Book Review: My Guru Sri Chinmoy: Life And Teachings
I write these few words just as the great feast of sport at the London Olympiad is coming to a close. Somehow it seems a suitable backdrop against which to situate a Spiritual Master who, as Manatita tells us in this beautiful volume of personal reminiscences, was so taken with the links between the physical and the spiritual. No mean sportsman himself, Śri Chinmoy was a great teacher and a great friend to politicians and Olympians alike, from Nelson Mandela to Carl Lewis. What was his secret?
These pages tell me that the glory of human beings is an incredible capacity to mirror the very life of God. Every now and then we get a glimpse of what is possible – in amazing feats of athletic accomplishment, of course, but also in ordinary yet often heroic acts of kindness and courage. We all need leaders who can show us the way – and Manatita has written warmly of his hero in these pages.
But it’s all too easy for us to become passive spectators, admirers from afar. The best of teachers does not act like some super-nanny, keeping us secure but isolated and all too comfortable. The secret of the good teacher - fairly obvious really - is to know how to challenge, to bring the best out of the pupil.
My own inspiration is not Śri Chinmoy, however much I may respect him, but a 16thCentury Spanish priest called Ignatius of Loyola. I think he and Śri Chinmoy would have enjoyed each other’s company. Ignatius began his little book of Spiritual Exercises by saying that ‘as strolling, walking and running are bodily exercises, so every way of preparing and disposing the soul to rid itself of all the disordered tendencies, and, after it is rid, to seek and find the Divine Will is called a Spiritual Exercise.'
The physical and the spiritual are all of a piece. It takes time to learn how to co-operate with the grace which comes from God. But to those with the deepest of desires, and who have the fortune to know a good teacher, it is a gift which is always granted.
– Dr. Michael Barnes SJ. 5th September, 2013.
Should you feel able to assist in any way to publicise this work then kindly let me know. The book is available from Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Guru-Sri-Chinmoy-Teachings/dp/9937623049/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378113110&sr=1-1&keywords=my+guru+sri+chinmoy
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