AUM — Vol.II-3, No. 2, 27 February 1976

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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

Picture

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 day 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.

Poems

Peace

In our outer life,
Peace is compromise.
In our inner life,
Peace is something that constantly helps us
Transcend our height
And expand our length
And deepen our depth.

What I want

I do not want a feeble silence.
I do not want a feeble sound.
I do not want a feeble world.
What I want is
Animal strength
And human clarity
And divine Infinity.

I was late

In the morning when God called me
I was late.

In the afternoon when God called me
I was again late.

In the evening when God called me
This time too I was late.

What did God say?

God said that He would not find fault with me.
He would just try to love me more,
Ever more
So that I would respond to His call.

Be ready

My heart, be ready to cry.
My mind, be ready to fly.
My vital, be ready to die.
My body, be ready to try.
My God, be ready to sigh.

Whom else?

Lord, are You still mine?
“Then whose else am I?”

Lord, do You still love me?
“Then whom else do I love?”

Lord, do You still need me?
“Then whom else do I need?”

What else can I do?

I have no idea
Where God is
Or
Who God is.
But what else can I do
Except think of Him?
What else can I do
Except love Him?

Master sweet

Master sweet,
My soul is inside
Your blue-green eyes.

Master sweeter,
My goal is inside
Your snow-white heart.

Master sweetest,
I am at
Your red-violet feet.

I have seen

I have seen God with man.
Like man, He is preparing Himself.
I have seen man with God.
Like God, he is manifesting
And
Fulfilling himself.

Lord, how then can you be sad?

Lord, how then can You be mad
When You know that I am trying
To love You?

Lord, how then can You be sad
When You know that I definitely
Need You, need You only?

Don't give up

Give up what you have:
Earth’s frustration-night.
Don’t give up what you are:
Heaven’s liberation-delight.

Interview for the Ted Bonnet show

AUM 1719-1727. The following interview was broadcast on radio station WRNW in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., on 19 February 1976 at 2:00 p.m.

Question: What approach to God do the followers of your religion take?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all I would like to make it very clear that ours is not a religion. Ours is a path, a path that leads to God-realisation. In order to reach this destination some people pray, while others meditate. In our case we do both, but the emphasis is on meditation. There is a definite difference between prayer and meditation. When we pray, we talk and God listens. When we meditate, God talks and we listen.

Question: What benefit do you derive from meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: First and foremost, when we meditate we get peace of mind. The world has everything except peace of mind. Then, the world has become very complex. We want to simplify our lives so that we can run towards our goal without countless distractions. When we meditate, we simplify our earthly life so that we can run faster towards our goal. When we meditate, we see the reality in everything. Right now there are many things on earth which do not seem real to us. But when we meditate, we see the essence, the reality-seed, in everything.

When we meditate properly, we come to realise that God is not only in Heaven but He is also on earth. In the West there is a belief that the Father is in Heaven and the son is on earth. But when we meditate properly, we feel that wherever the son is the Father also has to be. If the son is on earth, the Father is also on earth. In His entire creation, the Compassion-Light of the Supreme reigns. Meditation makes us feel that there is no place where God does not exist. And it is through meditation that we bring to the fore the living presence of God in all our multifarious activities.

Question: How can a person learn to meditate?

Sri Chinmoy: If someone wants to learn how to meditate, either he has to go to a spiritual teacher or he has to study some spiritual books. If the seeker does not care for a spiritual Master, then he has to study some spiritual books. The difficulty here is that each individual seeker has a specific way to meditate. A book will give general instructions with regard to meditation, but if the seeker has no teacher, he has to select from the books the things that will suit him. If the seeker accepts a Master, the Master will give him at the very beginning the inner guidance that will help him learn how to meditate properly. This is the advantage of having a Master.

Question: If someone does not want to study spiritual books and does not want to go to a spiritual Master, then what should he do?

Sri Chinmoy: In this case he should try to make his mind absolutely calm and quiet when he wants to meditate. Then, if he sees that there are some good thoughts arising in his mind, he should let these good thoughts play in his mind. If he has thoughts of love, joy, peace, and bliss, then he can let these thoughts grow and play in his mind or in his heart. But if he has thoughts of fear, doubt, jealousy, insecurity and other negative forces, then he should try to destroy them immediately. He has to feel that his mind is his door. He has quite a few friends and quite a few enemies who are trying to come in, but he will allow only his friends to enter the door, not his enemies. His friends are love, joy, peace, bliss and so forth. This is the simplest form of meditation.

Question: Will it be easier to meditate if one knows how to concentrate first?

Sri Chinmoy: If one wants to start with concentration, then usually it will be easier for him to meditate. There are three spiritual terms that go together: concentration, meditation and contemplation. Concentration paves the way for meditation. If one knows how to concentrate, then it will be easier for him to meditate. And if one knows how to meditate, then it will be possible for him to contemplate. Concentration is the practice of focusing our attention on a particular subject or object to the complete exclusion of anything else. Our entire mind will be concentrated only on that particular subject. Nothing else in God’s creation should be allowed to enter into our mind. We will focus all our attention on one particular object.

When our power of concentration becomes strong and vigilant, we can try to meditate. In order to meditate we make our mind calm, quiet and tranquil. We try not to have any thoughts at all. Then, when we are successful in our meditation, we can try to contemplate. Contemplation is the third stage and it is both the most important and the most difficult. The seeker becomes one with his Beloved Supreme on the strength of his proper contemplation. He feels that he and his Lord Supreme exist as one; there is nothing separating the two. They become one and inseparable.

To come back to your question, if one knows how to concentrate, then it will be easier for him to learn how to meditate, although one can learn meditation without practising concentration first. The best thing is to start with concentration. It is like walking up a ladder. The first rung is concentration, the second is meditation and the third and ultimate is contemplation. I would advise the beginner to start with concentration. But if a beginner finds it too difficult even to concentrate, then he should start with japa. Japa means repeating a syllable or a word or a few words over and over again. He can start with ‘peace’, joy’, ‘love’, ‘God’ or any divine word that gives him satisfaction. This will help him considerably if he cannot concentrate right at the very beginning.

Question: Do we really need a spiritual teacher?

Sri Chinmoy: Whatever you want to learn, you will be able to learn faster and better with a teacher. Suppose somebody wants to learn how to sing. Naturally, he will go to a singing teacher. After he has studied under the teacher’s guidance for some time, there comes a time when the student has learned everything. Then he no longer needs the help of a teacher. We need a teacher for everything: singing, dancing, swimming. Meditation also needs to be learned properly, and he who is wise will go to an authority on this subject in order to learn it.

People come to me because they feel that I am familiar with this subject and I can offer them some light, some peace of mind, some inner and outer guidance and assurance. As I said before, books are available in the market about how to concentrate and meditate, but most people need direct guidance if they really want to learn well. People go to school just because they feel the necessity of a teacher to give them direct knowledge and guidance. In the inner life also, if one wants to make fast progress, then one goes to a spiritual Master. I am not the only one; there are a few others on earth. But if one likes my method of teaching or my course of study, then he will come to me. If one likes somebody else’s method, naturally he will go to that other Master. Eventually, my students and the students of other Masters will arrive at the same Goal. All the true spiritual paths lead to the same Goal. The destination is one, although we are walking along many roads.

Question: How many disciples do you have?

Sri Chinmoy: Right now about a thousand students all over the world. These are my actual disciples — those who have outwardly and inwardly accepted me as their spiritual Master. But I also have followers. Followers are those who read my writings and try to get some inspiration and wisdom from my writings. The difference between the followers and the disciples is that the disciples try to follow certain spiritual disciplines regularly. They pray, they concentrate or meditate, they try to follow my advice as sincerely as possible. The followers are not as strict as the disciples. They are also trying to make progress, but in their own way. So altogether I have about a thousand disciples in about fifty Centres all over the world.

Question: I was told you will be going to Australia next month. Why are you going there?

Sri Chinmoy: I have been invited by the disciples in four Centres of mine there to hold meditations and give spiritual talks. I shall be there for two weeks giving talks at various places. For the last four years my disciples in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide have been inviting me to hold meditations, give talks and offer my dedicated service to the Australians. So now I am going at last.

Question: Do you give spiritual talks often?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, very regularly. For the past three weeks I have been speaking at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. I gave a series of seven talks there. Two days ago I gave a talk in Cape Cod. Twice a week I go to the United Nations and also I have centres in Connecticut, New Jersey, Manhattan and Queens. I am occupied every day.

Interviewer: Sri Chinmoy, thank you very much for being on the air with us today.

Sri Chinmoy: I offer you my heart’s sincere appreciation and gratitude for having given me the opportunity to serve your listeners.

Imagination, inspiration, aspiration and realisation1

Imagination is the creation’s invisible beginning. Inspiration is the creation’s visible beginning. Aspiration is the creation’s illumining beginning. Realisation is the creation’s fulfilling beginning.

The poet imagines. The singer inspires. The seeker aspires. The lover realises. This poet is the seer-poet who envisions the realities of the world beyond. This singer is the divine singer who has a free access to the world of celestial music. He is in tune with the music that elevates the consciousness of humanity. This seeker is he who has freed himself from the desire-world, from the meshes of ignorance. He wants only the truth and nothing else. This lover is a God-lover. Here on earth and there in Heaven he loves only God. Each creation of God’s he takes as the living manifestation of God. In each creation he sees and feels God’s Silence-Vision and God’s Sound-Reality.

Imagination says to inspiration, “I have discovered something great: God is great.”

Inspiration says, “I fully agree with you. Your discovery and my discovery are the same. And what you say, I am sure, is on the strength of your own personal experience, for I have had the same experience: God is great.”

At this point, aspiration says to imagination and inspiration, “Friends, you two are right. I wish to add only one thing: God acts ceaselessly and compassionately.”

Then realisation comes into the picture and says, “Friends, you three are perfectly right. Only allow me to add something more: God gives us everything unreservedly and unconditionally, but we receive according to our receptivity.”

Imagination is not mental hallucination. Inspiration is not self-deception. Aspiration is not earth-negation. Realisation is not Heaven-glorification.

Imagination is not mental hallucination: it is the reality that grows and glows in our physical mind at God’s choice Hour. Imagination has a world of its own. From there, the reality descends into our physical mind, our earth-bound mind.

Inspiration is not self-deception. Inside inspiration abides and looms large the reality of one’s existence. Inspiration carries us to the farthest Beyond, to the highest Heights, to the universal Depths. It has the capacity to embody the transcendental Height and also to measure the universal Depth.

Aspiration is not earth-negation; aspiration is earth-acceptance. Earth is God’s creation. If we accept God as our very own, we cannot separate earth from His existence. A true seeker is he who sees God not only in the highest plane of consciousness but also in the lowest unlit plane of consciousness. He is everywhere in a greater or lesser degree. But the seeker enters into the lowest in order to bring down the reality-light of the highest so that he can transform the lowest into the highest. Earth the seeker accepts as a reality, and in this reality, through this reality, God-Vision manifests itself.

Realisation is not Heaven-glorification. Some people think that if one realises God, he will all the time talk about Heaven-realities, for he alone knows what is happening in Heaven. Since he is an authority on Heaven, he will try to glorify the realities that exist in Heaven. But on the contrary, a realised soul is he who feels that it is his bounden duty to spend most of his time starving with humanity’s hunger, crying with humanity’s pangs and smiling with humanity’s joy. To serve God in humanity, to bring to the fore the divine light that humanity embodies, is his soul’s primary task. Here on earth he has to fulfil God’s Dream. For him, not Heaven but earth is the Reality supreme.

Imagination knows no obstruction. Inspiration knows no hesitation. Aspiration knows no test. Realisation knows no rest.

Imagination knows no obstruction. It runs, it flies, it dives. There is nothing here on earth that can remain as a distant impossibility to imagination. Imagination has a free access to all of God’s Reality.

Inspiration knows no hesitation. Once the divine in us is inspired, there is no delay, no hesitation whatsoever. It runs the fastest towards the destination.

Aspiration knows no test. Some people are of the opinion that God examines our aspiration, but this is absurd. God knows what we have and what we are. He never examines us. It is we who examine ourselves, for we are not sure of our capacity, of our reality or of our achievement. Also, we examine ourselves because we want to prove to God and to humanity our worth, our value, and whether or not we are fit to stand against the teeming ignorance-night.

Realisation knows no rest. It would be a deplorable mistake to come to the conclusion that once we have achieved realisation then for us it is the journey’s close. No, realisation is preparatory to revelation, and revelation is preparatory to manifestation. Manifestation is preparatory to perfection and perfection is the song of eternal transcendence. Perfection is not and cannot be a finished product. Perfection is continuously in the process of transcending its own height. Again, today’s realisation has to be the beginning of tomorrow’s new aspiration. As a matter of fact, inside realisation, revelation, manifestation and perfection there is always aspiration.

Imagination, inspiration, aspiration and realisation are all divine qualities, but aspiration preponderates. It has the strongest capacity to lift everything that it sees around or within, to lift it up to the ever-transcending Beyond. This is what our aspiration can do and always does.

The divine child in us is imagination. His very being is surcharged with imagination. The divine deer in us is inspiration. The deer symbolises speed, which inspiration has in abundant measure. The divine bird inside us is aspiration. This bird flies and flies to the farthest Beyond. It embodies the inner flaming cry that has to reach the Highest, the Absolute, the farthest Beyond.

Imagination, inspiration and aspiration eventually grant us realisation. Realisation is the perfection of our inner nature and the conscious support of God’s cosmic Will. At every moment a realised soul offers conscious and constant oneness with the Will of the Absolute Supreme. Inside himself he sees a swan. This swan symbolises realisation. It is the swan of wisdom-light, the swan of victory-height and the swan of nectar-delight.

Usually imagination is in the mind, inspiration is in the dynamic vital, aspiration is in the crying, loving heart and realisation is in the entire being. When we have imagination, we feel that we can do everything. It is only a matter of time. At God’s choice Hour we shall be able to accomplish everything that we want to accomplish. When we have inspiration, we feel that everything can be done, for that is what our adamantine will wants to do for us. When we have aspiration, we feel that God is going to do everything for us, for we are helpless, we are hopeless, we are useless, yet we are still His loving children. Therefore, out of His infinite Bounty He will do everything for us. Finally, when we have realisation, we clearly see in unmistakable terms that God has already done everything for us. There is nothing that we have had to accomplish; everything has been done for us by God Himself. Now we only have to share in His infinite Wisdom-Light.


  1. AUM 1728. Sir George Williams University, Montreal, 20 February 1976