Mr. Masur: I am still embarrassed to hear my name as a type of laureate or as somebody who is greater than others. But when I was listening to these songs, I heard something very simple and it made me happy. Somebody told me just two days ago, “You have to enjoy the fans.” I replied, “I enjoy people understanding what I mean. I don’t enjoy fans.” The reason is that inside I am still the same as I was when I was a boy. I can go on stage and be brave enough to make music. But if I am among people, I am still very shy, and I am not used to being surrounded by crowds of people. I can answer questions because I have learned to face interviews. I am able to open up and tell them what I really think, without hiding something. I learned as a child to overcome that kind of shyness.
When I was young, I wanted to be a pianist or an organist. In that case, I would have been alone with my instrument, with nobody in between. Then I had a difficulty with my finger, on the right hand, and this forced me to make another choice.
I conducted my first symphony concert at the age of 16, quite a late age. I immediately felt: “This is what you should do, what you hope you can do.” And everybody smiled at me because I was so shy and I couldn’t talk to people without saying “excuse me” before expressing myself. Then I discovered that if I wanted to be a conductor, I would have to overcome this fear. But my nature is more withdrawn inside myself.
Sri Chinmoy: The giver and the receiver must go together. Your fans are the receivers. They receive from you what you give, the way we receive from a flower, let us say a rose. A rose has both beauty and fragrance. Somebody comes into the garden to appreciate the beauty and the fragrance of the rose. Just because there is someone to appreciate these things, the rose feels its worth; it feels that it exists to give joy. And, while receiving joy from the rose, that person also feels complete. In your case, when you conduct before thousands of people, their appreciation brings to the fore your own divine qualities which are perhaps still dormant. While they are appreciating the music, they are bringing to the fore more of your inner fragrance. Sometimes we use a wrong term — ‘flatterers.’ Of course, there are flatterers as well. But I am speaking about those who deeply appreciate and admire your good and divine qualities. By appreciating your divine qualities, they bring to the fore and increase their own good qualities.
Let us think of God for a moment. God is infinite Compassion, infinite Love and infinite Forgiveness. When we think of God, immediately we think of these divine qualities of His. When we think of God’s Compassion, Love and Forgiveness, we develop these same qualities in our own day-to-day life. Similarly, when the audience appreciates you and sees the good, divine, illumining and fulfilling qualities in you, they themselves are growing into or achieving those divine qualities.