Further Recollections on Sri Chinmoy: Stretching and TV
Guru usually did not sleep much, as we know. He would take usually between two to three hours of sleep each night, and would be up by two or three. He would begin his day by singing the Invocation, accompanying himself on the synthesizer, and then he would meditate for a couple of hours. Then, he would start his stretching. He did his stretching before his daily weight training. But he stretched seriously and I think it took him at least half an hour or maybe more.
In the early months of 2001 he told us that he used to watch the news when he would stretch. But then he found current events too depressing, so he decided to watch the Christian Channel instead. One day, he was doing his stretching exercises while watching this dial-a-minister call-in show, where people would call a pastor with their personal and theological quandaries. One man called the minister and told him about a special experience he had had with alcohol. He said that he had always been a lifelong alcoholic, from his early teenage years. One night, he drank himself into an absolute stupor, and passed out. In his dream, he saw that he had descended into hell and was being beaten and attacked by terrible demonic forces. After some time, the demons told him that if he would join them, if he would just surrender his immortal soul to them, then they would stop beating him. At that moment, just as he was about to make his offer and stop the torture, he saw Jesus Christ appear before him in a column of light. Christ lifted him out of hell and told him to never drink again. And since that day, he has never touched alcohol. Jesus saved him.
The minister was silent for a few minutes, after the man had related his story. Then he asked quietly, where in the Bible could a similar narrative be found. The man, the caller, did not know if the Bible told of a similar incident. The minister said, “Aha! Your story has no parallel in scripture, and therefore your experience cannot be true!”
Guru was absolutely horrified! Here this man had this experience with Jesus Christ, that produced a concrete, positive change in his life (he stopped drinking), and here this minister is dismissing it out of hand because there’s no parallel for it in the Bible!
Poor Guru! I don’t know if he ever found a television station that he could watch while doing his early morning exercises.
Finally, and not to quibble with the good minister, I would suggest that he consult the book of Jonah, where God hears the prophet at his time of helpless and surrendered need. He might also benefit by reading Psalm 130 “Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee O God”. Also, Christ dined at the house of a leper in the Gospel of Matthew, so it’s absolutely not beyond reason that he would help an alcoholic who was receptive to his grace.
Here’s a poem from Guru’s “Pole-Star Promise Light” songbook that I especially like:
I know, I am a speck of dust.
Yet the Mother of the Universe
Eternally stays with me.
She is my eternal Companion.
She is my only Consolation.
On the one hand, I am the poorest of all.
On the other hand, I am the child of light
Of the Mother of the Universe.
May I remain unperturbed
In all happiness and sorrows.