The world-experience-tree-climber, part 3

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Visits from the soul of Japan

The soul of Japan has come to me several times since we arrived. The first time was at the airport. The second time was in a furniture store, where Kirit was buying me a chair.

The third time the soul of Japan came to me was early yesterday morning. Since then, almost every morning I have had a wonderful talk with the soul of Japan. Yesterday it was all about Japanese political matters. The soul was advising me about Japanese politics. I said, "I am the right person to understand politics!"

— 19 December 1982

Self-torture never ends

In Japan I announced that I was going to write 27,000 more poems. Just as God-realisation never ends, my self-torture also does not end. In Japan I completed 1,500 poems for Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, and by August I plan to have all 10,000 completed. Then that will be followed by Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants.

Not only in the evening of my life but actually on the last day of my life perhaps I will be writing poems. Will you read them? Get ready! In August I will start the new series, but I will go very slowly — at bullock-cart speed.

— 7 January 1983

City and village consciousness

Comparing the Okinawa consciousness to the Japanese consciousness is like comparing the village consciousness to the city consciousness. The city consciousness feels it is superior because it has the mind, whereas the village consciousness feels it is superior because it has the heart.

The village consciousness says, "You say we are uncivilised. But what has your civilisation taught you? To be indifferent!"

If one village person needs money, others will give it to him. In the city, a rich man will not give you anything even if you are the poorest man.

— 12 January 1983

The spiritual realtor

I was looking for a small apartment in Florida. When you go apartment hunting, if you like something, you can't get it. The reason: because you meditate. Three apartments I couldn't get because I belong to a "cult." In Florida they observe Sri Chinmoy Day, but in Fort Lauderdale I got this kind of treatment.

The realtor was working so hard and taking me to so many places. For one particular apartment, the price they were asking was too high. The realtor was furious and disgusted. He told the owner he would give up his commission if the man gave me the apartment at a lower price. But the owner did not believe him. They were having a fight on the telephone.

The realtor came from Rhode Island. In his office he had a magazine that had a short article about our triathlon. Outwardly he does not pray, but he was more than spiritual. He wanted to invite me to his house for dinner. Most of the time I salute realtors from a distance. They have given me so many unpleasant experiences. But with this man God wanted to show me that there can be good realtors on earth.

— 26 January 1984

The bald head

I went to our new Florida Centre for a rest. Between book stores and sports stores — that was my rest!

One funny story Dristi was telling about a lady she met. They were talking about spiritual matters, and the lady asked Dristi the name of her guru.

Dristi said, "Sri Chinmoy."

The lady said, "My guru is also Sri Chinmoy."

Dristi is the head of our Centre, and she had never seen this lady before. But the lady said that every day for the past ten or eleven years she has been meditating on my picture. She said, "The bald head."

A little bit painfully and hesitantly, Dristi admitted, "Yes, he has a bald head."

The next day the lady brought a picture of the person she was meditating on to prove that Sri Chinmoy was her guru.

It was a picture of Ramana Maharshi. Bald-headed people are all brothers!

— 26 January 1984

The Italian lady

Always on long plane trips I write poems. On my flight to Puerto Rico I was deeply absorbed in writing poems for Silence Speaks. A very old lady was sitting next to me. After two hours she had to get up. She said, "Sorry to bother you." So I smiled at her and got up.

When she came back, again she said, "Sorry to bother you." Then in very poor broken English she started talking to me. She said she was three or four years old when she came to this country. Now she lives in Douglaston.

I said, "Our best tennis players come from there." She didn't understand what tennis is. She said she has been in America for 74 years, yet still she can barely understand English.

She was born in Italy. I said, "I have been in Italy at least six times. I met with the Pope." She couldn't understand the word 'Rome'. Then when I said 'Roma', she understood.

An American lady sitting next to us said, "He has met with the Pope." The old lady didn't believe it. The American lady said, "In this world there are some people who will believe anything you say, and there are some people who won't believe you even after you do something right in front of their eyes." This is her philosophy. I should have shown her my Luminaries booklet.

Then the plane descended. My carry-on bag was so heavy because it was filled with weights and books. Also I had bought some candies. Because my bag was so heavy, I wanted everybody else to leave the plane first. I stood up to let the old Italian lady go by, but she didn't want to go. She wanted to wait.

It was so difficult for me to take my bag. I couldn't carry it in one hand; I had to keep it on my shoulder. The old lady was laughing at me in a sarcastic manner, saying, "Great man, great man!" She had a cruel nature. There are people like that on earth. Seventy years in America and she doesn't have to learn English! My neighbour, Mr. Cino, was Italian, but he could speak and understand English much better than this old lady.

— 26 January 1984

Trying to lose weight

While I was in Florida, I weighed myself on a doctor's scale: 155 pounds. Savyasachi, Alo and the realtor were the witnesses! Then I came to New York and stood on my own doctor's scale: It said 158. I don't know whether I cried or laughed, but I did something.

From 158 pounds my goal was to come down to 150. Yesterday I came down to my goal in one day by eating very little and then running a lot.

Now I want to go down to 145 pounds in two days. But the mathematics isn't working. You can lose eight or ten pounds in one or two days by starving and exercising, but then you can't keep losing the same amount every day. The body just rebels.

— 27 January 1984

Birthday in the air

While I was on the plane to Puerto Rico, one man said to the stewardess, "Today is my friend's birthday."

The stewardess said, "Really?"

The man said, "Yes!"

Then four or five of the airline crew brought out a cake, although the man's name was not on the cake.

I didn't know they observed birthdays on airplanes.

— 15 February 1984

The mystery of the coconut water

During my first two days in Puerto Rico I fasted and starved, drinking only coconut water. Always Shubhra gave it to me. She does not allow anybody else to serve me. Nobody dares to give me anything if Shubhra is there. Saraswati and Shubhra are sisters, so Saraswati doesn't mind.

In the morning I was thirsty. I was in the meditation room and Shubhra was not there. Alo said, "I will go get you something. There is coconut water in a glass in the refrigerator."

So she brought the coconut water and gave it to me to drink. I took a sip. It was soap! Alo was so furious. A glass of soapy water inside the refrigerator! Then she said she knows Shubhra quite often puts coconut water inside the refrigerator, and she thought this was coconut water.

Everybody was saying Gauri was the one who had put the soapy water in the refrigerator, since she is the one who washes the dishes. But Gauri was begging me to use my occult power to see who was the culprit.

I said, "I don't know who did it, but everybody is blaming you."

— 19 February 1984

The cellist

We have a new disciple who plays the cello with the Puerto Rico Symphony. She also has about 50 students and teaches five or six hours daily. One by one her students come and play in front of her. When her good students come, she gives them five minutes. When the bad students come, after a minute she says, "Oh, you are playing very well. I am pleased with you." Then she sends them away immediately.

I wanted to practise the cello while I was in Puerto Rico, but this new disciple did not want to let me play on her cello. But after she refused, then for the whole day she felt totally miserable. So on her own she brought me her cello the next day. She said her cello cost $5,000. It was good, but mine is better. She herself was supposed to play that day, so she borrowed a cello from somebody else.

When I tried her cello she flattered me, saying that my intonation was good. That is why she allowed me to use it.

The day I was supposed to return the cello, I told her to come at twelve o'clock and take it back. She came exactly at twelve. I had brought her a trophy, and she said, "Can I not also have a plaque to put on this trophy that says you gave it to me?"

After I returned the cello, she told Alo that she felt some higher power was guiding her hand when she played it. When she played she felt that it sounded as if Pablo Casals were playing. So she was very happy that she had let me use it.

— 19 February 1984

Small world

The world is so small! The University of Cologne, where I was today, is where my Ashram coach Saumitra studied. From this university in Germany he went to the Ashram in India. And now I have come from India to his place!

— 23 March 1984

A long journey

I went into a store to buy something, and a German lady came up to me and said, "Are you Sri Chinmoy?"

I said, "Yes."

She said she had come all the way from Munich to attend tomorrow's concert.

— 23 March 1984

Before the concert

Before the concert in Germany, the technicians were looking at me with such respect, admiration and awe. It was because they saw how my disciples were behaving.

One of the security guards came near me and asked, "Are you nervous?"

So in a joking way I deliberately started shaking and trembling.

Then he said, "Don't be nervous, don't be nervous!"

— 29 March 1984

The beginning of something unique

An unprecedented thing took place in Cologne on the 27th. It is the very beginning of something unique. "Peace: God's Beauty in His Oneness-Home" has started radiating its divinity and immortality all over the world.

The Germans have spent thousands and thousands of dollars. But I tell you it is not their money-power that achieved this tremendous success. It is their heart-power, oneness-power and cooperation-power that has succeeded. Heart-power, oneness-power, money-power: all the powers should go together.

Over eight thousand people came. Needless to say, they did not come to see the musician in me. They came to me to see a God-lover and peace-distributor. The inner peace that I have and that I am is what they felt long before they even came to the concert. So peace-lovers are the ones who have come to our peace concert.

God's fondest child is peace. Whoever needs peace in life, in his entire being, is bound to be the most perfect instrument of God.

— 29 March 1984

Japanese talkers

In my hotel in Zurich, there was a group of Japanese making a lot of noise in the room next to me. They had left their door open. At first I thought they were fighting. But no, they were just talking very loudly. Writers long ago said that the Japanese could control their emotions. But when they talk, they scream.

Three times I went out of my room to see what the commotion was all about. But I just smiled at them. They were so young. I thought somebody would come and scold them, but nobody did.

Then at five o'clock I saw them in the elevator. They were leaving the hotel. Even in the elevator they couldn't stop talking!

— 31 March 1984

The amateur photographer

At a restaurant in Germany, Pramoda was feeling so happy that she took my picture. But the cover was still on the camera lens! Oh, Pramoda!

— 30 March 1984

Delayed arrival

Before my brother received the copy of the programme for the German concert that we sent him, a lady in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram gave him a copy. Had she attended the concert, or did somebody send her a programme from Germany? Who knows - but this is how my brother got it!

— 7 April 1984

Aspiration defeats realisation

Flying to Australia is really an arduous journey! I don't know how my Australian disciples come to New York every year, sometimes twice a year! Had I been their disciple, I would have told God I could wait for a few more incarnations before coming to Australia to see my guru. The plane journey sincerely kills me — perhaps because I am an old man. Twenty-four hours — no, twenty-seven hours — we were on the plane.

I really admire my Australian children. Is this not a sign of their aspiration? Their aspiration has defeated my realisation! Of course the heart is very close. My children have a heart to know how much joy they can give me, and I do hope I give them a little joy as well. In the heart there is no distance, no distance, no distance.

— 10 September 1984

An apprehensive soul

This time, when I arrived in Australia the soul of Australia approached me with tremendous apprehension about whether it would be able to please me. Even when I was in the plane, my disciples were so excited that I was coming, but the soul was suffering from apprehension.

The first time I went there, I was new, and the soul greeted me with immense joy. I did not expect much, and the soul did not expect much from me. But over the years we have developed a good friendship. Since I have done so much for the soul of Australia through my Australian disciples, and the soul knows how much I have done, not only for the disciples, but also for the Australian consciousness, the soul of Australia wanted to give me something very powerful and striking. Sometimes when you consciously want to give something great, very striking, you may be full of apprehension whether you will be able to give or not. When you want to do something or give something very significant, then you become apprehensive.

So right from the airport I was seeing a kind of apprehension. The soul greeted me with utmost joy, love and gratitude, but there was also apprehension about what was going to happen and whether I was going to be pleased and satisfied. But when the concert was over there was tremendous relief, tremendous relief. During the first concert, when there were people waiting outside, I saw that the soul felt great relief that I was well received. Even if nobody had waited for the second show, the soul would not have minded because the first concert was more than enough. It is not only the number of people but also the sincere enthusiasm.

The soul of Australia wanted to show me the sincere concern for peace and the sincere aspiration of its people, and when the soul saw that it was able to show me those things, the soul was more than pleased.

— 16 September 1984

Training from the telephone operator

I have an Indian accent, but some Australian accents are far more difficult to understand. I have such problems when they say 'eight'. I was trying to get a number from the telephone operator one day. He was saying 'ite', 'ite'. I couldn't understand what this word 'ite' was. The first time he said it, I thought it was 'heart'. But what did 'heart' have to do with the number? I made him repeat the number four times. Then I realised, "Oh, it is eight!"

The next day, when I asked Ghanta his age, he also said 'ite' - but it didn't confuse me because I had already gotten training from the telephone operator.

— 11 September 1984

Race experiences

One morning the disciples held a race for the public. Two runners were going ahead of me, and one of them was telling the other, "This guy is everything. Turn around." He wanted his friend to see me properly.

After the race somebody else came up to me and said, "Why do you not allow people to eat meat and fish?" Perhaps he had become very hungry from running.

— 12 September 1984

Happiness does exist on earth

Since my childhood ended, in my entire incarnation I have had only two or three happy moments. Of course, when I achieved God-realisation was one. And the day I rode with the engineer of the steam train in Australia was another. When I was young it was my greatest desire to be the driver of a train. God did not see fit to fulfil this innocent desire of mine, but now my Australian children have fulfilled it!

The engineer was so kind, so nice; he received so much. Every two minutes he was putting coal in the furnace, and talking, talking, talking, all about his experiences with this train and other trains. He has been in India, and he talked about the Darjeeling train, which is much more peculiar and dangerous than this one. This train is mainly for children and for tourists, and quite a few of the workers on it work for free. His real job is running a nursery, and driving the train is a labour of love. If everyone took a salary, they wouldn't be able to keep the train running.

Every year there is a race - the train versus runners. The runners start and finish at the same place as the train. But they run on the road, while the train goes on its track. The route is very hilly and very scenic. One year Kishore joined the race, and he was one of those who beat the train. But the driver told me, "We get joy by losing to the runners. Otherwise, could anybody defeat us?" The train can safely go about 22 miles per hour. If it goes much faster, it will go off the rails.

At one point the engineer asked me to sit on his seat, but it was so narrow! My thigh was larger than the seat. The sound the train made gave me such joy. And the whistle was so loud! He would pull the handle just half an inch, and such a loud noise it made!

So my Australia has given me tremendous joy by fulfilling an innocent childhood desire of mine.

— 16 September 1984

Australia's success

Each country gave me joy. Australia gave me tremendous joy, and Japan gave me tremendous joy. India also gave me tremendous joy, plus a tremendous headache!

Australia's success is most, most remarkable from both the outer point of view and the inner point of view. They wanted 1,000 people, but 3,000 came. The hall holds 2,000. But 200 more came in, and there were still 700 or 800 people outside. When the first concert was over, I took a little rest and then played again for the ones who couldn't come in the first time. It was the first time I ever had to play twice. The concert was extremely well received.

— 29 September 1984

The lady from Shakpura

When I was in an Indian restaurant in Australia, an Indian lady asked me where I came from. I said I came from Bengal. She said, "I am also from Bengal."

I said, "I am from Chittagong." Then immediately she said she was from Shakpura, which is where I grew up.

I asked her some questions in case she was fooling me. Although I am much older than she, she was really from Shakpura. Her name was Anita.

The restaurant we were in was only three and a half miles from her present home. She had come to Australia with her son.

— 5 October 1984

The conversationalist

On my way to India from Japan, seven or eight times during the plane ride a lady came up to me only to chat.

I go to that side and she comes to talk. I go to this side and again she comes to talk.

What did she see in me that drew her back again and again?

— 28 September 1984

A dangerous weapon

My flute gave me the greatest joy and also the greatest suffering when I stopped at Delhi airport on the way to Madras.

The customs man gave me a very hard time. He opened all my things. When he opened my flute case, he was positive it was a gun. He lifted up the three parts and held it to the light as if he were trying to see through it. O God! Everywhere there is suspicion, suspicion!

I kept telling him, "It is not a gun! It is a flute!" But he would not allow me to touch it in order to show him. He was afraid I might do something dangerous. I said, "For God's sake, allow me to play." Then I put the three pieces together and for a second I blew through it.

"Oh, it is a flute!" he said. "Okay."

— 29 September 1984

Another armed passenger

Right beside me was another man who was also coming from Japan, like me. He had a small Japanese umbrella. On the top it was tied with something plastic that looked like a snake.

The customs man said, "This is something dangerous."

The man said, "It is only an umbrella," but the customs officer would not believe him. Then the customs man spoke to another officer, who was a little bit superior. He was an inspector.

The inspector said, "They are dangerous things." He asked the man to follow him into a room off to the side. Meanwhile the accused man was shouting and insulting the inspector in Tamil. This happened in Delhi, which is Hindi-speaking.

It took them practically ten minutes to finish their examination of his umbrella. In the meantime, I was sitting in the lounge, waiting for the final boarding call.

When he came out, he said, "Look at these idiots!"

I said, "My flute became a gun and your umbrella became such a dangerous weapon."

— 29 September 1984

News travels fast

I arrived in the Ashram only to hear all about the trip I was about to take to France. Three or four old friends of mine work in Paris. They are my admirers. They came back to visit the Ashram just before me, and told everybody about the concert I was going to give in France — even what kind of posters we had. So my Ashram friends knew all about the concert even before I arrived.

One of my friends told another friend that everybody wants to become world famous. He said everybody pretends that he has conquered desire, but it is only pretense. He said to his friend, "I am sure Chinmoy also had that desire. But in his case, God has satisfied his desire."

Recently that man moved to Holland. Now he teaches physics at a university there.

— 28 September 1984

Consoled in Bengali

At the airport in Madras, one of my bags had not arrived. I was talking to one of the workers about it. We were speaking English.

All of a sudden an American started consoling me in Bengali, saying, "It will come one day. Do not worry!"

How did he know that I was Bengali?

— 28 September 1984

Overweight luggage

At the Delhi airport when I was returning to Japan, the man behind the counter told me, "Unfortunately, your luggage is sixteen pounds overweight," and he gave me a very amused smile.

I said, "Yes, you are smiling and I am crying."

Then he checked in my luggage and said, "You don't have to pay extra. I don't want you to cry."

— 29 September 1984

One old man to another

At the check-in counter in the Delhi airport, I was carrying two very small handbags. One of them was smaller than the smallest.

There was a very long line. When I finally got to the head of the line, the man asked me where was the tag for my little grey bag.

"For such a tiny one you need a tag?" I asked him.

"Yes, you need it," he said. So he sent me back to get a tag.

When I came back to the line, I said to the man who was second in line, "Perhaps you saw me earlier. I was already at the head of the line."

"Yes, I saw you," he said. "And even if you had not been here before, I would have allowed you to enter the line because you are an old man."

I think he was about my age.

— 30 September 1984

Special treatment for the elderly

A minute or two later another funny thing happened. While we were waiting on line for something else, they were strictly checking to see if people had more than one carry-on bag.

A young girl right ahead of me had two bags. They pulled her out of the line and told her to wait on the side. I also had two bags: the little grey bag on my shoulder and another one I was carrying. The official saw my two bags. He said, "Why have you brought two?" Then he looked at me and said, "Allowed, allowed! You are an old man."

So I was an old man twice in five minutes. One of the reasons they thought I was old was because I was limping. I was limping on account of my leg pain. So every disadvantage is a blessing in some way. If you are an old man, you can take two bags onto the plane.

In India several friends of mine at the Ashram said to me, "For the first time, you look old. What has made you so old? We are so sorry for you. Your stay in America has made you old!"

I said, "I am old because I have so many responsibilities."

— 30 September 1984

The smoker

In the small bus that takes everyone to the airplane, a seven or eight-year-old boy in the group was smoking.

There was a Punjabi on the bus, a Sikh. He had a beard and a turban, and he looked like a saint. He said to the boy, "Did you get your father's permission to smoke?"

The little boy said, "Does my father take my permission to smoke?"

So the elderly man kept quiet. The boy was so smart.

— 29 September 1984

The best restaurant in Canberra

When I was in the Delhi airport before leaving India, a lady near me at the counter was very angry. She was screaming, "I have a first-class ticket! How is it that I have to sit in the economy section?"

The man behind the counter was telling her that they would refund the difference between the first-class fare and the economy fare. But she was so furious, she looked like she was about to strike him.

O God, then they announced that on this flight there were no assigned seats; you could sit anywhere you wanted to. When one man in the airport heard this, he said, "Now the real trouble starts!" But I was very happy because I thought I would be able to get a seat on the aisle.

I was a little bit late getting onto the plane, so most of the aisle seats were occupied. I was looking and looking for a place, but everywhere there were people. Then I saw the same lady who had been screaming about her first-class ticket. She was sitting by the window, and beside her were two empty seats. I wanted to be on the aisle, so I asked her permission to sit there.

She said, "I bought a first-class ticket, but at the check-in they told me I wouldn't be able to sit in first class."

Then she looked at me and asked, "Where do you come from?"

I said, "India!"

She said, "You don't look like an Indian."

Then I asked, "Where do you come from?"

She answered, "I come from Canberra. Do you know where that is?"

I said, "I was there only two weeks ago."

She said, "You were there? Where is Canberra?"

I answered, "It is Australia's capital. I gave a performance in the School of Music. Some of my friends performed and I also played there."

The strange thing is that I never carry any pamphlets saying who I am. I can't prove anything, and others simply remain silent and unbelieving. What can you tell them?

She asked, "Why did you go to Australia?"

I said, "I have some friends there. The other reason was to see kangaroos."

Then the story started. I said, "I have a few friends who run a vegetarian restaurant."

At first I forgot its name, and then I remembered it is called 'Oneness-Home'. I told her the name of the restaurant and said, "The food is most delicious. My friend's wife told me that it is the best restaurant in Canberra."

The lady again started to get mad. She said, "My husband and I have a restaurant, and he is the best cook in Canberra." She was really excited, and she stood up, as if I had said something very upsetting.

So immediately I invoked the goddess of sleep, and then everything was over. I didn't look at her again and I didn't speak to her.

— 29 September 1984

The seat mate

After fifteen minutes I was blessed by a hostile force. A little girl about seven or eight years old came and sat between the Australian lady and me.

Then the girl said to me, "My little sister Sona is sitting over there. Could you let my sister sit here?"

Her sister was not sitting in an aisle seat. For me to go and sit between two people for eight to ten hours was too much. O God! I said, "No, I am very sorry, but I need to be on the aisle. I am an old man."

She said, "She is my sister, my little sister."

Again I pretended I was going to sleep. Then she started leaning on me to talk to her sister across the aisle. And that was not enough. Every ten or fifteen minutes she would say to me, "Please let me go out."

From Delhi to Bangkok, at least twenty times she had to go out - not only to go to the bathroom but also to speak to Sona. She would come out of her seat and stand talking to her sister. She said she was not able to hear from her seat.

Throughout the flight, how she disturbed me! She kept standing in front of me, talking and talking to her sister. At one time she was telling her sister to eat with her hands. She said, "Nobody is watching you, so you don't have to be embarrassed." Sometimes, the two of them were arguing and screaming.

First I had the problem with the Australian lady, and then I had a problem with the two sisters. In this way my whole trip was ruined.

— 29 September 1984

Thrown out of my seat

In Bangkok we had a fifteen-minute stopover. The man in the Delhi airport who said that there would be problems because we didn't get assigned seats was right. If you don't have assigned seats, you are out, out, out!

I was sitting in seat 27C. I left my seat for a few minutes at Bangkok. When I came back, a lady was sitting in it. She said, "This is my seat." Her boarding pass said seat 27C. In Bangkok they gave out seat numbers, but in Delhi they hadn't. So I was thrown out of my seat.

I found another seat. In three minutes a man came and said it was his seat. I went to speak to the steward. He said, "I know in Delhi they didn't give out seat numbers. You sit here."

I had to sit in a middle seat between two people, and I suffered for so many hours.

When I travel alone, the forces very nicely attack me.

The Australian lady also left her seat at Bangkok, and I never saw her again. God knows what happened to her. Perhaps she also had the same problem that I did with the seat numbers.

— 28 September 1984

The children's groups

There were also two groups of children on the plane - one group of 40 children and one of 60. They were so bad, especially the boys. The two teachers who were bringing them from Bangkok kept begging them to behave.

— 28 September 1984