Interviewer: What did you have in your mind before going to America? What made you accept their invitation?

Sri Chinmoy: I got a message from within. From the dawn of my life I have been praying and meditating. From within the message came that I should go and be of service to America. There are many people in the West who are searching for spiritual fulfilment. I had a visa to stay for only three months. Then I applied for a job at the Indian Consulate in New York and got a job there. I was so lucky. I did not have any formal education. I did not get a matriculation degree because there was no degree at the Ashram. I studied in Chittagong up to class seven, and then I came to Pondicherry. I was self-taught. When I applied for the job as a clerk, there were three graduates and two with Master's degrees who also applied. I was the only one who did not have any formal degree. But the Passport and Visa Section Consul gave me the job, so I was saved.

At the Indian Consulate, after three months they evaluate your work to see whether you are a good worker or not. If your work is not good, they dismiss you. But in my case, after only thirteen days, the Consul made me permanent. He is now a very close friend of mine. His name is L.L. Mehrotra. I worked at the Indian Consulate for two years.

In the meantime, many of my friends helped me considerably to meet seekers who wanted to know about spirituality, Indian philosophy and Indian religion. My colleagues and my bosses at the Indian Consulate were also very eager — not to get rid of me, but that I should enter into my own line, which is spirituality.

Then I got my green card so I could remain in America permanently. Over the years, people have come from various countries to meet with me.