Guru, my question is
Benjamin: Is God a rainbow or is He a God in Heaven?1Sri Chinmoy: God is both. He is the Beauty of a rainbow and also He is the Pilot of the Heaven-Boat and the earth-boat. You are God, your mother is God, your father is God, Matthew is God. We are all God, but God wants us to have different names. God distributes the names. God says, "I have another name; that name is Benjamin. I have another name; that name is Julie. I have another name; that name is Arun. Another name is Matthew. Another name is Ranjana. Another name is Chetana.” These are all names of God and He distributes the names.
Sometimes your mother does not call you Benjamin. She may call you some other name. But when you go to school, your schoolteacher will call you Benjamin. In my case, when I was a little boy, my name was Madal. Then it became Chinmoy. Now it is Sri Chinmoy. So my family will call me Madal, my friends will call me Chinmoy and my students will call me Sri Chinmoy or Guru. We have only two or three names, but God has all the names. We are all inside God's Boat here on earth and there in Heaven.
Now to speak of rainbows. The sky is very, very vast and the rainbow is the most beautiful thing in the sky. The sky is God and the beauty of the rainbow is also God. But I wish to say that your heart is much more beautiful than the rainbow. Now you are unable to see your heart, but one day you will be able to see it. After a few years, you will be able to see that your heart is much more beautiful than the rainbow that you are seeing in the sky. In a few years, you will see your own rainbow. Not only that, you will also see that you have the sun inside you, you have the stars inside you, you have the planets inside you, you have the birds inside you. Everything is inside you.
GMQ 1. Question asked on 6 August 2003↩
Benjamin: Why did they hurt Jesus?1Sri Chinmoy: They hurt Jesus because they were ignorant. You know that you are a very good boy, a very, very good boy. Now, let us say you are walking along the street and there is a bad dog. First the bad dog barks at you, and then all of a sudden the same dog comes and bites you. What will you do?
You are a very, very good boy, an excellent boy, but the dog is very bad. For no reason it comes and starts barking at you, and then it bites you. If the dog has all sorts of germs and poisons inside it, then you may die. In exactly the same way, those people who were responsible for Jesus Christ's crucifixion and death were all bad people. This is how it happened.
You are very good, Jesus Christ was very, very, very good, supremely good, but what can you do? There are bad people on earth. So those bad people were responsible for his crucifixion and for his departure from earth.
GMQ 2. Questions asked on 10 July 2004↩
Matthew: [showing Sri Chinmoy some pictures] Why do the gods and goddesses have weapons and so many arms? This one has a spear, and this one has four arms.Sri Chinmoy: We have one goddess who has ten arms! Her name is Durga. The gods and goddesses can have not only ten arms, they can have as many arms as they want to. Ten arms we can see on this one goddess, Durga. In the case of others, we see that they have fewer arms. Again, if they need to, they can have more arms. There is one god, Brahma, who has four heads.
Something more: we all have two eyes. You have two eyes, your brother has two eyes, your mother and father both have two eyes. But the gods and goddesses have only one eye. With our two eyes, we can look this side and that side, but we cannot see what is behind us. What is very high we cannot see and what is underneath us we cannot see. But with one eye the gods and goddesses can see everywhere. They can see ahead, behind, sideways, high above and as low as possible.
Why do they have weapons? They want to frighten bad beings. Those bad beings are called 'asuras'. The asuras torture many good people. When the asuras see that the gods and goddesses have weapons, most of them get frightened. Again, there are some asuras who are not frightened. These asuras challenge the gods and goddesses. What do the gods and goddesses do? For their good, they kill these asuras.
But when the gods and goddesses kill the asuras, they do not actually destroy them. They transform them into good people so that there will be fewer bad people. First they kill them, and afterwards they transform them, they make them better. There are so many asuras. The gods and goddesses try to kill them and then to transform them so that these hostile beings are no longer hostile. It is for their own good that the gods and goddesses kill them.
Very good! You two have asked such nice questions. Thousands of questions I have been asked in the past forty years, but nobody has asked me these questions. Very, very, very nice questions, Benjamin and Matthew!
Julie: Guru, Benjamin is not a fan of thunderstorms. Ever since he was little, even when I was pregnant with him, if there was a sudden noise, he would jump. He does not like loud noises, specially storms, thunderstorms. They make him very, very upset and uncomfortable.1Matthew: He cries when it storms.
Julie: He has seen some pretty good storms up at the farm — whole trees of ours have come down. We seek your advice to help Benjamin during a storm.
Sri Chinmoy: He gets frightened?
Julie: Really frightened.
Sri Chinmoy: When it rains?
Julie: When it gets cloudy and dark. When he sees it coming.
Sri Chinmoy: You get upset and frightened when you see it is thundering, Benjamin? Why?
Benjamin: One reason is my ears are really sensitive. It does not really hurt my ears, but the sound scares me.
Sri Chinmoy: Can you play a trick on it? Now you get frightened when there is thunder and a storm is coming. But instead of becoming frightened, try to feel, try to see, that you are the one who is making the noise. What for? Only to give joy to many, many, many children, you are the one making the noise. There are millions of children like you all over the world. Instead of getting frightened, you can feel that you are giving them tremendous joy. You are the one to give joy to millions of children.
If you give Matthew a piece of candy, you get such joy. When Matthew gives you a smiling face, you get so much joy! Do you understand? You get joy when you give him something. In exactly the same way, when this thundering is going on, try to imagine that you are the one who is making this noise and so many children are getting boundless joy.
When you are happy, you know that your father and mother are so happy. They immediately feel that they are in Heaven. And if you are sad, they also become sad. In the same way, you are giving joy to countless children of your age. When they are happy, God is also very happy. So, try to make yourself feel that you are the one who is making this loud noise. And if you are giving joy to so many other children, you will not feel that your own ears are getting hurt. When you are giving something happily, and others are accepting from you happily, then you do not get hurt. So from now on, when a thunderstorm is happening, immediately feel that you are the one who is doing it to make many, many people very, very happy.
And also you can think of the farmers. Farmers are such good people. They grow the food that keeps us alive. They need rain badly. You can also feel that you are the one to help them. So you see, if you can give joy to these farmers and to the little children, will you not make that sacrifice for them?
Otherwise, if you are frightened, then you cannot do anything. You will simply hide. But if you are happy, you are going to run, jump and fly all over the house. You have to feel that you are doing something very great to make so many people happy. By giving joy to others, you will also become happy. By not giving joy to others, you become miserable. So from now on, change your attitude. Do not be afraid. Just feel that you are the one who is giving joy to millions of people all over the world. You will see that you will be very, very happy.
Julie: Think of the farmers everywhere who need water, and the corn that is growing.
Sri Chinmoy: Benjamin, I have written a few stories for children. One day I would like you and your brother to perform some of them. Chetana, your auntie, will get you my book Gopal's Eternal Brother and Other Stories for Children. Some of those stories I wrote in India, so you will be very happy and delighted to read them. Your parents will teach you how to perform. You can do it for us one day when you are ready.
Benjamin: I was in the play Julius Caesar.
Sri Chinmoy: So many lines to learn!
[Benjamin recites one of his lines.]
Sri Chinmoy: I am so proud of you! When I was of your age, I was also in a play. I was supposed to say only one line, but I got frightened, frightened. The time came for me to say my line and I was supposed to speak, but nothing was coming out because I was so frightened. Then the prompter had to tell me the line! My line was, "I love my brother Arjuna very much." That is all. I was playing the part of Sahadeva, the youngest Pandava, in the play. The boy who was playing the part of Arjuna was looking at me. He was waiting for me to say my line. Then, very quietly, he began to tell me what I had to say. At the same time, the prompter was saying the line from the side of the stage. Even then I could not say it because I was frightened. That was my first performance!
GMQ 4. Arun, Julie, Benjamin and Matthew visited Sri Chinmoy on 22 June 2005 during a thunderstorm.↩
Chetana: How old were you, Guru?Sri Chinmoy: I think I was five or six years old. I was very upset also because when I went there to get ready for the play, they put a garment on me that looked like a sari. In the Mahabharata days, the warriors used to wear garments like that. Anyway, I protested vehemently! I said, "No, I am not a girl, I am not a girl!" Then I began to cry. All the other actors were wearing loose dhotis, but mine looked like a sari. I said that I wanted to wear whatever the other actors were wearing. But they did not listen at all. So I was crying and crying. Then, when I went on stage to perform, I got so frightened that I started crying again. I gave so many people such joy because the prompter was saying the line, Arjuna was whispering to me what to say and still I did not say the line. I gave joy to everyone!
Matthew: Does God ever lose His Power?Sri Chinmoy: No. We lose our power because we misuse it. If God gives me power, I may misuse it. If He gives power to your father, he may misuse it. If He gives power to your mother, she may misuse it. But God does not misuse His Power. When we misuse something, we lose it. God gives us power, love, joy, everything — but as soon as we misuse those divine qualities, we lose them. God does not misuse His Power, so He never loses it. This is the difference.
When a human being gets power, he uses it to strike someone. God has all the Power. He can strike us all at the same time if He wants to, but He does not do that. Only some people who are very bad, He punishes. Good people God never punishes.
Matthew, you see, God has given you some power. If you do not misuse it, if you use it for a good cause, if you use it properly, then you will never lose it. Let us say a bad fellow is beating up a good person. At that time, you will use your power so that he does not continue to strike the good one. So you are using your power in a good way, a good way. But if you strike people just to show that you have so much power, then God will take it away.
Both your question and Benjamin's question are very, very nice.
Matthew: How old is God?Sri Chinmoy: First of all, how old are you?
Sri Chinmoy: So God is four years old. If Benjamin asks, "How old is God?", God will say that He is seven. If I ask God, "How old are You?", He will say that He is seventy-four, like me. Again, if your father asks, God will say whatever your father's age is. If your mother asks, He will say her age. For Chetana and Ranjana, God will say the same thing. Why? Because we are a portion of God. God created us. We are with Him and for Him. Since we are inside His Heart, we have become one with Him. God and you are one. So if you ask God how old He is, God will immediately say He is four because He has become you and you have become Him. Since Benjamin has become God, God is seven. Like that, God has become one with us, inseparably one. If He is like this with us [Sri Chinmoy presses his palms together], then if you are four, how can God become another age?
So God is four for you and seven for Benjamin, and for me He is seventy-four. That is called oneness, oneness, oneness: seven, four and seventy-four!
On the one hand, these questions are very, very cute, and on the other hand, they are most significant.
Matthew: How did Ganesh lose his head?Sri Chinmoy: You know that Ganesh's father was Lord Shiva and his mother was Parvati. Ganesh was a very beautiful little boy. One day, his mother was taking a bath. She said to the child, "Do not allow anyone to come into the house while I am taking a bath."
Ganesh did not see his father very often because Lord Shiva was always meditating in the Himalayas. He did not know his father well at all. It happened that all of a sudden, Shiva arrived and wanted to go inside the house. It was his house also, but the little boy would not allow him. He became the gatekeeper. He stood in front of the door and said, "No, I will not allow you to enter. My mother has said that nobody is allowed inside."
Lord Shiva said, "But I am your father."
"How do I know that you are my father?" said Ganesh, and he refused to budge from his place guarding the door. Because he was Shiva's son, he had tremendous power, but Shiva had more power. The little boy fought bravely against his father. Eventually, Shiva became annoyed and chopped off his son's head!
Parvati heard the noise and came outside to see what was happening. When she saw her son's body, she cried, "What have you done? What have you done?"
Shiva tried to explain, "He was not allowing me inside." Shiva felt so miserable that he had killed his son.
Then Parvati said, "You have to bring my son back to life."
Shiva tried to console his wife. He said, "I cannot restore the same head, but whichever head I see first, I will bring that head and place it on our son."
The next day Shiva went out and the first thing he saw outside the house was an elephant. Immediately, he cut off the elephant's head and put it on his son's body. That is why Ganesh has an elephant's head.
This is our Indian story. You do not have to believe this kind of story. We have read it and learned it since we were children. For us, Ganesh is the wisest and kindest god. Before we pray to any god, we have to pray to Ganesh. He is the one who gives realisation, so if you want to realise God, you have to please him first.
Our main address to Ganesh is:
"/Ekadantam mahakayam lambodara gajananam
Vighnanashakaram devam herambam pranamamyaham/"
"O destroyer of obstacles, who has one tooth and a big belly, who grants us realisation, we bow to you."
When I went to see Princess Diana, I had a long interview with her. She was so kind to me. After it was over, we were going downstairs. In the hallway, I saw a beautiful crystal statue of Lord Ganesha. Princess Diana said to me, "I am sure you know who this is!"
I said, "This is our Ganesh, the elephant god."
Princess Diana told me that the very last time she went to India, she brought it back with her from Madras. It was such a beautiful statue!
Arun, Julie, Benjamin, Matthew1Arun, Julie, Benjamin, Matthew!
You are all lovely, chosen children of God —
True, true, true, true, true!
GMQ 9. Words and Music By Sri Chinmoy July 10, 2004↩
FootnoteThese questions were asked by Benjamin and Matthew, the young sons of Arun and Julie Hein, on the occasions when Sri Chinmoy celebrated their family's birthdays at his home.