Question: Guru, I would like to ask you about the significance of my name.1Sri Chinmoy: Your name means the forest. Now, let me go off the track a little. Many years ago, our Indian Consul-General came to one of our peace concerts in San Francisco. When I worked at the Indian Consulate, he was very spirited. Faster than the fastest he used to walk! At this particular peace concert, he gave a most significant talk. He said that in the forest there were many, many trees, but one particular tree was so high, extremely high. From the topmost branch, that highest tree started shedding light. He was talking about me, Sri Chinmoy. When I was at the Consulate, my name was Chinmoy Ghose. At that time nobody imagined that this particular tree would go so high, and that from such a great height it would spread light all over the world.
Now, a forest has thickness, and thickness means oneness. When many trees are growing together, we observe their thickness. Thickness is closeness, and closeness is oneness. In a forest there are so many trees, but the forest itself is one unit. The trees may be looked at individually, and again, collectively they are one.
In a family there may be five members. As a unit, they eat together, they mix, they cut jokes. Again, when morning dawns, they all go to do their respective jobs. Here we observe their unity and diversity. Like that, each tree also has its own capacity. In a forest there are so many trees of different types and sizes, with different flowers. The forest represents unity; again, the forest embodies diversity. When we think of any tree in the forest, we feel the closeness and oneness of all the trees. They go together, and at the same time each one has its own beauty, its own fragrance, its own fruits.
Now, kindly think of only one tree. It does not have to be in a forest. It can be anywhere — at the bank of a river, behind your own house or any place else. You are bound to feel that this tree is all self-giving. In our human life, sometimes we give our heart, sometimes we give our mind, sometimes we give our soul, sometimes we give our body as a sacrifice. Sometimes we give our heart to a country or to an individual. Sometimes we give even our life. But in the case of a tree, right from the roots to the topmost bough, it is all sacrifice. Take, for example, the leaves. When the leaves are dry, we can burn them. In this way the tree is helping us by giving us the flame of aspiration. The fruits of a tree give us nourishment. Its flowers are also a gift. They give us so much joy, and we use them to worship God. The wood we use; every part of the tree we use. There is not a single part of the tree that cannot be used for a divine purpose. There are many, many things in this world that are not serving God at all, but anything and everything that the tree has and is, it offers as a sacrifice for humanity.
When we human beings achieve something, we become haughty. But when the tree is in full bloom, with countless flowers and fruits, it bends down. Look at the tree's humility! This is what the tree does when it has achieved everything and become everything. In our case, when we ordinary human beings get a little money-power or name and fame, immediately our head touches the ceiling; nobody can come near us. Our haughtiness and pride come to the fore. But in the case of the tree, when the tree has everything to show, it bends down with utmost humility. This is the difference between an ordinary human being and a tree.
The tree teaches us something else most significant. Our philosophy is to aspire to go up to the highest while staying here on earth. We do not want to remain in the Himalayan caves — no, no, no! Similarly, the tree is rooted in the ground, and at the same time it is trying to reach the sky. Like that, we shall live here in this world while our aspiration-flame climbs to the highest. The tree shows us how to remain firmly rooted on earth while going high, higher, highest, and the tree's humility is unparalleled. When the tree has everything, at that time it bends down to serve humanity. These are the divine qualities of the tree.
Sri Aurobindo wrote in one of his poems, Therefore, we know by Thy Humility that Thou art God. God is infinite Light, infinite Peace and infinite Bliss, but at the same time He is dealing with human beings, and we are nothing short of undivine scoundrels. We are all jokers! We are such impossible human beings, but God comes down to our level. This is something else that we learn from the tree. The tree is universal. Anybody, good or bad, can get anything from the tree. A bad person can take its fruits and flowers, just as a good person can have these gifts from the tree. The tree is absolutely giving away everything. The message of the tree is, "Take, take, take! If you are good, then you can become better. If you are better, then you can become best. And if you are bad, then what can I do? Only use your wisdom all the time and then become a good person."
The tree is made of sacrifice. There is nothing on earth, in God's entire creation, that is sacrificing itself completely like the tree. But those of us who are aspiring say that there is no such thing as sacrifice; it is all oneness. When we are dealing with another human being, we see that person also as God's creation. Today I am giving you something as a brother, and tomorrow you will give me something as a brother.
When we come to the aspiring human standard, there is no such thing as sacrifice. I am not sacrificing anything, because I have realised God. In you, in him, in her, in everybody I am seeing God, so what sacrifice am I making? In the same way, you also have to feel that you are seeing or imagining God inside me, so what sacrifice are you making? If you feel that inside me is the living Presence of God, there is no sacrifice; it is all oneness. God in me is serving you, and God in you is receiving me. Again, God in you is giving to me, and God in me is accepting what you are offering.
On the aspiring human level, it is all oneness. But the tree has not come to that stage, so we have to say that the tree is sacrificing everything. From the very roots to the topmost branch, it is all sacrifice. When we enter into the consciousness of a tree, definitely it is all sacrifice. But when we enter into our own consciousness, then it is not sacrifice, but oneness. I am bound to serve the divine in you, and you are bound to serve the divine in me. Where is the sacrifice?
The higher we go, the clearer it becomes that there is no such thing as sacrifice. Again, when ordinary people do something for another individual, what a sacrifice they feel they have made! If unaspiring human beings do anything for each other, it is all sacrifice, and they become bloated with pride. They say, "I made such a sacrifice for my friends." But in the spiritual life, when we become fully aware of God's existence within us, there is no such thing as sacrifice.
SCA 784. Sri Chinmoy answered this question on 10 December 1999 at the Hotel Sao Moritz, in Nova Friburgo, Brazil.↩