Conversations with Sri Chinmoy

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Part I

CSC 1. At his house in New York on 10 November 1998, Sri Chinmoy made the following remarks about elderly people. The year 1998 was the International Year of Older Persons.

1.

I sincerely feel that elderly people should be appreciated, admired and adored. I am not saying this because I am also an elderly person, but because right now the world is ignoring elderly people. They were also once upon a time little saplings. Then they became trees and afterwards they became banyan trees.

While they were saplings, that is, when they were children, they gave joy to their parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Then, when they became older, they definitely inspired people.

We always talk about the distant future, but we have to know that the golden past was once upon a time the distant future. In the golden past, these elderly people were little children. They gave so much joy to their families. If we do not honour them, we are not going to receive their compassion, affection, fondness and wisdom. If we ignore them, then they will be split from their past, as if a tree were cut into two. How can the tree remain alive if it is chopped somewhere? If the tree is to be kept alive, then it has to keep its roots as well as its branches and leaves. The same tree, a few years ago, before it became too old, produced most delicious fruits, most beautiful flowers.

Similarly, old people brought name, fame, plus financial security to the family. So how can you ignore them? If gratitude wants to take birth, these elderly people should be appreciated, admired and adored for what they have done for the entire world family. Their very presence has to be a source of inspiration. And this inspiration the young generation will also one day hold, after forty or fifty years, to inspire their younger ones.

Part II

CSC 2-8. On 5 May 2005, Sri Chinmoy answered a series of written questions submitted by Joop Koopman, Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of gest Catholic Digest (published in Holland). Sri Chinmoy met with Mr. Koopman and offered him the "Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart" award the following day.

Joop Koopman: Sri Chinmoy, you had important friendships and spent significant moments with Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. You are effusive in your praise of them, depicting them as wonderful, powerful and colourful beings. In the East, the celebration and appreciation of holy men and women is the norm. The charisma of leaders is experienced as real and palpable. The mainstream of Judaism and Christianity is more cerebral. We think of our leaders as good people, but not necessarily as living saints whose very touch or glance can heal. Can you please describe John Paul II and Mother Teresa in this regard?

Sri Chinmoy: Let me start with the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. The Holy Father was for all religions. He was not confined to Christianity. That is why it was possible for me to receive from him unbounded compassion, affection and encouragement. I had the golden opportunity in this lifetime to be blessed by him six times. Each time I was in his presence, I did feel many of his divine qualities, qualities which are very rarely found in other individuals.

The Holy Father was at once a friend to some, a father to some and a grandfather to still others. As a friend, he wanted people to understand the real meaning of life. The real meaning of life is compassion, concern and sympathy.

As a father, he was strict with those who are wanting in morality, those who are not abiding by the laws of truth, plus those who are hungry for power and supremacy. Pope John Paul II warned his spiritual children that if they do not have concern for mankind, there will be a very serious crisis. The standard of mankind, instead of going up, will descend and descend into an abysmal abyss.

As a grandfather, he was all affection and, to some extent, indulgence to human beings. He felt that human beings are by nature weak. If he became strict with them, it might do more harm than good. He felt the necessity of going very slowly with those human beings who are already very weak. His concern for them was unbounded, and he felt that a little bit of indulgence would eventually awaken them to the Light. Once they are in Light, they will not deliberately enter into the thick darkness of ignorance.

To the Holy Father, I offer my heart's infinite and infinite gratitude. Each time I met with him, a new experience I had. In the evening of his life, while he was quite frail and his hands were shaking, he most affectionately touched my arm and blessed me with utmost compassion.

Unlike other popes, he was both practical in the activities of the outer world and also a visionary of the most sublime height in the inner world. His inner vision and outer action most gloriously complemented each other.

Mother Teresa was not only for the poor and the needy; she was for the entire humanity. She was her bleeding heart for the helpless and the hopeless world. She was her sacrificing life to save others' lives. Her life-boat plied between the compassion-shore and the concern-shore. Fear was not born when she saw the light of day.

Faith in the Saviour Jesus Christ she had in infinite measure.

To me, she was this moment a real mother and the next moment a real sister. As a mother, she blessed me with her blessingful eyes. As a sister, she loved me with her compassionate heart.

Again, Mother Teresa was encouragement incarnate. Not once, not twice, but thrice she asked me to accompany her to China. It was her fervent wish to do something great and good for China and the Chinese people. But, alas, her desire was not granted. Heaven summoned her before her desire could be fulfilled.

Recently I spent practically three months in China, remembering many, many times her blessingful request to accompany her there.

Mother Teresa: a daring soul, an all-loving soul and an all-sacrificing soul. The world desperately needs many more God-chosen servants like Mother Teresa to change the face and fate of the world.

Joop Koopman: What do you make of the great interest in spirituality in the US, much of it in the form of the pursuit of, if not quasi-religions and movements, then a sometimes vague New Age-ism?

Sri Chinmoy: Spirituality in the United States is a very complicated matter. It is like the huge waves of the ocean: they go up and down. Perhaps a similar experience we get everywhere. There was a time thirty or forty years ago when the young generation showed much more interest in accepting and following the spiritual life. To my great sorrow, I do not see and feel the same inner urge today. I may be utterly mistaken. In no way am I criticising the young generation. I am one hundred per cent with them in their hearts and lives.

There is another factor. In those days, anything new that took place was supported by encouragement. The young people felt encouragement from deep within when they embarked on something new, challenging and illumining. But nowadays, it seems nothing significantly interests human beings in the way it did thirty or forty years ago.

People need new light and new consciousness. They want to come out of the old achievements, or you can say out of the quagmire of life, but they do not know which way to turn. They feel that the past has failed them. Now they are afraid of the future. They do not want to attempt anything new, precisely because uncertainty and fear loom large in their lives.

The love of the New Age movement was much more powerful in the past. Anything that is new, we should welcome. It may not remain or cannot remain new. If we want to achieve anything or become anything new, then we have to be very, very strict with our inner prayers and meditations.

Success depends on our determination and will-power. Progress depends on our surrender, inner and outer, to God's Will while we are praying and meditating most soulfully and serving humanity most lovingly.

Each moment presents itself to us with a new dream, a new reality, a new inspiration, a new aspiration and a new achievement.

Joop Koopman: How do you look for the good in various traditions?

Sri Chinmoy: If I sincerely pray to God for the fulfilment of God's Will, then my prayer is bound to teach me how to see good realities in every human being. If each tradition hungers for God's Love and Light, then everything that is good will come to the fore for the betterment of the world.

Today we see good qualities in others. If we appreciate them unreservedly, then those good qualities try to blossom inside our own life like a lotus —- slowly, steadily and unerringly.

Without prayer and without meditation, it is almost impossible to appreciate good qualities in others and not be ruthlessly attacked by jealousy-snake.

Each tradition is right in its own way. We need a cosmopolitan heart to appreciate, admire and value all the traditions and to become a world citizen —- inspiring, encouraging, illumining and fulfilling each tradition.

Joop Koopman: You think of Jesus Christ as "an unparalleled Prophet and the beloved Son of God, but also as a supreme Oneness-Friend of mankind." What does "Oneness-Friend of mankind" mean?

Sri Chinmoy: The Christ said, "I and my Father are one." Again, the Christ said, "I am the Way. I am the Goal." Outwardly, it is difficult to comprehend how one person can be the possessor of the Way and the Goal. But we know that when there is complete oneness with the Highest Absolute, one can be anything or anyone, plus one can go far beyond duality.

Friendship means the expansion of oneness. As a supreme Son of God, the Christ knew that he was not only the Son of God the Creator. He knew well that God the Creator and God the creation are one.

When we think of the terms 'concern, encouragement, inspiration' and so forth, we feel the supreme necessity of friendship. If there is no friendship, this world will day by day sink into the ocean of oblivion.

It is friendship that keeps us alert and awakened to the realisation that we do not belong only to ourselves. We belong to all those who are around us, with us and for us. Around us is the whole world, and it is here that we must establish friendship, so that together we can bear the burden of the entire world. If there is no friendship, the world will not march forward. It will only go backward.

The Christ played the role of the Creator when he said that he and His Father are one.

Then, when he asked, "Father, why have You forsaken me?" he played the role of the creation. Creation desperately needs help from the Creator.

On the strength of his oneness with the creation, the Christ felt the suffering of humanity as his own. This suffering can be shared by one and all. Suffering exists, but when others come into the picture to alleviate the burden of their friends, then it definitely helps each and every human being to see the light of oneness. Oneness is self-expansion. If there is true friendship, then oneness blooms and blossoms.

Christ was the supreme Friend. He became the oneness, not only of the Heaven, but also of the earth.

As an unparalleled member of Heaven, he brought down Compassion in infinite measure to Mother Earth. Again, as a member of Mother Earth, he distributed the Compassion that he received from Father Heaven unreservedly and unconditionally to elevate the consciousness of the world and to show the world that there is Light, the Light that longs for the establishment of Truth here on earth.

Christ the Son received. Christ the Friend distributed.

Christ the Son received from Above.

Christ the Friend blessingfully distributed everything he had and everything he was to his world-citizen-friends.

Joop Koopman: What are the most significant points that Christianity and Hinduism have in common?

Sri Chinmoy: Not only Christianity and Hinduism, but also all the religions have in common one thing: love of God. They all value truth, compassion and forgiveness. These divine qualities loom large in the very depths of all religions. The followers of each respective religion are supposed to bring to the fore these divine qualities and practise them lovingly, cheerfully and wholeheartedly in their outer lives for the betterment of humanity. In this way, together we can weave a beautiful and fragrant garland of nation-souls.

Joop Koopman: What areas are the greatest challenges in our interfaith relations?

Sri Chinmoy: I have had the occasion to be part of several interfaith meetings. I have prayed and meditated in silence for a minute or two at these meetings. Quite often, we are apt to extol our own religions to the skies. I feel that the best thing will be for us to accept the extraordinary achievements of each faith as our own, very own. In this way, the entire humanity can derive benefit from the combined achievements of all faiths.

Joop Koopman: What are the most urgent lessons the East can teach the West?

Sri Chinmoy: The East can teach the West the power of silence. The West can teach the East the power of science.

The East is introvert. The West is extrovert.

There will be a meeting place where the East and the West can come together. Together they can say, "We have and we are," and not "I have and I am."

1.1

Some people wait for inspiration-bird to come and fly to them and drop on their heads or in their laps. In my case, either I command the inspiration-bird to come to me or I chase the bird. As soon as I chase the bird, I catch it.

Poetry can be very subtle; at the same time, it can be very powerful. With two words compressed, you can say so much. Poetry does not have to be delicate and feminine. It can be extremely powerful. Even a delicate word can be powerful.


  1. CSC 9. Sri Chinmoy made the following informal comments on poetry on 3 November 1989.

2.1

The Lord Beloved Absolute Supreme, out of His infinite Bounty, has created thousands of soul-stirring, heart-elevating and life-awakening mantras in English in and through your Master.

There was a time when my ignorance-ocean thought that mantras, incantations, could be written only in Sanskrit. Ignorance vast was my name. Then wisdom dawned on me when I read and studied Sri Aurobindo's Savitri. At that time, I came to realise that mantras can be created in English as well.

My wisdom increased when I read some of the lines of the well-known English poets. To my great surprise and joy, these English poets definitely created mantras. I am sure other languages have also offered mantras.

Now I know that mantras are not the sole monopoly of Sanskrit. They can be the wealth, the most divine wealth, of each and every language.


  1. CSC 10. Sri Chinmoy offered the following reflections on mantras on 29 December 2002 in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Part III

CSC 11-12. These questions were asked on 27 November 2003 in Singapore.

Question: When the Cosmic Gods and Goddesses come to you while you are lifting heavy weights, what kind of help do they give you?

Sri Chinmoy: Their very presence helps me. They come with such goodwill and such compassion. On the physical plane, I am doing it, but their very blessings help me. They come to bless me because they want to show that the physical has to be the representative of the spiritual. There should not be a yawning gulf between the physical and the spiritual. The spiritual has to work in and through the physical, and the physical has to be properly receptive to the spiritual. So I am trying to build a bridge between the physical and the spiritual. Perhaps other spiritual Masters did not try to do this, because it is almost an impossible task. They are satisfied only with the spiritual.

According to Sri Aurobindo, the physical means matter. Here we are talking of matter and spirit. In terms of receptivity, the physical is the worst. It is a solid wall. We try so hard to make the body receptive, but it is almost an impossible task. That is why the Cosmic Gods and Goddesses come. Their very blessings help me and they offer me their boundless encouragement.

Question: Do they actually shoulder any of the weight?

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely they shoulder. When you identify with someone, you have such intensity. Your entire will-power, your life-breath, you give to the person whom you love, whom you treasure, for him to be successful. When I used to watch Sudhahota Carl Lewis running and jumping, how powerfully I used to identify with him!

Here also, when the Cosmic Gods and Goddesses come to bless me, they have such strong will for me to lift up the heavy weight. Where does that will go? It enters into my body. I am using my physical body —- my arms and shoulder muscles —- but they are using their inner will-power to help me.

Part IV

CSC 13-24. These questions were submitted to Sri Chinmoy by Mathias Tietke for the magazines Yoga Actuell and Yoga Forum. Sri Chinmoy answered the questions on 3 November 2005.

Question: What are the qualities of a spiritual person?

Sri Chinmoy: A spiritual person is simple, kind, compassionate and self-giving.

Question: How important is it to follow a Guru and what should distinguish such a Teacher?

Sri Chinmoy: It is necessary but not obligatory to have a Guru. A Guru hastens the progress of his disciple. The spiritual Teacher, with God's Grace, helps the disciple to illumine his darkness and ignorance.

Question: What role do discipline and obedience play?

Sri Chinmoy: Discipline and obedience in the spiritual life are of paramount importance.

Question: What does Yoga mean for you and what is the benefit of meditating regularly?

Sri Chinmoy: Yoga is a Sanskrit word. It means "union with God". Anything that we practise regularly is bound to give us satisfaction and progress. Irregularity can never give us satisfaction.

Question: A Yoga teacher once said to me that to be detached is Yoga. Then that would mean everything is equally valid. What is your point of view concerning this, Sri Chinmoy?

Sri Chinmoy: Detachment is one part of Yoga; it is not all. Everything has its own value, but if we are detached from the things that lower our consciousness, detached from the things that we are otherwise attached to, then we can make much faster progress. Attachment in the spiritual life brings in only untold sufferings. We should do everything to the best of our capacity and remain detached as to the result. Whatever result comes, we must place it at the Feet of God to make ourselves happy.

Question: Does every person carry equally the Divine within himself or are there serious differences?

Sri Chinmoy: Everyone cannot have the same qualities or capacities. According to our inner receptivity, we embody the Divinity within us.

Question: Is the inner peace of the individual a prerequisite or the result of outer peace?

Sri Chinmoy: The outer peace is something that comes from the inner peace. The outer peace does not last for long, but the inner peace lasts for a very long time, or even permanently.

Question: The Bhagavad Gita has been quoted again and again as a justification for war. Is such an interpretation justified?

Sri Chinmoy: We must know that Lord Sri Krishna tried his very best to avert the war. He went three times to the Kauravas to plead with them not to have the war. The Battle of Kurukshetra was a last resort. Sri Krishna's message was love, universal love, but when the enemies are unwilling either to compromise or to have an amicable feeling, then what can one do?

Question: One has to pay from US $25 up to US $140 for attending a concert nowadays. How is it possible that your concerts are free?

Sri Chinmoy: My concerts are free because my students all over the world are very kind and generous to me. They want to defray all the expenses of the concerts that I offer. I have given more than 700 concerts in various countries and some of the venues are very well known —- Royal Albert Hall in London, Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall in New York, Davies Hall in San Francisco and so forth. I feel it is my duty to offer my music to my brothers and sisters of the world free of charge. So my students have organised these concerts and they are encouraging me to offer them without charge.

Question: What do you mean exactly by the term "World Harmony" which was used for your concert tour?

Sri Chinmoy: If we have harmony in the family then we get full satisfaction from our lives. Each and every family should join together and create world harmony. Lack of world harmony has made the world sorrowful. The word 'harmony' itself creates a kind of sweet feeling in us. This sweet feeling can and will create world harmony.

If there is harmony, there can be no misunderstanding, and if there is no misunderstanding, today's world will have a new outlook on life. I have given the name "World Harmony" to my concerts precisely because I feel that each and every human being wants to have a peaceful and blissful life, and for this world harmony is the answer.

Question: Are you, as a musician, also open to criticism and controversies and how do you handle them?

Sri Chinmoy: Being a spiritual man, I always try to be far above criticism and controversies. It is infinitely easier to criticise others than to appreciate them. Our Creator is all Love. No critic can perfect us. It is God alone who can perfect us. Therefore, to obtain perfection, we must look to God and not to the critics.

I am a musician; I am an artist. I listen to the dictates of my inner musician and inner artist, and I do not pay any attention to criticism and controversies.

Question: The musicians Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin were among your most prominent students. Do these contacts still exist?

Sri Chinmoy: In the inner world my connection with these great musicians does exist, but not in the outer world. In the inner world, their souls and my soul still maintain a very good and healthy connection. I still love them and I become happier than the happiest when they do something great to inspire and elevate the consciousness of humanity.

Part V

CSC 25-33. This article appeared in The Star Tribune, the Twin Cities' largest circulated newspaper on Saturday, 14 October 2000. Sri Chinmoy responded to questions asked by Martha Sawyert Allen. Ms. Allen writes a column called "Faith and Body". Sri Chinmoy actually answered the questions over the telephone on Sunday, 8 October at 9:30 a.m.

Question: What do you try to accomplish with your concerts?

Sri Chinmoy: With my concerts I try to be of devoted service to mankind and to be a good citizen of the world. It is my wish that we all cultivate the inner hunger to become good citizens to inspire the whole world and to work together for the betterment of the world.

Question: Do you find Westerners open to your Eastern concepts, or does it take extra training?

Sri Chinmoy: I feel that Westerners have always been open to our Eastern concepts. They readily, lovingly, soulfully and self-givingly have accepted our Eastern concepts.

Question: Does it take extra training?

Sri Chinmoy: No, it does not. Their hearts are completely ready. Therefore, it does not take extra training for them to accept the spiritual way of India.

Question: Please talk a little more about some of your teachings that we are not familiar with —- for instance, how jealousy can ruin our lives.

Sri Chinmoy: Jealousy means division. Anything that divides us will eventually ruin us. When we are jealous, we see only our little self as our own, our very own. The larger self, which is the world-self or universal self, we forget entirely. Jealousy is one of the things that divide us, and these things will eventually destroy us unless we conquer them.

Question: How does one truly reach one's own pure heart?

Sri Chinmoy: One can reach one's own pure heart in two ways: either by soulfully repeating the word "purity, purity, purity" or by cultivating sincere tears in one's heart. In these two ways, one can automatically be blessed or inundated with most genuine purity. Again, to have a pure heart we have to bring devotion, sincere, genuine devotion, to the fore in our life.

Question: Please say a little more about your statement that, for the beginner, meditation seems to be the highest reality, but when one becomes an advanced seeker one knows that meditation only leads to the highest reality.

Sri Chinmoy: Meditation is both the way and the goal. In the beginning, meditation plays the role of a staircase. We need a staircase to climb up to a certain height. Then there comes a time when we see that this meditation not only leads to the highest but actually embodies the highest. We say that God is the Boat, God is the Boatman, God is the Way and God is the Goal. In exactly the same way we can describe meditation. With meditation we go up, up, and up until finally we become the meditation itself. And this meditation embodies the universal Light, the universal Delight, God the Creator and God the creation at the same time.

Question: You work with people of many faiths. Do you accept that all faiths are valid?

Sri Chinmoy: I do accept that all faiths are valid. They are all equally important.

Question: Do you have some standard for what is a valid faith?

Sri Chinmoy: No. All the religions embody divinity in infinite measure. I take them all as one. But in my case, I say there is only one faith, one religion, and that is love of God. I love God according to my capacity. You love God according to your capacity. Someone else loves God according to his capacity. All religions, all faiths, are equally true and equally divine. Again, the universal truth is that there is only one religion, and that religion is our love of God.

Question: What is your ultimate desire?

Sri Chinmoy: My ultimate desire is to see a world inundated with peace and bliss. And I would like to take part, soulfully and self-givingly, in that divine project.

Question: How would the world be if it followed your hope for it?

Sri Chinmoy: If the world becomes one with my hope, then there will be no misunderstandings, no disputes, no conflicts and no fights, no wars. Only harmony will reign supreme. Harmony will cover the length and breadth of the world.

Question: Of all the people you have met, who has the closest understanding of what you teach?

Sri Chinmoy: Over the years, I have met with many world figures. I must say, Mother Teresa proved to me that she was at once my mother and my sister. This moment she was all affection for me, like a sister; the next moment she was all compassion for me, like a mother. She was the one who was closest to my real spiritual life. She understood me, I feel, more than anybody else, because she herself was the most devoted child —- the darling, you can say —- of the Saviour Jesus Christ.

Question: Don't you ever get discouraged at the state of the world, with all the fighting, violence and unhappiness?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, for like everyone, I have both the divine in me and the human in me. The human in me does get discouraged. But the divine in me is never discouraged, because the divine in me embodies infinite poise and peace. The divine in me accepts the world as it is. It is the bounden duty of the divine in me to be of service to mankind and to pray to the Absolute Supreme to elevate the consciousness of mankind. Therefore, the divine in me is never discouraged. The human in me at times is definitely discouraged. But again, this discouragement does not last long. The divine in me illumines the human in me so that it does not suffer for a long time from discouragement.

Each individual can become discouraged when his desire is not fulfilled, when his aspiration is not fulfilled, when his sincere and devoted service is not accepted by the world. But again, if he sees that the Supreme Pilot within him is guiding him and piloting him to the destined goal, to what we call the Golden Shore of the ever-transcending Beyond, then his discouragement does not last more than five seconds or five minutes, or a maximum of an hour. In my case it does not last more than 35 minutes, no matter how discouraged I am. After five seconds or 35 minutes, the human in me becomes inseparably one with the divine in me, and then there is no such thing as discouragement or sadness. At that time, I am dealing with Infinity's Joy, Light and Bliss. Infinity's Joy, Light and Bliss are blessing me and showering their wealth upon my devoted head and surrendered life.

Part VI

CSC 34-43. These questions were answered by Sri Chinmoy on 26 September 2004 at Aspiration-Ground in Jamaica, New York.

Question: Guru, these past few years have been so difficult...

Sri Chinmoy: This year has been very difficult.

Question: These past three or four years have been very difficult in our manifestation. Many of us have been unable, for whatever reason, to do what we would have liked to do in terms of serving the Supreme. What can we do for the time being until things clear up a little bit and we can go on and do our work in the world?

Sri Chinmoy: Outwardly, for certain reasons, we cannot do some things right now, but inwardly we can increase our aspiration. As we have outer aspiration, outer dedication and outer manifestation, even so, we have inner aspiration, inner dedication and inner manifestation. The other day when I said to Charles Osgood, "For the time being we are unable to do our peace work," he immediately said, "But your spirit is doing inwardly, your spirit."

So there are things we cannot do outwardly, owing to some reason. But inwardly we can intensify our inspiration and aspiration. And again, when the time comes, we will be able to do the things that we once did more vigorously, more powerfully and more satisfactorily than we did before.

Question: I would like to know how to be vigilant in my spiritual life without being anxious and worried.

Sri Chinmoy: When we become anxious, we weaken our nerves. To be eager and to be anxious are not the same. We can be eager to do something, but when we are anxious, nervousness enters. The best thing is to increase our eagerness to do something, but if any kind of anxious feeling comes, it ruins our pure joy. Immediately nervousness is there.

When we are anxious to do something, sometimes we even adopt foul means. Eagerness on the other hand is something really divine. So we have to be always eager, eager, eager. Eagerness will automatically keep us aware of our goal.

If eagerness is there, real eagerness, then God's Grace descends spontaneously and unconditionally. So the best thing is to be always eager, eager to do something good, divine, illumining and fulfilling.

Question: When we pray, is there any way that God would prefer us to pray, besides being intense? There are so many ways to pray —- we can pray with a cry, we can pray with a smile and so forth. Is there any way that God prefers to hear our prayers that would make our prayers reach His Ears or be more effective?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. When we pray, not with the tears of our eyes but with the tears of our heart, that prayer is by far the best. Not with the prayer of smiling or laughing, not with a complacent feeling and not with a merely devoted feeling, no. There should be burning tears inside the heart. For anything that we pray, God will be the Judge.

The best kind of prayer has to be inside the heart, not in the mind, and that prayer has to be full of tears. Then God is bound to listen.

Again, if God fulfils our desires, it can take a different form from what we imagined. We are trying to get our prayers fulfilled in one way, but when God is satisfied with us, pleased with us, He may fulfil the same desire in a totally different way, in a way that is far beyond our imagination. Then we become so grateful to God.

While we are praying for something, we do not know how the outcome or result will come to us. So the best thing is to cry in the heart with tears. This prayer expedites its own fulfilment.

Question: Lately I have not only been feeling physically weak, but also weak in other ways. I am wondering how I can become strong to run the fastest.

Sri Chinmoy: Remain silent, silent, silent! Even while you are walking, do not allow any thought to come. Do not say, "Oh, this is a good thought, that is a bad thought." No. Try to have no thought, no thought. Let God think inside you. Let the Supreme think inside you. Let Him do the needful. If any thought comes, stop it, stop it, stop it. Then you will see how much energy you get, how much willingness, eagerness and everything that you need; the way will be shown to you.

Only keep the mind absolutely quiet — even for two minutes, three minutes. It is like the development of a muscle. Today if you can keep the mind completely still for two minutes and tomorrow for three minutes, then gradually, gradually, if you do this for a long time, you will see how much you can improve in your inner life —- not only in your inner life, but also in your outer life. You will be able to make tremendous improvement.

Question: At this particular time in history, what is the best way for each of us as individuals to help our own country go forward?

Sri Chinmoy: The only answer is via prayers and meditation. There is no outer way. No discussion, no advice —- nothing will work at this point in the outer world. Only in the inner world we have to gain more wealth through our prayers, our meditation, and our love, devotion and surrender to God's Will. We have to accumulate inner strength, inner strength, inner strength. Sometimes we desperately need inner strength to come forward. So this is the time when, if you want to do something for your country, you have to pray deep within and accumulate the strength that will be used later on.

Now only try to accumulate and hold as much as you can in the inner world, in the inner life. Then the time will come when you will be able to use that inner wealth in your outer life, to serve your country.

Question: When I feel unworthy, I doubt that God will forgive me. I do not see how I can expect to be forgiven in one short incarnation.

Sri Chinmoy: Ask yourself, is there any way we can defeat God? The answer is no. If God uses His Forgiveness-Power, then this Forgiveness-Power is infinitely stronger than all the misdeeds that you think you have done in this incarnation or even in your previous incarnations.

Think of a room that remains unlit for days or even months. Then you come in and turn on the switch, and in the twinkling of an eye you get back the light. Similarly, you have to feel that your weakness is nothing, nothing, in comparison to God's Compassion-Power or Forgiveness-Power.

Now the question is, you say, why should God forgive you if you repeatedly do the same wrong thing? Today you do the wrong thing and then you pray to God, "O Lord, forgive me, forgive me, forgive me!" Then again tomorrow you may do the same thing. It is like a person who eats chili. Today he says, "My tongue is burning! I will not take chili any more." Then again the next day he takes chili and again he burns his tongue.

I am coming back to your point. God will forgive us no matter how many times we do the wrong thing, if we have a sincere cry. But will He not be more pleased with us if we do not repeat the same wrong thing again and again?

God's Forgiveness is always there, true, but God will be proud of us when we can give up the wrong things altogether. If it is not possible to give them up overnight, then every day try to decrease the number of things that are wrong in your mind or in your outer life. You know how many times you are doing something wrong in your outer life or inner life. Count them. Then next day see if you are able to decrease the number. So like that, little by little, if you can decrease the number, a day will come when you will not make any mistake. At that time, God will not only be pleased; He will be very, very, very proud of you. Always remember that God's Compassion-Power is infinitely stronger than all the blunders you think you have made.

Question: When I work with world decision-makers who have built their career with their mind and with their power, how can I bring their heart to the fore?

Sri Chinmoy: If it is possible, from time to time, try to focus your eyes on their heart and try to feel the Presence of the Supreme there. It can be difficult, for God alone knows where He is or what He is doing. But you can easily imagine the face of your spiritual Master. Imagine the face of your spiritual Master inside that person. And then try to see one thing: either the tears or the smiles of the spiritual Master. If you feel that it will be easy for you to bring the heart qualities of the person to the fore, then you can imagine the Master's smiles. But if you feel that it is taking time, or it will be taking a very long time, then see the Master's tears or his very, very sad face.

Suppose you are spending fifteen minutes with some very important person. For at least one minute you can try to look into the heart of the person. You do not have to keep your eyes open in order to do so. You can keep your eyes partially closed, but your concentration has to be right on the heart of that person.

A few days ago, when I lifted Larry McConneghey, he said to me, "We have to give the mind a heart!" So when some important people are trying to rule the world with their mind, you can also pray, "O God, give them a heart, give them a heart." You will pray to God in silence to give them a heart, and try to feel inside their heart for a minute or so. Then try to feel your Master's presence there. Either your Master will be in tears or he will be smiling. If he is smiling, that means you will be succeeding very soon. If he is in tears, then it will take a longer time. But the whole thing has to be done in silence, through prayer.

If these important world decision-makers continue using their mind, they are bound to fail. But if they use their heart, they will eventually succeed. So if you see even a little progress in them, try to increase your prayer-power for them to remain in the heart and work in the heart.

Question: I find that as we get older, we have to be kinder to our physical body.

Sri Chinmoy: Not at all! I do not agree with your theory! If we become kinder to our physical body, then we will only lie down and sleep for twenty-four hours. The older we become, the more we have to be conscious about the activities of the body and the stronger will we have to be. Otherwise, lethargy will overtake us.

The more we show an affectionate feeling or a compassionate feeling to the body, the more the body will take advantage of us. Some people say, "Ah, I am now on the wrong side of fifty, so I should stay in bed. At least fifteen minutes more rest I deserve." But I do not agree with those people at all. I believe we have to say, "No, I am now on the wrong side of fifty. Therefore, I should take fifteen minutes less rest."

Like that, always we have to ask the body to do more and more, not less and less and less. If we tell the body, "You need more rest, much more rest," that will be the wrong approach. Then, even when we try to energise the body, the body will not listen to us. If we surrender to the body, if we want to become kind to the body, then we are digging our own grave. At first, the body will be so happy, but then this same body will make our lives useless, useless, useless.

True, you can no longer run at seven minutes per mile pace, but if you can run at even ten minutes per mile or eleven minutes per mile, you should do it. Otherwise, if you allow the body to go in its own way, that will be a horrible mistake. Inside the body, the mind is working. Once upon a time, the body was used by the mind to run the fastest. Now the same mind is telling the body, "You are useless!" Once upon a time, the mind compelled you to get up at six o'clock and meditate. Now the same mind is telling you, "It is too early!" Finally, you get up at eight o'clock and then the mind has to say, "It is too late!"

So the best thing is always to be strict with the body and to be more vigilant about its activities. And if we say we need more rest, more rest, we are only weakening our inner strength. No, we do not need that kind of weakness.

But again, you have to use your wisdom. If you see that lack of rest is telling upon your health, if you see that it is weakening you, then you have to be very careful. At that time, it is good to be wise. If you are taking less rest and, as a result, you are unable to walk in the street —- you are dragging your body —- then you have to know that you have gone beyond the capacity of the body.

So be wise. See how much the body can take. Sometimes we have no idea how much capacity the body has because the mind is acting in and through the body. The body may have the capacity to walk 200 metres, but the mind will say, "Fifty metres is enough." We have to watch how much the body can do for us, and how much we can do in and through the body.

If we take the attitude, "O my body, you are too old! Now I have to be very careful, I have to be very wise in dealing with you because I know that every day your capacity is decreasing, decreasing," if we have that kind of compassionate feeling towards the body, then in a few months or a few years, the body will say, "At last I have full freedom!" Full freedom in this case means nothing other than inaction. Sooner than at once activity will disappear from your life. So always use your wisdom, wisdom, wisdom.

Question: How can one bring forward the determination from within to do the right thing?

Sri Chinmoy: Only by virtue of prayer. There is no other way. Like a child, you have to cry and cry. The child thinks that if it cries for its toy for five minutes, the mother is bound to give it. No! The mother watches for ten or fifteen minutes, or even half an hour. Then she says, "It is a hopeless case. I must give it to him because he is not going to stop."

When I am sitting in my chair, my little dog Chela will come and cry for food. I think that he will stop crying at any moment, but he does not stop. His cry becomes louder and louder, as if he is going to attack me! Here also, when a little child cries and cries, eventually he becomes desperate. Similarly, when we become really desperate, then the inner determination comes. But our determination is not like a child's, no. There should be some poise in it. And there should be tears.

If you can develop sincere tears, then you will really get determination. Everything depends on the heart's cries and tears. If we really want to become a good person or do something for the world, we have to feel not the tears of the eyes, but the tears of the heart. Inside the heart, we have to feel streaming tears; we have to feel that our heart is bleeding for something. Then determination comes.

Everything is inside the heart. If we can live inside the heart for five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes, we will find the answer. The question "How can I have determination or adamantine will" comes from the mind, but the answer lies in the heart, the heart's tears. For everything, the heart's tears is the answer. And through these tears, we say to God, "I am placing my entire being at Your Feet, O Lord. Please, please give me the determination to do the right thing and not resort to the wrong thing."

Question: When does oneness become permanent?

Sri Chinmoy: One kind of oneness we get from God-realisation. That oneness is absolutely permanent. Once we realise God, oneness becomes permanent. Again, God-realisation is something that cannot be understood. It cannot even be felt. It can only be lived. That is why a spiritual Master may sometimes behave outwardly in a way that we cannot appreciate or understand.

Before God-realisation I do not think complete oneness with God's Will can be achieved. In the case of my disciples, some have established their outer oneness with me. If I tell them to do something in the outer world, they immediately do it, gladly and cheerfully. Everybody is seeing that they are doing it very happily, that they have established oneness with the Master. But in the inner world, there is often a tremendous conflict going on because their mind is telling them that what the Master is saying is not the right thing or the way he is asking for something to be done is not the right way.

If one can have inner oneness for five minutes, it is a great achievement. But, alas, this inner oneness disappears sooner than at once if the desires of the disciple are not fulfilled, or if somebody else is making faster progress, or if one feels that one is not doing well, that one is going downhill.

If we use our inner wisdom, then we will feel that without establishing oneness with God's Will we will never, never, never be happy. Some people derive happiness from their depression, from their frustration. There are other people who, for some reason, become very angry with someone and torture that person outwardly. Then they feel it is God's Will that they should have acted in this way to punish that person. In so many ways, human beings imagine that such-and-such is the way to establish oneness with God's Will. But I do not think it is possible to have permanent oneness with God before God-realisation, unless perhaps a seeker is on the verge of God-realisation. Otherwise, this moment you can be absolutely one with God's Will, then next moment you receive a sad piece of news and it is all gone. Then again, you receive a piece of good news and again you get back your oneness.

Another thing is that in oneness, there can be so much pride! Some people establish their oneness with God's Will for five minutes or five hours or five days, and then they are filled with tremendous pride. They look this side and feel that somebody else has not established oneness; they look that side and see that another person is millions of miles away from oneness with God's Will.

So I feel that for everything it is important to do the right thing and wait for God's Hour. As long as the mind is very active and the mind has not surrendered to the heart, permanent oneness is not possible. If the mind can surrender to the heart, or take advice from the heart, definitely it is much easier to establish oneness. Our souls are always one with God's Will. That oneness is absolutely permanent. But the soul is not strong enough to work in and through the body, vital, mind and sometimes the heart also.

What the Will of God is, the soul knows, but then, when the soul tells the mind, the mind revolts. When the soul tells the vital, the vital revolts. And when it tells the body, the body starts sleeping.

In order to become one with God's Will, we have to feel the necessity of self-giving —- physically, vitally, mentally, psychically and spiritually. We have to be always ready. We do not know what God's Will is, but we do know that God's Will exists. We do not have to know what God's Will is, as long as we repeat the sacred prayer of Jesus Christ: "Let Thy Will be done —- not my will, always Your Will." You may say, if you do not know what God's Will is, how will He work? But it is not at all necessary to know what God's Will is. Only pray to God, "God, I do not know and I do not want to know what Your Will is. Only I am praying to You to execute Your Will in and through me."

When God starts executing His Will in and through you, that means God has established His Oneness with you in your inner life and outer life. Just pray to our Beloved Supreme to act in and through you at every moment. That is the way you can establish oneness, not by thinking about oneness. If you can repeat, "Your Will, Your Will, Your Will, not my will, not my will, not my will," then while you are sleeping, while you are dreaming also, you will be able to hear the same thing, the same inner voice: O Supreme, Your Will, Your Will, Your Will. Each time you say "Your Will," you establish your oneness with God's Will.

Part VII

CSC 44-48. These questions were answered by Sri Chinmoy on 3 January 2005 at the Hai Tian Hotel in Qingdao, China.

Question: If somebody does something first, does that person pave the way for others in the inner worlds? If somebody breaks the four-minute mile barrier, for example, is it easier for others to follow him?

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely, definitely. When a pioneer does something, that means a new dream has blossomed on earth because of him. He opens the door for others to come in. Those who do the same thing later have the advantage of knowing that somebody else has done it. The one who has no predecessor has to be remembered because he has accepted the challenge of something most difficult. It is like climbing up the Himalayas. He should be given credit. Afterwards, people may do it more easily; they may break his records, but definitely he deserves the credit.

Question: Is there any quick way to get affection and forgiveness from our soul?

Sri Chinmoy: Only imagine your soul and shed soulful tears. Imagination is a reality in itself. Try to imagine your soul as a most beautiful child. Then shed bitter tears in front of the soul. Your soul will rectify all the mistakes that you have made.

Question: When we were listening to your synthesizer the other day, it seemed like different qualities were coming forward in different parts, and I was just wondering if you wanted to tell us anything about what was happening inwardly?

Sri Chinmoy: It is not a matter of telling; it is a matter of feeling. One person will feel that it is thundering. Somebody else will feel that a flute is being played. If you like thunder-roar, you will appreciate that part. If you like the sweet melody of the flute, you will appreciate that.

Question: When I am back at home working, I try to imagine you in person as often as possible, but sometimes because there is so much happening, it is difficult. And yet, when I concentrate on my heart, I often feel it is full of light and full of joy. I was wondering if that is enough?

Sri Chinmoy: That is quite enough. If you are finding it difficult to concentrate, breathe in a few times. Take very, very deep breaths and remember me, specially my smile. You can remember how many times I have smiled at you. If that is also difficult, immediately look at my Transcendental Picture. All my disciples carry the Transcendental either in their wallet or on a chain. The Transcendental will do everything for you. You may not see the Transcendental smiling, but if you look at the Transcendental and remember one of my pictures where I am smiling, the Transcendental will be able to show you my smiling face. The Transcendental is my highest, but when you need a smile, if you concentrate on my smiling aspect, I assure you, the Transcendental will be able to show you my smiling aspect. In spite of maintaining all the time my highest height, it will be able to show you my smiling face. The Transcendental has everything and it is everything. If I have given something to the world that the world will forever and forever cherish, then that is my Transcendental Picture. Again, it is not a picture. It represents the Transcendental Consciousness. When you look at the picture, you are definitely concentrating on my Transcendental Consciousness, not just a picture on a piece of paper.

Question: Why is the mind afraid of visiting Heaven?

Sri Chinmoy: Why is your mind afraid of visiting Heaven? I am dying to visit Heaven and live there, and you are afraid of it! When you use the mind to visit Heaven, immediately the mind reminds you of how many unaspiring, undivine things you have done. The moment you think of Heaven with your mind, your mind becomes frightened because it thinks that Heaven will immediately show you the picture of all the things you have done wrong.

But if you use your heart to visit Heaven, you will not be frightened in the least. The heart is like a little child. A child is not at all afraid of going to the mother or to the father. The child feels that he is an open book. It is the responsibility of the parents to clean him, to tell him the truth and to help him be a good person in every way. A child is not afraid. He even comes running towards a fire. He does not know that the fire will burn him. He simply gets joy from going to a new place and, for a child, Heaven is a new place.

If you use the heart, you will never be afraid of Heaven, but if you use the mind, immediately so many things that you have done wrong over the years will enter into your mind and then you will get frightened. If a student has not studied, if he has not done his homework, he will be afraid of going to school because he feels that the teacher will scold him. But if the student knows that he has worked very hard, he has done his homework and so forth, then he will not be afraid of the teacher because he knows that he will pass the examination.

The mind is like a student before the examination and the heart is like a little child running towards its parents.

Part VIII

CSC 49-60. On 14 January 2005, Sri Chinmoy responded to questions asked by Gaia, a reporter for the Beijing Science and Technology Report. Her interview was conducted over the telephone. Gaia was in Beijing and Sri Chinmoy was at the Shangri-La Golden Flower Hotel in Xi'an.

Sri Chinmoy: Good morning! Good morning! Your name is Gaia? Did you know that Gaia is also an Indian name? In India there is a very sacred city named Gaya. Bodh Gaya is a place of pilgrimage. Near that place, under the bodhi tree, the Buddha reached Nirvana. There he attained his full illumination so it is a very sacred place for us, a most sacred place.

I understand you have several questions. May I start answering them?

Question: Of all the many instruments that you play, which instrument do you like the most?

Sri Chinmoy: I play quite a few musical instruments. My most favourite instrument is the esraj. It is an Indian instrument and it originated over five hundred years ago during the time of the Moghul emperors. The greatest of all the emperors was Akbar. It was at his court that the musicians used to play this particular instrument, the esraj.

Question: What message do you wish to offer people through your music?

Sri Chinmoy: As we all know, music is a universal language. Here we do not have to learn Chinese. Of course, if we can learn it, it will be to our great advantage. And you may not know Bengali. But you do not have to learn Bengali. My Bengali songs will be able to enter into your heart. On the strength of their sweet melodies, they will be able to enter into your heart. Again, here I have heard quite a few Chinese songs and I was very, very deeply moved. I do not know a single word of Chinese, but in music there is no language barrier. It approaches the heart sooner than at once. That is why we can easily understand, appreciate and admire the music from other countries.

In that way, music plays a very special role in our lives. I have offered concerts in many, many places. My musical performances are based on my own inner feelings. Each person has to have tremendous faith in his own life. Being an Indian, I pray and meditate. This is my way of life, my lifestyle. And I try to convey the significance of my inner prayers and meditations through my musical performances.

I believe in God. Other seekers will say that they believe in Truth. My God and their Truth are identical. Still others believe in Light. The Lord Buddha believed in Light; he did not believe in God at all. His inner Light is the same as our God. God and Light cannot be separated. God and Truth cannot be separated. Again, if you have a strong belief in yourself, then your own belief is the same as my God. God can be Light, God can be Truth and God can be belief, a very strong belief, for which we use the term faith.

Question: How many instruments do you play during a concert?

Sri Chinmoy: When I play for two and a half hours, I usually play between twenty and twenty-five instruments. But when I play for an hour and fifteen minutes, I play about twelve or thirteen instruments. And sometimes I show off! I play one hundred instruments, but it is only for my students, to give them joy. Two times, I believe, I have played over one hundred instruments at a time.

My students are very, very kind and generous to me. They supply me with musical instruments from their countries, and I enjoy playing so many unique instruments. As you know, I am a "jack of all trades, master of none." I am a musician, and I am an artist. I am a poet, and I am a singer. I am also a weightlifter. But in all sincerity, I have to say that I am a master of none. Only one thing I would like to be the master of and that is my prayer-life and meditation-life. I started my life with prayer and meditation and I want to continue doing this until I breathe my last. The most important things in my life are prayer and meditation; the other things are all secondary.

Question: In the face of natural disasters, such as the tsunami that recently occurred, there are two ways in which we can respond. The first is to feel that human beings must respect nature much more. The second is to feel that human beings should come first and so we need even more advanced technology to protect humans from disasters. Which is your view?

Sri Chinmoy: I most sincerely subscribe to both views. Firstly, we have to respect nature. President Gorbachev and others are trying desperately to save Mother Nature. Here, there, everywhere, nature is being destroyed, so their Green Cross organisation is trying to preserve nature, preserve the environment. Nature is the expression of our inner life, our higher life. It is from nature that we get all good things—beauty, tranquillity, humility, simplicity and many other divine qualities. Above all, nature is spontaneous. When we develop the mind, we become so complex; we cannot do anything spontaneously. Nature helps us to regain our spontaneity. Like this, nature helps us in millions of ways to become good citizens of the world. That is why we must respect and adore nature.

Your second point is that we need even more advanced technology to protect humans from disaster. I also fully agree with this statement. Science and technology must make progress. But, forgive me to say, no matter how far we advance with our science and technology, if nature becomes furious, nature is not going to surrender to our scientific and technological achievements. The universal nature is infinitely more powerful than the scientific achievements of man. These achievements, I tell you, will be no match for Mother Nature if she becomes furious.

So these are two approaches: advanced technology and our respect for Mother Nature so that she does not get angry with us and torture us by creating natural disasters. Your two approaches are absolutely right, but if I am allowed, I would like to add one more approach which will not interfere at all with the first two. This third approach is prayer —- prayer to the highest, to the strongest, to the most powerful One to protect us from harm, from nature's disasters, or from anything and anybody.

If we can apply all three approaches at the same time, then there is a great possibility for us to avert nature's disasters.

Question: Are you saying that we should bring forward our love, wisdom and technology at the same time?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. I feel that all three should be combined —- love of nature, inner wisdom and the advancement of technology. Then we will be able to face nature's disasters. Inner wisdom is nothing but love, the feeling of oneness. If we sincerely love someone, then that person is not going to harm us.

This world is only one family. You are my sister; I am your brother. The whole world is a big family and it is composed of our brothers and sisters. Each individual in this family has something unique to contribute to the world at large. We can all live together peacefully or we can quarrel and fight and wage wars.

So this world of ours has two choices: one is to establish friendship, brotherhood and oneness. Another is to try to conquer or destroy others. When we adopt this approach, ultimately, we destroy ourselves.

What we, as human beings, actually want is joy, happiness and satisfaction. These qualities we can only get by uniting ourselves with other human beings. Those human beings are nothing but an extension of our own reality. When we establish our oneness with the rest of the world-family, we get joy and this joy lasts forever. But when we conquer someone by using superior strength and power, by hook or by crook, we cannot get permanent joy.

One approach is absolutely correct: the establishment of oneness with the whole world-family. The other approach is to sing the song of supremacy. We feel we have to prove that we are stronger than somebody else, or the world has to know that we are the stronger. That approach is the wrong one. Only through union do we get joy; not by division.

When we extend ourselves, when we spread our wings and claim the whole world as our own, very own, when we love Mother Nature, then the joy that we get will be everlasting. And this joy has in it sweetness, tremendous sweetness. We are longing for this joy, the joy of the creation.

Question: How can people have love?

Sri Chinmoy: If we do not have love, what are we aiming at? If we do not love the world, that means we can be neutral or indifferent to the world. When we hate the world, we destroy ourselves. Again, when we are indifferent, we do not get any joy. We have to love the world and accept the world as our very own. What for? For the betterment of the world.

Your question is, how can we have love? The answer is, if we do not love, what happens? The world that we are now facing is all hatred, all supremacy. By not loving one another, we are suffering so much.

But how to love someone or something? First, if we do not love ourselves, we cannot love others. If we are happy early in the morning, then on the street whomever we see, we try to greet or give a smile. But if in the morning we are unhappy, then we do not even look at others. We feel miserable and we may even go to the length of saying that if we see others, we have ruined our whole day. If we are happy inwardly, then the whole world is good for us. But if we are miserable deep within, then we blame the whole world. We never blame ourselves; we blame the world. And who is actually at fault? It is we who are to be blamed.

So how do we love the world? I want to say that we can love the world by creating joy. From joy we get love and from love we get joy. How do we create joy? We get it by doing something. A little child gets joy by playing with her doll. If I have faith in God, by praying to Him I get joy. When I get joy, I immediately find that I want to apply it in my day-to-day life. Then this joy is transformed into love.

I wish to say that we must pay attention to the things that give us joy. Then from joy we can get love. We have to start with joy. We came into the world to give joy and to accept joy from the world. But, unfortunately, many people are using the mind instead of the heart. That is why they find it so difficult to get joy from the world. The mind's only joy is to divide and divide. By cutting the reality into pieces, the mind tries to get joy. The heart wants to keep that reality intact. It does not want to cut the reality into pieces.

So our heart is the answer. The heart has joy and the heart has love, whereas the mind is empty of joy. Something more, the mind takes away all our inner joy that we derive from the heart. Because of the mind, we doubt others, we become jealous of others. If somebody is good or if somebody has achieved something remarkable, we use the doubting mind and we try to belittle that person or the achievement of that person. By doubting somebody or by becoming jealous of someone, are we getting any joy?

If we use our heart, on the other hand, to identify ourselves with that person, we get such joy! If we are using our heart to listen to a most lovely and beautiful piece of music, we will identify ourselves with the music, with the singer or with the melody. We may even feel that we are the singer, that we are carrying the melody. But if we use the mind, then we become jealous of the singer, jealous of the music and so forth.

So the heart and the mind give us two different experiences. One appreciates others and the other tries to minimise their glory. One makes us so happy and the other makes us miserable. If a Chinese song is being played and I hear it, if I use my heart, I will get such joy, such a feeling of oneness with the music. But if I use the mind, I will say, "Oh no, my Indian music is far better!" Again, in the same way, if you use the mind, you will say, "Indian music is silly. It just puts us to sleep. Once it starts, it has nothing else to do." But if you use the heart, then you will say, "Indian music is so beautiful, so soothing, so haunting."

When we use the critical mind, who becomes the loser? We do. By criticising someone, we will never, never be happy because our inner nature is all love, abiding love. That is why, in our philosophy, we give so much importance to the heart. The heart accepts the reality as such. The heart does not mind whether others are good or bad. By offering its goodwill to others, it becomes inseparably one with them. The mind, on the other hand, constantly plies between the good qualities of others and their bad qualities. This moment it says that so-and-so is a good person; next moment it tells us that we are wasting our precious time by remaining with that person. By approaching others with a heart of goodwill, we establish a kind of friendship or oneness with their soul and this gives us tremendous joy. But if we approach others with the mind, then we will only try to find fault with that person.

When we use the mind, we go near a flower and, like a mischievous monkey, we try to destroy the flower, petal by petal. But if we use the heart to approach a flower, we will appreciate the beauty and fragrance of the flower.

The heart gives joy and the heart receives joy. The mind tries to destroy the beauty or the reality that the mind sees. Naturally, those who are being criticised by others will respond in the same way. They will muster the strength to defend themselves. So the heart is mutual love and the mind is mutual destruction.

When goodwill works, immediately we open up our heart's door. This is how we liberate our heart. In your case, you have definitely opened up your heart. By opening up the heart, you have arrived at a particular destination. Tomorrow you will see that this is not the end. You have taken the first step. It is a very solid step and you are bound to feel love, joy, light, peace, bliss and other divine attributes inside your heart. This first step, the opening of the heart, is most satisfactory. Then tomorrow you will see that many, many divine qualities are blossoming inside you. Like a flower that blossoms petal by petal, in exactly the same way many, many divine qualities in your heart will blossom and they will give you tremendous joy. And you will feel that there is great meaning in your life—that meaning is to increase your love, joy, peace and bliss on a daily basis.

Question: Can you say something about science and technology in China?

Sri Chinmoy: As you know, I am a perfect stranger to science and technology. But I do love technology. Just because I am ignorant of a subject does not mean it is of no use. When I first came to China, I wrote a song for little children. There I have said that China's ancient wisdom is something unique.1

Again, China's modern, scientific and technological progress is going together with its ancient wisdom. There is no conflict between the ancient wisdom of China and the modern speed. They are going side by side. When we dig deep within, we see the infinite wisdom that China offered to the world at large centuries ago and we also see that the progress China is now making in science and technology is faster than the fastest.

These two things are going together because China is not giving up on her ancient wisdom; she is not looking down on it.

Again, the Chinese are not making any comparison between the ancient wisdom and the modern speed. The Chinese are only eager to combine them, to put them together. It is like the inner and the outer going together. We need two legs to run the fastest. In exactly the same way, if we only depend on inner wisdom, we will not be able to walk side by side with the modern world. The modern world has the advantage of speed. How fast China is making progress in the outer world! By bringing to the fore the inner wisdom and combining it with the outer speed, which China is doing, China is moving faster than the fastest. Inner wisdom and outer speed can go together and China is proving it to the world at large.

Again, it is China's love of the ancient wisdom and her love of modern, scientific achievement that is connecting her inner qualities and her outer capacities. China's inner qualities are wisdom, all-embracing love of the world-family, oneness and light. China's outer capacity is speed, speed, speed. They can go together and here is the proof. China is doing it. For this great achievement, the unification of the inner and the outer, China deserves admiration from the entire world and from my heart. From my little heart, China deserves my appreciation and admiration, plus my gratitude and pride.

2 CSC 51,1. The words to Sri Chinmoy's song are:

"I am a great Chinese boy.
I am a good Chinese girl.
China's vict'ry-banner
Proudly together we unfurl.
China's ancient wisdom-sea,
China's modern progress-speed —-
Indeed, the world-attention!
Our glories all must read."


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Question: How do you like the Chinese people?

Sri Chinmoy: I love them very, very much. Needless to say, they remind me of my Indian brothers and sisters. I have been to many places here in China. When I look at the Chinese people, I strongly feel this oneness between India and China.

Many years ago, your Premier Chou En-lai went to India, and Prime Minister Nehru and Chou En-lai became very, very close friends. Indians call China 'Chin", and India, or Hindustan, is 'Hind'. So Indians had a slogan, "Chin Hind bhai bhai," which means "China and India are brothers." Throughout the length and breadth of India, people sang this song so soulfully, "Chin Hind bhai bhai./" Hindustan and China are great friends, real friends; they are two brothers.

Question: How can people have faith when we face so much suffering in the world?

Sri Chinmoy: The sufferings that the world is now facing are unbelievable. Because of this tsunami, thousands and thousands of people have been killed. In one sense, we can say that Mother Nature is displeased with human beings. If we are sincere, each and every person on earth will see how many wrong things he has done individually and how many wrong things we have done collectively —- nationally and internationally.

Sometimes we do wrong things unconsciously; sometimes we do them deliberately. A little child, for example, is unconscious of the fire. When he stands in front of the fire, just because he is innocent, do you think the fire will not burn him? The very nature of fire is to burn the child. As human beings, we have to be very frank with ourselves, whether we have done everything that is good within our capacity. Then we will see that human beings have done many, many wrong things consciously, deliberately and maliciously. Why? To show our supremacy.

So you can say that this tsunami is nature's revolt, nature's revenge. Mother Nature is like a real mother. She sees that her children are quarrelling, fighting and destroying everything, so she strikes them. She wants them to be good, exemplary citizens of the world. It is farther than the farthest from her mind to destroy the earth. She is only punishing her children to some extent so that they will turn over a new leaf.

This tsunami has given us a devastating experience. Again, the leaders of so many countries have united together to help those places that were severely affected. Human beings have once more brought to the fore their sympathy, which was practically buried in oblivion. Your Chinese Foreign Minister, Li Zhaoxing, has written a unique poem which I deeply admire. It is called "To My Distant Friends." This poem reveals his heart of implicit sympathy, love and feeling of oneness. So you see how this tsunami has brought forward the good, divine qualities of people. With our divine qualities, we can unite the world. Again, with our undivine qualities, we can destroy the world.

To come back to your question, how can we free ourselves from suffering? We have to first of all love others and establish the feeling of oneness with them. This oneness is based on our inner existence. When we truly sympathise with somebody, then we take away some of his suffering. Let us say somebody's mother has passed away. If you happen to be a close friend of that person and you go there to console him, then you definitely decrease his suffering. Because you are sharing the suffering, the members of the family do not suffer the full amount.

In the case of the tsunami disaster which has taken place, the Chinese Foreign Minister and also many other leaders of various countries, as well as individuals around the world, have brought to the fore their hearts, which are full of sympathy. The sympathy that the entire world has shown has really helped humanity. By exercising its sympathetic heart, the world has considerably decreased the suffering of those affected.

Suffering is there, but we can share it by establishing our oneness with those who are suffering. Always we have to have the feeling of goodwill. If, in your suffering, I go to be of service to you and vice versa, then we decrease the suffering.

A day will come when there will be another way of conquering suffering, and that way will be through light. Human life is composed of darkness and light. Darkness wants to envelop us and destroy light; light wants not to destroy darkness, but to illumine it. In the outer world, there will always be suffering, but there is a way to diminish the suffering and that way is the way of oneness, the establishment of oneness. If we use our sympathetic heart, our feeling of oneness, then the suffering is lessened to a considerable degree.

The ultimate goal of this Mother Earth, this earth-planet, is not suffering; it is joy. We came from Heaven, which is all joy. Now, on this particular planet, we are sad, unhappy, miserable, and for that we have to take the blame to a great extent. But consciously if we can expand and extend our love, goodwill and feeling of oneness, plus if we can go deep within, then there will be much less suffering. The ultimate goal of every human being is happiness. We know that we came from Heaven, which is nectar-happiness, and we are now passing through a longer than the longest tunnel which is dark and unlit. But we feel that at the end of the tunnel, no matter how long it is, light will again be waiting for us, and that light is happiness.

Question: What is your purpose in visiting China?

Sri Chinmoy: Every year I go out of New York at Christmas time. It is our annual vacation. This year I came to China for an exchange of culture. Right from my childhood, I have had tremendous admiration for China. India's greatest poet, Rabindranath Tagore, the 1913 Nobel laureate in literature, wrote a book on China 1 and I have learned much, much from that book. A great spiritual hero named Swami Vivekananda also wrote about China in his letters. In addition, since my adolescence, I have read much about China and I have tremendous admiration for your philosophers, for your artists and for your culture.

It is with a heart full of admiration and love that I came to China. Here it is a cultural exchange. My students and I sing and play music. We have developed a love for art and culture and we wish to observe and absorb the inspiring qualities of China while we are here. We have come to offer our goodwill, brotherhood and the feeling of oneness. We wish to offer what we have brought from our respective countries and again, from your beloved country, the country that we most sincerely admire, we wish to receive your good qualities and thus enrich our own qualities. By receiving from you what you have, we increase our inner wealth. And we will be so pleased if our goodwill, our music and our way of life can be of any service to you. So it is a mutual give and take.


  1. CSC 54. Talks in China, Calcutta, 1925.

Question: Can you please tell me about your connection with Mother Teresa?

Sri Chinmoy: Mother Teresa was my mother and my sister at the same time. One moment she used to be very, very strict with me, like a mother, and next moment she was very, very kind and affectionate, like a sister. Over the years, she told me three times that I must accompany her to China. What for? To be of service to China.

Alas, God did not fulfil her desire to come to China. But believe me, the day I arrived in China, I saw her soul very clearly. She came and blessed me because I fulfilled my promise to her to come to China. Then in Xiamen I gave a musical performance for little children. On that day, Mother Teresa's soul was so happy, specially when over a thousand children sang our song, "I am a great Chinese boy, I am a good Chinese girl."

I strongly feel and see that Mother Teresa's soul is guiding me during my visit to China. Her soul comes to me, you can call it a dream or something else, only to bless me and to guide me inwardly. It was her most sincere desire to come to China and be of service to China. She went to many countries during her life. She went to each place only with the view of serving the people of that country.

I am eternally grateful to Mother Teresa. She had a heart that was vaster than the vastest. She was not only for Calcutta, where millions and millions of people received her unimaginable compassion and affection, but she was also for the whole world. She was a unique individual that Mother Earth received from Father Heaven.

Question: Could you please tell me about your "Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart" programme?

Sri Chinmoy: There are so many ways to express one's oneness with the whole world. Each individual has a way. In my case, my Inner Pilot has told me to be of service in this particular way and that way is to lift some individuals overhead. In a football match, when a player scores a goal, he is lifted up by his fellow teammates. They do this to express their joy because he has done something good.

Here also, I see that there are people from all walks of life who have done many, many good things for the betterment of the world. I feel that it is obligatory on my part to be of service to them. I try to give joy to those who have contributed so much to the world at large. I lift them up, with either two hands or one hand. In this way, I have lifted 7,000 people over the years, and this includes many presidents, prime ministers and eminent figures, such as President Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Ravi Shankar, Muhammad Ali and others.

I also lift children, who are the future, and I have lifted quite a few octogenarians. In Indonesia I lifted one lady who was over 100 years old. How many people can live over 100 years? Again, she has done something great; she has shown longevity.

In any way, if someone has done something unique, I try to honour that person. Nobel laureates, scientists, politicians —- we all belong to the same family. Some have already contributed their capacities to the world, and then I try to be of service to them by lifting them up and showing them my appreciation and admiration. And some are now budding. They are humanity's children. They are not fully blossomed, but they are the future, so I try to lift them and offer them my full support.

I do hope that I can be of service to the heart and soul of China while I am here.

Part IX

CSC 61. On 1 July 2005, during his visit to Guatemala, Sri Chinmoy answered the following questions.

Question: Which qualities can we develop more in South America to offer to the world? What kind of special qualities does South America have?

Sri Chinmoy: One most extraordinary thing you have: the feeling of oneness, oneness, oneness. Oneness you have, but dynamic enthusiasm you have to increase if you want to be of service to all the countries that you are mentioning, the South American countries. You need not only enthusiasm, but dynamic enthusiasm. With your dynamic enthusiasm you will be able to bring to the fore the special light that your countries have. The abundant, infinite light that your countries have can be brought to the fore only with dynamic enthusiasm. If you have dynamic enthusiasm, and if your dynamic enthusiasm is in action, then you will be able to perform miracles throughout the length and breadth of the world.

Enthusiasm can be sleeping, or enthusiasm can be dynamic and very progressive. Unfortunately, you are lacking in enthusiasm. Every country has good qualities and bad qualities. But because I have mentioned a bad quality, you should not feel that you are doomed to disappointment. On the contrary, you will muster and collect all your inner strength to do something for your beloved countries and for the whole world. Oneness you have. Oneness of the heart I can see and feel. What you need now is enthusiasm which is dynamic. So try to bring forward your dynamic enthusiasm to inspire the rest of the world and aspire for the rest of the world.

If we have love and other good qualities, then they have to be spread out and for that, only one thing we need: enthusiasm. Every day we must invoke enthusiasm.

If you do not have enthusiasm, that does not mean that tomorrow you will not be able to develop or cultivate enthusiasm. Again, some of my disciples feed their souls and hearts with boundless enthusiasm for months. Then afterwards, the same disciples starve their hearts and souls to death! They work so hard to manifest the Supreme and then they get disappointed and disheartened and their enthusiasm drowns! Then it takes time for them to revive their enthusiasm.

Still other disciples start to give talks with tremendous enthusiasm. They run at top speed. Then, when they are disappointed, they do not lose their enthusiasm altogether; only they go slowly, slowly, slowly. From the speed of a jet plane, they come almost to the speed of an Indian bullock cart, but they never give up. They still maintain their hope. Just because they do not give up, I have such appreciation for them.

Everything has its own time, but on our part, we should not give up. Let the manifestation go at bullock cart speed, but do not give up. Who knows at what point these new little Centres will be able to run fast? We need only one solid person in each Centre. If one person is self-giving and dynamic, then that Centre can remain very, very strong. We have a few Centres like that. One individual keeps the Centre alive.

I wish to tell you a story that happened many, many years ago. My first boss who gave me my job at the Indian Consulate was Mr. Mehrotra. I had no qualifications, but he gave me the job anyway. Later he became the Indian Ambassador to Argentina. At that time, his daughter Aparna developed a very close friendship with a particular disciple of mine. She happens to be the only disciple in Argentina. For years and years she has maintained her eagerness to manifest her Guru's light. Her Centre does not get any more members, but she has never given up, never given up.

When Mr. Mehrotra saw this girl, he said to me, "You do not need more disciples in Argentina! One disciple is enough. How devoted she is to you!" I never forget when somebody says nice things about my disciples.

Part X

CSC 62-95. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions about weightlifting on 26 August 1989 at Aspiration-Ground, Jamaica, New York.

Question: What is the soul doing when we lift weights?

Sri Chinmoy: If we are in a good consciousness, the soul watches us. If we are not in a good consciousness, the soul does other things which are infinitely more important.

Question: Does the soul get more joy when one muscle is developed rather than another?

Sri Chinmoy: No. According to the aspiration of the bodybuilder and according to the aspiration of the muscle itself, the muscle is developed. The soul does not enjoy any competitive sport.

Question: Is humanity fitter than it was a thousand years ago?

Sri Chinmoy: This is a very complicated question. Some will say that definitely in those golden days people had better physiques. They depended on help from nature. Now the machine world has come and in many ways it has corrupted the simplicity, sincerity, purity and spontaneity of mankind.

Again, others will say that the modern-day world has not destroyed these qualities. If one wants to maintain the pristine beauty, purity, simplicity and all the divine qualities, one can. In fact, the modern world, the scientific world, can be of great help to the world of inspiration and aspiration.

So the answer depends on the individual. Some will say that a thousand years ago people were more physically fit, while others will say no. Each individual has to see and feel the answer in his own life.

Question: In the time of the Mahabharata did any of the warriors have muscles like Mr. Universe?

Sri Chinmoy: There were quite a few warriors who had better muscles, better definition, than Mr. Universe. At that time there were no Nautilus or Universal machines. Those things were not there. But nature helped them. They prayed to nature, they took exercise and they were nourished by Mother Earth. Needless to say, Bhima's physique was in no way inferior to Mr. Universe or Mr. Olympia.

Question: Can our receptivity be enhanced with greater fitness?

Sri Chinmoy: There are many people who are physically fit but who may not aspire. If they do not aspire inwardly, then receptivity is out of the question. If they do not believe in the inner life, the spiritual life, how can their receptivity be enhanced? Along with physical fitness, one has to have inner aspiration. Then only can one develop greater receptivity.

Question: How does the Supreme view the use of steroids?

Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme sheds ceaseless and endless tears when people take steroids because it is completely against His Will. From the spiritual point of view, people who enjoy that life are complete failures. Anything against nature is against God. Nature is God the Mother. So if you violate the rules and principles of God the Mother, then how can God the Father tolerate it? He becomes very sad and disappointed when nature's rules are violated in any way.

With our aspiration, we can get everything inside the heart of nature, Mother Earth. But human beings do not take help from her. They take pills and adopt artificial means. Then, sooner than the soonest, this stupidity destroys their health, destroys their retentive faculties, plus many, many divine things, good things, world-inspiring things which they could have done otherwise.

Question: Is there a mantra or prayer that can help us get joy from exercising?

Sri Chinmoy: There is no fixed mantra. As a seeker, if you can repeat 'Supreme' or 'God' or some other most inspiring words, that will definitely help to illumine your monotony and lack of inspiration.

Question: Can weightlifting and bodybuilding elevate our consciousness?

Sri Chinmoy: If these things are done spiritually, with a spiritual approach, then they do elevate our consciousness; otherwise, no.

Question: What is your most significant physical feat in this lifetime?

Sri Chinmoy: The day I lifted the elephant —- not the small one, but the big one —- I saw solid strength. I always say that elephants symbolise strength. When I was lifting up the elephant, I saw that a new world is going to emerge. It will have solid strength, not only in the physical, but in the vital, in the mind, in the psychic. So while I was lifting the elephant, I saw a new world of solid strength and this new world will be in all planes of consciousness. In that way, it was a most significant experience for me.

Question: Is there any way to store up excess energy for future use?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, there is a way and this way is through childlike prayers. Our prayers can help us considerably in storing up excess energy. Then, when God's Hour strikes, you can use the energy that is needed. So through your prayer, you can preserve energy and, at the right moment, you will be able to use that energy.

Question: Does working out with machines give you the same joy as free weights?

Sri Chinmoy: No. Free weights give me much more joy.

Question: Do marathon runners have any connection with the Cosmic Gods?

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the marathon runner. If the marathon runner is a seeker, a God-lover, then that person can have a connection with the Cosmic Gods. Again, in the West, people do not believe in the Cosmic Gods the way people in the East, specially in India, believe. Unfortunately, in India good marathon runners can be counted on the fingertips! And even then, who knows if they are spiritual?

So it entirely depends on the runners. If the runners pray to the Cosmic Gods and Goddesses, if they meditate on them, then only can they have free access to them. Then the Cosmic Gods and Goddesses will protect that person while he or she is running or doing any physical activity.

Question: Do long distance runners benefit in any way from heavy weight training?

Sri Chinmoy: No. Long distance runners should only lift light weights. For them, heavy weights are unnecessary.

Question: Does bodybuilding or weightlifting help other sports?

Sri Chinmoy: Bodybuilding and weightlifting can help all the sports considerably; they do not stand in the way. But you have to know how much weightlifting, how much bodybuilding, you need in order to make progress in other sports.

Question: Can weightlifting develop inner strength?

Sri Chinmoy: No, weightlifting cannot. Inner strength is a totally different matter. For that you need aspiration, the heart's inner cry. Otherwise, you can be physically very strong, but inwardly, spiritually, you can be the weaker than the weakest human being.

Question: When you lift, do you lift our ignorance?

Sri Chinmoy: When I lift, if I am identified with you, then definitely I lift your ignorance. And if you have identified yourself with me, then I do lift up your ignorance. Otherwise, when I lift, at that time my Beloved Supreme lifts up my own ignorance.

Question: Is our ignorance as heavy as metal weights?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. Metal weights are nothing in comparison to ignorance-weight. To conquer jealousy or insecurity is infinitely more difficult than to lift up 7,000 pounds.

Practise, practise, practise! One day God's Grace will descend. If you practise lifting heavy weights for some time, then eventually you will be able to lift them. But to lift insecurity, jealousy, impurity, imperfection, doubt and so forth is a lifelong process. Each doubt, even an iota of doubt, is infinitely heavier than so-called metal weights. If you cannot lift up heavy weights, you are not going to lose anything precious. But if you do not conquer your ignorance, the ignorance that embodies doubt, suspicion, anxieties, insecurity, jealousy and so on, then you become the real loser. And these things are all heavier than the heaviest.

Question: Does weightlifting destroy the subtle nerves?

Sri Chinmoy: I hope not! There are 86,000 subtle nerves and I do hope I have not destroyed even one. Weightlifting does not destroy anything. Subtle nerves exist in a different world. But only if you do too much heavy lifting, then your mental processes may become slow and, if they become slow, then there will be quite a few things that you cannot achieve in life.

Question: Is the soul happier when the body is stronger and fitter?

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely the soul is happier when the body is stronger and fitter. And again, the soul will be happier than the happiest with this physical fitness if one also aspires. If physical fitness is used to bring about good things on earth, then the soul will be infinitely happier.

Question: Why do weightlifters look ugly?

Sri Chinmoy: Beauty and ugliness depend on the eye of the viewer. Who is ugly, who is beautiful, God alone knows. If you do not see any beauty in the outer physique of weightlifters or bodybuilders or wrestlers, what can they do? In their own way, they are giving joy to countless numbers of people.

There are many people who will appreciate the beauty and fragrance of a garden. That is one kind of beauty. The beauty you see in the garden is attracting you; that is why you are spending time there. So beauty itself is a form of power. It has a power aspect. Beauty itself is strength.

Again, when you are watching weightlifting or wrestling or some other activity that people are doing on the physical level, it is power that draws the attention of the audience. This is not destructive power, far from it. There are many kinds of power that will not destroy; they will only inspire, inspire. When someone does weightlifting, he is inspiring others to be strong —- physically strong, mentally strong and psychically strong.

So joy can come to us through beauty and it can come to us through power. This beauty and power have the same Source. Again, from the beauty you can enter into the power, and from the power you can enter into the beauty. They go together. Inner beauty and inner power always go together.

Question: Does the weight of people change when you meditate on them before you lift them?

Sri Chinmoy: The weight does not change, but if they have oneness with the lifter, if they offer goodwill to the lifter, then it helps the lifter considerably. But the weight, as such, will not be lighter.

Question: What benefit do your students get from watching you lift weights?

Sri Chinmoy: I create inspiration for them and, if they are one with me, they will receive inspiration. From this inspiration, they will be able to enter into many walks of life and be successful.

Question: Is physical fitness superior to spirituality?

Sri Chinmoy: No amount of physical fitness can be superior to prayer and meditation. Physical fitness can help prayer and meditation, if it is done soulfully. And again, prayer and meditation will be able to help us increase our physical fitness.

But if you have to separate them, if you put physical fitness on one side and the heart's inmost cry for God's Compassion, God's Love, God's Light and God's Peace on the other side, I feel that this inner cry is infinitely more important than physical fitness. At that time, even if you do not want to have the necessary physical fitness, God will give it to you because God wants you to pray and meditate more soulfully and sleeplessly. So if God wants you to pray and meditate more soulfully and more devotedly, He will definitely give you a certain amount of physical fitness.

Question: Do you encourage your students to lift weights?

Sri Chinmoy: It entirely depends on the student. If they have been doing it, or if they want to do it, I encourage them. But I do not advise them to lift up very, very heavy weights. It is not necessary. I am doing it only because the Supreme in me wants me to do something for His creation. But for my disciples, there are other things to do. They can lift weights, but they do not have to deal with thousands of pounds. It is not necessary.

Question: What thoughts or images should a long distance runner hold in his mind?

Sri Chinmoy: Two things: confidence and self-offering. Offer your capacity to the Source and, while offering your capacity, feel that you have been chosen by God to cover the distance and establish His Victory.

Question: What is the most effective mantra for a runner?

Sri Chinmoy: God's Name is the most effective mantra for each runner. There are two ways to repeat God's Name: even if you are running a marathon, if you are inspired to repeat God's Name as fast as possible, then do it. Again, if you are inspired to draw deep breaths and very slowly and quietly repeat God's Name, that is also most effective.

Question: What does the Supreme do for His physical fitness?

Sri Chinmoy: I do not know and He does not consult with me.

Question: How should our vital feel when we transcend ourselves in sport?

Sri Chinmoy: The vital should be happy but, at the same time, the vital should not get malicious pleasure by defeating others. When we win, we have to feel that it is the standard of humanity that has gone high. If I have defeated you, then I should not get malicious pleasure. Only I should say, "You and I are one. You are part and parcel of humanity and I am also part and parcel of humanity. So in my achievement, it is humanity's progress."

Whether we win or whether we are defeated, that is how we should observe sports. That is the best type of happiness, to feel that humanity has made progress.

Recently Sudhahota Carl Lewis and his team-mates won the 4x100 metres relay and broke the world record. That record was established ten years ago. So it took ten years to break the record. Look at humanity's progress! So now, who has won? Here the Supreme has won through Sudhahota and his colleagues. It is the Supreme's progress that Sudhahota and his team have shown to the world at large. Previously the Supreme acted in and through four individuals to set the record; now He has acted in and through four individuals to create a new record and, when the time comes, He will make progress through four more individuals.

Our vital should be happy with the progress of humanity. That is the right attitude. Otherwise, if we think that it is our vital, our capacity, which has done something great, if we extol ourselves to the skies, then in a few days or a few months or a few years, our pride will be smashed.

The winners should always feel happiness on the strength of their oneness with Mother Earth, with humanity. Humanity has made progress in and through them and they were the perfect instruments for humanity to come one step higher.

Not only the vital should be happy, but the mind should also be very happy. The mind should feel that it is not the individual mind that has succeeded; it is the collective mind through an individual that has made this progress. So the mind should be very happy for the progress that was brought about.

Question: Are professional athletes aspiring in some way?

Sri Chinmoy: There is no hard and fast rule that professional athletes cannot aspire. There are many professional athletes who do aspire and there are many amateurs who do not aspire.

Question: Surely if someone takes steroids, it is his own problem?

Sri Chinmoy: Somebody takes steroids and he feels that it is his individual problem. He does not realise that he is part of humanity. If you do something right, then you help humanity. If you do something wrong, do not think that only you as an individual will be affected. No, everybody will be affected. By doing something wrong, we bring down the progress of humanity.

People who do wrong things create wrong movements, wrong vibrations, in the earth atmosphere, and then innocent people suffer. Likewise, humanity at large gets tremendous benefit from the aspiration of spiritual people. Spiritual people come into the world to elevate the consciousness of humanity.

Question: Why do some intellectuals not understand bodybuilding?

Sri Chinmoy: Two students study two different subjects, like history and geography. Again, some students will study both. So if some intellectuals do not like bodybuilding, they do not have to pay attention to it.

Question: How were the ancient heroes able to lift awesome weights?

Sri Chinmoy: They were able to lift very heavy weights because they received special blessings from Mother Earth. They used to pray to Mother Earth and Mother Earth blessed them with tremendous strength.

Question: How can one increase one's outer strength without increasing one's muscle size?

Sri Chinmoy: I am the right person to answer this question! My muscles cannot go beyond the boundary of 14 inches for my biceps, and there are people here whose biceps are 15 or 16 inches. Some people have big muscles, but they do not have strength, while others have small muscles but enormous strength.

If you have big muscles, it gives you joy and you get more confidence. Again, if you know that you can lift up heavy weights, then your confidence is already established and you do not need big muscles.

In my case, you can say that grapes are sour! I tried to have big muscles. I told Mahasamrat Bill Pearl that I was going to make my biceps 15 inches. Recently he measured my arms and nothing had increased although I have taken so much exercise. So now I can say it is not necessary to have big muscles!

Question: Top athletes like Carl Lewis speak about being relaxed. What is your comment?

Sri Chinmoy: Relaxation is of supreme importance in the life of Sudhahota Carl Lewis and for all athletes. First you have to relax psychically, in your heart. Then you have to relax mentally, then vitally and then physically. If you are relaxed when you, as an individual, want to do something, then you get a force inside your heart, mind, vital and physical. You are also getting a force inside your soul. Five strong forces, inner forces, are helping you secretly. Relaxation means help from the inner, secret world.

So in everything you do, relaxation is of paramount importance. But it must be relaxation. It is not a matter of enjoying lethargy. Relaxation can take place sooner than the soonest if you can make your mind calm, quiet, vacant. If you can make your mind calm and quiet, you will see relaxation of the various parts of your being can be achieved very quickly.

Question: What is the best way for an athlete to meditate?

Sri Chinmoy: If an athlete is a sprinter, he will meditate on speed; he should imagine that he is increasing his speed. A jumper will meditate on height; he should imagine that he has the capacity to jump higher. Imagination has a reality of its own. It is a creation in its own right. So first you have to enter into the world of imagination. It is not mental hallucination —- far from it! Then bring this imagination into the world of inspiration, then the world of aspiration, then the world of dedication, then revelation and then manifestation. Step by step you have to proceed. But we have to start with the world of imagination first.

Part XI

CSC 96. On 12 August 1989, Sri Chinmoy was interviewed at Aspiration-Ground by Mark Teich from Omni magazine.

Question: Lifting up human beings looks very easy for you.

Sri Chinmoy: Tomorrow I shall complete 1,300. It will be my last day of lifting.

Question: Why do you want it to be your last?

Sri Chinmoy: Somewhere I have to stop! I have been to six continents and I will have lifted 1,300 human beings. It is enough for me.

Question: You have not puffed up exactly. You do not have a huge frame. What are the principles you use? What has made you this strong without looking huge?

Sri Chinmoy: Prayer and meditation. I pray and meditate and I entirely depend on God's Grace, God's Compassion.

Question: Before you used to run and then I understand that you hurt yourself?

Sri Chinmoy: I ran beyond my capacity and hurt my right knee. I should not have run 22 marathons and a few ultra-marathons. It was not meant for me. In India, I was a sprinter.

Question: You are built more like a sprinter.

Sri Chinmoy: I was brought up in a spiritual community. There I practised sports — running, jumping, throwing and so forth.

Question: The prayer and meditation you do, are they more or less helpful according to what type of training you do?

Sri Chinmoy: It is prayer and meditation that bring to me the things that are necessary, essential. Prayer and meditation determine beforehand what is needed. To give you an example: here in America, I needed some special weightlifting equipment. God envisioned the fulfilment of His Dream in and through me, and God chose an Australian student of mine as the instrument to build my exercise machines. I sincerely feel it is a great blessing and God's boundless Grace. He has helped me tremendously, far, far beyond my imagination, in my weightlifting world for the last four years.

Question: But God wanted you to work to achieve it.

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, physically and spiritually. Matter and spirit must go together. Spirit is within, matter is without. We have to sow the seed under the ground. Then only it germinates and becomes a tiny plant, and then a huge tree, a banyan tree. But the seed was sown under the ground. Similarly, our inner life comes first. When the inner life comes to the fore, it accepts, assimilates and transforms the outer life in order to make us perfect.

Question: Right before you lifted, I saw you focussing. In sports now the big thing is visualisation. Were you doing anything of that or was it just prayer?

Sri Chinmoy: At that time, I was only silencing my mind. When I do anything, to start with I silence my mind. When I silence my mind, tremendous energy flows in and through me; I draw cosmic energy. As soon as I silence my mind, cosmic energy enters into my entire being.

Question: Are you thinking anything?

Sri Chinmoy: Just the opposite; my mind is absolutely blank. Once you silence the mind, it becomes as vast as the sky, as vast as the ocean. When we think, we limit ourselves. Thoughts enter into our mind in a fleeting second. It is like a tug-of-war or a zoo. But if we silence the mind, then we feel that we are flying in the sky like a bird. The sky is not affected by the bird flying and the bird is enjoying itself and getting energy and inspiration from the sky itself.

Question: It is very similar, really, to what they talk of as the white zone in sports. The athlete gets to the purely instinctive level where there is no thought. When you are first learning, you analyse what you are doing. At a certain point, you stop.

Sri Chinmoy: When you reach a certain level, it becomes automatic. A singer takes lessons for years, but once he develops a haunting voice, he does not have to go through all the preliminary exercises. When he is actually performing, he does not have to worry. A dancer learns all the steps while practising, but at the time of the actual performance, his movements will be spontaneous. Something reveals itself from within.

Question: The irony of it is that it is trained instinct.

Sri Chinmoy: There is no time to think, you just do it. There is a spontaneous joy. When we practise, we develop confidence. If we do not practise, we have no idea what we can do, how much can be brought to the fore.

Question: What is the nature of your training?

Sri Chinmoy: Every day I do not lift people, but weight training I do every day. I use free weights up to 120 pounds and then I use about twenty different types of machines to strengthen my muscles and different parts of my body. I do this for at least three hours early in the morning. Around eight o'clock I come here to Aspiration-Ground and take some more exercise.

[Sri Chinmoy lifts Mark Teich]

Question: Thank you very much. That is a very strange sensation. Am I one of the numbers now?

Sri Chinmoy: You are number 1,299!

Part XII

CSC 98. On 16 December 1988, in Hong Kong, Sri Chinmoy was interviewed by Nick Bailey, a reporter from Hong Kong Today.

Question: May we have a tune from your flute before I talk to you?

[Sri Chinmoy plays the flute]

Question: Is that something you made up yourself on the spur of the moment?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes.

Question: Please tell us about yourself. You flew into Hong Kong yesterday and this is part of a tour of Southeast Asia. And you are promoting a programme that is known as "Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart." Can you explain all that?

Sri Chinmoy: I am a Truth-seeker and a God-lover. I feel that it is my bounden duty to be of service to mankind. "Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart" is our theme. I feel that if we have peace of mind, we will be able to raise the consciousness of mankind. This world belongs to God the Creator and, at the same time, God the Creator has become God the creation. Therefore, I go from one place to another and try to offer my soulful services to the citizens of each particular country.

Question: This is a message that you are getting from within?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, from my Inner Pilot. Each person is led by something. Most often it is our mind that asks us to do something and we abide by the dictates of the mind. Again, if we pray and meditate regularly, soulfully and devotedly, we can listen to the voice of our heart. So, in my case, I try to listen to the voice of my heart and I try to establish my inseparable oneness with the world.

Question: People listening to this programme might find that a little difficult to understand or they might wonder what your motives are.

Sri Chinmoy: This world is full of misunderstanding. Misunderstanding reigns supreme in this world. God alone is to judge whether my motives are sincere and genuine. Here I have not come to propagate my views. Here I have come to be of dedicated service to mankind. I have been to many, many parts of the world to offer the same dedicated and devoted service.

This "Lifting Up the World" programme is quite recent. I have not even been doing it a full year. For the last three years I have been lifting up weights just for physical fitness. Previously I was a runner, but I had to stop running because of a severe knee injury. Then I took up weightlifting. By God's Grace, I got amazing results. And then, for the last six months, I have been lifting up human beings.

I believe that each individual has a body, vital, mind, heart and soul. So, while lifting up the person, I feel I am offering my dedicated service to that person and, with my dedicated service, I feel I am able to bring to the fore their own divine qualities which are of paramount importance so that we can lift up the world together.

Question: What sort of people have you lifted?

Sri Chinmoy: I have lifted people from all walks of life: diplomats from the United Nations, professors, boxers, singers, athletes, weightlifters, priests, nuns, doctors, lawyers and so forth.

Question: How much do you weigh?

Sri Chinmoy: Usually I weigh between 151 and 157 pounds.

Question: Who is the heaviest person you have lifted?

Sri Chinmoy: In California, I lifted a great saxaphone player named Clarence Clemons. He is known as the 'Big Man'. He was 283 pounds.

Question: Almost double your own weight!

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. And yesterday, here in Hong Kong, I lifted two photographers at the same time. Their combined weight was 265 pounds.

Question: We have to mention at this stage that you lift people with one arm. Which arm is it?

Sri Chinmoy: I lift with both my left and my right arms. They are almost equally strong.

Question: How do you manage to lift up double your bodyweight with one arm?

Sri Chinmoy: God's infinite Grace acts in and through me. I was never a weightlifter. In my youth, I was a sprinter, a decathlete. I was a runner all my life. But for the last three years, I have been lifting up weights. Here I have entered into a new field. I do not compete with others, but I enjoy competing with myself. I started with 40 pounds. Three years ago, it was almost impossible for me to lift up 40 pounds. Then gradually, slowly, steadily and unerringly, I have made progress and now I have come up to this.

Question: Do the people whom you lift get an uplifting experience? Excuse the pun! Do they feel much better for it?

Sri Chinmoy: Some of them say that it is not only on the physical plane that they are lifted, but also in the inner plane. About six months ago, a nun came from Philadelphia to participate. When she was lifted, she said she had the experience that both her body and spirit were lifted together. And, interestingly enough, on that particular day her horoscope read that somebody was going to lift her, physically as well as spiritually. So she came all the way from Philadelphia to New York. After I lifted her up, she narrated her experience.

Interviewer: I am glad it worked for her. Let us hope it works for those people who are going to be lifted here in Hong Kong later today. Sri Chinmoy, thank you very much and I wish you good luck in your quest for "Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart."

Part XIII

CSC 99-102. On 11 February 1989, Sri Chinmoy was interviewed in Washington, D.C. by Body, Mind and Spirit magazine during the "Heart-to-Heart" Festival.

Question: In your own words, who are you?

Sri Chinmoy: If anybody asks me who I am, immediately I say I am a Truth-seeker and a God-lover.

Question: Tell me about your weightlifting.

Sri Chinmoy: I believe that we have to be integral. The spirit and the body must go together. If I have peace of mind in my inner life, then I shall not quarrel with you and fight with you. Nations, like individuals, are insecure. If one nation has peace within, then that particular nation is not going to challenge other nations. It is because we do not have an iota of peace that we quarrel with others, we speak ill of others, we find fault with others. Peace of mind gives us joy in boundless measure.

When I lift up these weights, I try to unite both the inner world and the outer world with my inner peace. I am a student of peace. Every day, since my childhood, I have been praying and meditating. From the life of prayer, I get peace and this peace gives me strength. My weightlifting is the manifestation of my inner strength. This is my soulful service that I have been offering to humanity.

Question: You are saying that weightlifting is the manifestation of an inner strength?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. Because of my prayer-life and meditation-life, God, out of His infinite Bounty, has given me inner strength. So this inner strength I am trying to manifest through matter.

Question: How do you lift people?

Sri Chinmoy: With a oneness-heart. I have lifted people from all walks of life to offer my oneness to them. We all belong to one family. In a family, somebody is a doctor, somebody is an engineer, somebody is a football player. But they are all brothers and sisters of the same family. So here also, on the strength of my oneness with people from various fields, I am lifting them up. My sole objective is to be of service to mankind.

Question: How do you feel about the attention that you get? Is that sometimes a hindrance for you?

Sri Chinmoy: No, because I know that I am not the one who is getting the attention. I know that I am not the doer. If somebody offers me love or admiration, I know that it is my Inner Pilot who is receiving it. I am only an instrument.

Question: So it is not Sri Chinmoy?

Sri Chinmoy: It is not Sri Chinmoy. It is the One who, according to my receptivity, according to my capacity, is manifesting Himself in and through me. So if you speak highly of me, I know I am not the one who deserves it, I am not the right person. But there is Someone who has given me the capacity to draw your appreciation and that Person deserves the credit, not me. I am not the doer; I am only an instrument, a channel. So if you appreciate me, this appreciation is going directly to the Source and not to me.

Question: So it is a measure of how successful the Source has been?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, according to my capacity and receptivity. The One who is inspiring me and trying to manifest in and through me I call my Inner Pilot. Your appreciation directly goes to Him.

Question: You have had this special relationship with God since you were a child?

Sri Chinmoy: I have been praying and meditating since the age of four. Now I am 57.

Question: So you have always known?

Sri Chinmoy: I came from a religious family and I was fortunate enough to follow in the footsteps of my brothers and sisters.

Interviewer: Well, you have been very gracious to meet with me and I want to thank you very much for taking the time. I wish you well.

Part XIV

CSC 103-106. On 6 July 1989, during his visit to Sydney, Australia, Sri Chinmoy was asked these questions in a series of television interviews.

Question: Sri Chinmoy, how can athletes use your philosophy to help them?

Sri Chinmoy: The outer life and the inner life always go together. The outer running inspires us to dive deep within. Again, the inner running, which is prayer and meditation, tells us to keep the body in perfect shape. If the body is not fit, if the body is not in perfect condition, we shall not be able to wake up early in the morning and pray and meditate. So the outer life and the inner life go together. They are like the obverse and reverse of the same coin. We need them both in our day-to-day life for our inner and outer satisfaction.

Question: What do you draw upon to be able to lift people as you did here tonight?

Sri Chinmoy: I draw upon cosmic energy, universal energy. I meditate for a few seconds or a minute before I lift and from deep within I draw cosmic energy.

Question: How long does it take to develop that skill?

Sri Chinmoy: It depends entirely on God's Grace. Some seekers have developed it in ten or twelve years, while others may take a lifetime. It depends on the receptivity of the individual.

Question: What do you think the implications are, besides sporting excellence?

Sri Chinmoy: Being a Truth-seeker and God-lover, I feel that if we can pray and meditate daily, punctually and soulfully, then we are bound to acquire boundless energy. This boundless energy we get in order to help us with our prayer, in order to expedite our capacity.

Question: What do you think about the state of sport in the world at present with the current focus on drugs and corruption?

Sri Chinmoy: It is a very, very sad experience that the world is getting from some unfortunate, unaspiring athletes. We should not do anything that will destroy our lives sooner than the soonest. God gave us the body. Now we have to be strong in every way because inside the body is the soul. If we do not keep the temple pure, then how are we going to prepare the shrine? In this case, the body is the temple and the soul is the shrine. Some athletes are unfortunately showing the world the way towards the wrong destination. Their destination is destruction.

Question: You must be very tired after lifting all that weight?

Sri Chinmoy: I am not tired at all. I will be able to lift quite a few more people.

Question: Are you happy?

Sri Chinmoy: I get joy in serving mankind. All of us are serving mankind in a special way. Even now, you are taping this programme and thousands of people will be inspired from our conversation. You are asking me most significant questions and I am trying to answer your questions according to my inner awakening. So undoubtedly, this conversation of ours is going to help people who are longing for truth, light and bliss.

Question: Forgive me to say, but you do not look like a weightlifter.

Sri Chinmoy: True, very true! In my case, it is all God's Grace. I do not have the body of a weightlifter. Previously I was a runner. I never thought of lifting. But now God's Compassion has asked me to do quite a few things for His Manifestation in and through weightlifting.

Question: Can other people, if they meditate, lift like you do?

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely! If it is the Will of God, then anybody can easily be a weightlifter.

Question: How often do you meditate? Is it all the time?

Sri Chinmoy: I meditate for quite a few hours during the night. I have a few thousand students all over the world and I meditate mostly on them. Since my childhood I have been meditating and now my own meditation has become spontaneous. Even when I am in the hustle and bustle of life, I feel deep within that meditation is going on.

Question: What do you feel while you are lifting?

Sri Chinmoy: While I am lifting, I feel that divine Compassion from God is flowing in and through me and I try to become a perfect instrument. God is acting in and through me and I am trying to become a perfect instrument of His. While I am lifting, I feel that I am not the doer; I am only an instrument. An inner force, inner power, is operating in and through me and I try to bring it to the fore.

Question: Many people find your weightlifting feats incredible.

Sri Chinmoy: My own human mind finds it difficult to believe! Again, I know that I am not the doer. Infinite energy is acting in and through me. In this way, I can silence the mind.

Question: How long have you been weightlifting?

Sri Chinmoy: My weightlifting career started four years ago, but I have been lifting up human beings only for one year.

Question: You are also a runner, of course.

Sri Chinmoy: I started as a sprinter. Then I became a long distance runner. As a sprinter, according to our Indian standard, I was something, but not according to the world standard. Here, in the West, I have run 22 marathons and two ultra-marathons. Then I gave up because my right knee was injured. I could no longer run. I wanted to do something to keep my body fit and so I began weightlifting.

Question: Your runs are triumphant all over the world!

Sri Chinmoy: I encourage the inner running and the outer running. They must go together. When you have a good thought, a good inner feeling, that feeling is your inner running. Then, when you express that feeling outwardly, when you share your good thought with others, that is your outer running. The outer running always starts from deep within.

Question: I am attempting a 30-kilometre run soon. What advice can you give me?

Sri Chinmoy: When I used to run long distance, I used to break each run into fragments. I did not think of the entire distance, which in your case is 30 kilometres. Whatever the distance is, try to imagine that you are not going to run such a long distance. If you are supposed to run a mile, feel that you are going to run a quarter. You can tell the mind, "I am not such a fool that I will run a long distance, oh no! Just a quarter of a mile." Then, after you have covered a quarter of a mile, you will find that you have more energy.

Like that, it is always good to fool the mind, to discipline the mind. Otherwise, the mind will put so much added pressure on us. Before we even begin, the mind will give us so many worries and anxieties.

But if we can play a trick on the mind, if we can wisely tell the mind that what we are doing is within our capacity, we can relieve the burden of the mind. Then we will have no anxieties or worries.

Part XV

CSC 107-113. On 12 March 1988, Sri Chinmoy was interviewed by Bob de Jong of Veronica TV, Holland.

Question: Sri Chinmoy, why are you doing this weightlifting?

Sri Chinmoy: I am doing it to inspire my brothers and sisters. This world belongs to one Person, God the Creator, and we are His children, God the creation. Now I am in Holland. I have come to see my brothers and sisters here in Holland. I feel that if I can be of inspiration to them, I will be very, very happy. From weightlifting, I get inner joy, inner strength and inner peace, peace of mind. If you have peace of mind, then you do not quarrel with others, you do not fight with others, you do not declare wars. So that is why I do weightlifting.

Question: Have you done any sports before in your life?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. I have been a sportsman all my life. When I was young, I was an athlete. According to Indian standards, I was a very good athlete. I was also a decathlon champion. I was good in sprinting, jumping, throwing and so forth. But that is all past history.

Question: There are a lot of traditional weightlifting techniques, but now you are using none of these techniques. So how can you do it?

Sri Chinmoy: In my case, it is a matter of inner inspiration. You will be surprised to learn that there was a time when I disliked weightlifting immensely. In India, I was a sprinter and I thought weightlifting would be detrimental to my running career. Here, in America, I ran for quite a few years and I inspired my students all over the world to run. My right knee became badly injured, perhaps from running, so I gave up running and then I got the inspiration from within to lift weights so that I can keep physically fit. That is how I started.

As you can see, I do not know any weightlifting techniques. I do not have the physique of a bodybuilder or weightlifter. I entirely depend on God's Grace. God's Grace acts in and through me in all that I do. Not only in my sports life, but in my literary career, in my art and in all my activities, I entirely depend on God's Grace, God's Compassion. He is the One who helps me, guides me and protects me. He does it through me and I just try to become a good recipient. I try to offer Him my own receptivity, and He performs everything in and through me according to my receptivity.

Question: You talk about God. In Holland, people will say we are Christians, so we have a Christian God. There are people in other countries who have their own God.

Sri Chinmoy: There is only one God, but we use different terms. In Dutch you use one word. In Bengali, I use the word 'Bhagavan', in English, they say 'God', and in French 'Dieu'. Each language has a word for God, but it is the same Person. An individual may be called Mr. So-and-So, his children call him Father or Daddy, and his friends will call him by his first name, but he remains the same person.

Question: Why do you think it is possible that we have wars between people and they all say they are fighting for their God? How is it that there is only one God and so many opposing sides?

Sri Chinmoy: It is our misconception of God. God is all love. Let us say God is the Father and we are two brothers. If we are quarrelling and fighting, will our Father be happy? No. The Father will be happy only if his two sons are happy and peaceful.

So each religion starts with love of God. Is there any religion that will say it hates God or hates humanity? There is no such religion. It is only our misconception of God. Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism —- they will all say they love God. But if you really love someone, how can you make that person unhappy? If we say that we love God and we continue to quarrel and fight with one another, is it not absurd? We want to make our beloved God happy. We want to make our Father happy. Who wants to make his Father unhappy and miserable? Nobody wants. But in our actions, unfortunately, we are making God sad and miserable. No religion will advocate war, quarrels, fighting and an unhappy life.

Question: Let us return to the topic of sport. Let us say there are two sportsmen. They may fight each other, even if it is a friendly fight. It could be boxing, it could be wrestling. If both of them pray, would that be good?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. If they pray, then they will have protection from God and they will show their best capacities, but there will be no animosity involved. Suppose two boxers are fighting. Naturally, each one wants to win. On the one hand, they can bring to the fore their animal propensities, animal qualities, and destroy the opponent. On the other hand, each one can feel that this is an opportunity to transcend their own capacities. They can try to bring their hidden capacities to the fore. According to our philosophy, we are always trying to transcend ourselves, we are always trying to improve. So, while transcending ourselves, if we defeat someone, then it is not a mistake. But if we try to defeat someone by hook or by crook, by adopting foul means, then that will be a most deplorable mistake.

Question: I know quite a lot of sports people and some of them pray. They say, "Please, Father, let me win the world championship today." Sometimes they succeed. Is that prayer good?

Sri Chinmoy: That prayer is good, but it is not the best prayer. The best prayer is to say, "Let Thy Will be done." The Saviour Christ offered the entire world this most significant message, "Let Thy Will be done." I wish to tell you about another great sportsman, one of the greatest, Muhammad Ali. Everybody knows Muhammad Ali. He is a very close friend of mine. About ten years ago, before one of his fights, he meditated with me for about fifteen minutes. He is a Muslim, so he was praying to Allah and I was praying to God, but it is the same Person. We prayed and meditated together. That night he won the fight. My prayer was only "God, let Thy Will be done." Although Muhammad Ali is my close friend, I knew that whatever God wanted to do in and through Ali will be the best thing. When we offer this prayer to God, God does the best for us.

Question: It could also mean that he would have lost. That could have been the best.

Sri Chinmoy: Absolutely. In this case, God wanted him to win. That was the best from the spiritual point of view. But if God wanted to give him the experience of failure, then he would have gained a very significant inner experience in another way. Sometimes God gives us the experience of failure when He wants us to establish our inseparable oneness with our competitors. At that time, if our prayer to God —- "Let Thy Will be done" —- is sincere, then we are equally happy because we love God. The Person whom we love most knows what is best for us. So we pray to God to do His Will, not our will. Otherwise, at every moment we would pray to God, "Make me the winner, make me the best." From the highest spiritual point of view, that is a mistake. We should pray to God for His Will to be executed in and through us. That is the best prayer.

Question: I have been a professional sportsman and in my life several times I have had the feeling that I could do more than what I was actually doing. Does that sound familiar to you?

Sri Chinmoy: It has happened many, many times in my case also that I could not offer my best capacity. Many times I felt that I could have done far, far better in running, but I did not do it, could not do it. Even then, I was not unhappy because at the very beginning I had offered my soulful prayer to God, "Let Thy Will be done." My mind will say that perhaps I was forced to hold something back, but my heart will say no. I prayed to God for His Will to be performed in and through me. Whatever timing I did in the race, that was the timing God wanted me to show to the world at large. So I was perfectly happy.

Question: If sports people would like to meditate, how should they do it?

Sri Chinmoy: Every morning, when they get up, before they enter into the hustle and bustle of life, they can pray to God to give them a peaceful day, a happy day. They can utter the words, "O Lord God, today do grant me a peaceful day." That is one way, the way of prayer.

The other approach is through meditation. You can try to make the mind absolutely calm and quiet. Focus your concentration right on your heart. Try to feel that only in your heart you exist and there is nothing else. Here you are envisioning your own inner existence, your own divinity. Do not have even an iota of thought. The mind must be calm, quiet and absolutely silent.

With prayer, we use words to approach God. We say, "My Lord Supreme, do make me a choice instrument of Yours so that I can please You and fulfil You in Your own Way." When we are in deep meditation, on the other hand, we feel that God is doing the things that are necessary to be performed in and through us. He will act in and through us. We just try to be a perfect instrument of His.

While I am praying, I feel that God is high in Heaven. My prayer is going up to Him. While I am meditating, the elevator is coming down. God the compassionate One is descending into my heart and He will do the needful. This is how we feel God.

Question: Is it true that by praying and meditating anybody can become a better athlete?

Sri Chinmoy: It is definitely true. It is like having another friend on your side in a tug-of-war. If the other person does not pray or meditate, then he will be all alone, whereas you will have your prayer-friend and meditation-friend on your side.

So many world-class athletes pray and meditate. Just last week, the great Olympian Carl Lewis came and meditated with me for about an hour or so. He has been my friend for several years. During the last Olympics in Los Angeles, he came and meditated with me at the hotel room because he felt the need. He knows that his prayer-life has helped him considerably. He has prayed and meditated with me many, many times.

When you pray and meditate, you increase your inner strength, inner capacities. If your capacity is increased from your prayer-life and your meditation-life, then you should do it. It is like having two extra friends to inspire you. We all want to have friends. Friends can be of great help to us in our hour of need. During sports, we desperately need friends to come to our rescue. So here, prayer and meditation are two excellent friends to help us.

Question: Do you lift these heavy weights with the help of prayer and meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. I give 100 per cent credit to my prayer-life and meditation-life. In my case, it is not 99 12 per cent or 99 34 per cent, but 100 per cent. Even today, when I lifted my bodyweight with my left arm and then my right arm, I know that if my inner Guide did not protect me, I would have dropped it or I could not have lifted it at all. For everything I do, I depend on His Grace, His Compassion, His Protection.

If God grants us His Compassion, out of His infinite Bounty, then is there anything we cannot do? I am a drop, but the moment I enter into the ocean, I become the ocean. Similarly, my finite will, finite capacity, is next to nothing, but the moment I identify myself with God's infinite Will, I am able to accomplish so much. Otherwise, how could I think of lifting such heavy weights at this age? I would be the first person to doubt it. But again, I know I have not done it, I have not done it. Who has done it? God, my Inner Pilot. He is infinite, eternal and immortal. For Him to do this kind of thing is so easy. So for everything, I give Him 100 per cent credit. I know what I can do. I can do nothing. I have written thousands of poems, composed thousands of songs and created thousands of paintings. I know that it is His unconditional Grace at every moment that has enabled me to do these things. I do not deserve it. I know there are many people who are infinitely more talented than I am, but out of His infinite Compassion, He has chosen me.

In the bodybuilding and weightlifting world, look at the biceps and triceps of the champions. How huge they are! But when it comes to lifting, perhaps they are not invoking the highest Power, supreme Power.

Question: If there is a sports competition, can you see by the aura around people who will win?

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely I can see, and then, if it is the Will of God, on very rare occasions, I can tell the person. I will give you an example. One day before the 200-metre final at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Carl Lewis came to meditate with me in my hotel room. Afterwards, I asked him if he would like to know the results of the race the following day. I told him that he would stand first, second would be Kirk Baptiste and third would be Thomas Jefferson. It was God who showed me the results and God who wanted me to tell him. The next day, the race took place and the result was exactly what I had told him. If God had not shown me the result, I would not have been unhappy at all. My goal was only to pray most soulfully with Carl Lewis. Whomever God chose to be the winner, it was up to God's Will. But God wanted me to see the result and God wanted me to tell Carl Lewis.

Question: My last question is, would you kindly address the young Dutch public who watch my programme? I would like to give you some time to talk to the young people. What would you like to give them as a message?

Sri Chinmoy: My message is very simple. This is Holland. Holland is famous for flowers —- tulips. If they can remain as beautiful and as pure as the flowers of Holland, then they will be able to accomplish much from life.

This is the land of flowers and flowers symbolise purity. There are many places on earth where it is not so easy to find flowers. Here, it is so easy. Just look around! The flowers that you are seeing with your outer eyes, if each child can feel the same beautiful flower —- a tulip or any flower —- inside their heart, it will help them tremendously.

The moment we lose purity, we lose practically everything. Each child is a dream of God. God Himself is dreaming His highest Dream in and through each child. If he sees that the child has a pure heart, then God can manifest Himself in and through that pure heart easily. So my advice to the children of Holland is to maintain their pure hearts as long as they can. Once they lose purity, everything is confusion. If the mind is full of confusion, then how are you going to accomplish anything? Always God wants a purity-heart. If we can have that purity in our heart every day, we can accomplish something very special, very meaningful and very fruitful.

So this is my soulful message to the children of Holland, the land of flowers: to maintain their purity-heart throughout their lives.

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