'Tell Guru she is dying; we don’t know what else to do'

During an evening concert given by Sri Chinmoy in New York in 1990, it suddenly felt difficult for me to breathe. My fellow disciple Kritagyata, who is a nurse, wrote a note to Sri Chinmoy to alert him, and Sri Chinmoy replied that she should immediately take me to the hospital.

That night in the hospital was very difficult, even with the oxygen and all the medication the physicians gave me. In the morning I awoke, exhausted, to find a priest praying near me. (It was a Catholic hospital.) My diagnosis was a pulmonary embolism; clots from both my legs had gone into my lungs. Being a physician myself, I knew the chance of surviving was small, and my heart began to talk with Sri Chinmoy. I said, “If it is good and necessary that I continue to work on this earth, please come help me!” I felt like I was suffocating and knew that medical science could not do anything more.

Shortly after, I was sure that I saw Sri Chinmoy sitting near my bed. He told some of his students afterwards that my soul had been calling him very powerfully. Sri Chinmoy’s mighty presence was necessary for only seven or eight seconds before I again began to breathe normally.  With tears of gratitude I told him, “Dear Guru, thank you for my life; again I can breathe easily.” Sri Chinmoy answered inwardly that I did not take adequate care of my physical body, which is the youngest member of our inner family — body, vital, mind, heart and soul. He advised me to postpone an upcoming trip to Russia.

A new decision was made about my illness when other clots were found in the lungs. “Urgent surgery” was the reply of the vascular surgeon. He put a filter into the vena cava, the large vein in my abdomen, to catch and prevent new clots in my legs from going towards my lungs. But, two hours after the operation, the same feeling of suffocation returned with severe pain in the lungs.Nothing more could help me physically. I knew at this moment, as before, that only Sri Chinmoy could help me. The cause of this second approach of death was the complications of recurrent pulmonary emboli during the operation and accompanying pleuritis. This affected my breathing even more, and I wasn’t getting the necessary oxygen into my body.

The last thing I heard, before I closed my eyes at about 2 a.m., was Kritagyata phoning Ashrita, who gives messages to Sri Chinmoy. She said, “Tell Guru she is dying.  We don’t know what else to do.” Never will I forget her face hovering over me with so much love and compassion. A smile of gratitude came from my soul, and then I lost consciousness with the sure feeling that I was in the hands of the Supreme.

When I opened my eyes, it was 7 a.m. … I was alive. During my absence from the earthly environment, I had seen the most beautiful landscape that one can imagine: sweet green meadows full of flowers, rivers, butterflies and birds, and big forests with a pure, mild atmosphere. I remember hearing a divine, quiet music and seeing wonderful colours.After I left the hospital, I often wished to see and feel that unearthly beauty.  This wish was so strong and repeated so often that some friends decided to tell Sri Chinmoy about it.

One day at his tennis court, Sri Chinmoy called me to come and sit on a chair next to him. We meditated for about ten minutes, though to tell the truth, I lost track of the time. I felt the vibration of a very powerful energy around my hands and head, and after a few seconds, around all of my being. With this energy came an excellent, pure joy and delight. I saw a yellow aura around Sri Chinmoy’s head. I had wanted it to last forever, this extraordinary feeling of losing the body and finding satisfaction in the pure joy of existence.

So Sri Chinmoy gave me another life and showed me what I must still learn in my stay on this earth: how to maintain this divine consciousness. He gave me the faith and knowledge that the Being who is all love, goodness and compassion will always do what is best for us and for everybody. This truth brings divine peace, in life and in death. This was the wonderful lesson my heart learned that April: how, with Sri Chinmoy’s help, to overcome the fear of death.