Interview on "Hawaii Health Line"1Interviewer: As I indicated earlier, with me in the studio this morning we have Sri Chinmoy. Sri Chinmoy, for those of you who are not familiar with the name, is an Indian spiritual Master. He is the founder and director of the Meditation Group at the United Nations in New York. He is an exponent of Yoga and Eastern Philosophy. Sri Chinmoy spent most of his early years living in an ashram. He is an accomplished composer and musician of music for meditation. And Sri Chinmoy is someone who knows a great deal about meditation, the benefits of meditation, and the experiences that are available through it not only in the area of consciousness but also in the area of physical health. We are going to be talking primarily about meditation, and along with that we are going to be discovering and exploring something of the personality and the being of Sri Chinmoy.
Sri Chinmoy, welcome to “Hawaii Health Line”. There are a lot of questions that I would like to ask you. I would like to start by finding, out something of your early life. You grew up in an ashram?
Sri Chinmoy: I was brought up in an ashram, where I prayed and meditated for twenty years, and also I took physical exercises to keep my body fit. So I am very happy to be here because this program is about physical fitness and spiritual awareness. These things perfectly fit in with my philosophy and my code of life.
Interviewer: Was your method of physical fitness primarily in the field of Hatha Yoga, or were there other things as well?
Sri Chinmoy: In my case it was mainly athletics. Of course, I took a few Hatha Yoga exercises, but I was very good in track and field, and in volleyball and football — what you call soccer.
Interviewer: How about some of your musical experiences. When did these first begin to appear?
Sri Chinmoy: At the age of 4 or 5 I started singing. My sister taught me how to sing. Then, when I was in my adolescence, God blessed me with a good singing voice. I learned hundreds of songs, and composed a few as well. Here in America I started composing songs regularly. Quite a few thousand go to my credit. They are all spiritual songs, soulful songs, songs that can and will help us immensely in our spiritual life.
Interviewer: How do you feel that music plays a part in the spiritual life of an individual?
Sri Chinmoy: The role of music in the spiritual life is extremely important and significant. God is the Supreme Musician, and His entire creation is all divine Music. At every moment we can be His conscious instruments. And spiritual music itself is an instrument to bring us to our universal Reality. It is like a tree that has all the branches, leaves, flowers and fruits.
Interviewer: Then there is, of course, the old idea of man being a hollow bamboo flute that God plays?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes, that is what we are all striving for — to be the instruments of the Supreme.
Interviewer: You are referred to as an Indian spiritual Master.
Sri Chinmoy: I am referred to as a spiritual Master, but I will always call myself a seeker, an eternal seeker learning at the Feet of my Beloved Supreme. A seeker is walking along Eternity’s road, which has no beginning and no end. Life is the greatest opportunity, and at every moment we can all avail ourselves of this opportunity to make progress.
Interviewer: You are saying that we are all disciples?
Sri Chinmoy: We are all seekers. Some are consciously seeking, some are unconsciously seeking. But if we consciously do something, then we derive more benefit.
Interviewer: The term ‘Master’ is something that very often Westerners have difficulty with. Could you talk about the relationship between a Master and a devotee or a disciple?
Sri Chinmoy: A spiritual Master is he who illumines the student, the seeker. The Master is like a private tutor who helps the seeker learn the inner knowledge or wisdom so that he can fight against ignorance, and swim in the sea of wisdom-light. A private tutor carefully teaches the student, and helps him in every way to learn the subjects. Then when the student sits for the examination, he does well because the tutor has taught him. So a spiritual Master is he who carefully teaches the student how to pass the inner examination. But there is only one real Master, and that is the Lord Supreme. We others are only His instruments.
In one particular field if I know a little more than you do, then I can help you. If you know something better than I do, then you can help me. In a family if the older brother knows something better than the rest of the family, then he helps them to learn it. But he will not claim to be the father at that time. The older brother will tell the younger one, “I know a little bit more than you do about our Father, so I will tell you where He is and how you can go to Him.” We who are called Masters are of that type. We are members of the same family trying to teach the younger ones to value, to appreciate, to admire, to adore our Father.
Interviewer: Are you saying that maybe we are all masters in some area at any given moment?
Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. If I want to know something about how a radio station operates, you will be in a position to teach me. In this field I am totally helpless, and if I want to learn something about it, then I will go to someone who knows, and learn from him.
Interviewer: The kind of surrender that you talk about — the willingness to totally give yourself to a Master at any given moment in time — takes a lot of courage, doesn’t it?
Sri Chinmoy: This is a matter of personal choice and inner conviction. Previously I always listened to my mind. My mind told me to do things, and I tried to do them because my mind was the boss. But I was not satisfied. Now I want my heart to be the boss. My heart is telling me that there is another way — that if I can identify myself with some higher reality, then I will have more satisfaction, more perfection in my life.
Interviewer: What I hear you saying is that the mind itself never gives satisfaction.
Sri Chinmoy: The mind never gives satisfaction, and finally the mind itself will be fed up with its own imperfection. The mind tells us, “Do this, and you will be happy.” And we do it, but we never become happy.
Interviewer: It tries to convince us of happiness.
Sri Chinmoy: It tries to convince us, but real happiness we will never get from the mind. And there comes a time when the mind accepts failure. Right now the mind is not deliberately fooling us. The mind thinks it knows, but unfortunately it does not know. The mind wants to convince us of some realities, but when we investigate, we see that the mind was totally wrong. The mind wants to give us happiness, but it fails. Then it sees that when we enter into our heart’s door and we live inside the heart’s room, there we are getting joy. Who doesn’t want to have joy? The mind also wants joy, so the mind at that time becomes the student of the heart.
Interviewer: That’s interesting. The mind then surrenders to the heart.
Sri Chinmoy: The mind also needs happiness and peace.
Interviewer: Let’s talk about the heart, what in the Eastern tradition is referred to as the path of Bhakti. I’d like to talk about meditation at this point because what we are indicating here is something that very often is lost in the teaching of meditation. It is believed by many that meditation is an experience of the mind, when in fact it is not, although the mind is involved initially.
Sri Chinmoy: Meditation is something beyond the mind, because the mind is limited, and meditation is unlimited. When we meditate we become aware of our universal reality, of our universal Oneness. The mind always thinks of “I,” “my” and “mine.” But the heart is self-giving and integral. When we give we become infinitely more. A tiny drop gives its reality, its existence, to the mighty ocean. It gives only a tiny drop. But when it gives wholeheartedly, when it surrenders its separate existence, it becomes one with the ocean itself. What we give, in return we get infinitely more. Self-giving is God-becoming. The moment we give ourselves soulfully, devotedly, unreservedly and unconditionally, we become the Infinite, as a tiny drop offers itself to the ocean and becomes the ocean. When we offer our little earthly existence to our Beloved Supreme, we become immediately and inseparably one with His universal and transcendental Reality.
Interviewer: Visiting with me in the studio this morning is Indian spiritual Master Sri Chinmoy, who is the Director of Meditation at the United Nations and the Director of some 150 or so meditation centres all over the world. While Sri Chinmoy is in Hawaii he is going to be giving two concerts and meditations, one of which will feature a guest appearance by rock star Carlos Santana. One of Sri Chinmoy’s students is here, Clifford Watts. And I’ve asked him to tell us a little about these concerts.
Cliff: The first one is on Thursday, January 3, at 7:30 at the Assembly Hall at Neil Blaisedale Centre. The second one will be held Sunday, January 6, at Central Union Church. Admission is free to both concerts. The format is one in which Sri Chinmoy begins by meditating silently with the audience, then he plays a recital of Indian music on the esraj. The esraj is an instrument played with a bow, and it makes an ethereal sound with sympathetic strings. This aids the seeker in getting into a meditative consciousness. Several choral groups and instrumental groups will perform. The concert will conclude with an offering of prasad, where each seeker will have an opportunity to come up to Sri Chinmoy and receive a piece of fruit which he has blessed. This is a tradition of Indian spiritual Masters.
Interviewer: Could you take a few minutes and talk with the audience about meditation — what it is and what it isn’t? What are some of the reasons and the benefits of meditation?
Sri Chinmoy: Meditation is self-discovery. We try to discover many things, but unfortunately we do not try to discover ourselves. When we discover ourselves we will see clearly that we are the chosen instruments of God. A chosen instrument is he who has peace of mind, and who can offer peace of mind to the rest of the world. Meditation always helps us to see the universal Truth, universal Beauty and universal Delight in ourselves. When we meditate we feel that the world has a real meaning. For many or for most human beings the world has nothing to offer except suffering, misery and unfortunate experiences. But when we meditate we find that the world is not so. It has beauty, it has purity, it has oneness. The world is God’s creation, and God is all Light and Delight, so how can His creation be all suffering? When we pray and meditate we try to discover the supreme secrets. These secrets show us how we can be always serving mankind and fulfilling our highest reality.
Interviewer: What about meditation techniques? What do you suggest that people use as a method of meditation?
Sri Chinmoy: If one does not have a teacher, then I advise the seeker to try to make the mind calm and quiet, and not to allow any wrong thoughts. As soon as one is assailed by a wrong thought, one has to try to destroy it. One has to open only to encouraging, illumining and fulfilling thoughts. If hatred enters into my mind, I will try to replace it by love. If insecurity enters into my mind while I am meditating, I will try to replace it by security. And if there is doubt about my spiritual capacity, I will immediately try to bring faith to the fore to conquer the doubt.
Interviewer: How about the regularity of meditation? How often should we meditate?
Sri Chinmoy: Regularity is of paramount importance. Every day we eat at least twice, if not three times. Similarly, we have to feed our soul. To satisfy or to meet with the demands of our physical body we eat a few times a day. We have to meditate in the same way to nourish our soul, to nourish our inner existence.
Interviewer: So what you are suggesting is that at least for a few minutes before you sit down to eat, that is a good reminder to meditate.
Sri Chinmoy: Let us do the first thing first. The soul was created before the body. So first we have to feed the child who came into the family first. First comes the soul, then comes the body. If we think of the body first, we will be putting the cart before the horse. I do not advise my students to meditate seriously immediately before a meal. But at least twice a day every sincere seeker should meditate.
Interviewer: There are several people who would like to ask you questions. Let’s take a call.
Caller: I would like to know if I’ll do well in my job in 1980.
Interviewer: Sri Chinmoy is not here to do psychic readings. He is a spiritual Master. He teaches meditation, and he would be happy to talk with you about your spiritual development, if you have a question along those lines.
Caller: When I listen to Sri Chinmoy on the radio I feel tremendous divine Love emanating from him, and I am wondering how I can be more receptive to that divine Love.
Sri Chinmoy: You can be more receptive to the divine Love if you can feel every day that your Source is all Love, and that you are on earth to offer at every moment in thought and action the love that you already have. At every moment you are assailed by thoughts, so at every moment you can offer love through each thought. And each time you do something you can feel that this action is nothing but an expression of love. Offering love through thought and action right now is of supreme importance in your life. While thinking and while acting if you can feel that you are offering love to mankind, to the rest of the world, then you can be more receptive to the universal Love which is all for you.
Caller: Why are you here helping Americans when there are millions of people starving in India?
Sri Chinmoy: God did not send me to earth to be a social worker. My mission is to feed those who are inwardly hungry. By working in America I am fulfilling the Will of the Supreme Lord.
Caller: I’m a runner, and I’ve seen a poster in a shop just recently for a run with Sri Chinmoy’s name. Sri Chinmoy must be a runner as well as a meditation Master. I was just wondering what he had to say about that?
Sri Chinmoy: Physical fitness is of great importance in our life. If the body is in good condition, then we can do all our activities well. Running in the outer life makes us active and dynamic. Also the outer running reminds us that we must also run inwardly. Each human being is walking along Eternity’s road, but if we can run in the inner world instead of walking, then our progress will be much faster, and we will reach our goal sooner. So in order to be strong, healthy and dynamic we run in the morning or do physical exercises. These qualities in our outer life help us considerably in our inner life. And when we pray and meditate it also helps us in our running, because through prayer and meditation we can develop intense will power. This will power can help us to do extremely well in our outer running.
Caller: I find that when I am listening to Sri Chinmoy speak what I hear sounds very familiar and very normal, although I always thought that meditation was something quite remote. The way he expresses it makes it seem very close and practical. Can Sri Chinmoy comment on that?
Sri Chinmoy: It is a wrong conception when people think that meditation is something abnormal, or that they have to enter into the Himalayan caves in order to realise God. God is everywhere. When we approach God with our heart we feel closeness and oneness with the rest of the world. When we pray and meditate properly we feel that there is only one family, and that is God’s family. If we approach the reality with our heart, then we will see that there is nothing but oneness. We have to meditate in the heart, with the heart, and for the soul. If we do, then we will always feel abiding oneness within us.
Interviewer: My guest in the studio today is Indian spiritual Master Sri Chinmoy, and we’ve been talking about meditation and our relationship with the divine. One of the ways in which creation is expressed through Sri Chinmoy is in the area of music. He has composed thousands of pieces of music. There is one piece that he has dedicated to Hawaii, that he has called “Hawaii”. Would you like to tell us a little bit about your experience with this song?
Sri Chinmoy: A week ago I composed this song. This is my soulful dedication to the soul of Hawaii. I have been deeply moved, inspired and energised by the inner and outer beauty of Hawaii. Here we see two aspects of the divine Reality: power and beauty. Usually we do not see these two mighty attributes together. But here I see both beauty and power. When I look at the mountains I see beauty and power. When I look at the sea I see beauty and power. When I look at nature all around it is all beauty and power. When I look at the individuals who live here I see beauty and power. Beauty and power together have inspired and illumined me here in Hawaii, and the result is this, my most humble and most soulful offering to the soul of Hawaii.
Hawaii, Hawaii, Hawaii O Eastern Sun, O Western Sky, Quality heart, quantity mind Truth seekers, Life lovers in you find.
Now I wish to sing the song.
[The music composed by Sri Chinmoy appears in the Songs section of this issue.]
Interviewer: Thank you very much; it’s lovely. You’ve been listening to spiritual Master Sri Chinmoy singing a song that he composed about a week ago. I love that idea of the beauty and power of Hawaii side by side. A lovely thought, a lovely thought.
One thing I wanted to mention — earlier you were talking about radio. One of the very powerful things that I feel is unique to radio is that radio is a very emotional medium. It is the medium of the heart, whereas television is a visual medium. I think that one of the things that happens with this program, and with other radio programs as well, is that the listener gets a kind of inner feeling about the person who is being interviewed. I think that today the listeners, in addition to hearing what you are saying, have had the opportunity to get a very deep feeling about you. You have been talking about the heart, and I hope that they have been able to feel the bottomless aspect of your heart and of your work. And I want to really commend you for the things you are contributing not only to individual people and seekers, but to the entire planet through the United Nations. We do live on one planet.
Sri Chinmoy: Absolutely true. And we are of one family; therefore, we should be for the one family: mankind. Meditation teaches us the consciousness of oneness, and it is that awareness which unites both Heaven and earth.
Interviewer: It’s almost 10 after 11, and I know that you have another engagement. I would love to have you join us again sometime when you are here. You are certainly most welcome, and this has been thoroughly delightful.
Sri Chinmoy: I wish to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me the golden opportunity to be of real service, dedicated service to many, many sincere seekers here in Hawaii.
[This was the end of the interview with Sri Chinmoy. Following are some comments made on the air by the interviewer and a colleague from the radio station after Sri Chinmoy had left.]
Interviewer: Sri Chinmoy is someone who has the power to do things gently. Sometimes I get the feeling that we do things roughly, you know — hastily and aggressively, because we are afraid to do them gently. We feel that if we whisper, no one will listen to us, so we shout. But not Sri Chinmoy. Sri Chinmoy is the meditation director at the United Nations. He’s one of those who focuses for meditation on the planetary scale. It is quite an experience to be in his presence. When we first started this program I was talking about one of the key aspects of having an inner experience. Sometimes I think that it’s not what we say but what we are that’s most important.
Sri Chinmoy made a couple of points that I would like to reiterate. And perhaps for the balance of the program we can talk about meditation. Sri Chinmoy was pointing out that most of us don’t know who we are, and if we are trying to find out, then we are seekers. If we are constantly seekers, then we will continually find new aspects of ourselves. It was interesting that he does not refer to himself as a spiritual Master, but says he is a seeker and that we are all seekers.
Colleague: What really struck me during the song was that there was a quality in his voice which was really strong. When he speaks he is quiet. But when he was singing, when he sustained notes, it wasn’t loud but there was strength, you could hear his strength in his voice. I could see the man himself, too, and he’s in fantastic physical condition — very good-looking, very secure, totally in control. A very lovely person.
Caller: I think he is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard. I feel he has a tremendous amount to offer to people.
Radio K108, Honolulu, Hawaii, 28 December 1979↩