How Many Instruments Do You PlayBeth Day Romulo: How many instruments do you play?
Sri Chinmoy: I am a jack of all trades and master of none! I have not studied with any teacher; my only teacher in everything is God, my Inner Pilot. Out of His infinite Bounty He has placed me in His Golden Boat, and at His choice Hour He will take me to the Golden Shore, which is our goal. I play usually between 20 and 25 instruments when I give a major concert.
Beth Day Romulo: A whole orchestra!
Sri Chinmoy: If it is a large audience, then I play many instruments. Otherwise, I play 10 or twelve instruments. But for amusement and entertainment, I practise on 50 or 60 instruments. Altogether I have about 115 instruments from all over the world.
Five or six years ago I played about 100 instruments at a concert in the Swiss Alps. Last month, on the 5th of December, I played 107 instruments at a concert for my students in New York. They were praying and meditating while I was playing. I also prayed and meditated while playing.
So from 100 I have gone to 107. I believe in progress. Ours is the philosophy of self-transcendence. We do not compete with anybody; we compete only with ourselves. When we compete with others, we are bound to feel miserable, for no matter how good we are, there will always be somebody who can smash our pride and defeat us. If we try to live in the success-world, we are bound to be frustrated. But if we live in the world of progress, then we are always happy because we are all the time increasing our capacity and going forward.
When I started lifting weights, I could only lift 40 pounds. I was not competing with anybody. But gradually, gradually I increased my capacity until I could lift over 7,000 pounds. When I started lifting up human beings with one arm, I started with one individual. Now, over the course of a few years I have lifted over 1,900 different people.
I don't need others to doubt my capacities. When I live in the mind, I am the first person to doubt myself. My own mind doubts all the things that I have done. Although I am not a weightlifter, I have lifted up an elephant, a boat, a truck and many, many things. Although I am not an artist, I have completed over 140,000 paintings. It was all God's Grace. I have lifted my student here, Adhiratha, with one hand. If I use my mind, immediately I will call it impossible. My mind will say, "He is so heavy, so tall!" But my heart will say that easily I can lift him on the strength of my love for him and my oneness with him. If I use my heart-power, I do not feel that he is heavy at all.
Beth Day Romulo: Do you practise any sort of daily regimen to keep in condition?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes, for a minimum of two and a half hours a day! First I take exercise. Then I run, lift weights and play tennis. Here I am unable to play tennis, but in New York I play tennis for an hour every day with my students. At least two or three hours a day I practise sports. Then I do mental work — writing, dictating and so on. Since we have come to the Philippines, I have already written 15 books and also I have drawn quite a few thousand birds. I am very fond of drawing birds. Birds signify the soul. A bird flying in the sky reminds us of our inner freedom. I have two more books to go and then I will have completed 900 books in English. I will finish these two books in a day or two. I have decided to dedicate my 900th book to President Gorbachev. I have already written two or three books about him.
Beth Day Romulo: Do you write in long hand?
Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes I write in long hand, but most of the time I dictate.
Beth Day Romulo: Do you carry paints, crayons and other art supplies with you?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I use acrylics in my paintings. There will be an exhibit of my paintings in Cebu City. We have brought a few hundred of my paintings from New York.
Beth Day Romulo: Are they abstract?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes, most of them are abstract. When I paint, I see a streak of light and I follow that streak of light very faithfully. Art is not my forte. When I started painting, I did not dislike it; I just did not have any particular interest in the subject. But who am I? My Inner Pilot inspired me and I just obeyed His command.
There are many, many things that I have done because I have been inspired from deep within. In no way had I ever thought of doing these things. I just try to be receptive to God's Will and, according to the power of my receptivity, He acts in and through me. So I can't take any credit for what people see in me. His Grace descends and I try to be a humble instrument of His.