The Puja (1) – The Site, local and international devotees (April, 2013)
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.
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.
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.
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.” ##