Stories by Sri Chinmoy's students and friends
Sevananda Padilla • San Juan, Puerto Rico

Guru saves me from my old life

The first time I went to the Sri Chinmoy Centre (which used to be known as the Aum Centre) in Miramar, Puerto Rico, was in June of 1968. I went continuously for about 3 months, but at that time I considered myself to be a disciple of another spiritual Master. After some time, I felt that I was being unfaithful to that Master, so I stopped coming to the Centre. A few months later, I also stopped coming to that other guru's group, to devote myself to the "hippie path".


I started to have dreams about this young Indian man. They were very, very intense dreams. The man would appear, look at me, smile, and disappear. He was so powerful and so intense that it would completely dominate the entire night. It would happen every night, every night, every night, every night. If it didn’t happen, I would wake up desperately looking for him. I had no idea who he was.

Another meditation picture from the early 1970's, most likely from the Puerto Rico Sri Chinmoy Centre

After some time, I stopped dreaming about him and started to see him. At any moment for no reason, he would appear, look at me, smile, and disappear. For example, if I were riding on a bus and I would be sitting looking out the window, at some corner he would be standing.  He would look straight at me, smile at me and disappear. I would be walking, a bus would be coming, and there he would be with his head out the window looking at me and smiling as the bus drove away. I used to call him my friend. It was so special.

Then it got better. I would be talking to a group of friends. How can I explain it? Some friend would be sitting in front of me, and then the Indian friend would come, look at me, smile and poof! go. I was convinced I was crazy.

My friends and I organised a big rock festival in the capital city San Juan. The idea of the festival was to spread LSD to all the kids there. There was a group of us who were serving as the guards so that nobody would do something stupid or hurt himself or herself.

I don’t know how it happened, but there was a girl at the festival who had a small picture with her, and she somehow managed to gather around her a group of about 50 kids. She was standing in the middle of the circle of all these young people. She took her picture and she said, “This is my Guru, Sri Chinmoy. He is currently in Japan. He’s coming to Puerto Rico in December and is looking for young disciples.”

This was in September of 1969. I looked at the picture, but I did not remember at all that I had seen it before. For me, this was the first time I saw it. When I looked at it, I thought, “Finally I was going to meet my eternal friend whom I have not seen in hundreds of years.”

Also, whatever he was smoking, whatever he was taking, whatever drug he was on, I wanted it because I wanted to be that God-intoxicated. I wanted my eyes to look like his eyes. I wanted to be God-drugged. I wanted to be him.

Then the girl gave me the address of the place. I did not remember that I knew that address. I had a friend who was my closest friend and we both went together to that address.

When we were getting close to the building, I remembered that I had been there exactly a year before. I told my friend, because he knew everything about the dreams, he knew everything about the girl. So I told him, “This is the place that I came last year. This is the place where that girl brought me. That Indian friend, he’s my Guru. This is him. The man in the photograph is the man in my dreams.”

My friend said, “He is also my Guru.”

Sri Chinmoy meditates in the Puerto Rico Sri Chinmoy Centre, early 1970's

Our first meeting with him was on a bright Sunday morning. We started to meditate with Guru. We were all blown away. We went upstairs and we sat to meditate. At the end of the meditation, the same lady as before, the Centre leader at the time, came to me and said to me, “My son, my son, I knew that you would come back.”

Guru asked all of us, the new people, the seekers, to stand up one at a time and tell him our name, our age, and what we did for a living.

I was in trouble. I was in big trouble!

My western name is Jose Padilla. I’m telling myself, “My name is Jose Padilla, I am nineteen years old and I am a drug dealer.”


I was shocked when I heard that thought. I never had that thought in my mind. That’s what I did. I sold drugs. But I never thought of it, it never hit me that that’s what I did. How am I going to say that? How am I going to say that I am a drug dealer? I could not lie to him. He would know if I was lying. He knows everything. How am I going to lie?

It was getting closer to me. The sound of the mind is getting louder and louder. My turn comes and I stand up. I am swimming in sweat—completely wet from head to toe, completely wet.

Before I open my mouth to speak, Guru says, “Very happy. You have me here, you have me here, you have me here! (Guru was pointing towards his own heart - I was wearing a laminated Transcendental photograph around my neck, so that the picture actually fell over my heart chakra.) Your Guru Yogananda brought you to me. I have been calling you for a year. Your Guru Yogananda brought you to me.”

So Guru saved me. I did not have to say my name, I did not have to say my age, I did not have to say what I did for a living. He completely saved me.


Love the Truth. 
This is human illumination.
Become the Truth. 
This is divine illumination.
You are the Truth. 
This is the supreme Illumination.

Sri Chinmoy 1

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