Indian philosophySri Chinmoy: I have studied our Indian philosophy thoroughly — the Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita and all the other major sacred books. On the basis of these teachings and also my own inner awakening, I have been offering my soulful services in many parts of the world over the past 28 years. Also I have been serving at the United Nations for the last 22 years. Every Tuesday and Friday I go there to pray and meditate, and the delegates, diplomats and staff who are interested in praying and meditating come and join me.
Mr. Menuhin: Through this meditating and singing and through your wonderful talks, do your students acquire an attitude about contemporary life and what is happening in the world?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes, our way is not the way of renunciation. Our way is the way of acceptance. We have accepted the world as such and we are trying to better it through our prayers and meditations. We do not reject or shun the world, far from it! We accept the world as it is with the hope that we can be of service to improve the world and help it to have a better consciousness.
Mr. Menuhin: The only way I know, the best way, is to improve ourselves.
Sri Chinmoy: Definitely. We all belong to the same life-tree. Some are leaves, others are flowers and others are fruits. But we belong to the same life-tree. When we pray and meditate soulfully, we consciously feel our inseparable oneness with the world.
Mr. Menuhin: And you've probably found it most effective not to join pressure groups or to express opinions that will create enemies.
Sri Chinmoy: Only we try to establish our brotherhood. We do not believe in superiority and inferiority. It is universality that we want: I belong to you; you belong to me. We are one. We always sing the song of oneness. We do not believe in separativity. We believe in unity.
Mr. Menuhin: I think that is the best way.
(Sri Chinmoy sings, accompanying himself on the harmonium.)
Mr. Menuhin: Very, very sweet.
Sri Chinmoy: "I have never resigned myself." This is your most powerful message. Please forgive my audacity for setting tune to your words.
Mr. Menuhin: It's extraordinary the way you put the words to the music. The act of making the music is a meditation on the subject, which is not necessarily passive.
Sri Chinmoy: When we meditate on that subject, we feel that we get its full significance; we derive the utmost blessingful message from the utterance.
Mr. Menuhin: It probably also means that you can keep your balance of mind even under situations that would, without your training, create a violent reaction. Have you all overcome the impulse to react violently to evil? Do you ever lose that serenity?
Sri Chinmoy: Occasionally, for a fleeting moment, but we do not resort to physical violence. Only sometimes, as human beings, we are subject to weaknesses-anger, insecurity, jealousy and so forth. But because we pray and meditate, we feel that we are diminishing those lower qualities or propensities. That is why we practise yoga, as you also do. You know it has helped you immensely to create serenity in your mind.
Mr. Menuhin: I am sure this is an extraordinary discipline. It is a wonderful, wonderful thing to be able to get over the normal reaction to situations. However, I trust you and believe you and admire you. And I would forgive you a thousand times if, in spite of this, once in a while you did get angry. I know myself, I am not inured against that reaction. Sometimes I can get very upset.
Sri Chinmoy: But in the depth of your heart you do not mean it. A student of yours has misbehaved, let us say, and you are furious, but in the depth of your heart you are calm. It is like the bottom of the ocean. The bottom of the ocean is calm and quiet, but on the surface the waves are surging.
Mr. Menuhin: At this moment, if you offered me a choice, I'd rather be on the surface.
Sri Chinmoy: That means you want things to be done. In that case, sometimes it is necessary to show anger. If you only speak to your students kindly and compassionately, it may do no good. But if you show your tempestuous anger, then you will be able to achieve your objective in the twinkling of an eye. If you want something to be done, if you want your students to become better musicians, sometimes you have no choice but to resort to anger.
Mr. Menuhin: My mother is like that. She is 96 years old. She could control her anger and direct it so that it had the proper effect. But it was absolutely controlled and she remained relatively calm inside. However, I'm not like that. I can't pretend that I get angry only to bring out the best in other people. I sometimes get angry just because I get angry.
Sri Chinmoy: You are angry because you want something to be done. You want perfection in the other person's life, and you feel that showing anger is the only way you can create perfection in that individual. Otherwise, by nature you are calm and compassionate. Your whole life is full of compassion. Anger is something foreign that enters into you. A foreigner comes and stays for a few seconds.