One day we heard that a big shot was coming from India. His name was Surendra Mohan Ghosh. He was once President of the Calcutta Commission. In 1965 he held a very high post in the government. Gossip was going around: would the Consul General go to the airport to receive him, or was it Dhawan’s job? Neither the Consul General nor Dhawan felt confident about meeting him. One afternoon, Dhawan came to our section and I saw that he was a little bit depressed, so I asked Dhanda, “Why is Dhawan different today? He is not ferocious.”
Dhanda told me, “He is frightened. This evening he has to go and receive one of the seniormost Members of Parliament at the airport. His name is Surendra Mohan Ghosh.”
I laughed and told him, “I am the one to go and receive him. I know him so well!”
My colleagues knew that I never told lies. So my friend took me seriously and he went to Dhawan and said, “Ghose says he knows Surendra Mohan Ghosh well.”
Dhawan came to me. He was not shouting, but he was speaking very abruptly. He asked me, “Do you really know him? Are you sure? This is a very serious matter.”
I said, “Yes, Sir, I know him quite well. He helped me to get my passport and he has written nice things about me. I have had many conversations with him.”
It seemed that Dhawan went and told the Consul General, “Ghose says he knows Surendra Mohan Ghosh well.”
“Yes,” replied Dhawan and he repeated what I had said. The Consul General agreed that I should go to the airport.
At five o’clock I went home, so I did not know about the Consul General’s decision.
That evening, I was having dinner with my sponsor Samie and Eric. Around nine o’clock, the telephone rang and Eric answered. He came and said to me, “Mr. Dhawan is calling you.”
“What have I done? What have I done?” I thought.
I picked up the telephone and Dhawan said, “Ghose, can you do me a favour? Do you really know him?”
“Yes, I know him. He will be so happy to see me.”
He asked, “How do you know him?”
I told him, “He is extremely close to Nolini-da, the General Secretary of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, and I was Nolini-da’s secretary.”
“Yes,” I said.
“I am so relieved,” Dhawan said. Then he asked me what suit I would wear.
“I know him so well. He is like my elder brother. Do I have to wear a suit?”
Dhawan said, “All right.”
So I had to go to the airport. They sent me in the Consul General’s limousine with a driver. Surendra Mohan Ghosh was so thrilled to see me there. First I took him to his hotel, and then I took him to my friends’ place. When I brought him back to his hotel again, it was quite late at night.
When I finally arrived home, the telephone rang. I picked it up and a voice said, “Ghose!” It was Dhawan. He asked, “Has he come?”
I said, “Yes. I brought him to his hotel and then to my friends’ place.”
“Then tomorrow morning please bring him to the Consulate,” said Dhawan.
So I took him to see the Consul General the next day. I did not have to take him to see Dhawan because Dhawan was running behind us the whole time!
Look at what divine Grace can do! After that day, the story changed — all because I knew a big shot.
Mr. Mehrotra was very proud of me. Some big shots make complaints if they are not treated well when they visit the Indian Consulates, and this can create serious problems.
This big shot was so nice to me. In one of his letters to me in America, he wrote, “Nobody will work for world peace as much as you will.” Another time he said, “Many Indian Ambassadors have gone to the United Nations, but India’s true cultural ambassador is Chinmoy.”
When he read one of my books in English, The Mother of the Golden All, he quoted a very well-known verse:
When the Grace of the Goddess Saraswati descends, The dumb become eloquent And the lame can scale mountains.
Then he said, “Through Mother’s Grace, everything is possible.”
He was a disciple of Sri Aurobindo. He is the one who used to get interviews with Sri Aurobindo even after Sri Aurobindo stopped giving them. At that time, he was a Congress leader and Sri Aurobindo used to advise him. Even in those days, in 1945 or ’46, Sri Aurobindo was interested in knowing about Indian politics.
He was also our Nolini-da’s best friend. One day he was in Nolini-da’s room drinking tea with Nolini-da. I entered the room to get some papers. I was going out again very respectfully when Nolini-da asked me to stop. He introduced me and then said in English, “Chinmoy is my only authority on all my writings and everything about me.” By that time, I had translated hundreds of Nolini-da’s articles from Bengali into English.
Afterwards, Surendra Mohan Ghosh asked me to come to his place and he was so nice to me. He was one of those who helped me considerably to get my Indian passport when I was having so many difficulties.