Satyen Bose and the biographer1

Once a young man came up to Satyen Bose and said, “Please, please, I want to write your biography.”

Bose replied, “My biography? No, I am not a great man and I will never be a great man. So the answer is no, no, no!”

But the young man persisted: “This is the sign of your greatness. He who is truly great will never declare so to the world. His life is great, but his goodness covers his greatness. In your case, your goodness has far surpassed your greatness. But we want your greatness also to be appreciated, for if people do not show proper admiration for one who is really great, then how can they themselves ever become great? Your goodness is beyond our comprehension, but we treasure your goodness in the depths of our gratitude-hearts.”

“Stop, stop!” Bose cried out. “How am I going to assimilate your Himalayan appreciation? For God’s sake, or at least for my sake, don’t waste your precious time writing my biography. Do something which will be of great help to you and also to Mother India. Otherwise, you will be wasting your time. Besides, I don’t deserve to be honoured in this way.”

The young man interrupted him, “Please, how can anyone judge his own importance in the eyes and hearts of his countrymen? India loves you, Bengal loves you. It will be of great help not only to India but to the entire world if your great and good deeds are captured forever in a biography.”

But Bose just shook his head, “I am not great enough or good enough to have a biography written about me. Please, don’t waste your precious time, my boy. Do something else which will bring glory to Mother India.”

The young man was deeply moved. “Your words have inspired and illumined me, and I shall indeed strive to follow in your footsteps and serve Mother India in a way that will be worthy of your life. But still, I shall cherish the hope that one day you will change your mind and allow me to write your biography, so that others may receive this same unparalleled inspiration and aspiration from your life and work.”


  1. GIM 73. 18 January 1979

Sri Chinmoy, Great Indian meals: divinely delicious and supremely nourishing, part 4.First published by Agni Press in 1979.

This is the 378th book that Sri Chinmoy has written since he came to the West, in 1964.

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by Sri Chinmoy
From the book Great Indian meals: divinely delicious and supremely nourishing, part 4, made available to share under a Creative Commons license

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