Question: How can we be patriotic without separating ourselves from other countries?

Sri Chinmoy: I shall live in my own country, in my own home, and you will live in your own home. I will keep my house clean, and if you want to come, I shall welcome you as a divine guest and invite you to stay as long as you want to. I also will expect you to keep your house clean and welcome me when I want to come and visit you.

According to my experience and my capacity, I have built a house. According to your capacity, your talent, your aspiration and your determination, you have also built a house. Now our aspiration, capacity and ability have become one. We will come together, but your home will remain your home and my home will remain my home. While staying in my own home and loving my own home, I shall not criticise or belittle yours. I won’t say that my home is far superior to yours. I will feel that mine is good for me and yours is good for you. When the time comes, you will visit my house and see what it looks like and I will visit yours. This means we shall accept each other and derive benefit from each other’s experience.

When I love my country first, then my real power of love never becomes stagnant; it always runs, runs towards the Source, which is all-pervading. It is like a river flowing towards the sea. If I really love my country, then I will be able to love other countries, because by loving my own country I will learn to know what a country is to its children.

If I really love one thing, then I have the capacity to love something else. If I really love my body, I will some day have the capacity to love my soul or to love my vital or to love some other part of my being. But if I do not have love for myself, then I won’t be able to love anybody. I won’t even love God. Patriotism is a kind of expanding capacity. Today I love my mother, tomorrow I love my father, the day after tomorrow I love my brothers and sisters. Then, when I go to school, I love my teachers. Gradually I learn to love my town, then my province, then my country, then the whole world. But I start by loving one thing which is very close to me. From there my vision increases. From my mother I go to my father, then to my brothers and sisters and so on. But if I don’t love my own country, how will I be able to love somebody else’s country? If I really love my country, then gradually, gradually I will be able to expand my consciousness until finally I love the whole world.

Divine love, true love expands and expands. It has the power of constant expansion. If I really love my country divinely, then I will have a cosmopolitan view; I will love other countries as well. But if I constantly and deliberately try to find fault with my country, then gradually I will try to find fault with my city and with the members of my family, with myself and everything I have. I will find that my nose is not beautiful, my eyes are not beautiful, my hands are not beautiful and so on.

We start by loving something small and gradually we learn to love the whole universe. For a child his mother is the whole universe. Then, as he grows older, gradually his vision expands. That doesn’t mean that he loves his mother less, but inside his mother he learns to see the whole world, little by little. Similarly, inside your country you can see the existence of all other countries. Then, if you love your country, naturally you will also love all the other countries that exist inside the heart of your own country. Inside the divine qualities of your own country you are bound to see the existence of other countries; for anything that is good is vast, anything that is divine is all-pervasive. And since patriotism is good and divine, it is vast, it is infinite, it is all-pervasive.