Getting a green card

It took me three years to get a green card. Dulal, Madhuri and Sudha were helping me. Then one disciple in the Puerto Rico Centre came forward unexpectedly. Her name was Rose. I gave her the name Mukti. One evening we had a meeting at the Centre and she was very, very moved by the meditation. Afterwards, she came up to me and said, “My brother, Sol, is an assistant in the Immigration Office in New York. If I can be of any help to you, please let me know.”

She telephoned her brother, and I went to see him when I returned to New York. She had told me that her brother would do anything for her. I was only a junior clerk, but the way he treated me was so nice. His name was Sol Mark. And Dulal’s name was Sol Montlack. He helped me to fill out all the forms and with so many other things that I had to do. Previously, the authorities had written to me that I had to get a letter from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram saying that I was qualified to teach people. I said to Sol, “I will not be able to ask them because I came here against their will.” So he smiled and cancelled that part. He himself answered many of the questions on my behalf. His last question was, “So, when are you planning to go to Russia or China?” I said, “I am not planning to go.” Then he gave me a broad smile. Later I found out that the American immigration authorities do not allow people with green cards to go to Russia or China.

Usually people have to go to the Immigration Office at least three times, but I went there only once. At the end of the interview, Sol Mark told me to continue working at the Consulate for two or three more months, not to take any risk. I worked up until the middle of June 1967 and then I gave up my job and went to Puerto Rico.

From Puerto Rico I wanted to go to Jamaica, West Indies, but I could not go without the green card. So I telephoned Sol Mark from Puerto Rico. He said, “When do you want to go to Jamaica?” I told him the date. He replied, “I will get it.” Then the conversation was over.

I thought that I might hear from him again in ten or eleven days, but in just two days the green card came in the mail. On the outside of the envelope was his name. He looked like Ashrita’s father. Usually he was very strict, but because of his sister he was so nice to me. This is how sisters and brothers make demands.

On the day that he promised me the card, I did something for his soul. And when I came back from Jamaica, how much I did for his soul! As soon as I received the card, I sent him a tie. Then at Christmas I gave him a beautiful present. He wrote me a thank-you note saying that he was so happy he could help me. He later became head of his department. Now he is retired and living in the Virgin Islands.

His sister, Rose, was our disciple for three years and then she went to live in Florida. Her husband was also very nice to me, although he did not become a disciple. We went to eat at their place in Puerto Rico several times. Once the husband was telling us that Sol was very bad. Meanwhile, Rose was defending her brother. For one hour, X, Sudha and I enjoyed their fight. The food was ready, but we could not eat until their fight was over!

I am so grateful to Rose. She was the one who saved me, the main instrument in getting the green card. Without it, I could not have lived in America for the past thirty-three years.