48 Hours in New York
- I left the UK, with economics spinning round my head. - falling stock
markets, credit default swaps, impending recession. For an economist,
it's about as exciting as it gets. But, I was yearning for a break.
Not just a vacation and change of scene, but a change of consciousness.
The weekend was, of course, for the most significant anniversary of
Guru's mahasamadhi 1 fateful year ago. I struggle to remember 2 days
ago, let alone 12 months ago; but particularly this October, I could
only focus on the present moment - the timeless nature of the ongoing
prayerful meditation. It didn't feel like a remembrance, it didn't
feel like a sorrowful yearning for what was once. It just felt good to
be there and appreciate the consciousness that will always be palpable
with Guru's most sacred meeting place.
I was in New York only 2 days, but, it could have been 2 years or 2
minutes, time didn't seem to follow natural patterns. The programme
was of utmost simplicity and soulfulness; 24 hours a day of meditative
reflection. Sometimes, there was silence, sometimes we heard tapes of
Guru singing, chanting or playing instruments; at other times we were
treated to the wonderful diversity of our centre music groups. There
was also the opportunity to soulfully approach the final resting place
of Guru's Samadhi, which felt like the pinnacle of our inner and outer pilgrimage.
Our Aspiration Ground was perfectly decorated; a profusion of flowers,
candles, incense and plants creating a sense of a heavenly hideaway in
the most unlikely of settings. It felt like we had meditation on tap;
one could meditate for as much as you wanted - whenever the
inspiration came. It was, also, a time to meet up with old friends; a
perfect combination of the outer friendship and inner silence.
Amidst the heavenly music and surroundings, the old mindset of
ruminating over financial crisis seemed like another world. I made no
effort to switch my thoughts. The soulfulness of the weekend brought
the consciousness of the heart to the fore. It was a joy to meditate,
with an unusual effortlessness. It was a joy to hear the recordings of
Sri Chinmoy, as if he was playing them himself. It was a joy to have
the opportunity to pay our prayerful obeisance's to Guru's Samadhi -
which truly embodies his living presence. It was a joy to be with
friends who appreciated and shared the grace of such a memorable weekend.
One could try in an infinitude of ways to describe the ethereal beauty
and soul inspiring consciousness of the anniversary without ever doing
justice to the experience. I often felt how appropriate that this
months edition of Inspiration Letter is to be on silence. Silence,
real inner silence, was a powerful aspect of the atmosphere. A silence
which sprang from the soulful music, chants, singing and collective
aspiration to invoke the presence of our Beloved Guru.
These days 48 hours can wipe trillions off and on stock market values,
but, I also learnt that in 48 hours one can experience an immeasurable
Your description of our glorious weekend in NY was eloquent and
There was no sorrow, only boundless joy and sweetness which I am
still carrying in my heart most powerfully. Every moment was
beautiful. At night it was like a twinkling fairyland.
Meditating on Guru's giant transcendental picture was indescribable.
Thank you for your thoughtful remembrances of the weekend.
And a huge thank you to all of the local disciples who worked so
hard to pull this altogether for us and make it a truly blissful and
unforgettable weekend for those of us from away.
PS and an especially big thank you to the chai servers who just
seemed to keep it flowing:)