still "1" -- that what's happened to me is past and passing, but I am still here -- whole -- always.
Why should the world continue to struggle in the dark? I will keep my candle lit so I can see my way.
I will share the light until all is illuminated -- until we all "know".
It's another day in Heaven."
-- Barbara SchackerJune 15, 2010
Maharaji in Miami
What follows are excerpts from Maharaji's public event in Miami on June 13th -- as recalled by five people who attended.
"If you are interested in the joy of life, I can help you."
"It is not a question of doing anything -- it is a question of undoing."
"That which you want, you already have."
"What do you have that is precious and in abundance? Not dollars. Not diamonds. It's another kind of wealth -- the breath that comes in and out of you."
"The knowledge of the self is more important than all the knowledge in the world."
"The big DO is already doing and it just so happens to be the source of immense joy."
"Getting lost is easy. Getting found is undoing all the things we did to get lost."
"What is the characteristic of the person who is the true guide? To show you the way."
"Being confused is easy. All you have to do is listen to everyone."
"When you begin to accept the moment now, that is the door to everything."
"Peace is the perfume of God."
"What is being rich? To have something valuable and to have it in abundance. What is the most valuable thing and the thing we have that is most abundant? This breath -- and not only this breath -- also the peace that is within us, the love that is within us, and the appreciation that is within us. This makes us all very rich!"
"Someone said that I was an Emperor in a past life, and it was flattering, but it doesn't matter. It can't be proven. What is HERE is what matters!"
"You don't lack anything. You never have."
"All I know is that... my Master has given me a wonderful gift."
"Knowledge of the self, first -- and then, everything else."
"You are in heaven. Open your eyes and look around."
"If I don't understand what is present in my life, I will live in the greatest illusion there is."
"No interpretations, please! The Kingdom of Heaven is within. Be fulfilled. Understand. Enjoy that clarity."
"You want the clarity that illuminates reality -- so you can choose."
"God is in the realm of choice. You choose."
"After you discover that richness within, what should you do? Enjoy it! Otherwise, what's the point of being rich?"
"Be alive and be thankful for feeling alive."
"This is how you celebrate: In gratitude! In the most simple way."
"Peace has been placed inside of you and it lasts for the rest of your life."
"What is the science of engaging a sunset? The science of the heart."
"Don't just know you are blessed -- feel you are blessed.
"The Director is great. The Actors need a little work."
"Peace, in abundance, is richness. Understand your richness."
"Once I was young and everyone was old. Now it's the other way around."
"It shouldn't be 'Good Morning' or 'Good Afternoon.' It should be 'Good Life.'"
A big thank you to Marta Meyers, Steve Kowarsky, Ken Neger, Bobbye Farino, and Linda Marcussen for contributing to this posting.May 19, 2010
Falling in Love?
There's a phrase in the English language that makes no sense to me even though I've used it hundreds of times: "Falling in love."
Certainly there must be a better way to describe one of the sweetest feelings a human being can have. Falling isn't exactly the word we associate with great experiences.
The stock market falls. The temperature falls. Civilizations fall. Adam fell from grace. Nobody in their right mind really wants to fall.
Falling is all about coming down, descending.
Love, on the other hand, is an elevation, a rising, a being uplifted.
Then again, if you stop to think about it, the phrase "falling in love" makes some sense -- because the act of falling ends in "hitting bottom."
The phenomenon is all too recognizable. You meet someone special. Your heart opens. You're flying, you're free, you're feeling no pain -- not unlike the feeling of weightlessness that comes from falling.
Eventually, however, the falling ends. You land. Hard. The object of your devotion, proves less than unconditional. Their attentions drift. Their flaws become apparent. And so begins the painful process of falling out of love.
But it doesn't have to be that way.
There IS a love that is unconditional. There is a love that only gets better with time -- a love that neither disappoints or disillusions.
Human beings have been searching for this love from the beginning of time.
That's what Maharaji talks about. And that's what he reveals to those who truly thirst to experience it.April 19, 2010
Why Are These People Smiling?
I'll tell you why. They are listening to an extraordinary Teacher talk about the most ancient topic there is to talk about -- but talk about it in the most modern of ways. It's a topic that transcends time, culture, religion, politics, philosophy, or any of the other artificial divisions that separate human beings from each other and themselves. If you are looking for the source of that inner smile, the door is open.March 17, 2010
Maharaji in Miami
"In each one of us lies the source of joy. Of fulfillment. That's reality. That's the true reality."
"Heaven? Where is that heaven? Drop the glasses of arrogance and you will see that heaven is not away from you. Heaven is in you."
"Get with it! Be alive! Live! There is something inside each one of us that says, ARISE!"
"Choose! Make that choice. Those of you who want peace inside, you have to make that choice. What do you choose?"
"We have mastered the art of provoking what is bad in people. We have not mastered the art of provoking what is good in people."
"Dignity. Peace. Prosperity. Without dignity it is hard to be in peace. Without peace, it is hard to prosper."March 08, 2010
Maharaji in Santa Monica
"You want to know the truth? The truth resides inside of you. Where else would it be?"
"You are here. It's on! It's happening. The beautiful music you hear -- the orchestra is not just warming up."
"In my downs, I want to remember the up. And in my ups, I want to remember the up, up!"
"Everything that is necessary for you to truly enjoy yourself is here. Make the connection."
"You want to know about karma? Pinch yourself. Do you feel pain? Karma. If the person sitting next to you screams, you pinched the wrong person."
"When you don't know, even answers are questions. And when you know, even questions become answers. How cool is that?"
"I have the tickets to the best show in town. And you want them. If you want those tickets, I have them."
"Don't try to make every day the same. But see the same beauty in every day."
"Whatever you decide to do, be at peace. Experience dignity in your life. Experience peace in your life."November 15, 2009
Maharaji in India: 11/7
This just in from Maharaji's public event in Noida, a city south of New Delhi (as recalled by Lucka Koscak).
"Do not forget that you are a renter, not an owner. One day you'll be thrown out."
"Do you know or do you believe? You believe it, but one day you'll know it. You worship. You go to the temples. But your swan is inside of you. Know this Creator. It's time to know, not believe."
"Heaven is here and if there's a hell, then it's here, too -- and also the solution for it. And the swan is here and the one who shows the swan is here, too."
I'm not God, but God is inside of me. I don't believe that. I know that. When I practice this Knowledge, I know it."
"Receive what I give. If you like it, enjoy it. Know this life inside yourself. Go to the temple of your heart."September 24, 2009
Maharaji in Asheville
Maharaji's September 23rd event in Asheville, North Carolina will be broadcast on the WOPG LiveStream network on September 24th and 25th, with varying start times based on time zones.
Check out the broadcast times, reserve your virtual seat, and enjoy! Every seat is a front row seat. Available in English and Spanish.
Here's a sneak preview...
One day little Johnny is in his classroom and it happens to be that his art teacher has given an assignment to all the kids to draw something.
Johnny is drawing feverishly, all hunched up over his drawing and being very focused.
The teacher walks by and, seeing Johnny so focused, asks:
"Johnny what are you doing?"
"I'm drawing God," Johnny explains.
"But Johnny," says the teacher, "no one knows what God looks like."
"They will in a minute," Johnny replies.July 14, 2009
52 Reasons Why People Like Being with Maharaji
A year ago, on this blog, I posted 34 reasons why I like being with Maharaji -- my attempt to communicate some of the impact that seeing him, real-time, has on me.
At the end of the post, I asked readers to add their own reasons. Eleven people responded.
What follows is my original list and the additional comments of the readers who responded.
Feel free to add your own...
34 Reasons Why I Like Being with Maharaji
1. I breathe more deeply
2. It becomes very easy to savor every moment
3. I stop judging myself and everyone else
4. Time slows down
5. I listen from a still place inside me
6. I feel like I'm dancing when I walk -- or at least, gliding
7. I laugh uncontrollably
8. I cry tears of joy
9. I stop worrying
10. I like what I see when I look in the mirror
11. I have a lot more fun than usual
12. I experience timelessness
13. Everything seems perfect just the way it is
14. I let go of being self-conscious
15. I feel like I'm being massaged from the inside out
16. I move in tune with a hidden music
17. I see how peace is possible for the entire planet
18. I feel like he's talking just to me
19. I am grateful for everything
20. I want to serve
21. I feel whole and complete
22. I feel a vast spaciousness
23. I live in the present moment
24. Everything is profoundly simple
25. I rededicate myself to the practice of Knowledge
26. I stop trying to improve myself
27. I lose my need to gain anyone's approval
28. I am content
29. I come from my heart, not my head
30. Life feels like a party
31. I let things come to me -- and they do
32. I feel more authentic
33. I realize I have no problems
34. I feel like I'm totally home
Why HEART OF THE MATTER readers like being with Maharaji
35. I always leave loving myself a little more. - Candice Wilmore
36. It's incredibly great being around a lot of other people who are also feeling 1-34. - Steve Kowarsky
37. I feel my Heart come alive. - Mka
38. I wake up from the core of my being. - Alan Roettinger
39. I feel like the luckiest person on earth. - Alan Roettinger
40. I realize how much I've missed him. - Alan Roettinger
41. I forget about everything I've missed out on. - Alan Roettinger
42. I get to spend some time with the best friend I will ever have. - Alan Roettinger
43. I am in awe at consciousness & clarity. - Chris Tardieu
44. I am transported back into the ocean of joy, love and strength dwelling within me. Fearlessness presides as magic filled with gratitude resumes as my guide. - Amy S.
45. Magic fills the air and my heart and the hearts of others! I love seeing the Light in their eyes and the smiles on their beatific faces! -Jon Lloyd
48. The silence within me is breathtaking. - Asiebhan
49. I get cleansed of the dirt of the mind. - Asiebhan
50. I get to laugh a lot. - Asiebhan
51. Sometimes, I am completely overwhelmed by an awareness of the possibility of what it means to be a human being and how far short of that potential I fall in my life. Then to hear him beckoning me to join him on this journey of self-fulfillment despite my shortcomings is almost too much to take. Is this what friendship and unconditional love are about? Is this how gratitude unfolds to heal the wounds of a broken heart? Is this the recognition of how fortunate I am to have witnessed the Master and felt the touch of his love in my life? Words are poor substitutes to describe what I am trying to express. - G.S.Smith
52. He has given me 20/20 vision of the heart. - Gaz
EXCERPTS: Maharaji in Tel Aviv
On February 11th, at Tel Aviv University, about 900 Israelis, Palestinians and other assorted human beings came together to listen to the timeless message of Prem Rawat (aka Maharaji). What follows are excerpts of his talk as recalled by Jan Buchalter. Please note that these excerpts are close approximations of what Maharaji said that night and are not necessarily verbatim.
"I am the voice for all those who are silent, for all those who pray, for all those who hope for peace. For the 6.88 billion people who silently yearn, I am that voice."
"It is not about me, but that through me you may hear your own heart."
HIGHLIGHTS OF MAHARAJI'S MESSAGE IN TEL AVIV
"Reach deep within and quench your thirst. The aspect of this love, this thirst, is that it keeps increasing. Drink as much as you wish, for these waters are drenching the Earth, cascading down and filling, filling, filling to overflowing."
"One day, we will have to return to this dirt. It is the miracle of breath alone that separates us from the dirt we are destined for. So before it's too late, before missing what you have no longer, try appreciating what you have right now in front of you."
"Make no doubt about it. You are real. So much may be fake around us, but our life, our being alive, is a divine act of God. We should know this."
"Fidgeting and fumbling our way through life is not the way. Breathing in that loveliest aroma, surrounded by comfort, resting in contentment, and riveted in love's singular canal where the ebb and flow of the current keeps washing over you, is what we are meant to experience."
"You are not who you think you are. 'But what about all my years of studying for med school, or to be a lawyer?' you may think. Go beyond that! Go back to your simplicity -- the simplicity of this river of breath."
"Have you ever smelled the perfume of God?"
(Photo by A.M.Slater)February 12, 2009
DOWNLOAD THIS: Maharaji in Sicily
Every year the citizens of Agrigento, Sicily celebrate the Festival of the Almond Blossom. This year the festival was celebrated in a unique way. Prem Rawat (aka Maharaji), Ambassador of Peace, was invited by the local government to light the torch and then speak to the people of Agrigento.
"So many nations have come and gone," Maharaji said, upon opening the ceremony. "But throughout history there were always voices begging for peace. Were they heard? I don't know. Were they listened to? I don't know. But I do know that we are here to make a voice for that peace."
Click here to download a beautiful pdf of the event, created by the very talented Wendy Lewis.February 07, 2009
Maharaji in Agrigento, Italy
This just in from Agrigento, a city on the southern coast of Sicily. Details to follow. Stay tuned.
January 20, 2009
NEW WEBSITE: Man of Peace
If you are looking for a lucid, well-written, visually compelling, online bio of Maharaji, click here.
A team of people from Canada, Japan, and Australia have recently produced the first ever biographical website on Maharaji's work in the world, spanning the last half-century.
The site includes lots of cool photos, testimonials, videos, links to introductory websites, FAQs, press releases, web media, excerpts of Maharaji's talks, and some interesting essays by people enjoying his gift of Knowledge.
If you know anyone wanting to know more about the roots of Maharaji's work in the world, Man of Peace would be a good site to recommend.
A Real Tour de Force
Well, there you have it. Maharaji's most recent world tour is now, it seems, completed (though one never really knows). Time now for Maharaji, I'm guessing, to get some much needed rest. How he travels so far and so often is a total mystery to me. It would be one thing if he was sitting back and napping in First Class between countries, but he's piloting his own plane!
I get tired just riding the stationary bike at my health club.
In any case, if you want to read highlights from selected tour events, click the link below. If you want to watch video or listen to CD excerpts from Mauritius, North America, Gwalior, Kurukshestra, Montreal, Toronto, or Asheville, log onto www.mspeaks.com
DANCE, DANCE, DANCE: The Sequel
Two days ago, I posted a one-minute video of Maharaji dancing, on stage, at one of his events ten years ago. A few hours later, a concerned Heart of the Matter reader emailed me and questioned how the video would play to the general public. He wondered if the video, taken out of context, might misrepresent Maharaji in any way or spark some kind of negative reaction. At first, I thought he was over-reacting, but then I saw his point. Maybe he was right...
Wanting to test his theory, I forwarded the link to 66 people I know who are not affiliated with Maharaji in any way and asked for their feedback and specific impressions of the video.
PHOTO: Shri Hans Ji Maharaji (Maharaji's father)
"I think it is a beautiful video of a man whose heart is full of celebration."
"He is not my teacher, but I can feel his love."
"I loved it. I thought his dancing around and the music showed the humanistic side to him. Endearing as well."
"That was fun! Not so much dancing, as just being moved by the energy of the room (or did he move the room with his energy?) Anytime anyone is moved to move it is moving and fun to watch."
"Dancing is the most natural and appropriate expression of joy. I'm always grateful for anything that reminds or inspires me to feel my heart, and that video certainly does. Thank you!"
"Nice! He is a happy person."
"Beautiful! He dances with an open heart, inviting everyone there to open their hearts as well. Very moving and bliss activating. Thanks for sharing it."
"It's very simple: dance is an expression of our feelings. He is happy."
"I found the video to be lovely. It communicates a sense of gentle celebration and joyfulness. I responded to Maharaji's naturalness with movement and the flow of the moment. It seems very in keeping with human moments we see from a number of great teachers."
"I thought this was wonderful and a great example of the beauty of dance and community -- a simple warm expression."
"I think it is just wonderful seeing him share the bliss of the moment. Also, I had the distinct feeling that he was doing much more than dancing. It seemed to me that he was showering the assembly with shakti and love."
"I thought it was nice, especially if you understand that this guy has made such an impact on people's lives. People love him."
"I like the reminder that dancing can be a transformative experience."
"I love this."
December 04, 2008
PS: Maybe it's time for a dance party of some kind?
Maharaji in Taiwan
Below are a few paraphrased highlights of Maharaji's presentation in Taiwan on November 30th. Thanks to Jan Buchalter for sharing her recollections with us.
"You are told that your lover, whom you have not seen for two years, is arriving at 4 pm. That morning, when you wake up, you will be extremely happy. When you are brushing your teeth, you will be happy, thinking of the time to come. At breakfast you will be dreaming of that time. All through the day your attention will be waiting for the moment when the two of you can be together. Three o'clock comes and you start looking at your watch every minute. The longing... the anticipation... the excitement... Finally, after so long, the time is drawing so near. By 3:55 you are floating on air. Approach Knowledge the same way."
"When a mother has a baby, where is her attention? No matter what she does, she is always thinking of her baby. Everything she goes through, her awareness is on her child's needs. Where is your awareness? If, in 20 minutes, you were told you were going to die, where would your focus be? In 10 minutes? You would not waste a minute. Make every moment count! Keep your priority of this life very, very clear."
"If you carve a chicken out of a piece of wood, does the wood become a chicken that actually lays eggs? What is our default nature that does not change regardless of what we make ourselves into, or what labels we place on our identities? One day our identity will become obsolete, so we might as well start now identifying with the timeless."
"When everything that is of the body is meant to return to the earth, to dust, can you be secure now... and then, ultimately, with your last breath, relying on the power that brought you into existence?"
"You are always so interested in knowing your friends, but there is one friend, in good times and bad, that will always be with you. When everything is good, friends are easy to come by, but when you are down and out, you will finally realize who your true friends are. Maharaji is the ultimate friend. It is time to get to know this friend within, and not be a stranger to yourself. Close the doors to all the outward, temporary show and begin to fathom the joy of the immortal."
"Though the wind may stir the surface of the pool, the ripples are from the wind. The depths below remain deep and placid."
"The warrior can battle the demons of arising conflicts and still maintain his or her stance of inner composure. This is the mark of one who has achieved some modicum of calm. Even in the face of anger or disruption one returns to the constant... for that is our underlying nature. This is possible for anyone -- from a prisoner to the most innocent human on the face of this earth."
"The relationship with the Master is beyond what we can comprehend with our understanding. It is so on another scale that there is nothing in this world that compares. One is lifted so above. The divinity there is a timeless actuality and both of you know you have never been apart. The longing to reach becomes so mutual that it raises the standard of what it means for two human beings to love. Devotion is the nature of this bond, and compares to no other relation."November 29, 2008
Diving In Deeper
If you are new to Heart of the Matter, chances are good you've only seen a small percentage of what's available to you here -- more than 200 postings of all kinds: videos, slide shows, excerpts and reports from Maharaji's events, stories, personal reflections, poetry, humor, a talking puppet, links to cool resources, and much more.
You can always access the most recent 30 postings by logging onto the site and scrolling down. For the rest of the content, you'll need to click on the archives (in the sidebar beneath "Recent Entries"). But since you're already here right now, all you need to do is click the link below for a hot-linked list of all past postings. (If you find something you like, please feel free to forward it to friends, acquaintances, family, or neighbors. That's how word about this blog is getting out.)
Heart of the Matter Monthly Archives
Photo by Durango99
EXCERPTS: Maharaji in Kotputli
Thanks to Bhajan-ji for forwarding these excerpts of Maharaji's talk in Kotputli, India: 11/17/08
"If you weren't there, what would I do? And if I wasn't there, what would you do?"
"The well of joy is within you."
"Everyone has the treasure, but people have forgotten to open the treasure chest. That is why they feel poor."
"The Master does not only give water; he digs a well for you."November 19, 2008
EXCERPTS: Maharaji in Jaipur
Thanks to Bhajan-ji for forwarding the following excerpts from Maharaji's talk on 11/15 in Jaipur, India...
"If you listen to the Master, your ability to listen from your heart
will come back."
"What does the real Master have to say? Have the experience in your life of how fortunate you are!"
"When you open your eyes, you see the illusion and more illusion. When
you close your eyes, you see the true heart. To see this you need
devotion. Love is the real devotion. Bhakti is when you love that
thing inside of you."
"Love is the only thing that doesn't change. This power is beyond the mind and the intellect. If you need to have a habit, have the habit of devotion. Trust and listen to the Master."
"The master says practice. You say that you do not have time. The day will come when you do not have time and then you will want to practice."
"The hand of the Creator is always on your head."
Photo courtesy of Inner Nomads
Maharaji in India: Part 4 November 11, 2008
20 Ways to Introduce Maharaji to a Friend, Relative, or Neighbor
The act of introducing people to Maharaji and his gift of Knowledge is a curious challenge.
On one hand, some people are wide-open and experience his message to be very compelling. On the other hand, some find his message intriguing, but not necessarily for them. Still others are downight skeptical, believing it's too good to be true.
Clearly, there's no right way to introduce Maharaji. One size does not fit all.
For some people, seeing Maharaji, in person, is the best way to go. For others, viewing DVDs is the ticket. Still others prefer reading his words or listening to friends tell stories of their time with him. Or something else...
If YOU are interested in introducing Maharaji to somebody else and have a 15 minutes to explore a few new options, click below..
The links below will take you to a variety of introductory-type content -- most of which has been published on this blog in the past six months: youtube videos, personal stories, mini-essays, inspiring images, metaphorical bridges, and selected excerpts from Maharaji's talks.
I'm guessing that SOMETHING from this list will speak to you and, more importantly, speak to your family, friends and neighbors. All you need to do is choose... then forward the link you select, as inspired.
If nothing speaks to you, take a moment to reflect on how else you might introduce someone to Maharaji and Knowledge. After all, a while ago, SOMEONE introduced you. Right? Now it's your turn to return the favor...
"If not YOU, who? If not NOW, when?"
PS: There's still time to respond to the Heart of the Matter poll. If you have any input or feedback, here's a simple way to do it. Takes 4 minutes.
November 10, 2008
Photo from CatEye's photostream on Flickr
Maharaji in India: Part 3
What follows are Loring Baker's reflections on the third day of Maharaji's event in New Delhi...
"The joy of service." That phrase keeps playing in my head.
Yesterday was the last day of the event. Maharaji's focus was on the people getting ready to receive Knowledge. For each of the past three days the field was full of 50,000 people, but yesterday's audience seemed younger and even more joyous. A contagion of dancing broke out after he left the stage. Although my feet weren't moving much, my happiness couldn't help but bounce along with the dancers.
All good. All very good. Big huge smiles on everyone.
Walking back from the event though the grounds, along the palm-lined boulevard, past the rose gardens, this evolving verdant citadel Maharaji has created within the chaos of Delhi spoke to the transformational power of joy.
This place has been built out of people's happiness, for people's happiness -- and for no other reason.
Dear friends, possibilities abound! What can't we do if our cup is full? Possibilities abound more than we let ourselves imagine.
"It only gets better," he says.
I have the feeling it's going to get a whole lot better.
Maharaji in India: Part 2
Photo courtesy of Inner Nomads
RAJ VIDYA KENDER, Delhi: 11/10/09
This just in from Loring Baker, onsite at Maharaji's events in India...
I just got back from dinner after the event this afternoon. I am staying with an American man I do business with who lives in Delhi with his wife, the Belgian Consul. They both came to the event today (the public was invited).
I could feel Maharaji winning them over (along with me and everyone else) without a fight -- just simple generosity. Like a master Maitre D' welcoming his guests, Maharaji seemed to be saying, "So happy you could come. No pretensions are needed here -- please just enjoy the meal."
And really, what a unique meal it is. You start enjoying it without even having to open your mouth!
As Maharaji spoke about nature extracting fresh water from the ocean to make clouds that, in turn, feed a seed that has waited years to sprout, I had to tilt my head back slightly to keep the tears inside the cup.
These tears weren't tears of emotion, joy, or catharsis. They were tears of pure refreshment -- a spring rain of tears, unlocking the fragrance of the earth present a moment before, but hidden.
Maharaji ended his talk with an offer, "Go look! If you can't find it, come to me. I can give you peace. No money is required, just love."
Hmmm... love for peace... a quality exchange to be sure.
Anyone at the event today could tell this wasn't a flippant offer, nor was it one to accept un-self-aware. What Maharaji is talking about is the big league market place where great rewards are waiting. Not a bad place to hang out and learn. Not a bad place to make the deal of a lifetime!
Maharaji in India: Part 1
Click below for a 7-minute video of Maharaji speaking in Madras, India last year.
Thanks to Loring Baker for sharing his on-site observations with us.
RAJ VIDYA KENDER, Delhi, 11/08/09 --
I'm wide awake after four hours sleep. Full jet lag, for sure, awake, but un-restless and remembering Maharaji from yesterday's event.
After a video focusing on the foundations of practicing Knowledge, he comes out on stage and sits with a quiet smile, as Arti, the classic Hindi devotional song, is being sung. The audience sits, quiet, feeling the rhythm of the song as a water ballet of gratitude starts swimming in my heart.
The rest of the 50,000 people in the audience seem connected, as one, in the same dance. The collective body language softens and, without really moving, seems to raise its hands, palms upward, in praise -- head slightly bowed in admiration.
Maharaji is completely still -- just presence. Arti over, he reaches for the mic and begins to speak.
"Dear Premies, Dear lovers of life..." No segue is given. None is needed.
I don't remember too much of what he said -- nodding out a time or two as he spoke (my body clock is telling me its 5 AM, plus I'm enjoying the warm relaxation of feeling comfortably at home). The message, however, was very clear.
"You are most fortunate to have this life. And fortunate, moreover to have the gift of Knowledge. Dear friend, enjoy it to the utmost now. Your problems and your triumphs will come and go. Heed the call of your heart. Act on it. You will not be disappointed."
(Photo from a calendar, not from this recent Indian tour).
Dear Heart of the Matter readers: Please check back soon. If Loring can get access to an internet cafe, we'll be publishing some of his other reflections from the November 9th and 10th events in Delhi and the November 15th and 16th events in Jaipur.
November 04, 2008
PS: If you haven't responded to the Heart of the Matter poll yet, click here. The whole thing will take you less than 4 minutes.
Maharaji in Johannesburg
In response to many heartfelt requests, Maharaji accepted an invitation to speak in Johannesburg, South Africa, on October 31, at the OR Tambo Conference Center.
Seven hundred and fifty guests attended -- many of whom hadn't seen him since the last time he visited South Africa 15 years ago.
The mood was electrifying.
Maharaji began his talk by reflecting on his trip from Durban to Johannesburg -- noting that even though clear skies were forecasted, he was confronted with a huge thunderstorm.
"There are no certainties in our lives," he explained. "But just as a pilot navigates through a thunderstorm, so we need to navigate in our lives."
"The purpose of our existence," he went on to say, "is not pain and suffering, but enjoyment. We have been given this body as a vessel to steer us across the ocean of ignorance, so that enjoyment can be experienced while we are alive."
Maharaji spoke at length about the impact that Words of Peace Global is having -- and how people all around the world are being transformed by his message via that medium. He also talked about the importance of teamwork.
"Outreach can only happen if communities come together and work as a team. It's got to be a team effort."
Before concluding his talk, Maharaji reminded everyone to focus within.
"In your life, sow the seeds of clarity, kindness, and sincerity. Nurture them and you will be gifted with a beautiful garden, which is yours to enjoy."
October 10, 2008
Much thanks to Nitasha Barath (pictured above) for submitting her inspired field report.
Excerpts from Maharaji's Talk in Montreal, Part 2
The following excerpts are my best attempts at capturing, live, some of what Maharaji said at the Montreal event on October 7th. In some cases, I have paraphrased his words. MD
"You have the incredible ability to be fulfilled and feel joy in your heart. Not once. Not twice, but have the impossible at your command whenever you want. Experience it! Experience what? Joy! Of what? Of being alive. What does alive mean? Alive means the infinite is residing within you."
"Sit back, relax, and feel this passion, even if it is only for a few minutes. It will do you a lifetime of good."
"Gratitude is a song that is sung."
"Understand, if just for a fraction of a second that within you the immortal resides, in you is the infinite -- not was -- IS! It can't be bought or thought or created."
"People know what they don't want. The Master asks, 'What is it that you DO want?'"
"If you don't want to be separated from Knowledge, it has to be renewed everyday."
"You inherently know that which you value above everything else in this world is peace, understanding, and joy. What do you do to make sure that this joy does not waver and this understanding does not come and go?"
"The possibilities are endless. There is no end to the possibilities. Here is the most amazing magic that is taking place."
"The joy that exists here in the company of the beautiful inside of you, in the practice of this Knowledge, does not exist in heaven."
"We all have these little deflectors -- concepts that deflect the reality away from us. We say, 'Oh, Kabir was enlightened, but not me. We say, 'this experience might be true for that other person sitting next to me, but not for me. I am nothing.' Not true. We are blessed beyond belief. The most incredible wish has come true."
"Invest a little every day in this Knowledge. Your piggy bank will become huge. Massive."
"Practice. Participate. Enjoy Knowledge. Enjoy life. Enjoy this existence. Forever. Now."
"What is my message to you? There is more."
"Sometimes the words of a Master come as a storm and sometimes they come gingerly, like the rain in the middle of the desert."
"I have seen joy in the eyes and smiles on the faces of people who have been told they have less than six days to live. Can you imagine that?"
"This Knowledge is the only thing I know of that will be there to the very end. I'm asking you to make a sound investment in that."
Excerpts from Maharaji's Talk in Montreal: Part 1
"Awaken! Arise! Live this life consciously! Accept this most beautiful challenge to sing the song of gratitude. Your audience is no less than the divine itself. So sing and sing and sing and sing. Never stop singing!"October 04, 2008
Excerpts from Maharaji's Talk in Toronto
The following excerpts are my best attempts at capturing, live, some of what Maharaji said at the Toronto event on October 4th. It is not verbatim. And in some cases, I have paraphrased his words. MD
"I have a message of hope -- that you've been given something so precious. What you have is the most beautiful thing. But for most people that's the hardest thing to understand -- that they already have everything they could possibly want."
"A Master takes the most complicated thing and makes it simple."
"The message resides in the heart. That's God speaking to you every single day. Awaken! Understand! You have the message. I don't have to interpret it for you. The heart wants to be fulfilled. Listen to that!"
"Remember when you were young and your mother told you to study hard so you could become something? The message was you are nothing -- and that is simply not true. I'm not here to tell you your mother was wrong. Maybe she was right about everything else except this one thing. You are something -- something divine."
"Walk this life on your own feet, not somebody else's. Understand its value from the heart. Experience Knowledge from the heart. Don't try to grasp it with the mind."
"99.99% of religions say you are a sinner. The first card you are dealt? An unsaved sinner. I'm here to tell you that's not true."
"What is the reality? The blessing of breath coming and going."
"Everyone has figured out a pin around which to revolve. It might be a person. It might be something you like. It could be anything. You actually do not revolve around these things. The only thing you revolve around is the breath. Because when this breath stops coming and going all your revolving is finished."
"For those of you with Knowledge, what has been made possible to you? Only the impossible. Within you lives the infinite. Outside you is the finite. The two shall never meet. They are opposite by nature. But you, with the gift of Knowledge,...somebody has bypassed the impossible, and made it possible for the finite to experience the infinite."
"I know this feeling is true because my heart rejoices. I feel peace."
"Go beyond expectations. Go beyond your bucket being full of ideas. And whose ideas are they? They are not yours. Your bucket is full of other people's ideas. Whose definition of God do you carry around? Yours? How many of you call God a 'he'? How do you know? You don't! It's your bucket, filled with somebody else's ideas, and you're carrying it!"
"The Master is like a mirror. When you look in it, you see everything."
"The reason you cannot imagine this is beyond your imagination. Imagination doesn't go that far."
"Of all the time your mind has had your undivided attention, it has never take you to a place where you feel calm and peace. Knowledge, on the other hand, slows it down and brings you inside to feel that joy, beauty, simplicity, and clarity."
"The outcome of practicing Knowledge is gratitude."
"Knowledge is about feeling the happiness -- being grateful you exist -- even when everything on the outside is wrong."
"If you have to be worried, be worried about this breath. Being worried about anything else is like having a hangman's noose around your neck."
"Life is not about the dream castles you want to build. Those castles are doomed. What you call yours today will be someone else's tomorrow. You have a house, you decorate it, paint it, and give it your personal touch. One day, when you are gone, someone will remove all of it. What you call yours will not remain."
"What is yours? This breath that just came is really, really yours. It was made just for you from the workings of the universe. God knows where it came from, but it came exclusively for you. It's yours."
"I'm not about what's going to happen at the end. I'm about NOW. In the end, Knowledge will be there for you. Nothing else."
"What I have to say is a story about you. It is not a myth. You are here for a reason. It is not a mistake. It is not a random act. How can you ascertain what this reason is? Why am I here? What is the goal? What is the purpose of my life?"
"What does it take to turn within? Great words. Sounds good. But I am not here to merely repeat what others have said. A lot of people will say the same thing to you, but they don't know what it means. They've read it from a wise book."
"You can read Kabir's words and get great inspiration from them, but what was Kabir reading? He was illiterate! Where was his inspiration coming from?"
"The first place peace needs to be established is not the outer battlefield, but the inner battlefield. It is much easier to establish a cease fire on the outer battlefield."
"Here's something I read from Kabir that I really like: 'Yogis are drunk on discipline. Priests are drunk on scriptures. Celibates are drunk on vanity. Monks are drunk on prestige.' What are YOU drunk on?"
"What I talk about is completely different than religion. There is an answer, but it is not in any language. It cannot be spoken, written, pronounced, or uttered. The answer to this question is so close to you. It could not possibly be closer. It is inscribed on the beautiful pages of your heart. You and you alone are capable of reading and receiving this answer. You are the only one who can decide whether this answer is true or not."September 30, 2008
Thirst Quench Thirst
Hello... You can hear nothing but the sound of my voice.
You are lovingly placing your cursor over the hotlinked phrase below, clicking once and buying at least one copy of my new book of poetry, Thirst Quench Thirst.
Do not concern yourself about whether or not you actually like poetry, read poetry, or have ever heard of me. Those concerns, while certainly understandable, are beside the point. Sometimes you just need to trust your instincts. Like now, for instance.
Some of the poems in this blog are excerpted from the book, so if you're still not sure, simply scroll around and read.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention, the book is only $15.00. At 72 pages, that's only $20.8 cents a page (1/18th the cost of a Starbuck's Frappucino). Such a deal!
Still need proof it's worth the money? Click below and check out the reviews:
Thirst, Quench Thirst evokes a memory of the deepest longings of the soul. Reading Mitch's poetry reminds me of what I already know, but often forget." -- Joan Apter
"This poetry has touched the deepest recesses of my heart." -- Dermott Philpott
"Mitch's poetry touches a universal human longing; the ache for internal connection to the divine. He speaks in a personal, simple, accessible way about things that are ancient and deep." -- Erika Andersen
"Most great love poetry baffles the mind, but delights the heart. And great love poetry cannot be written without great love. Mitch Ditkoff's poems are intoxicating." -- John Adorney
"This is the kind of nourishment that penetrates to the core of Divine Love, and if deeply imbibed, its sweet nectar can be savored for a lifetime." -- Jamie Delay
"Mitch mixed the most profound -- almost indescribable -- with the kind of simplicity that somehow manages to capture a feeling. Lovely stuff!" -- Candice Wilmore
"This book of poetry, delightful and charming, takes me right to the heart of the matter gently, often with wonderful humor! I read and re-read these poems just to take the ride." -- Kim Greene
"Not bad, but buy this book anyway so I can get a higher allowance." -- Jesse Pouget DitkoffSeptember 24, 2008
The Temple of Your Heart
I just came across these inspiring words from Maharaji on innerlink.tv. A timeless message, indeed...
"Look in you. Look in your heart. And you will find the truest essence of your existence. Look within you and you will find the most beautiful waters. Look within you and you will find your solutions. Look within you and you will find your answers. Answers to which you don't even have questions to yet.
The holiest of all scriptures that ever will be, will be in the temple of your heart."September 23, 2008
Excerpts from Maharaji's Talk in Gainesville, Florida
The following excerpts are my best attempts at capturing, live, some of what Maharaji said at the Gainesville event on September 21. The following is not verbatim and, in some cases, I have paraphrased his words. MD
"A Master is a washerman and the student is the cloth. The soap is Knowledge. When, on the stone of practice, the cloth is washed again and again and again, the cloth begins to sparkle. You need to sparkle and shine bright because that is your potential."
"When there is a river flowing and the little tributaries join it, they lose themselves and become part of that big river. All the rivers that flow into the Ganges become just as holy."
"The trees that surround a sandalwood tree take on the aroma of sandalwood. Is it possible to keep such a company of that most beautiful thing that I begin to take on the qualities of it? If I keep the company of clarity, I too will take on the qualities of clarity. If I want to have that beautiful aroma of understanding, then I need to keep the company of understanding."
"Keep the company of light and you will begin to glow like that light. This is the true transformation of a human being."
"What is your truest need? To be content."
"Be simple. Be conscious. One second of being conscious will save you from a whole lifetime of trouble."
"People look out at all the things around them as their strength, but believe me -- none of those things will be there to support you. Know yourself. Practice Knowledge."
"If you practice Knowledge, you too will become timeless. And when you do, what do you care about how old you are?"
"In the realm of Knowledge it's always a new beginning."
"The only people who don't seem to respond to this message are the ones who are expired."
"This is the real deal -- the synchronous experience of being with Maharaji."
"What is the true thirst? Who are you? Are you just a puppet built of the papier mache of concept -- or are you something more than that? Pray to God that the answer is 'yes.'"
"We need someone to pay attention to human beings, not just issues. The issues will take care of themselves when we take care of human beings."
"We, as human beings, need to have the biggest faith in ourselves. It behooves everyone to become worthy of the faith of the person next to them. And this is what it means to be a good neighbor."
"Enjoy Knowledge. It just gets better and better and better."
"Enjoy yourself. Have a blast. Learn to be totally inebriated on peace."September 20, 2008
Tonight I had the good fortune of being at an event with Maharaji at the Jackie Gleason Theater in Miami Beach. Here are some excerpts:
"I didn't just give you a glass of water. I talked you into digging a well in your own backyard. Any time you feel thirsty, feel free to go to that well and drink to quench your thirst. Never again will you need to be thirsty. Quench your thirst not once, but every day."
"Yogis are drunk on discipline. Priests are drunk on scriptures. Celibates are drunk on vanity. Monks are drunk on prestige. So what's left for you? What could you possibly get drunk on? I recommend being drunk on peace, being drunk on joy, being drunk on the fulfillment of the quest of a human being."
"Whoever gets touched by the magic of the heart, it's hard to ever be the same again. The next thing you know, you are at the most INCREDIBLE PARTY, inebriated not on prestige or discipline, but on peace, joy, and gratitude. For those of you who have stayed with it, the party is not abating. Welcome to the party -- the party of a lifetime."
"Enjoy yourself. It's OK. It's OK. Enjoy! You are capable of enjoying this breath. You are capable of enjoying this life."
"Everything you do externally, there is someone who does it better. But what you do internally... you are the best at that."
"A lot of people say 'I don't have time for all this stuff.' Well, make it your priority. Time is the greatest illusion. Don't be a victim to the illusion. Be clear. Stay focused."
"There are many people here who have received the gift of Knowledge and are coming to the twilight of their lives. But they are not alone. Knowledge is there. Peace! Feel it!"
"The idea is not to create, but to know the one thing inside of you. But not only to know -- to fall in love with that thing inside of you. Then... you will be rewarded. And guess what that reward will be? Peace."
"You are blessed. The hand of God is glued on top of your head. There is no greater blessing given to you. Feel that hand on your head and know you are being kissed by the infinite."
"Feel this breath. Feel this blessing and know there is a God. This is the incredible miracle."
"Every day is a beautiful day. Feel the passion from the depth of your heart. Do you know there is a passion only you can feel, an understanding only you can have, a fulfillment only you are capable of having?"
"Have fun! What is fun? Where truly the heart is entertained. Where truly you are filled with gratitude and joy."
NEWS: Maharaji's Broadcast to One Million People in India, Nepal, and Mauritius: 7/31/08
Thanks to Dagmar Zierer, Cath Carroll, Jan Buchalter, and others for forwarding their recollections and impressions of the Derby, UK broadcast.
On July 31, from The Assembly Room in Derby, England, a broadcast of an event with Maharaji went live to more than one million people in India, Nepal and Mauritius in 4,000 centers and countless other locations.
Having completed his recent European tour of Madrid, Ljubljana, Glasgow, Birmingham, Warsaw, Corleone, Palermo, Gothenberg, Barcelona, Belfast, Berlin, Calpe, Bilbao, Torquay, Hinkley, Leicester and Tel Aviv, Maharaji was responding to an invitation for a broadcast event from people in India -- and beyond -- who hadn't yet seen him this year.
Before a local audience of about 1,200 people, mostly from Derby's Hindi speaking community, Maharaji spoke on a number of topics, including the role of the Master, recognition, and Knowledge.
The broadcast was recorded and will soon be available to Hindi speaking communities.
During his talk, Maharaji noted that when he goes to India later this year, events will be done in a different way -- something even more enjoyable than in the past:
"All I want is for you to experience the joy of Knowledge in your life," he said. "Events are not a social thing. Even if you lived on a desert island and experienced this, I would be happy. These are not just empty words. What I say, I back up. I can take you to a place within."
What follows are a selection of additional excerpts from the Derby broadcast. These excerpts are not verbatim, but are the paraphrased recollections of a few people who attended the event. Enjoy!
"That which can bring light in your darkened life is the Master --
the one who takes you out of unrest and brings you to peace."
"As soon as you get up in the morning, you remember that which preoccupies you -- be it your worries or your problems. If you worship your problems, they will increase. Instead, if you want to worry, worry about remembrance. 'May I have time today so I can practice'. But if you are really going to worship, this can only happen through the heart."
"The coming and going of my breath is my blessing."
"The true Master connects you with the inner feeling. If illusion is your Master, then the opposite happens. The consequences of devotion to the mind is a multitude of reasons which you end up using to justify any action."
"Whatever the Master says, the student should listen. Truth resides in the heart. If you want to be saved from the age of darkness, go within."
"The Master knows what you are looking for. The Master brings light into your darkened life. We have made the mind our made-up guru. Mind will have you look for God or peace everywhere -- except in the place where it is. Our nature is to get stuck in the mind, which promises joy, but never fulfills."
"The Master is the one who doesn't mind reminding you again and again. The Master reminds you to go towards your heart."
"The Master can only be recognized by one thing: not by his face, not by his physical appearance, but by what he gives: Knowledge.
This is a living Knowledge -- not bound by culture or anything at all."
"The Master sees a human being as a human being -- nothing else. The Master gives us Knowledge of the self."
VIDEO: We Are Human Beings July 18, 2008
The Falcon and the Falconer
NOTE: This song of praise to Maharaji is best read aloud...
I am the falcon, you are the falconer. Always I am coming back to you, my soaring skyward just a strategy to gather speed for my ultimate return.
How you have trained me is a mystery -- the way you've tamed my restless heart. It is not with fear. I do not fear you. It is not with food. There is prey enough for me everywhere I fly. It is more the way you offer me your arm, a place to land, a second skin scented with the wild musk of one who waits for me, what I would be if I would be a man.
It is a wonderful game the two of us play -- this coming and going, this circular ballet. Each time you loose the loops around my legs and signal me to fly, I remember what it is to rise for the first time. It is here I find my rest, my home. Untethered, still I do not move, needing only to be close to you, my falconer.
It is this that beats my wings, releases me to sky, rides the unseen currents of the air, and though I notice other things: the tops of trees, a cloud, a nimble rabbit on the ground, all I see is you, holding out your arm to me, even as a thousand other falcons overhead, each within your view, circle closer, spiral down, descend.
Still I know that I am next and this is the perfect moment of my return.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...June 30, 2008
Excerpts from Maharaji's Talk Today in Palermo, Italy
What follows is an in-the-moment report from Jule Kowarsky, who just attended an event with Maharaji, in Palermo, Italy.
Jule notes that Maharaji addressed 1,200 people in a magnificent historic opera house. She goes on to say that several local dignitaries spoke and a book about Palermo and another award were bestowed upon Maharaji.
Click below for selected highlights of Maharaji's talk as remembered by Jule (not a verbatim transcript of his words).
"I go around this world saying that Peace is Possible, and people give me all the reasons why it's not. Some people have three reasons, or 7, or 10. Others, who are really smart and have thought about this a lot, might even have 100 reasons. Let me tell you that I have 6.7 billion reasons why there should be peace -- one for every person on the planet."
"I listen to good ideas wherever they come from. If they come from a Muslim or Hindu or a Christian or an atheist, if it is a good idea, I will listen to it."
"And this I heard and this I believe: If you are strong, you should be kind. If you are smart you should be simple and if you are wealthy you should be humble."
"I am pilot. There was a time when I was not a pilot. And there will be a time when I will be old, too old to be a pilot (God willing). But I was and I will still be, a human being.
"As I human being, I cannot bear to know that someone, somewhere in the world, goes to sleep thirsty. There are more educated people in the world now than there have ever been. Human beings can solve this problem. Human beings can solve the problem of war. They can."
"People think the skies will open up and something will come down, some angel will come down with answers to end these problems.
I am telling you that the angel is in your heart.
PASSAGES: A Video Retrospective of Maharaji's Message
Billy Fairchild just sent me this link to a fabulous series of eight online videos (repackaged for the internet from the original PASSAGES video produced by Kate McGowan and John McNelly in 2001 to celebrate Maharaji's 30th anniversary in the West). These 9-10 minute videos capture the essence of Maharaji's message, his spiritual roots, and the evolution of the way in which he's communicated his message since arriving in the West in 1971.
Includes engaging interviews with some of the people who were on the scene in the very beginning: Ron Geaves, Joan Apter, Charananand, Glen Whittaker, Peter Lee, Tim Gallwey, John Hampton, and others.
(And if you haven't had a chance to respond to the recent Heart of the Matter poll click here. Will take you three minutes.June 11, 2008
Rhythm of Light
Here's a new musical collaboration from Stuart Hoffman and Tara Liz Driscoll celebrating the words of Maharaji and the magnificent images of light in our universe:June 05, 2008
Peace Is Possible
Peace Is Possible is the first complete biography of Prem Rawat. It documents his extraordinary life, from growing up with a father who was a revered master, to the day he first addressed audiences at age three, to being discovered by hippies at his home in the Himalayan foothills when he was a child, to his dramatic arrival in the West at 13 -- right up until today.
The book is very well written, cites plenty of fascinating stories about his life, and gives the reader a clear picture of who Prem Rawat (aka Maharaji) is, what his work is all about, and how he has benefited the lives of thousands of people from just about every country in the world.June 03, 2008
The Book I Wanted to Buy My Mother
For many years I wanted to buy a book for my mother -- a book that would explain everything... what I hadn't or couldn't explain since I had been old enough to notice my mother wasn't all that happy and, Lord knows, I wanted my mother to be happy and if not "happy" per se, then at least aware of what it was that made me, her son, happy -- the "thing" that for so many years she thought was a phase I was going through and, even worse, some kind of heartless rejection of her and her way of life.
Yes, I wanted to buy my mother a book that would explain it all -- the whole "New Age thing," the whole "Guru thing," the whole "it's OK that I don't eat your veal parmagiana any more because I'm a vegetarian thing." Somebody must have written it. Somebody must have noticed the market niche of "mothers over 60 who worry why their high performing sons have gone spiritual."
And so, I went looking for this book. Like some people look for God. And though I never found it, I did find some reasonable facsimiles -- cleverly titled books displayed by the check out counter, conceived by marketing geniuses who somehow knew my need -- the need a son has to make his mother smile and nod her head approvingly... the book that would keep my mother company during those long nights when her husband was working late and her children were asleep and there was nothing good on TV. The ultimate self-help book that would remove her worries, her doubts, and her exponentially growing fears of thinking her son had gone off the deep end for "receiving Knowledge" from that young boy from India.
I wanted my mother to know how beautiful life was and how simple it could be to experience that beauty. I wanted her to know there was something timeless within her, something beyond the stress of aging and the clipping of coupons.
Maybe it was selfish of me, but I wanted to buy my mother a book that, like the tooth fairy, would deliver some proof that love was the name of the game... and that (bite your tongue and spit three times) the act of "receiving Knowledge" from Maharaji was as natural and healthy as chicken soup.
Eight years ago my mother died from a four-year bout with emphysema. During my six-day stay with my father after the funeral, I discovered the books I had given her all these past years. Most of them had never been opened. Like some strange mix of Stonehenge rubble, they lay in piles all around... on her night table, on her desk, stuffed behind cookbooks, in the garage. Some, when you opened them, still had that new book crackling sound. All of them had this fortune cookie like quality -- like no matter what page you turned to, some kind of bite sized wisdom was waiting.
I don't think I was sad she didn't read them. Just disappointed. Or maybe it was more like resignation -- the kind teenagers feel when they realize their parents just don't get it.
Looking back, I realize now that no book would have been sufficient to have given my mother. No. I wanted her to have the experience the books were describing, not the description of the experience. As my teacher, Maharaji, has said many times, if you are thirsty, you need water to drink, not the description of water.
Ultimately, that's what Maharaji's offer is all about: helping people find the water -- the naturally occurring well of well-being inside us all. It's something my dear, sweet, canasta playing, veal parmagiana making mother would have definitely appreciated.
Photo by Weeping WillowApril 08, 2008
An Interview with Maharaji March 20, 2008
A Gift Unparalleled March 07, 2008
The Perfect Instrument