The mind loves the heart, the mind becomes the heart, part 1
Part I — Lady Margaret Hall
IntroductionOn 26 June 2003, Sri Chinmoy visited the University of Oxford to honour distinguished professors as part of his Lifting Up the World With a Oneness-Heart Award programme.
The setting for the occasion was the grounds of Lady Margaret Hall with its abundance of beautiful flowers and trees. This was Sri Chinmoy’s ninth visit to the University of Oxford. On his previous visit in 1997, he had offered a prayerful concert to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of India’s Independence. This concert was part of a worldwide series of fifty concerts that Sri Chinmoy offered that year.
The abiding contribution of the University of Oxford to Great Britain and the world is expressed by Sri Chinmoy in a lecture he offered at the University in 1974:
“Oxford first embodies and then represents the art, culture and glory, not only of Great Britain, but of the entire European consciousness.
Oxford represents world culture and world history in the highest form of mental light, knowledge and wisdom in the outer world. Oxford is confidence. It is in the confidence of Oxford that all these supernal qualities are playing their respective roles.”
11My Inner Pilot tells me
That our aspiration-heart’s
Readiness, willingness and eagerness
Are of supreme importance To His Will.
MLH 1. As a prelude to the award ceremony, Sri Chinmoy offered this aphorism.↩
2Mr. Mike Smithson, Director of Development at Oxford, represented the Vice-Chancellor at the ceremony. He welcomed Sri Chinmoy on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor and read out the following letter:
Dear Sri Chinmoy,
I am delighted that you have chosen to honour the University by visiting Oxford today, and lifting up so many of our colleagues in your very special ceremony. My one regret is that I am unable to witness these events myself.
Please accept my warm best wishes for your important and continuing work.
Very sincerely, Sir Colin Lucas The Vice-Chancellor
Mr. Smithson added, “Welcome to Oxford and welcome to everybody who has come to watch this extraordinary ceremony.”
Dr Piyasi Morris, main organiser
Lady Margaret Hall was started in 1879 and has shown quite a remarkable achievement over the years that it has been here. The pioneering women of Oxford who came to study here opened the doors to learning that were previously the domain of men.
In 1979, with its pioneering role fulfilled, Lady Margaret Hall opened its doors to men, and the College, like so many others that were previously all female, became mixed.
This College offers a very special environment for study, both for teachers and for students, and now women stand equal to men in the fields of medicine, the arts, sciences, commerce and government.
We are very fortunate to have this very significant and beautiful setting for our event today. Thank you.
"Lifting up the world with a Oneness-Heart"Mr. Devashishu Torpy, Master of Ceremonies We are extremely happy and extremely grateful to welcome you here today to the //Lifting Up the World With a Oneness-Heart// Award programme. Sri Chinmoy has travelled throughout the length and breadth of the globe to honour in his own unique way men and women of inspiration and dedication from all walks of life. In appreciation and gratitude for their world-serving contributions, he has presented this signal award to presidents, prime ministers, members of parliament, religious leaders from all faiths, Nobel laureates, outstanding artists, musicians, poets and athletes. Sri Chinmoy also wishes to honour citizens on the grass-roots level who are serving others in extraordinary ways. Through their lives of dedicated self-offering, all of our highly esteemed honorees, including each of you who has so kindly come here to Lady Margaret Hall today, have raised up the standard of humanity far beyond our imagination’s flight. Just as a sports player here at the University of Oxford is lifted up out of joy and enthusiasm by his teammates, so too, Sri Chinmoy, in a spirit of sincere gratitude, lifts each recipient overhead with one arm from the honorary platform. The 2,000th person to receive the //Lifting Up the World With a Oneness-Heart// Award was President Nelson Mandela. The 6,000th honoree was the immortal boxing legend Muhammad Ali, just a few days ago. Each one of our guests here today is offering something most significant through his or her own unique endeavours. Here at the University of Oxford, you are striving to develop our understanding not only of the world around us, but also of our own nature. With this Award, Sri Chinmoy seeks to emphasise that we can all go far beyond our previous limits and achieve the impossible if, as he says, “we can only dare to have faith in the power of our inner potential.” In this light, Sri Chinmoy and all of us present offer you our most heartfelt welcome and congratulate you on soon receiving the //Lifting Up the World With a Oneness-Heart Award//. We would like to invite our guests to come and be lifted by Sri Chinmoy. In most cases, Sri Chinmoy will be lifting two professors simultaneously. Before we start the actual lifting, Sri Chinmoy would like to offer the Lifting Up the World With a Oneness-Heart Award to Professor Alison Brading.
ProfessorsProfessor Alison Brading
Professor Brading is a Fellow and Tutor in Physiology at Lady Margaret Hall. She was appointed to her College Fellowship here in 1968 and to a University Lectureship in 1972. Professor Brading worked initially to investigate trans-membrane ionic movements in smooth muscle cells using radioactive tracers, and this led to studying the mechanisms of the action of drugs on smooth muscle. Interactions with the Urology Department at the Churchill Hospital resulted in an interest in the lower urinary tract, and led to the setting up of the Oxford Continence Group, which she now heads. Professor Brading has edited many publications including several books.
She is the author of The Autonomic Nervous System and its Effectors.
Dr. Geeta Kingdon
Dr. Geeta Kingdon is based at the Centre for the Study of African Economies here at the University of Oxford. She lectures on “Human Capital and the Economics of Education” and her research interests include gender discrimination in the labour market and unemployment in India and South Africa. She is an expert in her field and has published widely.
Professor Alison Noble
Professor Noble was made a Professor of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford in 2002. She is one of the University’s youngest Professors. Professor Noble is also Co-Director of the Medical Vision Laboratory and a Fellow of Oriel College. Her current research involves medical imaging, particularly the role of ultrasound imaging for soft-tissue disease diagnosis and therapeutic treatments. She holds several US and UK patents and has published around 100 research articles related to computer vision. Recently Professor Noble was named in The Independent on Sunday as one of the top medical engineers in the country.
[Throughout the ceremony, an international choir of Sri Chinmoy’s students heralded each new lift by singing:]
“Lifting Up the World
With a Oneness-Heart;
The Hour of God
And His Victory’s Start.”
Professor Frances J. Stewart
Professor Stewart is Professor of Development Economics and a Fellow of Somerville College. She has served as the visionary Director of the International Development Centre at the University of Oxford for the past ten years. Professor Stewart is a leading international expert in the field of Development Economics. She has a strong commitment to the poor and the marginalised, as shown in her research work, which concerns different aspects of poverty in developing countries. Professor Stewart is retiring this year to undertake a new challenge as Director of the newly established Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity, funded by the Government’s Department of International Development.
Reverend Marcus Braybrooke
Sri Chinmoy would now like to honour someone who, while not specifically a member of the academic community here at Oxford, is a very good friend of Sri Chinmoy’s and a gentleman whose work is based in Oxford, but is worldwide. A priest in the Church of England and a prolific author, Reverend Marcus Braybrooke is a sage and an elder in the global interfaith movement, to which he has dedicated his entire life through a number of different organisations, including most especially the World Congress of Faiths and the International Interfaith Centre in Oxford, as well as the Council of Christians and Jews of the UK, and many others. For decades he has built up the movement through his leadership in countless programmes, and he knows more about the interfaith movement than just about anyone. His wisdom on questions at the heart of this work grows from a lifetime of experience, personal relationships across cultural and religious boundaries and deep, theologically informed reflection.
Professor Colin Clarke
Professor Colin Clarke moved to the University of Oxford in the early 1980’s and is Professor of Social and Urban Geography. He is a Fellow of Jesus College. Professor Clarke has carried out numerous field investigations in Mexico and the Caribbean. He is Chairman of the Faculty Board of Anthropology and Geography, Chairman of the Inter-Faculty Committee for Latin American Studies and joint editor of the Bulletin of Latin American Research. Professor Clarke has published over 90 papers and chapters, as well as several hooks. He is an internationally renowned authority on Latin American Studies.
Professor Peter Hainsworth
Professor Hainsworth is a Rhodes Trust D.M. Stewart Fellow in Modern Languages and has been a Tutor and Professor in Italian at Lady Margaret Hall since 1979. His research interests lie mainly in 13th and 14th century and modern-day poetry of Italy. Professor Hainsworth has published a study of the great 14th century poet, Petrarch. He is also joint editor of the Oxford Companion to Italian Literature. He is honoured today together with his wife Jane.
Professor Philip K. Maini
Professor Maini is Professor and Head of the Centre for Mathematical Biology at the University of Oxford. His family originates from India, but he was brought up and educated in Northern Ireland. Professor Maini’s research interests lie in deterministic modelling of emhryological pattern formation and in wound healing. He has published over 150 articles and books. Professor Maini is the managing editor of the Bulletin of Mathematical Biology and is also a member of the editorial board of numerous leading scientific journals.
Professor Martin Kemp
Professor Kemp is currently Professor of the History of Art at the University of Oxford. He has researched the art, science and technology of the renowned Leonardo da Vinci on an extensive basis. The continuing theme of Professor Kemp’s research has been the relationship between the scientific models of nature and the theory and practice of art. Professor Kemp is a world-renowned author. He writes regularly about living artists, as well as Renaissance artists, and is also editor and co-author of The Oxford History of Western Art. He has a regular column in the prestigious journal Nature and broadcasts extensively on television and radio.
Dr. Peter Carey
Dr. Carey is a Fellow and Tutor in Modern History at Trinity College, Oxford. His research work is centred on the history, contemporary politics and socio-economic development of South-East Asia. Dr. Carey has published hooks on East Timor, Burma and Java. In 1983, he was inspired to take on the noble task of revealing to the world the truth about the terrible events that occurred in East Timor. He has tirelessly and courageously pursued this calling over the years. His frank and unflinching efforts eventually proved to be a powerful beacon of inspiration in the struggle of the East Timorese people for independence.
Professor Avi Shlaim
Professor Avi Shlaim was appointed Professor of International Relations in 1987. He lectures on international relations in the Middle East. Professor Shlaim is also a Professorial Fellow at the Middle East Centre, St. Antony’s College. Professor Shlaim was horn in Baghdad but grew up in Israel. His main research interest is in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Professor Shlaim is an internationally recognised authority in the field of international relations and has made a significant contribution to our understanding of the complex issues that beset the Middle East. He has authored numerous books, is a frequent contributor to newspapers and is a regular commentator on radio and television.
Professor Andrew Briggs
Professor Briggs is Professor of Materials at the University of Oxford and the Director of the Quantum Information Processing Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration. Professor Briggs has a strong track record in the study of nanotechnology. He has over 300 publications to his credit, including five books. Future developments in quantum information processing will radically change the way we store and process information. The University of Oxford leads the world in this area. Over the next five years, the direction of a substantial amount of research in quantum information processing in the UK will be shaped by Professor Briggs. Professor Briggs is joined today by his wife Diana.
Professor John Kelly
Professor Kelly is Professor of English Language and Literature and a Fellow of St. John’s College. He is interested in the fiction and modern poetry of the 19th and 20th centuries, especially Yeats and Eliot. In 1999, Professor Kelly was elected the first O’Donnell Professor in Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame in the USA. Professor Kelly is the editor of The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats, which is being published in 12 volumes. For many years John Kelly was the Director of the Yeats Summer School in Sligo, Ireland. Professor Kelly has championed the cause of making great and inspiring literature more accessible to ordinary people. He is founder and trustee of the St. John’s College Robert Graves Trust, which is collecting and editing unpublished manuscripts of this world-renowned writer and making them publicly accessible on the Internet. Professor Kelly is here today with his wife Christine.
Professor Theo H. van Lint
Professor van Lint is the Calouste Gulbenkian Professor of Armenian Studies at the Faculty of Oriental Studies here at the University of Oxford. He is also a Fellow of Pembroke College. Professor van Lint grew up and was educated in the Netherlands. He received his D.Phil. from the University of Leiden in 1996. Professor van Lint has a special interest in poetry. Armenian studies have been pursued at Oxford since the mid-19th century. The establishment in 1965 of the Calouste Gulbenkian Professorship has guaranteed a permanent place for Armenian studies in the broader field of the Near East. Oxford is the only university in the United Kingdom where Armenian may be studied.
Professor David Coleman
Professor Coleman is a Lecturer in Human Sciences and Professor of Demography in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work. Between 1985 and 1987, he worked for the British Government as the Special Adviser to the Home Secretary, and then to the Ministers of Housing and of the Environment. He has also worked as a consultant for the United Nations. Professor Coleman’s research interests include the comparative demographic trends of the industrialised world, immigration trends and policies and the demography of ethnic minorities. He has published more than 90 papers and eight books. In 1997, Professor Coleman was elected to the Council of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population.
Professor Robert E.M. Hedges
Professor Hedges is Professor of Archaeological Science at the University of Oxford and Director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit. His interests lie in recovering palaeodietary and environmental information concerning humans and animals in an archaeological context. This work has close connections with radiocarbon dating, with the diagenetic alteration of bone during burial and with the identification of surviving biomolecules. A particular interest of Professor Hedges is in bone turnover rates and the recovery of time-dependent information. Professor Hedges is here today with his wife Laurie, who is a music teacher.
Professor John B. Knight
Professor Knight has been Professor of Economics at the University of Oxford since 1966. He is also Vice-Principal and Academic and Investment Bursar at St. Edmund Hall. His research interests are focused on Development Economics with particular reference to China and Africa, and he is a founding member of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford. Professor Knight is an Economic and Research Adviser to the Ministry of Labour in China, a frequent consultant to the World Bank and, from 1987 to 1988, he served on the United Nations Committee for Development Planning.
Professor Zhan Feng Cui
Professor Zhan Feng Cui is the Donald Pollock Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Hertford College. His research interests are focused on bioseparation and bioprocessing, tissue engineering, membrane separation and environmental biotechnology. An example of his extremely valuable work is the development of state-of-the-art technology to render polluted water harmless to the environment. Professor Zhan Feng Cui has published widely and has received numerous awards, including the Foresight Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering, for his significant contributions to science.
Professor Brian Catling
Professor Catling is Professor of Fine Art at the University of Oxford, Head of Sculpture at the Ruskin School of Fine Art and a Fellow of Lineacre College. He is a sculptor, poet and performance artist and has had several solo exhibitions, including The Blindings at the Serpentine Gallery in London. He has performed throughout Europe and the Far East and has a number of publications to his credit. Some of Professor Catling’s poetry is included in The New British Poetry, published by Paladin Press. Professor Catling was recently awarded the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for innovation in the visual arts. Professor Catling places himself outside the mainstream and said of his recent award, “I will use the money to fund major largescale projects in video and performance, which up to now have been screaming from the dusty shelf of dreams.”
Professor Catling is here today with his wife, Dr. Sarah Simblet, an artist and writer.
Dr. Gerard Morris (Sarvosmi)
Dr. Gerard Morris was appointed as a scientist at the University of Oxford in 1987, the same year he received his Ph.D. from the University of London. In 2001, Dr. Morris left the University and joined a biotechnology company for which he now heads the preclinical product development section. His current research involves the development of new tumour-targeting compounds for the treatment of cancer. Dr. Morris has a US patent and a worldwide patent and has published some 100 scientific articles.
Dr. Piyasi Morris
Dr. Piyasi Morris completed her D.Phil. at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, in 1982. Her field is Radiation Biology. She now works as a teacher.
Reverend Marcus Braybrooke presented Sri Chinmoy with his latest compilation entitled 1,000 World Prayers. This volume contains several prayers by Sri Chinmoy. Upon receiving the book from Reverend Braybrooke, Sri Chinmoy said, “It is our joint prayers that will be able to save the world.”
Reverend Braybrooke replied, “No, not our prayers, but your prayers at the United Nations will save the world.”
Acceptance remarks from honoreesProfessor Brian Catling Professor of Fine Art
I feel like a question has been asked, and the question is gravity. And the question of gravity has been asked of dharma. We are all here and we are all part of the same thing which controls and holds us together. Today feels very, very special. I am humbled by this and I am very, very grateful. Thank you for coming so far for us.
Professor Martin Kemp Professor of the History of Art
Sri Chinmoy, as you have heard, I have written about Leonardo da Vinci. I have come across in my life one universal man, one uomo universale, and that is through writing, through paintings and through drawings. It is a privilege to have met another. Leonardo sought unity in diversity. He sought what brought together the branching of a tree, the blood vessels in our body, the flow of a river. He was seeking that unity. It is my conviction that artists and scientists in their own way have intuitions as to what lies behind things. These intuitions, I think, are fundamental, as is your work, Sir, in an age when the powerful nations are showing less and less inclination, through their leaders, to understand the culture of nations stranger and different from themselves and less powerful. It is an immensely important quest upon which you have embarked and which I hope you will continue for many years. It is a quest, I think, in the spirit of Leonardo and in the spirit of all those who seek unity in diversity. Thank you.
Professor Frances Stewart Professor of Development Economics
My work, unfortunately, is about deteriorating conditions, about war in poor countries, about AIDS in poor countries, about rising poverty in many places, and about the failure of people in power to do much about it. And, indeed, they tend to do the opposite. So I think the work of unity, of peace, is tremendously important, and I thank you for letting me participate.
Professor Colin Clarke Professor of Geography
One of the first pieces of research work I did as a postdoctoral student was to work in Trinidad in the Caribbean, and one of the groups that I worked with for a greater part of the year was the Trinidad Hindu population. I learnt from them one very key idea that has really been a guiding point in my life — and I am sure it is something that will be utterly simple and straightforward for Sri Chinmoy, but was for me a great enlightenment — and that is that you get in life what you focus on. Clearly, this was in the context of religious teaching and I got it by reading the Bhagavad Gita, but I have also tried to apply that in a more secular sense here in the University. I am delighted to be at a University occasion here which also blends so many memories I have of my fieldwork with my Hindu colleagues in the Caribbean. Thank you very much, indeed.
Professor Avi Shlaim Professor of International Relations
It is a pleasure and a privilege to be here. To be quite frank, I could not think what I had done to deserve this honour. On the other hand, I readily identify with the aim of this programme of bringing people from different cultures together in a spirit of open minds and open hearts. Nowhere is this more necessary than in my original part of the world, the Middle East. The Arab-Israeli conflict is one of the most bitter, protracted and intractable conflicts of modern times. This conflict has affected my life. I was horn in Baghdad, I grew up in Israel, and I’ve lived most of my life in this country. I have dual nationality, Israeli and British, and I feel doubly guilty towards the Palestinians because of Britain’s betrayal of them and because of what the Israelis have been doing to them. The politicians do not offer us any vision or any hope or any way forward. The only hope for a resolution of this conflict is as you, Sir, suggest: people from different cultures coming together in the spirit of openness and tolerance and mutual respect. It is a very great honour for me to have been invited. Thank you very much for letting me participate in this very extraordinary event.
Dr. Peter Carey Tutor in Modern History
As Professor Catling said, we have defied gravity, and on behalf of the East Timorese, who have defied the gravity of their political situation, I would like to thank you very much for honouring them.
Professor Robert Hedges Professor of Archaeological Science
For me, this whole award came out of the blue, as it were, and I wondered what I had done to deserve it. But looking outwards, it is very good to see how contained in the actual ceremony is the sheer physicality of the gravitational experience, going right up to the spiritual meaning of the oneness of a heart. Thinking about how that can relate to the kind of work and study I do, one thing that I get strength from is my work, which is not economically terribly important — archaeology does not get easily funded in terms of making Britain rich in future trade. I think being able to link what humans did in the past and to do that by working across the whole range of human experience, particularly through science, does give some kind of unity to human experience and does give us our roots in a way that we can relate to quite strongly. In a curious sort of way, it does all seem to tie together, and I am very glad to be able to appreciate that. Thank you very much.
Professor John Kelly Professor of English Language and Literature
I do a great deal of work on the poet Yeats and he, too, sought unity amid diversity. Sometimes he called it the anima mundi lying under our subconsciousness, sometimes the spiritus mundi. Both early and late in life, his thought in this direction was shaped by the wisdom of the East. And I know he would have been as proud to have met you as we have been and as moved by what you are doing in the ceremony this afternoon. Thank you on behalf of all of us.
Professor Peter Hainsworth Professor of Italian
I do a great deal of work on literature which is concerned with crisis, modern crisis. But the literature in which I am most interested is one that looks back much further, literature that is concerned with the mediaeval past, particularly the work of Dante. Dante is concerned with the journey of someone from a dark wood to light — a journey which is of epic proportions in his poem. It is a journey which is a very important one that many of us can make, I think, if we read a poet like Dante or if we read Dante himself. It is a journey that I am sure Sri Chinmoy knows about and which coincides, I feel, very much with his work, which I appreciate very much. And I thank him for it.
Professor David Coleman Professor of Demography
Like many others, I could not imagine what I had done to deserve this honour, but I am very moved by this uplifting experience and I thank you very much for it. It is a particularly auspicious occasion for me because June 26th happens to be my birthday! In my work in demography, which is a very small subject and so that is another reason for being particularly pleased with this recognition, we look forward in the coming century to moving — all of us, rich countries and poor ones — into a completely unknown new world: a new world of longer lives, a new world of smaller and smaller families, a new world possibly of shrinking populations, even shrinking world populations. In this new world, I hope my small subject will be of some use, and in this new world we will need all the inspiration and wisdom that we can get. Thank you.
Professor John Knight Professor of Economics
I decided to devote my economic expertise to tackling some of the most important economic problems in the world — poverty, inequality, education and health problems in the poorest countries. But human development and human well-being are not just a matter of economics; they are also a matter of spirituality. If all the people in the world could hear your message and would accept your message, what a much better place it would be. I feel humbled and greatly honoured. Thank you.
Dr. Geeta Kingdon Lecturer in African Economies
Because I work in the field of development, I feel that no true peace can he achieved without there being development and the eradication of extremes of wealth and poverty that exist. Perhaps what I do will ultimately, hopefully, contribute to the work of peace, the very important work of peace that you are doing. I feel very honoured to have been invited.
Professor Zhan Feng Cui Professor of Chemical Engineering
I am a chemical engineer, and the chemical industry usually has a bad reputation for polluting the environment and making it dirty, etcetera. But actually, we are not just dirty and smelly! We are doing some useful things. A lot of my work is related to how to improve human health, medical engineering and the environment. But, through this enlightening experience, what I felt is that we scientists are quite often focused on our scientific research, on making progress and writing papers. Through this activity today, I think that the question to ask ourselves is why we are doing this and how our work can benefit the whole humankind. Thank you very much.
Professor Theo M. Van Lint Professor of Armenian Studies
I think you are uniting us around a theme which has been touched upon several times — the unworthiness of the participants — of which I am another example! I am very grateful to be here and I think I am most of all very grateful for the possibility to express my gratitude to those in this world who have given me so much. One of the things I work on particularly is poetry. There is a line in Auden which I find puzzling and probably will find puzzling until the end of my days, which is “poetry makes nothing happen.” I do not believe it, but Auden said so, and he was a great poet. There lies a paradox. Today I lived in a metaphor for a few moments. You lifted me up and this made a metaphor come true — poetry became reality. I would like to thank you so much for your very poetic and very real work.
Professor Andrew Briggs Professor of Materials
We are all grateful to you for including us today. I am a scientist and I am a Christian. I believe in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. And here in Oxford there is a strong tradition of combining the study of the natural world with the study of the spiritual world. It goes right back to our first Chancellor, Robert Grosatest, in the 13th century.
It continued through the 17th century with the Christian virtuosi and, just two weeks ago here in Oxford, there was a meeting — a workshop for a day — which combined some of the top Theology Professors in the University and some of the top Professors of the Physical Sciences, studying the interface between the physical world and the spiritual world. It is a great pleasure to be able to participate in that kind of celebration this afternoon. Thank you.
Professor Philip Maini Professor of Mathematical Biology
My family originates in India, in the Punjab, which most of you will know is an area of great religious strife, and for some reason they decided to move to Belfast. Maybe it made them feel at home! I grew up in a community which was full of religious strife and it was a very divisive community — and those two places continue to have their problems. It really is a truly uplifting experience to be in the presence of someone who believes very much in unity. I thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to come here.
Additional comments and expressions of gratitude2Professor Avi Shlaim Professor of International Relations
It was a great pleasure to take part in the meeting at Oxford. I enjoyed the music, the singing, the evident sincerity of all the people I met, the uplifting experience and, above all, being in the company of Sri Chinmoy. My own work is on the Arab-Israeli conflict. The only hope of resolving it lies with people from different cultures coming together with an open heart and an open mind in a spirit of mutual respect and tolerance. It was a privilege to meet Sri Chinmoy, who personifies these human values.
Reverend Marcus Braybrooke Marsh Baldon, Oxford
Dear and Respected Sri Chinmoy,
This is to thank you for the amazing honour that you did me yesterday. It was a complete surprise. It was honour enough to be in your presence. I much admire your untiring work for peace — work and prayer that seem more necessary now than ever.
Professor Andrew Briggs Professor of Materials
Thank you so much for including me in the Lifting Up the World ceremony. It was most memorable, and I felt honoured to be able to take part.
Dr. Peter Carey Trinity College, Oxford
The Lifting Up the World With a Oneness-Heart of 26 June last will remain forever etched in my memory, especially your closing words to me that only the power of the peaceful heart, not the medicine of the mind, has the capacity to effect healing and change. Thank you again for the honour you gave me to be included in your heart-nourishing energy.
Professor Alison Noble Robotics Research Group, Department of Engineering Science
As an engineering scientist, one is used to being recognised in terms of the contribution one makes via one’s research to one’s technical discipline, to advance knowledge of how to develop systems and devices. In my case, I am fortunate in that, as a medical engineer, I can see the reward of contributing to society, as I work with clinicians to develop imaging methods that can improve clinical diagnosis and treatments. On a different level, as an academic, I come in contact with bright, enquiring minds every working day, and there is nothing more satisfying than to see these individuals grow intellectually under your guidance and move on to successful careers in their own right. Together, these two dimensions of my job make it very rewarding.
It is, therefore, an honour to be given such an award in recognition for what I have achieved to date. Medical engineering is a young multi-disciplinary field and I would like to think that there are many more ways in which I (together with my colleagues and students) can contribute to its advance in the years to come.
2e5. Some additional comments and expressions of gratitude were received from the honorees after the event.↩
Oxford University3O Oxford University,
Great Britain’s vast prosperity!
You give the world your knowledge-light.
You are a student of inner height.
3. Words and music by Sri Chinmoy, 26 June 1989.↩
Varsity professors you fly and fly4Varsity professors high,
You fly and fly and fly
In the blue vastness-mind-sky.
At your feet, ignorance-nights die!
4. Words and music by Sri Chinmoy, 1 May 2003.↩
You feed our knowledge-hunger, you feed.
Knowledge is light, knowledge is power.
You help us build wisdom-tower.
5. Words and music by Sri Chinmoy, 26 May 2001.↩
After liftingAt the end of the programme, Professor Hedges’ wife, Laurie, offered Sri Chinmoy a most beautiful bouquet of flowers. While doing so, she said to Sri Chinmoy, “I am so grateful to you. Wives are never honoured, but today you have honoured the wives. You are the first person to honour me.” Sri Chinmoy replied, “Husbands are flowers and wives are the beauty and fragrance. Without beauty and fragrance, the flower has no meaning. Again, if there are no flowers, how can we have beauty and fragrance?” Then Sri Chinmoy offered Professor Hedges and his wife some refreshments.
Professor Brian Catling and his wife Sarah exchanged some humorous observations with Sri Chinmoy. Professor Catling said, “We know the law of gravity: it comes down. But in your case, when you lift, the apple went up. It did not fall down!”
Professor Brian Catling offers Sri Chinmoy a copy of his book of poetry entitled Thyhand.
Dr. Peter Carey and Sri Chinmoy spoke together about the world situation and about Dr. Carey’s work in East Timor. Sri Chinmoy said to Dr. Carey, “Only the peaceful heart, and not the medicine of the mind, has the power to effect healing and change.”
Professor Martin Kemp had invoked Leonardo da Vinci in his deeply moving reflections on the programme. Afterwards, Sri Chinmoy most fervently remarked to him, “How I wish I could follow in the footsteps of Leonardo da Vinci!”
Professor Kemp replied, “No, you two are one. I take both of you in the same spirit.”
On the occasion of his birthday, a beaming Professor Coleman accepts some refreshments from Sri Chinmoy.
Sri Chinmoy and Professor Avi Shlaim exchange their hearts’ oneness.
Sri Chinmoy greets Professor Arthur Fishman (Bahnni), who is Professor of Economics at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. Professor Fishman travelled to Oxford specially for this event.
Above: During the programme, Sri Chinmoy confers with Ketan Tamm about the order of lifts. Ketan is instrumental in organising many of Sri Chinmoy’s Lifting Up the World With a Oneness-Heart Award programmes.
Sri Chinmoy happily greets Dr. Kanti Rawal and his wife, Dr. Jeya Srinivasan, who made a stopover in Oxford on their way home to California specially to attend the function. Dr. Rawal is one of the world’s leading tomato scientists, and Dr. Srinivasan, now retired, was formerly with the Mathematics Faculty of the University of California at Davis. They are shown with their son Sanjay who, together with Ketan, has played a major role in the Lifting Up the World With a Oneness-Heart programmes.
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Sri Chinmoy's previous visits to the University of Oxford1 November 19, 1970 Lecture entitled “The Universe”, Keble College
2 June 11, 1973 Lecture entitled “Three Lessons in Spirituality” in the Newman Room, University Catholic Chaplaincy
3 June 25, 1974 Lecture entitled “Confidence”
4 June 19, 1976 Lecture entitled “Goodness and Greatness” in St. Cross Building, Manor Road
5 May 16, 1981 Lecture entitled “Success-Height” in the Oxford Union Debating Chamber
6 October 15, 1987 Organ recital in New College
7 June 26, 1989 Organ recital in Christ Church Cathedral, Christ Church College, followed by Lifting Up the World With a Oneness-Heart Award ceremony in the garden of Mr. Robin Waterfield, Oxford. Sri Chinmoy honoured Professor Dame Dorothy Hodgkin (1964 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, University of Oxford), Professor B.K. Matilal (Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, University of Oxford), Dr. Nicholas Goodrick-Clark (historian and author, University of Oxford), Sir George Trevelyan and Mr. Robin Waterfield. That same evening, Sri Chinmoy offered a Peace Concert in the Sheldonian Theatre, preceded by a short talk entitled “A Conversation with My Lord Supreme”
8 May 22, 1997 Sri Chinmoy offered a Peace Concert in Christ Church Cathedral. This was one of his fifty worldwide concerts to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of India’s Independence. The introduction to Sri Chinmoy was given by Professor Indra Nath Choudhuri, Director of the Nehru Centre in London.
Five lectures at the University of Oxford6-12. Sri Chinmoy's five lectures at the University of Oxford are reproduced on the following pages.
The universe6Oxford, to you I bow because you hold your tradition dear. Oxford, to you I bow because you own English glory. Oxford, to you I how because you are the English pride.
Aum. Aum is God. Aum is the Inner Pilot. Aum is the universe.
Aum. Pūrṇam adaḥ pūrṇam idaṃ pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate Pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya pūrṇam evāvaśiṣyate
The universe. “Infinity is that. Infinity is this. From Infinity, Infinity has come into existence. From Infinity, when Infinity is taken away, Infinity remains.”
Marcus Aurelius said, “The man who does not know what the universe is, does not know where he lives.”
The universe is God’s Creation and man’s realisation. The universe is God’s Compassion and man’s emancipation. The universe is God’s Concentration and man’s transformation. The universe is God’s Meditation and man’s revelation. The universe is God’s Contemplation and man’s manifestation.
The poet in me tells me that the universe is beautiful. The singer in me tells me that the universe is enchanting. The philosopher in me tells me that the universe is meaningful. The Yogi in me tells me that the universe is soulful. The God-lover in me tells me that the universe is fruitful.
My poet sees the truth. My singer feels the truth. My philosopher achieves the truth. My Yogi realises the truth. My God-lover becomes the truth.
Man’s dictionary houses millions of words. But God’s Dictionary has only two words: aspiration and receptivity. God out of His boundless Bounty offers these two most significant words — should I say, this significant wealth — to mankind: aspiration and receptivity.
The aspiration of today is tomorrow’s salvation. The receptivity of today is tomorrow’s Infinity.
In the finite we have to hear the message of the Infinite. In the fleeting second we have to hear the message of the eternal Beyond. In the domain of death we have to hear the message of Immortality.
Here, at this point, the immortal poet Blake sings through us and for us:
And Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."
The outer universe, the inner universe and the inmost universe. My physics friend, my chemistry friend, my geography friend, my astronomy friend all inform me about the outer universe. I am most grateful to them. My psychology friend and my philosophy friend tell me about the inner universe. I am most grateful to them. My Yogi friend and my Avatar friend tell me about the inmost universe. I am most grateful to them. I ask them all if they are totally satisfied with their achievements, discoveries and realisations. They flatly say, “No.”
My friends in the outer universe tell me they have much more to discover and unravel. My friends in the inner universe tell me they have much more to embody and realise. And my friends in the inmost universe tell me they have much more to reveal and manifest.
The visible universe and the invisible universe. The thinker in us sees the visible universe with the aspiring mind. The knower in us feels the visible universe with the aspiring heart.
In order to enter into the invisible universe, what we need is the soul’s illumining light. If we do not see with the soul’s illumining light, if we do not listen to the dictates of our soul, it is simply impossible for us to enter the invisible universe.
The living universe and the evolving universe, the dying universe and the perishing universe. When we aspire, when we consciously, soulfully and spontaneously try to go beyond the boundaries of the finite, we live in the living and evolving universe. When we consciously or unconsciously cherish doubt, jealousy, fear, imperfections, bondage, limitations and death, we live in the dying and perishing universe.
If we want to live in the universe — the spiritual universe or the real universe — we have to know that we must abide by the laws of the universe. What are the laws of the universe? Love and serve.
Love humanity. Serve divinity.
We have to love the humanity in divinity. We have to serve the divinity in humanity.
At this point we can recollect the message of Plato, who said, “Through obedience we learn to command.” Now, if we obey the laws of the universe, then we can command ignorance and govern death.
The scientist wants to discover the entire universe. The spiritual person, the seeker of the infinite Truth, also wants to discover the entire universe. So the spiritual scientist and the spiritual seeker will always run together, for they have the same message.
The scientist of scientists, Einstein, offers us the most sublime message: “His life is worthwhile who lives for others.” This is precisely what a spiritual person, a seeker of boundless Light and Peace, tells us. Only he who lives for others has a meaningful life. Verily this is the message of all hallowed religions: live for others.
Although science and religion run abreast in this respect, there is something else. We call it Yoga. Yoga is a Sanskrit word which means union: union with God, union with Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. When we enter into the field of Yoga, we feel that the love and service we offer to mankind is not for others, but for us, for our enlarged part. There is no such thing as “others.” All are members of the same family.
When we remain in the mire of ignorance, we say “I,” “you,” “him”; but when it is a matter of oneness — inseparable oneness, oneness with God, oneness with mankind, oneness with God’s Creation — then we cannot say that it is for others. It is for our sake, for the sake of our enlarged and more complete Self.
Discovery. Science will discover the truth. Religion — or should I say spirituality — will discover the truth in the universe. And Yoga, oneness with God, will realise the ultimate Truth for the universe.
When the discovery of science is complete, it will see that its universe is manifesting the Truth of the ultimate Beyond.
When religion or spirituality discovers the ultimate Truth, it will see that its universe is realising the Truth of the ever-transcending Beyond.
And when Yoga, or conscious union with God and mankind, completes its journey, it will transform the face of the world. It will illumine the face of the earth.
The discovery of the scientist, the discovery of religion and spirituality, and the discovery of one’s highest oneness, inseparable oneness with God, will run together like three brothers, speeding towards the eternal Father, the Goal.
6. Keble College, University of Oxford, 19 November 1970.↩
Three lessons in spirituality7Spirituality is our inner growth, inner evolution, inner achievement and inner fulfilment. The day we left the mineral kingdom, we started our spiritual journey. After passing through the plant kingdom, we entered into the animal kingdom and our evolution went faster. Then, from the animal kingdom, we entered into the human kingdom, and our evolution became conscious. Now, from the human kingdom, we are consciously, soulfully, devotedly, divinely and unconditionally trying to enter into the divine kingdom.
All of us here are seekers; we are all spiritual people. On the strength of my own realisation, I wish to say that all of us without exception are studying spirituality. There is no human being on earth who is not studying this subject at least a little. From this subject, everybody learns something according to his capacity or receptivity. There is nobody who has not learnt anything. Your learning will not be the same as mine, but that does not mean that you have not studied the subject as well as I have.
What have I learnt from spirituality? I have learnt only three things. Love of God is the first thing I have learnt. The second thing is self-discovery. And the third thing is the importance of doing first things first. Love of God. Self-discovery. First things first.
Love of God. Is there anybody who does not love God? No, not even an atheist. The atheist negates God. But to me his very negation is an act of God. And whatever he does love is God, because everything comes from God and is of God. Atheists and agnostics are all in the one boat that leads to the destined Goal, though perhaps in spite of themselves. Love of God is oneness with the Universal Consciousness. Conscious oneness with the Universal Consciousness is conscious love of God. God is one; God is many. He is the tree. He is the branches, the leaves and the flowers. He is unity and multiplicity. When we look within, He is one; when we look without, He is many.
Self-discovery. What do we mean by self-discovery? Self-discovery is our recovery from ignorance-illness. When we are ill, we suffer for a while and then we get better, only to fall sick again. But self-discovery is our permanent recovery from the illness that is called ignorance.
Self-discovery is God-discovery. There is no difference between self-discovery and God-discovery. When you discover yourself, you feel in the inmost recesses of your heart your oneness with God — your inner Divinity, your inner Immortality, your inner Infinity, your inner Eternity, which are nothing other than God Himself. This realisation is not the sole monopoly of a spiritual Master. Everybody without exception can discover it. But when we make a conscious effort, when we pray consciously and devotedly, we come to realise God’s Light, Peace and Bliss infinitely faster than those who wallow in the pleasures of ignorance.
First things first. What is the first thing? The first thing in our lives should be God. Our first thought should be: “Let Thy Will be done.” When the finite consciously accepts the Infinite as its very own, the finite is blessed with liberation and perfection. When I say, “Let Thy Will be done,” it means I am consciously surrendering my lower existence to my higher existence. I can say that my feet are my lower existence and my heart is my higher existence. Both my heart and my feet are mine; they are both part and parcel of my existence. But my feet are in ignorance and my heart is bathing in the sea of Light and Wisdom. My heart can easily help and guide my feet if my feet are willing to surrender to their higher part, the heart. The feet must feel that now they are in ignorance, but when they enter into the heart, at that time they will be illumined.
I have to know that I embody the lowest and the highest. When I am in the highest, I am consciously one, inseparably one with the Supreme Pilot. In that consciousness I represent Him, and one day I will become what He eternally is. My lowest part is ignorant, imperfect, undivine, hostile, but if I can remember that the highest part also is mine, then I will see nothing wrong in carrying the highest part to the lowest part with the message of liberation.
So to do the first thing first means to surrender our individual will to the Will of the Supreme, and then to feel that this surrender is the surrender of our lower existence to our higher existence. When we surrender our lower existence to our higher existence, we become the chosen instruments of the Absolute Supreme.
When it comes to studying the spiritual life, we find there are two students in us: the head and the heart. These two students have come to us to learn the higher wisdom, and we have to teach them both. But we have to know which of the two students has more learning capacity and which has less, which is more progressive and which is less progressive, which deserves more attention and which deserves less attention, for the time being. Two students, the mind and the heart, have come to learn. The mind is the inferior student and the heart is the superior student. But unfortunately, the inferior one often creates problems for the superior one.
Our inner being is the teacher. It tells the mind-student, “You have learnt much. But your knowledge is only information and it is actually standing in your way. We always say that knowledge is our hope, but in your case, knowledge has become a veritable obstruction. You have absorbed too much knowledge. You do not know how to utilise it and you cannot digest it. So please, for God’s sake, unlearn. If you can unlearn it, then you will be in a position to learn something really useful from me, your inner being.”
Then our inner being tells the heart-student, “You have to learn only one thing: to give. Offer yourself, offer what you have and what you are. Empty yourself.” The heart immediately says, “I am ready. What I have right now is insecurity and ignorance. What I am is uncertainty. But I am ready to offer it all immediately. I will offer up all my insecurity, uncertainty and ignorance.”
The heart is ready and eager to surrender what it has and what it is, but the mind finds it very difficult to unlearn. What it has learnt is how to doubt. This is the most important thing to the mind. If the mind can doubt others, then it really feels that it has some wisdom. The moment I doubt you, I feel I have done something great. Here I have made my doubt a spiritual authority. But this kind of spiritual authority is nothing but slow poison. It kills our spiritual life. The heart, however, is just the opposite. Today it receives, tomorrow it achieves, the day after tomorrow it becomes and finally it realises what it eternally is.
There comes a time when the heart, out of its own inner spontaneous love for its brother, the mind, comes and knocks at the mind’s door. With tremendous reluctance, the mind opens its door and, to its wide astonishment, sees that the heart, its own brother, is fully illumined. There is not even an iota of darkness inside the heart. Then the mind asks the heart how it has accomplished this. It says, “You are also a part of the family. How is it that I see in you all illumination, all divinity? What is wrong with me that I am still ignorant and unillumined?”
The heart replies, “I listened to the dictates of the Inner Pilot. I did what the Inner Pilot asked me to do. In your case, the Inner Pilot asked you to unlearn. What you have learnt is not illumination. What you have discovered is not realisation. You have learnt and discovered information, and on the basis of this information you have built a palace of obscurity and divided consciousness. You have always separated yourself from the rest of the world. You are not accepting my realisation as your very own. You do not claim me as your very own, but I accept you as my very own. I accept each and every one as my very own. In your case, there is no oneness, but only separation. You do not run to the Light. Your goal is still a far cry. I listened to the Inner Pilot when He asked me to do something, and now I am all illumination.”
The mind thinks for some time, and then says, “All right, I will listen to you,” and it starts unlearning. First it unlearns doubt, then it unlearns fear, then it unlearns jealousy, then it unlearns the feeling of superiority and inferiority. All the things that divide and separate the mind from the whole, the mind consciously tries to unlearn. The mind chases away doubt; immediately faith grows. It chases away insecurity; immediately confidence dawns. It rejects all feelings of inferiority and embraces the feeling of oneness. Impurity leaves the mind and purity enters. The mind now accepts the Light and thinks of its ultimate goal. The ultimate goal of the mind is illumination. The ultimate goal of the heart is liberation. When the two meet together on the way to their destination, they become inseparably one. Then perfection dawns, and man the seeker becomes the conscious representative of the Absolute Supreme on earth.
MLH 7. Newman Room, University Catholic Chaplaincy, University of Oxford, 11 June 1973.↩
Confidence8Dear brothers and sisters, dear seekers of the infinite Truth and Light, I wish to speak about confidence from the spiritual point of view. We are now in Oxford University. The seeker in me feels that Oxford first embodies and then represents the art, culture and glory not only of Great Britain, but of the entire European consciousness. Oxford represents world culture and world history in the highest form of mental light, knowledge and wisdom in the outer world. Oxford is confidence. It is in the confidence of Oxford that all these supernal qualities are playing their respective roles.
We all know that there are two types of confidence: human and divine. Human confidence is very often founded upon our little “I,” our ego. Ego means ignorance-pleasure and sense-enjoyment. This little ego binds us, imprisons us. But divine confidence is founded upon our transcendental Self: the Self that liberates us, the Self that brings us the message of universal Consciousness, the Self that helps us transcend our earth-bound consciousness and enter into the Infinite. I wish to speak about divine confidence.
Confidence is the unification of God the Compassion and man the reliance. Confidence is the expression and revelation of God’s Will through the human heart, mind, vital and body. Confidence is the God-Beauty in us. Confidence is truth-unity and truth-multiplicity in us. Confidence is truth-recognition in us, Heaven-vision by us and God-decision for us. Confidence is our life-acceptance and life-transcendence, our earth-transformation and God-manifestation.
Confidence is not pride; it is the conscious awareness of our own height and depth. Confidence is not the aggrandisement of our ego; it is the awareness of our developing strength in the battlefield of life. Confidence is not the precursor of destruction; it is the precursor of achievement, of abundant divine achievement for the Absolute Supreme.
Confidence is our divine contentment, which knows what to enjoy, how to enjoy, where to enjoy and why to enjoy. What to enjoy? God’s Smile. How to enjoy? Through selfless service, through self-offering. Where to enjoy? In pure consciousness; in the inmost recesses of our aspiring heart, mind, vital and physical. Why to enjoy? Because we need the expression of the inner Self.
In the inner world, we feel that divine confidence is housed in our aspiration. Aspiration is the harbinger of Peace, Light and Bliss in infinite measure. He who embodies aspiration in the purest sense of the term can reveal and manifest Light, Truth and Delight. According to the world’s receptivity, the world receives these qualities from the supreme seeker who embodies confidence in the form of aspiration.
Confidence is like a divine muscle. It can be developed slowly, steadily and unerringly if we know the secret of disciplining our body, vital, mind and heart. In order to discipline ourselves what we need is an inner cry, the cry that carries our entire being into the highest realm of Silence. In this way we develop confidence, and with this confidence-muscle we can be strong, stronger, strongest. Each human being represents the physical world, the vital world, the mental world and the psychic world. In the physical world he is hunting after pleasure. He achieves a little pleasure and feels that his achievement is his confidence. In the vital world he brings the message of Julius Caesar. He declares, “Veni, vidi, vici — I came, I saw, I conquered.” In the mental world, if his mind is illumined to a certain extent, he feels that through his mind’s light earth can be illumined, perfected and liberated. He feels that earth can be a conscious receptacle of divinity, that divinity can be housed in the earth-consciousness. And when he is in the psychic or heart’s world, he soulfully offers this unique message to the world at large: “I came into the world to love God in mankind and to be of unconditional service to God in mankind.”
In our spiritual life, belief is of importance, but we have to know whether this belief is mental or psychic. If belief comes to the fore from an inner realm of consciousness, then it is a superior type of belief, psychic belief. This type of belief abides in the silent home of our soul’s light, and it is synonymous with divine confidence. It is powerful and unassailable. This type of belief, this divine confidence, inspires and energises us to fight for Truth, for Light, for world harmony, for world peace and for world salvation. But mental belief can be battered and shattered in a moment by doubt, suspicion and other hostile forces in the world.
In the spiritual life we have two giant friends: faith and confidence. Faith can hear the message of the highest Silence. Faith can guide us and lead us to our soul’s Goal of goals. Confidence can hear the message of the cosmic sound. Confidence can act like a hero-warrior in the battlefield of life. It can change today’s world of darkness, imperfection and bondage into a world of light, perfection and freedom.
8. University of Oxford, 25 June 1974.↩
Greatness and goodness9I wish to give a very short talk on greatness and goodness. Here we are in Oxford. Oxford is a place of greatness and goodness. Oxford, I bow to your greatness and I bow to your goodness. Your greatness is divinely meaningful and your goodness is supremely soulful. Anything that is great in England is to be found here in microcosm. Greatness and goodness combined are what Oxford is.
Students who want to cultivate mental knowledge of the highest degree come here from all over the world to achieve greatness. Then they go back to their respective countries to offer the knowledge-light that they have achieved here. This knowledge-light that they spread is goodness.
To have greatness is to have faith in oneself — in one’s physical, in one’s vital, in one’s mind and in one’s heart. If one has a strong body, he has faith in his physical strength. If one has a dynamic vital, then he has implicit faith in his vital. If one is blessed with a brilliant mind, then he has faith in his mind. And if one is blessed with a pure and unalloyed heart, then he has tremendous faith in his heart. Goodness is faith only in God, in Truth, in Light. When one becomes part and parcel of Truth, then one takes the side of Truth and Light. And when one is always for God, this is nothing but goodness. Goodness always has faith in God, Truth and Light.
Greatness is a universally acknowledged fact. Goodness is also a universally acknowledged fact. But it is something more. It is a universally loved reality. Greatness we observe in our outer life. Goodness we observe in our inner life. With our human eyes, we observe greatness around us, all over the world. With our divine heart, we feel goodness within us and within others.
God is great because He has created this world. This is a fact that we have been taught by our parents, by our friends, by the world body. God is also good, kind, compassionate. He is our Source within us; He is for us, eternally for us. He wants to liberate us, He wants to illumine us, He wants to grant us realisation, satisfaction and fulfilment. He is the Author of all good. This is God the Goodness. God the Creator is Greatness, and God the Lover of His Creation is Goodness. We love God not because He is supremely great, but because He is universally, transcendentally good. Greatness astonishes us. Goodness illumines us and liberates us from the shackles of bondage.
Greatness we can express in an animal way when we quarrel, fight and try to destroy one another. When we stay together in a family and love one another, then greatness is expressed in a human way. When we try to elevate one another and help one another reach the highest heights, at that time greatness is expressed in a divine way. Finally, greatness is expressed in the supreme way when we tell the world that God the Eternal Reality is also eternally good; He is the Source. He is waiting for us, Him to please in His own Way. Here we reach greatness, supreme greatness, on the strength of our conscious and constant surrender to God’s Will.
Usually our human mind craves greatness, whereas our divine heart longs for goodness. Sometimes we notice a yawning gulf between the mind and the heart, between the goal that the mind wants to reach and the goal that the heart wants to reach. The mind tries to see its goal by separating one reality from another. Everything it wants to see in an infinitesimal measure, whereas the heart wants to see the goal, the reality, as a unit, one and inseparable. The mind and the heart approach reality in different ways, but they cannot always remain separated. They have to be unified in order to achieve the highest truth. There are two kinds of mind: the physical mind and the illumined mind. The physical mind is bound by the physical world. It wants to lord it over the world. It wants to stay at least an inch above others so that it can dominate others. Consciously or unconsciously, willingly or unwillingly, it gets tremendous joy from its sense of separativity. The illumined mind is totally different. It longs for vastness within and without. It wants nothing but vastness, and inside vastness, it wants to grow and glow.
The human heart, which is very near the vital centre, is quite often insecure. It does not want to house others inside it. It feels that when others want to take shelter in it, they may break the vessel. It feels it is too small. Therefore, the human heart is quite often insecure and timid. And just because it is quite near the vital, unconsciously or consciously, like a magnet it pulls impurity from the undisciplined vital. But there is also the spiritual heart. This heart is always united with the soul; it has established its oneness with the soul. The soul, which is the direct representative of the Lord Supreme, has Light in boundless measure. And the spiritual heart has a free access to the soul. Therefore, it can easily bring down the soul’s Light into its system.
The oneness of the spiritual heart and the vastness of the illumined mind must be brought together. Oneness we can establish with another individual or with some tiny object. But if we have vastness along with the oneness, if we can establish our oneness with God’s vast Creation, then we become perfect. Likewise, vast ness without oneness is of no avail. God’s Creation is very vast, but if we fail to establish our oneness with this vastness, then vastness remains a barren desert. In order to become perfect, we have to create within us vastness and oneness, and we have to grow into both vastness and oneness.
There are two worlds. One is the world of desire; the other is the world of aspiration. When we remain in the desire-world, greatness looms large. But when we remain in the aspiration-world, goodness looms large. Just because we are seekers, we are consciously trying to come out of the domain of the desire-world and establish our abode in the aspiration-world.
The desire to know the world and the desire to know oneself are totally different things. When we want to know the world around us, without caring for our oneness with the world, unconsciously we are aiming at greatness. And this greatness, without fail, separates us from the world. But when we want to know ourselves implicitly, what we realise is that we are part and parcel of the whole, of the integral reality. Even if we start with the desire-world and try to become great, no harm. It is far better than remaining in the world of lethargy and somnolence. But there shall come a time when we see that our greatness has not given us an iota of satisfaction; for inside greatness what we see is frustration. There comes a time when our greatness is challenged. An individual feels that he is a great singer. But sooner or later his pride is smashed when he sees that another singer is far better than he. Then what does he do? He resorts to goodness.
Goodness is not in competing with the world around us; only it offers the message of self-transcendence. If we at all have to compare, then the comparison is with ourselves. If we at all have to compete, then we will compete with our own previous capacities. Here there is no other world. There is only our own world of constant and continuous progress. We try only to transcend ourselves. In the desire-world there is comparison and competition. But in the aspiration-world, we do not want to make others feel that we are superior. No. When we feel that we have an iota of light, we aspire to have abundant light, infinite Light. Only by virtue of our constant aspiration do we transcend our own capacities. We feel that the more we increase our capacity and the more we utilise our capacity to please the Inner Pilot in His own Way, the sooner we become His perfect instruments.
9. St. Cross Building, Manor Road, University of Oxford, 19 June 1976.↩
Success-height10Where is man’s success-mountain-peak, where, where, where? It is in man’s possession-dream. It is in man’s frustration-reality. It is in man’s destruction-inevitability.
Success-height, what is it? It is futile emptiness. What is missing? Light, light that illumines man’s endless darkness, is missing. What else is missing? Delight, delight that feeds man’s beginningless hunger, is missing. In the life of a Truth-seeker, success-height is utterly meaningless, and in the life of a God-lover, it is absolutely useless. A Truth-seeker constantly needs progress-vision. A God-lover sleeplessly needs progress-realisation. Progress-vision and progress-realisation alone can inundate a Truth-seeker’s and a God-lover’s life with infinite Peace, infinite Bliss and infinite Satisfaction.
Success-life is an outer cry. Julius Caesar represents this cry for humanity: “I came, I saw, I conquered.” Progress-smile and the inner life go together. Inner aspiration-cry and outer progress-smile will always go together. Here we can invoke the soul of the immortal poet William Blake. The seeker-heart in him envisioned the Infinite in the finite; his was a cry of the finite for the Infinite:
And Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."
In order to achieve success, an individual may adopt foul means. Again, in order to achieve success, he has to face countless difficulties: the challenging world, the teeming doubts, fears, worries and anxieties, the frightening experiences he has to encounter. But he who wants progress, only progress, in his life takes these unfortunate incidents as his experience-light. For him, each incident is an experience and each experience helps him grow into a larger reality.
Progress-life alone can satisfy a seeker’s Lord Supreme. His Lord Supreme tells him that He is extremely proud of him, for in him He has discovered a chosen instrument of His. Again, the seeker is extremely proud of himself, for he has chosen to express, to reveal and to manifest the inner divinity in fullest measure. God’s Vision and Reality — His Eternity’s Vision and His Infinity’s Reality: only a seeker-heart can embody, reveal and manifest this immortal message. He does it by virtue of his progress-life, and his progress-life is always founded upon his self-giving. Today what we call a self-giving experience, tomorrow that very thing presents itself before us as a God-becoming realisation.
10. Students Union Debating Chamber, University of Oxford May 16th, 1981. During the programme, Sri Chinmoy performed on the esraj, Western flute and harmonium. He also answered questions from the audience.↩
A conversation with my Lord Supreme11Peace is in the beauty of my silence-mind. Peace is in the fragrance of my surrender-heart.
A new flame of aspiration inside my heart needs a new awakening of my self-giving service: peace for mankind.
My Lord Supreme, I would like to ask You a few soulful and spiritual questions. Will You kindly answer them, my Lord Supreme?
“Certainly, My child. I shall answer all your questions.”
My Lord, I am a Truth-seeker and I am a God-lover. My Lord, I wish to glorify You. Please tell me how I can glorify You.
“My child, if you sincerely want to glorify Me, then never be afraid of Me, but be all love. Love Me soulfully, love Me sleeplessly, love Me breathlessly and, finally, love Me unconditionally if you want to glorify Me here on earth.”
My Lord, please tell me how my spiritual life can deal with Your Greatness-Mind and Your Goodness-Heart.
“My child, never, never try to understand My Infinity’s Greatness-Mind. Never. Try to feel at every moment My Immortality’s Goodness in your heart of aspiration and in your life of dedication.”
My Lord Supreme, You know I have an animal vital, a human mind and a divine heart. How can I use them properly?
“The animal vital of yours, never, never use. Never use it to challenge the world, to devour the world. Never.
Your human mind, never use it to lord it over others, to achieve supremacy. No, never. Your divine heart, use it at every moment to establish oneness-peace here, there and everywhere throughout the length and breadth of the world. Use your divine heart to establish oneness-peace, peace universal.”
My Lord Supreme, out of Your infinite Bounty, You have given me Your Joy, Blessings and Compassion. These are Your Gifts supreme to earth. Quite often, I forget that I have received these Blessings from You. I do not remember them. Do You feel sad when I do not remember Your supreme Blessings?
“No, My child, I do not feel sad if you do not remember My Blessings supreme which I have bestowed upon you. But I do feel sad when you forget the things that you have done for Me since you entered into the spiritual life: your aspiration-heart, your dedication-life, your willingness and your gratitude-heart. Always try to remember the good things you have done. Only by remembering the good things that you have done for Me will you be able to increase your good qualities. By thinking of your good qualities and meditating on your good qualities, you are bound to increase them and you are bound to improve your spiritual life. You will be able to run fast, faster, fastest and this will make Me happy, divinely happy and supremely happy.
“So, My child, always remember the things that you have done for Me most devotedly and soulfully. What I have done for you and what I will do for you is all done unconditionally. I do not expect anything in return from you. Always try to remember what you have given Me so that your present achievements can be the foundation of your supreme life-temple that will reach high, higher, highest.”
My Lord Supreme, what is the difference between outer education and inner education?
“My child, the outer education tells you how to scrutinise Me. While scrutinising Me, you are unconsciously trying to crucify Me. Your outer education also teaches you how to possess the world. To your utter surprise, while trying to possess the world, you are possessed mercilessly.
“Your inner education is an eternal thirst, an eternal hunger. This eternal thirst and this eternal hunger bring you into My Heart of complete Satisfaction. My child, if you want the life of spirituality, if you want to make yourself divinely and supremely happy, then your inner education is of paramount importance.”
My Lord Supreme, my last question: what do You think of me?
“My child, I think of you exactly the way I think of Myself. I think of you as another God. In Heaven you are My dreamer-partner, and here on earth you are My action-partner. Together we dream of a better and more illumining creation. On the strength of your unconditional surrender and your gratitude-heart, My child, we have become inseparably one. Each seeker-heart is inseparably one with Me for My manifestation here on earth.”
In my silence-mind is the peace-seed. In my gratitude-heart is the peace-plant. In my surrender-life is the peace-tree.
11. The Sheldonian Theatre, University of Oxford, June 26th, 1989. During his Peace Concert, Sri Chinmoy played the following instruments: blue dove ocarina, esraj, bamboo flute, triple bamboo gourd flute, tote-a-tune, plucked lute, bowed psaltery, cello, harmonium and pipe organ.↩
Sri Chinmoy's Peace ConcertSri Chinmoy offered a Peace Concert in Christ Church Cathedral, University of Oxford, on May 22nd, 1997. This was one of his fifty worldwide concerts to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of India’s Independence. The introduction to Sri Chinmoy was given by Professor Indra Nath Choudhuri, Director of the Nehru Centre in London.
During his Peace Concert, Sri Chinmoy played the dove ocarina, esraj, Western flute, bamboo gourd flute, plucked banjo, harmonium, Japanese synthesiser and cello.
Introduction by Professor Indra Nath Choudhuri
Today is a very auspicious day. Today is the Birthday of Lord Buddha, who gave us the message of peace and non-violence. It is a happy coincidence that on this day Sri Chinmoy is presenting his Peace Concert to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of India’s Independence. When Indians were engaged in their struggle for freedom, Mahatma Gandhi would always say that India’s freedom movement was India’s contribution to peace. He would not say even once that India’s freedom movement was to gain territorial freedom. Even Tagore would say, “A country is not mrinmoy (territorial), but chinmoy (ideational).”
Chinmoy is an idea, another name for meditative consciousness, chaitanya tanmayata. Sri Chinmoy is an artist, poet, writer, musician and composer all combined into one holistic self-dedicated to bringing peace to mankind. He sings and plays music — not just one instrument, from these diverse musical instruments comes the melody of peace based on love — love for humanity and love for God. His words are like poetry. He says about peace:
“Peace is God’s constant Grace.”
“Peace is the beginning of Love.
Peace is the completion of Truth.
Peace is the return to the Source.”
Sri Chinmoy stirs you to a recollection of the original, or the source of the original, or stirs you to a voyage of self-exploration. He is a verbal and musical paradise. He reveals a sky, a lost horizon. He is our link with the inner being. I bow to him and request him to begin his Concert for Peace, the divine ecstasy.
Professor Indra Nath Choudhuri
Director, Nehru Centre, London Formerly Professor of Comparative Literature at Universities in Delhi, Hyderabad and Bucharest, Christ Church Cathedral, University of Oxford, May 22nd, 1997