Alternating clouds and sun cast shadows and light over the terraced patio in front of the Thousand Oaks Civic Center on Sunday, June 7, where a crowd of over a thousand people awaited a live event with Prem Rawat (widely known as Maharaji), the first since his return to North America after a six-month tour of Japan, China, Australia, and other parts of the Far East. Some talked quietly, others greeted old friends. But it was clear that such reunions were incidental to the main event.
After viewing a charming animated short about a lion that thought he was a sheep, and a documentary about his work called “A Man of Passion,” Maharaji took the stage to applause, cheers, and a sea of waving arms.
He began with the routine remark we make to one another: “You won’t believe what happened to me today.” We say it because the other person wasn’t there — if they were, they would know.
What followed were finer and finer distinctions between believing and knowing — and Maharaji’s sincere wish for all of us in our lives to know.
“There are two questions every single person asks at one time or another,” he said, “who am I? And why am I here?” Until we grasp the answers to those questions, we won’t know that the need for peace is innate. And if we don’t understand that innate need, we won’t pursue it the way it needs to be pursued.
“One billion beliefs don’t hold a candle to one ‘know,’” he continued. “What I want for all of you in your life is to know.”
Never straying far from his original and time-tested theme, he urged attendees to “take care of the essential in your existence. Build your tower on reality, and it will never fall down. What is your basic building block? In your worst moments do you remember the coming and going of your breath? If not, your house will fall.
“When you experience peace, that is the triumph of a human being,” he said, adding, with a big grin, “Pretty deep, hm?”