AUM — Vol. 2, No. 3, 27 October 1966

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AUM

Man is Infinity's Heart.
Man is Eternity's Breath.
Man is Immortality's Life.

What is religion?1

Religion is God. Religion is Truth. God and Truth are one. But when I say that my religion is God, you may misunderstand me. There is every possibility of doing so. But if I say that my religion is Truth, immediately you see eye to eye with me. Let me be a little clearer. If I say that my religion is Lord Krishna and you must accept him, your eyes emit fire. But if I say that my religion is Truth, you will jump up and say, "So is mine." Now, instead of saying, "You must accept my religion," if I say, "Let us accept the universal Truth," you will cry out, "Already accepted, thank you, my young friend!"

Religion is an act of vision that guides and leads us to the Beyond. Religion is intuition. Intuition is so near and dear to each human being, so familiar to our soul and so intimate to our heart, that it requires no definition. However, we may as well once exclaim the truth that intuition is the consciousness of the all-pervading existence. Ask a man how he is sure of his existence. Silence captures his mouth. He knows what his existence is. He feels it. But the explanation evades him. Religion is that very intuition which defies explanation but which is a self-embodying and self-explanatory truth.

Religion is not fanaticism. Religion, in its purest form, is the feeling of a universal oneness of truth. A fanatic never sees the truth in its totality, even in his widest imagination. A fanatic has nothing to offer to the world, precisely because he has not kept his heart's door wide open, and has not the capacity to commune with his soul.

What we need is direct illumination. Lo, differences are buried in oblivion. Through our feeling of universal oneness, we run closer and closer to the Supreme. Our life has a freedom of its own. Our narrowness in thought kills this freedom. This freedom finds no joy in lofty and grandiose pronouncements. This freedom wants to be the living expression of our inner thoughts and feelings. Freedom is union. Union is the all-energising and all-fulfilling truth.

Religion speaks. It speaks more significantly than words. Unfortunately, its message is often subject to our ruthless distortion. Nevertheless, in the long run, it triumphantly voices forth the truth.

When we think of religion, our attitude should be sympathetic and appreciative and not critical and competitive. Criticism and competition create disharmony, which is a destructive force. Sympathy and appreciation create harmony which is a creative force. Harmony, moreover, is the life of existence.

All religions are indispensable to their adherents. All religions, too, are surcharged with inspiration. This inspiration is the conviction of the adherents' collective soul. Peace must be their watchword, just as Truth is their sole aim.

Momentous are the words of Tagore who said of religion:

"Religion, like poetry, is not a mere idea; it is expression. The self-expression of God is in the endless variedness of creation; and our attitude towards the Infinite Being must also in its expression have a variedness of individuality, ceaseless and unending."

Religion is a living challenge to the highest in human beings to face the stormy problems of life. True, there are countless problems; there is also an omnipotent power. Strangely enough, this power utilises the problems as fit instruments for the future blessing of humanity.

Religion expands. It expands in our feelings. Religion lives in the inmost recesses of our hearts. It conquers in our self-giving.

The divine aim of religion is to release the pent-up reservoir of human energy. Life itself is religion, intimate, continuous and fulfilling. Let us live openly and freely; let us have that religion which includes all human beings who have ever lived on earth, who are now on the world-stage, and who shall dwell here during untold ages to come. Ours is the religion that will perfect the order of the world. Ours is the religion that will ply between the shores of Eternity and Infinity.


  1. This talk was given on 17 July 1966, during Sri Chinmoy's visit to Puerto Rico. It was held at the home of Miss Carmen Suro (Sudha), 1406 Aldea Street, Santurce, Puerto Rico.

Questions and answers

These questions are a continuation of those asked on 13 August 1966 at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Virgil Gant, 467 Central Park West, New York City.

Question I: What is the meaning of AUM?

Sri Chinmoy: AUM is a Sanskrit word, a syllable. A Sanskrit word or a syllable has a special significance and a creative power. AUM is the Mother of all sounds. When we chant AUM, what actually happens is that we bring down Peace and Light from above and create a universal harmony within and without us. When we repeat AUM, both our inner and outer beings become inspired and surcharged with a divine feeling and aspiration. AUM has no equal. AUM has infinite power. Just by repeating AUM, we can realise God.

When you chant AUM, try to feel that it is God who is climbing up and down within you. Hundreds of seekers in India have realised God simply by repeating AUM. AUM is the symbol of God, the Creator.

On which aspect did you want me to speak about AUM?

Questioner: This is the answer I wanted.

Sri Chinmoy: One can speak and write for hours about AUM. The main thing, my personal feeling, is that when you repeat AUM, please try to observe what actually happens. If you repeat the name of a cat, a dog or a monkey, or even of an ordinary person, you get no inspiration. But when you utter AUM which is the symbol of the Creator, the life-breath of the Creator, you immediately get an inner feeling, the feeling that inspires your inner and outer movements to enlarge your vision and fulfil your life here on earth. This is the secret of AUM. If you want to cherish a secret all your life, then here is the secret. Please chant AUM and everything is yours.

Question II: In connection with my mother-in-law's question, when you gave us the meditation for Buddy, why didn't you give us that word AUM instead of GOD?

Sri Chinmoy: The thing is… I could have given it. You know, everything has its own time. I have now told you about the significance of AUM and the other day I told you about GOD. You have to know in which word you have more faith. In one person, when he says GOD, all his love, faith and devotion come to the fore. In other persons, this may not be so. In your case, that is, in Buddy's case, I told him to repeat the name of God, for he goes to church and prays in the Christian way. So far you have been familiar with God.

Questioner: It is a term which is meaningful to us in our culture.

Sri Chinmoy: Exactly so. In your culture, it is God. In India, we repeat AUM or the name of a god or goddess, i.e. Siva, Krishna, Kali, etc. The most important thing is to know in whom or in which aspect of the Supreme we have absolute faith. When I told you and Buddy about God, I had the feeling that all your life you had been trained to pray to God. But today AUM enters into you with its significance. The time comes when you can go deeper within, and if AUM inspires you more than GOD, then, certainly one day, I shall meditate with you two. I shall see whether GOD, AUM, SUPREME, INFINITE or some other aspect of the Ultimate inspires you most. It is the inspiration that you get which is of the utmost importance.

Questions from children

Question: How come you can see God and I can't?1

This is such a nice question, Shannon. Now you are looking at me with your eyes open. You are looking at me and you know that my name is Chinmoy and you are able to see me. Now, (putting his hands over her eyes) I have closed your eyes. Can you see me? No, you cannot see me. When your eyes are shut you cannot see anybody in front of you or beside you. But when you keep your eyes open, you can see me, you can see your father, your friends, and everyone.

You know that you have two eyes. With these two eyes you can see me, but at the same time, if you keep them closed you cannot see me. Now you have another eye and this eye is between your eyebrows, here… right here… another eye. It is an inner eye, your third eye. In my case that eye is open. I have kept it open. So I can see God. Everything that is within others I can also see. That eye is here between my eyebrows and I can see with it. Now Shannon, in your case, just as you cannot see anything when you have closed your two eyes, so also you do not see God because your third eye is closed.

By praying to God, if you pray to God every day, you will see that all of a sudden this inner eye will open up. Get up early in the morning and open your two ordinary eyes and see your mother and father and everything that is in your room and then pray to God. One day by your prayer, you will see that your third eye has opened. You will also be able to see God. So every day, you pray to God to open up this third eye. Put your finger on this eye and pray, “Oh God, please open it.” And one day God will open it up and you will see Him just as you see me now.


  1. Shannon aged 4 years. New York City, (who was told by her father that a yogi can see God).

Question: Is it true that anybody can become a yogi if they really try? 1

Sri Chinmoy: What do you mean by "really"? Do you mean "sincerely"? If you mean "sincerely", then certainly, anybody can become a yogi.

Yoga means union with God. A yogi is he who is one with God. Sooner or later, all human beings will realise God. But the person who takes to yoga reaches God sooner. If you yourself want to become a yogini and realise God, then right now start praying. Especially if you want to reach God before the rest of humanity, please do not delay.

Now, how do you go about praying? If you pray to God for candy today, tomorrow you will ask Him for ice-cream and the day after tomorrow for something else. And God will give you everything that you want, except Himself. But if you pray to God only for Himself and nothing else, He will give you all that He has and all that He is. In getting all that He has and all that He is, you will get not only your candy and ice-cream and all that you wanted, but you will also get infinite things for yourself, things that you had never imagined. So pray to God every day to give you what you need and not what you want. He will give you what you actually need to make you one with Him.


  1. A small group-meditation was held on 8 August 1966 at the summer home of Mr. Sam Spanier, Mount Tremper, New York, after which this question was asked by Christine, aged 8 years. Mount Tremper, New York.

The human soul and the soul divine

The human soul is the kiss of Night;
The soul divine is the bliss of Day.
Like eye and sight, like nose and smell,
Inseparable and one are they.

The one feels God a tearing sigh,
And life empty of truth, futile.
To the other, God is undying hope,
And life is Truth's all-loving Smile.

The Guru

I

The human teacher shows you how to read.
The teacher divine sleeplessly reads for you.
The one leads your mind to wisdom's portal,
The other opens your soul to the sky-vast blue.

II

The Guru is He who shows the Way;
His heart is Love, his mind is Light,
His body is Grace in the realm of night.
Silence and Power sustain his Play.

VI. Meditation: individual and collective1

Meditation is the eye that sees the Truth, the heart that feels the Truth, and the soul that realises the Truth.

By meditation the soul becomes fully aware of its evolution in its eternal journey. By meditation we see the form evolve into the formless, the finite into the infinite; we see the formless evolve into the form, the infinite into the finite.

Meditation speaks. It speaks in silence. It reveals. It reveals to the aspirant that Matter and Spirit are one, quantity and quality are one, the immanent and the transcendent are one. It reveals that life is eternity itself, and can never be the mere existence of seventy or eighty years between birth and death. Our birth is a significant incident in God's own existence. And so is our death. In our birth, life lives in the body; in our death, life lives in the spirit.

Meditation, individual and collective. As the individual and the collective are in essence one, even so meditation, individual and collective. We are all children of God. Our body says that we are human. Our soul says that we are divine. No matter whether we are human or divine, we are one, inevitably and eternally. We are the inseparable parts of the whole. We complete the whole.

Vast is the ocean. You see a part of it. He sees a part of it. I see a part of it. But the full expanse of the ocean is far beyond our gaze. Our vision is limited. But the portion that each of us sees is not and cannot be separated from the entire ocean.

What does an orchestra produce? It produces a symphonic unity. Different notes on different instruments form the symphony. As each instrument plays its own notes, so the individual may meditate in his own way. But ultimately all will arrive at the basic realisation of oneness and the same goal. And this realisation is nothing other than liberation — liberation from Bondage, Ignorance, and Death.

Tat Twam Asi: That Thou art. This is indeed the secret that can be revealed in meditation. This Thou is not the outer man. This Thou is our soul, our divinity within. Our unlit and undivine nature tries to make us feel that the body is everything. Our illumined and divine nature makes us feel that our soul with no beginning and with no ending is everything. Indeed, it is the soul that is the breath of our existence either in Heaven or on earth.

Self-knowledge and the universal knowledge are not two different things. Everything in the universe becomes yours the moment you come to realise yourself. And what is this universe? It is the outer expression of your inner achievements. You are your own Saviour. Within you is your salvation. It is you who have to work for your salvation. You are your own fate-maker. To blame others for the unfavourable conditions of your life is beneath your dignity. Unfortunately this act of blaming others is one of man's oldest diseases. Adam blamed Eve for his temptation. Poor Eve, what could she do? She also did the same. She blamed another. No, we must not do that. If action is ours, responsibility is also ours. To try to escape the consequence is simply absurd, but to be free from committing blunders is wisdom; it is the real illumination. Trials and tribulations are within and without us. We shall have to ignore them. If this act of ignoring is not enough, we shall face them. If that too is not enough, we shall conquer them here and now. The paramount problem is how to conquer the trials and tribulations. We can conquer them only by our constant meditation. There is no substitute, no alternative.

From meditation, when it is deep and one-pointed, we get spiritual knowledge and pure devotion, which act not only simultaneously but harmoniously. The path of Bhakti (Devotion) and the path of Jnana (Knowledge) lead us ultimately to the same goal. Devotion is not blind faith. It is not an absurd adherence to one's inner feeling. It is a matchless process of spiritual unfoldment. Jnana is not something quite dry. Neither is it an aggressive power. Knowledge is the food that energises our earthly and heavenly existence. Devotion is delight. Knowledge is peace. Our heart needs delight and our mind needs peace, just as God needs us to manifest Himself and we need God to fulfil ourselves.

Meditation, individual and collective. It is easy to meditate individually. The aspirant is fortunate, for there stands no third person between the aspirant and God's Grace.

It is easy to meditate collectively, in a group. A student naturally gets joy while he is studying with others in the class. Here also the aspirant is fortunate, for the sincere aspiration of other seekers may inspire him.

True, there are difficulties in meditating individually. Laziness can plague the aspirant. True, there are difficulties in meditating collectively, because there is every possibility that others' ignorance and weakness may unconsciously attack the aspirant's body, mind and heart.

One thing we shall have to make sure, that is, whether individually or collectively, we shall have to meditate consciously. Unconscious effort is like forcing someone to play football in spite of his utmost unwillingness: He plays but gets no joy. A conscious effort is like playing football most willingly. He gets joy. Similarly, a conscious meditation gives us an inner delight from the soul.

Finally, each human being must have the spirit of a divine hero. If he is left alone in the thickest forest, he must have the inner strength to meditate without fear. If he is asked to meditate at Times Square amid the streams of human beings, he must have the inner strength to meditate without being disturbed in the least. Whether alone or with others, the aspirant must dwell in his meditation unshaken and unafraid.


  1. The sixth class of the Spring series on Yoga was held at the home of Mr. Eric Hughes and Mr. Sam Spanier, 43 Greenwich Avenue, New York City. 13 May 1966

Death

Death is natural. Nothing natural can be detrimental. Death is rest. Rest is strength in disguise for a further adventure.

At the present state of human evolution, to conquer death may be an impossibility. But to overcome the fear of death is not only practicability, but inevitability.

Death is the hyphen between man's growing fear and his shrinking life-energies.

Death is normally the sign that the soul, under the particular circumstances, has exhausted the possibilities of its progress in a particular body.

When the strength of possibility loses to the strength of impossibility, it is called Death.

A useless life is a cordial invitation to Death.

The valley of the shadow of death cordially invites all, without exception and without preference.

He who prefers Death to Life has only to climb up the Tree. But he who prefers Life to Death has not only to climb up, but also to climb down again to do God's work.

When Death approaches a man, his psychic being says to Death, "Death, just wait, let me see what I wish to work out in the next birth." Death says, "You want life, evolutionary growth. Sorry, you are asking a favour from the wrong person. One second's delay on my part may add something to your experience!"

Death says that it is immortal. Man's achievements say: "Death, you are right. But the truth of the matter is that we shine perpetually upon your very breast. Not only that, we shine forever in you, through and beyond you."

Editor's introduction

"AUM" is a sacred Sanskrit mystic syllable

which prefaces all Hindu prayers.

The first issue of the journal AUM (Vol. 1, No. 1)

deals with its full spiritual significance.

Chinmoy Kumar Ghose 1966

AUM is a monthly journal devoted exclusively to the spiritual writings of Chinmoy Kumar Ghose. It will deal with the spiritual life and its problems from the point of view of Indian philosophy and yoga.

AUM is intended to help aspirants of the West in their search for a true inner life by acquainting them with the realisations of a seeker of the Supreme.