Interview with Universal Peace Center’s President Smitta Chatterjee
What is your name, how old are you, and where do you come from?
My name is Smita Chatterjee, I am 49 years old, and I come from Bardhaman, West
Are you married? Do you have children?
Yes, my husband is a marine engineer. He worked abroad for many years. His hobby is to take care of animals, so we have many pets at home: birds, dogs, etc… We have a son, Dipyaman, 27, who is a doctor.
Have you been studying at the University?
Yes, I went to the National University and got a Master in history and in education. Now I am still studying to pass the Doctorate degree.
Do you have any hobbies?
My hobby is books! I collect and read many books: novels, spiritual books… I even have some letters from Netaji, do you know him?
Oh! Swamiji is also a great fan of Netaji!
Yes! He was very enthusiastic when he visited the library in my house.
What is your profession?
I am what you could call an entrepreneur in the education sector. I don’t know business or craftsmanship, so what job should I have done? I had to work in education, isn’t it? So I work as a secretary, and I am engaged with 7 different Colleges’ Trust bodies. I have moved around a lot in India for the last 25 years, going from college to college.
Do you teach sometimes?
Yes, sometimes if the principal is missing, and I know his class subject, then I go and
do the class!
Thank you for this introduction.
Now please tell me how your spiritual journey started.
In childhood, I was inspired by my grandmother, who was very spiritual; she had some kind of spiritual power. Durga Ma is our Kulo Devi (family goddess), and my whole family was very rigorous about doing Puja everyday, and giving prasadam every morning to the deity’s statue (It is 750 years old!). So I was brought up in a spiritual atmosphere from birth.
I met my first guru Vibhabananda Maharaj in 2005, when I was doing my first BA. He had founded the college I was studying in thanks to his spiritual powers, and we got in contact there. It was in 2009 when I really got into spirituality. I got Diksha from Shri 1008 Soham Babaji at that time, and again in 2012. Then in 2015, I met my third guru Subhas Chakraborty, Lahiri Mahasaya’s disciple, who taught me Kriya Yoga and in 2019 I met Sunyogi Umashankar Ji. There are actually two major Gurus in my life. One of them is 1008 Soham Babaji. I never saw Baghavan (God), but when I met Soham Babaji, I could say that He was That. The other one is Sunyogi Umashankar Ji. He taught me how to “light stars even in the night”, my inner light. I miss him very much. He taught me so much within only 1 year…
I surrender this life to these two Gurus. With Soham Babaji, I know that if I would jump, he would also jump to rescue me. And with Sunyogi Umashankar Ji, whatever he would tell me to do, I would do: ‘Look at the sun’, I look, ‘Sit here’, I sit, etc…
Tell me more about your experiences with Swamiji (Sunyogi Umasankar)
One day, it was 11am, and he told me: ‘Sit in the sun and look, and until I give the order, do not blink’. After 3 hours, he gave me permission to close my eyes! Then I said I was now a failure as a spouse because my face was completely black! He replied ‘Do not look at your outward beauty, look at your inner beauty, the knowledge within.’
Guruji also came to my house, and he told various stories…He told me to do this, I did this, do that, I did that… sometimes he asked me some serious questions. […] He taught me all the meditations: sun, mirror, eye-to-eye…Eye-to-eye with Guruji! I told him it is impossible, because he never blinks… I had to sit still for 1 hour straight!
One night, I was sitting in meditation, in the main room of my house, and Guruji was on a bed on the opposite side of the room. He was observing me. Then he came suddenly to me, but I did not notice as I was focused, connected. He touched some place on my forehead, without saying a word, and I saw events of my life in flashes of lightning, like when you use the rewind button on a video tape. It was going very fast, and I could not catch what I was seeing, but it was definitely some episodes from my life and they were getting balanced. I don’t know what happened next, how much time had passed, but I came to my senses lying down on the ground, Guruji sitting next to me. He asked me if I wanted some water, and he had a very cool voice, such a sweet voice, different from usual, and a particular look in his eyes. He showed me a fantastic world.
Nice… How did Swamiji entrust you with Universal Peace Center’s presidency?
At that time [when he was training me], I did not know about his project, his thinking. I never expected Swamiji to ask me to take over the ashram. But he started talking about it little by little, and I was refusing. I was telling him: ‘Swamiji, those people who know you from more than 10 years, they are expecting these kind of responsibility.’ I was afraid they would kill me. He said: ‘Those people have expectations, but they don’t have any power.’
On the 18th of June he called me in his office. He was very assertive. I never saw such a fierce look on his face. ‘Are you angry?’ I even asked. He told me: ‘Now is your time, we will have a Zoom meeting soon. Don’t be dull, you are an intelligent lady (first time he ever gave me a positive point! fantastic!).’ He knew I was already acting as a counsellor in my village, people would come with some issues they faced and I would give them advice. He also knew that with my salary, for every 100 Rupees I earn, 25 are given to society. For planting trees, stray dogs, maids… our family gives back 25% of our income to the society. So maybe that is also why he chose me.
Back to the 18th of June. So the discussion was going on late in the night; and I was wondering how I would manage this position. He said: ‘Don’t worry, I have a good team, you don’t know. You will greet them in the Zoom meeting. Just look at my eyes.’ Then I was like hypnotised, and the talk was over. It was 3:15 am. He said: ‘Go take a bath, go to Aarti, Agnihotra, and take on your work.’ Since that time I got a lot of energy. When I am in the ashram, 3 days per week, I can get up at 3 am and do all my duties. I have much energy, also thanks to everybody’s support. So now I have 3 lives! One is the life of Smita Ma, in the ashram, one is Madam Smita, businesswoman, and another is Smita Chatterjee, with her family.
So what is your relation with Swamiji now?
My life is only at his feet. I never saw Mahavatar Babaji. I read books about him, but I never met him. Who gave me enlightenment? Sunyogi Umashankar Ji. So who is God for me ? Sunyogi Umashankar Ji. He gave me practical knowledge. Sometimes I get messages from him on Whatsapp. I do not think about it, but sometimes when I am in a complicated situation, he calls me. How does he know?
Like when we had that meeting together (organizers). He called me the next day, asking if everything was fine. He even talked about that issue at the airport, before leaving. So my forehead is always at his feet. Because he told me I am capable. I did not know at the time, but he showed me, he taught me, that I am actually capable.