India, my India. Mother India's summit-prides
Part I — Poetry
1.Bharat Mata, Mother India,
My own Mother-heart-ambrosia.
Worship I must Her vastness-sky,
And love I must Her compassion-eye.
She is the Sovereign Queen of my soul;
Her heart's smile-joy my supreme Goal.
2.Bande Mataram, Mother, I bow to Thee!
O dream-heart for the world's Oneness-Home-Tree!
Your soul, Eternity's Silence-Truth-Song.
Your life, Creator's Vision-Victory-Gong.
3.My Lord, I am an Indian.
Do teach my devotion-heart
How to write
Love-letters and gratitude-letters
To You every day.
4.The silence-heart of Mother India
Longs for world-illumination
And not for world-information.
Mother India is not the Golden Age
Of the remote past.
Mother India is the wisdom-light
Of Eternity's Here and Now.
6.The soul of Mother India
Always accompanies God
On His World Peace-Campaign.
7.Mother India's heart
Is lovelier than readiness,
Richer than willingness
And swifter than eagerness
To be inside God's Silence-Heart
And God's Sound-Life.
8.God gave to Mother India's children
What they desperately needed:
To liberate them from the foreign yoke.
9.Each and every fighter
For the independence-freedom
Of Mother India
Was a Truth-marcher
On the celestial Light-Highway.
10.Those who offered their lives
In Mother India's freedom-fight
Flew up into God's Bliss-flooded Sky
When they proudly embraced death.
11.Mother India's freedom-fighters
12.Mother India's freedom-fighters
Did not depend on guiding stars.
They depended on their Mother's
Loving affection and satisfaction.
13.While they were sacrificing
Their lives for freedom,
God Himself gave
Mother India's freedom-fighters
To embrace Him.
14.God called Mother India's
By a special name:
For God's Satisfaction-Delight.
15.Mother India's heart
Loves to study only one subject:
16.May a God-obedience-shrine
Be found in every
17.My Lord Supreme,
May each and every Indian
Become a peace-life-dweller
In every inch of his being.
18.Mother India's heart knows
Only a full-time God-lover
Can be a perfect
19.India's greatest gift:
20.To feel the nearness of God,
Mother India's soul smiles.
To breathe the closeness of God,
Mother India's heart cries.
21.Unlike the mind of Mother India,
The minds of many countries
Remain astronomical distances
Away from simplicity.
22.May clear-minded, pure-hearted
And God-fulfilling servers
In infinite number
Take birth on Indian soil
To satisfy and please God
Sleeplessly in God's own Way.
23.India's secret weapons:
The transcendental Vision-Light
Of the Vedic seers,
The universal Consciousness-Delight
From the Vedic code.
24.The body of India
May be discouraging.
The mind of India
May be disheartening.
But the heart of India
Still maintains its pristine beauty and purity
Which will forever remain
Untouched by human ignorance.
25.India is not just a place.
India is not just a people.
India is the celestial music,
And inside that music
Anybody from any corner of the globe
Can find the real significance of life.
26.India is not Hindu, Muslim or Buddhist.
India is India.
Its tolerance is more than ready
To freely house all religions.
27.India holds and will forever hold
A special charm and a special beauty
For all spiritual seekers:
The illumining and fulfilling message
Of the soul.
28.See India with your aspiring heart.
Then inside even its outer weaknesses,
Inside its helplessness and hopelessness,
You are bound to feel
And soul-fulfilling uniqueness.
29.To feel what India has and is,
You must have
What you do not yet have:
A new vision, a perennial vision.
30.My Mother India commands me
To learn that there is no such thing
Everything in God's creation
Is on the clear road
31.My Mother India announces
The synthesis between
Her mountain-high promises
And Her ocean-vast hopes.
32.My Mother India commands me
To learn that comparison
Is not a nice game.
33.My Mother India commands me
To learn that Her ancient beauty
Far transcends the capacity
Of Western curiosity.
34.My Mother India tells me
That Her body may be meant
For a silence-life,
But Her soul is definitely meant
For the direct manifestation
Of God the Sound.
35.My Mother India commands me
To unreservedly honour
One of Her main virtues:
36.My Mother India commands me
To learn that life's divinity
Is founded upon oneness-purity.
37.My Mother India announces to me
That by virtue of my heart's
I can go beyond the soaring imagination-flight
Of the modern world.
38.There was a time when each Indian home
Cried for liberation from bondage-night.
But now each Indian home
Cries for freedom from frustration-sighs.
There shall come a time when each Indian home
Shall cry only for God-Compassion,
God-invocation and God-manifestation.
Has made my heart pure.
Has made my life sure.
40.I dearly love my India
And its age-old silence-peace.
I dearly love my America
And its child-heart's beauty-increase.
41.Half-life in Mother India!
Half-life in America!
Bharat kusum Markin shikha.
Half-life in Ind,
Half-life in the West.
The Blue Bird treasures
His Golden Nest.
42.I love my country,
I love, I love, I love.
She is, indeed,
The world peace-beauty's dove.
Her heart is made of God's
My country, you are the pride
Of the Summit-Height.
Part II — Translations from Bengali poems
Editor's noteThe following translations, which are in most cases poetic re-creations of the original, were all done by Sri Chinmoy.
The awakening of dawnFulfilling the vision of the sages,
India, our Mother India,
With smiling face opens today
The door of Her Eastern Light.
Our Mother's body is not amputated.
She shines with divine beauty —
Though even now Her glow and grace
Are veiled by the clouds.
It is the festival of awakening of our Mother;
It is the dawn of a golden new era;
Our Mother is bringing for us Her casket
Filled with Her immortal gifts.
We shall bestow to the comity of nations, to the world at large
The sweet nectar of the Supermind.
We shall satisfy by the favour of our Mother
The hunger of all the souls.
The vision of Jesus Christ — the Kingdom of Heaven —
In order to materialise,
Narayan is revealed today in man
On this earth of dust.
Victory of the Creator, victory of Bharatvarsha,
Victory of the dwellers of the universe
Is indicated today, and of the Golden Age
Today forms the dawn.
Composed on the occasion of Independence day
1.The sons and daughters of India are arising again
The deep and sonorous notes are being played
To invoke Mother India.
To India the world shall offer its salutation.
Once again India's Victory shall be proclaimed.
We are the soldiers of light
And the worshippers of the Fire-God.
Away we shall chase world-fear.
India, India, in this great land of Mother India,
Before long the Peace of the Beyond shall reign supreme.
Falsehood and emptiness forever shall end.
Beauty's light and delight shall blossom, grow and sport
In the love of India's heart.
O seer-poet of Mother Ind,
Awake in your new form, knowledge-sea.
Piercing the heart of ignorance,
Awake, O Beloved, O Source of light.
May your silence-touch
Transform the long-accrued imperfection-night
Into the light of dawn.
Bring down your lustre-light
And illumine this unlit world
And make it beauty immutable.
3.With great joy in the New Year
Our hearts are awakening.
Let the hearts of all Bengalis
Become one, great and vast.
Bengal is not two, Bengal is not divided;
In one Bengal, let the world-love abide.
The torture of the undivine hostile forces
Creates false fear in the heart of Bengal.
A tenebrous night will blossom into beauty's day.
The sun of wisdom-light will dawn.
The golden Bengal, the immortal Bengal,
Will once more see the Light of the Infinite.
In the heart of the New Year
The liberation-hope will feed us.
We shall once more receive the silence-language
From the Aryan sages of the hoary past.
4.Mother India's call has come.
Come, come, all come!
Let us go and be
In Her affection-love-flooded
Heart's elysian lap.
Part III — Essays
India: Her consciousness and light — Part IWhat is India's inner message to the world at large? Spirituality. What is spirituality? It is the natural way of truth that successfully communes with the Beyond here on earth.
What is India's absolutely distinctive possession? Her soul. She lives in the soul, she lives from the soul and she lives for the soul.
Where can the world find the real nature of India? In the ever-wakeful domain of the Spirit.
What has made the history of India unique? A most surprising and unusual continuity of the line of her spiritual seekers and Masters.
What does Indian spirituality teach? It teaches the world to conquer the evil of the lower nature and to go beyond the good of the higher nature.
What is Mother India's desire? It is to transcend the human way once and for all through radical self-transmutation, and to enter into the ever-dynamic Way of God.
Religion, however mighty it may be, is not and cannot be the message of India. Her message is Self-realisation.
The perfect truth of India's religion lies in its outer and inner realisation of the One that is, of the One that is in the process of becoming.
O world, on you march towards the deepest recesses of your heart! To your amazement, you will find Mother India to be anything but God-fearing. What then is she? She is God-loving: the God-loving soul in God's all-dreaming and all-manifesting Truth.
The soul of India feels that to be satisfied with intellectual speculation is to remain satisfied with only half of the food that is actually needed for health. It is realisation that gives one a full meal. And if one seeks realisation, meditation and concentration are of paramount importance.
Indian philosophy, in its most sublime sense, is nothing short of the practical realisation of the Truth.
There is no more than a hyphen between the Vision of the Vedic seers and the soul of India, and between India's spirituality and the final spiritual liberation of the world.
India: Her consciousness and light — Part IIThey say that India long ago lost the Milky Way of greatness. But we know that she has now a colossal hope that the overcast sky will clear at last, revealing again myriad points of light.
What were the chief causes of India's downfall? She neglected the body-consciousness and eschewed the material life. She narrowed her outlook and sealed herself up in the outworn rituals of the past. She clung to the festering shell of her ancient culture and succeeded in killing its living, growing spirit. And India's doom was sealed the day she started these practices.
India began to rise the day she turned away from these tendencies and accepted life in all its dynamic aspects.
India will rise fully the day she becomes self-reliant. She knows well that she cannot achieve her goal if she has to depend permanently on alien help. Self-help is the best help. Self-help is God's own help in disguise.
India has within her a voice that is the self-same, all-fulfilling Voice of God. That Voice she simply must hear and obey.
What is actually meant by the emancipation of the Indian woman? It means that she must no longer be alienated from education. She must have free access to the worldwide knowledge of the present day, in addition to the sacred lore of past centuries. True education helps us to live in the integral perfection which is the very backbone of our existence on earth. The Indian woman must be given full opportunity to develop and manifest this perfection.
The emancipation of the Indian woman also means that she must not be suppressed and dominated by man. She must be free to be herself, independent in her own right, strong and confident, a true partner and companion of man and not his drudge and serf. She must become again what she was in Vedic India, a respected and equal citizen, a glorious complement to man.
Today's India is poverty-stricken. But tomorrow's India will be prosperous. She will be a mighty wave of hope and faith. Her very thought will be stirred with a new vision. Infinite will be the possibilities on her horizon. Her sacrifice will build a more durable foundation for mankind. She will contain within herself nationalism and internationalism, becoming the true symbol of spirituality in action.
India, with her spiritual power, will wield a tremendous influence on future generations. This is no imagination, but vision in operation.
India and India alone is the nerve centre of the aspiring world.
India's strength is not in her arms, but in her heart. More so, it is in her seer-vision.
India tells the world that the realisation of unity is the only strength which can conquer the world.
India is a seeker of the Absolute. The summum bonum of life is the ideal of God-realisation. In her heart there is a burning love of God; in her mind, the service of unawakened humanity.
Consumed with desires and temptations, Europe rushed towards India to acquire her fabulous wealth. That is true. But it is equally and absolutely true that Europe's soul came to India with a spiritual seeking and an occult urge to discover what India was actually like.
India has three world-conquering weapons: non-violence, peace and the wisdom which tells that she is in all as all is in her.
India's choice is character. But she must feel that she needs personality as well.
Mother India's fear is not of atomic bombs but of her children's self-forgetful amnesia.
Unbelievably, India has perfectly reconciled in herself the two worst antagonists: renunciation and epicureanism.
Perfection was the choice of the Greeks. Proportion was the choice of the Romans. Universality is the choice of the Indians.
India's is the voice that never falters. Hers is the truth that cannot be silenced by the threatening darkness of centuries. Hers is the heart that sings perpetually of the unity of mankind.
India is the vault of an ancient, eternal wisdom that has a universal appeal. She is also the universal reserve bank of an ever-growing wisdom, and she is destined to be the hub and dynamo of world transformation.
Part IV — 100 beloved sons and daughters of Mother India: Avatars, seers, saints and sages
The Vedic SeersThe Vedic seers saw the Truth with their souls, in their Heavenly visions and in their earthly actions.
Satyam eva jayate nanritam
"Truth alone triumphs, not falsehood." This Truth teaches us how to be true brothers of mankind, conscious and devoted lovers of God and perfect masters of nature.
Each Vedic seer is a poet and a prophet. In the case of an ordinary poet, his poems are quite often based upon imagination. In the case of the Vedic poets, it was intuition that gave birth to their poems. This intuition is the direct knowledge of Truth.
VasishthaWhat is chimera's mist or miracle today
Was the immaculate truth divine of yore.
Immeasurable by our human thought
Was regal Vasishtha's presence and bright power.
But from Above yet greater souls unmatched
Over our Ind imperishably shall lean.
The might of seers antique shall fade away
Before the souls to come with Light new-born;
And she shall sit on splendour's throne in the world.
(from "The Ideal of Forgiveness," after a story in Bengali prose by Sri Aurobindo)
MaitreyiMaitreyi: My Lord, you have always taught me that material wealth is of no avail. It is nothing in comparison to the inner wealth. Why, then, do you bind me with material wealth? Tell me one thing, my Lord: will this material wealth in any way add to my heart's mounting cry?
Yagnyavalkya: Unfortunately, no.
Maitreyi: Then why do you impose upon me things that will take me away from the path of Truth, from the path of Divinity, from the path of Immortality? My Lord, my heart pines only for the immortal, transcendental Self. I want nothing but Immortality's Life. Yenaham namrta syam kim aham tena kuryam. What shall I do with the things that cannot make me immortal? Let Katyayani have all your material wealth. Let her cherish your earthly possessions, and I shall treasure your Heavenly possession-your loftiest realisation, your total oneness with the Absolute.
(Excerpt from a one-act play entitled "Maitreyi")
KapilaLong before Darwin, a thousand years before the advent of the Christ, the great Indian sage, Kapila, had discovered the theory of spiritual evolution. The Eternal, Unchangeable and Imperishable at every moment evolves: this was his unique philosophy. Nothing came from nothing. The Indian sage discovered this truth and offered it to the world at large.
DhruvaLord Vishnu: Dhruva, my Dhruva, ask Me for any boon. Immediately I shall grant it.
Dhruva: O my Lord, my eternal Lord, You have granted me everything I wanted. You have given me all that I wanted and beyond, far beyond my imagination's flight. What more do I need?
Lord Vishnu: No, Dhruva, I want to give you something more. I want to give you a particular place of your own. Yours will be a divine station far above the earthly world. You will become one with the real Dhruva: Dhruva Tara, the pole-star. You will sustain all the stars and other planets in their course. You will guide the aspiring, seeking, struggling world. You will show the earth the world of Light and Delight. You will be the guiding star, the pole-star. It is with you that the earth-consciousness will enter into My Life of infinite Peace, Light and Bliss.
(Excerpt from a short play entitled "Dhruva")
BhriguThe great sage Bhrigu was also an astrologer of the highest magnitude. He wanted to know for certain who was the most compassionate among the three principal cosmic gods: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. So he went to Brahma's house without permission and entered like an intruder. Then he spoke roughly with Brahma. Brahma became furious.
Bhrigu left and went to Shiva's house. He forced open the door and started unjustly criticising Shiva. Shiva's anger is of the quickest. He was about to turn the sage into ashes, but the sage left and went to Vishnu's house. Vishnu was fast asleep, lying on his back. Bhrigu placed his right foot on the middle of Vishnu's chest. Vishnu opened his eyes and to Bhrigu's utter amazement, caught his leg and soulfully began massaging his foot. "I am so sorry," Vishnu said. "Are you hurt?" Immediately the sage came to understand which god is the most compassionate of the three.
AgastyaOnce a great many sages and seers assembled in the Himalayas. Because of their vast wisdom, they were very heavy. It was not their physical bodies, but their wisdom that was heavy. So many sages had gathered together with their wisdom that the earth began to sink.
Because the great sage Agastya's wisdom was the heaviest, the other sages requested that he leave the Himalayas, which are in the North, and go to the South. Agastya agreed and with his boundless knowledge and wisdom he went to the South.
Agastya is very well known in South India. It was he who brought science and literature to that part of India. It was he who introduced Tamil grammar. He excelled in astrology, magic, sorcery and many things.
Sri RamachandraRama: Mother, is anything wrong with you?
Kaikeyi: Nothing is wrong, Rama. This very day you have to retire into the forest for fourteen years of exile. My son Bharata will be the King, and not you. Your father has promised.
Seeing that his father is lying unconscious, Rama runs out and returns with Lakshmana, Kausalya, Sumitra and Sita.
Rama (to Kaikeyi): Mother, I shall obey your command. You want me to go into the forest for fourteen years. You want my dearest brother, Bharata, to be the ruler. I am fully prepared to keep my father's promise to you. I am glad it is I who will have the opportunity to prove to the world that my father knows how to keep his promise.
Lakshmana, Kausalya, Sumitra and Sita burst into tears.
(Excerpt from a full-length play entitled My Rama Is My All)
SitaLakshmana has lighted a blazing fire in the presence of a large audience.
Sita: O Fire God, my husband Rama has every right to test me, and I have every right to prove to him that I was pure, I am pure and I shall forever remain pure. If I fail in this test, I shall go to my Divine Rama in Heaven. If I pass, I shall remain with my human Rama here on earth.
Sita walks slowly, steadily through the leaping flames and comes back to Rama. The all-consuming fire could do nothing to her. Her whole face is aglow. Rama receives Sita with all his love.
Rama: My Sita, the fire ordeal is over. The world now knows that you are Purity itself.
(Excerpt from My Rama Is My All)
Sri KrishnaGod is proud of His Divinity in Sri Krishna. Man is proud of his humanity in Sri Krishna.
Sri Krishna is the beloved Boatman who untiringly plies His Boat of Consciousness between India's unparalleled history and Her unrivalled spirituality.
The Gita is Sri Krishna's Heart, His Vision-in-Fulfilment. The Gita is humanity's breath, its journey towards Immortality.
Sri Krishna's Flute stirs the Universal Consciousness. Sri Krishna's Gita enchants the Transcendental Consciousness.
Sri Krishna plays on His Flute. We hear. We do something more. We barter our body's dust with His Soul's Plenitude.
Sri Krishna is the shoreless ocean of Bliss. But as soon as I sincerely dedicate myself to Him, He presents me with His own Boat and takes me to the boundless Shore, the Golden All.
RadhaSri Krishna stole the hearts of the Gopis unconditionally. The Gopis stole His Ecstasy unreservedly.
Sweetness and grace inexpressible, bond unbreakable, sacrifice unfathomable — this, indeed, is Radha, the Mother-Heart of Sri Krishna.
Radha carries the human soul into Sri Krishna's Heart. Sri Krishna transforms the human soul into the Divine Soul and commands it to play its role in the Divine Play.
The BuddhaSiddhartha did. He flew from his household life into the state of homelessness. The Supreme did. He placed Lord Buddha in the adoring heart of humanity, in the lap of universal Love. Temptation Siddhartha saw and shunned; austerity He felt and lived; the Middle Path He realised and offered. The Omnipotent did two things through Siddhartha. He revealed the ideal of perfection in a human being. He revealed His Enlightenment and Compassion in a divine being. Lord Buddha cast aside caste. The fallen learned from Him the value of self-respect. The unbending learned from Him the necessity of humility.
True, Buddhism is no longer alive in the land of its birth, but Mother India is abundantly proud of Her spiritual Prince, and She ever cherishes Her world-illumining Teacher. Her fondest feeling is: My Buddha is a rebel Child. My Buddha is a great Contributor. My Buddha is a great Reformer.
Lord MahaviraMahavira, Mahavira, Mahavira!
In prayerful supplication I bow my head to You.
Do accept my soulful obeisance.
O Pilgrim of the Highest ever wandering free,
Your Heart is a ceaseless Compassion-Fountain.
O Vardhamana, O Vardhamana, O Vardhamana!
By virtue of sleepless and breathless askesis
You made the discovery supreme:
Each bondage-life can and shall attain
Liberation of the Beyond.
Sri ChaitanyaLord Gauranga's rise in the firmament of Bengal when the province was shrouded in a mist of superstition, ignorance and pessimism was a supreme blessing of Providence. The supernal light that He threw on the slumbering and downtrodden country stirred its children to a new life.
Sri Chaitanya's Vaishnavism is synonymous with the Radha-Spirit, the living emblem of divine love at its highest. And this love attains the acme of perfection in possessing and being possessed by the ever-blissful Sri Krishna.
Man can pay his true homage to the Avatar Sri Chaitanya when he is capable of sharing even an infinitesimal fraction of His Divine Ecstasy.
ShankaracharyaOne day a young boy went swimming in a river and there he was caught by a crocodile. He started screaming and his mother came running. The crocodile said, "If you want to remain in ignorance, then I will eat you up, but if you do not want to remain in ignorance, then I will let you go."
Then the son said, "Mother, this is the time to grant me my boon. I want to accept sannyas, renunciation. If you do not allow me my wish, then the crocodile will kill me."
"I will give you my permission to accept sannyas if you feel that the crocodile will free you," the mother said.
Immediately the crocodile let him go. The boy fell at his mother's feet for the last time and took her blessings. Then he left home.
This boy was none other than India's Shankaracharya, the peerless philosopher who introduced our Advaita philosophy, "One without a second."
RamanujaAccording to Ramanuja, the world is real, absolutely real. But it is wanting in perfection. At the same time, it does not care for perfection. It has no destined goal. The world was created by God's Inspiration, is sustained by His Concern, and will be dissolved by His Will. The world is God's playground. He performs His Lila here. This eternal Sport of His is His constant movement, spontaneous expression in endless repetition. Man is real. But he has to depend on God. The world is real. But it has to depend on God. Without God, both man and the world are meaningless futility. Man can be released and will be released from the meshes of ignorance one day and is bound to realise God. But there will always be some difference between man and God. Hence he always has to worship God. Ramanuja's path is mainly the path of devotion.
MadhavaMadhava's philosophy affirms the complete duality between the Brahman and the self (the small self). God, man and the world have a permanent existence. God is at once above the universe and in the universe. God has a divine Body that transcends all our human imagination. Nothing can be done on earth without God's immediate Concern, direct Approval and express Command from the inner planes. The Supreme Will of the Supreme guides the world. It pilots the world to its destined goal. Man can be free from the shackles of ignorance only when it is the Will of the Supreme. Liberation is not only possible, but inevitable. What is absolutely essential for liberation is man's loving adoration of God.
Guru NanakThe founder of Sikhism, Nanak, was meditating one day at a beach with a group of disciples.
"What do you want?" Nanak asked. "Do you want me to show you another miracle? I have shown you so many miracles, but have any of them changed your life? No! Again, if you want one more miracle I can show you, but I tell you it will not change your nature. It will only increase your curiosity. But perhaps in this way you will be silenced. Go and taste the water of the sea."
Some of the disciples hesitated, others went. The water was full of salt. Then Nanak asked them to drink the sea water again. This time, when the disciples drank, the water was as sweet as honey.
Nanak said, "I have pleased your curiosity, but I wanted something else from you: oneness with the Will of God."
GorakshanathMatsyendranath's ashram. Enter Matsyendranath and Gorakshanath.
Matsyendranath: My son, you have now equalled me in spirituality. You have inner peace, light and bliss in boundless measure. I want you to leave my ashram and open one of your own.
Gorakshanath (bursting into tears): Master, Master, this can never be! I can never leave you and I shall never leave you. You are my life.
Matsyendranath: Son, two lions cannot stay in the same den. We should not stay together now. You should roam somewhere else. You have the capacity to guide world-souls as I am guiding them. Now you must use it. You are not getting the opportunity to flourish here. Now go, my son. This is my soulful demand and command. If you really love me, then you will obey my command.
Gorakshanath: Master, I shall obey you although my heart is crying and bleeding within me. Please bless me once more before I depart.
(Excerpt from a full-length play entitled Matsyendranath and Gorakshanath: Two Spiritual Lions)
KabirWe are all under the laws of Mother-Earth. Mother-Earth is under the laws of Heaven. Heaven is under the express Law of God. But our doubt, our cherished doubt, is under its own law. Its law is frustration, and in frustration destruction looms large.
Why do we doubt? Because we are wanting in proper understanding. There was a great spiritual saint named Kabir, who said, "Listen to me, brothers. He understands who loves."
If we love, then we understand; and if we understand the truth, then we have neither the opportunity nor the necessity to cherish even an iota of doubt in our day-to-day existence.
MirabaiMirabai was a devotee of the high, higher, highest order. Among the saints of India, she is absolutely unparalleled. She composed many, many bhajans, which are prayerful songs to God. Each song Mirabai wrote expressed her inspiration, aspiration and sleepless self-giving.
One day she was in the temple singing. There were quite a few devotees around her and they were singing as well. Lord Krishna was so pleased with Mirabai that He appeared before her in His subtle human form. This form is so tangible when one's third eye is open. Mirabai was able to see her Lord, but the others did not have the subtle vision to see Him. However, they did see something in her.
Lord Krishna opened up His Heart chakra. Then Mirabai entered into His Heart and disappeared. That is how she passed away. At that time she was in a high, ecstatic consciousness. And with her physical body she melted into His divine Form and disappeared.
Swami DayanandaSwami Dayananda came of a very rich family. At the age of twenty-one he was inspired to leave his house to search for a Guru. As he was leaving, he stood in front of his house and bowed down to his parents and relatives. He said, "I am leaving to become a sannyasin. I am not going to come back again."
Dayananda carried with him two books of Hindu scriptures which he had studied. He carried those scriptures hundreds and hundreds of miles as he went from village to village searching for a Guru. One day a seeker told him where he would find his Guru. Dayananda travelled on foot to the place where the Guru lived.
"What are you carrying with you?" asked the Guru.
"Two books of scriptures," said Dayananda.
"Go and throw them into the river," commanded the Guru.
Dayananda obeyed his Guru and was immediately accepted as a disciple.
Debendranath TagoreThere was once a very great man who came from a very rich family. He was a great seeker, a seeker of the highest order, and to the whole of Bengal he was the very embodiment of Truth. Countless people admired him, loved him and adored him. They felt he was a saint. This great saint and sage of Bengal was none other than Debendranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore's father.
In the life of Swami Vivekananda, Maharshi Debendranath played a most significant role. The young Narendranath, steeped in agnosticism, accepting matter and doubting the existence of the supreme Spirit, would question people who seemed to be advanced in spirituality as to whether they had direct vision of God. Maharshi Debendranath attempted thrice in vain to answer the query of the bold young man, and at last said, "You possess the eyes of a Yogi."
Sri RamakrishnaSri Ramakrishna: In this body two persons live: God in the form of an Avatar, and God in the form of a devotee. An Avatar's devotees come with him and go away with him. Rakhal: So you must not go away alone, leaving us behind. Sri Ramakrishna: The religious mendicants appear quite unexpectedly out of the blue. They sing and dance, and again they disappear quite unexpectedly. Hardly anyone recognises their aspiration. Similarly, spiritual Masters appear and disappear without being recognised. (Sri Ramakrishna closes his eyes for a minute.) I tell you all that a life without renunciation is no life at all. Renounce your ignorance. Renounce your knowledge. Renounce what you have and what you are. (Excerpt from a full-length play on Sri Ramakrishna entitled Drink, Drink My Mother's Nectar)
Sarada DeviSarada Devi: Now that my Kali — Ramakrishna — is about to pass behind the curtain of Eternity, an excruciating pang is torturing my heart. (She begins to cry bitterly.)
(To everyone's surprise, Sri Ramakrishna raises himself slightly.)
Ramakrishna: Why do you weep so bitterly? I leave your Naren with you.
Sarada Devi: Yes, my Divine Lord, it is true. You are the seed sown in the world soil, and our Naren is the bumper crop which humanity shall reap. Thakur is the inspiration, his Naren is its expression. So humanity will have both inspiration and expression as its peerless possessions. (She bows down to Sri Ramakrishna.) Glory to you, O Thakur. To you we offer our deepest homage. Our hearts feel that what you possess is the Infinite, and that the Infinite is your heart's Eternal Home.
(Sri Ramakrishna leaves the body.)
(Excerpt from Drink, Drink My Mother's Nectar)
Swami VivekanandaO Swami Vivekananda!
Sri Ramakrishna's life-breath,
Sri Ramakrishna's supreme gift to mankind,
Sri Ramakrishna's victory-song all-where!
The victory-world's delight you were;
Lo, the cyclone-valour of the Absolute!
You awakened your slumbering India,
You awakened humanity's sleep.
In you blossomed the Form Universal.
O hero-warrior sannyasin,
In the core of the creation,
Sleeplessly shall burn
The incense of your self-offering.
Sister NiveditaThe absolute surrender of Miss Margaret Noble at the feet of an Indian sannyasin stands as a glorious proof of the submission of the West before the spiritual Light of India. This truth finds its significant corroboration in the very name 'Nivedita' given her by her Master, Swami Vivekananda. Truly, Nivedita was an emblem of true offering. She successfully utilised the power that she received from her Master in the cause of uplifting Indian womanhood and of freeing the Indian nation from foreign yoke. This again proves that as the East is endowed with the power of imparting spirituality, even so, the West possesses the power of receiving it.
No Indian will ever deny the important role that she played after entering into the Indian political fray. With a fearless heart, she associated herself with the activities of Sri Aurobindo, Tilak and other political leaders of the front rank. To our joy, her mighty sacrifice was crowned with success.
Nag MahashayOne of the foremost disciples of Sri Ramakrishna was a very good homeopath who wanted to live in a very simple manner. He had a big heart, so he used to help the poor without charging them any fee. His name was Durga Charan Nag, but he is known as Nag Mahashay. He was devotion incarnate, humility incarnate and surrender incarnate. According to many, he was insane in every sense of the term. But according to my inner vision, he was a supremely God-intoxicated man. I am praying that Mother-Earth will be blessed by many more seekers who are as simple, as sincere, as dedicated, as devoted and as surrendered as Nag Mahashay.
When Sri Ramakrishna used to give prasad on a plantain leaf, Nag Mahashay used to eat even the leaf, because he felt that it was also a blessingful gift from the Master.
Troilanga SwamiThe great Indian spiritual Master Troilanga Swami was the possessor of tremendous occult power and spiritual power. According to Sri Ramakrishna, he was the moving Lord Shiva. Once, Sri Ramakrishna asked him, through gestures, about God. Also through gestures, Troilanga Swami made it clear to Sri Ramakrishna that high above, in Heaven, God is One, but when we are in the body, then the body becomes the only reality for us and God becomes the many.
Troilanga Swami renounced everything. He always remained unclothed. He did not ask anybody for food. If others came and fed him, he ate, but he never cared for quality or quantity. Sri Ramakrishna offered him a very large quantity of Indian sweets. Another time, some wicked people offered him a very, very large quantity of lime. He ate it and it caused him to vomit immediately. But for their misbehaviour they touched his feet and cried. Troilanga Swami forgave them.
Shyama Charan LahiriOne evening, Shyama Charan Lahiri was roaming at the foot of the Himalayas while on a short visit to the area, when he heard a voice saying, "Shyama Charan, Shyama Charan." He was surprised to see a sadhu calling him from a distance. The sadhu approached him and said, "Can you not recognise me, my child, my son?" Then he uttered the names of Shyama Charan's father and grandfather. Even then Shyama Charan could not recognise him. The sadhu showed him abundant affection and led him into a cave and showed him a trident, a sacred water pot, a lion skin, a tiger skin and some beads. He said, "Can you recognise these? They are all yours." But Shyama Charan could not recognise them. The sadhu then placed his hand on Shyama Charan's spine. Immediately Shyama Charan came to recognise that those were indeed his belongings.
The sadhu said to him, "My name is Babaji, my son. You were my dear disciple in your previous incarnation. You left the body at a very high stage of spiritual development. I want you to complete your spiritual life in this incarnation."
GambhiranandaGambhirananda was a great spiritual Master. While still in his youth, before he became known as a great Master with tremendous occult power, he happened one day to pass by a cottage owned by a great aspirant. He did not know anything about the owner, and when he entered into the cottage nobody was there. He stayed inside the cottage and meditated there for three days. Each night a snake appeared before him.
When the actual owner came back, he was surprised and happy to see a young seeker. Gambhirananda told the owner about the snake. The owner said, "I have been meditating here for twelve years in order to see that snake. It is not a mere snake. It is a great spiritual Master, a great liberator, who takes the form of a snake. Whoever sees the snake will, without fail, be liberated. I am so happy that you have seen the snake. I am so proud that you have taken shelter in my little cottage."
BhaskaranandaOnce an English military officer who was extremely devoted to Bhaskarananda was boasting about his latest military achievement. The Master said, "Fine, fine. I admire your bravery. Now, just give me that pencil which is right in front of you. I have to write something."
The officer bent down to pick up the pencil for the Master, but he could not lift it. Again the Master said, "Please give it to me. I cannot reach it."
The officer tried and tried, but he did not have the strength to lift up the pencil. With utmost affection the Master told him, "Look, it is God's Strength and Capacity that work in and through you on the battlefield. That is why you are victorious. Without God's Strength, you do not have the capacity even to lift up a pencil. So, do not boast, my child. It is all God's Will."
Devadas MaharajWhen Ramdas was a young boy, one night he and his Guru, Devadas Maharaj, were meditating separately at different places. It was snowing heavily and the weather was extremely cold. Each one had an open fire in front of him to keep him warm. Ramdas meditated for a few hours; then he fell asleep. When he woke up, he saw that his fire was totally extinguished. He was frightened to death, for he knew that his Master would be furious if he went to him to get a few burning coals. But at the same time, he was unable to bear the cold weather. Finally, he mustered courage and went to his Master for a few burning coals.
Devadas Maharaj came out of his trance and insulted Ramdas mercilessly. "Who asked you to leave your parents and your family if sleep is so important in your life?" he shouted. "This is my last warning. If you ever fall asleep again when you are supposed to be meditating, I shall not keep you as my disciple. You do not deserve to be my disciple."
In this way, Devadas Maharaj taught his disciple that spirituality means discipline. Discipline means conscious progress. Conscious progress means the transcendence of nature. Man's transcendence of his nature is his awareness of his immortal Self for God-satisfaction in God's own Way.
Ramdas Kathiya BabaRamdas Kathiya Baba realised God by repeating the Gayatri Mantra one million times at the foot of a banyan tree. Then he composed a sweet, soulful and fruitful song. It said, "I have realised God. My God-realisation is for the holy ones to believe and for the wicked ones not to believe. But I know, I know, I have definitely realised God."
True, a God-realised soul does not have to depend on man's belief or disbelief. But if people can believe in him, then he can without fail accelerate humanity's progress and Divinity's manifestation on earth.
Swami NigamanandaSwami Nigamananda's disciples always considered their Master to be an Avatar, although he never told them that he was one. But they all believed that this was the case, and they did not hesitate to speak of his greatness to others.
One day Swami Nigamananda told his small group of disciples that he was not an Avatar. "Nobody should call me an Avatar," he said. "Nobody should even think of me as one. I am a mere God-lover. Like you, I have been evolving from the stone life, and I have had quite a few human incarnations. In this incarnation, I have realised God. I have achieved perfection, and I know what the transcendental Truth is. I want to give you all my possessions. I have already given you the key. You have just to unlock my heart-door and then take whatever you want, as much as you want. It is not necessary to have an Avatar of the highest order as your Guru. An ordinary God-realised soul can give you everything you need for your own God-realisation."
Bama KshepaThe spiritual Master Bama Kshepa kept several dogs. The day of his passing, Bama Kshepa showed tremendous affection to his dear disciples and also to his dogs. His dogs were shedding bitter tears in silence. Their oneness-heart with their Master could only be felt and never described. Finally, Bama uttered in a loud voice only one word — "Tara" — which was the name of his supreme Goddess. Then he breathed his last.
Outer beauty and material wealth Bama always shunned. He did not care for religious principles as such. His only religion was his love for his deity, the Divine Mother Tara. His legacy to humanity was his soulful oneness with the human world and the animal world.
Bijoy Krishna GoswamiThere was a God-realised spiritual Master named Bijoy Krishna Goswami who lived in East Bengal. In his early life, he had a wife and children. Instead of earning money to support his family, he used to spend all his time in meditation. His wife would scold and insult him mercilessly, and this made him very sad.
One day Bijoy Krishna Goswami's Master came down from the Himalayas to visit him. The Master saw that the wife was really bothering his disciple and so he decided to take her away to the Himalayas. He used his occult power and made her form extremely subtle. Then they flew to the Himalayas with their subtle bodies.
When the husband realised what his Master had done, he started laughing. "How compassionate my Master is!" he said. "My wife and I were quarrelling day in and day out, so to give me a little peace of mind he has taken her away for a short time. While she is gone, I will be able to meditate without any interruptions!"
His children soon began to miss their mother, but he consoled them, saying: "My Guru came and took your mother to be with him and his friends for some time. But do not worry. He will return her soon."
The Birth Of The InfiniteThe golden dawn of the cosmos, rapt in trance,
Awaits the Birth of the All.
The seven worlds' bliss converges in her heart
With august and sun-vast call.
Slowly the Peak unmeasured of rapture-fire
Climbs down to our human cry.
His diamond Vision's deathless Will leans low,
Our mortal yearnings nigh.
Suddenly life's giant somnolence is stirred.
His all-embracing Wing
Declares, "I come to end your eyeless fear.
To Me alone now cling!
"No fleeting dreams your teeming births do trace.
Now own My infinite Bloom.
In Me the flood of Immortality!
Nowhere shall be your doom."
The Mother (Sri Aurobindo Ashram)Sri Aurobindo is the Father of a beginningless beginning and the Son of an endless end.
The Mother always gives. We too always give. Hers is the Blessing. Ours is the unworthiness.
Sri Aurobindo's Truth is the Seed. His Law is the Plant. His Forgiveness is the Tree. His Holocaust is the Fruit — the Supermind for the world's transformation.
The Mother is ceaseless forgiveness. It is man's bulwark against perdition.
Sri Aurobindo's Integral YogaA Seer-Poet to the poets, a divine Philosopher to mankind, a Master Yogi to his worshippers, an Avatar to his disciples — who is he? Sri Aurobindo.
Sri Aurobindo's Yoga is an ambrosial consciousness with infinite possibilities; it is a never-tiring march, a decisive and everlasting victory of Truth.
The keynote of Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga is evolution — evolution of consciousness in and through Matter. There is no shadow of doubt that Matter and Spirit are one. Spirit, when it is fast asleep, is Matter; Matter, when it is fully awakened, is Spirit.
Integral Yoga is founded on an all-fulfilling experience which is anything but speculation and reasoning. An Integral Yogi is he who has seen all the phases of existence and whose very life is full of variegated experiences and realisations.
A marvel-idealism and a highly practical divinity are housed in Sri Aurobindo. His are the experiences that may serve as humanity's royal road to a life worth living — a life of the Spirit, the Life Divine.
Sri Aurobindo holds that physical work is in no way a bar to spiritual progress. On the contrary, he strongly feels that physical work is an aid to self-preparation for the full manifestation of the Divine both in oneself and upon the earth.
Sri Aurobindo tells the world that it is not only possible but entirely practicable to work easily, incessantly, consciously, inwardly, outwardly, thus finally successfully. And in his opinion, life itself is a blessing of God through which man has to realise Him and be one with Him.
Sri Aurobindo's is the supernal Smile that reveals at once the embodiment of an infinite achievement and the future spiritual destiny of mankind.
Invisible to the blind, yet invincible to the strong, and a wonderful practical hope to the four corners of the globe, is the power of Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga.
Sri Aurobindo is the ever-creative silent bridge between God's Will and His Fulfilment.
In Integral Yoga, God-realisation means merely standing at the shore of the vast sea of Consciousness. The fire-pure change of the inner and outer life means swimming in that sea. Manifestation of the Divine on earth means returning Home after having crossed the sea, bringing with you the Golden All.
It is not a dream of God but His Decree that Heaven and earth must fall supremely in love with each other. He wants their marriage to take place sooner than immediately. Earth feels that she is inferior to Heaven. Heaven feels that he is superior to earth. And because of their mutual hesitation, the day of their marriage is kept in abeyance.
Integral Yoga has made a significant choice. It wants not only to see and feel the conscious evolution of life, but also to embody a fully harmonised life of Matter and Spirit.
An Integral Yogi is he who sacrifices his life to become a bridge between earth and Heaven. He has foregone Heaven; he uplifts earth.
The aspirant in man is the cross-bearer. The Yogi in man is the crown-bearer.
To say that Yoga is the realisation of God is not to say all. Yoga is the living union with God by self-affirmation and self-abnegation.
Sri Aurobindo tells us that God-realisation never obliges us to kill all feelings, to make our heart a sterile wasteland and to pronounce a curse on the world. God is everything and in everything.
Readiness in Integral Yoga amounts to an aspiration that wishes to be expressed. Willingness amounts to an aspiration that has already been expressed.
An unprecedented teaching of Integral Yoga propounded by Sri Aurobindo is that man can have material prosperity alongside his spiritual development.
Give an ordinary man ten dollars. He will immediately wonder what he can buy with it to make life more pleasant. Give a sannyasin ten dollars. He will try to avoid taking it or else find some means by which he can do without it. Give an Integral Yogi ten dollars. Since he has neither attachment to nor repulsion from money, he will try to utilise it as a divine trustee.
To be unconscious of a spiritual opportunity is to starve one's spiritual destiny.
Difficulties in the Integral Yoga never indicate one's unworthiness. Behind each difficulty there is a possibility, nay, a blessing in disguise, to accept the test boldly and to come out successfully.
In Yoga, all reactions are threatening but passing clouds. Human aspiration is the naked and permanent sword of the soul to stab through the weakness of human nature and rise triumphant on the ashes of its conquests.
Follow no other ideal than to materialise the power of perfection on earth.
Sri Aurobindo's Yoga is the tallest mango tree. His disciples and followers have to climb right up to the top of the tree and bring the mangoes down to earth. For if the fruit is taken at the top, it tastes sour; if taken at the foot of the tree, it tastes delicious.
What is the meaning of coming into contact with God? It means that we shall become one with His universal Existence. As after marriage a woman automatically possesses her husband's name, home and wealth, even so, after our union with God we shall infallibly become one with His all-fulfilling Nature. Verily, in that Divine Hour we shall hear Sri Aurobindo's soul-stirring voice:
"We are sons of God, and must be even as He."
Ramana MaharshiIf we do not enter into the spiritual life, if we do not pay attention to the inner life, then the body is bound to act like a mad elephant, trampling down everything around us. This very body, however, really wants to respect its superiors, the heart and the soul. This body wants to be the perfect instrument. When we use the body for the sake of enjoyment, sense-pleasure, only to covet, to enjoy, we are misusing the body. We are giving no importance to the soul. At this point we can well think of the great spiritual Master named Ramana Maharshi, a great yogi. "Why do you pay so much attention to the body? Take it as a banana leaf. Eat your meal, which is placed on the banana leaf, and then after you have eaten, just throw away the banana leaf. It has played its part." Again, if we observe the Truth from another angle, we see that if we discard the body as a banana leaf, seeing it only as a covering for the soul, then how can manifestation take place here on earth?
Anandamayee MaThe ocean of peace
Anandamayee Ma's eyes were.
The ocean of bliss
Anandamayee Ma's heart was.
The ocean of compassion
Anandamayee Ma's life was.
Infinity's Delight in Immortality's Sky
Anandamayee Ma's realisation
Of the Transcendental Heights
Forever shall breathe
Throughout the length and breadth of India.
Pir Vilayat KhanO good friend, O divine friend,
O friend universal,
O hero-lover, O oneness-love,
Pir Vilayat, Pir!
With your sleepless heart you desire to wipe
The streaming tears of the world.
Within, without an unparalleled beauty-smile,
Along with the soul-stirring
Transformation-Flute of Lord Krishna.
With you and in you
Eternity's movement and stillness.
Mother TeresaMy sisters and brothers of the world,
Are we so blind that we cannot see
God's own Autograph
On Mother Teresa's forehead?
The sorrowful earth-planet
Has a special treasure-home,
And that home
Is your compassion-heart.
Part V — Cultural luminaries
ValmikiNarada (to Ratnakar, a notorious robber and murderer): Thousands of times you have acted like an animal. Now you cannot even repeat Rama's name. You can only say 'Mara', which is 'Rama' said the other way around. All right then, say 'Mara'. With a soulful heart if you pray every day, repeating the name Mara, Rama will come to your rescue. He will forgive you, he will liberate you. It is to you that he will give the glory of immortalising him here on earth. You will write his biography, you will reveal him and manifest him. You will be the harbinger of his coming. When he comes down into the world and operates on the physical plane, you will see that the biography which you have written about him will immortalise you. He has chosen you to immortalise him, Ratnakar. And the day you start writing his biography, Lord Rama will enter into you and change your name. When you start writing his biography, your new name will be Valmiki the Sage.
(Excerpt from the play My Rama Is My All)
VyasaOnce, the great sage Vyasa was deeply inspired to write an epic, but he found that it was impossible for him to write down the whole epic. So he prayed to Brahma, the Creator, and Brahma descended in human form. The sage said to Brahma, "Please send me someone who can write down what I say." Brahma said, "Well, there is only one person on earth who can do that, and that is Ganapati. He can take down your dictation." So Vyasa invoked Ganapati, the son of Lord Shiva.
Ganapati came and agreed to write on one condition. The condition was that Vyasa could not pause; he had to dictate continuously, without interruption. If he hesitated or if he paused, then Ganapati would leave him. Vyasa consented and said, "Now, I also want to dictate to you on one condition, and that condition is, that unless and until you know the meaning of what I dictate you will not write. You have to wait and ask me if there is anything that you do not comprehend."
Thus, India's unparalleled epic, the Mahabharata, was composed.
KalidasaThere was a great, great, great poet of ancient India named Kalidasa. As in English literature the author Shakespeare is an immortal figure, even so, in the firmament of Indian literature, Kalidasa is definitely an immortal figure. He wrote his plays and poems in Sanskrit. His most beloved epic poem is Megha Dutam, "The Cloud-Messenger."
Kalidasa lived during the reign of a good, kind, benevolent and powerful king named Vikramaditya. To encourage inspiring, illumining and divine activities in his court, he appointed nine extraordinary figures, who were known as navaratna, the nine gems. They were experts in various fields, such as medicine, astronomy, painting and so on. Kalidasa happened to be one of those nine gems. He was the asthana kavi, the poet of the royal court.
Kalidasa received wisdom-light from Mother Kali; that is why his name was Kalidasa — the servant of Mother Kali.
Rabindranath TagoreO Sun of India's sky,
O Moon of Bengal's heart,
You were beautiful in your inner life,
You were beautiful in your outer life,
You were beauty incarnate in God's entire creation.
Gloriously and triumphantly you secure your place
In the world-assembly with your creative force,
Supremely meaningful and fruitful in various walks of life.
Rabindranath was a Golden Song sung by the Divine Singer in him. He was, indeed, the World-Song, the golden chain that bound East and West. By his soul-awakening songs of transcendental beauty, Rabindranath charmed the world and seized the All-Blissful.
Bankim Chandra ChatterjeeRishi Bankim is one among Bengal's men of supreme genius. Time will never be able to diminish or bring to a standstill his authority on Bengali language and literature. Needless to say, creators like him can never be counted as the monopoly of any province. Bankim is entitled, by his wonder-genius and master-works, to rank among those who have easily transcended all limitations of language, race and continent. His song "Bande Mataram" was the mantric incantation-fire of Mother India. It was the battle-cry of freedom-fighters. Thousands of people sacrificed their lives while singing this song. To them, it was not a mere sound, but a living force; not words, but a fiery inspiration; nay, the vision of an apocalypse. Thousands and thousands of people received inspiration from this source of patriotism. Many people had to go to jail just because they sang this particular song, and all of them went happily and cheerfully. It was not an ordinary song but the mantra of mantras, which inspired them to fight against the English.
Michael Madhusudan DuttMadhusudan was born with rock-like determination. He proved himself to be a student of exceptional gifts, and his teachers and professors with no difficulty recognised in him a fast-blossoming intellectual figure. When his boyhood was just commencing to bud into adolescence, countless coloured images rocketed in the sky of his imagination for a swift flare-up into fame.
From his adolescence he was consumed with the desire to be an out-and-out Englishman. According to him, Bengal, nay the whole of India, was sadly wanting in the capacity of appreciating a genius, whereas the free thinking of foreigners could evaluate real merit….
To our joy, Madhusudan realised his mistake. He wrote to his friend Gour from France: "If there be any one among us anxious to leave a name behind him, and not pass away into oblivion like a brute, let him devote himself to his mother-tongue. That is his legitimate sphere — his proper element."
Sarat Chandra ChatterjeeSarat Chandra's eyes were in his heart. His genius is marked by a splendid grasp of the tragic world in its social conflicts. Sarat Chandra the man and Sarat Chandra the novelist equally shared a revolutionary spirit. He found no difficulty in coming in contact with a large variety of people. His experience of life reinforced his liberal outlook on life. He was perfection itself in describing the agonies of women, the abstruse problems of human life, the conception of love. His novels condemn social injustice, social indifference and opposition. And the teachings of his novels can be summed up in two words: love, frustration.
Girish Chandra GhoshIn his early days, Girish Chandra Ghosh lived an undivine life to the extreme. He did not care for spirituality at all, but he had a good heart. In the course of time, he became an eminent actor, playwright, poet and literary figure in his native Bengal.
One day Sri Ramakrishna said to Girish, "I see what kind of life you are leading, but do not worry. You just give me your power of attorney."
"What is this?" asked Girish. "What do you mean by 'power of attorney'?"
Sri Ramakrishna said to him, "Whatever you are doing, you can continue doing, only say that I am responsible. I am ready to take all your so-called sins."
Then Girish found that he could no longer lead his old life because he could not bear to bring Sri Ramakrishna into those situations. This is how he came to accept Sri Ramakrishna and develop such faith in him.
Dwijendra Lal RoyMother India in her sweetest expresses herself through the heart and pen of her gifted son, Dwijendra Lal Roy. Bengal is all admiration for D. L. Roy. He is never named without enthusiasm and praise as a man in the highest degree amiable and thought-provoking. His was the faith that did not waver. His was the courage that did not falter. Poetry was not the sole field of D. L. Roy, for he excelled likewise in prose. His poems, his songs and specially his dramas brought him unbounded fame. He was the poet of poets, the singer of singers, the dramatist of dramatists, not made but born.
Dilip Kumar RoyAccording to many people, including Sri Aurobindo, Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and his dearest friend Subhas Bose, Dilip had the sweet, sweeter, sweetest voice. It was called a golden voice.
This year (1997) is his birth centenary. He was born on January 22nd and his dearest friend, Subhas Chandra Bose, was born on January 23rd, 1897.
Dilip was a singer of the Source. Subhas was a marcher on the Course. In terms of the affection, blessings, fondness and even pride that Dilip received from Sri Aurobindo, nobody can come near him. He was a great musician, a colossal soul and a supreme devotee of Sri Aurobindo.
To my extreme joy, I was blessed by Dilip-da's physical presence many, many times during my adolescent years. He appreciated and encouraged me most lovingly and most affectionately.
Sarojini NaiduWe need not waver between doubt and certainty to hold that no other Indian woman has won her laurels in so many walks of life as did Sarojini Naidu. She was a unique poet, a superb politician, a trumpet call of patriotism, a stirring speaker on public platforms, a woman of tremendous executive drive, a staunch congressional worker. She revealed herself in a succession of amazements.
To the patriots she was an irresistible enthusiasm. To the poets she was a never-failing fountain of beauty in earthly and Heavenly expressions. There is a magic spell of delight and wonder woven around the name of Sarojini Naidu in this great subcontinent.
BharatiPoet, patriot, savant, awakener of Tamil Nad — Bharati is all these. There is a magic spell of intimacy and national feeling woven around the very name of Bharati. For it is true, as it was yesterday and will forever be, that his songs have an astonishing power to quicken the tempo of the patriotic fervour of his countrymen.
What an irony of Fate! Bharati had hardly reached the age of 39 when death snatched him away. But he has left an imperishable imprint on Rajagopalachari: "Agastya incarnate who has given us Tamil afresh."
Dr. Sisir Kumar GhoseSisir Ghose lived most of the time in Santiniketan, West Bengal, where he was a Professor of English, an authority on the writings of Rabindranath Tagore and a world-renowned scholar of mysticism. But, from time to time, he used to come and stay at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
My beloved Sisir-da was unswervingly kind to me. He was unreservedly affectionate to me. He was unconditionally indulgent to me. He was undoubtedly an Himalayan mentor in my formative years at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. He showed me how an ocean of kowledge-light can at once lovingly and unassumingly play with a very tiny and shallow pond. My heart's gratitude-flames I am most soulfully offering to his heart's compassion-sun. I bow in all humility to a most precious diamond of Tagore's Santiniketan.
Ustad Ali Akbar KhanUstad Ali Akbar, you are a legendary figure in India. Here in the West, your achievements have reached the zenith of supernal glory. Your father, Ustad Allauddin Khan, and Immortality are bosom friends, and you are their peerless pride. Like your most illustrious father, you are a citizen of the ever-aspiring and ever-illumining universal orchestra of the Supreme's Cosmic Game. Mother India's pride, Mother-Earth's gratitude and Father-Heaven's Smile are playing, singing and dancing in the garden-light of your heart, Ustad Ali Akbar. You are sublimely great in the outer world because you are an unparalleled musician. You are divinely great in the inner world because your heart of love has embraced the length and breadth of the world. You are sublimely great in the world of God's cosmic Vision because He Himself has chosen you to be His ever-aspiring, love-manifesting, life-inspiring and soul-elevating instrument.
Part VI — Patriots
Raja Rammohun RoyIt was Raja Rammohun Roy who inaugurated the Modern Age in this great subcontinent. His personality was at once many-sided and perfectly balanced. By virtue of his freedom of spirit, he dynamised our national being. He was the pioneer pathmaker who removed teeming obstacles that impeded our steady progress within and without at every step. It was he who, for the first time, understood the true significance of the Modern Age. He fully realised the truth that an isolated independence can never be the ideal of human civilisation. No sphere of our national existence did he leave untouched. The spirit of self-assertion in the light of the all-pervading Brahman was his slogan. Right from his adolescence he sacrificed his life, his all, to bring to the fore the true gems of India's civilisation which were scattered, unnoticed and uncared for.
Lala Lajpat RaiHow tremendously "the Lion of the Punjab" fought, how terribly he suffered after he had thrown himself headlong into the battle of freedom! Lala Lajpat Rai was definite in his assertion that independence could be achieved only by our own efforts, and that to depend on British generosity would be to cry in the wilderness. He had little sympathy with Gandhi-ji's non-cooperation. He knew what fighting means. To our country's cause he consecrated his whole life, his all.
The Trinity of India's national independence movement, started in the first decade of this century, was Lal-Bal-Pal. The harmonious blend of these three great names, as of their minds and hearts, still gives a thrill of joy and gratitude to the memory of the nation.
Bal Gangadhar TilakThe character and personality of Bal Gangadhar Tilak were equally responsible for his success. This son of Maharashtra instilled into his Indian brothers character, strength, vigour and self-respect which, he thought, would wield a tremendous influence on the future generation.
At a time when our Motherland was swooning under the yoke of subjugation imposed by the British, the profusely inspired voice of Tilak, the Father of Indian Unrest, was heard: "Home rule is my birthright." And his voice was propagated from that very moment to Eternity.
Bipin Chandra PalThe greatness of Bipin Chandra Pal was many-sided. He was a patriot to his fingertips, a dauntless and progressive thinker, a man with a prophetic vision, a great literary figure, the possessor of a trumpet voice. He will, no doubt, be remembered longest as an orator. A ceaseless stream of eloquence ran directly from his heart to inspire and conquer the hearts of his countrymen. Unique as an orator, Pal was far greater as a lover of his Motherland. His heart bled for the suffering and slumbering nation. His fiery speeches proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that in spite of physical prostration for a few centuries, India was still surcharged with an inner indomitable will that would one day enable Her to stand in the vanguard of knowledge and power.
Mahatma GandhiMahatma Gandhi, O luminosity-soul, O purity-heart, O sincerity-mind, O simplicity-life, to you I bow and bow.
Ahimsa, the non-violence-world-transformation-light, you had. Satyagraha, the truth-eagerness-manifestation-delight, you were. You were the invaluable voice of India's soul. You were the indisputable choice of India's heart.
Mahatma, you were at once India's hope-beauty-flower and India's promise-fragrance-garden. Your colossal soul will perpetually shine in India's gratitude-heart on the path of life. The transcendental greatness-life of the sun your outer name was. The universal goodness-heart of the moon your inner name was.
Mahatma, in you India discovered India's heart-awakening bells. In India you discovered India's world-beckoning trumpets.
Mahatma, to you I bow and bow.
Deshabandhu Chitta Ranjan DasHow to hail Chitta Ranjan? To honour him as a Vaishnava to the marrow, a highly literary figure, a politician of the front rank, a man endowed with oratorical gifts, an unrivalled Bar-at-Law, a potential leader, a hero who knew what fighting means, is in no way adequate. The most fitting epithet for this unique personage would be Deshabandhu (the friend of the country) for his unstinted sacrifice for his country and countrymen.
Rare is the man whose life far exceeds his great achievements. Also rare is the man whose message to the world is his life itself. But in the life of Deshabandhu we find a rare combination of both these high qualities.
Netaji Subhas Chandra BoseNetaji Subhas, Netaji!
You are the Pilot Supreme of the Indian Boat.
You are Bengal's Maratha Shivaji.
You are at once India's bird
And the world's vision-eye.
In you, the revelation of Infinity.
You are the beloved son of Heaven and earth,
O Immortality's Subhas!
Netaji, our beloved Netaji, the year 1997 most affectionately and most proudly celebrates your Birth Centenary. Every Indian heart is your home.
Pandit Jawaharlal NehruUnlike those of a good many luminaries of the world, Nehru's was a reputation that did not rise and fall like the flash of a skyrocket. With his passing behind the curtain of Eternity, India's heart was smitten with excruciating pangs and slow-healing sorrows, while America was deprived of two far-flung embracing arms. To America, Nehru was a fount of inspiration and an unforgettable international. To Nehru, America was a towering achievement, a great boon to the world at large.
In Nehru we see a divine dreamer and a torch-bearer of Truth.
Rishi Rajnarayan BoseThe father of Sri Aurobindo's mother, Swarnalata, the 'grandfather of Indian nationalism', the militant defender of his country, the Olympian champion of Truth, the ruthless antagonist of sham, and, above all, a holy personage of hallowed memory who arouses a profound esteem and veneration in the hearts of Bengalis, is Rishi Rajnarayan Bose.
Some of his countrymen took him amiss. They took him for an old man who clung to the education and culture of ancient India, be it supremely good or abysmally bad.
According to him, no other country in the hoary past dared belittle India for anything. And now why should it be otherwise? Indians must be Indians heart and soul. To ape the English is to ask the presiding Deity of India to quit her own throne. And what, after all, would they get by this mad pursuit? Nothing short of self-perdition. He was a pioneer in the field of giving concrete shape to Indian nationalism.
Sardar Vallabhbhai PatelThe great political leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was one of the right-hand men of Gandhi. Everybody admired him; he had tremendous will and was known as the Iron Man of India. He encouraged and inspired millions of people to fight against the British rule.
Once he was giving a talk about the freedom of India. In the middle of the talk, a messenger came to Vallabhbhai Patel and gave him a telegram. He opened it only to learn of the unexpected death of his wife. But Vallabhbhai Patel did not say a word to anyone. He continued lecturing for an hour or so. Then he answered everyone's questions with utmost calm and quiet.
Afterwards, tears were flowing from his eyes. Everybody came up to him, asking, "What happened? What is the matter?"
He showed them the telegram. Then he said, "Duty comes first. My Motherland comes first. My wife was dear to me, but my Motherland is infinitely dearer."
Deshapriya (upon greeting Netaji who has preceded him to Heaven): Alas, our Mother India is now divided. She can no longer pride herself on the oneness of Her sweet children. The whole of India is drenched with the blood of Hindus and Muslims. Poverty, untold misery and catastrophe have become India's daily companions. My Mother Chittagong has fallen under the inexorable curse of division. The poisonous air of division-night is about to devour and destroy me completely. There is no food, no clothing; only birthless and deathless fear. Premature death, accidental death and unnatural death: this is what India's fate has become. Soon, Netaji, I shall visit Bengal again. My sole aim, like yours, is to unite India. We must uproot the separation-poison-tree!
(Excerpt from an imaginative play about India's revolutionary heroes originally written by the author in Bengali in 1948)
Master-Da Surya SenSurya Sen was a great patriot, a great revolutionary and a great martyr. Far beyond human imagination were the number of hours he worked to liberate his Mother India. The people of Chittagong adored this great hero. His very name used to give them tremendous joy, inspiration and encouragement. They called him 'Master-da'. 'Master' means teacher; 'da' is the elder brother.
On February 18th, 1930, the revolutionaries of Chittagong, led by Surya Sen, broke into the British armory and stole a large quantity of guns and ammunition. Chittagong was thrown into the vortex of revolution. The British Government resolved to put an end to their problems by capturing Surya Sen. They offered a 10,000-rupee award to anyone who could tell them about Surya Sen.
Either because of money, or out of jealousy, one of Surya Sen's relatives told the British that Surya Sen was at his house. As a result, the police came and captured him. On January 12th, 1934, before the sun rose, Chittagong's sun, India's sun, was hanged.
Sarat Chandra BoseSarat Chandra, I offer you
My soulful obeisance,
At each hush-gap your heart pined
For your brother's progress-light.
You were your affection-ocean.
You were your vastness-heart unbounded.
You were your hope-fountain.
You were your Motherland-lover,
Dauntless and deathless.
Sarat Chandra, O self-giver,
You came into the world
From the realm transcendental.
Your aspiration-heart desired
Of the breathless fragrance: Subhas —
Dearer than your life itself.
Triumphant you were!
O high and deep Mountbatten, Mount!
Heaven's Courage, earth's compassion-fount.
O good Viceroy of Indian nation vast,
Your justice-wisdom-light ever shall last.
British hero, British pride and delight.
Success-progress loved your journey's victory-fight.
Part VII — Builders of modern India
Sri Jagadish Chandra BoseJ. C. Bose the seer was as great as J. C. Bose the scientist. He represented a novel type in the world of science. He was the forerunner of a new age of scientific research. He had moved the frontiers of intuitive science towards a fresh attainment. A man of deep faith, a perfect example of artless living and lofty thinking, an embodiment of all that is good and inspiring was Jagadish Chandra.
Sarvam prana ejati nihsrtam (Everything springs up from life and makes movements therein). This eternal message of the Upanishads ceaselessly reverberated in the inmost recesses of the discoverer of "plant sensitivity." The world has come to learn from this son of India the secret of observing a plant shivering, suffering, struggling, perhaps even reciprocating love.
Acharya Prafulla Chandra RayAcharya Prafulla Chandra Ray's was a life of genuine celibacy and tranquil serenity. This illustrious savant of Bengal came into the world more than a century ago. The year 1861 is indeed memorable in the history of awakening India, for that year Mother India gave birth to three mighty sons. Pandit Motilal's name will shine perpetually, not only as Jawaharlal's illustrious father, but more for his part in the freedom movement of India. Tagore, the international figure, poet, artist and mystic, is an everlasting name. Prafulla Chandra Ray's contribution to the world of chemistry is magnificent.
He received his Ph.D. from Edinburgh University and, as a teacher of chemical science, had many pupils who later became great world chemists. When once asked if he had any children, he responded with a list of seventy-three of his dearest and brightest students. Such was his love and dedication for those who took him as their teacher-father.
VidyasagarA citadel of strength and a lighthouse of simplicity was Ishwar Chandra. To the poor he was Dayar Sagar (the Ocean of Kindness), to the learned he was Vidyasagar (the Ocean of Knowledge), to the humble he was the most humble-minded of men, though he never admitted the fact, and to the proud and the arbitrary he was the lion-hearted rival.
It was Vidyasagar who introduced into Bengali society the remarriage of widows of tender age. At this, a multitude of people let loose a flood of abuse upon him. He stoically braved all calumny.
"There is none in Bengal," said Vivekananda, "who has not in some way or other derived benefit from the multifarious activities of Vidyasagar."
Vidyasagar was a man of supreme genius whose memory one can cherish as an invaluable treasure.
Ashutosh MukherjiAshutosh Mukherji was India's very, very great son and also Bengal's devoted child. Ashutosh was known as the "Bengal Tiger", and he did many brave and courageous things for his Mother India. As the head of Calcutta University, Ashutosh sacrificed his all so that the University could stand on the same footing as the highest ranking schools in the country.
It is from him that his brothers and sisters of Bengal came to learn that, though under foreign yoke, they were not under foreign tongue. The Bengali language had to come to the fore. That Bengali is taught even in the highest course is due to his prodigious labour extending over years. Come what may, ever a view-changer was he. The education he sought to impart in the University was not the so-called education stamped with official approval by our alien rulers. The education he desired to give — rather, gave — was well calculated to foster in the student community the innate sense of true dignity, manhood and individuality.
Prime Minister Lal Bahadur ShastriOur second Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, was simplicity incarnate and heart's magnanimity incarnate. From his appearance, nobody could tell that he was a great leader. Only people who were around him and knew him well, or those who were in the political world, could recognise who he was.
One day he was working in his garden. He was wearing very, very simple gardening clothes. A few middle-aged men came up to him and said, "Can you tell us where the chief is?"
He said, "Yes, I can. Just wait. I will call him." Then he went into the house, washed his hands, put on a panjabi and dhoti and came out and stood in front of them.
Some of them bowed down; some were shocked. Some felt miserable. "Oh, we thought you were just the gardener," they said.
Dr. S. RadhakrishnanA true Hindu will keep his ideals burning, no matter how shattering the ephemeral changes are, no matter how powerful the destructive forces. Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the philosopher-king, throws abundant light on the subject:
"When an old binding culture is being broken, when ethical standards are dissolving, when we are being aroused out of apathy or awakened out of unconsciousness, when there is in the air general ferment, inward stirring, cultural crisis, then a high tide of spiritual agitation sweeps over peoples and we sense in the horizon something novel, something unprecedented, the beginning of a spiritual renaissance."
Prime Minister Indira GhandiDevi Indira, Prime Minister Indira!
O unparalleled daughter of great Mother India,
O temple-deity of Indian hearts,
Indira, Indira, Indira!
In one form you are the dream of Nehru,
The hope of Nehru and the promise of Nehru.
Most translucent is the power of your aspiration-heart,
And fastest is the speed of your dedication-life.
You are the source of India's amazing progress-light.
Indira, Indira, Indira!
Blessed Mother Kamala, blessed Father Jawahar
And blessed Grandfather Motilal —
You are their nectar-moon-delight
And their Himalayan prosperity-forehead.
Prime Minister Moraji DesaiSalutation, Prime Minister Desai!
You are the Brother of Indian hearts.
O worshipper of Truth,
O embodiment of Peace,
You are the Pilot Supreme of the Indian Boat.
Your Bharat is running fast, very fast.
Your hallowed longing
Shall ere long be fulfilled.
Hearken your victory,
O eternally dauntless one,
O manifestation-sun of infinite Delight!
President R. VenkataramanPresident Ramaswami, President!
To you I bow, President Ramaswami Venkataraman.
Yours is the life that worships Truth
And disdains falsehood.
A fountain-art is in your eyes.
A fountain-art is in all your utterances.
Mother India's ecstasy-dance your heart is.
A freedom-wave within, without, you are.
Smashed asunder you have — ignorance-wall.
K. M. MunshiK. M. Munshi, O founding Father of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, I salute your unhorizoned vision-light:
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan:
To end all-where ignorance-night.
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan:
Founding Munshi's earth-awakening flute.
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan:
Along Eternity's sun-blossomed Passage.
Dr. Satyendranath BoseDr. Satyendranath Bose was a truly immortal name in the scientific world, not only in India but also in various other countries. Some people are great, but they may not have goodness. In his case, however, he was not only great but also extremely good, kind and humble.
Dr. Bose's heart was the heart of a little child. He had a special fondness for children and used to play many games with them. And they, for their part, accepted him as their hero.
Satyen's guru was Einstein. Once, when he was teaching at Dhaka University, he wrote an article on physics which he sent to Einstein. Einstein was so deeply impressed that he translated it into German. The scientific world remembers their immortal friendship in a most significant way. Satyen once wrote something which Einstein improved upon. Thereafter, it was known as the "Bose-Einstein Statistics."
Kaji Mohammad MaharshinKaji Mohammad Maharshin was a distinguished and highly learned man. At the same time he had a heart that cried all the time for the poor, the destitute and the needy. He was great, very great. Yet greatness itself was not enough for him. He became the living embodiment of goodness as well. Each night he would walk along different streets of the city in order to find poor people to whom he might give money and other necessary help. During the day he had no time, because he worked extremely hard for his living. But in the evening he would turn to his own special work, which was service to mankind. In him the poor people of India found an ocean of kindness. His heart's magnanimity touched the whole of Bengal.
Max MullerThe Vedas are the most ancient scriptures in the library of consciously evolving humanity. For our own conscious evolution, we may be inspired to read the Vedas by Professor Max Muller's encouragement: "I maintain that for everybody who cares for himself, for his ancestors, for his history, for his intellectual development, a study of Vedic literature is indispensable."
When Max Muller extolled India to the skies, he was sincere in his praise. It came from the depths of his heart. He undoubtedly loved India.
He writes, "If I were to look over the whole world to find out the country most richly endowed with all the wealth, power and beauty that nature can bestow — in some parts a very paradise on earth — I should point to India."
Margaret WilsonPresident Woodrow Wilson of America had a daughter named Margaret. Once Margaret happened to find and read a book by the great spiritual Master, Sri Aurobindo. She was extremely moved and wanted to meet the author. But in those days the author of the book was in complete seclusion. Nevertheless, Margaret Wilson went to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, India, and stayed there permanently. Four times a year she used to see the Master, as others did, for two or three seconds each time. But she was deeply moved by Sri Aurobindo's books, by Sri Aurobindo's philosophy, by Sri Aurobindo's yoga. So she stayed in his Ashram.
Sri Aurobindo eventually gave her the name Nishtha, which means faith — divine faith, intense faith. One who has total faith in the Divine, in God, the Supreme, is Nishtha. Nishtha became the perfect embodiment of divine faith.
C. V. NarasimhanChakravarthi Narasimhan, Narasimhan!
You are your service-beauty's fragrance-dawn,
UN's mountain-choice, UN's fountain-voice,
UN's failure-tears and its victories to rejoice.
Tall in the body, deep in the heart and vast in life
For God's Joy, Smile and Pride ever to last.
Dear Brother Narasimhan, your life was supremely chosen by the Supreme Himself to serve the United Nations and its illustrious leaders with your brilliant mind, your dynamic life-energy and, above all, your universal oneness-heart.
Siddhartha Shankar RayPhysically tall. Patriotically and culturally taller. Politically infinitely taller. Self-givingly taller than the tallest. This is our beloved Ambassador Siddhartha Shankar Ray.
Physically robust. Patriotically and culturally deep. Politically wise. Self-givingly pure. This is our beloved Ambassador Siddhartha Shankar Ray.
Our Beloved Ambassador Siddhartha Shankar Ray came to America. America he saw. America gave him America's rose garden. He gave America his India's lotus lake. This is our beloved Ambassador Siddhartha Shankar Ray.
Two giant misunderstanding-walls of the decades are dauntlessly and unquestionably smashed and replaced with the beauty of mutual trust and the fragrance of reciprocal concern. This is our beloved Ambassador Siddhartha Shankar Ray.
Dr. L.M. SinghviAs a bridge connects two countries, even so, a man of most extraordinary capacities connects two countries. He is our supremely choice representative and God-favoured Mother India's beloved son, High Commissioner Laxmi Mall Singhvi.
Dr. Singhvi is the golden link between the United Kingdom and India. On the strength of his world-loving aspiration and world-serving dedication, every day he self-givingly barters India's inner wealth, the message of a oneness-world-family, with the United Kingdom's same inner wealth, along with his most illumining and most fulfilling outer contributions to two political firmaments.
Lakhan MehrotraTo our extreme delight, a great author and good ancient history lover, a lover of India's traditional art and of world art, a distributor of the Vedic and Upanishadic lore to the world at large, a promoter of Indian culture throughout the length and breadth of the world, and an unreserved inspirer of perfection within and perfection without is Lakhan Mehrotra. Yours is the life of bounty, lofty and free. Yours is the soulful seed and fruitful tree.
While walking along Eternity's Road, Lakhan Mehrotra, the pilgrim-soul, is offering lovingly and breathlessly his heart's birthless and deathless goodness-fragrance to each and every human being on earth.
Part VII — Historical figures
King JanakaPossession is no satisfaction, so long as ego breathes in us. The great King Janaka knew it. No wonder Janaka was loved by the sage Yagnyavalkya most. Yagnyavalkya's brahmin disciples felt that Janaka received preference just because he was the King. It is obvious that God would not let the sage Yagnyavalkya suffer such foul criticism. So, what happened? Mithila, Janaka's capital, began to burn in mounting and devouring flames. The disciples left their preceptor and hurried to their respective cottages. What for? Just to save their loin cloths! All fled save Janaka. He ignored his riches and treasures burning in the city. Janaka stayed with his Guru, Yagnyavalkya, listening to the sage's ambrosial talk.
"Mithilayam pradagdhayam namekincit pranasyati — Nothing do I lose even though Mithila may be consumed to ashes." Now the disciples came to learn why their Guru favoured Janaka most. This is the difference between a man of wisdom and a man of ignorance. An ignorant man knows that what he has is the body. A man of wisdom knows that what he has and what he is is the soul.
ArjunaArjuna is the ascending human soul. Sri Krishna is the descending divine Soul. Finally they meet. The human soul says to the divine Soul: "I need you." The divine Soul says to the human soul: "I need you, too. I need you for my self-manifestation. You need me for your self-realisation." Arjuna says: "O Krishna, you are mine, absolutely mine." Sri Krishna says: "O Arjuna, no mine, no thine. We are the Oneness complete, within, without."
Arjuna ultimately became the spiritual child of Sri Krishna. Sri Krishna ultimately became the loving slave of Arjuna's surrender.
KuntiCuriously enough, Arjuna's mother, Kunti Devi, prayed to the Lord Krishna to bless her with perpetual sorrow. Why? Kunti Devi realised that if sorrow deserted her and left her for good, surely there would be no necessity on her part to invoke Sri Krishna. Her world always wanted sorrow, suffering and tribulation, so that her heart could treasure constantly the Lord's all-compassionate Presence.
From the highest spiritual point of view, we cannot welcome Kunti Devi's wisdom. Nevertheless, it served her purpose most effectively. True, sorrow purifies our emotional heart. But the divine Light performs this task infinitely more successfully. Yet one has not to be afraid of sorrow's arrival in one's life. Far from it. Sorrow has to be transformed into joy everlasting. How? With our heart's mounting aspiration and God's ever-flowing Compasion combined. Why? Because God is all joy, and what we humans want is to see, feel, realise and finally become God, the Blissful.
GandhariOn the eve of the battle of Kurukshetra, Gandhari's eldest son, Duryodhana, came to her for her benediction. She did not say, "I pray for your victory!" or "Yours will be the victory!" She said, "Where there is dharma, victory will be there." She knew perfectly well that on the other side, the side of the Pandavas, was Yudhishthira, the son of dharma, dharma incarnate, who would win the victory.
Gandhari was the possessor of such a selfless heart. Something more: the present-day world observes her unique dharma in her unparalleled acceptance of her husband's fate. God gave Dhritarashtra no sight. And Gandhari proved her absolute oneness with her husband by binding her own eyes. She embraced blindness — a sacrifice worthy to be remembered and admired by humanity. She saw not the world without. The choice blessings of the world within showered on Gandhari.
King AshokaOne day King Ashoka was in his palace-fortress. Suddenly he heard a voice chanting, "Buddham saranam gacchami" (I take refuge in the Lord Buddha). Again and again he heard this voice chanting the same words. It was so soothing to him. He thought of the Buddha's Compassion and he felt that a change was taking place in his life.
When he went outside into the streets, he saw one of the greatest followers of the Buddha chanting nearby. King Ashoka approached him and said, "Please forgive me, but I have heard your chanting, and now I wish to be initiated. I wish to be a follower of the Lord Buddha."
After that, Ashoka took refuge in the Lord Buddha — in the Buddha's Compassion and in the Buddha's Light. He no longer paid any attention to his kingdom or to his throne. Everywhere Ashoka went — even inside mountain caves and on pillars — the Buddha's message was inscribed: Ahimsa paramo dharma (Non-violence is the greatest virtue).
BabarBabar was the first of the great Moghul emperors of India. When his son Humayan was a young man, he fell seriously ill. Day by day his condition grew worse, until his death seemed imminent.
Then a saint came to Babar and said, "If you sacrifice something most precious to you, only then will your son be cured. The Kohinoor diamond is most precious."
The Emperor said, "The Kohinoor is my son's possession. What kind of sacrifice would that be? I have to sacrifice something of my own. My life alone is most precious. I am ready to give my life."
Then he walked around his son's bed three times, offering this prayer: "Allah, take my life instead of my son's. Let me die in his place, and let him live on earth. This is my only prayer and my most willing sacrifice."
To Babar's wide surprise, after he had completed three rounds, his son stood up completely well. But immediately Babar fell ill and in three months' time he died.
HumayanOnce the Moghul Emperor Humayan was fighting a terrible battle against his enemy. The enemy's army was extremely powerful and outnumbered Humayan's army. As Humayan's army was falling back, the Emperor's horse slipped and fell into a nearby river. The horse drowned and Humayan, badly hurt, was being tossed around helplessly in the rough current.
A water carrier named Nizam, who was a humble man of low caste, dove bravely into the river and held out his leather bag so the Emperor could float across the river to safety. Both men held the bag and the water carrier protected the wounded Emperor until they reached the other shore.
The Emperor was so moved. He said, "You have come and saved me. Now I am helpless, but I promise you that when I go back to Agra and am once more seated on my throne, I shall give you my throne for one day."
The Emperor kept his promise, and Nizam did sit on his throne for one day.
AkbarHumayan's son, Akbar, became the greatest of all Moghul emperors. In his court there were many Hindus with high posts, and he even married a Hindu princess. It was he who made the Hindus and the Muslims one. He ruled his kingdom with compassion and truth.
One day Akbar said to his minister, "Birbal, for a long time I have been thinking of one question. I am sure you will be able to answer it. We see everything clearly in the sunlight, but is there anything that cannot be seen even with the help of sunlight?"
"Yes, your Majesty, there is something that cannot be seen in the sunlight. Even the sunlight fails to illumine it."
"What is it, Birbal?"
"Your Majesty, it is the darkness of the mind."
Shah JahanThe Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan's only daughter was named Jahan Ara. Jahan Ara was extremely beautiful, soulful and self-giving. When Shah Jahan was incarcerated in the Red Fort by his son, Aurangzeb, Jahan Ara remained in the same prison to serve and console her father.
Long before he was imprisoned, Shah Jahan had built the Taj Mahal, one of the great wonders of the world, in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, whom he had loved very much. Who knows what he would have done if Jahan Ara also had died before him! True, by that time he was no longer the Emperor, but he would perhaps have begged his most notorious son to do something very special for his all-giving daughter Jahan Ara.
When Shah Jahan died, Jahan Ara felt that her life had no meaning. She had full freedom to come out of her self-imposed prison-life, but she chose to continue living in prison for her few remaining years on earth.
AurangzebPrince Aurangzeb incarcerated his father, the Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan, and also imprisoned and even killed some of his brothers so that he could become Emperor. Afterwards, he felt miserable at what he had done, and he often went to the mosque to pray.
One day he was praying in the mosque, along with many other people, when one of the mosque attendants saw a hole in the carpet. The man cried out, "What will the Emperor think if he sees such a hole?"
Aurangzeb overheard the attendant and said, "Why should you beg my forgiveness for a hole in the carpet? This is Allah's special place, and Allah does not care for luxury and pomp. Here, simplicity and poverty are the real perfection. So do not worry about the hole; let it remain. Only if I pray in a simple place will I have true aspiration and love for Allah."
ShivajiThe great King Shivaji was a hero of the highest order. He was from Maharashtra, so he was called the Maratha King.
Once Shivaji went to a temple and saw his spiritual Master at the temple gate begging for alms. People were giving him a little rice or money, whatever they wanted to give. When the King saw his Master reduced to this condition, he wrote something down on a small piece of paper and put it in his Master's bowl.
The Master was curious to see what his disciple had written. He opened the note and read: "I am placing my kingdom at your feet. I am here and I want to be your slave."
The Master asked Shivaji, "Do you mean it?"
The King replied, "I mean it. I am not going back to my kingdom. I shall remain here at your feet. I am not a king; I am your slave now."
Part VIII — Reflections
To my Indian brothers and sistersMy Indian brothers and sisters, may my heart grow into an ever-blossoming gratitude-flower so that I can place it most devotedly at the compassionate feet of our Bharat Mata, Mother India. We are all chosen instruments of our Bharat Mata. It is our bounden duty to bring to the fore Her divinity and manifest it throughout the length and breadth of the world.
As we all know, India is not a piece of land. India is the living Breath of the Absolute Supreme. At every moment, devotedly and self-givingly, let us proclaim Her divine Victory. On the strength of Her inspiration, aspiration and dedication, India dreams. And it is in India's dream that the Reality of the Absolute Supreme blossoms.
Bharat amar, India, my India, to your Eternity's Silence-Heart my aspiration-heart bows and bows.
India, my India, to your Infinity's Sound-Life my dedication-life bows and bows.
God created me as a Bengali seed. Then He made me an Indian plant. Next He made me an American tree. And now He has made me a universal flower, to love Him, to serve Him, to worship Him and to manifest Him throughout the length and breadth of the world.
My Indian friends, my Indian brothers and sisters, my Indian hearts, my Indian home, I am a seeker and I shall remain so throughout the length and breadth of Eternity. For to be a seeker is to remain a continuous lover of God and server of God, always at His Feet. Him to please in His own Way is my sole goal.
On India's past and presentIndia's past is remarkably rich and varied. The same can be said of Her dauntless present, which can and must provide a starting point for the golden future.
Our Bharat Mata always beckons the length and breadth of the world. She inspires the seekers. She elevates the consciousness of those who sincerely thirst for a higher life, a life of illumination and perfection.
India, in its purest sense, is neither a matter-hungry nor a world-shunning country.
An indomitable will is energising Bharat Mata. Progress, both material and spiritual, is being effected with lightning speed.
India is the land of surrender. This surrender is not a blind submission, but rather the dedication of one's limited self to one's unbounded Self.
It is easy to insist that the India of the past was sublime while the India of today is anything but that. But they are mistaken who think that ancient Hinduism is the only part of Indian life worth studying. India's present, too, has much to contribute to the world at large. Her soul's light, paying no heed to outer recognition, is playing an important role in awakening the heart of the world, and it is ultimately destined to inspire humanity with the message of truth, forgiveness and universal kindness.
The present-day world is consciously longing for unity. Hinduism teaches that India's unity is Her oneness of spiritual vision, Her integral fulfilment. Humanity is becoming convinced of the truth that the material, intellectual and spiritual lives can indeed run abreast to achieve the final Victory of God here on earth.
The ancient Romans saw religion as a force which binds and controls man. But the ancient Indian seers felt that religion, nay, dharma, must release man from that which binds him, that is, his own ignorance. Man's awakened consciousness must do away with ignorance, or to be precise, must transform ignorance into the knowledge of Truth.
India's spiritual heart knows how to accept other religions, how to appreciate other religions and how to admire other religions. India's spiritual heart has realised that for each new religion there is a new approach to the Goal. Each path is right and indispensable for its own followers.
Hinduism gives due importance to all the spiritual figures of the world. It recognises a great harmony in their teachings. Down through the ages, the firmament of India has sent forth the message of peace, love and truth. It has fostered and encouraged the synthesis of all world religions. Further, Hinduism has always affirmed that the highest end of life is not to remain in any particular religion, but to outgrow religion and realise and live in Eternal Truth.
Hinduism is the embodiment of certain lofty, infallible ideals. These ideals within us live and grow, grow and live. Because of this fact, Hinduism is still a living force. It lives to lead. It leads to live.
To know Hinduism is to discover India. To discover India is to feel the breath of the soul. To feel the breath of the soul is to become one with God.
The world surprisingly appreciates and astonishingly admires the spirituality-surges of Tibet. The world irrevocably adores and sleeplessly bows to the spirituality-ocean of India. As Hinduism is the tree and Buddhism is a branch thereof, even so, Indian consciousness is the fount of the Tibetan flow. India gave and became. India gave aspiration and became the service-smile. Tibet received and enriched. Tibet received benediction and enriched its silence-sound.
It is absurd to hold that the India of the hoary past played exclusively the role of world-renunciation. Our ancients accepted life in full faith. They clearly believed in life itself as a great power.
Our Vedic parents expressed their will to live a long, radiant life when they sang:
//Purastat shukram uchcharat//"
"May we, for a hundred autumns, see
That lustrous Eye,
God-ordained, arise before us.
May we live a hundred autumns;
May we hear for a hundred autumns;
May we speak well for a hundred autumns;
May we hold our heads high for a hundred autumns;
Yea, even beyond a hundred autumns."
In full earnest, they tried to fathom and understand the mystery of life. They accepted the earth with all its joys and sorrows, its hopes and frustrations. Moreover, they wanted to live as the master and lord of life. They were therefore dauntless and uncompromising in their opposition to evil. They wanted their souls to be possessed absolutely by the Supreme and, at the same time, they aspired to serve Him in the world.
Mother India is an aspiring tree. This aspiring tree has the Vedas as its only root. The root is Truth, the tree is Truth, the experience of the tree is Truth, the realisation of the tree is Truth, the revelation of the tree is Truth, the manifestation of the tree is Truth.
The Rig Veda is the oldest of all the Vedas. This Veda embodies the earliest monument of India's aspiration and realisation. India's poetry, India's philosophy, India's literature, India's religion and India's science all owe their very existence to the Rig Veda, which is their source.
India's soul-offering is the perennial light of the Upanishads. The Upanishads offer to the world at large the supreme achievement of the awakened and illumined Hindu life.
Although outwardly the Indian people quarrel and fight, the light, the peace and the silence that we have received from the Vedic seers of the hoary past are working within us in our inner life. Outwardly many Indians are in constant conflict, but in the inner world they are in perfect harmony and they love their Source, God, most sincerely. So the inner message of India will always remain illumining and fulfilling.
On India and the WestIndia wants to be. The West wants to do. Is it not at once safe and advisable to be first, and then to offer one's contribution to the wide world? "Atmanam viddhi — Know thyself," says the Upanishad. "First know thyself, and then do thou proclaim thyself."
Prayer is one road and meditation is another road. In the East, in India, meditation is part and parcel of people's living existence, whereas prayer is part and parcel of people's living existence in the West. When we pray, we talk to God; and when we meditate, we listen to God.
Prayer and meditation can easily go side by side. In the West we hear more about prayer. In the East, especially in India, we hear more about meditation. Prayer and meditation should go together because they lead us to the same destination. Yet they each have distinct qualities and capacities.
When we pray soulfully, we feel that something within us — let us call it an inner cry — is climbing high, higher, highest until it reaches the Feet of our Beloved Father Supreme. We also feel that our Heavenly Father, our Eternal Father, is listening to our prayer or is waiting for our cry to reach Him.
When we meditate, we feel that Something or Someone is coming down to us from Above, from the highest plane of consciousness. The Absolute Lord is descending in order to bless us and tell us what to do.
God is at once our Divine Father and our Divine Mother. In the West, God the Father is prominent, while in the East, in India especially, God the Mother comes first. Both East and West are perfectly right. When we realise God the Father, we are bound to see God the Mother within Him. When we realise God the Mother, we will unmistakably see God the Father within Her.
When we approach God the Father, we feel His Wisdom, His inner Light, His Vastness. When we approach God the Mother, we feel Her infinite Love, infinite Compassion, infinite Concern. It is not that God the Father does not have Compassion. He also has it. But God expresses Love, Compassion and Concern through the feminine form more than through the masculine form. In the masculine form He offers Wisdom, Light, Vastness.
In the West, we know that Christ, the Son of God, said, "I and my Father are one." In India, our Vedic seers said, "Aham Brahmasmi — I am the Brahman." On the strength of their highest realisation, they became the Truth itself. When Christ or the spiritual Masters say that they are God, they say it on the strength of their inseparable oneness with Him.
Matter is the pride of Europe. Spirit is the pride of India. Neither of the two can possess a complete satisfaction, for the former is in the dark about the potentialities of the Spirit, and the latter about the cogency of Matter. There can be no abiding happiness until Matter and Spirit are amalgamated into one Reality.
It has been delightfully claimed that: "Love in France is a comedy; in England a tragedy; in Italy an opera seria; and in Germany a melodrama." In the true Indian tradition love has always been a self-offering and a self-fulfilment.
On India and AmericaFor the last part of this century, the West has been aspiring most sincerely for the highest Truth. For the past three decades Indian spirituality has been coming here in waves. India has aroused America from her spiritual sleep. Americans were sleeping and Indian teachers have come and helped them.
Here in America, we are in the land of freedom, the freedom that nourishes dynamic thoughts and dynamic movements. There in India, we are in a land of freedom, the freedom of a fertile, tolerant spirituality that nourishes all religions. Here we wish to reach God by running speedily, while there we wish to reach God by climbing swiftly.
India's history is aglow with stories of kings and potentates who enjoyed power and opulence without being in the least attached to them. Rajarshi Janaka was not an isolated example. Prince Siddhartha, afterwards the Buddha, Emperor Asoka and Chhatrapati Shivaji are other such outstanding figures in India's history.
Of all the nations in the world today, America is the one which, in the modern context, stands forth uniquely as the one most fit for the ideal of Janaka, Siddhartha, Asoka and Shivaji. By the flow of her wealth, America has restored shattered Europe, not once but twice. Impoverished India has been helped towards her goal of achieving minimum conditions of life for her vast millions through large-scale and repeated American aid.
It is not only for political and economic purposes that the divine logic of events has brought India and America close together. What is visible in these external aspects of life will be seen in an incalculable measure on deeper levels in days to come. America is perhaps not conscious that in taking a major part in the economic rehabilitation of India she has been building up the base of a divine new world.
Life to the American consciousness is nothing short of completing one task after another with the hope of realising the all-liberating Freedom.
Life to the Indian consciousness is nothing short of completing one endeavour after another with the hope of realising the all-nourishing Peace.
Why does a particular soul take birth in a particular country? There are two basic reasons: either the soul has been commanded by the Supreme or the soul has a specific preference for that country. Why will a soul care for a particular country? It is because the soul has its own inner propensities. It feels that it has some intuitive capacity or other quality which can be easily brought into manifestation if it takes incarnation in a particular country. If a particular soul has dynamism, it will try to take incarnation in America, not India. Again, if it cries for inner harmony and peace, then it will try to take incarnation in India.
Both India and America, East and West, have something to give to the world. India is offering the message of peace and the West is offering the message of science. If the West had not given the East the message of science, India would have remained primitive. And if India had not brought an iota of light to the West, then the West would have remained unillumined. Whatever India and America have, each has to give to the other gladly. They are like two brothers in a family. If one brother is a doctor, he will give medicine. If another is an electrician, he will do electrical work. How can the doctor do the work of the electrician, or vice versa? In exactly the same way, whatever India has to offer to the world, the West must gladly accept; and whatever the West has to give, India has to accept. Then only, East and West can become complete.
Without India, America is incomplete; and without America, India is incomplete. But when they are together, when they are for each other, at that time they please the Absolute Supreme in His own Way. India is God the Vision, America is God the Mission. The union of Vision and Mission can alone bring about God the Satisfaction.
Nothing gives me greater joy than to hear that American brothers and sisters and Indian brothers and sisters have worked together for the fulfilment of one cause, one hope and one heart, in which all-loving, all-illumining and all-fulfilling oneness reigns supreme.
May India's aspiration-sky and America's rocket-speed together sing the supreme fulfilment-song of God-prosperity here on earth.
On Indian musicMy God, the Supreme Musician, has two families. One is in the East, the other in the West. He tells His Eastern children, precisely His Indian children, that music is the soul's purity. He tells His Western children that music is life's beauty.
He tells His Eastern children that music is the fulfilling rest at the bottom of the life-sea. He tells His Western children that music is the dance of the multitudinous waves of the life-sea.
Most English songs are like geometry. Everything is measured — English metre, English line. But we Indians have eternal time. It is like the Ganges flowing. Our flow is also eternal. And whenever we get the opportunity, we bring forward our classical tendencies, and we do not know when to start and stop; it just goes on. Once we are inspired, inspiration carries us, or we carry it or drag it! But English songs are like metric units — here there will be a beat, a quarter note, this and that. But when we Indians start singing soulfully, we forget about beats and earthbound measurement; at that time we deal with Eternity's time. Eternity's time carries us along or we carry the inspiration with us.
There is a considerable difference between the Western approach and the Indian approach in the music world. No criticism; it is only a difference of taste.
Bande Mataram (Mother, I bow to Thee):
This was the original national anthem of India, and the source of profound inspiration in the long struggle for India's independence.
No Indian will forget the role that this song, Bande Mataram, played in the patriotic feeling of the Indian people. It served a divine purpose in energising them in their long struggle for freedom. From the burning hearts of India's patriots, its flames of incantation rose high into the sky.
It is my firm conviction that Bande Mataram will keep Bankim's memory green for all time in this great sub-continent and will stand out in the future as the national Mantra that it is.
Of all the musical instruments, the conch is the most sacred and spiritual. Cosmic gods and goddesses hold the conch. Sri Krishna, Arjuna, and all heroes of the highest order used the conch. It is the symbol of victory. The conch is to be found on the sea bed. Water symbolises consciousness and the ocean symbolises vastness. In our spiritual life, nothing is more important than the expansion of our consciousness. A sacred, sacred, sacred instrument is our Indian conch.
Part IX — Humorous poems
It is something in their climate."
- Oscar Wilde"
All Indians procrastinate too long.
I suppose it is something
In our climate.
All Englishmen think too much.
I suppose it is something
In their climate.
All Canadians follow too far.
I suppose it is something
In their climate.
O American friend of mine,
I wish to hear you lecture.
O Indian friend of mine,
Let us not sleep any more.
O English friend of mine,
I am sure you know
There is something far beyond thinking.
O Canadian friend of mine,
Your own goal
Is infinitely more beautiful
Than the goal of others.
2.My Indian heart
Needs more compassion.
My American body
Needs more vitality.
My African legs
Need more speed.
My Chinese head
Needs more wisdom.
My European mind
Needs more nobility.
My German vital
Needs more determination.
3.The English language
Unites the whole world
Separates America from England.
The Indian love
Feeds the whole world
Fails to unite the brothers:
Pakistan and India.
4.O my English friend,
Let me see your smiling face.
O my Canadian friend,
Let me see your daring heart.
O my Indian friend,
Let me see your thinking mind.
O my American friend,
Let me see your resting life.
O my other friends,
I think of you, too.
I love you, too.
I adore you, too.
5.O my China and Japan,
My God has not forgotten you.
O my Germany and Russia,
My God remembers you.
O my India and Pakistan,
My God is worried about you.
O my Ireland and Scotland,
My God is confused about you.
6.A rare Indian aspiration:
A rare American aspiration:
A rare earth-aspiration:
A rare Heaven-aspiration:
7.Only three unusual things
I really do not comprehend:
8.My American friend
Tells me how great he is.
My Indian friend
Tells me how pure he is.
My Canadian friend
Tells me how tolerant he is.
My English friend
Tells me how intelligent he is.
My Scottish friend
Tells me how friendly he is.
My Puerto Rican friend
Tells me how soft he is.
My Irish friend
Tells me how energetic he is.
My Swedish friend
Tells me how visionary he is.
My Swiss friend
Tells me how solid he is.
My Italian friend
Tells me how sweet he is.
My French friend
Tells me how polite he is.
My Japanese friend
Tells me how sincere he is.
Needless to say, they all
Tell the truth.
Of course, their own version
Of the truth.
Part X — Questions and answers
Question: I would frankly like to know what India's spirituality has ever done for her. How is it that, in spite of her yogis and saints, she is still a poor and backward country?Sri Chinmoy: First, we must understand what has brought this situation about. In ancient India, the material life was not renounced. People in those days aspired for a synthesis of Matter and Spirit, and to some extent they were successful in achieving it. But there is a great gulf between that hoary past and the present.
In the later periods of India's history, the saints and seers came to feel that the material life and the spiritual life could never go together, that they had to renounce the outer life in order to attain God. Hence, the external life was neglected. This led to foreign conquests and many other troubles. Even today, the attitude that material prosperity and beauty should be negated is very common in India. This accounts for much of her continued poverty.
But at present there are spiritual giants in India who feel that God should be realised in His totality, that Creator and creation are one and inseparable. They advocate the acceptance of life, the real need for both progress and perfection in all spheres of human existence. This new approach is widely accepted in modern India.
India may be poverty-stricken today, but she will progress quickly by virtue of her new awareness and her new aspiration. She has not only magnanimity of heart but also the power to bring her soul's strength to the fore and use it to solve all her problems.
Question: Do you feel that there is a revival of the principles of non-violence in our present-day world?Sri Chinmoy: The revival of non-violence is only in theory, not in practice. In India 2,500 years ago Lord Mahavira and Lord Buddha preached non-violence, and in those days they did practise it.
If India had continued to remain with her ancient heart-power and soul-power, eventually the Western world would have valued what India was offering. When there is something new or totally different, we may not value it at first. It may seem meaningless to us. But eventually we try to dive deep within to see if there is any reality in it.
Although the India of today may believe in non-violence in her soul, I do not feel that there is a sincere longing for peace in the heart, in the mind, in the vital and in the body. To our extreme sorrow, the present-day India is in no way better than the rest of the world in terms of restlessness and vital aggression.
Non-violence is not something that is on the physical plane only. It has to be found in the vital and in the mind. If the mind is clear of wrong thoughts, then there cannot be any violence. To clear the mind, to have an iota of peace in the mind, we have to practise the spiritual life.
From our spiritual life we will come to discover that there is something that is even more important than non-violence, and that is peace. Peace is like a peak in the Himalayas that is high, higher, highest. It has its origin in the Supreme Himself. Prayer and meditation can feed us with inner peace. This inner peace will inundate our soul, our heart, our mind, our vital and our body. But it is we who have to cultivate the inner hunger for peace. Without that hunger, it is impossible for the Supreme to feed us with His all-fulfilling Peace.
Question: What made you decide to come to the West?Sri Chinmoy: For me, there is no India, no America, no Europe; there is only God's House, God's Mansion, God's Palace. At one moment God may ask me to stay and work in a particular room of His House which is called America. The next moment He can easily tell me to go and work in another room which is called India. The following moment He may order me to go and work in England or Germany or some other place. My task is to accept His Command cheerfully, readily and willingly at every moment. My task is only to be at His Feet and surrender my very existence to Him unconditionally.
When I was born, my whole world was my father and mother. Then, when I grew a little older, my tiny village of East Shakpura was my whole world. Then my city, Chittagong, my province, East Bengal, and my country, India, became my whole world. Each time I became more awakened or developed, my consciousness expanded. Now if you ask me, "Where do you live?" the human in me will say, "I live in New York." But the divine in me will say, "No, I live inside the heart of aspiring humanity. My real home is inside the hearts of my spiritual brothers and sisters, just as they also live in my heart."
Question: You are able to combine the spirituality of India with Western dynamism. This is quite unheard of for a teacher of Indian spirituality. Do you follow a prearranged plan, or do you try to conform to the world while bringing good into it?Sri Chinmoy: As the inner life is fruitless and useless without peace, even so the outer life is fruitless and useless without dynamism. According to me, India's spirituality lies in its inner peace, just as the Western world's progress lies in its outer dynamism. The dynamism of the West and the inner peace of the East must go together in order to bring about a world of perfect harmony and satisfaction.
I owe my aspiration-heart to India; I owe my dedication-life to America. I feel that the inner life of aspiration and the outer life of dedication are both needed in order to manifest the divine Light of our Heavenly Father here on earth.
I do not follow a prearranged plan. I just obey devotedly, soulfully and unconditionally the express Command of my Lord Beloved Supreme. In the beginning, I was absolutely puzzled and confused by the West. But, over the years, I have been able to accept the Western world with all its good and bad qualities as my own.
Now, with my aspiration-heart, I am praying to God to inundate both the Eastern world and the Western world with His absolute Love, Peace and Delight. And, with my dedication-life, I am trying to inspire the world to cry for a better, purer and higher life.
Question: With which spiritual Masters did the dynamic approach to spirituality begin in India?Sri Chinmoy: Sri Aurobindo was flooded with dynamic spirituality. Before Sri Aurobindo there were Vivekananda and Shankaracharya. But long before that was Sri Krishna; he was flooded with infinite dynamic spirituality. At first, Arjuna was unwilling to fight against his dear ones, but Sri Krishna illumined him and encouraged him to fight. The whole Bhagavad Gita is about dynamism. Inside dynamism there is both the yoga of work and the yoga of meditation.
Some spiritual Masters of a very high order did not believe in dynamic spirituality. They did not care for the acceptance of the world. They only wanted to withdraw from the world and meditate. But the acceptance of life and very dynamic spiritual action started with Lord Krishna thousands of years ago.
Question: If someone has deep love for India in this life, does it mean that the person has incarnated there previously, or is it something that could have developed in this life?/Sri Chinmoy: It could be either. They could have a special love for India because they had previous incarnations there. Again, they could have developed a special love for India in this incarnation because they have read inspiring books about India and heard about Indian spiritual Masters, or because they have studied the Indian forms of yoga and practised meditation in the traditional Indian way. If they have developed a special love for India, and if they want their forthcoming incarnation to be in India, they can pray to God to take a future incarnation in India.
Question: Modern India is embracing science and technology more and more. Could you tell us what the Supreme wants from India in a modern world?Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme wanted, He wants and He will always want from India spirituality, spirituality, spirituality. Because we are living in the material world, modern science is needed. Indian villages will remain very, very primitive if they have only a small amount of modern technology, or none at all. Some scientific development is of supreme importance. But the Supreme does not want India to stand side by side with the Western world in scientific development. The Western world has developed very powerful weapons of destruction. The Supreme will never tell India: "You have to make nuclear missiles and hydrogen bombs in order to be as strong as America." No, no! He will say only that on the practical level, on the physical plane, there are a few technological things that India needs for its basic day-to-day necessities. But He will never ask India to accept and embrace the highest Western scientific discoveries, specially not the destructive ones. What He will ask of India is that she maintain her pristine spiritual beauty and fragrance.
If other countries want to go to the moon or to the sun, then let them go. To India the Supreme will say, "Go to the inner moon, go to the inner sun. The inner moon and the inner sun are infinitely more powerful, beautiful and fulfilling." That does not mean that India should disregard the outer world. No, India will live in the world of the outer moon and the outer sun; but it will pray to the Supreme to keep it in touch with its inner moon and inner sun, because what the Supreme wants from each and every Indian is spirituality first, foremost and forever.
Question: From the beginning of His creation, did the Supreme choose India to play the most significant role in humanity's spiritual development?Sri Chinmoy: I will never dare to say that the Supreme wanted India to play the most significant role in world spirituality right from the dawn of civilisation; that is absurd. But India definitely was chosen by the Supreme to play a most significant role in the realm of spirituality right from the beginning. It was chosen to be one of the most spiritually aspiring countries. Right from the beginning the Supreme chose not only India, but five or six other countries as well, to realise, reveal and manifest His Divinity. Those supremely chosen countries are responding to the spiritual light much more than other countries.
Question: How would you describe the difference between the Brahmin's approach to spirituality and the Kshatriya's approach to spirituality?Sri Chinmoy: In India there are four castes: Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra. Mahatma Gandhi found another class also — the untouchables. He said that untouchables were the favourite children of God.
The Brahmins are supposed to study India's sacred books, such as the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Vedas and the Upanishads, and meditate on the significance of their messages. If Brahmins study and meditate on the sacred books in this way, they will be able to realise God. That is the sunlit road for them.
The Kshatriyas are warriors. They have the heroic spirit to pierce the veil of ignorance. If somebody is in trouble and needs help, they will help that person. They will not say, "It is your problem; you fight." If somebody comes and attacks their country, they will fight to protect it. But they will not use their weapons to go out and attack other countries. They are not going to drop bombs on other countries. In the modern world, if one country attacks another country, a third country may say, "I clearly see that this country needs my help." The one that has been attacked may say, "I do not need your help. I can solve my own problems." But the third country says, "No, I have to go and help." This is the modern way. But the Kshatriyas will only go to help if someone wants their help. The Kshatriyas represent the dynamic spirit; through vital dynamism they conquer lethargy and ignorance. That is the sunlit road for the Kshatriyas to reach the Highest and go to God.
Then come the Vaishyas. They are merchants and businessmen. Although they deal with money power and material wealth, they are not supposed to be Shylocks. They earn money, and with their money they are supposed to build temples and serve the poor. They are supposed to give money to charity and support the development of their country as well as using their material wealth to help their own family members. Their road is not sunlit, but if they use their material wealth properly — to build temples, serve the poor and develop their country — then they also will be able to make spiritual progress.
The fourth class is the Shudras, the servant class. Their occupation is to serve their brothers and sisters by bringing them food or doing physical labour. The earthly, mundane jobs they do.
Some may say the Brahmins are superior to the Kshatriyas, the Kshatriyas are superior to the Vaishyas and the Vaishyas are superior to the Shudras. But that is not true. In a family each member has a different job. If you are studying the Vedas and there is nobody cultivating the ground and bringing you food, then you will die. Each role is needed, and each person serves in his own capacity. If each one does his respective job soulfully and lovingly, then he is walking on the brightest road for himself and making the fastest progress.
No matter which caste an individual has taken birth into, if he combines the activities of all the castes, then his progress will be the fastest. But it may be difficult for someone to combine the duties of all the castes. If someone is seriously studying the Vedas, he cannot go out and work in the fields or start a business or join the army and serve his country. But while he is studying, he can pray to God for his brothers and sisters who are in a position to be dynamic in other capacities. If he has this kind of good will, then he is covering the activities of the other three castes also. If someone does not have the capacity or talent to do the good work of all the others, he can still try to bring their good qualities into himself and help them with his prayers and meditation. In that way he will also expedite his own spiritual journey.
Question: Some people feel that India's poverty helps her open her heart to spirituality. Is there any truth to this theory?Sri Chinmoy: In the past some Indians believed that the poorer they were, the nearer they were to God. They believed that if you are poor on the material plane, then you will be rich in spirituality. But that is absurd. Do you think that Indian street beggars are all wonderful seekers and God-lovers? Far from it! Instead of thinking of God, in most cases they are thinking of how they can get a meal or a piece of clothing. Again, if you wallow in the pleasures of the material life, as the Western world is doing, then from the spiritual point of view you are in serious trouble. If you are constantly thinking only of how you can increase your material wealth, then where is God for you? And if your mind is telling you that once you get ten million dollars, then you will not have to work and you will have plenty of time to meditate, that also is the height of stupidity. Yes, you will have the time to meditate, but you will only be meditating on your greed.
So you do not have to be the world's poorest person in order to realise God. Again, you do not have to be the world's richest person in order to realise God. But you have to be able to meet your basic needs. Otherwise, if you do not have rice and bread, if you do not have the things your body needs to live, then how can you think of God? So it is not wise to want to amass money and, at the same time, it is the height of stupidity to want to give away all your possessions and live in the street. There has to be a balance.
God does not want you to cut off your limbs to show Him how much you love Him. He does not require you to deliberately embrace a life of poverty to prove your love for Him. He wants you only to have an inner cry for Him. That alone is of supreme importance.
Question: The Western world sees Indian society as chaotic and underdeveloped. Is Western society any better?Sri Chinmoy: Let us say India is chaotic and the West is neurotic. Which one is better? In the East, let us say, everything is disorderly and chaotic. But in the West, everything seems meaningless and senseless. People care only about amassing wealth and enjoying pleasure-life. They think of themselves and others in a destructive way. Western countries are generally not as disorderly as India, but they have other weaknesses and imperfections, and at any moment these weaknesses and imperfections could destroy the whole world.
So both parties are wanting in light. But it would be a mistake for America to say that India's imperfections are worse or of a lower type, or for India to say that America's imperfections are worse. To say that my imperfections are not as dangerous or destructive as yours is the height of stupidity. You and I are both imperfect. Our imperfections are more than enough for us to spend the rest of our lives trying to illumine them. Both of us have to bring down light and pray to God to illumine our lives.
You may say, "Oh, my imperfections are negligible; I can easily overcome them." But the moment you try to conquer them, you will see that it is the most difficult thing. Let us say that you have been telling lies for twenty years. For one hour you will tell the truth; then, out of the blue, falsehood will descend again. Or if someone else is overweight, he will say, "I can easily stop eating." Then for a few days he will try, but soon his determination will disappear. So each of us must take our own imperfections as seriously as possible.
Instead of criticising others, let us try to keep our own body, vital and mind under control. If we can control ourselves, if we can have determination to do the right thing and become the best possible person, then there is hope that others will also have the same determination to improve their lives. It is our own longing for perfection, our own cry for perfection, that is of paramount importance. If I can become perfect, then there will be one less rascal on earth. So if I try and you try and everybody else tries, then real progress will be made on earth. If today I become perfect, tomorrow you become perfect and the day after tomorrow somebody else becomes perfect, then someday everybody will be perfect.
Question: What was the best service the British did for India?Sri Chinmoy: The best service India has received from the British is the English language. English is the universal language. If India wants to be in the community of civilised nations, English is necessary.
Question: Which country or countries have received India's light the most?Sri Chinmoy: Unconsciously, reluctantly and even unwillingly, England has received India's light the most.
Question: What qualities of India has America adopted and embodied?Sri Chinmoy: Unfortunately or fortunately, America has not adopted or embodied any of India's qualities — either good or bad.
Question: When someone is an "Indian soul", what qualities do they manifest?Sri Chinmoy: An Indian soul tries to manifest tolerance, sympathy, compassion, self-giving and the feeling of oneness.
Question: Have any of the spiritual truths that the ancient rishis revealed changed since those days?Sri Chinmoy: The spiritual truths that the ancient rishis revealed have not changed and will never change. Those truths are immutable.
Question: When the political boundaries of India became smaller, did India's consciousness disappear from the places that used to be part of India?Sri Chinmoy: No! although the political boundaries of India changed, the consciousness of India did not disappear and will not disappear from the places that used to be part of India. If some lands have now become Pakistan or Bangladesh, the consciousness of India remained with these lands. If a portion of India is now in Pakistan, then that portion definitely has India's consciousness.
Question: The Supreme has poured such special Grace on India in the area of spirituality. Why after all these thousands of years do people still live in such miserable conditions?Sri Chinmoy: If one is spiritual, that does not mean that one will not suffer. Spiritual people may suffer for various reasons. One main reason is that they take on themselves the suffering of humanity because they have established such oneness with other human beings. I do not want to say that each and every Indian who is suffering is taking the karma of others. No! There can be many other reasons why people suffer. But only God knows for what purpose or for what reason He is having some special experiences in and through those Indian souls.
Question: Did the Supreme instil India's spirituality into the very earth of India or just into the souls that take incarnation there, or both?Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme instils India's spirituality not only into the souls that take incarnation there, but also into the very earth of India. The Supreme instils spirituality into all that India has and all that India is.
Question: Indian culture places a lot of emphasis on the family unit. Does this contribute to its spirituality?Sri Chinmoy: Definitely it does. Not only in India but everywhere, if the members of a family can live together peacefully, soulfully and self-givingly, then that family consciously or unconsciously is definitely getting very special spiritual benefit. It is following the rules and principles of spirituality although outwardly all the family members may not even know what spirituality is.
Question: If India had not been the conveyor of spirituality through her Vedic seers, how would spirituality have arrived on earth?Sri Chinmoy: Spirituality did not arrive only through the Indian bullock cart! Spirituality came also through modern vehicles that have tremendous speed. You cannot say that only India brought spirituality. One country cannot get the full credit or glory for awakening or elevating the rest of the world. No, God gave some Light to this country and some to that country. No country can claim to be the pioneer in receiving the Light of God and offering it to the world at large.
Question: Why has the Supreme's Light shone so brightly on India and so many souls have been receptive to that Light?Sri Chinmoy: God alone knows why He favoured India and why He Himself descended there and shined His Light so brightly on Indian soil. One can say that India was more receptive than other countries. Again, one can say that it has nothing to do with receptivity but that God, out of His unconditional Compassion, chose India to receive His Light in infinite measure.
Question: The first Europeans who landed in America were actually seeking a short cut to India. Does this have a divine significance?Sri Chinmoy: No! but you can say that the very word "India" fascinated people. Some inner urge inspired or compelled Christopher Columbus and others to want to go to India. Or you can say it was Providence.
Question: It seems that India is becoming less tolerant and more fundamentalist. How can this be changed?Sri Chinmoy: It can be changed only if the Indian souls again dive deep within and enter into the wisdom-light of the ancient Vedic seers and value their inner sight and inner visions. If they do this, then India will regain its tolerance, its compassion, its sympathy, its forgiveness and its God-surrendering life.
Question: How can India retain its spirituality as it moves into the modern materialistic world?Sri Chinmoy: If you want to, you can maintain your consciousness even if you enter into a fish market. No matter where you go, you can keep your consciousness high provided you place your consciousness on the Supreme. If you are seeing the shrine and meditating on the living deity inside your heart, you can maintain your pristine spirituality no matter where you go.
Question: What unique qualities does India offer to the world?Sri Chinmoy: India offers the world two main messages: the acceptance of life in a divine way and the unity or synthesis of all religions.
Question: What is India's most ancient and sacred secret in terms of its spirituality?Sri Chinmoy: Conscious, constant, sleepless and breathless surrender to the Will of the Absolute Supreme.
Question: Will the consciousness of the world ever shift so that the countries with the most spiritual wealth — like India — as opposed to the most material wealth will be looked to as the world leaders?Sri Chinmoy: That is what we all hope for. In fact, that is what God Himself wants. But first let us see which country can really, unmistakably and self-givingly come to the forefront to take the role of leadership. That particular country has to be fully awakened, fully bloomed and fully blossomed. God alone knows which country that will be. Again, even if a particular country is ready to lead, which countries will follow it? There will always be some countries that will never, never follow the lead of any other country in spite of knowing full well inwardly that another country is by far the best and this country has the capacity to change the face and fate of the world. Some countries will not be receptive enough to accept its light or will not have enough light themselves to acknowledge the superiority and abide by the will of that particular country. Again, there will be many countries that will be fully awakened to the light, and will definitely follow the country that has the wisdom and inner light to lead and guide the rest of the world.
Question: The West tries to blame India's lack of outer progress on her spirituality. How can India defend her soul's righteousness?Sri Chinmoy: India does not have to defend her soul's righteousness. India has come into existence only to abide by God's Decree and God's Command. Some people may say that the sun is not bright enough or that it is losing its power and warmth day by day, but the sun does not have to defend itself. The sun only has to shine on and on. There are countless people who appreciate its power and light. If others do not believe in it, that is their loss, their supreme loss.
Similarly, India does not have to defend her spirituality. If others do not recognise it, or if others blame India's lack of outer progress on her spiritual development, it will be their deplorable mistake. If the West says, "Because of this or that, India is not making outer progress," then India can also say, "Because of this and that, America is not making inner progress." But it does no good for America or India to criticise one another like this. We have to feel that the world is one — a oneness-home — and we have to pray for the development, the success and the progress of all the countries, not only our own country. Only then are we doing the right thing.
Question: As spiritual souls begin incarnating psychically in the future, will India maintain the prestige of offering them to the world?Sri Chinmoy: First let us see if those great souls choose to take incarnation on Indian soil. And if they do, it is not a matter of prestige to be able to offer these souls to the world. It is a matter of joy, a matter of happiness and a matter of inner accomplishment when one country can offer something good to the world.
Question: How does ancient Indian spirituality differ from modern Indian spirituality?Sri Chinmoy: There is no difference. What Indian spirituality was will forever remain the same. Modern India will always keep the spirituality that was born countless years ago. It is true that human beings have become ultra-modern, so they may not or cannot or do not want to be strict with their spiritual life. There are millions and millions of people not only living abroad but also in India itself who do not care for self-discipline. So in that sense you can say there is not the same degree of self-discipline as there was before. But when we are speaking of real spirituality, there is no difference between ancient spirituality and modern spirituality; spirituality in its pristine beauty will always remain the same whether it is found in the ancient world or in the modern world.
Question: Is the soul of India happy or sad as it is approaching its 50th Anniversary of independence from England?Sri Chinmoy: On the one hand, the soul of India is very happily looking forward to new light and a new supply of energy. On the other hand, it is very sad that the body, vital, mind and heart of India have consciously or unconsciously failed to maintain India's inner spiritual wealth because they have not dived deep enough within or cared for India's spiritual depth. There are many, many unimaginably good qualities that India once had. But now India does not want these divine qualities to come to the fore and manifest themselves; now India does not want to carry those divine qualities of the highest height. Because of that, the soul of India is sad. But again, the soul of India is also looking forward to receiving a new supply of freshness, newness, oneness and fulness from her 50th Anniversary celebrations.
Question: Could you please compare the essential truths of the American theory, "All men are created equal," with the Hindu and Vedic theories?Sri Chinmoy: American philosophy says, "All men are created equal." The Upanishads say, " Brahmasmi — I am the One Absolute; I am all-pervading." Hindu philosophy also says, "The whole world is God's family," and " Tat tvam asi — That thou art." These are all slightly different approaches to the same Truth, but the Indian approaches are God-oriented, while the American approach is man-oriented.
Question: In a world of increasing homogeneity, how can India go forward without losing her uniqueness?Sri Chinmoy: If India is inwardly strong, India will not lose anything. No matter how much homogeneity increases, India can go forward if she remains inwardly strong and continues to value her unique divine qualities.
Question: What message of India should Westerners care for most?Sri Chinmoy: Westerners should care for India's message of peace. From the very beginning India was a peace-lover and a peace-champion. Recently India has become more like the West — quarrelling and fighting. But if the West wants to know India's most significant message, then it is the message of universal peace.
Question: What are the most prominent good qualities of the vast Indian soul?Sri Chinmoy: India's best qualities are love, devotion and surrender, as well as sympathy, tolerance, forgiveness and acceptance of life in a divine way. India stands for vastness in the heart, vastness in the mind and vastness in the vital.
Question: Does ancient India have a special message for modern America?/Sri Chinmoy: Ancient India's message is the same as modern India's message, as I have already said. The message of spirituality is ageless and timeless.
Question: In a complex world, how can we develop the humility, simplicity, devotion and surrender of the true Indian devotee?Sri Chinmoy: The way to develop these qualities is the same everywhere: through prayers, prayers and prayers and through meditation, meditation and meditation. Whether the world is complex or simple, the same principle must be followed.
Question: What were the best qualities of the Pandavas?Sri Chinmoy: Yudhisthira represents adherence to truth and piety. Bhima stands for justice. Arjuna shows surrender to God's Will. Nakula expresses faithfulness and beauty manifested in the physical. Sahadeva is known for wisdom-light in his inner and outer actions. Although he was the youngest, he was also the wisest.
Question: Will India rise to a position of world leadership again and, if so, in what capacity?Sri Chinmoy: If India comes to prominence, it will not be through physical or material power but through spiritual power. India had spirituality, but her spirituality has diminished. If India can revive this spirituality, and if it is God's Will, then India will be able to offer spirituality lovingly, unreservedly and unconditionally to the comity of nations.
Question: Recently I saw a video about the new "Rationalist" movement in India. Will this movement ever affect India spiritually to any real extent?Sri Chinmoy: Nothing can ever affect India's soul, India's heart or India's spirituality. If something happens that goes against India's spirituality, we may think it will affect India's inner reality and inner divinity. But that is not the case. India's inner reality and inner divinity can never be affected by outer circumstances taking place either in India or in any other part of the world.
Question: Throughout the ages spirituality has been linked to India. Do more advanced souls go there especially to make progress, or is it just due to the Grace of the Supreme?Sri Chinmoy: Everything is due to the Grace of the Supreme. Whether the souls that descend are advanced or not advanced, it is His Will that all souls ultimately have to fulfil. It is not that all advanced souls will take birth in India and less advanced souls will take birth in other places — no, no, no! If you feel that India has a few advanced souls, then it is one hundred percent due to the Grace of the Supreme. You may say that India was more receptive, but if the Supreme wants to give some individual or some country His special Blessings, special Grace and special Preference, He can do so. He can force that country to receive, even if that country is unwilling to receive. It is like a mother forcing her child to eat, even if he does not want to eat. But if the child is hungry most of the time, then it is easier for the mother to feed the child.
Question: From the spiritual point of view, is India's poverty a blessing or a curse? Is poverty there to keep India simple and pure?Sri Chinmoy: It is true to some extent that poverty keeps India's simplicity and purity. But the real purity that is needed to realise God or to become inseparably one with God's Will is something infinitely more than what can come from poverty and simplicity. Just because one is poor, we cannot say that one is also pure. There are many poor people on earth who are unbearably impure. Poverty may help a little because at least the poor are not wallowing in the pleasures of material wealth. But whether material wealth is a blessing or a curse depends on how we utilise it. We can use a knife to cut a fruit and share it with a friend, or we can use a knife to stab someone. Material power and material wealth are like that. If they are used for a divine purpose, they are a blessing. If they are used for undivine purposes, then definitely they are a curse.
Question: What is the spiritual significance of India's independence?Sri Chinmoy: The spiritual significance of India's independence is dependence on God's Will and interdependence with other countries.
Question: Who was the first person the soul of India chose to begin the independence movement?Sri Chinmoy: Most people will agree that Raja Rammohun Roy was the first one. Swami Vivekananda in his spiritual way, and Rabindranath Tagore with his poetic expression also played significant roles. Soon there were others such as Tilak, Aurobindo Ghose (Sri Aurobindo), C.R. Das, Gandhi, Nehru, Netaji and Patel, to name only a few. But the renaissance of India began with Raja Rammohun. He was the Father of modern India.
Question: If Indians lose their devotion for the cosmic gods, will the gods lose their ability to help humanity?Sri Chinmoy: No, if you lose your devotion, God does not lose His Capacity. If you lose faith in someone who really has power or light, that person does not lose his ability to help humanity. You are the only loser.
Question: Have most of India's ancient sages and heroes continued to take incarnation?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, most of the ancient sages have taken additional human incarnations, but they did not necessarily incarnate in a spiritual family or continue with their spiritual life. In some cases they entered into other fields, like science or politics, because they wanted to see the world in all its potentialities and capacities, and experience life in different ways. Some of them are not even following spirituality. They felt they had had enough. They had reached a certain height and did not want to continue in that direction immediately. It is like somebody who went to graduate school in one field and then changed subjects without getting a Ph.D. in the particular subject in which he started.
Question: In what ways has the physical presence of the Himalayas helped Indians to become more spiritual?Sri Chinmoy: The Himalayas can inspire people who live nearby or who come to visit the Himalayas for spiritual reasons. But if someone who lives at the foot of the Himalayas has no inner feeling for the Himalayas, he may not get any benefit at all. On the other hand, even if you live thousands of miles away in America, if you have a very deep feeling for the silence of the Himalayas and if you think of or meditate on the Himalayas, then you get the benefit.
You do not have to go to the Himalayas to feel their consciousness; it is with your aspiration that you can get blessings from the Himalayas. You can get inspiration from the Himalayas by just imagining them or meditating on them or thinking of their peace, height and sublimity. Similarly, you do not have to go to India to feel the consciousness of India. If you just think of India's inner silence, India's inner peace, India's inner vastness, then immediately you get the consciousness of India. And the Himalayas embody those inner qualities to a great extent.
Question: Could you speak about the impact on the human consciousness of India's age-old heritage of devotional music?Sri Chinmoy: The devotional music of the past was extremely prayerful and extremely soulful. Because it was pure, it definitely helped human consciousness, especially the consciousness of those who were dedicated to making spiritual progress. Today, most of the singers of Indian devotional music do not carry the same type of soulfulness. Now movie music with the modern touch is everywhere. Modernism or the modern music of the West has entered into the devotional music of the past, so it is not able to inspire Indians as it did before. Let us hope that the soulfulness and self-offering that was once found in all of India's devotional music will one day come back.
Question: Why has the India-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir never been resolved?Sri Chinmoy: Both India and Pakistan need more light, either from within or from Above. Both parties need more tolerance. They have to forget past misunderstandings and wrongdoings and only look forward. If they want to be happy, then both India and Pakistan should try to bring down light from Above or bring light to the fore from within and look ahead rather than behind. Then this problem can be solved. Now the Indian Prime Minister has tremendous wisdom and inner light. So we pray to God that the India-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir can be resolved at least to some extent.
Question: If an Indian couple that is living abroad has a child, does this child have different blessings since it was not born on Indian soil?Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the parents' consciousness. No matter where they are, if the parents maintain an Indian consciousness and do not become Westernised, then definitely they will get blessings from Above in an Indian way. But if the parents have completely adopted the ways of their new country, then the soul of that country has to bless and take care of the child. In some cases, both the soul of the new country and the soul of India will bless the child. But the most important blessing comes not from the soul of any country. It comes directly from the Absolute Lord Supreme. If the parents want special blessings for their child, it is the Supreme's Blessings they should pray for.
Question: Who were the Aryans? Where did they come from?Sri Chinmoy: Some say they came from abroad. Others say they originated in India but were more cultured and more illumined than the rest of the population. Again, some say the Aryans came before the Dravidians, and others say the Dravidians were in south India long before the Aryans. My intuition says that the Aryans did not come from elsewhere but originated in India. On the strength of their inner urge, they prayed and meditated. They received light from Above and responded to it. They went high and deep at the same time. So, according to my own inner feeling, the Aryan culture came not from an invasion, but from the illumination of some people or some groups within India. As in a family where there are five children, one can be much more spiritual than the others. He or she goes deep within and discovers some inner wealth while the others are still enjoying their ignorance-sleep.
The Aryan sages discovered that there were many cosmic gods who could bless them with the things they longed for. So when they prayed or meditated, they invoked different cosmic gods for different things. This moment they prayed to Agni and the next moment they prayed to Vayu. They definitely knew that there is a Supreme God, the Absolute Transcendental Lord Supreme, who has infinite Light, Power, Peace and Bliss. But, unfortunately, they did not find Him as easy to approach as the lesser deities.
Since one doctor carries all the medicine, I do not know why they chose to go to one doctor for a headache, another for a stomach upset and a third for knee pain. On the earthly level, different doctors specialise in different ailments. But in the spiritual life there is only one ailment — ignorance — and for that ailment illumination is the only cure. If we receive illumination from the Highest, from the Source, then we are more convinced than if we get it from someone who may be higher than us but who is infinitely lower than the Highest. So if we can establish a free access to the absolute Highest and receive Light from Him, then our inner conviction becomes much, much stronger.
The realisations of the spiritual Masters of the last few hundred years are higher, richer and deeper than those of the Vedic seers. We shall appreciate and adore the Vedic seers because they are the source of our aspiration and our wisdom. We shall adore them like grandfathers because they had the inclination to study at the inner school. If we do not value the wisdom of our grandfathers and great-grandfathers, then we will be the losers. But we have to know that the wisdom and inner wealth that they achieved is nothing in comparison to the inner wisdom that their grandchildren have acquired. If we say that their realisations were higher than those of later spiritual Masters, then we are just fooling ourselves. In his story "The Ideal of Forgiveness", Sri Aurobindo said that the achievements of the Vedic seers of the hoary past will pale into insignificance when the achievements of more recent spiritual figures are blossomed.
But sometimes, by appreciating our ancestors, we increase our own heart's enthusiasm-thrill. This inner thrill helps us immensely in all walks of life. If we have an inner thrill, we can go the fastest on any project in any field — whether it is writing poetry or composing songs or running, diving and flying. The inner thrill is of paramount importance if we want to reach our destination.
There are many things that the Vedic seers envisioned, and sometimes their visions were very high. But, unfortunately, they could not properly interpret their visions. They saw something and gave meaning to it, but their meaning was not absolutely accurate because it was not as profound as it could have been. But then the yogis and seers who succeeded them were able to discover, on the strength of their own deeper and higher realisations, the actual significance of the visions that the Vedic seers of the hoary past had. Because their own realisations were much higher, they could give a better, clearer and more illumining interpretation to the experiences of these Vedic seers.
If we try to interpret an experience with our mind's capacity, we will be totally lost. But if we can take the experience with us into the heart, then immediately we get a full view of the experience — where it came from, why it came and how it can be fully and fruitfully utilised. So if we can use our heart, rather than our mind, when we read about the experiences of the Aryan sages and seers in the Vedas and Upanishads, then we shall be able to discover our own Source.
Scholars approach the Vedas and the experiences of the Vedic seers in their own way, which is drier than the driest. They use their mental geometry. But the geometry and grammar of the Vedas and Upanishads cannot fulfil the heart's cry. Philosophers approach the experiences of the Vedic seers in another way, which is theoretical rather than practical or practicable. But seekers of the highest order and realised Masters use the experiences of the Vedic sages to help them establish something solid and basic in their lives; they make these experiences practical. They deal with the experiences of the Vedic seers in such a beautiful, tangible and illumining way that they actually manifest the beauty and fragrance of these experiences and make them a living reality in their own lives. So the scholastic and philosophical approaches are not beneficial for the sincere seeker. It is only the spiritual, psychic approach that can fulfil the real sincere God-hunger of humanity.
Question: When the Christ was in India, where did he go and what did he do?Sri Chinmoy: He went to Puri and a few other religious places where he studied the Sanskrit language and Indian scriptures. In Benares he studied Indian languages. In Chittagong there is a temple where they believe the Christ spent a number of years. Three or four other places in Chittagong he was also said to have visited, and his belongings remain there. But whether Jesus Christ came to India or not is of no consequence to the real seeker. For the seeker, Christ's place is not in a country but inside the heart. If you are a seeker, you have to find him not in Bethlehem or India but inside your heart.
Question: What actually brought about India's independence?Sri Chinmoy: The soul of England was compelled to bow to the inner pressure from the soul of India. For many years the soul of India tolerated the English rule. Then the soul of India challenged the soul of England. Spiritual power will always win eventually, and the soul of India has so much spiritual wealth. India's spiritual will-power far exceeds the will-power of England, and this will-power the soul of India exercised.
At first, England responded by inwardly challenging India. Then fear entered England, and finally they adopted a positive approach. They said, let us be kind and generous. Their attitude was like a master towards a slave. When the master feels that the slave will revolt and kill him, he decides that it will be better to give him his freedom. The master can be conquered either with outer power or with inner will. From the strict spiritual point of view, India had the inner will. This inner will was accumulated by her spiritual children of that era — Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo and others. Mother India's liberation and the spiritual height of Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo and others run parallel. They brought forward the power of Mother India's soul, and placed it in a kind of spiritual bank. Sri Aurobindo himself put a very, very large amount there. Then India's political freedom-fighters availed themselves of this power.
Sri Aurobindo was so happy that Mother India gained her independence on his birthday, August 15th. His seventy-fifth birthday was celebrated on that day. Sri Aurobindo issued a statement which began: "August 15th, 1947 is the birthday of free India. It marks for her the end of an old era, the beginning of a new age. But we can also make it, by our life and acts as a free nation, an important date in a new age opening for the whole world, for the political, social, cultural and spiritual future of humanity.
"August 15th is my own birthday and it is naturally gratifying to me that it should have assumed this vast significance. I take this coincidence, not as a fortuitous accident, but as the sanction and seal of the Divine Force that guides my steps on the work with which I began life, the beginning of its full fruition…."
Question: You have said that it was spiritual power that brought about India's liberation. How does Netaji's militaristic approach fit in?Sri Chinmoy: From the highest spiritual point of view, it was the power of the spirit that brought about India's independence. This inner power was expressed by different leaders in different ways. In the beginning, Sri Aurobindo was a revolutionary. He instigated his brother and others to engage in revolutionary activities. Then he entered into the spiritual life — first, to realise God and, side by side with that goal, he had the goal to conquer the British with inner spiritual force. Netaji used another approach. His strategy was to try to throw the British out of India using military power. He failed in his main aim, which was to raise an army and march to Delhi, but his greatest contribution was to unite Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians and Jains in his Indian National Army. No other Indian political leader, military leader or even spiritual leader can claim to have united Indians the way Netaji did.
Sri Chinmoy, you are a man of peace. Was it difficult at any stage for you to identify with my father because, after all, he was not strictly a man of peace. He was a man of military action.1Sri Chinmoy: Not at all, sister! Shall I tell you why? Your father changed his policy. He had every right to do so. Peace may be expressed in two ways: it can be static or it can be dynamic. It is like the ocean. On the very bottom, the ocean is calm and quiet, whereas on the surface it can be very tumultuous and rough. When your father started his political career, he gave up everything. Sacrifice became his very name. He wanted to see power inside the peace of the heart. He felt that when Indians were truly united, their power would come to the fore and the British would be compelled to leave the country in a peaceful manner.
But gradually he came to realise that each of the many different groups comprising India had its own way of expressing itself. Each one had its own leader, its own belief. One group followed Mahatma Gandhi, another group followed your father, a third group followed someone else, and so on. Although Netaji tried his utmost to bring about unity among all the groups, specially in the political sphere, he was forced to realise that this way would not be feasible. Then he decided that if peace could not be achieved through inner unity, it had to be achieved through military action. The British were using their military might to suppress the Indians. Netaji believed that if he attacked them on their own level, it would force the Indians to unite, and the British would not be able to withstand the power of the whole country.
Let me give you a simple analogy. Let us say that a thorn has entered my heel. I may try to use medicine to bring the thorn out. But there is another way. I can use a second thorn to take out the thorn that is inside my heel. Then what will become of the second thorn, the one that was of help to me? I will simply throw it away, along with the first one.
Your father was misunderstood because he went to Germany to seek help from Hitler and various other European leaders. Some of his countrymen said to him, "What are you doing? Germany is worse than Great Britain!" But Netaji's reply was, "I know they are worse, but I am ready to take help from anybody. My immediate enemy is Great Britain. Great Britain has enslaved my Motherland. I have to get rid of my immediate enemy. Then, if I am successful, in the future I can get rid of the one that I have taken help from. If I can use this thorn to remove the one that is already inside my foot, then one day definitely I will be able to get rid of the second thorn."
In the beginning, it was beyond his imagination that he would adopt this way of freeing his country. But when he saw that all other procedures had failed, he knew that there was no other way. It was the last resort. This is the thing that people do not understand.
In the Bhagavad Gita, which is our most sacred book, our Bible, Lord Krishna tried in every way to avert the Battle of Kurukshetra. He begged the Kauravas to settle their differences with the Pandavas without entering into the battlefield. He did not succeed. When Lord Krishna saw that all other means had failed, only then did he ask the Pandavas, the virtuous ones, to fight against the Kauravas, who were hostile forces incarnate. The Pandavas entered into the Battle of Kurukshetra as a last resort. For the establishment of Truth, they had to take up their weapons. The Pandavas were righteous, but there was no other way to bring about peace than to fight. It was for the victory of Truth that Lord Krishna asked them to fight.
Your father knew that India's freedom was his birthright. When he saw that the other way, the way of peaceful settlement, was not making any progress, he decided he had to try a new way. In his thinking, he was far ahead of all the other patriots of his day. Needless to say, I am totally convinced that your father did absolutely the right thing. He was the harbinger, the pathfinder. His vision was much vaster and deeper than that of the other Indian national leaders of the time. In everything he went ahead, and it was only later that others followed him.
Both Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji played their distinctive roles in bringing about India's independence. Your cousin Dr. Sisir Bose, Netaji's beloved nephew, has most aptly summed it up when he said, "The Father of the Indian nation is Mahatma Gandhi; the Father of the Indian revolution is Subhas Bose."
IMI 218. Question by Professor Anita B. Pfaff — Daughter of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose↩
Question: Do you foresee that India and Pakistan will one day become one again, like Germany?Sri Chinmoy: For that we need another Mikhail Gorbachev! I do not see how India can become one again in the near future. As if it was not bad enough to be dominated by England for two hundred years, another hostile attack had to come in the form of our own leaders who agreed to the partition of India. Even afterwards, when Bangladesh wanted to rejoin India, when it would have been the easiest thing for the Indian government to allow Bengalis to be reunited, the government would not allow it. Ordinary people were suffering so much because of the partition, but the Indian government felt that it could not control a united Bengal. A little portion, Bangladesh — my birthplace — was eager to rejoin the subcontinent, but alas, the people in power did not want them to.
Question: What has India gained by the introduction of the English language?Sri Chinmoy: England practically destroyed India, true, but England did give a gift to India for which India will remain eternally, eternally, eternally grateful to England and that gift is the English language. The English language is India's matchless treasure. If an Indian in India goes 60 or 80 miles from his home, he may find people who speak his own dialect, but a few words will be different. If he goes 200 miles away, he will not be able to understand anything! Does a Bengali understand even one word of Telegu? Does a Tamil know even one word of Bengali? And even our Bengali language has so many dialects. I come from Chittagong. There are so many words that I use which are not to be found in any Bengali dictionary. Calcutta Bengalis will laugh at our Chittagong dialect! So in that way, the English language has saved us. It has given us a common language to unite us on a national level and, on the international level, it has enabled us to participate in the international community.
Part XI — August 15th, 1945
Editor's noteThe following is a translation of a Bengali poem which was written by Chinmoy in Pondicherry, India, on August 14th, 1945 — the day before Sri Aurobindo's Birth Day. Chinmoy was then thirteen years old.
The poem became a song in New York on July 8th, 1995 — fifty years later. It is the longest song in Sri Chinmoy's musical opus.
Sri Chinmoy began translating this Bengali poem into English on June 9th, 1996. He completed the translation on August 4th so that it might be released on August 15th of that year.
August 15th, 1945God in human form
Descends from Heaven today
To touch and feel
The breath of earth-dust.
Comrades, His Victory
Let us proclaim, casting aside
All our world-responsibility-obligations.
O Lord Absolute,
We, the ever-blossoming souls,
Shall satisfy You with our
We embody certainty's life
To surprisingly illumine
Our journey's birthless
And deathless course.
Lovingly, prayerfully and soulfully
We shall bring the Victory-Crown
From the Consciousness-Ocean-Beyond
And, with a brightness-splendour-smile,
Place it at Your Feet
With our softness-heart-care.
A poltroon-body, a dunce-mind,
We never shall be.
We shall ever be found
In the newness-vortex
Of activities multifarious.
No sorrow, no diffidence,
No loss can torture us
Before Your blessingful, august Presence.
To none save You
Shall we offer our fear-surrender.
You to invoke
And place inside
Our mind's seraglio-cave,
Let us sleeplessly
Occupy our mind, shunning
All our childish games and pranks.
Together, in oneness-heart,
Your Victory we all shall proclaim.
You if we fail to receive and achieve,
Our earth-life will helplessly betray
Its utter worthlessness and uselessness.
Singing our Master's Victory-Song,
We, the ever-blossoming souls,
Shall walk along Eternity's Road
Blazed by His Divinity's Radiance-Feet.
Like fully blossomed flowers,
We shall distribute
Our sweet redolence-fragrance.
Speechless, the whole world will watch
Our journey's progress-march.
Your new Message we shall carry
To all climes, near and far.
We shall be self-discoverers;
Pride-victims we never shall be.
God in human form
Descends from Heaven today
To touch and feel
The breath of earth-dust.
Comrades, His Victory
Let us proclaim, casting aside
All our world-responsibility-obligations.
O Summit-Soul supreme,
Your Compasson-Light we invoke
To keep our hearts
Eternally at Your Feet.
The lower than the lowest
And the higher than the highest,
Sleeplessly Your Victory-Song
Resonates in the heart of Eden.
You are a perfect stranger
You are at once the chosen Haven
Of both penury and prosperity-possessors.
You are Your Life's Sweetness-Affection
To all souls that breathe on earth.
None can dare fathom
To offer You our raison d'etre,
We are speeding towards
Your Infinity's Height,
Smashing asunder today
All the bondage-shackles
That will cross our path.
God in human form
Descends from Heaven today
To touch and feel
The breath of earth-dust.
Comrades, His Victory
Let us proclaim, casting aside
All our world-responsibility-obligations.
To spread Your Compassion-flooded
Here on earth,
We shall offer our all,
Our very last breath.
Even if we fail to muster
A new supply of strength
At each hush-gap,
We, the ever-blossoming souls,
Shall not permit ourselves
To be name-fame-beggars.
While enjoying a short respite,
We shall sing Your Victory-Songs
And fly Your Victory-Banner
Upon the Himaloy-pinnacle.
A day shall dawn
When we, the ever-blossoming souls,
Only by virtue of
Shall proclaim our world-conquest
To the four corners of the globe.
No iota of wealth You own;
Yet, all El Dorados at Your Feet.
O Lord Supreme,
Indweller of our hearts,
Your boundless Bounty
Permits You not to escape
Our stark mind-confines.
God in human form
Descends from Heaven today
To touch and feel
The breath of earth-dust.
Comrades, His Victory
Let us proclaim, casting aside
All our world-responsibility-obligations.
If any bosom pines
To be our compatriot,
Renounce your all,
When all world-attachments leave you,
We shall welcome you
To join our group
With ever-widening open arms.
The rich and the poor,
The wise and the ignorant —
All those who inhabit the world —
In each and every human being
We shall see the living Presence of God,
Like our Master-Guru.
If ever we become pride-victims,
We know for certain
That Your infinite Compassion-Treasure
Will desert us.
We, the ever-blossoming souls,
Must be extremely careful
Our newness-strength indomitable.
God in human form
Descends from Heaven today
To touch and feel
The breath of earth-dust.
Comrades, His Victory
Let us proclaim, casting aside
All our world-responsibility-obligations.
He whom the holy saints
And honesty-flooded souls
In perfect amity worship,
And the single-minded devotees
Invoke to claim as their own,
He has taken human form
In the heart of Mother Bengal.
In His happiness
Our hearts must rejoice.
In His sadness
Our hearts must suffer.
To each and every soul,
Smiling we shall offer
Our hearts' newness-strength.
We, the ever-blossoming souls,
Shall dive deep
Into the Heart of Infinity's Light.
O Lord Absolute,
Today do inundate our earth-existence
With Your Compassion-Flood.
May our devotion-adoration
Ever be found
At Your Feet Supreme.
O Transcendental Height,
O Beauty Unfathomable,
To You we bow.
May we be totally oblivious
To our earthly gains and losses
In committing ourselves
To Your Service-Light.
God in human form
Descends from Heaven today
To touch and feel
The breath of earth-dust.
Comrades, His Victory
Let us proclaim, casting aside
All our world-responsibility-obligations.
O Lord of the ever-transcending Beyond,
You are discovered Self-amorous
In Your birthless and deathless Light.
At Your Feet
All utterly lost human souls
Have found their Peace-Haven.
Vishma, Dadichi, Arjuna, Drona,
Were all indomitable hero-souls
Who walked Mother-Earth
With their loftiest tower-majesty-heads.
You have inundated us
With Your Blessings infinite.
By virtue of Your Blessings,
We, the ever-blossoming souls,
Shall equal those immortal souls
And run abreast with them.
O Lord, Your Consciousness
Pervades the sky
And the Himaloy-pinnacle-heights.
And in ocean-expanse
It sings and dances
In perfect oneness.
O Lord Absolute,
The saints, sages and yogis
Every morn and every eve
Proclaim Your Victory
From all four corners of the globe.
God in human form
Descends from Heaven today
To touch and feel
The breath of earth-dust.
Comrades, His Victory
Let us proclaim, casting aside
All our world-responsibility-obligations.
If ever others speak ill of us,
We shall never hurt their hearts
Knowing perfectly well
That the Absolute Lord Supreme abides,
In His living Presence, in all,
How can we ever torture
Any human life?
The way the Life-Force
Of our breath
Resides in us,
Exactly the same way
The Life-Force abides in all,
And accepts and endures
Each and every human being.
You are the Source
Of Brahma the Creator.
Before You we place
Our supplication, devotion
No iota of fear have we
While offering You
Our wee, puny and paltry gifts,
For we know
You are the Compassion-Lord
Of our motherless, fatherless, helpless life.
You are the Vision-Light
Of the whole universe.
You are our Eternity's only Friend.
God in human form
Descends from Heaven today
To touch and feel
The breath of earth-dust.
Comrades, His Victory
Let us proclaim, casting aside
All our world-responsibility-obligations.
Like the most insignificant service
Rendered by the morning dew
To the ocean-surface,
We know our service to You
Is equally and unmistakably
You accept our service-flames
To bless us
With Your bountiful Pride.
In fire and water,
In dust and atoms,
Seeing You, Your Meditation-Trance,
Many poets have depicted
Your immortal Beauty.
They are our pioneers.
We are walking along the same road
To reach Your hallowed Feet.
This beautiful morning
We are weaving the garland
Of our heart's message,
Prayerful and soulful:
"Victory, victory, victory
To Sri Aurobindo,
The Guru Supreme of the Universe!"
Sleeplessly and breathlessly
Repeating this incantation,
We shall become
O Lord Supreme,
You have donned
An earthly cloak.
We place at Your Feet
Our surrender unconditional
For Your unhorizoned Manifestation
Here on earth.
God in human form
Descends from Heaven today
To touch and feel
The breath of earth-dust.
Comrades, His Victory
Let us proclaim, casting aside
All our world-responsibility-obligations.
Editor's introduction to the first editionThis vast compilation of Sri Chinmoy's poetry, prose and songs on the theme of Mother India is released on August 15th, 1997 — the 50th Anniversary of India's Independence and the 125th Birth Anniversary of Sri Aurobindo.
Some of the selections date from as early as 1946 — Sri Chinmoy was then in his adolescence — in India, while others were written in the West, from 1964 to the present. Many of the songs, in particular, were composed this year to celebrate India's Independence Anniversary. They have been performed during the 50 Peace Concerts that Sri Chinmoy has offered all over the world in 1997 dedicated to Mother India.
The concluding Peace Concert in this series is to be held on this day, August 15th, 1997 at Aspiration-Ground in Queens, New York City.