AUM — Vol. 1, No. 5, 27 December 1965

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Christmas: the play of universal emotion

The birth of the Child was secrecy itself. But His Birthday is as illumining as the Sun, as energising as nectar. Christmas is the birth of Promise, the link between Heaven with Earth.

This is the day that unites near and far. This is the day that awakens the best in us, within and without. This is the Day of Eternal Bliss, from which the Past, Present and Future derive much significance of Existence.

Christmas reveals to us a limitless ocean of Universal Joy. The waves of the suffering world dare not declare their existence.

It is not under the branches, but at the foot of the tree that one gets full protection. Therefore human souls, wherever they may be scattered, return to their families in order to breathe in serenely the Universal Harmony and Peace on Christmas Day.

A New Year's message

May humanity climb one rung up in the ladder of Divine Growth, and realise in its soul the Sweetness, Joy, Light, and Peace of the Supreme.

May, out of the pure fulness of the heart, the lips of Truth speak and the hands of Truth act in the year 1966.

The New Year — what can it teach us? It can teach us the secret of spiritual self-reliance. It can teach us how we ourselves can be our Masters and Saviours. From the New Year we can learn that God is God only when God is OUR God and not MY God. From the New Year we can learn that Truth is Truth only when Truth is OUR Truth and not MY Truth. At every moment it is we who can make ourselves a blessing to ourselves and the world at large.

May the universal embrace of the New Year flower into a permanent smile of Victory on the Face of the Supreme.

Occultism and spirituality, part 21

The occultist says, "God is a deer."
The yogi says, "God is also a tortoise."

The occultist says, "God is Power."
The yogi says, "God is also Peace."

The occultist says, "In my victory, God Himself applauds."
The yogi says, "In my victory, God's Face is a sweet smile."

The occultist says, "To me, fear has no existence."
The yogi says, "To me, even impossibility has no existence."

The occultist says, "My strength is God's dynamic Will."
The yogi says, "My strength is God's all-sustaining Poise."

The occultist says, "My speciality lies in my one-pointed Will."
The yogi says, "My speciality lies in my transformed consciousness."

He is truly a divine warrior who uses not only his occult power as a sword, but also his spiritual power as a shield.

The occult powers used by most primitive tribes are those capacities lying latent in man's unlit vital nature. They are used to propitiate and battle the beings and elements of the vital worlds. As human evolution is now proceeding along mental lines, most men are no longer interested in the vital plane and have lost the capacity to function there. Generally, they are no longer fascinated by the spell of the vital worlds. Humanity now cares little for the powers below the mind, aspiring, as it does, for a truth and light far above it.

Oh, Black Magician, to me, you are a snake-charmer! If you know the art, the snake becomes your toy. If you err, its venom will reduce you to its piteous victim.

What exactly is 'black magic'? It is a violent art which has nothing to do with the Divine Will. It can never elevate man's consciousness, even by a fraction. On the contrary, it ruthlessly harms and blights the consciousness, first of the victim, and later of the magician himself.

Just as it is impossible for a man to square the circle, so is it impossible for an occultist to live always in the sea of divine Peace.

Look at the eyes of an occultist. He is likely to look care-laden. Look at the eyes of a yogi. You are likely to observe that peace and serenity flood his atmosphere.

Where indeed is the choice between the occultist's intensity and the yogi's immensity?


AUM 39. continued from Vol.1, No.1

Vivekananda speaks about Christ

"These great children of Light, who manifest the light themselves, they, being worshipped, become as it were, one with us and we have become one with them."

It is easier to have faith in the Personal God than in the Impersonal. God dons the earthly cloak. He bodies forth the creation of his own time and casts a far-flung glance into the yet unborn to bring it into existence. He reveals himself to each individual according to his power of receptivity.

To the beginner, Christ would immediately speak of the Personal God. "Pray to your Father in Heaven." To the one a little more advanced, he would say, "I am the vine, ye are the branches." But to the one who is fully advanced and his dear disciple, he would proclaim: "I and my Father are One." We find the same truth echoed in Sri Ramakrishna's words. He disclosed to his beloved Naren (Vivekananda) "He who is Rama, He who is Krishna, dwells at once in this body as Ramakrishna."

It is a sad fact that often the disciples of various paths misinterpret the teachings of their masters to the extent of claiming their's as the only Master. In doing so, they bring their teachers down to the level of an ordinary man. An aspirant, they claim, in spite of high achievements, counts for nothing unless and until he is prepared to give all credit to their master. What blind ignorance! If the master were an ear-witness of his disciple's utterance, he would be burned with shame. On this Vivekananda says:

"Suppose Jesus of Nazareth was teaching, and a man came and told him, 'What you teach is beautiful. I believe that it is the way to perfection, and I am ready to follow it; but I do not want to worship you as the only begotten Son of God.' What would be the answer of Jesus of Nazareth?
  'Very well, brother, follow the ideal and advance in your own way. I do not care whether you give me the credit for the teaching or not . . . I only teach truth, and truth is nobody's property, nobody's patent truth. Truth is God Himself. Go forward.' But what the disciples say nowadays is 'No matter whether you practise the teachings or not, do you give credit to the Man? If you credit the Master, you will be saved; if not there is no salvation for you.'"

An interesting anecdote took place when Vivekananda was staying at the Thousand Island Park. It was a dark and rainy night. A few ladies from Detroit had travelled hundreds of miles to find him there. Having met him, one of them humbly spoke out, "We have come to you just as we would go to Jesus if he were still on the earth and ask him to teach us." Vivekananda, deeply moved and overwhelmed with humility, replied, "If only I possessed the power of Christ to set you free now!"

Christ unveiled the truth "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you." A heroic echo is heard in Vivekananda: "It is already yours . . . It is yours by right." We are drawn to the famous lines of the Gita: "He who seeth Me everywhere and seeth everything in Me, of him will I never lose hold, nor shall he ever lose hold of Me." Almost parallel to this, are the divine words of Christ: "He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."

The Nazarene was a product of the East, although the people of the West have managed to forget this bare truth. "An Oriental of Orientals," said Vivekananda of the son of Mary. It is quite natural that in the Bible we come across many images, symbols, natural scenes and simple ways of living common to the oriental countries. But what is more important, the oriental view is that this material life falls short of true satisfaction. So when Christ says: "Not this life, but something higher," Vivekananda could not help remarking, "Like a true son of the Orient, he is practical in that."

Vivekananda meant that our earthly achievements, however grandiose, are in no way enough to quench the ever-pinching thirst of human souls to attain to a higher life.

Christ's body is Christianity. Christianity embodies humility. Vivekananda's humility the entire world treasures. He once said:

"If you ask me, 'Is there a God?' and I say 'Yes', you immediately ask my grounds for saying so, and poor me has to exercise all his powers to provide you with some reason. If you had come to Christ and said 'Is there any God?' he would have said, 'Yes', and if you had asked, 'Is there any proof?' he would have replied, 'Behold the Lord.'"

Nehru and America

America is swift and direct. She is also decisive. Incertitude fails to touch her. Nehru was wakeful and unfailing. He was also untiring. No gulf was to be found between his life and his message. As America is a clarion-call to the development of a universal Freedom, so also is Nehru's soul towards the blossoming of an all-sustaining Peace. Nehru saw in America an evolution which is at once enormously dynamic and unimaginably unparalleled. America saw in Nehru, in his vision, an evolution which is supremely peaceful and divinely meaningful.
"Prime Minister, we welcome you here to the shores of this country as a friend, as a great world leader, as one who has in his life and times stood for those basic aspirations which the United States stands for today. (Welcoming remarks of President Kennedy at the Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, 6 November 1961)."

Significant are these words. More so because President Kennedy brought forward clearly to the American consciousness one of the basic aspects of Nehru's Mission. Nehru was perfectly mirrored in Kennedy's accurate scrutiny. Neither did the Premier lag behind in assessing Kennedy:
"We face mighty problems in the world today, and you, Mr. President, bear perhaps the greatest responsibility in this world. And so we look up to you and to your country, and seek to learn from you, and sometimes also to express what we have on our minds, that we can achieve the greatest aim that the world needs today — peace and opportunity to grow and flourish in peace."

America discovered in Nehru's soul the secret of uplifting man's characteristics into character. Nehru discovered in America's soul the secret of transmuting human dynamism into international unity.

Worried by a shoreless sea of debts, hounded by the undying throes of poverty, and mercilessly faced with a rapidly increasing population — this fate of hers, India cannot so easily overcome.

Threatened by her own creation, the two roaring bombs, suffering from the pressures of others' demands, eclipsed by doubts about her own future in the world of tomorrow — this fate of hers, America cannot so easily escape.

A profound insight is the element with which President Johnson characterises Nehru's contribution to the four frontiers:

"History has already recorded his monumental contribution to the moulding of a strong and independent India. And yet, it is not just as a leader of India that he has served humanity. Perhaps more than any other world leader, he has given expression to man's yearning for peace. This is the issue of our age. In his fearless pursuit of a world free from war, he has served all humanity."

Unlike a good many luminaries of the world, Nehru's was the reputation that did not rise and fall like the flash of a sky-rocket. With his passing behind the curtain of eternity, India's heart was smitten with excruciating pangs and slow-healing sorrows, while America was deprived of two far-flung embracing arms. To America, Nehru was a fount of inspiration and an unforgettable International. To Nehru, America was a towering Achievement, a great boon to the world at large.

Two Olympian influences: East and West, surprisingly luminous and instructive, ran simultaneously through the span of Nehru's life.

Kipling's prophetic utterance: "East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet" proved empty in the life of Jawaharlal Nehru.

People railed at Nehru's neutralism, but his neutralism had a profound purpose of its own which was appreciated by the deepest minds in America.

"Nehru's great contribution has been reason and patience. His influence helped to cool national tempers, to work the nations away from each crisis. Sometimes his efforts were misunderstood, his complicated neutralism condemned. But if we are safer in the world today, as we seem to be, much of the credit goes to India's gentle leader.
  (Hanford Sentinel, California, 28 May 1964)"

Life to the American consciousness is nothing short of completing one task after another with the hope of realising the all-liberating Freedom. Life to the Indian consciousness is nothing short of completing one endeavour after another with the hope of realising the all-nourishing Peace.

In our salutations to America, we see God the Warrior and Protector. In our salutations to Nehru, we see the Divine Dreamer and the Torch-Bearer of Truth.

The Hinduism of today2

I am a dreamer. I come from the land of Dreams. I am now in a dreamboat. The name of my dreamboat is Hinduism. Day in, day out, it sails. On it sails across the sea of Eternity. It knows no journey's end. Its goal is Immortality. The Boatman is the Dreamer Supreme. If you, my brothers and sisters, would like to sail with me in this boat, do come. I welcome you all with my folded hands, with unbounded love and tears of delight. The fare demands no dollars, no cents, nothing of the sort. The fare is just sympathy, the sympathy that springs from the heart's core.

To add to the joy of our enthusiasm, a voice, quite unexpected, of a courageous dreamer, is now heard echoing and re-echoing in the recesses of our memories. A century and a half ago, he saw the light of day here at Long Island, New York. He is Walt Whitman. The Seer-Poet with his message of the universal "I" joins us in our momentous journey.

Our first stop is a visit to Dr. Radhakrishnan, one of the greatest living philosophers. He speaks on Hinduism:

"The Hindu attitude to religion is interesting. While fixed intellectual beliefs mark off one religion from another, Hinduism sets itself no such limits. Intellect is subordinated to intuition, dogma to experience, outer expression to inward realisation."

Keeping this in mind, let us move on to examine Hinduism. It is no doubt a great religion. But it is also a simple religion. It does not want to confuse a man or test his intellectual capacities. It does not crave for his attention or solicit his favour. What it significantly wants from him is his soul's understanding. Hinduism wants not only to preserve, but also to propagate the inner law of every human soul, if so is the Will of God. What it precisely wants is to possess and be possessed by all that is best in the cultural, religious and spiritual wisdom of the world.

Although it has had its periods of inertia, Hinduism is not a static religion. A static religion would lead only to sterility and finally to death. Hinduism has, in its long history, become an emblem of flexibility, independence, creative thinking, spontaneous innovation in both thought and action. Hinduism knows how to adopt, Hinduism knows how to absorb; it knows too how to reject in order to sit at the feet of Truth. Hinduism is a ceaseless mounting cry for Truth. It aspired and so does it still aspire to epitomise an all-embracing spiritual outlook of humanity.

India's past is remarkably rich and varied. The same can be said of her dauntless present. It can and must provide a starting-point for the golden future. The Hinduism of today is sincerely trying to discover an unprecedented way of life in which the groups of radically differing racial, historical, ethical, conceptual and spiritual backgrounds may live in perfect harmony and at the same time actively collaborate in the fulfilment of one task: the marriage of matter and spirit. India, in its purest essence, is neither a matter-mad nor a world-shunning country. And the tolerance with which Hinduism has always been associated is firmly rooted in sacrifice and in recognising fully the other man's right.

India is acting without fear but not with a sense of superiority. Indeed Hinduism has become self-critical of late. Hence its improvement is dawning fast. It is true that the Hinduism of today has countless problems. It is equally true that Mother India alone has to solve all her problems. And certainly she will. An indomitable will is energising Bharat Mata. Progress, both material and spiritual is being effected with lightning speed. One thing of supreme importance is that the Hinduism of today is going to model itself, not on western or eastern, southern or northern patterns, but on the Infinite's own pattern.

Here in America, we are in the land of freedom, a freedom that nourishes dynamic thoughts and dynamic movements. There in India, we are in a land of freedom, the freedom of a fertile tolerant spirituality nourishing all religions. Here we wish to reach God by running speedily, while there we wish to reach God by climbing, swiftly.

Now let us go and listen to a devout Hindu. He says that his father is Silence, his mother is Power. Silence feeds his consciousness. Power utilises his consciousness. His parents teach him to breathe in the air of spiritual oneness, to feel that oneness in all human beings, indeed in the entire creation.

His parents have taught him the secret of secrets that through meditation alone the world can be seen and felt, fully and integrally. They have made him realise his life as part and parcel of humanity. He has no race, no nation of his own. His religion, if there be any, is God-vision. To realise God, he has not to kill his lower self. He has just to transform it into his Higher Self. Lo! The Goal beckons him. Indeed it is a new approach to and a new fulfilment of Truth. Finally, he wants, not only to see God, but to be God himself.

So our boat is sailing, dancing in tune with God's eternal, mystic cadence. We are dreamers. We are at once realists and idealists. Our boat, with its heart's love, pines to touch the far-off shores of the Golden Beyond. Our boat, with its soul's peace, aspires to commune with the Breath of the Supreme.


. This is a talk given on 14 November 1965 to the high school students of the Religious School, Central Synagogue of Nassau County, Rockville Center, Long Island, New York.

Questions and answers

Question: Do you not feel that national boundaries, economic disparity and religious dogmas divide human beings into different camps, creating anti-spiritual environments and making peace, for an individual and so for a nation, a distant star?

Sri Chinmoy: I do strongly feel that these national boundaries, etc. are really impairing the growth of our evolving human consciousness. But it is the clarification of the individual's mind and spirit that must precede the awakening of our social institutions such as churches and governments. It is the spiritual and mental elite who can infuse the general mass with its illumining light. As we know, the policies of institutions and nations are usually the embodiments of the general consciousness. These policies can be influenced considerably by enlightened individuals. Mother India in particular has not lacked in such enlightened souls, nor does she lack them now.

It is a matter of time, and time itself will create an opening in order for the spiritual consciousness to permeate the individual and his society. On our part, a conscious spiritual effort has to be made so that the higher forces from above can come down and touch the very depths of our seeking hearts. The gap that we see now between our aspiration and its fulfilment in society will then no longer exist.

Question: My wife, who is otherwise the most reasonable of beings, insists that all religious beliefs are delusions brought about by existential anxiety. Most people find the thought unbearable that there is no meaning in life except for the biological and rational fact of life itself. This, she feels, should satisfy anybody. The fact of death, she believes, is to be similarly faced as a biological reality. It is an old theory, which, I realise, can neither be proved or disproved at an intellectual level.

Sri Chinmoy: The ultimate truth concerning life and death can never be adequately explained or expressed. It can only be felt by the aspirant. I concur fully with you that this view, as well as that expressed by your wife, cannot be verified intellectually. However, what she feels about life and death may not necessarily be so. Another view is that life is the link between birth and death and at the same time, it is life that precedes birth and succeeds death.

Human memory is not the first and last word of creation. If, at the age of eighty, I fail to recollect an incident that took place in my own life at the age of four, it does not mean that I did not exist then. Just as a series of years passes by between the ages of four and eighty, so is there a series of lives which connects the present with the distant past and projects itself into the imminent future.

Then, too, there is something beyond the comprehension of our limited body-consciousness. Even while a man is grossly involved in his most ordinary physical activities, he may feel within himself, at times, some strange truths. These are usually unfamiliar and greatly elevating. These truths come from a higher or deeper world, from a different plane of consciousness, and they knock at his mental door. Thus he possesses and is possessed by forces beyond his ordinary awareness.

It is when we put ourselves in tune with these higher forces, indeed with the universal harmony, that life ceases to be unbearable. I entirely agree with your wife's view that when a person sees no meaning in life, no goal or purpose, the thought, nay the life itself, becomes intolerable. However, regarding religious beliefs, I wish to place before her an analogy:

I am now living in a Brooklyn apartment. If a child calls on me and asks, "Is there a place called Cologne?" I shall reply, "Certainly, my child, it is in West Germany." Suppose he says, "You must prove it to me!" Now how can I prove it to him, apart from showing him maps and photos? I can only tell him that I have personally visited Cologne and that there are millions of others who have also done so. His doubt cannot negate the existence of the city.

Similarly those who have realised God fully have every right to tell us that there is a God. Simply because we have not realised Him, we cannot deny the existence of God. Just as the child has to satisfy his physical eyes by going to Cologne, we can only prove to ourselves the reality of God by seeing Him. And this quest for realisation would give to an otherwise purposeless life an unparalleled meaning and direction.

AUM — a monthly journal of spiritual philosophy and yoga3

"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.

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.

We wish to offer our deepest gratitude to Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, President of the Republic of India, for his kind message of 10 November 1965 in which he sends his best wishes for the success of AUM.


AUM 45e1. Editor's introduction from the first edition.