The Inner Fire
by Indivar Stolba
As a child I enjoyed a Roman Catholic up-bringing and went to a convent primary school, which strengthened my natural faith in God. My family went to Church on Sundays, but we never prayed together on a daily basis. During my adolescence and college years, other things became more important to me than spirituality. Furthermore, the church could not provide me with answers to life that satisfied my inquisitive and searching mind. When I finished my studies, however, my eldest brother died, and in the wake of this blow of fate, I gradually became a seeker again. It took me a few years, however, to find my Master.
First, I became interested in Eastern philosophy and religions, in Sufism and also Christian mysticism. A friend of mine who had been close to my brother for some time, too, had become the disciple of a Sufi Master in Jerusalem shortly before my brother died. She and her husband tried to console me with a spiritual approach to life and death, but at that time I was not yet open. They said they prayed for my brother – and perhaps they also prayed for me. Around Christmas of 1988, I seriously considered visiting their Master, but in my heart of hearts, I felt that I should wait.
In January 1989, I noticed a poster for a lecture series „The Inner Fire,“ held at Vienna University. The topic appealed to me very much, and the lectures were very interesting.
One night an incident took place that convinced not only my mind, but also my heart. I walked up to ask the lecturer some questions about the lecture. Suddenly I saw how light emerged from the bottom of his eyes and soul without him being aware of it. Today I know that it was Guru’s light calling me. When I saw this strong glow, this inner light and inner fire shining up in his’s eyes, I immediately knew that what he was talking about was not mere theory and that this path was an authentic, serious spiritual path. I was not completely con-vinced, however, that this path was also meant for me, but I continued with the meditation classes. Like many seekers I still had a few inner and outer obstacles to overcome.
During one of the meditation classes, the lecturer pointed out that spiritual Masters come into the world only to help seekers and humanity selflessly. He suggested that we should concen-trate on the Transcendental photograph of Guru, offer any problem to the Master and ask for his help.
For two years I had tried to quit smoking, but after about six months of non-smoking, I started smoking again occasio-nally, and then it was on and off. So I asked Guru for help in this matter. One night, after a meditation class, I suddenly had a very strong desire to smoke. I bought a pack of cigarettes and greedily smoked a few cigarettes within a short period of time in the open air. At that time I did not smoke inside my apartment anymore, as I already meditated regularly. When I returned home and walked past my shrine, I suddenly got terribly sick and I remained sick all night. But after that un-pleasant night, any craving for smoking was completely gone. This was how I first experienced Guru’s grace very tangibly.
I was also very fortunate that Guru came to visit Vienna in April 1989 while I was still taking meditation classes. When I saw Guru for the first time at a lecture at the university, I was immediately impressed with what I felt was his divine authority and authenticity. I also felt that he was someone completely trustworthy and reliable, which is something very rare and most precious in this world.
On the same night of April 1st, Guru gave a concert which I also liked a lot, especially his unconventional piano per-formance. But the highlight was my personal encounter with Guru. In those days Guru invited all interested seekers to walk past him after the concert and meditate with him for a brief moment. When I approached Guru, my soul and my humility came to the fore, and I felt Guru’s overpowering love, divinity and height. When my eyes finally met with his light-flooded, compassionate eyes, I felt that he was my Master and that I was meant to be his disciple. Although I handed in my picture after the concert, I always count April 1st as my true disciple anniversary.
Sri Chinmoy's students describe their inner and outer experiences.