A tribute to Sri Chinmoy
As I write this it is has been three days since Sri Chinmoy passed away. Words cannot fully express who I feel he eternally is, how he changed my life, or the gratitude that I have for him, but I would like to try to capture a few thoughts and feelings out of my deepest love and respect for his remarkable life.
Amongst the myriad blessings, guidance, love and concern that Sri Chinmoy showered upon me, he gave me back something that I never could have imagined. Something I didn’t realise I still had inside me. Sri Chinmoy gave back my childhood.
When I was a boy I would gaze into the sky and watch, wonder and dream. Whether it was a pale, crescent moon casting slivers of pure moonlight from amidst a clouded sky, a canopy of brilliant stars filling every corner of the sky with celestial Christmas lights, a rising sun resplendent in its indomitable grandeur, or simply an enveloping mass of swirling grey cloud, the sky was a place of unquestionable wonder able to summon endless delight from deep within me. The world was an amazing place!
As I grew older, and my life more complex, I looked less and less at the sky. The joy, sweetness and spontaneity of my childhood was gradually extinguished, and with it the part of me that marvelled at the inherent beauty of our world. Years ticked by. I became lost. I wanted to be loved, but knew not what love was or how to find it. I looked in the wrong places, becoming mired in an utterly fruitless reality. Happiness eluded me. I sought fleeting pleasures whilst trying to ignore the muffled voice of my childhood reminding me of the futility of it all.
A day came when I could not stand it any more. The little voice could no longer be ignored. I summoned a blazing will power. For months and months I drove myself to the brink of madness in an attempt to find meaning in my life. It amounted to nothing. Eventually I gave up on searching for happiness and returned to pleasure seeking. My little voice was silent. It was well and truly buried. If it were not for Sri Chinmoy, the ashes of a meaningless life would have continued to pile layer upon layer of ignorance onto the spirit of that little boy, a little boy who had once stared so delightedly at the infinite sky.
But Sri Chinmoy found me. He plucked me from the meshes of a hopeless existence and taught me how to live a natural, normal and joyful life. He did this in many ways, but most importantly he taught me how to meditate. As my meditation deepened my life began to blossom. I felt happy and joyful again! And amongst many other things, I became aware that this universe of ours has been shaped and sustained by a force far, far greater than the limited concepts my mind was able to comprehend. Sri Chinmoy taught me to feel this reality within my heart. As I reflected upon the unfathomable grace and good fortune that had brought someone like Sri Chinmoy into my life, I came to understand that the guiding force which has wrought the celestial beauty of the skies and the depths of the ocean, and that which has breathed life into every living being, and of which I was now aware, was the same guiding hand that piloted every second of Sri Chinmoy’s life. There was no individual in Sri Chinmoy. He lived in a universal consciousness, a space in which he felt no separation between his own existence and the rest of the universe. The joys and sorrows of the world were his joys, his sorrows. He carried them tirelessly in his heart, utterly surrendered to the dictates of his Inner Pilot.
Sri Chinmoy achieved the unachievable, yet with the same humility of starlight that has travelled unsullied across galaxies and solar systems. He carried a message from the heavens and was inexhaustible in his determination, offering light unconditionally, without expectation, a beacon of hope shining brightly through the tethers of world ignorance. He was, and forever will be, a veritable pole star for those who stare longingly at the sky and refuse to accept that such wonder can remain foreign and remote to our own existence. He taught me to feel the beauty of sky, a thousand fold, in my very own heart. Even the little boy within me could scarcely have imagined that such a thing was possible.
Sometimes I would wonder how and why Sri Chinmoy loved me so unconditionally, despite my teeming imperfections. Eventually I came realise that the love that Sri Chinmoy had for me, the love that he had for the world, was the love that God has for His Creation. It was utterly unconditional. It was allwhere. It will never die, it cannot die- this love is life itself. I know that it will continue to blossom in my heart until I breathe my last, and even then it will not cease.
Sri Chinmoy taught me that I love my Dad, that I love my Sister, that I love my Mum (although she has passed away), that I love my friends, my neighbours, my enemies, and that I love the world; he taught me that to love was my true nature and that to love was to be loved. He saw this within me as an immutable truth, a jewel buried beneath the swarming doubts of my mind. His was a life as self-giving as the Sun and as pure as the Moon. To look into his eyes was to look into Infinity itself. To see his smile, even if only in a photograph, was to experience true delight. He brought God to me in a way I could feel, a way I could understand.
I now would like to offer the following words to my Guru, Sri Chinmoy:
Thank You Guru. You changed my life. In fact, I feel that my life only really began when I met You. The depths of your writings, the soaring delight of your music, the mesmerising spontaneity of your artwork, your physical feats of unimaginable will power, and above all the ambrosial embrace of your infinite consciousness, brought forward the best in me, the divine in me. I am not yet perfect, but because of You, Guru, I am a good person, growing, blossoming everyday into something a little more perfect.
Guru, the human in me is sad that You have left the physical plane, but the divine in me, that spark of consciousness that You unlocked from within me, knows that You are just as close as always; that your Soul-Bird is winging the infinite skies of my heart, forever. Even from the depths of my current sorrow, a few moments of meditation is all that is needed to remind me of this eternal truth.
I will not worry, Guru, because You taught me to feel that I am a seven-year-old boy, enfolded eternally, childlike, in the arms of our Lord Beloved Supreme. I will try to love my enemies just as much as I love my friends. I will try to see the good in them that You saw in me.
Guru, although it is difficult, I pray that the only tears I will cry are the tears of inner aspiration, for I know that is the only way to become ever closer to You, ever closer to my Soul, ever closer to God.
Guru, I love You with all my heart.
Gratitude, Gratitude, Gratitude
Finally, here is an excerpt from Sri Chinmoy’s poem ‘The Soul-Bird’‘I am free because I am not of the body. I am free because I am not the body, I am free because I am the soul-bird That flies in Infinity-Sky. I am the soul-child that dreams On the Lap of the immortal King Supreme.’