Interview — 14 July 19951

Sri Chinmoy: I am very, very, very fortunate that I was able to meet with Mother Teresa last year. From my personal feeling I can say that she is both the Mother of compassion and the Sister of affection. When I look at her heart, I see that it is all compassion. When I look at her eyes, I see that they are all affection. She herself is the embodiment of both affection and compassion; these divine qualities inundate her inner being. I have the highest admiration and deepest, deepest love for her. If we had more Mother Teresas on earth, this world of ours would definitely be a world of compassion and a world of oneness.

It is because of her compassion that she accepts donations from people. For her, the one who has money is a brother, and the one who needs money is also a brother. Between the two brothers she is trying to establish the message of oneness. She sees that someone is in need and that someone else has more than he needs. So she begs and pleads with the person who has more than he needs: “Please give to me, so that I can give to our common brother, who desperately needs something.” She is begging both sides. She is begging the person who has to give and also she is begging the person who does not have to take. Some people are ready to die in the street rather than take help from others. They have lost their wisdom or ordinary intelligence. So she has to beg them, “Please allow me to treat you. Please allow me to serve you.” To me, Mother Teresa is a living saint.

Question: You and Mother Teresa live lives of service. You are seen as exceptional people and sometimes put on a pedestal. What would you say to people who feel that they are inadequate in trying to follow in your footsteps?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, I beg to be excused. I do not dare to be placed on the same footing as Mother Teresa. Her life of service is far, far beyond my imagination’s flight. But if I may answer your question in a general way, then I wish to say that there is no such thing as adequacy or inadequacy. In a family there are two sisters; one is younger and one is older. The older sister has learned a few more things from her parents than the younger one because she was born first. The little sister is studying the ABCs, let us say, whereas the older sister is studying for her Master’s degree. The little sister will speak in her own way and her English may be faulty, but the older sister does not mind. All her affection she will shower upon the little one because she feels her oneness with her. And because the little sister feels her oneness with the older sister, she identifies with her older sister’s wisdom and claims it as her very own.

Similarly, if someone such as Mother Teresa knows a little more about spirituality, self-giving and the inner realities, then it is her bounden duty to share her knowledge with others. She has to feel like the older sister sharing her wisdom with her younger sister. At that time, why should the younger one feel inadequate? Each individual in this sense is unique. Someone can brag that his own good qualities are more important than somebody else’s. But if we want to be spiritual and establish our oneness with others, we will just offer our own good qualities to them and claim their good qualities as our own. The little sister is offering the older sister her sweet smile, and the older sister is offering her wisdom. In giving each other what they have, they are establishing their oneness with one another. It is like a flower and its fragrance; they are inseparable. Because of their oneness, the little sister’s good qualities and the older sister’s good qualities will always go together, for they are part and parcel of the same human family.


  1. MT 96. On 15 July 1995, Mr. John Cairns and Ms. Nix Picasso, the two researchers who had collaborated with Mother Teresa on her book, 'A Simple Path', interviewed Sri Chinmoy after one of his lunchtime meditation meetings at the United Nations and asked him to offer his reflections on Mother Teresa.