Question: When you are writing a poem or a song, do you sometimes invoke the soul of another great artist and use his capacities?

Sri Chinmoy: If you want to write like Shakespeare, if his soul is still in the soul’s world and if you can invoke the soul and reach it, the soul may give you some of its capacities. This is absolutely true. Or if the person is still alive, you can also invoke the soul. But just by invoking the soul of a great writer or singer, for instance, you cannot get his highest achievements. Before you sing, if you pray to the Supreme and say, “Now I am going to sing. I will be so grateful to You if You give me a most soulful voice like he has or she has,” that is the most effective method. If you try to invoke the soul of someone who is a good singer, your mind may immediately think of his or her undivine qualities. You know that somebody sings well, but you may not be able to appreciate that particular person’s inner life. You only appreciate a certain capacity which you want, but your physical mind is so bad that it will not allow you to separate the person’s soul from his life on the physical plane. You want to think of the soul, but immediately the body comes before your mind. And when the body comes, immediately you think twenty bad things about the person, so you don’t derive much help from him.

Pray to the Supreme, placing the Supreme in front of you. Say, “Supreme, I am praying to You to give me the singing capacity of so and so.” At that time, you are putting the Supreme in between you and the other person whose excellent voice you want to have. Then you do get capacity, and this capacity will not be of any harm to you. But this does not mean that you will get the same capacity or the same height as the other person. In India before soldiers go to fight they think of Bhima or Arjuna or some other world-renowned warrior. They do this to get strength and valour. But what often happens is something else. Bhima was very strong and powerful but, at the same time, he had many undivine qualities. These undivine qualities also may come into you along with his strength when you invoke him. But if you pray to Lord Krishna and ask for the capacity of Bhima, then Krishna will be able to give you only Bhima’s divine qualities; and according to your receptivity you will take them. This is quite possible.