On Sri Chinmoy's Sunlit Path
In this volume, 98 disciples of Sri Chinmoy from around the world tell their own individual and unique stories of how Sri Chinmoy came to be their Guru and continues to enrich their lives.
The book is split up into different chapters:
- Chapter 1 - Joining the Sri Chinmoy Centre
- Chapter 2 - Experiences with Sri Chinmoy
- Chapter 3 - Inner Communication
- Chapter 4 - Life and Death
- Chapter 5 - The Eternal Journey
- Chapter 6 - An Inner Connection
- Chapter 7 - Service
- Chapter 8 - Self-Transcendence
- Chapter 9 - Meditation and Transformation
It is a broad-ranging celebration of Sri Chinmoy’s sunlit path - and gives a fascinating insight into the rich diversity of those who are following his path.
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Some extracts from the book
"I left the lecture feeling a deep sense of peace and a joyful, exuberant feeling in my heart. This really was what I had been looking for! It was as if a curtain was drawn from my eyes and suddenly there was this beautiful view on a new and promising future. It felt natural and totally right. I guess it was destiny."
"From the very first moment I became Guru’s disciple I had this sensation in the middle of my chest where the spiritual heart is located. It is like a tiny flame, like a candle flame peacefully, steadily burning in my chest, my heart. It is also like a little inner cry, like a little pain, crying constantly. And at the same time it is joy, peace, light and, most importantly, the feeling of constant gratitude."
"As we entered the health food store I saw Guru’s smiling photographs, and I thought that this smile could not be real. I had never seen anyone smiling so brightly. I was both confused and thrilled. Up to now my mind had always found some faults when I wanted to become familiar with a new path or a Master. My feelings had no place in my decisions. But this time I told my mind to shut up. From somewhere deep inside I felt that this was to be the right path for me. Through the shop window I could see Guru’s weightlifting picture, which also bewildered me. What on earth had this to do with spirituality? But again I felt it to be right and told my mind to wait and see."
"Suddenly Sri Chinmoy approached me as he went to welcome the Nobel Laureate, who was standing quite close to me. Sri Chinmoy looked briefly into my eyes. My consciousness changed. I felt deep inner peace and everything around me looked beautiful. A similar celestial feeling I had experienced first in the hospital when I looked at some tropical plants was there again! This time it lasted for a long time. From that day on, I was sure I had found the right person to lead me to enlightenment."
New York, United States of America
"During one of our Centre meetings we were given fortune cookies that contained Guru’s aphorisms. Guru asked for each of us to read our aphorism to him and he would expound upon it. My aphorism was, “When I meditate God loves me.” Well, I was having a lot of trouble getting up in the morning and meditating. I was sure I was going to be exposed and that Guru was going to say that those who did not meditate were unworthy of God’s love. When it was my turn I was so scared. I read the aphorism out in a timid voice. Even before I finished reading the aphorism Guru said, “Dush! Who has done this? Who has misunderstood my philosophy? God loves me no matter what I do but when I meditate I feel God’s Love more.” I was so grateful! God loves me even though I am so imperfect!"
"What prompted me to leave the convent and to become a disciple of Sri Chinmoy? I was a happy nun at the Baldegg convent. I had friends and was successful in my job. The institution where I worked and lived was situated by the lake with a view of the mountains. I felt like I was at the zenith of my life. Even today, after 20 years, I recall with gratitude the time I spent there. No outer circumstances could have made me leave the convent.
New York, United States of America
"One day, I walked into a new health food store only about five miles from my home in Westchester. I wanted to tell them how happy I was that they were opening in my community, because in those early days the next closest health food shop was at least an hour’s drive away. As I entered, ready to introduce myself, I noticed a tiny Transcendental Picture of Guru on a book displayed on a shelf in the far corner of the shop. Its light drew me like a magnet; as I came closer to the photo, I asked, “Who is this?”
The shop owner replied, “That’s Sri Chinmoy.”
I heard the intensity in my own voice as I responded, “Is he alive?”
“Yes,” the owner replied. “He is going to give a talk about meditation at my home in Larchmont in a few weeks. Would you like to come?”
New York, United States of America
"Sri Chinmoy went onto the platform, and I began to meditate with closed eyes as I was used to doing at home and in Quaker meetings. Suddenly I felt a powerful tugging at my heart. Some part of me in my heart area was being pulled right out of my body to Sri Chinmoy. Being stunned at this new and unusual experience, I quickly opened my eyes and saw that the Master was looking at me and giving me this experience.
As I continued to look at the Master, I felt a mighty sweep of spiritual strength and power coming from him. An overwhelming attraction to him surged up within me. During the remainder of the meditation, warm, friendly sensations of Sri Chinmoy’s divine love and goodness penetrated into me and enveloped me. I realised that at last I was finding in Sri Chinmoy’s eyes and in his entire being what I had been seeking: the identity of a genuine spiritual power who was in touch with Truth and Reality and who would communicate this Truth to me! Gradually all the events of my prior life culminated in these moments, and I knew definitely that my life would now at last start out on the final path to Reality. I put my life into the hands of Sri Chinmoy that day."
"My day-to-day life hardly changed, but the quality of my daily meditations truly did, because I received the Transcendental Picture. From then on I knew from within how I was supposed to meditate. It was like a quantum leap. Meditation now gave me much more joy, regardless of outer incidents, as well as a strong foothold in my outer life. This feeling of inner guidance in my meditations as well as in my dayto- day life has never left me since I was accepted by my Master, Sri Chinmoy. It is one of the most precious things in my life, because it is in reality the link to an inner Source, the Source of all existence, the Self, the Divine. It is ‘becoming pregnant with God’ – I found this most beautiful expression in a Sufi book. With this presence, this feeling in my heart, I have always felt safe, ever since, in my outer and my inner life, and never alone or lonely. I think this is the most beautiful gift that one can receive in life, the only gift that fulfils us everlastingly, the only sure support in this impermanent world. And deep inside I know who gave me this gift."
"I looked around and suddenly I saw him, at that point sitting on the floor talking to a young man. They seemed to be discussing the layout of a book. Instantly I felt a joy such as I had never known before, and I heard myself whisper, “He’s real.” I’ll never forget that feeling, and can recall it at will to this day.
I will not go into further details about that particular day (it could be of limited interest to others), but I will mention one or two facts that I feel are spiritually important. The things that struck me instantly about Sri Chinmoy were total purity, humility and gentleness, light and power, in that order."
"Some time later, our family picture was sent to New York, and soon after my father travelled there for the first time. He brought back my first ‘real’ sari. (Before that, we were only wearing curtain fabric!) I will never forget the indescribable joy – almost delight – I experienced!
A few months later, our Master visited Switzerland. That was the first time I saw Guru. He walked by me and smiled. I was a little surprised because his skin colour was unfamiliar, but his smile immediately won me over. Then Guru gave prasad to the children: a plastic heart. This heart is still my little treasure....
When I stood right in front of Guru, he brushed my hair to the side and looked at my name tag. He asked me all kinds of things. I did not understand a word, but Projjwal, who stood behind Guru, answered Guru’s questions. I did not want to ever leave Guru’s presence. I had a happy childhood, and this happiness continuously grew thanks to the incredible grace that allowed me to come to Guru in my childhood years."
New York, United States
"I enter the classroom where the meditation is to be given. I sit in the last row and first column of seats. My consciousness is out of this world. I don’t hear anything Guru is saying for the entire lecture. My eyes are closed and I am enjoying the bliss of it all when I hear a voice tell me to open my eyes. My consciousness descends to normal for a moment just in time for me to hear the final words to Guru’s lecture: “all men are brothers.” I am inebriated by a consciousness I have never felt or known before that prevents me from reacting to the words I looked forward to hearing. I am again lost in trance when I hear another voice say: open your eyes, fold your hands, and bow. I open my eyes and Guru is standing no more than 2 feet from me. I fold my hands and bow and proceed to go back into trance. Guru then comes behind my seat and proceeds to place his right hand on my right shoulder and his left hand on my left shoulder. "
New York, United States
"The artist has entitled his exhibit ‘One Million Dream-Freedom Peace-Birds’ and dedicated them to his mother for her birth centennial. “These birds,” he says, “are a new creation – the creation that will sing the song of Immortality in the life of mortality. If we can identify with them as they fly in the sky of boundless freedom and peace, it will remind us that our own soul is also flying in the vast freedom-sky carrying the Message of our Lord Beloved Supreme here, there and everywhere.” If we close our eyes, we can almost see these immortal soul-birds, necks outstretched, wings motionless, gliding through our own heart-sky – leaving a trail of hope, beauty and joy that we can forever cherish."
"David Rumsey, the organist who was to show Sri Chinmoy the mechanisms of this famous instrument led the way up the stairs. Sri Chinmoy, resplendent in red dhoti, followed – quietly, purposely, serenely. Through each door, there would be more stairs, spiral stairs and straight stairs. Each trodden stair heightened the anticipation in the air, the sense that our destination was far more than an organ loft.... It seemed word had already gone out in the higher worlds that Sri Chinmoy was to give a momentous performance. Sri Chinmoy’s expression was inward, absorbed – mystical moments."
New York, United States
"Upon meeting your Guru in person when failing him, there is at first a ‘deer in the headlights’‚ response, that sweeps over you. One of surrender, but equally a feeling of failure and humiliation. Guru is all love, yet he has the responsibility of carrying us to the goal, and thus his discipline and strictness. Immediately I knew Guru saw every thought, fear, doubt, good intent inside me. In that moment I knew he saw right through me and I felt both his love and disappointment. It was the summation of all those missed or late days gathered into one face-to-face moment.
About halfway down the street we crossed paths. Without breaking stride Guru looked over at me as he walked past then said, “How do you ever expect to realise God if you cannot even sweep the street as I have requested?” I was both devastated and catapulted into heaven all in the same moment. I felt gratitude and the worst kind of failure together."
Auckland, New Zealand
"This happened a number of times – Guru’s jokes and then his lofty meditations, up, down, up, down.... We were learning to go from laughter and the everyday up into the sacred, the God-conscious, to quickly reconnect with heart and spirit – and being shown that these two worlds are only one world, a thin veil apart. We were running up and down the ladder of consciousness, from mind to soul to mind to soul, being shown that inner peace, stillness, soulfulness are quickly accessible through practice and intent, that meditation can be found and practiced anywhere. All of our life is our spiritual life and through proper understanding and practice we can consciously part the veil, bring mindfulness and spirit to each passing moment, stay close to the Self while living in this challenging and changing world."
Seattle, United States
"When I first met Sri Chinmoy I found it remarkable that he bowed to his students and bowed to so many people. Here I was, meeting a wonderful Avatar, and he was bowing to me. Why? I do not feel that I deserve that, but here is what I have learned. Sri Chinmoy once commented in a talk or informally that when he sees us, he sees a golden glowing soul. His writings on the soul are luminous, and he describes the soul as the personal representative of God within us. It is something that guides us and attempts to carry out the work of the Supreme Lord in and through us. The soul is the only reason that we are here. When the soul departs, it is over. The soul goes to another world and rests to wait for the next cycle. OK, then, you can see how someone who is seeing that glory of a soul will be moved to bow to it. He is not bowing to the silly thoughts, the ego that dances, no. He is bowing to that golden glowing soul. You have it. I have it. Consider this. If you invited a personal representative of the Supreme over to your house for lunch, you can imagine yourself showing some real respect. Wouldn’t you?"
New York, United States
"That night at Barnard, before the lecture, Guru was sitting alone in the back reading, but the whole hall was flooded with his light and peace. As I sat down, I felt his force acting within my heart, inspiring me, even though I was not in a good consciousness. I closed my eyes, and soon I felt like I was climbing upwards within a vast light. I was very moved. I had not meditated so well in many months.
In the joy of my meditation, I suddenly felt something brush by me. I assumed that someone was trying to get past my aisle seat, and their clothes were brushing against me. I opened my eyes to find Guru dropping his coat on my lap to hold it for him during his lecture. His compassion, his love and concern for me, even when I felt I had not been doing well, was very moving. His coat was like a blessing – it tingled with spirit."
"When Guru passed us, he did so swiftly and without even glancing our way. “Guru, please take my panic!” I silently called out to him, trying to imagine that I was offering him my chaotic emotions at the same time.
Guru did not bat an eyelid, nor did his steps falter or his head turn towards me. But in spite of the absence of any outer signs, I suddenly had the distinct impression that something was pulling on my emotions. It only took a moment, in which I almost heard something like a slurping sound... and suddenly my panic was gone.
Astonished, I just stood there, amazed at what had just happened. After all, this panic had been my constant companion for several years. A moment later, my conscious awareness was drawn to the overwhelming sensation of lightness and intense bliss that originated in the area around my heart and quickly spread throughout my whole being. My heart had literally opened and I was flooded with joy and gratitude. Or, to be more precise: the cover of heavy emotions blocking my heart had been removed, freeing the inert qualities of my being and thus allowing them to permeate me completely."
Seattle, United States
"I called Nandita, and she had just brought Nayak to the emergency room. I called Nayak, and he sounded very, very, very weak. He was waiting to be seen. When I told Guru, he asked if I would please go quickly to the hospital. When I saw Nayak, his EKG showed that it was very, very serious; it showed that a very serious myocardial infarction, a heart attack, was actually in progress. The whole left side of his heart was blocked. Nayak looked so ashen – he looked very bad. He was very emotional, and the situation was very, very difficult.
Guru had said to call him as soon as we had any news. So I called and Guru said, “Please tell Nayak I am putting a very, very, VERY strong force on him. And call me in fifteen minutes.”
"Some years ago, my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and it was very serious. The doctors did not even want to admit her into the hospital because the cancer was so advanced that there was no hope for her to live. Doctor Elena, who recently came to New York, helped us to put her into the hospital. The first day that she was admitted, she was very scared. She had never been in a hospital before, and she asked me for a Transcendental Picture. She was always positive towards Guru, but she never took our philosophy very seriously. She is a very realistic type of person. I gave her a Transcendental Picture, and she wore it on a chain around her neck as long as she could, until they inserted some tubes into her neck. And then she would just hold it in her hand all the time."
Alaska, United States
"Sri Chinmoy has offered me experiences I never thought nor dreamed. Foreign and domestic travel, a treasure-hunt style of spontaneity, sleeping side by side in a crowded room with my fellow disciples while working on a concert, public speaking, running around the United States, marathons and ultra marathons, attending events where famous musicians give an impromptu concert and famous politicians, dignitaries, royalty, sports figures or entertainers are present. He has rounded out my life in a variety of ways.
Now I and my brothers and sisters must continue without his physical presence. Judging by the palpable presence of his essence left here on earth, this should not be as difficult as we imagined. Even in my little room surrounded by the memorabilia, Sri Chinmoy’s life and mission continue stronger than ever. "
"Mostly these packets, photos, notes, bulging out of pages, are triggers to more abundant memories than those recorded. A concert ticket took me to the first time I saw Sri Chinmoy in person, Heathrow Airport 1997. In a bustle of artificial light and noise and movement, waiting for his arrival, I entered into one of the most profound meditations of my life. He passed by, looked into me with such surety and pure affection, I knew my life had found its home. Here at last was a teacher who could take me to God; a journey I knew I needed more than my own breath. His was the most familiar face I had ever seen, recognition flooded with sanctuary. Tears of relief followed me for twelve continuous hours."
"My mother made a cot for me when I was born, which I still remember draped in sunshine yellow cloth, with a Transcendental Picture either end. Although I wasn’t in Guru’s physical presence most of the time, I had a strong feeling of him being around from all the photos and books scattered about the house. Guru’s music was also a main feature, either on tape or sung by my mum. Songs of the Soul played in the morning would wake me up and Akasha would regulate my naps in the afternoon. All these things embody Guru’s consciousness, and by knowing that, you really know Guru too. Some of us have had more opportunities to spend time with Guru in the outer world than others but we all have access to his consciousness and smile through his photos, music, writings and importantly for me, our imagination."
New York, United States
"Following an inspiring concert by Sri Chinmoy in Cambodia, the tour headed off to Zurich, Switzerland, but I took a detour to Pisa, Italy, where I met up with my co-conspirators, Bipin and Sanjaya. It had long been a dream of mine to break the milk crate balancing record at the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I could just see in my mind’s eye an awesome photo of a tower of 22 milk crates stacked up on my chin next to the world-renowned architectural mishap. Someone had just surpassed the milk crate record I had held for several years, so it was the perfect time to try to get it back. Unfortunately, I had my own mishap at Pisa! The area I was assigned to, as stipulated by the permit, was severely sloped, and the angle affected the mechanics of my balancing. Although I gave it my best, I could only manage to keep the stack of crates balanced for 8 seconds, a mere 2 seconds short of the mandatory 10 seconds required by Guinness. The ironic part of the story is that instead of the photo I had imagined, Reuters Press Agency got a spectacular shot of me dropping the crates which appeared in newspapers all over the world!"
"How Sri Chinmoy answers children’s questions is fantastic. It is simple and totally understandable, and that is how I remember it from my childhood. Nothing was ever ‘not understood’. Everything always made perfect sense, because I was always told the truth in a very simple way, as you can only tell a child. And I still feel the same way now that I am 28 years old! Whenever I had the opportunity to ask Sri Chinmoy something and expected a grand complex answer, he replied in the simplest possible way, that totally makes sense when you hear it. It blows your mind away! – and you ask yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that myself before?!”
Auckland, New Zeland
"I am deeply grateful that I became Sri Chinmoy’s disciple. At first the idea of having a male spiritual teacher was challenging, however this concern soon became unsubstantiated as I felt a new reality dawn in my life. I learned that the freedom and strength we all yearn for can only be found within ourselves. I soon experienced for myself that meditating on my heart centre inspired, strengthened and empowered me in a true and lasting way.
Living a spiritual life has enabled me to connect with my deeper nature. Nowadays I am not usually disturbed if I am discriminated against, because I feel my own value powerfully within. I know that I am only responsible for my behaviour and not that of others. I have a greater love and understanding of the world and myself. I get much satisfaction from sincerely striving to identify with the inherent goodness in all people. Perhaps some people are afraid of spirituality, consequently they try to discount its value rather than try it, or at least attempt to gain any deeper understanding of it. Feminine qualities like purity, compassion, sweetness and humility are given little value in our modern society, and yet when we see them, how beautiful and powerful they are!" When we feel them within ourselves, how strong and happy we feel!
Experiences with Sri Chinmoy
More stories from Sri Chinmoy's students.
Why run 3100 miles?Smarana Puntigam Vienna, Austria
How my spiritual search led me to Sri ChinmoyVidura Groulx Montreal, Canada
My Life with Sri Chinmoy: a bookTejvan Pettinger Oxford, United Kingdom
Listen to the inner voiceVidura Groulx Montreal, Canada
Filled with deepest joyTirtha Voelckner Munich, Germany
Celestial experiencesAntaranga Gressenich Munich, Germany
Praying for God’s Grace to DescendSweta Pradhan Kathmandu, Nepal
Just go with it and jump!Gabriele Settimi San Diego, United States
Sri Chinmoy meets St. PeterParamita Jarvis Kingston, Canada
The connection between Sri Chinmoy's music and my soulKamalakanta Nieves New York, United States
Learning to love songs ever morePatanga Cordeiro São Paulo, Brazil
The oneness of all paths - personal experiencesNirbhasa Magee Dublin, Ireland
Meditation Nights at the Sri Chinmoy CentrePreetidutta Thorpe Auckland, New Zealand
interviews with Sri Chinmoy's students