My life with Sri Chinmoy
by Namrata Moses, New York
I began seeking the spiritual life very young. My family was very spiritual. We were from North Carolina. My grandparents were both ministers, and I was at church every weekend. I worked on our family farm during the week.
At age six, I was in a favorite part of the woods, when I saw a white figure up in the sky. It felt like the Christ to me. I was mesmerized for days!
One time, I had an inner experience when reading Don Quixote. I don't know where I was but I felt this quietness come over me, from the top of my head right down through my body. It was like a desert where everything was so peaceful, the kind of peace I never felt before in my life. It was a good experience, but I became afraid because I didn't have any control over it and I didn't know how to get out of it, so I prayed to God to save me. I don't know how long it took for me to come back to normal.
Later, I moved to Manhattan, New York City. I worked at Long Island College Hospital. I eventually caught up with my education in New York, with a work scholarship for my Bachelor’s degree, majoring in history and education from Lehman College in the Bronx.
I first saw Sri Chinmoy’s picture during the mid-70s when I was attending a meditation at the house of a former student of his, who was now teaching another kind of meditation. I remember seeing the picture, of Sri Chinmoy in a red dhoti on the wall - during the meditation, the picture would disappear into the wall. I felt that that picture kept saying ‘no’ to me, that this meditation was bad for me and I should not continue with it.
I was not satisfied with that meditation, so I left. However, as a result of attending that meditation, I started becoming disturbed by paranormal problems such as seeing lions and leopards while driving, which made me afraid to drive. I didn’t know what to do, to better control what I was seeing. I could also see what was going to happen the day before. I didn’t like it one bit! I wanted someone to show me how to control these problems.
Becoming a disciple of Sri Chinmoy
One day, a friend and I attended a meditation with Sri Chinmoy at All Angel’s Church in Manhattan. It was a strange experience, meditating with Sri Chinmoy in person. He said wordlessly to me, “Come.” I said, “No.” I finally told him inwardly that if he got rid of my problems, I’d be his disciple (or student) for the rest of my life. He meditated with me.
After this meditation, everyone in the group was willing to try meditating with Sri Chinmoy— except me. However, Sri Chinmoy later appeared to me in a dream, removing all my problems. I promised him then I’d be his disciple. Forever.
We had Centre meetings on Friday nights; attendance was compulsory. Sri Chinmoy - who I now call ‘Guru’ - talked to us lovingly like we were his children; which we are, his spiritual children. It was so great. Most of all, he emphasized we were not to pay attention to what others said about meditating on the Path, to only be guided by our own aspiration, not swayed by other people’s likes or dislikes.
When I first started meditating, my thoughts were jumping all over the place. I offered these interruptions to Sri Chinmoy in my meditations. After I consciously offered up these interrupting thoughts, I was able to continue meditating more easily and peacefully.
During my first years as Sri Chinmoy’s disciple, I had very little money. Sometimes I was wondering where I would get money for the basic things I needed. One day I was at a meditation meeting with Guru, and he was asking what kind of work we did. I told him that I wasn't working, and he said that I should go to the United Nations to get a job. I did not get a job at the U.N, but I did get a job working in the hotel next to the UN because I had worked in math in school.
Guru kept working these kinds of miracles in my life. For example, after getting my Bachelor’s, Guru suggested I get my Master’s. So I did, specialising in early education. While I’d struggled with my first degree, I got all A’s for my second degree from City College of New York in Manhattan. Not bragging, just saying. Little did I know I’d teach 20 years at ABSW in Harlem, and five years as director of Albany Day Care Center.
I had five children, and here Guru really saved my life. My children were very demanding and I did not know what to do with them. It was a frustrating time for me; I could not concentrate or think straight. My oldest son was Guru’s worst critic; he used to criticise Guru all the time. But Guru changed him; he had a dream where Guru warned him that he had to stop what he was doing. At that time my son had no job, but Guru told him that he was a good boy and that he would never be without a job. Now, he has had a good job with the government for many years, and he always helps me financially to come to our annual Christmas Trip. Similarly, Guru has helped my other children and changed their lives for good.
The only other time I had no control over my life was when I became sick with a nervous breakdown for two weeks. I was in the hospital not knowing who I was or anyone around me. I could see Guru watching over me in a subtle physical form right in the hospital room, and when I was able to talk I was trying to show the visitors and nurses, but they could not see him. According to the doctors, my sickness was because of a bad marriage and me not being able to cope with it.
Another thing I would like to thank Guru for is teaching me how to love myself. According to Guru, when you learn to love God, you are truly able to love yourself and others. My father had passed away and I really did not like the way he had treated me. I informed Guru about his passing and went to the meditation function with Sri Chinmoy that evening, which was held in the local high school. As I passed by Guru, I felt him scolding me inwardly, saying that I had to forgive my father. Of course, I was shocked, but I began to work on it and I realised that forgiving my father was like having an elephant lifted off my back.
Previously, I’d no sports background other than hitting a baseball, because my father played baseball on weekends. Guru once asked who would like to enter a 24-hour bicycle race. My question was, where would I get a bike? Well, someone got me a bike. I rode all night with Guru in Central Park—and our Sri Chinmoy cycling team won it! I don’t know how many miles I biked. But I enjoyed it, because I had no more problems appearing before me, absolutely none. Guru had taken away all my problems.
Thereafter, we moved from riding bikes to our Centre Sports Day. I entered the 100- and 200- meter races, also threw shotput and javelin. I was a champion for a while in my age category, winning 10 Master’s medals. One time, Guru asked us all who could run the New York City Marathon. I volunteered, and I completed it, even though I had not done any training. That first marathon turned out to be my fastest time. I went on to do the 12-hour walk four times, two NYC marathons and six Sri Chinmoy Marathons.
In 1987, the global Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run began. I went to Africa twice that year, the first time with Peace Run. There were two boy students and another French girl on this first Africa trip. We went to eight countries, including Ghana, Liberia and Senegal. In West Africa, I felt that I had been there before in a previous incarnation, as a nun. I really did. Upon returning, Sri Chinmoy blessed me with my spiritual name. Namrata means “humility.”
I was asked to return, to give meditation classes. I asked Guru how to raise funds for my second Africa trip. He suggested a yard sale, which raised $2,000 in two weeks thanks to donations from disciples. I asked our Centre leader Sunil how to represent Guru; he told me not to worry, Guru would speak in and through me. I don’t remember what I said at those classes. I felt that it was Guru talking, not me. In Sierra Leone, 127 people signed up to continue meditating with us. This is another example of Sri Chinmoy calls surrender to the Highest, not doubting or fearing about what will happen in the future. Just do it!
I’m in my early eighties, as I tell my story in 2019. I continue sharing Guru’s spiritual philosophy in different ways. I love counting at our various races, such as the annual Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race, the world’s longest certified footrace. At my senior’s book club, we read and discuss his books like The Jewels of Happiness. Through over four decades of meditating with Sri Chinmoy, I would not want to change even one day!