Question: Tonight you gave an aphorism encouraging us to practise 'ancient disciplines'. Could you please elaborate on that?1Sri Chinmoy: To start right from the beginning: one ancient discipline is to meditate in the small hours of the morning, not at seven o’clock or eight o’clock or nine o’clock. It has to be around four o’clock or three o’clock or even two o’clock. You can try to start at three o’clock. That is the first ancient discipline. In Vedic times, meditation started between three o’clock and half past three. That is called brahma muhurta — ‘The Hour of God’.
The second ancient discipline is chanting. In Vedic times, the seekers and sages used to recite mantras hundreds of times. Now we have made it simple. Our mantra is ‘Supreme’. Some of my soulful songs are also like mantras. Since you have not studied Sanskrit or the Indian scriptures, you can sing these songs. Even if you are not a singer, try to sing in your own way as soulfully as possible. Another thing that you can do early in the morning is to read my writings.
The most important thing is to sing The Invocation every day. This Invocation is our mantra. Here it is my own life-breath and my disciples’ life-breath that I have offered. I have composed thousands of songs, but in terms of my inner depth and spirituality, my own aspiration and realisation, I will always consider The Invocation as the most effective and fruitful mantra. Sometimes, when you sing it most soulfully, I can see that your aspiration-flames are mounting to the highest Heavens from your own depths. I see how fast your aspiration-flames are climbing. I see your flames, flames, reaching the Highest.
So try to practise ancient disciplines early in the morning. At least one hour or an hour and a half you can spend in prayer, meditation, reading spiritual books, and singing devotional songs. If you have some favourite songs, they will definitely help you in the same way that the Vedic seekers received abundant inspiration and aspiration from their mantras.
SCA 1176. Question asked at Progress-Promise in New York on 19 March 1989. The aphorism referred to is ST 14607, My Lord Supreme tells me | That if I sincerely want | To make the fastest progress | In my spiritual life, | Then I must every day | Apply my ancient disciplines | To my modern life. Sri Chinmoy in the following months composed a group of aphorisms about practicing ancient disciplines, ST 15204-15207, possibly related to this question.↩