The devotee1

One day I was walking along the Bay of Bengal. A young man was running by. When he saw me, all of a sudden he stopped and folded his hands.

I couldn’t understand why he would show such devotion to a stranger, since he was a European. Then he started running again.

The following day I was walking in the Ashram taking pictures when I saw this same young man running along the other side of the street. As soon as he saw me, he stood still and folded his hands. Then he came and stood in front of me with folded hands. He said, “I was your disciple once upon a time.”

I said, “You were my disciple?”

He said, “I come from Heidelberg. I was your disciple. I even came to New York once to see you.”

I said to myself, “O God, he came to New York and still I can’t recognise him!”

He told me his name. I asked, “What do you do?”

He said, “I am a taxi driver. Now I have become Sri Aurobindo’s disciple. But please tell me what I should do about my spiritual life.”

I said, “If you are Sri Aurobindo’s disciple, I am not the right person to tell you what to do.”

He kept asking me, so finally I said, “Now that you are inspired by the Ashram, you can go back to Heidelberg and do something for the Ashram there.”

He said, “But I don’t know any seekers there.”

I said, “Just try. From one it becomes many.” Then I asked, “Do you know Renate?”

He said, “Yes, I know her. She has gotten her Indian name, Minati.” I didn’t think he would know her Indian name, but somehow he knew it.

Then he said, “I am very grateful to you because I got the inspiration to run from you. You encouraged me to run. In New York I started running.”


  1. RB 863. 28 March 1982