A soulful visit to New York: a year since our teacher's passing

 When Sri Chinmoy was with us physically, our visits to New York always turned out to be a whirlwind of activity, combining meditation with musical and artistic performances, athletics and a whole host of other activities. Since Sri Chinmoy's passing, I have visited New York in both April and August this year, and revelled in the same unique blend of inner stillness and outer activity. This time however, the visit was different - it was all about meditation, silence and inner reflection.

Sri Chinmoy would gather with his students in a beautiful open-air meditation space called Aspiration-Ground - and it is here that his body was laid to rest upon his passing. Over the weekend of October 11 (the day when Sri Chinmoy passed away) Aspiration-Ground wes open 24 hours a day, and we could come and go as we wished to melt into the atmosphere permeated with spirituality. During the day, we had the opportunity to offer candles, flowers and incense at the Samadhi, or burial place, and meditate there. Musical groups and singers - the very same musicians Sri Chinmoy loved to hear perform - filled the air with beautiful performances of the many mantric songs Sri Chinmoy composed during his lifetime. When night time fell, the entire grounds were lit up by what seemed like a million and one candles, giving the place an unearthly beauty.

The days and weeks following our teacher's passing was a very special time for all of us. Aside from the sadness we all felt at not having our teacher physically present anymore, it was also a incredibly spiritually transformative experience, as we could feel the inner guidance more powerfully than ever before. Once, Sri Chinmoy remarked “as long as I am alive, I will definitely tell the whole world that the soul exists. For me, the body, mind and vital are all unreal. Only the soul, which is eternal and immortal, is real.” Now that we no longer have him physically with us ,we are truly coming to learn what that means. For me, this,visit served both as an affirmation of that inner guidance and as a reminder that in the spiritual life, there really is no death, just a transition from one phase to another.

"When you go to sleep, you do not say, "O my God, I have no idea if I will ever wake up tomorrow!" No, when you are tired you go to your bedroom, and the next morning, when your body is refreshed, you wake up. Similarly, in your existence-house you have one room called death and one room called life. When you become tired and want to take rest, you will go to your other room, which is called death. You have to feel that both rooms belong to you and are part and parcel of your existence. Right now you feel that when you enter into your sleeping room, all the happiness that you are presently enjoying will be destroyed. But that is not the case. If you pray and meditate, you will realise that death is only a temporary rest." - Sri Chinmoy