A New World
by Apaga Renner
One beautiful, warm spring day I was walking – very happy with myself and the world – along the Salzach River, which runs through the city of Salzburg. (This sounds tacky, but it really was like that.) A poster on a pillar of the bridge caught my attention. I found the poster ugly, but I was magnetically attracted by the line: 'Lecture with practical meditation exercises.'
Since I had started Hatha Yoga at the age of 13, it made sense to learn meditation as the next step. Hatha Yoga had really strengthened my body and my nerves: I was flexible and had not gotten sick even once in 15 years! However, it had not given me the capacity to properly direct or control my thoughts and emotions. And how can you be truly happy without being the „master in your own house“? Plus, I was fascinated by the possibility of not having any thoughts at all!
The lecture was scheduled for the coming Thursday in Salzburg. That evening I got a phone call from my boyfriend (and now husband), Dipavajan, who was studying in Graz. I was surprised when he told me that he would be coming to Salzburg on that very Thursday. Cheerfully, I told him that I had been planning to 'drag' him to a lecture that evening – whether he agreed or not.
There was a moment of silence on the other end; then he asked me more about the lecture. Finally, he said in a happy tone of voice that this would be just perfect because he had actually been planning to attend this lecture with me.
'Ah, and how do you know in Graz what lectures we have in Salzburg?'
'I went to the same lecture yesterday in Graz, and the lecturer said he will be giving one in Salzburg on Thursday!'
My husband and I have always, independently of each other, moved forward in the same direction in our inner search and development.
The lecture absolutely thrilled and surprised me. It seemed as if the lecturer read my soul: in order to explain his concepts of the reality of our world, he even used the same examples and metaphors that I myself had often used to explain my ideas and thoughts in conversations.
The meditation exercises that we practised during the lecture were also a very intense experience for me. After the lecture I had taken my decision: I wanted to learn meditation!
For this reason, I attended the meditation classes following the lecture. A new world opened up for me: spiritual songs, a large variety of meditation exercises, conversations with other seekers about inner experiences, and the feeling of inner joy and 'lightness' afterwards – this was for sure something I had been looking for all my life!
All these spiritual treasures had, of course, a source: Sri Chinmoy (even though I wasn’t too aware of it at first). At the end of the class we were offered the opportunity to become Sri Chinmoy’s disciples. I did not hesitate for a second, since my main concern, at that point, was not to lose this wonderful world of meditation.
This enthusiasm for spirituality I have maintained to this day – it has even increased with time. The initial curiosity – the captivating question 'how will it feel?' – gave way to calm certainty and the joy of silence – a silence in which I can now dive every day. This state of being is infinitely more exciting and fulfilling than I had ever imagined. But this is of course not the end. There is so much more to discover, and our inner joy is a quality that increases in intensity as we progress towards realisation.
About nine months after my husband and I had become Sri Chinmoy’s disciples, we were able to meet him in person. At first I probably stared at him with big eyes – after all, you don’t meet a spiritual Master every day! Also, at that time I actually had no idea what a spiritual Master really was.
However, in the nineteen years that I have been following his path, I have had ample opportunity to get to know him better. And the deeper my spiritual experiences become, the more I am able to expand my consciousness and the stronger I feel his loving guidance every day of my life. His physical death has not changed anything in this inner guidance, for a true Master-disciple relationship happens on the inner plane and transcends the limits of time and space, life and death.
Nobody can give proof of this; one can only experience it. In the same way, many, many other people who were disciples of authentic Masters have experienced it in the course of history. Indian literature, in particular, is full of their fascinating and inspiring stories. I can only recommend that anyone who is interested in these inner realities reads the stories of those fortunate enough to have a true spiritual Master.
(Photo of Salzburg by Michael Lechner, Wikipedia, made available under CC licence)