Interview with Universal Peace Center’s President Smita 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 taking 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’s in history and education. Now I am still studying to pass the Doctorate.
Do you have any hobbies?
My hobby books! I collect and read many books: novels and 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 at 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. So I work as a secretary and am engaged with seven different Colleges’ Trust bodies. I have moved around India for 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 very spiritual grandmother; she had some spiritual power. Durga Ma is our Kulo Devi (family goddess). My whole family was rigorous about doing Puja every day 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. Thanks to his spiritual powers, he founded the college I was studying in, and we got in contact there. It was in 2009 when I got into spirituality. I got Diksha from Shri 1008 Soham Babaji then 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 two significant 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 He was That. The other one is Sunyogi Umashankar Ji. He taught me to “light stars even in the night,” my inner light. I miss him very much. He taught me so much within only one year.
I surrender this life to these two Gurus. With Soham Babaji, I know he would also jump to rescue me if I jumped. 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 11 am, and he told me: ‘Sit in the sun and look, and until I give the order, do not blink.’ After 3 hours, he permitted me 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, and 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 was 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 someplace on my forehead without saying a word, and I saw life events in flashes of lightning, like when you use the rewind button on a videotape. It was going very fast, and I could not catch what I saw, but some episodes from my life were getting balanced. I don’t know what happened next or 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 calm 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 or 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 refused. I was telling him: ‘Swamiji, those people who have known you for more than ten years, they are expecting this 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 into 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 (the first time he ever gave me a positive point! fantastic!).’ He knew I was already acting as a counselor in my village, people would come with some issues they faced, and I would advise them. He also knew that with my salary, for every 100 Rupees I earn, 25 are provided to society by planting trees, stray dogs, and maids. Our family gives back 25% of our income to the community. So maybe that is also why he chose me.
Then on the 18th of June, 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 hypnotized, and the talk was over. It was 3:15 am. He said: ‘Take a bath, go to Aarti, Agnihotra, and take on your work.’ Since that time, I got a lot of energy. I can get up at 3 am three days weekly and do all my duties while in the ashram. I have power, also thanks to everybody’s support. So now I have three lives! One is the life of Smita Ma in the ashram, one is Madam Smita, a businesswoman, and another is Smita Chatterjee, with her family.
So what is your relationship 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 it at the time, but he showed me, he taught me, that I am capable.