Just start!

This is one of the stories in our Story-Gems project, a collection of our experiences with our Guru, Sri Chinmoy. Project homepage »


At one point during the early 1980s, Guru asked me to start putting on Sri Chinmoy tennis tournaments in the same way that the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team holds running races.

My internal reaction was interesting because it shows how, as humans, we are composed of different aspects. Parts of me—you could say my heart and soul—were absolutely thrilled. But my mind was thinking, “I know how tennis tournaments are.”  I was aware that very often the players (and the parents, if it's a junior tournament), can get very intense. I was also quite concerned about how we would arrange for such a tournament and have it be really good.

It was winter in Chicago, which is extremely cold, so I realized I would have to rent an indoor tennis space, which is pretty expensive. Because of this, I knew we couldn't have a tournament for multiple age groups. We would have to keep things more tightly focused than that. I wanted the tournament to showcase good, interesting tennis without being too aggressive, so I chose to do a “girls 14 and under” tournament at an indoor court in Chicago.

Sri Chinmoy (centre, in white and red shirt) and Anugata (to Sri Chinmoy's left) at one of the Sri Chinmoy tennis tournaments.

The photo shows the disciples from the Chicago Centre with Guru, who came to Chicago for the tournament (and also to give a concert). Guru was glowing two or three times as much as anybody else there. The tournament itself went quite well, and the kids and their parents enjoyed themselves a lot. We did something that people don't generally do for tennis tournaments—we had tons of food.

We also had special shirts made for everyone to wear. They said “Sri Chinmoy Tennis Classic” on the front of the shirt and, because my mind was in Wimbledon mode at the time, an image of a laurel wreath. The trophies were beautiful silver bowls. The whole event was done almost like a national tournament, and the participants were really thrilled.

This is all an example of Guru’s grace. Of all the disciples there, I was the only one who really knew much of anything about tennis. But we all worked together to put on this tournament, and everything turned out amazingly well. Everyone was happy—Guru, the disciples, the players and their parents.

Guru used to always say, “Just start, start.” This story shows how, if you just start your project, whatever it may be, the negative forces that worry you will recede, and then the divine forces can come into it and create a marvelous event.

Is infinitely better and happier
Than any other teamwork.

Sri Chinmoy 1