When I got to the motel, I went to the gift shop to buy some candy. The saleslady started to talk to me. She was saying, “How are you? Did you have a nice day?” and other things. Salespeople like to talk to everyone, so I didn’t think she was talking to me because she knew who I was. I only smiled at her.When I gave her a dollar for the candy, she gave me back a quarter. Then she said that she had gone to one of my meditations once, and had seen me meditating in my dhoti. Now I was in western clothes. So she said, “You know how to fool everyone.”
WE 1. 19 October 1980↩
WE 2. 27 July 1981↩
So I said to her, “Thank you.”
Then she said to me very affectionately, in a motherly way, “When someone says ‘Thank you’, you are not supposed to say ‘Thank you’! You are supposed to say, ‘You are welcome’!”I thanked her for telling me that, and then she started laughing and laughing.
WE 3. 17 September 1981↩
WE 4. 31 December 1981↩
WE 5. 31 December 1981↩
WE 6. 3 January 1982↩
WE 7. 3 January 1982↩
WE 8. 3 January 1982↩
WE 9. 3 January 1982↩
WE 10. 28 March 1982↩
WE 11. 28 March 1982↩
WE 12. 28 March 1982↩
I looked for the notebook in my blue bag, but it was not there. Then I started looking around me. There were about seventy or eighty people waiting to get on the plane, and it was almost boarding time. Then I saw that somebody was holding the notebook. He was not reading the poems; he was only appreciating the beautiful parrot that was on the cover.
I said to him, “Excuse me, this is my book.”
He said, “Your book? I found it on a seat. Nobody was sitting there, so I took it because I liked the bird.”Fortunately I got my notebook back at the last minute. Otherwise, ninety-nine poems would have been lost.
WE 13. 28 March 1982↩
The operator said that the Pondicherry line was out of order and that it could be that way for two or three more days. Quite often when I try to call from New York, the operator says that the Pondicherry line is out of order. The first day I believed the operator. The second day when I tried to call, again the operator said that it was out of order. I said, “O God, what does the government do if it has to make an urgent call?”
The operator said, “Oh, the government has a special line that is used only for lightning calls. If you make a lightning call, you have to pay eight times more.”
I said, “Look here, I am willing to pay eight times more.”
The operator said, “Eight times more? Are you sure?”
I said, “I have the money, so please do it.”
So the operator made the lightning call around one-thirty in the morning, but nobody answered. My mind was worried that perhaps something had gone wrong. One is allowed to try a lightning call only twice, and then the call is cancelled. They made the second call a half hour later and still there was no answer. What had happened was this: the Calcutta hotel operator had put through the lightning call, but the rogues in Madras had used a wrong number. All the time I thought that something had gone wrong with my family’s phone. It turned out that our phone was all right, but the Madras operator was putting me through to a wrong number.
The following day I tried to make another lightning call two times, but again it didn’t go through. Whenever the call does not go through, you don’t have to pay; but you always get a scolding from the operator. The operator barks at you because a lightning call is only supposed to be made by very rich or great people. They did not feel that I was rich or great enough.
My family couldn’t call me because they didn’t know at which hotel I was staying. Finally, I called my house in New York. Since nobody there had heard from my brothers and sisters, I said, “That means that everything is all right. If anything had gone wrong, they would have called New York.” From New York one of the girls tried calling Pondicherry, but she had the same fate. She could not get through. Finally, she sent a telegram to my family asking if everyone was all right.
The next day I told the operator that I had been trying to call Pondicherry for three days. She put in another lightning call, and in two minutes the call went through. My brother answered the phone and I immediately said to him, “Why have you not been answering the phone?”
At the same time he said to me, “Where is your concern for us? Why have you not called us for four days? One of us has always been near the phone, worrying.”
I said, “I have tried to make lightning calls twenty times.”
So everything was all right. The first day when they didn’t answer, I felt that perhaps my sister was tired and exhausted from travelling, and therefore she didn’t hear the phone ringing. It turned out that my brother was there, but the phone line was not working at all. For three days the Pondicherry line was not working. I said, “What kind of worries the telephone can create!” I was blessing the telephone like anything.
I was so happy that I finally got through to Pondicherry that I called the hotel telephone operator. I had heard her say her name, Mrs. Dasgupta. She was Bengali, but we started talking in English because telephone operators always prefer to speak English. She told me, “You asked for a lightning call, but I did not make a lightning call. I have a friend in Madras and I told her to make it a special call without saying it was a lightning call.” It would have cost me six hundred rupees, but now I had to pay only one hundred ten rupees. So I was very grateful to her.
I put a hundred rupees in an envelope to give her, and then I went downstairs to the hotel telephone office. The place was so dirty! I stood at the door and said, “I would like to speak to Mrs. Dasgupta.” So many people were working there. How could I go in and give her the envelope when there were so many other girls around? I said to the guard, “Can you ask her to come here?”
The guard came back and said, “They are asking you to come in.”
I said to myself, “I am in trouble now. I can’t just give her this envelope in front of everyone.”
So I gave her a copy of the small Galaxy of Luminaries. When she saw my picture with the Pope, she could not believe it. She said to me “Where do you come from?”
I said, “I am Bengali. Why?”
She said, “But when you talked to your family, it was not in Bengali.”
I said, “I come from Chittagong.”
She said she could not understand a word of our Chittagong dialect.
I said, “This is what you do? You listen to people’s private conversations?”
She said, “Oh no, I just wanted to see if you got through to your party. Then I heard something very peculiar.” Then she added, “You don’t have a Chittagong accent.”
I said to myself, “Not in vain did I stay at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. There I spoke real Bengali.”
Then she started appreciating my Bengali. I didn’t have the heart to tell her how many books, poems and songs I have written in Bengali. Then she said, “Is your mother alive?”
I said, “No.”
She said, “The person who would have been the happiest to see this picture is not alive.”
I said, “I lost her when I was quite young.”
She said, “I am so sorry that you have lost your mother. She would have been the happiest person.
I said, “There is something called Heaven, so she can be proud of her son from Heaven.”
She was very moved. Then I gave her the envelope and said, “This is a gift.”I thought she would show false modesty and say, “No,” and I would have to insist. But she just took it and thanked me. Inwardly I said, “You deserve it! You saved me from paying for a lightning call.”
WE 14. 28 March 1982↩
After the disciples saw me off at Kennedy Airport, I went to the British Airways lounge. Can you imagine? About forty people were standing because there were no seats left in the lounge.
Finally we entered into the plane. An orthodox Jewish man was sitting in the seat beside mine. He had a little cap and a long beard. His seat was on the aisle and mine was at the window. When I came and stood in front of him, he didn’t want to move or get up so that I could get to my seat. It was only with greatest difficulty that I was able to sit down.
After ten or fifteen minutes I thought, “Let me start writing poems.” But I could not find even one ballpoint. I had put six ballpoints into my bag, but at that time I could not find even one. I searched here and there. I said to myself, “How can I ask this man for a ballpoint? God doesn’t want me to write poems.” So I read for hours on the plane and I didn’t write even one poem.Towards the end of the trip, the stewardess gave out immigration cards for us to fill out. I could have asked the stewardess for a ballpoint, but often it is so hard to get their attention that you lose all your inspiration. I said to myself, “At the airport I will fill it out!”
WE 15. 20 May 1982↩
I said, “Tomato juice.”
In ten minutes’ time he brought me something that looked like tomato juice, but it smelled like wine. I was half in the dream world, but I asked myself, “How could it be tomato juice? Definitely this smells like wine.”
Fortunately I smelled it first before drinking it.
I said to the steward, “This can’t be tomato juice. I asked you for tomato juice.”He said, “Oh no, you asked me for...” and he said the name of a drink that started with the letter ‘t’. He said the name at least twice, but still I didn’t know what he was saying. He didn’t say, “Sorry!” or apologise in any way. He acted as if it was my fault. Finally, though, he did bring me some tomato juice.
WE 16. 20 May 1982↩
He said abruptly, “I don’t have one!” And I was looking at the pens in his pocket when he said it. I have never seen such a rogue.
There was such a big line; at least a hundred fifty people were in front of me. I thought, “When I get to the front of the line, they will want to see this card filled out. Since I am wasting my time here, let me ask someone else.” I asked another employee who was nearby, but he said, “When you get to the front of the line there will be someone to give you a ballpoint.” I could see that he also had three or four, but he didn’t want to give me one.
After fifteen minutes I reached the front of the line. I said to the lady who told you which booth to go to, “I don’t have a ballpoint.” She answered, “I am sorry, I don’t have one. Otherwise, I would give you one.” In her case, I saw that she really didn’t have a ballpoint.
Then I saw a middle-aged Indian man sitting with his head in his hands. He was just a passenger waiting for someone. As you know, I have told many stories about Indians who acted like perfect rogues. But my Indian brothers can be of help to me also. I asked this man, “May I borrow a ballpoint?”
He said, “Of course, of course!”
He had a huge bag with so many clothes in it, and he started searching and searching through all his things. It took him two or three minutes to find one. So this is the difference between Englishmen and Indians. I said to myself, “Indians quarrel and fight, but in the time of need they will always try to come to each other’s rescue with a big heart.” I used the pen and returned it to him and thanked him. Inwardly I felt sorry that he was still brooding.When people at the airport or other places are mean to me, I forgive them and God forgives them. It is just human nature. Then when I tell the stories, I get joy. I tell them in a cheerful way.
WE 17. 20 May 1982↩
I went there and showed the lady my ticket. She told me which terminal to go to, but I couldn’t hear her. So I said, “Excuse me, sorry, but I could not get what you said.”
The lady said, “I told you!” and she wouldn’t speak to me again.
Another porter happened to be nearby. He told me, “She said terminal three.” He was so nice to me.You can either take a taxi or walk to terminal three. I walked. The route was all zigzag, like a serpent, and it took me ten or fifteen minutes to get there.
WE 18. 20 May 1982↩
I couldn’t imagine who she was. She said, “I am a new disciple.”
I said, “You are a new disciple?”She said, “I have been your disciple for only three weeks. I am a Zurich disciple. My name is Emily.” She grabbed my instrument case and wanted to take my bag also. She spoke English fluently. She works for Air France, and she was taking the same flight to Scotland. She carried my bags right to my seat. She was going on standby. But she told me that she would have no trouble getting on the plane.
WE 19. 20 May 1982↩
WE 20. 20 May 1982↩
Shantishri had been driving for only three or four minutes when I realised that my tote-a-tune was missing. She drove back to the hotel and I went to the chair where I had been sitting. But the tote-a-tune was gone. One of the porters said, “I saw it,” and gave me a full description. But he said that he had not taken it. What could we do? It was getting late, so we had to leave for the concert. Then Shantishri had to drive seventy or eighty miles per hour because we were so late.The following day the police came and searched everywhere, but they could not find the tote-a-tune.
WE 21. 20 May 1982↩
WE 22. 20 May 1982↩
After the last concert, the British disciples performed scenes from The Son for the other disciples. They brought down the actual atmosphere of the play - even the Christ’s consciousness and Mary’s consciousness. No other performers have done it so perfectly. The director was Charana. Their costumes were also excellent. At the end of the play I appreciated them like anything.
Afterwards, Charana presented me with a set of three silver ballpoints. He said, “We have heard your ballpoint stories, so we are presenting you with these.”
Then I entered into a small room near the stage to speak with two disciples for a few minutes. When I left the room, I very nicely left the ballpoints in the room. Later I realised that I didn’t have them, but I did not remember where I had left them. I said to myself, “The ballpoint story will never end!”Fortunately, the disciples found them. They were not supposed to go into that room, but after I left they went there to see if I had left anything. The following day they brought the ballpoints to me.
WE 23. 20 May 1982↩
WE 24. 20 May 1982↩
Shantishri drove me to the airport, and again we were in a terrible rush. It was a fifteen-minute or half-hour drive. Then I realised that I had left behind a wristwatch that I had bought for Vidhu. It had a football game on it. So I asked Shantishri to go back to the hotel to get the wristwatch.When she reached the hotel, forty minutes after we had left, everything was still in my room. Not only did she find my wristwatch and the expensive candies but also many other gifts that I had bought for people. I knew that I had forgotten the wristwatch and the candies, but I had no idea about the other things. There was a football that I had bought for Tejiyan’s group and some other items. I had left my door open, but nothing was taken.
WE 25. 20 May 1982↩
Immediately they said, “Five and a half pounds.”
I said, “When I came to this store from the hotel with an English taxi driver, it said seven pounds on the meter. Why are you asking for only five and a half pounds?”
The driver said, “Because you are an Indian and you look like a saintly person. Otherwise if you had not been an Indian, we would have asked for twelve pounds and driven here, there, everywhere.”
I said, “I will give you seven pounds. But definitely you are going to take me to the right place? Are you sure you know the place?”
They said, “Yes, we know the place. We have been driving for so many years.”
The whole way there they were talking about their relatives in America. They did bring me to the right hotel and let me off at the right place. I had told them that I would give them seven pounds, but when they stopped in front of the hotel I gave them eight pounds.
I said, “You people can be nice and I can also be nice.” Then I told them, “Don’t deceive people anymore!”
They said they would try, and they will.Sarada Devi had this kind of experience with a dacoit [robber] once. When she called him “Father,” the dacoit became like her father. The following day he let her go.
WE 26. 20 May 1982↩
WE 27. 20 May 1982↩
He said, “I was not born.”
I looked at him. He was so huge. Everything about him was bulging, but he was fifteen years my junior.
He said, “My father was in the army in Germany, Hungary and Austria - but not in India. My parents waited until after the war to have children because they felt that if they had children during the war, the children would be defective. So I was born in 1946.”I was saying silently, “True, you are not defective but you are very fat!” He was extremely nice, though. He drove very fast to save me, since I had been delayed at the hotel.
WE 28. 20 May 1982↩
Everywhere there are ballpoint problems! He was telling the stewardess that he had a silver pen. The stewardess was begging the person behind him to look for it. Then they found that it had rolled two seats behind. So the man got back his pen and he was very happy.When we were about to get out of the plane, the man started looking for his passport. He couldn’t find it, so he said, “That is interesting.” He was banging everything around, searching here and there. Everybody was standing up in the aisle, waiting for him to find his passport. He was blocking everybody.
WE 29. 20 May 1982↩
The plane was going 1,320 miles per hour or even 1,500 miles per hour. The flight usually takes three hours and twenty-five minutes, but this time it took only three hours and five minutes.
When the plane is stopping, it goes 225 miles per hour. At that time you can appreciate that it was going 1,300. But when it is going at the fastest speed, you are not aware of it; you cannot see anything. The plane was flying at twice the height of Mount Everest.
Because it was such a short flight, I didn’t get any leg pain. Even going to Puerto Rico, which is often a three-and-a-half-hour trip, I get cramps in my legs. But after the Concorde ride, when I stood up, there was no pain. Now I will go to California, and it will take five and a half hours!From now on when I go to India, how I wish I could go to London on the Concorde. Otherwise, it is such a long trip, I suffer so much. But it is really expensive! I am not a millionaire and my disciples are not millionaires, so this was perhaps my first and last time flying on the Concorde.
WE 30. 20 May 1982↩
The lady replied, “I can’t afford to see you again.”Right from the beginning of the ride, the flight attendants came and asked, “Do you want anything?” They meant well, but they didn’t have enough people to give us excellent service. They should have more attendants helping.
WE 31. 20 May 1982↩
WE 32. 20 May 1982↩
I said, “Vinaya, you have bought my coffin!”
That particular harmonium is by far the best, so I wanted to take it to San Francisco. Two weeks earlier I had received it from India. The last time I was in Calcutta I played it in the store and I liked it so much. The people in the store were kind enough to send me the same one.The first time I went to Japan I went via San Francisco. In San Francisco I liked a particular harmonium and I bought it. They said, “Oh, we will ship it to New York,” and I believed them. When I got back to New York there was a harmonium, but not the one I had bought.
WE 33. 11 June 1982↩
WE 34. 11 June 1982↩
WE 35. 11 June 1982↩
WE 36. 11 June 1982↩
The man was with a friend. He asked me to bless a coin that he had. So I put the coin in my right palm and meditated on it — not for one second, but very seriously, very powerfully I blessed his coin. He was so moved and grateful.When he saw me on the stage I was wearing my Indian clothes. In Chinatown I was wearing a track suit, but he still recognised me. This man was very nice. When people are nice to me, I try to be nice to them.
WE 37. 11 June 1982↩
I said, “I am meditating and bringing down peace and joy.”The lady said, “I can feel it, I can feel it.”
WE 38. 11 June 1982↩
Her husband said to her, “Don’t forget, you are married to me.”The wife said, “Correction! You are married to me!”
WE 39. 11 June 1982↩
His wife weighs only 95 pounds. He said that his wife is thin but his brother’s wife is fat. Everybody was curious to know his brother’s wife’s weight. It is 125 pounds!When I saw his thigh, I couldn’t believe it. Of course, he has custom-made trousers. Then we saw the tallest woman and the tallest man — he is eight feet something.
WE 40. 11 June 1982↩
Garima is always kind to me. When I said that I always have knee trouble because of the lack of room in economy, she wanted to change my ticket from economy to ambassador class for the return trip. She was asking me to let her change my ticket because she said the ambassador-class seats are very wide. She was begging me to let her pay the difference.So I agreed, and Garima had to pay the difference, first between super-saver and economy, and then between economy and ambassador.
WE 41. 11 June 1982↩
One middle-aged man was observing us. When it came time to board, strangely enough the disciples were allowed to come very near the entrance to the plane. So that man got mad. He came up to me and said, “Who do you think you are - God? These people are worshipping you as if you were God. Since you are God, you enter first!”
I said, “I am not blocking your way. You please go first.”Standing in front of him were Agraha and Brad. Immediately they wanted to go with me into the plane to protect me, but I said it was not necessary.
WE 42. 11 June 1982↩
Previously he was mad at me, but this time he was joking. I didn’t say anything to him. I just smiled. God didn’t accept his offering, but God was grateful to him.Then he put the pillow and blanket on the seat next to me.
WE 43. 11 June 1982↩
I also felt that the seats were unbearably narrow, but I didn’t want to make a fuss. I just thought that I would cut jokes with Garima afterwards, saying that this was her ambassador class - extra cost, but no extra room! Then I said to myself, “Perhaps I should sue Snigdha; she works for that airline.”When my friend started complaining, a stewardess came and said I would get a full refund. Some of the planes have the new ambassador-class seats, but this particular plane had not yet been remodelled.
WE 44. 11 June 1982↩
The first stewardess said, “I am giving him a refund. Otherwise, these people are going to sue the airline. We have taken money from them for ambassador class, but these are not ambassador-class seats.”
There were only eight of us in the ambassador class, although there were about 40 seats. So the head stewardess went to get refund forms for the other seven passengers as well. First she was angry at the stewardess who gave me the refund form. Perhaps she had wanted to deceive us. But then she herself went to all the other ambassador-class passengers and gave them forms.
It was all because of the man who called me ‘God’ that eight people got refunds. The other ambassador-class passengers were fools like me. If that man had not spoken up, the stewardess would have kept silent about the fact that they were not ambassador-class seats.
My only thanks to that man came through my smiling. The man was very pleased when I smiled at him. Then he went away.
After some time I got up to look for my friend, because I wanted to thank him. I walked all around the economy section, going to this side and that side, but I could not find him.First this man was angry at me. Then his heart came forward and he brought a little pillow and blanket for God. Then he saw that God was suffering, so he wanted to sue the airline. Because of him eight people got refunds.
WE 45. 11 June 1982↩
WE 46. 11 June 1982↩
WE 47. 11 June 1982↩
The stewardesses were still serving, and they had their trolleys in the aisles. Ahead of me there were two ladies who also wanted to go to the bathroom, but they couldn’t move because the trolleys were blocking their way. One of the stewardesses said to me, “You are thin. You can pass by. But they can’t.” She put her hand on my back and said, “You can try, but those two can’t even try.”Then she turned the trolley in such a way that there was a tiny space. I went through, and immediately she turned the trolley straight. As I was coming back, I saw that those two women were still waiting to get through.
WE 48. 11 June 1982↩
From:Sri Chinmoy,The world-experience-tree-climber, part 1, Agni Press, 1986
Sourced from https://srichinmoylibrary.com/we_1