I think that I learnt all of my most important lessons in meditation by simply observing Guru, just by being there around him. ‘God does not expect you to be perfect. He just expects you to be available’. Yes, just being available was almost enough. Filing by in a walk past or sitting in his company I tried to feel that what I saw and felt in him was also within myself. So you begin with imitation, imagining inside yourself that selfsame calm, that poise, detachment, radiant peace. Then imagination becomes a slowly blossoming reality, you can feel these qualities growing inside yourself – beneath the dross of imperfections your little divine Self remembers and stirs. Guru was a mirror – look hard and often enough and there you are, smiling back at yourself.
Guru taught us many things that are simply not found anywhere else, little secrets unique to our path. And not just taught but brought them into our consciousness as the living breath of our discipleship, drilled us over and over until each lesson had sunk in. ‘Soulfulness’ for example – where else is this found? In our singing – ‘be more soulful!’ In our meditations – ‘please be more soulful!’ Or filing slowly along in a walk-by procession, those wonderful encounters between the disciple’s aspiration and the master’s probing grace – soulfulness! To be as close as possible to the consciousness of our own soul – its sincerity, purity, humility, sweetness – and then to maintain this as long, as deeply, as often, as consciously as possible in our lives. And then all those other spiritual secrets like ‘self-transcendence’, ‘gratitude’, ‘oneness’, ‘living in the heart’ – words on a page suddenly brought to life, transformed and elevated into the highest spiritual teachings. Under his tutelage and personal example these simple concepts became our path.
For me, one of the most astonishing assertions in all of spiritual literature is Guru’s concept of realizing God, or more startlingly, becoming God. “Man and God are eternally one,” Guru writes in Yoga and the Spiritual Life. “Like God, man is infinite; like man, God is finite. There is no yawning gulf between man and God. Man is the God of tomorrow; God, the man of yesterday and today.”
Applied to everyday human life — karma yoga — Guru wonderfully develops this in guidelines of behaviour both for oneself and in one’s relationship with others. Consider, for example, his beautiful words to restaurant owners: “While you are cooking, you have to feel that you are cooking for the supreme Guest, the Supreme Himself, who will eat in and through the hundreds of people who will come into the restaurant. Do not think of the people who are coming to eat as human beings . . . The Supreme is the supreme Guest, and as a guest He is coming to you in hundreds of human forms.” (The Blossoming Centre Garden)
And about oneself: “God is constantly taking birth at every moment inside you — in what you say, in what you do and in what you become . . . With each new thought, each new idea, you can feel that a new God has dawned, a new God has taken birth.” (ibid)
Guru’s radiant personal example everyday reminded us, and will forever remind us, of the fundamental truth of our own God-becoming. He was the supreme proof that God exists, for us the great personification of divinity, and his legacy—especially his published writings—insists on the infallible truth of our own ultimate godliness. In the many trials of our lives he was always our compass, always realigning our wayward steps back to the great pole of liberation. Remember, he is still telling us, to see and feel the divinity within yourself and always see it in others. In Sri Chinmoy Answers he tells us that ‘Sometimes when I meditate on you, my disciples, in my own highest divine consciousness, I definitely see you as my Lord Beloved Supreme. I do not see you as human beings with human imperfections. No, at that time your outer bodies disappear and your souls I see as the most perfect representatives of our Lord Beloved Supreme. That is the time when I get the utmost happiness. I swim in the sea of ecstasy.”