As hard as it is for me to imagine, my son Sreejit is turning 40 years old today! He was born on December 13, 1974. He has been such a blessing to his dad and me and to so many others.
I have loved looking through the old pictures in preparation for this post. So many special ones, especially in this age group. This was also the period when his sister Chaitanya joined our family! I remember Sreejit came to see me at the hospital after she was born, bringing chocolates and flowers. When it was time to go home, he wanted me to come with him. When I said that wasn’t possible, he wanted to take the chocolates back! (His dad doesn’t have a memory of this event, but since it is a strong one for me I’m going to leave it in!)
Some of my memories of Sreejit’s school aged years were his involvement with Boy Scouts, summer camp and his love of Michael Jackson. He also started to draw during that time. A friend and he spent countless hours creating comic books.
During his preteen and teenage years, Sreejit played the saxophone, piano and both acoustic and electric guitar. I took him to his first rock concert, to see Prince! He loved it and so did I. He became very interested in heavy metal music and wanted to become a rock star!
Sreejit’s life goals changed abruptly when he met Amma in 1990. A resident from Amma’s San Ramon ashram came up to me the night he met her and said, “Did you see the way that boy looked at Amma, and the way she looked at him? He is going to become a brahmachari (monk).” The woman didn’t know Sreejit was my son at the time she said that to me. Her intuition was certainly right on though. He soon exchanged his black heavy metal clothes for the white attire that most devotees wear. He learned to play the harmonium (a keyboard instrument that has bellows) and the tabla (Indian drums).
Sreejit moved to Amma’s San Ramon ashram in 1994 and lived there for 15 years. During most of that time, he worked two or three jobs simultaneously, as well as doing the work required of an ashram resident. In addition, he completed his Philosophy degree at San Jose State College. Soon after he graduated, he wrote a book titled, Of Mind Or Matter. The book was fiction, but it incorporated his knowledge of philosophy and spirituality.
Sreejit’s love for music has continued throughout his life. He has composed many songs. One of my favorites is “It’s a Long Road”
It’s a long road
who I am.
It’s a long road
what’s the plan.
hold me close
but your eyes
are to the sky,
millions seek your mercy
but you say
freedom is your right,
Do you remember me,
for I don’t have the eyes to see,
do you remember me,
am I your everything,
for you’re everything to me.
To walk through this world
a human being
is to carry the burden
of countless lifetimes
As I grow weary
I remind myself
that every problem
I’ve created myself.
Do you remember me,
for I don’t have the eyes to see.
I know I don’t deserve
this life I’ve been given
– time after time
I’ve chosen easy over right.
you shower praise
and I can’t help but
think your crazy
– crazy for the life,
crazy for the fight,
crazy for the divine
and I know your right,
but do you remember me?
The recording features David Balakrishnan on Violin
Anu Aiyer on table,
Swarna Aiyer on keys
Amritapriya Schmidt on backing vocals
and Sreejit Poole on vocals and guitar
Sreejit was invited to come to Amma’s ashram in Amritapuri, India in 2009 to be a cook in the Western kitchen. That has been his primary ashram work since that time. 2009 was the same year that he and Chaitanya, who also lives at the ashram, started creating Broadway style musicals which are performed on Christmas Eve. Chaitanya writes and directs the plays; Sreejit and his friends write most of the tunes. During the musicals, Sreejit plays the harmonium and frequently sings and/or has a voice role (In Indian plays the voices often come from people on microphones behind the scenes.) A few years ago, Sreejit was an actor in the play as well as participating as a musician. As soon as one musical is over, Sreejit and his friends start writing the musical scores for the next one.
In 2012, Sreejit started a blog called The Seeker’s Dungeon. He said this about his blog:
There are plenty of people to write about a heaven that they haven’t experienced. But I want to write about the road traveled to get there. This is meant to be an intense and honest look into the motivations of the human spirit and a search for answers into how we can use the passions of humanity, not just to satisfy our base level instincts, but to bring about a positive change in our world. Maybe it is dark. That is fine. Only when we open the blinds do we see the dust in the room. The dust to me, if not the main goal, is still interesting all the same..
At first, The Seeker’s Dungeon was a poetry blog, but over time he started writing in many different styles. I was amazed at the depth and skill of his writing. I feel so much respect for his work. Many other bloggers were impressed as well; as of today he has 7,670 followers. For most of a year, he encouraged me to start a blog of my own. I began to feel the desire to participate in Dungeon Prompts, a weekly challenge he offered to other bloggers. One day, I decided to build the blog and answer one of his prompts without him knowing I was doing it. I loved surprising him in that way. I am so grateful to him for introducing me to blogging and the WordPress community.
You never know what Sreejit is going to do next. Recently he started a YouTube page and posted some of the music he has composed. He also has begun to play the guitar again. And most surprising, he has decided he wants to learn to tap dance! He asked me to bring tap shoes for him to India and has started teaching himself to tap.
Sreejit has dedicated his life to spiritual growth and service from the time he met Amma at 15 years of age. He has used his 40 years of life well. I am so proud of him and proud to be his mother. Happy 40th Birthday Sreejit!
With Love, Mom
Some of you may wonder why you are receiving this on December 12. India is 13 1/2 hours ahead of Seattle so it is already his birthday here!