by Kritartha Brada
Prague, Czech Republic
I saw Sri Chinmoy for the very first time in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, on November 22nd, 1993. As I remember, I had been attending meditation classes for one month along with my friends. So we together decided to travel from Prague, Czech Republic, to Bratislava and see Sri Chinmoy at a Peace Concert. We had never attended such an event before, so we were eager for this new experience. The concert was called 'A Festival of Inner Peace', which sounded very attractive and mysterious to us. We were seated in a huge basketball hall, which held 5,000 people, and felt drowned in the sea of this large audience. When Sri Chinmoy came out on the stage and meditated in silence with folded hands, I was all admiration for his humility and inner power, which filled the entire hall with a sparkling atmosphere and a peaceful silence.
As the concert was coming to an end, Sri Chinmoy started to play a big Chinese gong, which was, for me, the beginning of an incredible three-stage experience. With each mighty stroke of the gong, I felt like somebody was striking me very hard. It was as if I had armour all around my body, and with each stroke of the gong somebody was breaking in to my inner self through the iron shell of my own ignorance. It went on like this during the whole time of the gong performance. Towards the end, I felt the hammering had succeeded in making an opening in the centre of my chest.
But it did not end there. The second stage was cleaning. The feeling was as if someone had taken a vacuum cleaner and was sucking out the dirt accumulated within. The third and final stage of that day was the as yet unknown feeling of tearful gratitude. After the cleaning, I felt much lighter and somehow freed from a heavy load of ignorance and impurity. This was replaced by a glimpse of vastness and liberation in my consciousness. At this moment I felt that Sri Chinmoy accepted my ignorance with the promise to transform and illumine my life one day. It was the beginning of my spiritual journey to the Light of the Beyond.
The next day after the concert, there was a function in the evening only for Sri Chinmoy’s disciples. I was not a disciple at that time, but after my experience the previous evening, I wanted to attend the meeting with Sri Chinmoy. I still had my long hair, which was quite an obstacle to getting in to the function, because it was a clear sign that I was not a disciple. So I decided to hide my long hair in a ponytail, hoping this would protect me from unwanted questions – and it served its purpose. When I was in the function hall, I sat at the back, hiding myself, trying not to draw any attention and just waiting to see what was going to happen.
I was astonished to see Sri Chinmoy coming up on stage in running shoes, a tracksuit and a winter jacket! He sat in his armchair, with his legs stretched out, and started looking around, while also drawing something on a piece of paper. I had no idea what was going on. I found it quite amusing and very interesting at the same time. At one moment, as I was gazing in amazement at Sri Chinmoy on stage, he looked up towards where I was seated, with his index finger on his lips. My first feeling was: "Uh-oh, he sees that I am a stranger here, that I do not belong to the group of his disciples." I started to feel a bit uneasy and thought: "He will probably call someone to take me away." The feeling of insecurity and embarrassment was growing stronger, so I decided to pretend that I did not care who he was looking at, and I turned my head to the right and to the left as if I was not interested to know what was happening. At one point I became a victim of curiosity again and I wanted to see if he was still looking in my direction. He still was! I accepted the challenge, mustered my courage and said to myself: "Fine, I will keep looking at him as well and let us see what happens."
To my surprise, I started to feel in my third eye, in between my eyebrows, an experience similar to what I felt in the centre of my chest during the concert. This time there was a very pleasant, warm and joyful sensation in my spiritual heart. At the end of the function, my two friends and I all shared our feelings and we came to the same conclusion: The man on the stage is a very special one. We had never seen such a combination of humility and inner power, a childlike nature and authentic spirituality. All the experiences we had with Sri Chinmoy gave us a clear feeling and firm conviction that he was the genuine spiritual Master we were looking for. He simply conquered and melted our hearts. We were so lucky! We decided to send him our pictures and were officially accepted as his disciples in the beginning of Janury 1994.