Editor: At the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, your silence spoke louder than all the other speakers.

Sri Chinmoy: Believe me, at least seven or eight times the authorities there begged me to say a few words, but I did not want to. In India I wrote considerably about Swami Vivekananda, and easily I could have spoken about him. But instead I gave thirty-nine peace concerts in honour of the thirty-nine years he was physically on earth. Silence is infinitely more productive than the outer speech.

Editor: Why is it that the people in Hawaii could force you to speak, but the people in Chicago couldn’t? After your recent concert at the University of Hawaii’s Manoa Campus, you gave a lecture before the Matsunaga institute for Peace presented you with a peace award.

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes it happens that I am at the mercy of my disciples because of promises they make to the authorities. Otherwise, I could have taken the award in silence, and in silence I could have offered my gratitude. But when my students promise that I am going to speak, or when people approach me in a particular way and I am caught off guard, at that time I open my big mouth and say, “Yes, I will speak.” Then afterwards I get no joy because I know that the people in the audience would have derived much more benefit from my silence.

When someone talks, he feels that he is a better person than his listeners. He feels, “I have all the wisdom and you have come here to receive an iota. If you do not listen to me, you will remain in ignorance-night.” When someone gives a lecture, he feels superior. He never thinks that the audience is doing him a big favour by bringing to the fore his good qualities. In theory a teacher will say that he also learns when he teaches. But in the back of his mind, the teacher thinks that he is only sharing his superior knowledge with his students. He believes that his listeners are beggars and he is giving them everything.

Again, when a teacher meditates with his students, neither he nor his students feel that the students are beggars. The teacher is lifting up his students and his students are also lifting him up. In silent meditation, who will say who is superior and who is inferior? It is a oneness-family. When a father is walking down the street and his little child is following him, the father is not thinking, “Oh, you are a little boy. What are you doing here? Do not come with me.” No, the father is so happy and proud that his little child is following him. And the child is not afraid of his father’s height or strength, for he knows that one day he will grow up to be as tall and strong as his father.

If your aspiration is stronger than mine, so what? If I have one drop of aspiration, I shall offer it to the ocean. If you have ten, twenty or a hundred drops, you will also pour them into the ocean. When a drop enters into the ocean, it loses its identity and becomes one with the infinite ocean. In our case also, when you offer your drops and I offer mine, we both become part and parcel of the ocean of aspiration.