Part II — Comments and talks
Life-awakening experiences7Many years ago there was a disciple in our Centre whose son had been, in his immediate past incarnation, a very, very devoted disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. He did not realise God, but he was a most, most devoted direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. From Calcutta this disciple went to Madras, and to Mylapore. It was at the Sri Ramakrishna Ashram in Mylapore that I had an experience with Sarada Devi in 1964.
I went to Mylapore to collect a “P-form," a kind of visa that cost eight dollars. I needed it in case my sponsors did not come to the airport in New York to pick me up. For more than two weeks I stayed in Madras, but I was not getting the form. Every day I went to a big government office building, but there was no P-form.8
One evening I went to the Sri Ramakrishna Ashram. I walked two and a half or three miles from the hotel where I was staying. There were huge pictures of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda and Sarada Devi at the ashram. I stood in front of Sarada Devi’s picture with tearful eyes. I said, “Mother, I am waiting here, but I am not getting my P-form.”
Sarada Devi said to me, “Go there tomorrow. Go at eleven o’clock.”
I said, “Mother, Mother, tomorrow is Saturday.”
Again she said, “Go.”
All the doubts of the whole world entered into me! Again, I said to myself, “Sarada Devi is a God-realised soul. How can she be mistaken?” I was torn between doubt and faith. My life-boat was plying between doubt and faith, doubt and faith. On Saturday would such a huge government office give me my form? Impossible!
Again Sarada Devi said, “Go!”
The next day I did go there. It was a huge building, with many steps. I did not walk. I did not know how to walk in those days — I only knew how to run! I climbed up the steps very fast.
When I came to the last step, a thin, dark-skinned young girl opened up the door and said, “Mr. Ghose?”
I said, “Yes."
She gave me my passport and the P-form. Then she bolted the door and disappeared. God knows where she went! This is what happened in my life.
That night I entered into my highest meditation. When I enter into my highest meditation, I know everything. When we do not enter into meditation, we are like absolute beggars. This side is doubt, that side is faith; we do not know what to do. In my meditation I saw that this girl was a disciple of the Sri Ramakrishna Ashram and a devotee of Sarada Devi. She went to that temple. Mother Sarada Devi had appeared before her and told her to give me the passport and the P-form. Otherwise, how would she have opened the door for me at eleven o’clock on a Saturday? This story is one hundred per cent true.
We all struggle with doubt. Why do we have to struggle? Let us have implicit faith. I am your spiritual Master. If I tell you to go and get a form from the immigration office on a Saturday, then go! Outwardly it may seem absurd. This experience of mine seemed like the height of absurdity. Like that, many other so-called absurd things have happened in my life.
In Pondicherry, just before that, I had another experience. I needed police clearance to get my passport. The Ashram manager only had to say that I had behaved well. He was so fond of me! But the Mother of the Ashram did not want me to leave. For more than a month I waited. The manager was really so fond of me, but the Mother did not want to give me permission, so I could not leave Pondicherry. I begged him. He said, “What can I do?”
Then I went to my dearest friend’s place. The whole family was so devoted to me — not only loving, but absolutely devoted. At around midnight I was chatting with them. One of the family members was in the habit of smoking and drinking. In the Ashram, smoking and drinking were forbidden, but he did not believe in those rules. That fellow died young, at the age of twenty-eight. He was very fond of me, and I was very fond of him. In that big family, he was the only one who used to drink and smoke. I was in their kitchen, chatting with the whole family. This fellow placed his hands on my shoulders. He was heavily drunk — I could smell it. He said, “Chinmoy-da, why are you so sad? What is wrong with you?"
I was sad. I said, “What am I going to do? I cannot leave the Ashram, because the Mother is not allowing me. She will not permit me to get the police clearance. She will not allow the manager to tell the police that I have behaved well.”
He said, “Do not worry! I am now going to the head of the police."
I replied, “What are you saying?”
He said, “Just now we were drinking together, so I will go to his place.” How could I believe him?
He went to the police chief's place on his motorbike. Such a noise it made! In five minutes he came back again. The motorbike was victorious! My friend said, “Tomorrow the police chief will sign the clearance form for you."
I said, “He does not know who I am!”
My friend said, “That is not necessary. Tomorrow morning you can go to the police station. He has promised.”
I said to myself, “My friend is drunk, and his friend is perhaps more drunk.
I am caught in between two drunkards!" Again, I had such love for this fellow.
The next day I went to the police station, and immediately they gave me the form. Who had signed it? The head of the police department.
Then I went to show the form to the manager. He asked how it was done, and I told him. This happened just before I went to Madras.
You have seen a photograph of me in Pondicherry where I am wearing a hat. My head is cleanly shaved. That young man was the photographer. He took that particular picture about two months prior to my departure for America. He had a very good heart. His name was Gopal — Lord Krishna. Alas, he died at the age of twenty-eight.
Two miracles! Outwardly, we would say that these experiences reached the height of absurdity. We have to go beyond the mind. The mind will not be able to comprehend such absurd stories.
One more story I can tell about an absurd utterance that proved true. Mahatapa’s great-uncle was a professor at Santiniketan. At one point, he came to America to teach Indian philosophy at Missouri University. He taught there for two years. His complaint was that some students behaved very badly! He was very, very, very fond of me.
At the end of 1960, this gentleman gave a series of talks at the Ashram. I had no idea of going to America at that time, let alone having a sponsor! I was preparing wholeheartedly for the Himalayas. I said to myself, “This is the time for me to go to the Himalayas.” That was the whole story. I was not thinking of going to America.
This professor was so fond of me. During one talk at the Ashram, he was reading out his paper, which was about ten pages long. After reading out the second page, he stopped. He said, “I can clearly see that our Chinmoy will one day go to America and make a big noise!” Everybody laughed and laughed at him! I was in the third or fourth row. There were eight hundred people, at least, in the audience. The whole playground was full, and he was reading into a microphone. After reading two pages, he got that inspiration: “I can clearly see it.” Everybody laughed! Again, I never thought of going to America — never! I was only preparing for the Himalayas.
Six or eight months later, Sam Spanier came to the Ashram. I was coming out of the main gate. I was going very fast. In those days, believe me, I did not walk. Very, very fast I was moving; I was almost running. God knows, perhaps I was hungry and it was time to eat. I was in a hurry. Sam Spanier caught me. He said, “Brother, brother, will you please tell me something about Sri Ramakrishna and Mother Kali?”
Alas, I was a Sri Aurobindo Ashram disciple, and he was asking me to tell him something about Sri Ramakrishna. He had come to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, and he was asking me about another Guru!
I said, “All right, very good. Let us go to the park.” There was a park about eight hundred metres away from the main gate. We went to the park and he asked me so many questions about Sri Ramakrishna, although he had come to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram to become a disciple. I answered all his questions. He was very happy. Then he said, “I will have to take you to America.”
Then an American lady came to the Ashram. She was so devoted. She wanted to become my sponsor. Her name was Anne Harrison.
Now I am coming back to Mahatapa’s relative. How could he have had such a vision? He had never discussed anything with me. Out of the blue everything happens. I am sure that everybody has had that kind of experience. It seems absurd, absurd; but that very absurdity awakens our life.