Recollections on Sri Chinmoy: How Guru inaugurated a health food store
One of my friends, I will call her Wendy, owned and operated a bakery for many years on Union Turnpike. I went there many times and always felt that it was a uniquely beautiful and special spiritual place, and not just a bakery/café. Unfortunately, because of the bad economy, the bakery closed. Wendy had tremendous determination and with Guru's encouragement reorganized the bakery as a health food store. When she had finished redesigning and remodeling the business, Guru informed her that he wanted to personally inaugurate the store.
I had to work that day, but when I got off work, I biked to the health food store and got there just in time. There were at least a hundred disciples there, and maybe more. Guru looked so happy! He walked all around the building and went inside, smiling and smiling.
I don't remember what Guru said at the time, if anything. I just remember feeling that he was pouring his blessingful love and affection into this health food store.
Sri Chinmoy wrote in one of his "Service-Tree" poems:
Divine Enterprises exist
To awaken and serve
The aspiring mankind
In accordance with
The Supreme's Vision.
If you meditate, lead a vegetarian lifestyle, enjoy running and having long philosophical discussions, then you'll probably be drawn towards working in organic, vegetarian restaurants or health food stores. It's just common sense. I like working with people who share my values and interests. Also, our businesses fund our various outreach and social service programs like the World Harmony Run or the Oneness Heart Tears and Smiles humanitarian relief. So, of course Sri Chinmoy gave tremendous importance to these kinds of spiritual enterprises.
I got the feeling that this woman had done something really significant in showing that kind of indomitable spirit- I mean, losing one business, but then transforming it into something else and reopening.
I remember Guru said something funny at one point and everyone laughed. I also remember there were a couple of Chasidic families who were watching Guru with tremendous respect and affection. I come from that tradition, broadly speaking (I am Jewish and have studied some of the foundational Chasidic texts), so I can imagine that they saw Guru as a 'rebbe', a sincere holy man devoted to serving God in the world.
At the end of the program, Guru got in the car. I think he gave everyone prasad through the window. I took prasad and walked my bike to the corner. As Guru's car passed by, he flicked his fingers at me as if he was scattering dust in my direction. I don't know another way to explain this, but it was an extraordinary moment. It was as if Guru had some kind of "grab-bag" of spiritual delight, in powder form. He could give you anything in the twinkling of an eye.
Speaking of restaurants and health food stores, here’s a poem from the “Dance of Life” that is drolly amusing but deeply inspiring:
When my weary night
Struggles into day,
God and I
In the garden of Love-Light.
When my fiery day
Slips into night,
The King of Death
In the Kitchen
- Sri Chinmoy
Your story is a true reminder of how far and how hard a spiritual seeker must go in order to transcend the ordinary circumstances of life.
All your postings give me much joy and inspiration