Recollections on Sri Chinmoy
- Dear All,
I was thinking that maybe a good "thread" would be just general remembrances of the Master- maybe even something as simple as the dhoti (spiritual garment) he was wearing during a concert, or a sweet personal anecdote that he told at a function.
I have one story that I'd like to share; as I am telling it only from memory it is unofficial:
I think Guru told this story in the summer of 2002, at an evening function. He prefaced the story by saying that he, like all spiritual Masters, has a human aspect and a divine aspect.
He then went on to tell an incident that occurred that very morning. He was returning to his house, unaccompanied, in his little car (it was red, right?) and, as he entered the driveway, he saw an Indian man rooting through his garbage cans. He said that man was dark "like me". He honked the horn to drive the man away. At that very moment, the divinity in him reprimanded him. I think he even said that it "struck" him. It said, "How can you be so cruel? How can you be so heartless? The things that you are discarding this man is cherishing!"
Then he slowly drove into the driveway, and as he passed the other man, he leaned out of the window and gave him the broadest smile, while also inwardly begging him for forgiveness.
Guru concluded by saying that whenever we do anything wrong we should immediately try our utmost to rectify it.
If anyone knows the story better or has an official, written account of this story, would you please share it with us?
Anyway, this is my first contribution. Maybe other people would like to share their own illumining and sweet reminiscences of the Master?
- How kind of you to share this incident, Mahiruha!I very much cherish it!
I like watching Guru's videos.Retelling some of his stories or statements is also unofficial. What he said in a video I watched recently touched me and stayed with me for a couple of days if not until now.
Guru referred to his weight. He said, "You people know how you feel when you are a little overweight. Can you imagine how I feel having 40 pounds too much. It is due to my knee problems. Therefore I cannot run.
P.S. Again thanks to the videographers for letting us remember Guru in a special way.
P.P.S. Yes, whoever knows unrecorded stories, please, tell them. Many have not been able to spend much time in the physical presence of the Master.
P.P.P.S. Sri Chinmoy Reflections is of course another great source to get to know one's own Master better.
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- As you know, Guru had perhaps a half dozen people who used to take him on daily drives around Queens. On those drives, Guru would usually meditate in silence. Sometimes he would do japa (soulful chanting).
Databir drove Guru frequently, and he told me about a special experience he had with Guru in the late seventies (Databir, if you're reading this, by all means correct me if I have anything wrong!):
One morning, Databir drove Guru by the Thomas Edison soccer field, where our annual Sports Day is held. There, they saw perhaps fifteen or twenty female students of Sri Chinmoy playing softball. Databir told me that the women weren't aware of Guru's presence, so they weren't in a particularly soulful or "spiritual" consciousness. They were just playing softball, badly and unprofessionally, and laughing and having fun. Databir and Guru watched them playing for a few minutes. Then Guru turned to Databir and said, "They will never know how many diseases this prevents."
My gratitude to Databir for this soulfully illumining and sweet story!
Thank you so much for your soulful response. You have inspired me to post one of Guru's talks that I especially like, relating to the physical problems that a spiritual Master may suffer from:
I found it on Sri Chinmoy Library:
Question: Is there anything we can do to help you with your knee pain?
Sri Chinmoy: Certainly! You can speak to the Old Man (laughter) . If your Great-Great-Great Grandfather wants to listen to your prayer, will I have any objection?
It is so complicated! This pain is not only physical. It has to do with the entire world. People will say, "Oh, he is bragging! He has got bad karma from his past incarnation and in this incarnation he is paying the penalty."
Some spiritual Masters said that just below the spine is the last chakra or centre, but other spiritual Masters with their occult vision have seen that there are centres in the knees, the ankles, the toeseverywhere. This is so true. So far, the earth-consciousness has received light as far down as the base of the spine. When spiritual Masters try to bring light to the earth-consciousness below that level, how they suffer! How Sri Aurobindo suffered! It started even with Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna was omniscient and omnipotent. What was wrong with his foot, his heel? That was his weak point, and that was where the archer's arrow entered.
If you had seen Ramana Maharshi walking in the evening of his life, you would have seen how pitifully he was walking! There are many spiritual Masters who suffered like that. Lord Buddha lived about 80 years. After the age of 73, the way Lord Buddha walked! Lord Buddha embodied the infinite Light, yet how pitifully he used to walk in the evening of his lifenot for one year, but for quite a few years.
Many, many spiritual Masters have suffered in this way, either in the knee or inside the throat or somewhere else. Once you take human form, you have to pay the penalty. Some say that Jesus Christ's crucifixion was his supreme sacrifice. But Mother Mary's sweet inner message is, "No, my son's human life itself was his greatest sacrifice. The fact that he took human incarnationthat was his greatest sacrifice."
When spiritual Masters come to raise the consciousness of humanity, their very existence on earth is a supreme sacrifice. When death comes, it is all finished. In a few seconds or a few hours they are gone. But their entire life is a sacrifice. My 67 years on earth is no joke! The Saviour Christ's 33 years is no joke! A spiritual Master's earthly existence is the supreme sacrifice. Many will say about the Master's death, "He sacrificed his life for the earth-consciousness." That is true in one sense. But while living on earth, he drank poison to save his spiritual children, his big family. Death is one form of sacrifice. If you drink a large quantity of poison all at once, you die. But if you take slow poison every day, every week, every month, do you not suffer more? This can apply to anyone. It does not have to be a spiritual Master. If you are a great man or a good man, then earthly existence itself is a supreme sacrifice.
Again, where is sacrifice? If there is oneness, then there is no sacrifice. The mother does something for the child because of her oneness with the child. The child does something for the mother because of his oneness. If you separate yourself from others, then definitely there is sacrifice. If you separate Heaven from earth, then definitely when a mighty soul comes down from Heaven, it is Heaven's sacrifice, and when that person leaves the body, it is a sacrifice of Mother Earth. But if there is oneness between Mother Earth and Father Heaven, then there is no sacrifice. At this moment Mother needs my service. I come. Next moment, Father needs my service. I go. That is all.
- Once somebody gave Guru incorrect information, telling him that I went to Princeton. I did not go to Princeton. I went to a nice college. But it was not Princeton.
From that day on, Guru was convinced that I really had gone to Princeton. Even when I told him that no, I had not actually gone there, I think he still believed that I actually attended that most venerable ivy-covered institution.
My grades and SAT scores would have made a Princeton admissions counselor laugh.
But all this goes to show that Guru did not see us as we were, but rather as we wish we were. He saw me at my very, very best- the absolute ideal me that I may never reach but is still buried somewhere deep inside my heart.
How different my life would be if I could see myself the way Guru saw me.
- Mahiruha's note reminds me that I was amazed when I saw Guru bowing to his disciples and others. Here was this extraordinary, enlightened being, one who is one with God, and he was bowing to the likes of me and others. How could we possibly deserve this salutation from the Enlightened One?
Guru himself gave the answer. He said that the first thing he sees when he looks at a person is the soul, the representative of God in that person. He does not see us as we see ourselves or even as our friends and enemies see us. He sees us as the wonderful soul, which has come into human incarnation with a very, very lofty and important mission. The soul is a portion of God within us. Further, when you hear Guru's description of the soul--a description embodied in the spiritual name or soul's name that Guru offered to many people, you see that the soul is, indeed, our guide and our God within. That certainly deserves a bow.
- Nayak, I can't help but repost this message you sent to the group some years ago. It's brilliant beyond belief. Hope you don't mind!
'Faxed Bananas' by Nayak
The strangest thing happened the other day. I was sitting on a bench
in downtown Seattle, when suddenly a man walked up and handed me a
sheet of paper and walked off. I opened the paper and found the poem
below scrawled upon it. I went to find the man, but he was nowhere to
be found. Do any of you know him? He was about my height and age and
he was wearing clothes.
They faxed me some bananas.
Seeing the bananas appear from the fax machine,
yellow and all
was a big surprise.
I told my secretary to take some dictation and
I dictated a long letter of gratitude to George,
who invented bananas. "George," I said,
and it went on from there, on and on and on.
It was an epic letter, and it took me four years
to complete it, including the P.S. of 36 chapters--
by this time, my secretary, George (that was her name)
was getting hungry, so we sent out for sandwiches and toast
but I had to play some golf while waiting for the sandwich delivery,
and that was hard, very hard, 'cause George
kept eating the golf balls.
Meantime, the bananas were gradually coming through the fax machine,
and with the greatest patience, I informed the parents
that it was a boy and that I would be the godfather if
they so chose.
It was a grand show, with the band playing "Mother"
and spinach draped all over the furniture.
The furniture salesman, "Mart", called up to
see how the golf was going, and when I told him
about the banana boy, he cried and they captured it
Saturday was even better, because it was
cancelled, and Thursday was substituted for it,
though Wednesday had an argument with Friday,
and they finally agreed to swap places.
This all happened yesterday. What will happen
today? I don't know, but I will definitely try to find
some jam for the toast.
- I like the scene from Guru's play on Lord Krishna, the "Singer of the Eternal Beyond" where a great scholar sees a brahmin holding a copy of the Bhagavad Gita and weeping. He asks the brahmin what part of the Gita he finds difficult to grasp, and offers to explain it to him. The brahmin responds very politely that he understands the Gita perfectly well. He is weeping because whenever he reads this sacred scripture he sees Krishna in his chariot. "These are my psychic tears," he says. The scholar is humbled, and realises that no amount of mental erudition can ever equal genuine spiritual experience.
That's a hard lesson for me to learn because I was raised in the Western tradition which prizes intellectual achievement above all else. Therefore, I always found Guru's spontaneous simplicity so charming and refreshing!
I have started keeping a journal of my experiences with the Master. I have divided it into different themes, like Guru's smiles, Guru's stories, Joy Days with the Master, etc. It has helped me a lot, and I wholeheartedly recommend it as a way of staying inspired and happy.
- I really miss those days when we used to meet at one of two or three public schools, either PS 86 or PS 117. I mean, there was something special about meditating with this great spiritual Master in an enclosed space. When we meditated with him at Aspiration-Ground I felt that his luminous goodwill and compassion diffused and spread all over the world. When we meditated together in the school auditoriums or cafeterias, it was as if the light and grace stayed in the room. You could feel the power in a much more intimate way. The meditations at those schools had more of a family or an ashram feeling.
I did not go on the Christmas trips. But I did not mind because the Wednesday night meditations at Annam Brahma were so beautiful and so soulful. Even though Guru was not physically there, I really felt his presence, his breath, pervading the restaurant. I really have to give the Annam Brahma staff great credit for transforming their restaurant into a beautiful meditation space every week. I also remember Satyajit's group's absolutely sublime performances with great fondness. I enjoyed the congregational feeling in meditating and singing in a private, intimate and sacred space.
- This experience happened perhaps in 2003 or 2004. I did not take notes, so some parts of this story may be misremembered by me. If someone knows a more complete or perfect account of this story I would be extremely grateful if you would post it.
I remember Guru was talking about his recent concert tour in central Europe. He had given a concert in a certain country. Afterwards, there was a function just for disciples. Guru mentioned some ex-disciples had driven practically across Europe to see the Master, and they had approached one of his attendants, asking if they could possibly sit in on the function. Guru said that he had personally asked these people to leave the Centre; they did not choose to leave. The guard did not want to admit them, but they asked repeatedly and soulfully, so he finally approached Guru with their request. Guru said that since they had driven so many hours unconditionally that they should be allowed to just take prasad. He said they passed by him as they took the prasad, and he smiled at them.
Guru was touched by their devotion and love.
- I remember I was working with a talented chef at Oneness-Fountain-Heart who mentioned casually to one of Guru's attendants that he's like to create a cookbook. When the attendant mentioned this idea to Guru, Guru said,"Cooking is not in a book. Cooking is in the hand."
I like the fact that Guru could speak with perfect confidence and authority about any subject. In one of the Sri Chinmoy Answers books he gives a famous marathon runner very specific, concrete advice about running.
Cooking is in the hand. I suppose that means that to learn how to be a great cook, you have to watch the hands of a cook, see what he does, how his fingers touch and interact with the food.
How grateful I am to have a spiritual teacher who can answer any question!
- That is very interesting, Mahiruha. It is good to find in you someone who not only received the Master's wisdom-light first-hand but who also shares it with the rest of the world.
P.S. A belated happy, happy soulsday to you.
- In early 2000 I was taking a bus to work, some twenty miles outside of Philadelphia. I was reading one of Guru's "Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Tree" books. A woman happened to look over my shoulder, saw what I was reading and asked me if I had acquired that book in a "holy store".
I was not familiar with the term, so I asked her what that was. She said, "Where they sell Bibles and crosses and other things."
I said, "Yes!"
- Recollections on Sri Chinmoy
In January 2001, while Sri Chinmoy was still on his annual Christmas trip (maybe to Myanmar or Indonesia) he composed a beautiful song, called "Shuno Shuno Bishwa Basi" the words to which you can find here:
It's a song that's full of energy and joy. I sing it often.
When the Master returned from his Christmas trip a few weeks later, two groups of disciples, one group of men and another group of women, arranged and performed the song.
Usually the women far outshine the men singers in musicianship, but that night the men really outdid themselves. Sahishnu played the tabla, Premik played the flute and all of them sang with such enthusiasm and brio. The women, however, had better costumes. They dressed up like the Indian gods and goddesses. After both performances were over, and we all took prasad, one of the women singers happened to walk past Guru, still wearing her blue face paint.
"Who are you," Guru asked her, "Kali?"
The woman nodded, and Guru said, "To me, she is not blue. When I see Mother Kali, she is always golden."
Here are some more interesting remarks that Guru made about Mother Kali:
- I remember one time, in New York, around 1995, i was a relatively new disciple and I was thinking a lot about whether or not Guru really knew me. I often thought that Guru knew my every move, my every conversation, my every thought, but at that time I started wondering whether that was really true. Then, one evening, before a function, I walked into one of the doors to the auditorium at PS86. It was one of the doors farthest away from the stage and Guru was up on the stage facing a few disciples that were getting ready for the function. I think he had a microphone. As soon as I walked in, I heard Guru say, "Mark!", like he was really happy to see me. Then he said, "How are you? I was meditating on you." For a moment I was thinking, "Am I supposed to talk to Guru, even though I'm way back here?" At that time I had never talked to Guru outwardly before. Then I realized he was actually talking to another disciple named 'Mark' up front. He was talking to both of us at the same time. But one message had been for me and another message had been for the other disciple. It was so cute. I've been impacted by that ever since.
- Dear Mark,
Thank you so much for contributing to this thread. I really appreciate it.
I received personal birthday blessings from Guru maybe three or four times, but often I would have my most profound experiences when he was meditating on other people for their birthdays. His deep meditative consciousness was available for all, no matter who he was blessing or concentrating on at that moment.
Thank you again. I'm always really happy and grateful when new people join our forum.