A disciple has told me that he wants to become a carpenter. At the Sri Aurobindo Ashram we worked at a place called a cottage industry. All kinds of things were made there. They used to make sweets also. On rare occasion we had to wrap sweets. My third job there was carpentry. This was my selfless service. Alas, the first day I was given the job of making a lead pencil. I spent hours, but I got nowhere.
The owner-manager of the place was so kind and so affectionate. He saw my capacity, and then he gave me the job of supervising! I was supposed to supervise the binding of old books. I was a little bit older than he was. I sat in a small chair while he was working. I would only look at him and see what he was doing. I only observed him. The boss said I did not have to learn anything!
That kind-hearted boss went one step farther. He said, “If you feel like reading, you can read. How long can you just watch?” That was a great relief. I started reading, and occasionally, while he was very devotedly working, I looked at him. Where can one find that kind of boss?
I am sure you have heard my famous story about that place. A lady from Calcutta came to the Ashram to become a permanent member. She had had the vision of an Avatar, and at that cottage industry she discovered me. Twenty metres away from the very place where I used to work, the following incident took place.
My brother and the manager of the cottage industry were very close friends. Some years ago, when I was in America, the manager wanted to read my writings. My brother was all pride. He went to get some of my books for his friend to read.
In those days we used to print my Transcendental Photograph at the end of each of my books. My brother gave his friend a book to read. At that moment a lady was passing by, and she saw the picture. She was stunned. She started screaming, “Who is this? Who is this?”
He said, “This is Chitta’s youngest brother, Chinmoy, who used to work here.” Again, very attentively, she looked at the picture. Then she said, “This is the Avatar! This is the face that Sri Aurobindo showed me!”
Four or five years earlier, in Calcutta, she was crying and crying one evening in front of her shrine, where she kept pictures of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. At that time she was not yet a member of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, but she was a disciple. She said, “I have not seen Sri Ramakrishna, who was an Avatar, and I have not seen you.” Sri Ramakrishna she could not have seen, because Sri Ramakrishna passed away before she was born. And she had not seen Sri Aurobindo on the physical plane, because Sri Aurobindo left the body in 1950. Crying and crying, she said, “I want to see an Avatar! I missed Sri Ramakrishna and I missed you!”
She said that while she was praying, Sri Aurobindo, from his photograph, was telling her to look at the sky. Then she looked at the sky, and there she saw my Transcendental Photograph. It was all illumination. But she did not know my name. Sri Aurobindo only said, “Look there,” so she looked at the sky and saw my Transcendental Photograph. She was so moved. From then on, she was all the time thinking of that picture, because she felt that Sri Aurobindo had shown her an Avatar. She was crying to see that person in the physical form. When she saw my Transcendental Photograph in the book, she was thrilled.
This lady came to our house, and she spoke to my sister. She became very close to our family. Just two months ago also she wrote to me, “I do not expect anything from you, if you could only take the trouble of reading my letter.”
When I went to the Ashram, this lady fell flat at my feet and looked at me for my blessings, because she said that I am an Avatar. And my Transcendental Photograph does not resemble me. When I am in my normal consciousness, my appearance is totally different. In the Transcendental Photograph I am in my highest height. But after seeing the Transcendental Photograph, she did not have any problem in recognising me. When she came to see me, I was cutting jokes with my sisters and my friends, but in front of everyone she fell flat at my feet and started telling the story. My sister was begging her not to narrate the story, because our friends were there, but she did not care.
The last time she met me, she went one step ahead with her story. She said that she saw my Transcendental Photograph merge into Sri Krishna’s picture, and I disappeared. Then Sri Krishna entered into my Transcendental Photograph, and he disappeared. She said that Sri Krishna and I are one.
My story started with one lead pencil. A disciple said he wanted to become a carpenter. My carpentry job lasted for four or five hours, and then the kind-hearted boss saw my capacity.
That lady and her husband run a restaurant at the Ashram. Three or four years ago two of my Indian disciples went to their restaurant. They happened to bring with them a book with one of my pictures. When the husband saw the book, immediately he said, “Oh, he is my wife’s Guru! Please, please come this evening!” They went there in the evening, and the wife again started telling her story.
DBM 5. 16 December 2004, Xiamen, China↩