The great sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar became a very dear friend of Sri Chinmoy. Both Ravi Shankar and Sri Chinmoy hailed from Bengal, India, and they shared the same mother tongue. Over time, Pandit-ji and Sri Chinmoy became extremely close, having claimed each other as true brothers after their remaining blood-relative brothers had passed away.
In the fall of 2005, I was at Sri Chinmoy’s home when I received a phone call from Ravi Shankar's wife, Sukanya. Her voice was trembling with unusual urgency: Ravi-ji was on his way to a hospital in Manhattan, where he was staying at the time, suffering from breathing difficulties. While Sukanya was simply calling to inform Sri Chinmoy, I immediately reassured her that we were all at her service.
Pandit-ji had been suffering from a weak heart for about a decade. Although Sukanya did not give any inkling of how serious his present condition might be, as soon as Sri Chinmoy heard the news, he immediately left for Lenox Hill Hospital where Ravi-ji had been admitted.
Sri Chinmoy quickly walked into the emergency room, sat down, and went into a very lofty consciousness amidst the chaos of the ER. It was in this high state of meditation that Sri Chinmoy remained for over an hour. Sukanya, who was by Ravi-ji’s side, knew Sri Chinmoy was there and was very grateful for his presence.
After about an hour had passed, word was received that Ravi-ji’s breathing had stabilized and that he would be discharged in the morning. Upon hearing this news, Sri Chinmoy humbly expressed his gratitude to Sukanya and went home. It was about one in the morning.
The next day, upon learning of Sri Chinmoy’s visit to the ER, Ravi-ji was overwhelmed with gratitude and love. Sri Chinmoy told a few of his students that death forces were more than ready to snatch away Ravi-ji, and Sri Chinmoy had done everything in his capacity to stop them.