For many in the audience, the trip to hear Maharaji speak in Miami Beach was as simple as driving across the causeway and as familiar an opportunity for joy as celebrating a birthday. For many others, the event prompted transcontinental flights and day-and-night-long drives. Isabel McCormick, an immigration lawyer from Miami, attended out of curiosity. A friend had told her about Maharaji, and she was interested to know how his message differed from that of others who profess that fulfillment lies within.
From the opening moments of his appearance in the capacity-filled auditorium, Maharaji made it clear what he wasn’t going to talk about. “I am not here to change your religion, throw a philosophy your way, dazzle you with brilliant quotes, or tell you what is going to happen tomorrow.” For the next hour and more, he described the simplicity and beauty of being connected to that which is unchanging. “We are caught in this incredible tornado of change,” he explained. “Everything around us—thoughts, ideas, and perceptions—change. And you change even while you are trying to fight the changes. In the middle of all these changes, I’m trying to find something that doesn’t change. And there is something like that. That’s the good news.”
Michelina Bellavance, who flew in from Ocean City, Maryland, for the night, described the suburban isolation and despair she had felt over an impending divorce. “Only being able to turn to the peace inside kept me going,” she said, “and then determining to become a force for perpetuating this message of peace.” When she told friends she was on her way to South Beach, they assumed she was going clubbing and were astonished that she would make the trip for just one night. “I told them I was going to see Maharaji, and here I am, feeling fortunate to be at the best party in town.”
Michelina had found her opportunity to talk about Maharaji when an acquaintance confided her dejection over a medical condition. Michelina told her that Maharaji had shown her how to experience peace and contentment inside no matter what was going on in her life. After describing how this practice, called Knowledge, had been filling her own heart for more than 31 years, the friend decided to investigate for herself. She ordered the series of DVDs, known as The Keys, in which Maharaji prepares those interested in pursuing Knowledge. She is now enjoying them and says that the “hole” in her heart is healing.
The point is, Maharaji said, “Could it be that you have peace within you? Could it be that simple? Peace is already inside of every human being. What it needs is evoking. When you try to find something you haven’t lost you run into problems. You find a lot of things, and each one will be distracting. The reason we don’t find what we are looking for is that we are not looking where it is.
“What do you need?” he asked. “You need someone who can show you the way. Somebody who can put a mirror in front of you so you can see who you are. If you need help finding it, I can help. If you are looking for something that is not changing in this changing world, look within. I cannot quench your thirst. The water will do that, if you drink it. But I can point to where the water is.”
Cecilia Labora, who received Knowledge in Mexico City in 1975, recalls her early experiences of hearing Maharaji’s message: “It wasn’t the words that compelled me. It was that when I’d leave an event about this Knowledge, I’d feel so good, so happy. ‘There’s something here,’ I told myself, ‘and I want it.’ Knowledge allows you to start from a place of happiness.”
Isabel McCormack, the woman who attended out of curiosity, decided to find out for herself and to order the Keys.