At the beginning, all those years ago, I was not really looking for a spiritual Master or a path. Like most people I knew, I was neither very happy nor unhappy, having just arrived from my hometown of Mumbai, India, eager to fulfill my lifelong dream of an overseas education and an independent life.
In New Zealand a nagging backache had started to bother me again and I decided to try hatha yoga as a remedy. I called up a few places in the next week or so but found most of these either too expensive or too far away from home. Slightly dejected I remember walking down the main street in downtown Auckland on the way to my lunch shift – the streets were full of office workers rushing too and fro. I remember walking down the hill when I had the sudden and strange sensation of everything slowing down, as though time was suspended. A smiling face suddenly appeared before me, a young man with leaflets in his hand. Just as I was about to walk past him, something in my head said “take what he is offering”. The next thing I know I have this bright blue leaflet in my hand that I am reading on my way to work.
As luck would have it, it was a free meditation workshop offered by the Sri Chinmoy Centre in Auckland. I knew it wasn’t the Hatha Yoga that I was looking for, but I intuitively knew of the connection between the body and the spirit and decided to explore this further. When I reflect back on that moment on the street on that long ago day, I can understand the quiet perfection of everything, the role of grace in our lives. A feeling of gratitude wells up inside me towards Sri Chinmoy who I now call Guru. Why was it that I had been given this opportunity to follow a spiritual path? I have stopped questioning the reason behind it, but often offer my gratitude to my Guru for the wonderful years I have been fortunate and privileged to spend on his wonderful path. This poem by Sri Chinmoy expresses my feelings well:
‘Beyond speech and mind,
Into the river of ever-effulgent Light
My heart dives.
Today thousands of doors, closed for millennia
Are opened wide.’
Muslim is picutred here on the Kepler Track at Lake Manapouri in Fiordland.