The world-experience-tree-climber, part 8

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The knee specialist in the Bahamas

Today I went to a doctor that Edith recommended. This doctor is a great knee therapist. Snehashila went to the same one yesterday and she got tremendous results.

Her patients have to go for nine treatments and each one is an hour. I will go for four more days, two times a day, at 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. There is no heat, no sensation, when this doctor treats me. The same treatment is available in Munich, Germany, and it also started recently in Canada. A German doctor discovered it. For the last two years they have been doing it in Germany. America does not want to have this kind of treatment yet. But by next year or the following year America may have it.

I do not know how or why, but my German doctor-disciples did not think of trying this kind of treatment on my knee.

—- 5 December 1997, The Bahamas

Morning blessings in the Bahamas

Around 7:15 this morning I was sitting outside. All of a sudden Vidura's soul came to me for blessings and love. I blessed his soul. Then I thought, "He is physically not here in the Bahamas, but his soul came to me for blessings. What is his wife, Devaki, doing?"

It did not take ten seconds! I saw Devaki passing by and I gave her a little smile. Just after Vidura's soul came to me, she passed by. How the souls work! Tomorrow is his birthday, but I blessed him at my place before we left New York. I had a birthday party for him. Today his soul came to me for more blessings.

—- 5 December 1997, The Bahamas

Shopping for sandals

I went to buy sandals. I tried on one pair and then I told the young girl, "I need one size larger."

She did not understand me. She said, "Why can you not tell me the size? Then I can just get it for you."

I said, "I do not know the size, but I can see that I need only one size bigger."

This sales assistant was so rude and nasty, as if it were a crime that I did not know the size. With shoes, I can say that I wear seven and a half, but with sandals, what kind of size could I tell her? I looked at the sandals, but the size was not mentioned there.

This girl was so mad that I was not telling her the size. She was insisting and insisting. God knows why, all of a sudden I had to say to Alo, "She is so thin. Perhaps if she had been a little fatter, she would have been nicer to me." She was so thin and very nasty.

—- 6 December 1997, The Bahamas

Fat equals nice

Then I went to the store next door to buy something else. At this store, the sales assistant was fatter than the fattest. And you cannot imagine how kind and how compassionate she was! She was speaking to me so kindly and compassionately. She made me feel that even if I did not buy anything, she would not mind. But I did buy quite a few things.

Then Alo wanted to buy some placemats. The young girl went outside the store to show Alo where to buy them. She was so kind to Alo.

So you see, my wish was fulfilled. In the first store I said, "Perhaps if this girl had been a little fatter, then she would have been nicer to me." Then, in the very next store, a fat girl was so kind and compassionate.

—- 6 December 1997, The Bahamas

Shamelessly heavy

This time I am absolutely shamelessly heavy! Twenty-five or thirty years ago, once I weighed 178 pounds. In Puerto Rico, when Nadeshwar saw my stomach, he said, "Shame, shame!" I will never forget it! Strangely enough, those pictures show that I look even heavier than 178 pounds.

Now my fate has cursed me to repeat the story. Two days ago, I weighed myself and I cried. I wrote down in my notebook, "Shame, shame," and I put four or five exclamation marks after it. Now I am determined to lose 25 or 30 pounds. Each time I lose five pounds, I shall give prasad.

The day before yesterday, we came to the Bahamas. Yesterday my weight was 174 12 pounds, so 3 12 pounds I had already lost. Today I have lost a pound and a half more, so tonight I shall give prasad and share my happiness with you.

I arrived here at the ripe, heavy weight of 178. Today I am 173. Very often, when I weigh myself in my house, I go downstairs because the downstairs scale is one pound less. Upstairs I look at my weight on the scale and feel miserable. Then, when I come downstairs, the scale is one pound less and it gives me so much joy. Even a half a pound or a quarter of a pound less gives me boundless joy. I struggle and struggle only to see that I am a quarter pound less. That kind of torture I give to myself. When I really lose weight, I get tremendous joy. But to lose weight, one has to cultivate so much determination.

—- 6 December 1997, The Bahamas

The kind weight-loss Guru

I am telling you how kind my weight-loss guru, Savyasachi, is. I was at the doctor's getting treatment. To my widest surprise, Savyasachi came to me with a bottle. Inside it there was a kind of peanut. He put some peanuts on my palm. When I want to become a saint and lose weight, he gives me poison! But I was really hungry at that moment and he intuitively felt it. Then afterwards, when I went into the car, I begged him to give me more.

—- 6 December 1997, The Bahamas

Nowhere frustration-thief

Here in the Bahamas, there is the hustle and bustle of life, but somehow everything flows very happily. Here the frustration is infinitely less than in America or elsewhere. Somehow, on this island, the frustration-thief finds it difficult to enter into us.

—- 6 December 1997, The Bahamas

Bermuda reminiscences

I have so many memories from our visit to Bermuda many, many years ago. What pleased me most was a dance that two pairs of friends — Sanatan, Rupantar, Savysachi and Ashrita — performed to my song "Nriter tale tale". They dressed in such funny costumes and their dance was absolutely unique.

On that trip I also felt the devotional and aspiring aspect of the disciples when Alo took them on Christmas Eve to sing in the streets in the neighbourhood of our hotel. Their singing was so simple, sincere and pure. I did not go, but I was watching them. They were wearing white and holding candles. They looked absolutely like angels. These good experiences I will always treasure in Bermuda.

Bermuda was also my humiliation. There it is very hilly. Everybody was riding little motorbikes. I thought I would also try. Savyasachi and another disciple were holding me on the motorbike because I could not keep my balance. Then God smashed my pride. Of all people, Maitreyi had to go by me so fast. And she is much older than I am.

I said, "Impossible! Enough, enough!"

In those days I had such pride in my physical. Was there anything that I could not do? Now there is nothing that I can do. Physical fitness always made me feel that I could do anything. But when I saw this disciple of mine driving away on the motorbike, I said, "Too much! Too much!" Then I said, "Stop! I do not want to ride any more."

Another painful experience was when I scolded very seriously the top girls' singing groups for the very first time because I was not pleased with their performances.

But again, if I have to speak frankly, the simple truth is that in those days the disciples had more love, more devotion and more surrender than they do nowadays. At every second they tried to please me. Now I try desperately to please them. The story has changed.

So in life there are always good memories and painful memories. The past that does not help us is worse than dust. But the past that helps us is better then gold. Most of the past is worse than the worst. Painful memories weaken the subtle nerves and then we become the losers. By remembering the deplorable past, we lose our divinity. It is all the time hurting like a very sharp sword.

So let us only try to remember the experiences that are golden.

—- 7 December 1997, The Bahamas

The boat ride

Today I enjoyed our boat ride so much. When we take a boat ride, there is such joy. Water symbolises Infinity. When we look at the water, vastness automatically comes into our mind. The narrow mind disappears. We all have narrow minds, but as soon as we look at the vast expanse, our narrow minds disappear — at least for a few hours. Then again, when we come back to land, our narrow minds come back.

—- 7 December 1997, The Bahamas

Morning greetings

The people are so nice here! Everywhere I go, people say, "Good morning, good morning!" When I am out walking, I want to enter into my own meditation, but at least twenty times people say, "Good morning!" If there are three ladies passing by, all the three ladies have to say, "Good morning!"

My answer is to smile. Again, how many times I have to smile! Sometimes I am walking so fast and I find it difficult to think of smiling at them. This happens on the path right in front of the hotel.

—- 7 December 1997, The Bahamas

Conversation with a parrot

In the lobby of the hotel, there is a parrot. Today I was talking to the parrot and he was talking and talking and talking to me! He speaks very good English!

—- 7 December 1997, The Bahamas

God's world

If this is not God's world, whose world is it? I am an Indian; I live in America; and, during my absence, my house is being taken care of by a German, Minati. So from where to where!

God has given us a family, a world-family. An infinite family He has given us everywhere. Here we come from America, Australia, Austria, Canada, France, New Zealand and so many other places. Infinity we have; only we need oneness.

—- 14 December 1997, The Bahamas

The guard's deception

Savyasachi drove us to a village called Chichicastenango to do some shopping. As he was parking the car, he saw a middle-aged man nearby who had on a uniform. Savyasachi was under the impression that if he left the car there, this man would protect the car.

So we went to the market. At one place, I wanted to buy something. I bargained for about fifteen minutes, but it did not work. The man would not lower the price. So we went and ate. Then again I went back to that store. Alas, still my bargaining did not work. So I said, "I am not going to buy it." We were fighting not for American five cents difference, but for their five cents! It is next to nothing! I wanted to buy ten sheets of paper. Finally, the man said, "If you buy two more sheets, you can get your original price."

I said, "I am more than willing to buy twelve." So I bought the paper.

We came back to the car and it was unharmed. As usual, Savyasachi gave the man a generous tip for guarding the car. However, the man was not satisfied. He said that because he was guarding the car, he did not go out for his lunch. He spoke English quite well.

So Savyasachi gave him more money, plus peanuts. Then, as we were getting ready to drive away, we saw that just by the side was a bank and he was the bank guard! When we first arrived, he told us that he guards the place and we thought he was there to guard the cars for people who are going to the market. That is why we gave him the money. Then he asked for more money because he did not go out to eat. We gave him a second time, only to discover that he was actually guarding the bank!

—- 17 December 1997, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

The stomach sufferers

I saw Kanan in the market. He was alone. I asked him, "What is Hashi doing?"

Then I found out that Hashi was sick. Here many people have stomach problems. The sufferers suffer for at least a day or two. Somehow God saved me this morning. I was playing on my Australian instrument and I was feeling nauseous and sick in every possible way. But eventually it went away. I escaped. I was one of the lucky ones.

—- 17 December 1997, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Shopping for President Gorbachev

I went with Alo, Saraswati and Savyasachi to the Hotel Atitlan, which is nearby. The garden there is simply beautiful, but the hotel shop was so expensive. All the prices were double what you would pay elsewhere and there was no bargaining. You just have to surrender, surrender.

I bought two T-shirts: one for President Gorbachev and one for me. These shirts show how many people there are in Guatemala. For President Gorbachev I bought extra large and, for me, large.

Recently, President Gorbachev endorsed pizza in one television advertisement. Some people criticised him mercilessly for it but, being his devoted friend, I strongly supported him. I have come to learn that his youngest granddaughter enjoys pizza. If ever she comes to New York, I would like to take her to a pizza parlour.

My favourite pizza is Sicilian. In Italy I have eaten pizza quite a few times, but American pizza is far better. The source of pizza is Italy. Why then does America far surpass Italy in pizza? Shikha, Sutikhna and Minati bring me pizza when I go to Italy and I cannot appreciate it.

—- 17 December 1997, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

The earthquake

What an experience we had at five minutes past four this morning! I was meditating with my eyes open. All of a sudden, I felt the whole building shaking. My room is on the top floor of the hotel. It was a really frightening experience. Because I was on the 17th floor, I was seeing the top of the building going this side and that side, like a tree. The top floor was not only shaking; it was bending sideways like a tree. At that time, when you are having the experience, the thought that they build the buildings to withstand earthquakes does not come. Only you have a rising fear.

So many people were awake in the hotel. Perhaps they felt that death was fast approaching. The whole experience lasted for a minute and a half. I think if it had continued for another two or three more minutes, perhaps some girls would have fainted.

—- 22 December 1997 Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Visiting the Archbishop

Perhaps you know that today I went to visit the Archbishop of Guatemala, Monsignor Prospero Pinados del Barrio, at the Cathedral Metropolitana. He is a very kind, very compassionate and very loving personality.

I went with Agraha, Purnahuti (at that time known as Christian) and Aparajita. One of the nuns was waiting to open up the door for us, but she disappeared. Then a gentleman opened the door. Alas, I could not recognise that it was the Archbishop himself. Perhaps only Purnahuti knew he was the Archbishop. I do not think that Agraha and Aparajita knew. I was asking them if he was the one. In the meantime, he closed the door.

Purnahuti told us, "He is the one." Then the Archbishop came back and opened the door again. In the beginning, we were very respectful, but when he came back the second time, we showed him tremendous admiration and adoration.

—- 22 December 1997, Guatemala City

"Are you really a musician?"

The Archbishop and I talked and talked. He looked at an album of our peace activities and there he saw a photograph of Muhammad Ali. It seems he is a great admirer of Muhammad Ali. Quite a few times, he asked me, "How long are you going to stay? How long are you going to stay?"

He asked me many questions on different subjects and I answered them. He cannot believe that I am a musician. Two or three times, he looked at me and asked, "Are you really a musician?"

I said, "Yes. I will give a concert here at the Cathedral in four days' time and I would like to invite you to come. I will sing and play musical instruments. My students will also perform." But he was fully convinced that my students are the musicians and singers, not me. He could not believe that a person like me would play music.

Then the Archbishop asked me, "How will people come to know about the concert?"

I said, "I only play. I am not involved in these things." I was looking at my assistants for the answer. A few minutes later, he asked the same question. He was sincerely concerned. He wanted many people to come to the concert.

—- 22 December 1997 Guatemala City

The wooden carving of the crucifixion

In so many places I have seen paintings, sculptures and carvings of the crucifixion. When I look at some of them, I can feel the sufferings of the Christ, but somehow I can bear it. But when I saw one particular wooden carving of the crucifixion in the Cathedral, I was so overwhelmed. This carving shows the Christ's utter helplessness and, at the same time, his total surrender to his Father. It was the same type of carving that I had seen previously, but some portrayals are more heartbreaking than others. This was one of those carvings.

—- 22 December 1997, Guatemala City

The hesitant interpreter

At one point, the Archbishop said to me that we had come at the right time. So much fighting was going on; there was no peace, no peace. He was deeply appreciating our arrival.

The building is so old. The rooms are very austere — austerity to the extreme. Perhaps modern churches are not so austere. I have no idea.

Purnahuti was our translator. Spanish is his mother tongue. Sometimes hesitation descended upon him. He ran short of his own vocabulary. I looked at him, and he was unable to translate. Either nervousness was torturing him, or he has not been an interpreter before.

Sometimes I said quite a few things, at least eight or nine lines. Poor Purnahuti said only three lines to the Archbishop in Spanish. Agraha would only look at him. Agraha has super-excellent Spanish. He kept looking at Purnahuti as if to ask why he is not translating this or that. He was showing Purnahuti tremendous respect, but Purnahuti was missing quite a few things. I did not understand anything. Only I was seeing the length of time he was spending and he was not spending the same amount of time. Again, since I do not know anything about Spanish, I thought that perhaps it was all right. Twice I asked him if he had translated everything and he said he had translated it.

The funniest thing is that the Archbishop knows English well. Sometimes, when Purnahuti was not translating properly, the Archbishop would give a little smile because he had understood what I had said. He understood English, sometimes he said two or three lines to me in perfect English, but most of the time he deliberately did not want to speak it.

—- 22 December 1997, Guatemala City

The archbishop's hospitality

When we left, the Archbishop came out to the street, right up to our car, to say goodbye. He was very, very nice.

In the beginning, he was very friendly, but he wanted to maintain his dignity and height. But, after a minute or two, he came down to our level and talked and talked.

The pictures will show everything. You can see how happy he was, specially when he was holding our Peace Torch. At the end, he took out his appointment book and wrote in my concert on the 26th.

—- 22 December 1997, Guatemala City

A shopping tip

One tip for the shoppers: if you drive for an hour out of Guatemala City, there is a place where there are literally hundreds of shops, all cute, cuter, cutest. They are Indian-style shops. As soon as you see them, you will be reminded of Sri Lanka, Bali and other places. They are so beautiful. This lane and that lane have hundreds of shops on each one. And it is indoors, so the sun will not bother you. I do not know the name of the place, but I know that it takes an hour. You have to make sure you find the right place. Otherwise, you will see only a tourist street, but that is not the place. You have to go inside the compound and there you will see so many small, cute shops. They will definitely satisfy your curiosity, plus empty your pockets. The people there are very, very nice. I have a bad habit of bargaining, but it seemed to me that they enjoyed and I enjoyed our 'discussions'.

—- 22 December 1997, Guatemala City

My driving experiences

Twenty-five years ago, the first time I took my driving test, I was successful. This time, I failed on my first attempt, I failed on my second attempt and, finally, the third time I passed. Now I have decided to drive in each country we visit. In the Bahamas I drove and here also I have to drive.

Sevananda always tells one story about my driving. He makes me laugh and laugh when he tells it. He says that it took place in Puerto Rico. Once, Ananta, Sevananda and I were coming back from El Yunque. At that time, I did not know how to drive even. But Ananta fell sick, so I had to drive. Sevananda says that I was driving with my eyes closed, in deep meditation.

Here, with my eyes open, I failed twice, but Sevananda has to say that I drove in El Yunque with my eyes closed. And it was such a difficult road, zigzagging and serpentine. That is Sevananda's story. He boosts my ego very nicely!

—- 22 December 1997 Guatemala City

The Christ's blessings

Today is a very happy day. The Saviour came to bless us, so let us remember him always with gratitude. He also suffered, and his end was so painful. Again, when spiritual Masters come to earth, they may suffer, but they leave behind happiness, infinite happiness, for the world. This happiness always comes from our inspiration and aspiration.

Today is the Birthday of Jesus Christ the Saviour. He left the body at the age of 33. Poor me, I am double his age. I am 66. What I have accomplished and what I have not accomplished, God alone knows! Can you imagine? I am exactly double his age.

—- 25 December 1997 Guatemala City

Breaking British tradition

The other day in the dining room at breakfast time, there was a British colony! Ongkar, Sanjaya, Kaivalya and Sanjaya's son were all there. You cannot imagine how heartily and how powerfully they were laughing. The way they were laughing, even the skies were trembling! Absolutely everything in the room was shaking. I was eating breakfast and I was in the seventh Heaven of delight to see them and hear them.

We say that the British are very conservative, very dignified and very civilised. Thirty or forty people were eating breakfast that morning, and the way these gentlemen were laughing, I said, "Oh, they are not keeping British tradition." I was so happy.

At times Kaivalya would bend forward and say something, and then they would all throw their arms up and roar with laughter. We did not want to hear what they were talking about; we only wanted to hear their roaring laughter.

—- 26 December 1997 Guatemala City

My Peace Concert in the Cathedral

After my concert in the Cathedral last night, the soul of the church was very pleased and the heart of the church was very pleased. What more can I say?

Mother Teresa's soul did come. Then, when the disciples were singing the Mother Teresa song, Jesus Christ was dancing in front of me, saying, "She is my darling." He was pointing to Mother Teresa and saying, "She is my darling."

Mother Teresa had so many things to tell me and so many things to command me to do. The soul does not have to take a physical form when it visits us. But, in this case, the soul was wearing a white garment and Jesus Christ was also wearing white. The Christ is extremely, extremely fond of Mother Teresa.

About the Cathedral, I wish to say that the heart and soul I fully appreciate, but something was missing. They could have used candles, incense and so forth. The Cathedral in Cambridge, even though it is part of a university, has absolute sanctity, sanctity, sanctity.

Prabhakar said that during the concert, he saw one of the boys who worked there sleeping under the nativity scene. At least it was not one of our boys. If they had seen Pulak there sleeping, who knows what might have happened!

—- 27 December 1997 Guatemala City

Religious culture in Guatemala and Mexico

Mexico has Indian culture to some degree. My brother Chitta has asked me to visit Indian temples when I go to Mexico. He said that many ancient religious temples are there.

Near Guatemala City we went to one convent. It is such a beautiful, huge place with many statues of the Christ, but they have turned it into a business. All spiritual places meet with the same fate. I saw hundreds of people eating there. We thought that no disciples would be there. First, we saw Madhuri; then we saw Diksha taking pictures.

—- 1 January 1998, Guatemala City

My first goal

At long last, after strict dieting, today I have reached my first goal of 168 pounds. Ten full pounds I have lost. I do hope that by the end of the trip I can lose much more!

—- 1 January 1998, Guatemala City

Morning walkers

This morning, when I went out walking, I saw five or six disciples. All were running, except Chayanika and Vijali. They were walkers, like me. There was a very big restaurant right in front of them.

—- 5 January 1998, Cancun, Mexico

The eager cook

One of the hotel cooks came up to me and said, "Please tell me what you want. I will make you food. Do you like Spanish food?"

I said, "I do like Spanish food."

He went on, "Is there anything I can make for you?"

I replied, "Nothing right now, thank you."

Some people are of the opinion that the food is better here in Cancun, but I disagree wholeheartedly. I liked Israel and Lisette's preparation at Lake Atitlan infinitely more.

—- 6 January 1998, Cancun, Mexico

Chatting with a man from Sri Lanka

A Singhalese man came up to me. He lives in Canada and he wanted to chat with me. On that day all my guards were off duty. They were enjoying a self-imposed holiday. They did not come to my rescue. Savyasachi was the worst culprit. He saw the man approaching me, but he did not do anything. Usually Savyasachi is quite good.

The man asked me, "Do you come from India?"

I answered, "Yes."

He continued, "Do you come from Bengal?"

I said, "Yes."

Then he started telling me about one great man who came from Bengal.

I said, "Yes, I know."

Then he told me that his name was Singha. I am pronouncing it the Bengali way, but he was pronouncing it the Singhalese way.

Then he went on with his questions. First he asked, "What religion are you?"

I said, "I come of a Hindu background, but I do not teach any religion. My love of God is my religion. For me, there is no other religion. I only pray to be a lover of God."

Then he wanted to know about my interest in politics. I said, "Some of the politicians are my friends and, by the way, do you come from Sri Lanka?"

He said, "Yes."

I said, "President Premadasa was so kind and compassionate to me."

He exclaimed, "Premadasa!"

I said, "Yes, President Premadasa."

Then he had to say, "All politicians are bad, but he was the worst possible crook!"

I was simply shocked. It was too much for me. I thought of changing the subject. I said, "My dearest friend is Ananda Guruge. He was Ambassador to the United States and in various ways he served his country. Do you know him?"

He said, "Yes, I know him." Then he said, "I shall come back and we shall discuss religion."

I said, "For me the only religion is love of God."

Then he said a few other things, but by that time I was only looking this side and that side for my guards to come and rescue me. I did not have the heart to ask the man his first name. As soon as I heard that, according to him, President Premadasa was the worst possible crook, I was desperately trying to find a way to end the conversation. President Premadasa was such a lion-hero in the battlefield of life. But how can you please everybody? It is impossible. I have such fond memories of Sri Lanka and all my meetings with the President.

In Kandy, in the Temple of the Tooth Relic, the main priest took me into a special room. He closed the door and said, "Nobody should see this." Then he put the crown on my head.

We Indians are so grateful to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka saw spiritual genius in Swami Vivekananda. Sri Lanka embraced Swami Vivekananda's philosophy. That is why we have such love for Sri Lanka. Whoever appreciates our heroes, specially our spiritual heroes, will always be admired, adored and loved by India.

—- 8 January 1998 Cancun, Mexico

Trying to buy a gift

I have received letters from both of President Gorbachev's granddaughters. The youngest one is Anastasia. Her nickname is Nastia. Today, strangely enough, we went to a supermarket, and there I saw some bags with her name, "Anastasia". I wanted to buy one for her but I could not find out the price.

I waited and waited for the sales assistant to tell me the price. Finally, she said, "It is ten per cent off."

I said, "Ten per cent off what price?"

But she did not know the original price.

I said, "Say anything you like. I really want to have this particular bag."

Then she went to get the actual price, but, alas, she never came back. So I could not buy the bag.

—- 8 January 1997, Cancun, Mexico

Meditating and composing songs

Today I spontaneously set to music 201 Bengali songs during our four-hour meditation in the grounds of the Sheraton Hotel. Sometimes I was singing alone, and then the disciples were learning the song and singing with me. I was having a wonderful meditation. While we were singing, the sky made a solemn promise to meditate on our behalf. The disciples were not looking at the sky, but I saw that the sky was meditating on our behalf.

When we pray to God and meditate on God, everything helps us. When Lord Buddha realised God at the foot of the boddhi tree, the tree itself was helping him. Today the vastness of the sky was helping us. The silence-swing of the sky was cradling us.

—- 9 January 1998, Cancun, Mexico

A visitor in the inner world

On January 7th, we had our first seven-hour meditation for this year. I do hope that we can have a seven-hour meditation on the 7th of every month.

During the meditation, when the disciples were singing "Nimne dharanir," the great spiritual Master Gorakshanath came to me in the inner world and said, "When I was on earth I performed so many miracles."

Gorakshanath had tremendous occult and spiritual power. Because of him, for months there would be no rain. If I say there should be no rain, immediately there will be a downpour!

The higher you go, the less you perform miracles outwardly and the more you perform miracles inwardly. Again, sometimes a hero-warrior has to examine whether his swords are sharp or not, if they are blunt or if they are still working. He has to see if they are in good condition. Otherwise, they can be rusty and dusty. But, in the case of most spiritual Masters, all this takes place inwardly.

—- 9 January 1998, Cancun, Mexico

Passing along the good news

Perhaps some of you do not know that the day before yesterday the Mayor of Guatemala City, Oscar Berger, declared that Guatemala City has become another Peace-Blossom Capital.

How did I find out? I am staying here in Cancun, Mexico. I called Minati at my house in New York.

I asked her, "What news?"

Minati said, "Guru, I am sure you know already."

I said, "What is the good news?" Then she told me all about what the Mayor had done.

I was so surprised. I asked her, "How could you know? How did you get this news?"

She said, "Dipali told me."

And how did Dipali know? She found out from one girl in Houston. This girl phoned up Dipali and gave her the good news. So Minati is the right person to tell me!

Just one week ago, the Governor of the area where we were staying in Lake Atitlan declared that Lake Atitlan is now a Sri Chinmoy Peace Lake.

—- 12 January 1998, Cancun, Mexico

My elevator encounter

Now we have come back to Cancun for the second time. This place is so beautiful. I am happy we came back.

The other day I was in the elevator together with a stout, elderly man.

He asked, "Do you speak Spanish?"

I said, "No."

He went on, "Where do you come from?" I replied, "India."

He asked, "May I ask you where?"

I told him, "I come from Chittagong." Then I asked him where he came from.

He said, "I come from Chicago."

He began joking with me that he did not know where Chittagong is.

I said, "It is not in Ill."

He said, "What do you mean —- ill?"

I said, "It is not in Illinois. The abbreviation I am telling you."

When I used to work at the Indian Consulate, how many times I used to write Chicago and then "Ill." I would put the passport inside the brown envelope and then write down the name of the Indians in Chicago, Ill.

What is the great similarity between Chicago and my disciples? Unpredictable weather! Chicago's outer weather is unpredictable, and the disciples' inner weather is also unpredictable.

—- 13 January 1998, Cancun, Mexico

Notes

Editor's note

Sri Chinmoy related these stories during his trip to the Bahamas, Guatemala and Mexico in December 1997 and January 1998.