A chance encounter at the Taj Mahal

I was inside the main gate, about a hundred metres from the Taj Mahal, taking nice pictures with my Indian camera. I didn't take my American camera, but instead I bought the most expensive Indian camera. It was most expensive in Indian terms, but for me it was most inexpensive - less than fifty dollars.

All of a sudden Ranjana called out to me. She was standing with a woman who was wearing Western dress, and she said, "Guru, look who is here!"

Then immediately a young Western woman came over to greet me, and told me that her sister Susan was my disciple. We have quite a few Susans on our path, so I asked, "Susan who?"

The answer came: "Susan Elliott."

I know my disciples' first names, but their surnames only God knows! "Who is Susan Elliott?" I asked myself.

Fortunately, the young woman added, "She is from Canada."

Something within me said perhaps it was Susan and Vince. In the meantime Ranjana came over to me with the other woman. It turned out I was right, and this woman was Susan's mother.

I told her mother, "Susan is very dear and close to me."

Her mother corrected me, "You mean Susan and Vince!"

I said, "Yes, both Susan and Vince are very dear to me."

She was thrilled and excited to have met me there, and I too was very happy.

Over the years the disciples have given me thousands of gifts - good or bad, beautiful or ugly. But I remembered that a few years ago Susan's mother had sent Susan a shawl from India, which she had asked Susan to give me. I was blessing myself for remembering this! So I thanked her for the gift she had sent through her daughter. She was very happy.

Then she introduced me to her husband. While she was introducing me, she was so happy, thrilled and excited, but the husband - I have to be very frank - was stiff and uneasy; he was a little scared.

Susan's younger sister, Amy, was so happy and excited because she was the one who had been able to recognise me. How? Susan had sent her my picture. If she had sent the transcendental picture, perhaps her sister would not have recognised me. But Susan had sent a picture of me with my dogs, and Amy immediately recognised me from that picture. So you see, my transcendental picture is not the only one to send people. If you send more ordinary pictures, then immediately people can recognise me.

Can you imagine? Susan's family happened to be there on the same day and at the same hour as we were. Credit goes to my dogs, to Susan for sending the picture and to her sister, Amy.

Afterwards, Ranjana took a group picture of us, and then we all shook hands. Then Susan's father wanted to take a picture. While he was taking the picture, his consciousness started changing. He started to relax. After he took the picture, he was a totally different man - smiling and beaming with joy.

— 4 April 1983

From:Sri Chinmoy,The world-experience-tree-climber, part 2, Agni Press, 1993
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