Spiritual masters communicate with those around them in many secret ways – especially with those that have, or are destined to have, some inner or outer connection such as discipleship. In dreams, visitations, meditations, through sudden inspiration or lucid moments when the soul peeps out, this communication occurs, bypassing language and mind.
Even to those slow to comprehend such things – I often count myself here – the evidence of this inner reality mounts up over the years. In 1980, for example, at the very beginning of my journey I sent a grainy photo of myself sitting cross-legged in a painful half lotus on a wooden floor, to enquire of Sri Chinmoy whether his spiritual path was meant for me. It was, but I still needed convincing, a laggard mind trailing well behind the front-running soul.
In a rare and subsequent dream one night, he came to me exactly as I would see him later and asked me to sing three songs in Bengali. And in my dream, seated around a long table with forgotten others, I promptly rose and sang these required three songs in this language of which I knew not a single word.
In the morning, awakened, I was filled with a strange delight and knew something most significant had taken place, as is usually the case with dreams involving spiritual masters. Three months passed and now I was in New York, dream long forgotten, seated in a public school auditorium for my first encounter with Sri Chinmoy and an evening of meditation.
Later he began teaching songs, inviting us to learn and sing, and I gamely joined in, jotting the words down on a pad and trying to stay in tune. Then a revelation, the floodgates of memory opening and I was recognising with complete clarity that the three songs I was singing were the three songs I had sung so fearlessly and perfectly in my months ago dream.
Then more. Filing by with others to accept an item of fruit from the seated teacher, he glanced at me as he placed an orange in my hand and said with a very broad smile “Well?” The reference to the dream and the reappearing songs was unmistakable. Now I was smiling too, smiling at this first glimpse into a new world of mystery, wonder, reassurance and delight.