Part I

SCA 1096-1097. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions at Auckland Airport on 9 July 1989 before returning to New York.

Question: How can I have more purity?

Sri Chinmoy: If you have any wrong thoughts, impure thoughts — no matter what is in your mind — look at a flower. As soon as you look at a flower, your mind becomes beautiful, your mind becomes pure, your mind becomes fragrant. If you look at a flower, your mind will be filled with pure thoughts. But you have to look at the flower most sincerely and intensely. You cannot gaze at it casually and allow your mind to roam freely. Your power of concentration has to be on the flower.

If you do not have a flower, you can also use a candle flame. Do not concentrate on the base or the wax, but only on the flame. Imagine that you have become the flame itself. By looking at the flame, you can get purity.

One way is to observe a small object, such as a flower or a flame. Again, by observing something larger than the largest, you can also develop purity. Look at the sky. That is the first step. The next step is to feel that you are inside the sky. First look at it, how vast it is. Then look at one portion of the sky and imagine that you have entered into it. Once you have entered into it, try to become the vastness itself. Impurity comes from the limited mind, whereas purity comes from vastness. The human mind is impure because the human mind is unable to become one with the Universal Reality. If something is vaster than the vastest — the sky or the sun or the Himalayas — then that vastness itself can give you purity.

Another way is to imagine the ocean. On the surface you are seeing that the ocean is full of turmoil and restlessness, but at the bottom there is poise. You can imagine that you are entering into the depths of the ocean.

These are several ways you can try. You can look at a flower or a flame. Again, you can choose something that is vaster than the vastest, higher than the highest or deeper than the deepest. Imagine that thing and try to enter into it.

Question: There is a feeling at the moment that Australia and New Zealand should become one country. How do you feel about this?

Sri Chinmoy: I was reading a nice article the other day saying that for many, many years an Australian Prime Minister has not come to New Zealand. Now the present Australian Prime Minister recently paid a visit, and he was joking that because the New Zealand Prime Minister is so nice, he may come back again, at least for fishing!

Now, to come back to your question, the souls of Australia and New Zealand have already established their oneness. Even if they do not come together outwardly, their souls’ oneness will always be there. The souls are always trying to do the right thing and see the right thing in everybody and everything. Inwardly the souls inspire each other and then the results you see on the outer plane. The Australian Prime Minister has come here after so many years. Is that not a good sign?

Again, the seekers can increase the oneness between these two countries. If people who are great in one country — for example, if they are great singers or runners — can go to the other country and run or sing, it will definitely help, especially if they have some spirituality behind them. They do not have to speak about the glory of their own country. If they are spiritual, then their very presence will help to unite the two countries.

In this way, if some Australian runners or singers — anybody who is great in Australia who is also a seeker — comes to New Zealand, it will help tremendously and vice versa. Outwardly they will go to the other country as a runner or singer, but inwardly they are uniting not only New Zealand and Australia, but the whole world.

Part II

SCA 1098-1100. Sri Chinmoy met with parents of his German disciples in Cologne on 25 March 1984. He began by offering a brief personal introduction and then answered the parents’ questions. Excerpts from that meeting.

My name is not Sri Chinmoy. My name is gratitude

My name is not Sri Chinmoy. My name is gratitude. I am your Indian son. Your Indian son is speaking to you from the very depths of his heart.

God is our Father, God is our Mother, God is our Brother and God is our Sister. God is everything to us and everyone to us. There is only one God. My God and your God are both the same God. I am not God. God is Someone who is inside my heart, inside your heart, inside everybody’s heart. And I am not the Guru. God is the only Guru, for it is He who illumines us, liberates us and makes us perfect instruments of His.

As you know, in a family, there is an eldest member and a youngest member and again, quite often there are a few in between. But they are all children of the same parents. Even so, in a spiritual family, there will be someone who is the oldest, someone who is the youngest and others in between.

In a family, the eldest member is often asked by the parents to take care of the little ones — to help them, guide them and tell them about their parents. The oldest one knows many more things than the younger ones, so the father or mother asks the eldest child of the family to tell the young ones about their parents.

In the same way, I am being asked by God to tell my younger brothers and sisters about Him. Your children are my younger brothers and sisters, so it is my bounden duty to speak to them about our Heavenly Father, God. Being the eldest member of this spiritual family, I am being asked to tell my dear brothers and sisters about our Father and where He can be found. Our Father is here, there and everywhere. But my goal is to show them where the Father can be seen and felt most powerfully and convincingly, and to take them to the Father. That is my only goal.

I am not the Father, but I am the brother of your children, their eldest brother. You do not mind when your oldest son or daughter speaks to the younger ones about you and gives them more knowledge, more information, more wisdom about you, for you know that they are all your children and they are all for you. You get tremendous joy that they are yours — your children, your creations. As I mentioned before, you are my dear German parents and I am your Indian son. So we are all your children, and we are all in one boat. We call this boat the Golden Boat, and our Pilot Supreme is steering the Boat. We, His children, are seated in His Boat, and He is taking all of us to the Golden Shore, where there is no suffering but only light and delight.

Alone, I cannot do anything and I will never be able to do anything in this world. Yesterday you saw that thousands of people came to our Peace Concert. It was like a family gathering where all the members came together to celebrate. All my German brothers and sisters helped me far, far beyond my imagination to have this concert, this spiritual family reunion.

Your dear and sweet children yesterday accomplished something most significant for our Beloved Supreme. It was an unparalleled achievement, and it was all done by virtue of tremendous, tremendous loving sacrifice from your own children. The parents’ creation is their children. In their children’s joy will always be the parents’ joy. If a child gets joy from playing with dolls, then the parents will get joy from watching their child play with dolls. They will get tremendous joy on the strength of their identification with their child. Therefore, I am sure that on the strength of your inseparable oneness with your children, you are also receiving the same kind of joy and satisfaction that they are experiencing now.

You have already proved your inseparable oneness with your children by coming to Cologne. Some of you have travelled hundreds of miles. In this way you have already proved your oneness with your children. Your hearts’ love for them is boundless and their hearts’ gratitude to you today is also boundless. To each of you, my German parents, I am offering my heart of love and my heart of gratitude soulfully and unconditionally. My German parents, your greatness has surprised me, and your goodness has nourished my heart, my inner being. In a few days I shall be leaving Germany, but I shall not go back home alone. I shall carry you all inside the very depths of my gratitude-heart.

Question: I find everything about your path nice, but I do not understand why something from another culture has to come in.

Sri Chinmoy: For me, there is no such thing as Germany, India, America or Africa. For me, there is only one country, and that is God’s entire creation. God’s creation is nothing other than God Himself, for God the Creator and God the creation are one.

Suppose that God has four sons and they are all living in different places. One is in Germany, one is in Japan, one is in Italy, and one is in India. Just because they live in different countries, they will keep different things in their houses, they will follow different cultures and have different ideas. But, since they are all brothers and sisters, they will share what they have with one another. One brother will go to another brother and say, “This is what I have for you.” Then the second one in turn will give the first brother what he has. It is only an exchange. It is not a question of bringing in a new culture. There is only a feeling of oneness that all the brothers share.

I am an instrument of God, a servant of God, a child of God. Today God is telling me to go to a particular place and be of help to one brother. Tomorrow He may say, “Now go to some other country and help another brother of yours. You have many brothers and sisters, and I want you to go and help them all.” All these countries are the Father’s creation. It is all oneness.

For me, there is no such thing as an Indian God or a Christian God. For me, there is only the Absolute Supreme. When I pray to God, at that time I do not say, “O my Indian God.” When you pray to God, you do not say, “O my Christian God.” We both say, “O my Heavenly Father.” At that time, Heaven is not divided into pieces. We do not say, “This is India, this is Germany, and this is France.”

Question: My son studied chemistry and now he wants to open a health food shop. Do you not feel that he should use his talents in a higher profession?

Sri Chinmoy: God is all joy. He wants to give us joy in our own way. If someone gets more joy by working in a restaurant instead of becoming a great doctor or lawyer, then God will say, “Do what gives you joy. If this is what you want, then do it.” Again, there are many lawyers and doctors who are extremely happy in their profession because they wanted that profession. But, who knows, perhaps there are some who are very unhappy because they made the wrong choice.

If your son does not get happiness by working as a chemist, and if he receives tremendous joy by working at a health food store or in some other field, then I feel he should do what gives him joy. Otherwise, even if he becomes a great chemist, he may be very unhappy.

Our mind may think that a shopkeeper is inferior to a doctor or lawyer. In God’s Eye, we are all one. In a drama, somebody plays the role of a king, somebody else plays the queen, and somebody else is a servant. If everybody plays the role of a king, and there are no ministers or servants, then there is no play.

Whether I am a doctor or a shopkeeper, what really matters to God is whether I am a good person. If I am a good person, then no matter what I do, I am far better than a bad person. If I follow the spiritual life, it does not matter whether I am a businessman or a doctor or a lawyer or a school principal. All that matters is that I am getting joy. If I get joy by being a businessman, then I am doing the right thing. If I get joy by being a doctor or a lawyer, then I am doing the right thing. God only wants us to be happy.

The whole world loves and adores the Saviour Jesus Christ. Why? Because he gives boundless inner joy, peace and love to everybody. Does it matter that earlier in his life he was only a simple carpenter? Not in the least. In India also, there are many spiritual figures who came of humble origins, but still they are loved and worshipped. Sri Ramakrishna, for example, came of a very, very poor village family. Later he worked as a priest in a small temple. But the world remembers him and spiritual Masters like him because of who they were and what they did spiritually, not because of their profession. If someone is a good person and loves God, whatever job gives him the most joy is the best.

Part III

Question: When I talk to seekers, I find it hard to explain the difference between pleasure and joy.1

Sri Chinmoy: Pleasure is followed by destruction. Joy is spontaneous; it is something that blossoms.

You need six or seven hours of sleep. But if you sleep for ten or eleven hours, that is called pleasure — you are enjoying morning sleep very nicely. Then what happens? You are the boss of your company. When you finally go to work, you see that your workers have not come on time or that the machines are all in bad condition. Because you enjoyed the pleasure of sleep for three extra hours, your problems have become much more difficult, whereas if you had prayed and meditated early in the morning and brought down some divine light, you would have solved those problems easily.

Rest is needed, true, but who asked you to sleep for eleven hours? You have to pay the penalty for enjoying this kind of pleasure. When you get up early in the morning, on time at six o’clock, and you pray and meditate, then you receive tremendous joy. That joy you will carry to your office. But the pleasure that you enjoyed from the extra sleep will disappear as soon as you leave your bed. Immediately again, the whole world will seem miserable to you because early in the morning you did not meditate to receive divine love and light from God. The life of pleasure sooner or later will meet with destruction. Even if you cannot meditate for half an hour, if you meditate for two or three minutes, the joy that you get from that meditation will last for a few hours or for a few days. Pleasure-life, on the other hand, does not last. While you are enjoying pleasure, it is there, but as soon as it is over, it is gone.

  1. SCA 1101. Sri Chinmoy answered this question in Padang, Indonesia on 31 December 1987.

Part IV

SCA 1102-1108. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 4 January 1989.

Question: One of the basic concepts in physics is that the amount of energy in the universe is constant. When you do weightlifting and you draw on spiritual energy, is that something that comes from the Beyond? And does this mean that the energy of the universe is not constant — that it can be expanded from the Beyond?

Sri Chinmoy: Energy is both constant and ever-expanding. I always use the term ‘ever-increasing’. Infinity itself is ever-increasing. Our Beloved Lord Supreme is ever-increasing, which means He is progressing. Not only you and I are making progress, but God Himself is making progress. So the energy in the universe can be constant and, at the same time, it is going beyond and beyond. The Goal is ever-transcending. Energy is constant but, at the same time, it has no limit; we cannot confine it. It is expanding and expanding and expanding.

When I lift up a heavy weight, it is not that I am invoking a very large supply of energy to lift it. In my case, I do not invoke. I only concentrate and free my mind from all thought. You may think that when I breathe in before I lift, I am drawing energy from Above. No. At that time I am trying to keep my mind absolutely free of thought. That is the strongest power — not to have thoughts. I am keeping my mind shut from the outer world totally. Then, when I am keeping my mind silent, many times I will see my Mother Kali or the Supreme or something else. When the mind is silent, when there is nothing inside it, inside that nothingness is everything. But I do not invoke the Supreme or my Mother Kali as such. It is not that I am saying, “Please come, O God. Descend from Heaven.” My Heaven is not somewhere else. It is inside my heart.

Question: I like to play tennis very much. It inspires me, while running never really did inspire me. Does it give the same benefit to the body and spiritual life to play tennis as it does to run?

Sri Chinmoy: I will never say that running is better than tennis. If you accept the inner philosophy of tennis, which is “love and serve”, then you can derive so much benefit. Also, tennis can give us so much joy because we are playing with someone and there are so many different movements of the body. Tennis is an excellent form of recreation. When you are playing tennis, you are getting so much innocent joy. Because of your joy, you are becoming like a child once more, and that happiness itself is helping you to make progress.

But I wish to say that running has its own inner value, which tennis cannot offer you. While you run, each breath that you take is connected with a higher reality. While you are jogging, if you are in a good consciousness, your breath is being blessed by a higher inner breath. Of course, while you are jogging if you are chatting with one of your friends about mundane things, then this will not apply. But if you are in a good consciousness while you are running, each breath will connect you with a higher, deeper, inner reality.

Running also has a special symbolic meaning. In the spiritual life, we are eternal runners, running along Eternity’s Road. We do not say that we are eternal tennis players on that road. These are two different subjects, like history and geography. If you can do both, if you can run two or three miles a day and play tennis as well, then you will get benefit from being both the eternal runner and the eternal server. But if you have to make a choice, and if you like tennis more than you like running, then you have only to play tennis. Again, if you want to get the benefit of a higher force or higher reality for your physical body, then running is absolutely necessary. I am not saying that you have to run the fastest. Even while jogging, you can feel that you have two breaths. One is a higher breath. Something is pulling you up or you are carrying yourself up. The other is your body’s breath. The two are combined together.

In my case, if I have to make a choice between running and tennis, then immediately I will be ready to give up tennis. If I have to make a choice, then I will say that tennis can wait.

Question: Does swimming also help us to enter into a higher consciousness?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. Swimming has its own symbolic value. I always say that we are sailing in the Golden Boat with the Golden Boatman towards the Golden Shore. The spiritual significance of water is consciousness. We are all eager to be in a good consciousness. As soon as we are in water, consciousness enters. So swimming has its own very special reality and divinity. While we are swimming, we can imagine that we are crossing from ignorance-sea into the sea of light and wisdom.

Question: Does each musical note have its own significance?

Sri Chinmoy: Each higher note and each lower note has its own significance. Again, you cannot say that each note has only one significance. It depends upon the performer. If a novice musician touches a particular key on the piano, for example, it will sound one way, but if a master musician touches the same key, it will sound very different. Again, if a spiritual musician touches the same key, the sound may be the same, but the music will reach an inner height that the others cannot reach.

When an excellent singer sings, each note has its own resonance or inner beauty. But when soulfulness enters into a particular note, it has its own dimension, its own reality. The sound that is coming is the same, but a spiritual person will be able to know when the musical note touches a particular realm because of the soulfulness that has entered into that note. A spiritual singer will sing one particular note, and an ordinary singer will do the same. The pitch may be exactly the same, but the ordinary singer will not reach the same inner height, no matter how famous he or she is, because their consciousness is not the same.

So each note, in a broad sense, has its own significance. Again, the significance of each note depends on the consciousness of the singer or musician at that moment.

Question: Recently my voice does not seem to come out when I sing. How can I overcome this?

Sri Chinmoy: Meditate on softness. Think of a flower. A flower will give you softness. You can meditate on anything that is very delicate. But do not think of anything sharp. A spontaneous flow comes from softness; it does not come from sharpness. In your case, if you can meditate on something that is very, very soft, it will make your voice sweeter.

Otherwise, you can meditate on your soul for a few seconds before you sing. That will also make your voice come forward. But if you try mentally to bring forward your voice, even if you succeed, it will not last for more than a few seconds.

Question: I work as a nurse for newborn babies, and sometimes a baby will essentially die and we keep it alive with machines. Sometimes I want to stop the machines and allow the poor little child’s soul to go on. Is this wrong? Is the child receiving any benefit from remaining in the physical, even though essentially the body is dead?

Sri Chinmoy: From the spiritual point of view, there is no hard and fast rule. I usually say that if there is a way to keep the soul on earth a little longer, it should be done. The best thing is to know God’s Will in each particular case. Always we have to remember that God Himself is having an experience in and through the person.

If you do not know what God’s Will is, then if there is a way to keep the soul on earth a little longer, you should try to save the person. Then your hope will increase, your faith in your own capacity will increase, and also God will get the opportunity to do the needful in and through that particular soul on earth.

Question: How can we help someone who is very upset about something?

Sri Chinmoy: When somebody is upset, first try to invoke peace into that person’s system or into yourself as quickly as possible. It may be extremely difficult to bring peace into him at that moment because that person is angry and upset. At that time he does not want to take the medicine he needs, which is peace.

But you yourself have, let us say, limited peace. You have to invoke the Supreme to increase your peace-power — whatever peace you have within you — even if it is only the smallest quantity. I always say that if you have a little life-energy, then only will the doctor give you an injection. Otherwise, if you are already dead, the doctor is not going to give you an injection to increase your life-energy.

You definitely have a little peace — that is why you are able to observe that the other person is so upset. Right away invoke a very large amount of peace to descend into your entire being. You will try to become the ocean of peace. Then, like a mirror, just go and stand in front of that person. His anger will be nothing in comparison to the peace which you have invoked.

That is one way. Another way is to make yourself feel that you are the culprit, even though you are not. Somebody else has caused the person to be upset; you are not the culprit at all. But you have to make yourself feel most sincerely that you are the one who has offended the person in question. Make yourself feel absolutely helpless and guilty. Feel that you are the guilty party, even though you have done nothing wrong. Then, inside you, on the strength of your sympathetic oneness, invoke the consciousness of the actual culprit. The real culprit’s undivine consciousness at that time you are borrowing for a few seconds. Then, once you become the culprit, surrender to the victim who is now so mad and furious. Become absolutely helpless. Feel miserable that you have caused the person to become so upset.

When you act like a helpless human being, all the victim’s anger and frustration will go away. She will say, “All right, she is an object of pity. She has done something wrong. Now she fully realises it, so I have to forgive her.”

This is a very, very clever way of calming someone who is extremely upset. Many times it happens in an affectionate family. I have seen it, especially in India. The culprit is somewhere else, but an affectionate mother or sister or brother makes themself feel that they are the real culprit. They are not actually the culprit, but by feeling this way, they bring into themselves the consciousness of the actual culprit. Then the victim sees the remorse. When he sees that the culprit has real remorse, real sadness, he feels that he is now on a higher level and that it is up to him to forgive.

This second way is on a very practical level. On the spiritual level, you can try to invoke peace into the system of the person who is mad and furious — which is really difficult — or to bring more peace into your own system. If the person is facing an ocean of peace, he will see that his anger is nothing in comparison to that peace.

Part V

Question: How can we work on three or four projects simultaneously and do them well?1

Sri Chinmoy: Always you have to divide your time. Nobody can do four things at once, but you can do four things in the course of a day. Every day, early in the morning, I meditate. Then I sing quite a few songs or I play them on the flute. Then I take exercise for half an hour or so. After taking exercise, I practise the cello, the esraj and some other instruments. Then again I take some more exercise. After that, I read a few spiritual books or I read some books containing idioms or phrases or dictionary words and note them down. I find spirituality in everything. And at the same time, I am doing many inner things.

Every day I do physical exercise, mental exercise and psychic exercise along with my prayer and meditation. From a quarter to three, or some nights just after two o’clock, if I am fresh, I go on, go on, go on, doing my inner and outer work. I have so many things to do. If I have ten things to do and I neglect any of them, I feel miserable. So I try to do them all. Sometimes I pay more attention to one particular item. I may play the cello for a longer time than I play the viola, but still I do play the viola.

We have to do everything during the span of the day. But we have to give each project our one-pointed concentration. While we are doing one thing, quite often we are thinking of something else. When I am playing on the cello, if I start thinking of my esraj, then I will not accomplish anything. While you are doing one thing, if you are thinking of the other nine things that you are supposed to do, your full concentration is not there. Those other things you have to do, true, but the thought of those things must not enter your mind.

While you are doing something, you have to feel that that thing is the only thing that exists in your outer life. Of course, in your inner life, you will always continue with your aspiration and dedication, but in your outer life, you must not think of another thing. If you are writing an article for a magazine, at that time do not think of your office work. One-pointed determination you must keep for the thing that you are doing. Once it is finished, you can think of something else. Time will help you. But you have to do each thing in its own time.

  1. SCA 1109. Sri Chinmoy answered this question on 3 March 1989.