The infinite prayer in an infinite loop

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


I remember very well the circus day for our international amateur circus. There was a big circus day and the circus would also go for many hours. There would be a lot of performances, acrobatic and people doing juggling and all sorts of funny performances. At some point there was a break in the circus and I was with some other children. We were practicing some singing or something.

Then somebody came up and said, "Guru wants to speak to you, Guru wants to speak to you." So my mother took me quickly and we ran to go and see Guru. Guru was sitting in his big chair. When he saw me, he said, "Oh, so you speak some Sanskrit."

A lot of the disciple children in London went to a particular special school. It was a school that incorporated some Indian philosophy. They told stories from the Mahabharata. They also used to teach us Sanskrit and a little bit of Vedic mathematics. It was a very unusual school.

Guru said, "Please recite something in Sanskrit."

There is a prayer. It is called the infinite prayer or the perfect prayer. It goes, Purnam adah purnam idam purnat purnam udacyate... A lot of the words begin with purna. It's a famous mantra in the Vedic Upanishads.

Sri Chinmoy set to music and performed this mantra, along with many other ancient Indian mantras

I started to repeat this mantra. At school I did it a thousand times. I knew it perfectly, but somehow when I was repeating it for Guru, I would go back to the first word before I got to the end. So I went into an eternal loop. I couldn't get out. I couldn't end the mantra because I would go back to the first word by mistake and then start again. It just kept going. I repeated it three times and then Guru said, "Oh, very good, very good, very good!" I think Guru realised it would go on for eternity if he didn't stop me.

God asks my heart
To tell Him its mantra.
My heart replies,
“My Lord, my only mantra is,
‘I sleeplessly and breathlessly love
Only You.’”

Sri Chinmoy 1