On getting my name

In the early fall of 2006 I got a call from my stepdad telling me that an investment he had made in my name many years ago had finally split (increased in value), and that he would be depositing thirty-one thousand dollars in my bank account.

I was elated to get so much money, but also very sad.  I couldn’t place my sadness.  Then, one Saturday night, I was meditating at our evening function with Guru, and I felt this overpowering longing to serve Guru.  I’ve never felt that before, I just felt the strongest love and devotion for Guru I have ever felt.  I wanted to do something for him while both of us were still on earth.  Tears were streaming down my face.

The following Wednesday I went to my bank and got a certified check made out in the amount of thirty-one thousand dollars.  I endorsed it and put it in the love-offering box that night, along with a letter to Guru outlining why I was giving him the money: I couldn’t for the life of me think of what I would do with it, and it made sense to just give it to my Master.

The next morning, around ten thirty, I was stocking the cooler at our vegetarian restaurant, The Oneness-Fountain-Heart, when I got a call from one of Guru’s attendants to come to the tent at Aspiration Ground, our meditation ground.  The attendant told me to come right away, and said to drive, not to walk.

Of course I told the cook I had to leave, entrusted the opening duties to the other waiters, and hopped in the car.  I played some late Beethoven string quartet on the deck to calm my nerves.  Interestingly, Guru had just answered my query on Beethoven and Bach a few weeks before.  He said that Beethoven’s last music, (which would include the last five string quartets of course) came to him through his third eye; God gave him the capacity to hear the music with his third eye after he lost his ability to hear.

Anyway, I parked the car, ran into the tent (our Aspiration-Ground is an outdoor amphitheater, but in the winter we put up a big white heated tent).  Guru saw me, and he told me to sit and meditate for a few minutes.  I saw from the people around him that he had been teaching songs and answering questions.  He wrapped up what he was doing, and the singers took their seats.  I was sitting near the front row, maybe the very front row.

I was really agitated and excited.  I knew I was about to get my spiritual name from him.  I should have just followed his instructions and meditated peacefully, but I was so emotionally hyper that I just sat there and remembered all the highest experiences I had had with Guru over the years, and with each recollection I offered him my deepest gratitude.

Guru usually did not ask people to meditate before giving them their names.  One boy told me later, “Wow, you must not have been in a high consciousness if Guru asked you to meditate!”  I laughed at that.  Guru has an extremely sympathetic nature and a sensitive heart.  I am not even referring to his occult and spiritual power.  I am just saying that, on a human level, he could feel that I was suffering from something, and wanted me to meditate to be a little more receptive.

I was dealing with an issue, and it’s something that has never left me.  I have not found an answer to it.  I just continue my sadhana anyway.  According to my friend, in life we need illumination, but if we don’t have illumination, then we have to have endurance.  But we have to have one of the two- either illumination or endurance.  Illumination is the best, but if we don’t have it, then we have to have endurance.


I looked at Guru from the front row, as I said, in a very agitated state, offering him my grateful heart.  And Guru just sat on his chair on the stage and looked at me.  He rested one arm on the arm rest and pressed his right index finger to the corner of his mouth and just looked at me.   This went on for a few minutes.  Sometimes he adjusted his position and lifted the left index finger to his lip.  He was just sitting in such a casual way, just looking at me.  It was meaningful to me because I was not outwardly close to Guru- I never went to his house, I never spoke to him.  And now I was the sole focus of his attention.  I had a similar experience at the smaller concert Guru gave after his mammoth Philadelphia Peace Concert in 1996.  He came back two weeks later and gave an intimate follow-up concert at an auditorium at the University of Pennsylvania.  I was one of the seekers who went to this intimate concert.  He played so many instruments, and was so focused on the music.  But when I closed my eyes halfway, I saw he was looking only at me.  I wasn’t even a disciple yet.  When I looked at him with my eyes open, he was concentrating on the music.  But when I looked through half-lidded eyes, I saw he was looking only at me.  And now, ten years later, I had a similar experience at the tent at Aspiration-Ground.

As Guru was looking at me, I felt that I began to meditate, to really meditate.  I know how to meditate because of my long association with my Master.  But at that moment, as Guru was looking at me, I started to meditate in a way I never have before or since.  It was like Guru’s silent gaze, for those few minutes, turned me into a Master of meditation.  I knew then how to meditate.  I meditated and meditated with utmost confidence.  I now realise that Guru’s force entered into me and meditated on my behalf.  I was just letting Guru meditate in and through me, and I just observed, fascinated.

And Guru was so calm.  He just looked and looked.  I was in a turbulent time in my life, agitated and nervous.  I was being tortured by the so called need for sex life, what Guru calls “vital life”.  This is a celibate path, and chastity, celibacy, is the biggest obstacle for me, I think.  It has been thirty years since I joined the path, and still in terms of purity and vital transformation I’m not sure I’ve made even a beginning.

But Guru wasn’t worried about my vital sins, my transgressions, my inner and outer crimes.  His silent gaze was addressing only my divinity, my soul, and he was bringing forward that hidden divinity.  I could feel it.

Then he called me up to the stage.  I stood in front of the stage and kneeled down, but he gestured that I should come around and sit at his feet.  As I sat in front of him, I saw him squirming a few times.  I could tell that my close physical proximity made him a little uncomfortable.  It can be physically painful for a God-realised soul to have to be in very close contact with someone who is not vitally or physically pure.  This is not elitism.  I could just see that my being so close to the Master was a little painful for him.  Sri Ramakrishna also suffered physically when he was touched by certain people.

At that same time, as I sat myself down, I saw that he still radiated this all-pervading calm.  I felt he was telling me “Look, I live without vital life, sex life, and I have infinite peace and light.  When you can overcome this so-called need, you can also have this kind of light.”  There was no judgment in his aspect or demeanor whatsoever.

I was looking up at Guru, and his eyes started moving back and forth, back and forth, at lightning speed, and they started climbing and climbing and his eyes started behaving strangely- one eye was moving in one pattern, and the other eye started moving in a completely different pattern and speed, but they both seemed to be working together.  And then his eyes went completely white!  And then he started breathing heavily and this smile spread over his face so broad I thought his face would crack, he was absolutely grinning ear to ear and it sounded like he was saying this long, aspirated, “Aaaaaahhhh!!!”  like a loud whisper.  And it was as if he recognised me, or once again he was acknowledging my soul, and my soul’s eternal relationship with him, and he was affirming that.  But when I say “recognition”, it was like his smile, his gaze, his aspirated “aaaaah!” were all the tokens of his recognition of a long-lost beloved friend, the real Friend in me, the soul.

And I had the strangest experience.  I was looking at Guru, watching him meditate, and as I was entering into the flow of his trance, I realised I was looking at Guru not as a disciple, but as a peer!  And I know this sounds utterly unbelievable- how can anyone, especially a disciple, say that he is equal to the Master?  And in my ordinary  consciousness, or even in my usual “highest” consciousness, I would never dare to say that- not in a million years!  But for just that infinitesimal fraction of a split second, I saw that I was in no way inferior to my Master.   I was his eternal friend, and I looked at him with the love and joy of absolute oneness-pride.

I guess there are two kinds of obedience.  There’s the obedience of doing everything the Master says.  And there’s the obedience of seeing ourselves the way the Master sees us.  When it comes to the first kind of obedience, outer obedience, perhaps I can be more in Sri Chinmoy’s Boat and less in my own boat.  But for that one iota of a nanosecond, I offered him the second obedience, I did what Guru wanted me to do more than anything else.  I saw my eternal oneness with him, and this is an experience that he vouchsafed me out of his infinite kindness, and I will treasure it throughout Eternity.

Then, Guru held an envelope over me, and I knelt down, and lowered my head, and he pressed it to the top of my head, saying “Very happy, very happy.”  And I got up and looked at him, and I saw he was blinking hard, trying to come back to this physical reality.  And he looked so humble, like a child who was trying to find his way back home, and he was struggling so hard just to orient himself to this plane.

I walked off the stage, and I looked at him one last time.  Guru looked at me with an expression that I struggle to describe.  It was like he had become as vast as the Himalayas, as extended as the ocean, as serene as the dawn.  He looked at me as from the top of Mount Everest, with infinite poise and infinite calm.  And I said to him, in silence, “Oh Master, I love you, and I love God, but I love other things too.  Oh Guru, what am I going to do?”

And he responded inwardly, “I will wait for you.  If necessary, forever.”

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