Dear Robert:

Your whole letter can be summed up in one single word: nervousness. It seems that your life-dictionary houses only this word, and no other word. I can rightly call you Nervousness A-1. Of course, with your kind permission.

You have been coming to the Centre regularly, faithfully and devotedly. When I look at you, or you look at me, you become nervousness itself. The other day, I gave you a short interview. You wanted your heart to speak to me. But, unfortunately, your nervousness spoke in its place. You made me feel that I am either a lion or a tiger. Dear Robert, why do you want me to go back to my animal incarnations which I left with untold difficulties many centuries ago? I am a simple human being. You need not and must not be afraid of me.

Let me tell you an amusing incident in my life. Last year in Puerto Rico, my devoted disciple N. brought me to a TV station. N. is a well-known musician in Puerto Rico. He was about to introduce me when, lo and behold, he came to me hurriedly and said: "Master, I am nervous. You know, Master, I have been playing here at this TV station for the past twelve years regularly. But today I do not know what is wrong with me. I am so nervous. Master, do you ever become nervous like me?"

I said: "My dear N., your Master does not become nervous like you. Do you know why? Your Master has given away all his nervousness to his sports life. He has spent all his nervousness-money on his athletics. But the Supreme, out of His infinite Kindness, has replaced your Master's nervousness-money with confidence-money."

Dear Robert, I have seen many people getting nervous on various occasions without any rhyme or reason. Needless to say, I sympathise with them with all my heart's love and concern. But, to be frank with you, the sad memories of their helpless nervousness do not have an abiding place in me. They just fade away slowly and sorrowfully.

Yet one experience of nervousness, which a cousin of mine offered to me, can never be discarded from my mind. I was then seven years old. My cousin, Gauranga, was eight. He committed to memory the names of Vidyasagar's (the noted Bengali reformer) parents. Vidyasagar's father's name was Thakurdas and his mother's name was Bhagavati. Alas, whenever our teacher would ask Gauranga the names of Vidyasagar's parents, he would either say that the name of Vidyasagar's father was Bhagavati or some other name, a pure feminine name. Similarly, on being asked the name of Vidyasagar's mother, Gauranga would say Thakurdas or some other name, a pure masculine name. Alas, this went on and on. One complete month it took before he was able to tell the teacher correctly the names of Vidyasagar's parents! During this month, every day he was beaten black and blue by the brute teacher. In addition, he fell victim to the students' ceaselessly roaring laughter. Now the simple fact was that the very sight of the teacher used to throw Gauranga into an ocean of nervousness.

This letter is addressed to you, Robert. But, among my students, you are not the only one whom nervousness tortures ruthlessly. There are quite a few who sail in the same boat. Do not be nervous. My sweet spiritual children, do not be nervous around me. I am not a man-devourer. What I have is love. What I am is also love. Nothing more and nothing less.

Nervousness is a deplorable thing, but it is not an unpardonable crime. You must and you can overcome nervousness unmistakably, successfully and infinitely sooner than you imagine. I shall tell you how. When you are nervous, immediately say: "My name is confidence, my life's name is confidence. I am not only my confidence, but also God's all-knowing Confidence."

Then take a deep breath and say: "O my heart, I am with you. Do not be nervous. O my mind, I am with you. Do not be nervous. O my vital, I am with you. Do not be nervous. O my body, I am with you. Do not be nervous."

Then take another deep breath and say: "My body is God's all-knowing Confidence. My vital is God's all-embracing Confidence. My mind is God's all-illumining Confidence. My heart is God's all-fulfilling Confidence."

Now I will tell you the greatest secret: When you are nervous, in no time just cry inwardly: "O my Guru, I need you badly." Before you have completed the word 'badly', one of my inner beings will come to your immediate rescue. But one thing I must tell you. This promise is not given to each and everyone. This promise is given to those who have surrendered unreservedly to the Supreme in me. This promise is given to those who have accepted me as their very own. This promise is given to those who think and feel that I think of them and feel for them more than they think of and feel for themselves.

Finally, dear Robert, if you want to exchange your constant nervousness for my soul's confidence, I am willing, more than willing. Do come. I am ready and eager.

Your nervousness-devouring
divine monster,

Sri Chinmoy

Jan. 5, 1969