Our Guru becomes the perfect disciple

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 meditates on a statue of Sri Aurobindo. Before coming to the west, he lived over 20 years in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, practising meditation and spiritual discipline.

Guru came to England many, many times. He gave several concerts at the Royal Albert Hall; many beautiful experiences meeting people.

But one of the very special memories for me was Guru's visit to Cambridge University in 2003. Guru was coming to Cambridge to honour professors, to lift professors in the Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart programme.

Sri Chinmoy presented the professors with the 'Lifting up the World with a Oneness-Heart' award for their service to mankind. In his lifetime, Sri Chinmoy honoured over 8,000 people in this way, using a specially designed apparatus to lift them overhead in body and spirit.

I was up in Cambridge preparing. Somebody called in the morning to tell me that Guru was still in London and that he would like to see the room where Sri Aurobindo had studied when he was at King's College in Cambridge. I was looking everywhere in the university. I was asking everybody, but nobody could tell me where Sri Aurobindo studied.

The place where Sri Aurobindo lived when he was in Cambridge was a very simple building. We knew it had been destroyed and didn’t exist anymore.

But nobody could tell me where Sri Aurobindo studied in King's College. I was running around and asking many questions, looking through many archival materials, but I couldn't find out where he studied.

Guru arrived and went into the garden of the Provost, the head of the university, the garden where we were doing the lifting. There's a bust, a statue of Sri Aurobindo in the college, which Guru asked us to put outside there. You can see it in the picture. Guru had this wonderful, wonderful meditation next to the bust of Sri Aurobindo.

Then Guru lifted all of the professors. While lifting was happening, I spoke to one professor. He said, "Oh yes, I know the place where Sri Aurobindo would have studied. I know it. It's a room in the college. It's actually the residential quarters now of one of the professors who lives here. He lives and teaches in that room."

The professor who told me this was Dr John Barber. He's a teacher, a professor of Russian studies. He spoke perfect Russian. He knows all about history of Russia and the language. He spoke to some of the Russian disciples when we were there.

He told me, "I know where the room is. It belongs to Professor Avery". He said, "The trouble is, that professor is the grumpiest professor in the whole college. Let me see. I will speak to him and see if we can arrange for Sri Chinmoy to visit the room."

Devashishu with Sri Chinmoy

The amazing thing is that we eventually we found where the room was. I told Guru, “We know where the room is, where Sri Aurobindo studied.” Guru was so happy. After the lifting, he went across to this room.

What was very, very interesting is that Guru suddenly changed. As he was going to go to visit this room, the room where Sri Aurobindo studied, Guru changed. He changed from the Master into the disciple. There was something in Guru's quality, in his consciousness that was very dramatically changed. He became all humility and like he was a disciple going to see his Master, like the best disciple ever. You could feel in Guru this intensity and humility and complete love and devotion for Sri Aurobindo. It was in every part of Guru's being. You could feel it. It was amazing. The feeling around Guru had changed. We guided Guru over there. You could feel as Guru was going, he was going to the room with tremendous humility and devotion.

Sri Chinmoy and Professor Avery, in the room where Sri Aurobindo studied when he was in Cambridge.

This picture shows Professor Avery. He was very nice to Guru. He welcomed Guru into the room. It's his own personal living space and he spoke to Guru. That professor actually passed away a few years after this. Guru was trying to explain to him his whole connection with Sri Aurobindo. He didn't fully understand but he was very kind and very gracious.

There is a video of Guru walking in this room. At some point the professor asked Guru to sit down. Guru said, "I will not sit down in my Master's room. I will not sit." You could really feel Guru's devotion to Sri Aurobindo, his love for Sri Aurobindo. It was an amazing moment, amazing moment in the history of Guru's visits to the UK.


India's poet

India's poet,
India's seer,
India's Yogi-Avatar,
O Sri Aurobindo,
O Superman pioneer,
To you I ceaselessly bow.

Chinmoy 1