Part I: Pablo Casals

Biographical note

/Pablo Casals (1876-1973) was a Catalan cellist, composer and conductor. As a cellist, he was celebrated for his interpretations of J. S. Bach's unaccompanied suites. He left Spain in 1939 to live in Prades, in the French Pyrenees, where he founded an annual music festival. In 1956 he moved to Puerto Rico, where he launched the Casals Festival in 1957, and later toured extensively in the USA. He wrote instrumental and choral works, including the Christmas oratorio "The Manger."/

In 1971, at the age of 95, he wrote the "Hymn to the United Nations" in collaboration with poet W. H. Auden, for which he was awarded a UN Peace Medal by Secretary-General U Thant. In addition to being a musical genius, Pablo Casals was a tireless crusader for peace.

Note

On 6 October 1972, Don Pablo Casals welcomed Sri Chinmoy and a small group of Sri Chinmoy's students to his home in Puerto Rico for a memorable exchange of philosophy, meditation and music. Following is a transcript of that evening's soulful and illumining conversation between Sri Chinmoy and the Maestro.

Greeting

Sri Chinmoy: (presenting one of his records to Don Pablo): You are the Mt. Everest in your musical ability and I am the anthill in music. The anthill is offering its musical ability to the Mt. Everest.

Mrs. Casals: This is played on what instrument?

Sri Chinmoy: The harmonium. It is like a miniature piano.

Mrs. Casals (to Don Pablo in Catalan): These are his compositions. He has dedicated one of them to the Divine Mother.

Don Pablo: You had a wonderful mother, I am sure. I, too, had a wonderful, wonderful mother.

Sri Chinmoy (noticing a portrait of a young woman): That is a picture of your mother?

Don Pablo: Yes, my Ma is everything to me, everything. We were poor, but from my childhood she had such a wonderful power to give me everything. My mother knew everything.

Sri Chinmoy: How old was she when they took this picture?

Don Pablo: Oh, she was young. She was thirty or thirty-two.

Sri Chinmoy: And in this other picture?

Don Pablo: She was nearly seventy. She lived to be seventy-four. I feel my mother always with me, on every occasion. I feel her with me all the time.

Sri Chinmoy: I am so happy. The mother helps the child to manifest his inner divinity, his inner realisation. She receives for Mother-Earth and she manifests what her child has within. You are representing Heaven, Heaven-consciousness, through your music. Mother-Earth's consciousness holds the Light of Heaven and then it helps the Light to manifest here on earth.

Don Pablo: Thank you, thank you. I would like to have a copy of what you have said. And I would like you to explain "realisation" to me.

Spiritual Masters

Sri Chinmoy: Spiritual Masters become consciously inseparable from God. Jesus Christ, Krishna, Buddha and others realised God. God-realisation means that at that time one has boundless peace, joy and bliss within himself. Now you know that God exists, but if you come to my spiritual Centre to meditate with me, then I will be able to show you divine peace, joy, love and bliss. Even now, if I meditate in front of you, I will be able to bring down these divine qualities.

Don Pablo: For years I have dedicated, I can say, my thought and my life and my work to the service of mankind. In its present state, humanity is completely lost. And I say, what could we do to make a better world, not for now — because it is impossible — but for later? I have found one way. One way is the child. Now in the school the teacher does not say what the child is. At the university I think that again they do not learn this. And from my experience in many countries, from nine to ten years children understand the sense of words. The child must know that he is a miracle — a miracle! Since the beginning of the world there has not been and until the end of the world there will not be another child like him. He is unique from the beginning until the end of the world. Now that child acquires a responsibility: "Yes, it is true, I am a miracle. I am a miracle like a tree is a miracle, like a flower is a miracle. Now, if I am a miracle, can I do a bad thing? I cannot, because I am a miracle, I am a miracle."

God, Nature. I call God, Nature or Nature, God. The child has to think, "If I am a miracle that God or Nature has made, can I kill someone? No, I cannot. Or another human being who is a child like me, can he kill me?" I think that this theory could help to bring forth another way of thinking in the world. The world of today is bad; it is a bad world. And it is because they do not talk to the children in the way that the children need.

Sri Chinmoy: I am so grateful to hear this because my philosophy is also the same. We have to feel that we are all God's children. It is only a child that makes progress and evolves.

A child's progress

Don Pablo: How can a child make progress if he does not know what he is? His father and mother do not know this. In the school the child does not learn this. And this is what produces the humanity, the bad humanity, we have. This is my idea: the child must know from childhood.

Sri Chinmoy: The child must learn from the parents. The parents have to feel also that they have the supreme responsibility. A child is the flower of God, a child is the instrument of God, the representative of God. The parents have to feel this.

Don Pablo: But they don't.

Sri Chinmoy: That is why the problem starts. If they feel that their children are representing God, then all the time the parents will teach this to their children.

Don Pablo: That is why I say that the children must know what they are, the miracle that they are, as soon as they understand the sense of the word. This is my idea.

A child represents God

Sri Chinmoy: This miracle means that the child represents God on earth. He is the chosen instrument of God. We admire you, the world admires you as a musician, the greatest musician. The world admires you as a lover of mankind, a true lover of mankind. Again, the world sees in you the eternal child. Greatness is not an obstruction in your life. The eternal child is making and manifesting the divine Music, the divine Truth within you. So it is your child-heart, childlike heart, that is ready to manifest Divinity.

What you are saying is so true. Each person, each human being, should feel that he is a child and, as you say, he is a miracle. Spiritual people, those who are thinking of God and Divinity, are trying to be of help. We are trying to pray and meditate. If we go within and from there if we go without, then immediately we will see the child as a divine instrument of God. Otherwise, if we remain outside, then we cannot see the child as Divinity; we see him as an ordinary human being. But if we remain within, then we see the child as a true miracle.

Don Pablo: Well, I think that I approach some of your ideas.

Sri Chinmoy: It is your idea. This morning I was reading your writings and I was so moved. You were saying that life and work can never be separated. Life and work must go together. Life is realisation and work is manifestation. What you realise from your music, from your life, you are expressing through your outer manifestation. A child has to have the realisation and the manifestation of that realisation.

Don Pablo: I understand. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have talked with many great people — I mean people with great names — presidents of states and ministers and so on. All of them are surprised and they say, "But what you say is a new thing — that if we are to produce something, we must begin with the child." I told Golda Meir from Israel my ideas and she said, "This is a new thing. I want to do that."

We must tell the child what he is. Human beings, as they live now, mostly think of material possessions — money, glory and such stupid things. They do everything that others do without thinking.

Sri Chinmoy: Unfortunately, the mind is working too much and the heart is not working. When the heart works, these problems disappear. The child has a flower-heart but grown-up people are using the mind. In the mind there is no love. Real love is inside the heart. So a child uses the heart and tries all the time to make others happy. God is also trying all the time to make us happy. A child embodies all the good, divine qualities of God. It is the parents who right from the beginning have to see the Divinity and Infinity in the child.

Don Pablo: But they do not do it.

Sri Chinmoy: They do not do it; that is why the problem starts. But you have been to the White House and you have spoken about your philosophy to Roosevelt and Kennedy. You are speaking of new creation all the time. The old creation has to surrender all the time to the new. The old creation means the life that does not want to see the Truth, accept the Truth or fulfil the Truth. In your case you are trying always to offer a new creation. Every day that dawns, according to your philosophy, is freshness, newness, inspiration. Only a child has the capacity to feel this. Every morning he is inspired to do something, to run, to give something to the world. This is something only a child can do.

How can we give this truth to the child? Only if the parents feel that they are responsible for bringing out their children's divine qualities. Parents send their children to school and then they feel their responsibility is over. The teacher often teaches just for the sake of money and does not take responsibility for the child. After all, the child is somebody else's son. If he fails or passes, it is not the teacher's business.

The parents have to feel that to bring a child into the world means to feel divine joy and divine pride that God has brought this person into the world. As you say, each child is unique; this is absolutely true. God's creation is like a lotus or a rose. Each petal is unique in its own way. Through each individual child God is manifesting Himself in an unprecedented way.

Each child is bringing down a new message from God which was not known before. Naturally, if the world accepts it, the world is getting new light, new power, new joy, new love. So what you are saying, that each child is a miracle, each child is unique, is so true, because God wants to manifest Himself in infinite ways, in infinite forms, in infinite Light. A child is here on earth to show us that God does exist, and God is manifesting through that child.

Don Pablo: This is not on the same level of truth that I can explain its value as clearly as you do, but I have the same idea and I work for that. I work, I speak to everybody — I mean, everybody who can understand what I say. And it has been wonderful that you have come like this. It has been wonderful.

God in nature

Sri Chinmoy: I have been coming to Puerto Rico for the last six years, and for the past four years I have been longing to see you. At last the day has dawned for us to see each other and offer our deepest love. In your case you are offering love — both of us are offering our deepest love — but in my case it is love plus admiration for what you have done for humanity. Is it clear?

Don Pablo: Yes.

Sri Chinmoy: I hope it is clear: my deepest admiration for what you have done and what you are doing for humanity through your music. You are lifting the veil of ignorance. Only music can please God more than anything else because God Himself is the Supreme Musician. Each player — each instrument — in God's Cosmic Game is unique, and God is playing a different note on each instrument. So each child is a unique manifestation of God.

Don Pablo: I am very old — not that I feel that I am dying — to feel old is natural, very natural. But in the morning I go to the piano and I play every day of my life two preludes and a fugue of Bach. Then my wife prepares my coffee and immediately I go to my cello and I do exactly the same exercise as when I was eighteen — every day, absolutely every day. I could feel that I am dying, but I do this.

I see God in the melody of Nature. Sometimes I see a flower, just a bud ready to bloom, and I call Martita, "Come with me! See, can you see God?" I am with Nature constantly. That is why I am so happy, so happy. I enjoy everything, everything that Nature does. I see that this is God.

Sri Chinmoy: Nature itself is the manifestation of God, so you are seeing God in Nature.

Don Pablo: This is why I say God is Nature or Nature is God. You see? It is a wonderful work of art. The spirit of the art is wonderful. I feel that I am myself because I have never taken music lightly.

Sri Chinmoy: You take music as prayer, constant inner prayer to bring down the highest Light from Above. It is not that, as ordinary people do, you take music as a vocation. In your case music has been your prayer, your meditation, your oneness with Nature, with God. Earth is God's manifestation.

Don Pablo: Music is a manifestation of God like everything else.

Meditation

Sri Chinmoy: If you would like, I can meditate with you for two or three minutes and bring down peace and light — if you want, but not against your will.

Don Pablo: Of course, I would be delighted. (Don Pablo and Sri Chinmoy sit facing each other.) I must understand every word you say.

Sri Chinmoy: It is so kind of you. Kindly keep your eyes open. The rest I shall do. I shall pray to God, to the Almighty, for peace, light and bliss and you will kindly keep your eyes open. (Mrs. Casals translates into Catalan.) Kindly breathe in slowly.

(Sri Chinmoy and Pablo Casals meditate together.)

I am most grateful to you for granting me the opportunity to meditate with you. It is most kind of you to allow me to meditate on you, on your great, noble soul. (Mrs. Casals translates into Catalan.) You are extremely great; you have a most powerful soul. I am a spiritual seeker. On the strength of my spiritual realisation, I am telling you that you are extremely great, not only in the world of music, but in the world of spirituality as well. That is why, while I was meditating on you, your soul immediately recognised my soul. We knew each other before, long before. Previously I knew you, your soul.

I wish to say that you are a most developed, mature, spiritual soul. The world has recognised you as the greatest musician. But a day will come in your future incarnations when the world will recognise you as a spiritual Master also, because your soul is now ready to launch into the spiritual life. In your future incarnations you will do the most splendid work. You will do something unique in manifesting the eternal God, God's Light, through your creation, and for that I am so happy, so delighted, so proud to be here in your physical presence.

Mrs. Casals (in Catalan): Do you understand?

Don Pablo: Yes, I understand. Now I have the idea of playing on the cello. (Don Pablo plays a beautiful piece of music on the cello.)

Sri Chinmoy: I am so grateful to you for playing. For the first time in my life I am hearing you play. Before, I only heard from other people about your music, but now my soul, my heart, my mind — everything — has heard you play, and for that I am very grateful. You are the real creator of music, and to the creator I offer my deepest love and gratitude. You are an eternal child of God. Each time you play on your instrument, it is a new creation — you create God and manifest God in a unique way. Each time you touch your cello, you bring a new life into existence. And this life is the divine Life that comes directly from Heaven through your music.

The most wonderful moment of my life

Don Pablo (embracing Sri Chinmoy, with tears flowing from his eyes): I am most grateful to you for the most wonderful moment of my life.

Sri Chinmoy: It has been the most wonderful moment in my life, too. I am so happy to see you. You cannot imagine how happy, how delighted, how proud I am to see you because in you I see a real seeker of the infinite Truth who is trying to manifest Divinity through music. The aspiring world is accepting Divinity from you, from your dedicated work. Please feel my deepest gratitude. You have done and you will be doing so much for mankind. Your very life on earth is the greatest blessing for mankind. The whole world is basking in your contribution. You do not know your greatness. The whole world thinks you are so great, beyond your imagination, but you are greater, infinitely greater, than you think and the world thinks. You are a spiritual man. Now that I am seeing you, I can see that your inner world, your inner achievement, will also one day be recognised. The world is seeing your outer achievement, which has come from within, but the day will come, in your future incarnations, when the world will see the ocean of God's Light, Peace and Divinity that you are holding in you. This will also be revealed.

Don Pablo: We all have that within us. Thank you. (Presenting an album to Sri Chinmoy) These are the Beethoven Sonatas played with Rudolph Serkin, the great master.

Sri Chinmoy (presenting a book to Pablo Casals): These are talks on spirituality that I have given at Cambridge and other European universities.

Don Pablo: Thank you.

Sri Chinmoy: My most sincere thanks. One last thing: I was telling your wife that most musicians learn music and play mechanically. They become experts in a mechanical way. In your case, it is not something mechanical. Your music and God are totally, inseparably one; one cannot be separated from the other. You cannot separate God from music, so God is constantly revealing Himself through your music. When you think of music, God is there; when you think of God, music is there.

Don Pablo: Yes, that is what I feel. Bless you, bless you, bless you, bless you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Centennial tribute to Pablo Casals

In 1976, the centennial of Pablo Casals' birth, United Nations staff members and delegates joined together in a programme sponsored by Sri Chinmoy: The Peace Meditation at the United Nations to pay tribute to the great cellist. The programme took place in New York on 11 October. The Spanish Ambassador to the United Nations, Don Jaime de Piniés, paid homage to Pablo Casals as "a symbol of the power of the spirit."

Other staff members recalled the beautiful "Hymn to the United Nations" that Pablo Casals composed in 1971 at the request of U Thant. The Secretary-General awarded him a United Nations Peace Medal for this work.

Sri Chinmoy concluded the programme by reading extracts from his meeting with Pablo Casals in which the Maestro spoke of the child as a miracle of God.

Songs dedicated to Pablo Cassals

O Pablo Cassals

O Pablo Casals, O Pablo,
Your wonder-cello-flames
Eternally shall love and hallow
Our diving and climbing human frames.

Charmingly short in earth's body-height,
Supremely long in Heaven's soul-length,
O child of tomorrow's dawn, no night
You saw in your beauty's world of strength.

To give wings of Eternity

Pictures — Pablo Casals

Sri Chinmoy meditates with Pablo Casals

Don Pablo plays a beautiful piece of music on the cello.

With tears flowing from his eyes, Pablo Casals embraces Sri Chinmoy.

Part II: Leonard Bernstein

Biographical note

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) was a musical phenomenon-a composer, conductor, pianist, teacher and mentor to countless musicians around the world. As a composer, he wrote works in widely different styles, juxtaposing a romantic intensity with jazz and Latin American elements. His best known works include symphonies, such as "Jeremiah" (1944) and "The Age of Anxiety" (1949), ballets, such as "Fancy Free" (1944), and scores for musicals, among which are "On The Town" (1944), "West Side Story" (1957) and "Mass" (1971), in memory of his friend, President J. F. Kennedy.

In 1943, when Bruno Walter, guest conductor of the New York Philharmonic, fell ill, the 25-year-old Bernstein stepped in and became an overnight success. In 1955, he became the first American-born conductor of La Scala Opera in Milan. In 1958, at the age of 40, Bernstein was appointed the youngest-ever Musical Director of the New York Philharmonic. He held this post until 1970, conducting over 1,000 performances.

Leonard Bernstein conducted orchestras the world over and had especially long and fruitful relationships with the Israel Philharmonic and the Vienna Philharmonic.

He was an innovator whose boundless energy, staggering versatility and rare musical genius went forth in many directions. Through his music, Leonard Bernstein also became an eloquent spokesman for world peace. On 25 December 1989-just after the collapse of the Berlin Wall-he conducted Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in East Berlin and West Berlin.