Mrs. Burke (Chidananda's mother): This is a more personal question. I was wondering, on special occasions like Mother's Day, Father's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, why don't you encourage the disciples to spend the day with their parents? Last Father's Day you had a thirteen-hour meditation, and Chidananda wasn't able to wish his father a happy Father's Day, much less see him.

Sri Chinmoy: I am sorry. You have to forgive me; I am not perfect. For Father's Day I take full blame because we had a special meditation. I thought more of his father's Father than of his father. And his father's Father is God. I didn't tell him to come and worship me or that I am his father; far from it. I told him, "Come, let us worship together, let us go to our one Father who is in Heaven. Let us pray to the real Father from whom all the fathers and mothers have come." So during those thirteen hours we offered gratitude. If that Father had not created you, if He had not created your husband, then how could your son have taken existence? I always say, "Let us go to the Source." So I told your son to go to the Eternal Father from whom the human father and human mother have come.

Now, about Thanksgiving Day, I wish to tell you that I begged the disciples to go and visit their parents. I personally told them, "You have to go to your parents for Thanksgiving Day." It was my sincere request. So some of them did go, some of them did not. Again I am saying that they always think in their own terms of what gives them happiness. In some cases they feel that if they can pray for five minutes longer here, their lives are more meaningful, so they will want to stay here.

If your son came and showed you a sad, depressed face, would you be happy? You would not be happy. You would say, "Who wants you? Go! Go to that Indian." God has given you a heart. Your heart will tell you in unmistakable terms whether your son is happy or not. The human in you will say, "Let him come on Thanksgiving and let him have turkey. One day if he eats meat nobody will mind." But the divine in you will say, "No, if he does not want to eat turkey, for God's sake let him be happy. Let him have plain vegetables and let him be happy in that way." When you think of your oneness with your son, if something gives him joy, then you, being his mother, will be so happy. And the same with the father. If the father becomes one with his son's happiness, he will also be happy. He will say, "All right, he has not gone to steal something, he has not committed a crime. Only he is praying to God to make him a better person."

You will say that it is only once in a blue moon that you ask him to come; it is not a continuous demand that every other day he has to come to visit you. But I wish to say at this point that there are some special days when the students feel that if they pray to God, then they get special joy. Why do you have Christmas, why do you have other religious days? There is special meaning in it. You try to have your sons with you on that day because you feel that they are under obligation and also because you feel that they will get greater joy if they see their parents. But they are wise. They feel that if they can go a little higher with their prayer on this day than on some other day, then they can become happier.

You are trying to give your son happiness according to your own understanding and you are doing absolutely the right thing. You feel that your son will be very happy if he eats a potato. But he says, "No, I would like to have a tomato." Your happiness is in giving him the potato and his happiness is in eating the tomato. So what will you do? But when you see him eating the tomato and giving you the brightest face, beaming with joy, at that time you will not say, "You fool, if you had taken my food you would have been happier!" No, you will immediately forgive him and say, "Oh, I have seen your smiling face; that is more than enough.”

It is only happiness that you want for your son. Lelihan's mother I have known over the years. She has not accepted our path. 'Accepted' is a very bad term. She has not been able to come to our Centre. But in how many ways she helps! The sons have formally accepted our path, but both the sons and the mother have the deepest sympathy and oneness with our path. Outwardly she is a Christian; she finds it difficult to accept us. But inwardly she is constantly pushing her two sons towards our path. And on many occasions her sons have spoken to me in superlative terms about their mother. They tell me that she is one hundred percent for us. A hundred percent for us means a hundred percent for her sons' happiness. When she sees that Lelihan is happy, when she sees that Prabuddha is happy, then she has the whole world.

Happiness is identification with something or someone. So your sons are trying to identify themselves with the Source for happiness. And in their happiness is your happiness. Even if the whole world comes to you, I tell you, you will say, "I don't need the rest of the world; only I need my sons — my sons' happiness."

All the mothers want only one thing from their sons and that is happiness. You don't want them to be millionaires; you don't want them to be something very great. No, no, no, no! If you go deep within you will see that there is only one thing you want: a smiling heart, a smiling face.

I wish to say that I am not binding and your children are not binding; only we are spreading our arms. We are spreading our arms because God and the Universe are so vast. We are only spreading and spreading our arms, but still we find that the Universe is infinite. We feel that the more we spread and the more we become one with the Source, the greater is our joy and fulfilment.