It's strange, this Christmas period. My very first in New Zealand for fifteen years. Our Sri Chinmoy Centre family has vanished away to relatives down country, an odd ritual here like some seasonal homing instinct, a migratory impulse, reflexive and unquestioned and honed through childhoods of summers, of holidays in small, warm seaside settlements where an uncle owns a bach, and Santa visitations. They have vanished as unexpectedly as characters suddenly written out of a play – you are left, a little bewildered on stage, without cast, character, plot or purpose. One or two still come to the centre, often late at night to meditate.
Susebika passes my door like a wraith – unnoticed even by the usually treacherous, creaking floorboards, light as a gossamer leaf on a summer breeze. Others are like elephants, their tread exciting a whole symphony of squeakings and creakings from the joists; even the walls tremble at their purposeful, thunderous strides. How much of themselves they express in the simple act of movement, like a topographical map detailing subtleties of inner landscapes – consciousness and self consciousness, mood, sensibility, intent, or in equal measure their absence.
I have accepted my purposelessness with calm, a seasonal quirk in this vacuum between a waning old year and the resurgent vigour of the almost new. Today a walk downtown – I live only a few hundred yards from Central Auckland but visit seldom, a stranger to my own city. The people are in almost equal part Asian, Caucasian, Polynesian, Maori, Indian and one sees in their children the emergence of a new racial type born of intermarriage between white and brown – children with black hair, Asian or Polynesian skin tones, but green or blue eyes, a sapphires mineral gaze. It's hard not to feel disconnected from this world of shopping and food, a visitor from another planet, skating across the surface of life but not capable of immersion anymore. I pass a camping/outdoors shop and a twinge from my long ago draws me in – coveting a splendid pair of hiking boots, an unattainable alpine sleeping bag at $900, wishing I was up on Mt. Makorako again with one or two friends, Christmas under a clear cold sky garrisoned with sprawling stars.
In a bookshop carrying Sri Chinmoy's titles, I sit down and browse in a corner, sprawling in a deep armchair with an indulgent drink. Upstairs, saturnalian sounds and laughter from the Caledonian Society, it's kilted members winding up for an extended New Year party. Opening up Yoga and the Spiritual Life at a random page, pressed open on a table of etiolated poppies and a bowl of complementary cashew nuts.
My kind Guru reminds me:
God is in you, God looks exactly like you. Right now, you are God veiled. You have put on a mask, but I see through the mask. In the future, you will be the God unveiled. You will take off the mask and we shall see you as God manifested, the open God.
Sri Chinmoy's students describe their inner and outer experiences.
My inner callingPurnakama Rajna Winnipeg, Canada
My Life with Sri Chinmoy: a bookTejvan Pettinger Oxford, United Kingdom
A spiritual name is the name of our soul, and what we can becomeNayak Polissar Seattle, United States
'You have to be like a warrior and fight'Mahiyan Savage San Diego, United States
The day I saw my Guru's Third EyeVidura Groulx Montreal, Canada
My love of spiritual poetryManatita Hutchinson London, United Kingdom
Running for PeaceJogyata Dallas Auckland, New Zealand
The day I recieved my spiritual nameBanshidhar Medeiros San Juan, Puerto Rico
An early spiritual experienceAshrita Furman New York, United States
The day my Guru accepted me as his discipleBanshidhar Medeiros San Juan, Puerto Rico
In the Whirlwind of LifePradeep Hoogakker The Hague, Netherlands
A love that was thick like butterMahatapa Palit New York, United States
interviews with Sri Chinmoy's students