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I wanted to believe what my brother and Atmananda had been telling me. I wanted to believe that the Guru installed disciple-specific, invisible channels through which peace, light, and bliss could, if the disciple were receptive, inwardly flow. Yet I was not sold on the theory of reincarnation. Nor was I convinced that Atmananda was fully accurate when he claimed that Chinmoy was the Cosmic Boatman, an avatar [incarnation of a Hindu deity], and the most advanced soul ever to have incarnated anywhere in the entire universe.

"Why would the messiah live in Jamaica, Queens?" I wondered. But then I felt bad. After all, the Buddha and Christ probably didn't live in such fancy neighborhoods either. I also realized that my doubts were based on the premise of rationality, the very nature of which Atmananda had taught me was limited, flawed, and often destructive. "I suppose Chinmoy *could* be the Cosmic Boatman," I told myself as part of a compromise.