I need my country: Beauty's Soul

Part I

America: transmitter of the new light

When one has run through a very wide range of glittering ephemeral things and sought incessantly to perfect them, one may see a true light from beyond. From this point of view, America has a great possibility of taking to the life of the Spirit. This life does not mean withdrawal and inaction, retirement into the forest to give oneself up solely to the contemplation of the Supreme. That kind of isolation is of no avail. The Divine has to be manifested in all His aspects here and now in life. Life itself should be Yoga, union with the Divine; and Matter and Spirit must go hand in hand. Vida Reed Stone writes in The Dawn of the Cosmic Age:

> Loneliness is another phantasy of the self-mind. Lose thy separate self, and thou shalt find thy Universal Self: in union with the One Life all that exists is included, and all that was thought to be lost is found again.

Self-protection, then, must precede spiritual realisation. There can be no satisfactory attainment where one's existence itself is under a threat. Life is a series of struggles and the fittest only will survive. The spiritual life is beset with difficulties, disturbances and dangers. One can hardly proceed in an even tenor of progression, however one may wish for it. So America has to prepare herself to meet the world's challenges, and to do that she must be in the vanguard of countries possessing the latest scientific inventions. She has already achieved much in this field and much more is likely to follow. Thus only will the pursuit of her spiritual life be made secure. William O Douglas, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, in his thought-provoking book America Challenged significantly observes:

> We need deep spiritual resources and active inventive genius to survive the oncoming challenges.

To a shallow observer, America appears to be rolling in luxury and cannot be expected to be deeply spiritual. But the falsity of this observation cannot better be described than in the words of Rabindranath Tagore, whose bold statement is borne out by personal experience:

> ... when we say that America is materialistic, we speak of a fact that is too apparent to be completely true... there is a strong current of spiritual idealism flowing beneath the surface soil of the American mind.

Further, what he said to the late President Franklin D Roosevelt, in a cablegram from Kalimpong, India, in June of 1940 shows what a significant role he expected America to play on the world-stage:

> All our individual political problems today are merged into one supreme world of politics which I believe is seeking help in the United States as the last refuge of spiritual men.

America has fully realised that the dollar and the bomb cannot quench her soul's thirst. Spirituality alone can do this. The dollar can help friends, the bomb deter aggression — nothing more. The greatest of American thinkers have perfectly understood that it is through spirituality that the finite reaches its fulfilment in the infinite. Now the pertinent question is, how can the aspirant know that his choice is inspired and secure and bears the divine sanction? Here is the answer given by Sri Aurobindo, the Seer of seers:

> He who chooses the infinite has been chosen by the infinite.

The quintessence of patriotism1

[Lt.-Cmdr. Albert Marcantonio welcomed Sri Chinmoy.]

Sri Chinmoy: Dear Albert, I wish to offer you my blessingful gratitude for having given me the opportunity to be of service to the aspiring souls here at Willow Grove.

Dear Captain and Mrs. McDonell and Chaplain Roberts, I wish to offer my Indian salute to the Supreme in you for having given me the opportunity to be of service here. [Sri Chinmoy folds his hands before his forehead and bows.]

Dear Captain McDonell, unlike most human beings, you are a most intimate friend of the sea and the sky. Your loving heart, your aspiring heart, your God-fulfilling heart is synonymous with vastness above, vastness below. The spiritual significance of water is consciousness. The sea represents consciousness. Consciousness is the link between man and God. An awakened consciousness, which you unmistakably are, is a direct and immediate link with God. The sky embodies freedom. Here on earth we see human freedom, but when we aspire, when we grow into divine reality, we come to realise that there is another type of freedom. That freedom is called divine freedom. Divine freedom is unlimited, birthless and deathless. The divine freedom which you, Captain McDonell, are is at once God's blessingful Choice and God's fruitful Voice.

I wish to give a short talk on the quintessence of patriotism. I wish to offer my prayerful talk to the memory of those patriots, hero-warriors, lovers of their country, who fought divinely and supremely in Vietnam to abide by the divine principles of their country. India's greatest spiritual figure, Lord Krishna, taught mankind that people who die for their country, who offer their lives for the principles that their country believe in, immediately go to Heaven. The great poet Byron offered to the world at large a significant message: "He who loves not his country can love nothing."

Who is a patriot? A patriot is he who loves his country dearly. A patriot is he who loves his country more than he loves his own life. A patriot is he who intuitively feels and infallibly knows that there is nothing and there can be nothing as significant as his own country. A patriot is he who honours and treasures his soul's earthbound and Heaven-descending vision. A patriot is he who fulfils devotedly and untiringly the supreme promise to God, the Absolute Supreme, which he made while he was in the realm of the soul, before entering into the earth-arena. A patriot is he who has discovered the true truth that Heaven is in no way superior to earth. Earth and Heaven are equal. At times a patriot even goes to the length of saying that earth is superior to Heaven. Heaven is great precisely because Heaven has the unparalleled capacity to smile at God-manifestation on earth. Earth is great precisely because earth has the capacity to cry for God's transcendental Height.

What is true patriotism? True patriotism is not something that declares war in order to prove its supremacy. True patriotism is not unlit, impure self-assertion. True patriotism is one's genuine love of one's country. True patriotism is loving what one already has. To be precise, true patriotism is real love for what God has already given us out of His infinite Bounty. True patriotism realises the undeniable fact that an individual patriot and his country are but pure instruments of the Absolute Supreme.

To destroy a country we need power. This power is undivine, unillumined and ill-founded. To love a country we need a great power. This great power is our pure and constant concern for our country. To serve a country devotedly and untiringly we need a greater power. This greater power is our intuitive and self-offering psychic light. To claim all nations as our very own, one and inseparable, we need the greatest power. This power is the all-illumining, all-immortalising, all-fulfilling God-Power, which is always crying and trying, trying and crying, to come to the fore from the inmost recesses of our heart.

To have a national feeling is good. To have an international feeling is better. To have a universal feeling is best. Nationalism, internationalism and universalism. Nationalism shows me what I have. What I have is true love for my country. Internationalism gives me the opportunity to place my country in the galaxy of nations. If it is the Will of God, internationalism places my country in the vanguard of nations so that my country can offer its capacity and light to help awaken the slumbering nations that still exist on earth. Universalism tells me that my country and I are nothing but unconditional instruments of God, seeking to please Him constantly, soulfully, devotedly and unconditionally in His own Way.

Many people, many patriots, have offered most significant messages to the world at large with regard to patriotism, founded upon their own inner feelings. Here I wish to quote a few words from a great patriot who eventually became a spiritual Master of the highest order — Sri Aurobindo. He said, "Patriotism is not a mere political programme. It is a religion from God." Now, what is this religion? This religion is the beauty of today's self-giving and the duty of tomorrow's God-becoming. For me to speak about American patriots is unnecessary. Nevertheless, with your kind permission, I wish to quote two sublime sayings, one from Nathan Hale, one from President Kennedy:

> "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."

> "My countrymen, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

One life to lose, one life to offer to one's own country. If this action is not based upon divine reality, the human in us will not dare to sacrifice its life. But the divine in us knows that this life is not a mere short span of fifty, sixty or seventy years. The divine in us knows that this life is part of the eternal Life. Here we enter into the earth-arena to play our respective roles for a few years. Then we enter into another world for a short rest. We may call it death or some other thing. Then again we enter into this world to play the role of dedicated souls and serve God in His own way. We are walking along the road of Eternity with a divine, unending, ceaseless, birthless life to manifest the divinity within us. We have to offer to our country what we have: love, sacrifice and the feeling of oneness. The moment we have offered to our country our unalloyed love and pure sacrifice and have established our inseparable oneness with the soul of our country, to our wide surprise we see that our country has already immortalised us. For our country has chosen us out of millions, billions and trillions of souls to take birth on her shores. Our country has played her role long before we thought of offering something to our country. What we offer to our country is, at best, an iota of love, whereas our country has already inundated us with boundless love. This is the love our country has already achieved and received from the Absolute Supreme.

War and peace. Darkness and light. War we invent. Peace we discover. War we invent from without. Peace we discover from within. War forgets peace. Peace forgives war. War is the end of the life human. Peace is the birth of the life divine.

A new day, a new era has dawned. Peace has dawned. Now let us try to swim in the sea of peace, peace, peace. Peace on earth, peace in Heaven, peace in God's Vision of the transcendental Beyond, peace in God's all-fulfilling Reality.

Lt. Cmdr. Marcantonio: Sri Chinmoy we thank you wholeheartedly for the seeds of spiritual awareness and enlightenment which you have planted here today.

NMC 2. This is a transcription of an address given by Sri Chinmoy at Station Chapel, Naval Air Station, Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, on May 3, 1975.



Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Philadelphia.

O sweet city of brotherly love.

O God-perfection below, above.

Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Philadelphia.

Your world-attention Liberty Bell

Proclaimed the death of our bondage-hell.

O freedom-lovers' utopia!

Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Philadelphia. ```

Patriots of America

Patriots are those who have helped their country and elevated its consciousness so that the reality of their country has widened. There have been many American patriots in the past and there will be many more. The Supreme had a special vision for the soul of America and He revealed it first through the Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers were definitely spiritually illumined. Of course, their illumination may not have been the illumination of a great Yogi, but they did have great inner awakening and inner illumination.

The light always has to be embodied by great noble individuals. To start with, you have Thomas Jefferson's vision: the Declaration of Independence. But it is not Jefferson's vision alone. Many people saw the reality. It was the vision of that era, the vision of all who surrounded Jefferson. You can call it the vision of Washington, Adams, Franklin, Paine and others. Again, the sense of sacrifice of all those who fought for this country in those days — no matter how little or how much — deserves our special attention.

Monroe also had much light. We see another wave of patriotism when Lincoln came. Then there are many others. When Wilson came — Wilson's League of Nations — we notice another wave. It was the vision of an American to have the League of Nations, but the ignorance of America did not accept this vision. It was not supported by America. As an American, Wilson was listened to, admired and appreciated by many, many countries because he saw the light. But the members of his own family were not accepting his light. Still, it was not all darkness and we see another wave of patriotism at that time. And the League of Nations grew into the United Nations, where we now offer our dedicated service.

Then comes President Roosevelt. For three or four terms there was tremendous, tremendous light in him. Then, after that, was Kennedy. Recently there have been so many undivine stories about his personal life, but this is all nonsense. We have to see Kennedy's vision, his real vision. Kennedy's soul went very high and very deep. He died quite young; that is why his soul's light did not manifest fully in the outer life. But the patriotism in his inner life is bound to manifest in the course of time. The light that his soul has will again try to manifest on earth through a different form. He will be known as somebody else, but it will be the same soul. Again, the light that an individual embodies need not remain dormant in him until he comes back to earth again. His light can operate through his dear ones or through those who are not near or dear but who have the same principles. They may not even be American, but they may carry Kennedy's illustrious vision. His utterance, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country," and others of this kind are soulfully spiritual, not merely political.

Many American poets are patriotic heroes just because their inner experiences have awakened and illumined and added to America's consciousness. You may think Whitman's poems are vital, but they are from the dynamic vital, not the aggressive vital. In his poems he wanted to say, "Don't discard the body-consciousness; value it. The body is not all barren; it is only something for us to utilise. The other side of the body is the soul." He urged humanity to see that inside the body there is also reality. From his body-consciousness he has awakened the consciousness of America.

Emerson also offered really great service, not only to America but to the whole world. Very few souls as illumined as Emerson have come into the world. Emerson had light in abundant measure. With his illumined mind he served his country and the world. Whitman's reality and his vision were also real, but there are many countries that don't want to spread light through the vital as Whitman's poems do. They want to serve and spread light through the illumined mind, so see the necessity of accepting Emerson's light. Emerson received his light, his ideas, from a very old tradition: the Upanishadic teachings. It was not stealing; it came from within, his own inner cry. This incarnation he was an American, but in previous lives who knows what he was? Perhaps he was a Vedic seer. So you can't say that an American has borrowed or stolen Indian goods. Absurd! In the inner world there is no Indian, no American; there is only light. It is like a stream. Four thousand years ago that light was visible in one part of the world. Now the same light is being manifested elsewhere for the consciousness of humanity to see.

Thoreau was also great. His vision encompassed the overall experience of reality. Emily Dickinson wrote thousands of psychic poems. One short poem of hers is enough to give sweet feelings and bring to the fore divine qualities of the soul. Dylan Thomas' poems also have that quality, although Thomas sometimes has been misunderstood.

Right now it seems that real patriotism has gone out of the world. There are still quite a few patriotic souls — people who are contributing not only to the soul of America but to the soul of the entire world. But I personally expected the Bicentennial of America's independence to be celebrated in an infinitely better and more fulfilling way. But I don't know whom to blame. Perhaps next year it will be better.

Because of her high ideals, America really did deserve her independence. Also, I wish to say that it usually takes a long time to make the progress America has made. For America to take only two hundred years to reach her present level of advancement is like doing it in the twinkling of an eye. If any country makes progress, it is for the world's benefit, for other countries as well. Overnight Japan became strong and a threat to liberty. Overnight America offered her the atom bomb and she was stopped. But America's achievements are not being utilised to threaten, frighten or devour the world. America has bad qualities, but American principles are absolutely divine.

Unfortunately, as has happened in other countries, a kind of complacent feeling has entered into Americans; they want to be satisfied with what they have and do not want to go farther. But they should go ahead and get a higher consciousness. The goal is not static. When I first started painting, after I had done three or four paintings, I felt that if I could paint one hundred, that would be enough for me. Then I did two hundred, three hundred and, by the end of March — one hundred days later — we celebrated my completion of ten thousand. Good, bad — God alone knows — but they were done. From inspiration manifestation played its role. Then it was my goal to do up to thirteen thousand, because many divine things are associated with the number "thirteen." Now my new goal — twenty-seven thousand — is not waiting for me. In a matter of a few days, when I reach twenty-seven thousand, I will enter into the world of poetry, going on, an eternal traveller.

America can run at top speed or it can go slowly and steadily. If it has a complacent feeling and does not want to run fast, then, of course, let it rest. While it is taking rest, there will obviously be a lack of patriotic feelings here. I have begged my disciples, who see light in me and are supposed to listen to me, to be a little patriotic. When I don't see enough patriotism in my own disciples, how can I expect more from others? When we reach a certain goal, we think that is the end, but each goal is only the starting point for a higher goal. If my disciples can be a little more patriotic, then we can hope that all Americans will be more patriotic.

Some may blame the young generation for America's lack of aspiration, but actually it depends on human beings of all ages. If we blame the young, then we have to blame their parents and their elders as well. It is not true that a hundred years ago all Americans were absolutely pure, divine and spiritual and that all of a sudden in this twentieth century everybody has become undivine. The world is progressing, the world is evolving, but sometimes there are obstructions on the way. When you are running fast, sometimes you become tired and exhausted, and your speed decreases. Instead of speaking of the young generation and the old generation, let us regard both generations as a single human being who is running. At times he is running at top speed and at times he is running slowly, with the speed of an Indian bullock cart; but even then he is still proceeding along the road. He is either walking or marching or running very fast. So if we see a lack of aspiration right now, then we can say that that person is not running his fastest. He is moving very slowly because he is tired.

We have to know that aspiration is a very vast, complicated subject. Aspiration can be directed towards God-realisation. Industrial progress can also be an object of aspiration. Material progress — not luxury or indulgence but, let us say, scientific progress and discovery — is based on aspiration. Twentieth century scientists have discovered so many things which the scientists of the eighteenth century had not discovered. So, in that sense the progress that America has made is most praiseworthy. We have to consider aspiration in all phases of life, not just spirituality. But, of course, aspiration for God-realisation is by far the best, the most important thing. If we speak of aspiration strictly for God-realisation, then we have to know that in the Vedic era, four thousand years ago, there was much more aspiration than we find today. So, if it is aspiration only for the highest spiritual transcendental Truth, then we can say, "Yes, right now people are not aspiring as much as in the past." Again, for the last twenty years or thirty years, the West has been aspiring most sincerely for the highest Truth. For the past two decades Indian spirituality has been coming here in waves. India has aroused America from her spiritual sleep. Americans were sleeping and Indian teachers — good teachers and false teachers — have come and helped them.

For the last twenty years, the aspiration of young people in America has far surpassed the aspiration of their elders. If anyone says that lack of aspiration is to be blamed on young people, to be very frank with you, I wish to say that the young ones for the last ten years or so have shown much more aspiration than their parents and superiors. If you examine the spiritual evolution of America, you will see that it is the young generation that is leading it. Young people might have led a hippie life, a drug life, this and that, but, again, when it is a matter of real spirituality, it is the young generation that has come forward — not the old generation. When the inner call came, the young generation listened to it. It is the aspiration from the young generation that has kept the banner of America's spiritual life flying.

Of course, there are a few older aspirants; we have a few in each of our Centres, but they are special cases. They don't belong to the category of ordinary elderly human beings. When we make a comparison between how many young people and how many older people have turned to spirituality and Yoga, it is the young generation that has come out and listened to the call of the spirit. The lives of the older generation have already been formed, so we can't really blame them. Anything new they regard as bad or frightening. But, for the young generation, anything new is good. The young dare to see the face of the new. True, newness need not always mean goodness; but neither can we say that newness is always bad. It is the strength of the young generation that is making America become really spiritual. The young have made mistakes, but they are coming out of their mistakes. Some of them have already come out of their mistakes and now they are turning towards the light.

Part II: Questions and answers on patriotism

Question: Is not patriotism restrictive even at its highest level?

Sri Chinmoy: If the patriotism is based upon the physical consciousness or the vital consciousness or the mental consciousness, then it restricts, because that patriotism does not want to go beyond the boundary of the physical, the vital or the mind. But if the patriotism comes from the soul's oneness with the universe or from the feeling that the soul is a divine instrument, a perfect instrument of the Supreme and for the Supreme on earth, then it will not restrict. Then the physical in us, the vital in us, the mind in us will want to become part and parcel of the soul's light and the soul's acceptance of light here on earth. That kind of patriotism is not a hindrance at all. It is a real benefit.

Some people have tremendous feeling for their country, but it is all on the physical level or on the vital level or on the mental level; it is not on the psychic level. In the psychic there is always oneness, constant oneness, and it is the nature of oneness to expand. If I love my country, I have become one with my country. Then, if I feel the inner urge to expand my oneness, to embrace other countries, I will find no inner restriction in my patriotism. But if I keep my love and oneness only for my country, naturally I will be restricted. This kind of patriotism will not allow me to go to the Highest, the Absolute, the Universal.

We have to know that oneness is not enough. From oneness we have to grow into vastness. I can have oneness with one finger, but I want to have oneness with all my fingers. If I love my eyes, I can establish oneness only with my eyes. But my poor nose, my poor ears — what will they do? I have to establish my oneness with them too. The moment I establish oneness with everything within me and around me, I enter into universality. There God is omnipresent. While I am for all, I am also in all. At that time I am in God, I am with God and I am for God. The real reality in me is the omnipresence of God — inside me, inside you, inside everything. If I consider the omnipresence of God as the only reality, then patriotism is a true blessing.

So our patriotism has to be based in our psychic consciousness. If it is in our psychic consciousness, it is constantly expanding its oneness and entering into the infinite. This kind of patriotism will never limit our God-realisation. On the contrary, it will teach us the process of growing from the one to the many. As I expand my consciousness, gradually, gradually the whole world becomes mine. If we accept our country for the fulfilment of the real reality in us and not for the pleasure of our physical or the fulfilment of our vital or mind, then patriotism is a gift, a real gift, the highest gift from above which will illumine and liberate the human in us.

Otherwise, patriotism can become curse. When it becomes narrow minded, then I am only for my village or my country, and against yours. Narrowness comes when patriotism is in the physical, the vital or the mind, which are limited. But in the psychic, in the soul, there is no boundary. The soul's feelings are based on oneness inside vastness. That kind of patriotism is all God-embodiment, God revelation and God-perfection. This is what God wants from patriotism.

Question: Is patriotism in a dictatorship as meaningful as patriotism in a freedom-loving country?

Sri Chinmoy: There is a great difference between patriotism in a dictatorship and patriotism in a freedom loving country. Even though a dictator may have patriotic feelings for his country, there is always a sense of conscious ego inside him. He wants his country to follow him. He feels that he deserves the love of his countrymen more than anybody else does. He feels that he is the supreme authority on the country and the country's welfare. The dictator does not love his country as such. He loves his own capacity to rule the country. In a dictatorship, patriotism is a forced love of country commanded by a higher authority. One person's love of his country in an authoritative manner is being executed in the minds and lives of many. The many have no choice of their own. They cannot express their love of country individually. In order to be able to give to a country one's own inner and outer feelings unreservedly, one must always try to live in a country not controlled by a dictator. A freedom-loving country wants to liberate itself from the sovereignty of a dictator. The country loves freedom because it feels that in a life of freedom it can achieve more light, more joy, more satisfaction. A sincerely freedom-loving country will not try to get freedom by hook or by crook, but by its soul's strength and inner cry, so that it can offer its capacity and achievement to the community of the world. The patriotism of a freedom-loving country is for the country's sake, for the country's benefit, not for the aggrandisement of someone's ego in a clever or unconscious way. In a freedom-loving country patriotism is a conscious prayer, a conscious concentrative force to spread freedom so that the country can achieve and distribute love-light to each of its countrymen and to the world at large.

Question: What can patriotism achieve for a country?

Sri Chinmoy: Patriotism can achieve for a country the message of oneness, the message of satisfaction, the message of human perfection and God-manifestation. The country is the mother. In order for the mother to be pleased and fulfilled, she has to be given the full opportunity to feed her children unreservedly. The mother gets this opportunity when the children want from her what she has: her love, her concern, her blessing, her compassion, her sympathy, her feeling of oneness. A patriot can offer his need to the mother country. When he tells his country what he needs, the country gets the opportunity to fulfil it. Again, when a patriot becomes a real lover of his country, then his love enters into the country. First he cries for love from his country and then he gives the country his own love. When he feels he has no love he cries for the mother to give him love. Then, when the mother gives love to him he feels that he has abundant love and he offers it back to his country. When love of country and love from country are simultaneous, the message of oneness, the message of satisfaction, the message of human perfection and God-manifestation can dawn.

Question: What is the best way to develop or cultivate a patriotic feeling towards one's country?

Sri Chinmoy: The country has to be taken as a mother. When we think of our mother, what do we think of? Her affection, her love, her sympathy, her sacrifice. The moment we think of her sacrifice, the moment we think of any good quality of hers, our heart becomes flooded with gratitude. When we have even an iota of gratitude for the one who has loved us and will love us always, we increase our capacity to please that person, to fulfil that person. By being aware of what our country has done for us or given us, or what it will give us, we develop and cultivate the capacity to love our country.

Question: How can the feeling of patriotism help one's spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: The real spiritual life is the life of acceptance in order to be patriotic one has to accept one's own country as one's very own. I love my body, I love my vital, I love my mind, I love my heart, I love my soul and I love my God. But I have to feel that what I love is ultimately my own existence, my own transcendence, my own perfection. I love God for my own self-transcendence. I love a human being for my own self-expansion. I love a country for my own expansion and my own perfection.

Love is oneness. Love is the completion of perfection. If I love my country, I have to know that the country also has a soul, a body, a reality. If I love the reality in anything, that means I am loving the source. The source is spirituality the source is divinity. If I become one, inseparably one with something, that means I have established a higher, a deeper, a more meaningful reality within me.

The Creator is also bound to love His creation and vice versa. If we identify ourselves with the Creator, we will definitely feel love for the creation. If we identify ourselves with the creation, then we will naturally love the Creator. A child may be born blind or deaf, but the mother feels that he is the most beautiful child on earth. Why? Because the child is the mother's own creation. The world will say that he is blind, that he is deaf, that he is ugly, but according to the mother he is most beautiful, he is most perfect. The mother's sense of perfection or beauty does not depend on others' judgement or others' way of seeing reality. The mother will see according to her own understanding, according to her own awakening, according to her own standard. She will love her child no matter what. In the case of a country, if we take God as the Creator and identify ourselves with Him, then naturally what the Creator has created — our country — we will love. Even if the creation has millions of defects, just because we love the Creator, we love the creation. And if we love the country — the little child who is deaf and blind — then we will be able to go to the Source, God. So if I really love the creation, then I have to love the Creator; if I really love the Creator, then I will definitely love the creation. God is the Creator and the country is the creation. We cannot separate the two.

Either we appreciate the source and then learn to appreciate the creation of the source, or we appreciate the creation and then learn to appreciate the source. Our country is the creation and God is the Source. Either from the seed we go to the fruit or from the fruit we go to the seed. In this way if we develop love for our country then spontaneously we shall develop love for our Source, the Supreme Creator.

Question: Can the inspiration we get from reading patriotic poems help our spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, they can help you spiritually provided the poems are not based on narrow nationalism. If the patriotic poems have a broader outlook — that my nation is going to serve the world, that my nation will offer light according to its capacity — they will definitely help in your spiritual life because spiritual life is dedicated service. But if the poetry embodies or conveys ideas that confine the reality of other nations — that my country is by far the best, that I am by far the best, that other nations must kiss the dust of my country's feet and that my nation will reign supreme — then those poems will be of no avail. They are not real patriotic poems. They are simply unconscious or conscious expressions of our ego and the ego of our country.

Question: Does God want people to be patriotic?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly! God wants people to be patriotic because God has sent each soul to a particular country with a special mission. If the soul does not care for the country it has accepted and adopted to fulfil God's vision, then God-manifestation does not take place. Here, patriotism means love of one's own country. If I love the members of my own family, then I will love my own country, and if I love my country I will love all countries, because the root is God. If I love the branches and the leaves of a tree, how can I not also love the root? Whatever is created by the Creator, we have to love. We love the Creator because He has created this particular country which we belong to and love.

Question: What is the soul of George Washington like?

Sri Chinmoy: It is luminous, dynamic, truth-loving and self-giving.

Question: Guru, how can we feel patriotic when the actions of the present American government seem so out of keeping with Americas divine qualities?

Sri Chinmoy: You do not have to worry about the government. Let the government take care of itself and you take care of yourself. It is like this: the country is your mother, and the government is your brother. If your brother does not love your mother, that does not mean that you cannot love her. If your brother has the upper hand, he may be misusing your mother's good will, love, compassion, concern. Everything good your brother is misusing. He is misrepresenting your mother and doing everything wrong in regard to your mother. But that doesn't prevent you from loving your mother. Even if you feel that your brother is doing everything wrong with regard to your mother, that does not prevent you from doing the right thing and trying to please your mother.

Question: Guru, at this time, what pleases the soul of America the most?

Sri Chinmoy: Not only at this time, but always what pleases the soul of America most is self-giving, constant self-giving. The soul of America will be extremely pleased if America remains always self-giving and not self-imposing. A self-giving attitude America should always have. Whenever America's principles are being challenged, or thwarted or threatened, America will go to every part of the world to defend them, because America's principles are based upon truth, the inner truth-principle. But there is a vast difference between America's principles and America's ideas. Many ideas America has, but some of these may not be illumining, divine or progressive ideas. So America will go to any part of the world to defend her principles, but not to impose her ideas on other nations.

If I go imposing what I feel is best, that is a mistake. But if I am ready always to give what I have and what I am, even if what I give may not be of any value to anybody, still this is dedicated service. I am giving you what I have with good will, but if you don't feel like using it, then just throw it away. But if I say, "This is the best thing and you have to take it for your own good, you fool," then everybody will tell me to mind my own business. The world will say, "I don't need your advice. What I feel is best for me — either I will get it from within, or if I feel that you have it, I will get it from you."

If the mother strikes the child and says, "It is for your own good I am telling you this; you have to do it," then the child revolts. The child has to see for himself that the mother has a particular quality and that this quality is something which he needs. Then immediately the child will come running to the mother to get the thing from her.

Truth has to be spoken, but truth has to come from a very, very deep source, and not just from the mind or from the vital. One should not try to impose one's mental thoughts or vital thoughts or physical thoughts on others. Only one should dedicate one's psychic thoughts, inner thoughts, heart's thoughts to others, so they can get something really progressive, illumining and fulfilling.

Question: How can a black person help his people?

Sri Chinmoy: You have to get in touch with the source. Right now you see your brothers, black people, at the foot of the tree. They do not know how to climb. So you climb to the top of the tree and pick some mangoes, and then come down and distribute them. The people at the foot of the tree you have accepted as your brothers and sisters. They are hungry also. And because of your heart, you will not allow your little brothers to remain unfed. Now, if you just stay with your brothers at the foot of the tree, then there will not be any mangoes for anyone. So you have to go up the tree and give to others who don't have. And for this you have to go to a higher level.

Question: Could you speak of the soul of America and England as it relates to the spiritual life in America?

Sri Chinmoy: America and England wanted to receive light from above through the physical, and not through the heart. They felt that if they received light in the physical, then they would take it from the physical to the vital, from the vital to the mind, and from the mind to the heart. But this process is very unhealthy. The real process, the desirable process, is from the soul to come to the heart, from the heart to the mind, from the mind to the vital and from the vital to the body. It is best to always go from the root to the top of the tree, from the place that has most light to the place that has least light. But if you start in the place with the least light, then what will you have to carry to the other places? Nothing, absolutely nothing. The soul has abundant light. Then, after the soul, the place that is most receptive is the heart. Since the heart is much more receptive than the mind, the light from the soul has to come to the heart. And from the heart it has to come to the mind, vital and body. The soul is the seed. Gradually, gradually, the seed germinates into a plant. Then it becomes a tree and produces leaves, flowers and fruits. When the soul's light passes through the heart, mind, vital and body, it becomes the complete tree with leaves, flowers and fruits. This is the proper way of dealing with light.

Question: At what point in history did the soul of America enter?

Sri Chinmoy: As soon as God creates anything, there is no history, there is no earth-bound time. The day the Supreme created the soul is not and cannot be bound by the time that we see and vision that we consider as human time.

Question: Is there a particular location where America's soul is more frequently found — in America's heart, for example? In humans, the soul is in our heart centre. Is there a heart centre for America?

Sri Chinmoy: You will say it is in Massachusetts and somebody will say it is in Connecticut. In India, in a particular village, the inhabitants have put a mark and said, "This is the heart of India." But just saying that a particular spot is the heart of a country does not mean that place is the heart of the country.

Inside the human being there is a heart; inside the heart is the soul. The consciousness of the soul, the light of the soul permeates the whole body, but most of the time the soul is inside the heart. So like that, definitely there will be a place in America from which the light emanates. It need not be the centre of America in terms of geography. Even in the physical body the heart is not in the centre. But definitely there will be a place where the soul's light can be felt or from where the soul's light can be manifested. And it need not be all the time at the same place. We have to know that since there are fifty states, the soul can easily move around from one state to another. If there is one particular state with a very divine consciousness, then the soul may feel that this is the proper place to stay. If the soul wants peace, peaceful rest, then naturally the soul will go to the state that is quite peaceful. And if it goes to another place where people are quarrelling and fighting, the soul will not like it. It is a very complicated matter. Again, it may happen that some states are leading a very innocent, simple life and not quarrelling or fighting, and the soul of America may feel, "Oh, these are already divine children. They are already inside me. They are not going to do anything wrong. If a tug-of-war takes place, they will pull on my side. They won't go to my enemies and pull me towards that side, no. I don't have to spend my time here any more. Let me go to the states that are quarrelling and fighting let me bring some light. Let me bring my light to the fore there."

So there cannot be any hard and fast rule about where the soul remains. But America's soul, this much I can say, is very dynamic. It does not stay for a long time in any one particular state. It moves around. It is like the mother who has many children. When the children get married and move to different places, the mother moves around visiting them — today here, tomorrow there, the day after tomorrow somewhere else. Everywhere she has her own dear ones, and she gets joy in moving from one place to another visiting them.

From:Sri Chinmoy,I need my country: Beauty's Soul, Agni Press, 1975
Sourced from https://srichinmoylibrary.com/nmc