My next trip to New York started so well and ended so badly.
On December 3, 1983, I arrived to a cold New York for my first visit to Guru outside the normal Celebration times of April and August. I was very excited.
So excited, in fact, that it was the only time during my discipleship in which I kept a journal, from which I'll include a few excerpts. As my first journal entry for the trip illustrates, my immediate impression upon arriving in Queens was the intimacy -- there just weren't the hundreds of visiting disciples around as would be normal during Celebrations.
After arriving in New York this morning, I went to Progress-Promise, where Guru was singing songs with a bunch of girls on stage. Guru then asked people to come up for prasad. When I received mine, Guru asked me whether I was the only one from San Jose. I said no.
As I was walking away, Guru mentioned God's Orchestra. He said that he had liked my role. I wish to be always unconditionally grateful.
God's Orchestra is a book that Guru wrote with little aphorisms about numerous professions and occupations. Just before going to New York, a San Francisco disciple named David had decided to put together a video illustrating a number of those aphorisms in a humorous way. David had recruited me to play a bunch of roles, including God's voice in one skit and a snake in another.
The next night, Guru noticed David and told him how much he liked the video. Guru also asked him who had played the snake. When Guru heard that it was me, he laughed and said that I had gone from a snake to God! The next night, my new friend Ketan put on Guru's play about Sri Ramakrishna. It was great.
The days flew by. In the mornings, Guru would show up at Progress-Promise (the name of the Center's meeting hall in Queens), where he'd exercise for a while, write new Bengali devotional songs on a portable keyboard and teach them to various singing groups. One morning, Guru mentioned how the New York boys' singing group "is the highest," but that the San Francisco boys' group had "descended." This, apparently, was because the former leader of the SF boys' group had recently left the Path.
Guru then announced that he would be the leader and Venu -- a very nice and very energetic SF disciple -- would be his assistant. That evening, Sevika came up to me and said that Guru wanted me and Rick to join the SF boys' singing group. As I expressed in my journal at the time, this was a big deal.
I wasn't and as yet am not realizing how important and what a blessing this is. I pray that I can offer my most soulful gratitude to my Beloved Supreme. I bow.
At the function the next morning, Guru asked the SF boys' group to sit before him and sing. I however, remained seated where I was -- unsure as to whether I should join them or not. Guru then called out to me and asked me if I liked to sing. I said yes. He then said that if I liked him, then I should come up front. So, I did.
Later that week, I sang in public for the first time at Guru's New Year's Eve concert in Manhattan. The SF boys sang three songs. Then Guru gave the message for the New Year:
The seeker's confidence-heart,
The seeker's surrender-life
Shall play together
The complete perfection-game
In God's Vision-Home.
Throughout the ten-day trip, Guru gave out a lot of spiritual names, including to some SF disciples and we all meditated a bunch. There were two separate 12-hour meditations, there was the New Year's Eve concert, and there was a trip to the United Nations where Guru had been offering meditations for many years. With all the practice, my meditations were taking a new turn.
This morning, Guru meditated first with the Europeans and then with the people not going to Venezuela [for the Christmas trip]. I sat right up front. Right when Guru started meditating, I began concentrating on his forehead. Guru's grace descended and I looked at him with the feeling of emptying my entire being into him.
Thoughts would come, but they flowed right into Guru, good and bad. When Guru began meditating on me, it was incredible. It was wave-like. Guru grabbed hold of me and brought me up or put some force on me
Guru meditated a long time like that. Then, when he looked at me the second time, it was even better or higher. My mind had essentially lost all its power in those seconds.
It was all such a positive experience, until Guru walked into Progress-Promise one night.