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His Love is always there
It was during Celebrations. I don’t remember how old I was, maybe in my early twenties. I remember being very insecure and feeling that Guru outwardly didn’t give me enough attention and felt a little bit like Guru loved other people more than me because he didn’t talk to me. I felt insecure and down and a little bit unloved or not loved enough. Guru loves everyone else more than me, that is how I felt. I remember it went on for quite a few days. My mind was very strong. I was really down for a few days.
One day out of the blue, Guru calls me up and without really saying anything gives me a little gift bag. And we have a photo of it. It’s a blue gift bag, that’s right. In the gift bag was a little stuffed animal or something. But the most precious thing was that Guru wrote on the gift bag, it’s very faint, He wrote, “My dearest Aruna,” and then is the printed “I love you,” and then underneath Guru writes, “Guru.”
Every time I look at the picture, it says: ‘I love you!
Before Dodula became a disciple of Sri Chinmoy, she was Sister Elda, a Catholic nun. When she started meditating according to Sri Chinmoy's teachings, she was working at a school for children with learning and behavior problems, running the therapy station for the most troubled children.
With the meditation practice everything became more meaningful, deeper, vaster. I was able to understand Christ’s message better than before and I could feel the essence. And I got so much strength and joy.
I did not say anything about my meditation practice but these sensitive children immediately felt something in me. They behaved in a different manner – even the most difficult child. Not only children felt the peaceful help. Many friends, the President, the Director, the Principal of the school, teachers and other staff came to me for consolation and advice.
John was only seven years old when he came to the children’s home. When he had to go to a public school, he disturbed the whole class. Finally he was sent for special education to us. His mother, who was about six feet tall, told me it was like hell at home. John treated her worse than a dog. He ordered her about and did not obey her and his father. In the beginning he tried the same behavior with us and he was not able to follow the teacher’s instruction. That was why he needed special therapy and was sent to me.
I have always liked music, but, alas! I could not sing. I was told to just move my lips at my junior high graduation choral performance, and I followed that advice ever after. After I became Sri Chinmoy’s full-time disciple, I discovered that music was very important on his spiritual path. Sri Chinmoy himself was an excellent singer, and composed thousands of spiritual songs. They were really beautiful, and I loved to listen to them, and, very gradually, I tried to learn a few. My success was limited.
But on Father’s Day, in the year 2002, I was attending a meditation meeting with Sri Chinmoy and about 200 of his students, and all of a sudden, Sri Chinmoy spoke to me over his microphone.
He said, “Bhadra, you're not in a singing group?”
I said, “No, Guru.”
Sri Chinmoy said, “Why not?”
I said, “I’m just learning to sing.”
Sri Chinmoy said, “You’re a scientist. Scientists can’t sing? There are so many singing groups; you should be in one of them.”
I thought to myself, “Yes, Guru, but what singing group would have me?”
Into the mike, Sri Chinmoy said, “You should be in Chandika’s group.”
I was taking a short course in meditation led by two of Sri Chinmoy’s students. I was not looking for a spiritual Teacher; I had no idea what a spiritual Teacher was. I was an atheist, a Ph.D. in Sociology, and a researcher. I was skeptical when I heard about others’ spiritual experiences. I was interested in meditation only because I thought it might help my anxiety.
After a few classes, my teachers invited me to a meditation led by Sri Chinmoy. I was curious, and went to two uneventful sessions, and then came to the third. I was in an ordinary state of mind when I arrived. Sri Chinmoy came onto the stage of the Public School auditorium. He began to meditate, and then, all around his entire body, and stretching out from his body in all directions, I saw, with my human eyes, a beautiful golden light.
Sri Chinmoy often would begin events with silent meditation
I was entranced and entered a state of silent bliss. It seemed like I was in the middle of an ocean of love. I was fortunate that I trusted my own experience of that night. I went on to become a full-time student of the one man I’ve ever met who was the perfect embodiment of goodness.
One day, around 5:30 in the morning, Sri Chinmoy called and said, “O my God! What is happening with Nayak?” Nayak is a fellow student of Sri Chinmoy, and is the leader of the Seattle Sri Chinmoy Centre along with his wife Nandita.
I said,“What is happening, Guru?”
He said, “He is in the hospital. Call and find out what is happening. Something very, very serious — he is very seriously ill.”
I called Nandita, and she had just brought Nayak to the emergency room. I called Nayak, and he sounded very weak. He was waiting to be seen. When I told Sri Chinmoy, he asked if I would please go quickly to the hospital. When I saw Nayak, his EKG showed that a very serious myocardial infarction, a heart attack, was actually in progress. The whole left side of his heart was blocked. Nayak looked so ashen — he looked very bad. He was very emotional, and the situation was extremely difficult.
Sri Chinmoy had said to call him as soon as we had any news. So I called and Sri Chinmoy said,“Please tell Nayak I am putting a very, very, very strong force on him. And call me in fifteen minutes.”
Since Sri Chinmoy’s passing in 2007, more than 40 statues of his likeness have been placed in major cities and remote natural settings around the world.
Many people, especially children, seem to feel a living presence in the statues. Adults have reported feeling inner guidance for a decision or consolation in their grief. A few of their stories follow, as reported by members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre worldwide — just a few glimpses into a spiritual Master’s love and concern that continue long after his earthly life.
A young lady often came to offer owers at the statue in Vienna. She had lost a child and was inconsolable in her grief. Once when she casually stopped at the statue for a while, she had an unusual experience that changed her life: suddenly she could make an inner connection with her child’s soul and speak with her. She said that this experience happened repeatedly, but only at the statue.
One evening in Seattle, a young girl taking a stroll with her father came very close to the statue, exclaiming,“Daddy, Daddy, he is alive! He is alive!” Her father said,“Dear, it is only a statue.” She came even closer and grasped the torch, then repeated, “No, Daddy! I can see he is alive!”
A sweet Indian boy about three or four years old came to Sri Chinmoy’s statue in Seattle with his father. He gave the statue a big hug, exclaiming “Grampa! Grampa! Grampa!” with boundless joy. We asked him if he would like to give Sri Chinmoy a flower and he was jumping with eagerness. The boy was so happy. Then his father said with a big smile on his face, “We come here every day. Rahul calls Sri Chinmoy ‘Grampa’.”
Sometime in the late 1990s I sat in a hotel room in Atitlan, Guatemala, feeling incredibly depressed. Every year around Christmas and the New Year, Guru would travel to different countries for all of us to share and learn from inspiring people all over the world. Several hundred of Sri Chinmoy’s students would stay at the same one or two hotels and we had many functions, plus a lot of time for sports.
Playing soccer earlier that morning, I had felt depressed. Eating breakfast—depressed. A mid-morning nap, avoiding everyone—depressed! In our hotel function room I sat at the back, avoiding Guru’s scrutiny and the banter of friends. Guru had a bag of sweets in his lap and was tossing them out, like a playful father.
Suddenly he stopped, glared at me with a fierce concentration, then began hurling wrapped sweets at me with incredible velocity. I felt a jolt inside and sat bolt upright. The sweets were whizzing by me, a barrage, bouncing off the seating and ricocheting away like hurtling bullets. I couldn’t believe it! Relentless, Guru threw one after another, firing away, a wild fusillade of candies.
Then I caught one and Guru stopped. I held it in my hand and started laughing—Guru started laughing too. Suddenly my depression went away. It was quite extraordinary. He had known how I felt and banished this force from my mind in such a remarkable way. After that I felt happy and grateful to be on the trip and didn’t allow depression back to rule my mind.
The first time I saw Guru in person was when I became a disciple in San Francisco, but the very first time I got to see him quite closely was in 1975. I was a medical student, learning to become a doctor. I was also doing research, and my advisor paid for me to go to a conference in Iceland which Guru was also attending. This was a conference on what was called “transpersonal psychology” and Guru had been invited to offer the opening meditation for the hundreds of participants.
It was a very small conference, and at lunchtime we all went to eat. Guru was there, and I happened to be sitting right across from him. I was so overwhelmed I felt as though I almost couldn’t breathe. My heart was full of joy and awe. Whenever you were close to Guru, his physical presence was so incredible, along with the spiritual aspect of being with your Master. He had so much life energy you could feel it emanating from him.
There was a cuckoo clock in the lunchroom, which would say “Cuckoo!” for the number of hours on the clock. We were eating at 12:00 noon, so the cuckoo clock went off twelve times while we sat there. I was amazed because instead of saying “Cuckoo!” the clock seemed to be saying “Guru!” twelve times. I was absolutely stunned.
I realized later that the clock was probably saying “Cuckoo,” but Guru’s presence was so strong that I heard the clock say “Guru” instead. No matter what it actually said, being so close to Guru for the very first time that day was a hugely significant experience for me as a young disciple. I treasure those moments to this day.
We came into the world,
Not only to eat material food,
But also to feed our heart
With our aspiration-meal.
Many, many years ago I was visiting a restaurant owned by Sri Chinmoy's students in San Francisco along with Sri Chinmoy. When Sri Chinmoy was leaving the restaurant, I was standing next to a young woman. Guru walked past the both of us, suddenly stopped, and seemingly without any outer beckoning came back and faced the young woman with eyes closed. Because I was right there, I could not help but be privy to his words, which went something like this:
"You are having trouble reconciling my life and the life of the Christ. Think of it this way. Think that the Christ is the boss, but he is in heaven. You can think of me as his secretary. My job is to screen people in preparation for meeting the boss!" (Remember, this is my memory...but it's close.)
Then Sri Chinmoy went on. "But I tell you, if you cry in your heart for the Christ...when you find him in your heart, there also you will find me. Or if you cry for me in your heart, when you find me, there also you will find the Christ."
Now, as regards a personal experience...I was raised in the Jewish faith. I had no connection with the Christ as a child. But as soon as I became Sri Chinmoy's student, it awakened in me a powerful and intimate association with the Christ, for which I am grateful.
One of my dearest friends, Sunil, prayed to the Christ for a master in the physical. When he saw Guru for the first time, he immediately felt that the Christ had made this possible, and that it was an answer to his prayers.
In 1985, I became the first student of Sri Chinmoy to swim the English Channel. It was a very, very special experience. As I was told later, Guru was sitting at home, meditating for most of the time on my swim, always trying to get information on how I was doing.
I was blessed with an extremely easy swim. When I stepped into the Channel water at Shakespeare Beach at 7 a.m., I was full of confidence that I would make it. After six hours into the swim, when I could see both coasts, I had the firm conviction that on the inner plane, it was already done—it just had to be executed outwardly. I felt carried by a wave of inner joy and bliss most of the time.
After ten hours, the cross-current set in and it was slowly getting dark. Previously I could not imagine swimming in the dark. I would never have dared to get into pitchblack, unknown water at night. Now, with the gradual transition into night, I felt extremely comfortable. I enjoyed the star-strewn sky above me each time I took a breath. And when I looked down into the black water—where earlier I had enjoyed watching the dance of the rays of sunlight—I started to see bright light once again. In the midst of the darkness, Guru's face - his transcendental photograph that we use in our meditations - appeared.
Because of the unpredictable, strong cross-current, I had to swim for five hours more, but it did not matter to me. For those hours, I was swimming into the light of the Transcendental, into Guru's infinite consciousness of light and delight, which was right in front of me like an ever-transcending goal.