Ten Stories

by Sri Chinmoy
told in Qingdao, China

Plays based on my stories

I have written over the years many, many stories. On the Christmas Trip I hope you can perform plays based on my stories. At least try to take thirty per cent from my writings and seventy per cent can be your own words. But do not make them one hundred per cent your words. If you make them one hundred per cent your words, I will not understand! Some disciples are using seventy or eighty per cent my words. You may say that if your play is one hundred per cent my words, there will be no juice in it! We all like juice, but you can mix the juice with a little water — that is to say, my own words. Otherwise sometimes I do not understand your plays. But please do something. It will make me happy.

Again, some people perform plays using absolutely one hundred per cent my words and I understand them perfectly.

The Eskimos

In India, when we studied the Eskimos and I saw their pictures, I had such love and admiration for them. I still have very great love and admiration for them when I see the snow and their life-style. They have twenty words for “snow”!

Long live Canada! I did see Eskimos in Canada, in Montreal or Quebec.

My friend Mr. Gruber

When I came to New York, my dearest Russian friend was Mr. Gruber. He was a Jewish man, eighty-four years old. He became my friend when he came to the Indian Consulate.

For some reason I asked Mr. Gruber, “Is your father alive?”

He said, “Oh, no!”

Since he himself was over eighty, I said, “What kind of question am I asking you?”

Then he said, “Have you heard the name ‘Hitler’?”

I said, “Yes!”

“He took very nice care of my father.”

Mr. Gruber invited me to watch him ice skating in Manhattan. There was a very small skating rink and I went to watch him. Can you imagine, he was over eighty and how smart he was! I was admiring him immensely!

Mr. Gruber took me to a poetry reading inside a restaurant in Manhattan. The name of the restaurant was Cervantes. People were drinking and smoking and from time to time some poets would stand up and recite their poems. I also stood up. I did not eat anything or drink anything. I had brought with me three or four poems and I stood up to read my poems.

One lady was very kind. She liked my poems. She invited me to come to her place with Mr. Gruber on a Sunday, so we went there. At that time I brought ten or twelve poems to read out. She liked them and appreciated them.

At least one lady was kind enough to appreciate my poems! Mine were spiritual poems. When the other poets were reading out their poems, I did not understand a word they were saying! Perhaps they also did not understand my poems.

My neighbour on 149th Street

One of my neighbours on 149th Street became absolutely my dearest brother-friend in America. He was an Italian and he was quite old. His wife was also old. He and his wife were very stout. He was so fond of me. He said to me, “You went to see the Pope? So, you were there!”

The husband was extremely, extremely fond of me. His love and admiration for me was too much for his wife. One day he became so furious with her because she was not in favour of me. He said, “Today I was very upset with her!” After that incident, she also became my great admirer.

When he died, I went to his wake. For the first time I met with his eldest son. The son was very, very nice to me. I asked him what kind of work he was doing and he said that he was a travel agent. I said, “We can take help from you for our Christmas Trip.”

We did take help from him, but nothing worked out. Our luggage did not arrive. Such unhappy experiences we had. He did not want to offer any compensation. On the contrary, he said many unkind things.

I said, “All right, we shall have nothing more to do with you.” I hoped that the story was all finished.

A few months later he brought two baskets of fruits, one after the other, to my house and he asked me for forgiveness for his behaviour. He said, “How much love my father had for you, how much respect he had! What have I done? What have I said to you? Please forgive me.”

Their house has changed hands many times. Some disciples thought that our Centre could buy that house. Quite unexpectedly, the old man’s soul appeared before me, with such love and affection. I was not meditating at the time. He said, “Never, never, never buy this house! Never buy this house! I do not want you to buy this house! It is no good, no good! I do not want you to buy it!” From the soul’s world he gave me the message. I did not have any particular inner connection with his soul, but the soul came up to me and said, “No, no — never, never!”

So much love the old man had for me.

So many experiences

When we went to Antigua, the disciples made a tennis court and I played with them. We enjoyed our time there.

Each and every place we visit, we enjoy. Each country has something unique to offer us. Is there any country that we did not enjoy?

In Egypt I enjoyed boating on the Nile River. I was able to climb up two pyramids. In the evening they look so nice! It was very, very difficult. I was almost crawling, perhaps.

So many experiences we had. Ambassador Nazareth came to Egypt and we honoured him. He was my boss at the Indian Consulate for five or six months. Ambassador Nazareth is the one who said, “In a forest there are many, many trees, but one tree goes so high — high, higher, highest. That particular tree sheds light and illumines the whole forest. This is Sri Chinmoy.” Who ever thought that a junior clerk at the Indian Consulate would become a tall, taller, tallest tree shedding so much light?

During those four or five months when he worked at the Consulate, Ambassador Nazareth used to walk so quickly and so smartly! His wife’s name is Isabel. They were so nice, extremely nice to us.

My dearest Mr. Mehrotra saved my life! Everything he did for me, because he saw something in my eyes. All the requirements he discarded: I did not need degrees, I did not need other qualifications, because as soon as he saw me, when I stood in front of his door, he saw something in my eyes. Then he became my saviour. Now he is my dearer than the dearest brother. And Ambassador Nazareth saw me as a huge tree. These are my two Consulate bosses.

We met with Fred Lebow of the New York Road Runners Club in Egypt. He was very, very nice to us. With Fred Lebow we established such a good friendship. For three or four years the Road Runners Club used to hold a spring track meet called the New York Games, with races of 100 metres or 200 metres. Each year I would open the Games with a meditation. One year Fred Lebow was kind enough to wait for me to arrive so that I could open the Games. Then Sudhahota Carl Lewis sang the national anthem while I meditated. That was all Fred Lebow’s doing. Fred Lebow went to Heaven. It was a great loss for us. Then we found our own way and started running our own marathon.

It was in Rome, I think, that I received the Fred Lebow Cup, presented by the organisers of the Rome Marathon in his honour. That was absolutely the largest trophy.

One year I remember I joined one of Fred Lebow’s walking races. Even in those days my right knee was not straight enough, so my style was not good. Fred Lebow saw it, but he was my friend, so he did not say anything to me. He just said that I was not walking properly.

Behind me was my dearest Subarata. Although my knee was bad I was going quite fast, but it seems that Subarata was doing something wrong. They said that the judges would give one warning. In my case, the judge did not tell me anything; he just observed me. Then he disqualified me and I was out of the race. Twenty or thirty metres behind me was Subarata. I was so happy to see her! Alas, when she came to the place where I had been disqualified, she also was disqualified! I said, “What is this?” She was walking absolutely perfectly. I did not see anything wrong. In my own case, God alone knows what I was doing; but poor Subarata was also out of the race. I was so sad that, like me, Subarata was also fired! Both of us were out.

When we had races around the lake at Rockland State Park, where we now have our marathon, Subarata always used to try be four or five metres behind me.

Coming back to Fred Lebow, our very first meeting was in the famous Flushing Meadows Park. There was a short race and I went to watch. I was standing at a particular place. Fred Lebow was digging or doing something in the ground. All of a sudden he came up to me and said, “Are you Sri Chinmoy?”

I said, “Yes, I am Sri Chinmoy.”

He smiled at me and shook hands with me, with such affection and love. I knew nothing about him. The disciples told me that he was the head of the New York Road Runners Club and the New York City Marathon. That was Fred Lebow.

Pir Vilayat Khan

When I met with religious leaders at the United Nations for the first time, everybody stood up and either embraced me or shook hands with me. Pir Vilayat went one step ahead. He called out to his wife, “Taj, Taj!” She was in the audience. He said, “Come, come and be blessed by Sri Chinmoy!”

There were twenty or thirty religious leaders present and in front of all the religious leaders, with three hundred people in the audience, Pir Vilayat Khan said that his wife should come and be blessed by me. This was Pir Vilayat Khan.

How much they loved India!

Mother Teresa begged and begged the Indian Government for years to give her a pass to travel for free from one place to another in India. They would not give it to her. Then she said, “Let me be a stewardess! Only allow me to travel.” She had no qualification, but she said, “Any kind of job you want to give me on the plane, I am ready to do. Any kind of work I will do; only please allow me to travel for free. I have no money. I want to go from one place to another to serve the poor people.”

Finally Prime Minister Indira Gandhi saved her. She did a very good thing. She was the one who said, “Anywhere in India you can go with a free ticket. You do not have to pay.” She could not fly first class or business class; she had to travel in economy class. But at least she could fly. I am so grateful to Indira Gandhi for saving Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa had some enemies. In her book she wrote that she thought love could conquer everything, but eventually she saw that love could not conquer everything.

Some people do not suffer much before they become well known throughout the length and breadth of the world. But in the case of Mother Teresa, her suffering was simply unimaginable. How much she loved India and how much she suffered!

The same thing happened with Sister Nivedita. How much they both loved India! And they suffered so much.

At least in Mother Teresa’s case, she got appreciation and it lasted for a long time. In the evening of her life she got name, fame, appreciation and admiration from Indians. But poor Sister Nivedita got all her appreciation after her passing. She said, "I am not in politics. I only mix with people and bring news about how to save the country, to save my India." She brought information to Sri Aurobindo also. She used to mix with the English people and get secret information to help India. She said, “Mine is not the so-called politics. Mine is a service to Mother India.” Sad experiences she got everywhere, although she gave tremendous service to India.

Sister Nivedita wrote a book about her Master, Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo said, “Her own blood she used to write the book.” Sri Aurobindo had such appreciation for that book, The Master As I Saw Him.

An Irish lady did so much for India! Her father knew what she would do. On his deathbed he said to his wife, “When the time comes, do not prevent her from doing what she would like to do.”

At what time life changes for the better, we do not know. In Ireland, before she came to India, Sister Nivedita’s boyfriend had a serious car accident and he died. Immediately she turned towards God. Some say that if her boyfriend had not died, God knows whether she would have taken to the spiritual life. I do not believe it! When the time comes for the spiritual life, a boyfriend or girlfriend is not important. When the time arrived, Sister Nivedita accepted the spiritual life.

Sister Nivedita helped so many great Indian figures. When they were about to be arrested by the British, she would go and tell them. When Sri Aurobindo was about to be arrested for a second time, immediately she came and warned him. For a few months she was editing Sri Aurobindo’s newspaper. She copied Sri Aurobindo’s style so that the British Government would not suspect anything.

A very dear friend at the United Nations

A very, very, very dear friend of mine recently retired from the United Nations. What did he do? He blessed me with a very large sum of money. He thanked me for my encouragement and so many other things. Such friendship we have established with him!

I never knew that one of our disciples used to drive this gentleman from his place in Brooklyn to our Friday night monthly meetings in Queens. After the meditation, the disciple would drive him all the way back to Brooklyn. This disciple had been doing selfless service for him for many years and they became very, very good friends. The man gave his disciple-friend also a considerable amount of money. The disciple said, “Oh, no, no, I cannot accept it.” His friend said, “You have to take it, you have to take it!” So the disciple accepted the money from his friend and then he gave it to me as a love-offering.

My disciple gave outer service to this gentleman. Every month he used to drive his friend. In my case, it was all inner service. How could a non-disciple bless me with a large love-offering for my inner service? He has been a very, very good friend. Now I shall encourage him to come once a month to our meditations with his son.

We devoured each other with smiles

The bodyguards of the President of Venezuela are here in our hotel, because the President will be coming. At first they were stiff. They were showing their authority, but then I smiled and smiled at them like their grandfather. I disarmed them! I smiled and smiled at them and in a minute they also start smiling. We devoured each other with smiles!

Both of them are very nice. I will lift both of them together. Then they can tell the President that I am strong! The President is bringing two of his sons. They are eighteen and nineteen years old. Who knows what will happen? If the President wants to be lifted, I will lift him.

Innocence incarnate

Our hotel maids are innocence incarnate. I could never believe that they would do anything wrong. They are so good — absolutely angels.

When I go near my room, two of them will come running to open the door. I say, "I have the key,” but they insist on opening the door for me. They are so kind, so polite. Their English is good, but they are very soft-spoken.

Published in I Thank You