Meditation was the farthest thing from my mind

by Pushpa rani Piner
Ottawa, Canada

This story is transcribed from audio interviews, which are also available to listen to below.

I started about twenty years ago. I was 24, and it was really the farthest thing from my mind, meditation and the spiritual life. I was very much involved in the outer life, going to university, I was working as a model, and I was very much involved – as much as you can be involved – in the outer world. I thought this would bring me a lot of happiness, but inside I was really feeling just so much longing for something, and I wasn’t finding it, not matter what I did in my outer life.

So one day I was downtown in Toronto, just walking down the street, and I saw this poster. It said ‘Meditation’ and I just wrote it down and I decided to go to the class. I was not looking at all, it just looked like something that would be interesting. I remember the day very clearly, because I got up in the morning, I was getting ready, and I felt some kind of inner joy in the morning, before I went to the class. Then I was walking to the class and I almost felt as if I was floating, I just was having this kind of experience which I had never had before. So I got to the class and I was sitting at the very back and as soon as the speaker started talking, I felt just so absorbed in what he was saying. I was writing every single thing down, and at the break I ended up moving to the front of the class and I happened to meet someone else I knew there. The class finished, I walked home, and I just remember, I had never had that experience before, and I didn’t know what it was, I just knew I had never felt so light and so happy compared to how I had ever felt in my life before. So of course I continued with the classes, and I have continued ever since, I have really gained so much from being part of the Centre.

Having a teacher

I think that everything that I had wanted to be, in a certain way, having a teacher has manifested that in a way that I couldn’t even expect or imagine would happen. On my own it was so difficult to get things going, to move forward without blocks everywhere. But somehow having a teacher, it inwardly guides you to the things that you truly know that you want, but sometimes they manifest in a way that you may not have expected or that you would not have been able to do on your own.

When I first saw Sri Chinmoy was also in Toronto, we were headed to the airport and I had no idea what to expect. There were all these people there, so many people waiting for Sri Chinmoy. He arrived, and for myself it felt almost like this giant is walking; I had just never had that experience before. He just walked by, and he just looked at me just for a second, and I felt so much joy in my heart. Just for a second he looked; no smile or anything, just a look, and he left.

The second time I saw him was at Annapurna restaurant in Toronto, and we were doing a walk-by meditation - a meditation where you are walking by the teacher. So I walked by Sri Chinmoy, and I felt as if someone had unlocked my heart. I had never felt my heart before that, I had never ever felt it. So, I will never forget that experience, it was probably the most meaningful experience of my life.

I guess the most amazing discovery for me since Sri Chinmoy passed on, is that when you have a teacher of his calibre, that the relationship really does go beyond the physical, that you can have a lot of guidance, and that the teacher can really continue to mould you, if you are connected with him. All it takes is that effort to connect with your teacher, to meditate every day. It really is an eternal relationship.

My parents and Sri Chinmoy

Id like to share one experience that is quite meaningful to me, that I had while Sri Chinmoy was on earth. That was with my mother. I’d like to share it because it really shows how when you change, and when you spiritually change, the people around you can also change and are also affected, because we are so interconnected and we really affect each other. So when I first came to meditation, my mom was really afraid, she was really scared, because it is not something that is really part of our culture, meditation and having an Indian teacher, so she was quite scared about what I was getting into. She really did not approve of it. So, as the years went on, she started to come around a little bit, and change a little bit. She told me one day ‘I cannot argue with Sri Chinmoy any more. You are just as happy as when you were a little child.’ She really had absolutely turned around, and she was showing Sri Chinmoy’s books to her friends, because she saw so many changes in me.

When she passed away, it was not under the best circumstances, it was quite a difficult situation. So I was really worried about what would happen to her, and so I sent a message to Sri Chinmoy, and I told him what happened. He sent me this beautiful message back, and he said ‘I bless your mother’s soul profusely, and I bless your father’s heart as well.’. So when I got that message, I felt so much more security and happiness about it. And then that night, I had a dream of my mom, and she was looking so beautiful, so healthy and happy, she was wearing a white sari, and she was outside our car, and the car door was open, and she had all her luggage. An I was there, I was crying and I said ‘But I want to go with you, I want to go too’.  And she said ‘Don’t worry, you can also come’, and so then we got together in the car, and we just drove off. And when I woke up in the morning, I felt such an inner joy, and I really feel that that dream was a significant sign to me that Sri Chinmoy really had done something inwardly for her, and the dream was a way of showing me that. I’m just so happy that my mom also got to know Sri Chinmoy, and got to change in that way. My father as well. To me it is amazing - when you change yourself, you see that everything around you does change.