Table of Contents
Sri Chinmoy narrated the following story in Cairns, Australia, on 20 January 2003.
1. Disciples of Another Master
Five disciples of a Master once came to me in New York. Let us call him Guru Sukha. This Guru had a very, very good soul and he had many disciples.
One by one, these five disciples each had dreams of their Master during their sleep. He told them, “Please go to Sri Chinmoy, please go to Sri Chinmoy.” He also said very nice things about me to then in their dreams.
One of Guru Sukha’s disciples would come to me. Then, in two months’ time, another one would come. Then another and another. All of them had the same story: “Master keeps coming to me in my dreams and begging me to become your disciple.”
Alas, none of these disciples stayed on my path. They thought that I was too high for them.
One of these disciples was a hairdresser. She used to speak so highly of me to all her customers. She would have tears of devotion in her eyes as she spoke about me. Her customers would be so moved that they would often give the lady small tips for her Master, and she would gladly take their donations. After some time, she left the path.
Four or five years later, quite unexpectedly, this lady came to my house. I was on my porch. She came with a very large bag containing coins, and also one and five-dollar bills. She offered me this bag.
I asked her, “What happened?”
“I am not ready to be your disciple,” she answered, “but I cry and cry when I talk about you to my customers. I think of you all the time. When I talk to my customers and tell them about you, they are so moved. They give me money for you, so I brought you the money they wanted to give you.”
I said, “Why do you not come back to our path?”
“Oh, no, your path is too high for me. I cannot,” answered the lady.
Guru Sukha was a very good and genuine Master. Some Masters want their disciples to stay with them, even when the disciples want to be with another Master. Again, Masters like Guru Sukha send their own disciples to other Masters when they feel a certain Master can help their disciples to continue to make progress. This has happened many, many times. Truth to tell, there are many ways to arrive at the Goal.
2. Giving Joy to the Master
Sri Aurobindo wrote a story in Bengali called Kshamar Adarsha, “The Ideal of Forgiveness”. There he described how the Vedic sage Vashishtha forgave King Vishwamitra, even though Vishwamitra had killed one hundred of his disciples.
When I was thirteen years old, I rendered this story into two hundred lines of rhyming Bengali verse. Timidly and devotedly, I submitted this poem to the Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Out of her infinite compassion for me, the Mother gave it to Sri Aurobindo. In a few days’ time, at four-thirty in the afternoon, I was on my way to the volleyball ground. One of Sri Aurobindo’s dearest attendants, Mulshankar, stopped me and said, “Chinmoy, Nirod is reading out to Sri Aurobindo your long poem and Sri Aurobindo is smiling.”
When I heard this, I was in the seventh heaven of delight! A few hours later, Nirod-da sent for me and returned the poem. He told me that Sri Aurobindo had remarked, “It is a fine piece of poetry. He has capacity. Tell him to continue.”
Last August I was inspired to set this poem to music and today Kailash’s group has sung this song most soulfully and most powerfully. Once upon a time, a thirteen-year-old boy pleased his Master. He is now seventy-one years old, and his disciples have pleased him very, very much. In all sincerity, from my own inner vision, I am telling you that the joy my disciples have given me today with their singing is infinitely more than the joy I gave Sri Aurobindo with my poem. Their singing of the song was most excellent!
Just before Kailash’s group began, I was cycling in our meeting room. Only Priyadarshan was inside. Right from the beginning, who was I seeing? I was seeing Sri Aurobindo in the room. Then I also saw the Mother and Nolini-da. They were watching and watching from the corner on the far side of this room. They were very happy.
Only when I started walking, they became so sad. They were deeply, deeply sad at the pain I was experiencing in my legs. That sadness I cannot express in words.
3. Hriday’s Respect for his Teacher
My eldest brother, Hriday, went to high school, college and university. He studied the Vedas, the Upanishads and many more of our sacred scriptures. Hriday was a most brilliant student and scholar.
It so happened that my brother’s primary school teacher was also my primary school teacher, even after a gap of so many years. This teacher’s name was Shivashankar. He was strictness incarnate. If a student did not do his lessons or if he misbehaved in any way, Shivashankar had a long cane – an absolutely sesquipedalian cane – with which he would strike the naughty pupil. Not only that, but the student would have to kneel down and pull his ears. He would have to keep that terrible pose as long as our teacher wanted. The student’s knees, back and everything would be hurting very much. That kind of strict teacher Shivashankar was!
After twelve years of being at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, my brother returned home for a year. He went to see Shivashankar and pay his respects. When he saw Shivashankar, my brother fell flat at the feet of his first teacher.
The old man said to my brother, “What are you doing? You are now such a great man! You are a spiritual seeker and you have been in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. How can you do this?”
Hriday answered, “No, no! You were the one who first opened my eyes to knowledge. You are the one in my life who deserves this.”
Right in front of us, with utmost sincerity, Hriday prostrated himself and took blessings from Shivashankar. The old man was shedding tears and tears of joy.
This kind of respect some wonderful older teachers receive from their former students.
4. “Steal My Heart”
Many, many years ago, when I was in Jamaica, West Indies, I went to a church and gave a talk on spirituality. There were about eight hundred people in the audience. They were very impressed with my talk. Then they asked me many, many questions on prayer, meditation and various aspects of the spiritual life. Somehow I managed to satisfy them.
The minister of the church was a lady. She became a disciple and stayed in our Jamaica centre for many years.
At the end of the programme, one of my Jamaican disciples said, “We are all extremely grateful to Sri Chinmoy for offering us his talk and for answering so many questions today. We hope his answers have been of service to you in your own spiritual quest.”
Then the disciple explained that our spiritual path includes people from all faiths and greatly encourages seekers in whatever religion they belong to. The disciple asked if anyone in the audience would like to follow our path and become my disciple. Can you imagine! All eight hundred members of the audience wanted to become my disciples.
They stood in a long queue. Since I knew that our path was not meant for everyone in the church, I said, “Each person may kindly pass by me slowly, in a meditative consciousness. I shall meditate on each person.”
After meditating briefly on each person, I saw that seventy or eighty were definitely meant to be my disciples. One by one, each of those whom I accepted in our Centre came and stood on one side. To the rest of the people, I offered my soul’s loving goodwill. I knew that they would do better on another spiritual path.
Afterwards, all the new disciples came to our leader’s house. I had given her the name Durga. I agreed to see each person separately.
One very thin policeman came into the room and sat in front of me. I cut a joke with him. I said, “I am so happy you have come. If I happen to steal something, then you will be the first person to arrest me?”
He answered, “No. I have come here for you to steal my heart.”
I was deeply touched. That policeman was so nice.
Right after the policeman, his wife entered the room. Alas, she had quite a few things to say to me against her husband! She wanted me to solve all her family problems.
5. Never Give Up!
There was one disciple in Jamaica to whom I gave a spiritual name, which in Bengali, means ‘beautiful’. Her soul was most beautiful. Her husband had problems with his eyes, so he was not allowed to drive at all.
One day, shei came to me and said, “Guru! Guru! Please help me. I have been learning how to drive, since my husband can see almost nothing. Now I have to take a driving test to get my driver’s licence. I am so nervous! Please help me.”
I told her, “I shall definitely pray for you to do well.”
The following day, she came to see me with a very dejected face. She said, “Guru, I did horribly on my test. I was so nervous that I wanted to finish the test as quickly as possible. As a result, I did not even slow down at the first few cross streets to see if a car was coming. I just went through. After only two minutes, the examiner failed me.”
“I am so sorry for you,” I said. “Kindly offer this experience to the Supreme and move forward. Just practise for one or two days more and then try again, good girl.”
She took the driver’s test for the second time. Once again, she came to me with a very sad face. “I am such a bad driver, Guru! I failed again. This time I made a right turn instead of a left turn, and I was going the wrong way down a one-way street. Needless to say, the examiner failed me immediately. I do not know if I will ever pass.”
With utmost love and concern, I consoled her and said, “Please do not worry. Try again. You will definitely succeed.”
Like this, she tried and failed six times. Still the authorities were allowing her to take the test again and again because she had to drive her husband. I felt miserable for her. I told her, “This time I am very serious. I am concentrating on you most powerfully. You please try once more to pass the examination.”
She went for her test for the seventh time and this time she passed. I was so happy for her.
In my own case, I failed twice my driving test. The first time, the examiner stopped the test at the first road! When I took the test the third time, my examiner was so kind. He was encouraging me in every way throughout the test. At the end, he said, “I have never seen a driver as careful and as good as you are!”
I always say, “Never give up! Never give up!”