AUM — Vol.II-3, No. 5, 27 May 1976

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Sri Chinmoy reads aloud the Proclamation sent by President Ford.

National Day of Prayer, 1976

National Day of Prayer, 1976

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gerald R. Ford

National day of prayer

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

THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON
May 10, 1976

Dear Mr. Chinmoy:

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

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

Sincerely,
Theodore C. Marrs
Special Assistant to the President

Happiness

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

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

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

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

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

Question: Where does true happiness lie?

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

Question: What is the soul's happiness?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Question: Often when I first wake up in the morning, I don't feel happy.

Sri Chinmoy: For a few minutes after you wake up, for four or five minutes, don’t get up; just meditate in bed. Before you leave the bed it is always advisable to think of the Supreme for a few minutes. Then get up and do your proper meditation. But you have to be sure you will be able to get up in three or four minutes. Otherwise, you will just go back to sleep and you will say that you have meditated for two hours.

Question: Will outer happiness help our spiritual progress?

Sri Chinmoy: If you are happy, it will help you to a great extent. That is the only way. If you are unhappy, you won’t make any progress at all. On the contrary, you will be marching backwards. Real outer happiness is not self-deception. It does not come from wasting time and indulging in pleasure-life. Real outer happiness is something totally different. It comes from inner satisfaction, inner joy.

Question: Sometimes when I am happy I want to share my happiness with others and help them be happy. Is this possible?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. If you are happy, share with your near and dear ones. But first see if they are receptive, if they want to receive from you. Out of jealousy or for malicious reasons, they may not want to accept your happiness. Then it is a mere waste. And if you see somebody who is really hostile to you, or with whom you do not have any inner affinity, it is useless to try to share happiness with that person. Do share, but only if they are receptive. If not, then you are only wasting your inner wealth. They are not going to get any benefit, and you are going to give away some of your own happiness. When happiness is received, light and knowledge will increase. When it is not received, nothing will increase.

Letter

COMMONWEALTH OF PUERTO RICO
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
LA FORTALEZA, SAN JUAN
May 20, 1976


Guru Sri Chinmoy

Chinmoy Centre Inc.
85-45 149th Street
Jamaica, Queens
New York 11435

Dear Guru Sri Chinmoy:

It would not be proper for me to allow more time to pass without expressing to you my deepest gratitude for the warm reception that you and the New York Center disciples offered to me on my recent and very short visit to New York. I was deeply touched by such sincere expression of love and thoughtfulness.

I treasure the feeling of inner joy which I experienced during my visit with you. The peace and happiness that our meeting provided me with will be remembered forever. The painting that you gave to me stands as a symbol of that blissful occasion.

I look forward to meeting with you again — hopefully with more time — and definitely, God willing, to see you at the San Juan or Ponce Center on your visit to Puerto Rico next July.

Kindly convey my heartfelt thanks to the disciples that so graciously met me at the airport and to those that sang and played for me at the Jharna-Kala Gallery.

I was greatly impressed by the Gallery and the mammouth exhibition of your Divine Art.

Please accept, Guru, the expression of my most soulful gratitude for your Divine Light, Love and Concern.

Yours in the Supreme

Juan A. Albors
Acting Governor

Heart-power and mind-power

The following questions were asked at the New Jersey Centre on 27 May 1975.

Question: When is mind-power equal to heart-power?

Sri Chinmoy: Mind-power can never be as soulful and fruitful as heart-power. Your question should be: When will mind-power reach its acme? When will mind-power offer its best result or fruit? Mind-power reaches perfection when the feeling of universal love, universal brotherhood, universal identity and oneness looms large in the mind. Heart-power already has inseparable oneness with universal Life. If mind-power fulfils its distinctive role by also becoming one with the universal Life, then it will not remain bound by worldly temptations, weaknesses, limitations, bondage and death. When mind-power surrenders to the soul-power in the heart, then mind-power is fulfilled forever. At that time, mind-power can play its own role most perfectly.

We can think of the mind as eyes and the heart as hands. With eyes we see; with hands we work. If we shape something beautiful with our hands, heart-power fulfils its purpose. When our eyes can see all beauty and all purity, then mind-power reaches the zenith of perfection. Heart-power fulfils its role by becoming one with the ultimate Reality. Mind-power fulfils its role by seeing purity-beauty all around.

Let us not try to create competition between the mind and the heart. The mind and the heart each go in a specific way to reach the Highest. This represents equality but not uniformity. My eye is not the same as my nose, but my eye is equal to my nose. Each plays its own role. When they play satisfactorily, they become perfect. Perfection lies in fulfilling one’s own duty.

Question: Is it better to use heart-power or mind-power?

Sri Chinmoy: If it is the illumined mind, or the mind that has achieved light, then you can use it. But if the mind is still only in the process of searching for good, for light, then use the heart. In the heart the light of the soul is always more prominent than it is in the mind. Heart-power is one with the soul’s light. Mind-power at times glimpses this light and at times does not. Mind-power is tricky; heart-power is never tricky. Mind-power cherishes separativity; heart-power cherishes oneness. The ordinary mind uses power to dominate, to possess, to lord it over others. It gets joy from a conscious, deliberate, uncompromising sense of separativity. The heart derives fulfilment only from oneness. So let us use heart-power as often as possible. Only if the mind has achieved light, should we use the mind.

Question: Do occult power and spiritual power originate from heart-power or mind-power, or both?

Sri Chinmoy: Occult power comes from mind-power, and psychic or spiritual power comes from heart-power. One who wants occult power prays and cries for it. For spiritual power, one does not have to ask. Spiritual power comes spontaneously if one cries to the Supreme devotedly, soulfully and unconditionally to please Him in His own way. Spiritual power comes from sincere aspiration and inner cry. It is necessary to have spiritual power to guide the instrument so the instrument does not make mistakes, but becomes perfect. If we achieve occult power, we can do miracles, but miracles are short-lived. Anything that comes from the mind is short-lived, and anything that comes from the heart is long-lasting.

Question: How can we increase the power of the heart?

Sri Chinmoy: By self-giving and sincere inner cry. How do we increase our heart-power? By being sincere in our inner cry. The more sincere we are in our inner cry, the sooner our heart-power increases. Sincerity is the living force, the quintessence of everything divine in us. It is the motivating force that increases the heart-power or the real in us. When we cry sincerely and soulfully, the right cause will present itself. Then, we will throw our entire existence into this cause. We will give it all our aspiration-power and dedication-power. At that time, we will find that the power of the heart increases immensely.

Question: Can you have an experience in the heart without feeling it in the heart?

Sri Chinmoy: If you get an experience from the spiritual heart, you need not feel anything in the heart muscle. But you will feel something that envelops and inundates the whole being. The physical heart need not express the experiences of the spiritual heart. The physical heart is only an organ. One experiences inner reality from the inner heart, the spiritual heart, even if it is not totally identified with the human heart.

Question: If a person who cares for mind-power asks a question about heart-power of a person who cares for heart-power, can the heart-power person satisfy the mind-power person with his answer?

Sri Chinmoy: If the heart-power person has solid heart-power and the mind-power person is receptive, then it can be done. If one party has receptivity and the other has capacity, then it is possible. The mind needs receptivity and the heart needs capacity. His receptivity is his capacity, whereas my capacity is my sincere possession of light. My capacity will enter into him and his receptivity will accept it. The heart can convince the mind only when the mind is receptive.

Question: Will the exclusive use of heart-power alone end wars and interpersonal conflict?

Sri Chinmoy: No, only the acceptance of heart-power by the mind, vital and physical will be able to end conflict, wars and destruction. Heart-power can stop wars and destruction when mind-power accepts it. Until then, heart-power will be ineffective. Heart-power has to be universally accepted. If mind-power does not accept heart-power as its beacon-light, then heart-power will not be able to manifest the Consciousness of the Supreme. In a plane there are crew members of higher and lower ranks. If the lower ranks do not accept the guidance of the higher ranks, the plane crashes. In God’s Eye, all ranks are important. Mind-power has to be perfect, too. If mind-power is not perfect, heart-power will not be able to operate in and through the mind.

Heart-power can function in and through the mind, but mind-power has to be receptive. The mind is getting the opportunity to accept heart-power from the heart, but the mind has to avail itself of this opportunity. First, light comes into the heart, then into the mind. Once the mind is convinced, it will convince the vital, and the vital will convince the physical. The heart always accepts the soul’s oneness-light. But only when the mind accepts it and is perfected by it, will it be able to work effectively on earth. Mind-power has to become the instrument of heart-power, for heart-power is an instrument of the Supreme.

So heart-power alone is not enough to establish the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. World peace, world harmony, world perfection will take place only when all the parts of the being accept the soul’s light that flows through the heart. If they do not accept it, then no matter how much light the soul has, there can be no perfection, although light itself can remain. I have light. If you accept it, then your perfection will take place and my perfection will increase, because I have accepted you as part and parcel of my own life. You are the full manifestation of what I am. If you cannot receive, I cannot give. If you see what I have and am, and accept it, my perfection takes place in and through you.

Manifestation has to take place through mind-power. If the mind does not accept the light of the heart, the heart itself cannot reach fulfilment. In the earth-consciousness, the highest is the mind. If someone has great mental capacity, he is admired by all. Mind-power and heart-power need one another. Mind-power needs heart-power to know what the ultimate Truth is. Heart-power needs mind-power to manifest the ultimate Truth.

Question: At the present stage of man's evolution, which prevails: mind-power or heart-power?

Sri Chinmoy: We can’t categorically say which part of the being prevails, because early in the morning we can be in the mind, two hours later we can be in the body-consciousness and at bedtime we can be in the heart. One day we ascend; the next day we descend. One day we are in the heart; the following day we are in the mind. We do not have any permanent achievement. Similarly, a country can be in the emotional vital at one time, and ten years later it may enter into the heart plane and become pure.

If a country is warlike, then the undivine vital is to the fore. If a country is crying for peace, it is living in the heart. Right now there is not a single country that is predominantly in the heart. All are wanting in a sincere cry for peace. Again, like an individual, each country can change its consciousness. Right now we do not have the capacity either to destroy permanently or to build permanently, but there will come a time when we will give all value to building, and not to destroying.

Now we can’t say that a country or an individual is living in the heart or in the mind. On the whole, America is now in the vital. This country has to aspire consciously, devotedly. And who is responsible for this aspiration? Not the country as a plot of land, but the individual members of the country. The country is always trying to aspire through the individual, but the individuals don’t care for aspiration.

Proclamation

Proclama del alcade de Caguas, Puerto Rico

To extend a sincere and warm welcome to the noted spiritualist, Mr. Sri Chinmoy on the occasion of his visit to Caguas, Puerto Rico on January 27, 1976 and designate him guest of honor of this city.

WHEREAS: On the 27th of January, 1976, the city of Caguas, as well as its Mayor will be honored with the visit of Sri Chinmoy, considered as a philosopher who has undertaken the task of working for the welfare of humanity;

WHEREAS: The noted Spiritualist Sri Chinmoy, in a previous visit to Puerto Rico prayed to the Almighty to grant it Peace, Light, Love and Joy in infinite measure, thus showing good will to the people of Puerto Rico as a whole;

WHEREAS: Our city will be delighted for the opportunity afforded to welcome so distinguished guest, and offer our solidarity and friendship;

WHEREAS: Such an outstanding visitor must be the object of our attention and courtesies, including his designation as DISTINGUISHED GUEST of this city.

THEREFORE: I, ANGEL O. BERRIOS, MAYOR OF CAGUAS, PUERTO RICO, pursuant to the provisions of the law and the faculty vested upon me, DO HEREBY designate our visitor, the noted Spiritualist Sri Chinmoy, GUEST OF HONOR of the city of Caguas, and as such, worthy of the courtesies and honors which such designation implies.

It is hereby directed that a Scroll containing the contents of this Proclamation be delivered to our worthy visitor.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Municipality of Caguas, Puerto Rico, to be affixed in this document this 27th day of January, 1976.

Promulgated according to law this 27th day of January, 1976.

Angel O. Berrios
Mayor

Questions and answers

Question: What is the main contributing factor to your faith, and how is it different from other faiths?

Sri Chinmoy: In the spiritual life, first of all, there is no competitive spirit; so I do not compare our path with other paths. Each path has its own value. Each path has a specific way to lead the aspirant to his destined Goal. Our path is the path of love, devotion and surrender; what we particularly emphasize is love, devotion and surrender to the Will of the Supreme. I cannot say in what ways this path is different from other paths because I am not familiar with other paths.

If somebody follows our path, then he tries to develop or bring to the fore his inner love, spiritual love. Unlike human love, which binds, divine love expands and illumines our consciousness within and without.

When we offer devotion, we are offering our one-pointed devotion to the Supreme, the Inner Pilot within us. In our ordinary human life, what we call devotion is nothing short of ignorant attachment. But divine devotion is totally different from attachment. Here we offer ourselves to the right cause, to the divine within us, so that we can grow into a sea of Peace, Light and Bliss.

The surrender that we try to achieve on our path is not the surrender of a slave to his master. The slave is always afraid of the master. He feels that if he doesn’t satisfy the master, then the master will do him some injury. There is always a sense of fear in the heart and mind of the slave. But in the spiritual life, when the seeker surrenders to his inner divinity, to the Supreme within him, he feels that he is surrendering to his own highest and most illumined existence. He is surrendering to his own highest part, to his highest height and inmost light.

This is the basis of our path in a nutshell. If I compare our path with other paths, then I enter into unfortunate controversies. Other paths can also be right and perfect. But the two main paths are the path of the mind and the path of the heart. Our path is a path of the heart. It is up to the individual seeker to decide which type of path will suit him, and then to follow one path. Ultimately, when a seeker reaches his destined Goal, there he will see that the seekers who have been sincerely following other paths have reached the same destination, the same Goal.

Question: You call us 'seekers'. What has been lost?

Sri Chinmoy: What has been lost? Our conscious oneness with the Absolute Supreme is right now lost. Through our inner search we are trying to gain or regain our conscious inseparable oneness. We are seeking for Truth and Light. Once upon a time we were possessors of this infinite Truth and Light. But unfortunately, we made friends with ignorance-night and lost our inseparable oneness with Infinity’s Light and Bliss. It is through conscious seeking, a conscious inner search and inner mounting cry, that at God’s choice Hour we shall once again get back our inner wealth.

Question: What are the advantages of surrendering to the personal Master as opposed to surrendering to the Impersonal, to the Spirit itself?

Sri Chinmoy: To be very frank with you, there is only one real Master both in Heaven and on earth, and that Master is God Himself. Here I am called a spiritual Master, but I wish to say that I am not a Master. What I am is only an elder brother to a small spiritual family. Because I have prayed and meditated or, the best thing to say, because the Supreme out of His infinite Bounty has given me a little more Light than the other members of my spiritual family, I always try to help them to the highest Goal.

If the disciple sees or feels Light, abundant Light, in his Master, he can claim it as his own, very own, on the strength of his oneness with his Master. At that time, the disciple has to feel that this Light is something which he himself already had, and which the Master is only bringing to the fore. It was his own possession, his own treasure, but he misplaced it, and it was covered over with ignorance. Now the Master, with his boundless Light and Concern, has entered into his ignorance and kindled the flame of aspiration, bringing Light into his entire being.

The Master, in both His personal and impersonal aspect, is one reality. What actually happens is this. When a disciple comes to the human Master, he sees Peace, Light and Bliss according to his own capacity or receptivity. The higher and the deeper he goes, the more he feels that the Peace, Light and Bliss that he wants, he can get from the Master. He feels that his Master is a direct channel from the Highest; his Master represents for him God on earth.

When we stand in front of the sea, it looks quite vast. The length and breadth of the sea is beyond our ability to grasp as a whole. So what we do is touch with our hands or our feet just a little water. The moment we touch the water, the consciousness of the water enters into our being. Then we feel the capacity, the quality of the boundless sea. Similarly, when the disciple stands in front of his own Master and sees or feels an iota of Peace, Light or Bliss, he immediately gets a glimpse of the Highest, of the Infinite. He realises that there is an infinite expanse of Light and Delight, and when he gets an iota of this, he feels it is enough for him. The Light itself is representative of the highest Truth for him. At that time, the distinction between the personal Master and the impersonal Master — personality and impersonality — disappears for him. He does not see the Master as a human being with human limbs. He does not see the Master’s physical as such. What he sees goes far, far beyond the Master’s personal form; it cannot be grasped by the physical mind. He sees the Master as a part of the infinite Light or Truth for which he has been searching for millennia.

There is only one Master and that Master may or may not be in the physical, but he is not the physical as such. He is Infinity’s transcendental Spirit, infinite Peace, infinite Light and Bliss. A Master of the highest order can and must embody this Peace, Light and Bliss. If we say that any individual, any human being — although he is a Master claiming millions and billions of disciples — is God, then it will be a mistake. God is within us, in each individual. But the real Master, the absolutely highest, the most perfect Master, is both on earth and in Heaven. He is not the physical form but He is inside the physical. So if a seeker sees his Master as infinite, as perfect, then he can make faster progress than otherwise, because he has an ideal before him. He sees something in his Master which he himself right now does not have. That is why he calls that person his Master.

If the student has faith in the Master, implicit faith, naturally the student makes faster progress. Whether we call that person the Master or not is of secondary importance, but we have to have faith in him. In the spiritual life, faith is of paramount importance. Eventually we have to know that if we have faith only in the Master, it will not serve our purpose. We must have faith in ourselves as well. If we do not have faith in ourselves along with faith in the Master, then we cannot go far. If we have faith in ourselves, we can say we are God’s chosen children and that infinite Peace, Light and Bliss are our birthright. If we can say this, then our journey’s end can never be a far cry.

Question: How do you explain the fall of man?

Sri Chinmoy Every day we are assailed by doubt, and every day we are inspired and energised by faith. When we are assailed by doubt, what we notice is our conscious fall. We cannot expand; we doubt our own capacity, even our very existence. When doubt enters into our mind early in the morning, it is impossible for us to come out of our tiny mental room. But when we are inspired and energised by faith, we feel that the whole world belongs to us. Each human being here has both doubt and faith. The moment he uses his doubt-instrument he feels that everything in his life is circumscribed. His progress comes to a standstill. But when he uses the other instrument, faith, he feels that he is flying up to the highest plane of consciousness; he is singing the song of the ever-transcending Beyond.

Every day we can bind ourselves or we can free ourselves. We sing the song of bondage consciously or unconsciously by feeding the teeming doubts within us. We fall from the Reality-tree again and again when we play with our doubt-friend. But when we dive deep within and bring our heart-illumining and soul-manifesting faith to the fore, we climb up the Reality-tree high, higher, highest.

Question: Would you comment on the point made in the Bible that if you don't pray to Jesus Christ, you will be damned, and only through Christ can you get salvation?

Sri Chinmoy: My simple answer to this question is that it is up to you what to believe or not believe. If you believe what the Bible says and you don’t prepare yourself, then you will go to hell. If you don’t believe it, then you are not obliged to do what the book says.

There have been many spiritual Masters of the highest order on earth. The Christ was not the only one. Before him was the Buddha, and four thousand years before was Sri Krishna. Spiritual Masters of the very highest order have walked on earth. Recently there were Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Aurobindo. But if you believe that particular teaching of the Bible, it is up to you. If you believe it, prepare yourself divinely so that you can immediately go to Heaven, or prepare yourself to take your punishment.

Heaven and hell are largely in our mind. If you treasure a good thought, then you are creating Heaven. If you treasure a negative thought, then you are creating hell. Heaven and hell can be experienced every day. If you cry to God for light, you get a good experience. You get a painful experience from a bad thought. An illumining experience from a good thought is Heaven. Heaven is inner joy.

Question: How does one recognise a true living Master?

Sri Chinmoy: A seeker can tell a true living Master if his inner and outer being is inundated with delight and ecstasy when he approaches the Master. If you see a real spiritual Master, he may not be your Master, but your inner joy will determine if he is real. However, if you stand in front of a true Master and you don’t get anything, it may be that you are in a low consciousness. But if your heart is crying for a real Master, you are bound to feel something when you stand in front of one. And if you find your own Master, you will find everything you need in this life.

Question: How can one bring about harmony in his being when there are conflicting movements within?

Sri Chinmoy: In order to acquire harmony, one needs peace of mind, and in order to have peace of mind, one needs to pray and meditate most soulfully to the Inner Pilot, who has created the necessity for inner harmony. If he prays properly, then peace of mind and harmony in all he does will be reflected in his outer movements. When the mind has peace, then there is always harmony in all the activities which take place in one’s being.

Question: Before I became a disciple, I donated my body tissue to a tissue bank, like a hospital where you can donate organs of your body when you die. Should I try to get out of that obligation?

Sri Chinmoy: Now that you have accepted our path, what is your immediate reaction?

Question: My present feeling is that it doesn’t make any difference to me.

Sri Chinmoy: It is a matter of individual opinion. In India, a body is burned for purification. In the West it is usually buried. My feeling is that the body has to be purified to the end. As long as it is a physical body, the need for purification remains, and as long as the body remains as such, it must get a chance for purification. For this, the Fire God is invoked.

In the West, people feel that if they donate their dead body to science, they will be making a sacrifice or offering. They feel that the body has made tremendous sacrifices to mankind, to Mother Earth, and as long as it isn’t totally disintegrated, it has to offer itself again. Here it is a question of sacrifice. If you are convinced that by sacrificing your body to medical science you are going to help medical science to gain knowledge and medical wisdom, you can do it. But again, although you will be dead, the body has an inner consciousness which will be there. In order to gain some knowledge, some doctors will take pleasure in torturing your body. They will say they are making the supreme discovery. Now, it is you who have to make the final decision. If you pray and meditate, you will try to do the right thing. If you dive deep within, you will get the message.

Question: What can I do if I tend to fall asleep during meditation and other spiritual activities?

Sri Chinmoy: This is a matter of giving importance to the things that come first in your life. Suppose something important is taking place and at that time you are falling asleep. For eight to nine hours before that, you have worked very hard for me; therefore, you feel it is quite natural on your part to sleep. There is no end to our power of justification. But by justifying yourself, are you gaining anything? Suppose I held a very high, significant meditation, and you slept through it. You think, “He knows I have worked for him,” which is true. You can justify your sleeping. But the next question is, is there anything you have missed by sleeping through the meditation? There is, and you will not be able to get that thing by justifying yourself.

Then you have to ask, “Has Guru given me outer permission to miss this activity just because I have worked?” At the press when they work overnight, sometimes I tell them that they don’t have to come to meditation. If I say this, then I take full responsibility, and I will definitely give them the fruits of the meditation they otherwise would have had. But if you do not have my permission, you will get the fruits of your previous dedicated action. But for your sleeping I will not be responsible, because I have not made any commitment to you. You will say you were tired; I will say you were lethargic. Here is the proof. It takes only a few minutes for you to approach me and ask me what to do. Then I make a commitment, and the problem is solved.

There are various ways to keep yourself awake when you are sleepy. Do japa as fast as possible. Wash your eyes, nose and ears with cold water. Pinch yourself again and again. Stand up and keep your eyes open. A little physical discomfort is nothing in comparison to what you will get in return: Peace, Bliss and Light. The problem lies with your sincerity. If you are sincere, you will value everything properly.

Some people meditate for a half hour, then they feel that they are in a position to relax, watch television, read comic books and so on. They have meditated for a half hour, but they don’t realise that perhaps this half hour has only taken them to the starting point. When we are not realised we have to be very very careful. So, if you have worked extremely hard and you are unable to meditate with your normal intensity, after you have meditated for half an hour you can read some of my writings. Or, if you are at home, you can listen to my music or look at my paintings. Your Guru has quite a few things to offer. I have written poems, I have composed songs, hundreds of things I have done.

Stop wasting your time watching TV and reading magazines. You run the fastest by meditating, but when you become tired, don’t give up running. If you sit down, you are disqualified. You can continue running, but go slowly. Relax your speed, but continue to discipline your life. Meditate. Repeat ‘Supreme.’ Read my writings. All of you should do this. There are so many ways you can keep your consciousness on me very easily, because I have a variety of spiritual activities for you. If you don’t like this one, you will like that one. When meditation becomes difficult, you can read. If you lose your concentration, you can sing. When you are tired of singing, you can come back to meditation. This is how you can regulate your life. Run the fastest when you have the capacity. When you don’t have the capacity, then walk. But if you stop moving forward altogether, you will never reach the Goal.

Sri Chinmoy receives a Bicentennial award

On Wednesday, 26 May, Sri Chinmoy was given an award by the New York City Bicentennial Commission in appreciation of his many inspirational offerings on behalf of America's Bicentennial. Following are the words spoken by Mr. Bob Richardson and Sri Chinmoy during the brief ceremony on the steps of City Hall.

Sri Chinmoy receiving a Bicentennial award on the steps of New York’s City Hall.

Mr. Bob Richardson: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Today we are here to pay bicentennial tribute to the Sacred Fire. The Sacred Fire is a group of spiritually concerned Americans inspired by the teachings of Sri Chinmoy. Sri Chinmoy is a person who has deep and abiding love for America. He is spiritual Director of the United Nations Meditation Group. He also is the author of several books on America, and spiritual teacher to hundreds in the New York metropolitan area.

In an effort to rekindle those human ideals and spiritual values so dear to our founding fathers, the Sacred Fire group has planned and organised more than twenty-five separate Bicentennial programmes, including writing, staging and performing patriotic plays, musicals, dramas and dances throughout the metropolitan New York area, publication of a book which includes responses by many American political figures on what the Bicentennial means to them, participation in many Bicentennial street fairs and festivals, and a 360-mile relay run from New York through Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., carrying a lighted torch symbolising the rekindling of the American spirit. In addition, the Sacred Fire group has been given a letter of commendation from President Ford in recognition of their outstanding contributions made to the Bicentennial.

At this time I would like to present to the Sacred Fire and Sri Chinmoy the Bicentennial Certificate of Participation. (Mr. Richardson read out the certificate, which is reproduced on the facing page.)

Sri Chinmoy: I am extremely grateful to the New York Bicentennial Commission. With your kind permission I wish to ask some of the members of the Sacred Fire to sing a song which we have dedicated to the soul of America in connection with the Bicentennial. (Disciples present sang “0 My America”.) This song embodies the dedication of the Sacred Fire, and this dedication we offer to our beloved America and to the soul of America for constant guidance.

The Bicentennial is not a mere incident, not a mere date in the calendar of world history. It is a blessing supreme which is guiding not only the length and breadth of America but also the length and breadth of the entire world. America’s independence 200 years ago was not only America’s independence; it was the independence of all of humanity that longed for liberation, illumination and perfection. And now, 200 years later, America is growing with redoubled assurance and confidence. This confidence we feel and see in the heart of the Bicentennial, and this assurance we feel and see in the life of America.

Certificate of participation

The Directors of The New York City Bicentennial Corporation are pleased to present this certificate to

"THE SACRED FIRE"

in recognition of the outstanding contribution made to New York City's program for commemorating the 200th Anniversary of American Independence.

The New York City Bicentennial Corporation was established by the Council of The City of New York to encourage and coordinate participation and support of individuals, corporations and civic groups in projects and activities celebrating and commemorating the struggle for American Independence.

The work of the Corporation is carried out by 45 Directors and a small professional staff. The Mayor of The City of New York, The City Council and the New York City Shrines Association, Inc. each appoint 15 members.

Attested to 26th day of May, 1976

Abraham D Beame
Mayor of the City of New York
Honorary Chairman

J. Clarence Davies, Jr.
Chairman and President

Ronald Lee Gaudreau
Executive Vice President

Confidence

Confidence. Each American soul is walking, marching, running towards the ever-transcending reality. Assurance. America’s soul is showing the world at large how to walk, how to run, how to fly and how to dive confidently. America’s vision is not for America alone. It is for the liberation and perfection of mankind. And America’s reality is a reality which can belong to the entire world. America’s Bicentennial is a blessing supreme that the world is receiving from the Absolute Supreme through the heart and the soul of America.