Question: Was there any reason why you chose a rose as subject matter for your first painting?

Sri Chinmoy: I chose the rose because here in the Western world the rose is most significant. In India the lotus is most significant. No matter which flower you take it is a sign of my aspiration and loving gratitude to the Supreme. Petal by petal the rose blossoms inside my heart as a sign of my aspiration, as a sign of my dedication to the aspiring man. It was drizzling then. Drizzling, according to the spiritual terminology, is a divine blessing from above. So I was blessed right from the beginning. A new chapter started here — a new chapter in my life. A new light dawned on my devoted head and surrendered heart. The Supreme out of His Infinite Bounty made me an instrument in my life of aspiration and my life of dedication. You are all in my boat. We are sailing towards the Golden Shore, our destination. Each painting is not only my aspiration but your aspiration. It is not only my way of dedication but your way of dedication too.

Remember that 128,000 paintings mean 128,000 ways to aspire and improve ourselves, to perfect our lives and at the same time 128,000 ways to dedicate ourselves to the supreme cause of humanity. You are all part and parcel of my aspiration and inner realisation. You treasure my paintings the way I treasure your souls, your loving and illumining souls. There is a special reason why this place was chosen, why Ottawa was chosen, why Canada was chosen. Only in silence we shall discover the special reason.

Outwardly Ottawa is the capital of Canada. The soul is our illumination, the source of our love for mankind. Canada has a special role to play in spreading the light of my painting. Especially Ottawa, because it was here that I began my paintings. Each painting is a golden opportunity for us to become good. Here I see twenty-five disciples of mine. When I look at you with my inner vision I see each of you as a most beautiful painting of the Supreme for the Supreme. There shall come a time when the world of aspiration will look at you and derive abundant satisfaction from your peace, light and bliss. Your entire being will radiate. And that day will dawn without fail.

(The Manager of Hotel and Marion Dewar, Comptroller and Deputy Mayor of Ottawa arrive.)

Marion Dewar: How do you do, Sri Chinmoy? I would like to present greetings from myself and the Mayor telling you how pleased and honoured we are that your creative art work all started in Ottawa. It is a real privilege to be able to meet with you this morning.

Sri Chinmoy: I am extremely grateful to you for I was told you like my paintings. For that I wish to offer you my heart of soulful gratitude. You appreciate and that means your soul is one with our aspiration and dedication. And just because you are one with our aspiration and dedication you deserve my gratitude from the inmost recesses of my heart. And what you call honour I call blessings from the Absolute Supreme. This is the place where I started painting. The new light, the new light of dedication and aspiration dawned on me in this particular room. I am extremely grateful to you, to this hotel, and to the Mayor and to the soul of Canada, for it was the blessing of the soul of Canada that turned me into an artist, an instrument of the Supreme.

Each student of mine is a painting and it is our bounden duty to serve God in aspiring mankind. Here I started two years ago and now I am able to offer to the aspiring mankind 128,000 paintings. It is my Inner Pilot who has done this. My own physical mind would never be able to believe it, but in my aspiring heart which has established oneness with my Inner Pilot, nothing is impossible. Everything is possible as long as you do it with a devoted and dedicated heart. And from the Supreme I offer you special gratitude. This is the place, Ottawa, that gave me the supreme opportunity to be of dedicated service to aspiring mankind through art in the form of my dedication.

Marion Dewar: The gratitude is ours, Sri Chinmoy.

(They exchange letters and plaques.)

Sri Chinmoy: (To Manager of the Hotel) Here in this place I did my first painting. This a picture of my first attempt. It is a flower of gratitude. I wish to offer it to you. This is the place where I embarked upon a new journey towards the highest Height.

Manager: Thank you very much. We are very honoured that we were lucky enough to have you start here.

Marion Dewar: I also want you to know how very happy you made the people in the community of Ottawa who enjoyed this beautiful exposition. (Mrs. Dewar reads a letter from the Mayor)

Marion Dewar: And I would like to say it was a week of great joy in the community of Ottawa to be able to enjoy your art.

Sri Chinmoy: Please express my deepest gratitude to the Mayor for his encouraging words. My soul is all love and gratitude for his ability to appreciate my art. This is a historic place for me and for my disciples. It was drizzling then — drizzling blessings from above. I started my journey with the blessings from above and I wish to invoke the same blessings for all those who are here. To me, each of you is a beautiful and soulful painting. Each individual is a painting drawn by the Supreme Artist Himself.

Each individual human being is bound to spread his light, his supreme light, according to his capacity and receptivity. (Short meditation.)

I pray to the Absolute Supreme to grant us light, abundant light, infinite light so that all of us can be of true inspiration to those who need light. The world is in darkness. It does not have to remain in darkness forever. We have the inner cry and with our inner cry, at God’s choice Hour, we shall be able to illumine the world. This illumination is our supreme dedication to the Supreme, the Absolute Supreme.