Mother Teresa: Humanity’s Flower-Heart, Divinity’s Fragrance-Soul, part 3

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On 5 September 1997, while Sri Chinmoy was in Warsaw, Poland, to offer a Peace Concert, he received the saddest news of Mother Teresa’s passing. This volume contains Sri Chinmoy’s eulogy for Mother Teresa, his messages of sympathy to Sister Nirmala and the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity, as well as several interviews that Sri Chinmoy offered in which he spoke of Mother Teresa’s untiring contributions to humanity. Sri Chinmoy’s own memorial services for Mother Teresa were held on 13 September 1997 at Aspiration-Ground in Jamaica, Queens, New York, and on 23 September 1997 at the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium, United Nations.

Eulogy for Mother Teresa

Calcutta’s Soaring Bird

India’s Sailing Moon
The World’s Weeping Sky
Earth’s Tearing Loss
Heaven’s Dancing Gain
The Christ’s Blossoming Promise
The Mother Mary’s Harvesting Pride.

Sri Chinmoy

11 September 1997

Messages from Poland1

Mother Teresa, dearer than the dearest for the sake of the dying people, is no more with us physically.

Just on the 26th of August I spoke to her for her blessings. She is at once my Sister of infinite affection and my Mother of infinite compassion. On our return to New York, we shall offer a memorial service for her.

Mother Teresa’s very name is sanctity, simplicity and purity. Her body’s death, her body’s departure from the earthly scene, is a supreme loss to Mother Earth. Again, her soul’s blessings for the world citizens and her inseparable oneness with the suffering humanity will always remain immortal. The goodness of her heart has covered the length and breadth of the world.

To be in her blessingful presence is to inundate oneself with humility. No matter who you are, no matter how great you are, how powerful you are, how bad or how good you are, how poor or how rich you are, just stand in front of her and all your incapacities and capacities disappear. What remains inside your heart, inside your life, is the peerless virtue: humility, reverent humility.

This year, in June, I had the golden opportunity to be in Mother’s blessingful presence on two occasions. Once I had a private interview with her and once I was accompanied by some of my students. Both of these meetings took place in the Bronx, New York. Then I wanted to speak with Mother on the telephone before she left for Calcutta. Her assistant, Sister Sabita, informed me that on the day of her departure Mother would call me and speak to me. Mother kept her promise. She called me in the morning on the same day that she was to leave New York and spoke with me for about fifteen minutes. That was not enough! Right before she left for Kennedy Airport, she dictated a letter to her assistant for me. I received the letter a few days later. That was the last letter I received from her.

Mother’s birthday falls on the 26th of August, but she observes it on the 27th because on that day she was baptised. She gives all importance to the day she was baptised. The 27th of August also happens to be my birthday. I spoke to her for her blessings on the 26th of August, New York time. In India, it was the morning of August 27th. That was the last time we spoke. Her final words to me were, “God bless you, Sri Chinmoy.”

A few days later, as you know, Mother Earth received a stupendous blow: Princess Diana left the earth-scene. Mother Teresa used to call Princess Diana “my daughter,” and Princess Diana had so much affection, respect, love and fondness for Mother Teresa. Their fondness for each other was unimaginable. On 2 September, we had a memorial service for Princess Diana in New York, and for that I requested a blessingful statement from Mother Teresa. She had already issued two statements in Calcutta. At my request, she gave a third message and it was most soulful and prayerful.

After giving her message for Princess Diana, Mother added a special message for me. She said that I had to go with her to China because China needs light. So many times she asked me to go with her to China to open up a House.

There was a time, many years ago, when Mother Teresa wanted to open up Houses in Russia. When she opened up her first House, and then a second and a third, she was so delighted and excited. She felt she would be able to bring light into the Russian life. Then her sole aim became to have at least one House in China. No sincere attempt ends in vain. I am sure Mother’s wish will be fulfilled under the able guidance of Sister Nirmala. Sister Nirmala is now head of the worldwide Mission of Mother Teresa. She has tremendous affection, love and concern for me. When I met her in New York, she showed me the utmost kindness.

In recent years, Mother Teresa was taken to the hospital in a serious condition quite a few times. I prayed and prayed to our Beloved Lord Supreme for her to stay on earth. At least five times, He was successful in and through humanity’s prayers. But this time it was a massive heart attack. No hospital or person could be of any help to her. This time we were not given the chance to pray for her recovery.

Mother Teresa’s earthly frame we shall no longer see. But her Divinity’s eyes and Immortality’s heart she has left behind for the world to claim as its own, very own.

As it is true that the world is full of suffering, even so, it is equally true that there came a soul to become and to remain inseparably one with the suffering humanity, and her spirit will forever remain here on earth.

MT 60. Around 7:30 on the evening of 5 September 1997, as Sri Chinmoy was preparing to meet with 1,700 of his students from Russia, Eastern Europe and Germany, he received the shattering news of Mother Teresa's passing. That evening, after a long period of silent meditation at the Mera Hall in Warsaw, he announced her death to his students.










MT 61. On 5 September 1997, Sri Chinmoy sent a telegram of condolence to Sister Nirmala in Calcutta.

1. 3

Mother, Mother Teresa, to me you were, you are and you will forever remain a Sister of infinite affection and a Mother of infinite compassion. You showered your choicest blessings, affection, love, concern and compassion upon me, upon my aspiring heart and devoted life.

With your unparalleled service-light, you have awakened and illumined millions and millions of souls that were suffering, are still suffering, and have yet to suffer. Your service-light to humanity will forever shine bright, brighter, brightest in the heart-garden of humanity.

On the strength of your sleepless and breathless service to mankind, you became, you are and you will forever remain the greatest and best treasure in the heart and life of evolving humanity.

Today’s Peace Concert I am placing at your blessingful feet. You have blessed me with the beauty of infinite affection. You have blessed me with the fragrance of infinite compassion. Therefore, to you I offer my prayerful, soulful and self-giving gratitude-heart, gratitude-heart, gratitude-heart.

[Sri Chinmoy then read the translation of his Bengali song “Jibaner Sheshe” and dedicated the song to Mother Teresa.]

MT 62. On 6 September 1997, Sri Chinmoy offered a Peace Concert at the Mera Hall in Warsaw, before an audience of 2,000 peace-lovers. At his request, a large picture of Mother Teresa was placed on the stage. Sri Chinmoy offered his homage to Mother Teresa and then dedicated his Peace Concert to her.

Jibaner sheshe maraner deshe

/Jibaner sheshe maraner deshe/
/Priyatame mor heribo/
/Ei asha niye khudra amire/
/Bahu dure phele rakhibo/

At the end of my journey’s close,
In death’s country,
I shall see my Beloved Supreme.
Having nourished this hope,
I am casting aside my little ego-“i”
Into a far-off land.

1993 Peace Concert Dedication4

Today’s Peace Concert I am most prayerfully and most soulfully dedicating to Mother Teresa, whose heart is all compassion, whose life is all sacrifice and whose soul is in universal bliss.

MT 64. Four years earlier, on 13 October 1993, Sri Chinmoy had dedicated his Peace Concert held at the Miyazaki Ishi Kaikan (Doctors' Association Hall), Japan, to Mother Teresa. On that occasion, he said:

A week of prayerful offerings for Mother Teresa

Sri Chinmoy returned, to New York on the evening of Monday, 8 September. In the week that followed, he offered his prayerful tributes to Mother Teresa in words and song, as well as through a number of interviews. A day by day summary of these activities follows.

Wednesday 10 September:

At Sri Chinmoy’s personal request, President Gorbachev and Raisa Maximovna offered a special tribute to Mother Teresa.

Sri Chinmoy was interviewed by a journalist from New York’s Newsday.

In the evening, Sri Chinmoy answered questions from his students about Mother Teresa.

Thursday 11 September:

Sri Chinmoy wrote “My Morning-Evening-Prayer-Song” and set music to it.

He also sent a message with an arrangement of white lotuses and roses to be offered before Mother Teresa’s shrine in Calcutta.

In the evening, Sri Chinmoy gave the talk “Mother Teresa-Charity-Critics Are Mental Cases!”

Friday 12 September:

Sri Chinmoy sent a letter to Sister Nirmala containing “My Morning-Evening-Prayer-Song.” He also informed her that his students would be singing it that same evening in front of churches all over the world.

Sri Chinmoy wrote his eulogy for Mother Teresa.

At 3:00 p.m. Sri Chinmoy went to Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity House in the Bronx, New York, to offer flowers and a printed card with his eulogy to the Sisters.

From 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Sri Chinmoy’s students sang “My Morning-Evening-Prayer-Song” and prayed outside churches all over the world.

At 8:00 p.m. Sri Chinmoy was interviewed about Mother Teresa on “New Jersey Talking,” Cablevision 12, New Jersey.

Saturday 13 September:

(The morning of Mother Teresa's state funeral in Calcutta)

Sri Chinmoy set music to his eulogy of the previous day and taught it to his students.

At 7:30 p.m. Sri Chinmoy held a memorial programme for Mother Teresa at Aspiration-Ground, Jamaica, Queens, New York.

During the programme, Part Two of his collected writings on Mother Teresa was released.

Sunday 14 September:

Sri Chinmoy set part of Sister Nirmala’s funeral oration to music.

Sri Chinmoy’s students recorded his songs for Mother Teresa.

Sri Chinmoy’s eulogy was published in the Indian Express, India.

Monday 15 September:

At 10:00 a.m. Sri Chinmoy was interviewed by his dear friend Monsignor Thomas Hartman on Telecare Cable Television of Rockville Centre, Long Island, New York. A video clip of Sri Chinmoy’s memorial service was shown and a tape of his songs for Mother Teresa opened and closed the programme.

At 1:30 p.m. Sri Chinmoy was interviewed on “Real Talk,” Radio WLIB AM, New York. After answering a number of questions, Sri Chinmoy read out his eulogy for Mother Teresa.

Tuesday 23 September:

Sri Chinmoy offered a Peace Concert dedicated to Mother Teresa at United Nations headquarters in New York, under the personal sponsorship of H.E. Ambassador Anwarul Karim Chowdhury, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations.


My dearest Sister Nirmala,

I have composed “My Morning-Evening-Prayer-Song” on our beloved Mother Teresa. I am most lovingly, most devotedly and most gratefully offering this song to you.

My students are going to sing this song Friday at 5 p.m. on the street in front of the Missionaries of Charity in the Bronx and in front of churches all over the world, Friday evening between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Yours in the Mother,

Sri Chinmoy
Sept. 12th 1997

My Morning-evening-prayer-song

Mother Teresa, Divinity’s
Your streaming tears are ever fond
Embraces of Jesus Christ.


On Thursday 11 September, a large arrangement of white lotuses and white roses was delivered at Sri Chinmoy’s request to the Sisters of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity House in Calcutta to be placed before Mother’s shrine. The attached message from Sri Chinmoy read:

My Sister of Infinite Affection,
My Mother of Infinite Compassion,
My soulful promise to you is this:
I shall always remain devoted and faithful to
your Missionaries and worldwide Mission.

— Sri Chinmoy, New York


Ranjana Ghose, on behalf of the Sri Chinmoy Bhajan Singers, also sent a most beautiful arrangement of flowers with the message:

To our dearest Mother Teresa,
We offer you all our love, affection, admiration and adoration.

Ranjana Ghose

on behalf of the Sri Chinmoy
International Bhajan Singers

Eulogy for Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa:

Calcutta’s Soaring Bird
India’s Sailing Moon
The World’s Weeping Sky
Earth’s Tearing Loss
Heaven’s Dancing Gain
The Christ’s Blossoming Promise
The Mother Mary’s Harvesting Pride.

Photographs of Sri Chinmoy's visit to Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity House in the Bronx

On Friday, 12 September, Sri Chinmoy visits Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity House in the Bronx to place flowers before a shrine that Mother’s admirers have created outside the gate.

Sri Chinmoy is deeply moved by the outpouring of love and affection from the many people whose lives Mother touched in New York City.

Sri Chinmoy prays for the repose of Mother’s soul.


[Sri Chinmoy signs the special condolence book for Mother. He writes:]

Mother, Mother,

This is your Sri Chinmoy. Mother, you blessed me just the other day, August 27th, on the phone from Calcutta. Mother, I asked you how you were. You told me, “I am much better, much better, Sri Chinmoy.” I told you, “Mother, your birthday was yesterday. I prayed for you most devotedly.” You said: “Thank you, Sri Chinmoy. You know that I pray for you every day. Therefore, you also must pray for me every day. I said, “Mother, I do.”

Alas, alas, September 5th you left us for your Heavenly Abode. “Mother, wherever you are, we, your devoted children, will be with you, in you and for you.”

Yours in your Beloved Jesus Christ,

Sri Chinmoy

Photograph of signing condolence book

Selected tributes to Mother Teresa

Pope John Paul II

Castel Gandolfo, Italy
7 September 1997

Dearest brothers and sisters,

In this moment of prayer, we remember our dear sister, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who two days ago concluded her long walk on earth. I met her many times, and she lives in my memory as a tiny figure whose entire existence was the service of the poorest of the poor, but who was always full of an inexhaustible spiritual energy, the energy of the love of Christ.

Missionary of Charity: this was Mother Teresa, in name and in deed, offering such a compelling example that she attracted to herself many people who were prepared to leave everything to serve Christ’s presence in the poor.

Missionary of Charity. Her mission began every day, before dawn, in front of the Eucharist. In the silence of contemplation, Mother Teresa of Calcutta heard the cry of Christ on the Cross resound: “I thirst.” That cry, reverberating in the depths of her heart, drove her, on the streets of Calcutta and of the peripheries of all the world’s cities, to search for Jesus in the poor, in the abandoned, in the dying.

Dearest brothers and sisters, this nun, universally known as the Mother of the poor, leaves an eloquent example for all — believers and non-believers alike. She leaves us the proof of God’s Love, that transformed her life into total self-giving for her brothers. She leaves us the proof of contemplation that becomes love, and of love that becomes contemplation. Her works speak for themselves and show to today’s world that high significance of life that unfortunately often seems to be lost….

While we entrust to the Lord the generous soul of this humble and faithful nun, we ask the Blessed Virgin to sustain and comfort her Sisters and those who, throughout the entire world, have known and loved her.

Cardinal Angelo Sodano

Secretary of State, The Vatican
Calcutta, 13 September 1997

Extracts from his funeral address:

The hour has arrived for us to say a final farewell to the late Mother Teresa. We have come here from many corners of the world to demonstrate our affection and gratitude and render a fitting homage. From the cold bier, the unforgettable, dear Mother Teresa continues to speak to us and seems to repeat the Lord’s words: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

At the close of a century which has known terrible extremes of darkness, the light of conscience has not been altogether extinguished. Holiness, goodness, kindness, love are still recognised when they appear on history’s stage. The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, has given voice to what so many people of every condition have seen in this woman of unshakeable faith: her extraordinary spiritual vision, her attentive and self-sacrificing love of God in each person she met, her absolute respect for the value of every human life and her courage in facing so many challenges. His Holiness, who knew Mother Teresa so well, wishes this funeral ceremony to be a great prayer of gratitude to God for having given her to the Church and to the world….

Dear Mother Teresa, the entire Church thanks you for your luminous example and promises to make it our heritage. Today, on behalf of Pope John Paul II, who sent me here, I offer you a final earthly farewell and, in his name, I thank you for all that you have done for the poor of the world. They are favourites of Jesus. They are also favourites of our Holy Father, His Vicar on earth. It is in his name that I place on your coffin the flower of our deepest gratitude.

Dear Mother Teresa, rest in peace.

Cardinal Basil Hume

Head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales

Mother Teresa is a unique example of genuine holiness for our generation. Ordinary people around the world have been inspired by her unshakeable trust in God, her absolute commitment to the poor, and the strength of her love and humanity.

The utter sincerity with which she lived out her faith gave her an energy and a radiance which are unforgettable. Her vision will live on in all those touched by her example.

Sister Nirmala

13 September 1997

From her funeral oration:

God loved the world so much that He sent to us Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ loved us so much that He sent to us Mother Teresa.

We should pledge ourselves to continue what God has begun through her so beautifully. We pray that we may be faithful and truthful to the spirit that God has given to our Mother.

God loved the world

God loved the world so much
That He sent to us Jesus Christ,
And Jesus Christ loved us so much
That He sent to us Mother Teresa.

K. R. Narayanan — President of India

Such a one as her but rarely walks upon the earth. Though she was a world citizen, she was particularly Indian in the true spirit of our culture, and her passing away is an immense loss to the millions of our people.

Nelson Mandela

President of South Africa

I, and millions of other South Africans, were deeply saddened when we heard of the news of Mother Teresa’s passing away.

Millions of our people share with the people of India and the world the sorrow and mourning of the demise of this great human being and servant of God. Mother Teresa’s work amongst the downtrodden, destitute and sick will live in our memories for many years to come.

She will always be remembered for her great works of charity benefiting not only the poorest of the poor in Calcutta but also calling the world’s attention to universal issues such as homelessness and poverty alleviation.

The ‘Missionaries of Charity’ will no doubt find strength from the groundwork laid by Mother Teresa and continue to emulate and cherish her legacy into the next millennium.

Mother Teresa’s passing has also touched me in a personal way as it has been a humbling experience to have shared the similar honours of a Nobel Peace Laureate and India’s Bharat Ratna with such a unique person.

Tony Blair

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

In a week already filled with tragedy, the world will be saddened that one of its most compassionate servants has died. Mother Teresa devoted her life to the poor, and her spirit will live on as an inspiration to all of us.

Helmut Kohl

Chancellor of Germany

Mother Teresa was a model for goodness and humanity for millions of people around the world — for Christians and non-Christians alike. She helped the poorest of the poor, gave them a sense of dignity and the courage to go on living again. She gave her love and devotion to children in particular.

Mother Teresa’s visits to Germany were unforgettable events. I myself am grateful for my encounters with her. She urgently directed our attention to the worst kind of poverty — the misery of people who know no love. She taught us to overcome indifference with compassion.

Mother Teresa will never be forgotten and will continue to be a model even after her death. Her memory is bound to the hope for a better, more humane world.

H.H. Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev

King of Nepal

The world has lost someone who spent her whole life for the welfare and well-being of mankind. We are deeply grieved by this tremendous loss. We sincerely hope she will now rest in peace forever.

Coretta Scott King

Widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our world has lost the most celebrated saint of our times. This courageous woman gave hope to millions, and showed us the power of caring and human kindness.

Sam Brownback

United States Senator (Kansas)
Co-sponsor of the motion to give Mother Teresa the Congressional Medal of Honor (1997)

Last week, we lost a saint when Mother Teresa passed away at age 87. We are poorer, but Heaven is richer.

She died owning very few things here. She owned about two pairs of sandals, three robes, rosary beads. That was here. But in Heaven, she has a mountain of gold.

She had touched so many different lives on this Earth. It is an incredible definition of a successful life: a loving, caring, compassionate, selfless child of God, caring for, in many cases, the most downtrodden of God’s children. Would that I could live my life as well.

“All for Jesus.” We can all have different faiths and views of the world, but that was a driving focus for her, serving her Lord. How she did it each day is a testimony to each of us of how we should live.

We lost a saint, but the tragedy isn’t that she died; the tragedy would have been had she never lived. She lived fully and gave us so much in raising our consciousness, lowering our line of sight, and redefining compassion for an entire planet. For that, I thank her and I am thankful for her life.

Mother Teresa memorial tribute for Princess Diana

[On 1 September 1997 a student of Sri Chinmoy’s telephoned Mother Teresa with Sri Chinmoy’s humble request for her to offer a special message about Princess Diana that could be read out at a Peace Concert Sri Chinmoy would be offering to honour the Princess at the United Nations in early October.]

Mother said:

How wonderful that Sri Chinmoy is holding a prayer service at the United Nations for Diana! She used to come to our Missionaries of Charity here in Calcutta. She visited Kalighat and all of our places. Pray for Diana, pray for the reposal of her soul. I am praying for Diana.

Mother then continued:

I am feeling much better. Tell Sri Chinmoy to pray for me. Please ask Sri Chinmoy to keep praying for us. Thank God that he is praying for us specially that we may open a House in China. Very wonderful! God has done many miracles for us. Now we are praying for one more miracle. God bless Sri Chinmoy!

[Mother gave this blessingful message just four days before her own final departure.]

Sri Chinmoy's memorial service for Mother Teresa

13 September 1997
Jamaica, Queens, New York


Sri Chinmoy offers a silent prayer and meditation before a special altar, which contains a central photograph of Mother Teresa.

The offering of votive candles to Mother Teresa’s picture.

The Sri Chinmoy Bhajan Singers perform Sri Chinmoy’s songs for Mother Teresa and the Christ.

Sri Chinmoy recites his eulogy and then holds up large artistic representations of each image in the eulogy.

Sri Chinmoy’s students sing the eulogy while offering dramatic tableaux of each image.

Miss Dayna Day son reads her poem on Mother Teresa.

Sri Chinmoy reads President Gorbachev’s message for Mother Teresa.

A video is shown of Mother Teresa’s life and work.

Sri Chinmoy releases Part Two of his writings on Mother Teresa.

Sri Chinmoy offers his prayerful homage to Mother Teresa at a special memorial programme which he held for her at Aspiration-Ground, Queens, New York, on Saturday, 13 September. A special elevated altar, in Mother’s colours of blue and white, contains garlanded pictures of the Christ, Mother Mary and Mother as well as cherished moments from Sri Chinmoy’s meetings with her. A flag of India, Mother Teresa’s adopted homeland, is draped over the offering table.

Sri Chinmoy invokes Mother’s boundless love and compassion to bless all her world-children.

Ranjana Ghose leads the Sri Chinmoy International Bhajan Singers in a moving procession to offer votive candles before Mother Teresa’s photograph.

As the singers sing Sri Chinmoy’s special musical tributes to Mother Teresa, they are filled with sweetest memories of their meeting with Mother on 17 June, when they were blessed to sing at her feet.

Sri Chinmoy's eulogy for Mother Teresa:

Calcutta’s soaring bird

India’s sailing moon

The world’s weeping sky

Earth's tearing loss

Heaven's dancing gain

The Christ's blossoming promise

Mother Mary’s harvesting pride.

Peace Concert dedicated to Mother Teresa at the United Nations5

Ms. Vijaya Catherine Claxton, Master of Ceremonies: Welcome to this tribute to Mother Teresa. We thank H.E. Ambassador Anwarul Karim Chowdhury, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations, for giving us this opportunity to share our appreciation of this humble and powerful woman. Ambassador Chowdhury, who is Ambassador of Bangladesh, Sri Chinmoy, who was born in Bangladesh, and Mother Teresa, who spoke fluent Bengali and who started her Missionaries of Charity in that part of the world, are bound together in a common love of humanity and peace.

Ambassador Chowdhury has long been an advocate for a better world through his service as Director of UNICEF’s Executive Board and his participation in a wide range of multilateral conferences. He now serves his country as Ambassador and Chairman of the very important Fifth Committee of the General Assembly. We invite Ambassador Chowdhury to share with us his thoughts to begin the programme.

H.E. Ambassador Anwarul Karim Chowdhury, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations: Good afternoon, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, and my respects to Sri Chinmoy. I met Mother Teresa only once, and that, too, very briefly. So I feel very inadequate to say anything about her. But it has been very rewarding for me, in my moments of difficulties, to be uplifted by her spirits, by her idealism, by her support for the downtrodden. Through her service to humanity, to the vulnerable, Mother Teresa has shown what commitment and dedication can accomplish. When we think of her, we think of purity and selflessness. Concern for the have-nots: that is Mother Teresa. Saintliness: that is Mother Teresa.

She is a reminder to us that goodness is still acclaimed in this world and that we are not yet totally given to stark materialism. Mother Teresa is a constant reminder to each of us to make our best effort every day to become a better human being. I thank you all for joining us for this remarkable Peace Concert by Sri Chinmoy, who in his life has tried to emulate Mother Teresa.

[Sri Chinmoy bows to the different photos of Mother Teresa that adorn the stage. When he sees the picture of the Spiritual Summit Conference, sponsored by the Temple of Understanding, held at United Nations headquarters on 24 October 1975, he comments:]

Here is Mother Teresa [pointing to her picture]. In 1975 she came and blessed this auditorium. She was seated right here [indicating a place on the stage]. I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to prayerfully offer her a rose. There were about 20 religious leaders, and after a brief meditation, I offered each of them a rose.

Mother Teresa’s successor, Sister Nirmala, offered a most prayerful, soulful and fruitful prayer-message [at Mother Teresa’s funeral]: “God loved the world so much that He sent to us Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ loved us so much that He sent to us Mother Teresa.” This is a momentous utterance that I have prayerfully set to music.

[Sri Chinmoy sings, accompanying himself on the harmonium.]

[Sri Chinmoy then reads some excerpts from his second book about Mother Teresa.]

Sri Chinmoy: I spoke to her on the phone from New York nine days before she left the world, on my birthday, the 27th of August. (He reads the conversation, in which she offered him her birthday blessings.)

[The Peace Meditation choir sings three songs by Sri Chinmoy dedicated to Mother Teresa, including one song written to her words. Members of the choir then recite aphorisms about Mother Teresa from Sri Chinmoy’s book.]

[Members of the audience are invited to offer their personal tributes or reflections on Mother Teresa.]

Ms. Soraya Emami: I have been doing charity work since I was 15 years old. I always wanted to go and work closely with Mother Teresa, but because I was born a Muslim I was afraid that would create a problem.

Last year I received a call from Mother Teresa at seven o’clock in the morning, California time, and she told me, “My child, you are more than welcome to come and work with me.” When I went to Calcutta and spent three months working with her and with the beautiful Sisters, I experienced the joy of fulfilment and working wholeheartedly, which I had never experienced before.

The first thing I told her was, “Mother, I want to make sure I am accepted completely.”

And she told me, “Anybody who wants to work with me, if you believe in God and have faith, that is all I need from you. I would rather that a good Muslim or a good Jew work with me than a Christian with no faith.”

I never felt more welcome in all my years in this kind of work as during the time I worked with Mother. I will never forget the five o’clock in the morning early meditation and prayer with her all those times. I carry with me the medallion she put over my head and the blessings she offered me the day I was leaving Calcutta last November. That is going to be the most valuable thing I leave for my children. Thank you, Mother, for making me the person I am today. Thank you.

[Sri Chinmoy offers a gift of prasad, with Mother Teresa’s picture, to all present.]

MT 85. On 23 September 1997 a Peace Concert dedicated to Mother Teresa was offered in the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium of United Nations headquarters in New York. The event was hosted by H.E. Ambassador Anwarul Karim Chowdhury, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations. This is a transcript of the programme.

Photographs from Peace Concert dedicated to Mother Teresa

Before the programme, Sri Chinmoy offers Ambassador Chowdhury a copy of his book entitled Mother Teresa: Humanity’s Flower-Heart, Divinity’s Fragrance-Soul.

Ambassador Chowdhury reflects on the life and work of Mother Teresa during his opening remarks.

On the stage of the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium, where he had first met Mother Teresa in 1975, Sri Chinmoy mourns the supreme loss of this beloved saint.

Sri Chinmoy points to a photograph of the programme held at the United Nations in 1975, indicating where Mother Teresa was seated during his opening meditation.

Sri Chinmoy accompanies himself on the harmonium while singing music set to an immortal utterance of Sister Nirmala, Mother Teresa’s successor.

Members of the choir of the Peace Meditation group sing three of Sri Chinmoy’s songs that they were fortunate to have performed for Mother Teresa at the Missionaries of Charity House in the Bronx in June 1997.

Ms. Soraya Emami recounts the inspiring and illumining experiences she had while working with Mother Teresa in Calcutta.

Ambassador Chowdhury and his wife, Mariam, introduce Sri Chinmoy to Mrs. Khaleda Shehabudin, wife of His Excellency Mr. K.M. Shehabudin, Ambassador of Bangladesh to the United States.

The official programme for the Spiritual Summit Meeting called by the Temple of Understanding on 24 October 1975 to mark the 30th Anniversary of the United Nations.


//Following Mother Teresa's passing, Sri Chinmoy was invited by a number of media representatives to speak about his experiences with her. Excerpts from these interviews follow, along with another interview which took place at the United Nations in 1995.//

Newsday — 10 September 19976

Newsday: I want to do a diary in the paper starting this Sunday about Mother Teresa.

Sri Chinmoy: I am still mourning my supreme loss. I have such affection, admiration and adoration for Mother Teresa, and I have received from her boundless affection and compassion. This is not the time for me to speak about myself; this is the time only to offer my deepest gratitude to her because she was so kind and compassionate to me.

She was born on the 26th of August, and she was baptised on the following day, the 27th, which is also my birthday. I spoke with her on the telephone for 15 minutes on the 26th. In India this was actually the 27th because they are one day ahead. She knew that I was going to call, so she answered the phone herself. I asked her, “Mother, how do you feel?” She said, “I am fine. I am much better.” She was blessing me on the phone for my birthday, and asking me about my activities. Then she passed away on the 5th of September.

Newsday: Where did you first meet her?

Sri Chinmoy: At the United Nations. On 24 October 1975 the Temple of Understanding invited religious leaders to an interfaith meeting, a spiritual summit conference, held in the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium of the United Nations. I offered the opening meditation and then gave roses to all the participants, including Mother Teresa. Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim was also there.

Newsday: After that first meeting with Mother Teresa, did you establish some kind of connection with her?

Sri Chinmoy: It took quite a few years to build up a connection. In 1989 a student of mine spoke with her on the telephone. At that time I was completing my 25th year of service in the West. So Mother Teresa gave this message, “God bless your efforts.” Since then, we have been in regular contact. In 1994 I had the great good fortune to meet with her again in Rome.

Newsday: On what occasion?

Sri Chinmoy: She had kindly agreed to hold our Peace Torch. As you know, our Peace Run relay goes all over the world. Every two years the runners in our Peace Run carry the Torch through more than 70 countries.

During this meeting with Mother in 1994, I had a 15-minute private interview with her. Then she met with the fifty students of mine who were accompanying me. We sang songs for her.

This experience with Mother Teresa will always remain written on the tablet of my aspiration-heart. The very first thing she did showed her real humility. I was waiting for her in a very small room — smaller than the smallest. The room was very simple, with a small table and two chairs, and it had a very sacred vibration. According to Indian tradition, out of respect I left my sandals outside the door and went inside barefoot. When she saw me with only my socks, she said, “What are you doing? It is cold in here. Either you wear your shoes, or I am going to take off my sandals also and put them outside.” What was more unbelievable, she was about to pick up my sandals and bring them inside to me. So I had to walk very fast, taking long strides, towards my sandals. I grabbed them and immediately put them on so that she would not have to carry them. Then she said, “Now it is all right.”

I sat in front of her bowing my head, and we did not speak for two or three minutes. We were sitting face to face. Then she took my left hand and started massaging and caressing it. After that she started caressing my right hand. When the conversation started, the first thing she told me was how she has saved about two dozen women. She told me that she had gone to a jail in Calcutta to see some women of ill fame. They had been engaging in illegal activities, and the police had arrested them. They were all crying, saying, “Mother, Mother, we did not want to lead this kind of undivine life, but we were forced to do so because of poverty.”

So Mother said to them, “I am taking you back. I will give you very good training.” Then Mother told the jail authorities that she would take responsibility for these women.

Newsday: They let the women go out with her?

Sri Chinmoy: They said, “Mother, if you take responsibility for them, we will let them go.” These women all became nuns, Sisters in her Missionaries of Charity. She said to me, “This is what love can do. The world needs only love, love, love.” She herself went to the jail and freed those two dozen women. Afterwards, she gave them lots of affection, and they all joined her Order. She has done this many times. When she would hear that some women did not want to lead that kind of undivine life, she would go to the jail and bring them back and transform them. She was telling me that love can transform everybody’s nature, which is so true. This was her inmost conviction. This is what she started with, and to the end of her life she kept this conviction.

But in one of her writings she admitted that even love cannot change some human beings. One sad experience occurred in her life. Even with her self-giving love, she could not change the nature of one particular individual who was preventing her from entering Albania to see her dearest mother. She said, “I thought that love can do everything, but love did not succeed.” Her soul’s conviction that love can do everything still remained, but every rule admits of exception. So here, in this one case, in spite of trying her utmost, she was very disappointed and disheartened. She could not see her mother before her mother passed away.

Newsday: After you saw Mother Teresa in Rome, you next met with her here?

Sri Chinmoy: Last year I met with her in the Bronx, and in June of this year I met with her two more times in the Bronx. On June 3rd I had a private meeting with her, and then two weeks later on June 17th, I met with her again. I was accompanied by forty of my students. They sang devotional songs for her in Bengali. She understood all the songs because she speaks Bengali. Then she invited them to come to India to sing at her Mission in Calcutta.

Newsday: Did you speak to each other in Bengali?

Sri Chinmoy: We spoke in English. I would have spoken in Bengali, but she prefers English. After that meeting, I wanted to speak to her again before she left for Calcutta. One of the Sisters in charge of the Bronx House, Sister Sabita, said she would make the arrangements for Mother to call me. Before this meeting I had spoken to Mother Teresa several times on the phone.

On the day of her departure from New York, I got a phone call from her. She phoned me from the Bronx around 11:30 in the morning and spoke to me for about ten minutes or so. But, that was not the end. Later that same day she wrote a most compassionate letter to me. Can you imagine? Around three or four o’clock, one of the Sisters from the Mission phoned us to get our proper address, saying, “Mother has written a letter to you prior to her departure.” That was her last letter, her last written blessing to me. The very last time I spoke to her was on the 26th of August, when I called to wish her a happy birthday, and she gave me birthday blessings as well. She blessed me profusely. This is what she always did.

Three or four days later, when Princess Diana passed away, I wanted to have a special statement from Mother Teresa for a book I was doing about Princess Diana’s spiritual dimension. I asked one of my students to phone her. She had already issued two statements, one for the royal family and one for the public. But she immediately gave another one at my request. That was my last contact with her. I did not speak to her directly, but I asked her for a comment and she gave one. At that time she mentioned again that she wanted me to go with her to China because China needs light. So many times she told me that I must come with her to China. She wanted us to go together to offer light. In that last contact, when she gave us a message about Princess Diana, she also said, “Tell him that we have to go to China.” I will never forget this.

Newsday: You were in Poland when Mother Teresa died?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. I was watching the news about Princess Diana on television. All of a sudden, they announced that they had another piece of sad news: Mother Teresa had died. I was so shocked, because she had spoken to me only a few days earlier, telling me, “I am much better, I am much better.” These were her words. O God, I was watching television with my head in my hands; I was stunned.

Newsday: What do you think about the fact that these two great figures died within days of one another? One was young and one old, but they seem to have had similar hearts because Diana was trying to do some good works, and Mother Teresa always did good works.

Sri Chinmoy: Two great losses to the world, that much I can say! One Senator just yesterday said something very, very nice about Mother Teresa. He said, “We have become poorer, but Heaven has become richer.”

Newsday: But do you think there is any kind of message for the world in the fact that these two women died so close to one another?

Sri Chinmoy: The message is that we have to think more about the world than about ourselves. These two women have given us one message: we have to think of the rest of the world instead of just thinking about ourselves. Both of them considered the suffering, bleeding humanity as their very own. They both wanted to be of service to the poor and the suffering.

One was 36 years old, the other 87; but they died within days of one another. What can we learn from their passing? We have no idea when our time will come. So if we want to do something good for humanity, we must not waste time, but do it now. Every moment we are on earth, we can do good things for the world. Mother Teresa got an inner call, and from Albania she went all the way to India. In Calcutta she found her true home. She was living proof that the world is one home.

Newsday: Did she ever talk to you about why she felt drawn to Calcutta more than to any place else in India?

Sri Chinmoy: Her Saviour Jesus Christ inspired her from within to go to Calcutta and serve Him there. She is the ocean of compassion and I am only a tiny drop, but let me give you an example of what I am saying by telling you something about my own life. I was born in India, and I spent many years praying and meditating there. I could have stayed in India, but my Inner Pilot — you say ‘God’ but I use the term ‘Inner Pilot’ — wanted me to come to America to be of service to Him here.

Similarly, she could have remained a nun in Albania, but she was prompted from deep within by Somebody to come to India. In her case, Somebody means the Saviour Jesus Christ. In my case I use the term ‘Inner Pilot’. He commanded me to come to America the Beautiful to be of service to humanity. The entire world is His House. Each country is like a room. For several years I happened to live in one particular room. Then He said, “Now you must go and live in another room.” So I came to this other room, but it is in the same mansion.

Newsday: That is sweet — the idea that service can be offered wherever you’re called, because it is all one world.

Sri Chinmoy: It is one world. If my Inner Pilot says, “You come and serve Me here,” how can I say no? If I have love for my Inner Pilot — which I do — if I want to give my life entirely to please Him in His own Way, how can I have a different idea?

Newsday: What memory of Mother Teresa stands out most in your mind?

Sri Chinmoy: What stood out for me from the first time I met with her privately was her compassion, affection and concern. First she wanted to bring me my sandals. Then, as soon as I sat down, she started caressing my left hand and right hand. The very first thing she shared with me was the story about the women she had saved. Her message is love and compassion. Her life-boat plied constantly between two shores, two destinations: love and compassion.

It is very easy to criticise human beings; everybody can do that. But let us see how many people can go out and work with lepers and people with AIDS. We can talk in a general way about helping the world, but if we have to face one dying person, we will not go. We do not even want to go near a hospital unless our dearest ones, the members of our immediate family, are very sick. Otherwise, even when our friends are in the hospital, we just send flowers. In Mother Teresa’s case, the whole world became part of her immediate family. But Mother Teresa took people from the street, from the very gutter! Was that not her infinite love and compassion? She is at once humanity’s flower-heart and Divinity’s fragrance-soul. From my personal experience I can say that this moment she was like my sister and the next moment she was like my mother. When I bowed to her, she would put both her hands on my head, like a mother blessing her son. She had every right to place her palm on my head and bless me because at that time she was playing the role of the mother. Then, the next moment, she would play the role of the sister and demand that I come to China with her to help her, or she would look at me with utmost affection. At that time she was like an older sister looking with such love and appreciation at her little brother.

Newsday: She looks like a person who was very jovial.

Sri Chinmoy: Absolutely! Her divine humour was always aimed not at hurting people but at alleviating their suffering. When somebody is suffering, you can cut a joke to hurt him. Again, you can cut a joke only to relieve him of his pain. When a dear one is in the hospital, first the relatives pray and meditate for God to cure him. Then they speak to the sick person about light things, absolutely unimportant, mundane things so that they can relieve his tension. Otherwise, if they start talking about deeper philosophy, the patient’s illness may only get worse!

Newsday: Exactly! It will make that person feel a little bit easier. Mother Teresa must have been fond of you.

Sri Chinmoy: She was very fond of me! We have so many pictures of her pouring her affection into me. From each of our meetings we have many pictures showing how she was blessing me, showering me with her affection and appreciating my activities. Always she told me that she was praying for me every day, and she told me to also pray for her. Even on my birthday she said, “I am praying for you, and my Sisters will pray for you. You also must pray for me.” Every time she spoke to me she told me to pray for her.

Newsday: That is what Jesus said, too.

Sri Chinmoy: It is an emotional demand. As I said, we were like mother and son, brother and sister. So she would tell me: “You should do this, you must do this. You must come with me to China.”

Newsday: Was she aware of the difficulties for you to go there?

Sri Chinmoy: No, I did not tell her that. I only said, “Mother, when the time comes I shall definitely accompany you.”

Newsday: You met her successor, too?

Sri Chinmoy: Her successor, Sister Nirmala, is so nice to me, so kind and affectionate. When I went to see Mother Teresa in the Bronx, she came up to me and introduced herself: “I am Sister Nirmala.” I had known about her, so I had brought a gift for her. She was with Mother Teresa when I gave Mother this book that I had written about her (showing book). So I shall keep a connection with Sister Nirmala. I have already sent a message to her.

Newsday: You gave this book to Mother Teresa?

Sri Chinmoy: It was my birthday present to her. I dedicated the book to her and gave it to her personally when I saw her in June. Then she gave her blessings for the book. On the first page she wrote, “God bless you,” and put her signature there. I took that page and gave it to the printer, and it was inserted into a later edition of the book. For about fifteen minutes Mother Teresa browsed through the book in front of me. A few days later when I spoke to her, she said she had liked it very much.

Newsday: You gave her this book not knowing that in a short while she would not even be around anymore!

Sri Chinmoy: If we do not pray and meditate, then we have to do everything ourselves. But if we pray and meditate, then God does everything for us. I knew nothing, but God knew what was going to happen. Why did I write the book and offer it to her as a birthday present in June? Her birthday is in August, so I should have given her the book in August. But something within me was telling me, “The sooner the better!”

When I called her on my birthday, I got her last blessing. This will remain in my memory. I will treasure this last blessing that I got on my birthday. Then, three or four days later when I wanted a statement from her about Princess Diana, she gave me one. It appeared in my book about Princess Diana.

Newsday: When did you publish this book about Princess Diana?

Sri Chinmoy: A few days ago. I had an interview with her on the 21st of May — just three months before she died. Then she wrote me two letters in June, three letters in the month of July and her last letter on the 7th of August — not even a month before she left the body.

Newsday: This is amazing!

Sri Chinmoy: Her last letter mentions Newsday. Your newspaper said she was the Queen of American hearts, so I sent her a copy of the Newsday clipping. Also, I was grateful to be an instrument in arranging her last interview with Mother Teresa. She first met with Mother in 1992 in Rome. This year she wanted to meet her again, but she was unable to track her down. So I said that I would be responsible for making arrangements because I was going to have an interview with Mother. When I told Mother Teresa on the phone that Princess Diana wanted to see her, Mother said, “Tell her to come to New York.” But Princess Diana wanted to see Mother in Europe. Then Mother Teresa was joking with me, saying, “If she does not want to come to New York to see me, then tell her to come and see me in Calcutta.” So I wrote to the Princess and gave her Mother Teresa’s phone number and address in the Bronx. Then she phoned up Mother and finally saw her.

Newsday: That is amazing, amazing! God seems to have put you in the position to touch these two people’s lives.

Sri Chinmoy: It is not that I touched their lives but that I was given a golden opportunity to be of service to them. God wanted Princess Diana to bring her spiritual dimension to the fore. In my case, at the age of four I started praying and meditating. And at the United Nations I have been offering my prayers to the entire world-community for the last 27 years. Princess Diana had so many good qualities, but her prayer-life had not come to the fore. She did so much work for charity, for the poor, for the sick; but she also had another aspect, a spiritual aspect. That is why she wanted to see Mother Teresa and why she invited me to come and see her at Kensington Palace. Otherwise, she could have said, “Oh, I do not care for spiritual people.” But her heart cried for God’s Love and Light, the Light that Mother Teresa saw and served in Jesus Christ.

This same higher power made it possible for Princess Diana and I to meet just before her passing. For years I had wanted to meet her, without success. How did I succeed at the eleventh hour? It is because of the intercession of a higher power. And with Mother Teresa also I developed such a close connection in the last few years of her life. I first met her in 1975, but many years passed before I saw her again. It is because at that time it was not necessary. But when God’s choice Hour struck, we became closer than the closest.

And with Princess Diana, if I had not had that first and last interview, we never would have gotten to know one another. Plus these letters! How could one imagine that she would write on the 7th of August and three weeks later leave the earth-planet? After the 7th of August I doubt that many people received letters from her. And perhaps very few people had private interviews with her after the time I met her in May.

Newsday: That’s right, exactly! But apparently she was reaching out, too, in wanting to meet with you, and with Mother Teresa so soon afterwards.

Sri Chinmoy: Right! She was the one who asked me to make arrangements. She said, “I cannot track Mother Teresa down.” I said, “I will do it.” So I did it. I was the instrument, but her heart wanted to have the meeting. Otherwise, when I said to her that Mother Teresa is so kind and affectionate to me, she could have said, “Yes, yes, I am also an admirer of hers.” But why did she say, “I want to meet with her. Can you tell me how I can meet with her?” She could have stopped at saying, “Yes, yes, I have deep admiration for her,” but she was so eager to meet with her. Something inside Princess Diana was prompting her.

Newsday: What a wonderful thing! Just in time!

Sri Chinmoy: She met with her in the middle of June. Then, within a few months both were gone. So it was all God-ordained. When we pray and meditate, God does everything for us.

Newsday: That’s just simply amazing. You are so right. When you tune into a higher power, things happen.

Sri Chinmoy: The higher powers do it for us because we are their children. Children know nothing. Parents know what will give the children joy, so the parents do it. Children only know how to cry. The rest is done by the parents.

Newsday: This has been really wonderful! Just absolutely wonderful! Will you be here for the rest of this week, or will you be travelling again soon?

Sri Chinmoy: I have just returned from Oslo and Warsaw. I was giving Peace Concerts there. I dedicated the Oslo concert to Princess Diana and the Warsaw concert to Mother Teresa. On the stage at Warsaw we had huge pictures of Mother Teresa.

Newsday: Mother Teresa brings together both the spiritual life and the life of service.

Sri Chinmoy: She was a woman of prayer plus service. Mother Teresa always said, “Pray for me, pray for me, pray for me.” In her, God wanted to unite service and prayer. In Diana’s case, she was a woman of service — service to mankind. In my case, I pray and meditate first, and I also serve. I have been to so many countries offering Peace Concerts. Mother Teresa also did both. Every day she prayed and, at the same time, she served.

Princess Diana was young; she did not get the time or opportunity to enter into the prayer-life. That is why she did not take the prayer-life so seriously. But the service-life she did take seriously. At every moment she went here and there — to Angola, to Yugoslavia, to Pakistan and other places. She took the service-life more seriously, whereas Mother Teresa took both prayer and service seriously.

Newsday: I am really happy that I made an effort to come, because this is far more than I expected. I think that we have touched on an aspect that nobody else has really dealt with — the connection between the three of you. It’s amazing.

Sri Chinmoy: God brought us together. Mother Teresa was at the end of her life and Diana was at the prime of her life. We three were like a triangle. I came in between, like a devoted bridge between the two.

Newsday: You brought them together. That is more fascinating than the mind can even encompass.

Sri Chinmoy: The mind can never comprehend the inner realities. The mind is very limited; it is only a collector of information. With our mind we have read many books and talked to so many people on earth; but we have only collected information. Real knowledge and wisdom come from prayer and meditation — not from books. Otherwise, the professors and teachers would have been ruling the world. But they would have only misguided us. The more we remain in the mind, the more we are misguided. But if we can live in the heart, we are lifted up.

When we are in the mind, it is like being encaged; all the windows and doors are closed and we cannot go beyond it. It is like a prison cell, and we want to come out of it. But when we are in the heart, it is like being outside in a beautiful garden. So it is up to us. We can live in our own mind-prison, which we have created; and again, we can live in our own heart-garden, which is also our creation. If we are in the mind, the prison cell welcomes us; if we are in the heart, the garden welcomes us.

Newsday: That’s right. Exactly! Sri Chinmoy, I cannot tell you how happy I am now that we had this conversation.

Sri Chinmoy: We are sailing in the same boat. So many reporters have come, but they have not opened their hearts so beautifully and spiritually the way you have done. With one hand we cannot clap. Two hands are needed.

Let me autograph this book for you. (Sri Chinmoy signs his book about Princess Diana and draws seven birds.) Seven is for the seven higher worlds. There are seven higher worlds. When I die, when you die, we shall have to go to the seven higher worlds.

Newsday: And I was born in the seventh month, too. This is wonderful. Thank you. Thanks are not enough. You know how I feel. I appreciate this.

Sri Chinmoy: Everything happens at God’s choice Hour. These things could not have taken place if God’s Hour had not struck. One was in Calcutta, one was in England and one was here in New York. See how God united us because of our love for Him. If we love God, then God brings everything together.

Newsday: I believe that, I really do. This is why I am here.

MT 86. At Annam Brahma Restaurant Jamaica, New York. Journalist: Ms. Merle English

Photographs of Newsday interview

Ms. Merle English of Newsday interviews Sri Chinmoy at Annam Brahma restaurant in Jamaica, Queens. Her full-page article appeared in the ‘Queens Life’ section of the Sunday edition on September 28th.

Newsday Sunday, September 28, 1997

Photographs of interview

Sri Chinmoy prepares for a series of live radio interviews on September 25th

Photographs of interviews

A powerful moment between two God-lovers as Monsignor Thomas Hartman, known affectionately to his friends as Father Tom, welcomes Sri Chinmoy to the studio of Telecare Cablevision of Rockville Center, Long Island.

In the library of the Telecare studio, prior to the interview, Sri Chinmoy and Father Tom share their experiences with Mother Teresa and Sri Chinmoy reads Father Tom his eulogy for Mother Teresa.

“Joining me to talk about this very special saint, the saint of the gutters, the saint of our times, Mother Teresa, is my good friend Sri Chinmoy.” With these words, Father Tom begins his special half-hour programme dedicated to Mother Teresa. Both Father Tom and Sri Chinmoy were personal friends of Mother Teresa and Father Tom offered the live commentary for her funeral service on Channel 55, Long Island.

Interview — New Jersey Talking7

Interviewer: Tonight on our show we’ll meet one of Mother Teresa’s friends. He’ll talk to us about her life, her memory and his mission for peace.

Our guest is Sri Chinmoy. He was a friend of Mother Teresa’s for over 20 years, and he spoke with her just nine days before her death. He’s also the author of a book about the late nun, and he’s here now to share his memories of her with us. Welcome!

This was such a tremendous loss to the world. Were you surprised by her death?

Sri Chinmoy: I was shocked beyond my imagination. When I asked her about her health only nine days before her final departure, she said to me, “Sri Chinmoy, I am much better, much better. Pray for me as I pray for you every day.”

I met with her five times. The first time was in 1975 at the United Nations during an interfaith programme sponsored by the Temple of Understanding. They wanted me to offer a meditation at the beginning of the programme and then offer roses to all the religious leaders.

Interviewer: What was your impression when you met her? Did she just radiate?

Sri Chinmoy: Simplicity, purity, humility: these three virtues are of paramount importance, and these are what I noticed and felt the moment I prayerfully stood in front of her with my rose.

Interviewer: There’s been such a rush in the last week to canonise her, and there’s been a lot of talk of the Vatican waiving the preliminary five years. Do you think that was so important to her?

Sri Chinmoy: Nothing is important to her, but it is important for humanity. Sometimes it happens that when we honour someone, the person who is being honoured does not need it or care for it. But while we are honouring that person we increase our own inspiration and aspiration to become better citizens of the world. While appreciating, admiring and adoring the other person, we increase our own capacities and bring to the fore our own divine potential.

Interviewer: The timing of her death is also interesting — coming in the wake of the very public death of Princess Diana, which the world really has been so obsessed with. In terms of media coverage, maybe Mother Teresa’s death would have even been a bigger deal had it not been eclipsed by Princess Diana’s. Do you think that’s the way she would have wanted it?

Sri Chinmoy: Princess Diana at times wanted media and at times she did not. When she was doing something for the betterment of the world, when she was doing charity work and meeting with the sick and poor, she wanted media attention in order to uplift the consciousness of the world. But sometimes the media exposed her frailties and weaknesses, which we all have, and at that time she did not welcome the media attention. She said that this kind of thing does not help humanity in any way. She wanted only to inspire the rest of the world, but unfortunately the media always tries to find the negative side of things. That is a very painful experience. Everything has its darker side and its brighter side. But if you weigh the pros and cons of her life, her good qualities and virtues will far surpass her so-called human weaknesses.

Interviewer: Unfortunately, the media tend to accentuate the more frivolous aspects of her life. What was your impression of Princess Diana as a person when you met her?

Sri Chinmoy: Very kind, very compassionate and, at the same time, very self-giving! I was the instrument in helping Princess Diana to meet with Mother Teresa in June this year in New York. I told her how she could be in touch with Mother Teresa. I am so happy and grateful that I was able to serve both luminaries at the same time.

Interviewer: Did these two women, as the press has said, have a lot in common?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes! When I told Princess Diana that she and Mother Teresa were sailing in the same boat, she immediately said, “I am a very, very small Mother Teresa.” That was Princess Diana’s immediate remark.

Interviewer: Very generous! Mother Teresa has left an amazing legacy with the Missionaries of Charity throughout the world. Do you think that without her at the helm they will continue to thrive and be as strong as they have been?

Sri Chinmoy: I strongly feel so, because from Heaven Mother Teresa will shower her choicest blessings upon her followers. I met Sister Nirmala, who is now the Superior General, when I visited Mother Teresa two months ago in the Bronx.

Interviewer: I don’t know if people at home can see this, but there is a photograph of Sister Nirmala watching while Sri Chinmoy is being blessed by Mother Teresa.

Sri Chinmoy: She came and introduced herself to me. With your kind permission I would like to read out this message today. It is my eulogy for Mother Teresa. All over India it will be read out:

Mother Teresa:
Calcutta’s Soaring Bird
India’s Sailing Moon
The World’s Weeping Sky
Earth’s Tearing Loss
Heaven’s Dancing Gain
The Christ’s Blossoming Promise
The Mother Mary’s Harvesting Pride.

Interviewer: Those were the powerful and beautiful words of Sri Chinmoy in a tribute to Mother Teresa.

It is almost impossible to articulate Mother Teresa’s affect on the world.

Sri Chinmoy: It is unfathomable.

Interviewer: It really is. You were talking a little bit before about Sister Nirmala, who is her successor. You have confidence that she will be able to continue on?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, because Mother Teresa will shower her choicest blessings upon her most devoted student-follower, Sister Nirmala. Sister Nirmala has implicit faith in Mother Teresa, and Mother will inundate Sister Nirmala with inspiration, aspiration and dedication.

Interviewer: You have dedicated your life to peace. You have really made that your mission. When were you inspired, or were you even as a child filled with this quest?

Sri Chinmoy: It was right from my childhood. At the age of four I started praying, and when I was seven years old I started praying and meditating consciously and seriously. At the age of 32 I was invited by some American seekers to come to the West and be of service to America. Since then, I have been offering prayers and meditations at the United Nations and I have offered over 500 prayerful Peace Concerts in various countries. I have also written many, many books.

I feel that world peace can come into being on the strength of our prayer and meditation. This is my way. Many roads lead to Rome, but I prefer this particular road. It is my personal opinion and inmost conviction that it is through prayer and meditation that we shall be able to bring about world peace.

Interviewer: Do you believe the world is becoming a more peaceful place?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I feel so. There was a time when people did not believe in a peaceful existence. There was the First World War and the Second World War. A Third World War was threatening, but fortunately it did not take place. Then the politicians started talking about peace. For most of this century it was not so widely practised. Now talking has surrendered to acting. I feel that there are quite a few politicians in the world today who believe in peace, and who most sincerely try to bring about world peace. Peace is no longer just a dictionary word; it is becoming a living reality. It may take time, but we are walking along the right road.

Interviewer: Many people working in news feel powerless when they read stories about religious wars in Bosnia or Ireland. And peace is virtually hanging in the balance in the Middle East. It makes you wonder what you can possibly do to make a difference.

Sri Chinmoy: Pray! There is no other way. We cannot change the minds of others by exercising our mental power or military power or any other kind of power. We can only change their minds through prayer. The greatest, most effective prayer is: “Let Thy Will be done.” This prayer we have received from the Saviour Christ. If we can consciously identify ourself with the Will of God, then there is bound to come a time when this world of ours will be inundated with peace. We have tried and will continue to try many other processes, but I feel it is by virtue of prayer that one day our world will have true, genuine peace.

Interviewer: And Thy Will be done — invoking God’s Will. Well, this has been very inspirational. Thank you so much for coming by and sharing your memories of Mother Teresa and Princess Diana with us — two women who really touched this world in a way that will reverberate for many centuries to come.

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely!

MT 87. Cablevision 12, New Jersey. 12 September 1997. Interviewer: Ms. Page Hopkins

Photograph from Interview at "New Jersey Talking"

Sri Chinmoy is interviewed about his friendship with Mother Teresa on Cablevision 12, New Jersey.

Interview at Telecare Cable Television, 15 September 19978

Father Tom: I’m Father Tom. Gerard Manley Hopkins once said that “the earth is touched by the grandeur of God,” and I believe that. Walk outside; look at the sky, look at the plants, look at the animal creation, look at the extent of the Universe. But especially look at people. We’re all touched by God — given a soul, a character, spirituality. We have so many capacities to love and to care, to make this a better world. But it seems to me that those who actualise it the most are people of prayer, people who recognise that they need to work on their spirituality, people who learn how to be silent, people of faith, people of love and people of service.

I was blown away, as everyone was, in the week that both Princess Di and Mother Teresa died. I’d like to focus in on a very special relationship that our guest enjoyed with Mother Teresa. It’s true that Princess Di did many extraordinary things in her life — her humanity, her struggles, her willingness to break out of very tight confines, saying she wanted her kids to learn how to sing, her willingness to cheerfully touch an HIV person. She did not remove herself from the human story. She wanted to be a part of that. While she did that, her celebrity or her sanctity needed to touch base with the saint of our times, Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa! This is her business card: “The fruit of silence is prayer. The fruit of prayer is faith. The fruit of faith is love. The fruit of love is service. The fruit of service is peace.” She literally embraced a way of life in Calcutta in which she would go to the gutters and pick up a person with maggots, clutch that person to her breast, bring that person to her convent, take out the maggots, wash the person down, put them in new clothes. This saint of the gutters touched all of our lives. At her funeral when different people from different religions came and spoke about her, they said, “She is the saint of the world.” How proud I was of her! The grandeur of God certainly was revealed through her.

Joining me to talk about this very special saint, the saint of the gutters, the saint of our times, Mother Teresa, is my good friend Sri Chinmoy, spiritual leader of Sri Chinmoy: The Peace Meditation at the United Nations and a mentor to me and to so many others. Sri Chinmoy, when you think of Mother Teresa — you met her, you talked with her — what comes to your mind?

Sri Chinmoy: Her compassion and her universal heart! She was the Mother of infinite compassion and she was, is and forever will remain a universal heart.

Father Tom: There’s a picture of her holding a one-pound ten-ounce child, saying that she and her Sisters want to live in such a way that before this child died, it would get a hug. Once I walked with her around the South Bronx. When the homeless people saw her pick up a child who had a contagious disease, they said they knew she had heart. Many of us know those pictures and know the stories. Can you tell me a little bit about how a person begins in the spiritual life, how a person like her got to the point where she was so one with creation?

Sri Chinmoy: She was destined to be a supremely chosen child of the Saviour Christ. She not only saw or felt in each individual the presence of the Saviour Christ, but she actually took each individual as the living embodiment of the Saviour Christ. When somebody was dying, in that person she saw the compassionate face of the living Christ. It was unimaginable! To her, each individual was the Saviour Christ.

She served the poor and the needy with the feeling that she was ordained to perform this supreme task. She was doing this not for the sake of any individual; she was doing this for her own highest Source. She saw her Source inside the other individual and felt the other individual as her Source itself. Whenever she helped someone, she was loving and serving the Christ and nobody else. So her compassion was unique. Her oneness with the compassion and forgiveness of the Saviour Christ and Mother Mary will not have any equal on earth.

Father Tom: There is a passage in Matthew’s Gospel which says, “Jesus at the end of time will gather everyone before Him and He’ll say, ‘I was hungry, and you fed Me. I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink. I was in prison, and you visited Me. You did it to Me.’”

Mother Teresa would say, “If you want to know what the Gospel is about, that’s what it is about: You did it to Me.” In other words, she prayed that her eyes could see the Presence of God in each person. Sri Chinmoy had the privilege, as I had, of meeting with Mother Teresa shortly before she died. Members of his community went to see her. We now have a tape of Mother Teresa meeting with Sri Chinmoy.

A video tape is shown of Sri Chinmoy and his students meeting with Mother Teresa.

Father Tom: This woman, this saint, 87 years old, with all sorts of medical conditions, exposed to all sorts of diseases in the world, just went forward. Twelve years ago I remember she talked with me about coming back from seeing Fidel Castro. She said to him, “Fidel, you are such a good boy. Don’t you think it is time to come back?” And then she talked at that time about opening up convents in the Soviet Union, and she managed not just to open up one but actually four convents. But most recently, at age 87, she was talking about China, and I know the two of you talked about that. She really wanted to get to China.

Sri Chinmoy: She really wanted to have something in China. She told me at least six times that she wanted me to accompany her to China. She said, “China needs light. China needs light.” I am sure the Absolute Lord Supreme from Heaven will fulfil her desire through her Sisters.

Father Tom: So the first lesson we learn is that she was able to see God’s Life in each person. She didn’t see the leprosy; she saw the Life of God. She used to say that she was a pencil in the Hand of God. She was an instrument to be used by God. You are suggesting that she is saying that we are called to introduce the Light of God into circumstances where there may be darkness.

Sri Chinmoy: She tried to illumine darkness on the strength of her compassion, on the strength of her oneness. She felt that we have to come down to the level of the ones we are serving. If someone is poor, then we have to renounce our wealth and live at the poverty level with them. She felt that the richer we are, the more complaints we have. According to her, poor people do not complain; they just suffer. And it is God who is experiencing suffering in and through them. They are not aware of it, but Mother Teresa was fully aware of it.

If we do not make complaints, we go forward. We see the better side of life, the purer side of life. By seeing the better and purer side of life even in the midst of direst poverty, she was able to derive tremendous satisfaction from what she was doing. She received satisfaction not only because she was seeing the living presence of Jesus Christ in those she served, but also because they were so receptive to what she was trying to offer. With utmost gratitude they were receiving the light that she was bringing down from Above.

Father Tom: When she first moved into the Bronx, the convent that she embraced was in a very difficult section of the Bronx. There’s a lot of poverty, a lot of drugs, a lot of homelessness, a lot of hunger. One of the first things she did was have them take the beds out. The Sisters slept on the floor. She did not want her Sisters to have any privilege that the poorest person in the community did not have. And she went on to say, “How can I say to the poor that I understand them and love them when I live differently than they?” Each of her Sisters had two saris and a bucket.

You are indicating that sometimes the richer we are, the more complaints we have. Is it necessary or is it advisable in the spiritual life that we do with less, that we have fewer possessions and maybe more heart?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly! Each extra possession is an extra headache. In the outer life, the more we try to possess things that we do not need, the more problems we create for ourselves. The simpler the better! In the spiritual life, it is always good to find a short cut to our destination. All roads lead to Rome, true, but there is a way to arrive in Rome that is faster than the other ways, and that way is the simplicity-road. The simpler we are, the quicker we can arrive at our destination.

Father Tom: David Suskind was once doing a documentary on Mother Teresa, and he was following her around for a week. At the end of the week, Joy Suskind, his wife, looked at Mother Teresa and said, “Mother, where do you get this energy? Where do you get this spirituality? Where do you find all of this joy?” Mother looked at her and said, “Would you like this energy?” Joy said, “Yes.” So Mother said, “Receive the Eucharist.”

Sri Chinmoy, you are a person of deep prayer. Those who are viewing us may be moved by Mother Teresa’s death and may want to live more like Mother Teresa did. They may be inspired to embrace the life of prayer. So let me ask you what it is that gives somebody energy, perspective, hope and love from prayer?

Sri Chinmoy: Prayer is everything. Prayer is our inseparable oneness with the Source. “Let Thy Will be done” — this is the highest prayer. No prayer can be compared with this prayer that the Saviour taught us. A tiny drop can maintain its own separate existence. Again, the same drop, if it is wise, will throw itself into the mighty ocean and become one with the infinite ocean. So this prayer — “Let Thy Will be done” — is the supreme secret that enables the finite not only to enter into the Infinite but to become the Infinite itself. I am an ordinary, insignificant human being, a tiny drop. But the moment I realise that God is my All and surrender what little I have to Him, the moment I lose my existence in God and become one with God, I become what He has and what He is. I have nothing, but if I can give that very nothingness to God cheerfully and unconditionally, then God will give me what He has and what He is. So prayer is the secret of secrets to become one with the Absolute Lord Supreme.

Father Tom: Mother Teresa certainly saw the tougher side of life. She saw people hungry, people dying, people diseased. And yet she had great joy. I think that many of us would get burned out and feel stressed in a similar situation. We might after a while become pretty negative about life. How could she maintain her poise and positive outlook?

Sri Chinmoy: Father, precisely because she did it not for herself but for her highest Self, which is all-pervading. If my leg needs something, my hand will not hesitate to do the needful because my hand knows that my leg is part and parcel of my body. Similarly, Mother Teresa did not have any sense of separativity; she took humanity as her own, very own. If I take somebody as my own, then I will not take my service-life to them as a sacrifice, but as my bounden duty.

Father Tom: She was not separated. She was connected to God and she was doing God’s work in the world.

Sri Chinmoy: She was doing God’s work, and also she felt that it was God who was acting in and through her. With His right Hand, God offered her the capacity to give, and with His left Hand, God offered her the capacity to receive. God in her was both the Giver and the Receiver. So God gave her the energy, light, compassion and all the other divine virtues that she needed to serve Him in the poor.

Father Tom: So she was opening up her soul to the Grace of God.

Sri Chinmoy: She was unfolding and blossoming. While she was blossoming, she became a fountain of affection, compassion and forgiveness.

Father Tom: And yet when she received the Nobel Prize, she said, “I am unworthy, but I receive this on behalf of those who are hungry and sick and poor.”

Sri Chinmoy: They usually have a party to celebrate the Nobel laureates. In her case she said, “You give me the seven thousand or ten thousand dollars that you had planned to spend on the party, and I will use it for a better cause — for the poor.”

Father Tom: She would go to somebody’s house. They would offer her food. She would turn down the food, but as she was leaving she would say, “Could you make a doggy bag? I can bring this food to the poor.” Extraordinary!

Sri Chinmoy: Sleeplessly and breathlessly she thought of the poor, but not in the sense of being superior. She saw them as part and parcel of her own existence. Her compassion, love, affection and blessings were for everybody. She was like the sun. The sun is for everybody. It is up to me to receive its light by keeping my doors and windows open.

Father Tom: Isn’t that wonderful! This earth is really for everyone. We are all loved by God. You had the privilege of knowing her personally and talking with her. She is obviously a saint. When I went to see her, she looked at me and said, “Father, please pray for me.” It was so humbling because here is a saint asking me to pray for her.

Sri Chinmoy: Forgive me to say, in my case she used to show her emotional aspect. With sisterly, motherly affection, she used to tell me, “I pray for you every day. You must pray for me.” On the phone she would say, “Sri Chinmoy, I pray for you; you must pray for me.”

I met with her for the first time in 1975. The Temple of Understanding sponsored a meeting at the United Nations with about 20 religious leaders. They asked me to offer a minute of silence and then to give roses to each religious leader. As soon as I stood in front of her, I saw and felt that she was simplicity, purity and humility incarnate. When I went to her, I felt like a drop merging into the ocean. This was the experience I had.

Father Tom: As great a person as she was, when you were in her presence, for me it was like being with my grandmother, who was saying the rosary. When I would see my grandmother, she would say, “What are you doing?” And I would say, “I have a test to study for.” She would say, “I’ll pray for you.”

Sri Chinmoy: I had exactly the same experience — that she was like a grandmother. She was for us in every aspect of life, not only while we were in the seventh Heaven of delight but also while we were swimming in the sea of sorrows. She became inseparably one with us in all our day-to-day activities.

Father Tom: Sometimes in this world you are encouraged to be efficient and effective and all that. Mother Teresa stands out to remind us that we are called just to be faithful, just to be loving, just to be engaging, to see the presence of God in every aspect. She attained happiness. She attained sanctity. What a model for us! She took the words in the Bible and put them into her heart and lived those words.

Sri Chinmoy: That is absolutely true. She did not want us to be self-sufficient. She wanted us to be God-efficient, that is to say, to depend upon God’s Compassion, Love and Forgiveness. No matter how hard we try on our own to become perfect human beings, it is impossible. It is only God’s infinite Compassion and Forgiveness that can one day transform our nature and make us good citizens of the world. She taught us to depend entirely upon God and not upon our own capacity.

If we human beings have a little capacity in any field, we tend to extol ourselves to the skies. If we are sincere, we will see that our human capacity is next to nothing; it is useless. But if we depend upon God’s Compassion and God’s Forgiveness, then His infinite Capacity becomes our own. Mother Teresa always taught us to become one with God’s Will and to make His Capacity our own, rather than to rely on our own physical, vital or mental power.

Father Tom: A number of Sri Chinmoy’s students are now going to sing a song that Sri Chinmoy wrote about Mother Teresa, and we are going to have the privilege of listening to that song. After that, you will be able to hear the special prayer that Sri Chinmoy has written for Mother Teresa.

A video clip is shown of the Sri Chinmoy Bhajan Singers performing “My Morning-Evening-Prayer-Song.”

Father Tom: People throughout the world, grateful for Mother Teresa, are offering prayers and songs on her behalf. This document contains a special prayer by Sri Chinmoy. Could you read your prayer?

Sri Chinmoy reads:

Mother Teresa:
Calcutta’s Soaring Bird
India’s Sailing Moon
The World’s Weeping Sky
Earth’s Tearing Loss
Heaven’s Dancing Gain
The Christ’s Blossoming Promise
The Mother Mary’s Harvesting Pride.

Father Tom: We have known a saint. We believe that she is with God. But even though she is dead, her cause continues — the cause of sanctity, the cause of caring for the poorest of the poor. Consider making a donation to the Missionaries of Charity on her behalf. They will need your help. God bless you.

To end the programme, the tape is played once more of the Sri Chinmoy Bhajan Singers singing “Mother Teresa: Humanity’s Flower-Heart, Divinity’s Fragrance-Soul.”

MT 88. Rockville Centre, Long Island. Host: Monsignor Thomas Hartman (Father Tom). Introductory music: a tape of the Sri Chinmoy Bhajan Singers performing a song composed by Sri Chinmoy in honour of Mother Teresa: "Mother Teresa: Humanity's Flower-Heart, Divinity's Fragrance-Soul."

Interview — "Real Talk," 15 September 19979

Interviewer: Tell us if you can, Sir, how you saw Mother Teresa’s impact, not just on the people that she helped but on others who might have been inspired to follow her lead in terms of looking to help the poor.

Sri Chinmoy: There is not a single human being on earth who wants to be a good citizen of the world who was not or is not inspired by her. Directly as well as indirectly, consciously as well as unconsciously, she has served humanity. Her approach was unique. She could come down to any level. She could mix with the poorer than the poorest as well as the richer than the richest. She could be with the mightier than the mightiest and the weaker than the weakest. She had a universal heart that could mix with all and sundry, irrespective of their height or status in society.

Interviewer: Very, very true! Tell us, if you could, about what Mother Teresa’s work was like in India. India being such a long way from the United States, many Americans simply saw in her an image of a nun trying to help poor people. But I’m not sure that folks are really aware of the impact of her work in India.

Sri Chinmoy: In India she was at once the Mother of compassion and the Sister of affection. She became the very heart of India’s poverty. The poor and the needy claimed her as their very own, and also she claimed these unimaginably suffering human beings as her own. It was a matter of inseparable oneness that she established with the Indians.

So India claimed her as its very own. That is why India gave her the kind of state funeral that was accorded only to Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Indian Nation. She got the same kind of honour.

MT 89. Radio WLIB, New York. Interviewer: Mark Riley

Interviews — 24 September 1997

Sri Chinmoy was interviewed separately by: ABC News, New York WIBC, Indianapolis (Live)\\ WJR, Detroit (Live)\\ WLW, Cincinnati (Live)\\ WGY, Albany (Aired September 25th)\\ MT 90e1. In the Studio of Satellite Channel: SEDAT 00 New York

Interview — ABC News, New York

Interviewer: Our next guest is a prolific author, a poet, an artist, a musician, an athlete, a spiritual guide. He has spent time with world leaders such as Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mother Teresa, just before she passed on. Sri Chinmoy is with us this morning.

Sir, how were you able to obtain access to world leaders like the ones I just mentioned, and of course Mother Teresa, too?

Sri Chinmoy: I am a student of peace, and I wanted to meet with them. They were extremely kind to me and they complied with my request. Afterwards, I became very close friends with some of them.

Interviewer: I know you had been acquainted with Mother Teresa for quite a bit. What struck you about Mother Teresa the first time you ever met her?

Sri Chinmoy: When I met with her for the first time, I prayerfully offered her a rose, and she blessingfully accepted the rose from me. I saw in her humility, simplicity, affection and compassion in boundless measure. This meeting took place on 24 October 1975, at the United Nations.

Interviewer: Why did you write a book about her?

Sri Chinmoy: I wrote a book entitled: Mother Teresa: Humanity’s Flower-Heart, Divinity’s Fragrance-Soul. I had met with her four times, each time for 45 minutes or an hour or so. I was also blessed with quite a few letters from her, and I had the greatest opportunity to speak with her on the telephone a number of times. All these I wanted to be recorded. Mother Teresa: Humanity’s Flower-Heart, Divinity’s Fragrance-Soul contains all these things.

Interviewer: Sri Chinmoy, a very interesting book on Mother Teresa. Nice having you on the programme this morning, and good luck to you!

Interview — Radio WIBC, Indianapolis

Interviewer: Let me begin by saying the book that you wrote is a beautiful tribute for Mother Teresa. I understand that you have met her on several occasions, and in fact that you share a birthday. Can you tell me a little bit about the last time you spoke with her?

Sri Chinmoy: My last conversation with her has been recorded. She was extremely kind to me as usual. She was both a sister and a mother to me. As a sister, she inundated me with affection. As a mother, she inundated me with compassion. Her affectionate demand was, “You must pray for me, as I pray for you every day.”

Then she had something else to say: “You must come with me to China. China needs light.” Five or six times over the years she has asked me to accompany her to China. When I met with her on the 3rd of June this year and on the 17th of June at the Missionaries of Charity in the Bronx, she said the same thing: “You must come with me to China. China needs light. China needs light.” So I promised her, “Yes, Mother, when the time comes, when you go to China, I shall definitely accompany you.”

Interviewer: Obviously that trip never took place. Will you carry on her request to bring peace, love and compassion and her work to China?

Sri Chinmoy: I shall pray and meditate, and if I get a command from within, if it is the Will of God, then definitely I shall go. But otherwise, I am not entitled to act on her behalf. I am a man of prayer. I was very, very closely connected to Mother Teresa, but it is for Sister Nirmala, who is Mother Teresa’s successor and representative, to carry on her work. It is she who has to go to China and do the needful. I am a great admirer, a sincere admirer, of Mother Teresa. I promised her that I shall help the Missionaries of Charity according to my very limited capacity. I have students who are in the medical field, and they are able to offer the Missionaries of Charity medical supplies which have been donated by large companies. Also, in various other capacities whenever the Sisters need any help from me, I shall gladly do it.

Interviewer: What do you see for the Missionaries of Charity now that Mother Teresa has passed away? Is there anyone who is with us now in the world who can even compare with her?

Sri Chinmoy: Nobody can be compared with her. She is matchless; she is unique. But her successor, Sister Nirmala, will be receiving blessings and guidance from Above — from Mother Teresa’s soul in Heaven. Mother Teresa will be able to guide Sister Nirmala at every step. I know both of them well, so I know the daughter will always get inner guidance and special blessings from Mother, and she will be able to carry on Mother’s mission. I have implicit faith in Mother’s capacity and also I have implicit faith in Sister Nirmala’s receptivity. Nirmala cannot be compared with Mother Teresa, true, but Mother Teresa will successfully be able to fulfil her mission in and through Sister Nirmala.

Interviewer: You’ve met some very spiritual people in your life, obviously Mother Teresa being one of them. You’ve also met Pope John Paul. Can you compare the levels of spirituality in these great people and their works?

Sri Chinmoy: Each one has a special role to play on earth. They cannot be compared. Each human being is unique in his own way. Let us take the Holy Father. I have met with him on five occasions. Each time, he has blessed me most affectionately and most compassionately. To me, the Holy Father is our universal grandfather. No matter what we do, he is ready to shower his choicest compassion, protection and forgiveness upon us. In a family, children may do quite a few wrong things. Their parents may be annoyed, but their grandparents are always ready to forgive them. The Holy Father is like that; he is all compassion and forgiveness. No matter what we do, he is ready to forgive us. Through his affection and compassion, he tries to improve our lives. Not through justice-power but through forgiveness-power he wants to make us good citizens of the world. That is why the Holy Father is so unique.

Interviewer: As I look around the rest of the world, I see more spirituality in other countries, especially in third world countries, than in America. I think there is more praying, more compassion, more of a desire to believe in something greater than physical being, whereas here in America I sense a lack of spirituality. What would you say to that?

Sri Chinmoy: I beg to be excused, but I cannot see eye to eye with you. You are an American, so you may say that Americans are not spiritual. But I feel that Americans are definitely spiritual. I happen to be a seeker of truth and a lover of God. I have been here in your country, America, for 33 years. During these 33 years, God has given me ample opportunity to be of service to the soul, to the heart and to the life of America. I have been to all the states, given talks at universities, answered questions and offered Peace Concerts, and I have found America to be quite receptive.

Everybody has his own way of thinking about spirituality. Some people are of the opinion that one is spiritual only if one enters into the Himalayan caves and gives up the worldly life. Again, others are of the opinion that we do not have to enter into the Himalayan caves; only we have to give up our desire-life and enter into the aspiration-life.

It is our desire-life that binds us. If we have one car, then we want to have two cars, three cars, four cars. One house is not enough; we want a second house and a third house. And each time we increase our desire-life, we bind ourselves tighter. But when we enter into the aspiration-life, we pray to God to give us peace of mind, light and bliss. Rather than try to exercise our supremacy over others, as we do in the desire-life, in the aspiration-life we try to become one, inseparably one, with the rest of the world. It is our oneness with others that gives us peace of mind and real satisfaction. And to achieve this we do not have to enter into the Himalayan caves or lead an isolated life. On the contrary, first we have to accept life as such and then we have to transform it. We have to transform our mind; we have to transform our life. We have to look forward or upward or dive deep within to bring to the fore our inner light. Only then — only when we see, feel and grow into our inner light — can we become perfect citizens of the world. For this, America is an excellent place, just like any other country is, for an individual to practise spirituality.

Interviewer: Well said! Absolutely! Thank you very much. That was beautiful.

Interview — Radio WJR, Detroit

Interviewer: Our first guest is a gentleman who has written a book on Mother Teresa entitled, Mother Teresa: Humanity’s Flower-Heart, Divinity's Fragrance-Soul. He was on the telephone with Mother Teresa on his birthday just nine days before her passing. He is a prolific author, poet, artist, musician, athlete, etc. Sri Chinmoy joins us on WJR.

Sri Chinmoy, you mourn the loss of Mother Teresa, but you celebrate the work that she did and you carry on her memory in your book. I know it is important to you that we all remember her and her work and pick up where she left off.

Sri Chinmoy: It is absolutely true. We must try to follow in her footsteps.

Interviewer: You held a special programme yesterday at the United Nations. Can you tell us about it?

Sri Chinmoy: At the United Nations, in the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium, we offered our prayers to her soul. The Ambassador of Bangladesh sponsored the occasion, and we prayed and sang. Also, some of the guests spoke very prayerfully about her. It was a prayerful service right from the beginning to the end. In 1975, at the same Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium, I had the golden opportunity to be in her blessingful presence. I offered her a rose and she blessingfully accepted it.

Interviewer: It is wonderful that you carry on her memory, and I am sure that it was exactly the kind of celebration Mother Teresa would have liked — with music and prayer. It is nice of you to share with us your book, Mother Teresa: Humanity’s Flower-Heart, Divinity’s Fragrance-Soul, taken from your time with her and your message of global peace, which is the same as hers.

Sri Chinmoy: We are all sailing in the same boat. Those who believe in peace, those who believe in world harmony, are all sailing in the same boat.

Interview — Radio WLW, Cincinnati

Interviewer: Sri Chinmoy is on the line. Sir, first of all tell me, what was your relationship with Mother Teresa?

Sri Chinmoy: I am a great admirer of Mother Teresa. Her boundless affection and compassion I cherish and I shall forever cherish.

Interviewer: In your book you have written several poems about her and several tributes. Do you think she had any idea while she was living how many people were aware of her work?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, she was fully aware of the world’s affection and admiration for her, but she did not care for it. She cared only for her prayerful service to her beloved Lord Jesus Christ in humanity. She did not care for name and fame. She cared only for one thing: her sleepless and breathless service to the poor and the needy.

Interviewer: We had a priest on a week or two ago who had a chance to meet Mother Teresa in Calcutta. He said he was amazed at how nice this woman was. She was truly that way to everybody.

Sri Chinmoy: She was for all with her affection, compassion, simplicity and humility. To stand before her was to feel one’s own divine virtues — such as humility, patience and self-giving — coming to the fore.

Interview — Radio WGY, Albany

Interviewer: The world reels at the loss of a frail little woman in her eighties who spent her entire life helping people that the rest of the world tried to turn its back on — Mother Teresa. And one of the people who knew this remarkable woman best is our guest this morning. Please welcome Sri Chinmoy.

Sir, we all know what a wonderful woman Mother Teresa was and how dedicated she was to helping the poor. But what would surprise us about Mother Teresa? Did she have a weakness for candy? Did she enjoy soccer? Tell us the personal things about her.

Sri Chinmoy: I can only tell you about my personal experience of Mother Teresa. For me she was the Mother of compassion and the Sister of affection. Quite a few times she said to me, “I pray for you every day. You must pray for me. I want you to come with me to China. China needs light.” It was her affectionate and emotional demands and commands that she exercised upon me, and I shall always cherish her affection and her compassion.

Interviewer: Sri Chinmoy is our guest this morning, author of the book, Mother Teresa: Humanity’s Flower-Heart, Divinity’s Fragrance-Soul, and a friend of Mother Teresa. Now let’s talk about you for just a minute. I know you grew up in India under British rule. What was that like, being a young man in India when it was the jewel in the crown of England?

Sri Chinmoy: I was brought up in a spiritual community, and I prayed for our independence. In 1947, on the 15th of August, God listened to the prayers of millions and millions of Indians. Recently, our present Prime Minister Gujral offered a momentous utterance. He said, “We are proud to say that Indian independence was won, not given.” Many people are under the mistaken opinion that the British Government gave us our freedom.

Interviewer: Oh, not at all. It was Mahatma Gandhi’s campaign of peaceful resistance.

Sri Chinmoy: That is absolutely correct. Freedom was won, not given. Some think that the British showed a magnanimous heart. But it was not that. It was the sacrifices made by millions of people — the stupendous sacrifices, the sleepless and breathless sacrifices — that made independence possible.

Interviewer: Did Gandhi’s campaign of peaceful resistance influence your life at all? I ask because you are a Guru, a Teacher, and you’ve taught millions how to discover inner peace and fulfilment.

Sri Chinmoy: I was brought up in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. There I prayed and meditated. So my life was influenced totally by prayer and meditation. I have the deepest admiration for Mahatma Gandhi. But his influence on our national life was mainly in the moral sphere. He practised and he advocated a moral code of life. In my case, from my prayer-life and meditation-life I try to get messages from within. I solely depend on my prayer-life and meditation-life.

Interview — 14 July 199511

Sri Chinmoy: I am very, very, very fortunate that I was able to meet with Mother Teresa last year. From my personal feeling I can say that she is both the Mother of compassion and the Sister of affection. When I look at her heart, I see that it is all compassion. When I look at her eyes, I see that they are all affection. She herself is the embodiment of both affection and compassion; these divine qualities inundate her inner being. I have the highest admiration and deepest, deepest love for her. If we had more Mother Teresas on earth, this world of ours would definitely be a world of compassion and a world of oneness.

It is because of her compassion that she accepts donations from people. For her, the one who has money is a brother, and the one who needs money is also a brother. Between the two brothers she is trying to establish the message of oneness. She sees that someone is in need and that someone else has more than he needs. So she begs and pleads with the person who has more than he needs: “Please give to me, so that I can give to our common brother, who desperately needs something.” She is begging both sides. She is begging the person who has to give and also she is begging the person who does not have to take. Some people are ready to die in the street rather than take help from others. They have lost their wisdom or ordinary intelligence. So she has to beg them, “Please allow me to treat you. Please allow me to serve you.” To me, Mother Teresa is a living saint.

Question: You and Mother Teresa live lives of service. You are seen as exceptional people and sometimes put on a pedestal. What would you say to people who feel that they are inadequate in trying to follow in your footsteps?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, I beg to be excused. I do not dare to be placed on the same footing as Mother Teresa. Her life of service is far, far beyond my imagination’s flight. But if I may answer your question in a general way, then I wish to say that there is no such thing as adequacy or inadequacy. In a family there are two sisters; one is younger and one is older. The older sister has learned a few more things from her parents than the younger one because she was born first. The little sister is studying the ABCs, let us say, whereas the older sister is studying for her Master’s degree. The little sister will speak in her own way and her English may be faulty, but the older sister does not mind. All her affection she will shower upon the little one because she feels her oneness with her. And because the little sister feels her oneness with the older sister, she identifies with her older sister’s wisdom and claims it as her very own.

Similarly, if someone such as Mother Teresa knows a little more about spirituality, self-giving and the inner realities, then it is her bounden duty to share her knowledge with others. She has to feel like the older sister sharing her wisdom with her younger sister. At that time, why should the younger one feel inadequate? Each individual in this sense is unique. Someone can brag that his own good qualities are more important than somebody else’s. But if we want to be spiritual and establish our oneness with others, we will just offer our own good qualities to them and claim their good qualities as our own. The little sister is offering the older sister her sweet smile, and the older sister is offering her wisdom. In giving each other what they have, they are establishing their oneness with one another. It is like a flower and its fragrance; they are inseparable. Because of their oneness, the little sister’s good qualities and the older sister’s good qualities will always go together, for they are part and parcel of the same human family.

MT 96. On 15 July 1995, Mr. John Cairns and Ms. Nix Picasso, the two researchers who had collaborated with Mother Teresa on her book, 'A Simple Path', interviewed Sri Chinmoy after one of his lunchtime meditation meetings at the United Nations and asked him to offer his reflections on Mother Teresa.

Sri Chinmoy answers questions on Mother Teresa

MT 96-102. On Wednesday, 10 September, Sri Chinmoy answered the following questions from his students about Mother Teresa:

Question: How can we develop the love for God's creation that Mother Teresa had?

Sri Chinmoy: Right now name and form are creating problems for us and separating us from one another. I have one name; someone else has a different name. But if we can go beyond name and form, we discover that there is only one Name, and that is God.

There are many ways to love God the creation, but humility is of paramount importance. If we have humility, then nothing is beneath our dignity; there is nothing that we shall not do for our expanded selves. Mother Teresa’s humility is genuine, but in the case of most people it is false. While we are touching the feet of someone, we feel that the whole world is appreciating, admiring and adoring us for our humility. Our body is at the feet of the other person, but our mind is somewhere else — on the top of the Himalayas.

In genuine humility, when we touch someone’s feet, at that time we place our entire existence — body, vital, mind, heart and soul — at that person’s feet. We feel that everything we have and everything we are is at the person’s feet. When a disciple falls at the feet of his spiritual Master, his very breath must touch the Master’s feet and enter into the Master’s heart of compassion. At that time the Master does not feel superior. No, he only feels his oneness with the disciple.

Mother Teresa’s whole vision and mission were founded on humility. If she had not had humility in boundless measure, she would not have gone out into the streets of Calcutta. She went out into the streets of Calcutta and made her home in the slums because she felt her inseparable oneness with the suffering life and bleeding heart of humanity. When we have humility, automatically we increase our love of God the creation.

Question: Mother Teresa's path was very austere. I am wondering whether that austerity was needed for her to be so successful with her charity work.

Sri Chinmoy: From the highest spiritual point of view, austerity is not needed. Austerity is like self-mortification. God does not ask us to mortify ourselves in order to come close to Him; it is not necessary to do so. But again, Mother Teresa’s view of what constitutes austerity and our view of what constitutes austerity may be totally different. According to our standard, we may call her life austere, but she will use the term “natural.” We say, “You do not see movies. You do not wear nice clothes and eat good food. You deny even the basic necessities in your life.” But she will say, “I do not take these things as basic necessities. To me, they are extravagant; they are unimportant.” For her, wearing simple clothes and eating the same kind of food for months and months is natural. For us it may seem austere, but she will say, “No, that way of life has become natural for me.” So who is to judge what is natural and what is unnatural? If, by following her way of life, which is natural to her, she is making the fastest progress, who are we to criticise her?

Similarly, we can be criticised for leading a pleasure-life. In my case, because of my knee pain, I am getting massaged. Somebody may say, “What is he doing? Like a king or emperor he is getting massaged two or three times a day!” But for me this knee massage is absolutely necessary so that I can get joy from walking a little. If people who are leading more austere lives want to find fault with me, easily they can. But if getting massaged and taking Western vitamins is not lowering my consciousness, if I am not descending by doing this, then I feel it is perfectly all right. In Mother Teresa’s case also, if she was not torturing her body or lowering her consciousness by leading an austere life, if she was making progress, then there is nothing wrong with that lifestyle.

We may say that austerity is not needed to realise God. We can utilise modern conveniences and so forth. Mother Teresa and her Sisters, on the other hand, will say that modern conveniences are an extra coat that they have to carry on their journey. Whatever point of view you follow, the most important thing is to make the fastest progress. If someone can make fastest progress on the strength of his or her austerity, fine! And if I can make the fastest progress by following a different lifestyle, then I will do that. I know my way is not the only way. I cannot say that there is no other way to realise God. No, my way is suitable for me, and another way is suitable for someone else. If we are each arriving at the goal by following our own way, then only a fool would criticise us, for our sole aim is to arrive at the destination.

There are many paths. By caring for lepers and people with AIDS and other illnesses, Mother Teresa’s Sisters are doing the right thing. Again, our way is to pray to God most sincerely to cure the sick. One approach is the way of service, and the other is the way of prayer. We cannot say that their way is wrong, and they cannot say that our way is wrong.

Question: It seems that Mother Teresa's mission or path is similar to that of Saint Francis. Is there any connection?

Sri Chinmoy: You can say that the mission is similar, but she did not come into the world as a complementary soul to Saint Francis. They both travelled in the same type of boat, but there was no direct connection between their souls.

Saint Francis was guided and inspired by the Saviour Christ to walk along one particular road. Again, the Saviour Christ took Mother Teresa along the same road. But she did not get the inspiration or aspiration from her predecessor. Like Saint Francis, she received everything directly from the Saviour Christ. He was her only inspiration. Quite often she used the word ‘Jesus’ rather than ‘Christ’. Jesus and the Christ are the same, but she uses the term ‘Jesus’ more. So if anybody inspired her or aspired through her for the manifestation of God’s Light, then it was Jesus Christ.

Question: Was the timing of Mother Teresa's passing meant to help Princess Diana enter into the higher worlds?

Sri Chinmoy: Mother’s Teresa’s passing has no direct connection with Princess Diana’s passing. At God’s choice Hour, His destined Hour, Mother Teresa left us. Mother Teresa did not go just because Princess Diana needs help. Princess Diana’s soul is very beautiful and very developed, but in terms of spiritual maturity, Mother Teresa’s soul is infinitely higher. In the soul’s world Mother Teresa will gladly be of blessingful service to Princess Diana’s soul. Mother Teresa’s compassion, affection, light and other divine qualities will definitely help Princess Diana, but not immediately. It may take a few months or even a few years.

Both of them are now in totally different planes of consciousness. Mother Teresa is being worshipped and adored by angels, archangels and other divine beings. She is in one world, Diana is in another world, which is also extremely beautiful, and Sri Chinmoy is crying and dancing, dancing and crying, somewhere else.

Question: Mother Teresa taught us many beautiful lessons through her example, but I never could comprehend what she meant when she talked about the beauty she saw in dying people.

Sri Chinmoy: It is one thing to theoretically say, “God is inside everybody; that is why I love you.” But it is another thing to say, “I see you as God Himself.” In dying people Mother Teresa saw the living presence of Jesus Christ. Her oneness with God the creation was so unique or, you can say, so perfect that she did not see the dying person as an ordinary human being. She saw the dying person as Jesus Christ Himself. She was not seeing Jesus Christ inside the dying person; she was seeing the dying person as Jesus Christ Himself. This is the experience that Jesus Christ gave her because He was so pleased with her. This is a unique experience that she had, which she was sharing with us.

Question: Did Mother Teresa's dynamism come from the vital, or did it come from her soul's conviction?

Sri Chinmoy: It was her soul’s conviction that she was able to manifest in her heart. Then, from her heart she brought it into her entire life. We say that the pure vital dynamism is of paramount importance for divine manifestation, which is true. But her dynamism came from her soul, which is even better, and from there it went into her heart and then into her life. Hers was the dynamism of the heart, not of the vital. You can say it was the illumination of her soul that was transferred first into her heart and then into her life proper. When it entered into her heart, it was dynamism; but when it entered into her life, it became sympathy or compassion. In the soul’s world it was illumination; in the heart it became dynamism and in the physical body, it became sympathy. Illumination has these two additional names. In her heart it became dynamism, and in her physical, earthly life it became sympathy or compassion.

Question: Was it destiny or coincidence that Mother Teresa began her mission and spent so many years in India?

Sri Chinmoy: She came into the world with abundant light, and her soul was destined to play that role. So how can this be a coincidence? When she first went to India, she was teaching geography. But God was only waiting for the right moment. At His choice Hour, He entered into her own mother and awakened her. Then her mother reminded her, “You went to India to serve the poor, not to teach geography.” Mother Teresa was destined to play that inimitable role; it was not coincidence.

Question: When I saw the video of your first meeting with Mother Teresa in Rome, Mother Teresa's voice rang like a bell. I was wondering if you could comment on the special quality in her voice.

Sri Chinmoy: Each time she speaks, her inner being rings the bell of the divine Victory of the Saviour Jesus Christ. Outwardly you can hear her speaking English or some other language; it is melodious. But inwardly her soul is ringing the Victory-bell for Jesus Christ.

Mother Teresa-charity-critics are mental cases!13

Some so-called spiritual people sneer at the concept of charity. They say that we have to go to the root cause of ignorance in order to heal the sufferings of humanity. They feel that the answer lies in self-perfection and not in charity. According to their philosophy, the poor and the sick must endure suffering for certain karmic reasons. Therefore, it is God’s responsibility to take care of them, since He created them.

If you carry this philosophy to its inevitable conclusion and say that it is not necessary to provide services for those who suffer, then there should be no doctors or hospitals. There will be no foundation for the existence of medical science.

Fortunately, most spiritual paths include and encompass the ideal of charity in a broad sense. They feel that charity is a part of spirituality because it is based on self-giving. The expansion of our normal consciousness in various ways may take the form of charity. We see that somebody needs our concern, somebody needs treatment, somebody needs love, and we try to offer what we have and what we are lovingly, if not unconditionally.

From the highest point of view, I fully agree that charity and philanthropy are not the answer to alleviate humanity’s sufferings. In order to serve God inside our fellow human beings, we must first know what God’s Will is. The Saviour Christ taught us to pray, “Let Thy Will be done.” There can be no higher prayer than this. It is through prayer and meditation that we will come to realise and know what His Will is. Only a God-realised soul can ask God directly whom he should help and in what way.

But before we achieve this state of oneness with God, we are bound to pass through hundreds of human incarnations. While we are waiting to hear God’s Voice and to receive His inner Messages, must we just wait and do nothing? Suppose we see somebody dying in the street, will we wait for God’s Command before we go and help that person? Will we argue with ourselves and say, “Obviously he deserves this fate. In his previous incarnation he must have done many bad things”?

Where is our conscience? Where is our common sense? Did God not give us a heart to identify ourselves with the suffering of others? If somebody is in dire need of my assistance, will I not go and help that person if I have the capacity? Similarly, when I am in desperate straits, other kind-hearted people will come to my rescue. If we do not help one another like this, then what kind of society are we living in?

Suppose the person who is suffering is a close relative of ours. At that time we do not care for philosophy. When a near and dear one is suffering, we discard our philosophical detachment. We immediately run to help them. We are not interested in knowing the root cause of the problem, which may be something they did in a previous incarnation. We are only concerned with the present. When our mother or father falls ill, we will stay at the hospital round the clock because of our love and concern for them. We pray that God in the form of the doctor will be able to do the needful and cure them.

When we expand our consciousness, we come to see all of humanity as one family. We come to feel that we do not belong just to our immediate family, just to our own little village or to our own country. No, we belong to the whole world and the whole world belongs to us. We claim the whole world as our oneness-family. So if someone is suffering in our larger family, naturally we will try to help that person. The spirituality that makes us shut our heart-door to others is a very narrow kind of spirituality. Genuine spirituality helps us to expand our self-offering.

In Mother Teresa’s case, she went one step further. She saw inside the poor, the sick and the dying the living presence of Jesus Christ. That is why she was able to serve the poorest of the poor with such humility and love. Some self-styled critics of Mother Teresa claim that she did not follow a truly spiritual life. They declare that her life of service cannot be compared to a life of prayer and worship.

Swami Vivekananda, the giant Hindu spiritual figure, fell victim to the same criticism when he urged his brother-disciples to practise the life of service. He told them: If you really love God the Creator, then you must serve God the creation, the suffering humanity.

Mother Teresa’s life of dedicated service to the poor, the sick and the dying was her prayer in action. No one who came into contact with her could fail to observe that Jesus was always on her tongue and in her heart. At every moment, she prayed for God’s Blessings. And God did shower His Blessings upon her in boundless measure.

While it is true that Mother Teresa’s exemplary life embodied charity in its highest form, it is equally true that many people perform acts of charity with an altogether different attitude. If one person has ten dollars and he gives away five pennies to a poor person, he may feel that he has done an act of charity, that he has made a tremendous sacrifice. Or he may donate some discarded, unwanted clothes to those whom he considers to be objects of pity. The clothes may not even be useable, but he will feel that he has done someone a great favour, like a king giving alms to a beggar. Although the king has vast wealth, he gives just a tiny portion of it and he feels that is more than enough.

There is a great difference between charity that is based on limited self-giving and charity that is based on unconditional self-offering. Unconditional self-offering comes from the integral, entire being, whereas limited self-giving comes from an infinitesimal portion of our existence.

In limited self-giving we feel that we are superior and others are inferior. We may pity somebody, but while doing so we remain on the Himalayan heights and we see the person to whom we are showing pity at the bottom of a chasm. We stand millions of miles higher than the heart-breaking reality of the other person.

When charity is based on unconditional self-offering, on the other hand, we feel that the poor and the sick are like our little brothers and sisters. In a family, there can be no superiority and no inferiority. It is all oneness. The older brother will share what he has with his little brother, not because he pities him, but because he has compassion for him. When we show compassion, at that time our whole being becomes one with the suffering of others. If somebody is poverty-stricken and we offer our compassion, we become one with his poverty itself. We just come to him and become one with his problems.

This is what Mother Teresa did on a daily basis. She herself braved unimaginable poverty and hardship in order to become one with the poor people of India. It is a far cry from her self-offering to the charitable donations of big businessmen who are seeking a way to evade taxes. Do they see, like Mother Teresa, the living presence of Jesus Christ inside the poor? Never, never. I do not wish to decry the contributions of wealthy people. There are some who have very large hearts and who genuinely wish to help the world-family to become happy and progressive. By not hoarding their wealth in a selfish way they are definitely elevating the consciousness of mankind and inspiring others to follow their example.

But the utter, unconditional self-offering that we find in the life of Mother Teresa will have no equal. I am reminded of an incident that occurred when Mother Teresa first opened up her Home for the Dying, Nirmal Hriday, at Kalighat in Calcutta. Some members of the local community stood against her. They believed that she was trying to convert everybody from Hinduism to Christianity. The local police chief agreed to go and investigate the complaints. As soon as he entered Nirmal Hriday, he saw that Mother Teresa was bending over a dying man and pulling out the worms from his body. The stench was so unbearable that the police chief hastily left the building. When he returned to the people who had lodged the complaint, he said, “You are all so undivine! You talk about God, but you do nothing to help humanity. If I ask Mother Teresa to leave, will any of you take her place and look after this dying man? Never! I do not see her as a mere human being. If she is not God, then who is God?”

Mother Teresa taught us that if somebody is standing at our heart-door, we should not allow that person to wait outside like a beggar. We should immediately embrace him and give him what we have and what we are. Our complete self-offering to the divine in him is nothing other than charity in its purest sense of the term, bordering on real spirituality.

I strongly feel that Mother Teresa’s inspiration-light will spread to countless people in various levels of society the world over. As they come to learn about the life and work of this Himalayan-height saint, they will be filled with the inspiration to think more of others than of themselves and to offer their heart’s boundless love and concern to each and every member of our oneness-world-family.

To conclude, Princess Diana also sailed in the same boat as Mother Teresa towards the same destination, the Golden Shore. Alas, Princess Diana’s life-tree was snapped before it could reach its highest height with foliage, flowers, fragrance and nourishing fruits. No wonder why Mother Teresa most affectionately and most proudly claimed Diana as her daughter. When Mother and daughter met for the last time on June 18th in the Bronx, New York, their mutual love and affection can only be felt and never be described.

MT 104. Sri Chinmoy gave the following talk on 11 September 1997.

Songs to Mother Teresa's Words

All works of love

All works of love are works of peace.

If you judge people

If you judge people,
You have no time
To love them.

I do not pray for success

I do not pray for success.
I ask for faithfulness.

I am a little pencil

I am a little pencil
In the Hand of a writing God,
Who is sending a love letter
To the world.

God has not called me

God has not called me
To be successful.
He has called me
To be faithful.


O Absolute Lord Supreme,
You have made our Mother
The embodiment of compassion.
Do make us
The embodiment of gratitude.

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