Recollections on Sri Chinmoy: Dr. Cher
- When I moved to New York in 2000, I met a kind, self-effacing Chinese doctor named Dr. Cher. He told me that his name was not actually Dr. Cher, but that Americans were manifestly incapable of pronouncing his actual name, so Dr. Cher would have to do.
He was a very simple man with a big smile and a big heart. He lived close to Annam Brahma and would often treat disciples for little or no money. He was an herbalist.
One night, when Guru and most of the disciples were away during our annual Christmas Trip holiday, I was surprised to see Dr. Cher at our Annam Brahma meditation. He told me he had become a disciple. He would keep his hands folded during virtually the entire meeting.
Alas, a few months later he himself got very sick and had to go to the hospital. By that time Guru had returned from abroad. Guru was very concerned for his health and sent Databir and other disciples to care for him around the clock. In spite of our best efforts and Guru's good will, Dr. Cher died.
I remember the memorial service for him that we held at Aspiration Ground. It must have been in March or April of 2001. I have rarely ever seen Guru so upset. He said that he had asked the doctors to give him a certain treatment, which is just standard procedure for the condition that Dr. Cher had. But the doctors wouldn't do it. They told him it was too late and there would be no point. Guru said, very sadly, that in India the doctors listen to him, but in America the doctors do not listen to him. Perhaps doctors in India have more awareness of who Guru is as a spiritual Master.
Guru said that the morning after Dr. Cher died, that he asked Vinaya to drive him all the way up Main Street to Bayside, so that he could do his morning walk and exercises. He said that he saw so many Chinese people. He said that he saw two old Chinese men walking together, only one was walking in the regular manner, while the other one was walking backwards. They were talking, he commented, in their "pok-pok" language and laughing. At that time, in 2001, Guru had been suffering from many physical ailments- lingering sickness and also really painful knee problems. An old Chinese woman saw Guru walking so pitifully and said to him, "You are not well, you are not well."
Guru said to her that she was right, that he was not feeling well at all. The woman was carrying a stick, maybe a walking stick, and she held it up and pointed it at Guru and said, "I am giving you energy! I give you energy!"
Guru said that the woman was trying to help him, but that he felt much worse after she gave him that energy infusion.
He commented that it was Dr. Cher's soul that was bringing so many Chinese people to him, that was showing him the sweetness of the Chinese people.
Then Guru recited a poem he wrote for Dr. Cher. He said that, like us, he could not pronounce his real name properly. But he preferred to call him Dr. Choo.
The poem goes something like this. (It is from memory and totally unofficial)
Dr. Choo, Dr. Choo, Dr. Choo
Who are you? Who are you? Who are you?
"I was your friend
I became your admirer
I became your adorer
I became your disciple
I am ignorance-destruction-rifle."
Guru was so grateful to his friends like Dr. Cher who helped him and who helped his spiritual children. Guru never forgot the people who loved him and helped him.