Whenever I remember how I first came to Guru, I get very emotional.
I was in high school. I was maybe 16 or 17 years old, and at the time I had recently moved from the island of Maui in Hawaii to Puerto Rico. When I was about 16, I started to have some inner spiritual yearnings and some spiritual experiences. No one, in my circle of friends in the school that I was going to, shared these kinds of experiences.
So, I started going to bookstores and looking for spiritual books. One of the very first ones I was fortunate enough to get was a book on yoga, a general book of yoga. It was not Guru’s book. I began reading about yoga and spiritual life. I started practicing the physical exercises of yoga and some basic concentration exercises on my own because no one that I knew in Puerto Rico was doing anything like this. Then I started buying other books and reading on Zen Buddhism and Hinduism and some other paths, but there was one message that kept coming out to me from each of these books. That message that these books were, these teachings, were talking about was higher worlds, higher levels of consciousness, how to achieve real inner peace. But they always said that if you want to achieve this, you need a teacher, you need a Master to guide you.
Every time I got a new book thinking I would be able to find something that I could use to develop my spirituality, sooner or later in that book, that line would come out, that teaching would come out: “You need a Master. You need a Master.”
Finally, one day I said okay, well I guess I should look for a Master. I started asking around, people I knew, if anyone knew of a yoga group that had a Master. it took a while before I actually found someone that could answer that question.
One day I spoke with someone and asked, “Do you know where I could find a spiritual Master?” This person told me, “Well, I do not personally have one, but I know someone who does go to a yoga centre and who has a Master.”
It turned out that that person was a young man who happened to live in the same apartment building that I lived in, on the same floor that I lived on, only about five doors down. This is in Puerto Rico, where there were about four million people living at that time. All of that island and all of those people, and that person was right there.
I was a young man. I was 16 and kind of shy. So, it took me a little while to get enough courage to approach someone I did not know. One day I was out on the balcony and I saw him going to the elevator. So, I said, this is the time. I went over to speak with him. Bear in mind that this was about 50 years ago, but I still remember this moment like it was yesterday.
I went over to him as he was waiting for the elevator. I said, “Good morning. A friend of mine told me that you are going to a yoga centre, and I am looking for a spiritual Master.”
He looked at me. He was a young man, maybe in his mid-20s, very nice, very humble, very sweet. The first thing he said to me was, “If you are looking for a Master, I know where you can find the highest Master on earth at this time.”
I was so excited! My eyes opened wide. He said, “He is always in samadhi.” He made his eyes go up like this. I had just read a book on Tibetan yoga that had pictures of Himalayan yogis in trance. I could not believe that this man was telling me about someone like that that I could meet.
Then he said, “His path is very straight and direct. It is like a blade of grass. If you walk on it directly, it will lead you to the goal. It is very challenging, but you will achieve your goal.”
Everything he was telling me, I had absolute faith in. There was not a trace of doubt or apprehension. I felt his sincerity inwardly and outwardly and I just knew the reality of what he was saying. I knew that it was absolutely true.
Then he said, “But that's all I'm going to tell you. You have to go there and experience it for yourself to see if he's meant to be your Master. Come to my apartment later on in the evening and I will give you the address.”
Needless to say, I was very excited. I had been anticipating this for some time. When the evening came, I went and knocked on his door. He let me in and said, “Okay, I will go upstairs to get the address.” And he pointed to a picture that was on the wall. It was a small Transcendental, a pocket-sized Transcendental on the wall. He said, “Oh, by the way, that's a picture of my Master, Sri Chinmoy.”
That was my very first time seeing Guru’s Transcendental photograph. Just a simple picture on the wall, and I was looking at it and looking at it. It felt so familiar. At the same time, it felt very ancient, like a great Master from ancient times. I was getting this wonderful feeling from it.
It is hard to put into words. My mind was completely blank. As I kept looking at Guru’s photograph, everything else sort of became in soft focus and disappeared. It was just his beautiful face, just shining. It was really something very magical, very, very mystical.
Then he came downstairs and gave me the address and the days of the meetings. In those days, it was Wednesdays and Sundays. He gave me the name of a disciple: Guru’s first disciple in Puerto Rico, Sudha.
He said, “Go there and introduce yourself. Tell them that I sent you.” He was a medical student, so he could not go to all the meditations. So, he said, “Go there.”
If you believe in your Inner Pilot
And can listen to His Dictates,
Then you do not have to cross oceans
To find an outer Master.
Sri Chinmoy 1