AUM — Vol.II-3, No. 6, 27 June 1976
The Liberty Torch Bicentennial offering
The Liberty Torch Bicentennial offeringThe Liberty Torch runners began their unprecedented 50-state relay run in Battery Park in New York shortly after 11 a.m. on 26 June. The runners were seen off with speeches by New York Lieutenant-Governor Mary Ann Krupsak and Representative Bella Abzug, as well as a brief meditation and blessing by Sri Chinmoy. Lieutanant-Governor Krupsak lit the torch which will be carried by the runners day and night for the next six weeks.
The Liberty Torch runners after meditating with Sri Chinmoy on the morning of June 26.
—photo by Lloyd
MessagesFollowing are the messages delivered to the runners by Lieutenant-Governor Krupsak and Congresswoman Abzug at the Battery Park ceremony.
Lieutenant-Governor Mary Ann Krupsak: I am honoured on behalf of Governor Carey and the people of New York to officially welcome our Canadian friends and neighbours and these inspiring young men of America, who are embarking on this unusual, meaningful and historical Bicentennial event.
As I thought about what you were doing and undertaking, the sheer magnitude of the vision of it, the symbolic meaning of it, brought to my mind so much of what we in New York believe is our mission: being like the Statue of Liberty that you see out there in the Harbour — the Gateway to America, the place that keeps the fire burning and offers the warmth of hospitality. You are indeed fulfilling that mission. And our good friend from Canada who is joining you, will be doing that, too. [Richard Butler, leader of the Canadian runners, had been invited by the Liberty Torch Runners to join them for the duration of their run.] All across this country, as you pass the torch, you will meaningfully symbolise the constancy, the openness and the ideals of America for everyone who would wish to be part of this great country.
The ideals of this country are indeed truth, love, peace and progress. We have tried and we will continue to try to spread those ideals and to mean them and to live them. So much of what you will be doing over the next several weeks will in every way impart the message of cooperation, constancy, devotion and integrity.
The meaning of what you are about to begin today is so inspiring that I just wish you God speed, and I hope that you will have many people along the way who will cheer you, and wave at you, and smile at you and say, “You’re doing it for all of us.” I wish you well.
Representative Bella Abzug: I am very pleased to be here to assist as our Lieutanant-Governor lights the torch that will start the relay here in New York off to the rest of the country and back to Washington. It’s a very interesting race. The Lieutenant-Governor and I have been in many races. But this one may be a bit more difficult, and I salute you for that. When you start running through my district, I hope my constituents won’t think it’s the Redcoats coming again. But you see, we’re so accustomed to disaster that it’s very hard for us to accept the lightness and the glory and the heartfelt sense that you’ve conveyed in your singing of your hymn on America. [The runners had sung Sri Chinmoy’s song “O My America”.]
“O My America"
America, America, America!
Great you are, good you are,
Brave you are, kind you are.
O my America, America,
Is earth’s aspiration-choice.
With you, in you
Is God-Hour’s Victory-Voice.
It’s a very symbolic moment, as the Lieutant-Governor pointed out. Yours is a race and a torch for liberty. We will all be reminded by it of the struggle to create liberty in this country, the liberty that has been created by both the men and the women who have built this great country.
As you carry your torch, it will serve as a reminder to Americans everywhere that we must dare to keep the torch of liberty burning. And as you run throughout this country and bring your spirit, you will also bring a warning that we have liberty, but that we must always fight for it if we are to keep it. You will end your race in Washington, which is a place that desperately needs that reminder. We have seen the effort to take away our liberty in the very heart of our own capital.
What you say to Americans in the course of your relay, and what you bring in your hearts, has to be reflected in the deeds that we in America must do. As we dedicate our Bicentennial, we are reminded by your torch of the fight and the struggle for liberty. We also have to rededicate ourselves to a significant goal: to secure for the people a liberty that is meaningful — not only one which preserves our precious freedoms of speech, of press, of religion, of association and of the right to petition for redress of grievances, but also the kind of liberty which gives us the will to make certain that there is abundance for everyone. I hope that no one whose head, heart or soul you reach will fail to realise that liberty means also the necessity to provide shelter and food and clothing for everyone, and an atmosphere that is of high quality, as well as the right to earn a living and the right, most importantly, for peace on this earth, in our country and in every other country. I salute you, and my hat is off to you!
After Ms. Abzug’s speech, Sri Chinmoy was introduced as the inspirer of the run. He said a few brief words of prayer for the runners, and then prayed in silence for several minutes with the audience.
Sri Chinmoy: I wish to pray to the soul of America to bless these Liberty-Torch runners and to grant them meaningful outer success and fruitful inner progress.
Lieutenant-Governor Krupsak then lit the torch, as Tanima sang “America the Beautiful”. One of New York City’s fire boats gave a five-minute salute as the runners started on their way. After stopping briefly to lay a wreath on the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial, the runners continued up Manhattan’s East Side. As they passed the United Nations Headquarters, the torch was passed to Sri Chinmoy, who carried it onto the grounds of the U.N., offering the inmost spirit of America’s Bicentennial to the community of nations.
N.Y.C. fireboat salutes the runners from the harbour.
Sri Chinmoy carries the torch around the fountain in front of the United Nations Secretariat Building.
— photos by Sarama
Message1My divine hero-warrior-children, many things have already been done and achieved and many more will be done and achieved for the Bicentennial, but what you are undertaking today is unprecedented. Your heart of love for America, your love of oneness with America’s soul, will remain matchless and supreme.
America is the world’s illumining hope, and you are America’s fulfilling promise. The souls of all the states will be divinely proud of you. The soul of America will be supremely proud of you. The Supreme Himself will be eternally proud of you. And I, your spiritual father, will bask in the sunshine of your ever-glowing and ever-fulfilling glory.
This is not a mere contribution to America’s soul. This is a self-giving ideal and a life-reawakening and earth-reassuring promise to mankind. When you run from one state to another, you will feel that you are spreading the oneness-light of the perennial Source.
America was great, is great and will eternally remain great. But today, O children of the Supreme, you are adding something significant to America's greatness. The quality that you are adding to America’s greatness is infinitely more valuable, and this quality is called goodness. Goodness is the oneness-heart of the universal Reality and the transcendental Vision.
In the name of the Supreme I am blessing each divinely inspired hero-warrior-runner who will cover America’s gratitude-heart. As I said before, many things will be accomplished by many individuals and collective groups but, O children of the Supreme, what you are going to accomplish will remain unparalleled not only in the history of America’s evolution but in the history of the world’s evolution.
Two hundred years ago the great, divinely great, supremely great Americans achieved something, and that achievement illumined not only America’s consciousness but also the consciousness of the entire world. What you are now going to achieve will not only transcend time and space, but also will help time and space ascend to an ever-glowing Vision of the Absolute Supreme.
This message was transcribed and printed as soon as possible, and a copy was given to each of the runners a few days later as they returned to New York State after completing the Northeastern loop of their journey.
Earlier in the morning, Sri Chinmoy held a private meditation for the Liberty-Torch runners, after which he inspired them with the following message↩
The Liberty Torch Runners prepare to lead the 4th of July Parade in Atlanta, Georgia.
— photo by Lelihan
Canada's Oneness-Heart1On Saturday, 26 June, the runners of Canada’s Oneness-Heart completed the relay run which demonstrated their love and support for their American brothers and sisters, and their feeling of oneness with the American Bicentennial spirit. The runners arrived in New York’s Battery Park and sailed to the Statue of Liberty, completing their historic non-stop run which began on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada. At the base of the Statue of Liberty, a brief ceremony took place, with an exchange of gifts between the Canadian runners and the American Liberty-Torch runners, who were about to begin their Bicentennial run.
Dearest Canada’s Oneness-Heart, to each of the supremely chosen runners I offer my most soulful gratitude. This gratitude will be written in letters of gold on the tablets of your hearts so that it can perpetually shine inside each of you. Canada's multiplicity-body today grows into Canada’s Oneness-Heart. Today Canada’s Oneness-Heart is claimed at once by humanity’s soulful cry and divinity’s fruitful smile.
Two hundred years ago America won the race. Today Canada is celebrating America’s triumph with its own Oneness-Heart. The soul of the world offers its transcendental glory-vision to the soul of Canada. The soul of America offers its universal gratitude-reality to the soul of Canada. The Absolute Supreme offers His choicest Blessingful Pride to the soul of Canada.
History will bear witness to the supreme fact that Canada is not for Canada alone; Canada is for America as well. Nay, Canada is for the length and breadth of the entire world. Today Canada reveals to the world at large the divinely great success that America once won and the supremely good progress that the world has made. Canada’s Oneness-Heart today has extinguished the countless flames of division and has kindled one flame: the flame of union, the flame of inseparable oneness. This flame of inseparable oneness the comity of nations receives from Canada’s Oneness-Heart.
On behalf of all the Sri Chinmoy Centres, on behalf of all your spiritual brothers and sisters, on behalf of humanity, on behalf of the Absolute Supreme, I offer my realisation’s oneness-heart to the runners of Canada’s Oneness-Heart. All shall be immortalised in Canada's supreme achievement.
Following is Sri Chinmoy's inspired message to the Canadian runners, delivered at Liberty Island.↩
Tree of meditationOn 12 June 1976 a ceremony was held in beautiful Rieterberg Park in Zurich, Switzerland, dedicating a tree of meditation which had been planted there in honour of Sri Chinmoy's visit to Zurich. Officiating at the dedication was Herr Schmid, First Adjunct of City Planning. Both Sri Chinmoy and Herr Schmid spoke briefly about the meaning of the tree. Following are their words.
Tree of meditationSri Chinmoy: I wish to thank you deeply for having given us the opportunity to have this tree planted here. I am offering you my soulful gratitude, and I also wish to offer a blessingful message to my students, my spiritual children.
This tree is a Himalayan Pine. The Himalayas are not only the tallest mountains, but also the most inspiring, the most generously blessed with divine grandeur. The Himalayas are not only the tallest in terms of earthly reality, but also the highest in terms of spiritual reality. Many, many, many seekers have prayed at the foot of the Himalayas or inside the Himalayan caves and have realised the highest absolute Truth. So the Himalayas embody the inner height of the highest magnitude and also the outer height of the highest magnitude.
In the Himalayas we see the outer achievement and the inner achievement together, serving one cause: realisation. As soon as one sees the Himalayas, one is reminded of his own inner divine qualities: peace, light and bliss in boundless measure, as well as his outer qualities: concern, patience, compassion and dedication.
Here in Zurich we have created our own Himalayas. Our Himalayas are our inner aspiration and our outer dedication. Today we have here about twenty-five seekers. Our aspiration and dedication we are offering to this Himalayan Pine. This tree is not only for the very few who are here today, or for those who belong or will belong to our Zurich Centre. It is for all who are aspiring in all our Centres, and for all the seekers who are aspiring all over the world, for this tree symbolises aspiration and dedication.
We have come here to be blessed by the aspiration of this tree and, at the same time, we are blessing the tree with our souls’ delight. It is a mutual blessing. Also, we have come here to spread the inner fragrance of this tree. Our aspiration will carry the inner fragrance, which is peace and light, from this tree, and wherever we go, we shall consciously or unconsciously spread this inner fragrance.
I wish to make a soulful request: that at least once a month my students from the Zurich Centre come here to pray and meditate most soulfully, as our San Francisco disciples do around their tree.
Every month you will remind yourself on the physical plane of the aspiration and dedication that you are now offering to the tree and at the same time receiving from the tree.
This tree is at once our child and our parent. When we sit at the foot of the tree and look at its height, we feel that we are the children and the tree is our parent. But when our inner aspiration merges consciously into the transcendental Heights of the Absolute, at that time this earthly reality — this tree that is in front of us — is our child. So this moment our parent feeds us and nourishes us with its beauty, fragrance and protection, and the next moment we bless the child with our aspiration-might and realisation-height.
A tree is sacrifice, right from its root to its topmost branch. Let our lives also be a true sacrifice in the physical world, in the vital world, in the mental world and in the spiritual world. As a tree is constant sacrifice from the top to the bottom — from the root to the highest part of its existence — even so, what we have inside us, outside us and around us we must sacrifice to bring forward our inner divinity. This tree has only one message: Sacrifice. By virtue of sacrifice we reach the Highest. Constantly this tree is aspiring to reach the Highest, and this highest Reality the tree achieves or receives on the strength of its constant sacrifice.
Herr Schmid: I would like to express a few words of appreciation. Honourable Sri Chinmoy, dear pupils of his, seemingly for two reasons we have come together here. One is the tree, the other is the presence of Sri Chinmoy. But, as you are fully aware, we are here this morning because of the significance of what the tree stands for.
A year ago, when we expected your visit, the selection was made, and the tree was planted then. So please don’t feel disappointed that the tree has actually been here for a full year. It is still with the original purpose in mind that you have dedicated this tree today.
A year ago, the City Fathers considered what kind of tree they would like to have in honour of meditation. And as you see, it is a somewhat exotic species. There are only very few of its kind in Switzerland. The other ones are all in Geneva, which happens to be the European centre of the United Nations. So we got a tree that had been in Geneva before, and it was planted here.
It took a full year for you to come and, of course, we are extremely happy that you are here. The City Council and the Mayor were extremely grateful for your thoughts. The city is also happy, indeed, that it was in a position to offer what we believe is an extremely beautiful spot for this “Tree of Meditation,” as we have started to call it ourselves. And in the name of the City Council, I would like to present you with a book on the City of Zurich, which says in the introductory caption that a tree of meditation has been planted in this Rieterberg Park, out of respect for the goals you pursue, and it is overlooking the heart of the City.
I think it is not by coincidence that the City also has a heart. And when you look through the gap over there, that is the heart of the city of Zurich.
Thank you again, very much, for the idea. We hope that the tree will prosper.
Sri Chinmoy: I am extremely grateful to you for your soulful and encouraging words. I wish to offer you, on behalf of all my students, on behalf of myself and in the name of my Inner Pilot Supreme, our most soulful gratitude. You have not only given us this opportunity, but also you have given us your heart’s assurance that our prayer, meditation and dedication will bear fruit. And for that, my soul, my heart and my life of aspiration are all gratitude to you.
Herr Schmid: Thank you.
Sri Chinmoy meditates on the tree.
Sri Chinmoy has just received a book from Herr Schmid (behind tree).
HIMALAJA — FICHTE zu Ehren von SRI CHINMOY Leiter der Meditationsgruppe der Vereinigten Nationen in New York gepflanzt anlässlich seines Besuches in Zurich am 12. Juni 1976
—photo by Alo Devi
Plaque at the base of the tree reads:
in honour of SRI CHINMOY
leader of the United Nations Meditation Group
in New York
planted on the occasion of his visit
to Zurich on 12 June 1976
The third eyeThe Third Eye Centre, Glasgow, Scotland, 16 June 1976
The third eyeDear seekers, I am extremely happy to be here with you. This art gallery is called the Third Eye Centre; therefore, I shall give a short talk on the third eye. I wish to invoke the third eye of all the seekers here, and if you want to, you can be of help to me. There is a special way to invoke the third eye, and that is to chant AUM. We have six major psychic centres. Each centre has a sacred seed sound. The seed sound of the third eye is AUM. Before I begin my talk, I wish the seekers to join me in chanting AUM three times.
AUM … AUM … AUM.
AUM is a Sanskrit syllable. It is the combination of three letters: A, U, and M. A represents God the Creator. U represents God the Preserver. M represents God the Transformer. There was a time when seekers felt that God the Creator needed God the Preserver, and that God the Preserver, as necessity demanded, would need God the Destroyer. But in the spiritual process of evolution, seekers of the highest magnitude have discovered that God does not destroy; He only transforms. Anything that is unlit, obscure or impure in us, He transforms into purity, beauty and divinity. So when we chant AUM, at one time we invoke God the Creator, God the Preserver and God the Transformer.
The third eye is located between the eyebrows, a little above. This eye is also called “the commanding eye.” What does it command? It commands our past, our present, our immediate future and our distant future. That is to say, past, present and future are at its command. The third eye, when it envisions the past, feels and sees the beginning of humanity’s evolution. When it enters into the present, into the immediacy of today, it sees the capacity and receptivity of humanity. And when it enters into the near or distant future, it sees not only the possibility and practicality, but also the inevitability of humanity’s progress, perfection and satisfaction.
There are quite a few ways one can open the third eye, but the two most significant ways are through prayer and through concentration. If one soulfully prays to the Absolute Supreme to open one’s third eye, the Lord Supreme may open it. And if one concentrates on the third eye soulfully, devotedly and consciously, then one can open the third eye oneself. But even in this case, the seeker owes his success ninety-nine per cent to the divine Grace, for without it he cannot even make the sincere effort. Although he may want to become sincere, sincerity does not come to the fore all at once. It takes a very, very long time. Therefore, the seeker has to know that God’s Grace has given him the necessary sincerity to open his third eye.
Some of you may be curious to know what actually happens before the third eye opens. Before the third eye opens, the seeker feels a kind of sensation in that spot. In the beginning, it may feel as though a tiny ant were moving around there. A few days or a few months later, the seeker will inwardly see a disc. At first it rotates from left to right. Then, when it starts rotating very fast, it changes its direction and rotates from right to left.
After a few months or a few years, the seeker will see a fully illumined sun in his forehead, like a bright midday sun. This sun indicates the complete opening of the third eye. When the third eye is completely opened, the infinite Vast, the eternal Height and the immeasurable Depth can be seen inside the third eye. At that time, the seeker sees himself as the seed of the entire creation, as the tree of the entire creation and as the fruit of the entire creation. The seed is the past, the tree is the present and the fruit is the future.
For absolutely sincere seekers, highly advanced seekers and seekers who have totally surrendered to God’s Will, to have the third eye open is a veritable blessing, a great boon. But if the seeker still has many earthly desires to be fulfilled, then it is nothing but a curse. There are many seekers who have made considerable progress before their third eye was opened. But when their third eye was opened on the strength of their eagerness or on the strength of their dynamic will, and not on the strength of their surrender to God's Will, their progress stopped almost immediately. When the third eye is opened while the vital is still impure, the power of the third eye creates problems for the seeker. The impurity of the vital enters into his divine vision and blinds it. Then the human being, at times, acts like a mad elephant.
If the seeker wants to open his third eye in order to know his past, and if he sees that in his past life he was an atheist, then despondency assails him. He feels that if he did not even believe in God in his previous incarnation, how can he realise God in this incarnation? If the past was not satisfactory, being able to see it with the third eye can create problems for the seeker. And if the distant future is not promising, the seeker will feel doomed to disappointment if he can see the future. If the future is threatening and frightening, then the third eye may create tremendous fear. But when the third eye is opened in accordance with God’s Will, no matter what the seeker did in the past, no matter what is going to happen today or tomorrow, no matter what will take place in the distant future, the seeker will not be affected, for God’s Will will liberate him, illumine him, perfect him and immortalise him.
There are some spiritual Masters who tell their students that it is not advisable for them to try to open the third eye. What is of paramount importance right from the beginning is to surrender to God’s Will. The easiest and safest way to become aware of God’s Will and to surrender to God’s Will is to open the heart centre. If the seeker opens the heart centre first, then he becomes inseparably one with God’s Will. After that, if God wants to grant the seeker that Vision which He Himself is, if God wants to open the seeker’s third eye, then it will not cause any problem. At that time the happenings of the hoary past, the immediate present or the ultimate future are no longer matters of concern to the seeker, for the seeker has become inseparably one with God’s universal Vision and transcendental Reality. Inside God’s universal Vision and God’s transcendental Reality, all the things that he sees, feels and grows into can be perfectly housed without any problem whatsoever. So if God wants to give Vision to a certain seeker, He will give it. Why? Just because the hour has struck for Him to make a perfect instrument of that person. But if a seeker untimely pulls the Vision-Reality of the third eye, it will be a disaster for him. The third eye is the eye of illumination for sincere seekers. But for curiosity-mongers the third eye is nothing but temptation.
The third eye is like a toy that a child plays with. After a few years he does not want to play with toys anymore and he gives it up. At that time he studies for knowledge; he prays and meditates for inner wisdom. After the seeker has played for a few years with the third eye toy, he wants to acquire infinite wisdom-light. This wisdom-light he gets on the strength of his constant surrender to God’s Will, and by virtue of his inmost cry.
The opening of the third eye does not determine God-realisation at all. Some people think that if the third eye is opened, that means they have realised God. No, the third eye can see the Face of God, but this does not indicate that conscious oneness with God has been established.
The third eye can see the past, the present and the future, but it cannot change humanity’s cry into divinity’s Smile. With it we can see something, but we don’t have the capacity to change it. If we can’t change it, then it remains imperfect. But if we see something and have the capacity to perfect it, then it is worth seeing. If one has discovered oneself and has realised the highest Truth, then if one sees something that needs perfection, at that time he can perfect it. It is the seeker’s self-discovery that can make the third eye an effective divine instrument. When the third eye observes something that needs perfection, the third eye can get the necessary help from the inner light of the seeker’s self-discovery.
The earthly eyes, the two human eyes, are side by side, but they cannot see each other. Why? Because of the human limitations, because of the earthly bondage that each eye embodies. But if we stand in front of a mirror, then we see both the eyes at once. Similarly, when we stand in front of our highest Reality, God, and see God with our third eye, then only can we see human life in its acme of perfection. Otherwise, the third eye will see, but what it sees will not offer any abiding satisfaction to the seekers of the ultimate Truth. Only if it sees God, only if it sees infinite Truth and Light, only if it can embody God’s divine Presence at all times and feel God’s universal Reality inside its Vision, only then can the opening of the third eye be a perfect spiritual experience.
Reflections1Interviewer: This morning we have a different “Reflections,” and I think this music really sets the scene. There you had Yehudi Menuhin playing violin with the Eastern musician, Ravi Shankar, playing sitar: the meeting of the East and the West.
And this is what we’re going to be talking about this morning — a meeting of the spiritual life of the East with the spiritual life of the West, because we are very lucky here at Medway to have a Guru, a Master from India, who has Centres of spirituality all over the world. And we’ve also got some of his students here. The Master, or Guru, is Sri Chinmoy.
You were born in India?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I was born in India.
Sri Chinmoy: In Bengal, in 1931.
Interviewer: And what happened to you in those early years to make you a spiritual Master today?
Sri Chinmoy: As a young boy I was brought to a spiritual community in South India. I stayed there for twenty years and practised spirituality. I prayed and meditated every day for a considerable amount of time until I realised deep within me something very high, powerful and supreme. Then, in 1964, I was commanded by my Inner Pilot to come to the West to be of service to the Supreme inside aspiring seekers in the Western world.
Interviewer: You are a teacher. You are bringing to us the spirituality which you have discovered, and teaching it to us in the West. Does it matter that I’m not a Hindu, but a Christian?
Sri Chinmoy: In our path there is no problem whatsoever with regard to religion. One may practise Christianity, one may practise Judaism and one may practise Buddhism. I tell my students that religion is nothing but a house. You as an individual live in one house, and I as an individual live in another house. But although we live in different houses, if we both want to learn a certain subject, which is God-realisation, we will both go to the same school. This school is our inner school. When we pray to God and meditate on God, we go to our inner school, and in order to go there we may or we may not walk along the same road. But both of us leave aside the limitations of our respective houses when we go to study in our inner school. Irrespective of religion, one can practise spirituality.
Interviewer: I accept the fact that you are a Master, a Guru, a teacher. As a Christian, what am I expected to do, or what, in fact, would you teach me that would deepen my inner silence, my spiritual life?
Sri Chinmoy: Thank you. I deeply appreciate your sincerity and humility. Your soul is full of aspiration and dedication. When somebody comes to me as a seeker, I tell that person that each individual teacher has a way of teaching. Each teacher is right in his own way, and each student is right in his own way. On the basis of my own inner realisation, I advise each seeker to be as simple as possible, as sincere as possible, as humble as possible. Each teacher has a special path and ours is the path of love, devotion and surrender: divine love for God, divine devotion to God and divine surrender to God.
Human love ultimately fails. It ends in frustration and destruction. But divine love constantly expands. From the limited individual it grows into the Unlimited, the Infinite, the Vast, and there we feel our inseparable oneness with the entire universe.
Human devotion is nothing but unrecognised attachment. We say that we are devoted to someone or to something, but if we go deep within, we discover that this feeling is nothing short of our attachment to that individual or to that cause. But divine devotion is totally different. Divine devotion is to something high, deep, sublime. It helps us to grow into the infinite Consciousness. We know that there is a goal, and that we have to reach this destination; therefore, we devote ourselves wholeheartedly to the supreme Cause.
Human surrender is the surrender of a slave to his master. He is under compulsion to please the master; otherwise the master will punish him. But divine surrender is totally different. Here the finite in us tries to recognise the Infinite in us and become one with it; but there is no compulsion. Cheerfully, devotedly and unconditionally our lower part surrenders to our own highest part.
We have within us both the highest and the lowest. Right now, unfortunately, we are wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance. We have totally forgotten our own divinity, our own highest Reality. But on the strength of our prayer and meditation, there comes a time when we realise the highest part that is within us, and we surrender to our own highest part. We do not surrender to somebody else or to something else. This is what I try to share with my students.
Interviewer: You have written a number of books, and after reading what you have written, it seems to me that peace, the inner peace, is the thing that is the result of all this. I am very interested to see that you emphasize that to get this peace is not a matter of departing from the life of work and retreating into the Himalayan caves or sitting on snow-capped mountains, but that it can be achieved here on earth in the hustle and bustle of life. Can I move from you, Master, for just a moment, to one of your disciples?
What has this really meant to you as a human being? Has it obviously enriched your life very much over the past years?
Ms. Siegerman: Sri Chinmoy has given me my source. In him I have seen a being who embodies the divine Consciousness, and this has inspired my whole life. It tells me to follow his teachings and to make within myself some reflection of what I see in him. I see a great soul full of majesty and inner divinity.
He has touched my soul, has given me my own inner existence, so that the outer world which I had been involved in before is now flowering with a new significance because it is impelled and activated by my inner life. That is to say, my whole existence has a purpose and a meaning because in touching my own soul I have seen a link between my own soul and the Supreme.
So my outer life has meaning and purpose now. And the activities of the Sri Chinmoy Centres are all done with the purpose of putting us into a higher consciousness so that everything we do, everything we involve ourselves in, is something good, something progressive and something of a higher consciousness. In Sri Chinmoy I see the most perfect spiritual Master, because in him I found a perfect balance of acceptance of the world and God-realisation.
Interviewer: You’re not retreating from the world? This isn’t sort of a retreat; this isn’t sort of getting away from it all?
Ms. Siegerman: It’s not an isolated community at all. We are involved completely in the outside world. Sri Chinmoy’s disciples are in every kind of occupation. There are students, nurses, secretaries, businessmen, teachers, musicians, artists. Our lives in the Centres are full of very normal activities. We have dramas, choirs, sports, music, jokes. We are like a community that wants to operate in every field from a yogic consciousness, from the Consciousness of the Supreme.
Interviewer: I know that there is a Centre in London. And Mary Plumbly here, comes from London. You run the London Centre?
Ms. Plumbly: Yes, I do.
Interwewer: How long have you been with Sri Chinmoy?
Ms. Plumbly: It will be five years in October, on October 14th.
Interviewer: What did meeting Sri Chinmoy mean to you?
Ms. Plumbly: Longing to meet Sri Chinmoy and being able to become his student have given purpose to my life, given it some real meaning and depth which it didn’t have before. I was looking for something which I didn’t have, and now I have got it.
Interviewer: If I had known you ten years ago, and then I hadn’t met you for ten years and I met you now, do you think that I would have seen a great difference?
Ms. Plumbly: Oh yes, I think so.
Interviewer: Peter Orsell also belongs to the London Centre. Peter, what has this meant to you in your life?
Mr. Orsell: When I first saw Sri Chinmoy, I was feeling at that time a sense of frustration with the world around me. But now I feel a sense of expansion and progression towards the higher life which is deep inside myself. I feel a true sense of progression in my inner life, and I feel different in the outer life also. Before I met Sri Chinmoy, I felt very inadequate to deal with the world. Now I am starting to feel a sense of oneness in my own way. I feel more peace; I can accept peace much more now. I can accept the world more.
Interviewer: Were you a Christian?
Mr. Orsell: I never had any religious faith.
Interviewer: What about you?
Ms. Siegerman: I was from a Jewish background, a Russian Jewish family. But when I graduated from college, I went to India because I had become very interested in Oriental philosophy and I was searching for the source of that philosophy in India. I wanted to transcend the background I had been brought up in, because I had a great leaning toward the Orient.
Ms. Plumbly: I was brought up in a Christian background and I had a complete education. I found it very helpful to have a Christian background.
Interviewer: But you’re not a Christian now?
Ms. Plumbly: Oh, yes. Although I don’t attend any church, I couldn’t say I’m not a Christian now. I haven’t accepted any other religion, and Sri Chinmoy’s teachings easily embrace Christianity. Spirituality doesn't really reject anything one truly believes in. I’ve learned to understand Christianity more than I ever did before.
Interviewer: Maybe the spiritual life is missing in Christianity today?
Ms. Plumbly: Unfortunately, I think a lot of it has become just paying lip service to something people don’t really understand. In the spiritual life, we are trying to live what we believe. That is something, I think, that the majority of Christians do not sincerely try to do.
Interviewer: Master, I’ll come back to you now. I think we know a little more about it all now. You mentioned Yoga. One of your books is called Yoga and the Spiritual Life. For many people, Yoga is nothing more nor less than a set of physical exercises where you stand on your head, or fold your legs into impossible positions. But that’s not what you mean by the word ‘Yoga,’ is it? Are there exercises? Are there physical postures that you try to teach your students?
Sri Chinmoy: No, not at all. ‘Yoga’ means conscious union with God. The fastest way to achieve this is to concentrate, meditate and contemplate. This is the most effective way to realise God, to discover one’s own Reality. If one practices Hatha Yoga, which is the physical exercises, it may help to some extent. But there are thousands of people, especially in India, who can do all the physical exercises most correctly. But God-realisation is still a far cry for them. If it were only by practising physical exercises that one could realise God, then everybody would have done it by now. These are like kindergarten courses. If one wants to study in kindergarten, one can. But if one wants to skip that course, one can easily do so.
Spirituality, which is true Yoga, demands concentration, meditation and contemplation. These three steps only are of paramount importance. As far as we all know, the Christ did not practise physical postures. Lord Krishna did not do it. Lord Buddha did not do it. But all of them did realise God and become one with God on the strength of their prayer, meditation and contemplation. They did not practise Hatha Yoga, but they did pray, they did meditate, and on the strength of their prayer and meditation they became one with the transcendental Consciousness and the universal Reality of the Supreme.
Interviewer: So Yoga really means union with God?
Sri Chinmoy: Conscious union with God.
Interviewer: God is within each one of us?
Sri Chinmoy: God has always been within each one of us. Each individual has to realise God according to his inner capacity. And each individual can choose to accept the aspect of God that pleases him most. Somebody may like God’s personal aspect, as a most luminous Being, while another person may like the impersonal aspect: God as infinite Energy. Again, somebody else will be pleased only if the God he realises is a God beyond his imagination.
God is both personal and impersonal. God will come to each individual according to that individual’s choice, to please him in his own way. If you care for the impersonal aspect, God will come to you as the impersonal Existence. If I care for God in His personal aspect, then He will come to me as a personal Being.
Interviewer: Now, for the many listeners who are living in this county of Kent in England, how can your spirituality, your teachings, help them?
Sri Chinmoy: As you know, there are two lives: the inner life and the outer life. The inner life is the seed, and the outer life is the plant. If we sow the seed, then only will it germinate and grow into a plant. So before we go to work, before we enter into the hustle and bustle of the world, we should pray and meditate for a few minutes in order to inundate our inner life with peace, light and bliss. Then we can enter into the battlefield of outer life with inner strength, inner courage and inner light. When we do this, we see that there is no difficulty, no insurmountable problem, in the outer world. First we must have inner courage, inner strength, inner peace, light and bliss. Then we can regulate our lives most satisfactorily.
Interviewer: Mrs. Plumbly, what can interested people from here do who are listening to us now? Can they write to you at the London Centre?
Ms. Plumbly: Yes, they can write to me at the London Centre for literature or come talk to us in London. The address of the Sri Chinmoy London Centre is 31 Niagara Avenue; Ealing, London W5, England.
Interviewer: Thank you, Master, in addition you seem to have done many things. You paint, you write, you compose and play music.
Sri Chinmoy: Yes, right from my childhood I have been composing songs and poems, and I have written considerably. Over two hundred and fifty books I have completed. I have also done thousands of paintings. All this I do with one view, one purpose: to share with aspirants all over the world my aspiration and my realisation. One individual may be inspired by a particular painting or a particular song or a particular poem. Another individual may like another painting, another song, another poem. At the same time, I wish to say that I will remain an eternal seeker. While seeking ever higher Truth and Light, by the Grace of the Supreme, I am able to express my aspiration in various ways. I am trying to share with other seekers my own aspiration in various forms.
Interviewer: I notice, too, that you were a decathlon champion in your youth, that you were a fine athlete.
Sri Chinmoy: I was a very good sprinter. Now I am trying to run in the inner world as I once did in the outer world. So I am encouraging my students to run both in the inner world and in the outer world. When we run in the inner world, we realise our divinity, and when we run in the outer world, we manifest our divinity. First we realise, then we manifest. These two worlds, the inner and the outer, must go side by side. This is our acceptance of life. When we pray and meditate, we go up high, higher, highest. Then, when we serve humanity, we come down and share with humanity whatever we got at the top of the tree.
Interviewer: Now we are going to end this morning’s “Reflections.” I want to read out one poem you have written, called “The Absolute.” And while I read it we will hear the music of Yehudi Menuhin and Ravi Shankar again. But before we end, I would like to go around the table and ask each of you for one very short sentence about what life really means to you now.
Ms. Siegerman: For me, the meaning of life is to know what one really is, to discover one’s inner life, which is the soul, the representative of God in the human body. And when we find the soul, then our lives find purpose, meaning, joy and fulfilment.
Ms. Plumbly: It means development and progress, spiritual progress.
Interviewer: Something which is so lacking in many people’s lives.
Mr. Orsell: For me it has taken me from sadness and frustration to joy. I think joy, divine joy, is what life really means to me now.
Interviewer: Master, for once you are not going to have the final word. But, in a way, you will have the final word, because I am going to read your poem. This is a poem written by Sri Chinmoy, called “The Absolute.”
No mind, no form, I only exist;
Now ceased all will and thought.
The final end of Nature’s dance,
I am It whom I have sought.
A realm of Bliss bare, ultimate
Beyond both knower and known;
A rest immense I enjoy at last;
I face the One alone.
I have crossed the secret ways of life,
I have become the Goal.
The Truth immutable is revealed;
I am the way, the God-Soul.
My spirit aware of all the heights,
I am mute in the core of the Sun.
I barter nothing with time and deeds;
My cosmic play is done.
— from My Flute by Sri Chinmoy
Medway Radio, Chatham, Kent, England, 20 June 1976↩
Satisfaction and frustration
Satisfaction and frustration1Frustration is the cloudy day. Satisfaction is all sunshine. Frustration can be in the physical body, in the vital, in the mind and in the desiring heart. But satisfaction is always in the soul. It is the soul's satisfaction that we are trying to bring into our aspiring heart, our searching mind, our expanding vital and our crying body. Frustration and satisfaction are like two neighbours, like the obverse and reverse of the same coin.
Frustration is due to our uncontrolled and uncontrollable desires. Satisfaction is due to our self-giving life. When we are frustrated, we should either make ourselves feel that we are utterly helpless, or we should energise ourselves for a new dawn, inspire ourselves to make a new beginning, a new start. If we feel that we are utterly helpless, like children left alone in the forest at night, then God’s Compassion descends into each breath of ours. And if we make a new start, if we inspire ourselves to make a dynamic new beginning, then God’s divine Pride enters into us. With His infinite Compassion, God illumines our frustration into satisfaction. With His boundless Pride, God grants victory to our effort, our determination, our willingness to divinise our life.
When we are frustrated, we can ask God hundreds of questions with regard to our frustration, and God is more than willing to answer our countless questions. But we have to know that when God answers our questions, we have to listen to His Answer. His Answer comes in the form of Concern. But when we hear God’s Answer, God’s Message, we do not listen to it. And when we don’t listen to God, God withdraws — not His Compassion — but His constant Pride in us. He withdraws His Oneness-Satisfaction in us.
When we are frustrated, we can adopt a rebellious attitude. This we do quite often. But we forget that our rebellious attitude is consciously or unconsciously directed at God, who is infinitely more powerful than the rebellious attitude which we have hurled at Him. When we are frustrated, if we cannot have patience, if we cannot grow into patience-tree, God tells us that the next best thing is to offer our animal anger, our ego, vanity, pride or anything that is negative and destructive, to our soul. We should not offer these things to the individual human being or to the incident that has frustrated us. Only if we throw our frustration into God will He, out of His infinite Bounty, be able to illumine us.
Frustration and satisfaction are in human life. In human life, they are the obverse and reverse of the same coin. But in divine life, which is the life of aspiration and dedication, there is a divine coin. Here satisfaction and perfection are the obverse and reverse of the coin. We are satisfied at one moment; therefore, we have become perfect. We have become perfect at one moment; therefore, we are satisfied. We have reached the top of the mountain and the depth of the sea. From the mountain’s height we plunge into the depth of the sea, and from the depth of the sea we fly up to the highest height of the mountain. For both going up and going down, what we needed was satisfaction.
Satisfaction is our inner cry. Satisfaction is our constant progress. But this satisfaction is not a self-complacent attitude. This satisfaction is an inner hunger, an eternal hunger which is constantly being fed and which is constantly increasing in infinite measure. Inside this divine hunger there is constant joy, and this constant joy makes God feel that His Vision is right, His Reality is right. His Vision we are, when we are in our highest spiritual consciousness. His Reality we are, when we are in our earth-life. When we are in the body, He wants to manifest His Reality in and through us. When we are in the soul, He wants to reveal His Vision to us.
Here we are all seekers. Our satisfaction and our perfection will be only in seeing God in God’s own Way, in feeling God in God’s own Way, in becoming the embodiment of Truth, Light and Bliss in God’s own Way.
How can we please God in God’s own Way? We can please God only by knowing and feeling that we are consciously for Him and that we are contributing to His Vision and His Reality according to our capacity. What is our capacity? Our capacity is not our greatness, which is valued here on earth. Our capacity is not our goodness, which is valued both here on earth and there in Heaven. Our capacity has to be something beyond both greatness and goodness. Beyond greatness and goodness is our conscious, constant feeling of oneness with God.
Our greatness does not add anything to God’s Vision or to God’s Reality. Our goodness — when we are kind and loving to others — quite often demands something in return. The moment we consciously or unconsciously expect something in return, goodness does not remain in its positive form. But there is something infinitely more valuable than greatness or goodness, something extremely important, and that is oneness. Oneness with God’s Will, God's Vision and God’s Reality we achieve only when we know and feel that we are of God in our growing life and we are for God with our glowing life. This glowing life we get only when we live for God the ever-compassionate Reality and God the ever-just Reality. God the compassionate Reality and God the just Reality are one. When we are helpless, we cry for the compassionate Reality, and when we are brave, we invite and welcome the just Reality. God s compassionate Reality and God’s just Reality can alone make us perfect.
The infinite Compassion of God has created us, and the infinite Justice-Light of God can make us strong, stronger, strongest. If we want to become God’s Perfection-Light, then let us inwardly cry and outwardly smile. If we inwardly cry, God’s Compassion will descend in boundless measure and we will become perfect. If we outwardly smile, God again will grant us satisfaction and perfection. For our smile is our strength, the strength of our life-breath.
A seeker is he who discovers satisfaction in the heart of perfection, and perfection in the body of satisfaction. The body’s self-giving and the soul’s God-becoming, the soul’s self-giving and the body’s God-becoming, are God's Satisfaction and God’s Perfection in the heart and in the reality-existence of the seeker.
25 June 1976, United Nations↩
An Award of Appreciation1Dean Gormley: Several months ago Sri Chinmoy came to our school after we had had an exhibition of his paintings there for a week. In a way, it was a fairly exciting week for me and the students. The exhibition was fundamentally different from every other show we have had. People walked in and looked at the paintings and, as usual, there was analysis going on, since these were all students of art. But it was a strange exhibition because everyone was smiling when they left.
At the end of the exhibit, Sri Chinmoy came to the school and gave a speech about spirituality and art. I would just like to read a short portion of that speech, because there is nothing I could say today that could equal this: “Spirituality is realisation, realisation of one’s universal oneness with the Absolute Reality: Art is manifestation, manifestation of the cosmic consciousness which each human being embodies. Spirituality is transcendental joy. Art is universal beauty. Joy is the source; beauty is the flow. We came into this existence from boundless joy, in joy we grow, and at the end of our journey’s close, into joy we shall retire. This joy we experience only when we live in the soul, in the world of the real Reality. If we live in the outer world, our life is nothing but excruciating pangs.”
This speech moved me deeply, and I think it moved a lot of the students there, too, because we had seen that week an example of what those ideals had created. It was an example of art as purity, an example of art cleansed of all the ambitions and desires that we too often see in the art world. So tonight I have come here to present a special art award on behalf of the President of the College to Sri Chinmoy. The award says, “The School of Visual Arts presents this Award of Appreciation to Sri Chinmoy for his contribution to the Arts,” and it is signed by President Rhodes and by myself.
Sri Chinmoy: Dear Brian Gormley, dear friend, dear spiritual seeker and dear brother, in silence I could have done real justice to your kind words, but since I have to speak, I wish to tell you that my soulful expression of gratitude will undoubtedly be inadequate. I wish to offer to you, from the depth of my heart, gratitude, unalloyed gratitude. The School of Visual Arts is extremely kind in honouring me. I wish to offer my soulful gratitude to you, dear Brian Gormley, to the President of the College and to the art lovers of your unique institute.
Dear Mr. Gormley, since Nilaya [David Gershon] has been in contact with you, you have inspired him profoundly. You have been extremely kind in helping us to spread our light through the art world. This art award that I am receiving today, I am proud to say, is the result of your soulful oneness with my aspiring soul.
Each human being, to me, is a manifestation of God’s Life and of life’s art. Each student is not a mere student; he is something divine, something supreme. Each individual student is an expression of God’s Art. He is at once the embodiment of God the Supreme Artist and of God the Supreme Art.
Today you are not honouring me; you are honouring the seeker in me. My art is an expression of my search for the highest Truth, Light and Bliss. I have all along been an aspirant, aspiring to serve God in mankind. I am not an artist in the proper sense of the term; I am a seeker. I have been trying since my adolescence to serve the Supreme Artist in my life. I have written considerably in prose, verse and music. All are expressions of my aspiration and love. The Supreme in me wanted me to become an instrument of His in the artistic line as well. In this way, He has given me another opportunity to be of service to Him in the art-loving world.
This is a blessingful award. My inner vision tells me that in the future the seeker-artist in me will receive quite a few awards from the art-loving world. But today marks the beginning of a new inspiration and aspiration in my dedicated life of art. I am an eternal aspirant. With me there will always be an expression of art.
Today the School of Visual Arts is blessing me and my spiritual students, without whose conscious contribution I could never have become an artist. If the world appreciates my art, then I shall soulfully give all credit to my devoted students and disciples, who help me day in and day out in the dedication of my art to aspiring mankind.
To the School of Visual Arts I wish to offer my ever growing and ever glowing gratitude. It has given me today the golden opportunity to be of greater service to aspiring mankind through art, which is the embodiment of God, the eternal divine Lover and the eternal Beloved Supreme. To the artist in you, to the teacher in you, to the inspirer in you, to the genuine seeker in you, I offer my gratitude-heart, and in honour of you, in honour of your august school, I wish my assistants to sing a song that I composed about my art.
The name of my art is Fountain-Art, spontaneous art, because we want to be spontaneously of dedicated service to mankind.
Following are the words and music of the song which was sung for Dean Gormley.
Jharna-kala jharna-kala jharna-kala
Moder hala moder chala ujjala
Tumi moder asha-hiyar chira mangala
Kanna hasir parapare dodul dola
O fountain-art, fountain-art, fountain-art,
Gold-bright is our journey’s voice;
Gold-bright is our journey’s goal.
You are our hope-hearts’
Eternally hallowed Consciousness-Light supreme.
You are the delight-swing of silence-height
Beyond the shore of earth-sorrows and Heaven-smiles.
O fountain-art, fountain-art, fountain-art.
On Friday, 25 June, Dean Brian Gormley of Manhattan's School of Visual Arts presented a special award on behalf of the school to Sri Chinmoy, in recognition of his artistic achievements.↩
Dean Gormley presents Sri Chinmoy with the School of Visual Arts’ highest award.
— photo by Sarama
(The award is reproduced on the facing page.)
The School of Visual Art
This Award of Appreciation to
For his contribution to the Arts.
Silas H. Rhodes, President
Brian Gormley, Coordinator of Student Services
Date: June 25, 1976
Report from the United NationsThe Sri Chinmoy Centre Participates in Habitat Forum Vancouver, B.C., Canada
28 May — 11 June 1976
HABITAT, the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, was recently held in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. There were two major components to HABITAT: the official UN Conference, and Habitat Forum, a related, non-governmental conference/exposition. Together with many related events around the world before, during and after the conference itself, HABITAT and Habitat Forum provided a focal point in building awareness of, and concern for the environmental problems of human settlements — the cities, towns, villages and rural communities where people live, work, conduct their business, are educated and take their leisure.
During the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm in 1972, attention was mainly focused on the problems of the natural environment. At that time, it was proposed that a separate international meeting should deal with the man-made environment. At the invitation of the Government of Canada, the meeting was set for Vancouver. A special section of the United Nations Secretariat, headed by Enrique Peñalosa, Secretary-General for HABITAT, worked for over two years to prepare the Conference. It was directed in this task by a governmental Preparatory Committee made up of representatives of 58 Nations.
The holding of non-governmental activities in conjunction with UN conferences has become a tradition. They provide an opportunity for everyone to participate, as an individual or through an organization. “Habitat Forum” was the collective name for the activities of the non-governmental organizations at HABITAT. These ranged all the way from large and quite formal plenary sessions to physical exhibitions of appropriate human settlements technologies. While referred to as an NGO conference, Habitat Forum was open to all. Ordinary citizens as well as Prime Ministers attended both to participate and to observe.
The site of the Forum was Jericho Beach, a former military base which commands a spectacular view across an ocean inlet to the coast mountains and downtown Vancouver. Long before the city of Vancouver was founded, the Coast Indians, the Salish, used to come to what is now called Jericho Beach to fish, to hunt, and to meet for Potlatch. The Indian name for this spot was Eyalmoch, “a good place.”
Just outside the gates of Habitat Forum, spiritual groups from around the world participated in a spiritual forum entitled “Spirit in Community.” The Sri Chinmoy Centre was one of these groups. Members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre from the Victoria and Seattle Centres brought to the forum three Audio-Visual presentations (films and slides) which were used as part of the “Spiritual Forum Day” (6 June) and the “Yoga and Meditation Day” (7 June). These were quite well received by the seekers drawn there for the spiritual side of HABITAT. In addition, the Sri Chinmoy Centre put up a display of spiritual books.
“Spirit in Community” culminated in the Earth Healing Ceremony, 10-12 June. Leaders and medicine men of the Native Peoples travelled to Habitat Forum to perform this three-day healing rite for our planet. They were joined in ceremonies and celebrations by the leaders and members of many other spiritual ways. Said Thomas Banyacya, leader of the members of the Hopi tribe who attended, “The Native People must return to the spiritual path as one to cure and heal our Mother Earth. It is only through the heart, prayer and ceremony that we can bring this turbulence of evil to a halt.”
Members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre attended the lighting of the ceremonial fire, the sunrise meditations and councils of the Earth Healing Ceremony. They were very pleased to hear the news on Friday, 11 June, when Thomas Banyacya was granted an interview with Minister Barney Danson, president of the official Habitat Conference, in which Mr. Banyacya was able to deliver to the official United Nations body the message of the Native Peoples. Mr. Banyacya felt, as did all the participants in the Earth Healing Ceremony, that this was a significant acceptance on the part of the UN of the aspirations and ideals of the Native Peoples.
Later that evening, the Spiritual Forum again assembled, this time for the “Full Moon Meditation,” a part of World Invocation Day. Members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre opened the evening with a half-hour programme of singing in English, Sanskrit and Bengali. Other groups also led devotional activities. Downtown, in the last plenary session, delegates from the United Nations Member States were concluding the 2-week conference by adopting “The Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements, 1976” and a nine-point programme of international co-operation in the human settlements field. At the Forum and around the world, spiritual brothers and sisters from many different paths meditated in silence to invoke the presence of the Supreme Being for the healing of the Earth and for the ever-growing oneness of mankind.
Thus HABITAT, Habitat Forum and “Spirit in Community” ended, all successful in their own ways. No doubt, the participants in all these activities left with an expanded awareness and a real sense of satisfaction at what was accomplished there.