Two films have changed my life. The first was `Ghandi', which I saw when I was twenty years old. When the film ended I was unable to speak. Deeply moved by Gandhi's nobility I felt a deep and pure longing to follow in his footsteps. Like Gandhi I also wanted to contribute something meaningful to the world. The other life-changing film was `Little Buddha', which portrayed the life story of Lord Buddha. The scene where the Buddha received illumination under the bodhi tree and entered into Nirvana made an overwhelming and lasting impression on me. Again I felt a deep longing to emulate that great spiritual figure.
It probably was no coincidence that I saw both films around the time when I had started to meditate. Every day on my own I would sit down quietly for twenty minutes and do a simple meditation technique I had learned from a book. Gradually I had started to feel a gentle pull, inspiring me to lead a spiritual life. The two films intensified that pull, for in the example of these two great men I could see where a life of meditation could lead to. The films fed my fledgling spiritual hunger, which like any fledgling hunger was intense and uncompromising. My appetite was insatiable. I felt like a desert dweller and spiritual knowledge was my oasis. In a world where such hunger is rarely understood and often frowned upon, I was overjoyed to witness the lives of two great men saturated in spiritual truth. Evidenty I wasn't the only one hungry. There were more, and they had become legends.
Not much later I found my own spiritual legend, my spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy. When I learned about his life and started reading his books I knew I had struck gold. On hearing about Sri Chinmoy's achievements in the worlds of music, art and literature creating books, poems, songs and paintings that numbered in the thousands and even millions my first reaction was: why have I never heard of this man before? Why isn't he world-famous? It took some time to realize that like good wine legends take time to ripen.
A year or so after I had become Sri Chinmoy's student I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Again I felt a deep chord within being struck. The message of the book is that destiny has carved out an epic story, a legend, in which we are the protagonist, the hero. Our task here on earth is to discover and live that legend.
By the time I read the book I had started living the spiritual life in earnest for a year. I knew what the author meant. It resonated with my own discoveries bubbling up from my daily prayers and meditations. New worlds of peace, light, love and joy were unfolding themselves before me and made me feel part of an epic story. I was a pilgrim on an adventure towards the Unknown, which every day became a little more known. I felt I had started living the story that God had written for me.
The predominant emotion underpinning my thoughts and feelings was that of gratitude. Life had changed from a meaningless daily grind to an ever-new and fulfilling gift from Above. I felt so fortunate and blessed to have found my own legend, my own story.
As the years unfolded the story continued. And it still does. It is as breathtakingly new and refreshing now as it was the first year. Chapters have begun to outline themselves. When I look back at the past I can see several completed ones. When I look at the present I feel myself right in the middle of one. I am thrilled to see where the story will still lead to.
If there is anything I have learned from my spiritual life it is to fully trust in the supreme Author of my life-book. And to surrender to the story that He is writing for me. I would never want to take up the pen again myself. For I know that my own feeble scribbling could never match His superb plot-building skills.
All of us have a legend inside. Imagine how beautiful and fruitful our world would be when we would turn inward to read the story written on the tablets of our hearts. To be sure, we would need more writers and Hollywood directors, for all of our lives would be worthy of a book or a film.