I felt a bell ringing in my heart
This is one of the stories in our Story-Gems project, a collection of our experiences with our Guru, Sri Chinmoy. Project homepage »
When I was younger, I decided to travel around the world. I went to Greece and lived on a boat and sailed around all the islands. I went to Israel and lived on a kibbutz and learnt about socialism: it's like an ashram in some ways, it’s a co-operative farm. I learnt that socialism is very difficult to practise. Also, I became interested in reincarnation; when you accept reincarnation, politics looks different. It's not so important.
I went to Africa and then across the sea to India. I was a wandering sadhu. I had many adventures in India, which I'll talk about at another time. But something important happened. I read the Ramayana and I visited many beautiful, beautiful places. But I didn't find the spiritual truth that I'd been looking for.
When I got on the aeroplane to come back to Europe, I prayed to God. I said, why haven't you revealed your Truth to me here in India? I got on the plane, and as it took off, there were complimentary magazines, Time magazine and Newsweek magazine. I opened the page and read a review of a concert at Carnegie Hall with a British jazz musician called John McLaughlin. He was called Mahavishnu. He had very short hair and was dressed in white. He dedicated the concert to his Guru Sri Chinmoy. I felt a bell ringing in my heart.
Back in England, I was still a hippie. We were sitting in a circle in a room in our house by the sea, on the south coast of England. The door opened and light came shining in from the hall. My friend David came in with short hair, dressed in white with Guru's transcendental picture. All of the other hippies went, “Arggh, what's this!” But I felt the bell ringing in my heart.
I went and stayed at the Sri Chinmoy Centre, which David, who later received the spiritual name Pavitrata, was running at the time. I saw the Transcendental [Sri Chinmoy’s most sacred photograph in a very high state which his students use in their meditation]. I read Guru's books for two days. I was on my own at the Centre. I just read Guru's books. I loved everything. Every time I turned the page, it was something more wonderful.
Then I read a book of rules. It said, "Cut your hair." My hair was very long. I said, “No, I'm going to keep my hair!” This was my 'free flag' flying.
That night, my hair started falling out. In the morning, I went to the hairdresser's and had everything shaved off. I thought, “If Sri Chinmoy can inspire me to do this overnight, what else can he do?”
I came to London and I went to the Sri Chinmoy Centre. I did not feel connected to the students of Sri Chinmoy who were present at the time. But the meditation was great! I didn't know what to do.
When I left that night, I stole a pencil that was in the hall. When I got home, I looked at the pencil, and it was an aphorism by Sri Chinmoy. It said, "I shall not fail you if you can dare to believe that I care for you.” So in 1974, I became a disciple.
Someone advised you
Someone advised you and helped you
In your search for Truth.
Once you discovered the Truth,
To your wide surprise
You saw that your previous Helper and Adviser
Was none other than God Himself.
Sri Chinmoy 1