by Tirtha Voelckner
It was in 1980 that my parents and we three children became students of Sri Chinmoy. From the perspective of a child it looked like this: I remember that my parents were going to different spiritual groups and they often took me along to these meetings. I was always very impressed by the atmosphere, the light-coloured clothing and the many nice people. Nevertheless, I sometimes started crying without any apparent reason. Something didn’t quite seem right, I guess…
We became vegetarians and went once a week to one of the small and, at the time, few health food stores in our town. One day, my father was magnetically drawn to a book entitled Meditation that was displayed in the window of a bookstore. My parents were so thrilled by the simplicity and truth of this book that they mailed the postcard (inserted in the book) to the indicated address. We were informed that there was a couple with a child in Augsburg whom we could contact.
This was the beginning of countless meetings, sometimes in Augsburg, sometimes in Munich. I was 7 years old at the time. I will never forget counting on my fingers how many times I had been to Augsburg already. My heart was jumping with joy every time we met. And I loved this family: Projjwal, Karali and Aruna. Most of the time I was playing with Aruna while the others meditated or were absorbed in obviously deep conversations. But when Projjwal and Karali came to our place (and we children really should have been in bed by then), I listened to the conversations, sitting on the bottom of the stairs. I had no idea what they were talking about, but I loved it. I loved the people, I loved the vibrations, I loved the conversations, I simply loved everything… and I was always filled with deepest joy.
Some time later, our family picture was sent to New York so Sri Chinmoy could meditate on it to see if we were meant to be his disciples, and soon after my father travelled there for the first time. He brought back my first 'real' sari. (Before that, we were only wearing curtain fabric!) I will never forget the indescribable joy – almost delight – I experienced!
A few months later, our Master visited Switzerland. That was the first time I saw Guru. He walked by me and smiled. I was a little surprised because his skin colour was unfamiliar, but his smile immediately won me over. Then Guru gave prasad to the children: a plastic heart. This heart is still my little treasure. When I stood right in front of Guru, he brushed my hair to the side and looked at my name tag. He asked me all kinds of things. I did not understand a word, but Projjwal, who stood behind Guru, answered Guru’s questions. I did not want to ever leave Guru’s presence.
I had a happy childhood, and this happiness continuously grew thanks to the incredible grace that allowed me to come to Guru in my childhood years. At that time, Guru showered us children with outer attention and gifts. The teenage years were not always easy, but I knew: “Guru comes first in my life – always. And this truth protected me during all my school years – and still does today! In my almost 30 years as a disciple I have had so many inner and outer, challenging and happy experiences. My life is rich, inwardly rich. And I am infinitely, infinitely grateful to Guru that he brought me to him.