Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

How I learned to appreciate America

Expand Messages
  • icysuren
    The story which I am about to tell, really depicts an odyssey of the soul, which my conscious self was, for the most part, unaware of at the time. Warning:
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 31, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      The story which I am about to tell, really depicts an odyssey of
      the soul, which my conscious self was, for the most part,
      unaware of at the time.
      Warning: This is not the short version. But for your convenience,
      and since the story stretches over many years (well, most of my
      life, really), I have broken it down into 6 Chapters. It may be a
      good idea to read it in installments.

      Chapter 1
      I grew up slightly prejudiced or even disdainful for American
      society and culture. This is not uncommon in Iceland, but
      people here tend to be either heavily pro-American or heavily
      anti-American. As with all prejudices, the root of the problem lies
      in seeing only the faults, but it was only 20 years later that I
      realized this.

      Chapter 2: My disastrous first visit to New York.
      Being somewhat prejudiced, even at an early age, my excitement
      of coming to New York for the first time and seeing Sri Chinmoy
      (but he had already come to Iceland earlier that year), was
      somewhat mixed with trepidation and apprehension. Also, this
      was in 1988 when I was only 10, and was only the second time I
      went abroad.
      And the trip didn't get off to a good start, really. I sat next to this
      loud-mouth American kid, who was a mixture of amusement and
      tiredness to behold. Then the plain had to circle for an hour in
      the air before landing, only to wait for half an hour before being
      allowed to drive up to the airport. It is no small wonder that my
      stomach made a physical protest to this torture. I'll say no more
      on that subject.
      But the worst was yet to come. As soon as I stepped out of the
      airport I felt as though I had walked into a wall of heat, humidity,
      noise, foul smell and agitation. This was in August, and a wet
      day had been followed by a hot day. I was later to learn that this
      is not the best combination.
      Anyway, we get to Queens and settle in and the first couple of
      days pass uneventfully. I got to see Sri Chinmoy and participate
      in the functions (although I must confess I spent a great deal of
      these functions either playing with the other kids or playing
      chess with Databir - but I got joy in my own way).
      We stayed at the attic above the stores on Parsons Boulevard.
      I'm sure that many of the boys remember this place, although I'm
      not so sure how fondly you may remember it. The attic was
      certainly a fun place that afforded the chance to get to know many
      brothers from all over the world, and it was ideally located, but as
      regards certain basic facilities, it was somewhat less than
      optimal.
      It was in the attic that I awoke one night, completely delirious and
      with fear running like quicksilver through my veins. I am told that
      I sat up and started to pray frantically that night, but try as I might,
      I really cannot remember much what happened. I certainly had
      fever and later it transpired that I had the chicken-pocks - which I
      had, no doubt, contracted on that fateful airplane.
      Again, I cannot remember exactly how this happened, but after I
      had been diagnosed with chicken-pocks and after the fever had
      subsided, it was decided that the attic was no longer a suitable
      place for me (or for all the others who could possibly get
      infected) and I was moved to Srotaswini's garage. For some
      reason I have much fonder memories of the garage than the
      attic. Pujarini and Suballabha would of course come every day,
      and sometimes they would bring other centre members along
      and we would play cards and have fun. In short, it was an idyllic
      place for a highly competitive, pale, indoors 10-year old.
      The rest of the trip passed mostly uneventfully, although the
      homecoming was a bit of a problem, since I still had the
      pock-marks on my face. Pujarini was a bit afraid that I wouldn't
      be allowed out of the country, so she and Srotaswini tried to do a
      make-over. Although they managed to powder my face green, it
      didn't really hide the pock-marks, but maybe some higher power
      was looking after us, or maybe the customs officers just wanted
      to get this little Martian out of the country, since I got back home
      without trouble.

      Chapter 3:
      For the next few years I was, for the most part, unwilling to go
      back to New York, because during my disastrous first visit I had
      managed to grow a certain dislike for the place. A dislike for the
      noise, smell and the agitation which I sensed in the people.
      Everything was great as long as we stayed in Aspiration-Ground
      or at PS 86, but as soon as we came out of there it was horrible
      and painful. Nevertheless, I was always happy that I had come
      to New York once my parents had forced me!

      Chapter 4:
      As the years passed, and as I started to come more and more
      frequently, I started to find appreciative qualities in New York.
      What I always needed was something that told me that New York
      could be appreciated, and that came one night many years ago,
      when someone gave that following talk by Sri Chinmoy as
      prasad:

      "My New York



      I admire New York. My eyes are enamoured of her soul's
      dynamic beauty. My New York is always astir and bustling. Also,
      is she marching in gigantic strides. Success emerges before
      her very eyes.
      The dawn breaks each day feeling New York's heart consumed
      with new zeal. She hates to be absorbed in a fog of fruitless
      brooding and empty inactivity. Moreover, she wants to be free,
      eternally free. Never within her four corners will she tolerate the
      air of captivity. If it is part of her nature to express herself boldly, I =

      cannot blame her. To me, first of all she deserves this acme of
      self-confidence. And secondly, God wants New York to be what
      she is.
      My New York has courage. My New York has confidence. The
      problems of anxiety and uncertainty may cover the length and
      breadth of the world, but my New York is an exception. Her
      youthful certainty is my heart's delight.
      When I think of my India, it seems that she has endless time. If
      she does not avail herself of an opportunity today, it will return to
      her tomorrow. But when I think of my New York, it seems that she
      is facing a unique opportunity at every moment. If she loses a
      golden opportunity today, it will never return. New York knows
      how to seize. She knows how to struggle. She knows how to
      push forward. She knows how to exert herself, consciously and
      dynamically. Old blunders fail to plague her. Empty of fear is her
      heart, which ever grows into the fulfilment of her promising
      future. Blessed is she.
      My New York is not a challenge. She is not a competition. She is
      not a running race. She is not a victory. What then is she? She is
      a great Promise, wherein grows and flowers the infinite
      Unknown."

      "God wants New York to be what she is," says Sri Chinmoy in
      this talk, and after I read it, I started to appreciate New York for
      what she is.
      After I read this talk I began to differentiate between the agitation
      and the dynamism of New York, and, of course I appreciated the
      dynamism. I began to see more and more good qualities in
      New York, such as self-confidence, self-reliance and freedom,
      but something more happened: After I read this talk, New York
      started to have a place in my heart, and as the years passed by,
      that place grew and grew.
      Today, for me to come to New York, is like coming to my second
      home - this has already been touched upon by several of you
      here at Sri Chinmoy Inspiration. Sometimes, I would simply be
      dying to get back to New York. If I heard a car-alarm, which used
      to be very rare in Iceland, I would immediately think of New York,
      and start pining away to get back. Once I stood behind a bus
      that took off suddenly and blessed me with its foul-smelling
      fumes. This made me think of New York instantly, and I was
      immediately transported to the seventh heaven of delight.

      Chapter 5:
      My love for New York being safely anchored in my heart, started
      to spread out to America in general.
      It took me a while to realize this, but little by little I started to
      appreciate America in general, the American spirit, or, let us say,
      the good that America has to offer, for the very qualities that I
      appreciated in New York, and more. So New York was the bait,
      and then I was reeled in to appreciate America in general.
      The dynamism as a quality that I appreciate, I have already
      mentioned.
      But there is a certain self-confidence, a certain "don't think, just
      act" mentality that I also highly appreciate in America. Also the
      dislike for brooding and self-criticism, expressed in idioms such
      as "take it in stride" I find highly appreciative.
      Finally, the freedom to be yourself, the freedom to rely on your
      self, so inherent in American culture completely conquered me. I
      believe it was this freedom that prompted Walt Whitman to
      respond to Emerson's plea for a true American poet with the
      simple "I am the one!" statement.
      Apart from Emerson and Whitman I could also mention Emily
      Dickinson, Robert Frost, Abraham Lincoln and Ambrose Bierce
      as people that convinced me that Americans weren't as crazy as
      I thought at first. They're all right, really.

      Chapter 6:
      The climax, where all this quiet change of heart was brought to
      my attention as a real epiphany, happened at the last Christmas
      trip.
      First of all, Himangshu and I put up a highly successful Abraham
      Lincoln play, in which I played Lincoln! At first I had rejected the
      idea, thinking that only an American (and preferably a tall person)
      would do justice to the part. Especially, I felt very insecure and
      unworthy about doing it myself. Well, that was very European
      and un-American of me! But anyway, we were unsuccessful in
      getting an American actor for the role, and in the end I took it on
      (and stood on top of a suitcase for most of the play, as those of
      you who were there may or may not have noticed!). But then this
      turned out to be such a fun play, and we got such a great cast
      together that all my insecurity vanished. I have been in several
      plays before, but this was the only play I've ever been in, that I felt
      totally secure before going on stage - usually I'm quite literally
      shaking out of stage-fright. The reason was simply that I was so
      happy and so proud about every part of the play, and I was so
      happy with every actor in the play. This may not be the best play
      that I've taken part in, but it was definately the play that gave me
      the greatest satisfaction.
      Anyway, two days later, on my last day of the trip, Sri Chinmoy,
      unexpectedly, started complementing me for my performance.
      Naturally, I was swimming in the sea of delight. However, Sri
      Chinmoy had maybe an even more meaningful comment in
      store for me later that night. As he was walking to his car after
      that function, he turned to me and, in the last glimpse that I saw
      of him for that trip, he said: "You have so much appreciation for
      America."
      And suddenly this simple statement brought it all home. It is
      true, I thought to myself. America has been safely anchored in
      my heart, I have changed, or, if I may be so bold to say, I have
      been transformed. I will never be a slave to everything American,
      this has not changed, but my prejudice has gone and been
      replaced by healthy admiration, and I'm the richer man for it.

      Phew! That was a marathon-letter!

      But it's very therapeudic, here in Reykjavík, which is now about to
      experience an ocean of night and seasonal depression.
      All the best to everyone,

      Suren
    • priyadarshan44
      Suren, thank you for your story, and thank you for all the plays that you produce, write or act in during the Christmas Trip. I deeply enjoy all of them.
      Message 2 of 6 , Nov 1, 2003
      • 0 Attachment
        Suren,

        thank you for your story, and thank you for all the plays that you
        produce, write or act in during the Christmas Trip.

        I deeply enjoy all of them.

        gratitude
        priyadarshan

        --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, icysuren
        <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        > The story which I am about to tell, really depicts an odyssey of
        > the soul, which my conscious self was, for the most part,
        > unaware of at the time.
        > Warning: This is not the short version. But for your convenience,
        > and since the story stretches over many years (well, most of my
        > life, really), I have broken it down into 6 Chapters. It may be a
        > good idea to read it in installments.
        >
        > Chapter 1
        > I grew up slightly prejudiced or even disdainful for American
        > society and culture. This is not uncommon in Iceland, but
        > people here tend to be either heavily pro-American or heavily
        > anti-American. As with all prejudices, the root of the problem
        lies
        > in seeing only the faults, but it was only 20 years later that I
        > realized this.
        >
        > Chapter 2: My disastrous first visit to New York.
        > Being somewhat prejudiced, even at an early age, my excitement
        > of coming to New York for the first time and seeing Sri Chinmoy
        > (but he had already come to Iceland earlier that year), was
        > somewhat mixed with trepidation and apprehension. Also, this
        > was in 1988 when I was only 10, and was only the second time I
        > went abroad.
        > And the trip didn't get off to a good start, really. I sat next to
        this
        > loud-mouth American kid, who was a mixture of amusement and
        > tiredness to behold. Then the plain had to circle for an hour in
        > the air before landing, only to wait for half an hour before being
        > allowed to drive up to the airport. It is no small wonder that my
        > stomach made a physical protest to this torture. I'll say no more
        > on that subject.
        > But the worst was yet to come. As soon as I stepped out of the
        > airport I felt as though I had walked into a wall of heat,
        humidity,
        > noise, foul smell and agitation. This was in August, and a wet
        > day had been followed by a hot day. I was later to learn that this
        > is not the best combination.
        > Anyway, we get to Queens and settle in and the first couple of
        > days pass uneventfully. I got to see Sri Chinmoy and participate
        > in the functions (although I must confess I spent a great deal of
        > these functions either playing with the other kids or playing
        > chess with Databir - but I got joy in my own way).
        > We stayed at the attic above the stores on Parsons Boulevard.
        > I'm sure that many of the boys remember this place, although I'm
        > not so sure how fondly you may remember it. The attic was
        > certainly a fun place that afforded the chance to get to know many
        > brothers from all over the world, and it was ideally located, but
        as
        > regards certain basic facilities, it was somewhat less than
        > optimal.
        > It was in the attic that I awoke one night, completely delirious
        and
        > with fear running like quicksilver through my veins. I am told
        that
        > I sat up and started to pray frantically that night, but try as I
        might,
        > I really cannot remember much what happened. I certainly had
        > fever and later it transpired that I had the chicken-pocks - which
        I
        > had, no doubt, contracted on that fateful airplane.
        > Again, I cannot remember exactly how this happened, but after I
        > had been diagnosed with chicken-pocks and after the fever had
        > subsided, it was decided that the attic was no longer a suitable
        > place for me (or for all the others who could possibly get
        > infected) and I was moved to Srotaswini's garage. For some
        > reason I have much fonder memories of the garage than the
        > attic. Pujarini and Suballabha would of course come every day,
        > and sometimes they would bring other centre members along
        > and we would play cards and have fun. In short, it was an idyllic
        > place for a highly competitive, pale, indoors 10-year old.
        > The rest of the trip passed mostly uneventfully, although the
        > homecoming was a bit of a problem, since I still had the
        > pock-marks on my face. Pujarini was a bit afraid that I wouldn't
        > be allowed out of the country, so she and Srotaswini tried to do a
        > make-over. Although they managed to powder my face green, it
        > didn't really hide the pock-marks, but maybe some higher power
        > was looking after us, or maybe the customs officers just wanted
        > to get this little Martian out of the country, since I got back
        home
        > without trouble.
        >
        > Chapter 3:
        > For the next few years I was, for the most part, unwilling to go
        > back to New York, because during my disastrous first visit I had
        > managed to grow a certain dislike for the place. A dislike for the
        > noise, smell and the agitation which I sensed in the people.
        > Everything was great as long as we stayed in Aspiration-Ground
        > or at PS 86, but as soon as we came out of there it was horrible
        > and painful. Nevertheless, I was always happy that I had come
        > to New York once my parents had forced me!
        >
        > Chapter 4:
        > As the years passed, and as I started to come more and more
        > frequently, I started to find appreciative qualities in New York.
        > What I always needed was something that told me that New York
        > could be appreciated, and that came one night many years ago,
        > when someone gave that following talk by Sri Chinmoy as
        > prasad:
        >
        > "My New York
        >
        >
        >
        > I admire New York. My eyes are enamoured of her soul's
        > dynamic beauty. My New York is always astir and bustling. Also,
        > is she marching in gigantic strides. Success emerges before
        > her very eyes.
        > The dawn breaks each day feeling New York's heart consumed
        > with new zeal. She hates to be absorbed in a fog of fruitless
        > brooding and empty inactivity. Moreover, she wants to be free,
        > eternally free. Never within her four corners will she tolerate the
        > air of captivity. If it is part of her nature to express herself
        boldly, I =
        >
        > cannot blame her. To me, first of all she deserves this acme of
        > self-confidence. And secondly, God wants New York to be what
        > she is.
        > My New York has courage. My New York has confidence. The
        > problems of anxiety and uncertainty may cover the length and
        > breadth of the world, but my New York is an exception. Her
        > youthful certainty is my heart's delight.
        > When I think of my India, it seems that she has endless time. If
        > she does not avail herself of an opportunity today, it will return
        to
        > her tomorrow. But when I think of my New York, it seems that she
        > is facing a unique opportunity at every moment. If she loses a
        > golden opportunity today, it will never return. New York knows
        > how to seize. She knows how to struggle. She knows how to
        > push forward. She knows how to exert herself, consciously and
        > dynamically. Old blunders fail to plague her. Empty of fear is her
        > heart, which ever grows into the fulfilment of her promising
        > future. Blessed is she.
        > My New York is not a challenge. She is not a competition. She is
        > not a running race. She is not a victory. What then is she? She is
        > a great Promise, wherein grows and flowers the infinite
        > Unknown."
        >
        > "God wants New York to be what she is," says Sri Chinmoy in
        > this talk, and after I read it, I started to appreciate New York
        for
        > what she is.
        > After I read this talk I began to differentiate between the
        agitation
        > and the dynamism of New York, and, of course I appreciated the
        > dynamism. I began to see more and more good qualities in
        > New York, such as self-confidence, self-reliance and freedom,
        > but something more happened: After I read this talk, New York
        > started to have a place in my heart, and as the years passed by,
        > that place grew and grew.
        > Today, for me to come to New York, is like coming to my second
        > home - this has already been touched upon by several of you
        > here at Sri Chinmoy Inspiration. Sometimes, I would simply be
        > dying to get back to New York. If I heard a car-alarm, which used
        > to be very rare in Iceland, I would immediately think of New York,
        > and start pining away to get back. Once I stood behind a bus
        > that took off suddenly and blessed me with its foul-smelling
        > fumes. This made me think of New York instantly, and I was
        > immediately transported to the seventh heaven of delight.
        >
        > Chapter 5:
        > My love for New York being safely anchored in my heart, started
        > to spread out to America in general.
        > It took me a while to realize this, but little by little I started
        to
        > appreciate America in general, the American spirit, or, let us say,
        > the good that America has to offer, for the very qualities that I
        > appreciated in New York, and more. So New York was the bait,
        > and then I was reeled in to appreciate America in general.
        > The dynamism as a quality that I appreciate, I have already
        > mentioned.
        > But there is a certain self-confidence, a certain "don't think,
        just
        > act" mentality that I also highly appreciate in America. Also the
        > dislike for brooding and self-criticism, expressed in idioms such
        > as "take it in stride" I find highly appreciative.
        > Finally, the freedom to be yourself, the freedom to rely on your
        > self, so inherent in American culture completely conquered me. I
        > believe it was this freedom that prompted Walt Whitman to
        > respond to Emerson's plea for a true American poet with the
        > simple "I am the one!" statement.
        > Apart from Emerson and Whitman I could also mention Emily
        > Dickinson, Robert Frost, Abraham Lincoln and Ambrose Bierce
        > as people that convinced me that Americans weren't as crazy as
        > I thought at first. They're all right, really.
        >
        > Chapter 6:
        > The climax, where all this quiet change of heart was brought to
        > my attention as a real epiphany, happened at the last Christmas
        > trip.
        > First of all, Himangshu and I put up a highly successful Abraham
        > Lincoln play, in which I played Lincoln! At first I had rejected
        the
        > idea, thinking that only an American (and preferably a tall person)
        > would do justice to the part. Especially, I felt very insecure and
        > unworthy about doing it myself. Well, that was very European
        > and un-American of me! But anyway, we were unsuccessful in
        > getting an American actor for the role, and in the end I took it on
        > (and stood on top of a suitcase for most of the play, as those of
        > you who were there may or may not have noticed!). But then this
        > turned out to be such a fun play, and we got such a great cast
        > together that all my insecurity vanished. I have been in several
        > plays before, but this was the only play I've ever been in, that I
        felt
        > totally secure before going on stage - usually I'm quite literally
        > shaking out of stage-fright. The reason was simply that I was so
        > happy and so proud about every part of the play, and I was so
        > happy with every actor in the play. This may not be the best play
        > that I've taken part in, but it was definately the play that gave
        me
        > the greatest satisfaction.
        > Anyway, two days later, on my last day of the trip, Sri Chinmoy,
        > unexpectedly, started complementing me for my performance.
        > Naturally, I was swimming in the sea of delight. However, Sri
        > Chinmoy had maybe an even more meaningful comment in
        > store for me later that night. As he was walking to his car after
        > that function, he turned to me and, in the last glimpse that I saw
        > of him for that trip, he said: "You have so much appreciation for
        > America."
        > And suddenly this simple statement brought it all home. It is
        > true, I thought to myself. America has been safely anchored in
        > my heart, I have changed, or, if I may be so bold to say, I have
        > been transformed. I will never be a slave to everything American,
        > this has not changed, but my prejudice has gone and been
        > replaced by healthy admiration, and I'm the richer man for it.
        >
        > Phew! That was a marathon-letter!
        >
        > But it's very therapeudic, here in Reykjavík, which is now about
        to
        > experience an ocean of night and seasonal depression.
        > All the best to everyone,
        >
        > Suren
      • kamalakanta47
        Hi, Suren, I liked your story! How important it is to see the good in others. If more people did this, the world would be a better place! It is a positive
        Message 3 of 6 , Nov 2, 2003
        • 0 Attachment
          Hi, Suren, I liked your story! How important it is to see the good in
          others. If more people did this, the world would be a better place! It
          is a positive quest of the heart, instead of the negative talk of the
          mind! We need to see the best in ourselves and in others. Only then
          will we make progress. - Kamalakanta


          --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, icysuren
          <no_reply@y...> wrote:
          > The story which I am about to tell, really depicts an odyssey of
          > the soul, which my conscious self was, for the most part,
          > unaware of at the time.
          > Warning: This is not the short version. But for your convenience,
          > and since the story stretches over many years (well, most of my
          > life, really), I have broken it down into 6 Chapters. It may be a
          > good idea to read it in installments.
          >
          > Chapter 1
          > I grew up slightly prejudiced or even disdainful for American
          > society and culture. This is not uncommon in Iceland, but
          > people here tend to be either heavily pro-American or heavily
          > anti-American. As with all prejudices, the root of the problem lies
          > in seeing only the faults, but it was only 20 years later that I
          > realized this.
          >
          > Chapter 2: My disastrous first visit to New York.
          > Being somewhat prejudiced, even at an early age, my excitement
          > of coming to New York for the first time and seeing Sri Chinmoy
          > (but he had already come to Iceland earlier that year), was
          > somewhat mixed with trepidation and apprehension. Also, this
          > was in 1988 when I was only 10, and was only the second time I
          > went abroad.
          > And the trip didn't get off to a good start, really. I sat next to
          this
          > loud-mouth American kid, who was a mixture of amusement and
          > tiredness to behold. Then the plain had to circle for an hour in
          > the air before landing, only to wait for half an hour before being
          > allowed to drive up to the airport. It is no small wonder that my
          > stomach made a physical protest to this torture. I'll say no more
          > on that subject.
          > But the worst was yet to come. As soon as I stepped out of the
          > airport I felt as though I had walked into a wall of heat, humidity,
          > noise, foul smell and agitation. This was in August, and a wet
          > day had been followed by a hot day. I was later to learn that this
          > is not the best combination.
          > Anyway, we get to Queens and settle in and the first couple of
          > days pass uneventfully. I got to see Sri Chinmoy and participate
          > in the functions (although I must confess I spent a great deal of
          > these functions either playing with the other kids or playing
          > chess with Databir - but I got joy in my own way).
          > We stayed at the attic above the stores on Parsons Boulevard.
          > I'm sure that many of the boys remember this place, although I'm
          > not so sure how fondly you may remember it. The attic was
          > certainly a fun place that afforded the chance to get to know many
          > brothers from all over the world, and it was ideally located, but as
          > regards certain basic facilities, it was somewhat less than
          > optimal.
          > It was in the attic that I awoke one night, completely delirious and
          > with fear running like quicksilver through my veins. I am told that
          > I sat up and started to pray frantically that night, but try as I
          might,
          > I really cannot remember much what happened. I certainly had
          > fever and later it transpired that I had the chicken-pocks - which I
          > had, no doubt, contracted on that fateful airplane.
          > Again, I cannot remember exactly how this happened, but after I
          > had been diagnosed with chicken-pocks and after the fever had
          > subsided, it was decided that the attic was no longer a suitable
          > place for me (or for all the others who could possibly get
          > infected) and I was moved to Srotaswini's garage. For some
          > reason I have much fonder memories of the garage than the
          > attic. Pujarini and Suballabha would of course come every day,
          > and sometimes they would bring other centre members along
          > and we would play cards and have fun. In short, it was an idyllic
          > place for a highly competitive, pale, indoors 10-year old.
          > The rest of the trip passed mostly uneventfully, although the
          > homecoming was a bit of a problem, since I still had the
          > pock-marks on my face. Pujarini was a bit afraid that I wouldn't
          > be allowed out of the country, so she and Srotaswini tried to do a
          > make-over. Although they managed to powder my face green, it
          > didn't really hide the pock-marks, but maybe some higher power
          > was looking after us, or maybe the customs officers just wanted
          > to get this little Martian out of the country, since I got back home
          > without trouble.
          >
          > Chapter 3:
          > For the next few years I was, for the most part, unwilling to go
          > back to New York, because during my disastrous first visit I had
          > managed to grow a certain dislike for the place. A dislike for the
          > noise, smell and the agitation which I sensed in the people.
          > Everything was great as long as we stayed in Aspiration-Ground
          > or at PS 86, but as soon as we came out of there it was horrible
          > and painful. Nevertheless, I was always happy that I had come
          > to New York once my parents had forced me!
          >
          > Chapter 4:
          > As the years passed, and as I started to come more and more
          > frequently, I started to find appreciative qualities in New York.
          > What I always needed was something that told me that New York
          > could be appreciated, and that came one night many years ago,
          > when someone gave that following talk by Sri Chinmoy as
          > prasad:
          >
          > "My New York
          >
          >
          >
          > I admire New York. My eyes are enamoured of her soul's
          > dynamic beauty. My New York is always astir and bustling. Also,
          > is she marching in gigantic strides. Success emerges before
          > her very eyes.
          > The dawn breaks each day feeling New York's heart consumed
          > with new zeal. She hates to be absorbed in a fog of fruitless
          > brooding and empty inactivity. Moreover, she wants to be free,
          > eternally free. Never within her four corners will she tolerate the
          > air of captivity. If it is part of her nature to express herself
          boldly, I =
          >
          > cannot blame her. To me, first of all she deserves this acme of
          > self-confidence. And secondly, God wants New York to be what
          > she is.
          > My New York has courage. My New York has confidence. The
          > problems of anxiety and uncertainty may cover the length and
          > breadth of the world, but my New York is an exception. Her
          > youthful certainty is my heart's delight.
          > When I think of my India, it seems that she has endless time. If
          > she does not avail herself of an opportunity today, it will return to
          > her tomorrow. But when I think of my New York, it seems that she
          > is facing a unique opportunity at every moment. If she loses a
          > golden opportunity today, it will never return. New York knows
          > how to seize. She knows how to struggle. She knows how to
          > push forward. She knows how to exert herself, consciously and
          > dynamically. Old blunders fail to plague her. Empty of fear is her
          > heart, which ever grows into the fulfilment of her promising
          > future. Blessed is she.
          > My New York is not a challenge. She is not a competition. She is
          > not a running race. She is not a victory. What then is she? She is
          > a great Promise, wherein grows and flowers the infinite
          > Unknown."
          >
          > "God wants New York to be what she is," says Sri Chinmoy in
          > this talk, and after I read it, I started to appreciate New York for
          > what she is.
          > After I read this talk I began to differentiate between the agitation
          > and the dynamism of New York, and, of course I appreciated the
          > dynamism. I began to see more and more good qualities in
          > New York, such as self-confidence, self-reliance and freedom,
          > but something more happened: After I read this talk, New York
          > started to have a place in my heart, and as the years passed by,
          > that place grew and grew.
          > Today, for me to come to New York, is like coming to my second
          > home - this has already been touched upon by several of you
          > here at Sri Chinmoy Inspiration. Sometimes, I would simply be
          > dying to get back to New York. If I heard a car-alarm, which used
          > to be very rare in Iceland, I would immediately think of New York,
          > and start pining away to get back. Once I stood behind a bus
          > that took off suddenly and blessed me with its foul-smelling
          > fumes. This made me think of New York instantly, and I was
          > immediately transported to the seventh heaven of delight.
          >
          > Chapter 5:
          > My love for New York being safely anchored in my heart, started
          > to spread out to America in general.
          > It took me a while to realize this, but little by little I started to
          > appreciate America in general, the American spirit, or, let us say,
          > the good that America has to offer, for the very qualities that I
          > appreciated in New York, and more. So New York was the bait,
          > and then I was reeled in to appreciate America in general.
          > The dynamism as a quality that I appreciate, I have already
          > mentioned.
          > But there is a certain self-confidence, a certain "don't think, just
          > act" mentality that I also highly appreciate in America. Also the
          > dislike for brooding and self-criticism, expressed in idioms such
          > as "take it in stride" I find highly appreciative.
          > Finally, the freedom to be yourself, the freedom to rely on your
          > self, so inherent in American culture completely conquered me. I
          > believe it was this freedom that prompted Walt Whitman to
          > respond to Emerson's plea for a true American poet with the
          > simple "I am the one!" statement.
          > Apart from Emerson and Whitman I could also mention Emily
          > Dickinson, Robert Frost, Abraham Lincoln and Ambrose Bierce
          > as people that convinced me that Americans weren't as crazy as
          > I thought at first. They're all right, really.
          >
          > Chapter 6:
          > The climax, where all this quiet change of heart was brought to
          > my attention as a real epiphany, happened at the last Christmas
          > trip.
          > First of all, Himangshu and I put up a highly successful Abraham
          > Lincoln play, in which I played Lincoln! At first I had rejected the
          > idea, thinking that only an American (and preferably a tall person)
          > would do justice to the part. Especially, I felt very insecure and
          > unworthy about doing it myself. Well, that was very European
          > and un-American of me! But anyway, we were unsuccessful in
          > getting an American actor for the role, and in the end I took it on
          > (and stood on top of a suitcase for most of the play, as those of
          > you who were there may or may not have noticed!). But then this
          > turned out to be such a fun play, and we got such a great cast
          > together that all my insecurity vanished. I have been in several
          > plays before, but this was the only play I've ever been in, that I felt
          > totally secure before going on stage - usually I'm quite literally
          > shaking out of stage-fright. The reason was simply that I was so
          > happy and so proud about every part of the play, and I was so
          > happy with every actor in the play. This may not be the best play
          > that I've taken part in, but it was definately the play that gave me
          > the greatest satisfaction.
          > Anyway, two days later, on my last day of the trip, Sri Chinmoy,
          > unexpectedly, started complementing me for my performance.
          > Naturally, I was swimming in the sea of delight. However, Sri
          > Chinmoy had maybe an even more meaningful comment in
          > store for me later that night. As he was walking to his car after
          > that function, he turned to me and, in the last glimpse that I saw
          > of him for that trip, he said: "You have so much appreciation for
          > America."
          > And suddenly this simple statement brought it all home. It is
          > true, I thought to myself. America has been safely anchored in
          > my heart, I have changed, or, if I may be so bold to say, I have
          > been transformed. I will never be a slave to everything American,
          > this has not changed, but my prejudice has gone and been
          > replaced by healthy admiration, and I'm the richer man for it.
          >
          > Phew! That was a marathon-letter!
          >
          > But it's very therapeudic, here in Reykjavík, which is now about to
          > experience an ocean of night and seasonal depression.
          > All the best to everyone,
          >
          > Suren
        • icysuren
          Ah, Kamalakanta! I did not include this in the story, since I was trying to keep it to a minimum, but I always remember the first time we met. We were all
          Message 4 of 6 , Nov 2, 2003
          • 0 Attachment
            Ah, Kamalakanta!
            I did not include this in the story, since I was trying to keep it to a
            minimum, but I always remember the first time we met. We
            were all having a meal at Goose Pond Park, when Snatak
            introduced me to this brilliant chess-player (mistakenly thinking
            that Databir was the best chess-players of the centres, apart
            from myself, I had considered myself a unique case - after all,
            chess and spirituality, does it go together?!), which was the
            spark of a lifelong friendship.
            This memory remains firmly embedded in my mind and when I
            review it I see it as though through a golden filter in my mind's
            eye. Sri Chinmoy recently referred to his ashram days as the
            "golden days". These were my golden days.

            Cold is picking up, mainly through the advent of the merciless
            wind, all you can do is stay indoors more (wish I was still in
            Australia - or Indonesia, for that matter).

            Suren

            --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com,
            kamalakanta47 <no_reply@y...> wrote:
            > Hi, Suren, I liked your story! How important it is to see the good
            in
            > others. If more people did this, the world would be a better
            place! It
            > is a positive quest of the heart, instead of the negative talk of
            the
            > mind! We need to see the best in ourselves and in others. Only
            then
            > will we make progress. - Kamalakanta
            >
            >
            > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, icysuren
            > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
            > > The story which I am about to tell, really depicts an odyssey
            of
            > > the soul, which my conscious self was, for the most part,
            > > unaware of at the time.
            > > Warning: This is not the short version. But for your
            convenience,
            > > and since the story stretches over many years (well, most of
            my
            > > life, really), I have broken it down into 6 Chapters. It may be a
            > > good idea to read it in installments.
            > >
            > > Chapter 1
            > > I grew up slightly prejudiced or even disdainful for American
            > > society and culture. This is not uncommon in Iceland, but
            > > people here tend to be either heavily pro-American or heavily
            > > anti-American. As with all prejudices, the root of the problem
            lies
            > > in seeing only the faults, but it was only 20 years later that I
            > > realized this.
            > >
            > > Chapter 2: My disastrous first visit to New York.
            > > Being somewhat prejudiced, even at an early age, my
            excitement
            > > of coming to New York for the first time and seeing Sri
            Chinmoy
            > > (but he had already come to Iceland earlier that year), was
            > > somewhat mixed with trepidation and apprehension. Also,
            this
            > > was in 1988 when I was only 10, and was only the second
            time I
            > > went abroad.
            > > And the trip didn't get off to a good start, really. I sat next to
            > this
            > > loud-mouth American kid, who was a mixture of amusement
            and
            > > tiredness to behold. Then the plain had to circle for an hour
            in
            > > the air before landing, only to wait for half an hour before
            being
            > > allowed to drive up to the airport. It is no small wonder that
            my
            > > stomach made a physical protest to this torture. I'll say no
            more
            > > on that subject.
            > > But the worst was yet to come. As soon as I stepped out of
            the
            > > airport I felt as though I had walked into a wall of heat,
            humidity,
            > > noise, foul smell and agitation. This was in August, and a
            wet
            > > day had been followed by a hot day. I was later to learn that
            this
            > > is not the best combination.
            > > Anyway, we get to Queens and settle in and the first couple of
            > > days pass uneventfully. I got to see Sri Chinmoy and
            participate
            > > in the functions (although I must confess I spent a great deal
            of
            > > these functions either playing with the other kids or playing
            > > chess with Databir - but I got joy in my own way).
            > > We stayed at the attic above the stores on Parsons
            Boulevard.
            > > I'm sure that many of the boys remember this place, although
            I'm
            > > not so sure how fondly you may remember it. The attic was
            > > certainly a fun place that afforded the chance to get to know
            many
            > > brothers from all over the world, and it was ideally located,
            but as
            > > regards certain basic facilities, it was somewhat less than
            > > optimal.
            > > It was in the attic that I awoke one night, completely delirious
            and
            > > with fear running like quicksilver through my veins. I am told
            that
            > > I sat up and started to pray frantically that night, but try as I
            > might,
            > > I really cannot remember much what happened. I certainly
            had
            > > fever and later it transpired that I had the chicken-pocks -
            which I
            > > had, no doubt, contracted on that fateful airplane.
            > > Again, I cannot remember exactly how this happened, but
            after I
            > > had been diagnosed with chicken-pocks and after the fever
            had
            > > subsided, it was decided that the attic was no longer a
            suitable
            > > place for me (or for all the others who could possibly get
            > > infected) and I was moved to Srotaswini's garage. For some
            > > reason I have much fonder memories of the garage than the
            > > attic. Pujarini and Suballabha would of course come every
            day,
            > > and sometimes they would bring other centre members
            along
            > > and we would play cards and have fun. In short, it was an
            idyllic
            > > place for a highly competitive, pale, indoors 10-year old.
            > > The rest of the trip passed mostly uneventfully, although the
            > > homecoming was a bit of a problem, since I still had the
            > > pock-marks on my face. Pujarini was a bit afraid that I
            wouldn't
            > > be allowed out of the country, so she and Srotaswini tried to
            do a
            > > make-over. Although they managed to powder my face
            green, it
            > > didn't really hide the pock-marks, but maybe some higher
            power
            > > was looking after us, or maybe the customs officers just
            wanted
            > > to get this little Martian out of the country, since I got back
            home
            > > without trouble.
            > >
            > > Chapter 3:
            > > For the next few years I was, for the most part, unwilling to go
            > > back to New York, because during my disastrous first visit I
            had
            > > managed to grow a certain dislike for the place. A dislike for
            the
            > > noise, smell and the agitation which I sensed in the people.
            > > Everything was great as long as we stayed in
            Aspiration-Ground
            > > or at PS 86, but as soon as we came out of there it was
            horrible
            > > and painful. Nevertheless, I was always happy that I had
            come
            > > to New York once my parents had forced me!
            > >
            > > Chapter 4:
            > > As the years passed, and as I started to come more and
            more
            > > frequently, I started to find appreciative qualities in New York.
            > > What I always needed was something that told me that New
            York
            > > could be appreciated, and that came one night many years
            ago,
            > > when someone gave that following talk by Sri Chinmoy as
            > > prasad:
            > >
            > > "My New York
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > I admire New York. My eyes are enamoured of her soul's
            > > dynamic beauty. My New York is always astir and bustling.
            Also,
            > > is she marching in gigantic strides. Success emerges
            before
            > > her very eyes.
            > > The dawn breaks each day feeling New York's heart
            consumed
            > > with new zeal. She hates to be absorbed in a fog of fruitless
            > > brooding and empty inactivity. Moreover, she wants to be free,
            > > eternally free. Never within her four corners will she tolerate
            the
            > > air of captivity. If it is part of her nature to express herself
            > boldly, I =
            > >
            > > cannot blame her. To me, first of all she deserves this acme
            of
            > > self-confidence. And secondly, God wants New York to be
            what
            > > she is.
            > > My New York has courage. My New York has confidence. The
            > > problems of anxiety and uncertainty may cover the length and
            > > breadth of the world, but my New York is an exception. Her
            > > youthful certainty is my heart's delight.
            > > When I think of my India, it seems that she has endless time.
            If
            > > she does not avail herself of an opportunity today, it will
            return to
            > > her tomorrow. But when I think of my New York, it seems that
            she
            > > is facing a unique opportunity at every moment. If she loses a
            > > golden opportunity today, it will never return. New York knows
            > > how to seize. She knows how to struggle. She knows how to
            > > push forward. She knows how to exert herself, consciously
            and
            > > dynamically. Old blunders fail to plague her. Empty of fear is
            her
            > > heart, which ever grows into the fulfilment of her promising
            > > future. Blessed is she.
            > > My New York is not a challenge. She is not a competition.
            She is
            > > not a running race. She is not a victory. What then is she?
            She is
            > > a great Promise, wherein grows and flowers the infinite
            > > Unknown."
            > >
            > > "God wants New York to be what she is," says Sri Chinmoy in
            > > this talk, and after I read it, I started to appreciate New York
            for
            > > what she is.
            > > After I read this talk I began to differentiate between the
            agitation
            > > and the dynamism of New York, and, of course I appreciated
            the
            > > dynamism. I began to see more and more good qualities in
            > > New York, such as self-confidence, self-reliance and
            freedom,
            > > but something more happened: After I read this talk, New
            York
            > > started to have a place in my heart, and as the years passed
            by,
            > > that place grew and grew.
            > > Today, for me to come to New York, is like coming to my
            second
            > > home - this has already been touched upon by several of you
            > > here at Sri Chinmoy Inspiration. Sometimes, I would simply
            be
            > > dying to get back to New York. If I heard a car-alarm, which
            used
            > > to be very rare in Iceland, I would immediately think of New
            York,
            > > and start pining away to get back. Once I stood behind a bus
            > > that took off suddenly and blessed me with its foul-smelling
            > > fumes. This made me think of New York instantly, and I was
            > > immediately transported to the seventh heaven of delight.
            > >
            > > Chapter 5:
            > > My love for New York being safely anchored in my heart,
            started
            > > to spread out to America in general.
            > > It took me a while to realize this, but little by little I started to
            > > appreciate America in general, the American spirit, or, let us
            say,
            > > the good that America has to offer, for the very qualities that I
            > > appreciated in New York, and more. So New York was the
            bait,
            > > and then I was reeled in to appreciate America in general.
            > > The dynamism as a quality that I appreciate, I have already
            > > mentioned.
            > > But there is a certain self-confidence, a certain "don't think,
            just
            > > act" mentality that I also highly appreciate in America. Also
            the
            > > dislike for brooding and self-criticism, expressed in idioms
            such
            > > as "take it in stride" I find highly appreciative.
            > > Finally, the freedom to be yourself, the freedom to rely on your
            > > self, so inherent in American culture completely conquered
            me. I
            > > believe it was this freedom that prompted Walt Whitman to
            > > respond to Emerson's plea for a true American poet with the
            > > simple "I am the one!" statement.
            > > Apart from Emerson and Whitman I could also mention Emily
            > > Dickinson, Robert Frost, Abraham Lincoln and Ambrose
            Bierce
            > > as people that convinced me that Americans weren't as crazy
            as
            > > I thought at first. They're all right, really.
            > >
            > > Chapter 6:
            > > The climax, where all this quiet change of heart was brought
            to
            > > my attention as a real epiphany, happened at the last
            Christmas
            > > trip.
            > > First of all, Himangshu and I put up a highly successful
            Abraham
            > > Lincoln play, in which I played Lincoln! At first I had rejected
            the
            > > idea, thinking that only an American (and preferably a tall
            person)
            > > would do justice to the part. Especially, I felt very insecure
            and
            > > unworthy about doing it myself. Well, that was very European
            > > and un-American of me! But anyway, we were unsuccessful
            in
            > > getting an American actor for the role, and in the end I took it
            on
            > > (and stood on top of a suitcase for most of the play, as those
            of
            > > you who were there may or may not have noticed!). But then
            this
            > > turned out to be such a fun play, and we got such a great cast
            > > together that all my insecurity vanished. I have been in
            several
            > > plays before, but this was the only play I've ever been in, that I
            felt
            > > totally secure before going on stage - usually I'm quite
            literally
            > > shaking out of stage-fright. The reason was simply that I
            was so
            > > happy and so proud about every part of the play, and I was so
            > > happy with every actor in the play. This may not be the best
            play
            > > that I've taken part in, but it was definately the play that gave
            me
            > > the greatest satisfaction.
            > > Anyway, two days later, on my last day of the trip, Sri
            Chinmoy,
            > > unexpectedly, started complementing me for my
            performance.
            > > Naturally, I was swimming in the sea of delight. However, Sri
            > > Chinmoy had maybe an even more meaningful comment in
            > > store for me later that night. As he was walking to his car
            after
            > > that function, he turned to me and, in the last glimpse that I
            saw
            > > of him for that trip, he said: "You have so much appreciation
            for
            > > America."
            > > And suddenly this simple statement brought it all home. It is
            > > true, I thought to myself. America has been safely anchored
            in
            > > my heart, I have changed, or, if I may be so bold to say, I have
            > > been transformed. I will never be a slave to everything
            American,
            > > this has not changed, but my prejudice has gone and been
            > > replaced by healthy admiration, and I'm the richer man for it.
            > >
            > > Phew! That was a marathon-letter!
            > >
            > > But it's very therapeudic, here in Reykjavík, which is now
            about to
            > > experience an ocean of night and seasonal depression.
            > > All the best to everyone,
            > >
            > > Suren
          • sundari_one
            Thank you Suren for that inspiring story. Coming from California, I also u= sed to feel that I was going to a foreign country when we would go to New York.
            Message 5 of 6 , Nov 2, 2003
            • 0 Attachment
              Thank you Suren for that inspiring story. Coming from California, I also u=
              sed to feel
              that I was going to a foreign country when we would go to New York. Just t=
              he size of
              everything! San Francisco is so small and friendly by comparison. And the=
              attitude of
              New Yorkers is so different from the way people are in smaller cities in Am=
              erica. If I
              went into a shop to buy something people would be more likely to snap, "Wha=
              t do you
              want?!" than "How can I help you?" I was always in heaven in Sri Chinmoy's=
              area of
              Queens where all of his students live, but venturing out into other areas w=
              as pretty
              traumatic.

              But the first time New York really won me over was about this time of year =
              when I ran
              my first New York City Marathon. It was a freezing cold, perfectly clear f=
              all day in late
              October, 1977. It was gorgeous. I'll never forget the thousands of New Yo=
              rkers in
              down coats who lined the marathon route for hours encouraging us with such =

              enthusiasm. I realised that they can seem a little tough on the outside, b=
              ut they have
              such big hearts and so much oneness. That day everything changed for me. =
              It's a
              very special place.

              --Sundari

              --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, icysuren <no_reply@y...> wr=
              ote:
              > The story which I am about to tell, really depicts an odyssey of
              > the soul, which my conscious self was, for the most part,
              > unaware of at the time.
              > Warning: This is not the short version. But for your convenience,
              > and since the story stretches over many years (well, most of my
              > life, really), I have broken it down into 6 Chapters. It may be a
              > good idea to read it in installments.
              >
              > Chapter 1
              > I grew up slightly prejudiced or even disdainful for American
              > society and culture. This is not uncommon in Iceland, but
              > people here tend to be either heavily pro-American or heavily
              > anti-American. As with all prejudices, the root of the problem lies
              > in seeing only the faults, but it was only 20 years later that I
              > realized this.
              >
              > Chapter 2: My disastrous first visit to New York.
              > Being somewhat prejudiced, even at an early age, my excitement
              > of coming to New York for the first time and seeing Sri Chinmoy
              > (but he had already come to Iceland earlier that year), was
              > somewhat mixed with trepidation and apprehension. Also, this
              > was in 1988 when I was only 10, and was only the second time I
              > went abroad.
              > And the trip didn't get off to a good start, really. I sat next to this =

              > loud-mouth American kid, who was a mixture of amusement and
              > tiredness to behold. Then the plain had to circle for an hour in
              > the air before landing, only to wait for half an hour before being
              > allowed to drive up to the airport. It is no small wonder that my
              > stomach made a physical protest to this torture. I'll say no more
              > on that subject.
              > But the worst was yet to come. As soon as I stepped out of the
              > airport I felt as though I had walked into a wall of heat, humidity,
              > noise, foul smell and agitation. This was in August, and a wet
              > day had been followed by a hot day. I was later to learn that this
              > is not the best combination.
              > Anyway, we get to Queens and settle in and the first couple of
              > days pass uneventfully. I got to see Sri Chinmoy and participate
              > in the functions (although I must confess I spent a great deal of
              > these functions either playing with the other kids or playing
              > chess with Databir - but I got joy in my own way).
              > We stayed at the attic above the stores on Parsons Boulevard.
              > I'm sure that many of the boys remember this place, although I'm
              > not so sure how fondly you may remember it. The attic was
              > certainly a fun place that afforded the chance to get to know many
              > brothers from all over the world, and it was ideally located, but as
              > regards certain basic facilities, it was somewhat less than
              > optimal.
              > It was in the attic that I awoke one night, completely delirious and
              > with fear running like quicksilver through my veins. I am told that
              > I sat up and started to pray frantically that night, but try as I might, =

              > I really cannot remember much what happened. I certainly had
              > fever and later it transpired that I had the chicken-pocks - which I
              > had, no doubt, contracted on that fateful airplane.
              > Again, I cannot remember exactly how this happened, but after I
              > had been diagnosed with chicken-pocks and after the fever had
              > subsided, it was decided that the attic was no longer a suitable
              > place for me (or for all the others who could possibly get
              > infected) and I was moved to Srotaswini's garage. For some
              > reason I have much fonder memories of the garage than the
              > attic. Pujarini and Suballabha would of course come every day,
              > and sometimes they would bring other centre members along
              > and we would play cards and have fun. In short, it was an idyllic
              > place for a highly competitive, pale, indoors 10-year old.
              > The rest of the trip passed mostly uneventfully, although the
              > homecoming was a bit of a problem, since I still had the
              > pock-marks on my face. Pujarini was a bit afraid that I wouldn't
              > be allowed out of the country, so she and Srotaswini tried to do a
              > make-over. Although they managed to powder my face green, it
              > didn't really hide the pock-marks, but maybe some higher power
              > was looking after us, or maybe the customs officers just wanted
              > to get this little Martian out of the country, since I got back home
              > without trouble.
              >
              > Chapter 3:
              > For the next few years I was, for the most part, unwilling to go
              > back to New York, because during my disastrous first visit I had
              > managed to grow a certain dislike for the place. A dislike for the
              > noise, smell and the agitation which I sensed in the people.
              > Everything was great as long as we stayed in Aspiration-Ground
              > or at PS 86, but as soon as we came out of there it was horrible
              > and painful. Nevertheless, I was always happy that I had come
              > to New York once my parents had forced me!
              >
              > Chapter 4:
              > As the years passed, and as I started to come more and more
              > frequently, I started to find appreciative qualities in New York.
              > What I always needed was something that told me that New York
              > could be appreciated, and that came one night many years ago,
              > when someone gave that following talk by Sri Chinmoy as
              > prasad:
              >
              > "My New York
              >
              >
              >
              > I admire New York. My eyes are enamoured of her soul's
              > dynamic beauty. My New York is always astir and bustling. Also,
              > is she marching in gigantic strides. Success emerges before
              > her very eyes.
              > The dawn breaks each day feeling New York's heart consumed
              > with new zeal. She hates to be absorbed in a fog of fruitless
              > brooding and empty inactivity. Moreover, she wants to be free,
              > eternally free. Never within her four corners will she tolerate the
              > air of captivity. If it is part of her nature to express herself boldly, =
              I =
              >
              > cannot blame her. To me, first of all she deserves this acme of
              > self-confidence. And secondly, God wants New York to be what
              > she is.
              > My New York has courage. My New York has confidence. The
              > problems of anxiety and uncertainty may cover the length and
              > breadth of the world, but my New York is an exception. Her
              > youthful certainty is my heart's delight.
              > When I think of my India, it seems that she has endless time. If
              > she does not avail herself of an opportunity today, it will return to
              > her tomorrow. But when I think of my New York, it seems that she
              > is facing a unique opportunity at every moment. If she loses a
              > golden opportunity today, it will never return. New York knows
              > how to seize. She knows how to struggle. She knows how to
              > push forward. She knows how to exert herself, consciously and
              > dynamically. Old blunders fail to plague her. Empty of fear is her
              > heart, which ever grows into the fulfilment of her promising
              > future. Blessed is she.
              > My New York is not a challenge. She is not a competition. She is
              > not a running race. She is not a victory. What then is she? She is
              > a great Promise, wherein grows and flowers the infinite
              > Unknown."
              >
              > "God wants New York to be what she is," says Sri Chinmoy in
              > this talk, and after I read it, I started to appreciate New York for
              > what she is.
              > After I read this talk I began to differentiate between the agitation
              > and the dynamism of New York, and, of course I appreciated the
              > dynamism. I began to see more and more good qualities in
              > New York, such as self-confidence, self-reliance and freedom,
              > but something more happened: After I read this talk, New York
              > started to have a place in my heart, and as the years passed by,
              > that place grew and grew.
              > Today, for me to come to New York, is like coming to my second
              > home - this has already been touched upon by several of you
              > here at Sri Chinmoy Inspiration. Sometimes, I would simply be
              > dying to get back to New York. If I heard a car-alarm, which used
              > to be very rare in Iceland, I would immediately think of New York,
              > and start pining away to get back. Once I stood behind a bus
              > that took off suddenly and blessed me with its foul-smelling
              > fumes. This made me think of New York instantly, and I was
              > immediately transported to the seventh heaven of delight.
              >
              > Chapter 5:
              > My love for New York being safely anchored in my heart, started
              > to spread out to America in general.
              > It took me a while to realize this, but little by little I started to
              > appreciate America in general, the American spirit, or, let us say,
              > the good that America has to offer, for the very qualities that I
              > appreciated in New York, and more. So New York was the bait,
              > and then I was reeled in to appreciate America in general.
              > The dynamism as a quality that I appreciate, I have already
              > mentioned.
              > But there is a certain self-confidence, a certain "don't think, just
              > act" mentality that I also highly appreciate in America. Also the
              > dislike for brooding and self-criticism, expressed in idioms such
              > as "take it in stride" I find highly appreciative.
              > Finally, the freedom to be yourself, the freedom to rely on your
              > self, so inherent in American culture completely conquered me. I
              > believe it was this freedom that prompted Walt Whitman to
              > respond to Emerson's plea for a true American poet with the
              > simple "I am the one!" statement.
              > Apart from Emerson and Whitman I could also mention Emily
              > Dickinson, Robert Frost, Abraham Lincoln and Ambrose Bierce
              > as people that convinced me that Americans weren't as crazy as
              > I thought at first. They're all right, really.
              >
              > Chapter 6:
              > The climax, where all this quiet change of heart was brought to
              > my attention as a real epiphany, happened at the last Christmas
              > trip.
              > First of all, Himangshu and I put up a highly successful Abraham
              > Lincoln play, in which I played Lincoln! At first I had rejected the
              > idea, thinking that only an American (and preferably a tall person)
              > would do justice to the part. Especially, I felt very insecure and
              > unworthy about doing it myself. Well, that was very European
              > and un-American of me! But anyway, we were unsuccessful in
              > getting an American actor for the role, and in the end I took it on
              > (and stood on top of a suitcase for most of the play, as those of
              > you who were there may or may not have noticed!). But then this
              > turned out to be such a fun play, and we got such a great cast
              > together that all my insecurity vanished. I have been in several
              > plays before, but this was the only play I've ever been in, that I felt
              > totally secure before going on stage - usually I'm quite literally
              > shaking out of stage-fright. The reason was simply that I was so
              > happy and so proud about every part of the play, and I was so
              > happy with every actor in the play. This may not be the best play
              > that I've taken part in, but it was definately the play that gave me
              > the greatest satisfaction.
              > Anyway, two days later, on my last day of the trip, Sri Chinmoy,
              > unexpectedly, started complementing me for my performance.
              > Naturally, I was swimming in the sea of delight. However, Sri
              > Chinmoy had maybe an even more meaningful comment in
              > store for me later that night. As he was walking to his car after
              > that function, he turned to me and, in the last glimpse that I saw
              > of him for that trip, he said: "You have so much appreciation for
              > America."
              > And suddenly this simple statement brought it all home. It is
              > true, I thought to myself. America has been safely anchored in
              > my heart, I have changed, or, if I may be so bold to say, I have
              > been transformed. I will never be a slave to everything American,
              > this has not changed, but my prejudice has gone and been
              > replaced by healthy admiration, and I'm the richer man for it.
              >
              > Phew! That was a marathon-letter!
              >
              > But it's very therapeudic, here in Reykjavík, which is now about to
              > experience an ocean of night and seasonal depression.
              > All the best to everyone,
              >
              > Suren
            • kamalakanta47
              Thank you, Suren. I am honored to have met a noble soul like you. I remember, too, that in the first five games we played, you beat me with the score of 3.5 to
              Message 6 of 6 , Nov 3, 2003
              • 0 Attachment
                Thank you, Suren. I am honored to have met a noble soul like you. I
                remember, too, that in the first five games we played, you beat me
                with the score of 3.5 to 1.5. When I told Sri Chinmoy, he asked,
                "What, have you become an old man?" This, of course, inspired me to
                play harder, and we had some memorable games, including our epic
                battle at Aspiration-Ground, which ended in a draw, and then, I guess
                to console me, Sri Chinmoy had us arm-wrestle, and I finally won
                something!- By the way, start doing weights, because if I cannot beat
                you at chess next time we meet, this old man will challenge you to
                arm-wrestle again!- Kamalakanta

                --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, icysuren
                <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                > Ah, Kamalakanta!
                > I did not include this in the story, since I was trying to keep it to a
                > minimum, but I always remember the first time we met. We
                > were all having a meal at Goose Pond Park, when Snatak
                > introduced me to this brilliant chess-player (mistakenly thinking
                > that Databir was the best chess-players of the centres, apart
                > from myself, I had considered myself a unique case - after all,
                > chess and spirituality, does it go together?!), which was the
                > spark of a lifelong friendship.
                > This memory remains firmly embedded in my mind and when I
                > review it I see it as though through a golden filter in my mind's
                > eye. Sri Chinmoy recently referred to his ashram days as the
                > "golden days". These were my golden days.
                >
                > Cold is picking up, mainly through the advent of the merciless
                > wind, all you can do is stay indoors more (wish I was still in
                > Australia - or Indonesia, for that matter).
                >
                > Suren
                >
                > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com,
                > kamalakanta47 <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                > > Hi, Suren, I liked your story! How important it is to see the good
                > in
                > > others. If more people did this, the world would be a better
                > place! It
                > > is a positive quest of the heart, instead of the negative talk of
                > the
                > > mind! We need to see the best in ourselves and in others. Only
                > then
                > > will we make progress. - Kamalakanta
                > >
                > >
                > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, icysuren
                > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                > > > The story which I am about to tell, really depicts an odyssey
                > of
                > > > the soul, which my conscious self was, for the most part,
                > > > unaware of at the time.
                > > > Warning: This is not the short version. But for your
                > convenience,
                > > > and since the story stretches over many years (well, most of
                > my
                > > > life, really), I have broken it down into 6 Chapters. It may be a
                > > > good idea to read it in installments.
                > > >
                > > > Chapter 1
                > > > I grew up slightly prejudiced or even disdainful for American
                > > > society and culture. This is not uncommon in Iceland, but
                > > > people here tend to be either heavily pro-American or heavily
                > > > anti-American. As with all prejudices, the root of the problem
                > lies
                > > > in seeing only the faults, but it was only 20 years later that I
                > > > realized this.
                > > >
                > > > Chapter 2: My disastrous first visit to New York.
                > > > Being somewhat prejudiced, even at an early age, my
                > excitement
                > > > of coming to New York for the first time and seeing Sri
                > Chinmoy
                > > > (but he had already come to Iceland earlier that year), was
                > > > somewhat mixed with trepidation and apprehension. Also,
                > this
                > > > was in 1988 when I was only 10, and was only the second
                > time I
                > > > went abroad.
                > > > And the trip didn't get off to a good start, really. I sat next to
                > > this
                > > > loud-mouth American kid, who was a mixture of amusement
                > and
                > > > tiredness to behold. Then the plain had to circle for an hour
                > in
                > > > the air before landing, only to wait for half an hour before
                > being
                > > > allowed to drive up to the airport. It is no small wonder that
                > my
                > > > stomach made a physical protest to this torture. I'll say no
                > more
                > > > on that subject.
                > > > But the worst was yet to come. As soon as I stepped out of
                > the
                > > > airport I felt as though I had walked into a wall of heat,
                > humidity,
                > > > noise, foul smell and agitation. This was in August, and a
                > wet
                > > > day had been followed by a hot day. I was later to learn that
                > this
                > > > is not the best combination.
                > > > Anyway, we get to Queens and settle in and the first couple of
                > > > days pass uneventfully. I got to see Sri Chinmoy and
                > participate
                > > > in the functions (although I must confess I spent a great deal
                > of
                > > > these functions either playing with the other kids or playing
                > > > chess with Databir - but I got joy in my own way).
                > > > We stayed at the attic above the stores on Parsons
                > Boulevard.
                > > > I'm sure that many of the boys remember this place, although
                > I'm
                > > > not so sure how fondly you may remember it. The attic was
                > > > certainly a fun place that afforded the chance to get to know
                > many
                > > > brothers from all over the world, and it was ideally located,
                > but as
                > > > regards certain basic facilities, it was somewhat less than
                > > > optimal.
                > > > It was in the attic that I awoke one night, completely delirious
                > and
                > > > with fear running like quicksilver through my veins. I am told
                > that
                > > > I sat up and started to pray frantically that night, but try as I
                > > might,
                > > > I really cannot remember much what happened. I certainly
                > had
                > > > fever and later it transpired that I had the chicken-pocks -
                > which I
                > > > had, no doubt, contracted on that fateful airplane.
                > > > Again, I cannot remember exactly how this happened, but
                > after I
                > > > had been diagnosed with chicken-pocks and after the fever
                > had
                > > > subsided, it was decided that the attic was no longer a
                > suitable
                > > > place for me (or for all the others who could possibly get
                > > > infected) and I was moved to Srotaswini's garage. For some
                > > > reason I have much fonder memories of the garage than the
                > > > attic. Pujarini and Suballabha would of course come every
                > day,
                > > > and sometimes they would bring other centre members
                > along
                > > > and we would play cards and have fun. In short, it was an
                > idyllic
                > > > place for a highly competitive, pale, indoors 10-year old.
                > > > The rest of the trip passed mostly uneventfully, although the
                > > > homecoming was a bit of a problem, since I still had the
                > > > pock-marks on my face. Pujarini was a bit afraid that I
                > wouldn't
                > > > be allowed out of the country, so she and Srotaswini tried to
                > do a
                > > > make-over. Although they managed to powder my face
                > green, it
                > > > didn't really hide the pock-marks, but maybe some higher
                > power
                > > > was looking after us, or maybe the customs officers just
                > wanted
                > > > to get this little Martian out of the country, since I got back
                > home
                > > > without trouble.
                > > >
                > > > Chapter 3:
                > > > For the next few years I was, for the most part, unwilling to go
                > > > back to New York, because during my disastrous first visit I
                > had
                > > > managed to grow a certain dislike for the place. A dislike for
                > the
                > > > noise, smell and the agitation which I sensed in the people.
                > > > Everything was great as long as we stayed in
                > Aspiration-Ground
                > > > or at PS 86, but as soon as we came out of there it was
                > horrible
                > > > and painful. Nevertheless, I was always happy that I had
                > come
                > > > to New York once my parents had forced me!
                > > >
                > > > Chapter 4:
                > > > As the years passed, and as I started to come more and
                > more
                > > > frequently, I started to find appreciative qualities in New York.
                > > > What I always needed was something that told me that New
                > York
                > > > could be appreciated, and that came one night many years
                > ago,
                > > > when someone gave that following talk by Sri Chinmoy as
                > > > prasad:
                > > >
                > > > "My New York
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > I admire New York. My eyes are enamoured of her soul's
                > > > dynamic beauty. My New York is always astir and bustling.
                > Also,
                > > > is she marching in gigantic strides. Success emerges
                > before
                > > > her very eyes.
                > > > The dawn breaks each day feeling New York's heart
                > consumed
                > > > with new zeal. She hates to be absorbed in a fog of fruitless
                > > > brooding and empty inactivity. Moreover, she wants to be free,
                > > > eternally free. Never within her four corners will she tolerate
                > the
                > > > air of captivity. If it is part of her nature to express herself
                > > boldly, I =
                > > >
                > > > cannot blame her. To me, first of all she deserves this acme
                > of
                > > > self-confidence. And secondly, God wants New York to be
                > what
                > > > she is.
                > > > My New York has courage. My New York has confidence. The
                > > > problems of anxiety and uncertainty may cover the length and
                > > > breadth of the world, but my New York is an exception. Her
                > > > youthful certainty is my heart's delight.
                > > > When I think of my India, it seems that she has endless time.
                > If
                > > > she does not avail herself of an opportunity today, it will
                > return to
                > > > her tomorrow. But when I think of my New York, it seems that
                > she
                > > > is facing a unique opportunity at every moment. If she loses a
                > > > golden opportunity today, it will never return. New York knows
                > > > how to seize. She knows how to struggle. She knows how to
                > > > push forward. She knows how to exert herself, consciously
                > and
                > > > dynamically. Old blunders fail to plague her. Empty of fear is
                > her
                > > > heart, which ever grows into the fulfilment of her promising
                > > > future. Blessed is she.
                > > > My New York is not a challenge. She is not a competition.
                > She is
                > > > not a running race. She is not a victory. What then is she?
                > She is
                > > > a great Promise, wherein grows and flowers the infinite
                > > > Unknown."
                > > >
                > > > "God wants New York to be what she is," says Sri Chinmoy in
                > > > this talk, and after I read it, I started to appreciate New York
                > for
                > > > what she is.
                > > > After I read this talk I began to differentiate between the
                > agitation
                > > > and the dynamism of New York, and, of course I appreciated
                > the
                > > > dynamism. I began to see more and more good qualities in
                > > > New York, such as self-confidence, self-reliance and
                > freedom,
                > > > but something more happened: After I read this talk, New
                > York
                > > > started to have a place in my heart, and as the years passed
                > by,
                > > > that place grew and grew.
                > > > Today, for me to come to New York, is like coming to my
                > second
                > > > home - this has already been touched upon by several of you
                > > > here at Sri Chinmoy Inspiration. Sometimes, I would simply
                > be
                > > > dying to get back to New York. If I heard a car-alarm, which
                > used
                > > > to be very rare in Iceland, I would immediately think of New
                > York,
                > > > and start pining away to get back. Once I stood behind a bus
                > > > that took off suddenly and blessed me with its foul-smelling
                > > > fumes. This made me think of New York instantly, and I was
                > > > immediately transported to the seventh heaven of delight.
                > > >
                > > > Chapter 5:
                > > > My love for New York being safely anchored in my heart,
                > started
                > > > to spread out to America in general.
                > > > It took me a while to realize this, but little by little I
                started to
                > > > appreciate America in general, the American spirit, or, let us
                > say,
                > > > the good that America has to offer, for the very qualities that I
                > > > appreciated in New York, and more. So New York was the
                > bait,
                > > > and then I was reeled in to appreciate America in general.
                > > > The dynamism as a quality that I appreciate, I have already
                > > > mentioned.
                > > > But there is a certain self-confidence, a certain "don't think,
                > just
                > > > act" mentality that I also highly appreciate in America. Also
                > the
                > > > dislike for brooding and self-criticism, expressed in idioms
                > such
                > > > as "take it in stride" I find highly appreciative.
                > > > Finally, the freedom to be yourself, the freedom to rely on your
                > > > self, so inherent in American culture completely conquered
                > me. I
                > > > believe it was this freedom that prompted Walt Whitman to
                > > > respond to Emerson's plea for a true American poet with the
                > > > simple "I am the one!" statement.
                > > > Apart from Emerson and Whitman I could also mention Emily
                > > > Dickinson, Robert Frost, Abraham Lincoln and Ambrose
                > Bierce
                > > > as people that convinced me that Americans weren't as crazy
                > as
                > > > I thought at first. They're all right, really.
                > > >
                > > > Chapter 6:
                > > > The climax, where all this quiet change of heart was brought
                > to
                > > > my attention as a real epiphany, happened at the last
                > Christmas
                > > > trip.
                > > > First of all, Himangshu and I put up a highly successful
                > Abraham
                > > > Lincoln play, in which I played Lincoln! At first I had rejected
                > the
                > > > idea, thinking that only an American (and preferably a tall
                > person)
                > > > would do justice to the part. Especially, I felt very insecure
                > and
                > > > unworthy about doing it myself. Well, that was very European
                > > > and un-American of me! But anyway, we were unsuccessful
                > in
                > > > getting an American actor for the role, and in the end I took it
                > on
                > > > (and stood on top of a suitcase for most of the play, as those
                > of
                > > > you who were there may or may not have noticed!). But then
                > this
                > > > turned out to be such a fun play, and we got such a great cast
                > > > together that all my insecurity vanished. I have been in
                > several
                > > > plays before, but this was the only play I've ever been in, that I
                > felt
                > > > totally secure before going on stage - usually I'm quite
                > literally
                > > > shaking out of stage-fright. The reason was simply that I
                > was so
                > > > happy and so proud about every part of the play, and I was so
                > > > happy with every actor in the play. This may not be the best
                > play
                > > > that I've taken part in, but it was definately the play that gave
                > me
                > > > the greatest satisfaction.
                > > > Anyway, two days later, on my last day of the trip, Sri
                > Chinmoy,
                > > > unexpectedly, started complementing me for my
                > performance.
                > > > Naturally, I was swimming in the sea of delight. However, Sri
                > > > Chinmoy had maybe an even more meaningful comment in
                > > > store for me later that night. As he was walking to his car
                > after
                > > > that function, he turned to me and, in the last glimpse that I
                > saw
                > > > of him for that trip, he said: "You have so much appreciation
                > for
                > > > America."
                > > > And suddenly this simple statement brought it all home. It is
                > > > true, I thought to myself. America has been safely anchored
                > in
                > > > my heart, I have changed, or, if I may be so bold to say, I have
                > > > been transformed. I will never be a slave to everything
                > American,
                > > > this has not changed, but my prejudice has gone and been
                > > > replaced by healthy admiration, and I'm the richer man for it.
                > > >
                > > > Phew! That was a marathon-letter!
                > > >
                > > > But it's very therapeudic, here in Reykjavík, which is now
                > about to
                > > > experience an ocean of night and seasonal depression.
                > > > All the best to everyone,
                > > >
                > > > Suren
              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.