My subway experiences

AUM 245-246. These are the last of the six anecdotes in which Sri Chinmoy tells of his amusing (and sometimes frightening) experiences in the New York City subways during the years 1964-65.

V. Surrender not accepted

We were upwards of seventy in a subway coach. Young girls were reading blood-and-thunder novels; lovers were sitting cheek to cheek; the train was running at top speed.

All of a sudden a young worker outside the train approached the tracks from an open construction area and threw himself down in front of the fast approaching train, ready to surrender his life in suicide. But the driver refused to accept his offering. He violently applied the brakes. The resulting jerk was indescribable.

All of us in the coach were suddenly thrown on each other. The physical shock was almost as cruel as death itself. Some people were severely injured, especially those who were sitting. I fell on top of about thirty passengers who had already been thrown down. We were mercilessly and swiftly precipitated towards the end of the coach like stones in a gunny-sack. Perhaps an unseen force breathed for us while so many bodies became one.

The name KALI left my mouth and entered my heart. I escaped entirely without injury, but I was ashamed of my poor left thumb which was bleeding a little. When the train resumed its journey and reached the next station, it was found that, besides those with serious injuries, many other passengers had fainted. They were all taken to hospital. Some young boys, at this point, began turning somersaults and embracing each other out of a wild, nervous excitement.

Many painful injuries had to pay the price for saving one life. My KALI refused an unsolicited surrender.

Sri Chinmoy, AUM — Vol. 3, No. 1,2, 27 Aug. — Sep. 1967, Boro Park Printers -- Brooklyn, N. Y., 1967