Fourteen American mothers and fourteen American daughters with Sri Chinmoy
Editor's prefaceOn Sunday, March 9, 1975, Sri Chinmoy held a special Mother's Day luncheon for the mothers of women disciples in the New York area. The luncheon was held at Annam Brahma, the disciple-owned restaurant in Jamaica, Queens. Each mother was given a corsage upon her arrival at the restaurant, and a few short filmstrips of Centre activities were shown. Then Sri Chinmoy gave a talk to the assembled mothers and encouraged them to ask him questions. He inscribed a copy of the Sri Chinmoy Primer for each mother, and also presented each with a small box containing eight additional gifts.
Part I: The human mother and the Mother DivineDear mothers, I am extremely glad and grateful that you have come. I am your Indian son and you are my American mothers. I have come here to be blessed by all of you. You have come to shower your blessings on my devoted head and loving heart.
In our Indian scriptures there is a famous saying: "Mother and Motherland are far superior to Heaven itself." Here we are in the presence of our kind and loving mothers.
An eminent English writer once wrote, "As we all know, God could not be everywhere; that is why God created mothers." When I was six or seven years old I read this in Bengali and I was overjoyed. But at the age of twelve, when I lost my physical mother, I gave much more value to this lofty statement. In my case God, out of His infinite Bounty, showered His choicest Blessings upon my surrendered heart; therefore, I am now in a position to contact my mother in Heaven. Just half an hour ago my mother came to me in my room with a special message from Heaven. To some of you, this may sound ridiculous and absurd, but my students, who are your dear and loving daughters, will believe what I am saying.
Heaven and earth are like two rooms. At one moment we can be in one room, earth, and the next moment we can consciously go to the other room, Heaven. When we pray to God and meditate on God, these things are not only possible and practicable, but inevitable. Out of His infinite Kindness, God has given me the capacity to have a free access to both rooms.
I give talks at various places in order to offer light to many seekers and to increase their aspiration. But today I have not come here to offer light to my American mothers. As a son, I come to share my experiences of the inner world and the outer world.
To start with, I would like to tell you that your daughters who are following our path have in no way given up their religions. I tell my students that religion is like a home, and they have to live in their homes, for how can they live in the street? So in the inmost recesses of their hearts your daughters live in their respective religions.
I happen to be their teacher. The term they use is 'Guru', a Sanskrit word which means 'one who illumines'. He who illumines the unlit consciousness of someone is called the Guru. But to be absolutely frank with you, I am not the real Guru. No human being can be the real Guru. The real Guru is the Inner Pilot inside them, inside me, inside all of us. But on the strength of my own oneness with my Inner Pilot, I can be of dedicated, devoted and surrendered service to those who follow our path.
I tell my students that ours is one of many paths; it is not the only path. Again, I always discourage them from having a sense of competitiveness. Many roads lead to the same destination. Although other Masters and their followers or devotees may claim that theirs is the only path to God, I tell my students that this is the wrong attitude. Every sincere Master, every sincere disciple, is doing the right thing according to his inner receptivity and inner capacity to realise the loftiest Truth and reveal and manifest this Truth.
In the beginning perhaps some of you thought that this Indian rascal had taken away your children. You felt sorry and thought ill of me. But I wish to say that I have not taken your daughters away from you. The Supreme in you and the Supreme in me wanted me to become the instrument to elevate the consciousness of your dear children. There are many things which your souls wanted me to do, and which your inner beings wanted me to do, but unfortunately you were not and are not aware of them. When the soul does not come to the fore, when the physical mind is not totally conscious of or convinced of the soul's light and reality, the physical mind quite often doubts the inner voice. It is the inner voice, which all of you have, that wanted these children of yours to accept a spiritual path, to lead a better life and feel God as their very own at every moment of their existence.
You may ask, "Why is it or how is it that our children did not find satisfaction in our churches and in our way of worshipping God? Why did they have to accept an Indian way of realising the Truth?" I wish to say that this is not an Indian way; it is not an Oriental way or an Occidental way. This is a universal way of awakening humanity through inner experience.
In the West we try to reach God mostly by prayer and in the East we try to realise God through meditation. But both prayer and meditation are of paramount importance in the inner life. When we pray, we come to realise that we are devotedly talking to the Almighty Father, and He is listening to us. When we meditate with a tranquil mind and with an aspiring heart, at that time we are listening to the Message of God from within. In both cases we are involved in a spiritual conversation. At times the children speak; at times the Father speaks. In the East we try to hear what the Father has to say and in the West we try to make our Father hear what we have to say. But in our path we are trying to combine both prayer and meditation. With prayer we tell the Almighty Father of our sufferings and of what we really and truly want from Him. At the time of our meditation He tells us what we should do, what we must do, in order to become His dearest and most perfect children.
I am sure that when you yourselves pray or meditate, you feel that your children are doing absolutely the right thing. They are praying, they are meditating — what for? To share with you their inner achievements. You are their mothers. You have given them love, affection, concern, compassion, earthly attainments and achievements for many years. You have given them everything that you have and everything that you are. Now the gratitude-flower in your daughters is blossoming petal by petal, and they are offering you inwardly what they have and what they are. What they have and what they are is a golden flame, a climbing flame, which we call aspiration. This aspiration is their inner cry. It climbs up high, higher, highest and from the highest absolute transcendental plane of consciousness it brings down Peace, Light and Bliss according to their power of receptivity. These blessing-gifts from the Supreme they share with their dear ones.
Undoubtedly you are the dear, dearer, dearest ones to your loving daughters. You have played your role in their formative years. What you have, you have given them unreservedly and unconditionally. Now, what they are getting from their prayers and meditation they are offering to you inwardly. God within you has played a most significant role and now God within them is also playing a most significant role. God never wants to remain indebted to anybody. God within you gave them what He had to offer to them through you. Now, God within your children is offering each of you what He has to offer you in and through them. You are bound to see and feel and grow into this at the time of your own prayer and meditation if you can remember what I am saying.
I am sure all of you know by this time that ours is the path of love, devotion and surrender. The love we are speaking of is divine love, the love for the Supreme, which slowly, steadily and unerringly grows and fulfils itself until it reaches the final destination. This love does not bind; it only illumines. Human love wants to bind and blind. But before we can bind, we discover that we are already bound.
In our human love there is always a sense of attachment. Instead of attachment, God teaches us devotedness to a high cause, to a supreme Reality. We use the term 'devotion'. In the spiritual life we devote ourselves to a high cause without being attached to it.
Then comes surrender. In our ordinary, unaspiring life, we use the term 'surrender' when we see a boss and his subordinate, a master and a slave. The slave surrenders to his master's will precisely because he is afraid that if he does not listen to the master, the master will punish him. In the spiritual life it is not our fear that compels us to listen to the dictates of our soul or of our higher existence. It is an inner urge that compels us to listen to something deep within us. There comes a time when we discover that this urge does not come from outside us or from someone else; it comes from the real in us, the divine in us, the Supreme in us. It is coming to us by a messenger from the highest plane of consciousness and this highest plane of consciousness we can claim as our own, very own, when we pray and meditate. When we do not pray and meditate, we come to realise that we are of ignorance and we are for ignorance. But when we pray and meditate, we come to realise that we are of the infinite Light and we are for the eternal and immortal Life.
"From Joy we came into existence. In Joy we abide and at the end of our journey's close into Joy we retire." This is the message of life which we have learned from the Indian seers of the hoary past. Spirituality is not and cannot be the sole monopoly of India. Spirituality belongs to everyone, but we have to know how to practise it. Here in the West, unfortunately, when we pray to God and meditate on God, quite often fear looms large. We feel that if we do something wrong, God will punish us; or if we do one thing, we will go to hell and if we do something else, we will go to Heaven. The guilty consciousness quite often tortures a Western mind.
But in the East, especially in India, the philosophy is different. For us, Heaven and hell are inside. When the mind becomes a victim to worries, anxieties and other undivine forces, when the mind is disturbed, agitated, tortured by ugly, impure and undivine thoughts, we feel that we are in hell. But when the beauty, light and divinity of the heart come to the fore and we try to reveal and manifest them in the aspiring world, then we feel that we are in Heaven. We don't have to wait for death to find hell or Heaven. Both of them are within us in our daily life, in our daily conduct. If we are always soulful and surrendered, we are in a position to remain always in Heaven in this very life on earth.
In conclusion, dear mothers, I wish to tell you again that this Indian has not taken your daughters away from you. They do not belong to me or to you or to anybody else. They belong only to the Supreme, who created you and who created your children. The Supreme in you wanted the Supreme in me to be a humble instrument to serve Him in your dear ones. What I am doing, I assure you, all of you inwardly wanted to do for your children. Earthly attainments, earthly riches, earthly prosperity you have given to your children as much as you could. Your souls, your inner beings, your loving hearts wanted to give them Heaven's Peace, Light and Bliss as well. The Supreme in you knows that He has chosen someone with more capacity to do the thing that you wanted to do. Your daughters have not left you. On the contrary, the deeper they go, the higher they go, the more their gratitude to their mothers increases in boundless measure.
Part II: Questions and answers
IntroductionSri Chinmoy: Now, I would like to be of dedicated service to you, my mothers. I have offered my dedicated service many times at public meetings by answering questions. Now, I wish to share my experiences with you. If you have any specific questions with regard to what we do, I will be extremely grateful for the opportunity to answer them.
Question: I would like to know why your students keep your picture on their shrines.Sri Chinmoy: Very good. Thank you. It is a matter of inspiration. You may like to keep flowers on your shrine for inspiration or you may like to watch the flame of a candle. You can burn an incense stick or you can sit in front of a swimming pool. It is up to you how you want to be inspired. Your children feel from within that when they keep my picture in front of them, then they get a tremendous sense of inspiration. But others, who do not see anything in me but see something in some other person or object, may feel it is totally wrong for them. They are at perfect liberty to feel this way, and they are doing the right thing for them.
I am not God. As I told you before, I am not even the Guru. No, God is somebody else. He is in Heaven, He is inside us. God is also the Guru. I am only the elder brother in our spiritual family. God, the Father, gives the message to the firstborn and tells him to bring the message to the younger ones. The eldest one goes on helping and serving and teaching the younger ones until they come to the Father, and then his role is over. So here also, when my students reach God, my role will be over.
To come back to your question, my students are under no obligation to use my picture. I have not forced them. Far from it! But if they feel that they can get inspiration from my picture or from anything else, then what right have I to tell them no, they must not use it? My main concern is for them to make progress in the spiritual life, and the sooner the better, because we are walking along a long road, Eternity's road. If we have discovered something that will expedite our journey, naturally we shall do it. Tomorrow they may feel they can get more inspiration from a mountain top or from the sun or the moon, and then they will meditate on that. The picture is not the real Guru, the picture is not God, but if it helps them in their aspiration to look at it, then it is a good thing they are doing.
Question: The spiritual life is very important, but we live in modern society, no matter how good or bad it is. Don't you think that this kind of life is very confining to these young people, who rarely go away to school or keep a job other than around you and the Centre? I have heard that they need your inspiration and feel it is not good to be away from the Centre or these surroundings for any length of time.Sri Chinmoy: We have to know that it is not good and it is not bad. But I wish to say that in this life everybody eventually becomes his or her own boss. That is to say, your daughter is nineteen or twenty years old. If she did not feel any kind of benefit from what she is doing, do you think she would stay with us even for a fraction of a second?
What you are saying is perfectly true from your point of view. Your experience, your wisdom, you are trying to offer. But she is now quite mature. At this stage of her life she knows that there are some things that help her in getting or in achieving joy from her life. Whether she gets joy from the life that she is leading or some other kind of life is quite immaterial. But the only thing is that if one place gives me joy, I will go and stay there. I don't say that this is the only place to get joy. Far from I! It is like this. I happen to be the teacher and she is the student. If the student feels that at this place she is getting joy and at other places she is not getting joy, how can I tell her that she has to go to other places or that all places have equal amounts of joy? That I cannot say because she is, after all, her own boss. She knows where she is getting joy. And tomorrow, if she doesn't get joy here, she will leave us for good. It is not that we are taking away your children from their homes and giving them a new orientation on life. The only thing is they find something in our community that they don't find elsewhere, and that is joy and nothing else.
But again, when it is a matter of visiting their parents, that is something else. I assure you that I have begged your children to go and visit you. You may not believe it. You may think that I have been saying to them, "Don't go, don't speak to your mother," but I simply beg some girls to speak to their mothers on the phone, but they don't listen to me. You can ask them whether I have asked them to speak to you and to go home to see you. You may think that your daughters are disobedient to you, but I wish to say that sometimes my students can also be quite disobedient to me.
Question: I am not saying that they should go where they're not going to be happy. I agree with what you say. But most of them don't try to experiment by going on a trip for a certain length of time because they say they will not be able to maintain the same inspiration for a month or two months. How do they know they won't be happy seeing different parts of the world or going camping in a national park?Sri Chinmoy: Please believe me, I have not dissuaded them from going anywhere. Most of my students go to school every day. When they come back from school after they have spent four or five hours there, they tell me that they become totally different personalities. I don't ask them, but they say that they are different now from their former friends and neighbours. Now their ideas are different, their goals are different. They can't tolerate their so-called former friends for more than a short time. So do you think they will be really happy when they go away for a length of time?
But again, I tell them that if they have to go somewhere, if their parents ask them to go, then they should definitely go. Mrs. Hein is here. Four years ago, when she and Mr. Hein wanted their children to go to Israel, did I have any objection? On the contrary, I told Arun — Richard — to go. So like that, if they have any spiritual place that they want to go to, I will be the first person to encourage them and inspire them.
But you may ask, "How do they know if they won't like the place or like the people?" You may feel that if they go out on a trip for a month, they will enjoy it. Now, you may be absolutely right and I may also see eye to eye with you. But if they don't want to have an experience, how am I going to force them? How am I going to tell them that they have to do something because this is what I feel best? As their parents, you may try to force them if you feel that something is best for them, but being a spiritual man, my policy is not to force or instigate. My policy is only to bring to the fore their good qualities. We shall try only to encourage someone to do the best thing. What someone feels from within is best, that he does. I will only tell him to go deep within and see if he feels that this is the thing that his soul wants. Then, I will try to bring to the fore the inner message, which unfortunately he does not know right now. These students of mine may agree with my statements, but on my part I will never impose my ideas on them. I will never say that this is good or this is bad. I will only help them to go deep within in order to discover for themselves what is right and what is wrong.
Question: Why is it necessary for the young people to be apart from others while they are following your path?Sri Chinmoy: Apart from others? In which sense? Would you please be explicit?
Question: You know her life is quite different from the people around her.Sri Chinmoy: Yes, now here is the thing. Her life is different from others. This is because their ideals are different from hers. Now you can say her ideals are not superior to the ideals that others have placed before them, but at the same time, if your destination is located in the North, naturally you will walk towards the North. If I start walking towards the North knowing perfectly well that my goal is in the South, then I will be totally lost.
So they have a goal, as I said before. We never say that our goal is higher than the goals that others have, but we have a specific goal. At the end all goals are one but we are following a different path. If you are going to a place or a destination, if there are various roads to reach the destination, if you constantly change the road then how are you going to reach your destination? The ultimate goal is at one place, but there are subordinate goals, minor goals, and many paths. Now if they feel that their goal is at a particular place, naturally they will walk towards that destination. But they will never say that their goal is higher than the goals of others. No! We never say that. But if I have chosen a path to get to my destination, I have to follow a particular road. "All roads lead to Rome." You are at perfect liberty to follow the road which pleases you. Rome is at a particular place. But if while I am going to Rome at this moment I take TWA, then at some other moment I wish to change airlines, how am I going to make the change? There will be a crash or I will fall between the two planes in mid-air!
So we never say that our goal or our ideals are superior to others. But only we say we know a goal, a perfect goal. Now we have found a road. Let us walk along that road and see what happens. But we never condemn or look down upon others — old acquaintances, friends or neighbours. We never feel that they are inferior to us in any way. We are only walking along the path. If we constantly change paths, then there will be no destination for us. But we never say that they are doing something wrong and we are doing the right thing.
Question: Guru, I think that we all have the same goal and I am deeply at peace with the roads that J. and C. walk down. But I think that one of the problems parents may face when their children embark on roads that they themselves haven't walked on can be one of competition. I think there was one issue that touched me very deeply, and that was when you changed their names. I really felt then that you were trying to take a very precious place in their lives which, until that time, only their Father and I had had. I felt that if we were accepting your grace, then you also should have recognised a very special place that we hold in the children's lives, too.Sri Chinmoy: I am most grateful to you for giving me the opportunity to answer this question. At the outset I would like to tell you that I am not the doer. As I told you, I listen to the dictates of Somebody who is infinitely superior to me: God. As you have divinity within you and everyone else has divinity, I am also a humble student, an instrument of the divinity within me. Here I am not fooling myself or trying to escape from hard-and-fast reality. You may say that in the name of God I am exploiting your children. You can say something and I can say something else. But it is not that I was enjoying malicious pleasure and trying to take them away; it is not that I gave them the spiritual names Hashi and Kanan so they would have no earthly connection with their parents — far from it! When I gave names to your children, it was not my doing. I entirely depend on the command from within. I am a perfect slave, let us say, to the inner Authority. When the inner Authority tells me, "Give this name to that particular person," I just listen. The Supreme who is within, who is my Pilot, who is your Pilot, who is everybody's Pilot, commanded me to give names to some of the disciples. There are many, many disciples who do not yet have spiritual names; their names have not yet come to me.
To get a spiritual name means they get great joy, as if they were on the verge of reaching their goal. This is not a justification. Only I wish to tell you why the Supreme wanted me to give spiritual names to some of the disciples who were in a position to receive them. Forgive me, but when their parents gave them names, to be very frank with you, they were not in the highest plane of consciousness. The parents heard some name that they liked, or the children had to get the father's name or the mother's name or a relative's name. But the names that their parents and grandparents had came only from human experience. Is there any parent who meditated for hours and hours to get a name for his children? No, not even one!
Here in the West I have come across some names like Buffy and so forth. By using the term 'Buffy' or some other name, do you get any inspiration? But if you get a spiritual name which embodies peace, light and bliss in abundant measure, naturally that will bring forward all your good qualities. I have an immediate free access to your children's souls, and when I give them a spiritual name that embodies their souls' qualities, immediately these qualities come forward. These spiritual names immediately change their inner outlook on Truth and Light.
Kanan means grove, lotus grove. The lotus is the emblem of India's spiritual consciousness. If you use the name Kanan, you think of a lotus blossoming petal by petal. Then what happens? Your love for God keeps growing, your gratitude keeps growing, your appreciation of Truth keeps growing. So these are the things that the Supreme in me, the Supreme in Kanan and Hashi, the Supreme in all my students, wants me to do.
When your children get their spiritual names, I make a bold statement. I tell them they don't even have to repeat the name of God if they repeat their souls' names, because their names have come from God. Instead of repeating 'God', if they repeat their souls' names, automatically God comes to the fore. You may say it sounds absurd, but I know the inseparable oneness that their souls have with God. Their father is called Mr. So-and-So in the office; at home he is 'Dad', and his friends call him by some other name. But he is the same person. Similarly, the soul and the Supreme are totally one and the same.
You may ask what is wrong with their previous names. Nothing is wrong. You are always at perfect liberty to call them by their American names. I will never tell my students to hang up or not speak to their mothers if their mothers phone them and call them by their American names. On the contrary, their Indian teacher is fond of cutting jokes with them. Sometimes I call them by their American names, although it is very difficult for me to remember them. Once I give them Indian names, then I forget their American names and it takes me a long time to remember. Sometimes I ask others to tell me what their other names are.
As I said before, anything that gives us inspiration or increases our inspiration we shall do. Let them make a comparison between their previous names and their present names. They are seekers and followers of Truth, and they know that they receive light and delight and tremendous joy when they repeat their spiritual names. It is not because they have got them from an Indian, but because they feel that there is infinite reality and light in what is inside their names.
Dear mothers, I have not taken and I will never take your children away from you. The only thing is that the Supreme in me wants them to appreciate you, value you and admire you on a very, very high plane of consciousness. Otherwise, on the physical plane if they have to appreciate and admire their parents, they may not subscribe to your views all the time. You may say, "This is black," and they may say, "No, this is white," or "This is yellow." If they come to your plane or you come to their plane and you find fault with each other, then there will be arguments and no end to your misunderstandings. But if you and they both climb up to a very high plane of consciousness, which belongs neither to you nor to them, and then approach each other, at that time what you see as truth, they also are bound to see as truth; and what they feel as truth, you also are bound to feel as truth. If you climb up just one step on the ladder of aspiration, you will feel at every moment that what they are doing is right, and what you are doing will be right according to them. They are trying to realise you, to help you, to serve you on a high plane of consciousness. So if you go deep within, you will see that they are perfectly at one with you.
Question: Will there be a time when our daughters can maintain many of the marvellous things that they are learning and becoming and go out in the world and be on their own? Will they still be able to feel the inner spirituality within them without having to be more or less centred in this one area?Sri Chinmoy: In your question, my answer is there. We start with a seed. The seed germinates. First it is a sapling, then a tender plant; then it becomes a huge banyan tree. Your children are now like tender plants. Will you advise tender plants to be uprooted and moved somewhere else? You are taking tremendous risk if you carry a tiny plant from one place to another. The plant will be damaged or totally destroyed. But when the plant grows into a huge tree and starts bearing fruit, at that time this fruit can become the achievement or possession of the entire world. Then you can carry the fruit to any part of the world and the tree will not be destroyed or damaged.
Whatever your children are learning from me is good, and in the course of time when this bears fruit, naturally they will be going to all parts of the world to serve the Supreme in humanity. I am doing this now and, in the future, your children will do the same. But right now, most of them have not received or achieved enough for them to share with the world. Again, some of our students have learned our philosophy well or are in a position to share our light with others. I always encourage them to travel, and many disciples of ours go to various places all over the world to give talks and speak about peace, light and bliss.
I will not confine my students to me or to this little Jamaica, Queens. No, my world, our world, is very vast. Sometimes my Indian friends argue with me at public meetings. They say that India is poverty-stricken and people there are suffering, so what am I doing here? I should stay in India. But I tell them that my world is very vast. Just because the Supreme, the Almighty, the All-pervading, is my Father, I claim the whole world as my very own. So, according to my inner understanding, I wish to say that my world is all of God's creation. When your children grow into light and delight, eventually they also will go and share with the rest of the world the fruits that they have become. It is only a matter of time.
Question: According to the government of this country, are you considered a religion? Do you pay taxes or are you tax-exempt like a church?Sri Chinmoy: Ours is not a religion; as I said before, ours is a path. We are heading towards a destination and you are also doing the same; only we are walking along different roads. But to come back to your question, ours is a tax-exempt, non-profit organisation.
Question: Why are there more spiritual Masters in America today than there have been in previous years? Is it because there is a greater awareness of a spiritual need?Sri Chinmoy: The human in us is very clever. The human in India or the human in America or the human in the West may say that some rogues in India wanted to become multi-millionaires overnight so they all came to America just for American wealth. True, there are some people who say they can give realisation overnight, like the instant coffee, if we give them thousands of dollars.
But let us be serious. This is not my world, this is not your world; this is not the world of any individual. This is God's world. We are all God's children. If God, our Almighty Father, asks a few individuals to share with others the peace, light and bliss that they have received and achieved, then these individuals will do so.
I was brought up in a spiritual community, an ashram. I was there for twenty years, right from my childhood. My brothers and sisters were also brought up there. I was the youngest and, believe me, I was spoiled by their affection and love. In the spiritual community I also happened to be very close, most intimate with the Ashram authorities, so there was no reason for the human in me to leave. But I received an inner command to come here and to serve the Supreme in your children. There are quite a few other Masters who have got the inner command to serve America and the rest of the world. Again, there are quite a few who have just come to exploit seekers and get wealth. The human in others may say, "Oh, he came to the West only to get name and fame and to glorify himself." But the divine in me, the divine in you and the divine in others will say, 'No he came to the West to be of service to the aspiring West."
As I said before, it is God's creation. Here, some of His children are hungry and thirsty and He has sent some of His children to quench their thirst and to satisfy their hunger.
Disciples sing The InvocationAfter the questions and answers, Sri Chinmoy asked the disciples to come up to the front of the room.
Sri Chinmoy: We wish to offer you our most important prayer. As you have significant prayers, this is our most significant prayer. And this prayer we offer to the Supreme in you, the Supreme in us, the Absolute Supreme.
Disciples sing The Invocation:
Supreme, Supreme, Supreme, Supreme!
I bow to Thee, I bow.
My life Thy golden plough;
My journey's Goal Thy soulful Dream.
Supreme, Supreme, Supreme, Supreme!
I bow to Thee, I bow.
Supreme, I am Thy glowing Grace.
My world, Thy Feet of Light;
My breath, Thy Vision's kite.
Thou art one Truth, one Life, one Face.
Supreme, Supreme, Supreme, Supreme!
I bow to Thee, I bow.
Sri Chinmoy: Gratitude is not a mere word. It is a living reality which abides in the inmost recesses of my heart, and this reality I wish to offer to the mothers of all my students. And as I said before, you are not only their mothers, but also my mothers in America. In me I wish you to discover an Indian son of yours. In honour of your visit we wish to offer you our heart's love in the form of applause.
(Ends with applause)
Part III: Appreciation-FlowersThe Mothers' reactions to the luncheon, which they either expressed to their daughters or conveyed to Sri Chinmoy in personal notes, follow.
1.It was really a worthwhile afternoon. I really enjoyed it. It's too bad that he didn't do it earlier, about two years ago. It answered a lot of questions the mothers had; it put my mind at ease. All the mothers appreciated the time and thoughtfulness that was put into the day. It took a lot of work. One thing was that everyone participated in the activities and everyone was so kind and warm. This was a very warm and close experience.
Mrs. B. D.
2.Dear Sri Chinmoy,
Thank you very much for a pleasant afternoon. Your hospitality was greatly appreciated.
(From comments to her daughter)
I felt a very, very warm feeling from everybody getting together. Everyone was very generous and hospitable and I felt at home. The restaurant was tremendously clean; everything was spotless. I felt the question and answer time was very good and all the questions that were asked were good for me. I also found the Primer informative as to the nature of Guru's path.
Mrs. R. A.
3.Sunday was a delightful experience. Not only was it so nice to be invited by my daughter to a luncheon like this, but it was a meaningful experience to see that she is surrounded by such warm, loving friends.
Mrs. B. H.
4.I was honoured on March 9th to be a guest of Sri Chinmoy and his disciples at a luncheon at the Annam Brahma restaurant. We came as strangers, but found a common meeting ground — the mothers through love for their children, the children through love for their Guru and the Guru through his love for God. The result was sincerity, which to me is excellence. My heart was thankful to Sri Chinmoy for the thoughtfulness he has inspired in the young people who worked so hard and generously to show us their love. The feeling of graciousness was only outshone by the feeling of love that went into the preparations to make us welcome. The food was delicious, our presents were beautiful, and Guru's words to us and his answers to our questions were as reassuring as the bright and happy faces around us. The paths that we travel are different, but I am glad we can reach out, and have the understanding to appreciate each other.
Mrs. M. W.
5.There are many forms of goodness in the world and when one finds oneself in the presence of one, it is the highest form of spirituality to recognise it and enjoy it.
Mrs. H. R.
6.The vibration of love, mutual respect, understanding, intimacy flowed between my daughter and me on that special Sunday afternoon. Intellectually, spiritually, emotionally we were one and in harmony. How grateful I am that we can grow together, each in his own way.
Mrs. E. W.
7.It was interesting and I was glad I came. I've been wanting to find out about my daughter's life and ask questions, although I wasn't able to ask all the questions that I had in my mind. By the way, my husband liked the cake.
Mrs. L. W.
It was a very nice and interesting afternoon. A million thanks for everything.
(From comments to her daughter)
[…] I hope for the best. This is a revolutionary period indeed because of the new concepts altering the accepted church dogmas and practices. The upheaval will reshape our past religious thoughts, making them seem childlike. Maybe we are now on the threshold of deeper knowledge and conviction of a truly Universal Intelligence far more advanced than we have ever had before […] And this period is one of pain, for it brings the birth pangs of a new religious reverence which can only come through soul-stirring challenges.
Mrs. A. F.
9.I want to thank you for a wonderful afternoon. I couldn't believe all the effort you all put into it. It must have taken so much work. Those waiters were marvellous. And so were the girls making the food in the restaurant. The food was marvellous. The entire preparation was marvellous and the kids were so nice to us. I couldn't get over it. All of us felt this way.
The mothers were simply great. I loved them. We were extremely compatible. You completely understand each other; we completely understand each other. We start with one thing in common: bewilderment. But we soon saw that this is not a kookie organisation; none of the children is a kook. I have never met anyone in your organisation whom I didn't like. The parents feel that whatever this may be, it is something our children had to do.
I was flabbergasted because I didn't think the Guru, Sri Chinmoy, would dare to answer questions from us. He was facing an audience, most of whom didn't want to believe. Of course, he answered everything in his own way, but how could he answer things in our way? It is a matter of faith. Ask someone why he is a devout Catholic. Whatever he says it comes down to, "Because I believe." There is no way to dispute this kind of thing intellectually or emotionally.
The fact is that you were trying. Just that you had us there amazed us. You were saying that you weren't throwing us out of your lives. He made that quite clear. It was most successful and please do it again.
Mrs. J. S.
10.Please convey my thanks to Sri Chinmoy for the lovely mother and daughter dinner that he made possible last Sunday.
I found that many of my questions were answered and I'm sure it gave all of the mothers a better understanding of their children's goals.
Mrs. R. G.
11.I would like to express my deepest gratitude for an enjoyable Sunday. My chief aim in life has always been to raise my children to be good Christians and to make them happy.
My daughter, by following the spiritual teachings of Sri Chinmoy, is at peace with herself and with the world. Could a mother ask for more for someone who means all the world to her?
Mrs. E. T.
12.I enjoyed the afternoon; it was very pleasant. It was very nice of the Guru to think of us, to bother with us. His sincerity shines through.
Mrs. M. C.
13.It was a lovely luncheon. Everyone went to a lot of trouble.
I was glad to see you very happy.
Mrs. B. W.
— Erich Fromm"
Thank you for the opportunity to share a most pleasant afternoon with my daughter and her friends.
Mrs. A. K.