Joel Martin: Westerners sometimes have difficulty with some of the Indian concepts — for example, a spiritual Master or Guru. So perhaps the divisions between East and West are very evident.

Sri Chinmoy: In my case, my students do not have any difficulty, precisely because I tell them that the real Master is God Himself. I am only His representative for those who have accepted our path. The real Master, the real Guru, the real Teacher, is God Himself. For my students, my disciples, I happen to be an older brother. Just because I am their elder brother, I know a little more than they do. I know where the Father is and what the Father is doing. So I tell my younger brothers and sisters, “Come, I shall show you where the Father is.” Once I have shown them, once they can go and talk to the Father, then my role is over.

The eldest member in the family is expected to know more about the Father in the beginning. When he brings the younger ones to the Father, who is their Father as well as his, then his role is over. I never claim to be the Father. I am the friend, the elder brother. It is my bounden duty to serve the Supreme in my disciples, to serve the Father in them and to help them to approach the Father.