Bhashwar jokes as he watches an old film of himself and Sakhshat competing in a 400 meter race that took place back in 1980. It is the first time that either of them has seen it. In this event Sakhshat is the clear winner. At the time Sakhshat was 30 years old and Bhashwar 34.
I am showing the film to them on my lap top. Of course I don’t want to embarrass either of these 2 incredible athletes. Both are gifted runners, who competed against each other many many times over the years. Not just in the Sri Chinmoy annual sports day but also in Masters competitions.
I have filmed and videoed many of their Sri Chinmoy centre competitions. What is remarkable about the particular race that I am showing both of them now is that this 400 meter race is the very first time that they competed against each other.
The two friends sit side by side as they relive an intense brief experience that took place 36 years ago. The screen is small and the reflection glows brightly in their faces. Their eyes stare transfixed upon an event that signaled the very beginning of a unique and significant phase in both their lives. Something that inspired them both, not just physically but also most definitely spiritually as well.
As Bhashwar watches their first 400 meter race he is enthralled. He repeats the word “wow”, again and again. Sakhshat leads the race from start to finish, he is silent.
Sakhshat: “I think Guru wanted me to have a good experience.” He laughs, “I lost all the rest of them, except one or two.”
The film continues and shows a few other races.
Sakhsaht: “Look at Guru.”
Bhashwar: “He is into this stuff.”
Clearly as you watch even this short piece of film it is abundantly clear just how enthusiastic Guru was about sports day. I have filmed him competing in a number of events. He looks most enthused though when he is standing at the finish line and holding his own stop watch, and timing some of the faster disciple races.
It is late February of 2016. In a large meeting hall of a hotel in Port Dickson Malaysia, 35 year old Kumaran Muniandy tells me an incredibly inspiring story. He has spent the last few days attending the functions and activities of the visiting disciples of Sri Chinmoy. It is a yearly gathering, and lacking a better description, is often referred to as simply, the Christmas trip.
Kumar is a native Malaysian and has come from his home. It is a long and complicated bus trip. Compared with that of all the disciples who are visiting Port Dickson it is almost insignificant. Most of those who have come here have traveled from all around the world to be here. But in some ways, in the always unpredictable journey of life, Kumar perhaps has come the furthest.
What makes Kumar’s presence here unique however is that he is, in no small way, fulfilling a request made of him personally exactly 10 years earlier. A time when Sri Chinmoy last visited Malaysia, a little more then a year before he passed. At the time in 2006 Kumar was working in a textile shop on Langkawi.
As he relates the experience now, so many years later, he is visibly moved at being able to share what had happened to him on that day when Sri Chinmoy walked into the shop where he was working. As divine fate would have it, Sri Chinmoy had come there to purchase saris.
In the beginning Kumar gave no special notice to the elderly Indian gentleman sitting in a chair. When he had to cross the floor close by he says, “Guru called me.”
“I was thinking, this is a normal customer. Then when I went near he asked me my name. I said, Kumar. He said, O, that is my name.” As he recalls this moment now he laughs with a kind of infectious excitement. After this he says he spoke for a few minutes to Guru about the saris that the shop had for sale.
“Then Guru asked me whether I had an interest in music. I said yes.”
“If you are free come and join us tonight. There is a concert.”
“I said, okay Guru. Sure.”
Not having any idea what would come next, he invited his Mother and sister to come with him that evening as well. He adds that the day was also his birthday. Kumar did not know yet what a gift he was about to receive.
“Once I entered into the hall, only then did I realize actually with whom I am dealing. Before that I was thinking it is just an old Indian man who has invited me to a concert.”
“When I sit in the second row I see a slide show describing who Guru is. Then my body started to shake. I was very nervous at that time.”
Kumar says that for the first time he was beginning to realize the significance of his chance meeting in a Langkawi Sari store. “I feel like I am facing God.”
Kumar was enthralled with the concert. His focus entirely upon the man who played so many instruments and with whom he now immediately felt a special heart felt connection.
After the concert was over, Kumar says, “Guru called me from the stage.”
“After that I sat in front of Guru. He said, I knew Kumar that you would come. I am so happy so see you here.”
Kumar does not say all that was said in the conversation he then had with Sri Chinmoy. “It was all about the real life. About the soul. He explained to me actually who I was.”
Sri Chinmoy also spoke to Kumar’s mother. He told her, “you are the luckiest Mother in this world to get Kumar here. At that time I was just crying. Guru was explaining to my mother who I was. My past life and everything.”
Kumar says that Guru did not give him any specific instructions of what he should now do with his life now. Instead he gave him this simple phrase. “kumar, the track is ready for you.”
He is incredibly animated as he recalls this now. “I could not close my eyes when that came.”
The next day he attended the functions with the disciple group. “I still could not close my eyes. I was wondering what is happening. Why has Guru told me this.”
The next day Sri Chinmoy and the rest of the group were leaving. Kumar went again to the hotel and met with Sri Chinmoy who then handed him his transcendental photo. He also urged Kumar to come to visit with him in New York as soon as he had a chance.
There would be one last opportunity for him to be with Sri Chinmoy. Kumar went to the airport to see him off and was able to be with him before he boarded the plane.
“I took a blessing from Guru. He then took 5 envelops from his bag and handed them to me. He touched my head and blessed me.”
“After his departure my whole life had changed. It was then that I realized what was the importance of a life.”
Surprisingly it would be just 3 months later when he received an unexpected phone call. His sister had just an operation and was about to receive chemotherapy. Sri Chinmoy spoke with his sister and then talked to Kumar. Sri Chinmoy said, “do not worry Kumar. Do not worry. Everything will be okay.”
Then after 6 months there was another call. It started with Sri Chinmoy chanting his name, Kumar, 3 times. “He gave me a very good message.”
At that time Kumar says he was trying to get to New York to visit Guru. “Unfortunately I couldn’t get my visa. 2 times I tried. Rintu also helped me.”
Now 10 years have passed as we talk about all of this. In a short time he will be leaving to return to his home where he is now working in Human Resources for a small college.
I ask Kumar what it means to him to be able to come to Port Dickson now, and be with disciples of Sri Chinmoy. “I was not confident that I would be able to come. To this place at this time at this point.”
“When I sit here and do meditation then I realize that this is the same month that I met Guru 10 years ago. I am okay. I have life problems but when I come here I can see it. Guru is somewhere here. I can really feel it. It is like he is watching. I do not want to miss this.”