Recollections on Sri Chinmoy: Circus memories
- Twice a year the Centre holds a special circus. People put on many funny skits and dress in crazy costumes. One year, maybe 2000, a lot of the silly skits involved people singing and dancing. I noticed many of the singers and dancers were untalented, but I didn't think much of it. Anyway, my favorite part of the circus is the sideshow where you can buy lots of interesting old books and tapes. Akhanka from New Hampshire sells many wonderful books from her "Sun of the Heart" bookstore. For example, I have bought two or three books on Anandamayee Ma from her.
I did spend some time in the actual circus hall, and I saw that Guru was watching the acts with a bored, rather unhappy expression. The only act he obviously enjoyed was when a young man demonstrated his remarkable long jump ability, clearing two or three hurdles at a time. I think Guru also used to leap hurdles in his ashram days, so that gave him joy.
Anyway, the day after that particular circus, at the afternoon function, Guru just asked us to kindly not include dancing in our circus acts. He just said that it is very difficult to keep our consciousness at the highest level when we participate or observe dancing. He also wished for the acts to be less silly.
Then he said he would be happy to take questions. I remember one young man asked the Master if there was any way for us to make our dancing spiritual. I don't remember Guru's exact words, but I remember the tone and import of what he said well enough to summarize it pretty accurately. Guru just said that you may say that Lord Krishna danced and Sri Ramakrishna danced, so what is wrong with it. So, Guru continued, just become Krishna, become Ramakrishna, and then go ahead and dance. He said that if we take millions and billions of years, that will be needed for us to equal Krishna or Sri Ramakrishna in consciousness, then it will be fine for us to dance.
I am happy to say the following year's circus acts were much, much better. The French disciples did a wonderful marching routine in perfect formation to the tune of La Marseillaise. Guru obviously enjoyed it and stamped his feet to the music. The next day, after Guru gave out prasad at the afternoon function, a young German man said that, as he was watching the French march, a tear rolled down his cheek, and another one, and then before he knew it he was weeping openly. Guru asked him teasingly if he saw Napoleon.