We Know How to Serve
by Sanjay Rawal, New York, USA
Last weekend, one of Sri Chinmoy's friends was in a city very near to one which has a large meditation center. A few of Sri Chinmoy's students took him and his family to the airport for their morning flight. After affectionate goodbyes, they departed.
Nearly ten hours later I received a call from them that their plane still had not left and after hours of waiting, they were finally informed that the flight would ultimately be cancelled and postponed to a later date, as yet unknown! Sri Chinmoy's friend was asking very sweetly - but with a sense of urgency beset by sheer exhaustion - if there were any chance that a student of Sri Chinmoy could drive him home.
I gulped and hesistated knowing that his home was hours upon hours away by car. Without displaying my anxiety I asked him if I could call him back. I did not know what to do and finally decided to see if I could send a message to Sri Chinmoy.
To my surprise, Sri Chinmoy called me and asked the details. A normal person (like me!!) would have felt that this kind of request was out of the bounds of friendship and that to ask such a thing would be a tremendous imposition and burden. Naturally, I was reacting with my mind.
When I had explained the full situation to Sri Chinmoy, without batting an eyelid, Sri Chinmoy suggested two students to rent a van and drive the long long distance to the friend's home. Sri Chinmoy went even further and added that the students should not ask money of the friend, but should send the bill to Sri Chinmoy!
The two students accepted Sri Chinmoy's request very enthusiastically and fetched the friend and his family and drove them well through the night to their homes. The friend called me immediately upon arrival to express his boundless gratitude to Sri Chinmoy for the amazing amazing service in a time of sincere need.
The next night Sri Chinmoy asked me what had happened. When I told him how pleased his friend was and how much he loved the two students, Sri Chinmoy smiled very powerfully and proudly and exclaimed, "See! We know how to serve. We know how to serve!"
by Nayak Polissar, Seattle, USA
Sri Chinmoy loves to play flute. And, his playing is very beautiful, very transporting, very intense in a most sublime way. He has received as gifts some very nice flutes. He treasures his flutes. At one of our celebrations, he was sitting with us listening to one of his students play flute - a performance of several minutes. This young woman played very beautifully, very, very beautifully. You could not sit there without feeling something special from it. It was just remarkable.
Sri Chinmoy had his own flute by his side. At the end of her performance, there was tremendous applause, and then a few moments of silence, as we waited to see how Sri Chinmoy would respond to this superb performance.
What did he do? He picked up his flute and handed it to this young lady. If you know how much Sri Chinmoy loves music and loves his instruments, and if you know that he plays flute among his top instruments at every single concert, and if you know that this was his favorite flute at that moment, then you know what a beautiful gesture this was.
Emotion welled up within all of us at this great gift to a gifted performer and to all of us.
* * *
Some 10 or more years ago, Mridul, the veterinarian, was caring for Sri Chinmoy's cute little dog, who was extremely sick. In fact, Mridul phoned Sri Chinmoy at one point and told him that his dog was "gone". The Master said, no, no, that can't be and was greatly distressed, for this is the little dog that would come upstairs to sleep with him and who was his "master" with lonely dog cries if he was left downstairs. So, Sri Chinmoy would not believe that the dog was gone. Then Mridul phoned back just a little while later that the dog was not gone. Great relief.
After a time, who arrives at the vet Mridul's place but Sri Chinmoy, who was concerned and concerned about his dog. This was a remarkable visit, because the Master was on the verge of flying off to see a very, very important person, but he squeezed in this visit because of his fondness for the dog.
by Arpan DeAngelo, New York
To continue some inspiring stories about Sri Chinmoy's pioneering events of the 70's, I wish to tell a personal experience from July 13, 1977. During that month Sri Chinmoy was creating and offering extremely inspiring and elevating talks which were mostly extemporaneous, called 'Everest-Aspiration', as many of you well know.
There were six talks given the evening of July 13, 1977 1 at Yoga-Life Perfection, an enterprise where I worked as a yoga teacher.
It was a hot summer night and the studio was a large loft on the second floor of a big building on the East side around 35th St. There were only about 30 people invited which made the room full enough for an intimate function which included some plays and songs. But the crowning event was Sri Chinmoy reading the latest Everest-Aspiration talks that he had just created during the day and on his way to Manhattan.
It was around 9:30p.m. when Sri Chinmoy started soulfully reading out the talks. In the past he had many times extemporaneously created them as he recited them in a very high trance-like consciousness. He seemed to enjoy reading them that night while still maintaining a very high state of consciousness. We were all very inspired and excited because some of them were about Yoga, Perfection and Intuition.
I also noticed something a bit peculiar. Sri Chinmoy had a battery powered portable flashlight with a little fan on the other end of it which I never had seen him with before. For some reason I noticed that he had it with him the whole time since he had walked into the studio. During one of the talks, around 9:40 or so, the lights all of a sudden went out along with the air conditioner which was on as there were no open windows to speak of. Immediately Sri Chinmoy turned on his trusty little flashlight and fan almost as if he had known there would be a power failure. He just kept on reading his talks, unphased by the sudden event which turned out to be the biggest blackout in New York history. Some of the guys scrambled to see if the breakers had tripped in the building and I went to open a window for some air. When I looked out the window, I noticed that there were no lights anywhere in New York City. Realizing that we would not get any lights or air conditioner back, some of the boys starting fanning our Teacher with prasad trays. I think Adhiratha was doing it with me, if he can recall it.
I was both amused and worried that Sri Chinmoy would be too hot or uncomfortable to finish the talks. But he did finish with the incredible "If you have, then come to me" talk. When you read that poem or talk, just try to visualise Sri Chinmoy seated in a hot, dark second floor loft in the middle of Manhattan at the start of a very serious blackout sitting with his trusty penlight-fan and being cooled by plastic food trays while still maintaining an incredibly high and soulful consciousness as he was creating another Immortal Everest-Aspiration gem.
Soon after the last talk and a short meditation, some of his students escorted him down the stairwell with flashlights as the elevator was not working either. I believe that most of the students from Jamaica, Queens had come in a yellow school bus they used back then. I stayed in Manhattan since the subways were not operating and I had to go to work the next day close by.
Walking to work from a friend's apartment in Manhattan was an eerie but peaceful feeling. There were no traffic lights, so traffic was quite slow and was being directed by police and volunteers. Everywhere there seemed to be a feeling of oneness, of sharing a common serious problem which required people cooperating with a sense of oneness.
Of course there were exceptions to this golden rule, but in general it seemed as if a great Spiritual Master had left an impression on the City that night with his soul stirring talks about oneness, perfection and intuition, which he so clearly demonstrated with his own actions and words.
One more thing which most people may not know. Notice the dates of the talks which started on July 1 and ended on July 20th. Sri Chinmoy's wish was to give 100 talks and, I believe, 100 esraj concerts in the month of July, a seemingly impossible task. But the impossible once again surrendered to this Great Master as it only took twenty days, and not the whole 31 days of July, to give the talks.
Everything is for the Best
by Sudhira Hay
Actually, a few years ago Sri Chinmoy wished a singing group that I am in to perform a couple of songs at on of his public concerts. He informed the group of this when the leader happened to be absent, and due to forgetfulness or just plain lack of thought, the leader was not informed until 5 minutes before the concert. We performed ok, but the leader was understandably perturbed that she had had no notice and had not had a chance to practise with us. Somehow the story got to Sri Chinmoy, whose reply was, (and I paraphrase) "these things happen. and when they do, you just have to tell yourself: (following are the actual words) "Life is like that. Everything is for the best."
Faith, Faith, Faith!
by Shobhavati Davies, Christchurch, New Zealand
When Sri Chinmoy came to our Centre in December 2002 he told stories about the importance of faith in our lives. I was having a particularly hard time with intense headaches which had been going on constantly for almost a year. I decided that I could not handle this experience anymore and that something had to change, my patience was thin and I could feel my consciousness plummeting. That fateful day Guru told cute stories about his childhood and experiences such as his father having the capacity to cure headaches with a stick. These are a couple of excerpts from the conclusion of the talk (unofficial):
"Faith, faith, faith! If you have faith you can do anything, climb up the mountain. Impossibility remains a dictionary word if you have faith in your teacher, in yourself or in any individual.
The spiritual life means the constant increase of faith in God, in the teacher and in ourselves. Then faith itself is the miracle of miracles."
As Sri Chinmoy was talking I felt heaviness depart from my head and a new lightness ascend. Although I still often have headaches they are not nearly as bad, and my whole attitude has transformed towards a more positive stance.
So many Souls
by Projjwal Pohland
March 24, 1984 - the date of Sri Chinmoy's first large Peace Concert in Cologne, Germany - was a remarkable day that will always be remembered by all the German students – especially by those who were fortunate enough to have been there.
It was remarkable because it was the first concert where 8,000 music lovers (in those days an unbelievable number) joined together for a beautiful and powerful performance of Maestro Sri Chinmoy. If I remember correctly, the biggest concert up to then had just over 1,000 people. So you can imagine the excitement and delight that we had on that day.
It all started about 8 months before, when Sri Chinmoy expressed his wish to give a concert in Germany that would transcend the number of 1,000. The German meditation centres as well as the ones in Switzerland, Austria, Italy and other European nations accepted that as a challenge, and started full of enthusiasm, eagerness and dynamism. A few months before the concert there were already a few thousand reservations, and the expected number of people was raised to 3,000 – an unbelievable number in those days. Still a few months later, the number was raised again to 7,000 – something so "grand" that our minds could not believe what happened!
I clearly remember a few delightful moments from the day itself:
A few hours before the start of the concert, everybody (including Sri Chinmoy) was so excited about the event! There had been tens of thousands of tickets distributed to people all over Germany and even neighbouring countries. We has no idea how many people would actually show up, and no basis in experience to guess. So a few hours before, we all drove to the concert hall and we could not believe our eyes. There were literally hundreds of cars and dozens of buses driving into the huge parking lots and slowly filling them up. Countless people with bags and blankets started to walk to the hall – almost like a pilgrimage. All these people actually came to see Sri Chinmoy in concert – Guru was so happy!!!
About 15 minutes before the start of the concert, the hall was full up to the last seat – over 8,000 people had come! I was fortunate enough to spend the last moments before the start with Sri Chinmoy, and I will never forget how he peeked through the curtain backstage into the audience and just said: "So many souls, so many souls have come!"