Devotion becomes a magnet
Ignorance tells us: “No God! No God! There is no such thing as God.”
Aspiration tells us: “God is! God is! He is here. He is there. He is all-where.”
Realisation tells us: “God is everything; God is everywhere. Everything is God and everyone is God.”
Ignorance limits our earthbound consciousness. Aspiration heightens our Heavenward consciousness. Realisation liberates our soulful consciousness.
What is ignorance? What is aspiration? What is realisation? Ignorance is imperfection in the purest sense of the term. Aspiration is our inner cry for the highest illumination. Realisation is God’s Transcendental Smile on the seeker’s devoted head, aspiring heart and surrendered soul.
Now, what is consciousness? Consciousness is God’s open secret and man’s fulfilling life. Consciousness is the connecting link between aspiring humanity and illumining divinity.
Consciousness is the connecting link between the glowing ascent of our Mother Earth and the flowing descent of the fulfilling Heaven. Consciousness is the connecting link between earth’s transformation and Heaven’s absolute Compassion. Consciousness is the illumining language that enables us to speak to God face to face. When consciousness is illumined, when consciousness is totally liberated and no longer earthbound, when consciousness becomes Infinity itself, man has a free access to God. Then, at every moment he can listen to the dictates of his Inner Pilot.
In the life of aspiration, we come to realise eventually that God is everything and everyone. He is the Creator and He is the Creation as well.
I am sure most of you have heard or read about a great spiritual figure named Swami Vivekananda. Once he said, “Who else is God, if not I myself?” Now, if we think that he uttered these words on the strength of his own ego, we are mistaken. It was his total identification with the Highest that made it possible for him to speak this way. Similarly, the Son of God, the great Saviour Christ, said, “I and my Father are one.” He said this on the strength of his conscious, absolute oneness, his inseparable oneness with his Inner Pilot. In days of yore our Vedic seers said, Brahmasmi — “I am the Brahman, the One Absolute.” They were able to say this on the strength of their own highest and deepest realisation. Each individual has not only the possibility but also the inner capacity to realise and grow into this truth. Possibility and potentiality we all have; but when we exercise our possibility and potentiality, then inevitability dawns and we reach our ultimate Goal.
Sat-Chit-Ananda: Sat means Existence, Chit means Consciousness, Ananda means Bliss or Delight. Existence, Consciousness and Bliss: this is the highest height, the triple consciousness. There Creation began its journey; there the Truth is one. But when we come down one step, the song of multiplicity starts, because God wants to be fulfilled in millions and billions of forms. He wants to enjoy Himself divinely and supremely in infinite ways and in infinite forms and shapes. That is why Creation started.
God has given to each individual limited freedom. This limited freedom we are misusing every day in our ordinary life. That is why it is almost impossible for us to come out of the meshes of ignorance. In the inner life, we have abundant freedom. But because we are not aware of this freedom, we are constantly caught in the mire of ignorance.
One of our Upanishads, the Isha Upanishad, teaches us something significant. It says: Andham tamah pravishanti… “Into tenebrous gloom and darkness one enters if one follows after ignorance; but into darker, more tenebrous gloom one enters if one follows knowledge alone.” Now, what is meant by knowledge in this case? This knowledge is the knowledge that we get from the physical mind, the reasoning mind, the doubtful mind, the sophisticated mind and the unillumined intellectual mind.
The one who is in ignorance and darkness is simple and sincere to himself. He knows that he is ignorant of everything. This he says and feels in the inmost recesses of his heart. But those who are considered to be men of knowledge are constantly doubting God’s Creation and doubting themselves. They feel they have come out of the animal kingdom and are a little bit superior to those who are still unlit, but they do not know what they are doing with their physical mind. This physical mind they are using to doubt, to break and to destroy — unfortunately, all unconsciously.
The Upanishad carries us farther. It says: Vidyam cavidyam ca yas tad vedobhyam saha. Avidyaya mrityum tirtva vidyayamritam asnute. “Ignorance and knowledge must be taken as one.” Avidyaya means ignorance and vidyam means knowledge. What we call ignorance eventually we will turn into human aspiration. Through human aspiration we shall try to conquer death, and through divine knowledge we shall enjoy Immortality.
Very often we meet people who have no faith in God, who are atheists. What do they do? They mock us. They think that spiritual people, sincere seekers, are all living in the land of the moon. They think that we do not want to face reality. I wish to tell you an incident. Two friends, one a stark atheist and the other a staunch theist, were talking together. The atheist said to his friend, “My friend, look what you have done. You have given up everything for God. You have given up your family. You have given up worldly pleasures, everything, all for God. You are really great.” That was pure sarcasm. But the immediate reply he got from his friend was, “My friend, you are greater than I. I have given up everything for God, but you are so great that you can live without Him. You are far greater than I.”
A problem arises for the householders, for those who want to live a family life and, at the same time, realise God. They feel that it is next to impossible to realise God while living with their family, while working and while using their earthly mind. I wish to say only that they should change their attitude toward life. They should try to see the divinity in humanity.
Suppose you think that your father is obstructing you, that he has no wisdom. You do not want to listen to him. He is your outer father, but you should try to see inside him the living Presence of God, your inner Father. The outer father may be totally ignorant, but the inner Father is all Knowledge, all Wisdom. Your outer mother — her outer existence, her physical mind — may be totally ignorant, but try to see the Goddess inside your mother. Try to feel the Presence of God inside her. Try to see in your wife the divine beauty that inspires you toward perfection. Try to see inside your son or daughter a little divine child, God the Eternal Child. In this way, if you can see the divine in the human, then you do not have to withdraw to the Himalayan caves. You do not have to leave your family and go to the top of Mount Everest to realise God.
Ignorance we all know. We are all swimming in the sea of ignorance. What we need is knowledge. Now, what is knowledge? If we go deep within, we come to realise that what we call knowledge, earthly knowledge, is our surrendering and dying strength for the new life and light. Every day, every moment, new life and new light are coming to us. Then we go a little farther and enter into the domain of wisdom. Wisdom is our illumining and fulfilling power, will-power, soul-power for the eternal Life and Light.
There are two types of wisdom: human wisdom and divine wisdom. Love of God is the beginning of our human wisdom. Conscious surrender to God’s Will is the dawn of our divine wisdom. When the divine wisdom dawns soulfully, man’s forgotten essence is God and God’s fulfilling substance is man.
DBM 1. This talk was originally published in a disciple's personal account of Sri Chinmoy's European lecture tours (1970-74) entitled Sri Chinmoy in Europe, printed in 1974 by Agni Press, New York. It was not included in My Rose Petals, Part 1 by Sri Chinmoy, in which all the other lectures from his 1970 European tour were collected.↩
DBM 1. Original talk: 3 December 1970, Conway Hall, London↩
A supreme, supreme, supreme achievement1I have said a few times that, during these Celebrations, our most significant achievement is the performance by Kailash’s group. About eight hundred songs they have already sung. How I surrender to them. I am known as a singer and a musician, but shall I sing from memory one thousand songs in this incarnation? No! In India, three hundred songs I could sing. How nicely Kailash’s group has sung eight hundred songs! They have two hundred to go. This is a supreme, supreme, supreme achievement during our Celebrations.
Long live Kailash, the leader! Long live all the members of that group! They are learning thousands of songs. Perhaps in this incarnation they will not be able to learn all my songs. Again in their next incarnation they can start!
These songs are all my creations. In a garden there are little, little plants and also huge trees. Sometimes little plants give us tremendous joy. Little two-line songs are like tiny plants. They are tiny, but they are very beautiful, very soulful and very pleasing to my heart and soul.
Kailash’s group has done it! Others also who have learnt a few hundred songs, like the children’s group, deserve my very special gratitude. The children who sing here every day, people who sing in Europe and others who have learnt many, many songs deserve very special pride and gratitude from me. Singing is part and parcel of my life.
Singing, soulful singing, can be done by anybody. Your soulful consciousness will definitely, definitely help you in your spiritual life. You do not have to carry a tune properly if you are not a singer. As long as you feel the beauty, the melody and the fragrance of my songs, you are bound to make progress.
DBM 2. 16 April 2000, Aspiration-Ground, Jamaica, New York↩
Intensity in meditation1When some disciples meditate well, they have intensity in their heart. Some others may have a kind of self-styled confidence; it is not real spiritual confidence. But in the case of the first group, when they do well, there is tremendous intensity.
If you can add intensity to your devotion, then it is of great, great help.
DBM 3. 16 December 2004, Xiamen, China↩
Channel swimmers, do speedwork!1My request to the English Channel swimmers is to work on speed, speed, speed. I advise all my disciple swimmers to do speedwork! The less time you can remain in the water, the better.
Speedwork gives stamina. Stamina does not mean only to swim long distance. There is another type of stamina. When you do speedwork again and again, that speedwork itself gives you stamina.
Some people think that if you run ten miles you will get stamina. That is one theory. Another theory is that if you run 100 metres again and again and again, it is very good for stamina. Our famous champion Emil Zatopek ran 400 metres again and again and again. Then he performed miracles in long distance! With 400 metres he did speedwork.
So many people who attempted to cross the Channel gave me the message, “The tide changed.” Why did they allow the tide to change? Before the tide changed they could have gone across!
Speedwork is very, very necessary. If you can concentrate on speedwork — even if you do only six miles, not ten miles — that will help you tremendously.
A seventy-year-old man has swum the Channel. I lifted him on the 13th of November2
He was very moved, and he stayed at our function for a long time, because he appreciated being in the company of such spiritual people! He said that was what he needed.
DBM 4. 16 December 2004, Xiamen, China↩
DBM 4,6. Sri Chinmoy lifted George Brunstad and his wife, Judy, during his 13 November 2004 weightlifting celebration, “The Body’s Fitness-Gong, the Soul’s Fulness-Song.” In August of that year, at age 70, Mr. Brunstad became the oldest person to swim the English Channel.↩
Vision of an Avatar1A disciple has told me that he wants to become a carpenter. At the Sri Aurobindo Ashram we worked at a place called a cottage industry. All kinds of things were made there. They used to make sweets also. On rare occasion we had to wrap sweets. My third job there was carpentry. This was my selfless service. Alas, the first day I was given the job of making a lead pencil. I spent hours, but I got nowhere!
The owner-manager of the place was so kind and so affectionate. He saw my capacity, and then he gave me the job of supervising! I was supposed to supervise the binding of old books. I was a little bit older than he was. I sat in a small chair while he was working. I would only look at him and see what he was doing. I only observed him. The boss said I did not have to learn anything!
That kind-hearted boss went one step farther. He said, “If you feel like reading, you can read. How long can you just watch?” That was a great relief. I started reading, and occasionally, while he was very devotedly working, I looked at him. Where can one find that kind of boss?
I am sure you have heard my famous story about that place. A lady from Calcutta came to the Ashram to become a permanent member. She had had the vision of an Avatar, and at that cottage industry she discovered me. Twenty metres away from the very place where I used to work, the following incident took place.
My brother and the manager of the cottage industry were very close friends. Some years ago, when I was in America, the manager wanted to read my writings. My brother was all pride! He went to get some of my books for his friend to read.
In those days we used to print my Transcendental Photograph at the end of each of my books. My brother gave his friend a book to read. At that moment a lady was passing by, and she saw the picture. She was stunned! She started screaming, “Who is this? Who is this?”
He said, “This is Chitta’s youngest brother, Chinmoy, who used to work here.” Again, very attentively, she looked at the picture. Then she said, “This is the Avatar! This is the face that Sri Aurobindo showed me!”
Four or five years earlier, in Calcutta, she was crying and crying one evening in front of her shrine, where she kept pictures of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. At that time she was not yet a member of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, but she was a disciple. She said, “I have not seen Sri Ramakrishna, who was an Avatar, and I have not seen you.” Sri Ramakrishna she could not have seen, because Sri Ramakrishna passed away before she was born. And she had not seen Sri Aurobindo on the physical plane, because Sri Aurobindo left the body in 1950. Crying and crying, she said, “I want to see an Avatar! I missed Sri Ramakrishna and I missed you!”
She said that while she was praying, Sri Aurobindo, from his photograph, was telling her to look at the sky. Then she looked at the sky, and there she saw my Transcendental Photograph. It was all illumination. But she did not know my name. Sri Aurobindo only said, “Look there,” so she looked at the sky and saw my Transcendental Photograph. She was so moved. From then on, she was all the time thinking of that picture, because she felt that Sri Aurobindo had shown her an Avatar. She was crying to see that person in the physical form. When she saw my Transcendental Photograph in the book, she was thrilled.
This lady came to our house, and she spoke to my sister. She became very close to our family. Just two months ago also she wrote to me, “I do not expect anything from you, if you could only take the trouble of reading my letter.”
When I went to the Ashram, this lady fell flat at my feet and looked at me for my blessings, because she said that I am an Avatar. And my Transcendental Photograph does not resemble me! When I am in my normal consciousness, my appearance is totally different. In the Transcendental Photograph I am in my highest height. But after seeing the Transcendental Photograph, she did not have any problem in recognising me! When she came to see me, I was cutting jokes with my sisters and my friends, but in front of everyone she fell flat at my feet and started telling the story. My sister was begging her not to narrate the story, because our friends were there, but she did not care.
The last time she met me, she went one step ahead with her story. She said that she saw my Transcendental Photograph merge into Sri Krishna’s picture, and I disappeared. Then Sri Krishna entered into my Transcendental Photograph, and he disappeared. She said that Sri Krishna and I are one.
My story started with one lead pencil! A disciple said he wanted to become a carpenter. My carpentry job lasted for four or five hours, and then the kind-hearted boss saw my capacity.
That lady and her husband run a restaurant at the Ashram. Three or four years ago two of my Indian disciples went to their restaurant. They happened to bring with them a book with one of my pictures. When the husband saw the book, immediately he said, “Oh, he is my wife’s Guru! Please, please come this evening!” They went there in the evening, and the wife again started telling her story.
DBM 5. 16 December 2004, Xiamen, China↩
Incomparable treasures of humanity1In Indonesia I had the loftiest, loftiest experience of the Lord Buddha. At Borobudur, five religions meet together at the same place. These realities are incomparable treasures of humanity.
DBM 6. 17 December 2004, Xiamen, China↩
Everybody cannot be treated in the same way1I will be so grateful to whoever takes care of one special individual who has come to our path. I have such love, affection and concern for him. This is my disciples’ love for me. When I ask them to treat someone in a special way, if their love is unconditional, they apply that unconditional love to the person that I name.
Everybody cannot be treated in the same way. If everybody has to be the same height, then somebody’s head will have to be cut off, and somebody else will have to be lifted up, so that they can become equal. This kind of thing we cannot do. This disciple has to be treated with special care. I really would like my disciples to take care of him unconditionally. That will be their service to me. Some disciples have money-power and heart-power. How many people they are saving with their money-power and heart-power! In the same way, I wish my disciples to give very special attention to this individual. With some people, we do not have to be strict.
In the Ashram, the Mother was very strict. When people got a job, even my brothers and sisters, they remained for thirty or forty years in the same place. One would be in the bakery, one would be in the laundry, one would be in the weaving section, one would be in the garden.
For Sri Chinmoy it was totally different. Usually it was very difficult to change one’s work, but I worked in seven or eight departments. I started with electricity. I continued for perhaps two years. Then in the cottage industry I worked with hand-made paper and dyeing, and then with coconut oil. Then came carpentry, and then I went to wash dishes. I liked that job very much. After that I used to work in the library.
Each time I told the Mother, “I do not like this job.”
The Mother said, “Do you have any complaint?”
I said, “I have no complaint, but I do not like it.” In my case, the Mother made an exception. All the others had great difficulty in changing their work. Seven or eight jobs I had. After two years or six months, I changed my job.
The job that I liked most was washing the dishes, because I had no responsibility. But that job I could not continue, because the Ashram secretary saw me there once or twice, and he did not like to see me washing dishes. He wanted me to be his secretary. I lost all my freedom when I became Nolini’s secretary! Before that I was like a vagabond. I would work for three or four hours and then go. But when I worked for Nolini, in the morning I started, and I worked the whole day. There was no day, no night. At night I would go to the meditation hall to meditate, and at 9:30 he would come with a letter, and I would have to run. All my freedom went away!
Before that, in seven or eight departments when I worked, if I did not like the job, the Mother said, “Fine, fine, fine.” I did not make any complaints against the bosses. They were so kind, so kind. They never cared about my work. Again, I was an exception. If I could not do a particular job, they would say, “Fine, fine — just come and be here. Just come and sit.” There were some other workers, and my job was only to supervise the workers and read books. Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri I read, and occasionally I looked up just to see if people were working.
I was spoilt; I got that kind of exceptional treatment. Everybody cannot be the same! Among my disciples also, out of six thousand people, I am asking for special treatment for only very few individuals. Every rule admits of exceptions. If, out of thousands of people, two or three individuals the Master wants to deal with in a different way, should not some disciples come to the Master’s rescue?
One boss could not believe that I did not want to work for him. He was very huge! He took me to his house and said, “You have made complaints against me.”
I said, “No, I have not made complaints.”
“All right, since you have left me, I am going to punish you.” He made me sit, and he gave me so much food! His wife and children were all very fond of me. The boss started eating, and he said, “Now eat! Since you are not going to work for me any more, this is the punishment.” Such was his affection for me.
Another boss, my second boss, came from Chittagong. He was older than me by eighteen years or more. After I came to America, I went to Pondicherry a number of times. During one of my visits I was chatting with my sisters and brothers and a few friends. They had all come to see me, and we were talking and talking. Then this former boss came with some flowers. As usual, while chatting I was sitting in a relaxed way. The boss came up to me and placed the flowers at my feet! Everybody was so surprised.
I said, “What are you doing?”
After putting the flowers at my feet, he looked at me. To my brothers and sisters he said, “You do not know who he is. I can see — I know who he is.” He said that I was a great yogi. This was my second boss!
The first boss was so kind to me. One day he grabbed my hands and said, “Every day I am praying for you to get the Nobel Prize. You must get the Nobel Prize.” Every evening he used to pray for me to get the Nobel Prize. Now he is in Heaven. This was my first boss.
I have told you about my third boss. How affectionate he was At his place a lady declared that I am an Avatar.
Again I am coming back to the same point. Everybody cannot be treated in the same way. Thousands of people can be treated in one way, but some individuals can be treated in a different way.
There were two thousand members of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, and many servants. Out of two thousand people, why did the Mother want me to meditate in Sri Aurobindo’s room? I was the only one. I was invited to come, not once a month, but every day, at six o’clock in the morning. They showed me how to open the door and I started meditating. How could I get that kind of treatment? I was meditating right in front of Sri Aurobindo’s door. Sometimes the Mother would stand behind me, and I would make my spinal cord very straight! Then she would look at me and give me a smile.
Everybody cannot be treated in the same way. In my family, everybody was so indulgent to me. When it came to me, they never showed strictness.
DBM 7. 18 December 2004, Xiamen, China↩
The Master's smiles1When there is an opportunity, we should take full advantage of that opportunity. God alone knows whether I shall come back to China once more in this incarnation. There is no possibility right now for me to come back in three years or four years. That is why we are trying to offer as much as possible.
Similarly, you have to feel that if there is an opportunity for you to stay a little longer here on our Christmas Trip, you should take it. I do not want your Divine Enterprise to suffer, but in your absence for two or three weeks, it is not going to collapse. The experiences that you have, and the joy that you get here by staying even one day more, enter into your heart. Then your love for me increases. Your heart tells you, “My Guru says so many things to give me joy. It is all his love for me.” What is more important, business or the Master’s presence? Once you accept the spiritual life, the Master’s smiles, even the Master’s scoldings are all blessings, blessings.
When I was at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the Mother would be driven in a car. Once I happened to be on a particular street. I did not know that the Mother would be there. The Mother passed by in her car, and all of a sudden she saw me and smiled a little. That smiling face lasted so vividly in my heart for two weeks. I could not believe that she passed by me. It was quite unexpected, and I am sure she never thought that she would see me. But when she saw me, she gave me a smile that lasted so strongly inside my heart for two weeks. One little smile from the Mother increased our love for her so much. That is what the Mother’s smile used to do.
Again, she also showed me affection when she scolded me with a cute slap! Why? The Mother did not want the disciples to go to any other spiritual Centres, but once I went. I pretended that I had her permission.
I had to go before the Mother every day. Early in the morning after my adventure, my time came. My boss, Nolini, said, “Mother is waiting for you!” Everybody was trembling with fear. The Mother gave me a cute slap and said, “When did I give you permission?”
Again, that cute slap she gave out of affection. I was remembering that slap for three months, because I knew it was out of affection that she gave it to me. It was not like an ordinary mother becoming furious and saying, “You rogue!” The Mother said I had done something wrong, but she was full of affection when she gave me the slap. I remember that affection. It was not out of anger that she did it. I felt in that slap so much cute affection she was pouring into me, while she was asking why I had done this kind of thing.
After I joined the Ashram, for two years or even more, I used to go to the Mother three times a day, sometimes four times. Three times I went on a regular basis. Every time I went, my physical mother’s eyes I saw in the Divine Mother’s eyes. Inside the Divine Mother’s eyes I would see my physical mother’s eyes, for two years. When my physical mother was dying, she said to me, “Go, go — go to the Divine Mother.” The Divine Mother was showing this little boy, “I am your mother.”
A little affection lasts for a long time! Again, in the case of some people, no matter how much one gives them, they want more, more. The more one gives them, the more demands they make. Even if their spiritual Master has blessed them for five minutes, if the Master then looks at another disciple for five seconds, everything is lost! Even if the Master has poured and poured his blessings into a disciple, that disciple may feel that the Master looked at the second one more powerfully. Then all the first disciple’s inner wealth disappears.
But in the case of some of my disciples, even if I do not look at them for five days, they will not mind, because their hearts are so deep inside me. Their hearts are right here, inside my heart, so they will never care if I look at someone else for five minutes. They will say, “Whatever I need, Guru is giving me; I know it.” So much love they have for me, and so much faith they have in me.
DBM 8. 20 December 2004, Xiamen, China↩
I have given you the medicine1I have said that Tuesday is the day to conquer jealousy.2 How will you conquer jealousy? I have given you the medicine. Only once a week you have to take that medicine. Once a week you can pray to God to conquer your jealousy. How long does it take to pray to God to conquer your jealousy? The doctor gives medicine, and once a week the doctor says that you should take this medicine. One day there is medicine for pride, one day for jealousy, and so on — once a week for each undivine quality.
There are some disciples who absolutely do these prayers devotedly. They have not conquered all their weaknesses, but they are taking the medicine. I know that they do it. From time to time I ask them. They immediately say that they do it, and in the inner world I know that they do it.
Sometimes you have to take medicine for a long time to be cured. But if you do not take the medicine, how will you be cured?
On a daily basis if we do not take exercise, if we do not take a shower, if we do not brush our teeth, what will happen? If we do not brush our teeth every day, the dentist will say, “How can I treat you?” It will be a hopeless case!
In the same way, if we do not do our daily prayer, we become weak, weak, weak. If I do not take exercise every day, I will become physically weak. If I do not do necessary things, then will I not suffer? I will be the one to suffer — nobody else. Our parents taught us, “Take a shower, brush your teeth.” In this way they played the role of a doctor with regard to our hygiene. Whatever we have learnt from our parents in this way, we do.
When a spiritual Master comes into our life, he tells us everything to do on a daily basis. We know it is good, but if we neglect and neglect, we become weak. Spiritual Masters always suffer when their disciples do not practise the spiritual disciplines. What can the Master do if the disciples do not practise spiritual disciplines?
Even one book of mine1God comes to us in so many ways to help us through the Master. Life is discipline! Let us take reading. Even one book of mine you can read, your favourite book out of more than one thousand books. Read that one! Let that book be your Bible or your Bhagavad Gita. If you do not want to read any other book, read that book again and again.
I do not need to read my books, because I have written them! But I spend at least two hours a day reading this book and that book. I keep seven or eight books near me, or even more. When one book is drawing my attention, I read from that one. Then I read from another one. In my second room here, there are at least six or seven books, on the desk and in other places. In my case, I do read books. And again, if I do not read even one book, nothing will happen to my spirituality!
There are many people who read seven or eight hours a day. They read and they learn. But if I read one spiritual book, if I read even one page, I get so much joy. And some books I read on a daily basis. The Bhagavad Gita I read. I have at least twenty versions of the Bhagavad Gita, in English and Bengali. Many people have written about the Bhagavad Gita. I also have written about the Bhagavad Gita2 , but I read others’ books. Some I have chosen to read on a daily basis. On this Christmas Trip I have brought three Bhagavad Gitas with me to read — not one, but three. I get joy by reading about Lord Krishna.
There are disciples who read my writings! They quote from here and there, from my Everest-Aspiration, from this book and that book. Some disciples in New York work so hard. When do they get the time to read? They always quote from here and there. One disciple’s Bible is Everest-Aspiration. There are quite a few disciples who like Everest-Aspiration more than any other book of mine.
Some disciples have told me over the years that they needed an answer to a certain question. They had quite a few of my books, but they did not know which particular book had the answer to their question. They chose a book, not with the hope that they would get the answer. They were not looking for the answer to their question at that moment. Then they turned to one page and discovered that that page had the answer! God alone knows why they selected that book, when they had so many books. Out of so many books, they got the right book. Not only that, they just opened up the book and got the answer. They did not have to read twenty or thirty pages. Why? Because they were so eager to get the answer! That is why they got the right book — not only the right book, but even the right page.
Writing and handwriting1My sincerity speaks! At the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, I used to read. All the books by Sri Aurobindo I have read. Some books I have read many, many, many times. Two volumes are called Collected Poems. How many times I have read them, and how many poems they contain! Two books were difficult to understand, because they were based on Greek mythology. But they were Sri Aurobindo’s books, and out of devotion I read them.
When I started reading Savitri, hundreds of words I did not understand. I wrote down the words, and then I discovered the meaning. Again, the meaning can be totally different, if you do not understand it properly. Even scholars have had different interpretations. Let us take the English word “close.” Somebody has translated or interpreted it this way: “The door of Eternity is closed.” From Sri Aurobindo’s writing that person is getting the sense of the word. But someone else will understand the meaning this way: “The door of Eternity is very near.” These are scholars! One is saying that the door of Eternity is closed completely; another is saying that the door of Eternity is very close. You can choose whichever interpretation you like.
From Savitri I learnt the meaning of literally hundreds of words. Savitri helped me to acquire a very nice vocabulary.
Two poems in particular I liked. One was “Invitation,” and the other was “Who.” These two poems by Sri Aurobindo are absolutely immortal. At least five hundred times, if not more, I have recited them — in my own way, at home, at the top of my lungs. I was getting such joy from these two poems. And there are many others.
Sri Aurobindo’s last thirty or forty poems are so beautiful. After those poems, Sri Aurobindo did not write anything.
On my birthday the Mother used to give me presents sometimes. On one of my birthdays she gave me a book by Sri Aurobindo, and she autographed the book. After giving me the book, she was very happy. I was also very happy. Then she said to me, “How do you find Sri Aurobindo’s handwriting?”
Sri Aurobindo’s handwriting was on one side and the typed poem was on the other side. The Mother said that I had to read the handwriting first, and if I could not make out the words, then only I could read the typed version on the other side. I was able to read most of the poems, but whenever I had problems, I looked at the typed version. I kept my promise.
Nolini’s handwriting was excellent. But by the time he was over sixty-five or seventy, when I was his secretary, the Ganges was flowing from his pen. When he reviewed my translations, even when his articles were seven or eight pages long, here and there he used to change words. I had to go to him even for one word if I could not figure it out. Afterwards I came to understand what he meant, and then I did not have to make changes.
Handwriting changes! I am no exception. In India I had nice handwriting. In America also I started with nice handwriting. I maintained it for five years. Now it is a different story!
DBM 11. 20 December 2004, Xiamen, China↩
Devotion becomes a magnet1Once Nolini gave me about two hundred of Sri Aurobindo’s letters in Bengali. My job was to select sixty or seventy letters and translate them into English. It was a very difficult task. I had devotion. How to make the selection? When you have devotion, you are in trouble, because you do not know which ones to choose. If you do not have devotion, you just use your mind and immediately decide: this one is good, this one is not as good. But if you use the heart, you are in serious trouble. According to the heart, which letter is not good? Devotion, like a magnet, is drawn to all two hundred letters. But I was supposed to choose seventy letters, so devotion was struggling with reality.
I did it, and the selection came out in a magazine. When it came out in book form, there was a note that said “translated from Bengali.” They did not mention by whom it was translated! Then, for six or seven years, every month my job was to translate Nolini’s writings from Bengali into English.
When you have devotion, devotion becomes a magnet. Love can make a selection, but devotion finds it very difficult to choose one thing and discard another.
DBM 12. 20 December 2004, Xiamen, China↩
Surrender, surrender, surrender1We have to surrender, surrender, surrender to God’s Will. How many times God has cured disciples of serious, serious ailments! Sometimes doctors will give the patient two days, three days, four days, one week to live; sometimes they will give two weeks. Even a month ago, one case was so serious, extremely serious. God utilised me. God utilises me so many times. You know only very few cases. About the rest you have no idea. In hundreds of cases God wanted me to be His instrument to save people from death.
God created disease. If God did not create it, who created it? Somebody created disease, since everything that exists was created. In only two or three cases where death from the most serious disease was imminent, I did not succeed. In more than fifteen cases recently, God wanted me to succeed. Even in this hall there are three people to whom God wanted me to be of service in this way. They would have died in a maximum of six months, but God used me. The patients themselves know it. It was a matter of months, or even a week.
I joke with you, because you are my spiritual children. So many times I cut jokes with my spiritual children. But God jokes with me infinitely more than I joke with you! Again, I place my suffering for you at the Feet of God. He is the Tree. When I place my suffering at the foot of the Tree, I do it very cheerfully, plus unconditionally. The heart breaks; but the inner existence, which is divinity, is so completely surrendered to God’s Will.
Again, you know only a few cases. Concerning twenty or thirty cancer cases, including brain cancer, you have no idea. God used me as His instrument. In two or three cases He did not use me. It is all His Will, His Will. We cannot do anything ourselves; we are fully surrendered to God’s Will.
Sometimes we say to God about those who have serious ailments, “I know her, I know him; I care for them.” Then God says, “Who created those people? Did you create them?” At that time we have to say, “No, sorry — I did not create them.” God tells us that we are dearer than the dearest to Him, each one of us. Here on earth somebody will be with us for some years, and then the soul departs. But who created the soul? God created the soul. That soul came to us in the form of affection, love and sweetness.
We show our affection and fondness to dogs or cats, and these animals also show their sweetness and affection to us. We cannot understand their language, but our heart knows them and can easily understand their feelings. When they look at us, immediately we can feel what they are going to say. The affection, sweetness and fondness that we give to these little animals and they give to us will make us spiritually rich.
Many people cannot show their real affection, sweetness and fondness. They are unkind, or their heart is not developed. When we can offer to human beings our sweet concern and affection, it is God who gives us those divine qualities. Again, when our dear ones leave the earth, God, out of His infinite Compassion, in a few months or a year takes away our excruciating pangs. Then our suffering disappears.
Everybody will lose his dear ones — parents, brothers, sisters, all. In my case, one by one they left. How much I suffered! Again, three times God gave me the capacity to extend my brother Chitta’s life, and four times my sister’s life. He gave me the capacity. But when God does not want it, what can you do? In Chitta’s case, outwardly I had to make a connection. I knew something was wrong with my brother. From New York I called our house, but our phone was not working. I phoned the hospital, but their two lines were not working. I could not do anything. In a matter of eleven hours he disappeared, my dearest brother Chitta. My sister Lily also disappeared. God gave me the capacity to be of service by extending their lives. Again, after some time the same God did not want to keep them here on earth any more.
Surrender, surrender, surrender! We have to surrender to God’s Will, willingly or unwillingly. If we do it willingly, then we make tremendous progress, tremendous progress. Unwillingly if we do it, then we make no progress; we almost stand against God’s Will. Happily, self-givingly, unconditionally we have to surrender to God’s Will. After all, we have to know that we did not create our dear ones. It was God who created them. The Creator will always have infinitely more Affection, Love and Concern for the Creation than anyone else can have. We get our dear ones for ten, twenty, thirty or forty years. Then they disappear, and we also disappear.
For fifty, sixty or one hundred years, we are together; there is no fixed time. And if we are very close, then in the soul’s world we meet together. Then again, there may be a problem. We are members of the same family, but one individual in the family may be spiritually much more developed, according to his virtues, according to his good deeds. There may be four, five or six persons in one family, but there is no guarantee that they will also be in Heaven together. In some cases they are together, because they are very close to each other. In other cases, the brother will be on one plane of consciousness and the sister will be somewhere else. It is like that. We cannot say that all five or six members of a family will be in Heaven again together — no, no, no! It all depends on their standard. If they are of the same standard, they will be together. Otherwise, if there is a great gap between one individual and another, they may come and visit each other. Like distant relatives they can come and visit, but they do not dwell on the same plane.
DBM 13. 8 December 2006, Antalya, Turkey↩
No match for saris1There is such a difference when the women disciples wear saris! Spiritual Masters are beyond differences in clothing. I do not lose anything if I wear shorts, let us say. But for the women disciples there is a great difference between wearing saris and wearing trousers or other clothing. Even punjabis are no match for saris. They are second in rank, but they are no match for saris!
So many divine qualities enter into the women disciples when they wear saris. Your soulfulness comes to the fore quite easily when you wear saris.
DBM 14. 10 December 2006, Antalya, Turkey↩
Nolini's official secretary1I had a cousin who was dearer than the dearest. She was extremely fond of me. Her name was Nirmala. When I was one year and three months old, I came to Pondicherry for the first time. Nirmala made the supreme sacrifice. She took care of me and allowed my mother to be with the Divine Mother. And I knew how to cry! Such affection she had for me.
Nirmala used to scold me in the street. Why had I changed my hairstyle? According to her, if you parted your hair in a particular way, you were a gunda, a ruffian. She did not allow me to part my hair in that way, the way only gundas did it. That was her realisation.
Nirmala would observe my shirts and see if they were properly ironed. On Thursdays we gave in our laundry, and on Sundays they would return it. But my brother Mantu worked at the laundry. Every day he used to take my clothes and bring me clean clothes. That was his job! That kind of affection he had for me.
Nirmala used to scold me for everything. If my sandals were not properly polished, I got her “blessing”!
People who scolded me in those days had such affection and concern for me. They were not actually scolding me; only they were showing how much they cared for me.
Nirmala did not like the fact that I was washing dishes at the Ashram. That was too much, too much for her! She begged me to give a present to Nolini, the General Secretary of the Ashram. After the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, Nolini stood first — not in spirituality of their height, but in high experiences, in ocean-vast knowledge, in wisdom. He got tremendous appreciation from Tagore.
One year passed. I said to my cousin, “I have nothing to give to him.”
The following year she again said, “You have to give him a gift!”
I said, “I have nothing to give.”
She said, “Give something!”
Nolini had written a very short article about Mother Durga. To please Nirmala, I transferred it to poetry. By that time I had learnt English metre quite well. I turned the article into blank verse pentameter. Nirmala was so proud to take my achievement to Nolini.
The following day I was summoned. All the butterflies of the world were flying inside my chest! I said to myself, “O God!” Nolini was the greatest person at the Ashram. We did not go near him. If we saw him, we turned around. His personality was so powerful, so powerful! We could not say anything near him.
I stood at Nolini’s door. Both his feet were on the table. He was reading a very well-established newspaper, The Hindu, which Sri Aurobindo used to read every day. He saw me out of the corner of his eye. One minute, two minutes, three minutes, four minutes elapsed. After about five minutes, I was losing my patience.
Then, loudly and powerfully Nolini cleared his throat and addressed me: “Come in!” I went inside. Then he took me into his inner chamber, his bedroom. There was a cabinet — we called it an almirah. Inside there were more than two hundred fifty folders. Nolini said, “You have to go through all the folders. Many, many Ashram secrets are there, from long before you were born. You must not breathe a word! Make one copy for me, and one copy for yourself.”
I said, “I will make two copies, both for you. I will leave them here.”
My sisters and brothers, specially my sisters, were in the seventh Heaven! My brothers were very happy, but my sisters’ pride-expansion you cannot imagine! They were so happy that Nolini had taken me as his assistant.
Nolini said, “You are my official secretary. Every month, regularly, you have to translate one of my articles into English.” He was a great savant. His writing was the topmost Bengali literature. He said, “In order to flatter me, many Ashramites who hold very high degrees translated my writings into English. I did not accept their translations — I discarded them. Now you have to translate for me every month.”
Nolini had such trust in me! When I gave him my translation, he would never consult his original work. Once I asked him, “Do you not want to see the original?”
He said, “I do not have to see the original. I do not want to see it.”
He had written the articles even fifteen or twenty years earlier, but he would never look at the original after I gave him a translation. Like this it continued. I became his only secretary.
One day a member of the Indian Parliament came. He was President of the Parliament at that time. He and Nolini were chatting. I came to get my typewriter. Nolini stopped me. He said to that member of Parliament, “Chinmoy is my only authority.” I got that kind of appreciation from Nolini!
Many years later I was working at the Indian Consulate in New York. That gentleman who had been President of the Indian Parliament was coming to America. Who was going to receive him at the airport? The Ambassador himself was hesitant. The Consul-General also did not want to receive him. They were afraid that if he was not satisfied, he would go back and tell the Prime Minister, and they would be fired. Nobody wanted to go and receive this gentleman at the airport, because he was so powerful! If they did something wrong, they would be in trouble. But a junior clerk said, “I am ready. If you want me to go, I can go and bring him, because I know him well.” They could not believe it! They were so happy and relieved, because I went to receive him. He also knew me so well.
DBM 15. 10 December 2006, Antalya, Turkey↩
Sri Aurobindo's Bengali writings1Sri Aurobindo’s Bengali handwriting was wonderful! He wrote two books in excellent Bengali: one about his prison-life and one about the Chariot of Lord Vishnu.2 When disciples came to the Ashram to remain permanently, each one got a book autographed by Sri Aurobindo. How beautiful his handwriting was at that time! I got the book about Sri Aurobindo’s prison-life.
At one point Sri Aurobindo wrote only in English. He wrote hundreds of letters to his disciples. For two disciples he wrote in Bengali. Mridu was by far my best Ashram “mother.” Sri Aurobindo had to write to her in Bengali. At the age of twelve she got married, and when she reached the age of thirteen God “blessed” her: her husband died. She received two hundred letters from Sri Aurobindo, or even more. Nolini gave me the job to make a selection of Sri Aurobindo’s Bengali letters and translate them into English.
My English teacher and my music teacher1I was fortunate enough to study at the Ashram’s international library. But for two years, my studying was interrupted. How? At night my English teacher, who was also my eldest brother’s English teacher, made me sit on his chair. He would be on the floor. He had many things to say against my first music teacher, who taught me twenty songs or more with the harmonium. Once upon a time they were great friends, but then they became enemies. I had to comply with his request, or command: I exchanged their wonderful views. For two years it went on! For an hour and a half or two hours a day I had to sit with the English teacher. He would not teach me. He said, “When the time comes, you will learn. Now you do not have to worry.” He was very devoted to me, and he would massage my feet while I listened to what he had to say against his enemy.
When friends become enemies, this is what happens. Both of them were very well educated. I was at that time eighteen or nineteen years old, and they were on the wrong side of fifty.
My music teacher would not give me his harmonium to play if he felt that I had not conveyed his message to his enemy properly. For a week he would not allow me to use his harmonium. He would say, “No, you did not convey my message properly!”
When I became famous in America, this music teacher said, “I taught you how to play harmonium. I taught you songs. You have to give me absolutely the best harmonium from Calcutta!” I gave him the money to buy absolutely the best harmonium.
The English teacher was very kind and devoted to me. My brother went to see him when he was quite old. He asked, “How is Madal doing?”
“Oh, he is fine. Would you like to have some grapes?”
“All right, let me try.” One grape Chitta put into his mouth, and then the English teacher said, “Madal.” Then Chitta gave him a second grape and a third grape. Each time my brother Chitta put a grape into his mouth, he would utter my name. After he got the fifth grape, he passed away.
This is life.
DBM 17. 10 December 2006, Antalya, Turkey↩
They felt something in me1When I was at the Indian Consulate, Consul General S.K. Roy was smarter than the smartest. He and others did come to know me over the years. Otherwise, how could he have sent me to give a talk? Ananda Mohan was an M.A. He was the biographer of Indira Gandhi. By that time he had gone so many times to speak on Hinduism and culture. When the Consul General received one particular invitation, it was expected that Ananda Mohan would speak. But the Consul General said, “No, Ananda Mohan cannot go. Ghose has to go.” How much confidence he had in me!
Mr. Mehrotra himself would give talks on Buddhism. Yvonne, his secretary from Jamaica, West Indies, gave me his talks to read. He said that I had to see them to make some suggestions. If I only flattered him and said they were very nice, he would not be satisfied. Such kindness Mr. Mehrotra had!
Mr. Mehrotra gave me the job. And when I applied for a green card, how he wrote about me. In absolutely flowing English he said how much I would be able to contribute to America and India.
That was one aspect of the treatment I received at the Consulate: kindness and compassion. Another aspect was that they felt something in me; they knew what I had in my eyes.
My friends at the Consulate used to cut jokes, but they also said such nice things about me. One lady, Mrs. Coutinhoe, was very short. Her husband was a friend of someone who has become my disciple. She used to stand up to fight for me when others were cutting jokes! They all had tremendous, tremendous love for me, including Mr. Ramamoorthy, Shivaram and others.
My sectional boss was named Krishan. Years later I gave a concert in Toronto. I came off the stage, and somebody followed me. It was this gentleman. He is much taller than me. He stood right in front of me and fell down at my feet. I recognised him and said, “What are you doing? What are you doing? You were my boss!”
He said, “Yes, Ghose, we knew you, we knew who you were, but at that time we were not in a position to fall at your feet.” Then his wife also fell at my feet. He knew who I was when I was at the Consulate, but at that time I was a worker and he was the sectional boss.
Another boss was a Bengali named A.K. Mukherjee. Such affection he lavished on me! Once he said in front of everybody, “Ghose does not know how far he will go. God knows, only God knows how far he will go. Ghose does not know anything about it.” At his farewell party, there were about fifteen or sixteen people. He and his wife had invited their very close friends. I had never seen his wife before. We all went there, all the workers. To others his wife did not fold her hands, but with folded hands she started talking to me. Then she gave me something to eat first, before the others. She had heard from her husband who I was. For the sectional boss’s wife to approach me with folded hands!
Mr. Mehrotra was kinder than the kindest. His wife was reserved. Their daughter Aparna used to come to the Consulate only to cry. She was three or four years old. At Mr. Mehrotra’s farewell time, we went to a party at their place. A maid served everybody. A few years later Mr. Mehrotra became the Consul General in California, and they invited me to their place. At that time we went to Dipti Nivas, our disciples’ restaurant. Both of them were facing me, and I did a very beautiful painting which I gave to them. When we met with them in Sri Lanka a few years after that, Mr. Mehrotra’s wife was acting like my sister. They definitely saw something in my eyes, in my face, in my movements, both of them.
Only one book at a time you could take from the Consulate library. They had many, many books. But the librarian used to give me three or four books, or even more, every week. He said, “Every rule has an exception.” He was a Gujarati. He wanted me to become his assistant, but it did not work out.
I had no complaints against my colleagues at the Consulate! All of them were very kind and very affectionate. The two bodyguards were so affectionate, and they were such jokers!
Mr. Ramamoorthy had a friend who passed away recently. That friend brought me to Hicksville High School to give a talk on Hinduism. I could not believe how nicely those high school students behaved! In India, high school students can be notorious. Perhaps here also it is true.
I had very good friends, very good. At that time I was living in Brooklyn, on New Utrecht Avenue. It used to take me an hour to go to the Consulate — three trains I had to take.
Four of us friends went there by car. Two of us were from Brooklyn and two from Manhattan. At that time I was living in Brooklyn, on New Utrecht Avenue. It used to take me an hour to go to the Consulate — three trains I had to take. The horse race was in Queens. All night they were trying to make money in horse races. I spent only three dollars. My friends were going on and going on. I was only waiting for them. There was no joy for me.
On the way back, it was early in the morning. The owner of the car decided he would go to Manhattan first. One hundred or two hundred metres before the Midtown Tunnel, believe it or not, one, two, three, four — all the tires burst at the same time! It was difficult to control the car. I said to myself, “O God! It is karma, karma, karma. Why did I join them?” It was the worst possible experience!
Our Shivaram had tremendous interest in horse races. He was a mathematician. He would buy a special newspaper that would say which horses had possibility. He checked this newspaper with his great mathematician-brain. How many times he wagered, God alone knows. And how many times he won, that is a top secret! Again, shamelessly, with no wisdom, three or four friends of mine, when they got their salary on the first of every month, used to go to wager. They wanted to become very, very rich. Most of the time they lost. But when they won, they bragged and bragged and bragged!
Every month when we used to get our salary, five of us from our department would go to eat at an Indian restaurant. We felt that we were very rich on that day.
After six months or eight months of working at the Consulate, I developed a peculiar idea. I think I was getting the lowest salary. We were seven or eight in the same section, the Passport-Visa section. I used to buy ice cream or something else for everyone to eat. Mr. Ramamoorthy can confirm that it is true! I used to give it to them personally. I did it during the first year, or the second year. I used to give them personally something to eat, once a week. That was my self-imposed job. Every Friday I did it. I remember.
And where did I eat? Lunch was across the street, where an old man sold ice cream. I liked the kind that was coconut-flavoured. Sometimes when I felt that I was rich, I had popcorn. Then I would go downstairs to chat a little bit with Ananda Mohan and his boss, Nirmal Singh. That boss was so kind. He had something to say about my Hinduism and I had something to say about his Sikhism. He was so fond of me. When I went there, he would stop working only to have an affectionate chat with me. Then I used to joke with him. Ananda Mohan saw this. His boss was so serious with others! But when I was there, his seriousness used to disappear and he chatted with me, all about Hinduism and Sikhism. This is how we talked.
I have so many juicy stories! From time to time if I remember my Indian Consulate stories, I shall tell you.
One sectional boss was named Menon. He was a South Indian. He was very, very kind to me. He was the first one to whom I gave my refreshments once a week. I used to go to the post office at Bloomingdale’s. At 4:00 I would stand in front of him and say, “Sir, I am leaving for the post office.” He would give me a smile. He was so kind, so affectionate. Now he lives in New York. He says he has such tremendous love and admiration for me, but spirituality is not meant for him. If he does not come to see me, I can go one day to his place with Mr. Ramamoorthy. How kind, how affectionate he was!
Indira Gandhi came twice to the Indian Consulate. Once I was there, and the second time I was not. When I was in India, my dearest brother-friend’s father died. His wife was so fond of me. She gave me a brand-new “Nehru jacket.” When I came to America I used that Nehru jacket. Menon once saw me wearing it. He said to me, “Ghose, Ghose, tomorrow bring that jacket. I will need it! I will go to see Indira Gandhi. She will be so pleased with me if you give me your Nehru jacket to wear.”2 Luckily we were of the same size, so I gave him the jacket.
I did not have even one enemy at the Indian Consulate! They liked me; they loved me. Of course they thought I was unusual. That thought came to their mind first! But they had such love for me.
Introduced by an Indian to U Thant1Many years ago at the Madras Airport, when I was about to board my plane, they made an announcement about a tall man who was Chef de Cabinet working under Secretary-General U Thant at the United Nations. That was C.V. Narasimhan. When he came out of the plane from New York, they garlanded him. He was such an important person! One of my disciples said to me, “In five years you will also be garlanded.” Five years later when I went to the airport, before I entered the plane, Savyasachi garlanded me.
I wanted to meet with Secretary-General U Thant. The Secretary-General appointed Mr. Narasimhan to interview me first. He interviewed me for ten minutes or so. He very highly appreciated me. Secretary-General U Thant again made enquiries about me, and I got high appreciation. Usually one Indian is not so inclined to speak highly of another Indian; that is our tradition. But Narasimhan said such nice things about me to the Secretary-General.
Agni, our Puerto Rican disciple, accompanied me when I met with the Secretary-General. There was no photographer, so Agni took one picture. That was our first interview. Gradually we became very close friends.
I cannot imagine that Narasimhan was able to be lifted by me! When I started lifting people, we did not have the kind of staircase that we have now. It was very old-fashioned in those days. Narasimhan was an old man, and he had so much pain in his legs. But his love for me was such that he climbed up this very old-fashioned ladder. I could not believe it! He had very sincere love and admiration for me.
Narasimhan served two Secretaries-General: U Thant and Kurt Waldheim. He wrote his memoirs. How highly and deeply he appreciated U Thant! How good U Thant was in every way! He used to invite Narasimhan quite often just to chat, and have a good supper. So many times U Thant showed such love and concern for Narasimhan.
DBM 19. 10 December 2006, Antalya, Turkey↩
Farewell poems at the Consulate1When I was working at the Indian Consulate, the Indian Ambassador to the United Nations was R.K. Nehru, Prime Minister Nehru’s cousin. We were told that he had wanted to marry a Hungarian girl. His family said, “No, no, do not do that. You are of a Brahmin family.” He did not listen. In those days we had the Consulate and the UN Mission in the same building. One day this Ambassador paid a surprise visit to the Consulate. There were six or seven sections. He went to all the sections, only to say how disappointed he was in all the workers. He said how lucky we were that his term had expired, because he was so displeased! The Passport-Visa Section, the Commercial Section and all the other sections got the same serious message.
Farewell parties always took place on the second floor at the Indian Consulate. I had got some information about R.K. Nehru when he was the Indian Ambassador to the USA. Although he had “blessed” us with his criticism, I wrote a farewell poem about him. I went to Mr. Mehrotra and said, “I would like to show you this poem.” Mr. Mehrotra liked it so much! As usual, according to him whatever I did was very nice. Mr. Mehrotra was the master of ceremonies at the party. He gave a wonderful speech about this Ambassador. He knew so much about him.
There was a special kind of microphone. You stood in front of it and you talked. All the listeners in the whole hall would be able to hear everything. You did not need a traditional microphone. I stood there and read out the poem. The Ambassador was so moved. He was taller than the tallest and his wife was shorter than the shortest. I was quite tall in comparison to her. In front of so many people, this Hungarian lady lifted up her hand and put it on my shoulder. She said to me, “Ghose, Ghose, is this your first poem?”
I said, “No, no, Sister. I have written hundreds of poems.”
“Yes. My mother tongue is Bengali, but I have written also in English.”
“Oh! Such a beautiful poem! Such a beautiful poem!” In front of hundreds of people she was blessing my shoulder and saying such nice things. This was my first experience in reading out one of my poems at the Consulate.
Then came B.N. Chakravarty. He was a Bengali, very tall. He was Ambassador to the UN. The Consulate and UN Mission building was very near Central Park. One afternoon this Ambassador was in Central Park reading a newspaper. I think it was Shivaram who said to me, “He is Bengali and you are Bengali. He will be very nice to you. Go and say hello to him.”
I was quite shy and reluctant. I was a junior clerk, and he was such a great man. I went up to him. When I said, “Sir,” he put his newspaper down. “What do you want?” he said in English. I told him my name and a little more.
“Where do you come from? Where were you born?”
I said, “Chittagong.”
He became so upset! “Chittagong? My mother died in Chittagong at an uncivilised place! My father was stationed in Chittagong, so I was there. My mother died in Chittagong Hospital, with no proper treatment.”
Here our conversation ended. His mother died of the same disease as my mother: goitre. In America, every day people are cured of goitre. It is such a simple disease, caused by a lack of iodine. His mother died of that disease in Chittagong.
A few months later his farewell party was going to take place, in the same room on the second floor. Although he had become upset when I mentioned Chittagong, I got his resume and I wrote a poem about him. There would be one main speaker at the farewell party, and then a few others would say nice things about him.
I read out my poem. When I finished reading out my poem, tears were rolling down his cheeks. In front of everyone, he put both his hands on my shoulders. He had only tears, no words. That was B.N. Chakravarty, a pure Bengali.
Then came our Consul General S.K. Roy. He was so kind, smart and elegant. One incident I have told so many times. He was coming out of the elevator, and I was about to enter. When I saw him I ran away. In those days I could run; I did not walk! He came out of the elevator and said, “Ghose, Ghose! Am I a tiger? Am I a snake? Get in!” He commanded me to go into the elevator. He was going to one floor and I was going to another.
He had married a Muslim lady. She was well educated, very well dressed, cultured and very, very nice. Both the families were dead against the marriage, but they did not listen to their parents. After ten or twelve years his Hindu family accepted the Muslim girl, but her family could not come to that point, even though S.K. Roy had become an Ambassador and he had been Governor of Assam.
Before S.K. Roy’s farewell, his mother died. I went one Saturday to the Consulate, and one of the guards said to me, “Ghose, this morning the Consul General’s mother passed away.” I knew nothing about her, but I sat down and wrote a poem about the mother and the son. I was waiting for the Consul General to come down. In an hour or so he came down. He was, as usual, in a hurry. He did not know how to walk — he only marched or ran, with thunderous feet. Practically dancing he used to come down from the second floor. He came down and he was going away, very quickly. I said, “Sir, Sir!”
Then he turned. I said, “Sir, I just heard about your mother.” I showed him the poem, on a small piece of paper. Tears, tears, tears ran down from his eyes. He read the poem, and then he took it with him. He gave me a very sweet smile.
When his farewell time came, I wrote a very, very nice poem about him. Mr. Mehrotra was very moved. About two hundred people had gathered together. I read out my poem, and everybody heard it. Tears, tears! Indians know how to shed tears.
S.K. Roy had a desire to buy a little boat to take to India, something very cute. He had three secretaries. One of them came to all the sections to inform the workers that he wanted to have a boat, so we could collect money. Everybody gave according to his capacity or willingness. I still remember that I gave seventy dollars! In those days, for me to give so much money! I was a junior clerk; Mr. Ramamoorthy was senior to me. I gave seventy dollars. S.K. Roy was such an important person.
Then came the last poem, for my dearest one, Lakhan Mehrotra. I think that poem was preserved. Others we could not preserve. That poem I read out very beautifully — I can use the word “sonorously” — with so much strength. He deserved every word.
These were all the farewell parties in which I participated at the Indian Consulate. In those days, like now, it was not a difficult task to write poems. I was born as a poet, and I did write poems.
These are my Indian Consulate chronicles! God knows how many more there are.
DBM 20. 10 December 2006, Antalya, Turkey↩
If you can show a miracle1When I went to work at the Consulate, I always wore a suit and a tie — always, always! Sometimes poverty struck me. I had a very nice and kind friend whose name was Arthur Gregor. He was a poet. He was taller and stouter than me, but he gave me two of his coats. Unfortunately, they were too big, and one of them had a big hole on the right side. They did not fit me, but what can you do? Necessity knows no law.
Arthur had a South Indian Guru. Before he was a police inspector, and then he became a Guru. Arthur used to tell us stories about his Guru. Some I liked very much.
Once I showed Arthur a “five-cent” miracle. One day Arthur invited my sponsor, Sammy, and me to meditate at his place. It was only two or three doors away from Sammy’s place, on the same block. I went there in the evening. At Sammy’s place, always we used to meditate with the light on. That was Sri Aurobindo’s way. Sri Aurobindo used to keep the light on. I also developed that idea. Arthur’s way was to keep the light off. When he told me stories about his Guru, I used to appreciate and appreciate his Guru. That is still my habit: to appreciate all the Gurus sincerely, while invoking God’s Blessings. I never wanted anybody to lose faith in their Master, ever. So, I spoke very highly to Arthur about his Guru.
This was the miracle, believe it or not. We were meditating with the light off. When the meditation was over, I said to Arthur, “A very, very thin lady was standing behind you and blessing you. I asked her who she was. She said she is your spiritual mother. Then I asked her more. I said, ‘What is your name, please?’ She said to me, ‘Anupama.’ The thin lady said she is your divine mother, and her name is Anupama.”
Arthur said, “How could you know that!”
I said, “I did not know it. I was not thinking of your divine mother. Believe me, I was not even thinking of your Guru, although it is your Guru’s birthday. I was thinking of my Master, Sri Aurobindo.”
It was his Guru’s birthday, and who appeared? The Guru’s wife! She was a very, very thin, dark-skinned South Indian lady.
That experience changed Arthur’s mind. Then he got me two excellent jackets, the perfect size for me. They were neither very thick nor very light. If you can show a five-cent miracle, you get this kind of treatment!
That was Arthur Gregor. He has passed away.
How many stories I can tell.
DBM 21. 10 December 2006, Antalya, Turkey↩
Saved by the Indian Ambassador1The first time I was planning to go to France, we made enquiries at the French Consulate. I still had a diplomatic passport, because I had been working at the Indian Consulate. The officials at the Consulate said, “You have a diplomatic passport? No, no — you do not need a visa.” Two or three times they said that I did not need a visa.
When I arrived in France, one man said, “You need a visa! You will not be able to enter the country.”
I said, “I have been working at the Indian Consulate. I made enquiries, and they said I did not need a visa.”
He said, “No, they gave you wrong information.”
I said to myself, “Now what am I going to do?” I was alone, and all alone I was struggling. To the official I said, “What can I do?”
He said, “You need permission. If you get permission from the Ambassador of India to the United States, then we will let you in.”
At that time I did not even know who the Ambassador was. It was not R.K. Nehru. The man who was harassing me dialed the number for me, and the Ambassador’s secretary answered the phone. I spoke to her in English. Then she said, “What is your name?”
I said, “Chinmoy Kumar Ghose.”
“Oh! You are Bengali, Bengali, Bengali! The Ambassador is Bengali! You will be able to speak to him in Bengali?”
I said, “Of course! I am Bengali.”
The Ambassador came to the phone, and I spoke to him in perfect Bengali. I told him, “This is what happened. In New York they said I did not need a visa, and now they will not allow me to enter the country.”
The Ambassador immediately spoke to the man who was harassing me. Then what happened? That fellow who had not allowed me to enter the country said, “Oh, you do not know how to wear a tie! Let me fix your tie for you!” He started fixing my tie with such love. Very kindly and affectionately he fixed my tie, because I had not done a good job.
These so-called cock-and-bull stories are absolutely one hundred per cent true.
DBM 22. 10 December 2006, Antalya, Turkey↩
Shopping on Madison Avenue1When I was working at the Indian Consulate I had three or four ties. On Madison Avenue, not Fifth Avenue, they had stores that sold ties. In one store, everything they marked at a particular price; but when you went to buy something, instead of lowering the price, they increased the price!
I said, “The price has to go down!”
The man in the store said, “No, no, no, no! We forgot to change it.” They found in me someone to fool, so the price went up instead of going down.
Another time I went to a store to buy a tape recorder. The shopkeeper was selling it for a particular price, but then he took away one part and said, “Oh, I forgot to tell you — this is a separate thing. There is an extra charge.” First he was prepared to sell it at one price, and then he said he forgot to charge me for something. He took out some part — a battery or something. Twice he did it! Then I said, “I do not want to buy this!” At that time he came down to the original price, with everything included.
How helpless I looked. He took something out and said he had not charged me for that, so I had to pay for it. Then, when I said, “I am not going to buy it,” he put the part back in and said, “Take it, take it!”
DBM 23. 10 December 2006, Antalya, Turkey↩
Winter was unbearable1When I came to America, I did not have an overcoat. Sometimes I used a sweater. It was my first winter. I had never seen snow in my life. In those days the snow was so high! Nowadays there is not as much snow, but in 1964 and 1965, it was so high. I used to enjoy it so much, but it was so cold!
An Ashramite who was lame came to America. He came here for an operation, and luckily the operation was most successful. He stayed in New Jersey, and I went to see him there. I was so nice to him, and he was so nice to me! He liked me when I was in Pondicherry, but when he went home from America I heard that he found fault with me.
On the day that I visited him in New Jersey, I did not have a proper coat. I was standing at a bus stand at around eleven o’clock at night to go home. The cold was so severe. I could never imagine such cold in Pondicherry, which is such a warm place! My feet were suffering so much! Even when I came back home, I was shivering and shivering.
When I was waiting and waiting for the bus, the snow was so severe! I will never forget that experience. In front of a tree, all my problems started. I fell down so badly in the snow. Something went wrong. At that time I had no disciple-doctors — they had not yet been born in my life. I suffered so much, so much. I did not have the money to go to a doctor; I did not have anything. For about two years I suffered.
I had to go to Canada. On the plane I could not sit properly, because of my pain, so my body was slanting. In Canada, Gariyasi was talking to me and I was also talking. I stood against the wall. I did not have the heart to tell her that I was suffering so much. We were talking face-to-face, but I was leaning against the wall, standing there. My body was not functioning properly. I could not sit properly. Such pain! Sometimes while breathing in I got pain, and while breathing out I got pain. What was I going to do? I suffered so much when I fell down right at the foot of the tree.
Winter was unbearable, unbearable!
After five years I went to India. Can you imagine, that man invited me to come and see him! I remained above everything. I did not have the heart to mention that he had found fault with me. He sent his servant to bring me to his place, and I went to see him very nicely. Then he said to me, “When I came back to the Ashram after my visit to America, I said such nice things about you!”
On my birthday, the Mother used to send me a beautiful, beautiful card. I think it was the following year after I fell down, perhaps, that she sent me a card with her writing: “À Chinmoy, avec mes bénédictions,”2 in French. She wrote it beautifully. She also wrote, “Chinmoy, my love and I shall be with you wherever you are” — not “my heart,” but “my love and I shall be with you wherever you are.”
Greenwich Village1In April of 1964, when I got off the plane in New York, it was not cold at all. My sponsor, his dearest friend and my second sponsor were waiting for me. I came out to the Immigration area, looking this side and that side. I did not know which way to go. An Indian immediately discovered what a helpless human being I was. He said, “So, you are in trouble?”
I said, “No, I am not in trouble.”
“No, I can see you are in trouble. Who has come to meet you?”
I said, “My sponsors are waiting.”
This Indian saw that I was only looking around to see which way to come out. He was kind enough to bring me right to my sponsors. That was my first experience in America!
My sponsors were very, very happy. They lived in Greenwich Village, and they gave me their living room to stay in. Early in the morning, very early, I used to look at their statue of the Lord Buddha. It was so huge! I used to meditate, seated on a sofa, every morning.
I had so many conversations with that Lord Buddha statue. We developed such friendship and oneness. Now they have taken that Lord Buddha to Matagiri in Woodstock. Matagiri is their shrine. Very nicely they have kept it. Every time I went to visit Sammy and Eric in Woodstock, what did I do? At the end of our marathon conversation, I would go and bow to the Lord Buddha. And every time I used to give the Lord Buddha an envelope with one thousand dollars. I also gave them at least three hundred dollars’ worth of groceries. Vinaya would bring bag after bag of food and put it on the kitchen table.
One day I created a problem for my sponsor. They say that Greenwich Village is all day. There is no night there; it is all day. At three o’clock in the morning, all the shops are open! At that hour I went out. When I came back, I made a loud noise with the door. My sponsor said, “What are you doing?”
I said, “It was so illumined that I went out. The stores are all open.”
“Oh, do not do that, do not do that! There are so many bad people in the street in Greenwich Village.”
I went out and enjoyed seeing everything, because it was all light and the stores were all open. That was my Greenwich Village experience!
I had another funny experience. People were selling their artwork in the street. I was browsing and browsing, and I was appreciating the art. One man was so pleased with me! He asked me, “Where do you live?”
I said, “I live here, nearby.”
“What is your telephone number?”
I was so unwise! I gave him Sammy’s telephone number. I was so happy and so proud that I remembered the telephone number! When I went home, I said to Sammy, “I gave an artist your telephone number.”
“Oh no! Never give out my telephone number!” That was another early experience of mine. I have so many funny, funny stories.
One day I went to Washington Square Park. I saw somebody blowing a whistle. I was under the impression that something had gone wrong. I was looking and looking. I said to myself, “Now the police will come.” I was looking and looking so eagerly to see what was happening. Why was that man in front of a hotel blowing a whistle? Something had gone wrong. Then a taxi came. What was this? I thought that man was looking for a policeman. Instead, a taxi came. Someone entered into the taxi and drove away.
These things definitely took place in my life!
DBM 25. 10 December 2006, Antalya, Turkey↩
Now I have to go up to the highestThe sister of one of our oldest disciples had an American Guru. She was his dearest disciple. Then everything went wrong, and she left his path. She did two or three paintings of me. They are excellent, excellent!
Once I went to Woodstock with this disciple and his sister. Sammy and Eric were with us. We were in a small restaurant. Beside the door was a small pool. We sat down, and somehow they came to learn that the sister’s Guru was there. They all stood up and said, “Come, come.” Sammy said to me, “We shall introduce you to him.”
I said, “No, no, no. I am not a Guru.” At that time I did not know that this man was the Guru of my disciple’s sister.
Sammy introduced me, and we shook hands. Alas, alas, alas! So many forces attacked me very nicely! Sammy, Eric and somebody else shook hands with him, and nothing happened to them, nothing! I was so uselessly receptive. I said to myself, “How could this happen?”
We did not have any paper with us at all. I took the napkin and we borrowed a lead pencil — I was famous for working with lead pencils at the Ashram! There I wrote two most sublime poems. They are both called “The Supreme.”1 I say something, my Supreme says, “No,” and then finally He agrees. That Guru brought me down, so I said to myself, “Now I have to go up to the Highest.” I went to the Highest, and in these poems I am speaking to the Supreme. We are having face-to-face talks. Those are not my imagination-poems. They are my direct, face-to-face conversations with my Lord Supreme.
DBM 26,5. Sri Chinmoy, My Flute. New York: Sri Chinmoy Lighthouse, 1972, pp.13 and 14.↩
27. 1The Supreme
Father, I have Seen.
Father, I have Known.
Father, I have Felt.
Father, I have Become.
Father, I AM.
Father, You are the Grace.
Father, You are the Law.
Father, You are the Birth
Death of Creation.
Father, You are the Child
These are my highest experiences. Learn, learn them by heart! These poems, plus my “Revelation,” “Immortality” and a few others, please learn. There are at least ten or twenty poems that you should learn by heart. Then you will get tremendous joy, tremendous joy.
I used to learn quite a few of Sri Aurobindo’s poems. My two most favourite ones were “Invitation” — “With wind and the weather beating round me…” — and “Who” — “In the blue of the sky, in the green of the forest…” Those two poems by Sri Aurobindo one cannot appreciate enough or admire enough.
DBM 27, 10 December 2006, Antalya, Turkey↩
Once you lavish affection1I have told this story, or fragments of this story, many times. Now it is my wish that it come out in book form.
My mother had two sisters. They were her younger sisters. The youngest one left behind two sons when she passed away. Her husband had passed earlier. When she left the body, those sons were teenagers. Everybody in our family loved those two brothers. They were very, very close to our family.
The older one, the hero of this story, was in between my brothers Hriday and Chitta in age. His nickname was Khudha. Khudha means “hunger.” He entered into politics and became a revolutionary. Naturally he was arrested, and he was in prison for a year. I was, I believe, two years old then. On the day he was released, he thought of me. I was the youngest in the family. He put on his suit and tie. Then he hid a tiny, cute animal for me. He put it on his head and put a hat over it. He took it from the right place — from jail! Then, so happily he came to our place.
Khudha’s younger brother, whose name was Bhuta, was innocence incarnate. He was so nice! He could jump from a very high roof, and nothing happened to him, absolutely nothing.
Khudha was extremely fond of each and every member of our family, and our family was also extremely fond of him. My parents loved him deeply.
My mother’s other sister was older than the mother of this hero. She was also very fond of Khudha. This aunt of mine, who lived for 104 years, had only one question each time I went to see her. First she would grab my hands and put them on her head, and then she would say, “Father, when am I going to die? When am I going to die?”
I said, “How can I tell when you are going to die?”
Luckily enough, during one of my visits to Pondicherry, I went to see her at around 7:30 in the evening, and as usual I blessed her. She recited three of her poems. Nobody could understand a word. She used to brag that she had written eight or ten poems in her entire life. Then, at around two o’clock in the morning, she passed away. I think she waited for my blessings.
This aunt was very, very fond of our family. Her husband was quite rich. Then he passed away. It was one of her daughters, Pushpita, to whom I showed my occult power for the first time. In an affectionate way, she wanted to kick me! I have told the whole story. She lifted up one leg and she was holding on to a pipe. Then she could not bring her leg down. Although she was very, very fond of me, she could not recognise me when I spent half an hour with her the last time I saw her. Three weeks later she wanted to know why I was not sending her a photograph from my visit with her! She had been silent, in a coma, and then she remembered me. She was very, very kind and very, very affectionate. She died at the age of ninety-four.
To come back to the story, Khudha was a vagabond. He could not keep a job for more than three months. Wherever he went, he would be fired, fired, fired! He was a character. That aunt of mine who died at the age of 104 was very affectionate and compassionate to him.
It is not that Khudha was crazy. He was quite normal. He went to college, but he was a revolutionary! If somebody enjoys what we call mischievous pranks, what are you going to do? Sometimes mischief entered into his brain, so he did all kinds of things.
In our family, Hriday declared, “No marriage,” Chitta declared, “No marriage,” and Arpita declared, “No marriage.” The others were young at that time. But Khudha agreed to get married. The whole family was in the seventh Heaven of delight because he agreed to get married.
Finally the time came for Khudha to get married. The husband and wife were very happy. His wife, whose name was Jyoti, was absolutely affection incarnate in the family. She used to cook for everybody. Although we had a cook, she herself used to cook.
Once Khudha asked that aunt of ours for a large amount of money. She said, “I cannot give you that amount, but I will give you some.” Khudha wanted more money, so he decided to punish her! It was the time of the Durga Puja festival. Everybody would come to the village from the town. Usually every weekend my father used to come to the village. During the rest of the week he lived in the town. Since it was the time of the Durga Puja festival, the guards and other workers at our bank all went home. My cousin Khudha wanted to guard the bank. He was so nice, so kind, so affectionate. My father agreed that he could stay and guard the bank.
Alas, at night Khudha brought in a locksmith! Very nicely the locksmith opened up the safe. Khudha knew the things that did not belong to our family, so most of those he did not touch. Very little he took from our family, but from that old lady, our aunt, he took all her jewellery and everything else that she kept in the safe. He took those things away to punish her. How compassionate she was to him! But this was how he punished her: he took away everything of hers. He took only a little bit from our family.
My great-uncle wanted to sue Khudha, but my father said, “Oh no, I cannot, I cannot! I cannot take him to court — he is like my son. If Hriday had done this kind of thing, I could not have taken him to court. There will be no punishment for Khudha.”
Khudha’s wife, Jyoti, was so ashamed. She cried and cried. She went back to her parents’ place. My father was so kind and affectionate to her, but she said that she could not show her face to our family. She went back to her own parents.
Then Khudha decided to punish my aunt even more. He lived in a village about three miles away from our place. I went there so many times. From there he came to my aunt’s place, crying, with the message that my father had got an electric shock and died. Khudha said my father’s dead body had been taken to our village. Khudha was crying and crying!
When my aunt heard this, she believed Khudha. She came all the way, crying and weeping, to our place. When she was about eight hundred metres away, she saw our family doctor. She knew our family doctor well. The family doctor asked, “Why are you crying?”
She said, “You do not know what has happened?” Then she gave him the news about my father.
The doctor said, “No, no! Just now I saw his wife near their house, reading.” Still my aunt would not believe the doctor. She came crying, crying, crying to our house. My mother was basking in the sun and reading either the Mahabharata or the Ramayana. She used to do that when I was a little boy. When my mother wanted me to sleep, she would read out loud. When she felt that I was fast asleep, she would stop reading. But I was so naughty. I only pretended that I was fast asleep. Then, when she herself fell asleep, I ran into our garden. We had a very big garden, and from there I snatched mangoes and all kinds of fruits. After an hour or so my mother would wake up, and I was nowhere to be found. Our famous servant, whose name was Kailash, was all mischief. He was my accomplice.
To come back to the story, when my aunt reached our house, she was hysterical. She was screaming at my mother. How was it that my mother was not crying? My mother could not believe what she was saying.
At that time Khudha was fifty metres away. He came up to my mother and my aunt and showed off. He said he wanted to punish my aunt because she was not giving him enough money. What a character!
When Khudha came out of jail after his revolutionary activities, he tried to work here and there, but he was not successful. Then my father gave him money. He wanted to buy all kinds of fruits and sell them, but in that field also he was not successful. He was not successful in anything. It was beneath his dignity to work anywhere.
In spite of Khudha’s behaviour, our whole family liked him. One day he was inspired to dance. He entered into my sister’s room and took a petticoat. He started dancing and making everybody laugh and laugh! Everybody liked him.
My mother’s eldest brother was so fond of my father. When he came to learn that our bank had been robbed, he said, “O my God, how will you meet with the expenses? How will you bring up the family? How will you do it?”
My father said, “We have property, so much property! We have money. He has stolen next to nothing from us.” But my mother’s eldest brother would not believe my father. He thought that we had become very poor overnight. Alas, alas, alas! It was too much for him — he committed suicide. A train was fast approaching. People threw hotter than the hottest water to stop him, but he did not care. He jumped onto the track in front of the train and died. This was his fate.
This uncle of mine had three daughters. One daughter’s name was Shephali. She was at that time at our place. She knew what had happened. My mother was crying, weeping and practically turning somersaults with grief. It was too much for her. But who was consoling her? My cousin, Shephali. Her own father had died, and now she was consoling her father’s sister, since at that time my sisters Lily and Arpita were in Pondicherry. This was how this uncle’s life ended.
That maternal uncle was so fond of my father. He used to bring me, and my father also, three gifts of the same type. In my case, the first one I used to hold, and then perhaps I did not like it, so I threw it away. The second one I broke, because I wanted to see how it was made — I ruined it! The third one I kept.
I had a cousin who was the youngest daughter of this maternal uncle. Her name was Dipali. She was two years younger than I. One day she was crying and crying for a gold chain. Her family was not giving her a real gold chain. At that time I was nine years old and she was seven, perhaps. I said, “I will give you a gold chain.” I did not say, “When I become rich” — I said, “When I become great, I will give you one.” Everybody laughed! The story was buried in oblivion. Many years later I was in America. She had married somebody very rich and she had three or four children. At that time she reminded my sister Lily, “Madal promised me a gold chain! He has to keep his promise!” She did not need my gift, but affection is like that. I gave money to my sister, and she got a very, very nice necklace for Dipali.
Here is another incident. My father used to smoke cigarettes, but on rare occasions he smoked an Indian hookah. For two days a week, when my father was home, my poor mother could not smoke. From Friday evening until Sunday morning, she did not dare to smoke. She had such respect for my father! But she used to take lots of betel nut, and her lips became all red.
That uncle of mine never smoked. He begged and begged and begged my father to stop smoking. My father never listened to him. But then, the day my uncle committed suicide, my father said, “That is it!” My father lived for another two years or so. From that day on, he did not smoke at all. He gave up smoking. My father said, “I have to fulfil his request.”
I was very fond of going to the court. It was at the top of a hill. It was called Kachari. I went there only to see the thieves, who were chained. I had such curiosity to see the thieves and how they behaved. What a habit, or hobby!
Once, after my father passed away, I went to the court, and whom did I see? Khudha! He grabbed me with such affection and said, “Tell your mother I have no money. I am living only on potatoes. Please tell your mother to send me some money. I am living on potatoes!”
He was so much stronger than I was. What could I do? I went home and told my mother. My mother was furious! But her anger lasted only for three or four minutes. Then she started crying because he had no money. She asked me, “Did he not tell you where he lives?”
I said, “He did not tell me. He asked me only to tell you to send him some money.” My mother cried and cried. We had another servant whose name was Phani. He lived in the same village as Khudha. My mother gave Phani some money to give to Khudha.
Family, family, family! We Bengalis are made of affection.
My aunt had a daughter whose name was Vijali. She lived in Patiya, which was five miles away from our place. Her husband was so sweet, so affectionate. He was a lawyer. He used to practise in the court. One afternoon he came back from the court, climbed up a tree and remained there until the evening. He would not come down. From there he did all kinds of things. He would not come down. He was absolutely all right, but all of a sudden something happened inside his brain. Finally, at night he came down and entered into a pond. There he died. This is also our family story. He was so kind, so affectionate.
In this way our family life went on. I had no connection with Khudha after we came to Pondicherry; it was all finished.
Many, many years later, a young medical doctor was transferred from Calcutta to the Pondicherry General Hospital. At that time I was living in America. Somehow he knew that our whole family was living in the Ashram. One evening he came to our place, where my sister lived. He started shouting, “Grandmother, Grandmother, Grandmother!” Who was his grandmother? My aunt was there. He came up to her and embraced her as his grandmother. My aunt started screaming, insulting and scolding him. She said, “What are you saying? I am not your grandmother!”
He said, “Oh yes, you are my grandmother!” He proved it. He told her who he was. Then my aunt embraced him like a grandmother and completely forgave his father, Khudha. Before, she had taken an oath that she would never forgive Khudha, because of how he tortured our family, specially when he lied and said that my father had died.
How bad Khudha was! But our Bengali life is such that, no matter what someone does, once you lavish affection on him, even though he may be a scoundrel, it is very difficult to withdraw that affection. My aunt started to become very attached to this young fellow. Once a week he would come to eat at our place. Then his mother came, without even informing anyone, although one needed permission to come to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry. She came, and her son told her where our house was. My sister Lily was so overjoyed to see her! This was our family reunion. She stayed at our place for about two months.
Now the story ends. When I was ten or eleven years old I saw Khudha for the last time. His wife, Jyoti, said that her husband was so fond of me. He used to say, “I knew all along that our Madal would be another great spiritual figure. His Guru was Aurobindo Ghosh.” Khudha never said “Sri Aurobindo.” Those revolutionaries never called him Sri Aurobindo; it was always Aurobindo Ghosh. Khudha used to talk about Aurobindo Ghosh and Madal, and he started saying that he saw how great I was when I was an infant, and so many other things. By that time I had quite a few disciples, so he knew about my life. He said, “Aurobindo Ghosh and Madal Ghose come from the same place.”
From where to where this story goes! The son of the scoundrel was able to reconcile our whole family. Khudha was absolutely notorious, but nobody lost an iota of affection for him. This was our family.
DBM 28. 18 December 2006 Antalya, Turkey↩
Pleasing the cosmic gods and goddesses1Of all the cosmic gods, the easiest to please is Lord Shiva. It takes just one tiny leaf. This leaf is called tulsi, which means “devotion.”
My dearest Ashram “mother” Mridu felt that I needed more devotion. She was shorter than the shortest, and extremely stout. I had to bend down so much for her to put a tulsi leaf in my mouth every day at twelve o’clock. Then only she felt that I would have devotion. If on rare occasions I missed her or she missed me, she would go to my sister’s place to affectionately scold our family and say how bad I was. That kind of love and concern I got from her!
Lord Shiva is very easy to please. But once he is angry with you, you are finished! He will open up his third eye, and then God knows what he will do. His third eye is so powerful. He can destroy the whole world. Again, his destruction is for our transformation. That we have to know.
Mother Kali can give in one day or in one hour the results which would otherwise take two hundred or three hundred years. But then again, to please her is extremely, extremely, extremely difficult — extremely! Once she is pleased, you can say that in the twinkling of an eye she will give you everything. But to please her is a most arduous task.
With Lord Vishnu it takes time. It is a slow process, a slow process. The Avatar of Lord Vishnu is Sri Krishna. He is always smiling, singing and dancing, but to please him is not an easy task.
Mother Lakshmi is another Goddess whom it takes time to please. It is a very slow process to please her.
Mother Saraswati is also not so easy to please. Again, it takes time.
Lord Ganesha will give you realisation, but you have to know that this does not mean the highest God-realisation. It can mean that if you have an earthly desire or a little bit of aspiration, he will fulfil it. But you have to pray to him first. Then only, if he is satisfied, they say you will be able to please others. It is a very slow process.
Mother Durga is another Goddess who is very, very difficult to please. She is very strict! Mother Kali is one of the aspects of Mother Durga. In our Chandi,2 when she had to fight with all the asuras, Mother Kali came into being. She is very difficult to please; but once she is pleased, then she gives everything. In the highest world she is golden, and so beautiful. Here when she fights for us in the vital world she is dark, black.
Now I am saying, at least be happy and remain happy in your own way. At least in that way you can make a wee progress. If you are not happy at all, what can I do for you? Some disciples are with their Master, but even then they are unhappy. What can I expect from them, and what can they expect from me?
Please sing this song seriously, and please take it very, very seriously. This is my serious statement and my absolutely sincere feeling.
DBM 30. On his morning weightlifting video, Sri Chinmoy sang his new song, "Be happy, be happy, be happy, at least in your own way. You will make a wee progress." Later that day he requested the disciples to sing the song and offered the following comments.↩
DBM 30. 22 December 2006, Antalya, Turkey↩
Your Way is the only Way; your Will is the only Will1[Sri Chinmoy offered the following prayer to the children’s singing group he had formed on the Christmas Trip:]
I shall never be able to fool You.
Please, please do not allow my mind
To fool me!
From this very moment
I really want my heart
To lead me and guide me.
Your Way is the only Way;
Your Will is the only Will.
I came into the world
To please You all the time
In Your own Way.
Please do not allow me,
To break my promise!
[He then made the following comments:]
When you are over fifty, you will value this prayer. Today you may not value it, if you are young. But when you are over fifty, your heart will be flooded with tears if you have not pleased God, your real Master, in His own Way. If you are pleasing, continue pleasing. If you are not pleasing, start pleasing!
Some people are fooling themselves. They feel that they are making tremendous progress in their spiritual life with their prayers, meditations, love, devotion and surrender. It may not be at all true! Again, some people think that they are hopeless and useless; their prayers are inferior, their meditations are inferior, their love, devotion and surrender have descended. It is not their modesty; it is their genuine feeling. But they may be the very ones who are making progress! Who is the culprit? In both cases it is the mind.
To one group the mind is saying, “You are excellent; you are doing extremely well.” To the other group the mind is saying, “You are doing very poorly.” The mind is either fooling you or making your life miserable. But if you use the heart, the heart will always give the true message. If you are doing well, the heart will say, “Yes, you are doing well.” If you are not doing well, the heart will tell you.
Never keep the mind as your boss, I am telling you all! This moment you may be doing absolutely the right thing, but the mind says, “You are not doing the right thing.” And when you are doing absolutely the wrong thing, the mind may say that you are doing the right thing. The doubting mind always tries to make us miserable by fooling us. We can forget about the doubting mind! But the loving heart is always kind to us, compassionate to us and one with us.
Always, for everything in life, let us ask our heart: “Am I saying the right thing? Am I doing the right thing? Are you pleased with me? Please guide me.” The heart will never fail us — never — because the heart is always in tune with God.
22 December 2006, Antalya, Turkey↩