Sri Chinmoy answers, part 23

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Part I

Question: How can we create and then maintain a warrior-like attitude towards overcoming our weaknesses?1

Sri Chinmoy: There is something called weakness, and the opposite of weakness is strength. Again, weakness itself can play the role of strength. If we cannot conquer a weakness, what does it mean? It means that weakness itself has tremendous power. What we call strength — the strength we feel that we have or we are — is no match for our weakness at that time. Weakness is a negative power, a negative force. In particular, vital problems, emotional weakness and mental weakness have tremendous strength. But the strength of weakness is a negative strength. The positive strength is love, divine love. That love-strength is connected with Infinity.

Often when we are unable to conquer our weaknesses, it is because we are actually cherishing them in our vital life or in our inner life. Outwardly, we want to destroy all the weakness that we see in ourselves, but inwardly, secretly, in our vital, we enjoy them. This moment we take a weakness as our enemy, but the next moment we take it as our friend. In our outer life, our weakness is torturing us; but in our inner life — unconsciously, let us say, not consciously — we cherish this weakness. This applies to all those who are seekers. And for those who are not sincere seekers, their weakness itself becomes their strength.

Now, how do we cope with this situation? Is there anything that can cure our weaknesses? There is a medicine, an antidote, and that is our love-power. Our love-power for whom? Our love-power not for any individual, but for our Source, who is God. The stronger we can make our love for God, for our Source, the easier it is for us to conquer our weaknesses.

This whole world is run by a Power. We call it the Cosmic Knowledge, the Cosmic Wisdom, the Cosmic Power. Where has that Power come from? It has come from God’s Love. God’s Love created the Cosmic Power, and we can enter into the Cosmic Power when we love God. Again, all our weaknesses will forever exist unless and until we increase our love for God.

We love God. Who can deny it? We have entered into the spiritual life. But it is all a matter of degree. Do we love God more than we love ourselves, or our friends, or our insecurity and our other weaknesses? If you are sincere, you will have to say that you definitely love God less than you love some individuals or some possessions of yours. Daily, out of twenty-four hours, do you spend even two hours thinking of God, praying to God and meditating on God? No, no, no!

To sit down and pray and pray and meditate and meditate is one side of our aspiration. Then, there is the other side of our aspiration, which is our dedicated action, our selfless service. You may bind my books for three or four hours at a stretch, but during that time, for how many minutes do you keep your consciousness high? For four hours you are either carefully or mechanically binding so many books, and I am so pleased. But then the question of consciousness arises. You have to see if inside your consciousness there is meditation, there is prayer, there is goodwill for mankind. This is what we should feel when we are doing selfless service.

One aspect of our aspiration is to pray and pray and pray and repeat God’s Name or a mantra. But while praying, if we look around, we cannot climb up high, higher, highest. Again, the other aspect is dedication, and on the dedication-side we have so much opportunity. If we serve the divine in us, the Supreme in us, cheerfully and unconditionally, then again we make the fastest progress.

We have the weapons to fight against our weaknesses. We know how to pray, but how much time do we spend in prayer? We know how to meditate, but how long do we meditate? Again, we know how to serve, but how long do we serve? Some days you may work eight, nine or ten hours, and other days perhaps two hours. But even when you are serving for only two hours, for how many minutes are you in God-consciousness, and for how many minutes are you not?

There is only one power that can challenge and conquer our weaknesses, and that is love-power. That love-power has a Source, which is God. If we have done something wrong, we feel that God has the capacity and the right to punish us. Now, the question arises: do we love God out of fear that He will punish us? Or do we have tremendous fear and sorrow, not because He will strike us when we do something wrong, but because we may lose Him? There are two kinds of fear. One kind of fear says that because God is omnipotent, He will strike us very hard if we do something wrong. Another kind of fear says that if we do something wrong, He may withdraw His Love for us. If we truly love someone, and if that person withdraws his love for us, will we not feel miserable? Definitely we do love God; who can deny it? But again, for how many minutes, how many hours, how many days, how many weeks, how many months do we maintain our love for God?

Now, how can you maintain your love for God? Every morning you have to feel that you are a most beautiful flower in God’s Heart-Garden. And who is the Gardener? It is God Himself. As the Creator, He Himself creates you as a flower; and again, as the Gardener, He breathes in the beauty and smells the fragrance of His creation. Then He gets tremendous joy.

Every day think of yourself as a newly blossomed flower. Do not think of yesterday’s flower. Do not think that you have now become stale and withered — no! Every morning think of yourself as the most beautiful flower. Then you have to feel that you did not create yourself. Somebody else created you. And who is that Somebody else? It is your highest Self, God. Again, who is taking care of you the entire day? The same Person who created you is taking care of you. And that same Person is telling you, “Do not get stuck in the past — yesterday or the day before yesterday or the previous days. If you get stuck in the past, then you cannot make progress. Yesterday was fresh in its own capacities, in its reality and divinity. But today again has to be very fresh and full of life-energy. Do not bring yesterday into today’s life or carry today’s life into tomorrow’s life.”

Each day we shall love God as much as possible, and with our love we shall reveal Him and manifest Him. The answer to all our problems lies in our love for God and God’s Love for us. Unless we love God most sincerely, we will never, never feel God’s Love. God has made the game that way. First we have to love God. Then, if we are satisfying God, God will satisfy us. As a matter of fact, God will satisfy us infinitely more.

Any weaknesses that we have, we can conquer only by loving God. Our weaknesses can come to devour or strangle us; again, they can come to love or treasure us. We are the ones who have to either surrender to our weaknesses, or go to the God who is all Love for us. Any weakness can be conquered if we increase the eagerness and intensity of our love for God. Our weakness lasts because our love of God is not solid, not complete, not lasting. But if there is tremendous eagerness and intensity in our love for God, then no weakness can last.

God has given us the strongest Power, and that strongest Power is God Himself. The more we can love God, the more we can think of God, the sooner our weaknesses will die. If we want to fight our weaknesses, we will see that we cannot. Like the rakshashas in the Mahabharata, our weaknesses are so charming! We will say, “Why should I harm this charming personality or reality that is inside me?” That is why our weakness can be conquered only by increasing our love for God. The stronger our love for God, the sooner our weaknesses leave us. This is how we can increase our inner life-speed and our outer life-speed, which must go together. If there is no inner life-speed, then there can be no real outer life-speed.

There is only one way to conquer our weaknesses; there cannot be ten ways. You will see. You can meditate or run and say, “I am doing this for God.” True, everything you are doing for God; but God will see how long you maintain your highest capacity, your deepest capacity, your all-conquering capacity. Unfortunately, that capacity does not last for more than half an hour or an hour. So, our love of God is the only way to conquer our weaknesses.

Again, we can observe what weakness can do in others’ lives. Let us say that I am a thief. Perhaps that tendency may be inside you also. You may say, “Oh, I have worked so hard! Let me now steal from a rich person. Then I will become a multi-millionaire overnight!” But if you see that I am caught, and if you see how badly I am punished, you may change your mind. If you see how I am suffering because I have stolen something — people are kicking me right and left, and I am the object of all kinds of harassment — you may decide not to become a thief after all.

When people surrender to their weaknesses, we see how they ruin their lives. One philosophy is that we shall only pray and meditate on God, and God will take care of the rest of the world. But again, we can also look around; we can watch others and learn from their experiences. Let us say that I want to touch fire because I feel that fire is so charming. But if I see that somebody else has touched fire and his hand is now burnt, why shall I also do the same thing? Has God not shown me that someone else has burnt his fingers by touching fire? We can see what happens when others allow weakness to control them. As I said before, weakness itself is power, nothing else. We always divide the two — we say that this is weakness, that is strength. But weakness itself is a negative power. We have to use the positive strength to conquer our weakness, and that positive strength is our love of God. That is the only way.

From the heart, some people enter into the mind. Then, all the weaknesses that can be found in human life they want to examine for themselves. They knew those weaknesses in others, but now they want to test the weaknesses themselves; they want to have the first-hand experience. Why do I need the first-hand experience of weakness? If I know that my father has died and my mother has died, am I such a fool as to think that I will be immortal? Oh, no — my time will come sooner or later. Now, the question is, did my father pray and meditate? Did my mother pray and meditate? Did they have peace of mind? Did they have love in their inner life? For most human beings, immediately the answer will be no, they did not. Then let me be wise and say, “They did not pray and meditate. I will do it, I will do it!” Let me use my time wisely.

There is not a single weakness that we cannot conquer. We may feel that all the weaknesses look so charming, so we say, “How can I kick this weakness and that weakness out of my life?” But we can do it if we see that our weakness is ruining our inner joy, our divinity, our capacity to see light. Again, if we cherish our weakness, it is a different story.

From where to where an individual can go! It is all because of ignorance. When a seeker misuses the divine compassion, weakness becomes his strength. How painful it is to see the descent of an individual! My heart breaks when I see how much ignorance a person can cherish in his life. Sometimes I tolerate it, always with the hope that the person will change, for I was born with hope. There is hope, and there is expectation. Expectation is always in the mind and the vital, but hope is in the heart. Hope is the divine way. Hope says, “My disciple cannot be so bad!” But God says, “No, your disciple can be so bad. You cannot imagine how far one can go!” And it is all the result of cherishing one’s weaknesses consciously and deliberately.

Compassion is misused by each and every human being. Some people misuse compassion from the day they enter the spiritual life. Some people use compassion very nicely for five years, ten years or fifteen years, and then they start misusing it. When we see a weakness in others, we have to be more careful because that very weakness we ourselves also have. We have that very same weakness, but in their case they did not want to conquer the weakness. It is up to us whether, like them, we shall surrender to the weakness or we shall conquer it. If we are wise, we shall conquer all our weaknesses.

As I always say, if I become a good person, there will be one less rascal on earth. If one person becomes perfect, there will be one less imperfect person on earth. If I value my inner strength and if I want to get rid of my weaknesses, who can prevent me? Let us say that one room is in darkness because there is no electricity, while another room has light. I can go into the room that has light. Who can prevent me? Who is asking me not to go there? Again, if I bring an electrician into the room that is unlit, then in a few minutes there will be light in that room. Even if I enter into darkness and cry and cry and cry for light to come there, when light does come, the darkness is all illumined.

Instead of going into the light, is it not stupid for me to enter into darkness and pray to God, “Save me, save me”? Is it not stupid to enter into hell and say, “God, take me to Heaven, take me to Heaven”? Why should I deliberately go to hell and then beg God to bring me to Heaven? Let me go to Heaven and say, “God, You have brought me here. Now I am praying to You, please keep me here, keep me here, or take me to a higher world, a better world, a more illumining world.” But that we do not do. We enter into darkness, and then we totally forget God. We forget that there is Someone who can, at this very moment, help us and save us. We are totally lost in darkness. Then there is no God for us, and we sink.

So let us always look around and ask, “Where has he gone? Where has she gone? Do I want to be like that person?” That person definitely cherished weakness, and that weakness has tremendous power. That tremendous power took that person from the spiritual life, from his own real existence, from his own real home.

You have to use your indomitable will-power. In your previous incarnation you were a very high-ranking military officer. You can be militant in a very positive way. Just look inside. Do you have that indomitable will-power or not? If you look, immediately you will say, “Oh, it is there, it is there!” Why should the lion remain always asleep? Your name means the sun. Why should the sun be always eclipsed? Why should the sun always allow the clouds to cover it? No, no, no! Tell yourself, “I am the sun. If a cloud is covering me, I will just burst forth and destroy the cloud!”

You have to be sure — do you want weakness or do you want strength? Ask yourself a hundred times which one you want — weakness or strength. A hundred times out of a hundred your answer has to be: “I want strength, I want strength, I want strength!” Then you will see that you have not voted even once for weakness.

Again, to conquer anything in life, we have to increase our love for the Real in us. The Real in us is God. If our mind is not centred on God, if it is not for God, then weakness will always become strong in our life. Weakness will remain strong, and finally it will destroy us. Right from the beginning, we shall observe weakness and strength, and we shall see that weakness is also a kind of strength. But if one strength is the power of a lion or an elephant, and the other is the power of a bull or a cow, are we such fools that we will go to the bull or the cow? We shall always go to the stronger one. In a Mr. Universe competition, one individual will have muscles that are most powerful and symmetrical. Somebody else may have powerful muscles, but his physique will not be as beautiful or as striking as the physique of the most powerful individual. If we watch all the bodybuilders, we will see that some are really inferior to the champion. If I want strength, and if I am the judge, will I not appreciate the one whose muscles are more developed?

There is light, and there is infinite Light. Let us say that inside weakness also there is light. Inside everything that God has created, even inside darkness, there is light. But if I see the dark sky and the effulgent sun side by side, will I not go to the sun? Will I go to the inferior light? If I am wise, I will always go to the side that is bright, brighter, brightest. I will not go to the darker side. Why should I go there? If I go to darkness, then I will be destroyed. I am the one who has to observe which side is most beautiful and most powerful. The other side may be pretending to be most beautiful, but my heart will tell me which side is real, which side is infinitely stronger and more beautiful. I shall always choose the real strength, and that real strength is constant, sleepless and breathless love of God.

There is always a struggle between our love for someone and another person’s love for us. It is a matter of whom we want. Somebody may want you, but that person may be a negative force. Ignorance wants us badly, but shall we surrender to ignorance? No! Because of our wisdom, we want God, only God; we want Light, only Light. If we can increase our love of God, then the ignorance-power that is attacking us we can easily overcome.

Ignorance is trying to catch us, but we are running away at the fastest speed. We are running towards our goal. The goal of ignorance-power is to grab us, but before it grabs us, we run towards our own destination. We run so fast that ignorance cannot catch us. If we increase our speed, then how can ignorance attack us? Before it can attack us, we shall run towards our own destination.

SCA 788. Sri Chinmoy answered this question on 3 February 2000 in New York.

Question: How can we have more newness in our lives?2

Sri Chinmoy: Every day the sun rises. Every morning we can look at the sun, if we are lucky enough to have a clear day. Although it is the same sun that is rising, every day we can see a new beauty inside the sun. Our mind is telling us that it is the same sun that we saw yesterday and the day before yesterday. But when the heart sees this same sun, there is tremendous joy, tremendous thrill, tremendous ecstasy.

We have to see and feel everything with the heart, not with the mind. The mind will tell us, “I have seen the sun already; I have been seeing it for so many years. There is nothing new in it.” But when the heart sees the same sun, the heart sees something new, with a thrilling sensation. That thrilling sensation itself is creating something new, and that newness is creating something special.

When a grown-up enters into a garden every day, he sees the flowers and says, “They are all the same as they were yesterday.” When a child of four or five enters into the garden, he sees the same flowers that the grown-up sees, but he gets a totally different kind of experience, which is all joy. Every day he enters into the garden, but his mind is not seeing the flowers; it is his heart that is seeing them. When his heart sees a flower, that flower is something new for him. We see the same kinds of flowers for so many days, and once we see them, it is enough for us. Even the second day, it is all old. But every time the child sees the garden, for him everything is new.

Every day you are doing so many things. You are going to the health food store to work; you are taking exercise. If you use the mind, then everything becomes monotonous. You will say, “I have been doing this for ten days, ten months, ten years.” But if you use your absolutely childlike heart, everything is new, new, new.

In my case, if I use my mind to think of lifting 900 pounds, immediately I will say, “Oh God!” It is not out of fear, but because this lifting is boring — that is the right word. Every day I am trying to lift such heavy weights. Do I not have enough problems with myself, with my disciples, with the world? Do I have to go and stand under these 900-pound weights? The mind immediately comes forward with the most powerful discouragement. The mind says, “Do you have absolutely nothing better to do? Go and pray, go and meditate! Do something for the betterment of the world!” Like that the mind goes on.

But if I think of the Supreme, my Beloved, He says, “This is what I want you to do in the morning to manifest My Light in the world.” That message I get if I am in the heart, and my heart has accepted the message. Today is the fourth day I have lifted 900 pounds. When the mind is to the fore, by the second day the mind has become bored; it does not want to lift. But today, using my childlike heart, I did six lifts. When I use my childlike heart, I feel I am doing everything for the first time.

Every day I am giving prayers. You can say they are all different prayers, so there is newness. But if I use the mind, the mind will say, “This is such a stupid thing! Why do I have to give prayers every day? Who is going to listen to me? Who is practising my prayers? Do I practise my own prayers?” The mind is discouraging me and telling me not to continue because I am giving the same type of prayers every day. But the heart will say, “No! This is all new. It is all new life, new life, new life.”

When I am lifting 900 pounds, when I am cycling, when I am doing anything, if I use the mind, the mind will say it is monotonous. Afterwards, the mind will even go to the length of saying that it is ridiculous. The mind will say, “Am I so stupid as to lift weights? Am I so stupid as to waste my time with this inconscient metal?” But the heart is getting so much joy because the heart is listening to God while God is saying, “Do this, do this, do this!”

Every week you come to PS 86 to meditate. The mind says, “Oh my God, it is compulsory, compulsory!” The mind hates this kind of thing. The mind says, “Does Guru have nothing else to do? He has made this evening compulsory. I could have gone to the movies or watched television.” But the heart says, “Today, after one week, we will again be able to meet with our Guru. Today he will meditate. Today he will be able to feed our entire being with his light, with his joy, with his blessings.” The heart and the mind see the same reality, but the heart is giving us one message and the mind is giving us another message. For the mind, life is all monotony. For the mind, it is absolutely the same thing every day. There is no newness, no new life. But when we use the heart, every thing is new. If we use the heart for everything, we will see that inside the heart there is always newness, and inside newness is fulness. Although the mind is saying that everything is eternally old, the heart will say, “No, it is ever new.”

When we use the term ‘ever new’, that newness is in the heart. Anything that I do, if I do it with the heart, then it is totally new. If I am in the mind, nothing is new. Let us say that I am playing the violin. Every day I have been practising fifty songs. The mind will say, “Oh, fifty songs I have to practise!” But when I use the heart, fifty songs are over in the twinkling of an eye. I am even ready to practise a few more songs.

The heart gets joy every day, although outwardly it is doing the same thing. In your case, every day you are doing the same thing, but the heart is telling you that there is new joy, new joy, new joy. Every day customers are coming into the health food store. The mind tells you, “Oh, the same type of idiot has come in! I always have the same kind of experience.” But when you use the heart, every time you look at your vitamin pills, bottles and jars, you will get a new joy. You will be eager to see whether something new is written on the bottles or to notice something that you have never seen before. The heart is eager to see newness in the things it has been observing for years and years. But the mind does not want newness. One day it gets food, and then it starves because it feels that everything is old, old, old. But every day the heart says, “Perhaps there is something else here, something new.” Always the heart is looking for newness, but the mind does not look for anything.

The mind is always grumbling and fumbling. There is no worse thief than the mind. Today you are very happy because it is your birthday. Your mind will say, “Oh, today Guru is so nice to me because it is my birthday, but tomorrow Guru will neglect me. He will never be nice to me. Does he really care for me?” Like that, tomorrow is always coming into our mind to ruin today’s joy. Today I am giving you joy. I have invited your friends and I am doing this and that to make you happy. But always the mind comes and takes away half of today’s joy, or even more. Why? Because tomorrow you may not have the same kind of joy. How ridiculous! What a roguish nature the mind has! The mind immediately brings the future into the present. It gives the message that tomorrow you will not get the same joy, the same satisfaction, the same love, the same admiration from your Master or from your friends.

At that time you have to say, “I am not thinking of tomorrow; today is enough for me. Let tomorrow come as it may. Today I am so happy! Guru is observing my birthday, and he is giving me so much joy.” Stay with today — here and now. If you think of tomorrow, then the mind will say, “When tomorrow comes, it will be a totally different story.” Like a thief, that totally different story will immediately take away half of today’s joy.

If you are doing something great, you are so happy. But then the stupid mind comes into the picture little by little, like a rogue. Let us say that today you have become a world champion and you are very happy. But by the evening you think, “Perhaps tomorrow another fellow will take away my record.” In that way, tomorrow has come into today. Always in so many ways the mind is taking away our joy. The heart says, “Let us have joy today. Let tomorrow come tomorrow.” But the mind is inviting tomorrow into today to take away our joy. The mind says, “Today I have lifted a heavy weight, but tomorrow perhaps I will not be able to lift it.” The heart feels that since I have lifted today, I should stay with today’s joy. But the mind says, “I am just bragging! There are so many people in this world who are infinitely stronger than I am. They can easily do what I have done.” Now, why do we have to think of people who are in Africa or Bulgaria or somewhere else? Why do we have to imagine that they are infinitely stronger than we are, that they can easily do what we have done, except that they are not getting the opportunity?

This is how the mind takes away the joy that we have got from what we have achieved today! But the heart does not think of tomorrow. The heart only feels that it has achieved something and, therefore, it is so happy and so grateful to God. The heart is grateful to God because God has given us the capacity to do something. Today God has given me the capacity to lift a heavy weight, so I am grateful. I am keeping it between God and me. I am so grateful that He has given me the capacity, and I am so happy that He has made me happy. This is how we have to stop the mind from taking away our joy, and this is how we can always have newness. The heart’s joy always embodies newness. Any time we are happy, there is always newness. When we are unhappy, we are finished! We drag along the unhappiness of twenty or thirty years. The moment we are really happy, the heart holds and preserves our happiness. But the mind thinks that tomorrow again we will be unhappy. In that way the mind steals today’s happiness.

Do not allow the mind to play the role of a thief. If you are in the heart, then you will see that there is always newness-joy. A child always gets joy no matter how many times he enters into a garden. For him it is all joy, joy, joy. When our little dog Chela runs this side and that side, he has no mind. Such joy he is getting! If he were to think, “Every day I have to go that way,” then he would not run in any direction. He would forget about running! Like Chela, we also have to have the same spontaneous joy, and that spontaneous joy we get only if we are in the heart. We have to be childlike, not childish. When a grown-up acts childish, he will do something stupid. But a childlike heart, like a flower, always blooms and blossoms, blooms and blossoms.

There must always be newness. Every day the mind can invent ways to take away our joy. Always we have to fight against the mind. If we want to do something difficult, the mind will say, “Oh my God! For two days I succeeded and I got joy, but today I do not think I will be able to do it.” Then, when sadness and frustration enter into the picture, immediately we have to challenge the mind with our wisdom. We have to say, “So what if I do not succeed? My goal is not, let us say, to lift a particular weight. My goal is only regularity.” God is asking me to do something. He is not commanding me to be successful; He is only saying, “You must be regular.” He says, “Do it, do it!” and He asks me only to obey Him.

When I ask you people to do something, then you should do it wholeheartedly. I never say, “If you cannot do it, then I will throw you out of my boat.” I say, “Throw your heart and soul into this project.” But you create in your mind the belief that if you cannot do it, then I will be displeased. I will never be displeased with anybody who is not successful. I only observe the sincerity, the readiness, the willingness and the eagerness of that individual. I will never blame anybody for outer failure. But inner failure — when there is no readiness, no willingness, no eagerness — really bothers me. Sometimes I see the disciples working so hard. Then it is up to God to grant them success or failure. On our part, if we work with utmost readiness, sincerity, willingness and eagerness, then who is going to blame us if we do not succeed? Is God going to blame us? Never!

Always use the heart. The heart is always carrying newness, whereas the mind is carrying oldness. For the mind, there is no newness. By the second day, the mind loses all its enthusiasm because it feels that everything is too old, too old, too old. But for the heart, every day is new, like the sun. As I said earlier, when the sun rises, the mind will not care to look at the sun because the mind feels that it is the same old thing. Whether the sun is coming out of the water or out of the clouds, the mind does not care. But the heart is waiting for the sun. The heart says, “When will it come? When will it come? When will it come?” The heart’s eagerness always sees newness in everything. If we use the heart to obey God, to please God, then everything is new. Every day, even though we are doing and seeing the same thing outwardly, the heart is constantly feeling new joy, new joy, new joy.

SCA 789. Sri Chinmoy answered this question on 14 February 2000 in New York.

Part II

SCA 790-798. On 25 November 1999, Sri Chinmoy met with Mrs. Shashi Tripathi, Consul General of India in New York City, at Annam Brahma Restaurant in Jamaica, Queens, New York. These are some excerpts from the conversation.

Mrs. Tripathi: What was it that drew you towards the spiritual path?

Sri Chinmoy: My parents were religious. My eldest brother became Sri Aurobindo’s disciple, and the very name of Sri Aurobindo gave us all boundless joy. I went to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram for the first time at the age of one year and three months. Then I visited the Ashram at the ages of four, seven and eleven. In 1944 I became a permanent member of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

I studied for a few years at the Ashram school. At that time there was no degree, no diploma given. We studied for the sake of knowledge. I also had within me a great urge for literature, and I started writing poems at the age of twelve or thirteen. I studied our Bengali literature thoroughly, and then I studied English literature, philosophy and so forth.

I was at the Ashram for twenty years. I worked there in various capacities, such as doing electrical work and working in various cottage industries. I enjoyed my work washing the dishes the most because it did not require any brain-power.

For about eight years, I was the secretary of the General Secretary of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. First came Sri Aurobindo, then the Mother and then Nolini Kanta Gupta. He was third in rank. Tagore had deep admiration for him as a writer. He was a great scholar, a savant. He saw something in me, and he wanted me to be his secretary. My job was to translate his writings from Bengali into English. They were all dealing with Indian literature and world literature.

I also worked under the General Manager, and I served some other distinguished writers. In addition, I served the Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, who was known as the Divine Mother, in various capacities.

In 1962, a disciple of Sri Aurobindo from New York came to the Ashram, and he also saw something in me. He wanted me to come to America, and he became my sponsor. In 1964 my new life began here.

Once I came to America, I could not remain a student or a seeker as before. Some seekers in America saw something in me, and they wanted me to be of service to them. Of course, in one sense, I will always be a seeker. All individuals, even the Masters of the highest order, have to feel they are seekers because we are all transcending our capacities. Even the Highest is transcending His infinite Capacities.

In the meantime, I had a visa problem, so I began working at the Indian Consulate. Now you are the Consul General. I was a junior clerk, and my dear friend Mr. Ramamoorthy was a senior clerk. So we are all sailing in the same boat, side by side. Mr. Ramamoorthy and I were extremely close friends; we are enjoying the same friendship even now, and we shall do so for the rest of our lives.

This is my life in a nutshell. If you have any specific questions, I will be extremely happy and grateful to answer them.

Mrs. Tripathi: As you mentioned, we are all seekers in some way or another, in our own little fashion. But how does one know if one is making any spiritual progress?

Sri Chinmoy: It is so easy. We are all aware of our limitations — jealousy, insecurity, misunderstanding, impurity and so forth. These difficulties, or you can say shortcomings, every day are disturbing our mind or haunting us. We have to know how many times today we doubted others, how many times we suspected others, how much purity we had in our mind today, and in how many ways today we tried to be of service to mankind. Then let us make the comparison between today and yesterday or between today and a few months or a few years ago — what we were and what we are now.

Let us take doubt, for example. If we doubt others, we become the losers, and if we doubt ourselves, then we are making a Himalayan mistake. If we doubt others, we are in no way helping them. Again, in no way will we bring them down from their standard in their inner life or their outer life. From our doubt-experience or doubt-invasion, they are not going to lose anything. We are only lowering our own consciousness.

When we doubt ourselves, that is the end of our spiritual life. God is within us, growing and glowing at every moment. Every day He is inside us as an ever-blossoming Dream, or we can use the term ‘Vision’. If we doubt our capacity, that means we are belittling God’s Dream that is trying to blossom in and through us. If we doubt ourselves, we are only seeing the light through our own limited, absolutely limited, vision — not with God’s omniscient Light.

To come back to your question, how do we know that we are making progress? We know how much happiness we have. If we doubt someone or have impure thoughts and ideas or wallow in the pleasures of ignorance, we will not feel happiness. Happiness comes the moment we sacrifice ourselves for a higher cause. Again, in the highest philosophy, there is no such thing as sacrifice. When you do something for your children, it is not sacrifice. When your children come to you for your affection, love, concern, sweetness and fondness, it is not sacrifice. It is a mutual bond — your love for them and their love for you. In the world of love, there is no such thing as sacrifice. But when love is missing, then whatever I do for you is an act of sacrifice, and whatever you do for me is an act of sacrifice.

So we can make progress provided we want to conquer our limitations. We have come into the world to expand our consciousness, to expand the divinity that we have or that we embody.

Mrs. Tripathi: Does that mean, then, to be a better human being is consistent with spiritual progress?

Sri Chinmoy: They have to go side by side. They are like the obverse and the reverse of the same coin. Spirituality means inner progress and outer progress, or you can say inner progress and outer success. When the outer success is founded upon inner progress, then only the outer success will not lower our consciousness. Otherwise, pride and haughtiness will definitely take us in the wrong direction. But if spirituality is there deep within us, we will feel that we are doing something to manifest God’s Light in and through us. Then our outer manifestation — our selfless service to humanity — will not take the wrong direction because spirituality is the foundation. Spirituality and the outer life, with its multifarious activities, must go together. We cannot separate them. If we separate them, we shall be bankrupt both in the inner world and in the outer world.

There was a time when Indian sadhus, swamis, saints and spiritual figures wanted to live in the Himalayan caves to pray and meditate. But those days are gone. If we want to accept God the Creator, then we have to accept God the creation as well. Spiritual figures of the hoary past only wanted to accept God the Creator, not God the creation. They said, “Let us climb up and remain on the top of the Himalayas.”

But God says, “If you truly love Me, then you should come down for the sake of poor humanity, for the sake of those people who are at the foot of the mountain, and serve them with your light, with your delight, with your peace — with whatever you have achieved. If you want to go up, I am there to give you light and bliss, but I want you to share it with humanity.”

So the acceptance of life is now our philosophy, not the rejection of life. If today we reject our body, if we do not pay any attention to it, then tomorrow we will reject the vital, the day after the mind and the day after that the heart. Then what will we have? Nothing. But if we accept life, then if something is wrong with our body, we shall try to perfect it. If something is wrong with our vital or mind, if we have jealousy or insecurity or other obstructions, these things we shall try to overcome. In this way, we are going to perfect ourselves. Then only can we become choice instruments of God — not by negating, but by accepting the world as it is and then transforming the world.

Mrs. Tripathi: Creative expression is also a form of bhakti, don't you think? You yourself are an artist in many ways. That is also a form of bhakti, isn't it?

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely! Bhakti means devotion. A true creator offers everything to God as part of his devotion. He prays to God not for anything specific, that is, not to become a good poet or a great singer or a great athlete. If he is a true seeker, he prays to God: “Please make me a choice instrument of Yours. You express Yourself in and through me, if You want to, as a writer, as a singer or as an artist.” He surrenders his own desire-life to God, and he accepts God’s Will with his aspiration-life.

In the desire-life we go from wanting one house to two houses to three houses to four houses, from one car to two cars. It is only the expansion of material wealth. But in the aspiration-life we say to God, “Whatever I need, please give me. I do not want to have any choice. If You want me to have one house or a car because You feel that it is of supreme necessity, then You can give it to me. But if You feel that it is not at all necessary, then do not give it to me.” The aspiration-life is the life of surrender to God. The aspiration-life says to God, “Please utilise me in Your own Way.” The desire-life says to God, “I want to become happy in my own way. If You give me material wealth, I will be happy.”

But the more material wealth we get, the quicker we bind ourselves. Whereas, if we get even an iota of light, peace or bliss from Above or from within, then we enter into the effulgence of the vast ocean of light. So desire binds; aspiration liberates.

Whatever He gives me, immediately I offer back to Him4

We surrender to God’s Will. I never dreamt of becoming an artist. That was not in my line. In my family, everybody was a truth-seeker and God-lover. Poetry was in our family. Everybody in my family wrote poetry. Singing also was in our family, although not to a great extent. Nobody was an artist, nobody was in the sports line, but God wanted me to be an artist and an athlete.

Weightlifting was dead against my nature, absolutely! I was the best athlete in the Ashram, the decathlon champion and so forth. In those days there was a theory that if you were muscle-bound, you would not be able to run fast. Now that theory is completely changed. Now sprinters have very bulky muscles, and they run so fast! They have shattered all the world records.

In the Ashram there was a well-equipped gymnasium, but in twenty years I went there only two times. I lifted only 20 pounds a few times. I was shot-put and discus champion, but only because of natural strength. I did not lift weights. I am just saying how God changes us. Now I am lifting hundreds and thousands of pounds.

Fourteen years ago, I went to buy a 70-pound dumbbell, and I could not lift it even two inches onto the scale to see whether the weight was correct or not. The owner of the shop patted me on my back and said, “Stop, stop! I can see you are going to become a weightlifter!”

I told him, “One day I shall lift a hundred pounds overhead and give you a cake.” He laughed at me. Then in four or five months’ time I did lift a hundred pounds, and I did give him a cake.

After that, we became such good friends. In his shop he used to keep so many photographs of me lifting weights. Sometimes he would not sell things to me from his shop. He would say, “This is junk.” I would go there to buy things, and because he was such a close friend of mine, he would tell me, “This thing will not help you in your weightlifting.” This is Mark Lurie, Dan Lurie’s son. His father came the other day to my weightlifting anniversary.

How life changes! In India, while I was writing poems and translating, I had a strong desire: “How I wish I could write two hundred books in English!” What a desire! Once we accept the spiritual life, God sometimes laughs at our prayers. I thought that if I could write two hundred books, I would be something. Now I have 1,300 books to my credit. Believe me — in all sincerity I am telling you — although I have written 1,300 books, I got such joy when I had the desire to write two hundred books. If I am inspired from deep within, that is the greatest joy. Previously my goal was to lift 100 pounds to show off. Now that desire is gone. Now my goal is 1,000 pounds.

We bind ourselves with our mind when we say, “I cannot do this, I cannot do that.” God laughs at us. He says, “You cannot do it? Who is doing it in and through you?” If I feel that I as an individual human being am the doer, then I can do nothing, nothing, nothing. But if God allows me to be His instrument, then every day, at every moment, God can perform a miracle through me because He is the Doer. When I feel that I am the doer, I cannot lift even 70 pounds. I pray to God, “You perform in and through me according to Your own Will. I shall just take my exercises. Then it is all up to You. I have surrendered the results.”

The results can come in only two forms — success or failure. If my success I can offer to God happily, what is wrong with offering my failure too? I can have a ripe mango or an unripe mango. Today if God gives me a ripe mango, then I shall give it to Him. Tomorrow if He gives me an unripe mango, I shall also give that to Him. If I give both to Him with equal happiness, then God will be pleased with what I have and what I am giving. He can give me the experience of failure or the experience of success. If I can place them at His Feet with equal happiness, then I will not feel miserable. Then I will be the happiest person. Whatever He gives me, immediately I offer back to Him.

Mrs. Tripathi: You are so right! To share a personal experience with you, when we went back to India after ten years, I went to Delhi. There I went to an organisation called the ICCR. At that time it was in very bad shape. There was a lot of corruption there. The unions were up in arms, and they used to have strikes every day. So they posted me there! They said, “You are the only one who can set it right.” I was very upset. I said, “Look at this! Couldn’t they think of something else for me? Why do I have to do all this?”

By the Grace of God, whatever we planned turned out right — everything, every action — with the result that I myself was shocked. I did not know how it was happening. Then the realisation came to me that Somebody else was doing it. I was not doing it. It was happening through me, but Somebody else was doing it!

SCA 794. These remarks were offered while discussing Sri Chinmoy's artwork.

When we see and feel that Somebody else is doing it

Sri Chinmoy: When we see and feel that Somebody else is doing it, then we do not have to worry at all because we are not responsible. If Somebody is doing something in and through me, it is up to Him to accept success and failure.

When I was working at the Indian Consulate, I never dreamt of writing thousands and thousands of poems and songs. At that time, I wrote a poem on B.K. Nehru, then Indian Ambassador in Washington. I think he was the nephew of Jawaharlal Nehru. At his farewell party I read out the poem. I also read out a poem at the farewell party for B.N. Chakravarty, the Indian Ambassador to the United Nations. He was Bengali. I did the same for Lakhan Mehrotra. So three of my poems I read out at their farewell parties, but I never thought I would write thousands of poems.

Once the Asia Society came to the Indian Consulate to find somebody who could sing Bengali songs. As I am a jack of all trades and master of none, I agreed to sing. They asked me to sing three songs. For each song they gave me ten dollars. That was very good. I am just telling how my literary and musical career started blossoming.

Another time the Consul General S.K. Roy asked me to give a talk on Hinduism at a synagogue in Long Island. The organisers wanted S.K. Roy to preside over the event. S.K. Roy asked, “Who is giving the talk?” They were so happy to tell him that Ananda Mohan was going to give the talk. When S.K. Roy heard that, he said, “No, I am sending Ghose.” I was a junior clerk, and Ananda Mohan was in the Information Section. But I was asked to go and give the talk. So I gave the talk, and the Consul General was pleased.

Ananda Mohan was an excellent lecturer on Hinduism and Indian culture. He wrote Indira Gandhi’s biography. I had such admiration for him. He worked in the Information Section, and I was nobody, absolutely nobody. Unfortunately, he was not in the good graces of S.K. Roy. Even though I was still quite young, S.K. Roy wanted me to give the talk on Hinduism. I had never thought of giving a talk on Hinduism, but I was asked to go there, and they liked it. They gave me one hundred and ten dollars, so I was making progress.

I was terribly afraid of S.K. Roy. Once when I was near the elevator, the elevator door opened up, and I ran away when I saw S.K. Roy inside. He came out of the elevator screaming, “Ghose! Ghose! Am I a tiger? Am I a snake? You must come in!”

S.K. Roy was so kind to me. Once he asked me if I knew Dilip Kumar Roy, the great Indian singer who was known as the golden voice. Perhaps you have heard his name. He was the dearest disciple of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. When I was only thirteen or fourteen years old, I basked in the sunshine of Dilip Roy’s compassion and love. We lived on the same street, and once I gave him two hundred poems of mine. He corrected them and appreciated them. I also wrote something about his father, a great poet and revolutionary, so he was full of affection for me.

When S.K. Roy asked me if I knew him, I said, “Dilip Roy? Yes.” Then I told him all about my closest connection. I told him that when I came here, I wrote a letter to Dilip Roy, who opened up his own ashram. I told S.K. Roy all my experiences with him from my adolescent years. S.K. Roy was so happy because he and Dilip Roy were very close friends.

Mrs. Tripathi: Your brother is still in the ashram?

Sri Chinmoy: One brother, Mantu, is still there. I dedicated the weightlifting demonstration to him for his birthday.

Encouragement is of paramount importance5

I never dreamt of composing thousands of songs. Now in English and Bengali — forgive me, I am bragging — 15,000 songs go to my credit. I not only wrote the words, but I also set them to music. In India I was a singer, good or bad, but here people have appreciated my singing voice. Encouragement is of paramount importance. If we are encouraged, then we go forward. If we are discouraged, then we need adamantine will-power to cross the discouragement-barrier.

In my weightlifting, Bill Pearl — five-time Mr. Universe and the 20th Century’s Best Built Man — encouraged me like anything. He encouraged me from when I started lifting 40 pounds. This time for my weightlifting anniversary, he was the Master of Ceremonies.

In every field I have been encouraged. At the Ashram also, I happened to be a writer, but by far the best author wanted me to be his translator. There were so many holding highest degrees, but he did not like their translations. He wanted me to be his translator. So again I was encouraged.

Everywhere I have been encouraged, encouraged. Here, when I started composing songs, people were appreciating them, so I got inspiration. Encouragement we all need. Again, if there is discouragement, we need adamantine will-power. If we want to do something, no matter how we are discouraged on the way, we have to go forward.

SCA 797. Later in the conversation, Sri Chinmoy spoke about encouragement.

Mrs. Tripathi: I must say, your singers sang such beautiful bhajans on the 2nd of October for the observance of Gandhi's birthday at the Gandhi statue in Manhattan.

Sri Chinmoy: Please allow me to introduce you to Ranjana. Ranjana is the leader of that group.

R: Thank you for inviting us.

Mrs. Tripathi: The compositions were beautiful, and they were very well sung. They stopped the traffic. People just stopped there, got out of their cars and listened.

R: We were so happy to be able to perform at the Gandhi statue.

Mrs. Tripathi: I thank you so much for your time. It has been so wonderful.

Sri Chinmoy: It was so kind of you to be with us. We have enjoyed your company, and we shall only increase and illumine our friendship. Here we had such a wonderful time. I pray to our Lord Beloved Supreme to make you the choicest instrument of our beloved Mother India to spread her light throughout the length and breadth of the world. May you be the supremely choice instrument spreading Mother India’s sempiternal light. You have been to so many countries! I am absolutely sure you have offered Mother India’s inner light, pristine beauty and purity, and I would like you to continue.

Our philosophy is progress, progress, progress and self-transcendence. What you have done is good. But God within us wants us to be better, best and perfect, to increase our divine qualities, to serve Him in every possible way. You are now carrying the supreme message of Mother India here to America. Not only to America, but to the East, West, North, South — everywhere. I pray to the Absolute Supreme for you to spread His infinite Light. This is my most sincere prayer, coming from the inmost recesses of my heart.

Mrs. Tripathi: Thank you so much. It is the most beautiful blessing. Thank you very much.

Part III

SCA 799-817. Excerpts from an interview with the //Indian Express// daily newspaper, which took place in Pondicherry, India, in June 1999.

Interviewer: Sri Chinmoy, please tell me about yourself. Where were you born?

Sri Chinmoy: I was born in Chittagong in 1931. I came to Pondicherry at the age of twelve. Then I stayed here at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram for twenty years. I went to the Ashram school. At that time there was no degree course. I studied for a few years, but I did not complete high school.

Interviewer: What kind of education did they have to offer?

Sri Chinmoy: I must be very sincere. I did not complete the Ashram education, but I studied a lot on my own at the Ashram’s main library. I left the school and worked at various jobs in the Ashram: hand-made paper, dyeing and other cottage industries. I also worked in the electrical department.

Interviewer: Your parents were with you?

Sri Chinmoy: No, my parents passed away in Chittagong. Then I came here. My elder brothers and sisters were here, so I followed them. My eldest brother came here first, then my other brothers and sisters. I was the youngest, so I came here in 1944. In 1964 I left for America.

Interviewer: Why did you leave Pondicherry?

Sri Chinmoy: Two Americans came to the Ashram. They saw something in me, and they invited me to come to America. In my last job here I was the secretary of the General Secretary of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Nolini Kanta Gupta. He was a well-known writer who was admired by Tagore. He was the main Secretary of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. I did office work for him, plus translation of his writings from Bengali into English. About him, Tagore said, “Nolini Kanta’s contribution to Bengali literature is unique.”

Interviewer: What did you have in your mind before going to America? What made you accept their invitation?

Sri Chinmoy: I got a message from within. From the dawn of my life I have been praying and meditating. From within the message came that I should go and be of service to America. There are many people in the West who are searching for spiritual fulfilment. I had a visa to stay for only three months. Then I applied for a job at the Indian Consulate in New York and got a job there. I was so lucky. I did not have any formal education. I did not get a matriculation degree because there was no degree at the Ashram. I studied in Chittagong up to class seven, and then I came to Pondicherry. I was self-taught. When I applied for the job as a clerk, there were three graduates and two with Master’s degrees who also applied. I was the only one who did not have any formal degree. But the Passport and Visa Section Consul gave me the job, so I was saved.

At the Indian Consulate, after three months they evaluate your work to see whether you are a good worker or not. If your work is not good, they dismiss you. But in my case, after only thirteen days, the Consul made me permanent. He is now a very close friend of mine. His name is L.L. Mehrotra. I worked at the Indian Consulate for two years.

In the meantime, many of my friends helped me considerably to meet seekers who wanted to know about spirituality, Indian philosophy and Indian religion. My colleagues and my bosses at the Indian Consulate were also very eager — not to get rid of me, but that I should enter into my own line, which is spirituality.

Then I got my green card so I could remain in America permanently. Over the years, people have come from various countries to meet with me.

Interviewer: But you didn't have any formal association with any organisation?

Sri Chinmoy: They came to meet me because they had heard about me. In my early years in America I gave many, many talks at universities.

Interviewer: Regarding Indian philosophy?

Sri Chinmoy: Indian philosophy and my own philosophy.

Interviewer: When did you start this peace foundation?

Sri Chinmoy: Our peace movement started seriously about ten years ago.

Interviewer: What is this peace mission? What has been your contribution?

Sri Chinmoy: After giving talks on spirituality at various places, I was invited to open up centres where people come to pray and meditate and read my writings. Since I also happen to be a musician, I have offered many concerts all over the world. I have been offering meditations at the United Nations for twenty-nine years. Every Tuesday and Friday I have been going there between one and two o’clock to meditate in silence, and those who are interested in the spiritual life come to meditate with me. I have also given many talks at the United Nations. They have come out in a book called The Garland of Nation-Souls. My talks at various universities have also been published in books, such as Beyond Within, Eastern Light for the Western Mind and The Inner Promise. These are some of my major works. From these books people have come to know about me.

Our mission is like a plant, growing and growing and growing. The seed was sown when I came to America. Now from all over the world, seekers have come to me, and if get a chance, I go to visit their countries.

Interviewer: How does meditation help in this peace mission of yours?

Sri Chinmoy: How will we get peace without prayer and meditation? There is no other way. Politicians talk about peace. Next moment they go and fight. So my way has nothing to do with politics, although many politicians are very kind and affectionate to me. When I meet with politicians of the highest order, we meditate together and try to bring about inner peace.

Interviewer: So you allow their inner feelings to come forward.

Sri Chinmoy: I inspire them to bring to the fore their own love of God. This is my main job. I do not teach them; I inspire them. When I offer peace concerts, thousands of people pray with me and meditate with me. I play different musical instruments and sing for about two hours. The peace-lovers who come to listen inspire me, and I inspire them. Everything is based on inspiration. If we are inspired, we will become good citizens of the world. If we are not inspired, then we will do all kinds of undivine things.

Interviewer: Regarding your peace movement, which countries have become peace-blossom-nations?

Sri Chinmoy: Twenty-eight nations have joined our peace-blossoms-family so far. Either the President or Prime Minister or some other very important government leaders have written me that they want to be part of this peace movement. Then I have gone to these places to inaugurate them. I have been to Malta, Nepal, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, to name a few.

Interviewer: Do you travel a lot to these countries?

Sri Chinmoy: The last three or four peace-blossom-nations I have not yet inaugurated. I was supposed to go. Unfortunately, my older sister passed away, so I had to cancel my plans. Otherwise, I have been to most of the places.

Interviewer: So your disciples are spreading your mission in these countries?

Sri Chinmoy: I have disciples all over the world, in these 28 countries and many more. My students pray and meditate on specific days collectively at their respective centres. They also meditate at home in the morning and evening.

Interviewer: I would like to know your philosophy very briefly.

Sri Chinmoy: My philosophy is the acceptance of life. Some people neglect the world; they enter into the Himalayan caves. I do not want that. I want people to pray and meditate to have a better world. I want to inspire people to become good citizens of the world. For that, we all have to pray and meditate, and we have to offer goodwill to each and every human being.

Interviewer: So you feel that peace is going to come about by offering goodwill to each and every human being?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, that is the only way. If I offer goodwill to you, and if you offer goodwill to me, we shall not quarrel, we shall not fight. Because we do not offer goodwill to one another, this world is full of conflicts and misunderstandings. If we pray and meditate, we shall not misunderstand one another because prayer makes our mind pure. If we have purity inside our mind, inside our heart, then we are not going to quarrel, we are not going to fight. So that is my very simple philosophy. The main thing is the acceptance of life. Do not enter into the Himalayan caves. Do not neglect your duties on earth. You must perform your duties.

I live in America. My sister passed away recently, and I came here to see my brother. I could have said, “I am praying, I am meditating. I have thousands of disciples. I do not have to go to India.” No, my duty is to come and be here with my brother, so I cancelled my activities. I was supposed to go to Norway, Sweden, Ireland and Poland, but I said, “No. Right now, my sister is dearest to me. Those things can be taken care of a few weeks later.” In my case, duty is of paramount importance.

My philosophy is the acceptance of life. We have to accept life — not run away from life or enter into the Himalayan caves. Here on earth we have to offer goodwill, inspiration and aspiration. We have to love and serve mankind. Then only this world of ours can be transformed. There are many, many who are outwardly known as politicians, but inwardly they are most sincere truth-lovers and God-lovers. That is why they are my friends. We are sailing in the same boat.

Interviewer: How does music play a role in what you are doing?

Sri Chinmoy: Music is a universal language. I do not know Tamil, but when they play Tamil music, I appreciate it. I do not know German, but when I hear the music of Beethoven, Mozart and all the great classical musicians, their music appeals to me. Thousands and thousands of people who do not know Bengali enjoy Tagore’s songs. Why is it that all over India Tagore’s songs are on the radio? Does a Gujarati understand Bengali? Tagore’s Bengali songs help people considerably. They have peace, poise and joy inside them. They inspire us.

Interviewer: I understand that one can appreciate music without knowing the language. But what I wish to understand is how it helps your peace mission.

Sri Chinmoy: When people are happy, then they do not quarrel. Peace and joy go together. If I am really happy, then I shall remain peaceful. I shall not quarrel with you. I shall not fight with anybody. A saint is peaceful. He does not quarrel with anybody. He is only praying and meditating. When a singer is singing very soulfully, most hauntingly, do you think he has any kind of animosity inside him? No. People who are singing very soulfully and most hauntingly are inspiring us.

As I said before, our task is to inspire each other. Music, art and other things inspire people. When we enter into a garden, we see the beauty of the flowers. We smell the fragrance. Then we have joy inside. When we have joy inside, we are peaceful. If we do not have joy, then we will feel that the world is full of conflicts and misunderstanding. Spiritual music helps us considerably because it has joy in it. Real joy and peace are inseparable. If you are peaceful, you are happy, and if you are happy, you are peaceful.

Interviewer: I understand that you are a champion weightlifter.

Sri Chinmoy: I have lifted a lot. About two months ago I lifted 200 pounds with each arm simultaneously and it was shown on about seventy television stations.

Interviewer: Where do you get all your strength?

Sri Chinmoy: My strength is all from God’s Grace and God’s Compassion.

Interviewer: Because of your meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: Because I pray and meditate. But when I pray and meditate, I do not ask God to give me the strength to lift.

Interviewer: Do you think it is God’s Gift?

Sri Chinmoy: Absolutely. If it were not God’s Gift, how could I do so many things?

Interviewer: Are you taking any training in weightlifting?

Sri Chinmoy: I do train. Every day I spend three hours exercising. One hour I spend doing stretching exercises. Then for two hours I lift heavy weights.

As I said, the acceptance of life in its various branches is my philosophy. Otherwise, I could not have done so many things. I entirely depend on God’s Grace. Because of His Grace, I have been able to write so many songs and so many books, and to visit so many countries.

Interviewer: You attribute all your success to God?

Sri Chinmoy: I attribute 100 per cent to God. I know that I am nothing, but with God’s Grace everything is possible.

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