AUM — Vol.II-2, No.12, 27 December 1975
I am the way, the God-Soul."
photo by Sarama
New Year's message
New Year's message1The new year will be the year of destruction, frustration and satisfaction.
The animal in us will unimaginably be destroyed. The human in us will unreservedly be frustrated. The divine in us will supremely be satisfied.
The animal in us is self-doubt. The human in us is self-indulgence. The divine in us is self-offering.
AUM 1625. At his annual public meditation for the New Year Sri Chinmoy offered this message about the forthcoming year. Following the message is a brief commentary he made on it on New Year's Eve at his San Juan Centre and answers to questions asked by the disciples.↩
Commentary and questions on the New Year's message
CommentarySo the New Year has started. I do hope that this year will be the year of satisfaction every month, every day, every hour, every minute, every second. Let us try to satisfy the Supreme in us in His own way cheerfully, soulfully and unconditionally. If we please Him in our own way even once out of one hundred times, we shall feel miserable because that one time we will be separated from our Source. To a sincere seeker, to remain separated from his Source even for a fleeting second is to suffer excruciating pangs; therefore, let us try to satisfy the Supreme at every moment in His own way.
It is a mistake to feel that each year has the same potentiality or opportunity. No, each year has a special message. Each day comes from God, although each day need not be God’s choice Hour for realisation, perfection and satisfaction. But if we divinely use our sincere capacity, then this year will be the year of real satisfaction. If we don’t do that, then this year will undoubtedly prove to be the year of destruction.
Last year was the year of success and progress. We made considerable progress in our inner and outer lives. At the same time, the undivine forces also made considerable progress. If we properly cherish our sincere inner cry, this will be the year of inevitable satisfaction. If not, it will be the year of real destruction, disaster. If the divine forces within us win, then our self-doubt and self-indulgence will be destroyed, which means transformed. Self-indulgence and self-doubt will not be there. Alertness and self-offering will replace them. But the divine forces will win only if we consciously and constantly side with the divine forces. Otherwise, there is every possibility that the undivine forces will destroy us. This does not mean that we will die this year, but our inner life may die. Then we will feel that we are dead souls.
Let us be very divine and careful. We have not yet been assailed by the destructive forces. If we can continue with purest aspiration in the months that are ahead of us, we shall really and truly please our Inner Pilot.
Question: Does this New Year's message apply to the world at large, or primarily to your disciples?Sri Chinmoy: The message I gave applies to the world at large, but my disciples are affected more, whether divinely or undivinely, because they have more faith in me than the rest of the world has. Because you have faith in me, your progress can be rapid and boundless, whereas mankind’s progress will be slow. Last year, I said, was the year of success and progress. Look at our achievement: more than 100,000 paintings, 16,000 paintings in one day, 843 poems in one day. These are your achievements, too, our joint aspiration.
But in some of the disciples all the success and progress was made by the undivine forces in them. These disciples are also part and parcel of my inner life. Good and bad forces assail us. The bad ones we have to transform into good and the good into better. This year also, either the divine forces will win most powerfully — they should win, must win 100 per cent — or the undivine forces will destroy our life of aspiration.
Unfortunately, people do not pay much attention to the new year which takes place every second in our lives. The new year is not just twelve months or 365 days. It is something that begins at every second in our life of aspiration. The new year means new hope, new promise to God and to mankind. This applies to all of mankind, but my disciples will be more inspired to do their best. If they are not inspired, then the wrong forces will plague them more and they will fall victim to doubt and self-indulgence, which are nothing short of self-destruction.
Question: Usually I think of self-doubt as the human quality and self-indulgence as the animal quality in us.Sri Chinmoy: You think of indulgence as an animal quality because it has to do with the physical, whereas doubt has to do with the mind. But I give more importance to the destructive capacity of the quality. If you are self-indulgent, eventually you will get tremendous pressure from your mind and body to alter your behaviour. Self-indulgence brings its own punishment, for it will tell upon your health. But when you doubt yourself, it is a slow poison. Gradually it destroys you totally. When an animal destroys, it destroys totally. It won’t get satisfaction otherwise.
The animal in us is doubt because it is ready to devour us, the reality in us, at every moment. It is hiding inside the mind like a hungry wolf, and as soon as it sees something good, it tries to devour it. Anything that is good in us can be devoured by doubt. The human in us is indulgent because it has not received abundant light. The divine light has not yet illumined the human in us fully. When it is indulgent, the after-effect of this pleasure-indulgence is immediate retribution. When the human in us goes to the wrong extreme, it suffers immediately. There is something called divine nectar, which is ecstatic delight or bliss, and when the human in us goes in the right direction, which means with the divine, then it will have all ecstasy and delight.
So doubt is the animal in us because it is total destruction. If we doubt ourselves, doubt devours our divine possibility, potentiality and inevitability. It does nothing short of devour the reality in us. As long as we don’t doubt the wisdom of our spiritual aspiration, no matter how many bad things we do, we will be able to leave them aside before long. But if we doubt, we will never be able to cast aside our undivine life. Once we start doubting, there is no end to it. No matter what we achieve, and no matter what God gives us, we will say, “Perhaps somebody else has been given something sweeter.” Then we will be disgusted and dissatisfied and we will totally give up our life of dedication.
Question: When I see myself cherishing indulgence and I start doubting my sincerity, what should I do?Sri Chinmoy: If you have real sincerity, sincerity will protect you. Sincerity itself has abundant power, but we underestimate the power of sincerity. If you think you are sincere to your goal when you make mistakes, at that time you are not being sincere. When sincerity is firm, you cannot make any mistake. Sincerity-power will negate temptation-power, and the result is that you will become more sincere. But when you do make a mistake, you should always try again. If you really have sincerity, your sincerity will appear a few minutes later to make you feel that the case is not totally lost. You have fallen; try to get up, walk, march, run again.
Question: What are the forms of self-indulgence that we must transform?Sri Chinmoy: Every form, in your vital life, emotional life, mental life — everything that prevents you from going deeper and higher. Anything wrong that you do on the physical, vital or mental plane, anything that you cherish that lowers your consciousness and does not permit you to concentrate most powerfully on the Supreme is self-indulgence and must be transformed.
Lecture to ministers of the Unitarian Universalist Church2I have not come here in the capacity of a teacher; I have come here in the capacity of a friend, a brother of your heart and soul. You are teachers and I happen to be a teacher. I feel that we are all truth lovers, peace lovers, harmony lovers and oneness lovers. I belong to a school and you belong to a school. To my deepest satisfaction our schools have basically the same principles: love and service. I feel from deep within that the Unitarian Church is all love and all service. The school I belong to has the same basic message to offer: love and service. But mine is not a specific religion. My teachings are for humanity as a whole, for the real in every man is heart’s oneness, universal oneness.
I come from India. My teaching is founded upon one Sanskrit word, ‘Yoga’. The significance of this word is ‘spiritual oneness’. This oneness cannot be established by talks. You and I have given hundreds of talks. This oneness is established only by self-giving. Self-giving is truth-becoming and God-becoming. Yoga is oneness with the highest Truth, which is totally free from religious, political, racial or geographical boundaries. This Truth is also the goal of the Unitarian Church. If your goal and my goal are identical, then I am perfectly safe in the heart of my spiritual brothers and you are also safe in the very depth of my heart.
Now I wish to share with you some of the things which I teach to my students. You may call them my disciples, my followers, but I wish to say that to me they are like members of my family. We form a small group and we belong to one boat, the boat that is carrying us to the Golden Shore of the Beyond. This Beyond can be a vague term or this Beyond can be a living reality. We need only to realise that there is a goal. Before we reach that particular goal we call it the world of the Beyond. Once we reach that goal we feel that it is nothing but a new starting point. Each day in the inner world we try to reach our goal. Sooner or later we do reach it. When we reach our goal we feel that that very goal is nothing but a starting point for a higher goal.
We feel that God the ultimate Truth is also in the process of eternal Self-transcendence. He is infinite, He is eternal, He is immortal we all know, although we often try to bind Him. But He does not want to be bound and He does not want to bind us. The higher, the deeper we go, the more we feel that God Himself is always transcending His own Reality and that we who are His conscious, chosen instruments are also doing the same. Each day we aim at a new goal and each day, consciously or unconsciously, we arrive at a new goal. Each day we look forward to something new, something more fulfilling, more satisfying.
We call our path the path of love, devotion and surrender. Basically it is a path of the heart, and from my own inner knowledge, inner aspiration, I feel that yours is also absolutely the same. What we want is universal oneness, founded upon love and peace. We are doing the same thing; we are in the same boat. We have adopted different names and different forms, but in reality we have the same spirit, same goal, same soul, same awakening.
I came to the West by following an express command from my Inner Pilot. Each time I see an individual I try to see my Inner Pilot inside that individual. And each time I get an opportunity to be of service to an individual I feel that my life on earth is blessed with some purpose, some significance, some reality. So I have not come here just to give a talk. I have come to make you feel that I am of you and I am for you in the Heart of the Absolute Supreme. We are like a rose or a lotus growing inside the Heart of the Eternal Reality. Each individual is a petal, and the flower is blossoming petal by petal. We are getting ready to be placed at the Feet of the Absolute Supreme, for He needs us as we need Him.
It is our misconception that tells us that God does not need us but we need Him, like beggars. No, we need Him, but He needs us more. How can we say that He needs us more than we need Him when we are so weak, so helpless, so meaningless, so insignificant? How is it possible for us to say that He needs us more than we need Him? It is precisely because He knows what we are. We are exact prototypes of His all-embracing, all-fulfilling Reality, although we do not know it. We are helpless and hopeless because we are earth-bound; we treasure and cherish doubt, consciously or unconsciously, and then we forget our reality, our divinity, our immortality. But He knows that we are of Him and for Him; therefore, He constantly reminds us of what we are and teaches us how we can feel in the inmost recesses of our hearts that we are of Him and for Him. The philosophy that we are studying and the school that we belong to teach us one truth: it is by self-giving that we eventually grow into the very image of God.
There is a message unparalleled in Indian history. This message tells us that today we are crying to realise God, tomorrow we shall realise God, and the day after tomorrow we shall do something more: we shall become consciously aware of the truth that we are not only of God and for God but we are God Himself in the process of realisation and manifestation. This God you can call anything you want to: infinite Light, infinite Energy, infinite Bliss, infinite Peace, Infinity’s self-expanding, self-transcending Reality. This is what we all are in our highest.
Again I wish to say that what you are doing and what I am doing is the same. The truth that we embody we are consciously, soulfully, devotedly and unconditionally trying to place before mankind. We are human beings. Some of us are awakened, fully awakened, while others are in the process of awakening and still others are still asleep. We are trying to knock at the door of those who are awakening or still asleep. We believe in God’s Hour. God’s Hour has struck for us to knock at the heart’s door of the seekers who can run with us fast, faster, fastest toward the goal. And that goal is universal love, oneness in realisation, oneness in revelation, oneness in manifestation.
AUM 1631. Community Church, Manhattan, 3 December 1975↩
Questions and answers
Question: I think that some of us might be interested to know what your view is of the thinking of Dr. Radhakrishnan, who was probably the best known philosopher of Hinduism in the rest of the world. When he died, you remember, there was almost a page devoted to him in The New York Times. Has his thinking made an impact on your religious philosophy?Sri Chinmoy: To be very frank with you, not in the least, although I have the greatest respect for Dr. Radhakrishnan. While he was still alive I received three letters from him here in New York encouraging me in my philosophy and in my inspiration to the young generation.
As far as I know, Dr. Radhakrishnan was a philosopher, a thinker. Now, Indian philosophy is founded upon Indian religion, and Indian religion, which we call Dharma, is founded upon Yoga. But Yoga is something that one has to practise. It is not theoretical. It is more than practical; it is a living reality. At every moment we have to live it and practise it in order to grow into the very image of that reality.
Dr. Radhakrishnan knew about reality only in its theoretical aspect. In his practical life, unfortunately, he did not practise it. Anybody can speak on philosophy, on truth, even on the ultimate Truth, but if that particular person does not live those truths, then we feel that there is a yawning gulf between the reality that he understands or believes in and the reality that he embodies. In the case of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Ramana Maharshi and others, they not only knew the reality, but they grew into the reality itself. For them it was a living reality. You could not separate that reality from the man. But in Dr. Radhakrishnan’s case, he was the man and reality was somewhere else.
Dr. Radhakrishnan knew the reality, but he did not embody it. I may know you, but if I don’t enter into you and become part and parcel of you, I will not get all the knowledge, wisdom, light, reality and peace that you embody. Dr. Radhakrishnan’s approach to what we call reality was theoretical, not practical. He could speak on reality in faultless terms. But he did not embody that reality, whereas the real spiritual Masters grew into inseparable oneness with the reality that they knew. My experience is of the second type. Being a seeker, I wanted to experience and grow into reality, not learn about reality on an intellectual level.
Question: Your practice of Yoga seems to be distinct in some way from the practices of other teachers. When someone comes to you to be a disciple, on what basis do you accept them? What do they have to do in terms of Yoga? In what way is your path distinct from the paths of others?Sri Chinmoy: Thank you. When a seeker comes to me for guidance, the first thing I do is concentrate on that particular seeker and see if he is meant to follow the path of love, devotion and surrender. If I see that he can do well on our path, I accept him. When I do not accept a seeker, it does not mean that he is not sincere. Far from it. But each individual must follow the proper path for him. There are paths of the mind and there are paths of the heart. Some people are devoted to the mental approach, while others are meant for the heart approach, the psychic approach. Ours is a path of the heart.
The heart means oneness. As soon as I see you, if I feel oneness with you, then you are meant for me, and I am meant for you. But if I try to analyse and scrutinise you and want to know how much wisdom you have or how much capacity you have, then at every moment I will be subject to suspicion, doubt and various wrong forces. So when I look at a seeker, the first thing I see is whether the seeker is really in the heart and for the heart. I go deep within for guidance from my Inner Pilot to see if that particular seeker is ready to follow the path of love, devotion and surrender. The seekers whom I am unable to accept may be sincere, absolutely sincere, but they have to know that they can make faster progress if they follow another path or another Master.
At the end of our journey, my Inner Pilot will not ask me how many millions of seekers I have brought to Him. He will ask me whether or not I have brought the seekers that He wanted me to bring to Him. The number is not important. If I try to take someone who is not meant for our boat, then He will be displeased with me.
If a seeker wants to follow the path of the heart, then there is every possibility that the seeker will fit in with our path, which is divine love, divine devotion and divine surrender. Human love we know is a fast train. It is an express train whose destination is frustration. Frustration is immediately followed by destruction. But divine love is a local train. Slowly and steadily it reaches its destination, which is illumination.
Human devotion is just another name for attachment. We are usually not conscious of it, but eventually there comes a time when we see that it is nothing but attachment, unconscious attachment. Divine devotion is our oneness-cry to the reality, our feeling that there is a purpose for our lives, and our need to establish our deepest oneness with that purpose.
Human surrender is the surrender of a slave to the master. It is forced, fearful and resentful surrender, not spontaneous, loving and devoted. We surrender to our boss because we feel that if we don’t, he will dispense with our services. This is forced surrender. But divine surrender is totally different. Here the finite becomes fully aware of its infinite Source. When a drop enters into the ocean, it becomes the ocean itself. The tiny drop surrenders its limited existence and what does it get in return? It gets the message of vastness, Infinity. This surrender is spontaneous, natural and cheerful. It is divine surrender, surrender to our own highest reality, of which we are right now not conscious.
This is the essence of our path. In our ladder of divine consciousness there are three rungs: love, devotion and surrender. With divine love we start. Then we go to devotion and then to surrender. When we make our surrender we feel that there is no end to our surrender. Each time we surrender soulfully and cheerfully, we reach a specific goal. But that goal is not the ultimate Goal, that goal is only a new starting point, because we are pilgrims walking along Eternity’s Road.
Question: If you were to accept a seeker who was meant for you, would he be practising or following certain specific exercises?Sri Chinmoy: In my case I do not give much importance to the physical part of Yoga, the postures and breathing exercises. I give all importance to the mental discipline and vital discipline. This we get from our practice of concentration, meditation and contemplation. If you go to the Indian villages, you will see many, many village boys who will be able to perform hundreds of difficult physical exercises. But perhaps they are millions of miles behind us in God-realisation or Truth-realisation.
The exercises do help to some extent. If you are wanting in physical fitness, then you will not be able to meditate well. But we should not give too much importance to physical fitness. The boxers, the wrestlers, the athletes of the world are physically extremely fit. But in terms of peace of mind, those who meditate will be much better off than they are.
Physical postures and exercises are like the kindergarten class. You can easily skip it and go directly to primary school. Concentration, meditation and contemplation are the higher courses. One can easily start with concentration. Concentration paves the way for meditation, and meditation paves the way for contemplation.
When we concentrate on a particular subject or object, we focus all our attention on it. We try to place in front of us the tiniest possible object or the tiniest possible thought; then we concentrate, we penetrate. The minutest thing that we can possibly imagine will give us the best result from concentration. If we keep a flower in front of us to concentrate on, we try to enter into the fragrance of the flower, into the essence of the flower.
When we meditate, we do just the opposite of concentration. At that time we enter into something vast. When we meditate, we try to feel inside us the vast sky, the vast ocean or the infinite universe. We try to expand our consciousness as far as possible.
When we contemplate, at that time we become consciously one with reality. In contemplation the divine lover and the Supreme Beloved become one. When you contemplate on something, you feel that very thing as your own reality. You become the object of your contemplation. The lover and the Beloved become one. This moment you see God as somebody else or somewhere else. But when you approach Him through contemplation, you see that He is also approaching you. Now you are seeking for reality, thinking that reality is something other than yourself. When you contemplate, you will see that what you considered reality is running after you, because you are the reality itself.
Concentration, meditation and contemplation are the practices that we try to learn and follow on our path.
Question: I was going to ask what part Hatha Yoga had in your discipline, but you have already answered my question.Sri Chinmoy: Discipline is a very significant word. It is necessary to have discipline. But just by having a certain amount of discipline we cannot say that we are on the fair road to real self-discipline. The only thing is that if we take ten or fifteen minutes daily to keep our body fit, then early in the morning when we try to meditate, we will not have a stomach upset, a headache or some other ailment. In this way physical discipline helps us. But just by becoming physically strong we cannot become spiritual. We know so many people who have an excellent physical discipline, but they are not for truth, not for peace, not for reality. It is the spiritual discipline that is important to a seeker.
Question: You mentioned two paths, the mind and the heart. I was wondering if they were mutually exclusive or is there a combination possible?Sri Chinmoy: The ultimate Goal of both paths is the same. The only thing is that if we take the mental path, our road will be long. When we follow the mental path, we often cherish doubt, because the mind tells us that by doubting someone we will be in a position to remain a few inches higher than that person. We make ourselves feel superior.
I have come here as a seeker. If you remain in the realm of the doubting mind, at this moment you may think of me as a good person, but before I leave this place you may think of me as a bad person. A few minutes later you will ask yourself whether you were right in assessing me as a good person or a bad person. Then you will start doubting yourself. The moment you doubt yourself you are totally lost. By thinking that I am a bad person or a good person you don’t lose anything. But the moment you start doubting your own assessments you are totally lost.
If you follow the path of the heart, your inner feeling will tell you whether I am a good person or a bad person, and that feeling will last inside your heart for days, for weeks, for months. It is a question of identification. Once you identify with me, my entire reality is yours.
I wish to say that the body, vital, mind and heart all belong to one family, the family of the soul. The body, instead of remaining lethargic, must become dynamic. The vital, instead of remaining aggressive, must become expansive. The aggressive vital wants the entire world to remain at its feet. Like Napoleon and Julius Caesar, it wants to conquer the whole world. But that vital we don’t need. We want the vital that will expand like a bird that spreads its wings.
The mind that suspects, the mind that doubts, we don’t want. We want the mind that has the eagerness, the thirst for universal knowledge, the mind that is eager to learn from everyone and from everything. If the mind has the constant eagerness, the sincere thirst to know something that is illumining and fulfilling, we need that mind. The seeker has to know which kind of mind he utilises. If it is a sincere and searching mind, then there can be a close connection between the aspiring heart and the mind. But if it is a doubting and suspicious mind, then we see that there is a yawning gulf between that mind and the aspiring heart.
Question: I find that search and doubt are part of the same thing, that part of searching is doubting. I'm not sure of your meaning of doubt.Sri Chinmoy: Unfortunately, you are using the mind. Suppose there are three individuals walking by. You will see three human beings right in front of you, but you will feel a kind of affinity with one of them and not with the other two. The one you feel drawn to is meant for you. You have already established your oneness in the inner worlds. It is the same when you are looking for a teacher. There may be three teachers in front of you, but the presence of one of them is going to give you more joy. That particular teacher is meant for you, not the other two. You don’t have to ask anybody which teacher you should follow. You already have an inner identity, an inner oneness.
Here there are so many seekers. With one, perhaps you have more in common, you have a stronger bond, a feeling of oneness. With the others, perhaps you do not have that feeling. All this comes on the strength of inner identification. When you use the heart, immediately you feel something, and this feeling is the reality within you. But if you use the mind to find a teacher, you won’t know which will be best qualified to teach you. Has he studied Indian philosophy? Has he practised spirituality? Has he practised Yoga? Many questions will arise in your mind, and these questions will either be given satisfactory answers or not. Even if you are given satisfactory answers, you may doubt them. But if you use the heart, immediately you get the answer to your questions and the inner assurance that it is right.
Question: I think one of the reasons I experience this doubt, as well as other people, is because there are so many bad teachers in the world.Sri Chinmoy: You are absolutely right. There are false teachers. But just because there are twenty bad teachers who are deceiving themselves or deceiving others, I can’t say that you are also a bad teacher. That is why we are given the opportunity to choose. There are twenty spiritual Masters and you are given the choice. You say, “How am I going to know that I am choosing the right one?” The answer is that the one who gives you the utmost joy, whose very presence gives you joy, is the right one. He has already established his oneness with you in the inner world. In the inner world your soul has a free access to his soul’s reality. Any teacher who does not give you the same joy, the same delight and feeling of oneness is not meant for you. You follow the one whose very presence gives you immediate joy. This is where the heart plays its role most satisfactorily.
Question: I'm not sure how truthful it is to say that we are all doing the same thing, we all have the same goals. I'm not sure I am. When Billy Graham says that to me I resent it. When Moon from Korea says that, I resent it. I don't know that we are in the same boat that you are. I think many of us have this dichotomy between personal religion and social religion. We understand that in some societies and some religions and some periods of history there has been some emphasis on social religion hurting the individual. But as Unitarian Universalists, many of us feel that at least historically there is a social dimension in our faith, a very strong social dimension. And I don't feel it or see it coming from your religion. You're saying we'll convert the individual and there will be a better United Nations, a better America, a better India. I think we say that we convert the individual, but also we must convert groups of individuals; we must change institutions and change society. And I don't perceive that you are in the boat about personal religion and social religion.Sri Chinmoy: To be very frank with you, I do not follow any religion. Our path is not a religion at all. Ours is only the message of oneness. As your faith believes in universal brotherhood, if I understand correctly, irrespective of sect, irrespective of nation, irrespective of race, so do we believe that all are God’s children. For us there is no caste, creed, sect or nation that is more important than others. We are all members of the same family. Ours is not a religion at all. Ours is a path which anyone can walk along. But you have to live in one particular house. You cannot live in the street, and I cannot live in the street. You can live wherever you want to, but you will walk along the street with the rest of us when you want to get to a particular place.
Let us do the first thing first. If we are bad people, we will not feel the necessity of having a better world. Only when we become good people will we be able to work divinely and soulfully to change the world in God’s own way. My students are trying to change themselves and, at the same time, those of them who work here at the United Nations and in other places are working in and for the world as well.
Question: I think people would say that the way in which you choose to discover yourself is not good for people because it tends to turn them inward, so their attention is more exclusively on themselves rather than on making the kinds of changes that have a significant impact on large numbers of people. And by concentrating on one's own fulfilment and self-discovery a lot of other things that are of greater need to the world are neglected, in a sense.Sri Chinmoy: I fully understand. The thing is that if I do not know who I am and what I stand for, how am I going to be of any use to mankind? I have to have some inner conviction first that I am of the Source, and I am for the Source. Reality is within as well as without. My highest Reality I can bring to the fore by entering deep within. If I do not do this, what can I offer to mankind, or how can I make humanity feel that I am of them and I am for them?
Real spirituality does not mean entering into the Himalayan caves and remaining closeted. Far from it! Ours is the path of acceptance. The spiritual path that we are following demands the acceptance of the outer world. But we are not satisfied with our own lives or the lives of others right now. We want to change the face of the world for the better. If I have no capacity, then how can I be of service to you? And to develop capacity I have to dive deep within and establish a free access to the highest Source so that I can become a perfect instrument of that Source to be of service to earth in the best possible way.
We do not advocate an isolated life. I don’t ask my students to enter into a room and remain there meditating for hours. I don’t ask them to retreat to the Himalayan caves or the mountains. I tell them to mix with humanity and share what they have with humanity. The only thing is that inside they have to have something to share. If they don’t have something better than what the rest of humanity has, then what are they going to share? Just because they have dived deep within and attained some inner peace and light, they have something worthwhile to offer to humanity.
Question: Once they have looked within, then what do your people do socially for the world?Sri Chinmoy: When we go deep within, we feel peace, joy and love. Then, when we mix with the world, people see and feel these things in us. Before we meditate, people will see something in us, and right after meditation they will see something else. You can go to the United Nations Church Centre on Tuesdays. Before we enter the chapel to pray and meditate you can look at us or you can even take a picture. Then, when we come out, you can look or you can take another picture and you will see and feel the difference. When you compare the feeling you get from an individual before prayer and right after prayer, you will see that right after prayer he will give you more joy. Before your secretary enters into the chapel, you look at her. When she comes out, you will see that she is a totally different person. The peace, the joy, the light that she receives from her prayer and meditation will inspire you inwardly or outwardly.
If we see a saint, immediately his face gives us inspiration. If we see a good person, his very presence gives us inspiration. Since we are all trying to be good people, each of us is offering inspiration to others. If we are with bad people, with thieves or hooligans, immediately our consciousness descends. Even when we mix with ordinary unaspiring people, our consciousness descends. But the very presence of a seeker who is aspiring to become good and to do good will elevate our consciousness. We don’t have to convert you; you are automatically transformed. After we have prayed and meditated, people see something in us. It is like a divinely contagious disease. This is just the beginning of our service to mankind.
Question: Is there another kind of Yoga that is specifically for service?Sri Chinmoy: That is Karma Yoga; that is also part of our path. I have achieved something in the inner world. Now I go out and give talks and hold meditations at various places. In this way I offer my dedicated service to mankind. If we can inspire one person to lead a good life, that is our service.
Question: Is there any difference between prayer and meditation?Sri Chinmoy: They lead to the same goal, but there is a slight difference between prayer and meditation. When we pray, at that time we feel that our Eternal Father is listening to us. Prayer goes upward. But when we meditate, at that time we feel that God is talking to us and we are listening. Meditation goes outward. So prayer is when we talk to the Father, and meditation is when the Father talks to us.
Poems from The prayer of the sky
We are happyYou are happy
He is happy
I am happy
I depend on GodI depend on you;
Therefore I cry.
I depend on him;
Therefore I sigh.
I depend on myself;
Therefore I die.
I depend on God;
Therefore I am revived,
Inside their heartsFor the sake of vision-soul,
I stay inside the heart
For the sake of creation-role,
I stay inside the heart
For the sake of perfection-goal,
I stay inside the heart
Of the eternal Pilot.
The prayer of the skyThe prayer of the sky
Is for the increase
The prayer of the moon
Is for the increase
Of beauty’s right.
The prayer of the sun
Is for the increase
Of duty’s delight.
The prayer of God
Is for the increase
Of Compassion’s might.
New Age CommunityThe jewel of humility as embodied in a short talk with Sri Chinmoy, world-famous yoga master
The NEW AGE COMMUNITY staff visited the Vancouver International airport recently to greet Sri Chinmoy as he departed the Vancouver Area after a brief visit to Victoria.
In Victoria he gave a talk on the devotional path of life. He honoured the NEW AGE COMMUNITY with the following interview. A sincere, centred individual, his projections appear below.
Interview - The jewel of humility3NAC: God is everywhere, and so are his devotees. It is a great honour to meet you, we’ve heard a lot about you over the years. What does your work generally consist of?
Sri Chinmoy: My work is love and my work is service. I try to love mankind and I try to serve mankind according to the limited capacity that God has granted me. Only to love Him in aspiring mankind and to serve him in the service of mankind. This is my only work.
NAC: What shape does your activity take in that service?
Sri Chinmoy: We have about fifty centres all over the world and I visit all the centres and they keep inner contact with me. I have written over 250 books and my students follow my writings. I go to the United Nations twice a week where we hold meditations for the delegates and the members and the staff. We try to serve mankind in the Committee of Nations according to our inner capacity which I call my devoted soulful service. This is what I do. Everywhere I try to serve and whenever I get an opportunity to serve I feel my life on earth is worth living.
NAC: Do you relate to the politicians at the United Nations?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes and No. Not in their political capacity, but when they come to me as seekers. I myself, being a seeker, can talk to them on a spiritual level but not on a political level. Politics is not my forte, whereas I know a little bit of spirituality. So when the politicians come to me as seekers, I try to offer light to them.
NAC: Are there many politicians seeking actively?
Sri Chinmoy: That is a difficult question to answer. There are some politicians who do not want to disclose their names, but they do take my help, secretly. They don’t want to be exposed, they don’t want to attach themselves to the so-called religious or spiritual life, but they do come, and again when we have soulful meetings, they come and join us in the capacity of seekers and not in the capacity of politicians.
NAC: It is a very fine work. Do you have a space set up for you to do your work?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes.
NAC: Is it an official capacity that you have there?
Sri Chinmoy: Previously, I have been the spiritual director of the meditation group — it is official. It is an official group at the United Nations and also recently I have gotten the honour of being an honorary delegate. They call it NGO — Non-Governmental Office.
NAC: From the point of view of a lot of people, the world is a very cruel and negative place and their consciousness is not in a position to absorb the negativity. What can you say, or what service can we perform (we in the largest sense of the word), to help with that situation?
Sri Chinmoy: I fully agree with you. What we should do is to cultivate more soulful patience. Patience is the length of time. Right now the world is far from perfection. It is almost half animal world that we are living in. We quarrel, we fight, these are the tendencies of animal life. But again there is an inner cry in us to do something, to become something, to go into something that will give us abiding satisfaction. This inner cry is something that wants to transcend what we have now and what we are now. But, perfection does not come into existence overnight. It takes time.
So, what you need, what I need, what others need, is one thing — soulful patience. And we have to know that patience is not something weak, something that we are forced to surrender to the hard reality of life, No, it is inner wisdom. Our inner wisdom needs patience, length of time. The seed — as soon as we see a seed, we expect the seed to grow into a plant and become a tree — a huge banyan tree. But if you know that the seed takes time to germinate and gradually to become a plant, and a tree; if we see the vision of our patience, then one day we will see that Truth will grow into reality, will manifest reality. So what the entire world needs is soulful patience. Let the Truth grow in its own way.
NAC: When one is engaged in a way of life which is not satisfactory to the person and one feels the first tug to become seeking, (I am asking this question because a great many people who will be listening to this radio program and reading this interview will be in that position), one has the impulse to do something. The philosophy and the ideals and so on make some sense but we here in the West have the impulse to do something to make it happen. Is there anything practical, direct, that you can suggest for someone to do?
Sri Chinmoy: Now here I wish to say the best policy is to become something, then do something. First become — then give what you have. This is a Golden Rule. But again, if we have an inner pilot, suppose we have a master who is representing the inner pilot for us. In offering you are becoming. Self-giving is God becoming. Now, self-giving can be at any place at any standard of one’s whole life. You become the fruit, then you offer yourself for everybody to eat you as the most delicious fruit. You grow into the fruit yourself, you give. If that is the Will of God.
But we have to know whether we have free access to the inner pilot or not. If the inner pilot tells us ‘do this’ and in the process of doing, you are becoming. This is one theory. The other theory is that when you become something then you give. If you are not something what are you going to give. This is the general rule.
There is a special rule that when one is being guided by a higher force, and the higher force says ‘I need you as my instrument, or I have accepted you as my instrument, you please me’. As in the Gita, Krishna said in the last moment to Arjuna, ‘Surrender to me, I will do everything for you really and truly, I will do everything.’ But if Arjuna had to wait to become something then he would have had to offer to the world, and that would have been also one process. But Krishna did not want this. Shri Krishna said that he had only to become an instrument. If that is the case, then one has to listen to the dictates of one’s master who is representing God for him. This is free access to the inner pilot. Inner pilot is saying, ‘do this’, in the process of doing you become what I wanted you to become.
NAC: Most of our minds are so confused and our bodies so tense that We can't listen to the inner self, or even if we can there are so many conflicting voices that we don’t know which one is true. How can we cut through all that?
Sri Chinmoy: It is a most interesting question. Mind here creates tremendous problem for us. But only if you want to hear accurately the message, the voice of the inner pilot. Then you have to know one thing — as soon as we get the message we will see that this message is giving us inner joy, inner satisfaction. Then you see that as soon as you carry out the message, the message will bear fruit and this fruit will come in the form of success or failure. Mind will accept it as a success or as failure. But if you can take the result with the same cheerfulness if it is success, or failure, with the same amount of inner strength, inner courage, equanimity, then the message is coming from the soul, otherwise we will be extolled to the skies as soon as something heavy comes in the form of success and we will be doomed to disappointment if failure appears. So only from the result will you know whether we have gotten the real message. If it comes directly from the deep inmost reaches of our heart, from our soul, then the result will not be important; only the most important thing is our way of executing that message. And the result will come to us only in the form of success or failure. But if you can offer both success and failure as an experience which is building us to grow into the supreme reality, if you have that kind of feeling or conception for the message, that is coming forward, then you are getting the message from within, from the inner pilot.
NAC: Are you optimistic about the future of humanity?
Sri Chinmoy: 100% optimistic. Because I love God. God, I know will not allow us to ruin His creation. We are His creations, nobody likes to destroy his own creations. We are God’s children. We may do everything wrong, but out of his infinite bounty, he will give us eternal time to turn over a new leaf.
NAC: Do people look to you and bow to you as master?
Sri Chinmoy: They look to me and bow to the Supreme in me, I always tell them. Our Master is only the One God and the Master is inside me and inside you. When they bow to me I know who is getting it, it is the Supreme in me, and when I bow to you, I know who is getting it, the Supreme in you. Not to me, not to the body, not to Sri Chinmoy, but to the inner pilot of Sri Chinmoy, they bow, and I bow to the inner pilot of their own existence.
NAC: What shall we do with these characters who go around calling themselves ‘perfect masters’. How shall we talk to them?
Sri Chinmoy: I am the last person to say anything. I am not the right person to pronounce any judgement. Everybody knows what is good for them. I know what is good for myself, they know what is good for themselves. They are doing the right thing according to their inner light. We are trying to do the best thing according to our receptivity. We are all responsible for our own rooms. They are responsible for their rooms; I am responsible for my room; you are responsible for your room. You can come and see what I have in my room. I have no right to say what they have in their rooms.
NAC: How old are you, Sri Chinmoy?
Sri Chinmoy: I am just 44.
NAC: You appear in the Vancouver Airport as an ordinary middle-aged businessman in you summer suit. Why is that? Why are you not clad in your Indian robes and all that?
Sri Chinmoy: In my case I know who I am — a seeker. When I am holding a meeting, it is easier for the seekers to identify themselves with me when I wear Indian robes. If I am in need of a policeman, if I see a policeman wearing his uniform, then immediately I go to him, because he is the right person. So when I am holding meditations, I am the right person to be of dedicated service to offer spiritual light. But like a policeman, he doesn’t work 24 hours in that capacity. Inwardly he knows he is a policeman, I know I am a spiritual seeker, so here I don’t have to act as a spiritual teacher, spiritual Master. Whereas when I hold meetings at the United Nations, there I have to wear it because there I represent what I inwardly am.
NAC: I don't know if it's possible, but do you feel any sort of urge to create a song right now?
Sri Chinmoy: I can sing you a significant song, a song which has stood first out of hundreds of songs. “Oh my boatman, do carry me to the golden shores of the beyond.”
[Sri Chinmoy sings a beautiful song in Indian style and dialect]
I am extremely grateful to you for having given me the opportunity to be of service to the aspiring mankind through your own most exemplary practise, spiritual discipline.
NAC: Thank you. God Bless you.
AUM 1648. New Age Community↩
Jharna-Kala newsAUM 1649-1664. Introductory questions, 2 March 1975
Question: Up to now, it has been a marathon — a lot of paintings in a short span of time. Will you arrive at a point where you will slow down and do only one or two large, detailed paintings?Sri Chinmoy: Unfortunately, I am a person who either starves or eats voraciously. When I start again, I will draw hundreds or thousands at a time. I do the same when I write poems. Right from my childhood, when I started writing poems, I would write twenty or thirty in one day and not write again for several days. I will do more paintings, but it will probably be in a year or two. Usually I do not have the patience to do large paintings.
I am a consciously devoted machine or instrument. He who utilises me is far beyond speed. In Puerto Rico, when I did 181 paintings in one hour and fourteen minutes, I was constantly talking on the phone and to the people around me, but I did not lose my highest consciousness or my speed. Sometimes I feel sorry for my hand because it has to go so fast.
To come back to your question, I always do things on a large scale and, as I have said before, my problem, if it can be called a problem, is quantity, while the Supreme’s problem is quality. I will go on being the Supreme’s instrument, doing things on a large scale, and He will be responsible for the quality.
Question: Many painters paint objects, like birds and flowers, but most of your paintings seem to be abstract.Sri Chinmoy: Each painting is a reality in another world. I have seen them there, as I see you here. Some people trace things, but in my case I see things and paint them. There are many things we are not familiar with or that we have not seen on earth, so we call them abstract; but as soon as we enter into the intuitive world, we see that they are realities.
Question: In essence you are really painting what you see?Sri Chinmoy: Absolutely. I have been to these worlds and I know what they have to offer.
Question: Some people feel that your type of art expresses realities that have never been seen by the world before.Sri Chinmoy: Some people may say that this sounds like flattery, but reality is reality. Out of false modesty I can deny it, but if I say these paintings are not something unique, then in later years when other spiritual Masters try to assess my painting, they will say that I captured the realities of other worlds but was unconscious of it. You cannot deny reality. In my case I do not want to say I have done it unconsciously. I am an instrument of the Supreme, true, but in this incarnation at least, I have never been an unconscious instrument.
Question: By revealing these scenes to the ordinary world, have you incurred any anger from the cosmic gods?Sri Chinmoy: Not in the least. I went beyond these gods many years ago. When I was on the verge of realisation and just beyond, the cosmic gods and I had some wonderful fights. Now they claim me. When we start our upward journey, we get opposition from our own world — people become jealous. Then, when we go a little higher, we see that the deities that reign over these higher worlds also become jealous and try to keep down the people who are trying to go beyond them. And when one is about to realise God, he gets tremendous opposition from the higher worlds. But when the gods see that the Supreme wants this person to attain this power, they surrender to His Will. Again, among the cosmic gods there are some, like Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, who are higher than all the others. They do not create opposition; they inspire and don’t obstruct. Ten or fifteen years ago I got problems from real spiritual Masters of the highest order also, but now we are all one; they are within me and for me. Right now I get opposition only from the earth plane.
Question: Are there any other human artists who have consciously or unconsciously tried to express these other planes?Sri Chinmoy: Some artists have visited other planes, but they do not have access to all the planes. Seekers usually only go to these planes once or twice in a lifetime, but spiritual Masters have free access to them. If one is an expert artist, then he will beautifully reproduce what he sees. In my case, sometimes I see things but cannot express them because I have not learned the artistic techniques. It is like a camera. When we take a picture with coloured film, we expect that the colour will be the same, but that does not always happen.
In school I studied art for only two or three years, and art was not part of our family. In our family we never cared for painting, only poetry; that is why I write poetry easily. If one member of my family had been a great artist, painting would have been easier for me.
If someone was great in some specific field in his previous incarnation and God wants him to bring forward that capacity again and transcend it, he will. On the other hand, if one was really great in a past life, God may now say, “You have been a great musician; now become a great artist.” I was never an artist in any previous incarnations, but because I am a Yogi, I can attain anything by using will power or occult power. It is by virtue of my yogic power that I am doing this.
Question: Once when you were showing us some paintings I had the feeling that each picture had a soul.Sri Chinmoy: Each creation has something in it which embodies the life force. My paintings are realities of higher worlds and each reality embodies a soul. Sometimes while I am painting, I talk to the soul or the entity that the picture embodies. Many times I see that when the paintings are placed on the floor after I finish them, they talk to me. Just like the fairies that our Radha draws, they literally dance. Also, many times from the higher worlds I have gotten comments on my paintings.
Question: Would an artist have a better understanding of your paintings than an ordinary person?Sri Chinmoy: Not necessarily. I know many artists and musicians. Either they are extremely spiritual or they like to criticise and find fault with other people’s work. An artist may or may not be kind and have brotherly feelings for other human beings. Dulal’s sister is an excellent artist, and she feels that my paintings are good. But there are many artists who will criticise me or be jealous of me. If an artist sees that someone else is climbing up his tree, he is often afraid that he will be surpassed, so he becomes jealous.
Again, my expression of ideas is one thing, and an artist’s understanding is another. Most of my paintings are not representations of something we see in the outer world, like a bird or a tree. An abstract that I have drawn — which is a reality in another world — another artist may discard because it is beyond his capacity to enter into the realm of that painting. Sometimes when I draw a bird, you may see something wrong in it. There another artist will act like a real judge, and criticise it. But the force that has created these paintings will not remain dormant; it will burst forth. Then my art will not be compared with others’ art because it is a different kind, and there will definitely be some people who will appreciate it.
Question: Is it true to say the human mind as we know it was surpassed? Was it your highest aspect that saw the things that you have painted and you only used the human mind to capture them on paper?Sri Chinmoy: It was not the human mind, believe me. When I was touching the brushes and choosing colours, an intuitive magnet pulled me. If you had asked me what colour I was using, my earthly mind could not have told you, because I was in the intuitive world. If I touched blue, it was not that I was thinking about it. Here on earth leaves are green, but when I am drawing a tree that does not mean I will choose green, because in other worlds things frequently have different colours than they do on earth. So when I paint, since I become an instrument, I am compelled to choose certain colours.
Question: Given what you just told us, do you think in ten or fifteen years people will accept this as a different form of art?Sri Chinmoy: Until recently, when poets wrote poetry they were expected to follow certain rules. If there was no rhyme, there was no poetry. Now poets use blank verse. In the field of art also there are some fixed mental attitudes, but these will also change.
Question: Most of your paintings have been small. Will you do larger ones?Sri Chinmoy: I will do larger ones only by persuasion. I am fond of small ones but my disciples beg me to do larger ones. I understand why — people appreciate them more. However, I prefer small ones.
Question: Why can't the small ones be enlarged?Sri Chinmoy: I would be happy if they were. The small ones are spontaneous. They have come to me right from the beginning. If the Supreme changes His Mind, however, I will do more larger ones.
Question: You have worked in many media since you started painting. Which is your favourite?Sri Chinmoy: My favourite is acrylic.
Question: What is the particular quality of acrylic that you like?Sri Chinmoy: Its brilliance and density. If something is dense and intense, it usually has no brilliance, but acrylic is different; in acrylic I find both. It shines and is also dense. It is delicate and yet solid.
Question: Are the colours that you see inwardly much more brilliant than what you paint?Sri Chinmoy: They are much more brilliant and in much more variety. India is very poor and the United States is very rich, but I have seen colours in India which do not exist in America. Similarly, in the inner world the colours that I see are much more brilliant and there is a much greater variety.
Question: Sometimes some of the great artists and poets of the past have done works that seem to have been divinely inspired, but their lives did not seem to be spiritual. How is it that one's life can be undivine and his work divine?Sri Chinmoy: Just because each individual has a soul, there is the possibility that once or twice during a person’s life the soul may come to the fore and then God can manifest in and through the particular poet or artist. The individual has not done it. When he was working on his masterpiece, his soul came forward and one could say that momentarily he became a saint of the highest order. When the soul comes forward, this happens.
The Supreme is not bound by anything. We think that if a person has a bad character, the Supreme should look down on him. But the Supreme sees Himself in all His creation. Who is having the experience in and through the person? The Supreme. The Supreme’s unconditional Compassion does not depend on what a person does in the outer life. Although a person may not be saintly, as long as he is sorry for his weaknesses, at that time the Supreme’s Compassion knows no bounds.
It is one thing to achieve something and it is another to remain in a divine consciousness. Sometimes when a person reaches the height of spirituality, a kind of pride enters into him. Someone else may have inner aspiration, but be weak. How do we know if these undivine people did not have an inner urge to become divine? If we enter into them, we may see that they did. We cannot judge these artists by their outer life. One may lead a bad life for a long time, but there may be purity within him which will eventually come to the fore and then he will become the flower of purity. On the other hand, someone may lead an austere life, yet not be pure.