Sometimes, it is strange how fate can go around in circles. At Lady Margaret Hall, I studied PPE and got a 2:1 degree. It was also here at university that my perspective on life changed. By the end of my time at university, I had dropped more common aspirations and dreams and decided to become a disciple of an Indian spiritual Master. When I first entered university, I barely knew what a Guru was; I certainly had no aspirations to dedicate my life to spirituality. Anyway, six years after finishing university, college life seemed far distant. But, somewhat out of the blue, Sri Chinmoy telephoned the Oxford Centre to say he wished to come to Oxford University – to meet and lift professors from the University. To us it seemed a daunting prospect – would any noted Oxford University professors really want to come and meet a relatively unknown Indian Guru who teaches a path of yoga and spirituality? The worlds of Indian spiritual teachers and Oxford University professors seemed to live in parallel universes. As fate would have it, the ceremony was to be in Lady Margaret Hall gardens, the very place where I had spent a year working in the gardens after finishing my degree. LMH had also been the college of my Oxford Sri Chinmoy Centre Leader.
At the start, it was difficult to get any firm commitments from professors; and it seemed very difficult to arrange. But, we persevered and suddenly it all came together. On the day, Guru met and lifted about 19 Oxford professors, with the same simple ceremony of meditation, playing on the esraj and then lifting them on the special lifting apparatus. It was very rewarding to hear the kind comments from the Oxford professors after the lifting. They really appreciated the offering of Sri Chinmoy and being included in this unique award programme. Later, Sri Chinmoy was to remark that the event was a unique coming together of the heart and mind. The heart – represented by the spiritual teacher – and mind, represented by the pinnacle of academic prowess in these distinguished Oxford professors.
For myself, it was quite something to see Sri Chinmoy walk slowly through the front quad of my former college. I detected a faint, yet revealing smile by Guru as he passed by me. It was as if my life had gone full circle, and Guru knew all about it.