If I can smile like that, it's worth becoming a disciple

This is one of the stories in our Story-Gems project, a collection of our experiences with our Guru, Sri Chinmoy. Project homepage »


I came to the United States from India at the age of twenty-seven. I came to Miami for my higher studies. I had started meditation in India on my own, reading some books. But even though people imagine that everybody in India meditates, that's not the case. I did not know a single person my age who meditated.

Beyond Within was compiled as a textbook for a university course on Sri Chinmoy's philosophy in the 1970's

I was still hungering for a spiritual community when I came to Miami. There was a friend and classmate at the university who would bring me meditation books. She was going somewhere for meditation. She brought me Guru's books Beyond Within and Father and Daughter and other books that she had from where she went to meditate. The books really connected with me. I felt it was exactly the way I imagined meditation would be. It was focused on the heart. I was dying to go for meditation classes. This was 1993.

Finally in 1994, I started going for meditation classes. It took a while. My first meditation class was exactly what I had imagined. At the end of the meditation, I got to meet with the teacher, who was Durjaya from the Miami Centre. I still remember talking to him after the class. My soul was so happy that I was shaking like a leaf.

Then I started coming to the meditation centre. Actually, the first trip that I made to the Centre – it was a class, I was still not a disciple – I saw a double rainbow!

I have to say that I will be forever grateful to the Miami centre for all their love, their kindness, their warmth and the way they brought me into their hearts.

I will be forever, forever, eternally grateful to Guru because how he could bring me all the way from India to him here in the US? The outer reason was my studies, but the inner reason that I came to the United States was because Guru was here.

[Comment: Usually Americans think of going to India to find their Master. You did the opposite.]

Yes, wherever our Guru is, we have to go there. Soon after, in May 1994, I had the opportunity to come to New York. I had applied to be a disciple but I had not yet been accepted.

I first saw Guru in PS 86. It was crowded and I was all the way in the back of the auditorium. I couldn't see Guru very well but I saw the disciples and I remember them so clearly. Their smiles were so beautiful. I said to myself that even if I don't go very far spiritually, if I can smile like that, it's worth becoming a disciple.

In July 1994 I became a disciple. That was also a very special experience, very personal.

A longer interview with Mahatapa, where she talks more about her spiritual journey

Divine journey

The divine journey
Is the continuous, eternal journey
That is not only nearing God-Reality
But is actually bringing God-Reality
To itself.
And this journey is not only the soul's
Continuous preparation
In us,
But also the soul's full blossoming
For us.

Sri Chinmoy 1