AUM — Vol. 1, No. 1, 27 August 1965
A U MAUM is the soundless sound. It is the vibration of the Supreme. When one hears the soundless sound within, when one identifies oneself with it, when one lives within it, one can be freed from the fetters of ignorance and realise the Supreme within and without.
AUM is called the Seed-Sound of the Universe, for with this sound God set into motion the first vibration of His creation. The teeming universe is sustained perpetually by the creative fruitfulness of the Divine AUM.
The syllable AUM is indivisible, but each portion of it represents a different aspect of the Supreme. The Sanskrit A represents and embodies the Consciousness of the Creator, Brahma; the Sanskrit U, the Preserver, Vishnu; the Sanskrit M, the Transformer, Shiva. Taken together, AUM is the spontaneous cosmic rhythm with which God embraces the universe.
The universal AUM, put forth by the Supreme, is an infinite Ocean. The individual AUM, chanted by man, is a bubble in that Ocean. It cannot be separated from the Ocean and moreover, even the tiniest can claim the Ocean as its very own. Chanting AUM, man touches and calls forth the cosmic vibration of the Supreme Sound.
The unknown embraces ignorance with its self-limitation. The Unknowable embraces AUM with His absolute Self-revelation.
Without birth is AUM. Without end is AUM. Immortality is AUM's universal Identity.
When we are in Ignorance, AUM feeds us. When we are in Knowledge, AUM feeds us. When we are beyond both Ignorance and Knowledge, AUM still feeds us, for it is the nectar which gives life to creation, born and unborn.
East and WestThe East says: "I have seen God's Face. Now I must see His Feet."
The West says: "I have seen God's Feet. Now I must see His Face."
The East says: "I have seen God's Transcendence."
The West says: "I have seen God's Immanence."
The East considers life to be a continuous growth from Matter to Spirituality. The West considers life to be a continuous growth from the simple material life to a complex and ever-expanding scientific development.
The indifferent East felt that it had nothing to hear from the West. The proud West thought that it had nothing to learn from the East.
According to the West, the East is idle. According to the East, the West is anything but divine.
No hyperbole, the East is terribly afraid of a dynamic life. Similarly the West is terribly afraid of lone self-poise.
The East is perhaps wanting in care, detail and exactitude. Likewise the West is wanting in breadth, vastness and universality. The East is wanting in an earthy, practical intelligence. The West is wanting in the matchless realisation of the Self.
The West feels that the mastery of the world is the true fulfilment of life. The East feels that the mastery of one's own inner movements is the true fulfilment of life.
Honesty and frankness are the birthright of the West. Humility and devotion are the birthright of the East. The combination of these four powers should be the ideal of a human being.
Occultism and spiritualityThe occult power is taught, as it were, in God's private Primary School; the spiritual power in His High School; the omnipotent Will in His University.
An occultist, in wielding his power from one plane to another, flies faster than sound. The Yogi, embracing each plane of consciousness, marches forward more confidently than a commander.
Difficult is it, if not impossible, for a one-pointed occultist to have an amenable and adaptable consciousness. His endless battles for control of and supremacy over the vital planes render his mind rigid and inflexible.
The yogi may not be qualified to help the occultist in his precarious tight-rope walking, but the occultist is certainly not qualified to advise a yogi on how to attain an inner level of poise.
Many are the spiritual figures who display contempt for the occultist. Many occultists, using their powers for vain and egotistical display if not for money, rightly deserve this contempt. But very often the abusers, lacking the occult capacity themselves, are merely adopting a sour-grapes attitude.
An occult power and a spiritual freedom often fight shy of each other. Occult power is a restricted force used to serve a particular purpose. Spiritual freedom reveals the universal consciousness in its vast totality.
The march of time bows to the occultist; the glory of distance surrenders to him; the secrets of humanity prostrate before him. Yet strangely enough, the occultist himself finds no escape. He, too, has to sit at the feet of the Omniscient Vision and the Omnipotent Will.
Creation and evolutionThe Self-Division of the Supreme proclaims the birth of creation.
Creation is the descent of Consciousness. Creation is a never-tiring march. It marks the beginning of an inner and outer development.
What is evolution, if not a veiled determination of an apparent unconsciousness seeking conscious formation and growth?
Nature is the evolving phenomenon, while Consciousness is its guide in evolution. At each stage, nature transcends the limits of its own species and presses forward to new conquests.
The real development and progress of life must always sit at the feet of the Dynamic Divine and not at the feet of the Static Divine.
In the march of evolution, each period has a demand of its own. Each incarnation of God fulfils that very demand.
Our self-division can play, at most, with the divided selves of the Supreme and never with the Supreme's inseparable Oneness.
Love: sacrificeFulfilment is nothing but voluntary sacrifice.
Where your sacrifice is, there will as well be your delight.
Sacrifice is fulfilment attained. Surrender is delight obtained. Love is union organised.
How beautiful is the union of two self-dedicated souls, but how hard and how long is the road to that goal!
Love is precious. Surrender is more precious. Union is still more precious.
Self-giving alone has free access to Joy everlasting.
It has been delightfully claimed that: "Love in France is a comedy; in England a tragedy; in Italy an opera seria; and in Germany a melodrama."
In the true Indian tradition love has always been a self-offering and a self-fulfilment.
PhilosophyAll riddles of life can be unriddled, for a sweet concord in secret sports within us mortals.
It is a true truth that life was fast asleep in matter, and mind was fast asleep in life; now without the least hesitation we can say that something lies fast asleep in mind. The wheel of evolution ever moves — it stops not.
What is evolution? It is the outer reversed expression of the inner involution.
When will Nature stop working? She will stop working only when she sees Immortality marching across the giant breast of Death.
Matter is the pride of Europe. Spirit is the pride of India. Neither of the two can possess a complete satisfaction, for the former is in the dark about the potentialities of the Spirit, and the latter about the cogency of Matter. There can be no abiding happiness until Matter and Spirit are amalgamated into one Reality.
Agnosticism is of various types. Fruitful agnosticism has every right to its own teeming knowledge. It is from agnosticism that we come to suspect that an unknowable Reality engenders all our values, physical, intellectual and spiritual.
We ought to feel extremely happy at the thought that materialism today is no longer an impediment to our upward journey. At most it has the power to make us suffer an indefinite delay. True knowledge has become its soul's real need.
If we cast aside the pall of ignorance and don the robe of knowledge, we find matter, life and mind to be nothing but energy. Though each has a world of its own, there is no yawning chasm separating them.
From its very beginning, Consciousness has been consumed with the snow-white desire to bestow on man a deathless Life, an infinite Knowledge, and an Omnipotent Power.
God, the inner Pilot, hides within us with his Vision of Unity, Omniscience and Omnipotence. And in His own time, He will appear before us. Doubtless we are ignorant of our ultimate aim. Yet for all our ignorance, we are proceeding in all our activities towards our Goal.
RealisationExperience is a rented house, while Realisation is a permanent Palace.
If you have sincerity, God-realisation becomes easy. And in addition to sincerity, if you have patience, God-realisation becomes easier. And in addition to sincerity and patience, if you have self-sacrifice, God-realisation becomes easiest.
A perfect renunciation and a complete self-surrender are the obverse and reverse of an ambrosial coin.
As the prayer, so the answer. As the sacrifice, so the reward. As the realisation, so the union.
What does liberation teach you? It teaches you that like Purusha, Prakriti is also above all disturbances, although she is to be found ever in the whirlwind of work.
An individual liberation and perfection are a thousand miles from God's supreme intention. What He wants is the universalisation of the individual perfection and liberation.
ImmortalityConsciousness is the only truth that is immortal in mortality.
Speech is the bosom friend of fleeting moments; Silence, the Lover of Eternity.
Hell welcomes the ill-doer. Heaven welcomes the man of virtue. The fulfilment of Immortality welcomes the realised man.
The gods are the divinely individualised branches of the all-sheltering and all-protecting Tree, the Supreme.
An ordinary life plays with ignorance. A religious life plays with rites and ceremonies. A spiritual life plays with the planes of consciousness. A transformed life will play with the consciousness of Immortality.
Self-realisation is only the childhood of the greatest Yogi's immortality.
What is immortality? Immortality does not mean that we shall be granted an indefinite prolongation of life with all our human desires fulfilled for the asking. To live in the Divine and to possess the Divine Consciousness is the true Immortality.
Questions and answers
Question: Can the soul ever be seen?Sri Chinmoy: Yes. In spite of its being a substance finer than the finest, and the least material, the soul can be seen. Needless to say, it requires a special kind of sight.
Question: What is necessary in order to see the soul of another?
Sri Chinmoy: One must have an eye illumined by one's own soul; this is the Psychic Eye or the Inner Vision.
Question: What is liberation?Sri Chinmoy: It is the extinction of a divided consciousness in the all-pervading oneness of the Supreme.
Question: What is meant by spiritual perfection?Sri Chinmoy: It is the constant capacity to live in God and to reveal Him in one's every movement.
Question: Many of us here understand Yoga to be the practice of certain physical exercises, like standing on one's head, for the purpose of acquiring good health and bringing tranquillity into the body. Is this what you advocate?Sri Chinmoy: This is one approach to the spiritual life but it is not the only one; it is also not suitable for everyone. The benefit that we derive from physical postures and breathing exercises can be attained by other methods. One of these is meditation by itself.
Question: What exactly are these benefits?
Sri Chinmoy: The traditional yogic exercises attempt to place the body in a state of receptivity in order to bring down peace and certain higher forces from above. This keeps the body fit, makes the nerves steady and serene, and generally prolongs the life processes. In particular, it makes the vital energies circulate more dynamically throughout the body. However, as all practitioners of Hatha Yoga (or Physical Yoga) know well, this is not the whole picture. These exercises are also performed as a preliminary to entering into a higher consciousness. Nevertheless, it is quite possible to invoke that higher consciousness by meditation alone, without depending on the physical means. The body is also given scope to go beyond its day-to-day limited consciousness, acquiring powers and capacities of a spiritual dimension.
AUM — A monthly journal of spiritual philosophy and yoga1AUM is a monthly journal devoted exclusively to the spiritual writings of Chinmoy Kumar Ghose. It will deal with the spiritual life and its problems from the point of view of Indian philosophy and yoga.
AUM is intended to help aspirants of the West in their search for a true inner life by acquainting them with the realisations of a seeker of the Supreme.
13e1. Editor's introduction from the first edition.↩