I had to move back in with my parents, who took care of me with much love and compassion. Towards the end of June a big Joy Day was planned very close to where my parents lived. During Joy Days, students of Sri Chinmoy come together from Germany and the neighbouring countries for a weekend of all kinds of festivities, meditation, music, plays, videos and more. Pramodan called me and invited me to come with him. I was very happy and grateful, but had a little doubt that I would be strong enough. The night before the Joy Day I had a very strange dream. I dreamed that during the Joy Day I was sitting on a wooden chair in the middle of a large hall with huge glass windows and rows and rows of chairs. I saw a few other of Sri Chinmoy’s disciples seated around me. Suddenly Death appeared before me, coming straight towards me. He looked like a skeleton with a black hooded cape and a scythe in his hand, just as you might see him in a movie. He came closer and closer to me and I tried to run away, but he followed me. Suddenly I saw myself inside a room and as I turned around Death was standing right in front of me. There seemed to be no escape. But suddenly Dinesh appeared – the tall and strong brother of Pramodan – pushed Death to the side, threw him against an open cupboard and just kept hitting him very powerfully with a flail till he collapsed. Now at this point a train appeared which moved in a spiral with pictures of party scenes like those of a new youth in a future incarnation. Then I woke up. I had a little trouble breathing, there was some pressure on my heart and as I stood up I felt dizzy. So I lay down again and rested a while until I felt stronger, and ready to drive with Pramodan to the Joy Day. (Photo: Joy Day in Gmunden)
As I arrived at the Joy Day I immediately saw Dinesh. He and Pramodan told me that Sri Chinmoy had asked his Munich disciples to pray for me, as things were not going that well for me. I asked Dinesh if he really did pray and he confirmed. Then I told them my dream and the role that he himself had played. Never before had I dreamed about death and I have never since done so either. Perhaps that night, with the help of the prayers of my friends I had defeated Death a second time. What a frightful thought but at the same time I was filled with deep gratitude for everybody who had prayed for me.
The result of my illness in 1995 was that I remained very weak and could not work without heavy pain. So I received a disability payment and was not able to travel and visit my spiritual Master in New York for quite a few years.
In January 2001 during the Christmas Trip, a journey which Sri Chinmoy and his students undertook each year between November and February, Tirtha showed Sri Chinmoy photos of the Munich disciples. When he saw my picture, Sri Chinmoy asked: “How is Antaranga doing? I haven’t seen him for such a long time. Can’t he take a boat to New York?” Tirtha immediately called her mother Tapaswini to tell me what Sri Chinmoy had said. I was deeply touched that Sri Chinmoy wanted to see me but at the same time was irritated since a two-week trip on a ship in my present condition was even more impossible than an eight-hour flight to New York.
The application deadline for the August Celebrations, which take place every year in New York to celebrate Sri Chinmoy's birthday, passed. This year it was Sri Chinmoy’s 70th birthday, a very special birthday, but I did not feel strong enough for that trip. However, about 3 weeks prior to the start I suddenly felt stronger and I even put on weight. In my meditations I started feeling so much happiness just thinking of traveling to New York. So I called Ashrita, Sri Chinmoy's secretary, and told him that I felt strong enough to come to New York. He said he would need to ask Sri Chinmoy since, due to my illness, I had not been in New York for 5 years and was still weak. Sri Chinmoy’s answer was simple and touching: "Let him come!"
I can still clearly see everything right in front of me – it was August 14th and I stepped into the airport with my blue suitcase, having no idea what might happen. First and foremost, I could usually not even walk for more than 500 m without feeling long lasting pain afterwards, and at the same time I needed my surroundings to be at a temperature of around 25 degrees Celsius. If it fell below 23 degrees my lungs would immediately start to burn and I would feel weak and perspire heavily. While walking to the check-in counter and towards the plane, the temperature was definitely not around 25 degrees but I felt no problems. Once in the plane I immediately took the sleeping bag out of my rucksack and stepped into it and took one of the blankets from above and put it over my head. I wanted to survive the 8 hours in the 22 degree temperature without major problems. But after a relatively short time I started to feel too warm, so I took the blanket off my head and soon afterwards took the sleeping bag off as well and put it back into my hand luggage. A little later I even took off my warm ski pants which I was wearing on top of my regular slacks. I normally wore the ski pants throughout the day since my body cooled off so quickly. Well, what I experienced definitely was a miracle. I reached my flat in New York without any damage and was welcomed with a wheelchair to cover the longer distances.
During the birthday celebration the students of Sri Chinmoy had organized a parade – with colourful costumes and floats from a total of 50 different countries. The parade went through the local neighbourhood for a good 3-5 kilometers giving joy to the people living in this area. I had decided to walk to the starting point of the parade without my wheelchair since it was very close to my living quarters. I stood quietly on a corner watching everything with great interest but without much enthusiasm, since I did not see a way for me to be involved – the distance was too great for my condition. Nevertheless, I was handed a costume – a bandana and a piece of colourful material from Bali. It was very nice and I just stood there holding it in my hand when I suddenly saw Sri Chinmoy standing close to me and watching all the activities with great joy. He did not look at me but I could suddenly feel enormous strength coming from Sri Chinmoy and entering into me. Could this really be happening, I wondered. The excitement grew as the parade started to move and even touched me so that I took the bandana and the Bali cloth and wrapped it around me. I wanted to just walk with them for a little while before my pain returned and the cold air started to affect me. After a while I realized that I had been walking for quite a distance – without any pain or discomfort. A little while later I decided to jump on one of the floats – I didn’t want to be too bold. I had joined the float with the Japaka Orchestra and was sitting with the other boys happily waving to the crowds lining the sidewalks. Suddenly I realized that I was not even aware of the rather cold wind and that I was not cooling off. When the parade was over, it became clear to me that once again I was the witness of a miracle – Sri Chinmoy transferred his own power into me so that I too could enjoy the festivities without feeling pain. (Photo: Antaranga - left waving his hands - on a flaot with Japaka's Orchestra in New York, 2001)
On the way back from New York to Munich my friend Pramodan and I met at the airport – we had both booked the same flight by coincidence. My sleeping bag was no longer in my hand luggage because I now knew that Sri Chinmoy’s protection worked up close as well as thousands of miles away. This time I didn’t even feel the cold air coming from the ceiling, but Pramodan felt it. Due to a broken tube, regulation of the cold air stream was not possible at this place and so Pramodan asked for us to be moved to a different seat. Read more ...