Conversation — part IV

Muhammad Ali: Where were you born, Brother?

Sri Chinmoy: I was born in Bengal, India.

Muhammad Ali: How long have you been in this country?

Sri Chinmoy: I have been here for thirteen years. For thirteen years I have been doing the same thing: praying, meditating and trying to be of service to the Supreme, Allah.

Muhammad Ali: Right!

Sri Chinmoy: As your goal, your aim, is to love mankind, even so our aim is to do the same thing.

Muhammad Ali: It’s just a shame, Brother, that great men like Hazrat Inayat Khan are popular only in the hearts of those who love God. No, it is the same thing with your spirit and the things that you are doing. When we walk the streets, we rarely can find people who think like this. There are so many people against this way of thinking. They don’t like it or they don’t follow it, or they are so sinful and so wrapped up with the world and the spirits of the world that they don’t seem to really understand the value of what we’re talking about. It seems like in every ten thousand people you might meet, one will feel like we do. I know it isn’t important as far as we’re concerned, but when will we start seeing more people that think like us? When will people start practising what they are preaching — not just preach, but start to really live it?

There have always been religious men like Jesus and Moses and Mohammed, and they have always been in the minority. Do you think in our lifetime we’ll ever see a great change in the masses of the people? Billy Graham has converts, and Reverend Ike, and, say, yourself. But when you walk the streets, you can’t find these people. They are so few; they are so scattered. You understand? My joy would be to see the masses in this country or whatever country start getting influenced and recognising a man like yourself and recognising the things that you are saying, and really getting behind you. Do you understand what I’m saying?

Jeremiah: Right now, it looks like evil outweighs good.

Muhammad Ali: That’s what I mean, yeah.

Sri Chinmoy: You are so right, Brother. We say that the hour before dawn is the darkest. You mentioned right now about evil. Before dawn it is all dark, and sometimes it is the darkest, thickest night; but then the dawn breaks. We are hoping that the dawn will soon break.

Muhammad Ali (speaking to Jeremiah): He is a pious and a good man; you can see it and feel it. I can see it, you can see it, but the ordinary American will look at him like he’s crazy. They think he’s off, but they’re the ones that are off. They feel sorry for him, or they don’t know what he is doing, or they think he’s too far out. They are so off, so wrong.

Sri Chinmoy: I am so grateful to you, Brother. Here we are talking, but really it is our hearts that are talking — our heart of oneness. We are of the One, we are for the One. There is one Supreme, the great God Allah, and we are all His children. He is the Flower and we are the petals. When we blossom, the Flower becomes very beautiful. He is our Source; He is all-Beauty. Only when we blossom properly can we appreciate our Source.

Muhammad Ali: You’re beautiful.

Sri Chinmoy: You have so much inner wisdom, Brother. The world will always appreciate this infinite treasure that you embody. You are embodying this infinite wisdom, and I am sure you will offer it to mankind. As soon as you speak, thousands and millions of people hear. Allah is being revealed through your heart. Your very presence inspires people, and millions of people listen when you speak. And this is what Allah wants.

Muhammad Ali: Yes, that’s what I want to do. That is what I want to live for. Brother, you’re keeping me in good spirits. I got my physical worked on; now I am getting my spiritual worked on, and then I’ll be ready.

Sri Chinmoy: Are the singers here?

Disciple: The elevator is small, so they are only bringing a few at a time.

Muhammad Ali: I’ll meet them as they come up. (Shaking hands) Hello, kindly be seated. How many do we have?

Sri Chinmoy: A few more are coming. They are all from the United Nations Meditation Group. They will be singing.

Muhammad Ali: Your dresses are pretty. I love those dresses. I divorced a girl once because she wouldn’t wear those dresses. You look so clean and …

Sri Chinmoy: These dresses immediately bring forward their purity, serenity and divinity.

Muhammad Ali: That’s right. How many people in this country, roughly, do you estimate follow your ideals and this way of life? Do you have any figure?

Sri Chinmoy: About seven hundred.

Muhammad Ali: Seven hundred. (To singers) I don’t want trouble out of you. I’m shaking hands today.

Sri Chinmoy: These are the main singers. (They sing the Muhammad Ali song.)

Muhammad Ali: That’s beautiful. That’s the Beauty of Allah Himself bestowed upon me. I’ve never heard nothing like that in my life. Thank you so much. It was so beautiful.

(Then Sri Chinmoy and Muhammad Ali meditate together in silence for about a half hour, standing side by side. Towards the end Muhammad Ali begins quietly chanting Allah’s name.)