President Gorbachev: a special soul brought down for a special reason

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


Interviewer: Recently, I've been watching the video that you have made on the meeting of Guru and President Mikhail Gorbachev, which took place in 1997. There was another part of this video after the meeting when Guru was gathering with the disciples and discussing this meeting. Guru seems to be so excited about that meeting, because it seems like Guru was really setting Gorbachev apart from all other politicians and prominent people that he communicated with in his lifetime. Could you please comment on this relationship of Guru with Gorbachev?

Mridanga: Well, I would have to agree. I've never seen Guru so happy than when talking about President Gorbachev. I mean, to me, I never see Gorbachev as a politician. Of course, he is. But Guru held him as someone much, much, much higher.

Guru said that he had a connection with President Gorbachev previously and that Gorbachev was a very, very special soul brought down for a special reason.

Even if you look historically just at what Gorbachev did, okay, we all know that. But I don't think I've ever met a politician that's been as receptive to Guru. I mean, it's almost like Gorbachev recognized Guru, his height somewhat, and Gorbachev just happened to be a politician.

But regarding that meeting, you're quite right. Beforehand, Guru was so intense, excited. Guru was pacing up and down, checking that everything was correct in the room. Guru was so excited to see them.

Sri Chinmoy and the Gorbachevs photograph each other in front of Sri Chinmoy's artwork 'My Surrender-Fountain-Heart'. Sri Chinmoy took the photographs of President and Raisa Gorbachev, and President Gorbachev took the photograph of Sri Chinmoy.

For that particular meeting, the disciples had been in most of the night setting up the room. Guru wanted to show Gorbachev several videos. I was at Guru's house till about 2:00 in the morning, with Guru telling me what to put in these videos.

I came in to the meeting room at about five in the morning with all the cameras and set them up. Of course, it was a problem making sure that there would be enough tape to cover the whole meeting. There were also various other technical problems, so I was very nervous making sure that everything was working. I was in the room until about 15 minutes before the meeting was meant to take place. I was supposed to start the cameras and then leave.

Sri Chinmoy shows President Gorbachev a copy of his book 'Science and Nature', translated into Russian

It's always very worrying when you are not there, when the cameras are rolling, because anything can go wrong. But I was also lucky because Sagar was there, and Sagar is very technical. So, I had quite a lot of confidence in him. I remember waiting in the hotel lobby for a long time. I was so nervous. Has it happened, has it worked out? Then I got the telephone call, “Come up, you know, it went well.” And I was, like, yes!

I came in and Guru was so happy and excited. Guru was talking so fast and so loud about different parts of the meeting and one of the first things Guru said to me, of course, is, “Did the cameras work?” So, I quickly went and checked, and thank God, they all worked. It was such relief for me.

Then Guru had me wire the camera to one of the hotel televisions so we could play it back and show the disciples some of the meeting. That was such a happy time because Guru was so happy. I mean, it was rare to see Guru that happy and excited except when Gorbachev was involved. After the meeting, after it had gone well, Guru talked and talked and talked and talked! Of course, we watched some of the video, and we laughed. Gorbachev came and looked at the artwork or the flowers, and it was just so cute. We really re-lived it. But at the same time, Guru would be talking, talking: “This is what happened… He was so happy about this….”

After the meeting: Sri Chinmoy in happy and relaxed mood; watching the video with his students, and talking to Mridanga.

So, we had the video and we had Guru’s narration at the same time.

President Gorbachev:
A man in a million,
A heart in a billion
And A soul in a trillion.

Sri Chinmoy 1