Do not forget
That your soul
Is your Master’s breath.
Do not forget
That your soul
Is your Master’s breath.
Do not forget
That your life
Is your Master’s feast.
Do not forget
That your heart
Is your Master’s life-boat.
Do not forget
That you have
Many, many friends
In the world.
Do not forget
That your Master
Has only one friend:
Your heart’s satisfaction-smile.
Do not forget
That you forget your Master
In season and out of season.
Do not forget
That your Master
Never wants to study
In the forgetfulness-school.
Do not forget
That your Master
Is a constant beggar.
He begs you to give him
What you have:
Do not forget
That your Master
Is a sleepless and breathless beggar.
He begs God to give him
What He has and what He is
For you, only for you.
Sri Chinmoy 27 August 1998
Mrs. Nivedita Edith Chimutengwende, wife of the Minister of Information and Tourism of the Government of Zimbabwe, reads a letter from her husband, the Hon. Mr. Chen Chimutengwende, to Sri Chinmoy, declaring Zimbabwe to be a Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossom-Nation. This most significant letter was received a few days prior to Sri Chinmoy’s birthday.
Nivedita’s children, Tawanda (age 11) and Mandi (age 13), soulfully listen while their mother reads the letter. Also on stage with them is Madhuja Tabitha Katsande (on the far left), Sri Chinmoy’s pioneer African disciple, and Shailaja Esther Makwara, leader of the Centre in Headlands South, Zimbabwe.
An enthusiastic response from Narada, Sudhahota and the audience members greets Nivedita at the conclusion of her reading.
Narada Michael Walden reads a letter of congratulations to Sri Chinmoy from the Speaker of the House in Malta. Malta was the first nation to become a Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossom-Nation. The inauguration ceremony was held in Malta on 19 May 1998.
Sudhahota Carl Lewis reads out a most treasured letter to Sri Chinmoy from Comrade Jacob Zuma, Deputy President of the African National Congress and Minister of Economic Affairs and Tourism for KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This letter declares South Africa to be a Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossom-Nation, with the full blessings and support of President Nelson Mandela.
Sri Chinmoy’s disciples of African origin, together with other singers, gather on stage to sing Sri Chinmoy’s song, “Africa.” He composed this song in 1986, long before the end of the apartheid era. Its words, specially “Soon, very soon, you will fly,” have proven to be deeply prophetic.
Sri Chinmoy: Sudhahota, you are the fastest — not only in the body, but in the mind also. The body, vital and mind can all go very fast. There is definitely a link between the body and the mind. How fast I feel because I have lost so much weight! Again, if one becomes very hungry, tired and exhausted, then what are you going to do? At that time you have to increase your calories. Sudhahota, nowadays are you taking about 2,000 calories?
Sudhahota: When I’m working out, I get about 3,000, but now about 2,000. Then I think I have days when I do 4,000!
Sri Chinmoy: Narada, what kind of exercise do you take?
Narada: I try to keep running a little bit, and I swim.
Sri Chinmoy: Swimming is very good. Daily?
Narada: Not every day, but I stay busy. I have to try your diet, Guru! Maybe not 200 calories a day, though. I don’t know how you do that!
Sri Chinmoy: Try with 1,000 calories first. Then you can bring it down to 900. With 1,000 you can start, but whoever cooks for you has to be very strict. Otherwise, if that person is not strict, you may consume more or you may consume less. If you are taking less than the number of calories that you have planned to take, then unnecessarily you will feel weak.
Sudhahota: Narada, where do you keep your scale?
Narada: I have a scale in my bathroom.
Sri Chinmoy: Bathroom scales are rubbish!
Sudhahota: What about the kitchen? (laughter)
Sri Chinmoy: When you use a bathroom scale, you can gain five pounds in ten minutes. You weigh yourself, and ten minutes later you will see that five pounds you have gained, although you have not eaten or drunk anything. Every five minutes a bathroom scale changes. It is like magic!
Sudhahota: Get a good scale and put it near where you eat. Put one in the kitchen and one in your studio.
Sri Chinmoy: A doctor’s scale is the best. It is the most accurate and reliable. Sudhahota’s suggestion is good: to put the scale where you eat.
Sudhahota: I get on it before I go to the dinner table. It’s a mental thing. For a while Ruth, my cook, would always take it away, because I would get on it and not eat. Now she doesn’t do that anymore. Put a scale where you eat, and get in front of the mirror every day. (Patting Narada’s knee affectionately) You’re vain enough for that to help, Narada — I know!
Narada: Guru, the statue of you at Sacred Rock is so beautiful out back! It is so beautiful — and your voice! I play the tape of the message you sent me for everyone who comes there. It’s very beautiful.
Sri Chinmoy: Now, at my request, the same sculptor, Kaivalya, is making a bust of President Mandela, because we are going to have a celebration in South Africa in two months’ time.
Narada: Are you going, Guru?
Sri Chinmoy: I will see. If I do not go, I will ask someone to bring the bust and offer it to President Mandela on my behalf.
Sudhahota: When I was in South Africa, I had a chance to meet him. It was really beautiful because there were so many children around. There were 15 little kids all the time. That’s what I remember most: he had all these children around him all the time. He would say to them, “Come over here!” and he would show such love and compassion to these little kids. Maybe they were all his family, but it didn’t seem like it.
Sri Chinmoy: (referring to a letter proclaiming South Africa a Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossom-Nation): Sudhahota, I am going to send President Mandela the tape of you reading out the letter we received from South Africa at my birthday celebration yesterday. President Mandela fully supports this proclamation, and he gave his blessings to his Deputy to send us the letter on his behalf. We started with Malta. It was the first country to become a Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossom-Nation. Then Zimbabwe followed and now South Africa. South Africa is most significant because of the countless sufferings they have gone through. Soon New Zealand will make the declaration.
Narada: I think it is just a matter of time before you get the Nobel Peace Prize, Guru.
Sri Chinmoy: One of these days it may happen. Who knows? But let us not talk about me. What are your plans, Sudhahota? What are you doing nowadays? How often do you go to California?
Sudhahota: I’ll be going starting in September, for a week or two every month.
Sri Chinmoy: For acting lessons?
Sudhahota: I’m taking lessons in Houston, but I’m going to California just to be on the scene!
Sri Chinmoy: When will be your first appearance?
Sudhahota: I have a few things I’ve already read for, and a few things I will be reading for in September and October. It’s just a matter of plugging away!
Sri Chinmoy: And you are also taking singing lessons?
Sudhahota: I’m getting back into music as well. I’ve been focusing on acting, but eventually I want to get back into music.
Sri Chinmoy: In September you will start going to Los Angeles?
Sudhahota: Yes, that’s where our agency is. They want me to be seen at events, and to make myself available. A lot of times a reading may come up the next day. When I’m in Houston, sometimes I can go to California the next day, and sometimes I can’t. Sometimes my agent may say, “There’s going to be a lot going on one week, so come and stay that week.”
Narada: You should meet with some great directors.
Sudhahota: That’s a very good idea. Being out there, I can do that — not when I’m just going for a two-day trip, meeting four people and coming home. I need to be out there.
Narada: I think Sudhahota will get further in acting than in singing. Music has been taken over by rap groups. Unless he’s doing rap, it can be very difficult for him to make it.
Sri Chinmoy: Can you not do both? Some actors all of a sudden start singing. One actor did that about 40 years ago. Then he became a Minister and all kinds of things.
Narada: Was he white or black?
Sri Chinmoy: White.
Sudhahota: That helps!
Sri Chinmoy: All of a sudden, while acting, he would sing. In Sudhahota’s case also, while he is acting, all of a sudden if he sings for a few minutes, it will add so much. Many actors cannot do that.
Narada: But the problem with music, Guru, is that no one is taken seriously if they come from acting or television. It’s very rare. It happens every now and then, but very rarely are they taken seriously. There are many actors who want to be rock stars and musicians, but they are never taken seriously. It takes millions of dollars to break in. It’s very difficult. It can happen, but it’s very difficult.
Sri Chinmoy: But producers can turn night into day and day into night.
Narada: We can try!
Sri Chinmoy: You can do it. How much talent producers have in publicity! You know, you see it. Let us take you, for example. There were some singers who joined you 15 or 20 years ago when they were unknown. Now they have become very, very important and powerful. How did you make them so important? Previously they were insignificant. Then afterwards, when they became prominent, they left you. Before that, it was your talent, not their talent.
Narada: I’m doing the same thing now, Guru. I have four brand-new young stars. We’re working with them. But in Sudhahota’s case, because he’s Carl Lewis, they won’t take him seriously. There’s another big movie star I recorded for — they won’t take him seriously. There are many, many people who are big, big names who want to break into music.
Sri Chinmoy: In music also they have talent?
Narada: Yes, but people don’t take them seriously. They think, “Oh, he’s an actor, he’s a comedian.” They won’t buy his record unless he is with someone else who is also very powerful, perhaps. You may not like rap music, but rap music is what’s happening at the moment. If Sudhahota got with some hot rapper, then he might have a chance.
Sudhahota: I know of one athlete who did that. Guru, acting is the same way, but more people have done it, so they are more willing to accept you. Now I’m getting the same thing: “Yeah, right, you want to be an actor!” So I have to prove that, because most people don’t think I’m serious there, either. It’s hard for me even to get readings because they say, “Here’s another guy who just wants to be a star because he can’t run anymore.” That’s what they’re saying when I leave the room. I’m taking lessons. I’m going to have to film my lessons so that they can send tapes to these people so that they’ll even talk to me. They figure, well, it’s so easy to find someone on the street and make him a star as opposed to changing everyone’s perception about this person to make him a star in another field. It can be done, and I think acting is easier than music, but still it’s tough. I think I have the talent to do it, but you have to stick to it and work hard. We’re going to do it.
Sri Chinmoy: Narada, your theory is that because Sudhahota was an extraordinary, extraordinary figure in athletics, people will not take him seriously in another field. As soon as people hear his name, they think only of the supreme athlete, “King Carl.” Because he has reached the topmost height in one field, they do not want to accept him in another field. But I would like to say, why not? If one can be extraordinary, absolutely extraordinary, and unique in one field, why should he not enter into another field? And in Sudhahota’s case, his voice can add to his acting.
You are saying it has to be a certain way in the music world, but let us take our India’s Mahatma Gandhi. He knew absolutely nothing about music, but when he said something about music, the whole world listened. Here also, if Sudhahota says something about acting or anything else, they will take it seriously just because it is Carl Lewis who is saying it. He has already reached a great height, even though he may not be an actual authority on a particular subject. When our Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore said something on any subject, people listened. He may have known next to nothing about that subject, but just because he had become an extraordinary figure, because he had reached the highest in poetry, when he said something on any subject, others valued it.
Take, for example, a well-known bodybuilder, a Mr. Olympia, who is now in the acting world. People take him seriously. Why? Because he was Mr. Olympia for so many years. It has definitely helped him.
Narada, you are saying that because Carl Lewis was so great as an athlete, people will not take him seriously in acting or music. That is your way of thinking. But you can also take it the other way. He is already an authority in one field, like Gandhi and Tagore. People already have great respect for him. It is the same with President Gorbachev. Previously he was in politics, but now people listen when he says something on any subject.
If you say something, dearest Narada, it is the same, because you are so well known in the music world. In exactly the same way, Sudhahota’s previous achievements will be of tremendous help. Your theory is that his previous achievements as an athlete will stand in his way. But you can take it the other way. If somebody can reach the highest in one field, then we can have confidence in him in other fields also.
Sudhahota: I think that people in the business are the problem. If I tell the public what I’m doing, they say, “Oh, that’s exciting.” The public is willing to say, “You’re doing this now, or you’re trying that, and it’s great.” But when I sit in meetings and say it to people in the business, they’re the ones who are resisting. It’s not really the public. That’s happened with some stars. It didn’t seem like the labels really got behind them, did it?
Narada: It’s hard to say. Maybe not.
Sudhahota: That’s really a question I don’t know the answer to. Then, Guru, in this business, being a black male doesn’t help. That doesn’t stop us, Guru. That’s just the reality we have to deal with.
Sri Chinmoy: Your very name, Carl Lewis, creates excitement and enthusiasm. Muhammad Ali was a boxer, and he created such a sensation! In the athletic world, you have given us so much joy. Even now, when you go to Japan or somewhere else, everybody is excited. There are others who are now champions, but nobody will vote for them. On your side there will be 2,000 people and on their side, nobody. Such a sensation you have created in the world family! You are known infinitely more than other champions.
You are saying that it is very difficult to shine in the acting world because white people are more prominent and black people do not get the same opportunity. True, there may be more white people, but that does not mean that black people will not do well. In your case, you are universally loved. So many people, whites and blacks alike, care for you.
Your agent should take full advantage of this excitement, this sensation, that you create for the public. You are saying that the business world is not responding to you. But after all, who buys albums? Who watches films? It is the public. Your very name creates a sensation for the public. If the public does not respond to you, it is another thing. But your very name creates excitement. Unfortunately, there is a gulf between the public’s excitement and the reality perceived by these agents. There should be a way for your agents to approach the public. You have a drum, the world’s best drum, and you have sticks. Now somebody has to come and strike the drum!
Already he has got such an advantage, Narada! One way of thinking is, “Oh, he is a supreme athlete. He will be a useless actor!” But it may be just the opposite. Because he is a supreme athlete, he has created already a sensation, so people will eagerly go to see him.
If a shop has most delicious mangoes, people will go there to buy them. Then, all of a sudden if the owner says, “I have jackfruit also, with an excellent taste,” people will immediately go to try the jackfruit, because already he has attracted them with his mangoes. In your case, Sudhahota, people are coming to you for one thing, and then you can show them that you have something else to offer which is also very nice. Another person could not do this. He would have to start right from the beginning to cultivate the faith of the public. Both you and Narada have the same advantage: your names are like household words. But, in your case, Sudhahota, you are not exploiting your name; it is just that your very name is attracting people, the way bees are attracted to a flower. If there is no flower, first you have to sow the seed, and God alone knows when the plant will grow and blossom. Already you have become a plant, with beautiful flowers full of fragrance. There should be some way to attract people to appreciate the beauty and fragrance of the flowers.
Narada: There are ways, Guru. We have to talk about it. We haven’t actually seen each other in months.
Sudhahota: It’s been a while.
Sri Chinmoy: You two are not doing the right thing! Even if you do not see each other, can you not talk on the phone in the evening when you are relaxed? Who is forbidding you? Why can you not discuss your activities on the phone? You can select a particular time when both of you will be free and then you can call each other. In that way there will be mutual encouragement. Both of you will find new ways to make progress.
Sudhahota: Okay, Guru.
Sri Chinmoy: Please try to do this. You know how much love I have for both of you, but you are stuck somewhere. Somehow you are not seeing the light. My dear Sudhahota, you do have the indomitable urge, indomitable determination, indomitable will-power, and that indomitable willpower you have to use in your music world and in your acting world. Just break through the wall! You will not get hurt. You are afraid of the wall, but you can either jump over it or go through it. This wall is not like the Great Wall of China! It is meant to be surmounted. You must not surrender to the wall. Indomitable will-power you both have. Just use it! Go through the wall!
Your birthday gift to me will be only for you to exercise your indomitable will-power. That will be the supreme birthday gift that you give me. My request to you is: please talk on the phone and encourage each other. That will be very good. Do not forget and speak only once in she months! Even if you cannot meet together, on the phone you can speak.
Narada: It’s all his fault. (laughter)
Sri Chinmoy: With one hand you cannot clap. To clap you need both hands.
Sudhahota: (to Narada)/: Every time I say something, you’re going to get into trouble again, so I’m just going to be quiet! (laughter)
Narada: Guru, I know! We can make Sudhahota the Ambassador of Love to go from nation to nation to speak to people. We can play music together. This is an excellent idea.
Sri Chinmoy: It is an excellent idea.
Narada: We can go to Africa.
Sri Chinmoy: What about UNICEF?
Sudhahota: We’ve been talking to them, Guru.
Sri Chinmoy: You should be an Ambassador of Goodwill, like Jesse Owens. You should be America’s Ambassador of Goodwill.
[In an unrecorded segment, Sudhahota mentions that he wants to continue travelling all over the world to encourage children. He also recounts how Sri Chinmoy’s students in many countries have taken care of him during his travels for track and field competitions.]
Sudhahota: It’s great to see all the disciples bringing their young children to be inspired to love, to love peace, to love others at this young age, because it’s something they will teach everyone around them when they grow up.
Thank you again for everything. I would like to thank all the disciples. The peace was beautiful. And Happy Birthday again, Guru!
Sri Chinmoy: My divine Narada, I shall remain eternally grateful to you for bringing my Sudhahota, the champion of the inner world, and our Carl Lewis, the champion of the outer world.
When I see you two together, both of you give me Infinity’s Bliss. My Narada, with my aspiration-heart and dedication-life I always unreservedly value the source. Here, you are the source to bring Carl Lewis to our God-loving family.
Your love for your younger brother Sudhahota I can only feel, but I will never be able to express adequately, although over a thousand books go to my credit.
The world knows you as a super, super drummer. The world knows you as a great music producer. The world knows you as a man of very big heart.
In the music world, you have inspired and brought to the fore the then unknown musicians.
To our great joy and surprise, you have added even more name and fame to some established musical celebrities by bringing out their albums.
Narada, my Narada, my divine Narada.
TBS 10. On 28 August 1998, the day after his birthday, Sri Chinmoy had a lively, wide-ranging conversation with Narada Michael Walden and Sudhahota Carl Lewis at Aspiration-Ground, a meditation park in Jamaica, New York. Excerpts from that conversation and later remarks by Sri Chinmoy follow.↩