A Nepali Puja (I) Visiting the Site & Meeting the Sangha

The Puja (1) – The Site, local and international devotees (April, 2013)
Joan Stanley-Baker

- ViewNepaliVillages@MntnFoot

The Maha Matri World Peace Puja was a bit more than a week away. The site was being prepared for tens of thousands of devotees to come from all over Nepal, and from the world, to receive the Guru’s blessing in person. Although many devotees have not yet met him, some have already felt transformation in their lives at the mere sight of a photograph, or when touched deep in the heart by the Teachings on the website www.eTapasvi.com, falling into a boundless love and compassion. A busy American housewife, PTA executive, substitute teacher and Yoga instructor, recently prayed to the guru’s internet photo seeking time for her own meditations. The next morning she woke up at 04:00 for a full two hours’ uninterrupted meditation that charged the rest of her long day. She has been meditating at 04:00 ever since. A Bhutanese woman whose son had been rejected by medical school because of his stuttered, went to Nepal and showed the young Guru her son’s photo, seeking help. The Guru blessed it, and when she returned home, she found her son cured. The core international and Nepali devotees each with dramatic stories of life-transformation to tell, say they were “chosen” to form the Guru’s vanguard sangha, who would remain limited in size, explaining that the Guru had said,
“As the Guru expands the Sangha, the Dharma will be spread. Not a throng of people, or else the Guru Dharma cannot be assimilated, and arising adharmic questions can never be answered.” (MSDS Speech of 28 January, 2012)

This is the young Guru who at age fifteen had vanished into Nepal’s jungles to meditate in the hollow trunk of a giant pipal tree. He meditated without interruption for six years from 2005 to 2011 in penitential atonement for the sins of the world, and for its deliverance from suffering and ignorance. Before his closest devotees and sometimes before the media’s prying eyes, he steadily evolved, without food or water, from an ordinary human youth into the Manifest Divinity now increasingly recognized and worshipped around the world as Lord of the Golden Age of Maitreya that follows upon the Age of Shakyamuni Buddha. In this sense Maha Sambodhi Dharma Sangha is Nepal’s greatest Gift to Humanity since the last Buddha of 2500 years ago. But in direct proportion to his growing light abroad, dark clouds of opposition loom at home as influential sectors, including local media, seek to suppress or eradicate this phenomenon. The carnivorous majority resists any voice condemning the slaughter of innocent animals. Nor can the nation’s upper crust welcome anyone from the lower casts to rise so suddenly, and with such cosmic significance.
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Starting his solitary meditation under his ordained name Palden Dorje, he then came to receive different titles from the invisible celestial Guides, reflecting stages in his evolution from monk into Buddhahood. From Om Namo Buddha Gyani Guru, Bodhi Shrawan Dharma Sangha Guru, Dharma Sangha Guru to Maha Sambodhi Dharma Sanaga Guru, in plural form meaning “Great Dharma Congregation of the Fully Enlightened”. This is an extraordinary burden for a 21-year-old youth to carry, especially one who had been a shy, soft-spoken boy with only a fourth-grade education.
This protracted focussed meditation in blistering heat and freezing frosts without sustenance included the process of becoming one with the elements air, fire, water and earth. He meditated underground without air, in the river, and underwent spontaneous combustion where giant flames consumed his robe and singed his hair. A hastily summoned video camera caught the last hour where he danced in the flames standing and sitting stark naked, holding only his ritual bell and vajra. This amateur clip has been uploaded onto the internet. Around that time the BBC Discovery Channel’s was making its celebrated documentary, Boy with Divine Powers, a film that alerted emerging new age generations that the Guru of gurus had arrived. From the world over hundreds have thronged to Nepal to meditate near their spiritual guide during the last years of his Six-Year Process, to come within his spiritual and energetic sphere, and to await his spoken word.
2009 to large crowds Condemning GadhiMai Temple Sacrifices

The site of the April Puja graced the former farmland of a teenage devotee in southern Nepal by the name of Buddha Yonjam, and his father, Gopal. Since the Guru’s advent was attended from the start by hostile moves from people threatened by the evidently unstoppable phenomenon, Yonjan felt that his Guru needed a shelter. During one of the harassment incidents last year, Buddha’s family came forward and donated their hills and farmland that became the young Guru’s sole earthly refuge. For the Puja the site was now being readied for the waves of devotees, as various other preparations were underway. A young nun had gone up to Kathmandu to purchase over a hundred “butter” lamps. Lit anew each day, they burn a plant oil or banasphathi ghee for flames believed to purify devotees’ hearts, and burn off their bad karma.
Many Nepali devotees arrived to help clear the slopes of shrubbery before leveling the hills. The tractor was toing and froing to a nearby bamboo plantation bringing in 15- to 20-foot long poles. Piles of sturdy yet flexible bamboo tubes lay on the dusty earth waiting to be raised into structures. The helpers stay overnight in makeshift bamboo huts and start work early around six, erecting the large building for the guru and monks, all with bare hands. They weave bamboo walls and fences, magically erecting a full ritual site out of nothing.

The compound offers the barest of human comfort or convenience. Yet a pervading sense of peace and serenity flows through the mixed community like an undercurrent uniting all into one, even though the locals don’t speak English and foreigners know little Nepali. Obstacles arise one after the other, only to be resolved in due course with ingenuity and good humour.
From dawn to dusk the foreigners engaged doing meditation or healing in small groups, or discussed the Guru’s Teachings as they could understand it. Each one had at one time or other affirmed in his or her heart without reason, but with complete certainty: “This is the one! This is my Guru!” All the devotees from overseas, like those from Nepal, share an overarching love for their guru, and absolute trust. The foreign devotees converged independently, but discovered here that they must learn to become One in order to evolve in the Maitri way and to spread Guru’s teachings. When asked during a meeting (21 August, 2010) if the Teachings were Buddhist or Hindu, the Guru had replied,
“The religion is actually called Bodhi Dharma, but includes all religions. No one is excluded. I’ll be moving forward to include all existing religions of the world.”

A special quality about this curious mix of world devotees sets them apart from other sangha groups…
A first-time visitor from Chile had heard about the Guru in Kathmandu and decided to come find out for herself. Intently absorbed in a heavy tome, The Second Coming of Christ, she listens equally intently whenever sangha members discussed the Dharma or their Guru. From Philadelphia, a regular devotee came after years in India under various Guru and Rinpoche and different spiritual practices. His bright blue eyes are hidden behind horn-rimmed glasses, his lips shaded by a long moustache and beard, his dark blond hair matted in dreadlocks, he walks about draped loosely in a wrap-round dhoti and India-made shirts, and is notably adapt squatting on the ground eating with his hand. With other strong members he draws huge buckets of water from the well down the hill for members’ washing or showers, and make tasty salads combining raw vegetables and fruits the local kitchens don’t. Well versed in practices spiritual, he happily shares tales of Indian and Nepali spirituality, religious customs and festivals.
A Reiki master from Australia was an accountant in his “life before Guru.” Shifting course some years back, he took up healing and his bright green eyes have not stopped smiling since. He sits in nature drinking in the elements in total bliss, forgetting time. Everyone he meets receives a blast of Ozzie warmth, becoming instantly uplifted. With Reiki he helps members open up chakras to receive healing and guidance with less obstruction. His New Zealand partner is not only a clairvoyant medium, but a clairsentient keenly affected by the most delicate vibrations and energetic changes within a huge sphere around her. When the two met a year ago, they knew instantly that their life mission was to join forces for silent healing and energetic tuning all around, helping fellow devotees or strangers attune to the global transformation. Each day she shared visions that came through during meditation or even simply being among people, especially when they are praying. Though she had never yet seen the Guru, being within his energy sphere has charged her sight and insight with unusual intensity. She said this place had a far higher energetic vibration than she had experienced elsewhere, and that subtle but profound changes were transforming everyone gathered there on a deep inner level. She may suddenly sense negative influences in people, or energy-blockage in some part of the body of devotees she’d never met before. “How did she know?” the devotee wondered, “I have told no one about my leg.” The medium sent healing energies, received from her invisible guides, to affected body parts of people around her day and night, sometimes even in her dreams, she says.
Devotees here are predominantly healers, of the alternative kind who avoid pharmaceuticals. They include so-called “Crystal Children,” beings born in the last few decades in droves to help lift Earth onto higher consciousness. From different countries, they have several points in common: 1) Their life mission is to give and to share, not to take or harm. Refusing to hurt animals, they are usually vegetarians. 2) Not of “ordinary society” or living “ordinary” lives, they reflect New Age children who sometimes have issues with non-supportie parents or teachers and who create new life paths with Reiki, aroma therapy, spiritual guide channeling, herbs or yoga, etc. This “gentle” generation trigger happiness and a sense of well-being in all they meet. 3) Not in pursuit of influence or affluence, they avoid spheres of power, wealth, authority, even “the professions”.
Among the very first international devotees is a British-American who has been living in Japan the last twenty odd years, married to a Japanese, bore two children and set up her practice of aroma therapy and yoga teaching. Skilled in many languages, she began to study Sanskrit and Nepali to provide translations of the Guru’s rare public Statements. In her book Reflections, she recounts her journey to find her Guru, introducing Nepal, Guru’s family and immediate circle.
A Netherlander born and raised in Surinan until age 9 when her father took a job in Holland and brought the family over, finished her studies with her siblings in Holland. But unlike them taking standard professions, she chooses to paint portraits, for individuals and art galleries. With wavy long black hair she looks a black version of Guru, and her beautiful large black eyes glisten whenever speaking of him. Since her fist journey to Nepal three months before the Guru completed his meditation, she has never since left his side in spirit. She returned a second time to witness the historic speech of May 2011 when the newly emergent Guru seated on a specially made dais, addressed the entire world announcing his identity, lineage, and his mission on earth. She now paints the Guru exclusively, portraits that devotees the world over hope eventually to venerate in their homes.
The young devotee from India had come many times already. His large brown liquid eyes enfolding one, he speaks of dedicating his life to contemplation, giving up his former life of worldly careerism. His gentle lilting speech belies his deep experience in electrical and mechanical engineering.
From Moscow comes softspoken master of the world-famous dedicated website www.eTapasvi.com. He has organized and run the complex network of information about the Guru and his Teachings in seventeen languages. This cyberspace has inspired thousands of world devotees and has unleashed the widespread love and devotion now converging toward the young Guru in Nepal. Barely twenty-five years old, he daily offers his technical expertise, entirely on a voluntary basis. Each time he visits Nepal he would quietly serve the sangha with manual labour and ingenuity, creating now a shower with bamboo poles and black plastic, floored with beautiful mosaic of large stones from the construction site. His clear light green eyes are transparent like pools of purity and love, typical of the “Crystal Children” described by psychologists.
From Ukraina is the amazing blond angel carrying only a small bag and a large four-stringed African instrument. She sits down on the ground to tune the strings and strum as devotees stopped chatting to listen and, all of a sudden, breaks into song, a Sanskrit hymn of praise, in a golden mellifluous voice that goes straight to the heart. Everyone is mesmerized, rooted to the earth. Her large bright green eyes are transparent with wisdom and compassion, her face all innocence.

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Among the younger devotees a girls from Lithuania is another angel personified. Her large green eyes are transparent with love and laughter, and she says she has come to Nepal to teach children how to listen to trees. Travelling around the world, she gives her devotion to the young, awakening their innate oneness with the world and with all sentient beings, including ancient trees and young flowers.
It may be that such large transparent eyes, from light green to dark brown, distinguish these young people who have come from countries near and far including India, America, Mexico, Argentina, Lithuania, Ukrainia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Russia, Australia, Denmark, England, Switzerland, Germany, France, Holland, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Bhutan and Surinam among others. Unlike the earlier generation of Rainbow Warriors who take a proactive stand against injustice and violence, these younger people are more like the Rainbow Gathering, young folks who congregate in different places around the world to spend at least one, often two months or more, living together without money, drugs, alcohol or smoking. To Guru such people come with complete trust, total love and tolerance, enfolding rather than confronting; gentle and retiring, their soft extension of goodwill infecting all those around them with surprise and benevolence.
A very quiet young man from France, another school dropout not yet twenty, has found his way to the Puja site all alone. Asked why he was here, he replies without hesitation, “I came for Truth. People in my country turn truths info falsehoods, and falsehoods into truths.” In the dark night of our interview he says he “knows” Lord Maitreya, the Buddha of this Age and this Sangha. “No one in my life ever mentioned or taught me anything about Maitreya. But the very first time I heard his name I knew instantly Who He is…. And so I came.” ##

The Puja (II) – Guru and The Darshan

April 2013, Patharkot, Nepal

The Maha Maitri Puja for World Peace has begun. Devotees from overseas and Nepal arrive by the busloads, transforming this small rural farm into a bustling festival town complete with giant tour-coaches and tiny street side vendors. Devotees from all over Nepal coming out from their busses after long journeys can buy water, drinks, mala prayer bead strings, and khata.

Different from many group-meditation events enjoying increasing popularity in the West, the Maha Maitri World Peace Puja does not feature sermons or devotees singing. It is more Darshan, a vision of the Divine, a hearing of Essential Dharma from The True Guru. Nearly the whole of the four days Guru sits without eating or drinking, only to give personal blessing to tens of thousands of devotees. They quietly file past his dais with bowed heads on which Guru pours Divine blessing with his cupped right hand. Manifesting awe and devotion, monastics and sangha in loving Maitri Compassion converge at Pujas to learn to become One, dedicating their prayers to World Peace. The days vibrate with monks’ chanting, and loud music from the double-reed oboe-like ghyaling, the round drum dhengro, cymbals, and the Tibetan long horn, lafa. On the outside, it is a colourful experience of the senses what with candles and butter-lamps, flying banners fluttering in the wind, and incense wafting through the breeze. On the inside, however, it is a quiet uplift of the soul, in meeting the Divine, Heart to Heart.

In the covered Puja space, beneath the blue, white, red, green and yellow canopy, the Guru’s dais upon a three-stepped platform is painted in gorgeous images of flowers and lions. The surrounding panels display thangkas of the ash-covered Maitreya Buddha standing on a pink lotus in bloom and, following, six buddha-gurus never before known in this world, who embody new attributes of our Age. They include Mra Mra Phen Buddha, Bhaitri Guru, Pema Dhakpo Guru, Senghye and Singhi, Singhye Guru, and Dhakpo Guru. The young Guru has brought his own Pantheon.
Maitri Guru Portrait 1690

Many devotees had come after having watched videos of the young monk sitting motionless without any sustenance for days on end, meditating in the hollow of a large pipal tree, the silent days then drawing into months, and years. The penitential meditation began in May, 2005 dedicated specifically to liberation from suffering and ignorance of all breathing beings in this world, including the planet’s flora and fauna. Some people recognised divine attributes after watching the amateur video of the sixteen-year-old monk sitting and dancing in flames that eye-witnesses had seen first as shafts of intense light emanating from his chest. The fire took place in 2006, a few days after the BBC’s Discovery crew had left, causing their return to interview witnesses and do another four days’ continuous filming of what would become their world-famous documentary Boy with Divine Powers. This is the Guru who would refer to his tapasya (penance) in terms of “thousands of years” revealing that the soul, as it evolves, may pass trough several different levels of enlightened consciousness, where “Sambodhi” is the final one when all levels disappear (becoming equal). “You are in front of Sambodhi,” he announced in July, 2011, and that the world should be aware of this his manifestation of cosmic dimensions.

Now in Patharkot the crowds entered the covered area and performed one by one the three prostrations raising joined hands high above the head Tibetan fashion, then touching the eyes, mouth and heart offering their devotion to the Guru in the soul, eyes, speech and heart, they kneel down and prostrate themselves full length upon the make-shift tarp barely covering the newly flattened earth, rising with sand on the forehead. International devotees unused to the exercise simply kneel down in prayerful attitudes, some with legs tucked to one side instead of sitting in half or full lotus position. Everyone sat, sinking deep within to feel the heart’s Guru, and many look in the direction of Guru’s house in anticipation of the beatific arrival.

Eventually the reed trumpets sound, interrupting the mantra-chanting broadcast. Guru is walking down from his abode up the hill, preceded by the musicians. The congregation rise, craning their necks for a glimpse. The Guru, all in white, is walking swiftly along the narrow path covered with yellow cloth. Young and old monks surround him, musicians in front, and incense carrier holding the smoking censer hanging from three chains, to wave in various directions for ritual purification.
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At last! The long, long awaited moment has come. Devotees who’ve been camping here for days and weeks, can finally behold the actual Guru in person. He enters from the right, walking swiftly to the dais in the centre of the podium. His arms are longer than normal, recalling the standing Maitreya. His long black wavy hair now nearly reaches the elbows. His gait is light and swift, his robes flutter with the hair. Nimbly he takes the few steps up the dais and gracefully sinks to the floor in one single movement, legs folding into lotus position. The space becomes electric, emotions run the gamut from suspiciously curious, often from neighbouring villagers, to profound reverence and devotion, from Nepali and international devotees. The Guru’s radiating energies are felt with surprising force by the more sensitive, some of whom reel, a bit unsteady. The Guru’s appearance can best be described as divine, rather unworldly and seemingly androgynous. His radiating beauty is both masculine and feminine. Evoking images of early Gandharan sculptures of the Shakyamuni Buddha, Guru’s face is balanced and dignified, at the same time full of compassion. Both male and female devotees are overwhelmed when gazing upon this embodiment of Love, with extraordinary compassion, forgiveness and acceptance emanating from the seated figure. One of the more sentient devotees “sees” waves of diamonds cascading down from Guru’s dais fanning out towards the huge gathering, in alternating rows of blue and white diamonds, sparkling as they ripple through the space spreading light, peace and joy, gradually engulfing all present.
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After a while, attendants adjust the microphone, and Guru launches the Puja with a few brief statements. He speaks in a gentle voice, the words coming out slowly and clearly. In a few sentences, he introduces the different categories of guru who had come to the world in the past, subtly pointing to his own this time around. There are Marga Guru, (the Guru or Guide of the Way), and Guru Marga, the Way of (all) Gurus. In times past different Marga Gurus have appeared on earth during auspicious times, each showing one Way to liberation with its own rules and methods coloured in a different hue. In time humans have become increasingly estranged from the essence of Truth. Humans have the freedom of choice between Dharma and Sin, and in these times many are moving swiftly toward darkness, without the essence of Truth. Responding to the urgency of these our times, the Guru Marga or the Way of all Gurus – now manifests on Earth. Yet many humans thinking themselves powerful, have been throwing ridicule and obstacles his way, altogether missing the import of “the Present Guru.”

It may be inferred from the Speeches (see Teachings on the right side, www.eTapasvi.com home page), that whilst previous gurus have each been showing a single Way, the present Guru (GuruMarga, the Way of all gurus) will lead all religions and Ways, unifying all sentient beings into the original One Soul that is the Cosmos. Guru does not look at his audience or use any gestures. Moreover he uses the term “humans” instead of “people”. He does not use terms of I, you, we or they, but speaks from a lofty distance where “humans” are but one species in the Cosmos.

Following the brief Opening Speech – the only time Guru’s voice is heard in the entire four days, devotees from near and far file singly before the dais, their heads bowed to receive Guru’ blessing hand, or they hold a long katha scarf above the head, for Guru to place it, with both hands, over their shoulder. Some bring their children to be blessed. Some bring water to be blessed so that it can be given to loved ones in small doses for dilution into ever-expanding Maitri energy. Some ill or elderly are too weak to walk alone, and approach gingerly, supported by two family members or volunteers. One woman came up the dais unprepared for Guru’s radiant energy and, upon seeing Guru’s face up close, she promptly fainted dropping to the floor. Many seated devotees fix their gaze ceaselessly upon the Guru, tears streaming in gratitude and bliss. Some sit upright in meditation, eyes closed, gazing at the Guru inside.
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The monks continue singing prayers to the Seven Deities that Guru had introduced to the world, accompanied by reeds, cymbals and drum working for hours on end. They finally take a break after about four hours, and music switches back to the Mantra Om A-Hung Mahen Yana Guru Pani Siddhi Hung. Although attendants and monks alternately take sustenance, Guru remains motionless on his dais, blessing each and everyone with compassion, without eating or drinking anything throughout the long day.
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The large throngs of devotees continue to file by (on average some 55,000 perday). The distant ones returning home on the busses right after they receive blessing, the locals going out for food, virtually everyone walks in and out of the giant tent at least twice, usually more times each day. Only Guru remains on his dais, without any nourishment and without changing his position.

From near distance, Guru’s face appears serious, calm and detached. But coming up for direct blessing, one devotee looked up into his eyes when instantly her whole consciousness flew up, drawn irresistibly into two immense black tunnels that had no end.
BuddhaGyani Another devotee felt her knees weaken when she gazed upon Guru’s face. For two shafts of blue and yellow-green light suddenly shot forth from his pupils, piercing hers. Their electrifying intensity obscured his eyes behind them, their Source, and with a purity and magnitude she’d never imagined existed. The beams blazed through her soul shooting far, far back, into myriad lifetimes past, “I have loved you. Always.” From previously unknown depths of her being she recognized Divine Love. Startled into new wakefulness, she vividly recalled the words “for He so loved the world…” In this lightning Darshan her heart dissolved and threw itself, flaming, into Guru’s. She was being introduced not only to Love Beyond Space but also Love Without Time.
The import of Guru’s Presence, the power of His eternal moment on Earth, are still too enormous for humans to fathom. But many devotees around the world already know they have entered the hitherto unknown new world of Maitri Dharma.