Recollections on Sri Chinmoy: More advice from Guru
- In the message I just sent to the group I mentioned how Guru asked me not to study anymore, but to just get a job with a nice atmosphere. I followed Guru's recommendation and worked a variety of retail and marketing jobs until I eventually moved to New York and worked in one of the restaurants associated with the Centre for about seven years. In 2007, I decided to look for a position in a more academic field, perhaps as a librarian or researcher. I felt that more training, or graduate-level study, would probably be necessary to get that kind of position.
Shortly after Guru's birthday in 2007, I attended an open-house, an information session offered by the Queens public library about a special work-study program that would lead to a Master's degree in library science. It seemed like a good idea to me. I didn't mention it to Guru because I wanted to attend the seminar and get a good idea about the program first.
As it was the tail end of Celebrations there were still many visitors. So, from the seminar, I went straight home, got ready for the meditation and arrived at Aspiration-Ground just in time to take prasad.
I saw that Guru was in a very good mood, smiling and smiling at all the bright, aspiring visitors who had come to honor his birthday. But, when I passed by him, his smile vanished. I saw his expression turn into one of utmost unhappiness and yes, shocked despair.
I took the prasad and went home. Guru's very evident discomfort gave me pause. But, honestly, I had not liked the presenter at the open house...at all. Also, for some reason I couldn't put my finger on, the whole program struck me as somehow odd and wrong.
A few nights later, I had an interesting dream. I was by myself at Oneness-Fountain-Heart, the restaurant was empty and dim. The tables had all been cleared to one side of the room. Only a single solitary chair remained in the middle of the dining area. Then, quite unexpectedly, Guru walked in and sat down on the chair. He looked at me and then put his hand over his heart and said softly, "Study the inner library."
I found Guru's words really helpful. Guru always followed Thomas Jefferson's maxim to take things by the smooth handle, or to deal with people in the most polite and gracious way possible. He did not tell me not to get this further education towards a library science degree. He just told me to study the inner library. In other words, whether or not I want to listen to the Master on the outer plane, if I aspire, if I pray and meditate, then I will do the right thing at the right time. To study the inner library means to practise the spiritual life in all its many different aspects, including all the soulful activities to which Guru contributed so much: reading, praying, meditating, running, serving.
Again, Guru's hundreds and hundreds of books also make up the "inner library". By reading his books I can stay in his consciousness and acquire all the education I will ever really need to be spiritual on this earth. In his own gentle way, Guru is telling me that he is not prohibiting me from getting outer degrees, no. He is just saying that if I really aspire and really read his books with devotion, then I will know what to do in my outer life, and will be able to judge whether or not more formal education will accelerate my progress.
I have taken the path of doing simple, menial jobs that free me up to spend a lot of time in prayer and spiritual study. That's the path that works best for me, and I also feel that this is the conclusion that Guru was guiding me towards in his own humble, down-to-earth way.
The book of your heart's light
Is an excellent book.
Keep it always on your reading desk
To serve as your ever-ready reference book,
Especially when you enter into
The library of ignorance-night.
--From "Ten Thousand Flower-Flames" Part 76 by Sri Chinmoy