That Thou Art
Last summer I was lucky enough to fly to Tampa Florida and attend a Harmony Concert offered by my meditation teacher, Sri Chinmoy. I also visited Consciousness-Blossoms - a restaurant that is owned and operated by Sri Chinmoy's students in Tampa. We also made two visits to the apparation of Mary, an imprint on the windows of a local office building. Leading up to this weekend, I was immersed in my Guru's book, I am Telling You a Great Secret. You Are a Fantastic Dream of God. This book mostly contains questions asked by children to Sri Chinmoy. Each question and answer was creating a powerful impression upon me. Something about the simplicity and straightforwardness of both the questions and answers deeply appealed to me. It can be found full text in the Sri Chinmoy Library if you would like to delve into it. Until I arrived in Tampa, little did I know just how strong the impression of this book truly was.
While we were at Consciousness-Blossoms, Sri Chinmoy sat and talked with us about many topics. The intimacy of our gathering in the small cafe was quite special and we had enjoyed a meal and Prasad (blessed food—a common tradition among spirtual masters) during our time there. The experience was tinged with a poignant sadness despite the peace flowing through the cafe. Two of our Guru's dear, dear friends had just died in the space of a very short time. A king from Indonesia who Sri Chinmoy met with during a Christmas trip passed away and Pir Vilayat Khan, the Sufi Master as well. He spoke movingly about them both and his students' hearts were most certainly filled with sympathy to see their dearest Guru's sadness. We sat there rapt in attention and meditation for easily over two hours.
At one point during Sri Chinmoy's talk with us, I heard something that roused me with a start and riveted my attention. Now that it is a little over a year later, I cannot remember the context of the before and after of what he said - just the simple phrase that surprised me. "And then when I worked at the ashram international library..." Because I have worked in libraries for over twenty years, this comment rang in my ears as if I just had heard that the second coming had arrived. I was floored and stared at my teacher for the longest time, never having read or heard about him working in a library prior to this moment.
What I suddenly realized was that I had been reading in the book I mentioned above that God appears to each person in the way that they can recognize and resonate with. My personal interpretation of his words was that to a cat God would be a cat, to a horse God would be a horse... and to a librarian God would be ... a librarian. Countless experiences recounted by his other students reaffirm this notion that being his student offers a powerful and remarkable opportunity to experience firsthand the omniscient aspect of God.
I was very moved that Sri Chinmoy included this special moment of self-giving to me in the midst of his personal sadness. In the twenty years that I have been his student, this constant service to his students and the world around him is the singular and only behavior that I witness him exhibiting - ever! Because I am a solitary sort of person, I found it especially comforting that I could be receiving a spiritual lesson from my teacher without anybody else even knowing it was happening. I am convinced that we could set a Guinness World Record for the longest book ever if all of these blessing moments were recorded on paper instead of just inside the "tablets of our hearts."
I expect I'll spend the rest of this lifetime and future ones as well trying to assimilate the lesson "Tat twam asi, That Thou art." But who could be luckier to have this profound lesson brought home in the simple phrase, "When I worked in the library...."