How I started working full-time for my spiritual Master

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 was a keen tennis player, and would spend many hours playing tennis with his students, friends and guests

I had been working at the United Nations for about ten years when 1985 came along. Unfortunately, I followed the advice of a lawyer and somehow that got me in trouble with the taxes at the UN. Rather than get into a long dispute with the UN, Guru suggested that I just retire.  

In any case, Guru came up to me and said, “Well, you need a job now. Right?” I said, “Yes, Guru.” He said, “Would you like to work for me? You could come to the tennis court and be a tennis court guard.”

My job started the next day. At that time, the tennis court, which had been constructed in 1980, was not yet called Aspiration-Ground. Guru was playing tennis there practically every day.

Ketan and Sagar were his two main helpers there. Basically, they were the steady helpers. Ketan was more interested in setting up all of Guru's exercise equipment and his shoes and his drinks, as well as cleaning the area around Guru. Sagar did sweeping and other things around the court area. I became eventually sort of a specialist in taking care of the surface of the court.

At times, because I thought I was in charge of things, I would ask them to do something. That's when things became a little shaky because they knew what they had to do. They thought, “Who is this guy coming in here telling us what to do?” I would suggest something like “Maybe we should rake the stones in the driveway.” And they would say, “Yeah, if you think we should rake the stones, then here's your rake.” I guess I started learning to develop my patience and tolerance and oneness with my fellow workers there. I wasn't perfect either.

Sri Chinmoy started his weightlifting journey around this time; here he is using Ketan (left) and Sagar as weights.

We all served as ball boys, and I assisted Guru also when he was lifting his weights.

How I started massaging Guru: the first thing that happened was when Guru would come to the court, he'd be wearing his sandals. Then one day when I was nearby, he sat down in his chair, reached into his pocket, pulled out his socks and threw them at me. This was an indication that he wanted me to put his socks on.

I was a little surprised at the moment, but eventually the message got through to me. Guru didn't have to say anything. So I would put his socks on and then his tennis shoes on because Guru never wore his tennis shoes to Aspiration-Ground. He always came in sandals and had one of us put his socks and shoes on for him.

Guru would play tennis for an hour or two hours. Sometimes it would be very, very hot and he would be totally drenched in sweat, but it was what he loved to do—play sports.

After playing tennis, Guru would come back to his seat. He often called me to take his socks off and then one day after taking his socks off, he asked me to massage his feet.

The true Master
“I shall show you
How to place your soul,
Heart, mind, vital, body
And earthly existence,
Everything that you have
And you are,
At the Feet of God
To please Him in His own Way.”

Sri Chinmoy 1

  • 1. The difference between a false Master and a true Master, Agni Press, 1999
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