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I envy you being at an opera for the first time.
It can be such a revealing experience.
Librettos can be real poetic masterpieces, too.
I like very much some work by Metastasio.
I want to share with you an experience I had with Sri Chinmoy.
When I first met him, I was studying my Bachelor's Degree in Music Theory at
Manhattan School of Music.
I was also singing in the elite choir at that school, the Madrigal Choir. I
could sight-read very well, thanks to a teacher I had in Puerto Rico, Mrs. Irma
Isern, who had also studied at Manhattan School of Music in her youth.
In 1980 I moved to Puerto Rico, after having studied with Sri Chinmoy for 2
years. In the Puerto Rico Centre we loved to sing! But there was one man,
Orlando, who could not keep a tune. He would come with his wife and son,
Orlandito. Wonderful people.
Once, when I came to New york for our Celebrations, Sri Chinmoy suddenly
addressed me and told me that he wanted me to have a non-singers group. I was
shocked. I could not fathom why the Master would put me through such an
I think the year was 1982 or so...I remember, when we sat down for our first
meeting at Progress-Promise, how Databir was so cheerfully enthusiastic about
it! I could not understand how he could be so cheerful about something so
terrible as people singing out of tune!
Our group was bad. It was so bad, we were a Circus act at one point! And every
time Orlando sang, he was completely, absolutely out of tune! I don't think I
ever heard him sing one melody in tune, not even one phrase or note.
A year passed, maybe two....and we were supposed to sing at Progress-Promise.
Guru called for our group to sing. The stage was small, and we were about 15
people....so we formed three lines. I was in the front line....we started to
sing...and suddenly, I start hearing the most angelic, perfect, soulful voice I
ever heard in my life. It was incredibly delightful to the ear. It was as if
Heaven had come down and manifested itself through that voice! But this was
impossible! There was no singer that good in my group! None of them could do
this kind of thing! And besides, the person standing right behind me was
Orlando! But the angelic voice was coming from where he was standing! We sang.
We finished. We bowed....
As we left the stage, Adarsha, one of the greatest solo singers ever in our Sri
Chinmoy Centre, approached me and asked: "Who is that?" in true admiration of
what he had just heard.
I don't remember what I said to Adarsha, because I was speechless!
It seems to me that Orlando's soul took over for a few minutes, and his devotion
and love for the Divine manifested through his voice. Ah! The lessons the Master
gives! I finally found out why he wanted me to have a non-singers group!
with gratitude, Kamalakanta
The theme for the next issue of Inspiration-Letters will be "Living in the Now."
I'd like to have all articles by the fifteenth of March.
Thank you very much!
Thank you, Priyadarshan. I will look for Metastasio's works.
And, by the way, I said that the plot of Aida was a little silly, but as an
allegory about human limitation and destiny, it actually works quite well. But,
once again, it is Verdi's music that's the main draw. It's the kind of music to
In 1985 I first went to Burma (as it was still known then). My father was called
there on business while I was visiting his home in Singapore, so the only option
was to join him. Like most fifteen-year-olds, I did not generally find anything
or anywhere interesting, especially things and places that were forced upon me.
I mostly remember the dirt. Our hotel was apparently the best in Rangoon (as it
was still known then), and it was dirty. I would long to wash the traffic and
heat off me when we had been outdoors, but the water even came out brown from
the tap. The drawers and cupboards were lined with a layer of desiccated flies.
We had a chauffeur of sorts. He chewed and spat betel nuts, grinning wide with
reddened teeth like a brown-skinned Dracula. He drove a 1950s Zephyr Zodiac, so
riddled with rust we could watch the road speeding under us through holes
beneath our feet. It was one of the better cars, and certainly better than the
buses. Too many faces could be seen pressed against the windows as we passed
them; clusters of outdoor passengers too, clinging to the back steps and
railings with only fingers and sandalled feet.
I just wanted to go home.
Until the day I was taken to Shwedagon Pagoda.
2,500 years ago in India, it is said Lord Buddha gave eight hairs from his own
head to two Burmese merchants, who had brought him a gift of honey cakes. The
hairs were presented to the Burmese king, who enshrined them in Okkalapa (as
Rangoon was known then). The stupa gradually evolved into its present brick
pagoda of 326ft, encased in thick gold plates donated by monarchs and noblemen.
We had to remove our shoes even to mount the long covered stairway at the
entrance. People were selling things from stalls along the way: thick stems of
incense or sheafs of flowers as offerings to the shrines above. Some sold little
shrines for private devotions at home: images of Lord Buddha in jade or brass,
or wood ready for a finish of gold leaf. To that day I had never felt such
sacredness, and I was only at the gates of the shimmering palaces of prayer
above. I could barely utter a word, and did not want to try. Breathing itself
seemed almost ill-mannered.
The top was a flat tiled terrace, littered with cockroaches: dead, alive, or
halfway between. Grubby children of four or five years old dogged us with cupped
palms and brown beseeching eyes. My eyes were only for the gold edifice reaching
up to the midday sun. That sense of completeness was new to me, I felt the very
air around me was made from it. I wondered how I or anyone could ever need more
* * *
Twenty-seven years later, a very different 'me' is returning to a very different
country, but the things that matter are still the same. Rangoon is now Yangon.
Burma is now Myanmar. The labels were left over from British colonial rule, as
was the directive to drive on the left side of the road. They drive on the right
now, like most of the world, but the cars are still right-hand drive. Oddly I
feel safer in this traffic than I would even at home. It is the people who
matter most here: to me, and apparently to each other. There is a sense of
unity, an inherent awareness of others as part of oneself; an awareness that
Western culture seems to have long forgotten.
There are monks and nuns everywhere in Yangon. Everywhere. Not just in the
temples and monasteries, but in the streets and shops: walking, talking,
smiling, praying, asking for alms. Robed and bareheaded, some are children, some
crooked with age, and all the stages between. Spirituality is not just a hobby,
or some quaint archaic choice; it is as natural and essential as breathing. Here
amongst the crowds and pollution, I am thus completely at home.
The British refused to remove their shoes at Shwedagon when they ruled here in
the 19th Century. Could there be a greater or more symbolic insult to this
country of sanctity and selflessness? I offer an inner apology on behalf of my
forefathers as I place mine in a plastic bag. I am glad to feel my feet on this
tiled terrace; to be nearer to it, to know it through my every nerve and sense.
There are teams of slender ladies kneeling in sarongs, smiling and scrubbing the
ground in methodical squares. Others sweep gently with wide brushes, in twos or
threes. There is not an insect to be seen.
Yangon will be my home for two weeks, as part of a trip organised by the Sri
Chinmoy Centre. Sri Chinmoy used to travel with some of his students to various
countries each winter, taking a break from the harsh New York weather, and
dedicating some days or weeks – whatever each person could spare – to meditation
and recreation. Sri Chinmoy himself would be a fount of joyous creativity as
always, sometimes spending time with us in private gatherings, or meeting with
dignitaries, or offering public concerts. Since his passing in 2007 we still
uphold the tradition, wintering together in warmer climes for our mutual joy and
We sometimes offer Sri Chinmoy's music to the public during such gatherings too.
Today a male choir is singing some of his songs dedicated to Lord Buddha, at
Shwedagon Pagoda. Sri Chinmoy wrote over 22,000 songs of a devotional nature,
describing and inspiring the human aspiration toward the divine. Some were also
written to honour contemporary luminaries, others for Hindu cosmic gods and
godesses, some for Avatars and saints from other world religions. Today is a
prayerful offering to Lord Buddha. I hear the familiar tunes and shape the words
in my heart as I face that great golden spire. I offer my thanks for this
completeness, the full circle of sacredness and peace that has brought me back
"Taxi? Where are you going?" asks a portly man in a faintly British accent as I
reach the street again with my companion. His dignity and courtesy leave us no
reason to withdraw, and we tell him the address. "Very good car, this way," he
nods, with a sudden glimmer of mischief. "Forty years old. Very good car."
The only passenger window is a panel of scratched perspex. There are no
furnishings except a pair of doormats on the back seat that has long parted from
its springs and cushioning. After a couple of choking rasps from the ignition,
the man signals to a couple more drivers nearby, and they willingly shunt us
along from behind.
"Are they going to push us the whole way do you think?" I ask my friend. All
five of us are in fits of giggles; laughing not at each other, but with each
other at the unfolding adventure. I am forty-one though, so I should not really
joke about the car. For a moment the back window frames a pair of
betel-Draculae, then two hands waving goodbye as the engine coughs back to life.
"What do you think it runs on?" I ask my friend as a strange-smelling smoke
drifts up from the rusty floor.
"The Buddha's Grace, 100%," she replies, nodding towards the dashboard, which is
itself a row of little shrines.
We stop at a market along the way: a banquet for the senses. Some stalls are set
up on little crates, but many proprietors squat by squares of canvas on the
ground from which their wares are displayed. Were it to happen like this at
home, it would be chaos, but there is no bustle or self-importance here. The
slim and graceful locals weave along smoothly, like fish through water: neither
jostling nor even accidentally brushing past me, let alone disturbing the
stalls. The air is heavy with charcoal smoke and the tantalising scent of fresh
fritters, mingled with durian and incense. The wares each have their own
distinct dominion, and are carefully tended. Fruits are stacked in neat
pyramids: pomelo and pitaya, rambutan, mango and papaya, so plump and fragrant,
so bright and glossy in the sun they look like wax models.
Then back to our temporary home: a clean and friendly hotel beside Inya Lake.
The sun sets behind a lattice of cloud, and the waterbirds make their final
catch of the day. With my bare feet in the grass, I breathe in the vast
stillness, knowing somehow that all is well in this world. All of it. Amidst the
bustle and confusion, we are each a part of this magnificent whole: little
bricks of gold in this glowing edifice called Earth.
Thank you, my Myanmar, for reminding me.
With God I fly,
With man I sigh.
Unless there is a new beginning,
There will be no end.
Acceptance is love,
Love is acceptance.
I don't want You
To become one with
My tearful eyes.
Let me become on with
Your smiling Face.
Does not care
Does not mean
To uproot your heart.
To offer it
To a higher course.
Watching your life-
This time I live
In a palace.
Next time I live
In a cottage.
How I wish to live
At a permanent place.
In your heart-garden."
A flower knows
What a sunrise is.
So does my heart.
O my mind,
You have all the freedom!
Leave me alone-
Is like a boat
That sails from
One shore to another
Only to find it's desire
Wishing all a happy day
The colour green gives me
And the beauty of
The colour blue tells me:
"My child, just think of me,
Play with Me-
And I shall bring Infinity's Bliss
Into your heart."
The colour red tells me:
"My child, you need me
For the purification of your mind-
For the destruction of the uncomely things
That do not want to change.
The colour white tells me:
"My child, the purity that you need
In your mind
I shall give you in abundant measure.
The insecurity, jealousy, doubt
And suspicion that you have-
I am going to wipe them out for good!"
The colour gold tells me:
"My child, your life-breath
Is not made of dust.
Your life-breath is made of gold-
My Immortality's Gold.
You must treasure your ever awakening
God-climbing and God-fulfilling
They say, "Art for art's sake."
I say, "Art is not for art's sake-
Art is for God's sake."
When we say, "Art for art's sake,"
Our mind binds
Both the Creator and the Creation,
All at once.
When we say, "Art for God's sake,"
We connect our art
With God the Infinite, God the Eternal,
And God the Immortal.
Then we see Infinity, Eternity
This triune Reality
Conversing, singing and dancing
Right before our vision-eye.
-Sri Chinmoy (all unofficial)
Jesper Olsen is a Danish runner who is in the process of completing a run around
the world, for the second time! He first did it officially in 2004-2005. When he
came through NYC in 2005 he met Sri Chinmoy and was honored by him. Sri Chinmoy
lifted him, composed a song for him and talked with him at a function in his
Some of us got to run with him through Manhattan and parts of New Jersey. The
first place he wanted to run when he arrived in Jamaica, Queens was a few laps
around the 3100 mile race course. He follows the race on the internet every year
and says that it inspires him very much.
Abichal and I did a nice interview with Jesper back then as well. We also wrote
an article about him with parts of the interview from back then.If I can find it
again I will try to post it here. But for now I want to share a few comments
that Jesper made recently. He was, and still is, very inspired by the 3100 mile
race. I sent him a poem that I wrote about the 3100 many years ago and this is
what he wrote back:
"It offers another glimpse into the world and nature of the 3100 mile and a
better understanding of it and their battle (which appear more forceful or
intense than mine with its request, I imagine, for the participants to go into
themselves to, spiritually, search for power to endure. For my part, since the
route and surroundings constantly changes step by each step - it offers more
chances to absorb energy from the outside and transform it into running. In that
way, world running is sometimes easier, and to me the people who help are often
the hero warriors - that go out of their way to make achievement possible for
another person, often not even from their culture or part of their world. That
amazes and inspires me! But myself; more I think at best to be like an
instrument of nature or the universe and the better I can let its energy flow
through me unhindered by my worries, my mind or confidence limits, tiredness or
worldly distractions; or of what is normal or not normal to devote one's life to
- the better the run proceeds. And the closer i become to not seeing nature, but
becoming nature. My ideal, perhaps, is to be like the wind that flows through
the trees or the currents pushing the water gently across oceans. Of course; on
most days I'm just a very tired runner in absolute distraction :-)
With best wishes of enjoyable running - from Florida where snow and ice is much
Please check out his website with daily updates and photos as he comes north up
the east coast of the U.S. He will reach NY in March and will come back from
Boston in April to run in our Six Day Race just for fun. Here is the link to his
Returning from a snowshoe in the forest with friends. We came to the bridge we
had used on the way up. It was laden with snow up past the handrails. On the
way up the trail, we had decided that one the way back we would shovel some of
the snow off the bridge to reduce the load. Now we were a bit wet, a bit tired.
Sunset was approaching. We had no shovels. But one friend had suggested that
we might use our snowshoes for the same purpose. It would be so easy to just
A quiet sea of the inspiration of many behind us, especially the quiet efforts
of good parents; the story of a bird emptying the ocean, drop by drop, to find
her eggs ("Garden of the Soul" by Sri Chinmoy). With one snowshoe off, one on,
using snowshoe tips and ski poles, we began. When we left, the snow was
handrail level. Maybe just a few drops of the ocean, but a start.
Wishing you all the best in your own endeavors
Very beautiful,very inspiring! Thank you dear Doris!
Thank you for sharing your experiences in Myanmar Sumangali — both past and
present! It is a joy to see your super-excellent writing here again on the
Inspiration-Group, and I was in no small way inspired by this piece — perhaps
not coincidentally the literal name and purpose of the online forum we share.
Now somewhat greedy for further inspiration, would it be too much of me to ask
to see another superbly crafted submission in the future near? Could I even hold
Part 2 has been evading me - rather than make excuses I will just say that I
hope circumstances prove more favorable soon for me to write pt. 2 or something
altogether new. Even if I don't write, I try to read here every day and always
appreciate those who share their thoughts and inspirations.
Dear Luiza, I am happy that there is someone who likes those little creations.
When I reread the poems I was amused about one big typos that really cries for
Does not mean
To uproot your heart.
To offer it
To a higher cause."
It seems to be so much easier to write poems than to express one's experiences
otherwise. Do you write poems, Luiza? I may use the chance to write down a few
"Only one privilege:
To please the Master
In His own Way.
No other privilege
I will ever claim."
"All human beings
Share the same weaknesses.
The only difference is this:
Some are more eager to change
The impure mind
I am not an exception."
"To receive Prasad
Is not a reward,
But a divine blessing."
P.S. I do not know you personally. Is it possible to meet you at our next
meeting in Heidelberg February, 25./26., 2012? Would be nice, wouldn't it?
* * *
I felt the pleasing warmth of the sun fill the room. I felt happy. Good to be
alive. Good to breathe and to be thankful for the little things in life. I
couldn't hear the birds, or actually see anything, yet- so I reached over to the
senses bureau by my bed to plug in my ears, eyes, nose and tongue. I opened the
drawer and groped around to find my senses.
My fingers clutched around nothing.
My senses were gone.
"Who robbed my senses bureau?!" I screamed, or tried to.
Great. All I was left with was my sense of touch. I couldn't even "smell my
way to Dover."
What to do, what to do I thought to myself.
Hmmm… it was still probably pretty early in the morning. My roommate wouldn't
be up yet.
So… the best thing would be to go filch the senses from his bureau and then go
in search of the vile Senses Taker and bring him to justice!
I crawled on my hands and knees into his room. I knew right where his senses
bureau was- just to the left of the door. I quietly, gingerly pulled open the
top drawer. I felt around inside, until my fingers brushed up against his
senses in their cool plastic containers. I grabbed the spherical containers
that held his eyes and opened them with a practiced snap. Then I shoved them
into my sockets. I hoped I wasn't putting the left eye into the right socket or
I blinked a few times. I could see! My roommate lay face up on his bed,
snoring contentedly, sleeping the sleep of the righteous and inert.
I was about to plug in his other senses when I saw a yellow post-it note in the
"To my dear roommate and spiritual brother Mahiruha,
As you have a habit of "borrowing" my shampoo, screwdriver and free weights
without asking permission, it is not beyond the pale of expectation that you
might one day try to appropriate my senses. Would you, out of your infinite
kindness, kindly consider borrowing my Halloween senses that I use only once a
year, rather than my normal senses that I need to conduct my day-to-day
I hurriedly opened the bottom drawer of his senses bureau. I gasped when I saw
the Halloween senses that he expected me to use.
"Great," I said to myself, "I'll be Frodo today."
How could I do my detective search-and-destroy mission when I looked like a
Well, nothing for it, then. My roommate would soon be waking and I did not want
*him* to come after me with his Halloween senses, so I popped out his blue eyes
and pushed the huge yellow ones into my face. It hurt. Then I put in the rest
of the outlandish senses: forked tongue, stubby nose and pointy, Vulcan-ish
ears. I then shut the drawers, crept out of his room (I needn't have worried as
he couldn't hear me) and went to my closet to grab my nicest suit: grey slacks,
Nordstrom's beige dress shirt, conservative tie and suit jacket.
I figured as long as I was hunting for a senses thief I may as well try to make
a good impression.
Then I rushed out the door, with a mission in my mind and vengeance, vengeance
smoldering in my heart.
I got out of the subway in downtown Chicago, at Adams and Wabash. I went from
jewelry store to organic foods co-op to Starbucks, showing the cashiers and
proprietors stylish photographs that I had taken of my senses: my eyes floating
in a bowl of rose milk, my nose frolicking in a big green field with the
antelope and the elk, my ears perched atop a globe of the world. But nobody had
seen them. And, to be perfectly honest, nobody seemed to believe my story.
"You've clearly departed from your senses, Mr. Klein" said one smiling latte
specialist, "but I'm not sure if the mere recovery of them will solve your
Dejected I sat down at a bench and wondered what to do. Have my senses
displayed on the back of milk cartons? Hire a private eye (no pun intended)?
Adjust to being Frodo and participate in Renaissance festivals?
Just then a young man with a clip board approached me.
"Sir, would you mind- I'm helping to take a census?" he asked politely.
"No need! Mine have already been stolen!" I screamed at him.
He jumped back, defensively holding up his clip board as if I was a wild boar.
I was a wild Frodo, which is much more dangerous.
"Hail, young Frodo!" said a voice behind me.
I whirled around only to see a tall old man in a long grey robe with a white
beard. The census taker took the opportunity to scurry away.
"Gandalf! I can't believe it's you!"
"Well, actually I'm not Gandalf. I'm Herb, the part-time Lord of the Rings
character impersonator. In my spare time I also do American Civil War
"As Gandalf?" I asked incredulously.
"No, no you fool- as Jeb Walker, but that's for another day."
"Gandalf, er, Jeb, I mean Herb- well- whoever you are- somebody has stolen my
senses, so I'm stuck as Frodo until I can get them back. Can you help me?"
At that moment I was accosted by an uncouth-looking guy; he seemed to be
"Got any pocket lint on you?!" He screamed at me.
"Uh, sorry?" I asked.
"Well, what about some foreign currency in uselessly small denominations?"
I fished around in my wallet for the lucky Indonesian coin, that, while it
appears to be made of solid gold, is actually not worth one tenth of one percent
of one penny, and I tossed it to him.
He caught it with a practiced flip of his hand and walked away. Midway down the
block he turned and yelled at me, "I'm Marcus, the senseless taker!"
"Gandalf, what am I going to do? I've met you, the Lord of the Rings and Civil
War character actor, that poor census taker that I almost beat into the
pavement, and Marcus the senseless taker- when o when am I going to find the
real culprit- the authentic senses taker?"
I saw Gandalf-Herb's brow become furrowed as he thought.
"Go home," he said, finally, "And look everywhere until you've found your
senses. I think you'll find them there."
"If that doesn't work," he said with a wry grin, "I'll whack you over the head
with my staff, until you `come to your senses.'"
He roared with laughter and walked away, singing something about Elron and "balm
He wasn't even a real soothsayer, or mage, just a random urban freak, but I felt
I might as well take his oracular advice and go home. Perhaps wisdom would dawn
on me on my sofa.
When I got home, I thought I should call my sister. She's a deeply spiritual
woman who practices Zen Buddhism. When I called her, I got a much older woman
on the line, who said in an almost impenetrable East Asian Accent, "I am
Matsu-Genji, the Zen Sis Taker. Your sister is now under my direction and is
practicing the most arduous austerities on sacred mountain in East China. Soon,
she will be able to give liberation even to her spotted toad of a brother."
I hung up the phone, and let my head sink into my hands as I rocked back and
What was I going to do? Would I be stuck as Frodo forever? There were worse
things. At least I wasn't Morgoth! But…but, what if my roommate wanted his
Frodo senses back?
I heard a knock at the door. When I opened the door I saw a middle-aged,
slightly disheveled man with his hat outstretched in his hand.
"Excuse me, sir" he said, plaintively, "But I am at a distinct disadvantage to
get a job. I cannot express things which happen in past or future because I-"
"-Have been attacked by the tactless tenses taker!" I screamed, slamming the
door in his face.
I sat down again, more despondent than ever.
Just then, I remembered. I had put my senses in the refrigerator to recharge
them! I looked in the fridge, and sure enough, there they were, wrapped up in
cellophane on the middle shelf, between the vegetarian bologna and the week-old
French fries. I took off the Frodo senses, and plugged in my old, beloved
senses, and breathed a long overdue sigh of relief.
Everything was back to normal.
I decided to return my roommate's Frodo senses, as I no longer needed them. It
was afternoon now, but my roommate practices on the banjo all night and often
doesn't get up before three or four, so I still probably wouldn't be disturbing
him. Just as I replaced his Frodo senses, his alarm-robot went off, a miniature
R2D2-type contraction that stomped on the ground, creating powerful vibrations.
He stirred, and took hold of the clothesline that stretched from his bed to his
senses bureau. I decided to give him a hard time, so I pressed the drawer shut
with my foot. He yanked on it, but I made sure he couldn't open it.
He did a double take. What was going on? Had some fiend glued his senses
Then he opened his eyes and grinned at me.
"Joke's on you, buddy!" he said, smacking me upside the head.
"I just got implants!"
"God just gives and gives.
He does not take.
He does not even know
The clever art of lending,
Which we learn
At the very dawn
Of our earth-sojourn."
-Sri Chinmoy "Ten Thousand Flower Flames"
Anyway, I showed the above story to my editor at Harper and Row.
"I'll give you one dollar for it," he said.
"I guess it doesn't make much cents!" I replied.
"Not at all."
I read Sumangali's lovely tribute to Myanmar yesterday and felt compelled to add
a few small reminiscences of my own. I have called this 'Happy Rain" after one
" Over the years" Guru once said, " I have been to a number of countries that
follow the teachings of the Lord Buddha, but here in Myanmar I feel that Lord
Buddha has a very, very special eye of compassion and a very, very special heart
of universal love. Myanmar I feel has a most special place in the heart of Lord
Buddha. The depth of silence, the beauty of simplicity and the hunger for life's
perfection I see and I feel in the aspiring and self-giving soul of Myanmar,
blessed child of the world liberator, Lord Buddha."
It was in Yangon that Guru once had a tooth extracted by a local dentist.
Perceptive and sensitive to such things, the dentist felt in Guru something
exceptional, recognizing a great spiritual master. Steeped in his own culture of
veneration, familiar with the temples that house relics of the Buddha – a tooth,
a hair – he kept and cleaned our Guru's extracted tooth and passed it reverently
on to a disciple.
In January of this year, 2012, a number of us again met up in Myanmar for two
memorable weeks, our third visit. I sat in the departure lounge of Bangkok
airport en route to Yangon and watched two travellers playing chess. One of the
players was playing while blindfolded. Her eyes – I imagined them to be green or
blue, a sea colour – were hidden behind a red scarf. She was memorizing her
opponents every move, her face looking away and sideways in concentration,
seeing each piece on the board in her mind as each new position was relayed to
her. Sometimes her hands touched the chess pieces very lightly as though reading
Braille or caressing the face of a child. Someone said she was a Russian
prodigy, that even though sightless she would win.
We arrived in Yangon in the midday, took a dilapidated taxi through streets blue
with the exhaust fumes of motorbikes and old cars – although winter it was hot
and dry like a pedigree New Zealand summer. Later several of us caught a taxi
out to a popular lake and watched the sun setting. There were lots of monks
about, fresh coconut stalls, a dusty market place, tourists draped with cameras,
fields full of peanut plants and plastic bags. We stood on a wooden pier and
watched the sun sinking into the horizon, a red ball in the evening haze that
coloured the fields with copper shadows and flared across the sheets of bright
I sat in the peaceful dusk and read a little from Krishna's final teachings,
the Uddhava Gita. Krishna was saying `All things that appear as multiplicity,
all are as unreal as the objects seen by the dreamer in a dream. When the yogi
finds the Self, the terrible knot that binds the heart - the idea of `I' - will
be cut asunder and I, the Self of the universe, will be realized.'
A young Burmese girl selling japa beads approached me and I bought a string of
her jade beads to make her happy. She was a fisherman's daughter from a local
village, spoke four languages and told me that her Burmese name meant `Happy
Rain'. She sat five metres away and watched me when I sat to meditate a little.
Under the evening sky a monk was chanting the Buddhist mantra that concludes
the great Heart Sutra - `gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate bodhi svaha' -
`beyond, beyond, utterly beyond, hail enlightenment ….' . I was enjoying the
multiplicity of the world, the beautiful red and apricot sky, the gathering dark
and peacefulness, the ritual incantations of the monk that pointed us past the
unreality of the world toward the infinite:
`No suffering, cause, extinction or path.
No knowledge nor anything to find. ….
A heart without any obstruction and thus no fear
Abandoning, overturning all dreams, all thoughts,
Finally reaching nirvana….'
Then in the gathering night I wandered back to our taxi with a fellow disciple,
Happy Rain still following behind us. She felt to me like the soul of this
country, all simplicity, purity, innocence, and I felt very deeply what Guru had
spoken of, the great love that the Buddha has for these people, this country. I
could feel the Buddha's special love for Myanmar like a deep tenderness of the
heart. Lights were coming on, lamps lit, the unhurried evening all peacefulness.
As we drove away I felt a little sad that I could not offer more to Happy Rain,
this Burmese child who had felt some kinship with these strangers and so
unobtrusively befriended us.
Reading some other excellent posts on the site, I was inspired to try and write
something. When I have no idea what to write about, I usually see if an aphorism
of Guru's can give me an idea. What caught my eye was this.
Anything the past taught you
That is good, divine, illumining
Bring back and treasure.
Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 5, Agni Press, 1998.
It reminded me of a time on a previous Christmas Trip. Guru said words to the
effect. 'I always say that my own philosophy is that the 'past is dust'. But, in
my case the past is also golden.' (only from my memory)
There is certainly much in my past which I'd be very happy to forget, but there
are also certain experiences to recapture and try and bring into the immediacy
of the present moment.
One golden moment of my life was the time when I first became interested in
spirituality. I stumbled across a book 'A Search in Secret India by Paul
Brunton' - Paul Brunton was an Englishman disillusioned with life, who went to
India to try and discover eternal spiritual truths amidst the colour and
unorthodox customs of India.
The book helped to open a new world of spirituality, meditation, and left a life
long interest in the spiritual quest.
The irony is that after returning to the book after a gap of 10 years, I was
slightly disappointed. It didn't have the same excitement and newness of its
first reading. It was also a reminder that books alone don't give enlightenment.
The book had served its purpose in awakening my own spiritual quest. It was like
an important sign post at one stage in my life, but to use an analogy - you
can't keep admiring the signposts or you won't get too far.
But, it was definitely worth remembering those first months of the spiritual
quest. When we come to the spiritual life, we often experience a wonderful grace
of intensity and focus. The spiritual life is simple. As the years pass, we have
to be conscious to retain this simplicity of spiritual focus. Even after making
a commitment to a spiritual life, if we are not careful, worldly ambitions and
comforts can try to cleverly sneak their way back into our life.
Sri Chinmoy would often say that even the greatest spiritual seekers would
experience moments of dryness and nothingness. But, by visualising past
meditations, they could bring it into the immediacy of today.
"Swami Vivekananda once became very sad and miserable because he was not
getting the highest inner experiences that he once upon a time had. Then he
meditated and concentrated only on the highest experience that he had had. I
always say that imagination is a reality of its own, but it is in another world.
If we can enter into that world consciously, from there the reality descends. On
the strength of his imagination, Swami Vivekananda entered into the world of his
highest experience. Then he went beyond it."
Sumangali and Jogyata,
Your soulful recollections of Myanmar are most valuable and uplifting, a real
shot in the arm for those of us who couldn't make it to the Trip this time.
Many, many thanks!
Very good writing, Mahiruha.
Would it be possible to borrow your writing talent for a few weeks? I'll
promise to return it after Harper & Collins give me a contract for a sequel to
the Lord of the Rings, set in downtown Chicago. You can feature as Gandalf's
secretary, if you want.
At Radio Sri Chinmoy we published one of my recent arrangements, "Compassion"
It is a combination of 6 songs by Sri Chinmoy. I sing, and combine the songs in
three pairs of two songs each. Here are the notes I wrote for the Radio Sri
Chinmoy site, and the link to the arrangement.
Special thanks to Tejvan for pubishing it!
A soulful medley including 6 of Sri Chinmoy's melodies, arranged and performed
by Kamalakanta Nieves.
Sri Chinmoy`s songs have always been a fount of inspiration and aspiration for
me. From the moment I started studying meditation with him in 1978, singing his
songs has been a cornerstone in my spiritual life. From his songs, I feel peace,
light and delight. They express my joys and sorrows, my triumphs and defeats,
the soaring heights of my soul, and the despair-filled depths of my human life.
How can this be? How can someone's music express so much? In Sri Chinmoy's case,
he identifies, through his prayer and meditation, with the myriad experiences of
the human condition. His songs embody every aspect of human consciousness in our
journey towards the Divine. From the ecstasy of oneness with the Beloved, to the
feeling of utter loneliness and emptiness, his songs are a rainbow of
human/divine experiences, viewed with the beauty of pure love.
There is a certain blessedness in Sri Chinmoy's music. Sometimes, his saddest
songs are the most beautiful! I feel that there is a reason for this: When you
are walking on the path to self-perfection, even if you feel that you are in a
barren desert, it is still a blessing. Being awakened to the inner journey,
embarking on the long road to self-perfection, is a blessing in itself. Whether
the seeker is experiencing joys or sorrows, triumphs or setbacks, it is all
happening within the realm of his awakened existence. And this awakened
existence is like a beautiful flower inside God's Heart-Garden.
When I do musical arrangements of Sri Chinmoy's music, I try to let my intuition
guide me; to feel, rather than think, about what I want to do. What is the
feeling in my heart? Which spiritual quality inspires me today? Is it
Compassion, or Grace, or sincerity? I search for songs that have these
qualities, and try to listen to my inner voice as I do the music.
One thing that gives me great joy is to combine Sri Chinmoy's melodies with each
other. In this arrangement, I was looking for songs with the word "Compassion"
in them. The second song in this arrangement, "Ami Tomai Bhalobasi", is a very
happy song that has to do with compassion:
Ami Tomai Bhalobasi
Sri Chinmoy's translation:
"I love You for Your Compassion-Flood.
I worship You when the night is far advanced.
You are mine; I am Yours.
We barter our love-light.
In our heart-forest we long for each other.
I love You for Your Compassion-Flood."
Supreme, I Sing Only for You [song #82]
As I was arranging this song, the inspiration came to combine it with another
song, "Magi Ami Magi".
Magi Ami Magi
Sri Chinmoy's student translation:
"I am begging for a new awakening,
A new aspiration, a new consciousness.
In my life and in my death, Oh Lord,
I shall please You
All throughout the world. "
Song-Flowers, Part 1 [song #62]
Somehow, I feel they are related!
Six songs by Sri Chinmoy are included in this medley, and I have combined them
in three pairs.
Another pair is the first and fourth songs, "E Jiban Khani" and "Keno Karo
E Jiban Khani
Sri Chinmoy's translation:
"Many a time I have tried
To offer my life to You.
Alas, I have failed to do so;
Therefore, excruciating pangs
Are torturing my heart.
All in vain I try to please You,
To surrender my existence to You,
To You alone."
Pole-Star Promise-Light, Part 2 [song #27]
Keno Karo Dibanishi
Sri Chinmoy's student translation:
Why do You mock me day an night?
Do You want to be the slave of ignorance?"
Bahir Jagate, Part 2 [song #63]
And, finally, the last pair of songs both talk about the heart. They are "Bedana
"Usha Bala Elo":
Bedana Diye Jagao Mama
Sri Chinmoy's translation:
"Through excruciating pangs,
You awaken my lotus-heart."
Journey's Ecstasy [song #126]
Usha Bala Elo
Sri Chinmoy's Translation:
Slowly, very slowly,
The virgin dawn appears
In the very depths of my aspiration-heart.
Journey's Goal, Part 10a [song #2]
This medley also includes one song I composed, inspired by Sri Chinmoy's songs.
The lyrics to my original song are:
"Supreme, Supreme, Supreme, Supreme
My life for You only, My Lord."
I hope you enjoy this music as much as I do. Sri Chinmoy's songs embody the
energy and consciousness of his meditation. He tried to share with humanity,
through music, art, literature and other activities, what he received in his
prayers and meditations.
Thank you for this opportunity of sharing Sri Chinmoy's songs with you.
- Kamalakanta Nieves
Here is the link to the arrangement:
with gratitude, Kamalakanta
Recently someone told me about a very nice blog by Kedar, called Inspiring News
from Around the World.
It is a very nice site, with news about Sri Chinmoy Centre activities, but also
about other individuals who are making positive contributions to mankind.
Here is the link:
There was a very nice talk by Sri Chinmoy about discipleship, and I thought I
would share it with you all:
The Meaning Of Discipleship Today
"We are all seekers. We are sailing in the same boat, the boat that is carrying
us to the Golden Shore of the Beyond. Nothing gives me a greater sense of
satisfaction than to be of dedicated service to seekers, for I am also a seeker,
an eternal seeker, a seeker of the infinite Truth and Light. As you know, I was
asked by my esteemed friend, Dean Foster, to speak on the meaning of
discipleship today. This is a most significant subject, and therefore I offer
him my gratitude-heart.
What is a disciple? A disciple is a seeker; he is a truth-seeker. What is a
disciple? A disciple is a lover; he is a Heaven-lover. What is a disciple? A
disciple is a server; he is an earth-server. What is a disciple? A disciple is a
fulfiller; he is a God-fulfiller.
If we want to know the meaning of discipleship today, we have to focus our
concentrated attention on the role of the disciple. The role of the disciple is
quite simple, of course, if he follows the path of the heart and not the path of
the mind. The role of the disciple is to give what he has and what he is. What
he has is an inner cry, which is birthless and deathless. The disciple offers
this birthless and deathless inner cry to his Pilot Supreme and receives His
infinite Light, eternal Peace, and immortal Bliss. What he is, is a devoted and
soulful instrument. He wants to help mankind see the beauty of the Infinite in
the very heart of the finite. He wants to unite earth's helpless cry and
Heaven's endless Smile. He takes it as his bounden duty to serve both Mother
Earth and Father Heaven. To manifest the eternal Truth is his constant cry and
constant hunger. Undoubtedly, he is a chosen instrument of the Absolute Pilot
Yesterday's disciple, today's disciple, and tomorrow's disciple. Yesterday's
disciple was simple and humble. Simplicity was his outer life, humility was his
inner life. Simplicity and humility inundated his entire being. Today's disciple
is complicated and argumentative. Complication and argumentation reign supreme
in his life, day in and day out. Tomorrow's disciple will be the fastest
spiritual runner. His code of life will be to run and become, to become and run.
He will run in order to succeed; he will become in order to proceed. At times he
will run to reach the Goal; at times the Goal will come to him. When he reaches
the Goal, he will be blessed with the transcendental Pride of the Absolute
Supreme. When the Goal reaches him, he will immediately sit at the Feet of the
Absolute Supreme with his heart's soulful gratitude-sea.
In the days of yore, the disciple was advised and encouraged by the Master to
renounce the world. Renunciation was taught right from the beginning when the
disciple came to the Master. The Vedic seers of the hoary past, and also the
Upanishadic seers, offered a supreme message to the world at large: "Enjoy
through renunciation." Everybody wants to enjoy, for satisfaction is of
paramount importance. But the ancient seers came to realise that satisfaction
can be achieved only through renunciation; there is no other way. This world of
ours gives us things that do not last; their life-breath is very short.
Everything here is an illusion—nothing can last and nothing will last
permanently. Sooner than the soonest, everything dies. What is the use of
running after things that will not last for good? So they taught their disciples
not to run after material objects, and their students learned the message of
Then there came a time when the message needed transformation. The sages, the
seers, the spiritual Masters came to realise that acceptance of life is of
paramount importance. If we renounce the world, if we renounce the body, vital,
mind and heart, then what are we going to do for our Beloved Supreme? We say we
love God and want to please Him. If we want to please Him, if we want to fulfil
Him, then how can we reject or renounce the world? This world of ours, as it is,
must be accepted. First we must accept it; then we have to transform it.
Needless to say, this world is far, far from perfect. But unless and until we
accept the world, unless we touch the earth-arena—the sufferings, the pains, the
imperfections of the world at large—how are we going to change the face and fate
of the world? Therefore, we must needs accept the world.
Our mind is full of doubts, worries and anxieties; our mind has to be
transformed. Our vital quite often is destructive; we have to transform our
destructive vital into a new vital which is dynamic. With a dynamic vital we
will be able to run the fastest, dive the deepest and fly the highest. Our body
is lethargic; our body enjoys ignorance-sleep. It has been sleeping for millions
of years; yet it still wants to enjoy this ignorance-sleep. The seeker in us
must tell our body to wake up. The Upanishadic seers have taught us how to
inspire the body with inner dynamism just by repeating these soulful and
powerful words of incantation.
Uttisthata jagrata prapya varan nibodhata;
Ksurasya dhara nisita duratyaya;
Durgam pathas tat kavayo vadanti.
Arise, awake! Realise and achieve the Highest with the help of the illumining,
guiding and fulfilling Masters. The path is as sharp as the edge of a razor,
difficult to cross, hard to tread—so declare the wise sages.
Until the Goal is reached, do not stop! And this Goal is for whom? Not for the
weakling! "The soul cannot be won by the weakling," Nayam atma bala-hinena
labhyo . The inner Goal can be achieved only by powerful souls, not by weak
ones. The Goal that satisfies our inner world and our outer world, the Goal that
quenches our Eternity's thirst, will not be achieved by weaklings.
Unfortunately, the present-day world is scared to death when it hears the word
"surrender." But the surrender that we speak of in the spiritual life is not the
surrender of the slave to the master. It is the recognition of the Infinite by
the finite. A tiny drop recognises its inner identity with the vast ocean. It
then enters into the ocean and becomes the vast ocean itself.
In the spiritual life, nobody is compelled to surrender. But everybody has an
inner urge to grow into the Infinite. As the tiny drop grows into the Infinite,
even so, our finite consciousness can eventually grow into Infinity. Surrender
and freedom are always at daggers drawn, but if we dive deep within we see that
there is no difference between these two so-called realities. They are just the
obverse and the reverse of the same coin. Before we accepted the spiritual life,
we enjoyed freedom in one way. We fulfilled, or wanted to fulfil, our
earth-bound desires. We felt, perhaps, that we had the capacity and potentiality
to be another Napoleon or Alexander the Great. Like Julius Caesar, we wanted to
voice forth: "I came, I saw, I conquered." This is the positive way that we
could have embraced: this reality. Otherwise, if we embraced it in the negative
way, then we would have cherished and admired deep in the inmost recesses of our
heart the destructive message of Hitler and Stalin. In any event, before we
entered into the spiritual life we did enjoy freedom; whether it was real
freedom or not is another matter. But we can say that we enjoyed something in a
limited way, and the after-effect was total frustration. Therefore, we needed a
kind of escape. Or we can say that illumination dawned on us. So we gave up the
desire-bound life and entered into the spiritual life.
Previously we wanted to please and fulfil ourselves by fulfilling our
desire-life, but now we want to please and fulfil ourselves by fulfilling our
aspiration-life. It is not that we have given up our freedom. No! Freedom is
always there. Only we have changed the course of the game, and now we are
enjoying a different kind of freedom.
Unfortunately, when we enter into the spiritual life and follow a Master, we
feel that we are surrendering to somebody else and giving up our freedom. But
this is not at all true. Nobody is compelling us to follow a spiritual path;
nobody is compelling us to listen to the Master. The seeker has come to the
Master on the strength of his own inner urge. The seeker is staying with the
Master in order to fulfil a divine longing that he feels. He feels that the
Master knows a little more than he does, so he himself has decided to follow the
Master. It is his own freedom that he is exercising. So the question of
surrender does not arise at all. When we lead, we enjoy freedom. Again, when we
consciously, deliberately, soulfully and unconditionally follow, at that time we
enjoy another kind of freedom. In the case of the seeker, his inner awareness,
inner development and inner sense of truth are compelling him to follow a higher
life, a more illumining life, a more fulfilling life. It is his own free choice.
In the spiritual life, it is always God for God's sake right from the beginning.
If this message the seeker can embody, reveal and manifest in his life at every
moment, then he will be a supreme and perfect instrument of his Beloved Supreme.
There shall come a time when Mother Earth will be inundated with
seeker-disciples who will be carrying the banner of unconditional surrender to
God which is nothing other than conscious, constant, inseparable and
unconditional divine oneness with their own higher reality and their Master who
represents this higher reality."
Sri Chinmoy, The Vision-Sky Of California, Agni Press, 1980.
with gratitude, Kamalakanta
I liked the bit in the "dining with the stars" about the stars saying "who are
these people? ))
We have just published a few selected performances by the Gandharva Loka
Here are the soulful notes I wrote for this feature, and the link to it on Radio
"Selected Performances from the Gandharva Loka Orchestra at "Songs of the Soul"
Dear listeners, it is with great joy and pride that we offer you a a selection
of performances by the Gandharva Loka Orchestra.
The Gandharva Loka Orchestra is an international group of musicians and singers
from more than 30 countries. This brilliant group is composed of students of Sri
Chinmoy (1931-2007), the renowned spiritual teacher whose efforts at spreading
peace, harmony and love through prayer and meditation, music, art, literature
and selfless service to humanity earned him the accolades of luminaries such as
Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela and Mikhail Gorbachev, among others.
In the field of music, Sri Chinmoy composed more than 20,000 devotional songs.
The Gandharva Loka Orchestra performs choral and instrumental arrangements of
Sri Chinmoy's songs. Since Sri Chinmoy's passing in 2007, the Gandharva Loka
Orchestra has been performing around the world, sharing through music the inner
peace, light and beauty of Sri Chinmoy's music.
The "Songs of the Soul" concerts have been offered around the world since 2007,
in an effort to honor Si Chinmoy's musical legacy, and the Gandharva Loka
Orchestra has been featured in them, often to standing ovations.
We hope that you enjoy this selection of performances by the Gandharva Loka
- Kamalakanta Nieves
Here is the link:
I had just returned from my trip to Linz, Austria in December and went up the
narrow, creaking, wooden stairs of our very old city house toting my heavy
suitcase up, up, up. Usually it is very quiet in the house but this time some
commotion was going on at the third floor - our meditation room.
Two girls tried to get a video recorder started and I learned that they were
about to watch a video that Dodula, a former nun, had brought. After I had spent
some time with a dear friend and her sister's big family, including a tamed
chicken, three cats, wild pigs and their offspring, in an old house very near
the forest, I was happy that I did not have to retreat into my room as I usually
feel 'forced' to do.
Dodula explained to us that it was a movie about an angel and so I imagined some
ethereal beings flying through the air, but far from that. At first I got a
little bored watching two men, one in blue jeans and brown leather jacket, the
other wearing some sort of sportive clothes obviously trying to solve some human
problems. They reminded me of the Terence Hill and Bud Spencer team...
It was clear this was all about modern every day life which I wasn't much
interested in. I just stayed a little longer and then retreated.
The next day I saw the DVD cover lying around and just had a look... There were
actually three DVDs with the same cover and I was wondering what it meant. Aha,
this was a TV series that was filmed from 1984 to 1989. I never watched TV but
the face on the cover I somehow new. And now some memories came back. Bonanza!
Well, my father, stepmother, brothers and sisters were crazy after Bonanza. I
was just six or seven years old at that time and did not understand much of it
but I liked cowboys and the horses...
Feeling familiar with the face of actor Michael Landon I decided to try and
watch some of the episodes as Dodula wanted to borrow the DCDs to someone soon.
More and more I got to like the episodes. There were these two men Jonathan
Smith (Michael Landon) and his friend Mark Gordan (Victor French) who drove with
Mark's old car from place to place executing the Will of God (The Boss) helping
other people. On time I gave the DVDs back.
Well, the fateful day came when I googled Michael Landon's name and found out
that there were plenty (exactly 107!) episodes on the internet available.
While writing this I glanced briefly at my transcendental picture next to me
pulling up my underlip to the upper mouth corner a bit as to ask, "Can I reveal
it?" A smile.
Michael Landon, not only acting but also directing, worked with the disabled,
blind and homeless. The topics are varying from using drugs, diseases, having
cancer, politics, racism, environmental pollution etc.
On a day when a good friend of his had a life threatening car accident he prayed
and prayed and promised to God that he would do something good till the end of
his life. God heard him. His friend recovered and he filmed episode after
episode showing the world his magnanimous heart and a great sense of humor.
Like many others I tend to have a suspicious mind, but as I watched more and
more episodes of Highway To Heaven (the German title is "Ein Engel auf Erden" -
"An Angel On Earth")and interviews with Michael Landon I must admit that he
really worked hard to encourage and help people around the globe to make this
world a better place.
He himself died, only 54 years old, of cancer in 1991. In his last appearance on
a press conference he said:
Thousands of tributes are available on the internet that are impossible to read
Here are a few:
"He was not just an actor, he was a good man."
I've viewed a genius beyond his years."
"Everybody wants to be cool today, but nobody wants to truly touch an individual
the way Michael did through pure emotions."
"In a way with his TV-shows he proves to the world how big a family can be."
"I believe he helped me build my character."
"My friends think I am crazy, but it helped me through the day. I battled a
disease and watching the show helped me tremendously."
"There is so much violence and anger on TV. But these shows are very
"His wonderful talent writing stories must be given by God."
"He's a father-figure; gave a sense of what a father could be like."
"His belief of family was very evident in those shows."
"Whenever I am feeling down I only have to slip a tape...and suddenly start to
look a lot better."
"It is heartbreaking to read what a horrible childhood he had."
"He considered others and strived to make the world a better place, especially
for those less fortunate."
"With faith, love, respect and honesty he saught to take on the world's problems
and teaching moments lessons of life and friendship, creating wholesome familiy
entertainment that could be watched by children, parents and grandparents
And in his own words (paraphrasing):
"Growing up in a troubled home...in your heart you must be as good as a person
can be and look after your fellow-men."
To end with Michael Landon jr.:
"Spreading your wings and taking flights, living life to the fullest no matter
what the obstacles and a family and a home to come back to when the day is done,
these are the themes of my father's work and life."
And, yes, his smile is infectious.
I was thinking that maybe a good "thread" would be just general remembrances of
the Master- maybe even something as simple as the dhoti (spiritual garment) he
was wearing during a concert, or a sweet personal anecdote that he told at a
I have one story that I'd like to share; as I am telling it only from memory it
I think Guru told this story in the summer of 2002, at an evening function. He
prefaced the story by saying that he, like all spiritual Masters, has a human
aspect and a divine aspect.
He then went on to tell an incident that occurred that very morning. He was
returning to his house, unaccompanied, in his little car (it was red, right?)
and, as he entered the driveway, he saw an Indian man rooting through his
garbage cans. He said that man was dark "like me". He honked the horn to drive
the man away. At that very moment, the divinity in him reprimanded him. I
think he even said that it "struck" him. It said, "How can you be so cruel?
How can you be so heartless? The things that you are discarding this man is
Then he slowly drove into the driveway, and as he passed the other man, he
leaned out of the window and gave him the broadest smile, while also inwardly
begging him for forgiveness.
Guru concluded by saying that whenever we do anything wrong we should
immediately try our utmost to rectify it.
If anyone knows the story better or has an official, written account of this
story, would you please share it with us?
Anyway, this is my first contribution. Maybe other people would like to share
their own illumining and sweet reminiscences of the Master?
How kind of you to share this incident, Mahiruha!I very much cherish it!
I like watching Guru's videos.Retelling some of his stories or statements is
also unofficial. What he said in a video I watched recently touched me and
stayed with me for a couple of days if not until now.
Guru referred to his weight. He said, "You people know how you feel when you are
a little overweight. Can you imagine how I feel having 40 pounds too much. It is
due to my knee problems. Therefore I cannot run.
P.S. Again thanks to the videographers for letting us remember Guru in a special
P.P.S. Yes, whoever knows unrecorded stories, please, tell them. Many have not
been able to spend much time in the physical presence of the Master.
P.P.P.S. Sri Chinmoy Reflections is of course another great source to get to
know one's own Master better.
* * *
As you know, Guru had perhaps a half dozen people who used to take him on daily
drives around Queens. On those drives, Guru would usually meditate in silence.
Sometimes he would do japa (soulful chanting).
Databir drove Guru frequently, and he told me about a special experience he had
with Guru in the late seventies (Databir, if you're reading this, by all means
correct me if I have anything wrong!):
One morning, Databir drove Guru by the Thomas Edison soccer field, where our
annual Sports Day is held. There, they saw perhaps fifteen or twenty female
students of Sri Chinmoy playing softball. Databir told me that the women
weren't aware of Guru's presence, so they weren't in a particularly soulful or
"spiritual" consciousness. They were just playing softball, badly and
unprofessionally, and laughing and having fun. Databir and Guru watched them
playing for a few minutes. Then Guru turned to Databir and said, "They will
never know how many diseases this prevents."
My gratitude to Databir for this soulfully illumining and sweet story!
Thank you so much for your soulful response. You have inspired me to post one
of Guru's talks that I especially like, relating to the physical problems that a
spiritual Master may suffer from:
I found it on Sri Chinmoy Library:
Question: Is there anything we can do to help you with your knee pain?
Sri Chinmoy: Certainly! You can speak to the Old Man (laughter) . If your
Great-Great-Great Grandfather wants to listen to your prayer, will I have any
It is so complicated! This pain is not only physical. It has to do with the
entire world. People will say, "Oh, he is bragging! He has got bad karma from
his past incarnation and in this incarnation he is paying the penalty."
Some spiritual Masters said that just below the spine is the last chakra or
centre, but other spiritual Masters with their occult vision have seen that
there are centres in the knees, the ankles, the toes—everywhere. This is so
true. So far, the earth-consciousness has received light as far down as the base
of the spine. When spiritual Masters try to bring light to the
earth-consciousness below that level, how they suffer! How Sri Aurobindo
suffered! It started even with Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna was omniscient and
omnipotent. What was wrong with his foot, his heel? That was his weak point, and
that was where the archer's arrow entered.
If you had seen Ramana Maharshi walking in the evening of his life, you would
have seen how pitifully he was walking! There are many spiritual Masters who
suffered like that. Lord Buddha lived about 80 years. After the age of 73, the
way Lord Buddha walked! Lord Buddha embodied the infinite Light, yet how
pitifully he used to walk in the evening of his life—not for one year, but for
quite a few years.
Many, many spiritual Masters have suffered in this way, either in the knee or
inside the throat or somewhere else. Once you take human form, you have to pay
the penalty. Some say that Jesus Christ's crucifixion was his supreme sacrifice.
But Mother Mary's sweet inner message is, "No, my son's human life itself was
his greatest sacrifice. The fact that he took human incarnation—that was his
When spiritual Masters come to raise the consciousness of humanity, their very
existence on earth is a supreme sacrifice. When death comes, it is all finished.
In a few seconds or a few hours they are gone. But their entire life is a
sacrifice. My 67 years on earth is no joke! The Saviour Christ's 33 years is no
joke! A spiritual Master's earthly existence is the supreme sacrifice. Many will
say about the Master's death, "He sacrificed his life for the
earth-consciousness." That is true in one sense. But while living on earth, he
drank poison to save his spiritual children, his big family. Death is one form
of sacrifice. If you drink a large quantity of poison all at once, you die. But
if you take slow poison every day, every week, every month, do you not suffer
more? This can apply to anyone. It does not have to be a spiritual Master. If
you are a great man or a good man, then earthly existence itself is a supreme
Again, where is sacrifice? If there is oneness, then there is no sacrifice. The
mother does something for the child because of her oneness with the child. The
child does something for the mother because of his oneness. If you separate
yourself from others, then definitely there is sacrifice. If you separate Heaven
from earth, then definitely when a mighty soul comes down from Heaven, it is
Heaven's sacrifice, and when that person leaves the body, it is a sacrifice of
Mother Earth. But if there is oneness between Mother Earth and Father Heaven,
then there is no sacrifice. At this moment Mother needs my service. I come. Next
moment, Father needs my service. I go. That is all.
> At this moment Mother needs my service. I come.
> Next moment, Father needs my service. I go.
> That is all.
This is our Guru.
So simple, so humble, so divine.
We are so fortunate.
with gratitude, Kamalakanta
Just address an email to Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com
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