Sri Chinmoy early 1970s
In one glance
How much your Master can give you
Will always remain
Far beyond your imagination. 1
- Sri Chinmoy
by Prachar Stegemann, Canberra, Australia
Time is not a continuum. Or if it is, at least our experience of it is not.
Our experience is all about moments. Consciousness does not follow a straight line, but like an oscilloscope records peaks and troughs. When surveying the landscape of our experiences, it is the peaks that stand out, pinnacle moments which define the beauty, height, breadth and perspective of our awareness.
Sri Chinmoy is continually leading each of his students towards higher and higher pinnacle moments. Through each such moment our consciousness is elevated, the sweep of our horizons expanded, and our field of vision and understanding broadened and deepened. We are transformed.
These moments, these glimpses into the beyond can come at any time, in any form. They may come in a dream, they may appear during meditation, they may arise as a culmination of months or years of training or focusing on a particular goal. They may come when we are fully prepared and crying for such a moment, or they may arrive seemingly out of the blue.
There is a famous story about Vivekananda, who in his days of seeking for a Master would go from one teacher to another with but one question: "Have you seen God?" As far as he was concerned, there was only one goal in life worth pursuing, God-realisation, and he was only going to reach that goal through the guidance of someone who could not only talk about God, but who could see and converse with God. He didn't want to hear about the mango, he wanted to devour the mango. Apparently the elder Tagore told him: "No, I have not seen God, but I clearly see in your eyes that you shall definitely see God in this lifetime."
He was right. Vivekananda found Ramakrishna, and in and through him found God.
Like so many others, I was drawn to Sri Chinmoy only because he has seen God, and having seen God, is able to bring God to life for those around him. When I first went to see Sri Chinmoy in New York, what struck me more than anything was the absolute authenticity of his meditation, the powerful, palpable and apodictic communion with God as the Absolute Reality not only above and beyond us but also right here inside our hearts. He made the Absolute intimate, and the intimate absolute.
It is a life-transforming experience to see and feel someone immersed in the highest transcendental Bliss, to feel a supra-cosmic power emanating from his meditation, to find oneself floating in light and swimming in peace just by leaning a little inwardly towards his presence. It is literally mind-boggling.
Here one might imagine oneself to be an objective observer, witnessing the intimacy of a divinely intoxicated lover for a God who is above and beyond us. Yet the most powerful moment is when Sri Chinmoy directs his God-vision directly onto and within YOU.
You have seen the extraordinary, otherworldly bliss on his face as he sees and communes with God, and now you see that same untrammeled ecstasy radiating from his entire being as he looks - at you! In this moment if you can cast aside all feelings of ego, and especially your countless shortcomings and failings, there is only one reality left, the reality that you are God, that you are part and parcel of the same all-pervasive Reality that Sri Chinmoy sees as his highest Beloved Supreme.
You and God are one. This is not talk. This is reality. This is it.
Sri Chinmoy sees us as God the whole time, but mostly we are not conscious of it, especially when we are in the midst of a large group of people. Yet from time to time he either compels us to remember, or we ourselves just happily and gratefully realise it...
Early in 2002 we were staying with Sri Chinmoy at a holiday venue near Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia. The place occupied its own peninsula, with extensive grounds including a golf course and several kilometres of private roads leading out to the main highway and to small boat harbour. Each day Sri Chinmoy would take a golf cart for long "meditation-drives" by himself, initially just around the compound and golf course, but later further afield along these other roads.
One afternoon I was out running alone, heading towards the boat harbour maybe 3 or 4 kilometres from the hotel. I saw in the distance Sri Chinmoy driving his golf buggy towards me, on the other side of the road. I was naturally thrilled, but kept to myself as I saw and felt immediately that he was in a very, very high meditation-trance.
He had neither hand on the steering wheel. Both hands were clasped in front of his heart. His open, light-flooded, gleaming eyes were transfixed seemingly upward and ahead and certainly not on a point in this world. His whole countenance breathed ecstasy.
Just at the moment as we were about to cross and I would cast my eyes downward to breathe a moment's gratitude for witnessing this blissful scene, Sri Chinmoy suddenly yet serenely cast his glance upon me, his whole face and eyes lighting up in a glowing smile while simultaneously raising his whole right arm in joyous greeting.
I rode a tidal wave of bliss, as in one instant I found myself not only included, but an integral player in a cosmic life-game beyond time, form and space. I was not separate from the supreme Reality through which Sri Chinmoy's trance flowed. Nor it from me. Nor can it ever be.
I continued running...
When first we met
He smiled at me –
Far beyond imagination.
Who could anticipate
Such a priceless, unhorizoned, cosmic
For wasn't I a stranger?
- Mukti (Ottawa)
Mukti became a student of Sri Chinmoy in 1967. This photo shows her with her daughter Vilupti and granddaughter Chidroopa - all students of Sri Chinmoy.
I Needed It, And He Gave It.
by Nayak Polissar, Seattle, USA
A few days ago I was in Australia at one of our last meetings with Sri Chinmoy on the Christmas trip. The meeting drew to a close, and, as is our custom, the entire audience rose as Sri Chinmoy got up to leave. We stand up because of our tremendous respect for him. If a court stands up for the judge and the multitude stands up for the King, then we are moved to stand up for someone who means infinitely more to us than any of those noble people. But this story is not about standing up, it is about a glance.
We never tire of our teacher's presence, and even after being with him for hours, many of his students will follow him at a respectful distance as he leaves the hall to get into the car waiting for him. Many of us will line the hall as he leaves, and he affectionately and indulgently smiles at many as he leaves. That smile is amazing and a great boost. It is nectar.
This particular day, I felt the need of that extra smile, and as Sri Chinmoy rose to leave the meeting, I went out in the hallway and waited among others for him to pass. I don't always do this, because sometimes I feel so spiritually full from the proceedings that it feels downright greedy to run out for more. But this time, I really wanted it. The trip was drawing to a close, I had been battling myself for days, and I was in need. I stood in the hall in a spot that he couldn't miss. You may call this manipulative, but one can never manipulate a great spiritual Master like Sri Chinmoy. If he wants to look, if the need is there, he will look, and if there is no need, or if there is an undivine demand for a look, he may not look. Actually, forget any reasoning about this—the whole process of relating to a spiritual master is not logical or predictable.
Sri Chinmoy came walking along and gave me a glance, and I soared. But there was some doubtful part of me that said, "he may be looking just because I am asking, not because he wants to," or something like that. Who cares what, but it was a ridiculous doubt, though real to me. Just then, he looked back and gave me a second deep glance, which dispelled any doubt that he wanted to give me something. I needed it and he gave it. I can not put into any words the feeling of inspiration that this second glance gave to me, but I re-lived it for days afterward. For me, it was the last glance of the trip, the look that would enable me to go back and face home, work, myself, the loss of his physical presence, the challenge of being alive and trying to progress in a difficult world.
There were other meetings and high spiritual events in the two or three days that followed, but this one glance filled a special need. If you have never been in a great spiritual presence, perhaps these words can convey to you how meaningful each moment with a spiritual master can be.
- 1. Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 255, Agni Press, 1998.