Nineteen American mothers and nineteen American sons with Sri Chinmoy

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Editor's preface

On 7 December 1975, Sri Chinmoy hosted a special luncheon at Annam Brahma Restaurant for his male disciples and their mothers. In the course of the luncheon, he gave a short talk to the mothers and invited them to ask him questions. Afterwards, he presented them with several gifts to honour them and express his gratitude to them.

Part I — Remarks by Sri Chinmoy

Remarks by Sri Chinmoy

Sri Chinmoy: I lost my physical mother when I was eleven years old. She left me for God; she left me for her Maker. Since then, my three sisters, one by one, have played the role of my mother. Two of them are now with God. My middle sister, who is extremely close to me, is still on earth. Quite often I speak to her on the telephone. By the way, let me tell you, it is only twelve dollars for the first three minutes. Otherwise, you might think I am very extravagant. This sister of mine is extremely, extremely close to my heart and soul. She is not my sister but my real mother. Here in America I have three mothers: Ethel Siegerman in Toronto, Carolyn Hughes in Pennsylvania and Ruth Moseley, Karuna, in New York.

A few months ago I had the golden opportunity to be with the girls' mothers. The girls' mothers also came to Annam Brahma and it was a most significant occasion. On that day I was fortunate to have about twenty mothers. Today I am more fortunate, for today thirty mothers have come to bless an Indian son. I wish to say that it is only in America that mothers come to see their sons. In India, it is the bounden duty of the son to visit the mother.

When I say the word 'mother,' it touches the depth of my gratitude-heart. The dictionary houses thousands and millions of words, but without the least possible hesitation I wish to say that the word 'mother' remains unparalleled in terms of sweetness, love, concern, intimacy, closeness and oneness. There is no other word as significant as 'mother.' It can only be felt and never described. The mother is affection, the mother is love, the mother is concern, the mother is closeness, the mother is inseparable oneness with the son. The mother and the son are the obverse and reverse of the same coin. If there is only one side of the coin, then nobody will see it as a coin. Both the sides are of paramount importance. In the life of the mother, the son is undoubtedly the dearest living being. And in the heart of the son, the same experience must always loom large, that the mother is all. To the son, the mother is sweet, sweeter, sweetest. To the mother, the son is sweeter than the sweetest.

Each mother embodies the highest God-reality in abundant, boundless measure. As you all know, I come from India. In India we had a great spiritual Master whose name was Ramakrishna. He taught us that each mother has to be venerated, worshipped in the depths of the son's heart, because she embodies the Divine Mother, God in His feminine aspect. To him each mother represented the highest, the deepest. This Truth is undeniable to me and to those who love the Truth and want to grow into the Truth absolute.

I beg to be excused for all that I am saying. I have come not with the intention to throw light on you. I go to various places — colleges, universities, churches, synagogues to illumine the seekers. But the son cannot illumine his mother. If he wants to do that, then it will be the height of audacity and ignorance. So I have come here today not to throw light on you but to share with you the experiences which I have been sharing with your sons.

If you think I am a good man, then you are telling me a half-truth. The complete truth is that your sons are equally good. They say that birds of a feather flock together. It is true. If your sons had not been good, if divinity had not started to blossom in them, they would not have come to me to study in the school of love, devotion and surrender to God's Will. You have taught them in their childhood these three things — love, devotion and surrender — and I am only continuing what you have already started.

Now, some of you will say that your sons have come and joined our path without your knowledge or without your permission. But I wish to say that there are two types of permission. One is the permission of the tongue and mouth and the other is the permission of the heart. If one gets the inner permission from the soul of the mother, then that is more than enough. Here there is not a single mother whose soul has not given permission for her son to come and study with me in the school of love, devotion and surrender. I say this on the strength of my oneness, not only with God but with all of you, with your hearts and souls. If you feel that your sons are studying in a peculiar school, and that a day will come when they will be disillusioned and will feel they have done the wrong thing, then I wish to say that you are mistaken. There is not a single mother whose heart of divinity and whose soul of inseparable oneness with the Highest has not given permission for her son to study with me. The human in you may not believe it, but the divine in you is bound to believe it.

When you are blessed with a child, you bring into your life a solid portion of divinity from above. At that time your soul makes a solemn promise to God that you will make your son a perfect instrument of God. Either you will be in a position to help your son yourself, or you will take the help of some other human being. This is your soul's promise. Sometimes the physical mind will be aware of it, but in spite of being fully aware of what the soul has promised to God, it wants to delay the soul's fulfilment of that promise. Again, the physical mind may surrender to the heart.

It has happened a few times that a mother has objected to her son's joining our path. But her heart was totally against her mind's decision. The heart of the mother wants nothing from her son except a smiling face, a cheerful heart. Her son's smile, which comes from the inmost recesses of the heart, is the one thing that gives her joy. The son's smiling face, to the mother, is an illumining and fulfilling reality.

I wish to tell you a most significant incident that took place in my own life. When I was three years old my parents took me to the spiritual community where my oldest brother was living. It was my second visit. When I was a year and three months old my parents first took me there. The second time, my mother went to the head of this spiritual community, the spiritual mother, with only one prayer. The prayer was that she could take back her eldest son to the ordinary life. She was fully prepared to make this prayer to the spiritual Mother of this community. But when she saw the spiritual Mother, she could not make this request. She said: "Mother, I am so grateful that you have taken full responsibility for my eldest son. I have six other children whom I wish you to take on your path. The eldest you have taken. Now I beg you to take full responsibility for the younger brother and sisters." You see, the mind went to take the eldest son back, but the heart and the soul knew where the truth was. The heart and the soul prayed to the divine Mother to accept the rest of the children.

A real mother, when she sees her son is hungry, never thinks of who is feeding the son. If she does not have food and someone is ready to offer proper food, she tells the son, "Go and eat. This is what you need." On the physical plane, I, as a human being, appear to feed your sons. But this is not true. It is only God in me, God in you, who feeds them. They have seen in me a good friend, an eternal friend, and I have seen in them an instrument that is going to become a perfect, absolutely perfect instrument of God.

You have come to see me because I am supposed to be the leader of your children. But I am not their leader. The real leader is not a human being; the real leader is God. I am just an older brother. As I said, you are my mothers. Yours sons have found in me an elder brother. And I am taking them to your Father, their Father, my Father — to our Eternal Father, who is God. This is my role: to take them to the right place, the right person. The thing that I am doing is what your souls want. As a matter of fact, your souls are doing it in and through me. The most striking progress that your sons are making is the result of your souls' continuous love and concern for your sons. I shall not take any credit. And again, there is something more, which is extremely important: the body, vital, mind, heart and soul of your sons wanted to do the same thing. So, your souls, your sons' souls and my soul all joined together only to do one thing: to please God in God's own way. When we remain in the body, vital or mind, we try to compel God either devotedly or cleverly to please us in our own way. But when we remain in the heart, we ask God to show us how we can please Him. When we remain in our heart and soul, always we tell God only one thing: "Let Thy Will be done." And you quite often do remain inside your heart. At that time, you see that the thing that you actually wanted for your sons is being done. It is being done on the strength of your real love for your sons.

When you think of perfection, you have to know that perfection comes only in self-giving, and self-giving is God-becoming. The son is part and parcel of the mother's existence and this son she offers to God so that he can study in a spiritual school and develop love, devotion and surrender. This is one act of self-giving. The second act of self-giving is to see the person to whom your children have come. But it is an even greater victory that you have come to visit me. There are mothers here who have doubted me and suspected me. So, for these mothers, is it not their greatest achievement to come today and see whether I am good?

Today I have sung the song of victory. It is your victory, your second victory. The first victory was in the inner world when you gave your sons outer permission to follow our path. If any mother goes home with a good thought — that you have seen that Indian who has taken away your dearest and he is not bad after all — I wish to tell you that this thought will undoubtedly increase your happiness. And happiness is nothing but an expansion or manifestation of your own divinity. Divinity means the thing that eternally is. A thought does not last, but we last. If the thought gives way to God's Will, then you can say, "Let Thy Will be done." Nobody has said and nobody will say anything better than this: "Let Thy Will be done." Two thousand years ago we were taught this by the Christ. So if you want happiness in the purest sense, if you want happiness to constantly increase in your life, then you have to surrender to God's Will. And that is done by self-giving.

It is an act of supreme self-giving on your part to see me. For that I am eternally grateful to you. Today you have come to see a son of yours. I wish to say that your affection, your concern, your good will shall grow in me, in the very depth of my grateful heart. On the strength of my oneness with my Inner Pilot, I wish to tell you that there shall come a time when we all shall pass behind the curtain of Eternity. At that time, this Indian son of yours will be in an infinitely better position to be of help, not only to your sons, but to all of you. I assure you, in the name of the Absolute Pilot Supreme, that I shall really do something in the inner world at God's Choice Hour for all the mothers whom I am today fortunate enough to meet. And you don't have to follow our path, you don't have to study in our school. If you do your own respective prayer, if you go to church or synagogue or wherever you go, I wish to tell you that if you are sincere and devoted, then my dedicated, illumining, soulful service to your souls you are bound to feel. And I assure you it can happen right from today. You don't have to wait for two years or three years or four years. When I accepted your sons, I accepted a portion of your life-breath. So when I am one, absolutely one, with a portion of your life-breath, I am undoubtedly inside your heart and soul, only waiting for you to grant me the golden opportunity to be of real service to you.

Nothing gives me greater joy than to be of dedicated service. All the mothers are members of the same family, one family. You have offered to the Supreme in me the one that is dearest and closest to you. You are already in my heart of gratitude, constantly growing and glowing, for it is your sons who are helping me steer the boat to the Golden Shore. And I assure you that when you live in the heart, definitely you will get all of your sons' achievements. When you remain in the world of prayer, meditation and aspiration or inner cry, you shall see that the achievements of the sons are undoubtedly the achievements of the mothers, and the achievements of the mothers are undoubtedly the achievements of the sons. The sons have already achieved the mothers' abundant love, concern, sympathy, intimacy, oneness. All these qualities that I notice in your sons have come directly from you; you are the source.

Again, if you remain in the vital or the physical, there shall come a time when the physical and vital in you will surrender to the aspiring heart. At that time you will realise that your dearest ones have not left you. Wherever they are, there you are inside the very depth of their living breath, and vice versa: wherever you are, they will also be there. They are carrying you and you are carrying them. I offer my ever-growing and ever-glowing gratitude to the souls of all the mothers.

Part II — Questions from mothers

Mrs. Lebenson (Vinaya's mother): Suppose there are those of us who don't recognise God in such an animate way as you do. Certainly I am in awe of all the things in the world — nature, love, knowledge, art — but I don't see the necessity of putting it all in a straitjacket and calling it a blessing of God or, on the other hand, blaming God for a lot of the things that happen throughout the world. I feel that it is enough to be grateful for the things in existence and do the best you can by them.

Sri Chinmoy: I have not made it clear to you. To me God is not only the most beautiful golden Being or Spirit; to me God is everything. You just mentioned nature: a beautiful flower or a beautiful tree. Anything that is God's creation embodies God. Anything that can be seen in God's creation is of God and for God. Anything that you appreciate here on earth is not only an embodiment of God, but God Himself.

When we think of God in Heaven, we have more faith in Him. But God is also here on earth — inside me, inside you, inside everyone. God can be above in any form, or formless, as infinite Light, infinite Peace, infinite Bliss. Again, He can be inside our hearts, where our real existence is. And if we open our eyes and look at nature, at the mountains and rivers, that also is God.

So no matter which way we appreciate the reality or want to identify ourselves with the reality, we have to feel that we are appreciating and identifying ourselves with Divinity; and this Divinity we call either God or Spirit or Being. If you don't want to call it God, you are at perfect liberty not to do so. But you have to call it happiness. Happiness itself is God. You can appreciate the beauty of nature and if you are happy, then the happiness that you are getting is God. In one word, if God has to be defined, then I wish to say God is happiness.

You can forget the word 'God' and say 'Truth.' One of India's great politicians and great saints, Mahatma Gandhi, said, "If you say 'God,' immediately some people will object to the conception, but if you speak of 'Truth,' everybody agrees with you." So if I speak of Truth, boundless Truth inside nature, then I am satisfied, because this Truth is giving me happiness. So anything that gives one happiness is God. It can be nature; it can be a personal being and also an impersonal being. God is everything.

Mrs. Lebenson: But people are limited in their capacity for happiness.

Sri Chinmoy: The thing is that we should do the best we can. But there is a way to cultivate our capacity. If I have ten dollars, that is good. But if I work very hard I can get twenty dollars and give it to my friend. Similarly, if I have love, if I have concern for mankind, I have to know that this love can be increased, this concern can be increased. Any of these qualities which I have, I have to know that I can increase. But for that I have to work. If I go to an office and work, then I get a salary. My salary I can give to my friends or I can do whatever I want to do with it.

If I pray soulfully and devotedly to increase my capacity, then I can increase my capacity. There is no way for any human being to increase his capacity without praying. According to the soul's nature, somebody will pray in one particular way, while somebody else will pray in another way. But if we want to give more than what we have, then we have to go to the Source. The Source we can call infinite Energy, infinite Light, infinite Bliss or anything that is infinite. The Source is Infinity itself. So if I want to give more than what I have to you or to anybody, then I have to have a free access to the Source, to Infinity.

If I don't do that, then I won't be satisfied. I will be satisfied only when I expand, expand, expand and become one with the Infinite. And for that, I have to pray, I have to meditate. There are many people on earth who are not aspiring but are happy with what they are. But if they want to have more happiness, then they have to pray and meditate. If I want to give more happiness to mankind, if I want to dedicate myself more to mankind so that I can see the transformation of mankind, then I have to grow into something, and I can do that by praying.

Before you pray you can take a picture of yourself and see what you look like. And after you pray, take another picture and see the difference. You say you don't want to pray but only want to appreciate something and identify yourself with the beauty of nature; that is the same thing. I will say before you start appreciating nature's beauty, which you call God, before you identify yourself with nature's beauty, you can take a picture, and afterwards you can take another picture. This second picture will be totally different! On the strength of your oneness you are growing into something. The more you identify with the divinity that you have, the more you bring to the fore your good qualities, the more you are happy and the more you are making others happy.

Mrs. Burke (Chidananda's mother): This is a more personal question. I was wondering, on special occasions like Mother's Day, Father's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, why don't you encourage the disciples to spend the day with their parents? Last Father's Day you had a thirteen-hour meditation, and Chidananda wasn't able to wish his father a happy Father's Day, much less see him.

Sri Chinmoy: I am sorry. You have to forgive me; I am not perfect. For Father's Day I take full blame because we had a special meditation. I thought more of his father's Father than of his father. And his father's Father is God. I didn't tell him to come and worship me or that I am his father; far from it. I told him, "Come, let us worship together, let us go to our one Father who is in Heaven. Let us pray to the real Father from whom all the fathers and mothers have come." So during those thirteen hours we offered gratitude. If that Father had not created you, if He had not created your husband, then how could your son have taken existence? I always say, "Let us go to the Source." So I told your son to go to the Eternal Father from whom the human father and human mother have come.

Now, about Thanksgiving Day, I wish to tell you that I begged the disciples to go and visit their parents. I personally told them, "You have to go to your parents for Thanksgiving Day." It was my sincere request. So some of them did go, some of them did not. Again I am saying that they always think in their own terms of what gives them happiness. In some cases they feel that if they can pray for five minutes longer here, their lives are more meaningful, so they will want to stay here.

If your son came and showed you a sad, depressed face, would you be happy? You would not be happy. You would say, "Who wants you? Go! Go to that Indian." God has given you a heart. Your heart will tell you in unmistakable terms whether your son is happy or not. The human in you will say, "Let him come on Thanksgiving and let him have turkey. One day if he eats meat nobody will mind." But the divine in you will say, "No, if he does not want to eat turkey, for God's sake let him be happy. Let him have plain vegetables and let him be happy in that way." When you think of your oneness with your son, if something gives him joy, then you, being his mother, will be so happy. And the same with the father. If the father becomes one with his son's happiness, he will also be happy. He will say, "All right, he has not gone to steal something, he has not committed a crime. Only he is praying to God to make him a better person."

You will say that it is only once in a blue moon that you ask him to come; it is not a continuous demand that every other day he has to come to visit you. But I wish to say at this point that there are some special days when the students feel that if they pray to God, then they get special joy. Why do you have Christmas, why do you have other religious days? There is special meaning in it. You try to have your sons with you on that day because you feel that they are under obligation and also because you feel that they will get greater joy if they see their parents. But they are wise. They feel that if they can go a little higher with their prayer on this day than on some other day, then they can become happier.

You are trying to give your son happiness according to your own understanding and you are doing absolutely the right thing. You feel that your son will be very happy if he eats a potato. But he says, "No, I would like to have a tomato." Your happiness is in giving him the potato and his happiness is in eating the tomato. So what will you do? But when you see him eating the tomato and giving you the brightest face, beaming with joy, at that time you will not say, "You fool, if you had taken my food you would have been happier!" No, you will immediately forgive him and say, "Oh, I have seen your smiling face; that is more than enough.

It is only happiness that you want for your son. Lelihan's mother I have known over the years. She has not accepted our path. 'Accepted' is a very bad term. She has not been able to come to our Centre. But in how many ways she helps! The sons have formally accepted our path, but both the sons and the mother have the deepest sympathy and oneness with our path. Outwardly she is a Christian; she finds it difficult to accept us. But inwardly she is constantly pushing her two sons towards our path. And on many occasions her sons have spoken to me in superlative terms about their mother. They tell me that she is one hundred percent for us. A hundred percent for us means a hundred percent for her sons' happiness. When she sees that Lelihan is happy, when she sees that Prabuddha is happy, then she has the whole world.

Happiness is identification with something or someone. So your sons are trying to identify themselves with the Source for happiness. And in their happiness is your happiness. Even if the whole world comes to you, I tell you, you will say, "I don't need the rest of the world; only I need my sons — my sons' happiness."

All the mothers want only one thing from their sons and that is happiness. You don't want them to be millionaires; you don't want them to be something very great. No, no, no, no! If you go deep within you will see that there is only one thing you want: a smiling heart, a smiling face.

I wish to say that I am not binding and your children are not binding; only we are spreading our arms. We are spreading our arms because God and the Universe are so vast. We are only spreading and spreading our arms, but still we find that the Universe is infinite. We feel that the more we spread and the more we become one with the Source, the greater is our joy and fulfilment.

Mrs. Marcantonio (Albert and Marc's mother): I don't have a question. This is about the seventh time I have had the pleasure of being here. And I am taking the opportunity to thank you for crossing my sons' path. You brought so much happiness to our family. I wouldn't have the pleasure of having Marc with us at times and seeing him if it weren't for you. I really mean it. That I really mean. (Many of the mothers stood up and began clapping.)

Sri Chinmoy: I am so grateful to you. On behalf of the souls of all the mothers you are speaking.

Mrs. Marcantonio: Yes. My husband and I talk about you all the time because we have so much to be grateful for. Marc is not a young boy; he is a man and few mothers have grown sons who come to them with smiling faces. You brought him back to God. When he was a youngster he was religious, but then he drifted away. But you brought that all back. I have so much to be thankful for and I am also speaking for my husband. Thank you. Thank you.

Sri Chinmoy: I shall eternally remain grateful to you. What you are saying is coming from the inmost recesses of your heart, your true reality-existence. I have not taken anyone away from you. In the inner world, you are helping your son beyond your imagination. When you identify with his happiness, it is most helpful, for your happiness is your encouragement to your son. And in your encouragement you are helping your son do the right thing. Not only human beings, but also God Himself becomes happy in His children's happiness. If He sees that the members of His family are happy, then there is nothing else needed.

I am extremely grateful to all the mothers who are present. As a token of my appreciation and smiling oneness with your aspiring hearts, and with my blessingful heart's soulful appreciation of your sons, who are our true manifested joy here on earth, I wish to offer some gifts for the mothers.

Part II — Comments from mothers

NAM 7-25. Several of the mothers were deeply moved by the meeting with their sons' Guru, and sent notes of appreciation. Some of these notes are reproduced here.

Apeksha's mother

Dear Sri Chinmoy,

It was a privilege for me to have been in your presence, and to hear your splendid talk to the mothers who were your guests on December 7, 1975. Your serenity, combined with your many words of wisdom to the mothers, was very inspirational to all who were there. For me, the highlight of our morning with you was the feeling of exaltation when you placed your hands upon my head and gave me a blessing. That experience is a blending one, of mind and heart.

As a mother of one of your disciples, I give grateful thanks to Our Heavenly Father for directing you to America, for all the good that you have done in influencing and guiding so many of our very special young people.

May you be blessed with good health, and many years of useful service.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Katherine Baccigaluppi

Ashrita's mother

The only things we ever keep

Are what we give away.

— a song by Louis Ginsberg

In my view, the overall theme of the encounter of the mothers of the disciple sons with their revered Guru Sri Chinmoy was the theme of 'givingness.'

It is my belief that a mother's love is equated to giving. A mother's entire character expresses the joy of giving. It seemed especially relevant this afternoon when Sri Chinmoy spoke to us as the "Divine Offeror" of spirituality for our sons. I felt an affinity towards him — as a continuum of a love/giving relationship.

This Sunday afternoon Sri Chinmoy was also giving to us in three ways. His divine presence; his inspiring and humble address in which he asked for us to accept his spiritual guidance of our sons and to rejoice with him over the happiness he has given them; and the concluding short ceremony, where the Guru personally handed each mother seven gifts to enjoy, and then clasped our hands in a handshake that symbolized for me our sharing of the continuum which was most meaningful to me. In fact, the entire afternoon was a most meaningful and memorable one.

Jessie Furman

Bhima and Larry Hogan's mother

Dear Sri Chinmoy,

I wish to thank you for the very pleasant occasion of the Mother-Son Luncheon on Sunday last. It was most enjoyable and I do believe my sons are truly happy and at peace.

I hope to return the hospitality, perhaps next summer.

Sincerely,

Joan M. Hogan

Charles Podell's mother

I would like to take this opportunity to express the feelings I experienced at the luncheon in honor of the mothers.

From the moment I entered the Restaurant I was received very warmly. The sight of so many other mothers, and their expressions of pleasure in meeting each other, seemed to convey to me that they too felt happy being there.

On other occasions, I met many of the young men who were present with their mothers, and my feelings regarding their conduct and high calibre were reinforced at the luncheon.

I believe that my son, Charles, has benefited from his association with these dedicated disciples and his happiness rubs off on me too.

I wish to thank Guru for having extended this invitation to me. It was very pleasurable.

Fay Podell

Chidananda's mother

Dec. 12, 1975

Dear Guru:

Thank you very much for the lovely luncheon, corsage and gifts.

It was nice meeting David's friends and their mothers, and I enjoyed the afternoon very much.

Sincerely,

Elsie Burke

Daniel Stern's mother

December 11, 1975

Dear Sri Chinmoy,

I want to thank you for the luncheon last Sunday, and for the gifts you were kind enough to give us. My husband adds that the apple was truly delicious!

We are happy that our son Daniel is content and has found spiritual fulfilment with your group. It is now our hope that he will go on to fulfil himself in another way, by finding a career or occupation which will make the most of his talents and abilities. If you can be of any help to him in finding the right path to take, we would be very grateful.

Very sincerely yours,

( Mrs. Irving Stern) Laura Stern

Kanan's mother

Diversity of religious experience enriches our lives; the Mother-Son Luncheon is a perfect example of this. I appreciate the blessings of Sri Chinmoy and offer mine to him.

Harriet Roberts

Lelihan and Prabuddha's mother

It was the most enjoyable day that I've spent in years. Sri Chinmoy's mission has my heartful and soulful support.

Mrs. Mildred Browne

Lewis Kahn's mother

It was a memorable day!

What a truly pleasant day when the disciples' mothers were invited to a luncheon and informally met with the Guru.

We were seated at tables with our sons, and to begin with, a most delectable cheese mound covered with chopped nuts was placed in the center of each table to appease our appetites before meeting with Guru.

Then at last, Guru entered the restaurant — not in his usual Indian garb — but there he was beautifully clad as a handsome American young man. His meticulously clean blue shirt with his beautiful white sweater and his smiling countenance immediately gave me a feeling of complete rapport. I felt he was meeting with us on our level of consciousness to make us feel closer to him as an individual, and to my way of thinking it did.

Guru started with a short synopsis of his life. We learned he lost his mother at the age of eleven years old and now has one sister left who is very close to him, not only as a sister but as a mother. I liked the little jest he made, after he told us he calls his sister once a month, when he said, "It only costs $12.00."

Guru went on to say he is just taking over where we left off. He knows all we want for our sons is to be happy and that money is not the most important thing.

The way he spoke to us I'm sure every mother felt very much like I did: happy our sons crossed his path and thankful God sent Guru to us.

We were given the opportunity to ask questions, which some of the mothers did. I did want to get up and say something which was in my heart, but like most times when it comes to speaking in public, I was the silent one.

I was thankful that another mother got up and said most of the things I wanted to say. It was almost like she received the message from me. So I see I am not alone in my feelings for the Guru and the path he leads. I have a feeling of complete acceptance and would like him for my "Indian son."

I believe God will guide Guru on his path and I have complete faith we parents, along with our sons and daughters, will be better people for it.

To top it off Guru presented every mother individually with a beautiful corsage and a box of lovely gifts. At that time we were able to express our thanks to Guru, which gave me great pleasure. I was then able to verbally tell him how thankful I was someone else spoke for me, but then — I'm sure Guru knew all along.

I was blessed by Guru!

I was blessed by Guru!

We were then served a delicious salad which, if I'm lucky, I will get the recipe of.

Guru then left us, and we enjoyed the rest of the luncheon prepared for us.

What a beautiful day it was!

Thank you, Guru, for inviting me.

Mrs. Hortense Kahn

Marc and Albert Marcantonio's mother

December 18, 1975

My dear Sri Chinmoy,

I thought that I would take time to extend my gratitude to you for a pleasant lunch and the lovely gifts and flowers. I felt you were offering so much more in your generous gesture; and from that feeling comes my deepest gratitude for your presence and spiritual sharing.

I do hope that my words were appropriate in public context. Many of the mothers indicated to me that they shared the same positive feelings about you and your work but did not find the opportunity to express their sentiments.

Your influence on my sons has manifested itself in a return to God and the "core values" which have maintained the hope and integrity of humanity through the ages.

The ladies and gentlemen of your group are gracious ambassadors. They are happy-looking people and seem to retain their youth.

Thank you again.

Respectfully yours,

Theresa Marcantonio

Peter Neumann's mother

Jan. 9, 1975

Dear Peter,

I want to thank you and your Guru for having me at the luncheon for the mothers and sons. I enjoyed very much being there with all the other mothers.

The talk by Sri Chinmoy was very inspiring.

One thing makes me extremely happy: that you are in good company; with good people, especially in the world of today.

I appreciated Sri Chinmoy's gift, but it is not the gift but the atmosphere in which it was given: the girls — everyone was nice.

I must say I missed A.

Love

Mom

(Mrs. Paulette Neumann)

Premananda's mother

December 12, 1975

As the mother of Premananda (or Chick, as he will always be in my heart), I would like to express some of my impressions of the Guru's luncheon on December 7th for the mothers of his male disciples.

First of all, I would like to thank Guru for remembering us as these young men's mothers in his invitation and for his remarks to us. I was impressed by his sincerity and his desire to include us in his spiritual community.

Frankly, I have had my doubts over the last seven years because Chick was seemingly taking on a new family. Somehow I felt I had failed in some way as a parent. Then I began to examine the good effects of Chick's relationship with the Guru… his acquiring a much needed self-discipline, his willingness to work hard for something he believed in, and — most important, I believe — his personal attainment of an inner serenity and strength.

Some things still trouble me. At the luncheon one mother questioned the times disciples spent meditating or attending Yoga center functions on holidays or family days rather than spending some of that time with their physical families. This preoccupation with the Guru's activities is somewhat contradictory to the Guru's assurance that his disciples should stay in physical contact with their families.

The Guru says that our minds are troubled by this lack of closeness but that our hearts are glad because we want our sons to be happy. True. . . to a point. Christmas particularly is a family time. Should these sons (or daughters) travel to Puerto Rico, away from their families, at Christmas time to participate in the same activities they do in their daily lives all the rest of the year? Does this mean their spiritual family is more important to them than their physical one? If this is the case, I feel the Guru — if he is as sincere as I have come to believe he is — should underline to these young people the importance of their relationship with their physical family while they are on this Earth. Their souls will follow Guru to his "true home" and their belief will influence the future of the young people of this country.

If your children are geographically removed from you, you plan on visits to compensate for this; they come or you go to them to be together as a family. But, once again, isn't there a time and a place for the physical as well as spiritual family?

While I am on this Earth, I would like to see as much of my children as possible, as my children, not the Guru's even though I know we are all God's children and will one day be with Him.

Mary E. Brown

Ribhu's mother

Everyone seemed so happy, especially the boys, and they passed it on to the mothers. The food was excellent and the atmosphere was so nice.

Mrs. Charlotte Lepak

Jason's mother

I had an enjoyable day attending the Sri Chinmoy Centre Mothers' and Sons' Banquet with my son Jason. It was inspiring to listen to Guru's speech and hear him answer questions. I found it a delight to meet the other mothers. The food was delicious and the gifts and flowers we received made a lasting impression.

Thank you so much for everything.

Marta Strandberg

X's mother

I came to see what Sri Chinmoy had to say. Now I can see why so many young people come to him. There is a great peace that seems to flow from him.

Sincerely,

E.K.

Sahishnu's mother

Although I don't agree with Sri Chinmoy's beliefs, I did enjoy the program. I am happy that he has not made 'criminals' out of my son and the other boys. It was a nice time for my son and I to get together and share our love. Thank you for the invitation, the meal, the beautiful gifts and the enthusiasm.

Mrs. Irene Szczesiul

Sal Viscardi's mother

Dear Sri Chinmoy:

My sister and I cannot find the words to describe your wonderful hospitality where everything was so arranged that a new pleasure appeared every moment. We count ourselves very fortunate and happy to have been invited to share the day with you, other mothers and their sons.

It made us feel good knowing your consideration to preserve the love of the family and all humanity. You teach the boys to be good because without that they can be neither valued by others nor set any value on themselves. You inspire them to be industrious and apply themselves to useful pursuits.

I had a dear and precious mother and father who instilled in me a love of God, truth and kindness to all, and I hope that in raising my boys I was able to transfer the same principles to them. Thank you for your thoughtfulness and kindness and may God grant you continued success.

Sincerely yours,

Antoinette Viscardi

Steve Opera's mother

I really enjoyed the luncheon. It was a very thoughtful gesture. The gifts are greatly appreciated.

Many thanks.

Anne Opera

Vinaya's mother

December 14, 1975

Dear Sri Chinmoy,

I want to express my appreciation to you and your disciples for all the trouble you went to to arrange such a pleasant afternoon.

Yours truly,

Alice Lebenson