AUM — Vol. 2, No. 9, 27 April 1967

Return to the table of contents


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

My New York

I admire New York. My eyes are enamoured of her soul's dynamic beauty. My New York is always astir and bustling. Also is she marching in gigantic strides. Success emerges before her very eyes.

The dawn breaks in to feel New York's heart consumed with new zeal. She hates to be absorbed in a fog of fruitless brooding, empty inactivity. Moreover she wants to be free, eternally free. Never, within her four corners, will she tolerate the air of captivity. If it is part of her nature to express herself boldly, I cannot blame her. Firstly, to me, she deserves this acme of self-confidence. Secondly, God wants New York to be what she is.

My New York has courage. My New York has confidence. The problems of anxiety and uncertainty may cover the length and breadth of the world, but my New York is an exception. Her youthful certainty is my heart's delight.

When I think of my India, it seems that she has endless time. If she does not avail herself of an opportunity today, it will return to her tomorrow. But when I think of New York, it seems that she is facing a unique opportunity at every moment. If she loses a golden opportunity today, it will never return. New York knows how to seize. She knows how to struggle. She knows how to push forward. She knows how to exert herself, consciously and dynamically. Blessed is she. Old blunders fail to plague her. Empty of fear is her heart which ever grows into the fulfilment of her promising future. Blessed is she.

My New York is not a challenge. She is not competition. She is not a running race. She is not victory. What then is she? She is a great Promise, wherein grows and flowers the Infinite Unknown.

Questions and answers on the soul, part II

Question: Does the soul cry when it is unhappy?

Sri Chinmoy: No. The real soul which is a portion of the Cosmic Self is all Delight. Since it cannot be unhappy in the human sense of the term, it does not cry. It is the unsatisfied and demanding vital, which we often take for the soul, that suffers unhappiness and cries pitifully.

Question: Do things or places have a soul: for example, does a chair have a soul, does a city have a soul?

Sri Chinmoy: Each thing and each place has a soul. Like all other cities, the city of New York has its soul. The Supreme has graciously shown me the soul of New York City a number of times. The difference between the soul of things and the souls of humans is a difference in their degree of evolution, in the degree they manifest their divine potentialities. It is through the process of reincarnation that the soul gradually manifests its hidden powers within, that the soul eventually reaches its absolute Fulfilment.

Question: Does the earth have a soul?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. The earth represents the Mother aspect of the Divine. It is on earth that matter and spirit will find their absolute fulfilment in their reciprocal help and complete union. Matter will see through the eye of the spirit's vision. Spirit will flower by awakening and energising matter to become a perfect basis of physical immortality and human transformation on earth. The two main characteristics of the soul of the earth are Aspiration and Compassionate Tolerance.

Question: When the vital or mental tries to satisfy itself without the soul's approval, what happens to the soul?

Sri Chinmoy: In such cases the soul usually remains silent. But at times the Supreme may put some pressure on the vital and the mind when they are going too far. He does this through the soul.

Question: Can the gross ever give the subtle anything? That is, can the soul become stronger by the right use of the body such as exercise, right food, etc.?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. The gross can and must help the subtle. The body is gross, but in its sound and perfect condition, it helps the mind and the subtle existence considerably. One cannot, of course, make the soul stronger merely by taking vigorous physical exercises or by eating judiciously. But if the body, that is, the physical consciousness, aspires to grow in the light of the soul and tries to fulfil the Divine in the physical itself, then the progress of the soul becomes easier, faster and more fulfilling.

Question: Can the soul select what the individual is to experience in the manifested world?

Sri Chinmoy: Normally it is the soul that determines the experiences that the individual will have in his lifetime. As a matter of fact, if the individual consciously puts himself into spontaneous flow of the experiences that the soul wants to give him, he will eventually grow into abiding peace, joy and fulfilment. Unfortunately, the individual, being a victim of ignorance, is not aware of the soul's selection of the experience, or, in spite of knowing, does not care for the selection made by the soul.

Question: Approximately where in the physical body does one feel a sense of soul? ("Quicken me according to Thy ways")

Sri Chinmoy: It is in the heart. According to medical science, the heart is slightly to the left of the center of the chest. According to Ramana Maharshi, the great sage of Arunachala, it is slightly to the right of the center. Some spiritual figures say that the heart is in the middle of the chest. Again, according to another spiritual figure, the heart is placed between the eyebrows! Of course, he also has his reasons.

The true spiritual heart, four finger-breadths in width, is located twelve finger-breadths directly above the navel and six finger-breadths directly below the center of the neck. It is here that one feels the "quickening" of the soul.

Question: If the body is the newcomer and the soul is the real landlord, or lord, then how is it that the newcomer or personality, with its seeking satisfaction, can so suffocate the soul that its inspirations cannot be heard?

Sri Chinmoy: The Katha Upanishad says that the body is the chariot, the soul is the master of the chariot, the Intellect is the charioteer and the mind the reins.

I am happy to answer this particular question. You are the landlady of the building in which we have our Centre. You own this building. We are your tenants. We are all newcomers. You try your best to satisfy our requirements. Nevertheless, some of the tenants, not all, make your life a hell. Their demands are at times outrageous and absurd. Further, they cherish an uncompromising attitude. What do you do then? I believe you become quite helpless, if not hopeless, in spite of the fact that it is you who own this building. It is not easy to drive away the disturbing, demanding, uncompromising tenants at once. Similar is the fate of the soul which is attacked by the pleasure-seeking, demanding and unaspiring newcomer, the personality.

I and my name

I sing and sing,
And play and play
To see the Face
Of Eternal Day.

My friend is Hope,
My friend is Light.
If Night there be
My Days are bright.

God's Grace is my name.
Through ages long
My soulful breath
Shall flame His Song.

God and the world

The world and God,
How to harmonise?
Difficult? No.
No wide surprise.

Our Father is God,
The world our Mother.
This living truth,
Our protecting cover.

Father is the Face,
Mother the Smile.
Without the one,
The other futile.

What is the aim of life?1

The aim of life is to be conscious of the Supreme Reality. The aim of life is to be the conscious expression of the Eternal Being.

Life is evolution. Evolution is the unfoldment from within. Each life is a world in itself. Indeed, each life is a microcosm. Whatever breathes in the vast universe also breathes in it.

There are two lives: the inner and the outer. The outer life speaks about its principles and then tries to act. It professes in season and out of season. It practises very little of what it professes. The inner life acts. It does not speak. It professes only what it practises.

Our life has two realities: exoteric and esoteric. The exoteric reality deals with the world around us. The esoteric reality deals with the inner world. The outer reality tries to fulfil itself by feeding desires and stimulating passions. The inner reality finds fulfilment by the control of passions and conquest of desires, by swimming in the vast sea of liberation.

Life is existence. The ordinary existence comes from a deeper Existence. Existence cannot come from nonexistence. Life comes from God. Life is God. Two things we should do. We should read life most devotedly and live it most divinely.

Two things we must have: imagination and inspiration. A life with no imagination is a life of imprisonment. With the wings of imagination, we must try to fly into the Beyond. A life with no inspiration is a life of stagnation. With the dynamism of ceaseless inspiration, we shall give a new meaning to life and immortalise life itself.

The aim of life is to realise God. Realisation can never come to the individual who is inactive. One has to strive for realisation. One has to pay the price for it. There is no alternative. One thing of paramount importance is that by telling others that you are a realised soul, you may convince others, you may even deceive your very heart, but you cannot deceive God.

To have Realisation, the first requisite is peace. Peace is based on love: love for humanity and love for God. Peace is also founded on non-attachment. No thirst for gain, no fear of loss — lo, peace is yours. Peace is also based on renunciation. This renunciation is not the renunciation of worldly possessions, but of limitations and ignorance. And that peace is the true peace which is not affected by the roaring of the world, outer or inner.

When you have that kind of peace, realisation cannot help knocking at your heart's door. To be more accurate, the lotus of Realisation will start blooming in your heart, petal by petal. Further, to realise God, temples, churches and synagogues are not obligatory. Neither is the tapestry of scriptures and sermons required. What is imperative is meditation. This meditation will make you realise God the Infinite within your soul, heart, mind and body.

The aim of life is to live a divine life. We are living in this world. We know that man does not live by bread alone. He needs the soul in order to live in the world of God's Reality. The soul alone has the capacity to see and feel the known and the Unknown, the existent and the non-existent, the dream of the past, the achievement of the present, and the hope of the future.

Let us accept the inner life, the spiritual life. Mistakes in our journey are inevitable. Success without endeavour is impossibility itself. No work, no progress. Experience we must welcome, for we can learn nothing without experience. The experience may be either encouraging or discouraging. But it is experience that makes us a real being; it shows us the true meaning of our very existence.

Let us all be truly spiritual. Let us realise God by our constant communion with Him. We need not have any particular time or place for our meditation. We must transcend the necessity of time and space. When we go deep within, we can feel that one moment cannot be separated from another, one place cannot be separated from another. Let us aspire to live in the Eternal Now of God-Realisation, in the Eternal Now of God's Dream and Reality. This Dream is the Dream of ever-surpassing Transcendence. This Reality is the Reality of ever-blossoming Revelation.

This talk was given on 13 August 1966 at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Virgil Gant, 467 Central Park West, New York City.

Questions from children

Question: Gurudev, I want to ask you something. If I break an egg, can God put it together again?2

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly He can. God can do anything He wants.

Question: Can you do it?

Sri Chinmoy: No, sorry Shannon, your Gurudev cannot do it. But if God gives me the power, I can easily do it.

Question:_Can I do it? _Sri Chinmoy: Why not? The moment God gives you the power, you can easily put a broken egg together again. A day will come when you, I and everyone will have the same power that God has now.

Shannon, aged 5 years, by telephone from Waterville, Maine, 13 March 1967

Who is the highest? — a story

Once there was a very pious Brahmin who was utterly devoted to his family deity. He worshipped this deity every day, sitting cross-legged in front of the shrine in his home.

One day during his meditation, he observed that the Prasad (food offering) to the deity which is customarily eaten by the devotee after worship, was snatched away by a mouse and eaten in front of his very eyes. The Brahmin was astonished to see this and concluded that the mouse was more powerful than the deity. Otherwise, how could it dare eat the offering? So he grabbed hold of the mouse, and tying it with a string to the place of worship, decided to worship this creature instead of the deity.

He removed the picture of the deity from the shrine, and started worshipping the mouse until one day, his cat, becoming jealous of the attention the mouse was receiving, pounced upon the tiny creature. The two had a terrible fight, but of course the poor mouse was killed in the battle.

Now it was quite clear to the Brahmin that the cat was more powerful than the mouse; so he started worshipping the cat whom he had previously neglected. This continued for some time until one day the Brahmin's dog entered the room of worship. Seeing the attention that the cat was getting from his master, the dog became furiously jealous and violently attacked the cat. The unhappy cat was bitten and scratched all over and bled in many places. When the master considered the situation, it became quite clear to him that the dog was more powerful than the cat.

So he removed the cat from the place of worship and placed the dog there instead. He now began to worship the dog who was tied with a rope to the shrine. The animal's continual barking, however, was a source of great irritation to the master's wife. One day, in utter exasperation she threw a brick at the barking dog. It landed on his head with a thump. The poor dog was in great pain and cried piteously over his wound. The master, hearing the whimpering of the poor dog, came into the room, and seeing what had happened, concluded that this must be due to the superior power of his wife.

So he let the dog go and replaced it with his wife, saying to her, "At long last I realise that you are the most powerful — only you can be the object of my adoration!"

The wife was thunderstruck at these remarks, to say nothing of being puzzled and embarrassed. How could she be the object of his adoration, she thought, since all her life she had been made to feel like his servant, constantly at his beck and call. However, she finally consented, since she had no alternative.

Now his wife had become his object of adoration and worship. He addressed her in devotional words and praised her divine qualities. So devoted was he that he had the impulse to worship her even when she was asleep. He would awaken her and make her take her place at the shrine where he could adore her. Or if she were in the shower, he would call her to come out. No matter what she was doing, she would have to drop it and come to the shrine to be worshipped.

Finally his wife became so fed up with this farce that she told him the whole thing was nonsense. At this he became furious. "Nonsense," he echoed, "how dare you criticise my wisdom?" And he slapped her violently. The poor frightened woman began weeping bitter tears.

Now, seeing his own power, it became very clear to the Brahmin that he was the strongest of all. So he started worshipping himself, saying, "I am God, I am the greatest, I am everything."

But it did not take him much time to realise that he was merely a prey to his desires. It was his desires that were compelling him to action — either good or bad. So, since his habit was to worship the most powerful force, he started worshipping his desires. But he quickly gave this up, for he saw immediately that his desires had no strength of their own. It was his senses that compelled the desires to possess and be possessed.

So the Brahmin started worshipping the senses: sight, smell, taste, etc. He was now pondering deeply on these subtle things that he was worshipping. After much thought, he concluded that it was the mind which was responsible for the functioning of the senses.

So he began worshipping his mind, and felt proud that he had progressed so far from the ignorant animals he had worshipped only a few months before. But he found that his mind was far from satisfaction, not to speak of perfection. So he entered into his heart.

The heart, in spite of having peace and joy and harmony, was still lacking in absolute fulfilment. He was still yearning for the supreme power. He concluded that the heart is not enough. So he entered into his soul.

There, in union with his own soul, he got the first glimpse of his divine fulfilment. He plunged deep into the spiritual life. But the individual soul, he found, is not all-pervading or all-fulfilling. He aspired for the Highest, so he went even deeper. There he discovered the Supreme Self.

Here at the end of his journey, the Brahmin saw that the most Powerful is the Supreme Self, that has neither beginning nor ending, the all-pervading and all-fulfilling, both Creator and Creation, the Highest.


Sri Chinmoy's arrival in the West, 13 April 1964

On Thursday, 13 April 1967, the two Aum Centres (Santurce, Puerto Rico and New York City) celebrated the third anniversary of Sri Chinmoy's arrival in the West.

Each Centre marked the event with a special spiritual and cultural program. In Puerto Rico a tape-recorded message from the Guru was played, in which every disciple was individually greeted by Sri Chinmoy. This was heard after a special meditation. The function was most devotedly conducted by the President, Sudha. Selected readings from the Guru's works were given by the disciples, who also offered their own soulful appreciation of his divine mission on earth.

In New York, a significant meditation also started the program. Moving tributes to the Guru were then offered. This was followed by a program of songs, readings and dramatic performances by the disciples.

Both functions were followed by delicious refreshments, generously provided and beautifully arranged by the disciples of the respective Centres. In New York, Mrs. Irene Silver (Durga), Mrs. Lillian Gerber (Lakshmi) and Mrs. Ruth Moseley (Karuna) deserve special thanks for their dedicated service.

Sri Chinmoy offers his deepest gratitude to all his esteemed friends and disciples who were present at both the Centres and made each function a spiritually elevating experience.

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 1967