Hippies resting between sets at the 1969 Woodstock Festival.
On August 25th, Maharaji spoke to 355 people at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, NY — 220 of whom were seeing him for the first time. Of these 220, fifteen were my friends — people who had heard about Maharaji for years, but had dismissed his teachings as not compatible with their own, particular path.
Ah, Woodstock! Worldwide symbol for peace and love. Bob Dylan’s adopted home. Utopia, not suburbia. Haven to just about every spiritual tradition known to man — a kind of New Age melting pot with more yoga studios than most cities have Starbucks.
To me, it was fitting for Maharaji to visit Woodstock last week. After all, his message is about the same timeless topic that inspired 400,000 people, 42 years ago, to gather at Yasgur’s Farm — peace and love. The world needed more peace and love then. And it needs more peace and love now.
Yes, I was interested to see Maharaji. But I was also interested to see the responses of my friends. I wanted to know how his message was received. You see, I loved them … and I loved him — so I wanted to know if they loved him — and if anything stood in the way of them pursuing the gift of Knowledge he is offering.
The author and some friends, enjoying his backyard.
Did my friends love seeing Maharaji? Yes, they did. Each one of them was deeply touched by Maharaji’s presentation. At least five of them have decided to view the Keys — the set of DVDs Maharaji has created to prepare people to receive Knowledge.
Was anything in the way of them pursuing his offer?
Well … the night after Maharaji’s visit, I had dinner with a few of my friends. While they were still buzzing from the event and feeling very appreciative of the chance to see him, they all had the same comment.
“We are not joiners,” they explained. “We don’t want to become part of an organization … or a movement … or a club.”
The fear of the “secret handshake.” The fear of “in-language.” The fear of “follow-up calls” … and who knows what else might be lurking behind the sweetness of Maharaji’s message.
What I told them then is the same thing I will tell you now.
There is nothing to join. Really. Zero. Zippo. Zilch. The only joining that goes on is between you and yourself.
Maharaji is not trying to create an organization or a club. He’s trying to “light lamps.” He’s trying to show you and everyone else on planet Earth a simple way to find fulfillment within.
Yes, of course, there are other people who have received Knowledge, practice it, and see Maharaji when they can. And yes, of course, the next time Maharaji comes to Woodstock, many of those people will be there. But not as a group — as free-thinking and free-feeling individuals.
These people, just like my friends who saw Maharaji on August 25th, are not interested in joining anything.
Will they get together sometimes to share experiences and collaborate on hosting future events in Woodstock? Of course they will. But this “coming together” will be self-initiated, self-organized, and completely voluntary — driven by intrinsic motivation, not some kind of weird trip.
Think of it this way.
When you go to a party, are you “joining anything?” Are you now part of the “party-going clique” — or are you simply going to a party and enjoying yourself?
Maharaji’s throwing a party and you’re invited.
You don’t need to be part of the “Woodstock Generation” to experience what he’s talking about. You don’t need to change your diet, your lifestyle, or your religion. And you don’t need to renounce past teachers of yours that you have come to know and love.
And for those of you concerned about becoming part of some big, hairy “thing”: relax. You don’t need to join anything — except yourself.
Some photos courtesy of Wikimedia.