Part II

CSC 2-8. On 5 May 2005, Sri Chinmoy answered a series of written questions submitted by Joop Koopman, Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of gest Catholic Digest (published in Holland). Sri Chinmoy met with Mr. Koopman and offered him the "Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart" award the following day.

Joop Koopman: Sri Chinmoy, you had important friendships and spent significant moments with Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. You are effusive in your praise of them, depicting them as wonderful, powerful and colourful beings. In the East, the celebration and appreciation of holy men and women is the norm. The charisma of leaders is experienced as real and palpable. The mainstream of Judaism and Christianity is more cerebral. We think of our leaders as good people, but not necessarily as living saints whose very touch or glance can heal. Can you please describe John Paul II and Mother Teresa in this regard?

Sri Chinmoy: Let me start with the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. The Holy Father was for all religions. He was not confined to Christianity. That is why it was possible for me to receive from him unbounded compassion, affection and encouragement. I had the golden opportunity in this lifetime to be blessed by him six times. Each time I was in his presence, I did feel many of his divine qualities, qualities which are very rarely found in other individuals.

The Holy Father was at once a friend to some, a father to some and a grandfather to still others. As a friend, he wanted people to understand the real meaning of life. The real meaning of life is compassion, concern and sympathy.

As a father, he was strict with those who are wanting in morality, those who are not abiding by the laws of truth, plus those who are hungry for power and supremacy. Pope John Paul II warned his spiritual children that if they do not have concern for mankind, there will be a very serious crisis. The standard of mankind, instead of going up, will descend and descend into an abysmal abyss.

As a grandfather, he was all affection and, to some extent, indulgence to human beings. He felt that human beings are by nature weak. If he became strict with them, it might do more harm than good. He felt the necessity of going very slowly with those human beings who are already very weak. His concern for them was unbounded, and he felt that a little bit of indulgence would eventually awaken them to the Light. Once they are in Light, they will not deliberately enter into the thick darkness of ignorance.

To the Holy Father, I offer my heart's infinite and infinite gratitude. Each time I met with him, a new experience I had. In the evening of his life, while he was quite frail and his hands were shaking, he most affectionately touched my arm and blessed me with utmost compassion.

Unlike other popes, he was both practical in the activities of the outer world and also a visionary of the most sublime height in the inner world. His inner vision and outer action most gloriously complemented each other.

Mother Teresa was not only for the poor and the needy; she was for the entire humanity. She was her bleeding heart for the helpless and the hopeless world. She was her sacrificing life to save others' lives. Her life-boat plied between the compassion-shore and the concern-shore. Fear was not born when she saw the light of day.

Faith in the Saviour Jesus Christ she had in infinite measure.

To me, she was this moment a real mother and the next moment a real sister. As a mother, she blessed me with her blessingful eyes. As a sister, she loved me with her compassionate heart.

Again, Mother Teresa was encouragement incarnate. Not once, not twice, but thrice she asked me to accompany her to China. It was her fervent wish to do something great and good for China and the Chinese people. But, alas, her desire was not granted. Heaven summoned her before her desire could be fulfilled.

Recently I spent practically three months in China, remembering many, many times her blessingful request to accompany her there.

Mother Teresa: a daring soul, an all-loving soul and an all-sacrificing soul. The world desperately needs many more God-chosen servants like Mother Teresa to change the face and fate of the world.