Question: This gentleman must have come from India. One thing about America is that it is very rich. We have plenty of everything here, and a dozen kinds. There is no reason to be without anything here as far as material wealth is concerned. Tell me, if you are a man of God, why did you leave the people of India who really and truly need help of every kind — spiritual and material? Why did you leave the country that needs it so badly to come to the richest country, and perhaps the richest city in the world, that really doesn't need anything more? Also, how have you gone up in the material scale in your own life since you left your country and came here?

Sri Chinmoy: I feel sorry for you. Unlike mine, your world is very small. This entire world is God’s Creation. India and America are both God’s Creations. If the Father wants the child to move from one place to another and stay there for some time, I don’t see anything wrong in it. India belongs to God and America belongs to God, like two houses. If the Father asks the son to go and live in another house, then the son must obey. I as an individual cannot save India from poverty, disease and ignorance. It is God alone who can and will do it in His own way, and at His own time. I only obey His Commands. He asked me to come here to serve people in the West in their spiritual quest. Tomorrow He may ask me to go back to India and serve the seekers there again. For me there is no division between India and America. There is only one thing: God’s entire Creation. I abide by His Will in all my movements.

Steve Powers: I think you’re answering the question very straightforwardly, but I don’t know if the question was asked as directly as perhaps the woman wanted to. So I’m going to rephrase the question. I think what she really wanted to know was, didn’t you come to the U.S. in order to make money and not to tend a spiritual flock? I think that’s what her real question was.

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, believe it or not, I do not charge any fee for my spiritual guidance. I depend entirely on my disciples’ love offerings and on the sales of the books I have written. God is there to see that I do not starve, but I have not come to the West to become a multimillionaire, and I am not a rich man by any standards.

Steve Powers: From the spiritual aspect, what do you think of the Gurus who do come to this country and set up like big businesses? It is almost like a Guru industry, if you will. They live in mansions, fly in private planes and have limousines, while their students are selling merchandise in the streets. Do you think that is part of the spiritual discipline?

Sri Chinmoy: I personally do not and will not do those things, but I do not know and I cannot say why others are doing them.

Steve Powers: I didn’t mean to put you in conflict with them, I’m just trying to get your views.

Sri Chinmoy: Amassing tremendous wealth will not help anyone in realising God. If money-power could have bought God, then by this time all rich people would be God-realised souls. Money-power and spirituality rarely go together, but again, money is not a bad thing. How we utilise it is what makes it good or bad. If we use it for a good cause, then money is a blessing. But if we use it to dominate others or to wallow in the pleasures of luxury, then money-power is spiritual destruction.

Steve Powers: Again, I don’t mean this to draw a line between you and another religious sect, but there has been much controversy over the practices of Sun Myung Moon. Without specifically getting into his religious beliefs, I was wondering if you would comment as far as a religious leader separating children from their families.

Sri Chinmoy: I will be the last person to separate children from their families. Whenever I accept minors, I ask them to bring written permission from their parents. But when they are adults, when they are at an age when they have left their families or are ready to go out on their own, then I accept them freely. But when they are children, I have no desire to separate them from their families or to cause family problems. I think it is not advisable to take children away from their parents.