Sri Chinmoy answers, part 11

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Part 1

SCA 403-410. On 7 August 1995 Sri Chinmoy met with Dr. Elena Vladimirskaya, Deputy Director of the Research Institute of Pediatric Hematology in Moscow, and her husband, a retired military officer, at Annam Brahma Restaurant in Jamaica, New York. During the course of the meeting, Dr. Vladimirskaya and her husband asked Sri Chinmoy a few spiritual questions. Their questions and his answers as well as other remarks are reproduced here.

Question: Does time only go from past to future?

Sri Chinmoy: There are two kinds of time: one is earth-bound time and the other is Heaven-free time or, you can say, universal time. Earth-bound time goes from one to two to three to four to five. But universal time is like a big circle that at every moment is expanding and expanding. It is like God’s entire universe — eternal and infinite. Earth-bound time is like a few drops of water; easily you can count them. But Heaven-free time is like the vast ocean. When you think of the vast ocean, it is absolutely meaningless to try to count the drops.

Question: Where did human beings come from? Did they come from Adam and Eve, or from the monkeys?

Sri Chinmoy: I believe in evolution. We started from the mineral world and then evolved to the plant world, the animal world and the human world. And still our journey is not over. One day we shall become divine beings. But even when we were in the mineral world, we were not composed entirely of matter. Inside matter there is also spirit. Through our prayers and meditations we can bring forth spirit from matter and transform matter into spirit.

Question: What is your view of religion? Why are so many religions not friendly with each other?

Sri Chinmoy: The essence of every religion is love of God. There is not a single religion that does not tell us to love God. The problem comes with the followers of religion. Very often they say, “My religion is by far the best, whereas your religion is very bad.” The followers of the different religions are like children in a family. The children have the same parents and receive the same affection, love and compassion from their parents. But still the children quarrel and fight. If one sister sees that another sister is more beautiful, then immediately she becomes jealous and quarrels with the other one. If one brother sees that another brother is more powerful, immediately the weak one speaks ill of the strong one. Again, in a family, many times one brother will say, “I know better than anybody!” and the other brother will say, “No, I know better than you!” Similarly, each religion will tell its brother and sister religions, “I know more about the Heavenly Father than you do.” Or they will say, “My way of loving God is the only correct way, and your way is wrong.” So, quite often it happens that there is quarrelling and fighting among the various religions.

But one thing all religions agree on is love of God. And if we really love someone, we feel our oneness with that person. So if we really love God and feel our oneness with God, we will also feel our oneness with God’s creation. In the inmost depths of our heart we know that we are all one, but then pride enters into us and we tell others, “I do not need you.” But we do need one another. We are all part and parcel of the same existence-reality. A tree consists of the trunk, branches, leaves, flowers and fruits. If the trunk says that it does not need the branches or leaves, then what kind of tree will it be? And if the flowers say that they do not need the branches and trunk, then how will they live? So unity has to be established.

When we enter into a garden, immediately we become aware of the beauty, purity and fragrance of the garden. Each flower has its own beauty, but the beauty we feel in the garden is the beauty of multiplicity. And this is the beauty that gives us immense joy. Similarly, God gets immense joy from the multiplicity of the flower-hearts of all His children.

Question: Will people one day understand the necessity of oneness?

Sri Chinmoy: No, it will not be a matter of understanding; it will be a matter of feeling, through the heart. If we want to understand something, we have to use the mind. Understanding is always in the mind. But human beings will never establish oneness with one another by using the mind. At every moment the mind is changing its opinion. This moment a good thought enters into my mind and I see you as a very good person. The next moment a bad thought enters into my mind and I say you are a very bad person. When I use the mind, my view of you is a reflection of the kind of thoughts that I am having. Another thing about the mind is that it always separates and divides. The mind will say, “I am good, but you are not good.”

The heart only feels its oneness with others. It says, “If I am good, then you are also good.” The heart is like a mother. A mother always feels that her child is good. She is all the time pouring her motherly love, affection and compassion into her child. A mother is not using her mind to determine how beautiful her child is. No! As soon as she looks at her child, she sees him as all beauty.

If the child becomes like a cyclone and starts screaming and breaking everything in the house, her mind may say, “God, why did You give me such an undivine child? Who needs him?” That is because the mind is separating the mother from the child. But then the mother’s heart will come forward and say, “If he is bad, then I am responsible because I brought him into the world.”

Question: Will human beings one day achieve salvation by having this feeling of oneness?

Sri Chinmoy: It will come, it will come. You are using the term ‘salvation’. When we use this term, we feel that there is a saviour who will rescue us. We feel that we have done millions and billions of bad things, that we are unclean people who have committed so many sins, and that it is necessary for somebody to come and give us salvation. But there is another philosophy that uses the term ‘realisation’. This philosophy is based on our feeling of oneness with God, our Heavenly Father.

When a child gets dirty from playing in the mud and clay, his mother just comes and washes him. The child does not feel guilty that he is dirty, for he does not know any better. He is just playing, playing, playing. But the mother knows that the mud and clay are no good, so when the child comes running to her, she immediately cleans him and makes him pure. Similarly, no matter what we do, if we just go running towards our Heavenly Father, He will make us pure again. But if we think that we are very bad, if we feel that we are ugly, filthy animals, then we will not go to Him. So if we claim God as our Mother and Father, God will do everything for us and it becomes God’s Responsibility to make us pure.

When we pray and meditate, we come to realise that something is infinitely higher than salvation, and that is oneness with God. When the Christ said, “I and my Father are one,” that was his realisation speaking. When he said, “O Father, why hast Thou forsaken me?” it was the human in him that was speaking and separating itself from God. But the divine in him could never separate itself from God. The divine in him felt, “Whether I am in Heaven or on earth, God is in me and I am in Him; we are one.” This feeling of oneness is called realisation.

Question: I would like to thank you. Where do you get these answers from?

Sri Chinmoy: Your questions are very significant. These answers do not come from my mind; they are coming directly from my heart and soul. I get these answers because I pray and meditate. You have read many more books than I have read. I have not even completed high school, let alone gone to college or university. But I get these answers by virtue of my prayers and meditations. If we pray and meditate, we get the answers even while others are asking the questions. I do not have to consult any book to answer these questions because the questions have the answers in them.

Sri Chinmoy then asked whether the young patients in Dr. Vladimirskaya’s children’s hospital pray and meditate in the morning.

Sri Chinmoy: Since you are the head of the hospital, you know the absolute necessity of God’s Compassion and God’s Love for these children. In this incarnation they are suffering so much. You are giving them earthly medicine that will cure them and allow them to remain on earth for another fifty or sixty years. But if you can also give them Heavenly medicine — which is prayer, or the repetition of God’s Name — then they will have a better incarnation in their next life. Now with one hand you are giving them medicine. But if you can give them medicine with two hands, then you will help them infinitely more. God is also inside the earthly medicine that you are giving them, but they are not aware of Him there. If you can have them pray or repeat God’s Name in the morning, they will be more aware of God.

Dr. Vladimirskaya: We will try to do it, but it is rather difficult in our country because for many, many years religion was forbidden. Now it isn't.

Sri Chinmoy: Here in America they believe in God, but in the schools it is forbidden to pray. In the schools they do not allow prayers.

Dr. Vladimirskaya: It is a very difficult situation. We will try to do something. We are also trying to change the situation in our hospital to allow every child to be with his parents. This is very important. Previously it was forbidden, but now the child can be with his mother and father and grandparents.

Sri Chinmoy: Affection is as important as medicine. Inside medicine there may not be affection, but inside affection there is always medicine. The affection that the mother, father, sister and brother give is a great help; it helps the sick child considerably.

Part II

SCA 411-412. Questions asked by Sri Chinmoy's disciples at Annam Brahma Restaurant in Jamaica, New York on 25 May 1996.

Question: You talk about the inner cry and the outer smile. For some reason, when I get the inner cry, I do not seem to be able to get the outer smile. The inner cry makes me feel sad, and I cannot get the outer joy.

Sri Chinmoy: If it is the real inner cry, if it comes from the heart, then this inner cry will definitely give you joy. The cry that you are presently experiencing is not from the heart; it is from the vital. The vital and the heart are very close to one another. So we sometimes mistake the heart for the vital or the vital for the heart. If the cry comes from the vital, then there will be depression in your outer life. But if the cry comes from the heart, if it is a real cry, then this mounting cry itself is joy. When we intensely cry for God in our meditation or in our prayers, we do not have to wait for the results. At that time the cry itself is joy.

If you say that the cry is inside but outside you are depressed, or you are not getting happiness, that means the cry is not from the heart. It is from the vital. The vital is very tricky. It tries to take the place of the heart. The heart is compassionate. It allows the vital to do this. If a little brother wants to fool others and say that he is as strong as his elder brother, inwardly others may laugh, but they do not make fun of him in public. Similarly, the heart is compassionate when the vital, the little brother, wants to play the role of the heart.

Very often the heart either can be fooled by the vital or it can play the role of the compassionate mother or father. But the mind will never allow the vital to have an inch of the mind’s property. That is to say, if the mind is strong, the mind will not allow the frustration, sadness or despair of the vital to enter into the mind. The depression of the vital and the depression of the mind are totally different. The mind has its own problems, and the mind does not allow the vital to enter into it and add to its problems, or even to take away an iota of joy from the mind. But the heart will ask the vital to steal joy from the heart with the hope that one day this little brother will stop stealing and instead will start aspiring.

Again, if it is a real cry from the heart, a burning cry, the cry itself has joy; it is joy itself. But many times when we feel that our cry is very deep, it is actually the cry of the vital’s suffering. The vital makes us feel that our cry is coming from the inmost recesses of our heart. In this way, the vital’s cry creates problems. Although the intense cry is there, it is not the intense cry of the heart. The cry of the vital will eventually meet with frustration because it is founded upon expectation. But when we have a very intense inner cry or longing for God, we will find that in our longing we are getting so much joy. Even if God does not come and stand in front of us, we do not mind.

I am not discouraging you. Many times you have experienced your heart’s cry. But sometimes the cry is from your vital, and that is why you are getting the feeling of sadness.

Question: Sometimes when we see the situation in the world and mankind's lack of aspiration, it is difficult to be happy.

Sri Chinmoy: It is difficult to be happy because the world is suffering. But we must remember that we have an inner world of our own. If God wants us to put a few more plants in our heart-garden or to water the garden or sweep it or fertilise it, that is what we have to do. Again, if He asks us to do something in the outer world, to manifest Him, we should work there. No matter what God asks us to do, we will do our very best, but then we have to surrender.

We are trying to change the face and fate of the world, but the world does not want this. We try to give someone wisdom, but that person only misunderstands us and insults us. So we have to listen to only one person, the Inner Pilot. If He asks us to give something to someone, we will give it. In return if we are ridiculed or insulted, if our gift is not accepted, it is not our problem. Our task is to surrender to our Inner Pilot. When we pray and meditate, we have to know the Will of God by listening to the Command from God. We have to know what He wants us to do. Then if we can execute God’s Will according to our capacity with utmost sincerity, that is enough.

We look around and we expect the world to be changed overnight. But the world does not change overnight. Our next-door neighbours, even our dear ones, do not change. We shall try our best. Outwardly we may be misunderstood, but inwardly we can offer good thoughts. If nothing is changing outwardly, what shall we do? If it is God’s Will, we shall continue. If it is not God’s Will, we shall withdraw. We can maintain our happiness only by listening to God’s Will. If God says, “Do it,” we shall do it, and then forget about it. If God says, “Do not do it,” then we shall simply not do it.

Our happiness has to come from our service to God in humanity. When we stand in front of humanity, we must not forget that we are serving humanity precisely because God is inside humanity. If God, who is inside humanity, knows how sincerely we have tried, and if He is pleased with our sincere efforts, then we should be pleased no matter what the results may be.

Our difficulty is that we work so hard, we give talks here and there and we try to make the world better, but we feel that the world is only becoming worse. But God alone knows whether the world is actually getting better or worse. God wants from us only our sincere effort. If we think of the results, if we think that everything is just as bad as it was before, then we shall say, “What is the use of praying to God?” If we do not serve God for God’s sake, if we think we are doing it for our own sake, then we are bound to become miserable. If we serve God for God’s sake, then even if we are not successful, even if we do not have so-called outer success, God will not mind. God only wants to see if we are sincerely listening to His Command. In this way, if we can keep our connection with God very safe and secure, then we will be able to remain happy.

Part III

SCA 413-419. Questions asked by Sri Chinmoy's disciples at Aspiration-Ground on 22 June 1996.

Question: A particular person's outer needs may be satisfied by our path. For example, he has a place to stay, he has food, his friends are all here, and the more spiritual he appears to be, the more people like him. He stays for outer reasons, but inwardly he may not feel the highest aspiration for the Supreme. Is it better for that kind of person to remain with insincere aspiration in the hope that it may one day become sincere aspiration, or is it better for him to move on to something else?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us say that someone started his spiritual life with utmost sincerity, but then his sincerity started disappearing. If he sees that for five or six years he has not been able to regain his sincerity, then he has to find his own boat. That is to say, he has to go back to the ordinary life because he is not an asset to the spiritual life. Here he is only enjoying a life of comfort. His spiritual discipline is next to nothing although, as you say, he makes others feel he is very devoted. But if he genuinely wants to develop his sincerity, then something from within will pinch him and make him feel that he is not sincere.

If, after five or six years, an individual cannot get back his burning sincerity, then it is useless for him to remain on the path with the hope that one day sincerity will come out of the blue. Some people think that one day everything will come back, even though they have lost their sincerity, they have lost their purity, they have lost their security, they have lost their confidence.

Everybody starts with sincerity. Everybody who accepts the spiritual life wants to conquer insecurity, jealousy and other imperfections. But after four or five years of descent, those very weaknesses some disciples take as strengths. The weaknesses start to take the form of demands: “I am insecure; therefore the Master has to be more compassionate to me. I am jealous; therefore the Master has to be more compassionate to me. He has to know that I am weak. I am impure; therefore the Master has to be more compassionate to me. He sees that I am struggling for purity.”

In the beginning, that demand did not come into the disciple’s mind. If he was insincere, he was trying desperately to be sincere. If he was impure, he was trying to be pure. If he was insecure, he was trying to be secure. All these divine qualities he was aspiring to get by the proper method: by praying and meditating. After five or six years, those weaknesses take a different form. The disciples make demands of the Master: “I am weak. I have been with you for so many years! What have you been doing? Why are you not making me perfect?” Previously they were desperately trying to become perfect disciples. Then, after a few years, their theory changed. Now they say, “Since I gave you my life for several years, it is your bounden duty, O Master, to make me perfect.”

If those disciples who have descended considerably over the years feel there is no hope for them to climb up the stairs again, then it is a waste of their time to remain on the path. Our philosophy is the philosophy of transcendence and progress. If after five or six years they cannot regain the sincerity or purity or other divine qualities they had to start with, if they cannot come back to the proper starting point, how will they again have the determination to run fast, faster, fastest? I feel that the Indian bullock-cart speed is no speed at all. For these people, the destination will remain unreachable because the goal is far, very, very far.

Later on, the same people who are going at bullock-cart speed will hate the spiritual life and hate their Master. They will say, “What have you done? I gave 30 years of my life, 40 years of my life to spirituality. You have not made me secure, you have not made me confident, you have not increased my love, you have not increased my devotion, you have not increased my surrender. What have you done?” Then they will start blaming the spiritual life, blaming the Master, blaming everybody. By blaming the spiritual Master, by blaming the spiritual life or the path, no purpose is served.

If people cannot go back to their original starting point, where they know how much aspiration they had, how much love they had for the path, how much devotion and how much surrender, if they have descended, descended and descended and after five or six years there is no hope for them to go back to their original height, if they now find it difficult to go higher and deeper and farther towards the destination, it is no use for them to remain on the path. There are many, many like that. There are many who stay with us just because they have a comfortable life.

Again, I must say that there are some people who are extremely disciplined. There are some who are maintaining their sincerity and throwing their heart and soul into divine activities. Some people, I must say, have made tremendous progress over the years; otherwise this boat would by now have capsized. Especially in this year, the year of surprises, disciples here, there and elsewhere have made tremendous progress. Outwardly, this progress cannot be measured. Who has conquered jealousy, who has conquered insincerity, who has conquered other imperfections — only the Master can judge. The disciples cannot judge anybody, because the disciples are not in a position to enter into the hearts of those who have made tremendous, tremendous progress. Again, there are people who have given me shocking experiences over the years with their descent. To say they have descended considerably is an understatement.

If I have properly understood your question, you are asking: if people are fooling themselves, if they have no sincere aspiration, should they continue on the path with the hope that one day they will get back their aspiration? Previously I used to say, “Even if you are snoring in the boat, no harm. You can sleep.” But now I see that some people who have been sleeping and snoring all of a sudden get up and become startled. They say, “Where are we?” Then they feel that the water is the safest place, so they jump out of the boat into the water.

Again, the only consolation is that there are people who have made tremendous, tremendous progress inwardly and outwardly, especially this year, the year of surprises. There are also those who have descended for good. Now, what can be done? I feel sorry for them because they are wasting their life, especially the young generation. If they do not get back their aspiration after they lose it, then when they become 40 or 50 years old, they will blame me. They will say, “Why didn’t you help us to make progress? Why didn’t you help us to conquer these difficulties?” I can only say that I tried my very, very best, but they did not have the necessary receptivity.

Question: Sometimes I have a lot of things to do, and I do not know what my priorities are.

Sri Chinmoy: If one is in the spiritual life, the priority is always aspiration, and aspiration itself is dedication. If you are aspiring, you will know what you are supposed to do. Aspiration has inside it the message of dedication. We cannot separate aspiration from dedication, but aspiration has to come first. If we aspire, it is easy to know what we are supposed to do or whom we are supposed to serve. But only by serving, it is difficult to know what to aspire for or how to aspire. Aspiration always comes before dedication. Inside aspiration is dedication. We are able to appreciate the fragrance because there is a flower. If there is no flower, there can be no fragrance. So aspiration definitely will tell you what your priorities should be. Inside aspiration all the answers can be found.

Question: How can we know if we are being justifiably strict with ourselves or unnecessarily self-critical in a negative way?

Sri Chinmoy: If we sincerely aspire, inside our aspiration there will be justice-light. If you have burning aspiration, inside your aspiration there will be light, and according to that light you will judge yourself in a just manner. The light will illumine the confusion of the mind that is too self-critical or the mind that is saying that you can take a little more leisure or pleasure. The intensity of your aspiration is bound to tell you whether you are too self-critical, too lenient or too indulgent. Aspiration has light in it, so the light will show you whether this place is dark, or full of confusion, or full of mental hallucination. Let us say that one side is hallucination, and the other side is confusion. If you bring a flashlight, then if you are criticising yourself and you want to be more strict with yourself, the light will say, “No, it is not necessary.” Again, if you are being too self-indulgent, the light will say, “You have to be more strict.”

There are very few people who are self-critical. Sometimes pride enters into self-critical people. They say, “Oh, I am the only one who wants to be perfect.” Self-critical people think that they are the only ones who are longing for perfect perfection. They feel that only they will attain perfect perfection, and others will not. Of course, that idea may not come to their conscious mind.

By criticising myself, I cannot come to the light. By criticising myself, I only weaken myself, because I am deliberately giving up the positive aspect of life. If I feel that I am not perfect, or I have not come up to a certain point, then let me become perfect. If I feel that today I cannot give myself a hundred out of a hundred, if I can only give myself 60, still I must not criticise myself. I should only say, “Today I have given myself 60. Tomorrow let me see if I can give myself 70.” By criticising myself because I have got a mark of 60 today when I expected to get 80 or 90, I lose my mental poise, and then I ruin my possibilities.

When I throw the basketball, even if I get only 50 baskets out of 100, I do not get mad. I just cut jokes with my ‘best disciple’ and insult him in season and out of season! Today I said, “My best disciple brings me such bad luck! Every second he is with me, it is bad luck. When he throws me the ball, I will not get even 50 baskets out of 100.” But only once I said that. Then my joking was over. Once or twice after that my score was low, but God said to me, “Keep your mouth shut!” Immediately God wanted to make my best disciple happy, so I got 69 out of 100 baskets. But if I had maintained the idea that this poor fellow carries bad luck, I would not have got even 30 out of 100.

Here also, if you have given a low mark to yourself, and you feel that you have been impartial and given a just mark, do not criticise yourself. If you criticise yourself, if you say, “How can I get only 50?” you are only weakening yourself. Instead, you should say, “I have given myself a low mark. Now let me have more determination. Instead of criticising myself, let me take the positive point of view. Let me get a higher mark on the strength of my determination.”

Question: This is a question about God the Justice and God the Compassion. If a person has behaved in such a way over the years that God the Justice is now dealing with that person, instead of feeling shattered or scared or reacting in a negative way to God the Justice, is it possible to feel incredible, intense love for God the Justice? And by virtue of that love, can God the Justice turn into God the Compassion? If the person says, "No matter what You do, I love You, I love You," then will God the Justice turn into God the Compassion?

Sri Chinmoy: God the Justice does not have to turn into God the Compassion, because that person is so open to God’s Light that he has become inseparably one with God. His love for God is so immense that when God kicks him, he feels that God is feeding him Nectar. He cannot separate God the Justice and God the Compassion at that time, for his love for God is so immense and intense. You may be a third person watching and saying, “O my God! God is punishing him.” But if your heart is inseparably one with God’s Heart, at that time you will see that that person has tremendous love for God.

It is like the famous story about Narada. Narada had been meditating for a few years, and then he asked Vishnu how many years it would take him to realise God. Vishnu said, “Only three more incarnations.” Narada said, “Three more incarnations? It is too much, too much!” He was ready to give up.

Then another fellow who was a drunkard asked Vishnu, “How many incarnations will it take for me to realise God?” Vishnu said, “As many incarnations as there are leaves on this tree.” The drunkard started dancing with joy! He said, “Oh, one day I shall be able to realise God! This is such a tiny tree. It has only very few leaves.” Look at his attitude! He was dancing with joy because he would one day be able to realise God. He did not see those countless leaves. Is it not unimaginable that he had to take so many incarnations? And Narada could not wait for even three incarnations!

Among the gods, the sage Bhrigu wanted to see who was the most compassionate. He went to Brahma and did not show Brahma respect. Brahma got furious. Then he went to Shiva and did not show respect, so Shiva got furious and wanted to turn him into ashes. Finally Brighu went to Vishnu, who was lying down, sleeping. He kicked Vishnu very smartly, and then stood on Vishnu’s feet. Instead of using his occult power to destroy Bhrigu, Vishnu grabbed his foot and said, “How are you, my child? Are you hurt? I am so sorry! You have struck me. Now are you hurt?” This is the Compassion aspect of the divine. When Bhrigu went to the others and showed disrespect, they got furious. But then Bhrigu went into Vishnu’s room, where Vishnu was sleeping. He kicked Vishnu very hard and then stood on his feet! From that time on, Vishnu kept the mark of Bhrigu’s feet.

It should be exactly the same when we feel God’s Justice. We say that God strikes us because we have done something wrong. But we should say, “No, it is for my good that He has struck me.” The moment we can feel that after so many years God has struck us for our own good, the moment we develop that kind of divine sense, we will not even call it God’s Justice. We will say, “O my God, You have come, You have come, You have come! Now do anything You like! Kick me or throw me out; whatever You want to do, just do it! Even if You want to kill me, You can kill me, because Your Happiness I want.” When a seeker becomes inseparably one with God’s Will, he will say, “Do whatever You like! If You want to kill me, kill me. I only want Your Happiness.”

So God’s Justice does not have to turn into God’s Compassion. Even while the seeker is being kicked, he can take it as God’s Compassion-Light. Whatever God is doing at God’s choice Hour with an individual is for the best. That is the best attitude. When a seeker has that attitude, it means that God has raised his consciousness to a very lofty height. He knows that anything God does is for his own good, and he feels that the only way he can please God at every moment is by having this kind of inseparable oneness with God. The seeker has gone far beyond the domain of Justice and Compassion at that time. He is in the domain of delight and ecstasy, for God has touched him. Just because God has taken the time to touch him, he is swimming in the sea of delight.

Question: I have heard you say over the years that after meditation, many times the disciples do not assimilate what they have received. Could you please tell us what to do to assimilate what we have received, and also what we should not do?

Sri Chinmoy: There are two or three ways to assimilate into your system the light, peace or bliss you have received from a good meditation. One way is to be absolutely relaxed. This relaxation is not watching television or reading the newspaper! You should read only spiritual books, or lie down and quietly sing or hum soulful songs. If you can hum soulful songs after your deep meditation, that is the easiest and the most effective way to assimilate. You can also read some spiritual books, but singing is better for excellent singers like you. For singers, it is the easiest and most effective way. You can sing yourself or listen to my voice, but it will be better for you to sing. Since you have had a good meditation, you can add to your meditation with your singing. Then it will be so easy to assimilate the results of your deep, sublime meditation.

There are other ways also. Another way is to walk very, very slowly, and let Mother Nature help you to assimilate. Very soothingly and tenderly Mother Nature will help you to assimilate all the divine things that you have received during your meditation. But Mother Nature is a great help only early in the morning or in the evening. At other times it is very difficult to get help from Mother Nature because Mother Nature has surrendered to humanity, or she has been spoiled or polluted by the restlessness of humanity. If you have a good meditation during the day, then the best thing is to sing.

Question: After our meditations at the United Nations, we all have to go back to work. Since we would not be able to lie down or sing, is there anything else we can do to assimilate? Sometimes everybody just starts talking as soon as you leave.

Sri Chinmoy: You can sing quietly or in silence. If you are singing Jiban debata in silence, who is going to hear you? Your boss cannot say anything about what you are doing. If you are singing in silence, how can your boss or anybody else say anything? If everybody is talking when I leave, then wait for two or three minutes. The talkers will disappear, because they have to go back to work. You can stay in your seat for another three or four minutes. Let them go. The talkers are not going to stand near you to wait for you to get up and then bother you. Again, if you also have to rush back to your job, then the best thing is to sing in silence. You do not have to sing loudly or in an audible voice.

Another thing you can do consciously and deliberately when you have a high experience is to breathe as slowly as possible. That you can always do. Nobody can see whether you are breathing slowly and quietly. Breathe as slowly as possible and as quietly as possible. Try to feel that if you put a string or thread in front of your nose, it would not move. Nobody will be affected by what you are doing, and you also will not be affected by anybody’s disturbance.

Question: If I do not respect the person I am working with, I do not know how to behave.

Sri Chinmoy: There is something called practical wisdom. Suppose you see that your boss is completely wrong about something. If you fight with your boss and you are in his bad books, then he will eventually fire you. Nobody wants to be corrected or perfected. That is human life, especially in the case of bosses. It is beneath their dignity to be corrected by their subordinates.

Practical wisdom says that if your boss fires you, you will be in trouble. If your boss gives you a very bad report, then you will be in trouble. I am not saying you should flatter your boss. But at that point you can ignore the situation. You can say to yourself, “My boss is wrong. What am I going to do? If I try to perfect him or correct him, then he will get mad.” So you can act as if you have not seen anything; you can be blind to the situation. That is called practical wisdom.

Again, there are some spirited people created by God who fight for justice. If their boss is doing something undivine or unethical, then a spirited person says, “Let him fire me! I will get a job somewhere else. I want justice. The United Nations is a sacred place. Already it has been corrupted by some individuals. I do not want more corruption. I do not want this person to add to all the corruption that the United Nations already is suffering from.” There will be people like that — perhaps one out of ten thousand.

You have to see which category you belong to. You can ignore what happens, as if you have not seen anything wrong. Or, if you feel sincerely that the United Nations soul is being affected, the United Nations heart is being affected because of undivine acts by superior authorities, then you can speak up. There may be thirty or forty people who are brave enough. Of course, the United Nations may not change its policies, but the world can be made aware of how many ways the United Nations can be perfected. Here I am not using the word ‘criticised’. That is a negative term. But it can be brought to light that the United Nations can become better in various ways. If ways can be found to help the high-ranking officers or high-ranking diplomats representing their countries to change their outlook, the United Nations will one day definitely become better.

I will never give up hope for the United Nations as long as I am on earth. I do not have faith in everyone from the highest to the lowest, but as far as the heart of the United Nations is concerned, as far as the soul of the United Nations is concerned, I must and I shall always maintain my faith, because the United Nations’ heart and the United Nations’ soul are unique. Again, Tom, Dick and Harry are working there. Some are holding the highest positions, while some are holding the lowest positions. If the higher-ranking ones are not acting properly, it is very difficult, if not impossible, for the lower-ranking ones to act properly. It is like a family. If the elder brothers are not divine, if they are smoking, drinking and doing all kinds of bad things, then the younger brothers and sisters find it very, very difficult to lead a spiritual life.

If the higher authorities are not doing the right thing, then it is very difficult for people who are working under them to change them. The lower-ranking individuals only suffer and suffer. Again, the lower-ranking ones can be strong morally, spiritually and in every way to point out that what the superiors are doing is undivine and absurd, and that it will only ruin the prestige of the United Nations. But where can we find those brave soldiers?

Part IV

SCA 420-425. The interview with Mr. Radhakrishna Pathak, Associate Editor of a newspaper in Delhi, took place on 2 September 1996 at Aspiration-Ground.

This is Mother Kali

Sri Chinmoy: Your wife is a great devotee of Mother Kali. Does she know that I am also a devotee of Mother Kali? I am still alive because of Mother Kali. When I was a young boy, in my teens, I was a great athlete. I was brought up in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. There I was decathlon champion for two consecutive years. I stood first overall in ten items. I am bragging! I was also the fastest sprinter for sixteen consecutive years. According to Indian standards I was quite good.

Now I am coming back to Mother Kali. One day we had a 400-metre race. I ran the fastest for the first 300 metres. Then I became tired and exhausted. For the last 100 metres I was about to collapse. Finally, when I completed the 400 metres, I did collapse. My soul left my body while I was lying down at the finish line. Then, while my soul was going up, whom did I see? My Mother Kali! She very forcefully grabbed my soul and put it back inside my body. That is why I am still alive. Otherwise, my soul would have left for good.

Of all the Cosmic Goddesses, Mother Kali is my dearest Mother. She is the Mother of fastest speed, and again she is the Mother of Compassion. All the divine Mothers, the divine Cosmic Goddesses, have Compassion, but Mother Kali is the fastest in everything. We can make mistakes hundreds of times. We can wallow in the pleasures of ignorance for a long, long time. But if her Grace descends, in the twinkling of an eye, all our weaknesses, shortcomings and so-called sins can be nullified, illumined or purified. This is Mother Kali. I am so happy to learn that your wife is a great devotee of Mother Kali, since I also happen to be the same.

Mr. Pathak: I do not know how I am here. It is only through your grace. It really amazes me that I am here.

Sri Chinmoy: You have a very beautiful soul. Your parents have given you a most beautiful, soulful name, Radhakrishna. You embody both Radha and Krishna. Radha was all love, all devotion for Sri Krishna. Her love for Sri Krishna was unparalleled. Again, look at Sri Krishna’s love for Radha. The mother aspect in Radha is the compassion aspect. It is like a magnet. It is infinitely easier to go to Lord Krishna through Radha than otherwise. In human life also, it is easier to go to the father via the mother. If you have to go to the father directly, it is difficult. But the mother knows when the father is taking rest or when he is in a humorous mood. She knows when the father is accessible and available. The mother is the bridge between the children and the father, because the children have a more intimate connection with their mother than with their father. The mother represents Mother Earth. The father represents Father Heaven. It is difficult to go straight to Heaven. We need the bridge: the mother.

The mother may be on the fourth floor and the child on the first floor. But as soon as the mother hears the child cry, the mother comes down to see if the child needs milk or something else. If the father hears the child cry, he says, “I am coming,” but he takes a little time. The father feels that the child is not going to die in a minute. But the mother’s affection is such that she feels something has happened. Nothing has happened; only the child is crying for the mother’s milk or something else. But the mother cannot wait for a fleeting second.

The mother’s wisdom is in affection. The father’s wisdom is in light. The father will tell us about higher philosophy, about God’s universality, about God’s self-transcendence — everything that we want to know. When we have to deal with something vast, vaster, vastest, the father comes into the picture. But when we have to deal with something intimate, more intimate, most intimate, immediately the mother comes into the picture. When we have any little pain, at that time we shall call the mother, and the mother will come.

The father represents vastness and light. The mother represents intimacy and affection. Both are needed. The Vedas say that inside the finite is the Infinite. Inside the heart is the soul, and the soul represents God. Inside a tiny atom is the cosmos. In the same way, the mother and father are like a beautiful flower and its fragrance. They cannot be separated.

I am so glad that your parents have given you the name Radhakrishna. Radha is the mother, and Sri Krishna is the father. The higher we go, the clearer it becomes to us that Radha and Sri Krishna are inseparably one. It may appear that Radha is only a devotee touching Lord Krishna’s feet. Yes, that is true; but Lord Krishna raised her high, higher, highest. So when we see Radha and Sri Krishna together, at that time it is the highest transcendental aspect of God: God the Creator and God the creation together; God in His masculine Form and God in His feminine Form. This is Radhakrishna.

Again, Sri Krishna and Mother Kali are one. I have written many songs and stories saying that Lord Krishna and Mother Kali are one. They are inseparable, although they have different names. If you sincerely worship Lord Krishna, you are bound to get blessings from Mother Kali. Similarly, if you pray to Mother Kali, Lord Krishna will definitely bless you. They are absolutely one.

You are a father; again, you are a great newspaper editor. While you are working in the office, they call you Mr. Pathak. Your children call you “Father” or “Baba” in our Bengali, or something like that. In French it will again be totally different. You are the same person, but each individual is calling you by a different name. Your divine reality is the same whether you are in the office or at home eating with your children. But your divine reality is expressing itself in different ways at different places. Your son will never be happy by calling you Mr. Pathak. He will feel miserable. But your colleagues and acquaintances will get joy in calling you by that name. When you are in a gathering with your friends, again you show another aspect. I get joy by calling you by your first name. Somebody else will get joy by calling you by your surname. Again, your children and your wife will call you in different ways. Everybody knows that you are the same person, but everybody gets joy by calling you a different name. To give each individual joy in a specific way we came into the world. We are all God’s creations. I may get more joy by calling to Lord Krishna, whereas you may get more joy by calling to Mother Kali.

I was born in Chittagong. At the age of eleven and a half I went to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. I stayed there until the age of 32. Then I came here to be of service to God. My philosophy is to love and serve. If we love someone, then we have to serve that person. The mother loves the child; that is why she serves the child. The child loves the mother; that is why the child serves the mother. If we truly love God, then we will have no hesitation to serve Him. In the same way, if we serve someone, definitely we love him. We serve our parents on the strength of our love. This moment we love someone. The next moment we serve the same person.

Do you have any specific question you wish to ask?

Mr. Pathak: Questions always come and go. Please bless me so that I can spread your message.

Sri Chinmoy: Your soul contacted me at least two years ago. Physically you have come to see your Guru now, but spiritually at least two years ago your soul made its connection with me. Now you have come here for the outer recognition, but the inner recognition was made long ago.

Mr. Pathak: For years I didn't believe in a Guru.

Sri Chinmoy: Why do you have to believe in a Guru, as long as you believe in yourself? If you have faith in yourself, that means you have faith in something high, divine, pure and immortal. You do not have to believe in a Guru as long as you believe in yourself.

Mr. Pathak: But one cannot know oneself without a Guru.

Sri Chinmoy: What does the Guru do? The function of a Guru is very simple. He tells you, “Look, you do not know what you have inside you. Inside you is a safe. Inside the safe you have the most beautiful, most expensive diamond, but you have misplaced the key. My job is to help you search for the key. I will search for the key and find it. Then I shall give you the key and you will open the safe. As soon as it is open, you will see the diamond inside you. This is your divinity.”

The Guru’s role is to show you the way. You have lost your own divinity, but the Guru comes to bring you back to your own divinity. The divinity is already there. The Guru does not give you the divinity; God has given you the divinity. But the Guru is the messenger boy. The Guru shows you your divinity.

The Guru is the bridge between man and God. You need a bridge to go from one place to another. When Sri Rama had to go to Lanka to fight against Ravana, he needed a bridge to his destination. In our case we need a bridge to go to the Golden Shore. The Guru tells us that the Highest is the only Guru. The real Guru is God. The real Guru is your Father and my Father. But since you are younger than I in the spiritual life, I tell you, “Come with me. I will show you where our Father is.” The eldest son of the family knows more about the father than the youngest son.

You are my spiritual brother, just as others are my spiritual brothers and sisters. The real Guru is the Absolute Lord Supreme. I have already realised Him. You also have to realise Him. Now the time has come for me to help mankind to go to the highest Absolute Lord Supreme, because I know I have already realised Him. Not only in this incarnation, but in previous incarnations also I have realised Him. In this incarnation, God out of His infinite Bounty wants me to manifest Him. In my previous incarnations, I spent time in the Himalayan caves, near the Nepalese border. How many austerities I practised inside the Himalayan caves! In this incarnation God wants me to be in the ultramodern country, America.

Everything is God’s creation. If He wants me to be in a cave, I will be in a cave. If He wants me to be in a palace, I will be in a palace. That is called surrender. Again, if He wants me to be in India, I will be in India. It was He who brought me to America because He wanted me to serve mankind here in America. Otherwise, how many countries and how many people there are that could have taken my service! Had I remained in India, in a village or somewhere else, God would not have given me that opportunity to be of service. Now people from so many countries, even the former Soviet Union, are all coming here. Here in America God wanted me to act like a tree. A tree has so many branches, so many flowers, so many fruits and countless leaves. He chose America for me so that I could be of greatest service to humanity.

Again, if God asks me to go back to India, I will go happily. At the Sri Aurobindo Ashram I was the secretary of Nolini Kanta Gupta. He was Sri Aurobindo’s main secretary. I was quite happy there. I was an athlete, and I wrote considerably. In those days they did not give degrees in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, but I studied a lot. I could have remained in India; again, I can return to India. Whatever God wants me to do, I shall do it happily. If He asks me to sit down, I shall sit down. If He wants me to run, I shall run. He asked me to come and be in America in the hustle and bustle of life. When I came to America, America was like a lion roaring! Pondicherry was such a mild village. It was simplicity incarnate. From simplicity I had to come into diversity, because God wanted me here, and He is expressing Himself in and through me here. In exactly the same way He wants to express Himself in and through you and through everybody.

There are various ways to work to spread God’s Light, and you are already doing it. So often you are publishing spiritual things, and many, many people have come to learn about me from your newspaper. I understand it is your strongest desire to have a few fellow disciples or seekers in India. If you can inspire a few seekers in Delhi to follow our philosophy, that will again be of tremendous service. From one we become many. You see that so many people have come to our path from Germany. From one it became many. One seeker inspired some people, and they in turn inspired others. When one seed germinates, it becomes a plant, and then it becomes a huge banyan tree with thousands of leaves.

Swami Vivekananda’s philosophy was accepted in the very beginning by one disciple, a school teacher from South India. He was the one who started spreading Swami Vivekananda’s light. Always the seed is one. Then eventually it becomes a tree and it produces countless seeds. One seed enters the ground, and when it grows into a tree, it produces so many seeds, so many flowers. Then many travellers and pilgrims come and enjoy the beauty and fragrance of the flowers. So if you are inspired, you can also inspire others.

When a child smiles at his father and mother the parents feel that they have got the whole world. The child does not have money. The child does not have wisdom. The child has only a smile. One smile from a child conquers our heart. Others can give us wisdom and so many other things, but we are not satisfied. But just a little smile from a child gives us such joy and such satisfaction.

In exactly the same way, when Lord Krishna smiles at us or Radha smiles at us, we get the whole world. Lord Krishna does not have to give a seeker ten houses or ten cars. When Lord Krishna smiles at a seeker, the seeker gets the whole world. What is God-realisation? Only a smile and satisfaction. If we see that God is satisfied with us, God is smiling at us, that means we have got the whole world. But to get that Smile from God, we have to prepare ourselves. We have to pray; we have to meditate; we have to give Him everything that we have and everything that we are.

Our difficulty is that when we go to God, we feel that we have to be pure, we have to be sincere. God says, “All right, become pure, become sincere. But if you are still impure, where will you go? If you are still insincere, where will you go? You have to come to Me with your purity and with your impurity, with your sincerity and your insincerity.”

A child goes out of the house and he plays on the ground, in sand, mud and clay. Then he goes to the right person: his mother. What does his mother do? His mother cleans him. Before the child comes to his mother, does he first enter into a pond or a swimming pool to clean himself? No, he comes to his mother full of mud, clay and sand. He knows that his mother will say, “He is my child,” and that she will wash him and show him all her affection.

In exactly the same way, we have to go to God with all our imperfections. If we say, “No, first I have to conquer my impurity, I have to conquer my jealousy and insecurity,” then we shall have to wait for millions of years more. We say, “God, you know my heart. I am insincere, I am impure, I am jealous. You can just kick me away.” But, God will say, “You come to Me. The Hour has struck. It is time for you to run towards me.”

When Lord Krishna used to play on the flute at odd hours, did Radha care for anything else? She had her own husband, but she ran to Lord Krishna because the call had come. When Lord Krishna played on the flute at any hour, Radha and the gopis all used to run, because the Hour had struck. They gave up everything. At that time they were not thinking, “O my God, we are not pure.” They used to run to get Lord Krishna’s affection, love and blessings.

In our case, the Hour has struck. When the Hour strikes, at that time we shall not look around or see if we are properly dressed. God is not asking us for our appearance. God is asking us for our heart. The child’s love for his mother and father compels him to run towards his parents. In exactly the same way we have to run towards God, no matter what we are, no matter where we are. We have to run towards God because the Hour has struck. God says, “You come with your wife, with your children and with your larger family. Your larger family is your friends, your dear ones and acquaintances.”

Once upon a time I did not know my spiritual children. Now they have become part and parcel of my life. Like a human father, how many times I scold them and insult them! But their love is so strong that they know how much I love them. In exactly the same way, parents scold their children, but the children do know how much love the parents have for them. Here it is one family, one family — a oneness-home.

When you go back to Delhi, you can spread your Guru’s light by talking to people. More than that, they will see something totally different in you. As soon as your friends and colleagues look at you, they will see something different in your eyes, in your face. It is something better, something higher, something purer, something more divine. Now you have come to your Master’s place, and from here you will carry the inner beauty, inner fragrance, inner light and inner delight. After being here for two weeks you will go back. Your wife has known you for so many years. Now she is bound to see and feel in you something spiritual, divine and most illumining. She will say, “My God, what has happened to my husband?” How much progress she is bound to see in your human eyes, because she herself loves Mother Kali.

Your very presence will be able to inspire your friends, colleagues and dear ones. The things that you are now receiving from your Guru or from your own aspiration will come to the fore, and you will be able to manifest them. As you sow, so you reap. Here you have sown divinity; there your divinity will come to the fore.

Mr. Pathak: Fear sometimes does not allow me to let myself go. It holds me back.

Sri Chinmoy: Fear of what? When your children were two years old, you were so tall and stout. Were they afraid of you? No, because they knew that you were their father. Your children were very small, but they knew you in your affection aspect, and they were not afraid of you. It is like the ocean. The drop is not afraid of the ocean because it knows its oneness with the ocean. A little child is not afraid of his father because he knows that person is his own father. Why should he be afraid of his own father’s love?

So, what are you afraid of? What makes you fearful? Jumping into the unknown?

Mr. Pathak: Uncertainty.

Sri Chinmoy: At night you go to sleep, and then you get up early in the morning at five o’clock or six o’clock. If you think of the night as such, if you look into the night sky, it is something unknown. Again, if you look at the sky with your heart, you are not afraid of it because you have become the sky itself. The drop of water has established its identity with the vast ocean, so the drop is not afraid of the ocean. A child has established his oneness with his father. The father is so tall and stout, and he is an important person, an editor. But the child does not care what the father’s title is. He knows that his father is all love. Your child does not care what you are in the outer world. He cares only for your affection, for your compassion, for your love.

We are afraid precisely because we do not establish our oneness with the vastness. The unknown does not remain unknown; the uncertain does not remain uncertain. Before the dawn breaks, before the sunrise, night is unknown. But when we see the sunrise, the unknown becomes known. The spiritual life is also like that. We aspire for the Highest, but then there is uncertainty. Not only in the spiritual life, but in ordinary life at every moment, before we arrive at our goal, it is all uncertain. I have a goal, but I do not know what will happen even if I arrive at the goal. Will I see a most beautiful garden, or something totally different?

We have to know what will happen from within, or we have to believe in somebody who also experienced the same problem at the beginning of his spiritual journey. People who have realised God, like Lord Krishna, Lord Buddha, Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Aurobindo and others, also had the same problem. Then they saw that the unknown, the unknowable, can be knowable. The unknown can easily be known. In the alphabet, after A comes B, and then C and D. You teach your child A, and at that time B is unknown to him. You know that B is right after A. Once I was talking to an American child only two years old. I was telling him that after A comes B and then C. He thought I was a magician! Where did B and C come from? For him, they were coming from Heaven or somewhere else. So, for adults A, B, C and D are known, but for a little child they are unknown.

In the same way, when you have fear of the unknown, you have to feel that it does exist, and many people have seen it. The place that you are unaware of today has been visited by many people. It is not something dangerous; it is not something destructive. No, no, no! We can conquer uncertainty or fear of the unknown by having faith in someone else who has gone there.

In a big palace there are many, many rooms. When you approach the palace you see that it is all darkness, because you do not know there is a light switch inside. But an electrician will come and tell you, “Here is the switch — just turn it on.” Then everything is all right. Before you turn on the light, you are so afraid because the palace is all darkness. In the same way, the Master comes and turns on the switch. Then you see the unknown is all illumined. But if you go there alone and you do not know where the light is, then naturally you will be afraid.

For everything in life, we need someone to turn on the switch. As I told you half an hour ago, inside you is the treasure, but somebody has to come and show it to you. If you take an inner guide to illumine you, he will do the needful. Then there cannot be an iota of uncertainty in your life. Everything becomes absolutely positive. We get confidence when we see that somebody else has already gone through what we are experiencing. Whoever is my teacher also had that same problem in the beginning, when he was still a student. Now he has become my teacher. His job is to teach me; it is up to me to have faith in him or not.

My Guru is now the Absolute Supreme, but previously I had a human Guru. He realised God, but before that he also had uncertainty and so many other difficulties. Similarly, Swami Vivekananda had so much uncertainty. He did not know what was going to happen in his life. Before he came to America, he was so afraid. He wondered what would happen! But he came here and conquered the heart of America only by saying, “Brothers and Sisters, Sisters and Brothers.” Then he was able to spread Sri Ramakrishna’s light. Everybody is uncertain in the beginning.

Again, whoever has faith in God goes through a dark tunnel at some point. When you go to Manhattan from Queens, you pass through a tunnel. When you enter the tunnel for the first time, you may say, “O my God, where are we going? It is all darkness. The cars will collide!” Then in a few minutes you come out of the tunnel and enter into Manhattan, as many people have already done. So, when you go through the tunnel you are afraid and uncertain, but you have to go through it. In the spiritual life also, we have to have faith, in the inmost recesses of our heart, that at the end of the tunnel there is light.

Part V

SCA 426-435. Excerpts from an interview given by Sri Chinmoy for a reporter from //The New York Times// on 3 April 1997 at Annam Brahma Restaurant in Jamaica, New York.

Interviewer: Sri Chinmoy, I was watching a video where you spoke of oneness and your drawings. What do seven million birds mean when you speak of oneness?

Sri Chinmoy: To me, each bird signifies a new hope, a new inspiration, a new journey. Each bird, according to me, embodies oneness. Birds fly in the firmament. They are free. While they are flying, we see that they have an inner openness and an inner oneness. If we have openness and oneness, like the birds, we can enter into various fields of activity.

If you say that I am a jack of all trades and master of none, I will fully subscribe to your view. I draw, I sing, I write, I do weightlifting and quite a few other things. In my case, my life-tree has quite a few branches, but I do feel the oneness of the branches with the trunk, with the tree proper. Each branch has its own significance. Each branch can offer something new, although it belongs to the same tree.

I am a student of peace, and I try to learn my subject by offering it to the seekers who are also longing for peace. I feel we are sailing in the same boat. A student always wants to learn. If he becomes a teacher or a professor, he may not be inclined to learn anymore. But if he remains a student, then he constantly learns new things.

Interviewer: How did you come to Queens?

Sri Chinmoy: I came to America in 1964. I lived in Manhattan for a year or so, and then I lived in Brooklyn. I have been in Queens for about 30 years, in Briarwood. Truth to tell, it was difficult for me to adjust to Manhattan. The hustle and bustle of life was not congenial to my life’s activities. It is not that I dislike Manhattan — far from it! I go to Manhattan twice a week to offer my peace meditations at the United Nations, but I feel that Queens is more peaceful in comparison.

Interviewer: When do you meditate at the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: I meditate at the United Nations on Tuesdays and Fridays from one to two o’clock. We have been offering these peace meditations for the last 27 years. When the United Nations celebrated its 50th anniversary, our peace meditation group celebrated 25 years of dedicated service to the United Nations. We are half the age of the United Nations. Our meditation sessions originated under the late Secretary-General U Thant, who was very kind to me.

The first Secretary-General was Trygve Lie, then Dag Hammarskjöld, then U Thant. He came from Burma. He was a close friend of mine, and he inspired me to start the peace meditations at the United Nations. The delegates and staff who are interested come and meditate with us. Over the years we have organised many, many programmes honouring the countries that long for oneness and peace. I have also given many talks about world peace, oneness and harmony at the United Nations.

Interviewer: Are your activities for the staff and delegates?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. When we have special functions, quite a few ambassadors and delegates from different countries come. Each country, like each branch, has something unique to offer to the world.

Interviewer: You seem to do so many things!

Sri Chinmoy: Life is activity. It is like the ocean. The bottom of the ocean is peaceful, but on the surface it is all tumultuous. Activity and life go together. If we want to become good citizens of the world, we have to be part and parcel of the world. We cannot enter into the Himalayan caves and ignore the world. If I consider my fellow citizens to be members of my family, then there has to be mutual give and take. I give you what I have; you give me what you have. One person does not and cannot have everything. But if we are united, I offer you my goodwill, good wishes and whatever I have, and you offer me what you have. Only in this way can we establish a oneness-world-family.

I have been to many parts of the world and met with world leaders. This same theme we have discussed: how we can bring about world peace. We sincerely try. Still world peace is a far cry, but we have made an attempt. There is nothing wrong in making attempts. If we fail, we fail. I take failures as the pillars of success. Yesterday we failed; today we are failing. That does not mean that tomorrow also we are going to fail.

It is the same in all spheres of life. Last year, at the Olympics, it seemed that Carl Lewis would fail in the long jump. He was not even among the first three places. Then all of a sudden he became the gold medallist.

Interviewer: Do you play basketball?

Sri Chinmoy: In India I used to play basketball. Now I practise taking free throws from the penalty line. Usually I throw a hundred times, and then I take a little rest before throwing another hundred times. I practise on a regular basis when the weather permits it. My highest score is 79.

Interviewer: No kidding — 79 out of 100!

Sri Chinmoy: In India I also played soccer. For many years I was captain of the soccer team in our spiritual community. I was also a volleyball captain and instructor. Here in New York I have played tennis. Some great tennis players have been very kind to me. They have come and played with me here at our court in Queens. Monica Seles, Steffi Graf, Ilie Nastase and Ramesh Krishnan came at different times to encourage me. After playing a few sets, I lifted each of them with one arm using a special apparatus. I have lifted people from many walks of life, and they all got joy. We call the programme Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart. These world-citizens are great in their own fields, so I have honoured them in my own way. In India, whenever people do something great, they are lifted up on the shoulders of their colleagues.

Interviewer: So this has a symbolic meaning?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, it is symbolic.

Interviewer: May I ask you about your bird drawings? This idea came to you about six years ago?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, in December 1991, to be precise.

Interviewer: Was it a dream, a vision, an understanding?

Sri Chinmoy: It was a special inspiration. It came to me in a flash, but it did not come from my mind. I do not use my mind to know what I am supposed to do from one moment to the next moment. Being a seeker, I only pray to God to guide me in His own Way. I pray: “Please make me a choice instrument of Yours. Do utilise me. Please give me the capacity to inspire people and at the same time enable me to be of better service to You.” That is my prayer.

This year my Beloved Supreme has inspired me to offer fifty concerts honouring India’s independence. India achieved her independence fifty years ago.

Do you come from Japan?

Interviewer: I was born there, yes.

Sri Chinmoy: This year I was there for two months. My most favourite place is Lord Buddha’s statue at Kamakura. I have been there seven times, and two or three times I have given concerts in front of the Lord Buddha.

Interviewer: Sri Chinmoy, who are the living or historical men whom you admire most?

Sri Chinmoy: Among the world figures of our time, there are many whom I admire, but first and foremost is President Gorbachev. After him come Mother Teresa, the present Pope6 and President Nelson Mandela. There are other world figures whom I have met and greatly admire, like Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Vaclav Havel and several Secretaries-General of the United Nations.

I would like to say something about my first few choices. In Mother Teresa I find two aspects: the mother and the sister. One moment she is the mother of compassion; the next moment she is the sister of affection. When I see her and talk to her, she blesses me as a mother blesses her child, and again she shows me the utmost sisterly affection.

The Pope also has two aspects: that of a father and that of a grandfather. According to me, he is not only the Holy Father, but also the Holy Grandfather. A father believes in justice. If his children do something wrong, the father will be upset, and he may take action. But the grandfather is all forgiveness for his grandchildren. In his eye, the grandchildren cannot do anything wrong. In this respect, the Pope is like a grandfather.

In my humble opinion, President Gorbachev is the world’s greatest man. He could have acted like his predecessors, like Stalin and others, but his heart came to the fore. Now there is one Berlin; previously there were two Berlins. He was the main instrument to liberate Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland and so many other countries in the Eastern Bloc. I am not saying he was the only instrument, but he was the main instrument to liberate those countries. I know how difficult it is to unite two countries, but he has done it. Because of him, there is now one Germany. But his greatest service has been in his own country. He has opened the door to the West. You may call it democracy or something else, but there is an openness now which did not exist previously. How far he has succeeded is up to God and humanity to decide. Humanity will always misjudge us. What is important is how we are judged in God’s Eye.

Before President Gorbachev came to power, world peace was only a dictionary word. Discussion about disarmament and reducing nuclear weapons all came from him. He started it; he was the pioneer. Many people did not trust him in the beginning, but he proved he was sincere. When President Gorbachev took over, for a few years he could have acted like an autocrat, the way his predecessors did, but he did not do this. Instead, he introduced perestroika, glasnost and democracy.

To be frank, politics is not my forté. I am a spiritual seeker. But if I see that somebody is trying to elevate the consciousness of humanity, then I offer that person my wholehearted support. President Gorbachev showed how human beings can be united. In his case, he acted. Many other political figures, forgive me, only talk about peace. One moment they propose world peace; the next moment they drop bombs somewhere. They use the term ‘nuclear weapon reduction’; then we see that they are increasing their weapons. But in President Gorbachev’s case, when he said something, he did it. That is why I take him as the world’s greatest living figure.

Another rare quality President Gorbachev has: he is sincere and brave enough to say that he has made many Himalayan blunders. There are many political leaders who will never admit that they have made any mistakes. President Gorbachev writes in his memoirs that he has made mistakes and now he is trying to rectify them. We are human beings. To err is human; everybody makes mistakes. But there are some who admit that they have made mistakes, while others do not want to admit this. People who admit that they have made mistakes are, according to me, not only great but good people.

SCA 433. At the time of this answer, the present Pope was Pope John Paul II.

Interviewer: Let me ask you about spirituality. I don't know so much about President Gorbachev, but can I assume that you are admiring him from a spiritual point of view, the way that you admire Mother Teresa and the Holy Father?

Sri Chinmoy: Spirituality has two wings. One we call aspiration, and the other we call dedication. With our aspiration, we pray to God. With our dedication, we serve Him. In the case of the Holy Father and Mother Teresa, we see that they are aspiring. They are praying every day to God. Again, they are also dedicating their lives to humanity.

In President Gorbachev’s case, the whole world can see and feel how many things he has done to serve mankind. He may not pray to God early in the morning like Mother Teresa or the Holy Father, but his very life he has dedicated not only to Russia, to the Soviet Union, but to the entire world. Now he is in Turkey; last week he was in Argentina. He goes to so many places. Why? They invite him because they see something very special in him. They see that he has light. That is why each country adores him. Again, a prophet is not honoured in his own country, so he lost the election very badly. But wherever he goes, people appreciate him. They see that he sincerely means what he says. For him world peace is a reality in his life. His dedication aspect we accept as part and parcel of the spiritual life. He may not pray in the Christian way, like the Pope or Mother Teresa, but he is getting messages from within, and he is trying to express and reveal these messages to the world at large. That is why, for me, he is truly spiritual.

Interviewer: Did you say, "He who serves, prays?"

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly! We serve others because we see them as the embodiment of God. God manifests Himself in and through each human being in a particular way. In a family each and every one may have a different vocation: one will be a doctor, another a musician and so forth. But they are one family. In the evening they come and eat together. Each individual is unique in his own way, and this uniqueness has to be utilised for the betterment of the world.

It is absolutely true that he who serves God is also praying, and in the same way, he who prays is also serving God. Let us say that someone is praying inside a cave in the Himalayas. If he becomes a good person, there will be one less undivine person on earth. In that way, the person praying in the Himalayan caves is also serving humanity.

Again, he who is offering his service is also praying in a special way. An unaspiring person will not dedicate his life even for a fleeting second. A good person will dedicate his entire life. This dedication is nothing other than aspiration. One who embodies light cannot be separated from one who offers his light to the world at large.

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