Regaining My Inner Joy

How did you become interested in meditation? 

This was in the early 80’s. I was working as a kimono designer in Kyoto, Japan, but the work was hard and it was telling on my health. In order to get some exercise, I started going to a hatha yoga class. The teacher was a professor of Indian philosophy at a prominent university. Because he had become much healthier by practicing hatha yoga, he privately taught it in a small school. 

He used to talk a lot about Indian philosophy and Buddhism. Almost every class, he told us how important it is to have a Guru (spiritual teacher) if you want to make progress and reach self-realisation. I learned for the first time that there is a person called a Guru. 

Influenced by this teacher, I started searching for a Guru. We did a few minutes’ meditation at the end of each class, so I was interested in meditation itself, too, and wanted to deepen my understanding of meditation, but my main focus was to find a Guru. 

Happily Attending Meditation Classes for the First Time

During those years as a kimono designer, I used to browse fancy department stores in central Kyoto, consuming expensive clothes and accessories, yet never felt satisfied. In fact, it became a barren desert inside, wondering why I was living this life. 

One day in February, 1983, I found Sri Chinmoy’s book, Meditation (in Japanese translation) at a book store in Kobe. I can’t remember the content much, but a line from one poem touched my heart. I felt purity. At that moment, I decided I would become this Guru’s disciple. I contacted the Centre in Tokyo, and they told me that a class-giver from France would come for a lecture tour in March, and he would come to Kyoto. When I went to the class, I was so happy that I had finally found a Guru, a living Guru! 

I was so happy just being with disciples, I followed them everywhere after the classes, doing things like eating udon noodles together, until it was time for me to catch the last train back to my apartment. I was just happy being with them; for the three days, every evening, I went out with them, following them everywhere. There was a translator, but I hardly understood anything of the class content. Being with these people was so joyful and that kept me going back to the classes and spending time with them every day. 

After the classes, I started going to the Centre meetings in Osaka. In May or so, they asked me if I would like to be a disciple. I answered: “What do you mean? I have been coming along here all this time. Of course I want to become a disciple.” 

Sri Chinmoy’s answer to my application came before long, but inside myself, I had already been his disciple since I encountered his book at the bookshop. I had been reading all sorts of books by and about different Spiritual Masters up to that point: Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Ramana Maharshi, and Paramahansa Yogananda. I had been drawn to Spiritual Masters; but I thought it was all like a fairytale — having a real Spiritual Master surely would not or could not happen to me. That is why I was overjoyed when I went to the meditation class. 

Meditation brought me joy, but after actually meeting Guru, the quality of my meditation changed greatly. There was a lot more joy. And most importantly, I felt Guru’s love for me... this was the first time I felt being loved this much. I could not believe I could be loved so much! Not even from my loving parents had I felt this much love. Now, after 35 years studying meditation under the guidance of Sri Chinmoy, I want to say having a teacher is a must.

One year after Sujata opened her first restaurant in 1986, Sri Chinmoy visited it before going on to offer a Peace Concert in Kyoto's Avenatti Hall that evening.
Cross-posted from