Part I

SCA 768-777. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions on 30 January 1999 during his brief visit to Nepal to attend a ceremony dedicating Nepal as a Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossom-Nation.

Seeker: Thank you for coming to Nepal to bless us.

Sri Chinmoy: There is only one Person to bless us — you, me and everybody — and that Person is God. I use the term ‘Supreme’. God and the Supreme are the same Person, but when I use the term ‘Supreme’, I get much more joy. When a little child calls his father ‘Daddy’, he gets more joy than when he says ‘Father’. Similarly, in my case, I prefer to use the term ‘Supreme’ and all my students also use the term, but it is the same Person: God.

Question: How can we control the mind?

Sri Chinmoy: Please try to imagine a lotus inside your heart. Then try to imagine that the lotus is not only inside your heart, but that your heart itself is a lotus. When you look at the lotus or imagine the lotus, try to be deeply absorbed in the beauty of the lotus. It is your own heart-lotus. Then your mind will have no time to roam.

When you enter into a garden, you look at the flowers and enjoy their beauty and fragrance. At that time you do not pay attention to anything else. You have no thought. You are only enjoying the experience that the flowers are offering.

In the same way, try to be deeply absorbed in the lotus which is inside your heart. Then a day will come when you will see that this lotus is not a flower at all — it is your heart itself, which is full of beauty and fragrance. If you start appreciating the beauty and fragrance of your own heart, then there will be no time for your mind to think of anything else.

It all depends on where we place our attention. You are a teacher. When you pay all attention to the subject that you are teaching, whether it is mathematics or any other subject, then you become deeply absorbed. It is when you are not deeply absorbed that the mind roams here and there. When an athlete is running, does he have time to think? No, his goal is only to reach the finish line as fast as possible. Now that you have entered into the spiritual life, your goal is only to remain inside your heart. Who can prevent you from remaining inside your heart-room? For many years, or even centuries, you have been living in your mind-room. Therefore, your heart-room is not familiar to you. But once we start living in the heart-room and pay all attention to the heart-room, we can forget about the other room. This is how we can always be in the heart and pray to God, meditate on God and become choicest instruments of God.

Question: If we want to focus on the heart, where is it?

Sri Chinmoy: Some spiritual Masters are of the opinion that our spiritual heart is in the centre of our chest where the anahata chakra is located. That is the place of utmost joy and safety. I happen to be one of those who subscribe to this belief. Other spiritual Masters will say that it is not in the centre of our chest but in our third eye, the ajna chakra or centre of vision, because the heart has the vision to see God, feel God and be blessed by God. Still others say it is on the left side of the physical heart organ.

Whichever place in our body has the capacity to see God, pray to God and meditate on God we call the heart. As soon as we utter the word ‘heart’, we get a feeling of something very deep, profound and sweet. The heart is the dearest part of our being, the dearest reality or divinity inside us. So if you get joy by meditating on your anahata chakra, then you can meditate there. If you get joy by meditating on your ajna chakra or any other centre, then you can meditate on that place. You do not have to worry about the philosophy behind these spiritual chakras. The best thing is for you to choose which place gives you the most joy. The place that gives you the utmost joy while you are praying and meditating is the best place for you to meditate.

Every day you are working in the hustle and bustle of life. Then, when you come home, you get tremendous joy. You enter into your room and there you pray, you meditate or do whatever you want to do. As soon as we say the word ‘home’, we are filled with such sweet feelings. It is exactly the same for the heart. The heart is the place where we are safe. There we feel that our prayers are being answered. There our meditation becomes very deep, illumining and fulfilling. It is the place that gives us utmost joy. Let our medical friends say, “No, how can this place be your heart? You are a fool! The heart has to be here, in this precise place.” We are not dealing with medical science. We are dealing only with spiritual realities. According to the spiritual reality, the place that gives you the utmost joy when you pray and meditate is your heart.

Question: Will it help me if I see you in my meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely. That is what my disciples and the disciples of any spiritual Master long for. The more you can see your Master in your meditations, the greater will be your speed in the spiritual life. But, in addition to seeing your Master and feeling your Master, you also have to do the right thing. You can see me in your meditation, but afterwards if you enjoy television too much, how will you get the benefit? You have to be very careful. One moment you are in your heart-garden, which has lots of beautiful flowers. But next moment, if you enter into your mind-jungle, all the things that you saw or felt inside your heart-garden will be ruined. This moment you are enjoying the beauty and fragrance of your heart-garden. The next moment if you enter into your mind-jungle, you will become a victim to insecurity, frustration or impurity. So the more you can stay inside your heart, in your own heart-garden, the more you are going to see and feel my divinity.

Question: I wish to realise God. How long will it take?

Sri Chinmoy: I will not be able to say exactly how many months or years it will take. It all depends on God’s Compassion, Affection and Blessings. The only thing I can tell you is that you have to pray and meditate regularly in the morning and evening and, if possible, two or three times more during the day. Then you have to place the results at the Feet of God. You have to be like a farmer. A farmer sows the seed. Then, if he starts looking for the plant the same day, he will not find it. He has to water the seed and wait until it germinates. He must not become impatient and dig up the seed because he cannot see any plant. He has to wait and wait for the proper time.

Your only duty is to pray to God and meditate on God. That is everybody’s duty. Then God will choose a day. We call it God’s choice Hour. At that time, He will definitely give you your realisation.

But right now, do not think of the realisation-fruit. True, the fruit is your goal, but if you think of reaching the fruit before you even climb up the tree, then your mind will be on the fruit and you will not be able to climb. First you have to climb up the tree. Then only can you think of the fruit. Just start climbing. I assure you, one day you will be able to enjoy the most delicious nectar-fruit which is God-realisation.

A little child who is in kindergarten should not think of his Ph.D. First he has to go to primary school, high school and university. At each stage he has to study very, very hard. The goal is there, but it will not be in the forefront of his mind. In your case also, step by step you have to reach your goal.

Question: What is selflessness?

Sri Chinmoy: Selflessness means giving something unconditionally to God. I shall give God what I have, but it is up to God to give me whatever He wants to. I shall give Him my soul, my heart, my mind, my vital, my body — but not with expectation. That is selflessness.

Suppose there are two friends. One friend smiles at the other friend. Then he expects the same kind of smile in return. If his friend does not return his smile, then he gets annoyed. But if you have established true friendship with someone, even if he fails to smile at you, your friendship will not be ruined. You will continue to smile at him.

Think of a mother and her son. Right from the very dawn of his life, the mother does so many things unconditionally for her child. Similarly, children also should do things for their parents unconditionally.

God is our Father, He is our Mother, He is our Brother, he is all our relations. When we pray to God, we have to do it unconditionally, and also we have to feel that if we give Him one dollar, He will give us a million dollars in terms of spiritual wealth, inner wealth. If a child finds a penny in the street, he runs and cheerfully gives it to his father. He could have hidden the penny because, after all, it is his money. All kinds of ideas could have entered his mind that one day he will become rich and so on. But he brings his little penny and offers it to his father. The father is so delighted. Because he came to his father with what he had, his father gives him a dollar with utmost pride and joy.

In God’s case, if we give Him a drop, He gives us an ocean. But while we are giving Him a drop, if we act like a businessman who is trying to make a profit by saying, “Oh, since He is the Ocean, if I give Him a drop, He will give me ten drops or twenty drops,” then we ruin the game. We give God what we have and what we are, knowing that He is our most compassionate Father and Mother. Can there be anybody greater or nicer than God? So we offer everything to Him and then we leave it up to Him to decide what He will give us and when He will give it to us. At His choice Hour He will give. Otherwise, if He gives us something now, it may be untimely. The fruit is there. Now the fruit is green, but it will definitely become ripe in a few months or so. If God gives us a green fruit, we will not appreciate it. So let us wait for the ripe fruit.

Selflessness means that we give God what we have and what we are, not with the expectation that because He has Infinity, Eternity and Immortality at His disposal, He will give us something in return. He will definitely give us these riches, but if we start expecting today, tomorrow and the day after, then we are only delaying and delaying our own progress. We shall give God the Creator and God the creation what we have and what we are as soon as possible. Then we shall leave it up to Him whether He will give us anything in return. This is called selflessness.

Question: How can we trust ourselves and our abilities?

Sri Chinmoy: If we rely on God, then whatever we receive from Him will be sufficient for us. You are saying you cannot trust yourself. This moment your mind is telling you that I am a good person. Next moment your mind says the opposite. And the moment after that, your mind will tell you, “Who am I to judge him? If he is a good person, let him be good. If he is a bad person, let him be bad. What do I gain by thinking of whether he is good or bad?”

The same thing happens with trust. This moment you trust your capacity. Next moment you do not trust it at all. All human beings suffer from trust and lack of trust.

How do we solve this problem? If we pray to God and depend on God for everything, then God gives us confidence. At that time, we do not have to worry. The confidence that we get from our reliance on God can never be taken away. If you love God, how can He deceive you? We cannot deceive our dearest ones. If you are a nice person, you will not deceive your mother or your father or your brother. Can there be anybody nicer than God? God is infinitely nicer than we are. If you trust Him, then He will never fail you. Your trust in Him, your faith in Him, will give you confidence in yourself. You will trust yourself and you are bound to trust yourself precisely because there is Someone who loves you infinitely more than you can ever imagine, and that Person is God. If you love Him, He will give you the capacity to trust in your activities.

You write poems. Try to feel that these poems are being written by God in and through you. Feel that you are only holding the pen and writing down the words that God wants you to write. If you feel, “I have done it. I have written hundreds of poems,” if that kind of pride comes forward, then you will not be able to write even one line.

Right from my childhood, I started writing poems. Now I have written thousands and thousands of poems, but I know that I can do nothing without God. Everything that I do comes from Him. It is not my false modesty. It is my sincere conviction, based on my oneness with God’s Will.

When you write poems or when you do something good, inspiring and illumining, you have to feel that it is He who has done it in and through you, according to your capacity of receptivity. If you cannot trust God, then you will never be able to trust yourself. So trust God’s Presence from now on, if possible all the time. If you cannot do it all the time, then try to trust Him for a few minutes a day. The more your faith in God increases, the stronger will be your faith and trust in yourself.

Question: In the morning I usually spend half an hour for spiritual practice. How much time should I allot to chanting and how much for meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: If you have only half an hour at your disposal, then in the beginning you can chant for ten minutes. Chanting is also part of prayer and meditation. We cannot separate them. After chanting you can pray for five minutes, and after praying you can meditate for ten minutes. Then it has become twenty-five minutes. For the last five minutes, you should read spiritual books. That will help you. After meditating, slowly we have to enter our outer life. Meditation takes us deep inside. But we have to keep a balance. We have to go to work and engage in outer activities. So to convince yourself that you have chanted, you have prayed and you have meditated, this reading is absolutely necessary. But only spiritual books, nothing else.

For ten minutes please chant, for five minutes pray and for ten minutes meditate very deeply. Then for five minutes, please read spiritual books. This way you can spend your half an hour. Do not think that meditation is superior and chanting and prayer are inferior — no, no, no. You have to feel that you are entering into a temple. These are the steps that have to be taken. The first step is chanting. If there is no first step, you cannot go to the second and third steps. Do chanting first, then prayer, then meditation. Then, to convince yourself that you have chanted, you have prayed and you have meditated, it is advisable to read spiritual books.

Question: How can we have a peaceful world?

Sri Chinmoy: We can create a peaceful world by enlarging our heart. When I was a child, my whole world was my father and my mother. I come from a village. After a few years, I started loving my little village. It is not that I stopped loving my father and mother — no. They are inside my love for my village. I only expanded my love.

Peace and joy can never be separated. If I am peaceful, that means I am blissful. If I am blissful, that means I am peaceful. A child gets utmost joy by thinking of his parents. After a few years, he gets tremendous joy by thinking, “This is my village.” Then gradually his feeling expands to include his town, his city, his province, his country.

I was born in a village in Bengal. At first, I used to think only of my village. Then gradually, gradually, when I used to hear the word ‘Bengal’, I would get tremendous joy. I read poems on Bengal and listened to songs about Bengal. My heart was expanding. Then I came to realise that my country is India. When I think of India, I am filled with joy because I was born there and my nationality is Indian.

Now I have been living in America for many, many years. I go to the United Nations to pray and meditate twice a week. The delegates, diplomats and staff — all those who want to pray and meditate — come and join me. The United Nations is so significant because almost all the nations of the world have joined. So I feel that all the nations are coming together to pray and meditate.

Now I cannot say that I have lost my love for India or East Bengal or Chittagong or Shakpura — no. I am only expanding, expanding my heart. First I got joy from thinking of my parents as my own. Then I added my village, my town, my province and my country, India. Now if you ask me what gives me the most joy, I will say that it is the moment when I think of the entire world as my own, very own. Right now, if I think of myself as a little Bengali village boy, then I will be caught there. Now I take the whole world as my own. When we use our love, there is no distance. It is like a magnet.

So the love that we felt in the very beginning for our mother and father we have to feel for the entire humanity. Until we can claim the whole world as our own, very own, with our love-power, we will have no peace. We will only think, “I am better than you are. I am superior, you are inferior.” It is love that unites us, and that love is inside the heart. When we do not have the feeling of love, we will look at somebody else or at another country and immediately we will draw comparisons: I am stronger than you are, or I am weaker than you are. But if we use the heart, even if the person who is standing in front of us is stronger, more beautiful or more cultured than we are, we will claim him as our own.

When a little child sees his father, he does not think, “Oh, my father is so much greater than I am, he has so much wisdom” — no, no, no! He takes his father and all his father’s capacities and qualities as his own.

Here also, if we can expand our hearts to include countless human beings, then we will get peace. Only in the expansion of love do we find peace. We must not say only ‘I’ and ‘mine’, but we must love others the way we love ourselves. The moment we use the mind, we do not expand. We will try to find our peace in being ahead of somebody else. Then, to our dismay, we will find that that person is already hundreds of miles ahead of us!

If we use our heart, we will not mind if somebody is ahead of us in any sphere. We will say, “That person is an extension of me. It is the same thing as putting my right foot ahead of my left foot. They belong to me; we have to go together. Otherwise, with one leg how will I be able to walk?”

When we can establish our oneness with the entire world, we can have peace. And it is from our prayers and meditations that we develop oneness.

General comments about Nepal

Our dream-boat started sailing in Nepal many years ago when one of my students came here. Sometimes the boat has sailed through stormy weather. We did not mind, because the destination was assured. Then two more came to give the boat such speed. The boat started sailing faster than the fastest. Now our Nepalese boat is very beautiful and very powerful. Today, when I was at the airport, I was shedding tears of gratitude to the soul, to the heart, to the life and to the life-breath of Nepal. The moment I use the word ‘Nepal’, inside my heart something so deep and haunting I feel, like a most melodious tune. Such a sweeter than the sweetest melody I hear when I use the word ‘Nepal’. I am very happy to be of service to Nepal, to all the Nepalese hearts, Nepalese souls and Nepalese lives.

Part II

SCA 778-782. Excerpts from a telephone interview by Daibel Faye of Radio Kan Kan, WBAI 99.5 FM, New York, that took place on 30 December 1998.

Daibel Faye: Could you tell us what your mission is and what you are trying to achieve?

Sri Chinmoy: I am a student of peace. Only a student can learn, and peace is something that we learn from our day-to-day life. When we pray, when we meditate, we try to become a better person. If we become a better person, then we shall have joy, and this joy comes from our inspiration. I inspire you, you inspire me and both of us together try to inspire the whole world. This world of ours has everything save and except one thing — peace. Material wealth will not give us peace. Earthly possessions will not give us peace. Talks on peace will not give us peace. Peace we get only from our self-giving life. This self-giving life has to be sleepless and unconditional.

I happen to be a poet, a musician and an artist. Now, you may say I am a jack of all trades, master of none, but I have tried through my poems, through my music and through my art to offer my inspiration to the world. Each thing that I do is for inspiration. When I am inspired, I create something and then I try to share with the rest of the world the same inspiration. I feel we can become good citizens of the world on the strength of our inspiration. When we are inspired, we do great, good and immortal things.

I have met with many, many world figures. Although some of them are well known in the world of politics — such as President Gorbachev, President Mandela and a few other politicians of the highest rank — they are so kind to me. They never discuss politics with me. We only talk about world peace from the depths of our heart and not from our mind.

Here I have to beg the pardon of the listeners. The mind, no matter how great and cultured it is, will not be able to give us peace. Only a simple heart, a pure heart, a childlike heart will be able to give us peace. I have written considerably, I have given talks at various places. But I must say I get peace only when I share peace with others. That is why I give peace concerts all over the world. I have only one goal — peace, universal peace.

For many years I gave talks on world peace at the United Nations. But I found that my talks were of no avail. Only when I meditate in silence or play soulful music do I feel peace in the inmost recesses of my heart. At that time I feel I can be of true service to mankind. So in everything that I do I try to become a self-giving life founded upon my inner peace.

Daibel Faye: Well, it is quite refreshing to hear you go through all the different things that you do. Apparently you travel a lot, and yet you can manage to write all these books, to learn all these instruments and to practise them. It seems that you do not make a distinction between your private and professional life.

Sri Chinmoy: Mine is not a professional life. Mine is the life of prayer and meditation. I do not separate my outer activities from my prayer-life. You may ask why I have thrown myself into the hustle and bustle of life. For me, everything that I do has only one aim or goal — peace, universal peace. I feel that if I enter into a garden, there should be many flowers of various types. If there are different kinds of flowers, then individuals who enter into the garden can appreciate the flowers. In a shop there are many, many things. You can buy the things that you like, and I can buy the things that I need. Similarly, I feel that inside my heart-garden, inside your heart-garden, there are all kinds of beautiful flowers and they have a divine fragrance. When I enter into your heart-garden, I derive tremendous peace, joy, harmony, love and the feeling of oneness. In the same way, when you enter into my heart-garden, you also see and feel the same thing. This is how we grow together. Only on the strength of our oneness can we have peace. This oneness we can get only when we are happy. How can we be happy if we are not inspired? So right from the beginning we have to think of inspiration. Inspiration is of paramount importance. Anything great, good, divine and immortal that we are planning to accomplish in this lifetime has to come from inspiration. I go from this country to that country only to be of service to mankind. My service and my inspiration are like the beauty and fragrance of my heart-flower.

Daibel Faye: I understand that you have lifted over 92,000 pounds in a time space of three hours.

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. On the 27th of November, in three hours’ time I lifted over 92,000 pounds. Again, I must say, it is not my physical strength. It is all God’s Grace. My biceps are not even 13 inches. I am not muscle-bound and I am of very short stature. For all that I do, I depend on God’s Grace. I can do nothing on my own. I entirely depend on God’s Grace for my poetry, music, art and sports. Everything that I do comes from my prayer-life and meditation-life.

Daibel Faye: Even though it is by God’s Grace that you lifted all that weight, indeed, there has to be a physical connection. Even though God’s Grace is responsible, there has to be a lifting process.

Sri Chinmoy: Let us use the term ‘faith’. Every day I try to increase my inner faith in God. He is full of Compassion, Love, Affection and Concern for His creation. When we look up, we see God the Creator, and when we look around, we see God the creation. God the Creator and God the creation are the same Person. When we pray to God the Creator, He tells us that He will be pleased with us only when we serve Him inside His creation.

This weightlifting that I do inspires many people. When it is on television, millions of people watch me. They get innocent joy when they see this 67-year-old man lifting weights. especially people who are over sixty get tremendous inspiration. They say, “Oh, he is of our age. What is wrong with us? Why should we allow ourselves to be inactive? Why should we wallow in the pleasures of idleness?” Young people who are twenty or forty years younger than I am say, “If this old man can lift such heavy weights, what is wrong with us?”

My weightlifting is such an innocent thing. I am not boxing or wrestling with anybody. I am only trying to transcend my own capacity. I am only loving the divine in me, in you and in everybody. That divine is telling me to be of greater service to humanity. So when I lift weights, I have only one objective in front of me, and that is to serve mankind according to the limited capacity that I have been entrusted with. Again, my capacity is founded upon faith, and this faith comes from my prayer-life and my meditation-life.