Sri Chinmoy reads aloud the Proclamation sent by President Ford.

National Day of Prayer, 1976

National Day of Prayer, 1976

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

In this Bicentennial year, we will often reflect on the events of 200 years ago. As we recall the crises of those early days, let us also reflect on the profound faith in God which inspired the founding fathers.

As the events of 1776 unfolded, our forebears knew they were on an uncertain course. On March 16 of that year, the Continental Congress, recognizing the “impending calamity and distress,” asked each colony “publickly to acknowledge the over-ruling. Providence of God,” and urged the Colonists to observe a designated Friday in May as a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer.”

When later that year, the signers of the Declaration of Independence pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, the pledge Was made “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.”

In conformity with a Congressional request (66 Stat. 64), it is especially appropriate this year that a day be set aside to reaffirm the commitment of our first citizens and draw on the “solemn sense of God’s superintending Providence” that sustained them during those troubled times.

NOW, THEREFORE. I, GERALD R. FORD. President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Friday, May 14, 1976, as National Day of Prayer, 1976.

I call upon all Americans to pray that day, each in his or her own way, for the strength to meet the challenges of the future with the same courage and dedication Americans showed the world two centuries ago.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of March, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundredth.

Gerald R. Ford

National day of prayer

The Sacred Fire Bicentennial Group sponsored its second annual inter-religious observance of the National Day of Prayer on Friday, May 14. The group received from the White House a personally signed copy of President Ford’s proclamation for the day, which Sri Chinmoy read out in the course of the evening’s meeting.

May 10, 1976

Dear Mr. Chinmoy:

One of President Ford's most meaningful efforts in celebration of our Bicentennial is documented by the enclosed parchment of his Presidential Proclamation establishing May 14, 1976 as our National Day of Prayer in the Bicentennial Year. Significantly it honors by emulation the Continental Congress action taken in 1776, surely a great moment in history.

This parchment comes to you as a token of the President's appreciation of your ongoing prayerful support and intercession on behalf of our great country.

Theodore C. Marrs
Special Assistant to the President


The following questions were asked at the New Jersey Centre on 17 February 1976.

Question: Is it better to be sincerely sad or falsely happy?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, it is always better to be sincerely happy. Why should we give a chance to unhappiness? Let us be sincerely happy. That is the goal. Why should we even become falsely happy? Let us wait for happiness, cry for it. If we don’t get pure, clear water to drink when we are thirsty, we don’t drink filthy water; we wait for clear water. We look here and there until we get clean, pure water.

If you are sincerely unhappy, use the antidote. Cry more within. Be more spiritual. Increase your inner cry. Then your unhappiness will be illumined. Your inner cry will make your unhappiness go away. But do not stick to unhappiness or to false happiness. Like false coins, they will be detected. Even you yourself will catch them, because they are false. Again, if you are really happy, if you show off your happiness to others, they will only be jealous. If you are fortunate enough to realise God today, although others know they will get much benefit from your realisation, still they will become jealous. Your happiness does not matter to others.

The best thing is for you to be always happy, but not to show off your happiness. But if you can’t have real inner happiness, instead of displaying false happiness, try to use the medicine, which is your inner cry. That is the best. Instead of becoming insincere, the best thing is to immediately take medicine.

Question: Where does true happiness lie?

Sri Chinmoy: True happiness lies in self-giving to the Supreme inside you — only there; no other place. Constant self-giving to the Supreme inside you will give you happiness.

Question: What is the soul’s happiness?

Sri Chinmoy: Constant oneness with the Absolute Supreme. The soul has established constant, inseparable oneness with the Supreme, in the Supreme. That is the soul’s happiness.

Question: What is the difference between happiness, joy and bliss?

Sri Chinmoy: When you have joy, that joy is in the central being, in the heart itself. When you are really joyful, that joy usually remains inside the heart with utmost confidence. Inner joy means real inner security. But if you are happy, it can be on a much lower plane of consciousness — on the physical plane, the vital plane, or the mental plane. Happiness is all physical, vital or mental. Happiness is like a bird that spreads its wings. Joy is a bird that can fly from the heart. Joy is superior to happiness. When you have inner joy, you have inner security. With bliss, there is no comparison. Bliss is much higher, much superior to joy. It is infinitely superior to both joy and happiness. If you can experience bliss, you become immortal. It is something from a much higher plane of consciousness.

Question: How can we feel happiness when we displease you?

Sri Chinmoy: Don’t displease me. The answer is there in the question. You know that if you displease me, you will not be happy, so the best thing is not to displease me. When you displease me, the real in you will always suffer; only the false will be able to be happy.

Question: How can we realise that only God’s Will can give us happiness?

Sri Chinmoy: Just see what happens when you fulfil your own will. It is all frustration. When you fulfil God’s Will, you get only joy. All of you have experienced this a few times, so you have enough proof. When you have fulfilled your own desires or achieved something in your own way, have you really got satisfaction? Immediately the answer will be ‘no’. But God’s way will definitely give you satisfaction.

Question: When we feel unhappy, is it because we are not listening to our Inner Pilot, or is the Supreme having an experience in us?

Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme is not having a necessary experience. It is only that you have fallen from your highest height. Sometimes the Supreme may want to have an experience of unhappiness in you, but only on rare occasions. If you people feel sad every day, that is not because the Supreme wants to have an experience. In your inner life you have reached some height; then you fall. Every day, every hour, you fall from the reality-height. It is not that God has nothing else to do but to experience unhappiness in and through you. Your consciousness has dropped; therefore, you are unhappy. On rare occasions only will God deliberately experience unhappiness in and through you.

Question: How can we remain happy in the face of obstacles?

Sri Chinmoy: Make progress. Just because there are hurdles, will you give up the race? Between you and the goal there are a few obstacles, but you have to overcome them. If you say, “I don’t want to overcome the obstacles, but I want to reach the goal,” how can you expect to do it? If you are just at the starting point, you have to be prepared to encounter difficulties. There will be some obstacles, to see whether you sincerely want to reach the goal. When you have to cross over a difficult hurdle, you will see whether you really want to reach the goal or not.

This is not actually a test, but if you do not encounter any obstacles, you will not value the goal. If God comes and stands in front of you at this moment, you will not value Him; nobody will value Him. In order to value Him, you have to work and strive and struggle for Him. God can come and give you God-realisation immediately, but you will not know how to value it properly. One great spiritual Master had a nephew who used to serve him in every way. When he gave this nephew just an iota of his own realisation, the nephew immediately said, “You and I have become one now in spiritual height.” He felt that there was no need for him to serve his Guru in any way. In your case also, if you are not prepared, you will not value God. The goal is God. You have to make full inner preparation. What I call preparation in the real spiritual sense, your ordinary mind will call an obstacle.

Question: Is it possible to experience happiness on the spiritual plane while you are unhappy on the physical plane?

Sri Chinmoy: On the physical plane, yes; on the mental plane, no. Suppose you have a very bad headache or cold. If you have a good meditation, you will actually have real inner happiness while on the outer plane you may still have a headache. If your happiness is very strong and powerful, it can either take away the physical ailment, or take away the unhappiness that that ailment is causing you in the outer plane. Again, a physical ailment can be transformed into happiness itself if you have happiness in your inner world. If you are very strong, you will be able to transform physical misery.

Question: Could my own inner joy help the rest of my family, like my husband?

Sri Chinmoy: It is quite possible. Everything is divinely or undivinely contagious. Not only does the sadness or depression of others affect us, but their happiness also can easily enter into us. It is not only possible; it is inevitable. If you stay with a bad person, it is contagious. If you stay with a good person, it is also contagious. Why do birds of a feather flock together? Because consciously they help each other. Your husband does not follow the spiritual life, but your very presence will give him joy in a very small measure. If you are happy, then eventually he also can become happy. But if he tries and cries, then he will have happiness sooner.

Sometimes some of you come here feeling very unhappy. But after you mix with your spiritual brothers and sisters and meditate with me here in your spiritual home, then you become happy. We try to create a spiritual atmosphere, and from that atmosphere you get happiness. You didn’t have happiness, but the room had it, or some individual had it. By mixing with them you have caught their happiness like a contagious disease.

Question: Is it more effective to pray for peace of mind or for cheerfulness when you are unhappy?

Sri Chinmoy: If you are unhappy, then pray to the Supreme for happiness. If you have restlessness, then pray for peace of mind. If you have a pain in your leg, you do not pray to God to cure your head. Your head is all right, so you pray to God to cure your leg. Here also, your disease is unhappiness. What you need to cure it is happiness. In peace of mind there is happiness, true ; but it belongs to a different category. When your whole being is restless, when you can’t meditate even for a fleeting second, when you are full of worries, anxieties and negative qualities, then what you need is peace of mind. If you do have real peace of mind, naturally happiness will also be there.

If you are not happy, you have to know where you are affected. Right now you have to take care of that place first. Then examine the entire being. If your finger is hurt, take care of your finger. Afterwards, you can take exercise to improve the condition of your whole body. If your whole body is in perfect condition, your finger won’t hurt. But when you are suffering at a particular place, try to administer medicine there. When that place is disturbing you less, then you can take care of your entire body so that you will not be affected there or at any other place.