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An Interview With a Very Senior and Long-standing Disciple of The Spiritual Visionary Sri Chinmoy

Updated on October 21, 2016
manatita44 profile image

Manatita is an esteemed author living in London, UK. He writes spiritual books, flash fiction and esoteric poetry, his favourite genre.

One of the best ways, I find, for endorsing the goodness or excellence of a nurse, is by a recommendation from the patient himself or herself. In the same way, we are helped - in a manner of speaking - to assess a person’s character or personality, by the quality of what others have to say about him or her.

When I hear friends speak of Vajra’s benevolence, his generosity of spirit, his staunch faith in his spiritual mentor and sacrifice for God’s myriad manifestations, then my Heart overflows with pride. It is not uncommon to see some of our international brothers and sisters, carrying gifts, money… or just offering praise and support for the extremely warm Heart of this individual. His ability to encourage; to counsel, to lend a helping hand, to inspire… sets a precedent or benchmark, which not only uplift many, but serves humanity at large.

At 74 years of age, Vajra, in our 10-day and 3,100 mile events, ably assists and encourages his fellow brothers and sisters in their enormous challenges, such as emerge naturally with such legendary races.

Not so long ago, a couple of years perhaps, Vajra had a heart attack that set him back for a short while. It was a painful experience for which he was hospitalised. Nonetheless, Vajra bounced back with great vigour, still rising at 02:00 a. m, to do his meditation. Following this, he then goes to the Aspiration-Ground, to open up this heavenly alcove for aspiring seekers from many countries throughout the world, in order for them to meditate in stillness, in this hallowed ground.

Vajra Henderson
Vajra Henderson | Source

As if this is not enough, Vajra either stays, or if relieved, he goes home for a couple of hours, then surfaces once more, this time driving the food truck; loading and unloading at Goose Pond Park, Jamaica, Queens, while cheerfully offering his services to all.

So who is Vajra? What makes him tick? I met this very warm and selfless African American Soul, many years ago. Too long to count the years in fact. But in that period, he seems to have increased his capacity for service to the Supreme. The body is sometimes tired, yes, but his Soul remains ever young and vibrant, ever smiling and relying on his Guru, Sri Chinmoy … on the Supreme, always in the Eternal Now. In fact, be careful with offering Vajra money, as he will soon find someone else to give it to, someone which rightly or wrongly, he finds more worthy.

Son of Alice and Noel Henderson, Vajra became an ardent student of Sri Chinmoy in 1971, some 45 years ago. He was initially interested in chemistry, but has always had a skin condition and a touch of Asthma, which has hindered his ambitions to follow this road. He had one sister who has passed to the world beyond and is in God’s loving care and concern. Vajra has also travelled to Kenya, and South Africa. Peace-building and reconciliatory by nature, he has frequently assisted in solving difficult problems on behalf of others.

Vajra Henderson
Vajra Henderson | Source

I have always been fascinated by Vajra’s simple nature, and so when I caught up with him recently, I really wanted to find out what makes him tick, how he joined his chosen Path, and what was or is the meaning it holds for him. Consequently, I asked a few questions about him, Sri Chinmoy, life experiences … and so forth.

Me: So tell me Vajra, why did you join Sri Chinmoy’s Path, and what kind of crossroads were you in at that time?

Vajra: Before I met my spiritual mentor in 1971, I was an aspiring seeker, who wanted to know something about this mysterious Master Maker of all beings and the entire universe. Brought up as a Presbyterian, I read through the bible, and of all the passages I read, one fascinated me the most, “To love God with all my mind, body and soul”. All the religious leaders I saw, read about, and had spoken with up to date, failed miserably in supplying me with answers I needed to hear, until I met Sri Chinmoy. My dream to know God was fast approaching me.

Sri Chinmoy
Sri Chinmoy | Source
Vajra henderson
Vajra henderson | Source
Vajra Henderson
Vajra Henderson | Source

Me: So you felt that your Mentor’s Path held special significance for you and that this was the Path that you had been seeking?

Vajra: A very short time after joining Guru Sri Chinmoy, I was standing at the Jamaica High School track when I received an amazing thought, “With this man beside me, I can conquer the world”. At the time, I did not know what I meant by saying conquering the world. Was it to break heads or was it to love the world?

With time, my advanced experiences with Guruji, were beginning to show me that my dream to find God was transforming into none other than the experience of God Itself. This to me, was in human form by the name Sri Chinmoy and known by all his disciples lovingly, as Guru. Under His inner and outer guidance, the quest to love God with all my mind, body and soul was satisfactorily accomplished through Love, Devotion and Surrender.

Me: Have you had any regrets along the way?

Vajra: I am fortunately one of those whose experience with Guruji is ever upward climbing with not even a moment to look back at anything disheartening or negative in any way.

Me: So drawing on your vast experience, what advice would you give to new seekers coming into Sri Chinmoy’s Path.

Vajra: Love and Serve God for His own sake.

Me: Obviously you’ve given many classes and spoken to many people. You even went into Sing Sing, a famous prison for criminals on death row, I believe. What made you want to do this, how did they receive you and how do you feel that it impacted their lives?

Vajra: It is something that is in the nature of my soul to enter into the darkest and most evil infested of spaces to bring in light wherever that may be. At the core of every human heart is the cry for Peace and Light. If one has the power to reach that core, many will respond. There are a few inmates who have met me on the streets of mid-Manhattan, saying that it was their first experience at having such Peace.

Me: marvellous, marvellous … in view of your very long-standing resilience; your steadfastness on this chosen Path, can you recount any memorable life-stories with Guruji?

Vajra: While I had the honour of being a guard, I used to do a walking meditation with my head up, walking 25 to 30 feet forward and turning around to walk back to the starting point, only to do it again and again. On this particular day, Guru came to the Aspiration-Ground with the children’s group and proceeded to go to the farthest end of it. Out of the way, or so I thought, I continued with my walking meditation, when all of a sudden the thought appeared before my mind, “I am ready for my God-Realization right now”.

Something said to me, drop your head and when I did, there was Guru no more than 6 feet in front of me. Surprised and wondering whether I had done something wrong, I moved to the side of the gate and waited silently. Guru then walked to one of the girls and took from her a piece of candy which he began to roll between his fingers concentrating on it for a few seconds and proceeded to hand it to me. I gratefully and devotedly took it from Him and began eating it right away.

Me: What a sweet and sublime experience! So what is your favourite hobby and what gives you most joy?


Vajra: Perhaps, the best way to answer this may be to begin where I left off with the above question. I see my life unfolding in three phases. Maybe, it would better be explained as analogous to being given a car, a very special car. In the first phase, I get this dream car. I am enamoured by its outer looks, the beauty of the interior, how it feels behind the wheel, etc.

In the second phase, I discover that the car has some very unusual features locked into it. It can travel at the speed of Light between intergalactic universes in a matter of less than 60 Nano seconds. It can plummet to the deepest cosmological depths as well as reach into the highest heights of consciousness, all this besides the ordinary trivial country side nature’s sight-seeing tour for which the car can be used.

I am now in the third phase. I suddenly discover that the purpose for being given the car, is to become the very car itself – To realise God (my Guru) in this incarnation and not any other. So I feel that the time has come, to drop everything and go for it!

Thank you Vajra. So much Light and sublimity in what you say! Your answers are so illumining and so fulfilling! I especially love your selfless approach with the inmates of Sing Sing; the fact that you have not experienced regrets and still continue to serve so soulfully and devotedly. I applaud you for recognising that the Light or flame of yearning; the search for meaning, is in every Soul.

Thank you for sharing with your younger brothers and sisters, and giving us such a wonderful and inspirational insight into your approach and Path of Spiritual Sadhana with your Master Sri Chinmoy. In our Beloved’s Heart of Light, Beauty and Eternal Love. God speed!!


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    • manatita44 profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from london

      For what it's worth, Alicia,

      I always think of you as a sweet, charming and gentle Soul. You're also quite bright. It is a brilliant combination when they work well. Nothing is negated in God's creation when utilised for the Divine, or should I say even better when utilised for the Divine. Tell me a little about you and British Columbia.

      You see, you've now got one more Hub and some home work for e-mail (chuckle) Thank you so much for you sincere sentiments. Much Love.

      P.S. There are people here who will definitely like my book, My Guru Sri Chinmoy: Life and Teachings. Let me know if this grabs you.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is an interesting and informative article. I enjoy reading about different spiritual paths and getting new ideas from them. Thank you very much for sharing your interview with Vajra, Manatita.

    • manatita44 profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from london

      Indeed, Ruby. Blessed be the one who has found his life's purpose. (both in our christian scriptures and that of the East) You know this very well and show great wisdom. Have a great weekend.

      Eric, yes, yes. The perfection is in the seeking. I grew up in Christianity and have many biblical certificates, but it was only with Sri Chinmoy that I learnt the concept of Self-transcendence. I have a complete Chapter on it in my book. It is that important! Never mind my posh word as this is basically what you are saying.

      The only aim is progress ... to go beyond, beyond, into the ever-transcending beyond. God is not static and is in constant motion ... it is an eternal journey ...

      I appreciate your prayer immensely. Actually, anyone who has sat in Silence and other forms of worship daily for 34 years, knows a lot more than is said, but we move with humanity. I learnt this from Guruji himself. To move too fast is to lose the very ones we wish to serve.

      Thank you so much, my Brother. It is a Path, all right, and we are sojourners or wayfarers on this incredible journey. Isn't this wonderful?

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      This reminds me that seeking the perfect is perfect, thinking one found it maybe not so much.

      I just love how these wonderful spiritual humans always talk about the path, and not like they found some destination.

      I just paused and gave a short prayer for both of you. Thank you for showing more of yourself and sharing this wonderful person with us.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      manatita, you know I love your poetry, but it is especially nice to read about someone whose found joy in doing what they've been ordained to do.

    • manatita44 profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from london

      Yes, Ruby. There are so many stories about finding lost Pearls and the endless joy afterwards. The story of the prodigal son is just like that.

      Tansen was the greatest musician in the land, so he was asked to play for the King. The King was amazed at how great he was.

      However, one day the King was travelling in the forest and heard the most haunting, melodious and unparalelled piece of music.

      "This man must be better than Tansen." He said. Bring him to me." To his great surprise, it was none other than Tansen himself.

      "So how come you don't play like this for me?" said the amazed King.

      "Well, said Tansen. In the court I play for you, but now I am playing for my Lord."

      Finding one's Path is just like that. We call it one-pointed devotion among many other names, and Vajra is a classical example. Forty five years of steadfastness and devotion is no joke.

      So Ruby, my Dearest. Thank you so much for reading my story. Is it a welcome change? let me know. Much Peace.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Your interview with Vajra was interesting and the video was too. It must feel wonderful to know that you are on the correct path as you travel through life...

    • manatita44 profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from london

      Actually Dee,

      You hit the nail on the head here. Aspiration is the beginning and the end of the journey. Nothing can be achieved without yearning ... longing ... need or 'cry' as Vajra calls it. Without eartnestness, one cannot move forward and again, it is Grace that provides this: paradoxical, eh? Grace is ALL in ALL!

      Yes, some blurred pics here as well, I do know. Just couldn't find better. I'm highly likely to have something snipped or ask to improve the Hub. So far so good.

      Got your mail, of course and answered. Home early today. Infinite gratitude.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      "At the core of every human heart is the cry for Peace and Light." I believe that and I'm encouraged by reports from people like you and Vajra who find it. Thanks for sharing.

    • manatita44 profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from london

      Thank you, Venkatachari M.

      A noble Soul indeed!! Appreciated very much, My Brother.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Wonderful interview! What a noble personality, like his Guru Chinmoy! His words and thoughts provide so much enlightenment.

      Thanks for sharing this inspirational interview with all of us.


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