The world-experience-tree-climber, part 7

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Simultaneous translation

At the television studio in Germany, they put a little transmitter inside my ear so that I could get a simultaneous English translation of what the interviewer was saying.

It was very confusing because I could hear the interviewer talking in German, and at the same moment I was hearing the English translation.

So in one ear I was hearing German and in the other ear I was trying to listen to English. The English and German were coming together - one word from this side and one word from that side.

It was very difficult to understand!

— 8 October 1988

Carl Lewis's mental trainer

At the start of the television interview, they showed a video of the 100-metre dash in the Olympics, when Ben Johnson defeated Carl Lewis. But Carl Lewis was eventually declared the winner because Ben Johnson was disqualified. The announcer said Carl Lewis wins races because he prays and meditates. He said he was now going to introduce the man behind Carl Lewis’ prayer and meditation. It was a very significant introduction.

Then they opened the side door where I had been waiting and I came out. On the television screen there was the title, “Carl Lewis’s mental trainer,” but I didn’t see it. The disciples told me about it afterwards.

— 8 October 1988

Lost in translation

I had so many problems with the English translator. At one point the interviewer asked how I help Carl Lewis with his prayer and meditation, but the translator said, “Now tell us something about how you help Ben Johnson with his prayer and meditation.”

At another point when I said “pray and meditate,” the translator said “play and meditate” in German. Kailash told me afterwards.

— 8 October 1988

Hotel problems

Early in the morning I wanted to change some money at the hotel. There was only one person ahead of me in line, but it took me twenty minutes to get my money changed because that person and the man behind the desk were talking and talking.

At seven o’clock in the morning Ekantar did me a favour. Before I came down to the lobby, he paid my bill. Then immediately they turned off my telephone so that I could not make any more outside calls.

When I told the operator that I wanted to make a phone call, she said, “No, no, your room bill has already been paid. You can’t make any more phone calls.”

I said, “But I am still here in the room. I will come down and pay again.”

After a long fight, they finally agreed.

— 8 October 1988

The Athens airport

When I arrived at the Athens airport, I showed them my Greek visa, which was on page four of my passport. But they had to examine all the other pages as well. Then they asked me why I went to so many places.

Next they said, “How much money do you have? You have to show us.”

My bag with most of my money was with Projjwal, so I simply emptied both of my pockets. Inside was all German currency.

They said, “Why do you have German money?”

I said, “Look at my ticket. I am coming from Munich.”

They said, “No, you have to have American dollars!”

Then they called up another officer. Such a waste of time! For about half an hour they were harassing me.

— 8 October 1988

Greek friends

When I was in Athens I saw Yiannis Kouros and his family. His wife Teresa is so sweet and polite. Their daughter Veronica acted as if she had known me all her life. They have put so many pictures of me in her room!

At the concert in Athens, Yiannis introduced me and gave a long talk about our philosophy. Then he and his family came with us to eat after the concert.

I brought little toys for Veronica. Luckily, I had bought two frogs - one for somebody whom I know was a frog in her last animal incarnation, and the other for Veronica. When the frog was turned on, it started jumping. She was so delighted. She was sitting on her chair, but then she jumped up to get her jumping frog!

— 8 October 1988

The meditation club

In Athens I was invited to visit a meditation club that follows all the spiritual Masters, including Ramakrishna and Satya Sai Baba. They liked my meditation book and have translated an abridged version.

They sang bhajans and asked me quite a few questions. At one point they were singing “Ganesha” in various ways, but I couldn’t understand what they were saying.

I asked, “What were you singing?”

They said, “You don’t know? This is about your God Ganesha.”

Then I told them a few stories about Ganesha and they were very happy. Finally they sang one of my Bengali songs, “Usha bala elo.” Suhriday and Nikunja had taught them.

— 8 October 1988

Sulochana's surprise

The funniest thing happened with my dearest Sulochana in Athens.

I was standing in one place and Sulochana was about twenty metres away. She started coming towards me very fast, but she didn’t see me. When she was three or four metres away, I said, “Sulochana!”

Then she saw me standing there and was so surprised!

Like a magnet I was pulling her towards me, but she didn’t see me at all.

— 8 October 1988

Concorde confusion

I was coming home on the Concorde. The man who gave me my ticket said it was leaving from Gate 10 at seven o’clock.

Before seven o’clock they made the announcement: “British Airways bound for New York is now boarding at Gate 10.” So I went there and gave the lady at the gate my ticket. As usual, she tore off a portion and gave the other portion to me. Then I entered into the plane.

When I got inside, the man checking tickets said, “Wrong plane!”

I said, “How could it be the wrong plane? The man at the ticket counter told me to come to Gate 10, and the lady at the door took my ticket.”

He said, “No, you are supposed to go on the Concorde, and this is a regular plane.”

I went back to the lady at the gate and said, “Why did you send me into this plane?”

Then she started barking at me, saying, “Who asked you to go there?”

I said, “I gave you the ticket. What do I know about it? If it was not the right plane, you should have told me!”

Then an officer came and scolded her because it was her fault. He told me the correct gate to go to.

My plane was supposed to have left at seven o’clock, but it had been delayed. After that I had to wait several more hours for my flight. The Concorde is supposed to save time, so this is how I saved time!

— 8 October 1988

Charlie and David

When I was finally on the plane, a man fatter than the fattest came up to me and said, “Can I see your ticket?”

I said, “Yes.”

He said, “I have to see whether you are Charlie or David.”

‘C’ and ‘D’ he wouldn’t say, only Charlie and David! My ticket happened to be 11C — Charlie. That was the aisle seat.

He asked, “Do you mind if I change with you? My seat is David.”

I answered, “No, it is fine.”

Unfortunately, the Concorde seats are very, very narrow, and he couldn’t fit into the seat. His thighs went very nicely into the space where I was sitting, although I was trying desperately to squeeze myself against the window. How much I suffered!

He was very, very nice, but so fat! Although the Concorde is very expensive — even more than first class — the seats are very small. The Concorde is only for those who are in a tremendous hurry. But if the flight is delayed, it is really useless.

— 8 October 1988

The false vegetarian meal

On my flight to Puerto Rico, an elderly man from Canada was sitting beside me. He said he had ordered a vegetarian meal, but the stewardess said that they had no record of this.

He said, “No, I confirmed it. It was registered on the computer.” He was mad, mad, mad. So they had a fight.

Finally, after fifteen minutes the stewardess said, “We made a mistake. Your name was found. Unfortunately, we don’t have even one vegetarian dish.”

Then the head steward came and said, “We found your vegetarian meal.”

But when they gave him his food, it was not vegetarian. There was no difference between his food and everybody else’s. He was old but very smart, so he knew that it was the same meal.

Then he said to me, “My wife fell down in Miami Beach. Now she is in the hospital paralysed. I have only one son, but I do not know where he is. This is my fate!”

I deeply sympathised with him.

— 13 October 1988

The shade

While flying back from Puerto Rico, I was sitting near the window. When they started showing the movie, the stewardess came and pulled down the window shade.

The lady sitting next to me on the aisle did not want to watch the movie. She was interested in Time magazine, so she lifted up the shade so that she could see better. Her reading light was on, but she wanted daylight as well.

Twice the stewardess came and pulled the shade down. But each time the lady reached over me and pulled the shade back up.

I watched this happen twice. Then I didn’t want to see it anymore, so I went to sleep.

— 13 October 1988

First-class experience

Coming back from Seattle, I was flying first class. But even that didn’t save me!

First of all, after I sat down in my proper seat, they wanted me to move because they had given the same seat number to another passenger. They said, “You have to move because your seat number was issued in New York.”

Finally, when I insisted, they took the other person’s ticket and changed it.

Then, in two cases they had separated husband and wife. A man was seated next to me, but his wife was three rows behind. She came over to me and said, “Would you change seats with me?”

I went to her seat right away. Then, when the plane was about to start, another man came up to me and said, “Please, this is my wife here. Could I sit with her?”

So I changed seats again. This was my first-class experience!

— 30 October 1988

Two philosophers

During the flight, the stewardess came over to me and asked, “Do you want cereal or sausage?”

I said, “Cereal.” Then I started meditating and entered into a high consciousness.

They put some yogurt in front of me, but also ham. When I saw the ham, I said, “Great!”

I thought I would just eat the yogurt and cereal. I started to pour some milk on my cereal, but the milk immediately jumped up and spilled on my trousers. The cereal dish was covered with plastic, but I did not notice it.

A bearded man sitting near me saw what happened and said, “Are you a philosopher? I think you are a philosopher.” Then he added, “I am, too!”

— 30 October 1988

No smoking!

The manager of the Ambassador Hotel in Bangkok wanted to talk to me. He had been smoking a cigarette, but as soon as he saw me, he took it out of his mouth and cupped it in his palm because he wanted to show me respect.

This is similar to what happened in India when a friend of mine saw me. But in my friend’s case, he put his burning cigarette in his pocket!

— 18 December 1988

The ancient Abbot of Wat Po

The Abbot of Wat Po was so nice. He said that wherever I go, I will carry the Buddha’s light.

Afterwards, a Thai newspaper reporter asked the old man if he could give a message about me, and the Abbot said the same thing again — that wherever I go, I will carry the Buddha’s light.

— 20 December 1988

Unfamiliar territory

The Royal Garden Village Hotel in Hua Hin is still unfamiliar to me. I go to this side and immediately I get lost; I go to that side and I again get lost. Then I ask the guard how to get where I want to go, and he always points in the other direction!

— 21 December 1988

The living statues

There are two statues outside our meeting room in the Royal Garden Village Hotel that are not like regular statues at all. They actually have a living presence. They are very beautiful and soulful, and are sincerely aspiring.

I have blessed these two statues very nicely, and Nayana has put two garlands around them.

Already they have human souls. They are absolutely like living beings! They should have a human incarnation.

— 23 December 1988

I need sleep

At six-thirty in the morning I was playing the cello in my hotel room in Hua Hin. All of a sudden I heard a pounding on my door: bang, bang, bang! A lady was screaming. I thought she was saying, “Police, police!” but she was actually saying, “Sleep, sleep!”

I looked through the viewing hole in the door and saw that she had only a white towel around her. So I didn’t open the door. She was saying, “I need sleep, I need sleep!”

I said, “Sorry, sorry, sorry!”

I was playing the cello, not the saxophone, but she couldn’t sleep.

Five or six years ago when I was playing the cello in my hotel room, a man came to my door and said, “You play well, but my daughter is sick, so I am asking you to stop.”

— 27 December 1988

The uncivilised Indian

At the Holiday Inn in Kuching, Borneo, there was an Indian restaurant. When I went there, they did not want to let me in because I was uncivilised — wearing shorts.

I said, “I am an Indian. You won’t allow me in?”

The girl said, “Let me go and speak to the boss.”

The boss said, “All right, as long as you aren’t wearing sandals.” Fortunately, I was wearing my running shoes.

Then I showed the girl what I wanted on the menu. Half an hour later the food still had not come. When I asked the girl what was going on, she said, “You have not ordered.” She had forgotten!

I got mad at her and the boss scolded her. Then she came to me for consolation. I said that I forget things every day and told her that I was not angry.

The poor girl had been working there for only two weeks. She was so happy that I had forgiven her.

— 29 December 1988

Borneo joy

We can see the Sarawak River from our windows in the hotel. It gives me such joy.

The people here are so nice! Where can you find such sympathetic souls?

I am so happy to be here in Borneo. My ancestors are blessing me from Heaven!

— 29 December 1988

Surprising a gym owner

Today I went to a gym near the Holiday Inn. The gym owner recognised me the moment I walked in; he had seen my picture in Muscle Mag.

At first he didn’t believe that I was really Sri Chinmoy. Then Savyasachi gave him our brochure, and he said that he had recognised me the moment I had walked in.

Like a child, he was showing me all his different equipment. I told him, “I have come here with some students.”

He said, “Please bring them here. For them, everything is free.”

I told him that I would lift him. He was so thrilled. He said he would keep the picture of the lift in his office.

— 30 December 1988

The honorary chief

The oldest living head hunter (long ago retired) came to see me in Borneo. He was 85 years old.

Then the chief of the tribe came to see me. The chief liked me so much that he gave me his grandfather’s ring. He put it on my finger and said, “I am making you an honorary chief of the Iban tribe.”

I gave the old man a shirt and the young Iban chief an ocarina. They were both very happy.

I also gave each of them six pictures that I had taken myself when they were dancing. Long live my camera!

Both the old man and the chief had tremendous receptivity.

— 6 January 1989

The Sultan's affection

When I met the Sultan in Kuala Lumpur, immediately I got a very good vibration from him. In a previous incarnation I had known his soul quite well. At that time the Sultan had a very, very close connection with me, but our relationship was totally different.

The Sultan also felt something in me. He was so kind and affectionate from beginning to end. He showed me the same kind of affection that Dan Lurie, the physical fitness proponent, shows me.

In the newspaper he had seen the picture of my lifting Samy Vellu. So when he saw me, he immediately said, “Do you want to lift me?” Of course I did! The whole time I was lifting him, he was in a trance; he was so happy.

— 7 January 1989

Number one

When the singers were singing, the Sultan’s soul was deeply moved — especially when they were singing the song I had composed about him — “Number One.” His soul was getting such joy from “Number One”!

— 7 January 1989

The missing bus driver

After visiting the Sultan, we had to go to the airport to catch a plane. Unfortunately, our bus driver was nowhere to be found.

The Sultan immediately began ordering his people, “Get their driver!”

Then the police went into the town and found the driver having a cup of coffee with his friends.

— 7 January 1989

An inner connection

The soul of Frank Zane, the bodybuilder, has a very close connection with the soul of that bus driver. While we were driving from the Sultan’s palace to the airport, Frank Zane’s soul was telling his soul who I am, and the bus driver’s soul was listening with such admiration.

Now the bus driver outwardly has developed such admiration for me. It is because Frank Zane’s soul is acting inside his soul.

— 7 January 1989

The Indian gentleman

Alo and I entered an Indian restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. Some disciples also happened to be there. I was the only Indian in the whole place, but I was pretending to be a gentleman — using a plate, fork and spoon.

But the disciples — Americans, Canadians and Japanese — were all eating from a banana leaf, using their fingers, in the traditional Indian way.

— 4 January 1989

The Emperor's visit

For so many years I have not had any connection with the Emperor of Japan. Even when I was first lifting weights in Japan and praying for him, his soul did not come to me. But last night, at one-thirty in the morning, for the first time his soul came to me.

Now I see in the newspaper that the Emperor has died.

— 7 January 1989

You have made him greater!

When the hotel telephone operator in Kuala Lumpur heard that I had gone to visit Datuk Samy Vellu, she said, “He is very great, but you have made him greater!”

— 8 January 1989

Divine disobedience

So many times this telephone operator tried and tried to get through to India for me. Finally I told her, “Please cancel my call.”

She said, “Yes.”

After 15 minutes the phone rang. I said, “I have cancelled it.”

She said, “No, Sri Chinmoy, you told me to cancel it, but I didn’t listen to you. Now I have got through.”

My brother was on the line, and I was very happy.

— 8 January 1989

Talking to the big shot

The telephone operator was also the receptionist. I asked her, “Why didn’t you come to see me lifting?”

She said, “Here I can talk to you. There I cannot come near you because you are a big shot.”

— 8 January 1989

The elephant ride

In India if you see an elephant in the street, you get frightened to death. But the elephants in Chiang Mai in the elephant park are all tame. This is the first time I have ridden an elephant.

I feel sorry when the trainers strike them. The elephants are mild, with so much strength. We use the term ‘inner strength’. Is this mildness not their inner strength?

When I saw Lucy riding on the neck of an elephant, my ego came forward. So when I took a second ride, I also did not use the seat.

— 10 January 1989

Children are children

The abbots of the temples we visited in Chiang Mai had such depth. I also liked the little children who are practising spiritual life there. Such strict discipline they have to observe! They have genuine aspiration.

Still, children are children, and these were no exception. Everywhere children have to learn how to behave. Definitely I talk to the Lord Buddha when I visit temples, but these children were not aware of it. Perhaps they show more respect to the Buddhist monks when they come there.

— 10 January 1989

Giving marks to the statues

Last night at the temple we visited, I was meditating on the statues of the monks praying and giving them marks for their meditation — the way I sometimes give marks to my disciples. One was so nice that he got 100 out of 100. Another got 79 and one got 61.

— 14 January 1989

I remember you!

When I was in the Bangkok Airport en route to India, I saw a very fat, middle-aged man standing on one side watching everything. He was the supervisor. As soon as he saw me, he said, “I remember you, I remember you, I remember you!”

I said, “From where?”

He said, “I have seen your picture in the newspaper, and I have also seen you on television. I am sure it is you.”

I said, “Yes, yes.”

Then he said, “What are you doing nowadays?”

I told him, “Just yesterday I set a new record; I lifted a man weighing 317 pounds.”

He said, “So much weight? No good for your heart! No good for your lungs! Don’t do this anymore!” With such concern he was advising me.

Then I smiled and thanked him and went away.

— 20 January 1989

A vegetarian's strength

After we went through security and immigration, there was a long line of passengers boarding the plane. I said, “Let me just relax and be the last person.”

After everybody else had entered the plane, I was about to give my boarding pass to the lady when, O God, I see that fat man running towards me. He was the one who tells them when to close the gate after everybody has boarded the plane.

When he saw me, he said, “Can you give me a picture?” Luckily, I had a picture of my lifting the man who weighed 317 pounds, so I gave it to him.

I was the last person to enter the plane, but he was delaying me. He said, “Now tell me, are you a vegetarian? I have been a vegetarian for five years.”

I said, “I have been a vegetarian for 45 years.”

Then the lady collecting the boarding passes said to me, “Can you lift him?”

The fat man told her, “Easily, easily. I am not 317 pounds.”

Then she asked the fat man if he could lift me.

He said, “Not yet! I have to be a vegetarian for another 40 years. Then easily I will be able to lift him.”

— 20 January 1989

Blessed by children

On the plane from Bangkok to India, I was being blessed by children, as usual!

Just in front and to my right there was a woman with a little child. At first the child was fast asleep on her shoulder. But the mother wanted to show her fondness, so she was lifting up the child and massaging his shoulders very hard. Then, of course, the child woke up and started crying.

Then another child began crying right near me. He was with his mother two seats away. I was on the aisle and next to me was a middle-aged man. The child and his mother were next to the man.

— 20 January 1989

I don't want to know

At the beginning of the flight they gave us two forms to fill in. The middle-aged gentleman beside me didn’t have a ballpoint, so he asked the lady whose child was crying if he could borrow her pen.

Immediately the lady said, “No!” But that was not enough. Then she stood up and started insulting him.

Then I said to the man, “You can use my ballpoint.”

The man said to me, “This lady and I used to be married, but now we are separated. Do you know why we are separated?”

I said, “I don’t know anything, and I don’t want to know.”

But he didn’t listen to me. He just continued, “That child is not mine, but she claims it is.”

I said to myself, “Oh, I have to hear this kind of thing!”

Then the lady started screaming at him — using such foul language. O my God!

I put away my ballpoint and pretended I had to go to the bathroom. For more than ten minutes I stood near the bathroom door. Finally I went back to my seat, but the fight was still going on! So again I left, all the time praying to God that this story would end. When I came back the second time, it had stopped.

I was so lucky not to get involved. Such a foul tongue the lady had!

— 20 January 1989

The culprits

How the tourists ruin the consciousness of Hawaii! If you enter into the heart of the island, you will see it is flooded with serenity, beauty, purity — every divine quality. But when you walk along the beach and see the tourists, it becomes something else. There is an immediate transformation. So we tourists are the culprits.

— 15 December 1990

You have made my day!

The other day in Hawaii I was in a shop. A girl said, “Please tell me your name.”

When I told her, she said, “O Guru, O Guru, you don’t recognise me? I am Sambhava’s sister-in-law — Lynn’s sister. Thirteen years ago I came to New York and saw you. Then two years ago I came for your birthday. I can’t believe you are here. You have made my day!”

— 15 December 1990

A Brahmin in Bali

I went into a shop in Bali. A young man who was working in the shop said to me, “Are you a Hindu? I am a Hindu.”

I asked him, “What is your name?”

He said, “My name is Normand.”

I said, “Normand is not a Hindu name.”

He said, “You do not know? There are four castes, and I come from the Brahmin caste. So Brahmins can have the name Normand.”

I said, “Although I am not a Brahmin, I know the Indian caste system well. I have read the scriptures and there is no such surname.”

— 28 December 1990

The shameless bargainer

The lady in one store in Bali was a perfect rogue. I wanted to buy something, but she quoted a price which was very high - 30,000 rp. I said to her, “7,000.”

She looked at me very nicely and said, “All right, 19,000 - no less.”

I said, “I won’t pay 19,000. I will give you 8,000.”

Then she said, “17,000.” I took one step backwards and she said, “15,000.”

I said, “No, 8,000 is enough!” and I started walking away. After I took seven or eight steps, she called out, “14,000!”

I said, “I am not going to come to your price.”

Finally she said, “All right, all right — 8,000!”

In my mind I had been willing to go up to 10,000, but she accepted 8,000. So from 30,000 I shamelessly brought her down to 8,000. If they ask for 30,000, who else would dare to say 8,000?

— 28 December 1990

The early start

At the Kartika Plaza Beach Hotel, the day begins at three-thirty in the morning when the workers start whistling and singing. That hotel is famous for that.

— 28 December 1990

The problem dogs

It is so difficult to drive in Bali. The dogs create such problems. If you want to save their lives, you have to give your own life! So many times they almost caused us accidents!

— 28 December 1990

Extra marigolds

A man selling flowers said that three marigolds cost 100 rp. So I gave him 100 rp. and put three marigolds in the bag. Then I put two more in. I kept adding marigolds until I had eight. The man didn’t mind, so I got eight for the price of three!

— 30 December 1990

Sympathy is not yet born

When I was walking along the beach in Bali, I could not walk properly because of my knee pain. Not only young girls but also elderly people were giggling and laughing at me. I asked myself, “Where has sympathy gone?”

— 6 January 1991

The painful massage

Yesterday’s doctor tortured me like anything when he was giving me a massage. At one point he was biting my left toe with his teeth. He was biting down so powerfully that I had to scream so he would stop. And today I have such pain there — as though I had been stung by a bee.

He said that for one month he has been drinking only water. He said it is what God told him to do when he went to the mountains. He does not charge for his services, but you can leave a love offering on the shrine.

— 20 January 1991

Now you are better!

Today’s massage was not as brutal as the one I got yesterday. The doctor was saying, “Wherever it is hot, it is good. Wherever it is cold, it is bad.”

Then the funniest thing happened. He said, “Now you are better,” but I couldn’t walk!

— 20 January 1991