Part II

SCA 790-798. On 25 November 1999, Sri Chinmoy met with Mrs. Shashi Tripathi, Consul General of India in New York City, at Annam Brahma Restaurant in Jamaica, Queens, New York. These are some excerpts from the conversation.

Mrs. Tripathi: What was it that drew you towards the spiritual path?

Sri Chinmoy: My parents were religious. My eldest brother became Sri Aurobindo's disciple, and the very name of Sri Aurobindo gave us all boundless joy. I went to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram for the first time at the age of one year and three months. Then I visited the Ashram at the ages of four, seven and eleven. In 1944 I became a permanent member of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

I studied for a few years at the Ashram school. At that time there was no degree, no diploma given. We studied for the sake of knowledge. I also had within me a great urge for literature, and I started writing poems at the age of twelve or thirteen. I studied our Bengali literature thoroughly, and then I studied English literature, philosophy and so forth.

I was at the Ashram for twenty years. I worked there in various capacities, such as doing electrical work and working in various cottage industries. I enjoyed my work washing the dishes the most because it did not require any brain-power.

For about eight years, I was the secretary of the General Secretary of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. First came Sri Aurobindo, then the Mother and then Nolini Kanta Gupta. He was third in rank. Tagore had deep admiration for him as a writer. He was a great scholar, a savant. He saw something in me, and he wanted me to be his secretary. My job was to translate his writings from Bengali into English. They were all dealing with Indian literature and world literature.

I also worked under the General Manager, and I served some other distinguished writers. In addition, I served the Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, who was known as the Divine Mother, in various capacities.

In 1962, a disciple of Sri Aurobindo from New York came to the Ashram, and he also saw something in me. He wanted me to come to America, and he became my sponsor. In 1964 my new life began here.

Once I came to America, I could not remain a student or a seeker as before. Some seekers in America saw something in me, and they wanted me to be of service to them. Of course, in one sense, I will always be a seeker. All individuals, even the Masters of the highest order, have to feel they are seekers because we are all transcending our capacities. Even the Highest is transcending His infinite Capacities.

In the meantime, I had a visa problem, so I began working at the Indian Consulate. Now you are the Consul General. I was a junior clerk, and my dear friend Mr. Ramamoorthy was a senior clerk. So we are all sailing in the same boat, side by side. Mr. Ramamoorthy and I were extremely close friends; we are enjoying the same friendship even now, and we shall do so for the rest of our lives.

This is my life in a nutshell. If you have any specific questions, I will be extremely happy and grateful to answer them.