Reflections on Sushumna

Recently, aged 90, a very dear London disciple passed away - Sushumna Mary Plumbly. Last weekend, I was at the London centre, and it was very nice to hear so many members of the British centres recall so many fond memories and inspiring anecdotes. I never got the opportunity to know Sushumna too well, but as a young disciple I often enjoyed hearing Sushumana recount stories from the early 1970s - when Sri Chinmoy often stayed with Sushumna during his university lecture tours around Britain. It was joyful to hear these stories about Guru visiting England - even if it was as seemingly mundane as Guru accompanying Sushumna to the launderette! If some stories got repeated more than once, it didn't matter. These early years with Guru were precious moments, and it is fortunate Sushumna had a good memory and a generous story telling ability.

I was also impressed by this wonderfully, quintessential, English lady, who exuded kindness, cheerfulness and modesty. Her presence, demeanour and good nature was very reassuring to a whole generation of British disciples. For those who may have had concerns about entering a spiritual life, her common sense and good, down to earth nature was very reassuring. Your mind may have had a few doubts about following a spiritual path, but somehow, with Sushumna, it seemed there was nothing that couldn't be solved by a nice cup of tea and a friendly chat. Sushumna wrote a couple of books about her life and experiences with Guru. They encapsulate both her unassuming humility, but also a deep devotion and real spirituality.

I believe Sushumna came to Guru in the very early 1970s and for many years she was a rock of the London centre, her pioneering presence is appreciated with much gratitude by all those who knew her. Quite a few centre members recalled how Sushumna would often, out of the blue, send through the post some poem or photo of Guru. For new disciples who couldn't always get to New York, this was a wonderful little gift. To hear how much people valued these small gifts through the post was a reminder that sharing just a small portion of Guru's writings and light can have such a positive effect. This is something Sushumna did throughout her life.

Even when she was in her mid 80s, I remember seeing her in New York, from afar, going to see her beloved Guru. Even though her physical capacity was much diminished, she still took the arduous journey to take every opportunity to be in the physical presence of her Master. In her book: Things My Guru Taught Me by Sushumna Mary Plumbly she writes about the spiritual meaning of her name, as given by Sri Chinmoy, saying: 'Sushumna relates to the longing to bring Heaven's Light and Love to earth.'

~ Tejvan 31st March 2013