25459Recollections on Sri Chinmoy: Guru's 2002 Chicago visit
- Jul 27, 2012My friends,
This "Recollections on Sri Chinmoy" thread has given me a lot of joy, and I hope to share as many reminescences of the Master as I can. Just one thing: all of this is from my memory, and so therefore may not be completely accurate. I am not a stenographer, so I often took notes only after the fact. Sometimes I am not working from notes at all. Please don't take anything I say or write here as official in any way. More than anything else, I am just trying to provide people with a sense as to what Guru was like. I think sharing even our half-remembered and distant memories of Guru is valuable. People in the future will want to know what it was like to be in the living presence of this great spiritual Master.
Guru's Visit to Chicago, 3 August 2002
It's been about ten years since Guru's momentous visit to the Windy City to offer his wonderful concert, "Prayerful Music with Sri Chinmoy", at the Palmer House Hilton.
My memory is leaky, but I remember some inspiring things. I remember flyering in downtown Chicago and giving a flyer to a big, stocky Black man. He saw Guru's face and said,"Isn't he the guy who does all the weightlifting." I smiled and said yes. I was always really gratified when people recognized Guru and knew about some of his inspiring activities.
I remember the morning of the Concert, Guru met with Sukhukee at our restuarant. Her name was Ida at that time, but that morning, Guru meditated on her, created a beautiful Jharna Kala in her honor and offered her the spiritual name "Sukhukee- Darling of the Divine Mother." At the bottom of the painting he wrote, "Your Eternity's Brother, Chinmoy"
Sukhukee was in her mid-eighties at the time. She actually knew Guru from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, where she stayed in the guest house. During her first visit to the Ashram, she visited Nolini-Da, the Secretary to Sri Aurobindo and great savant in his own right. Guru was working as Nolini's personal assistant at that time. When she walked into Nolini's foyer, she saw Guru working at the desk and looked into his eyes. Then, when she returned to America, she wrote a letter to the Ashram saying that she had seen the most beautiful light in Guru's eyes.
Guru is so funny! While he was meeting with Sukhuhee at the restaurant he reminded her of that letter she wrote to the Ashram and then remarked, "But now my eyes have lost all their light".
Guru had said some years previous to this that Sukhukee was the only person in the Ashram who supported him fully in his wish to come to America.
The concert itself was simply splendid. I was able to get almost a front-row seat because I had helped to publicise the event. The closing meditation, where Guru held a portrait of Swami Vivekananda to his heart, was very powerful.
The next day there was a special "Lifting Up the World With a Oneness-Heart" ceremony, held in the Palmer House ballroom. Many, many local Olympians, television personalities and humanitarians were lifted. After the ceremony, we had a private function with the Master. Guru asked if anyone had anything inspiring to say.
A Black woman whom I did not recognize went up to the microphone. I think she was wearing a denim outfit and had her hair in a bun. She addressed Guru as "Gurudev" and mentioned she had been a student of the Master in the early seventies. She said that she had just been released from incarceration for something she had done wrong, and that she was actually in prison when the dreadful events of 11 September occured. She turned to Guru and said that she couldn't believe those towers no longer existed. As she was speaking, tears were streaming down her face.
Guru said her name with utmost love and then said very soulfully and very seriously,"Your heart's tears shall play hide and seek forever with my soul's smiles."