Radio interview with Sri ChinmoyIn May 1976 Sri Chinmoy was interviewed by telephone on the Stan Major Show, Radio WDAE, Tampa, Florida. Following is the transcript of that interview.
Radio interview with Sri ChinmoyJeff Kamen: I would like to introduce my eternal Friend, the Indian spiritual Master Sri Chinmoy. Sri Chinmoy is the Director of the United Nations Meditation Group. He is 44 years old, to be 45 in August. He is one of the most extraordinary human beings anybody can ever hope to meet, because he wants to give you everything that is divine.
Now, that may sound absurd but please remember that this is my seventh year as a police reporter and political reporter. I don’t believe anybody; even if they tell me that the sun is shining, I look up and check to be sure. In a sense you might say that I believe nothing until someone shows it to me. Sri Chinmoy has shown me something that nobody else has shown me. He has shown me my own higher nature, which everyone of us has. My friendship with him has been a source of incredible joy to me and it gets better every minute. Guru, can you hear me?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes, yes.
Jeff Kamen: Sri Chinmoy, I think that there are thousands of people in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area who have never had an opportunity to hear a genuine spiritual Master, and certainly not had a chance to ask him some questions. I thought that first I would like to ask you just two or three questions.
In the event that the telephone line is not of sufficient quality for Stan Major and his audience to hear you, we’ll call you back.
Sri Chinmoy, can you please tell our listeners why so many Americans — not just young children, teenagers and people in their twenties, but men and women in their thirties, forties and fifties — are turning to spiritual Masters from India? What are they looking for? What’s happening?
Sri Chinmoy: They are looking for two things: peace of mind and divine love. These are the two things that most Americans need right now. And they feel that if they turn to the Indian spiritual Masters, then they will find this peace of mind and genuine love which comes from within.
Jeff Kamen: Sri Chinmoy, why is it at this time in America’s history, as we approach the Bicentennial itself, that there seems to be a kind of awakening of this kind of spiritual direction within Americans who have been portrayed for so long as fundamentally materialistic people who have no real interest in their spiritual natures?
Sri Chinmoy: The Bicentennial is a spiritual event in the history of the world. The pioneers, the forerunners of American history, were spiritual. Here “spiritual” means having an inner awakening. Now, two hundred years later, the same spirit has entered again into the consciousness of America. Therefore, the American consciousness is responding to the consciousness that originally illumined Americans and liberated them from European dominion. So right now is the golden hour; we call it God’s Hour. The same American consciousness is awakening for a higher truth and for a more illumining and fulfilling reality.
Jeff Kamen: Sri Chinmoy, what do you see as America’s future, based on this return of that spiritual quality which was so strong at the founding of America?
Sri Chinmoy: America’s future is very clear to me, clear to my inner vision. America is destined to play the role of a supreme leader. Right now on the material plane, America is in the vanguard of evolution. There shall come a time when America will play the role of a supreme leader in the spiritual world because it is the Will of the Supreme that America play a most significant role in the inner world, as America has been playing a most significant role in the material life, the outer world. The perfection of matter and the evolution of the material life, the success and progress of the material life, America has offered to the world at large. America has offered its achievements, realisations and fulfilments in the material field to the length and breadth of the world. A day shall dawn in the near future when America will play the role of the spirit, the inner life: inner awakening, inner satisfaction, inner development, inner perfection.
America always runs the fastest. As it has been running the fastest in the outer world for quite a few decades, even so there shall come a time when America will run the fastest in the inner world also, for this is what is destined. Because I am in America, people may think that I am flattering America so that Americans will have a better opinion of my life. But no, long before — many, many years ago when there was no indication of my coming to America — I wrote quite a few articles on America: “America in Her Depths,” “America the Transmitter of the New Light,” and a few other articles on America’s future and America’s destiny. There I clearly indicated and emphasised America’s spirituality; that America’s spiritual destiny is also something most striking. As in the material field America is the pioneer, even so in the inner life, spiritual life, America’s role will be unique.
Jeff Kamen: Sri Chinmoy, Stan Major, who is the host of this wonderful programme on WDAE Tampa, wants to ask you some questions. Here he is.
Stan Major: Sir, it’s nice to talk to you. One word which you mentioned throughout your last refrain was “materialistic”, and we Americans have always been a little bit overconscious about the materialistic things that we have: the extra car in the garage, the extra colour television. It’s interesting that you would mention that word materialistic so often. I wonder, do you feel that the spiritual rebirth or awakening that you are talking about is going to reform the American way of thinking as far as these materialistic things are concerned?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes, the new spiritual awakening will transform America’s material life. When I use the term “material life” here, I wish to say I mean the material extravagance. The material life is necessary, like the spiritual life, but if one can satisfy his needs with one car, then he does not have to have two cars. Sometimes we see that the human desires compel us to live beyond necessity. So there shall come a time when Americans shall want only the basic necessities. Now unfortunately, in some cases the abundance of America’s material life to some extent stands in the way of inner awakening. Right now quite a few individuals are unconsciously, let us say, wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance. One day the hour will strike. At that time they will see and feel and realise that no matter how much they get in the material life, even if they get the material life in infinite measure, there will be no abiding satisfaction if the spirit is not to be found therein. So if we discover inner peace, inner joy, inner satisfaction first, then only the outer life, outer manifestation will give us satisfaction.
So material life will not be a hindrance, an obstacle; it will only add to the inner life. But the material life has to be regulated, perfected, illumined and fulfilled in the inner life. Otherwise, if we leave aside material life without taking any help from the spiritual life to perfect it, the material life will always remain imperfect for it has not yet fully accepted the message of the spirit. The real spiritual life will never negate the material life as such. Only it will try to help the material life in listening to the message of the divine, of God. So, we will take gladly whatever is necessary from both the material life and the spiritual life. Only the extravagance, the things that are superficial and unnatural, will be illumined by the touch of the spiritual life so that the two brothers in the family, matter and spirit, can go together.
Stan Major: Are you saying that the problem is that we have too many extravagances — that we go too far?
Sri Chinmoy: Right. We go to the extreme. If we need, say, two pieces of fruit to satisfy our hunger, then we shall eat only two pieces of fruit. We shall not eat five pieces of fruit just because we can afford to buy them. What happens is that when we do have five pieces of fruit and we eat them, then we find that something goes wrong. Our stomach gets upset and thus we cannot function properly. Just because we have the capacity to afford five cars, that doesn’t mean that we shall have five cars. No, two cars are more than enough.
Stan Major: Let me move away from the more personal, materialistic life and let me move just a little bit into our national problem at the moment. We now have a situation, as far as the United States is concerned, where apparently we are moving back into the age that we suffered through at the end of World War II that was commonly called “the Cold War”. At that time we spent a tremendous amount of money on weapons to kill. At the end of Vietnam for a while we were in a position where people were very much against war. But at this moment in our political campaign we seem to be very much back to the situation where defense posture is more important again than the social or domestic problems that we have. I wonder if you could put this into perspective? What can Americans do when we are forced into a situation where a potential adversary is spending so much money on military weaponry and is not in the least concerned with the spiritual well-being of its people?
Sri Chinmoy: I have listened to your question with utmost concern and reverence and at the same time I beg to be excused for I know nothing about politics and about the way the Government handles the world affairs. So I am absolutely the wrong person to answer this. Please forgive me. If you could ask me some spiritual questions I will be more than willing to answer them. In spirituality I have a little bit of knowledge. When you ask me something that deals with politics, I am absolutely the wrong person because politics is totally Greek to me. Whatever I say will be all absurd.
Stan Major: May I rephrase the question in a more spiritual sense?
Sri Chinmoy: Certainly.
Stan Major: We, as a country celebrating our Bicentennial, our 200th anniversary, are faced with a dilemma. I believe that basically within us, within our inner being, most of us in the United States would like to have peace. I think that that is the basic wish of most persons in this country in this Bicentennial year, because of our heritage, because of our founding freedoms, because of our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, etc. Now, a person who basically believes in peace, which is the philosophy of this country and the people in it, how does he attempt to influence others who perhaps, do not have this spiritual belief in peace?
Sri Chinmoy: I am so glad that you are asking this question, which is so meaningful and significant. The Father of the Nation, George Washington, wanted to have peace by any means. But unfortunately he had to resort to fighting because at that time it was a supreme necessity to fight against the British. Although he wanted to have peace at any cost, he was forced to fight.
Now here from the spiritual point of view I can say that our prayer is also powerful. Our prayer is much more powerful than weapons and atom bombs. These things have been created by human power. But when we pray and meditate, we establish an access to a higher power. The power that has created the atom bomb — which is the human mind — or any power that we utilise here in the physical world, has also a superior force and that superior force we call spiritual power, inner power, the power of oneness.
When we quarrel, when we fight, when we wage war, it is with the power of our vital, of our mind, and not with the power of our heart. Our heart-power is oneness. To strike somebody is infinitely easier than to embrace that person. So also, the power that we have within is infinitely stronger than the power that we have without, in our outer life. So if we pray and meditate, then we can establish a universal oneness. And that universal oneness is far more powerful, infinitely more powerful than the atom bomb power or hydrogen bomb power that has been created by the human intelligence or human capacity.
We believe in that inner power, the power of the soul. If we pray and meditate devotedly and soulfully, then the Supreme Pilot within us is bound to listen to our inner cry. And that inner cry within us will without fail grant us boundless peace, light and oneness.
Stan Major: Why is human nature such that it is easier to hate than to love?
Sri Chinmoy: Human nature is like a child’s nature. When you give a child a toy or you give him a doll, what does he do with it? He wants to play with it but first he throws it on the ground, he strikes it, and he gets great joy. We want peace; you want peace, I want peace. But a child gets peace by pinching another boy, by striking someone. His sense of joy is in striking someone, in destruction, unconscious destruction. Human nature is not yet illumined fully, therefore the human nature finds satisfaction in destruction. The divine nature within us finds satisfaction only in union, in oneness.
We are human beings but even now the animal in us predominates. When we see two animals in front of us, they may get tremendous satisfaction by fighting. Similarly, the animal in us quite often plays the animal role; therefore, we want to strike, we want to quarrel, we want to fight, we want to destroy one another. But again inside us is the soul, the Divine. The origin of all human beings is the Divine and there shall come a time when we shall all be illumined and perfect. Right now we are not yet fully illumined, but we believe in evolution. Once upon a time we were all in the animal kingdom but now we are in the human kingdom and we are trying to establish within us the divine kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven. As long as we remain in our human consciousness, then the animal in us will play a considerable role. It is not yet possible for us to fully bring to the fore the divine which is all peace, all love and all universal oneness.
Jeff Kamen: How long has it been since Americans, as a group of human beings, have felt any real oneness with God or with other Americans? It seems that it’s been a long time.
Sri Chinmoy: In the inner world I must say the feeling of oneness started right from the very beginning. It is not only in America, but each time the Divine, the Supreme, creates a soul in order to manifest His divinity, He grants the message of oneness. So when the American consciousness was revealed in the outer life, the American consciousness also embodied the message of oneness. In the outer life some great American figures did cry for the manifestation of this oneness. So I wish to say that the day the Supreme created the American soul in order to offer something unique to the entire world, the message of universal oneness came into being with it.
Stan Major: I’m wondering whether or not you plan to come to our area in Florida so that you can give a talk on Yoga and the spiritual life, so that people will have an opportunity to see you in person?
Sri Chinmoy: I do hope to come to Tampa. I have been to Miami at least seven or eight times since 1968. I like Miami and we have a Centre there that is doing quite well. Unfortunately, right now, I have no idea when I shall come. But my love and admiration for Florida I wish to offer to the seekers who are kind enough to be listening to our spiritual discussion. I have tremendous love for Florida. It is not only the outer sunshine that we see in Florida. Each time that I have come to Florida I have been blessed with the inner sunshine of Florida as well. Both the outer sun and the inner sun have blessed me; therefore, I am extremely grateful to the soul of Florida.
Jeff Kamen: Guru Chinmoy, there is another one of your disciples who is here on the WDAE Tampa Radio microphone right now with Stan Major and myself. That is eight-year old Nathan Kamen, and he has been bursting to ask you a question. Will you take a question from Nathan?
Sri Chinmoy: Certainly, certainly. Nathan, dear boy, please ask me your question.
Nathan Kamen: How long does it usually take to realise God in your first incarnation?
Sri Chinmoy: Good boy, it entirely depends on God’s Will; there is no fixed hour. If God is pleased with you, He can give you realisation in three or four human incarnations. But nobody has realised God in his or her first human incarnation.
Usually it takes many, many incarnations in the process of evolution. But there is no hard and fast rule. God can easily break His rules. Right now He has not granted any human being God-realisation in his first human incarnation, but if God wants to change His Plan, He can because God is the Almighty Father. Otherwise, God usually grants God-realisation to a human being after that human being has come into the world quite a few times. Each time a human being comes into the world he gets the opportunity to realise, reveal and manifest God in a better way. This is called inner maturity, the inner acceptance of light, inner receptivity. As you cannot become strong physically in one day, even so you cannot become strong spiritually in one incarnation.
Three years ago you came into our family with your parents. At that time when we used to ask you to repeat the Supreme, you did it, but not as cheerfully as you do now because it was a new subject to you then. Now we don’t have to ask you to pray and meditate. You pray to the Supreme, you meditate on the Supreme, and your parents don’t have to ask you to. Even sometimes it may happen that you ask your parents to pray and meditate, when they are not in a spiritual mood. So you see, once upon a time your parents had to request you to pray and meditate. You are a little child but you have advanced spiritually to such an extent that sometimes you have to ask your mother and father to meditate when they are delaying, when they are not on time to pray and meditate. That is your inner progress.
Stan Major: Thank you very much, Sri Chinmoy.