A deluge of golden Light
by Utthal Tindel
Shortly after accepting me as his true disciple in October of 1972, Guru told me that for the meantime it wasn’t safe for me to travel to New York to visit him, due to my status as a Vietnam War draft-dodger. About a year and a half later, he said I could start coming across the border into the U.S. to visit New York. That was just prior to the 1974 April Celebrations, which was my first occasion to visit New York as a disciple.
In May of 1976 I was on my way down with a car full of fellow Ottawa disciples to see Guru for Mother’s Day. We arrived at the border at Thousand Islands early that Saturday morning and were all asked by the attendant officer for our ID. While I was not surprised, I was certainly apprehensive when we were asked to come inside and wait while they looked up our names in a registry. In all the times I had crossed the border, this had never happened before.
Shortly my group was told that they could leave, but that I would be staying. At that time Mukti, who was among us, called New York and asked that Guru be informed as soon as possible about what had happened. I was taken to a back room and told to wait – nothing was said of why I was being held, but I knew very well.
In July of 1969 I had been ordered to report for my pre-induction physical, which would have resulted into my immediate induction into the army, and in all likelihood being shipped off to the Viet Nam war at the height of the conflagration. Instead I had fled to Sweden, where I was given humanitarian asylum. For failing to report as ordered, I was indicted, with a maximum possible penalty upon conviction of a $5,000 fine and/or five years in prison.
Within moments of being brought into the waiting room at the border station, where I sat alone, I turned inwardly to Guru and gave everything over to him – completely. Almost immediately began a deluge of golden light. I’m not talking about a heavy mist or even a steady rain. No, it was a clearly visible monsoon downpour, accompanied by total peace and joy. Any fears I might have had were swept away by this golden light. I was in a timelessness place, but in a while an FBI agent arrived, accompanied by two burly state troopers. Imagine how intimidating their presence might have been, because at that time I weighed less than half what I now weigh – maybe 165 lbs at the most.
When the FBI man approached me, I put out my hand and said, “Nice to meet you".
He replied, “I don’t think you’ll be so happy when you hear what I have to say", whereupon he read the indictment: The United States of America vs. 'me'.
Then the two state troopers came forward and were about to constrain me with big shiny chrome-plated handcuffs. Without thinking I said, “Please don’t do that."
Immediately they stopped, looking at each other and at the FBI man with complete incredulity. At that point we all realised that this was not an ordinary day. By the time we reached the judge’s office at his private law practice, it being Saturday, the FBI man had been transformed, as evidenced by his dismissal of the troopers.
“I could get into trouble for that," he said, “since you are in their custody until they bring you before the judge, but I didn’t want the judge to have an unfavorable impression by seeing you with the police."
In turn, the judge treated me like his favorite nephew. To make a long story short, he released me under my own cognisance, with a promise to appear for trial in a month or so. After the judge called the bus station and learned that the last bus for Syracuse with a connection to New York City had just left, and after his efforts to find a young friend to drive me there, the FBI man took me up to a main road out of town to hitch-hike. He even gave me a legal folder and a red magic marker on which I wrote "Syracuse".
Not long after he dropped me off, a young couple pulled up, asking where I was headed. They were only going ten miles south but said they’d take me up to the main highway where I’d stand a better chance of catching a ride. Moments later he turned to his wife, heavy with child and lying in the back behind a curtain, they whispered a few words and he turned saying they would drive me all the way to Syracuse – 120 miles out of their way! We pulled into the bus station just ahead of the bus I’d missed.
I arrived at Guru’s house early the next morning – all showered and in whites – just ahead of the people in my car, whereupon Guru called me up and, smiling radiantly, gave me a most intense blessing, hands planted firmly upon my bowed head.
I did indeed appear as promised for my trial and was eventually sentenced to a 6-month probation, with the condition that I do community service during that time in Canada and send in a report of those activities at the end of each month. When the probation officer asked whether there was some organization I had in mind, of course I said, “The Sri Chinmoy Centre." I believe I’m among only two or three disciples ever required by law to do selfless service.
When the venerable old white-haired judge sentenced me, the high-domed old courtroom in Auburn, New York, turned a shimmering gold and his face turned momentarily into Guru’s countenance. As he spoke, I looked around. Everyone present – the stenographer, my defense lawyer, the district attorney and the probation officer – was overwhelmed, even to the point of tears, with sweet and transcendent emotion, as the judge pronounced: “In all my years as a judge, you are the finest young man to ever appear before me".
So what could have been a most unpleasant episode in my life was changed into a series of wonderful inner and outer experiences – all due to Guru’s grace. Throughout the day of my arrest, from the initial and overwhelming experience at the border to the young couple inexplicably driving me all the way to Syracuse, I knew what it felt like to be a saint, even if just for a day, and could feel the magical affect this had on everyone I encountered. But of course it was not of my doing; it was all due to Guru’s concern, compassion and love, reflected in my light-flooded heart.
Months later Guru sent a message to me, saying that on that day at the border he had put an extremely powerful force on me, and it was the very first time that anyone had ever received his force 100%. For that great blessing, despite all my failings and shortcomings, I am divinely proud – both of myself and of Guru. I am proud of myself that I had the good sense to surrender as well as I could to Guru’s grace and supremely proud of Guru that his compassion-light reached down and penetrated this 'body of clay'. Maybe that’s why he later on gave me the name Utthal, meaning 'Indomitable Wave-Force', for it was the Supreme’s Indomitable Wave-Force within me that I was lucky to have a tiny glimpse of that spring day in 1976.
Once several years later while visiting my divine enterprise, Bhakti Press, Guru asked me why I was unable to apply the considerable discipline I exhibited in my work to the task of losing weight. After a long pause, thinking of no reasonable answer, I simply said, “Guru I love you", to which he replied, “I love you too. You belong to me, and that is why I can scold you." Those were the most precious words I have ever heard, and they will echo in the innermost depths of my heart forever. I have never lost faith that one day the Supreme will grant me the boon to harness the power of my Indomitable Wave-Force to please Guru in his own way by becoming once again trim and fit.