Coltrane, a heart of gold and the Chicago red line

Today I was taking the train back from my pool and I saw an older Black man on the train. I think he was in his mid to late seventies.  He was smartly dressed, in a purple Stetson hat and pure white slacks, white button down shirt, a nice overcoat and dark blue polished shoes leather shoes.  He was sitting across from me on the train.

For some reason I felt spontaneously inspired to strike up a conversation with him.  I remarked on how nice his white suit looked, and that, in India, the color white is the color of the Divine Mother.  People wear white to honour Her.  He was so deeply moved to hear that!  He told me his name was Wallace, and when I told him my name “Mahiruha”, he repeated it ten times until he got it right.  Wallace asked me many questions about Indian spirituality, which I endeavored to answer based on my reading of Guru’s books:  the concept of the cosmic Mother in India and with whom the Mother is identified.  I told him that you can call her Shakti , you can also call her Mother Kali. And I told him about the role and function of Kali in Indian philosophy- the transformer human ignorance, the Saviour of the Universe and the destroyer of evil.  I told him that She is the supreme power in the Hindu religion, the greatest of all the deities.  He asked me if in Indian philosophy the feminine is superior to the masculine and I said no they both have their equal roles to play.

Then I told him that since his eyes were blue- sky blue- that this is the colour of the Divine Father, and the colour is associated with Krishna. And I told him a little bit about Krishna but especially how blue is his most favorite color and how blue represents vastness, spirituality and infinity. And I told him how, according to my Guru, Krishna and Kali are eternally and inseparably one.  I told him how Sri Chinmoy, has written many songs expressing their eternal oneness.  (This one in particular is mesmerising)

I told him a little bit about our path and Master.  I shared with him how our Master would meditate in the little auditorium at the Queens inner-city elementary school, PS 86; when he meditated he would flood the room with a sense of light and delight and peace, that he brought down a higher consciousness.  He turned the little auditorium into a temple.  I said, in response to his question about our philosophy, that it’s really the acceptance of life for its transformation.


I told Wallace about the dream I had several months ago about how I was walking along the lakefront and I saw a homeless Black man come out of his tent and he was holding a violin case.  He opened it and started playing the violin on the hill.  I could recognize the melody as a Bach partita!  I approached this Black man in my dream and I asked him “What are you?”  He put down the violin and he said to me “I am an unconditional smile.  I am an absolute smile.  I am an eternal smile.”


The gentleman on the train told me that there are some dreams in life that you never forget.

I explained to him that my Master always used the term “Supreme” for God, because “Supreme” implies constant self-transcendence.  The Supreme is always in evolution.  This idea pleased him very much.  He mentioned “A love Supreme” by John Coltrane and spoke to me a little bit about his wife Alice Coltrane’s spiritual awakening (I think she incorporated Indian chants in her music).  In response, I recited Guru’s great poem, perhaps inspired by Coltrane: “Lord, when You kill me with Your Love supreme”.

I told Wallace that even though I follow an Indian path I’ve had intimate experiences with other Masters- with Jesus Christ as well as with other teachers. And I told him about my experience in the Cloisters museum in Manhattan about how I stood in front of the Fuentiduena chapel and how I was simply bathed  in affection, just overwhelming affection, I just felt waves and waves of affection pouring from Jesus Christ, and I realized then that the essence of Christianity is not the pageantry, not the power or the glory or the rapture or even the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  It is his affection. And as I spoke about my experience with Christ I felt that affection once again- the experience came back to me.  I also told him how sad it was that that the museum had desecrated that holy space by removing the ropes and allowing people to just walk through it.  Wallacce told me that that experience is inside me now. And that that by talking about it I am actually manifesting what I felt.

He said when some people feel Divinity, or the essence of God they run away, they get scared while other people come closer and walk the path of self-discovery. Then I told him that only in the presence of my Master, Sri Chinmoy, have I felt the kind of affection that I felt in the Fuentiduena chapel. And he asked me about my Master, what he looked like.  I just happened to have a book called “A Perfect Divine Enterprise” and I showed him the cover.

Wallace looked at Guru’s face and smiled and said “He’s Black!”  I told him what Guru said during a private gathering with his “Chosen Children”, his Black disciples, that “white people have mushy hearts, while Black people have hearts of gold and I am one of those”.  He asked me to repeat that, he was laughing and delighted to hear that. He said to me that Black people can also have mushy hearts and I told him that he undoubtedly has a heart of gold and he said “You do, too.” I told him that he made my day and he said “same here.” It was one of the nicest experiences I’ve ever had on the train, the notorious Red line in Chicago.


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