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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.