The hill and the song

Today I was very busy, had a lot of customers and did not get the opportunity to share very many poems.  So I just decided to quietly sing my Master’s songs while I checked out people’s groceries.  I was singing Guru’s beautiful song “karuna nayan” at one point.  I was singing it softly but powerfully, with utmost feeling. And a young woman, who was perhaps two customers behind when I started singing this song, when it was her turn, asked me what I was singing.  I said “Well I’m singing the song composed by my Master in honour of Lord Buddha” and she said “Oh I thought you were singing a song for the Buddha.”


Giant Buddha



And I asked her how she knew and she told me that the feeling of of the song suggested to her the Buddha. I was very impressed with her receptivity and intuition. The song is in Bengali and nowhere is the name “Buddha” mentioned.  The only word used is “tathagata” which is Bengali for the Buddha- but unless you know Bengali you’re not going to know that word!


Towards the very end of my shift a young woman came to my line named Elisha and I told her that in the Old Testament, Elisha was the companion of Elijah. I told her one of the most famous stories of Elisha- that after he died- he was penniless- so he was thrown into a pit and then many years later the there was a battle around the perimeter of the pit.  A soldier was wounded, died and tumbled and into the pit, but the moment his body made contact with Elisha’s bones he was immediately revived. Such was the holiness of Elisha’s bones. You have to wonder how much austerity, how much tapas or spiritual disciplines Elisha had to undergo to attain this level of sanctity. She had never heard that story before and was very impressed by it.


June 27 - Prophet Elisha - Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Christian Church


I also shared with her my Guru’s poem on the savior Christ:


O Saviour-Christ,
Please tell me,
What did you mean
By your strongest affirmation:
‘I and my Father are one’?
Tell me in what sense you and your
Father are one.

“O dear brother,
Of all people, how is it that
You, my wise brother,
Do not understand my simple message?
On earth I am my Father’s Face,
In Heaven I am my Father’s Eye.
In that sense we are one, inseparable.
This is what I meant when I said:
‘I and my Father are one'”

(Sri Chinmoy, Brother Jesus, Agni Press, 1975)


She repeated the last phrase “On earth I am my father’s face, in Heaven I am my father’s eye.”  I felt she had really internalized those lines.  She thanked me deeply and then said she’s studying Christian discipleship with a mentor and she felt meeting me and discussing these verses was a very significant milestone in her own spiritual progress.  I was very honoured to hear that and very grateful. She paused and then said “God is something!” And I quoted one of Guru’s talks where he said God is, and she repeated God is.  It felt like a very high moment.  I thought of this mantra from Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees:

“Not only the person
Who answers,
But also those who ask
God-hungry questions
Are awakened and wise.”


Guru said that it is a very helpful spiritual exercise to remind ourselves, seven times a day of the fact that we are on a very special spiritual path- and to remember this fact with a great inner intensity. So before my meals and sundry snacks I try to take just a minute to remember one precious experience I I’ve had, inner or outer, with my Master. Today I remembered how in late 2001, I was jogging up that monstrous 150th St. hill and I saw Sri Chinmoy, my Master coming the opposite way down the hill. I was running on the street, while he was walking on the closest sidewalk, his brow was furrowed in concentration.



I did not bother him, I did not engage him, but as I passed by him I folded my hands over my heart and kept running.  Now many years have passed, many good things and many bad things have happened in my life, but the trick is to keep running up that hill.  And how many millions of times in these years I have passed by my Guru without knowing it I will never know.

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