Part IIIHDW 5-10. These questions were answered by Sri Chinmoy on 29 December 2003 at the Sheraton Mustika hotel in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, during the disciples' annual Christmas Trip with their Master.
Question: When I want to pray for a certain divine quality, I do not know any way to do it other than by repeating the name of the quality over and over again. Does the English word for the quality have any power to bring forward that quality?Sri Chinmoy: When I think of Keats' poem that begins, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever," for me it is like a mantra. You have only to repeat the line soulfully. There are many, many English phrases like this. And Sri Chinmoy has given not hundreds, but thousands and thousands of mantras in his writings! It is only your feeling when you utter the word that matters. For me there is no difference if I say 'purity, purity', or if I say the words "pavitrata' or "pavita'. I tell you, if I say soulfully 'purity,' it is enough. I do not have to search for a Bengali word or a Sanskrit word in order to get a mantric utterance.
We Indians are only rogues if we beat our drums and say we alone have the mantras and only if you repeat the Gayatri mantra will you get illumination. What about the Christian saints who have also got illumination? Did they know the Gayatri mantra, Asato ma sad gamaya and all the other Sanskrit mantras? No! It is how devotedly you say the mantra that matters. English words definitely have mantric qualities. We only fool the world if we say that only if you learn Sanskrit and utter the Sanskrit mantras will you be illumined. Why do you have to learn Sanskrit? If God gave you English as your mother tongue, do you have to learn Sanskrit to get joy? Out of a million Sanskrit pundits, perhaps one will get illumination; whereas a person who does not know a word of Sanskrit but is soulfully saying the words — even if the pronunciation is wrong, everything is wrong — may get illumination. It is the soulfulness of the individual that counts.
Whichever quality you need — courage or purity or faith you can just repeat the English word, if you cannot formulate a line. Only repeat the word. What else is a mantra? It is a matter of repetition, repetition. Mantras can be one single word, two words or three words, or one line or two lines. But your soulfulness is of paramount importance. If you have soulfulness inside you, then you will have a perfect mantric utterance.
Never, never think that you have to learn Sanskrit — the Vedas, the Upanishads and all those works. My brother was a Sanskrit scholar, a real scholar. But am I a scholar? Far from it! My brother repeated the mantras from the Upanishads and the Vedas millions and billions of times. In my case, I know fewer than fifty Sanskrit mantras, but I have realised God.
It is only how devotedly one repeats a mantra that counts. If you use English words, if you say 'purity' or 'courage' or 'faith' soulfully, does God not know English? Does God know only Sanskrit? Do not think that God knows only Sanskrit and English is foreign to Him! God gave you English as your mother tongue. He gave you birth in an English-speaking country and you should use that tongue soulfully, soulfully, soulfully.
When a child cries, is his Bengali or English correct? When a baby cries, the mother understands what the baby wants and she comes running. The child is so sincere in his cry. He desperately needs something from the mother — candy or milk or something else. If we repeat a word with the same soulful sincerity, we will definitely get the most satisfactory result. Again, soulfulness has to be there; sincerity has to be there. Otherwise, we will only say the word like a parrot.
To people who do not know Sanskrit, a Sanskrit scholar may say, "You should practise Asato ma and all the early-morning sunrise mantras." But if Sanskrit were the only language for mantras, then God should have created only India and no other countries! In that case, in God's entire Creation only the Indian subcontinent should exist and other countries and continents would not have to exist since Sanskrit mantras are not available in those countries. That is absurd!