Sri Chinmoy answers, part 3
Part ISCA 55-56. Interview by Art Speaks magazine on 3 August 1993, at an exhibition of 70,000 Dream-Freedom-Peace-Birds, Soho, New York.
Interviewer: Does the work of pop art have any relevance to your art — in other words, to very directly spiritual art?Sri Chinmoy: You have to forgive me. It is not that I do not appreciate pop art. It is only that I have not been to a museum for a long, long time. In 1964, when I first came to New York, I went to the Asia Society, where they had the works of a few Eastern artists. Then I visited a few other museums, but I could not understand what I saw. Of course, art is not something to be understood; it is something to be felt. Only I am saying that it was so foreign to me that I could not appreciate it; I am in no way criticising or judging it.
I never thought that God would make me an artist. In my life I have done quite a few things through the Grace of God. I play a number of musical instruments, but there is nobody who teaches me. Again, although I did not complete high school, my philosophy is taught at some universities and many people read my books. I studied a little art in school, around 1944, but I never had real instruction.
Everything I do is entirely the result of God’s Grace. Out of His infinite Compassion, He blesses me with inspiration. His inspiration is all the time helping and guiding me in my painting and in everything else. Therefore, it has not been necessary for me to see the work of other artists in order to paint. It is not because I do not appreciate them; far from it. The reason is that I get all my inspiration from God.
Interviewer: That is wonderful! I don't think you need it, obviously.Sri Chinmoy: When I look at a painting, I try to feel its inner existence, which we call the soul. If a painting gives me an immediate inner thrill or a feeling of joy, if it touches my aspiring heart and makes me want to become a better person, then I feel that painting is meaningful for me. But if a particular work of art does not give my aspiring heart immediate inspiration, then I find it very difficult to appreciate. When I get a magnetic pull from a painting, then I become one with it. But if I see there is a yawning gulf between the painting and my own inspiration or aspiration, then I am unable to identify and become inseparably one with the artist and his painting. In no way am I judging these artists or their paintings; it is a question of my incapacity or my capacity. There are millions of people who do appreciate these paintings.
Interviewer: It makes absolute sense to me. You said what I was hoping you would say, because I perceive your work as very unique and apart from other artwork — and I like that.
Sri Chinmoy: Everything that I do comes from my life of prayer and meditation. I do not use the mind; I use the heart. I try to make my heart a receptive instrument so that God, the Supreme Artist, can paint in and through me. I am like a ballpoint pen. Somebody is using me to write something. Somebody is acting in and through me. Through my prayer and meditation, I try only to be receptive to God’s Grace, which is descending from Above. If somebody gives us a gift, we receive it with tremendous gratitude. Similarly, God is supplying me with inspiration and aspiration, and I am extremely, extremely grateful to Him. I know that without Him I can do nothing and I am nothing.
Interviewer: I can’t imagine any better reason to create art. I am very happy with that answer. I marvel at your work! Thank you very much.
Part IISCA 57-64. Questions and answers at the Jharna-Kala exhibition, on 3 August 1993.
Question: How do you find the time to draw, to write, to do everything you do?Sri Chinmoy: As you know, where there is a will, there is a way. I pray to God and meditate on God. Out of His infinite Compassion, He has given me the capacity to accomplish quite a few things. These creations of mine are not my personal belongings or my personal possessions. These are my dedicated offerings to my Inner Pilot. Out of His infinite Bounty He has given me the capacity, and it is He who receives the fruits.
Question: I notice the drawings are all birds. Why birds?Sri Chinmoy: I am a man of prayer and meditation. For me, birds have a very special significance on a spiritual level. They fly in the sky, and the sky is all freedom. So when the birds fly in the sky, they remind me of the soul’s infinite freedom. The soul has come from Heaven. When we think of birds, we are also reminded of our Source, and this gives us enormous joy. I feel that if people come here to view these birds, their inner hunger to fly in the sky of infinite freedom will be fed.
Question: I come from Puerto Rico and I was wondering if you could say something about the Spanish culture.Sri Chinmoy: The most significant event in my life during the years I have lived in the West took place in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I came to America in 1964, and at the end of 1966 we established our first Centre in San Juan. So my aspiration, my dedication and my vision started in Puerto Rico. I am eternally grateful to Spanish culture and Spanish spirituality, for it accepted me first.
Question: When you first went to Puerto Rico, was it difficult for the people to accept you or difficult for you to get accustomed to them?Sri Chinmoy: No, because they used their hearts and I used my heart. My philosophy is founded upon the heart and not upon the mind. The Puerto Ricans have such a simple mind and pure heart, and my life also tries to be all simplicity, purity and oneness. So when I went to Puerto Rico at the end of 1966, immediately they accepted me and I also found it extremely, extremely easy to accept them as my own.
Question: What gives you the most satisfaction?Sri Chinmoy: I get the most satisfaction when I am able to please my Beloved Lord Supreme in His own Way. Also, when I see that somebody else is really happy, it gives me the greatest joy; immediately I try to identify myself with that person. When children are moving around and not using their mind, there is no tension, no jealousy, no insecurity, no doubt, no impurity. When I look at the children, they give me immediate joy.
Question: Among your disciples are there people who not only share your beliefs but also whom you are very proud of?Sri Chinmoy: I am proud of many, many of my spiritual children because not only do they have talent, but also inside their talent they have an inner hunger. If I see that they have an inner hunger, then I deeply appreciate them. Otherwise, there are many, many talented people on earth who are not practising the spiritual life. So, from the strict spiritual point of view, we cannot appreciate them. Our way is that God comes first. If someone puts God first in his life, and then if he is also endowed with capacities, well and good. Again, there are many simple-minded, pure-hearted human beings who do not have outer capacities, but at every moment they are thinking of God and praying to God to become good citizens of the world. So I appreciate them, admire them and love them deeply.
Question: In the span of a 24-hour day, how many hours do you meditate, how many hours do you paint, how many hours do you write and how many hours do you have left for leisure?Sri Chinmoy: In my case, I fill the time in different ways. And each time I change my activity, I get tremendous satisfaction. Each time I do something new, I feel that I am getting an extra supply of energy to give me joy. I meditate early in the morning — from two or two-thirty until five o’clock. That time is very peaceful. Again, when I enter into the hustle and bustle of life, when I am playing tennis or talking to people, at that time also I can inwardly pray and meditate. It is like being an expert. When someone is an expert, he can do more than one thing at the same time.
Question: What is the most important message that you want to offer to humanity?Sri Chinmoy: I wish to offer only one message: Pray to the Supreme, meditate on the Supreme Lord, our Heavenly Father, to be of service to Him, most soulfully, most devotedly and most unconditionally. Each and every human being is praying to God in his own way, but there is usually some condition: “God, if You do this for me, then I shall pray to You.” Or someone is praying to God only to fulfil his personal goals — to make him the world’s best singer or the world’s best artist. So most of the time we are praying with conditions. But we have to pray to God unconditionally and meditate on God unconditionally to fulfil God in God’s own Way. Then it is up to God whether or not He wants to fulfil our prayers. We should not pray to God to make us great or unique. No, our goal must be only to please God in God’s own Way. This is my supreme message. It was the same yesterday, it is the same today and it will be the same tomorrow: to please and fulfil God in God’s own Way.
Part IIISCA 65-72. Interview by The New Yorker magazine on 6 August 1993, at an exhibition of 70,000 Dream-Freedom-Peace-Birds, Soho, New York.
Interviewer: Is there one thing that inspired you to do all these small drawings of birds?Sri Chinmoy: I am a truth-seeker and God-lover. I pray and meditate. From my prayer and meditation I receive inner messages and inner inspiration to compose songs, write poems, draw and do various other things. This inspiration carries me. I try to receive inspiration and aspiration from within, and with this inspiration and aspiration I try to be of service to mankind in various ways.
Interviewer: So as part of this inspiration, did you feel that birds were something that you should draw?Sri Chinmoy: For me, birds have a very special significance; they embody freedom. We see a bird flying in the sky, and it reminds us of our own inner freedom. As I said before, I am a truth-seeker and a God-lover. I feel that inside each of us there is an inner existence that we call the soul. The soul, like a bird, flies in the sky of God’s Infinity. When we think of birds flying in the sky, we are reminded of our own soul-bird flying in the sky of Infinity.
If we buy a cage and put a bird inside it, the bird is limited. But if we release the bird, it will fly high, higher, highest. When the bird is flying in the boundless sky, there is no limit to its flight. Similarly, when we live inside the mind, we are encaged by limited, earth-bound thoughts — undivine, impure, destructive thoughts. But when we live in the soul, we are able to fly in the sky of divine freedom. Through prayer and meditation we become simple, sincere, humble and pure. We feel that we can go beyond our ordinary, silly earth-bound thoughts and fly in the sky of divine illumination and perfection.
Interviewer: By sharing these birds with the public, are you trying to inspire people with that message?Sri Chinmoy: It is exactly so. Let us say you have gone to the market and bought a mango. Now you feel that if you can share it with the members of your family, you will get more joy than if you eat it all by yourself. Similarly, I have received some inspiration from my Inner Pilot. I feel that He is the one who is drawing these birds in and through me, according to my receptivity. I am only His instrument. Since He has given me the inspiration to draw, I feel it is my bounden duty to share this inspiration with others, for I take the whole world as one family.
We are trying to see the Divine inside each human being. If I see something beautiful and divine in you, then I will be filled with the inspiration and aspiration to be of service to you. And if you see something beautiful and divine in me, then you will be filled with the inspiration and aspiration to be of service to me. In this way we are inspired to become good citizens of the world and to serve one another. Otherwise, we exist only for ourselves. As individuals, no matter how many things we get or how many of our desires we fulfil, we will never have lasting happiness unless and until we see that others are also happy. We can never be satisfied with our own happiness because true happiness has to be all-encompassing. If everyone does not have it, I cannot have it either. Even if God fulfils all my desires, still I cannot be happy. For I will look around and see that somebody else is unhappy. And how can I be happy when I see that my brothers and sisters are not?
These birds remind me of a happiness that is all-pervading. I look to this side and see birds, and I look to that side and see birds. No matter in which direction I look, I see birds, and this gives me a childlike happiness. Think of a child inside a beautiful garden. The child does not stay at one place. He looks at one flower and appreciates its beauty and fragrance. Then he runs to look at another flower. He gets tremendous joy in moving from place to place and seeing the beauty, fragrance, light and delight inside so many flowers. Everywhere he goes inside the garden he is happy, happy, happy. But if he remains confined to one place, he will not be happy.
In exactly the same way, we human beings move from one place to another appreciating the different flowers in God’s life-garden. One flower is called America; another is called India or France. But these are just names and forms. Beyond the name and form comes the reality, which is all oneness. We all belong to one family, and we get tremendous joy when we share our heart’s love and delight with the other members of our family. So that is what I am trying to do with my drawings.
Interviewer: Does it make you happy to see people looking at your exhibit and walking through it?Sri Chinmoy: It is my own inner feeling that when people look at the drawings, they get a certain sense of peace. I have observed a few visitors and have heard quite a few of the comments that they have made. When they look at these birds, they feel a sense of peace. What more can I offer to humanity? As a human being, the greatest reward that I can have is the opportunity to be of service to mankind. If I see that somebody is getting an iota of peace from my service to mankind — from my drawings, from my paintings, from my songs, from my poems or from anything else that I do — then I feel that I have accomplished something. I feel that I have been able to share my inspiration and my aspiration with others.
Interviewer: It is very peaceful, despite the fact that it is in the middle of New York City.Sri Chinmoy: It is quite peaceful. There is only one thing that we need here on earth and that is peace. Everything else is meaningless and useless. We can get name, fame, prosperity and everything on the outer plane. But if we do not find peace in the inmost recesses of our heart, then we will never be satisfied. Only peace can give us satisfaction. To find this peace we have to dive deep within and pray and meditate. I feel that when people look at my drawings and find peace, this helps to bring forward their own soul’s qualities and thus increase their own wisdom and joy. When they look at these birds and see them flying in the inner freedom-sky, this increases their own heart’s joy.
Interviewer: When I approached you earlier, you were sitting and drawing. Is this how most of these were done, just sitting?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, just sitting. Usually when I draw, I try to be in a contemplative mood — in a prayerful, soulful consciousness — and I do not talk. Usually I draw early in the morning when I am all by myself, or when I am inside the car. But sometimes I also draw when people are moving around and I am in the middle of the hustle and bustle of life.
Interviewer: Do you have a bird in mind when you draw?Sri Chinmoy: I have nothing in mind. I try to keep my mind as empty, vacant and tranquil as possible. The outer mind is like the surface of the sea. On the surface, the sea is full of waves and surges; it is all restlessness. But when we dive deep below, the same sea is all peace, calmness and quiet. It is there that we find the source of creativity.
I do not use the mind when I draw because the process of thinking binds us. When I use the mind, I become bound and limited. As soon as we think of something, we are binding ourselves. The mind is binding us precisely because it has not yet learned the art of self-giving, which is all expansion. It is the inner heart, the aspiring heart, that has learned the art of self-giving. As soon as we enter into anybody’s heart, even if that particular person is our so-called enemy, we will immediately feel that he is also trying to become a better person. But when we enter into somebody’s mind, O God, we see that he is trying to destroy us. And if we enter into our own mind, we see that we also have the same destructive thoughts. That is why our minds are always clashing. I want to lord it over you; you want to lord it over me. When we live in the mind, we only want to exercise our supremacy. But when we are inside our hearts, we only love one another; and at that time the question of supremacy does not arise at all. We can solve our problems by always trying to remain inside our heart and feel our oneness with one another.
These birds reflect the heart’s oneness. They represent unity in multiplicity. Each bird is different, but when you look at them, you feel unity. A tree has so many leaves and flowers, but they are all part of the same oneness-tree. Here there are 70,000 birds, but as soon as we think of the bird-consciousness, it becomes one bird. The bird-consciousness represents the consciousness of our soul’s inner freedom.
Interviewer: Will you continue to add to this number?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I have been drawing more birds every day. Today I have completed 76,000. It is my wish on the 19th of November to exhibit 100,000 birds in Ottawa. About 19 years ago I entered into the art-world in a hotel room in Ottawa. There I did my first drawing in the West. I have students in Canada and every year they observe the anniversary of that first drawing which was a rose. This November it is our plan to have a huge gallery that will house 100,000 bird drawings. I do hope that by the end of October I will be able to complete them.
Interviewer: Will you also exhibit your acrylic paintings?
Sri Chinmoy: Only a few selected paintings will be on display.
Interviewer: Do you have any sense of what your next project will be when this is over?Sri Chinmoy: I do not know what is going to happen unless and until my Inner Pilot tells me what He wants me to do. On my own I do not know because He is the Doer in me. According to the capacity of my receptivity, through my prayer and meditation, I try to receive His Messages. He knows everything infinitely, infinitely better than I do, and at His choice Hour He will tell me to do this or to do that. I know that when the time comes — we call it God’s Hour — it is He who will direct me.
Interviewer: Did you call Him your Inner Father?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I call him my Father or my Inner Pilot, the Pilot of my life-boat. I take life as a boat and I feel that He is steering it towards the supreme destination — the Golden Shore. He is the Supreme Pilot and He is steering our life-boats to the Golden Shore.
Part IVSCA 73-77. Interview by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. On 6 January 1994 Sri Chinmoy was interviewed live by telephone on the radio programme As it Happens, for broadcast over CBC Canada. This is a transcript of that interview.
Interviewer: Sri Chinmoy is not your ordinary, everyday Guru. He and his disciples are known for completing tasks of amazing magnitude. Record-setting feats of endurance are among the ways Sri Chinmoy and his followers pursue inner calm. The latest feat was just finished: one million sketches, and every one a bird — a million birds of peace. Sri Chinmoy himself has completed the sketches to celebrate the birthday today of Raisa Gorbachev. We have reached international artist and peace ambassador, Sri Chinmoy, in Suva, Fiji. Sri Chinmoy, you must be very pleased that you successfully drew one million birds. You must be glad that it is over.Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I am extremely glad that it is all over. Each bird reminds me of freedom, and I feel that freedom lives in peace and nowhere else.
Interviewer: Can you tell me how you came up with the idea for this project? How long ago was it, and why did you decide to do this?Sri Chinmoy: Two years ago, while I was in Malta, all of a sudden I was inspired to draw birds. Since then I have been drawing birds. I used to get and even now I still get tremendous joy each time I draw a bird. Each time I feel a kind of inner freedom.
I wish to tell you that Canada has a very special place in my art-life. About 19 years ago I started my art-life in the West by doing some paintings and drawings at the Sheraton Hotel in Ottawa. Also, last year 100,000 bird drawings of mine were exhibited in Ottawa. Our philosophy is the philosophy of progress, so from 100,000 I have come up to one million.
Interviewer: Are you sure that it is a million birds? How did you keep track?Sri Chinmoy: Seven or eight students of mine have faithfully and devotedly counted them all, twice. It came to 1,001,919.
Interviewer: I imagine they were all doves. Is that correct?
Sri Chinmoy: No, they are birds of my imagination — in all different shapes and sizes. I have drawn them with ballpoint pens, felt tip markers, crayons, paint brushes and many other things.
Interviewer: Did you dedicate all the birds to Raisa Gorbachev?Sri Chinmoy: I dedicated the Ottawa exhibit of 100,000 birds to Mrs. Gorbachev and I completed my one million birds yesterday, on her birthday. These one million birds will also be exhibited in Ottawa, around the end of March. I shall dedicate this new exhibit to my mother, who is now in Heaven. I would like to observe the centenary of her birth by dedicating this exhibit to her.
Interviewer: Why did you dedicate the first 100,000 to Mrs. Gorbachev?Sri Chinmoy: She and President Gorbachev are very close friends of mine. I do not understand politics at all; I am just a truth-seeker and God-lover. But I feel that President Gorbachev is also a genuine truth-seeker and a true man of peace. That is why I have utmost admiration and love for him. I have met with him five or six times. My first meeting with him, strangely enough, took place in Ottawa four years ago.
Interviewer: What is your next project? Do you have anything else in mind now?
Sri Chinmoy: Right now, I have nothing in mind. Only I will do my regular prayers and meditations and, if it is the Will of God, I will embark on something else.
Interviewer: Sri Chinmoy, thank you very much. Sri Chinmoy is a New York-based spiritual leader and international peace ambassador. He spoke to us from Suva, Fiji.
Part VSCA 78-88. Questions and answers on the Dream-Freedom-Peace-Bird drawings.
Question: How can we soar like your birds?Sri Chinmoy: You can soar like my birds on the strength of your mind’s fearless imagination, your heart’s sleepless aspiration and your life’s tireless dedication.
Question: How can I best meditate on your bird drawings?Sri Chinmoy: You can best meditate on my bird drawings the way a child’s heart cries and the way a child’s eyes smile.
Question: What do the birds teach us?Sri Chinmoy: We all want freedom and we all need freedom. The birds teach us to liberate ourselves from earth’s bondage. This teaching of the birds is indeed sublime.
Question: How will your birds change the consciousness of earth?Sri Chinmoy: There is only one way to change the earth-consciousness, and that is through constant aspiration-flight. I feel that my birds are prayerfully and confidently doing what is needed for the earth’s transformation.
Question: Are your birds created from human aspiration or from some other plane?Sri Chinmoy: Some of my birds are created from human aspiration. Others are created from divine concentration, meditation and contemplation. And still others are created from the Delight of my Lord Beloved Supreme.
Question: How can we feel your birds in our everyday life?Sri Chinmoy: You can feel my birds in your everyday life just by identifying your prayer-mind and your meditation-heart with them.
Question: How can we become more like your birds?Sri Chinmoy: You can become more like my birds just by imagining that you are the fearless freedom of my birds in Infinity’s ever-widening sky.
Question: How can I give you as much joy as your birds?Sri Chinmoy: You can give me as much joy as my birds just by feeling that I am a golden bird that you appreciate, admire, love and adore inside your purity-heart’s beauty-garden.
Question: Does each of your soul-birds have its own particular role or destiny?Sri Chinmoy: Some of the birds are group birds while others are not. The individual birds will play individual roles while the collective ones will collectively play their collective roles. But at the end of their journey’s close, both the individual birds and the collective birds will arrive at the same destination: the destination that is flooded with earth’s self-giving beauty and Heaven’s God-revealing Fragrance.
Question: In the inner world, what do your friends of the highest magnitude say about your soul-birds?Sri Chinmoy: They say that my birds are most self-givingly, sleeplessly and breathlessly singing the Victory-Songs of the ever-transcending Beyond.
Question: What are your birds and what do they mean?Sri Chinmoy: In this world everybody gets joy by doing something. A doctor gets joy by serving the Supreme inside people who are suffering from various kinds of diseases. In my case, I am getting joy because I am doing something to please my Highest, God the Supreme. My Beloved Supreme asked me to draw these birds, and by making Him happy I also become happy. If I do something on my own to make myself happy, I will never be happy. Even if what I do makes me happy at this moment, I know that my happiness will not last and the next moment I will feel miserable. But by doing what God asks me to do, I am always happy. By serving Him and pleasing Him in His own Way, I get constant joy.
In my family nobody was an artist. My father wrote a few poems and one of my sisters composed a little music. But the Supreme, out of His infinite Bounty, gave me the capacity to create an ocean in the poetry world, in the music world and in the art world. It is He who asked me to do these things, and it is He who has given me the capacity to serve Him in this way. All these soul-birds that I am drawing are His creation; He is creating these soul-birds in and through me, according to my receptivity.
From the human point of view, a million birds is more than enough. But anything that is good, we should continue. God has commanded me to continue drawing. I will go on, go on, go on until He tells me to stop. The first and foremost aim in my life is to give joy to my Creator, the Supreme. But also I am seeing that these innocent birds are giving joy to my students and my friends in many parts of the world, and that gives me a deep sense of satisfaction.
Part VISCA 89-91. On 16 June 1994 Sri Chinmoy met with Lindsay Clennell, a film writer and producer, at Annam Brahma Restaurant in Queens. There Sri Chinmoy signed one of his drawings for Mr. Clennell. Here are excerpts from their conversation.
Mr. Clennell: Thank you very much. This drawing is a real inspiration. The power of inspiration that you have for people is very, very important.Sri Chinmoy: I take it as God’s unconditional Compassion acting in and through me. I am trying to be of service to Him lovingly, devotedly, prayerfully and soulfully. I tell God, “I want only to be Your football. Kick me whenever You want to, and as hard as possible. My only joy is to be kicked by You.” So He is kicking me right and left, and that is how I am getting joy. These paintings are coming in and through His blessingful Kicks. God asked me where I want to be. He said, “Do you want to look at My Eyes or at My Feet?” I said, “I get more joy by looking at Your Feet than by looking at Your Eyes.” In the Mahabharata, our Indian epic, the Kauravas wanted to be by the head of Krishna, but the Pandavas wanted to be at the feet of Krishna. In my case, I get infinitely more joy by being at God’s Feet. I prefer the devotional aspect of life. The other day I was reading the Puranas, which is one of India’s sacred books. There Krishna was saying, “I am ready to give you liberation because it is easier to give you liberation than to give you devotion.” In liberation, the seeker goes his own way; the bird flies away. But if there is devotion, then there is a magnetic pull between the Master and disciple — the sweetest feeling — and the Master plays with the disciple-bird in the sweetest way. So I feel that the sweetness of devotion far surpasses the grandeur of liberation.
Mr. Clennell: That is a very beautiful thing to say.
Sri Chinmoy: I want sweetness. If there is a beautiful flower, I will like it more than a huge building. What good does it do for me to see a huge building with many rooms? But if I see a beautiful flower, immediately I say, “How beautiful, how pure, how simple, how sweet!” These are the qualities that I want to grow in my life: sweetness, purity, simplicity. The mind is drawn to vastness, but the heart always wants to see something very, very sweet and affectionate.
That is why I tell God, “Kick me as hard as possible. Then only can I claim You as my own. If You give me freedom, I will only misuse it. I will become like a bull in a china shop and destroy everything. But the more You kick me, the purer I will become.” It is like the gold pot that becomes bright, brighter, brightest each time the goldsmith strikes it.
Mr. Clennell: What you have said is very striking for me, and it is a great comfort. There is something that I wanted to ask before I came to see you. You have drawn three million birds. This is genuinely inspiring, but it is also quite extreme. Could you explain it to me?Sri Chinmoy: The mind will say that I am a greedy person. I am not satisfied with a little food; I want to eat voraciously — a larger than the largest quantity. But if you take it in a different way, if you see these things in terms of God’s Infinity, Eternity and Immortality, then do my three million birds have any significance?
We are birthless and deathless pilgrims walking along Eternity’s Road. Whatever we have in the inner world, the soul’s world, is infinite, eternal and immortal, and these inner qualities and capacities we try to bring to the fore. When we are in the body, mind or vital, everything is so limited; we are caged in a prison cell. But when we are in the soul, which is the direct representative of God, we are dealing with the limitless.
What the Supreme is trying to do is to let the finite in us, the little brother in us, try to follow the big brother in us, which is the soul. So our outer life is trying to run side by side with our inner life. Our inner life is flowing eternally in and through us, and we are trying to bring to the fore its boundless capacities. When I am drawing three million birds, at that time I am trying to enter into the unlimited Source, which we all have within us. I try to bring this limitless capacity to the fore.
The mind is always telling us that we can only reach a certain height, but how do we know that this is the ultimate? The mind tells us that we can only run 100 metres, but you see that people have already run a thousand miles. God’s Vision is infinitely larger than reality. When God created reality, God the Creator became God the creation. But God is infinitely, infinitely larger than His creation-universe. God the Creator, the One who had the Vision, is infinitely greater than His creation. You are a film producer. You can create films, but what you produce cannot create you.
Mr. Clennell: Yes, it makes very good sense. It is about spirituality and limitlessness. It is a definition. By breaking down the barriers and considering three million birds as something possible to draw, one is asserting spiritual reality. Is that correct?Sri Chinmoy: Yes. I have to feel that I am not a swimming pool or a lake. God wants me to be a murmuring, running river flowing from the inner Source and carrying that Source to the outer reality. If I want to be an expression of the Source, then I cannot separate my inner and outer existence. The main thing is to bring to the fore the limitless potentialities that I have deep within. From this point of view, even to speak of three million birds is binding.
Spirituality is not something abnormal or unnatural. Spirituality is more normal and natural than anything else. God is limitless, infinite, immortal, and I want to become consciously part and parcel of His Existence so that I can serve Him in His own Way. At the same time, the One who is infinite, eternal and immortal is trying to express Himself in and through my limitations. He says, “Now I want to express Myself in and through your artistic life. I want to express Myself in and through your poetic life, your sports life.” But He can do it only according to my receptivity. A mother gives some candies to a three-year-old child and tells him to distribute them to his friends. Then, when she sees that the child is doing well, she gives him lots of sweets so that he can feed hundreds of people. In this way the mother is offering the sweets to others in and through her child.
I always say that the Supreme is expressing Himself in and through me, according to my receptivity. I am not the doer. I cannot claim these three million birds as my own and I do not want to claim them as such. I am grateful to the Supreme for having given me the golden opportunity to serve Him in His own Way. My poetry, my music, my art and everything else that I do are only expressions of Somebody who is operating in and through me. At every moment He is seeing how much purity I have, how much humility I have, how much sincerity I have, how much eagerness I have. According to these, He is able to express Himself in and through me.
Some people may say, “What is he doing? He is an artist, he is a musician, he is singer. Why is he not taking one subject and doing the utmost with it?” But I do not see it that way. A piano has many keys. Why should the pianist always stay on one key? If he plays only one key, one note, how can he produce the cosmic melody, the universal melody? Similarly, I feel that art is one key, poetry is another key, meditation is a third key and sports is a fourth key. If you strike the different keys, then you produce nice music. Otherwise, it will not sound good.
If I want to be a flower inside God’s Heart-Garden, or if I want to be a flower placed at the Feet of God, how can I have only one petal? If a flower is to be beautiful, it must have at least a few petals. If I bring you one petal on a stem, you will say, “Is it a flower? This is silly.”
My body has hands, legs, eyes and so forth. Shall I give importance only to my hands? Shall I make them stronger than the strongest and not pay any attention to my legs? And if I pay attention only to my legs and discard the mind, then who will tell me to walk? Again, if my eyes are not functioning, then how are my legs going to take me anywhere? As the body is integral, so life itself must be an integral whole.
Mr. Clennell: That is a lovely explanation. That makes something about you very clear, and I really appreciate your saying that.
Sri Chinmoy: Because you are practising yoga, I am able to speak to you in this heart-to-heart way. I am coming to you with my heart — with what I have and what I am. You are also accepting what I have and what I am. There is a great difference between ‘have’ and ‘am’. When ‘have’ and ‘am’ become one, then only can we become a real instrument of God.
Part VIISCA 92-112. Called My Art, these poems were written by Sri Chinmoy on 1 and 2 November 1993 to celebrate the opening of an exhibit of 100,000 Dream-Freedom-Peace-Birds in Ottawa, Canada.
1.My Art is no art
Without my soul’s luminosity.
2.My Art is no art
Without my heart’s purity.
3.My Art is no art
Without my mind’s simplicity.
4.My Art is the hide-and-seek
Between my soul’s illumining smiles
And my heart’s streaming tears.
5.The Artist in me has three
And self-giving friends:
A newness-eye, a oneness-heart
And a fulness-life.
6.The heart of my Art
And the heart of a child
Are extremely fond of each other.
They love each other deeply;
They need each other constantly;
They are interdependent, sleeplessly.
7.My mind says that anything I do
Is too insignificant
Because I am wanting
Needless to say,
This includes my Artwork.
My heart says that anything I do
Is too significant
Because the God-Touch
Is always there.
Needless to say,
This includes my Artwork.
8.My Art does not want
To subscribe to the view
Commands the world.
9.My Art lives
In a familiar dream-boat
With a familiar Boatman
For a dream-flooded Reality-Shore.
10.When I paint or draw,
I keep my mind’s thought-garden
Completely free of self-doubt-weeds.
11.I can separate my Art-life
From anything else,
But not from my prayer-blossoms
12.The moment I start painting,
I clearly see my soul-meditation
Is blessingfully clasping
13.First things first:
The Artist in me,
Before embarking on his Artwork,
His heart’s aspiration-express.
14.True, in my Art I want to see
The face of earth’s beauty.
But I want to see
The heart of Heaven’s Divinity
More, infinitely more.
15.The human artist in me says:
“What is finished is finished.
What is complete is complete.”
The divine Artist in me says:
“Nothing can be permanently finished,
Nothing can be completely complete,
For in the inner world
Today’s destination and
Are the starting points
To embark on a new journey
And to see the face of a new dawn.”
Here comes the message of my Art:
Self-transcendence is the life,
Heart, breath and soul
Of my Art.
16.Inside my Art-life
There are two great art-lovers:
The ancient art-lover and
The modern art-lover.
Once they had a very serious quarrel.
Each one wanted to declare
I was dumbfounded.
Finally, I told them:
“As far as I am concerned,
I do not care to know
Who is superior and
Who is inferior.
I am only concerned with
That art-lover inside me
Who is teaching me
The supreme Art —
The Art of unconditional surrender
To God’s Will
In all my activities.”
17.I do not want humanity
To echo my artistic thoughts,
Artistic ideas and
I just want humanity
To accept the humility-service
Of my Art-life
For the fulfilment
Of its self-transcendence-goal.
18.During my deep meditation,
I prayerfully weep
And soulfully unburden myself
When God, the Supreme Artist,
My Art exhibit
19.O my pygmy-intellect,
O my monster-mind,
O my lamb-heart,
Do stay where you are!
I love you.
I need you.
Now I am ready
To paint and draw
And, thus, please my inner Pilot
In His own Way
In my Art-life.
20.Each heart-bird of mine
Is a passport to the world
21.O my countless heart-birds,
I shall no longer keep you encaged.
From now on
I shall watch you flying
In ecstasy supreme
In Infinity’s Freedom-Sky.
Part VIIISCA 113. Prayer offered on the completion of one million Dream-Freedom-Peace-Birds, 5 January 1994, 5:15 a.m.
1.Supreme, my Supreme, my Lord Supreme,
My Absolute Supreme, my Beloved Supreme,
Today once more,
Out of Your boundless Bounty,
You are making me
A choice instrument of Yours.
You are completing one million bird-creations
Through my aspiration-heart
My Lord, my Lord, my Lord,
Do make my heart
Worthy of Your infinite Compassion
And my life Your immortal Victory.
My Lord, my Lord, my Lord,
Your birds are smiling
In Infinity’s Sky.
Your birds are singing
In Eternity’s Peace, Peace, Peace.