Questions and answers

Question: I think that some of us might be interested to know what your view is of the thinking of Dr. Radhakrishnan, who was probably the best known philosopher of Hinduism in the rest of the world. When he died, you remember, there was almost a page devoted to him in The New York Times. Has his thinking made an impact on your religious philosophy?

Sri Chinmoy: To be very frank with you, not in the least, although I have the greatest respect for Dr. Radhakrishnan. While he was still alive I received three letters from him here in New York encouraging me in my philosophy and in my inspiration to the young generation.

As far as I know, Dr. Radhakrishnan was a philosopher, a thinker. Now, Indian philosophy is founded upon Indian religion, and Indian religion, which we call Dharma, is founded upon Yoga. But Yoga is something that one has to practise. It is not theoretical. It is more than practical; it is a living reality. At every moment we have to live it and practise it in order to grow into the very image of that reality.

Dr. Radhakrishnan knew about reality only in its theoretical aspect. In his practical life, unfortunately, he did not practise it. Anybody can speak on philosophy, on truth, even on the ultimate Truth, but if that particular person does not live those truths, then we feel that there is a yawning gulf between the reality that he understands or believes in and the reality that he embodies. In the case of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Ramana Maharshi and others, they not only knew the reality, but they grew into the reality itself. For them it was a living reality. You could not separate that reality from the man. But in Dr. Radhakrishnan’s case, he was the man and reality was somewhere else.

Dr. Radhakrishnan knew the reality, but he did not embody it. I may know you, but if I don’t enter into you and become part and parcel of you, I will not get all the knowledge, wisdom, light, reality and peace that you embody. Dr. Radhakrishnan’s approach to what we call reality was theoretical, not practical. He could speak on reality in faultless terms. But he did not embody that reality, whereas the real spiritual Masters grew into inseparable oneness with the reality that they knew. My experience is of the second type. Being a seeker, I wanted to experience and grow into reality, not learn about reality on an intellectual level.