Sri Aurobindo said that you could not write the biography of a spiritual Master because everything happens on the inner plane. You felt something similar with Guru. From your own experience, you knew how much Guru could be working on the inner level. He seemed to know the spiritual development of each disciple; he knew how best to deal with them depending on their mood and state of mind. Often, one glance, one brief half-smile, or one meditation on his transcendental picture was all that was needed to get out of a negative frame of mind. Yet, despite all the countless miracles on the inner level, Guru also had a pretty extensive outer life. In fact it was so extensive it is hard to know where to begin and where to end. To some, Sri Chinmoy was the master Poet, to others the musical Maestro; to others Guru was a vivid demonstration of remarkable physical and spiritual capacity in the field of outer weightlifting. Others may have come across Sri Chinmoy through his art or humanitarian projects. To others he may be a philosopher of peace – someone who sought to reconcile differences and promote a sense of oneness and friendship through initiatives such as the World Harmony Run and his Peace-Blossom initiatives.
I have never known anyone with so many physical expressions as Sri Chinmoy. It felt that, at will, he could take on a different consciousness depending on what he was doing. At public concerts there was an aura of lofty spiritual height – tremendous light, power and poise. At these times, Guru was in the higher worlds, an effusion of spiritual consciousness. But, an hour later, Guru could be relaxing in a post-concert function; telling sweet stories from his early ashram days – filling the room with great joy and laughter. You may be seated at the back, but there felt great intimacy. It was like a family fireside chat; the fact that 500+ other people were there didn't seem to matter. Guru was happy and joking – it seemed a million miles from the previous hour’s sublime meditation.
When Guru met other people, I always felt he could easily identify and empathise with them. Guru never gave an impression of superiority; in fact the opposite – he naturally exuded a genuine humility which made you feel he was all for you.
Guru sought to meet people from different religious faiths; he was a firm believer in the universality of religion and spiritual experience. When he met people from different faiths, he seemed to be able to share the same aspirations and devotion as the followers. If he met Buddhists, Guru would talk devotedly of the Buddha and sing songs related to the Buddha. When he met Christians or Muslims, he would talk using their terminology, and share his devotion for their faith. It seemed Guru could worship God in many different ways. To Guru, it was not the language used, but the human spirit behind it. People picked up on this and it was why such a diversity of people felt comfortable and uplifted in his presence.
Guru never sought to convert or put forward any ideology, instead he sought to appreciate the best in other religions and spiritual traditions. In a world which often focuses on religious quarrels and fanaticism, it was always very comforting to see how it is possible to create a feeling of oneness and empathy with different religious traditions. I remember on one Christmas trip when Guru met a Muslim King in Indonesia. Guru was brought up in a Hindu tradition, but they were able to share a deep mutual respect and admiration. It is difficult to encapsulate the life of Sri Chinmoy. I can only share what he has meant for me, as I have known and experienced him. But, I also feel that even though Guru is no longer in the body, I have come to appreciate his life even more than when he was physically here.