I just knew from the moment I saw him

My search started when I was 15 years old. It all happened very quickly. I just kind of decided that there must be a deeper meaning to life and I didn‘t want to follow in the footsteps of the rest of the world and my parents. So I started searching for a deeper truth. I was going to go into the woods and realise God. I started doing Hatha Yoga and meditating, and I carried this book around in my pocket called How to Survive in the Woods.

I grew up in Queens and I went to Jamaica High School. One day I had just gone to a party, and I was so disillusioned with the world. I was walking down Hillside Avenue when I saw a poster with a picture of Guru. I thought, "Wow!" I was looking for a teacher. The poster had a phone number on it, but I had no pen with me. So I took out my book 'How to Survive in the Woods' and scratched in the phone number with my key.

The next day I called this number and got Dulal on the phone. He was a prominent disciple of Guru‘s who took care of this kind of thing. I told him that I had just turned 16 a week earlier. He said, "Then you probably have long hair?" I said, “No." Then he said, “You probably take drugs?" And I said, "No." So then he said, "All right, you can come on Thursday." I was deeply grateful and mentioned that I had read, "When the seeker is ready, the Master will appear". He replied, "Let us see".

Ashrita talks about how he became Sri Chinmoy's student, and how that journey led him to break multiple world records

Things were a little different in those days (1970). The meditations were in Guru‘s house. For some reason I thought I should wear white, because I was wearing white. I actually got to Guru‘s house early. The door to the front porch was open. I walked in and Guru was sitting there on his couch. I didn‘t know what to do. I was just a kid! I remember I was actually standing in front of Guru, kind of flapping my arms. I got very nervous and Guru asked me who I was. I answered, “Dulal invited me to come." Guru said, “Oh, very good. Please come back in 15 minutes."

A young Ashrita with Sri Chinmoy, early 1970's.

So I came back and I remember waiting outside Guru‘s house with some of the disciples. I was very shy so I didn‘t say anything, but I was amazed how pure everyone looked. When we got inside, Guru had a meditation. It was in the main room of Guru‘s house. Guru asked all the disciples to come up and meditate. There were only about 30 people. As soon as I saw Guru, I saw a holy light around him, and I knew Guru was my Master.

People were getting up and I actually thought I was a disciple. So I started getting up. I was standing, but it was too late – everybody else was already up there meditating. Then everybody came back to their seats. Guru saw me standing there and said, “Now, new people come up and meditate." So I went up and meditated and that was it. I just knew from the moment I saw Guru that he was my teacher.