Muhammad Ali [to Kanti, President of the Sri Chinmoy Centre in San Juan]: How many sisters and brothers do you all have here like yourself?
Kanti: We have about seventy disciples in Puerto Rico.
Muhammad Ali: Oh, and do you continually try to convert and teach the people?
Sri Chinmoy: In our case we do not try to convert anybody. We try to offer our service, if people are interested, as you do. You offer your love to mankind and those who need your love and light come to you and receive. But we don’t try to convert, as they do in Christianity. We don’t say that if you don’t follow our path, you will never get God-Realisation. We would never say that.
Kanti: We have our meditations on Wednesdays and Sundays and we are open to anybody who is interested. We let people know that we are there, that we are meditating, and they come and join us if they are interested.
Sri Chinmoy: I shall be deeply honoured if both of you will come once to the United Nations when I hold meditations.
Herbert Muhammad: I will be very glad. I will give you our number and you can contact us. We would be very honoured to be at your meditation.
Sri Chinmoy: I have the deepest admiration for your father. In the book I read his writings, and they are full of such inner wisdom.
Herbert Muhammad: Yes, my father was a man who dedicated himself with love and compassion to the underprivileged people, the people that were in spiritual darkness. He had a unique way of awakening them, of getting their attention. He didn’t fully awaken them but he got their attention. See, this is the thing. We were so asleep, we were so dead, and here’s somebody who knows how to wake us up gradually. Now he says that we are like babies still but we are growing into adults. He said physically you look like a man, but if you could only see your spiritual self, your spiritual body is still crawling like a baby. It hasn’t been nourished yet; you need to have it nourished. So this is his way. This is his thinking, that we must grow spiritually as well as physically. And we must not give ourselves to emotionalism. We have been trained to get involved in emotionalism and that’s wrong. He says you must learn to understand God’s true Light and Reality, not just get a feeling of good. You go to the church and hear the preacher, and he gets you all excited and everything. Then you come out and someone asks, “What did he preach?” And you say, “I don’t know, but he sure talks good.” That’s wrong. My father taught us to try to learn how to have understanding and open our hearts to each other. I should look at you as a creature of God. No one has created you but God; I cannot reproduce you. You are the property of God, so I should treat you as God’s property. It is just like a son of Muhammad Ali. I’ll treat him very nice because he is Muhammad Ali’s boy, regardless of whether he is a bad boy or what. We should realise that all of us are creatures of God, and we should treat everyone well regardless of what he is. We shouldn’t mistreat anyone. In my father’s teachings, every time he closed the meeting, he would tell them, when you go out of here, do nothing to anyone that you wouldn’t do to yourself. Regardless of who he is, treat everybody right. Don’t take advantage of anyone. If you cannot give, do not take.
Muhammad Ali: In one of his books Hazrat said when we mistreat and harm others, we are certainly mistreating the Artist who created them.
Herbert Muhammad: That’s right. If we could realise this, it wouldn’t be difficult to feel the presence of God everywhere.
Sri Chinmoy: Absolutely true.
Herbert Muhammad: That’s exactly what I am saying, but just in different words. Hazrat is a master, a poet, a well-known philosopher. He knows how to speak. He was the master of the language.
Muhammad Ali: How does this one sound. He says: “Service to others is the rent we pay for our room here on earth.”
Sri Chinmoy: Most significant.
Muhammad Ali: Then he has one that says: “The truly great men of history never wanted to be great nor did they consider themselves great; all they wanted was the chance to be closer to God, the only great one Himself.”
Sri Chinmoy: Absolutely.