Interviewer: Do you have a bird in mind when you draw?

Sri Chinmoy: I have nothing in mind. I try to keep my mind as empty, vacant and tranquil as possible. The outer mind is like the surface of the sea. On the surface, the sea is full of waves and surges; it is all restlessness. But when we dive deep below, the same sea is all peace, calmness and quiet. It is there that we find the source of creativity.

I do not use the mind when I draw because the process of thinking binds us. When I use the mind, I become bound and limited. As soon as we think of something, we are binding ourselves. The mind is binding us precisely because it has not yet learned the art of self-giving, which is all expansion. It is the inner heart, the aspiring heart, that has learned the art of self-giving. As soon as we enter into anybody’s heart, even if that particular person is our so-called enemy, we will immediately feel that he is also trying to become a better person. But when we enter into somebody’s mind, O God, we see that he is trying to destroy us. And if we enter into our own mind, we see that we also have the same destructive thoughts. That is why our minds are always clashing. I want to lord it over you; you want to lord it over me. When we live in the mind, we only want to exercise our supremacy. But when we are inside our hearts, we only love one another; and at that time the question of supremacy does not arise at all. We can solve our problems by always trying to remain inside our heart and feel our oneness with one another.

These birds reflect the heart’s oneness. They represent unity in multiplicity. Each bird is different, but when you look at them, you feel unity. A tree has so many leaves and flowers, but they are all part of the same oneness-tree. Here there are 70,000 birds, but as soon as we think of the bird-consciousness, it becomes one bird. The bird-consciousness represents the consciousness of our soul’s inner freedom.

Interviewer: Will you continue to add to this number?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I have been drawing more birds every day. Today I have completed 76,000. It is my wish on the 19th of November to exhibit 100,000 birds in Ottawa. About 19 years ago I entered into the art-world in a hotel room in Ottawa. There I did my first drawing in the West. I have students in Canada and every year they observe the anniversary of that first drawing which was a rose. This November it is our plan to have a huge gallery that will house 100,000 bird drawings. I do hope that by the end of October I will be able to complete them.

Interviewer: Will you also exhibit your acrylic paintings?

Sri Chinmoy: Only a few selected paintings will be on display.