The day I recieved my spiritual name


On the day of getting our names, Guru had told us that we would be getting them, so to come prepared and to be in our best consciousness.

We were all wearing white. One by one, Guru called us up. He would stand there and place his hands on our head. When I came up, he put one hand on my third eye and the other hand on the top of my head. As I was standing there, Guru kept one hand on my third eye and then he put the other hand directly on my spiritual heart.

The force was so powerful, I actually felt a physical electricity going into my third eye and in my heart centre. It was electric. It was so strong. I could physically feel this buzzing energy and my mind was completely blank. There were no thoughts, nothing. He was in complete control of me, of whoever I was. He completely took me out into this absolute, beautiful, wonderful, luminous, blissful state. That’s all I can say.

Then he started chanting my name. My name is Banshidhar. He chanted Ban…shi… dhar, Ban…shi… dhar.  He kept chanting this many, many times. I felt like he was pulling something from way, way, way deep inside of me. I never had that experience ever. He pulled something from way inside and it was coming out.

A disciple re-incarnates


Some souls do have two lifetimes with Guru, like Nivedita. Nivedita was a Canadian disciple who passed away as Guru was speaking to her on the phone. Paramita, a fellow Canadian disciple, described it like this:

Nivedita’s passing, many years ago, was absolutely spiritually spectacular. She was in the hospital in a two-bed room, and the spiritual energy at her bedside was so powerful that you absolutely could not NOT meditate. You HAD to meditate, and the meditation was just going rocket-high. Even the lady who was the patient in the next bed was sitting up meditating and praying.

Nivedita joined Sri Chinmoy's path in the 1970's

Celebrating birthdays at Guru's house

Sri Chinmoy meditates on Devashishu on the occasion of his birthday. This is the 'front porch' of Sri Chinmoy's house.

Guru was very, very kind to us and lavished food on us. If it was a guard's birthday, there would be a big celebration with Guru at his house. We'd all go.

Those were my favourite moments. If I look back at my favourite moments in my discipleship, it was sitting with Guru on the porch of his house with all the boys, the guards, and Guru just lying on his couch, sitting back, relaxing and just telling a story. Stories from the ashram days or stories about when he first came to America, or a story about some famous person.

A photo from 2003: Devashishu celebrating his birthday in France with his family and some of his fellow 'guards'. The guards were a group of boys chosen by Guru to serve as attendants at Aspiration-Ground, the place where Sri Chinmoy meditated with his students.

Guru was in a sweet mood, a happy mood, a comfortable mood, and he could just relax with the boys and tell stories. Those are my favorite moments, because you felt Guru was happy and he was comfortable with us. He could just tell these stories and they were like golden moments and you didn't want them to end. You just wanted to sit on that porch for days and days and days and listen to these stories.

A spiritual name is the name of our soul, and what we can become


This was November 6, 1977. I was told the day before that Guru was going to give me my spiritual name. Guru was playing tennis at the school there, at the Jamaica High School track.

When he finished, he sat down and called “Lincoln” to come over. That was the last time he used my outer name. I kneeled down in front of him. As you might imagine, it was very emotional, very emotional.

He put his hand on my head and spoke the name. Then he gave an explanation as well. He described what and who Nayak is, what my soul is. I’ll just read briefly. Guru started: “With my heart's soulful love and my life's blessingful gratitude, I offer you your soul's name.”  

He said a few more things and then he said the name: “Nayak, Nayak.” Then he gave the meaning. I’ll just read the first part: “Nayak is the one who leads, guides, illumines, and fulfils the seeker divine.”  

You have to remember that this is the name of the soul, and the outer aspects are trying to become like that. That is the name of the soul, and that's what we can become. Of course, where we are now is not there yet.

My spirituality's present name.

My spirituality's future name.

Sri Chinmoy 1

A powerful lesson in overcoming lethargy and resistance


One day, I can't remember which year it was, I was living in New York. This was typical of life as a guard—you're just relaxing, doing this and that. The next minute you get a telephone call: “Guru wants to see you, here, now please!”

Suddenly Guru wanted all the guards down at the track behind the court, his special track. Guru wanted us to build a ramp, an incline so that he could train running uphill to strengthen his legs. Because Guru had serious problems with his knees—his knees were very, very injured—Guru wanted it to be grass on top of earth so it would be softer for his joints.

Sri Chinmoy had a running track behind Aspiration-Ground where he trained frequently; the ramp was built at the end of the track.

We started to build this ramp. It was a wooden structure. I think the ramp was about 30 meters long. I'm not sure about the angle, but it was about 30 meters long. Then there had to be half a meter of earth underneath the grass, inside the wooden structure.

'You two have been friends for many hundreds of years'


It was interesting. With meditation, sometimes your soul's memory of the past would give you little glimpses into forgotten times. One example of that: Many years ago I had a friend who lived far away, but every time I saw him, once a year, sometimes twice a year, I always had this feeling ‘I know you from somewhere’. My mind had no idea where or when. But the feeling of recognition was very strong in my heart.

One year on my friend’s birthday, Guru called him down and was meditating upon him. Then Guru looked across at me and he said, “You two have been friends for many hundreds of years.” It confirmed what my heart or my soul had told me: This person is someone I knew from another life from another time.

My heart is blessed with a new friend:
God's Compassion-Eye;
My mind is blessed with a new friend:
God's Forgiveness-Heart;
And my life is blessed with a new friend:
God's Wisdom-Whisper.

Sri Chinmoy 1

  • 1. Today, December 6, Agni Press, 1996

'You ask the Prime Minister'

Sri Chinmoy meets with former Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, 2004

One story came to my mind. We were in Canada, and Guru wanted to meet and then lift the previous Prime Minister. Jean Chrétien was his name.

Mr. Chrétien had agreed to the meeting, but not to the lifting. Guru was going to meet him in this little anteroom of his law practice. So I went there for this meeting, As soon as we went in there, his secretary says to me, “Oh, no filming.”  So, when Guru arrived, I told Guru this and Guru said to me, “You ask the Prime Minister.”


Well, I mean, if Guru says you have to do it, you have to do it. But I was thinking, “How is this going to happen?” Because normally the Prime Minister would come in, and it would all happen very quickly, and I would miss everything.

What should I do for work?


When I was going to graduate from high school, I was approximately 16 or 17 years old. I had just come to the Centre, and I asked Guru what I should do when I finished high school. After he asked me a few questions about the things that I enjoy doing—which at the time was just art and writing—he encouraged me to study journalism because he felt that it would be very useful to his mission if someone could write for the media.

And so that's what I did. I studied journalism and public relations. I was hired by the university when I graduated. I worked for about eight years in that field, doing photography and journalism within a university.

The Aum Press in the Puerto Rico Sri Chinmoy Centre published many of Sri Chinmoy's books in the early 1970's

Of course that was a long time ago, and since then over the years, I have done various things. I worked in the printing industry because in the Puerto Rico Centre we used to print Guru’s books. It was from years of printing Guru's writings that I learned all about that world of printing presses. Eventually I was able to also work in the outside world in that kind of thing.

I must say that we were so fortunate to be able to have Guru physically there to tell us and guide us outwardly as well as inwardly of what we should be doing in our life. That's a supreme blessing.

How our mountain-climbing adventures began

Aconcagua is the highest mountain in South America

I swam the English Channel swim in 1988. In 1989 we went to a mountain in Argentina called Aconcagua, which is one of the biggest mountains outside of the Himalayas. That started 18 years of high-altitude climbing. For 18 years, I went mountaineering on different places around the world: Alaska, Bolivia, Peru, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal and Tibet.

Basically, we worked our way up to climbing bigger and bigger mountains. We would always send a message to Guru through Ashrita about what we wanted to do to find out whether Guru would stand behind it, whether Guru thought it was a good idea or not.


Guru had a system of response that went from “Very good, very good”—that was a good one—to “Let him or let them.” If Guru said that… then that was Guru’s worst response. Guru probably didn't want to tell us too directly and “uninspire” us, but if Guru said “Let him,” that would mean that we would pretty much be on our own. That's how we took it anyway.

My first meditation in the Sri Chinmoy Centre


I was kind of a shy boy, young boy, in those days. It took me maybe a few weeks to get enough courage to go ahead and decide to go to the Sri Chinmoy Centre in Puerto Rico. I'll never forget when it happened. It was my birthday, and I was sitting at the dinner table with my family. I was living with my parents at the time. I was still in high school. I was sitting there having my meal, and from deep inside of me came this affirmation, out of the blue: “I am going to the Centre this week.”

So, I went. The first time I went to meditation, it was Wednesday evening. It was on the second floor in a small apartment, in a very humble area in Puerto Rico. There were between 20 and 30 people in this small meditation apartment.

Now, Guru was not physically there, but when I went in, I was clutching one of those yoga books. It was like my security blanket. I remember we waited in a separate room while they were preparing the meditation room. I was asking one of the older disciples—his name is Ananta and he passed away some years ago—if he thought it was good. He said, “Oh, yes, it’s very good.” They were very sweet. There was a vibration, an atmosphere there that was extremely powerful but also very peaceful. My heart was pounding with excitement.

So, the time came, and they called us into the meditation room, a very small room. In those days they would turn off all the lights and there would just be candles, with the candles on Guru’s chair in the front where Guru would sit when he visited, and candles and different shrines around. So, we were inside this real temple, there was a very sacred, very mystical, very, very inspiring feeling.