'Never judge someone by their outer appearance'

This is one of the stories in our Story-Gems project, a collection of our experiences with our Guru, Sri Chinmoy. Project homepage »

The staff at the Bali Beach hotel present Sri Chinmoy with a cake, 2004

During the Christmas trips, in most places that we have travelled, especially in Asia, all of the hotel managers basically have fallen in love with Guru. Whether they were Westerners, whether they were Asians of origin, whatever they were or whatever nationality they were, they all fell in love with Guru. They definitely became devotees. They were definitely blessed and are being blessed by Guru.


Usually wherever we went, all the services of the hotel or whatever Guru wanted, we would try to do it. When we were in China in 2004, we were always bringing doctors or people who would massage Guru, things like that. In Qingdao we brought this Chinese acupuncture lady, and she was the best within that area. She was excellent. She came to Guru and took his pulse. When she finished, she said that she was surprised that, for his age, how strong all Guru’s organs were. Of course, when we translated to Guru, he gave her a big smile because he was so happy about what she had said. Guru is and will forever be incredibly strong.

Guru always wanted to get a haircut, and in other places there were nice barber shops where Guru could get a haircut. Sometimes he liked being all shaved and other times he just wanted a little bit. Even though Guru didn't seem to have a lot of hair, it definitely grew a lot at his temples. It grew quite fast.

Sri Chinmoy gives a concert for staff and other guests at the Bali Beach Hotel, February 2004

We were in the Grand Bali Beach Hotel. Actually we had been there a few times. Guru had a beautiful room there. It had two floors. There were stairs. Guru loved it because he had a whole floor where he had all his things for doing paintings and drawings. Then he had another room with all his instruments and another room with all the weightlifting material which we carried everywhere. We were like a caravan whenever we arrived in a place.

We were in the Bali Beach Hotel and downstairs there was a barbershop and a beauty parlour. I had gone in before, seen the lady and felt that she was very unkempt. She didn't look clean or pure, according to my version of what pure and clean is.

When Guru asked me, I said, “Guru, there is a barbershop, but this lady looks very unkempt. She doesn't look very clean to me. She almost looks like a rakshasha (a demon).”

Guru looked at me and said, "Let me be the judge of that. Take me to her." So we went there and Guru sat down. The lady was extremely sweet to Guru. She gave him the haircut.

Then at the end, as we were coming out of the barbershop, I picked up all of Guru's hair. As we were leaving, Guru said to me, “Never judge someone by their outer appearance. You just do not know,” which is absolutely true.

An interview with Sri Chinmoy: 'People that have accepted the spiritual life, if they feel that they are superior to others, then their spirituality is next to nothing'

God tells us,
“My children, let us perform
Our respective tasks
Lovingly, happily
And proudly.
My Job is to judge the world.
Your job is to serve the world.”

Sri Chinmoy 1