Interview for the _Miami Herald_2

Rick Ratliff: How did the meditation feel for you tonight? What did you feel from your audience?

Sri Chinmoy: I felt receptivity. Each individual has receptivity, and according to his receptivity each has received peace, light and bliss, which by God’s infinite Grace I brought down.

Rick Ratliff: In what way does it help in a meditation for you to face the audience?

Sri Chinmoy: When I face the audience, I devotedly become an instrument of the divinity that is within each individual. I do not act like a teacher or preacher, but I become absolutely one with the inner cry of those who are in front of me. The inner cry is for peace, light and bliss, whereas the outer cry is for name, fame and material possessions.

Rick Ratliff: When you participate in the meditation sessions at the United Nations, do you receive a different feeling from the audience?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, because those at the United Nations have been trained. Many of the members of the United Nations Meditation Group have been meditating with me for the last six years; therefore, they are experienced. Naturally, there will be a great difference when we meditate with experienced seekers, and with beginners. Today there were quite a few here who were absolute beginners.

Rick Ratliff: In a situation in which there are a number of beginners in an audience, can you be sure they are all meditating?

Sri Chinmoy: They are all like the members of a large family. In a large family there will be small children and there will be mature members, adults. The mother feeds the small children with one kind of food and she feeds the older children and adults with a different kind of food. Each person eats according to his capacity and his necessity. When I meditate with a large group like this, those who are advanced receive from me abundant peace, light and bliss. Those who are beginners get only an iota of peace, light and bliss because their inner hunger is not as powerful and their receptivity is not as vast as in those who are spiritually advanced. But just because they do have the hunger, they will definitely get something to eat according to their standard, like the small child in the family. When we are hungry, we go to the kitchen or to a restaurant to eat; but if we are not hungry, we do not go anywhere to eat. If they had not had any inner hunger at all, they would not have come here.

Rick Ratliff: Recent trends in the West indicate that a great number of people seem to feel spiritual hunger, and many have turned to the traditions of the East. In the past few years there have been a great many persons who have been declared spiritual Masters and so forth. Are all of these people true Masters?

Sri Chinmoy: That is up to the individual to judge. If an individual goes to a teacher himself, only then will he be able to judge whether the teacher is real or not. If he has never gone to see any teachers, he will have to depend entirely on the opinions of those who have visited the Masters themselves. But I tell seekers, as a general rule, that if somebody says that he will be able to grant them realisation overnight, or in a few weeks or months, then that particular person is not a real Master. If somebody says that he can grant them realisation provided they give him a certain sum of money, that person is not a real Master, for money-power cannot conquer God’s Love.

God-realisation is a vast subject. We cannot expect to learn it overnight. Just to get a limited amount of earthly knowledge we spend fifteen to twenty-five years in school. God-realisation means transforming our centuries-old ignorance. When we are trying to overcome ignorance and acquire wisdom-light, how can we expect to do this in the twinkling of an eye? It is impossible. So if some Masters proclaim that they can do this very quickly, or in exchange for some fee, then I tell the seekers that these Masters are not real.

Rick Ratliff: For example, one pays an initiation fee in Transcendental Meditation...

Sri Chinmoy: Of course, this depends on what you are promised in exchange for the fee. If you are taking a course, like a school course, to learn some specific thing, there may be a fee of five or ten dollars. If somebody is merely giving a course or teaching a technique of meditation, naturally he has the right to ask for a reasonable fee. But if somebody claims that he will give you God-realisation, and asks you to give him hundreds or thousands of dollars, or all your earthly possessions, then he is a false Master, and you will not get what you want from him.

Rick Ratliff: In terms of your own efforts, I assume you support yourself through the sale of your books?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, my three hundredth book was published last week. Mayor Beame of New York was kind enough to receive me on that occasion.

Rick Ratliff: Yes, I saw a copy of the article.

Sri Chinmoy: I also support myself through the sale of my records and tapes. By God’s Grace I am a singer and a musician, as well as an author.

Rick Ratliff: And you are a painter too, I understand.

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, but I do not sell my paintings. They are only for exhibition. From my books and records I can manage to support myself. Also, although my disciples are under no obligation to give me money, they do give me love-offerings occasionally. This is not like a fee, but as one can give flowers or fruits to his Master, even so one can give five dollars or ten dollars if he wishes to. He is under no obligation; it is not like tuition for a school. It is a spontaneous offering of love.

Rick Ratliff: The way I became aware of you was from the back of album jackets of Mahavishnu and Devadip. From the experience of this evening, I see there is a quietness and placidity to the meditation which seems to be in sharp contrast with the early records of the Mahavishnu Orchestra — “The Inner Mounting Flame” and “Love, Devotion and Surrender.” I was wondering whether you enjoy that music.

Sri Chinmoy: Did you hear me playing at the beginning of the evening?

Rick Ratliff: Yes, I heard you.

Sri Chinmoy: That is an Indian instrument, the esraj. I started playing the esraj very recently, during this year. Now, Mahavishnu and Devadip are both great musicians. Just because they are great, they have developed remarkable ways to present their musical talents and capacities to the world at large. Long before they came into our spiritual family they were well established, and they had their set pattern. After having accepted our path, they received considerable spiritual inspiration and they have brought to the fore their spiritual music to some extent. So the spiritual music and the music that they played before are now combined and synthesised. I do not want to say that previously their music was non-spiritual. No, before, they had their own way of presenting their skills. Now, because they have become conscious seekers of the Absolute, their present music has an added factor, and it will gain more of this as they themselves grow inwardly.

Rick Ratliff: Have you enjoyed Florida?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I have been here for nine days and I shall be here for another five days.

Rick Ratliff: What did you think of Disney World?

Sri Chinmoy: Disney World is the world that has conquered human depression and frustration. Human depression and frustration are delaying humanity’s progress toward the transcendental Goal. When people go to Disney World, they do not get mere excitement. They get something infinitely more. Either consciously or unconsciously they get rid of the negative forces that take the form of worry, anxiety, insecurity, frustration and depression.

Rick Ratliff: Do you remember what some of the rides were that you went on?

Sri Chinmoy: I liked “America the Beautiful” the most. It gave me abundant joy. I told my disciples that for me it was worth coming to Florida just to see the Bicentennial presentation of “America the Beautiful,” because there the soul and the spirit of America are embodied and represented in a most striking manner.

Rick Ratliff: Well, it was very good talking to you. I appreciate it. There is a world of questions I could ask.

Sri Chinmoy: Your questions have been most illumining. I am extremely grateful to you. In you I have discovered a very good, sincere and genuine seeker, and I wish you all success in your own way of aspiration and dedication to mankind. You are not a mere reporter. You are something infinitely more — you are serving mankind. You come to a spiritual teacher; then you share your experience there with the world at large. You are acting like a true messenger of light. I am a messenger, and you are a messenger. We are both instruments. You are not an individual reporter and I am not an individual teacher, but we are one. We have only one supreme cause: to serve humanity, to elevate the consciousness of humanity. What you want, you are doing in your own way. What I want, I am doing in my own way. What each person wants, he tries to do in his own way. Each individual on earth should be doing only one thing: serving humanity according to his capacity. Our careers may be different — I am a spiritual teacher and you are a reporter — but we are aiming at the same goal.

This is a transcription of an interview between Sri Chinmoy and Staff Reporter Rick Ratliff of the Miami Herald. The interview took place after a public meditation at Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School in Florida on 28 December 1976.

From:Sri Chinmoy,AUM — Vol.II-4, No. 1, 27 January 1977, Vishma Press, 1977
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