Sushumna Mary Plumbly, who recently passed away aged 90, was one of the founding members of the London Sri Chinmoy Centre, and an early disciple of Sri Chinmoy.
Sushumna was widely admired and loved for her kindness, concern, cheerfulness, and her devotion to her Spiritual Master, Sri Chinmoy.
For many years, Sushumna worked for the BBC in children’s broadcasting – she also later opened a tea shop.
Sushumna became a student of Sri Chinmoy in the early 1970s, shortly after her daughter Swarnodaya met Sri Chinmoy in New York. As a new disciple, Sushumna guided the London Sri Chinmoy Centre through its formative years and was always very welcoming and encouraging to new members. She was in many ways a quintessential English lady, noted for her fine manners and kind disposition.
In the 1970s, Sushumna helped to organise some of Sri Chinmoy’s early visits to England and his university lectures, including Oxford and Cambridge university. Sushumna also accompanied Sri Chinmoy on some of this travels around England and later recounted many fascinating stories of travelling with Sri Chinmoy, in these early days.
Sushumna wrote a couple of short books about her experiences with Sri Chinmoy. They were written with her characteristic modesty and simplicity, but also contained interesting anecdotes and illumining experiences of the spiritual life.
This is a short extract from her book: Things My Guru Taught Me by Sushumna Mary Plumbly
It was on a sunny summer day at the little Sri Chinmoy Centre in Brighton that I received my spiritual name. The Master placed his hands on my head and spelled it out: S-U-S-H-U-M-N-A. Sushumna. I felt again that spiritual joy that I had experienced the first time I saw Sri Chinmoy. A little voice from deep inside said, “Yes, that’s right, that’s me.” Another, more worldly voice said, “Oh heavens! I’ll never remember it.” I spent the rest of the day in a rosy glow, and on going to bed that night attempted to repeat it one hundred times, as advised. I think I fell asleep after ten! (p23-24)
In her book, Sushumna also writes about the meaning of her name. – ‘Sushumna is the channel through which the kundalini-power travels to reach the thousand petalled lotus in the crown‘. She also 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.’