"You have to know who your spiritual Father is, and who your spiritual Uncle is."
The first time I saw Guru was at NYU Law School, where he was lecturing. I was sitting at the back of the room, and couldn't hear (or at least understand) a word he was saying. But something inside of me seemed to leap out and fly to him, with great intensity, crying "Father! Father! Father!" It was as if my soul, seeing its spiritual Father for the first time in this incarnation, was seeking solace and protection from the idiot who was making such a mess of her own life.
Despite this experience, because of problems in my outer life, I was not yet ready to become a disciple, and I spent some time exploring different ways of meditating, including Sufi dancing. One day, at the end of a seminar, the Sufi Master Pir Vilayat Khan announced, "If any of you want to meet a real spiritual Master, Sri Chinmoy will be offering his annual New Year's Meditation" at such-and-such a time and place.
The New Year's Meditation was a powerful experience. I began attending the Saturday evening meditations for new seekers, which were then held in disciples' apartments in Manhattan. At one of these sessions, those who wanted to become disciples were invited to have a short, private interview with Guru.
During my interview, I explained to Guru that, although I felt he was my spiritual teacher, I also felt much respect for Pir Vilayat Khan. With great patience, Guru told me, "You have to know who your spiritual Father is, and who your spiritual Uncle is." Guru elaborated at length how there are many valid paths to the Goal, but how we must follow only the path meant for us.
At the end of his answer, I felt a bit mischievous and, only because I knew that my all-loving spiritual Father would allow me, I piped in, "But can I still go Sufi dancing?"
"Fine, fine," he said, realising that although I said I was 22, I still had the emotional make-up of a 14-year-old.
Once I knew that I could go Sufi dancing, I never had the desire to go, and I explored my new spiritual path with enthusiasm and intensity.