07 July 2020

Encounter with a monk

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Wandering the beautiful boulevards of Malta, my attention is drawn to a statue. Not that statues are a rarity here in Malta. Oh no, people here like to decorate the squares and buildings with their local heroes and saints.

However, this statue is different. It strikes me because it doesn't seem to me to be a Maltese hero, or an important Maltese person. Not even a warrior, not a knight. 

Who is he?

The image

Sitting on a bench, I look languidly at the turquoise sea that caresses my eyes from between the numerous and colorful Oleanders. In this image is a statue of a man in a robe with his back to the sea. A serene smile on his mouth. In his right hand he holds a flaming torch. He presses the fingers of his left hand on his chest, as if to say that he wants to receive me in his heart ... ”It seems as if he is bringing the fire from the sea onto the island. Fire from water. The light from the sea. We look in each other's direction. Our eyes meet.

People, animals and birds pass by the statue. Walkers, alone or together, a pair of teenage girls making a video, seeking for attention on social media, dogs and birds. All stroll along the boulevard. They walk through my image. However, never a look from them touches the statue. Bronze, cold and hollow for them. I absorb that image. Relaxation comes over me.

The stranger

Then, unexpectedly, a man walks into my view. He resembles all other passers-by. The difference however, is that he does not walk on. He walks around the statue and touches it several times. 

Who is he?

I get up and walk over to him. He introduces himself as Ken. "From Kenneth": he says. I see a tall Englishman, retired in the sun.
We get talking. Ken is from the UK and has lived in Malta for quite some time. I ask Ken if he knows who the man in robe and torch is. He knows it was a monk. Ken knows that the monk is called Sri Chinmoy. An Indian spiritual leader with thousands of followers in dozens of countries. A writer, artist, poet and musician. But also a sportsman.

Ken and I continue to chat. About the everyday, about COVID and especially about its consequences for the future. We realize that we are on the eve of major changes in the world order. Both know that the sun will disappear again today, but also that the future of our grandchildren now stands in a different daylight.

Together we experience the pleasure of our moment. A meeting between two people who never spoke before. Wonderful to just let each other in acquired space. Thank you Ken. We meet again. Where and when?

The monk

Thanks also to you Sri Chinmoy. I love meeting people, especially when it happens unexpected. I long for encounters with strangers. These carry a treasure inside. Sometimes only once, sometimes recurring.

Because of your beautiful appearance and loving, almost mysterious smile, this time you gave us this meeting with Ken. A marvelous moment in which I felt peace in me.

It seems that you really bring the light from the sea.
Read more about Sri Chinmoy on Wikipedia

© TrefMij 6 juli 2020


  1. I've been living in Malta for 4 years and never seen this statue. Thank you Mark to gave me the wish to go there - with your story. Szilvia

    1. May be the secret of connecting with the world around you is being able to connect with your inner self. There, I think, is base to embrace the world around you and find connections with people and things..

      Thanks for your lovely respond


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