Question: How can we be patriotic without separating ourselves from other countries?

Sri Chinmoy: According to my experience and my capacity, I have built a house. According to your capacity, your talent, your aspiration and your determination, you also have built a house. Let us take each house as our own beloved country. I shall not criticise or belittle your home. I will not say that mine is far superior to yours. I will feel that mine is good for me and yours is good for you. I will keep my house clean, and if you want to come, I shall welcome you as a divine guest and invite you to stay as long as you want to. I also will expect you to keep your house clean and welcome me when I want to visit you. This means we shall accept each other and derive benefit from each other's experience. At that time our aspiration, capacity and ability will come together; but your home will remain your home and my home will remain my home.

If we really love something, it means that we also have the capacity to love something else. Love is a kind of expanding capacity. Today I love my mother and my father, the day after tomorrow I love my brothers and sisters. Then, when I go to school, I love my teachers. Gradually, I learn to love my town, then my province, then my country, then the whole world. But I start by loving one thing that is very close to me, and from there my vision expands until finally I love the whole world. So if I do not start off with patriotism, if I do not start out by loving my own country, how will I be able to love somebody else's country? If I constantly and deliberately find fault with my country, then gradually I will find fault with my city and with the members of my family, with myself and with everything I have and am. I will find that my nose is not beautiful, my eyes are not beautiful, my hands are not beautiful and so on.

When I love my country first, my love-power never becomes stagnant; it is always running towards the Source like a river flowing towards the sea. And, if I really love my country, then I will be able to love other countries, because by loving my own country I will come to learn what a country means to its citizens.

For a child, his mother is the whole universe. Then, as he grows older, gradually his vision increases. That does not mean that he loves his mother less, but inside his mother, little by little, he learns to see the whole world. Similarly, inside the heart of your country you can see the existence of all other countries. Inside the divine qualities of your own country you come to see the divine qualities of other countries. For anything that is good is vast; anything that is divine is all-pervasive.