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Listen to the inner voice
by Vidura Groulx Montreal, Canada
It was a beautiful sunny Games Day at our annual August Celebrations in New York. The teams were North America against Europe, playing soccer, a game Guru used to play at the Ashram and encouraged his disciples to play to foster dynamism, oneness and good old discipline.
It was an intense game and I was playing defence. One of our players pierced the defence of the European team but the goalie made a beautiful save and the European team made a couple of very fine passes. Suddenly one European player broke away and was coming towards our goalie. I was running after him as I had gone forward to help on the last play and was caught off guard. I ran with all the speed I could gather up and caught up with him. As he was about to kick the ball, I also swung my right foot to block and we both hit our own foot and collapsed on the ground. The game was stopped momentarily. My brother-disciple seems to have gotten the better of it as he was OK, but my foot had inflated in size. I had pulled something, probably a tendon.
I had to limp off the field and exit from the game and I think the European disciples won that game by a goal. Guru was informed of the situation and I was immediately grateful for that. For some reason, I felt I should walk on my foot, but everyone was giving me advice as to what to do and what not to do, which was not to walk on my foot. I inwardly felt all the time that I should be walking on my foot and it was a very powerful feeling. I felt uncomfortable all afternoon for not listening to that inner voice.
Later that evening I went up for prasad and Guru saw me walking with one foot off the ground and the other taking the whole weight. Guru motioned to me come and see him. I went up to Guru and he told me that he had put a very strong force on me and asked me why was I not walking. I apologized to Guru and went back to my seat walking quite comfortably on both feet. The pain and whatever the problem was had disappeared, and voila – a truly incredible instant miracle cure had occurred.
From that day on I learned a very precious lesson, and that is to listen to one’s inner voice, especially with the calibre of Guru we have.
My 5 a.m. strategic meditations
Do not discard imagination.
Imagination is a solid power;
Imagination is a reality
In the higher worlds.
When I was a fairly new disciple, there was a period of time when I would make a point of getting up to meditate at 5:00 a.m.. Inwardly, I imagined that at 6:00 a.m. hundreds of disciples were sitting in front of Guru for morning meditation, causing me to feel somewhat lost in the crowd. As a result of this inner imagining, I came up with the idea that if I 'arrived' earlier than everyone else, then I would be able sit right in front of Guru and hopefully be the only one with him up until 6:00 a.m. Thus I began my 5:00 a.m. strategic meditations.
After several successful mornings of getting up at the appointed hour, I started to feel that it was imperative that I not be late or miss a morning because I believed that Guru would definitely notice and be very disappointed. Also, I was finding that when my alarm went off, my first thought would always be that Guru was waiting for me, so it became very easy to get up to meditate. I would actually feel excited. In time, this entire experience began to blossom into a wonderful inner relationship with Guru. What started out as imaginary began to take on a precious reality.
A few weeks later, I travelled to New York for a weekend visit. I was very excited at the thought of seeing Guru but, at the same time, I was not expecting any kind of attention. I felt that as I was a new disciple, he still did not really know me outwardly. However, when I went up for prasad, Guru looked at me, gave a big smile and uttered what seemed to be a delighted exclamation of recognition, as though he was extremely happy to finally be able to put a face to the soul who was visiting him each morning.
At that moment, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that an inner relationship with Guru is far more real to him than an outer one.
Even though it happened 20 years ago, I still remember in detail the day when everything began. At the time I was living in Halle an der Saale, a small town in Sachsen-Anhalt. One Saturday evening in summer I was driving home after swimming when I suddenly had the idea to pay a short visit to a friend of mine, a sculptor. Just as I entered his garden, a group of women were leaving. My friend told me that they were coming from Nuremberg every Saturday afternoon to hold a meditation class at his place. "Oh", I thought, "I am interested in that!" By this time I had developed a great inner hunger for spirituality by reading some important books.
I went back the following Saturday. Unfortunately, it was not the same women whose cheerful smiles I remembered well. It was a man who was teaching the class. At this point the group was more advanced and was already meditating the way they usually meditate at the Sri Chinmoy Centres. I could not quite follow. After all, I had never consciously meditated and never received any kind of introduction to meditation. Then I looked at Sri Chinmoy’s books on display, saw his smiling picture on the cover of the book Happiness and thought, "Well, nobody has the capacity to be always happy. This can’t be something authentic; probably it is a sect."
And that is how far it went for me. Nevertheless, I made contact with the man because I planned to move to Nuremberg to study. Maybe I would be able to work for him and make some money, I thought. In the period before moving to Nuremberg, I meditated once in a while following some instructions and otherwise tried to get ready for my new era in Nuremberg.
My move opened a new world for me: anthroposophy. Anthroposophy is a field under the humanities, founded by Rudolf Steiner. It had a great influence on many areas of life – pedagogy, agriculture, art, etc. The Waldorf schools are its best known exponents. I wanted to study eurhythmy, a kind of dance form which visualises music and language through movement. Eurhythmy is very spiritual and is entirely the child of anthroposophy – something quite complicated but most beautiful. I therefore thought that this would be enough in the field of spirituality and that I would not need much else. But as life goes on, one thing follows the other and doors that we did not see before open up all of a sudden.
At some point, the man who had taught the meditation class invited me to go to a fair on the esoteric to help him at his booth there. Since I had never done such a thing, I eagerly agreed. At the age of 21 one is open to the whole world! During the ride I had endless opportunities to ask questions. At the fair, I listened to a music recording by the Nuremberg Sri Chinmoy Centre. It really touched my heart, even though it sometimes seemed a bit off key. I had to have the tape, and someone offered it to me. I still have this tape, and when I listen to it, all those beautiful memories come back... All this happened in 1990, a year after the change in East Germany that set so many things in motion.
When we returned to Nuremberg that evening, I was so inundated by everything that very little was needed for me to feel that I should be part of the group the nice class instructor belonged to. When we said good-bye, he gave me the book Meditation by Sri Chinmoy as a gift and said, "You seem to have the vibration of a disciple."
I went into my apartment, sat on my bed and cried out of gratitude and happiness. At this very moment I know I inwardly became a disciple of Sri Chinmoy and he let me onboard his boat. What happened next? I asked for details about the meditation class and then went to the Sri Chinmoy Centre. The only thing I knew was not to expect anything special. That was a good thing, since I had no special experiences but only felt joy going there. At some point I submitted my picture, but I already knew that I would definitely be accepted by Sri Chinmoy. What else could I have done?
What else is left to say? Gratitude is the only word that comes to me. I am grateful that my life went in this direction, that I found such a great Master and friend who ceaselessly inspires me and lightens my life’s burdens. It is a precious gift, and I am happy to be a part of this beautiful, cheerful family of Sri Chinmoy’s disciples.
We can find Sri Chinmoy only through the heart. Even with limited receptivity we can feel deep within what he can do for us, even if we are not meant for his path. What he gives is so universal, so all-encompassing and illumining that anybody can profit from it. His music, his books and his paintings are portals for anyone to enter into a world of inner upliftment and fulfilment. An open heart and a searching mind are the only requisites.
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."
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.
Time seemed to freeze
by Brahmata Michael Ottawa, Canada
As a relatively new disciple, I was really fortunate in that my good friends at the Ottawa Centre would take me down to New York a lot! Between 2005 and 2007, I would spring at literally every opportunity I got. Looking back, I am extremely grateful to have been able to see Guru so much in those two years. I had no idea at the time how much I would come to cherish all of those moments.
I recall one time in 2006 when the Christmas trip had just ended, and a car load of us who hadn’t seen Guru for about three months eagerly made the journey to Queens. After the morning function I had this really restless feeling; I was so full of energy and really needed something to do. The first idea that struck me was to go to Kritagyata’s house and see if they needed help with anything there. Sure enough, a project was in the works, so a few girls and I got right to it. After a couple of hours Kritagyata came running in, "Go outside! Guru is here!" I was shocked and really excited that Guru had come. (Talk about being in the right place at the right time!) When we went outside, Guru was right out front sitting in the passenger seat of a car with the window rolled down. He was calling us: "Come, come.", He proceeded to hand each of us a sandwich, one by one.
When I went to take mine I looked into Guru’s eyes and time seemed to freeze; I had never physically been that close to Guru before, and the power of his presence was so striking. I felt like he knew everything about me and was looking directly into my soul. I felt Guru pouring all of his love into me and it brought tears to my eyes. I had never felt that loved by anyone before in my life. I inwardly tried to bring my gratitude to the fore but I felt like Guru’s gratitude toward me was way stronger than any gratitude I could show him. It was really overwhelming. After what felt like a long time, but in reality was probably only a few seconds, Guru nodded his head as he placed the prasad into my hands.
I found a quiet spot to go eat my sandwich; I just sat there in silence, basking in Guru’s light. That was the first time I ever had an eggplant hero. Now they are a favourite, as I am reminded of this special day every time I eat one. I never thought that a sandwich could be a catalyst for such a beautiful spiritual experience!
It does not matter which spoon you use
by Brahmacharini Rebidoux St. John's, Canada
As disciples surely know, though we all share the same path, Guru deals with each soul that he has accepted individually and uniquely, calling them forward, upward, and inward in just the way each disciple needs. One of the ways in which he has dealt with me, since pretty much the beginning of my disciple life, has been through dreams – very vivid, very illumining communications of spiritual meaning, instruction, comfort, etc., usually with Guru being directly present in the dream.
One inspiring dream I had came right at the beginning of my disciple life, when I was a Master’s student in philosophy and, while not irreligious, was looking for God, as philosophers generally do, in the form of impersonal 'Truth'. I was having difficulty with the path because I was feeling that it was too devotionally oriented and not intellectually rigorous enough.
Guru, of course, could have just laughed at my mind (which he probably did); but instead, he communicated to me just what I needed to know in a way that was illumining while also not being simply dismissive of the mind. I had a dream in which I was, with other disciples, at a great banquet. Everyone was eating most ravenously, but I, sitting off by myself, refused to eat because I didn’t like the spoon that I had been given. I kept trying to get the servers’ attention so that I could get another spoon, but they were ignoring me. Suddenly Guru was beside me, and in the most tender, but also bliss-filled voice, he said to me: “Once you taste the soup, you will see that it does not matter which spoon you use". The spoon, of course, I understood to be the path, and the soup to be God.
And now, many years later, in teaching philosophy and religious studies at university in Newfoundland, I still feel – or rather, I feel ever more and more – the potency of the illumination of that dream. No matter which religion I teach, I try to realise God’s presence and light and unique manifestation in that tradition. When I teach Islam, I become as though a Muslim in my heart; when I teach Buddhism, I’m a Buddhist; when I teach Christianity, a Christian; etc. And in so doing, I have never felt Guru or Guru’s path to be far away from me. He has all along been right there, it seems, studying and teaching and even 'realising', right along with me and inside of me. And ever more and more have I felt, therefore, the growing and steady presence of the Supreme Beloved – who, for me, is 'Truth' personalized – hidden within all traditions and within all things, to which Guru has ever been pointing and leading us all.
My life with Sri Chinmoy
by Namrata Moses, New York
I began seeking the spiritual life very young. My family was very spiritual. We were from North Carolina. My grandparents were both ministers, and I was at church every weekend. I worked on our family farm during the week.
At age six, I was in a favorite part of the woods, when I saw a white figure up in the sky. It felt like the Christ to me. I was mesmerized for days!
One time, I had an inner experience when reading Don Quixote. I don't know where I was but I felt this quietness come over me, from the top of my head right down through my body. It was like a desert where everything was so peaceful, the kind of peace I never felt before in my life. It was a good experience, but I became afraid because I didn't have any control over it and I didn't know how to get out of it, so I prayed to God to save me. I don't know how long it took for me to come back to normal.
Later, I moved to Manhattan, New York City. I worked at Long Island College Hospital. I eventually caught up with my education in New York, with a work scholarship for my Bachelor’s degree, majoring in history and education from Lehman College in the Bronx.
I first saw Sri Chinmoy’s picture during the mid-70s when I was attending a meditation at the house of a former student of his, who was now teaching another kind of meditation. I remember seeing the picture, of Sri Chinmoy in a red dhoti on the wall - during the meditation, the picture would disappear into the wall. I felt that that picture kept saying ‘no’ to me, that this meditation was bad for me and I should not continue with it.
I was not satisfied with that meditation, so I left. However, as a result of attending that meditation, I started becoming disturbed by paranormal problems such as seeing lions and leopards while driving, which made me afraid to drive. I didn’t know what to do, to better control what I was seeing. I could also see what was going to happen the day before. I didn’t like it one bit! I wanted someone to show me how to control these problems.
Becoming a disciple of Sri Chinmoy
One day, a friend and I attended a meditation with Sri Chinmoy at All Angel’s Church in Manhattan. It was a strange experience, meditating with Sri Chinmoy in person. He said wordlessly to me, “Come.” I said, “No.” I finally told him inwardly that if he got rid of my problems, I’d be his disciple (or student) for the rest of my life. He meditated with me.
After this meditation, everyone in the group was willing to try meditating with Sri Chinmoy— except me. However, Sri Chinmoy later appeared to me in a dream, removing all my problems. I promised him then I’d be his disciple. Forever.
We had Centre meetings on Friday nights; attendance was compulsory. Sri Chinmoy - who I now call ‘Guru’ - talked to us lovingly like we were his children; which we are, his spiritual children. It was so great. Most of all, he emphasized we were not to pay attention to what others said about meditating on the Path, to only be guided by our own aspiration, not swayed by other people’s likes or dislikes.
When I first started meditating, my thoughts were jumping all over the place. I offered these interruptions to Sri Chinmoy in my meditations. After I consciously offered up these interrupting thoughts, I was able to continue meditating more easily and peacefully.
During my first years as Sri Chinmoy’s disciple, I had very little money. Sometimes I was wondering where I would get money for the basic things I needed. One day I was at a meditation meeting with Guru, and he was asking what kind of work we did. I told him that I wasn't working, and he said that I should go to the United Nations to get a job. I did not get a job at the U.N, but I did get a job working in the hotel next to the UN because I had worked in math in school.
Guru kept working these kinds of miracles in my life. For example, after getting my Bachelor’s, Guru suggested I get my Master’s. So I did, specialising in early education. While I’d struggled with my first degree, I got all A’s for my second degree from City College of New York in Manhattan. Not bragging, just saying. Little did I know I’d teach 20 years at ABSW in Harlem, and five years as director of Albany Day Care Center.
I had five children, and here Guru really saved my life. My children were very demanding and I did not know what to do with them. It was a frustrating time for me; I could not concentrate or think straight. My oldest son was Guru’s worst critic; he used to criticise Guru all the time. But Guru changed him; he had a dream where Guru warned him that he had to stop what he was doing. At that time my son had no job, but Guru told him that he was a good boy and that he would never be without a job. Now, he has had a good job with the government for many years, and he always helps me financially to come to our annual Christmas Trip. Similarly, Guru has helped my other children and changed their lives for good.
The only other time I had no control over my life was when I became sick with a nervous breakdown for two weeks. I was in the hospital not knowing who I was or anyone around me. I could see Guru watching over me in a subtle physical form right in the hospital room, and when I was able to talk I was trying to show the visitors and nurses, but they could not see him. According to the doctors, my sickness was because of a bad marriage and me not being able to cope with it.
Another thing I would like to thank Guru for is teaching me how to love myself. According to Guru, when you learn to love God, you are truly able to love yourself and others. My father had passed away and I really did not like the way he had treated me. I informed Guru about his passing and went to the meditation function with Sri Chinmoy that evening, which was held in the local high school. As I passed by Guru, I felt him scolding me inwardly, saying that I had to forgive my father. Of course, I was shocked, but I began to work on it and I realised that forgiving my father was like having an elephant lifted off my back.
Previously, I’d no sports background other than hitting a baseball, because my father played baseball on weekends. Guru once asked who would like to enter a 24-hour bicycle race. My question was, where would I get a bike? Well, someone got me a bike. I rode all night with Guru in Central Park—and our Sri Chinmoy cycling team won it! I don’t know how many miles I biked. But I enjoyed it, because I had no more problems appearing before me, absolutely none. Guru had taken away all my problems.
Thereafter, we moved from riding bikes to our Centre Sports Day. I entered the 100- and 200- meter races, also threw shotput and javelin. I was a champion for a while in my age category, winning 10 Master’s medals. One time, Guru asked us all who could run the New York City Marathon. I volunteered, and I completed it, even though I had not done any training. That first marathon turned out to be my fastest time. I went on to do the 12-hour walk four times, two NYC marathons and six Sri Chinmoy Marathons.
In 1987, the global Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run began. I went to Africa twice that year, the first time with Peace Run. There were two boy students and another French girl on this first Africa trip. We went to eight countries, including Ghana, Liberia and Senegal. In West Africa, I felt that I had been there before in a previous incarnation, as a nun. I really did. Upon returning, Sri Chinmoy blessed me with my spiritual name. Namrata means “humility.”
I was asked to return, to give meditation classes. I asked Guru how to raise funds for my second Africa trip. He suggested a yard sale, which raised $2,000 in two weeks thanks to donations from disciples. I asked our Centre leader Sunil how to represent Guru; he told me not to worry, Guru would speak in and through me. I don’t remember what I said at those classes. I felt that it was Guru talking, not me. In Sierra Leone, 127 people signed up to continue meditating with us. This is another example of Sri Chinmoy calls surrender to the Highest, not doubting or fearing about what will happen in the future. Just do it!
I’m in my early eighties, as I tell my story in 2019. I continue sharing Guru’s spiritual philosophy in different ways. I love counting at our various races, such as the annual Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race, the world’s longest certified footrace. At my senior’s book club, we read and discuss his books like The Jewels of Happiness. Through over four decades of meditating with Sri Chinmoy, I would not want to change even one day!
Finding inner happiness
Anita from Portugal talks about her spiritual journey so far. From a young age, she was interested in a more peaceful approach to life - and finding meditation helped to make this a deeper reality. She also explains some of the aspects of Sri Chinmoy's Path that she likes most - such as running, art, music and the Peace Run.
Where the finite connects to the Infinite
Jogyata Dallas, a meditation instructor for over 30 years, explains how meditating on the heart allows us to bypass the busy mind, and feel the inner silence and stillness where the finite begins to connect to the infinite.
I wanted to have this kind of joy all my life
Yashodevi talks about how she first encountered Sri Chinmoy at the age of seven, when her parents became his students. For Yashodevi, hearing music composed by Sri Chinmoy gave her tremendous inner joy, and this joy encouraged her to follow his spiritual path. She explains how the spiritual life can be lived through activities such as music, running and dynamic service to the world.