The day when everything began
Even though it happened 20 years ago, I still remember in detail the day when everything began. At the time I was living in Halle an der Saale, a small town in Sachsen-Anhalt. One Saturday evening in summer I was driving home after swimming when I suddenly had the idea to pay a short visit to a friend of mine, a sculptor. Just as I entered his garden, a group of women were leaving. My friend told me that they were coming from Nuremberg every Saturday afternoon to hold a meditation class at his place. "Oh", I thought, "I am interested in that!" By this time I had developed a great inner hunger for spirituality by reading some important books.
I went back the following Saturday. Unfortunately, it was not the same women whose cheerful smiles I remembered well. It was a man who was teaching the class. At this point the group was more advanced and was already meditating the way they usually meditate at the Sri Chinmoy Centres. I could not quite follow. After all, I had never consciously meditated and never received any kind of introduction to meditation. Then I looked at Sri Chinmoy’s books on display, saw his smiling picture on the cover of the book Happiness and thought, "Well, nobody has the capacity to be always happy. This can’t be something authentic; probably it is a sect."
And that is how far it went for me. Nevertheless, I made contact with the man because I planned to move to Nuremberg to study. Maybe I would be able to work for him and make some money, I thought. In the period before moving to Nuremberg, I meditated once in a while following some instructions and otherwise tried to get ready for my new era in Nuremberg.
My move opened a new world for me: anthroposophy. Anthroposophy is a field under the humanities, founded by Rudolf Steiner. It had a great influence on many areas of life – pedagogy, agriculture, art, etc. The Waldorf schools are its best known exponents. I wanted to study eurhythmy, a kind of dance form which visualises music and language through movement. Eurhythmy is very spiritual and is entirely the child of anthroposophy – something quite complicated but most beautiful. I therefore thought that this would be enough in the field of spirituality and that I would not need much else. But as life goes on, one thing follows the other and doors that we did not see before open up all of a sudden.
At some point, the man who had taught the meditation class invited me to go to a fair on the esoteric to help him at his booth there. Since I had never done such a thing, I eagerly agreed. At the age of 21 one is open to the whole world! During the ride I had endless opportunities to ask questions. At the fair, I listened to a music recording by the Nuremberg Sri Chinmoy Centre. It really touched my heart, even though it sometimes seemed a bit off key. I had to have the tape, and someone offered it to me. I still have this tape, and when I listen to it, all those beautiful memories come back... All this happened in 1990, a year after the change in East Germany that set so many things in motion.
When we returned to Nuremberg that evening, I was so inundated by everything that very little was needed for me to feel that I should be part of the group the nice class instructor belonged to. When we said good-bye, he gave me the book Meditation by Sri Chinmoy as a gift and said, "You seem to have the vibration of a disciple."
I went into my apartment, sat on my bed and cried out of gratitude and happiness. At this very moment I know I inwardly became a disciple of Sri Chinmoy and he let me onboard his boat. What happened next? I asked for details about the meditation class and then went to the Sri Chinmoy Centre. The only thing I knew was not to expect anything special. That was a good thing, since I had no special experiences but only felt joy going there. At some point I submitted my picture, but I already knew that I would definitely be accepted by Sri Chinmoy. What else could I have done?
What else is left to say? Gratitude is the only word that comes to me. I am grateful that my life went in this direction, that I found such a great Master and friend who ceaselessly inspires me and lightens my life’s burdens. It is a precious gift, and I am happy to be a part of this beautiful, cheerful family of Sri Chinmoy’s disciples.
We can find Sri Chinmoy only through the heart. Even with limited receptivity we can feel deep within what he can do for us, even if we are not meant for his path. What he gives is so universal, so all-encompassing and illumining that anybody can profit from it. His music, his books and his paintings are portals for anyone to enter into a world of inner upliftment and fulfilment. An open heart and a searching mind are the only requisites.
First steps on the spiritual path
More stories from Sri Chinmoy's students.