Heaven on Earth

This is one of the stories in our Story-Gems project, a collection of our experiences with our Guru, Sri Chinmoy. Project homepage »

Sri Chinmoy with Devashishu, August 1979

It was in August 1979 that I first got a chance to go to New York. I was 10 years old. I went with my mother. The whole experience was unbelievable. It was an incredible experience. For starters, everything in America was bigger. Cars were bigger. People were bigger. They were louder. Everything was bigger.

In 1979, Sri Chinmoy ran the 47 mile race

Then there was this whole community around Guru. There were disciples. There were enterprises. There was so much dynamism and so much activity. Guru was into running at that time and there were races all the time. People were running all the time.

For me as a child, it was like a dream come true. It was a place with all these wonderful people who are very kind, very nice, but very bright and very positive and very dynamic. It was just heaven on earth. It was fantastic.

In 1979 there was no Aspiration-Ground [our current meeting area], so we used to go to the Jamaica High School track nearby to meet Guru. We went to see Guru in the mornings and to do running and to watch Guru play tennis.

Sri Chinmoy plays tennis at Jamaica High school, 1979

One of the things I remember most is that the functions would go really late. We would have evening functions with meditation, music, plays and whatever. It would go to like three o'clock, four o'clock in the morning, really, really late.

There was an event in those days that used to take place every August called Jala-Ramini. It was in an outdoor school swimming pool—synchronised swimming and other sorts of swimming performances, like theatre in the swimming pool.


It was a very warm evening. I remember at the very end suddenly somebody must have asked Guru, and they got permission that everybody who wanted to could jump in the pool. All these boys and girls in their whites and in their saris just jumped into the pool.

I tried to jump in but my mother wouldn't let me. She made me change first. Then I jumped in and it was just wonderful. It was a swimming pool full of disciples in whites and saris.

At the very end Guru was smiling, smiling, smiling.

May each and every soul  
Swim and swim  
In God-oneness-sea.

Sri Chinmoy 1