Archive for the ‘stories’ Category

Seance – Story about dealing with conflict

Story by Sri Chinmoy, AUM Magazine, Vol.II-1, No.11, November 27, 1974


There once lived in America a very great spiritual Master who had only twenty-five disciples. Nine of the disciples lived in the same city as the Master. The others lived in neighbouring cities. One day the Master decided to take a journey to one of his other Centres. Since the Master was not sure that he would return by the time the evening meditation was to start, he had to find somebody to conduct the meeting. One of his disciples, a middle-aged man named Rakhal, asked the Master if he could do it.

At one time Rakhal used to be a Guru himself. He used to hold seances for elderly ladies and he had a small following. When he first started going to the Master’s meditations, he brought with him his own followers. But they saw the great difference between Rakhal and the Master, so they left Rakhal and became the Master’s disciples. After a while Rakhal also became the Master’s disciple, but he still felt that he was a leader in a sense. So when he asked permission to conduct the meeting in the Master’s absence, the Master said, “All right. Since many of my disciples are your admirers, you do it.” Read On…

Beggars and workers – Story from Wisdom of the Idiots

Wisdom of the Idiots is a collection of stories about Sufi saints and Masters written by Idres Shah. The short stories are instructive of the Sufi philosophy, Sufi mysticism and the Sufi way of teaching.


A note to the preface of the book states

Because what narrow thinkers imagine to be wisdom is often seen by the Sufis to be folly, the Sufis in contrast sometimes call themselves ‘The Idiots’.
By a happy chance too, the Arabic word for ‘Saint’ (wali) has the same numerical equivalent as the world for ‘Idiot’ (balid).
So we have a double motive for regarding the Sufi great ones as our own Idiots.
This book contains some of their knowledge.

Some of the teachings of the Sufis

  • Be wary of outer appearances of knowledge and learning. They may merely result in pride and prevent the true inner teaching to be understood.
  • To understand the Sufi way, it is necessary to be willing to abandon pre-conceived ideas and notions of self-importance.
  • True generosity which sees fellow man as a brother is the right path.
  • Be wary of miracles and shows of power, this is not the real path of love and truth.

Beggars and workers

It is related of Ibn el-Arabi that people said to him:

“Your circle is composed mainly of beggars, husband-men and artizans. Can you not find people of intellect who will follow you, so that perhaps more authoritative notice might be taken of your teachings?”

He said:

“The Day of Calamity will be infinitely nearer when I have influential men and scholars singing my praises; for without any doubt they will be doing so for their own sake and not for the sake of our work!”

  • From Wisdom of the Idiots by Idres Shah.

Shankaracharya Gets Illumination from a Butcher

In India, there is a popular story of how the great scholar, Vedentin and Sage Shankaracharya gained illumination from a lesson where he learned to see God in every person. Sri Chinmoy writes of this illumining tale.


Lord Shiva

“…India’s Shankaracharya is by far the greatest Vedantin that our Mother-Earth has ever produced. At the dawn of his spiritual journey, before he had attained to the Consciousness of the Absolute Brahman, a certain feeling of differentiation plagued his mind. Hard was it for him to believe that everything in the universe was Brahman. One day as Shankara was returning home after having completed his bath in the Ganges, he chanced to meet a butcher—an untouchable. The butcher, who was carrying a load of meat, accidentally touched Shankara in passing. Shankara flew into a rage. His eyes blazed like two balls of fire. His piercing glance was about to turn the butcher into a heap of ashes. The poor butcher, trembling from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head, said, “Venerable Sir, please tell me the reason of your anger. I am at your service. I am at your command.” Shankara blurted out, “How dare you touch my body which has just been sanctified in the holiest river? Am I to remind you that you are a butcher?” “Venerable Sir,” replied the butcher, “who has touched whom? The Self is not the body. You are not the body. Neither am I. You are the Self. So am I.” The Knowledge of the One Absolute dawned on poor Shankara. People nowadays in India claim that the butcher was no other than Lord Shiva who wanted Shankara to practise what he was preaching. But, according to many, Shankara himself was an incarnation of Lord Shiva…”

Excerpt from : Seventy Three Years Ago Sri Chinmoy, My Ivy League Leaves, Agni Press, 1972.

Today in India, this story in different forms is sometimes re-enacted in Theyyam worship. – A wide ranging type of ritual worship where often the lower castes are given prominent roles in the performance.


Like a Lotus


In Indian spiritual philosophy the human soul is likened to the Lotus – a most beautiful flower that grows in a miry existence but emerges skyward, delicate petals unfurling at the touch of the suns rays, offering its beauty and fragrance to the heavens. The human soul too has to struggle in the watery bog of the material world – through the practice of prayer and meditation and the cultivation of all the divine qualities we can rise above this material condition and be fully conscious of our divinity.

There was once a bandit by the name of Ratnakara who carried out a life of thievery and deception until one day quite by chance he happened across the great sage Narada whose thoughts were constantly immersed in Lord Narayana. Narada looked on Ratnakara with qualities that were so foreign to Valmiki that he could not recognize them – love, and compassion. Baffled by these emotions which he had never received even from his own wife and family, he asked Narada the reason for it. Narada replied that his constant love and adoration was for his Lord Narayana whose image he saw in the hearts of all, including the bandit Ratnakara. Narada instructed Ratnakara in the ways of meditation and advised him to repeat the name "Rama" which is another name for God. Ratnakara’s nature however was so tainted with sin he simply could not utter the holy name "Rama", thus Narada instructed him to repeat "mara" which is the word for tree.

Ratnakara was a forest dweller so he was able to repeat "mara" with ease. On constant repetition of the word "mara" it becomes "Rama" and in this way Ratnakara was able to repeat this divine incantation. Narada took leave of Ratnakara who was so earnest in his meditation that when Narada returned several years later, he was still fixed to the same spot, although over the course of time he had been covered by an ant hill. After cracking open the anthill Narada found Ratnakara – utterly transformed by his profound meditation into a saintly person. He bestowed on him the name Valmiki and instructed him to establish a hermitage where one day very soon a banished Queen by the name of Sita would be sheltered…

Valmiki became the sage who uttered the first poem and created the poetic epic the "Ramayana" – the account of the India’s great King Rama which to this day is a spiritual reference and source of inspiration for millions of truth seekers throughout the world.

The story of Valmiki teaches us that through sincere aspiration a seeker of any caliber may attain the greatest heights. Like Valmiki and the lotus we too must not be daunted by the impurity which clings to us at present and endeavour to transform ourselves through constant and heavenward prayerful effort.

Article by: Kate Carvalho. Kate Carvalho practises meditation with the Christchurch Sri Chinmoy Centre

Photo by: Abedan, Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries

What to Pray for?

What should we pray for?

People pray for many different things. Pray can be a form of desire. We pray for material comforts or release from physical pain. However prayer can be more than just praying for the satisfaction of our material needs. The highest prayer is merely to become one with the highest spiritual realisation.

There is a story of two great Spiritual figures, Sri Ramakrishna and his beloved disciple Swami Vivekananda. Due to the death of his father Swami Vivekananda?s family were living in extreme poverty; his mother started to criticise Vivekananda, saying why did he spend his time praying to God when God could not even provide for the family?s basic needs. Vivekananda felt cut to the bone, so he went to his Spiritual Master Sri Ramakrishna and explained his family?s dire financial predicaments. Sri Ramakrishna compassionately replied to Vivekananda and said if he went to the Temple of Mother Kali and prayed for the boon of financial wealth all his family?s financial problems would be solved.

Encouraged by his master?s promise Vivekananda went to the temple of Mother Kali to pray for money. However Vivekananda was a seeker of the highest order. His inner nature yearned for God. When he entered the temple of the Mother, Vivekananda became absorbed in the spiritual vibrations of the Temple. He felt his consciousness soar as he became enamoured of the bliss of the Mother. In such an exalted spiritual state Vivekananda forgot his desire for financial freedom. His only prayer was

"O Mother, please give me Jnana (wisdom) and Bhakti (devotion)." [1]

After praying and meditating Vivekananda returned to his Master and told him he had forgotten to pray for money in the Presence of Kali. Ramakrishna smiled and advised him to go back into the temple but this time to pray for money. Vivekananda returned but again he became so absorbed in his meditation that he could not bring himself to ask for money. 3 Times Ramakrishna sent Vivekananda into the temple to pray but each time Vivekananda couldn?t bring himself to pray for money. Eventually Ramakrishna compassionately said he would pray on his disciple?s behalf. He would pray that his family would always have enough to pay for the basic essentials of life. After this his family?s dire financial hardship was removed, although they never experience material prosperity.

Vivekananda was a great seeker, who eventually became a spiritual Master in his own right. This story is illustrative of how the human mind often doesn?t know the best thing to pray for. On many occasions we feel that if our desires for more money and wealth can be fulfilled, all our problems will be solved. However no matter how much money we may have we will never attain lasting satisfaction. Real happiness comes from our oneness with God. When we attain oneness with God everything else seems unimportant

The highest prayer uttered by Jesus Christ was

?not my will but thine be done? " [2] Through this prayer Christ surrendered his personal will to the will of God. Christ knew that our human prayers might not be in our best interest, the greatest prayer is merely to become with God.

Later Sri Ramakrishna offered Vivekananda all his occult powers. Ramakrishna even tempted Vivekananda by saying he would be able to use these powers to help others. Vivekananda only replies will this help me realise God. Ramakrishna replied it wouldn?t and so Vivekananda turned down the opportunity to gain occult powers. [3]

It is brings to mind the immortal quote of the Upanishads

What shall I do with the things
that cannot make me immortal? [4]


[1] Vivekananda
[2] Luke 22:42
[3] Vivekananda – Heart Life at Sri Chinmoy Library

Mirabai and Akbar Play

Sri Krishna

Here is a play recently performed for Sri Chinmoy and his students. Its aim is to illustrate how misunderstandings between religions are an ancient challenge for humanity, but as Sri Chinmoy teaches, there is hope for the oneness of all humanity, and that historical figures such as Sri Krishna, Mirabai and Akbar The Great can inspire us and show is the way.

View: Play of Mirabai and Akbar

Script by Sumangali Morhall

selected scenes

[Enter Mirabai and her statue of Krishna]


The honeyed sun came closer to,
but shyly veiled himself from view,
drawing spices from the air.
The maiden moon watched soft and fair.
Early stars came out to glisten.
Bells and creatures stilled to listen:

[Mirabai?s music starts]

Tiger harkened out of sight
Peacock nestled for the night
Spider paused upon his yarn.
The young princess of Rajasthan
sweeter, finer than them all
sang behind a jewelled wall.

[Enter Mother & Father. Mirabai still sings]

Father [furious]:

If I see that Moghul scum
in ten miles of my country come
That rank Mohammedan I?ll curse
with fleas or warts or death, or worse!
I?ll pluck his whiskers one by one!
I?ll light his hair to see him run!
I?ll skin his ears, I?ll roast his eyes!

Mirabai and Akbar play

Zen Story – Sounds of Silence

Four monks decided to meditate silently without speaking for two weeks. By nightfall on the first day, the candle began to flicker and then went out. The first monk said, "Oh, no! The candle is out." The second monk said, "Aren’t we not suppose to talk?" The third monk said, "Why must you two break the silence?" The fourth monk laughed and said, "Ha! I’m the only one who didn’t speak."

It reminds me of another Zen story where a monk is only allowed to speak once every 10 years.

After first 10 years novice monk says "food cold"

After second 10 years novice monk says "bed hard"

After thirty years monk says "Food still cold bed still hard I’m leaving"

The Master of the Monastery says

"Thats OK all he ever did was complain.."

I Like these Zen stories because they make us think and smile at the same time

The Wish Fulfilling Tree


"A young aspirant was sitting at the foot of a tree in the summer heat. Fortunately or unfortunately, the tree he happened to be sitting under was the Kalpataru tree, the tree that fulfils all desires, but he did not know this.…"


Read complete story: "The Wish Fulfilling Tree" from Gopal’s Eternal Brother And Other Stories for Children
by Sri Chinmoy

" So, as George Bernard Shaw said, "There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart’s desire, the other is to get it." In this story, the young aspirant got it!"


Photo by: Pavitrata: Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries