Interviewer: You have written a number of books, and after reading what you have written, it seems to me that peace, the inner peace, is the thing that is the result of all this. I am very interested to see that you emphasise that to get this peace is not a matter of departing from the life of work and retreating into the Himalayan caves or sitting on snow-capped mountains, but that it can be achieved here on earth in the hustle and bustle of life. Can I move from you, Master, for just a moment, to one of your disciples?

What has this really meant to you as a human being? Has it obviously enriched your life very much over the past years?

Ms Siegerman: Sri Chinmoy has given me my source. In him I have seen a being who embodies the divine Consciousness, and this has inspired my whole life. It tells me to follow his teachings and to make within myself some reflection of what I see in him. I see a great soul full of majesty and inner divinity.

He has touched my soul, has given me my own inner existence, so that the outer world which I had been involved in before is now flowering with a new significance because it is impelled and activated by my inner life. That is to say, my whole existence has a purpose and a meaning because in touching my own soul I have seen a link between my own soul and the Supreme.

So my outer life has meaning and purpose now. And the activities of the Sri Chinmoy Centres are all done with the purpose of putting us into a higher consciousness so that everything we do, everything we involve ourselves in, is something good, something progressive and something of a higher consciousness. In Sri Chinmoy I see the most perfect spiritual Master, because in him I found a perfect balance of acceptance of the world and God-realisation.

Interviewer: You are not retreating from the world? This isn’t sort of a retreat; this isn’t sort of getting away from it all?

Ms Siegerman: It's not an isolated community at all. We are involved completely in the outside world. Sri Chinmoy's disciples are in every kind of occupation. There are students, nurses, secretaries, businessmen, teachers, musicians, artists. Our lives in the Centres are full of very normal activities. We have dramas, choirs, sports, music, jokes. We are like a community that wants to operate in every field from a yogic consciousness, from the Consciousness of the Supreme.

Interviewer: I know that there is a Centre in London. And Mary Plumbly 2 here, comes from London. You run the London Centre?

Mrs Plumbly: Yes, I do.

Interviewer: How long have you been with Sri Chinmoy?

Mrs Plumbly: It will be five years in October, on 14 October.

Interviewer: What did meeting Sri Chinmoy mean to you?

Mrs Plumbly: Longing to meet Sri Chinmoy and being able to become his student have given purpose to my life, given it some real meaning and depth which it didn't have before. I was looking for something which I didn't have, and now I have got it.

Interviewer: If I had known you ten years ago, and then I hadn't met you for ten years and I met you now, do you think that I would have seen a great difference?

Mrs Plumbly: Oh yes, I think so.

Interviewer: Peter Orsell also belongs to the London Centre. Peter, what has this meant to you in your life?

Mr Orsell: When I first saw Sri Chinmoy, I was feeling at that time a sense of frustration with the world around me. But now I feel a sense of expansion and progression towards the higher life which is deep inside myself. I feel a true sense of progression in my inner life, and I feel different in the outer life also. Before I met Sri Chinmoy, I felt very inadequate to deal with the world. Now I am starting to feel a sense of oneness in my own way. I feel more peace; I can accept peace much more now. I can accept the world more.

Interviewer: Were you a Christian?

Mr Orsell: I never had any religious faith.

Interviewer: What about you?

Ms Siegerman: I was from a Jewish background, a Russian Jewish family. But when I graduated from college, I went to India because I had become very interested in Oriental philosophy and I was searching for the source of that philosophy in India. I wanted to transcend the background I had been brought up in, because I had a great leaning towards the Orient.

Mrs Plumbly: I was brought up in a Christian background and I had a complete education. I found it very helpful to have a Christian background.

Interviewer: But you're not a Christian now?

Mrs Plumbly: Oh, yes. Although I don’t attend any church, I couldn’t say I’m not a Christian now. I haven’t accepted any other religion and Sri Chinmoy’s teachings easily embrace Christianity. Spirituality doesn’t really reject anything one truly believes in. I’ve learned to understand Christianity more than I ever did before.

Interviewer: Maybe the spiritual life is missing in Christianity today?

Mrs Plumbly: Unfortunately, I think a lot of it has become just paying lip service to something people don't really understand. In the spiritual life, we are trying to live what we believe. That is something, I think, that the majority of Christians do not sincerely try to do.

99,8. Mrs Mary Plumbly’s spiritual name is Sushumna. Her daughter, Swarnodaya, was one of the first British disciples of Sri Chinmoy, having joined the Sri Chinmoy Centre in New York. Her mother Sushumna joined shortly after, and later became the first London Centre leader.