Call has come

On our first trip to New York to see Sri Chinmoy, Professor Nasser and I drove together. It was a long trip, and we made it even longer by getting lost...we spent more than 15 hours on the road. Once we had arrived and taken a shower, we reconvened in what was called Progress-Promise, a large hall on top of a commercial building. As we went up the stairs, I was simply shocked by the incredible number of sneakers lined up along the stairway. The message was clear: Take your shoes off! But why did everyone wear sneakers? When I reached the function room, I immediately noticed that boys were sitting on one side and girls with saris were sitting on the other. Tired after this long trip, I sat on the floor and tried to empty my mind.

Suddenly, there was total silence. Guru Sri Chinmoy had arrived. He was poised, radiating a sublime sense of peace. He looked very serene. His eyes were very sharp, yet full of kindness. He sat down facing the audience and asked the newcomers to walk in front of him. I joined the twenty or so other seekers as we walked soulfully, hands folded, while the hundred or so disciples sang: Dak eseche, Dak eseche... Call has come...

I did not understand much, but it was beautiful. It felt good, yet a little strange. All of this singing and blessing was a shock for a neophyte like me. Bowing in front of a Guru, folding our hands while walking, singing an incantation in a foreign language... my mind thought all this was too much! But again, the little voice inside me liked it; I listened to the inner voice and decided to continue. Needless to say, there was a special energy emanating from this room.

Nasser asked me (in French): Do you see all the light radiating from him? No, I don’t see any light, I answered, with some envy. Nasser came from Tunisia and did not understand two words of English, but boy, was he ever receptive!

Coming home to Moncton after this weekend the same arguments went on within me. What are your priorities? What are your responsibilities? So I continued to be torn between the inner voice and the outer messages, torn between these two opposing forces. During the next couple of years, how many times did I drive to New York with words like this: "This is my last time. It is too much. I have too much pressure, both from family and work. This spiritual life is not for me. I am coming this time to say: Thank you and farewell."

But after a few hours in the presence of Sri Chinmoy, everything would change. It seemed that, in silence, Sri Chinmoy could change my life’s priorities, my way of thinking, the perception of who I was and what I needed. And miraculously, he would give me the strength to continue the journey. At the end of each visit, I was ready to face the music – stronger and more determined to continue exploring the spiritual life under his guidance... until the next crisis, of course!

Inside you is God and the effulgence of divine light. You want to see light. Either you are trying to enter into the vastness of this light, or you are trying to bring to the fore the light that you already have.

Sri Chinmoy

Cross-posted from