One touch

By Patanga Cordeiro


The second time I went to visit my Guru Sri Chinmoy was in April, 2006. One of the highlights of visiting Sri Chinmoy in New York for me is a day of circus performances, with a nice sideshow that includes the vending of spiritual articles like inspiring books, movies, meditation aids such as cushions, timers, etc. I was told Sri Chinmoy traditionally blessed all T-shirts purchased on circus day by putting his hand over them.

At that time, I was dead broke financially and, feeling completely out of money, I thought I could not afford 10-15 USD to purchase one shirt that would be blessed by Guru, and instead bought 3 bookmarks with Sri Chinmoy´s Jharna-Kala art printed on them for 0.75 USD.

During the intermission, surprisingly, it was announced that Guru would bless the articles from the Jharna-Kala stand. I was startled and took my bookmarks and stood in line to pass by Sri Chinmoy and hand him the bookmarks.

The line went very fast, and I noticed that the disciples would just stretch their arms with the items and Sri Chinmoy would press them with his hand for a split second.

My bookmarks were so small that they wouldn´t cover the whole of my left hand, where they sat waiting as I stretched my arms together towards Guru. In this way I inadvertently made Sri Chinmoy touch my hand, since he had been touching everything on the line with a wide open palm.

I say “inadvertently” because Spiritual Masters will often take upon themselves the imperfections in human nature through diverse methods, one of them being by touch, and I had no intention of making Sri Chinmoy touch me while handing the bookmarks. I was well aware that Swami Vivekananda had at one point forbidden other disciples to touch Sarada Devi´s feet when saluting her (a traditional way to salute one´s Guru or parents in the East), for the reason that he did not want to lose her like they had lost Sri Ramakrishna, who contracted cancer partly from taking upon himself his disciples’ imperfections.

Having received the touch of my Guru´s hand, I noticed then an immediate shift in conscience for the next few minutes. Much higher, much brigher, full of light – yes, full of light is a good way of describing it. I don´t know if it was a permanent change, but as I am writing this 12 years after the occasion, I can still feel some of the experience of then.

And my left hand has never been the same again. I often feel like washing my right hand and face many times during the day, but my left hand seems to be always alright. I have told this whole story a few times, and whenever I do I feel something in my left hand and in my heart at the same time.

Two of the bookmarks I gave to dear friends, and the one which was on top I had it framed and stays on my working desk.