80 Stories – Introduction


The stories and poems that fill the following pages were never intended as a book. They are instead isolated, stand alone sketches salvaged from those in-between moments of life when some impulse comes – sitting on a train, waiting for a flight at some airport, or perhaps in the back of a car on a long journey. They are only pencil sketches and outlines, the silhouettes of personal experiences whose real substance lies beyond the horizon of language. They have been cobbled together from different years, places, moods and selves, jumbled about a little, poured in between the dignifying covers of a book – and offered now with a mild feeling of apology.

Most of these stories involve the great spiritual master Sri Chinmoy whom I refer to as ‘Guru’- meaning ‘the one who illumines’ – and I have the immensely good fortune to still have him as my inner guide and confidant even after his 2007 passing.

Guru   often reminded us that in terms of spiritual opportunities this lifetime – among the many we have had and those yet to come – will have no equal. Writing preserves the memories and events that sparkled most brightly, captures them before they vanish – like a child putting the miracle of a butterfly into a glass bottle then revisiting this memento half a lifetime later to ponder and remember.

Our tiny literary attempts at recollection– what we felt and saw – may very well lie about long after our brief lives, offer little glimpses into a chapter in history when a great master visited this earth. I remember once placing my fingers and palm over the 7,000 year old pigmented imprint of a human hand on an ancient cliff face, imagining across the long continuum of time the life of one who had roamed here in distant millenia. Like this, writing captures and celebrates the changing and vanishing pageantry all around us – and these few stories are the handprint on the cliff face, the butterfly in the bottle, gathering a few little memories from the wondrous life of a spiritual master, keeping fresh the ‘livingness’ of it all.

This insignificant collection – I counted eighty stories in all – is a small tribute occasioned by the observance of Guru’s 80th birthday.

In reading the following pages though, your kindness will certainly be needed. Well, here goes…