Clarence Clemons was the “Big Man” of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, the saxophonist who was a founding member of one of the most popular rock bands of all time.
Clarence was introduced to meditation and to Sri Chinmoy by Grammy award-winning producer Narada Michael Walden, at a time in his life when, by his own accounts, Clarence was just drifting with no clear purpose.
I was invited as a guest at a recording session with the two of them, and Clarence had me bring a letter to Sri Chinmoy asking to become his student. Sri Chinmoy gladly accepted him as a student and embraced him as part of his spiritual family. He gave the “Big Man” the spiritual name Mokshagun, Bengali for “Lord’s All-illuminating Liberation-Fire.”
In his book, Big Man: Real Life & Tall Tales, Mokshagun said that the name gave him his sense of purpose. Sri Chinmoy told him he was on earth to bring joy and light to the world and to destroy ignorance. He always kept a picture of Sri Chinmoy on his saxophone stand onstage and in ‘The Temple of Soul’, his private sanctuary that he took on the road with him.
Here’s how he described his first meditation experience: “I looked at myself in the mirror and couldn’t believe what I saw. I was so clear. I was like brand-new, even my eyes were like diamonds. I started to laugh and couldn’t stop because I felt so good. I had found something. I had found peace, and that makes me a really different person.”
Mokshagun had a remarkable inner experience with Sri Chinmoy while going under anesthesia for knee surgery in 2008, after Sri Chinmoy passed away. I visited him after the surgery and Mokshagun reported, “Guru appeared to me and said, ‘Let’s go for a walk.’ We walked together and spoke of many things.” I had the sense that this spiritual visitation brought him great peace and comfort.