800 Seek Inner Peace with Chinmoy in Church1

More than 800 New Yorkers sought inner peace yesterday at a series of three meditation sessions conducted by Sri Chinmoy, the Indian mystic and guru, at All Angels’ Episcopal church, West End Avenue and 81st Street.

Most of the meditators were students or young adults, many of whom sat with hands clasped as in prayer through the sessions that ran from 6 A.M. to 9 A.M., 10 A.M. to noon and from 2 to 4 P.M.

Clad in a blue dhoti, or robe, and sitting cross-legged on a throne-like chair covered with white satin, the guru appeared to be in a trance-like state, relieved only by the flicker of his eyes and an occasional, almost beatific smile.

All of the sessions began with about 20 minutes of unbroken silence as Sri Chinmoy faced his audience and sought to move from one level of consciousness to another.

His only words were to ask groups of followers to join in short musical interludes that served as a devout addition to the silence.

Steve Hein, a young corporation executive and a disciple of Sri Chinmoy for seven years, emphasized that most of the guru’s followers found in meditation an extension of their own religious beliefs.

“There are Jews, Protestants and Roman Catholics here today who have found a greater appreciation of their separate faiths through meditation,” he said. “It’s like a direct approach to God.”

The guru was born in Bengal, India, in 1931. He reportedly had a number of deep, mystical experiences and at the age of 12 achieved, in Mr. Hein’s words, “a state of conscious union with God.”

Sri Chinmoy came to the west in 1964 and built up his spiritual meditation movement in some 60 cities over the world.

His “disciples” — distinct from interested followers — number about 1,000 and serve without pay. Most of the movement’s expenses are met through the sale of the guru’s 260 books of spiritual poetry, lectures, essays, articles and plays.

Sri Chinmoy is director of the United Nations Meditation Group, conducts weekly sessions at the U. N., and has delivered a number of lectures there as part, of the Dag Hammarskjold Series.

— By George Dugan

  1. AUM 1696. The New York Times, Sunday, February 1, 1976


Sri Chinmoy conducting a meditation session at All Angels’ Episcopal Church, at 251 West 80th Street.

Love and serve1

Love and serve; serve and love. We love God. We serve God. When we love God, we see. When we serve God, we feel. What do we see? We see God’s Face. What do we feel? We feel God’s Heart. God’s Face inspires us. God’s Heart illumines us. Inspiration has many, many friends. Of all its friends, aspiration is by far the best. Illumination has many, many friends. Of all its friends, perfection is by far the best. A seeker of the absolute Truth loves God and serves God not because God is all-powerful but because God is all goodness.

Aspiration is our heart’s inner cry. Illumination is our life’s outer smile. The inner cry climbs high, higher, highest. It tries to become devotedly, soulfully and unconditionally one with the ever-transcending reality. Life’s smile spreads all around. It tries to manifest divinity, Eternity, Infinity and Immortality.

There are two worlds: the world of desire and the world of aspiration. Before we enter into the world of aspiration we all remain in the world of desire. Desire cries for greatness. Aspiration cries for goodness. When we live in the desire-world, greatness is of paramount importance to us. When we live in the aspiration-world, goodness is of paramount importance to us.

In the aspiration-world there are three things that one has to discover: divine love, divine devotion and divine surrender. Not human love, not human devotion, not human surrender. Today’s human love is tomorrow’s frustration and the day after tomorrow’s destruction. Divine love is today’s illumination, tomorrow’s perfection, and the day after tomorrow’s satisfaction complete and perfect. Human devotion is nothing short of unconscious, unrecognised attachment. Divine devotion is conscious, spontaneous and continuous dedication to one’s own higher existence, to one’s higher reality, to a lofty purpose. Human surrender is the surrender of a slave, a forced surrender. Divine surrender is totally different. In divine surrender the finite recognises and accepts the Infinite; the drop enters into the ocean and becomes the ocean itself. In divine surrender the unlit, the obscure and the impure part of us enters into the illumined and illumining portion of our existence. Our ignorance-world enters into our wisdom-world, the little “i” merges into the infinite “I”, which is the Universal Consciousness, the Transcendental Consciousness.

Desire-world is greatness-world. Aspiration-world is goodness-world. Julius Caesar declared: “Veni, vidi, vici,” “I came, I saw, I conquered.” This is the height of the greatness-world. But the height of the goodness-world will be something totally different. It will come from the inmost recesses of the seeker’s oneness-heart: “I came into the world, I loved the world, I became one with the world.” This is the acceptance of life, not the rejection of life. A true seeker is he who accepts life, transforms life and perfects life so that human life can become a conscious instrument of God here on earth.

True spirituality is the acceptance of earth-life, not the negation of it. True spirituality advocates both God-acceptance and life-acceptance. True spirituality tries to manifest God in and through the life of each individual seeker. A true seeker knows that God-realisation cannot be achieved overnight. It is not like making instant tea or coffee. True spirituality is a slow and steady process. At every moment the seeker makes inner progress and outer progress. Slow and steady wins the inner race. Earth-life is constant thirst, constant hunger. This hunger is the soul’s eternal hunger to become inseparably one with the Highest so that there can be constant God-manifestation on earth. In true spirituality a seeker finds at every moment a sense of satisfaction, and this satisfaction alone can immortalise him.

A seeker of the absolute Truth loves God and offers to God what he has and what he is. What he has is ignorance. What he is is gratitude-heart. When he offers his gratitude-heart, he becomes a chosen instrument of the Supreme. A chosen instrument at times pleases God in his own way, at other times he pleases God in God’s own way. Eventually there comes a time when he is transformed into an unconditionally surrendered instrument. An unconditionally surrendered instrument of God pleases God at every moment in God’s own way.

When we love God, when we serve God, we have to feel at every moment the purity of our heart and the clarity of our mind. A heart of purity and a mind of clarity each seeker must possess in order to accelerate his inner progress and success. In the beginning the seeker needs success. This success inspires him; therefore, he makes friends with success. But the same seeker, when he is advanced, feels the necessity of progress only, for success is a short-lived experience, whereas progress is continually carrying us into the everlasting and ever-transcending Beyond. A true seeker is he who continually wants to grow, glow and flow in the heart of the Absolute Supreme. His progress is continuous progress. He loves God because he knows that without God he does not exist. He serves God because he feels that God does not exist without him.

In the beginning of a seeker’s life, the message of greatness at times looms large. But when he is on the verge of realisation, he sees goodness within and goodness without. On the strength of his goodness, he feels a true satisfaction, an abiding satisfaction. Greatness demands two standards of living: a higher and a lower. He who is great consciously or unconsciously wants to remain an inch higher than the rest of the world. But he who is good wants to remain consciously, soulfully and devotedly one with all human beings, to love and serve the Supreme in them. In this feeling of oneness perfection dawns, and in perfection what looms large is Eternity’s Satisfaction.

  1. University of Victoria, British Columbia, 15 October 1975

Questions and answers

AUM 1698-1708. Following lecture at the University of Victoria

Question: Why is God so subtle?

Sri Chinmoy: God is not so subtle. The only thing is that we are lacking in vision. Right now we are blind. Even if the sun is shining brightly, if vision is lacking, then we don’t see the light. When we have vision, we see everything. But when we are blind, even if we are in a brightly lighted room, we do not see anything. Just because our oneness-heart, our heart which is totally, inseparably one with God, has not been able to convince our mind that God is ours and that He is for us, we are not aware of His Presence. The moment our heart convinces our mind that God is for us, God does not remain subtle. It is the mind that makes us feel that God is subtle, God is invisible and God is beyond our reach. Once we remain inside the heart and become inseparably one with our aspiring heart, God does not remain invisible or unreachable. He does not remain subtle. He is all Reality right in front of our noses. Just because we are using the mind to see God, to know God, to fathom God, God remains a far cry and God-realisation remains a far cry. If we use the heart, the heart that identifies, the heart that becomes inseparably one with the eternal Truth, Light and Bliss, then we discover that we are not only of God, but we are also for God, and God does not remain an unreachable goal. We discover that what we eternally are is nothing short of God Himself in the process of perfect manifestation here on earth.

Question: If God the Creator is manifest in all His Creation, throughout illusion, throughout enlightenment, throughout attachment and non-attachment, why do we say that God is good?

Sri Chinmoy: Because we are evolving. According to our receptivity, we are evolving. When we are in the desire-world, God fulfils one or two desires of ours. At that time God was good to us because He fulfilled our desires. Eventually we come to realise that just by fulfilling our desires we are not achieving anything significant. What was good according to our receptivity or according to our light yesterday, need not be good today. Yesterday God was good because He fulfilled our desires. Today God is good not because He is fulfilling our desires, but because He has given us the inner cry to fulfil our aspiration.

In the process of evolution, what is good according to the light of a child need not seem good when the child is grown up. He has to remember that once he felt that there was something he needed badly which God gave him. It was good according to his standard or his level of evolution, but he eventually found out that that very thing did not give abiding satisfaction. He needed something more lasting, something more illumining, something more fulfilling. Finally he will come to feel that God is good because God Himself is playing in and through him, God Himself is having an experience in and through him. Before, he didn’t have that kind of realisation. Before, he used to feel that he did something and God gave him the result. Then, when he made inner progress, he came to realise that he did nothing; it was God Himself who acted in and through him. God was the doer, God was the action and God was the result. The seeker himself had merely become an instrument.

Question: There is a lot of sickness and sadness in the world. What is the best way to seek spiritual healing?

Sri Chinmoy: The best way to seek spiritual healing is to offer gratitude every day for a fleeting second to the Supreme Healer. When we offer our gratitude to Him for what we have or for what we are right now, then our heart of aspiration increases, our heart of dedication increases. That means that our receptivity increases. When receptivity increases, God’s Light, which is all healing, can enter into us in abundant measure. It is in the heart of gratitude that God’s Light can permanently abide.

Illness is all around. How do we cure it? We cure it only through our gratitude-heart to the Supreme, to the Absolute, that He has given us the inner cry to cure illness. There are many who do not care to cure illness either within themselves or within the world. But just because we are seekers, we are crying and trying to cure the age-long illnesses and sufferings of mankind. Now, who has given us this good-will, this aspiration, this inner cry? God Himself. There are many millions and billions of people on earth, but how many are crying to cure the sufferings and ills of mankind? Very few. Here we are all seekers. We have the good-will, the sincere cry to cure humanity’s suffering. Since the Absolute Supreme has given us this good-will, it is our bounden duty to offer Him our gratitude. There are many around us — our friends, relatives, neighbours, acquaintances — who do not pray to God, who do not meditate on God. But we do. And who has given us this capacity? God Himself. So, if at every moment we can offer our gratitude to God, then the receptivity of our heart increases and inside our receptivity is all strength, all light, all power to cure the sufferings of mankind.

Question: How does one find one’s right Guru?

Sri Chinmoy: The seeker finds his Guru on the strength of his inner feeling for his Guru. When he finds his Guru his inner being will tell him, “If this person does not give me even an iota of outer satisfaction during my whole life, I don’t mind. I do not want anything from him. I only want to give him what I have and what I am.” When a seeker sees a spiritual Master and feels that he can make that commitment to the Master, then he has found his Guru. How can he say so? He can say so because he has seen hundreds and thousands of human beings on earth. The presence of those human beings has not elevated his consciousness; they have not given him immediate joy, spontaneous joy, inner joy, illumining, fulfilling joy. But the spiritual Master who is meant for him will give him this kind of joy.

There are quite a few Masters. Each genuine Master is bound to give joy to a sincere seeker. But again, there are degrees of joy. One spiritual Master may give you an iota of joy, another may give you abundant joy, a third may give you boundless joy. His very presence will give you boundless joy. He who gives you boundless joy is your Master. That spiritual Master need not speak to you and you also need not speak to him. His very presence is bound to inundate your inner existence with joy. Inwardly you will be able to make a most soulful commitment to that spiritual Master: “Let thy will be done. I do not need anything from you. I shall not ask anything of you. I know for sure that you will do everything in and through me for my God-realisation, God-revelation and God-manifestation, at God’s choice Hour.” If a seeker can feel that kind of oneness with a spiritual Master, then undoubtedly he is the real Master for that seeker.

Question: How can one bring forth gratitude through oneself?

Sri Chinmoy: It is through the constant inner cry. We know why we cry outwardly — when we desperately need name, fame, outer capacity, prosperity and so forth. But when we cry inwardly, we have to feel that we are crying only to please God, to fulfil God in His own way. The outer cry is for our own fulfilment in our own way. The inner cry is for God-fulfilment in God’s own way. If there is an inner cry, a constant inner cry, that means we are trying to please God, satisfy God, fulfil God in God’s own way. If we can cry inwardly, in silence, then our gratitude increases, because inside the inner cry is the abode of gratitude, and inside the abode of gratitude is God.

Question: When I meditate upon the sensation “I am,” will this bring realisation?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly it can. But you have to know when you say “I am” whether you are meditating on the Universal “I” or the individual “I” which represents a limited human being. If it is a human individual you are meditating upon at that time, then that will never lead you to God-realisation. But if you are meditating or concentrating, focusing all your attention on the universal “I,” which you represent and which you inwardly are, then it will definitely help you in your God-realisation.

You have to be conscious of what you are doing when you say “I am.” When the Christ said, “I and my Father are One,” at that time it was his universal oneness, his transcendental oneness with the Eternal Father that he was expressing. Ordinary human beings will not be able to do that. An ordinary human being knows perfectly well how much ignorance he has and he is. This moment he may say, ‘‘God and I are one;” next moment, when his desires are not fulfilled, he will immediately say, “How can we be one if He does not satisfy me? What kind of friendship has He established with me or have I established with Him?” At that time our so-called oneness disappears.

Question: We quite often find that our level of communication with most people can be in many ways inhibited. In your position, your experiences have probably given you the chance to relate to people on a very important level in this world. Could you share with us those experiences, and how they grow? What level of communication has been found most rewarding regarding the world situation and the personalities situation?

Sri Chinmoy: My work at the United Nations provides the most fruitful possibilities for worldwide communication. I invoke the soul of the United Nations, and when I clearly see the soul right in front of me, I communicate with the soul. Now, each worker, no matter in which capacity he or she is serving the United Nations, has an inner connection with the soul of the United Nations. So what I do is invoke the presence of the soul of the United Nations, and then try to bring to the fore the aspiration of the seekers who are around me. Then my role is over. The soul of the United Nations will supply the seekers with boundless peace, light and bliss, and each one will receive according to his capacity, of course. When I meditate on the seekers at the United Nations and elsewhere, I try to bring to the fore their eagerness to receive. Then I bring forward the soul, which has the capacity to give. The soul has and the seeker needs. When I can bring both the giver and the receiver together, I feel that I have done my job.

Question: Why is it that in all the world there are only a few spiritual seekers? And why is it that only perhaps a few of those will ever see God?

Sri Chinmoy: Everybody will see God sooner or later. Everybody has to. God will never be satisfied unless and until each individual has realised Him. That is His Will. But it is a long process, an arduous process. Today somebody becomes perfect, tomorrow somebody else and the <lay after, a third person. God’s cosmic Game consciously has to be played by everyone. And in this cosmic Game, everybody has to become perfect. Unless and until everybody becomes perfect, God’s Game will never be completed, just because it is difficult we can’t say that we shall not be able to complete the game.

A kindergarten student will naturally find it impossible to get an M.A. degree immediately. But he is a student. It may take him twenty, twenty-two, twenty-four years, but one day he will also become an M.A. Here we are all seekers. Even those who are wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance, if they have a sincere belief in God, are seekers in their own way. Not only those who are praying to God and meditating on God but also those who have faith in God — that God can do something for them, although He may not be doing it right now — are unconscious seekers. The very fact that they have belief in God is a sign of their God-acceptance. In the course of time, those aspirants will become like us. They will feel that mere belief won’t do, that they have to consciously try to manifest their belief, which is right now vision, in order to transform it into reality. When they have that kind of inner feeling, they become conscious seekers.

When we become conscious seekers, devoted seekers, unconditional seekers, we accelerate our spiritual progress. Then God-realisation does not remain a far cry. But we have to start. Something seems difficult when we have not consciously started. Once we consciously start something, that thing does not remain difficult. If we start unconsciously today, tomorrow we do not know that we actually started, and after a while we may totally forget about that thing. But if we pray to God soulfully and consciously, and tomorrow if we again do it consciously and soulfully, if we continue in this way, then nothing remains difficult.

Question: How do we know what God wants us to manifest, and how can we obtain these qualities or things?

Sri Chinmoy: We don’t have to know. Only, we have to pray to God every day: “O Beloved Supreme, do manifest Yourself in and through me. I do not know and do not need to know what You want from me. My fervent wish, my fervent aspiration, is only that You will manifest Yourself in and through me, that you will make me an unconditionally surrendered instrument of Yours, an unconditionally surrendered God-lover.”

We do not have to know anything. We only have to cry sincerely to God to manifest Himself in and through us. If we become an unconditional instrument, what will God do? He will fulfil Himself in and through us in His own way. So let us put our wish to manifest God in that way — not by asking, ‘‘God, tell me what You want me to do. Then I’ll be able to please You,” but by saying, “God, do what You want to do in and through me.” It is true that if you have peace, you can manifest God; if you have light, you can manifest God. But instead of praying for these divine qualities, the better process is to pray to God to give you what He feels you need most for your inner evolution. It is good to feel, “God, if You don’t want me to be Your perfect instrument, no harm. Somebody else can be, if that is Your Will. If You want to make even my worst possible enemy Your best instrument, do make him. I only want You to be fulfilled in Your own way.” If you can sincerely offer that kind of prayer to God, then your problems are solved.

Question: During meditation and prayer some people concentrate on certain objects on the shrine, like photographs or some other things. Is it wise for them to cling to these objects or is it wiser for them to meditate on something that has no form, that they cannot see?

Sri Chinmoy: When they meditate on something, they meditate not because they worship that particular thing as God, but because that thing inspires them. I look at this candle and I see the flame, but I am not taking the flame as God. I am taking the flame as a source of inspiration. This flame I see inspires me and increases my aspiration to dive deep within. When I can dive deep within, then one day I will realise God; I will see God face to face. So if something helps me to dive deep within, I will accept that help.

I may keep a flower before me when I meditate. The flower is not God, although inside the flower there is God. But the flower inspires me. It offers me purity. I may burn incense. Incense itself is not God for me, but incense gives me a sense of purity and helps me in my spiritual progress. Anything that inspires me I shall use in order to increase my inspiration and my aspiration, whether it is a picture of someone, or a candle or a flower, because when my inspiration and aspiration increase, I feel that I am nearing my goal. When my aspiration increases, when my inspiration increases, I feel that I have taken one step ahead toward God-realisation. But a candle itself or the picture itself is not the object of my adoration.

Question: Eventually, when we realise God, will all these things drop off?

Sri Chinmoy: They will all drop off. Then no outer form will remain. We will become one with the Formless. But in the beginning it is necessary to approach God through form. In the beginning a child reads aloud. If he does not read aloud, he feels that he is not reading at all. He has to convince his parents, he has to convince himself that he is reading the words. But when the child grows up, he reads in silence. By then he and his parents know that he can really read, so the outer form can drop away. These outer forms are of paramount importance during the seeker’s preliminary stages. Then they will go; they are not necessary.