Sri Chinmoy: My mission here in Puerto Rico is to help the sincere seekers in their inner life and help them realise their spiritual perfection. I shall be staying here until August 6th and then I shall leave for New York, where I have another Centre. We have two Centres, one here in Puerto Rico, the other in New York.
Interviewer: Master Chinmoy, is this the first time that you have been in Puerto Rico?
Sri Chinmoy: This is my fourth visit. I was here exactly a year ago, last July. That was my first visit. Then I came here twice after that. So this is my fourth visit.
Interviewer: How many people do you have working at your Centre in Puerto Rico?
Sri Chinmoy: We have here now fifty members, fifty sincere seekers, I must say. And there are many who are connected with the Centre but are unable to come to the meetings owing to family problems and so on.
Interviewer: Are your students well acquainted with philosophy? Are they students of different stages or are they all of the same level?
Sri Chinmoy: They attend the classes, they come to me to receive help and guidance in their self-realisation, but they are not of the same standard. Some of them are very well versed in both Eastern and Western philosophy, while others are not. All of them come to me and meditate with me, and ask me spiritual questions to solve their inner and outer problems. The students range from absolute beginners to the most advanced aspirants.
Interviewer: Well, it is a very broad problem in order to attain to realisation, is it not?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes, it is a lifelong problem. To be accurate, a lifelong process. It depends on the individual. It may even take a few incarnations to achieve realisation.
Interviewer: Master, I understand that in order to reach the height you have now attained, it took you a very long time. I would like you very much to tell me how you felt the inner call, how you started preparing yourself for the spiritual life.
Sri Chinmoy: When I was very young, about a year and a half old, my parents took me to a spiritual place in South India... in Madras State. I was taken to that spiritual Ashram three times more in my early childhood. And when I was twelve years old, I became a permanent member, a spiritual seeker in that Ashram. I stayed there for twenty years, from the age of twelve to the age of thirty-two, practising the spiritual discipline and living the inner life.
Then the Divine within me, the Supreme, commanded me to come to the West. He said, “I want you to be my instrument. I want you to help my sincere, spiritual children in the West. This is your Mission. Go to the West. My spiritual children there are thirsting for the spiritual life. I am in you, with you and for you.”
Interviewer: Master Chinmoy, but... do you not think that the East is more prepared, more inclined to understand the spiritual life and practise it than the West?
Sri Chinmoy: According to my own understanding of the Truth, the West has also abundant possibility to realise God. As the East has ample opportunity, so also has the West. True, formerly the East was more inclined to the inner life and the spiritual life. But now those days are gone. Even in the West there are many sincere seekers who can stand on the same level as the most advanced aspirants in the East. God-realisation is not the sole monopoly of the East. God is Omnipresent. The West also has infinite divine qualities. For example, the West has dynamism and the West is extremely fortunate in giving importance to time. Time is a great factor in the spiritual life. The West knows the value of time, whereas in the East, in the name of Eternal Time, we have become very lazy. We wallow in the pleasure of idleness.
Interviewer: I just wondered, Master Chinmoy, if by creating the high materialistic form of life we have now, whether we have put too many barriers between ourselves and the Divine.
Sri Chinmoy: This is, to some extent, true, but at the same time, in the West, you have been aspiring for material perfection, which will help you hold the Divine most solidly. The Western soil is spiritually fertile. The West can easily and effectively express the Divine through the most advanced material development in the physical world. The East does not have that material development. The sense of material development is absolutely necessary for the East.
Here in the West, your material development need not stand as a barrier. On the contrary, it can be of great advantage. You have both dynamism and material development. Like the East, if the West is ready to accept and feel the Truth that the Divine is not only in Heaven, but here on earth, and if the West cultivates, develops and adds Eastern Silence to its matchless Dynamism and material development, then God’s all-transforming smile will dawn on the West.
Interviewer: Master Chinmoy, in Puerto Rico do you find great spiritual possibility?
Sri Chinmoy: I must say in all sincerity that there is a great possibility for the spiritual life here in Puerto Rico, and many people are practising it. Unfortunately some of them are doing this unconsciously. They are eating something but they do not know what they are actually eating. The Puerto Rican soil is extremely fertile. The seeker in Puerto Rico is spiritually genuine. Hence the spiritual fulfilment in Puerto Rico is inevitable.
Interviewer: And will it be your task and the task of your Centre to make them realise their spiritual Goal?
Sri Chinmoy: That is my sole aim. They are ready, they are fit, and they are able to enter into the inner life. Some of them are actually moving fast across the path of the spiritual life. To my sorrow, there are some who are not aware of their inner aspiration. So I wish to make them conscious of what they are truly doing.
Interviewer: Master Chinmoy, I am curious about the meaning of these three letters which you pronounce, “AUM.”
Sri Chinmoy: AUM is a Sanskrit syllable, or you can say, a complete word. We have, in India, the Trinity: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva — the Creator, Preserver and Transformer. A represents Brahma the Creator, U represents Vishnu the Preserver and M represents Shiva the Transformer. And this AUM is the breath of the Supreme. The Indian sages, seers and yogis of yore chanted this AUM and they got their souls’ illumination and liberation. Even now, most of the seekers in India chant AUM most devotedly. They will have their realisation by chanting AUM, the Power infinite.