Sri Chinmoy answers, part 36
Part ISCA 1202-1205. These questions were asked in Davao, the Philippines, on 12 January 1993.
Question: If you knew how things would turn out, would you still have accepted me as a disciple?Sri Chinmoy: I would have accepted you even if you were infinitely worse. Also, if you become infinitely worse, I shall still keep you, only it will be my bad luck. No matter where you go, I will be with you. But if you are kind to me, as I am kind to you, then every day, every hour and every minute you will try to lead a better life.
You have to know the value of my smile and the value of my sadness. If you value my sadness, then you will refrain from doing many undivine things. The things you do that make me sad, you will decrease. And, if you value my happiness, then the good things you do, you will increase. You will say, “This makes my Guru happy, so let me do it ten times, twenty times, fifty times.”
If disciples can decrease my sadness, I will be very grateful, and if they can increase my happiness, I will be very grateful. Again, you have to know that there is a stage in the inner life that is far beyond outer happiness and unhappiness. In my inner life, sadness and happiness do not affect me. I am far, far beyond these things. No matter how angry you make me or how happy you make me, I will remain absolutely tranquil and still. Infinite poise is my soul’s foremost quality. You all have many divine qualities. I, too, have the same. But in the inner world, my absolutely best quality is my inner poise and this inner poise far surpasses any outer happiness. Whatever you do, my soul’s inner poise will remain infinite, eternal and immortal.
Since I am on earth in an outer frame, I wish you and all the disciples at every moment to value both my happiness and my unhappiness. How can you value them? The things that make me happy you will do, and the things that make me unhappy you will not do. If you serve the Supreme in me in this way, I will be very proud of you. But if you do not value your Guru’s happiness and your own soul’s joy, then what can I do?
For my inner progress, I do not depend on anybody. My inner progress is something that is between me and God. It depends only on my inseparable oneness with His Will. But for my outer success and outer progress, I depend on each of you because I have accepted you as my own, very own. If my little finger is hurting me, I cannot do anything. Similarly, if one of my disciples is causing me pain, that also holds me back and my outer progress becomes quite slow.
There are some disciples who are happy only when they are miserable. When they are miserable, only then do they feel that they have accomplished something. There are many disciples who do not appreciate it in the morning when their minds are empty, free and very light. They feel that if they can brood early in the morning, if they can grumble and fumble and place on their shoulders heavy burdens and loads, then they have genuinely accomplished something. Their souls and their inner existence do not want these burdens, but their outer existence feels that unless some uncomely, negative or unhealthy forces come, their outer life has no value. Most of the disciples act this way from time to time, but there are some foolish disciples who do it on a regular basis.
Those who cherish misery are definitely delaying my outer progress, which depends on the happiness, willingness and oneness of each and every one of my disciples. I need your help for my outer progress. At the same time, you need my help for your inner progress because I play the role of the bridge between you and the Supreme. So let us work together, together.
Question: I am feeling the presence of my family today, even though they are not here physically. Is it my imagination, or are they blessing me on my birthday?Sri Chinmoy: Definitely you are receiving your family’s goodwill and blessings. Even if your brother is not thinking of you outwardly at this moment, his soul knows that it is your soul’s day. His soul, your mother’s soul, your father’s soul and your soul all chose to be together in one particular family. So in the soul’s world, the souls of your dear ones are expressing their happiness, affection and goodwill to you on your birthday. They are also renewing their mutual promise as a family to become good citizens of the world and do God’s work. Right now, you may not be able to see your dear ones, but you can feel their inner presence inside your heart. In exactly the same way, if you do not see God, no harm. You can feel His Presence inside your heart by treasuring good thoughts and good feelings, which are part and parcel of God’s Reality. And if you can feel God’s Presence inside you, then you can mould and shape your life into a more receptive and perfect instrument of God’s.
Now I am blessing you on your birthday by telling you something: if I give you one smile or say something nice about you — which I sincerely mean — then you feel that you have conquered the whole world! At that time you do not walk on earth, you grow two wings and fly in Heaven. Then immediately two things enter into you: pride and a feeling of complacency. Definitely I want you to be happy, but when you are happy like this you invite pleasure-life and pride-life to come inside you. Unfortunately, you have invited two wrong guests and these wrong guests are like real thieves. They will rob you of everything good that is inside you. They do it secretly, secretly, secretly. They go into an unguarded room and take away everything!
So when I tell you something good about yourself, you have to cherish and preserve it. You have to keep it safe, pure and intact. At least you do not tell the whole world what I have said, but at the same time, you are not valuing it in a divine way or using it properly. You are not utilising my appreciation, my encouragement, my joy and my pride in you in a progressive way.
If I say nice things about you because you have done something good, immediately you should say, “That very thing let me do again and again, or something else that is good let me do for my Guru.” But that is not happening. Once I appreciate you, you invite two guests to enter into you: lethargy (or pleasure) and pride. Then immediately your progress stops and it takes months and months for you to get back on the right track.
Question: Which of the two do you enjoy most: humour or rumour?Sri Chinmoy: Some people enjoy humour more than rumour, while others enjoy rumour more than humour. I am one of those who likes humour. If you identify yourself with humour, you do not lose anything. It is like watching a child dancing in the playground or playing in a garden; he is just jumping this side and that side. It is completely innocent. But in rumour there is so much poison. When you enjoy rumour, most of the time you identify yourself with the negative and destructive qualities of human beings. Sometimes you hold the poison for a few days or a few weeks and then you tell others. But each time you empty yourself to tell others, you take in more. That is why I always say that one of the main things that pulls seekers down is when they have very big ears and a very big nose, that is, when they consciously enjoy rumours.
Question: Why do we have to forgive and forget. Is forgiveness by itself not enough?Sri Chinmoy: If I really forgive someone, why do I have to allow what he did to return to my mind and destroy my inner joy? If I allow it, that means my forgiveness was not a lasting forgiveness; it was waiting only for the individual to make the same mistake again. So, after a few days, when that person does the same thing wrong, he will be at my mercy. Our human life is so clever in that respect.
Without forgetfulness, forgiveness is no forgiveness. If we forgive someone, then we have to absolutely obliterate the incident from the tablet of our heart, as though it had never existed.
Question: When you paint, you often say that you are following a streak of light. When you compose songs, do you also see something and follow it?1Sri Chinmoy: Yes, when my composing is spontaneous, I see flames inside my heart. When my composing is spontaneous, I like it. Some people do not like it. They think that the more I can take exercise on the harmonium, the better. When I use the harmonium, most of the time I see the flames not inside me, but in front of me. But when I sing spontaneously, at that time I see the flames clearly inside my heart. A few fleeting seconds before I begin, or as soon as I begin, I see at least one flame. Sometimes I see two, three or four flames. As soon as I stop singing and the song is over, I do not see any more flames for that particular song; all the flames are extinguished. Then, when I sing a new song, at that time again I see new mounting flames.
When I set the tune on the harmonium, sometimes I do get inspiration. But sometimes there is no inspiration; it is a struggle because the machine destroys my spontaneity. I hear a tune but, poor me, I cannot get that tune on the harmonium. Then, when I try to get a better tune, instead of getting a better one, sometimes I ruin the original one. Again, sometimes by rejecting a particular melody, I do get a better one.
SCA 1206. This question was asked by T on 25 November 1976.↩
May these flames illumine you and immortalise you in the Heart of our Beloved Supreme1I shall remember this day, not only as long as I live on earth, but also when I am on the other shore of the life-river. To all those who have over one hundred books, I offer my unprecedented love. To those who have over two hundred books, I offer my unprecedented pride. And to those who have three hundred books, I offer my unprecedented love, unprecedented pride and unprecedented gratitude.
Each book has countless words and each one of you has shown over one hundred books. That means Infinity multiplied by Infinity. This Infinity multiplied by Infinity is nothing other than your aspiration-flowers that you are offering to the Supreme. And for that, the seeker in me is all gratitude to you.
I can count very few days on earth that I have been really happy. But today my name is happiness — happiness that my dear children have proved their loving concern, their loving oneness with my creation, my creativity, which I want them most sincerely to claim as their very own. Each book is a most powerful aspiration-flame. May these flames illumine you and immortalise you in the Heart of our Beloved Supreme.
When we complete four hundred books, we shall have once more a celebration and show our oneness with the sum total. This is not a childish game, but it is something that can be treasured and cherished by the Divine in us, the Real in us. Everything else is meaningless and useless.
My dear children, you have truly pleased me in my own way. Forgive me for saying in my own way. What I wished to say, what I wanted to say, is that you have pleased the Supreme in me, the Real in me, in His own Way, and for that my heart of infinite gratitude to each of you I offer. Please feel that each book is my loving life-breath and this loving life-breath is all yours, for your aspiration, for your realisation, for your revelation, for your manifestation of what you are. You are the unmanifested God.
SCA 1207. Sri Chinmoy made these remarks on 20 February 1977 at the end of a celebration to mark his completion of 300 books. All the disciples brought their sets of books to the function and displayed them.↩
Goethe's universal spirit1Goethe was not only a great poet but also a universal figure. He has contributed to humanity in many fields of life — science, art and all kinds of culture. His contribution to the world was in many aspects and not only one aspect. He was not only for Germany but for the entire world. Goethe’s universal spirit is blessing all those who aspire for one world.
SCA 1208. On 22 March 1984, Sri Chinmoy visited the Goethe Museum in Frankfurt where he paid homage to the soul of Germany's finest poet.↩
Question: As I understand it, the goal of the spiritual life is to be conscious of one's Master at every moment. How can I approach that goal?1Sri Chinmoy: The inner world and the outer world, the physical body and the spirit, have to be seen together — that is the best way. But if, for some reason, you are unable to appreciate the Master in the physical, then appreciate him in the spiritual. And vice versa, if you are unable to appreciate him in the spiritual, then appreciate him in the physical.
Let me give you an example. Here is my physical body. If, at this very moment, you cannot appreciate me because I am talking with the disciples and so forth, if you cannot imagine my highest, if you cannot feel my highest, then immediately enter into the spiritual. Immediately try to see me in the depths of your heart. Close your eyes if you feel like it. Enter into your heart and your heart will either identify you with me on the physical plane to see my highest or your heart will take you to my highest where I am one with my Beloved Supreme.
When I want to see the divinity in the physical of a disciple on their birthday or some other days, I immediately go beyond the physical of that disciple. I enter into the spiritual. There I see the soul of the person.
Suppose you are having a very high experience, you are experiencing immense joy or a vast expanse of light. You have to know who is the owner of this infinite joy and delight. Somebody has to be the owner. If there is a house, the house will have an owner. He may not be inside the house, but it is his possession. Similarly, when you have the experience of something very deep, very high, very sublime, you can say, “This is not my possession, far from it. I cannot claim it; it is not mine.” Then if you can immediately think that I am the source of the light or peace or silence that you are experiencing, you will be able to identify yourself with me on the physical plane no matter what I am doing.
So if you cannot identify yourself with me while I am playing tennis or chatting with the disciples, if you cannot feel my highest at that time, then go inside your heart and try to identify yourself with me in another world, a higher world. That will increase your devotion and give you utmost satisfaction.
Again, if you are in that higher world, you have to know that where there is a possession, there is always a possessor. So whatever light or delight you are experiencing, try to feel, “My Guru is giving me this experience,” which is absolutely true. Either you look at the drop and feel that when this drop is multiplied it becomes the ocean or you try to see the ocean in order to appreciate that the body is like a drop. If you want to see the quintessence of that ocean, then I am holding it. If you want to see the larger than the largest in a very tiny form, here is the answer, the body.
You can choose whichever way you want, but the best way is to see the inner world and the outer world together. If you are in the finite, immediately try to hear the Song of the Infinite. You have a physical form, you are singing earthly melodies, but inside the earthly melodies is the divine presence of the cosmic gods and goddesses. But if it is difficult inside the song to see the presence of the cosmic gods and goddesses, then enter into the cosmic gods and goddesses and try to see that the melody, the universal song, is coming from them.
If you can see the inner world and the outer world together, then you will always be happy. But if the outer world is displeasing you, then enter into the inner world. And if the inner world is not pleasing you fully, because you are seeing the ocean of Light but you are unable to become the ocean of Light, then just say, “That means somebody’s possession I am not getting. Let me please that person in order to get his possession.”
By following both these ways, one can fulfil one’s promise and manifest one’s divinity. Inside the finite, you have to hear the music of the Infinite. And again, inside the Infinite, you have to say that this Infinite has to be manifested in and through the finite.
God wants to manifest Himself here on this little earth-planet. There are other planets, but there He does not want to manifest, there He is doing other things. On this one planet He depends, He relies. Here on this little, tiny earth-planet He wants to manifest His Transcendental Vision.
SCA 1209. This question was asked on 16 September 1989.↩
You have lost your dearest son1Quite recently you have lost your dearest son. I, too, have lost my dearest sister two months ago, and last year I lost my dearest brother. So you and I are sailing in the same boat.
We have to know our capacity and God’s Capacity. As He is infinite in everything, His Love for us is also infinite. We love our dear ones according to our limited capacity, but God loves our dear ones with His infinite Love. God gave you a piece of candy in the form of a most promising son. You were very, very, very happy. As He gives the candy, even so, He has the right to take it away. If He takes something away from us after He has given it to us, it is not because He is displeased with us in any way, but because He wants to give us something more beautiful, more precious and more significant.
God is preparing us to widen our hearts to become one with others’ sufferings, the sufferings of the world. Otherwise, it is all theoretical. When we hear that someone has died, our mind is shocked. Our heart may suffer to some extent, or even to a great extent. But our heart does not swim in the sea of tears. Our heart does not bleed. But when we have personal experiences, when we become victim to heartbreaking experiences, our heart expands unimaginably, either consciously or unconsciously.
We have to know to whom our child actually belongs. We brought the child into this earth-planet. Naturally, we can claim the child. Then who is going to claim us? Who is going to claim our forefathers? Only one Person can rightly and justifiably claim our forefathers, our fathers and our children, and that Person is God Himself.
One who is actually the Owner can have his ownership back whenever He wants to. The Owner can hire me, and He has hired many other workers as well. Suppose the owner of a bank has made somebody the manager, and the manager sees that among the workers he has a very promising worker. If the owner of the bank wants that most promising worker at another branch of the bank, who can stop him? Nobody. The present bank manager may feel it is a tremendous loss, but it is not the loss of the owner. The owner needed that particular worker to work somewhere else. Now, the present manager feels extremely sad that he has lost a very important worker, but we have to surrender willingly or unwillingly to the Owner. And if we do surrender cheerfully, then the Owner will be highly pleased with us and He will make us into His choice instrument for His manifestation on earth.
The body of your son is no longer with us, but the spirit is here, there, everywhere. If we enter into the spiritual life, then we see that God loves each and every human being infinitely more than we can ever love them. What is more, He loves them infinitely more than we can ever imagine. Now, you, as the father of your son, and your wife, as the mother of her son, have tremendous love for your dearest son. But Who has given this love to you both to start with? We must feel that the real Possessor has taken His possession back, to use His possession in an infinitely better way.
We all know that whoever loves a person most, rightly deserves him. God definitely loves your dear son infinitely more than both of you can ever love him. But by taking our dearest ones from us, God in a way is helping us to become not only impersonal, but also universal.
Thirty years ago, I went to my dentist. He was telling me, “Ghose, I have a client whom I like very much. Yesterday he lost his brother. He and his brother were extremely, extremely close to each other. They could not stay separated even for a fleeting hour. Therefore, I wanted to console him. To my greatest surprise, he illumined me. He said to me, ‘True, my brother and I were almost inseparable, but I know there is Someone who loves my brother infinitely more than I do. And I also know that He has taken my brother to Him, and nobody else can dare to do it. He who loves my brother infinitely more than I do, will He not keep my brother happy, happier, happiest and safe, safer, safest? He definitely will. My brother definitely will be happy because Someone loves my brother infinitely more than I do. Therefore, he has gone to Him. So I am now not heartbroken. My life also will end at God’s choice Hour. Let me be happy in God’s Happiness.’” So the dentist was illumined and I, too, was illumined then and there.
You are a Reverend. You have lost one son, but you have many, many followers and admirers. God wants you to have all of them as your sons. As a matter of fact, God is telling you, “I am taking from you only one, but in return I am giving you many, many, many more children. Please take responsibility for all the children of Mine that you encounter on earth who come for your sermons.”
Now I wish to tell you, Reverend, how you and your wife can console yourselves and even get inner joy from your outer loss. Please keep around yourselves as many pictures as possible of your beloved son at different times of his life. Please write down your sweetest memories of your beloved son. Then, from time to time, read those memories and become the sweetness, beauty, reality and divinity of your son’s life. While you are trying to grow into the memories, feel that your son is not only with you and in you, but for you.
There are two ways for you to commune with your son in the inner world: with your heart’s cries and soul’s smiles. Through prayers, we develop our heart’s cries. Through meditations, we develop our soul’s smiles. Either of these two can be applicable to commune with your beloved son or to derive joy from merely thinking of him. One way is to cry and bind your beloved son. The other way is to smile and feel that he is simply having a new journey. It is like a son going to a university. He was brought up in a village. Now he has gone to a distant town to take a higher course. The mother can cry because she will not see her son as before. Again, the father can be happy that his son is going far away. He will be a great scholar, and the family will be glorified by him.
So we should feel that our dearest one has outwardly left us to perform a special mission at another place. Then, if we are wise, if we are in our soul, we will tell him, “Go forward! You are paving the way. From Heaven, when we brought you down to this earth-planet, we paved the way for you. Now you are paving the way for us from earth to enter into Heaven.”
When we bring dear ones into the world, we pave the way for them. When the dear ones leave, we should feel that they are going ahead of us to pave the way and show us that we can become true members of the universal family, instead of remaining a member of one single family.
First the parents show the way to the child. Then the children can show the way to the parents. The parents do not feel miserable at that time. They say to themselves, “We gave him what we had and what we are. Now he is giving us what he has and what he is.”
Life and death are like two rooms. Going from life to death is like going from one room to the other. Life is our living-room and death is our bedroom. In our living-room, we have to work and be active and show ourselves. In our bedroom, we take rest, we sleep. There we do not have to show our existence to anybody; we are only for ourselves.
Life is Eternity’s Road. Each human being is a traveller on Eternity’s Road. Death is a series of stopovers before the traveller reaches his Immortality’s Shore.
SCA 1210. Letter to a dear friend upon the loss of his son in a car accident, sent by Sri Chinmoy on 3 August 1999.↩
Part VIISCA 1211-1217. In Sri Chinmoy's early days in America, he sometimes wrote to his disciples, in answer to their own letters. This collection of seven letters was originally published in a pamphlet entitled My Letters, which was read out at the New York Aum Centre by the President, D. This is the first time they have appeared in book form.
Despair tortures your heart, sorrow plagues your mind, and your Mother scolds you bitterly because you are very absent-minded. You are also afraid that I may dislike you for your absent-mindedness. To tell you the honest truth, either my liking for you or my displeasure in you does not depend on your absent-mindedness. I like you just because you are a child of God. I like you precisely because you meditate.
You say that you are absent-minded even at the time you meditate. You are deeply sorry for that. You are positive that you can never become successful or great in your life, especially in the realm of spirituality.
Now I wish to tell you a secret, a top secret. Some of my intimate Indian friends used to call me an ‘absent-minded hero’. I enjoyed their fond criticism and wise assessment. In this connection, I wish to tell you that even today — this very day, I believe — I have topped the list of successful, absent-minded candidates. I did, yes, I did. What I did was to dial my own telephone number, not once but twice, while I was trying to give an important message to a very, very close disciple of mine. Do you know who she is? She is nobody else but the second person pronoun!
Also, I wish to tell you that there is a kind of absent-mindedness of which you may not be aware. This type of absent-mindedness is rather unusual and unearthly. There have been, and still are, great spiritual Masters who would forget even their own names, not to speak of others’ names, when they would come out of a most powerful trance. It would take some time for them to enter into the earthly consciousness and start operating like a normal man. But for this divinely strange act of theirs nobody dislikes them, nobody mocks at them. On the contrary, people like them, adore them, no matter what they say, do or become.
When an ordinary person is absent-minded, people do not appreciate him. Needless to say, he in no time becomes an object of ridicule, if not hatred. But these spiritual Giants, even when they are totally absent-minded, are loved and adored not only by their close disciples, but by unaspiring people who have nothing to do with spirituality and the inner life. They love and adore the spiritual Masters because they feel that these Masters have given unreservedly what they have and what they are to God. They feel that these Masters have become God-intoxicated and, finally, that they have realised God and are swimming in the Sea of God’s infinite Consciousness.
This does not mean that absent-mindedness is a kind of virtue. No, not at all. At the same time, absent-mindedness is neither a fatal crime nor a vital sin. It is neither inevitable nor unavoidable. It is a mere disease that can easily be cured by God’s Love and Compassion. And God has the necessary Love and Compassion — nay, infinitely more than required — for you and me. Let us pray for His Love and Compassion. We shall succeed.
You want to be great and successful in life. Please charge your memory, and you will discover that many eminent scientists, poets and philosophers and also men of tremendous success in various walks of life were, if I am allowed to say so, nothing short of absent-minded princes.
Now, very often what you and I call absent-mindedness in our lives, that very thing others call negligence. And, according to them, this negligence is not only deplorable but unpardonable. How shall we truly and effectively free ourselves from these two robbers?
To free ourselves from the snares of absent-mindedness, we needs must feel the spontaneous necessity of our constant achievement and fulfilment. Likewise, to free ourselves from the fetters of negligence, we must be absolutely aware of the fact that the entire world not only demands but needs and deserves our express and soulful concern for its development and success.
Birds of a feather, wholeheartedly,
Nov. 18, 1968
Your letter was all about your anger. You are positive that your anger is of the quickest. I challenge you with a mighty “No!” I have studied your nature. I wish to say that your fear, especially fear of God, is of the quickest. You say that you have, at long last, discovered that your worst enemy is anger. Anger is not your worst enemy. Doubt, undoubtedly doubt, self-doubt, is by far your superlative foe. However, I am not saying that doubt and fear have caused your anger. I only say that you have to pay more attention to doubt and fear.
You wanted to know if spiritual persons can experience anger. I tell you, not only spiritual persons but even the great spiritual Masters can have anger. Some have realised God, but they have yet to conquer their lower nature. Until they have conquered their lower nature, anger can and does torture them, their outer life.
Again, I must tell you that it is extremely difficult for others to know whether the spiritual Master’s anger is genuine or whether it is just a clever pretence. Sometimes a Master feels that by expressing tempestuous anger to his disciples, whom he considers to be his very own, he can destroy their ignorance-night sooner than if he had employed any other means. True, at times he may express animal-like anger. It is equally true that his anger is immediately followed by Compassion-Flood. This Compassion of his is pure Nectar. Drink it, drink it to your heart’s content. Lo, your life is changed. Totally and for good.
Dear Ethel, your last question is: how to conquer your anger? There are various ways to conquer your anger successfully and gloriously. Suppose right now you are angry with your husband. By the way, I am sure you are amused when I call your husband Socrates and you Xanthippe of the twentieth century. Yes, sometimes you get angry, terribly angry, with my Socrates. When this happens, the first thing you have to do is to repeat aloud three times: “Perhaps he is right, perhaps he is right, perhaps he is right.” Then, silently, you repeat three times: “He is right, he is right, he is right.” Then you say aloud: “In this case, I might have done the same. In this case, I might have done the same. In this case, I might have done the same.” Then, silently, you say: “In this case, I too would have done the same. In this case, I too would have done the same. In this case, I too would have done the same.”
By this time, anger will lose all its hunger for you and it will not be at all interested in devouring you. It will leave you, it will go elsewhere to knock at the door of somebody else.
You have launched into the path of spirituality, dear Xanthippe; you have been meditating. You are making good headway. For some time, concentrate only on divine Peace and leave aside all other divine qualities. During your meditation, try to bring down Peace, sublime and solid, from Above. Your enemy is anger. Anger’s enemy is Peace. Anger openly hates Peace. If you invoke Peace soulfully, then anger will hate you ruthlessly and never will it enter into you, your life, consciously or unconsciously. One thing more: before you invoke Peace, surrender your life-breath ten times to the Will of the Supreme. There is no other way to become one with the Will of the Supreme than to make a conscious surrender to the Will of the Supreme. Your surrender is your safeguard. Right in front of your surrender stands God with His Omnipresence. With your surrender is God’s Omniscience. And in your surrender is God’s Omnipotence.
Anger: just put a ‘d’ before anger and it becomes danger. I do not want you to play with danger, but I want you to play constantly with your soul’s surrender, your heart’s surrender, your mind’s surrender and your body’s surrender.
Your anger-chasing friend,
Dec. 20, 1968
Common senseDear Joseph:
Some people write letters when they have nothing else to do. You write letters because you feel and I, too, certainly feel (perhaps, more than you do) that you have something special to offer to the world. I write letters because I am afraid that if I do not write, people — especially my students — will lodge severe complaints to the Supreme against me. To be up to date in correspondence is as difficult for me as to walk along the road in the coldest night without a heavy and thick overcoat!
I deeply appreciate your kind, thoughtful, meaningful, powerful, blessingful and soulful letters. Robert Frost once said: “For God’s sake, don’t give up writing to me simply because I don’t write to you.” My heart of gratitude voices forth the same to you.
Dear esteemed friend, you want me to tell you what I feel about common sense. You have come to the conclusion that the world is empty of common sense. I fully agree with you. You are positive that the world badly needs common sense. I agree with you with all my heart and soul. One of the main reasons, if not the main reason, why people are wanting in common sense is that their self-love is a life-long romance. They feel that the sooner they can get rid of their common sense, the quicker will they be endowed with proper sense. So they want to stick to their self-love. At least I think so. And I mean it.
The main reason why people are wanting in common sense is that they like, consciously or unconsciously, the snares of ignorance. They like to fondle and, at the same time, be fondled by tempting bondage. They do not have the time to appreciate or enjoy the world of real reality. Their precious time they use only in believing fictions, cock-and-bull stories. They are simply enamoured of wallowing in the pleasures of real unreality.
On the ladder of sense, common sense is only one rung above nonsense, and super-sense is only one rung above common sense. I try my very best, with all the soul’s determination at my command, to keep my life firm on the common-sense rung.
A man may be dissatisfied with all the vast world, but he is almost always satisfied with the paltry common sense that he already has. The common sense that he has he feels is more than enough. To be sure, if somebody is in need of common sense, then his world can neither make any sense to others nor has any sense in itself.
The present-day world badly needs the psychiatric treatment. God is kind. He has filled the world, at least the Western world, with countless psychiatrists. The psychiatrists are desperately trying to make some sense out of their patient: the world. You and your soul’s friends are leaving no stones unturned to supply and enlighten the psychiatrists with a divine sense, with a sense of the ever-growing, ever-glowing and ever-fulfilling Beyond.
Dear friend of my heart, you are absolutely right when you say that the entire world needs an immediate change — a change for the better, of course. Whether the world deserves it or not is altogether a different matter. Yes, the world needs a total transformation, inner and outer. The trouble is that everybody feels that he is the wisest man on earth. Right now Napoleon’s significant utterance flashes across my mind. He said: “The only one who is wiser than anyone is everyone.”
Let me tell you a sacred secret of mine. A few years ago, my heart was burning with the desire to change the face of the world. God came to me and said: “Wonderful, My son, wonderful! You want to change the world and I want to change you, your human life and earthly nature, totally.”
To my sorrow, I have not been able to change even an iota of the world’s nature. To my joy, God is succeeding in transforming me — my nature, my whole life — very rapidly. Just recently, I touched my Lord’s Feet and prayed to Him: “God, kindly free me from my self-imposed responsibility. This world is Yours and definitely not mine. Do change the face and fate of the world at Your choice Hour.”
At long last I am happy. God, too, is happy because He sees that wisdom has dawned on my devoted head.
In the hoary past, say four thousand years ago, the Vedic Seers cried most devotedly and selflessly for a better world, a world of illumination. Now you are doing the same. Not to speak of the politicians, even the lovers of humanity and religious teachers cherish the same aim, the same goal. I wish you all success.
I believe it will not be out of place if I cordially welcome George Bernard Shaw at this point. Shaw remarked: “We are told that when Jehovah created the world, He saw that the world was good — what would He say now?”
I am sure that Jehovah’s immediate reply would be: “The world, My world, is better now. Some day it has to be the very best, for I cannot be satisfied unless and until I have manifested My perfect Perfection on earth.”
Shaw comes one step ahead to inspire the human souls that are eager to correct and perfect the world: “If there was nothing wrong in the world, there wouldn’t be anything for us to do.”
Well, as for myself, I feel that I have many things else to do other than correct and perfect the world. Let me first of all consciously and devotedly collaborate with my Lord Supreme in His tireless endeavour towards my nature’s absolute transformation.
Dear revered friend, we may not be perfect when others criticise us. We may not be perfect when we criticise others. But we are perfectly ourselves, without any mixture, when we are not observed by others.
Tolstoy was a colossal soul. He pronounced something quite striking: “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
However, in defence of man, I wish to say that man thinks of changing the world and not himself precisely because he feels that it is infinitely easier and more important to change the world than to change himself. Now we all know that man’s time is unimaginably precious and unbelievably limited. Since man has no time to think of changing himself, at every moment poor God is thinking of man and thinking of changing his nature. Surely, God is bound to succeed.
Your ex-self-styled and self-imposed
Dec. 28, 1968
Your whole letter can be summed up in one single word: nervousness. It seems that your life-dictionary houses only this word, and no other word. I can rightly call you Nervousness A-1. Of course, with your kind permission.
You have been coming to the Centre regularly, faithfully and devotedly. When I look at you, or you look at me, you become nervousness itself. The other day, I gave you a short interview. You wanted your heart to speak to me. But, unfortunately, your nervousness spoke in its place. You made me feel that I am either a lion or a tiger. Dear Robert, why do you want me to go back to my animal incarnations which I left with untold difficulties many centuries ago? I am a simple human being. You need not and must not be afraid of me.
Let me tell you an amusing incident in my life. Last year in Puerto Rico, my devoted disciple N. brought me to a TV station. N. is a well-known musician in Puerto Rico. He was about to introduce me when, lo and behold, he came to me hurriedly and said: “Master, I am nervous. You know, Master, I have been playing here at this TV station for the past twelve years regularly. But today I do not know what is wrong with me. I am so nervous. Master, do you ever become nervous like me?”
I said: “My dear N., your Master does not become nervous like you. Do you know why? Your Master has given away all his nervousness to his sports life. He has spent all his nervousness-money on his athletics. But the Supreme, out of His infinite Kindness, has replaced your Master’s nervousness-money with confidence-money.”
Dear Robert, I have seen many people getting nervous on various occasions without any rhyme or reason. Needless to say, I sympathise with them with all my heart’s love and concern. But, to be frank with you, the sad memories of their helpless nervousness do not have an abiding place in me. They just fade away slowly and sorrowfully.
Yet one experience of nervousness, which a cousin of mine offered to me, can never be discarded from my mind. I was then seven years old. My cousin, Gauranga, was eight. He committed to memory the names of Vidyasagar’s (the noted Bengali reformer) parents. Vidyasagar’s father’s name was Thakurdas and his mother’s name was Bhagavati. Alas, whenever our teacher would ask Gauranga the names of Vidyasagar’s parents, he would either say that the name of Vidyasagar’s father was Bhagavati or some other name, a pure feminine name. Similarly, on being asked the name of Vidyasagar’s mother, Gauranga would say Thakurdas or some other name, a pure masculine name. Alas, this went on and on. One complete month it took before he was able to tell the teacher correctly the names of Vidyasagar’s parents! During this month, every day he was beaten black and blue by the brute teacher. In addition, he fell victim to the students’ ceaselessly roaring laughter. Now the simple fact was that the very sight of the teacher used to throw Gauranga into an ocean of nervousness.
This letter is addressed to you, Robert. But, among my students, you are not the only one whom nervousness tortures ruthlessly. There are quite a few who sail in the same boat. Do not be nervous. My sweet spiritual children, do not be nervous around me. I am not a man-devourer. What I have is love. What I am is also love. Nothing more and nothing less.
Nervousness is a deplorable thing, but it is not an unpardonable crime. You must and you can overcome nervousness unmistakably, successfully and infinitely sooner than you imagine. I shall tell you how. When you are nervous, immediately say: “My name is confidence, my life’s name is confidence. I am not only my confidence, but also God’s all-knowing Confidence.”
Then take a deep breath and say: “O my heart, I am with you. Do not be nervous. O my mind, I am with you. Do not be nervous. O my vital, I am with you. Do not be nervous. O my body, I am with you. Do not be nervous.”
Then take another deep breath and say: “My body is God’s all-knowing Confidence. My vital is God’s all-embracing Confidence. My mind is God’s all-illumining Confidence. My heart is God’s all-fulfilling Confidence.”
Now I will tell you the greatest secret: When you are nervous, in no time just cry inwardly: “O my Guru, I need you badly.” Before you have completed the word ‘badly’, one of my inner beings will come to your immediate rescue. But one thing I must tell you. This promise is not given to each and everyone. This promise is given to those who have surrendered unreservedly to the Supreme in me. This promise is given to those who have accepted me as their very own. This promise is given to those who think and feel that I think of them and feel for them more than they think of and feel for themselves.
Finally, dear Robert, if you want to exchange your constant nervousness for my soul’s confidence, I am willing, more than willing. Do come. I am ready and eager.
Jan. 5, 1969
You are extremely sorry that I am a stranger to humour. I am extremely sorry that your hard-laboured discovery will not let you win the Nobel Prize, since your discovery is not founded upon truth. Truth to tell, I do enjoy humour. Humour is the salt of life. For sure, God would not have preserved this world of ours, which is ignorantly brilliant and brilliantly ignorant, if He Himself was wanting in a sense of humour.
Elizabeth, do you know that many a philosopher feels that the world is a big joke, a costly farce and an empty show? To me, the world is real, absolutely real. It is not only real, but also wise and significant. This does not mean that the world has to be serious, strict and severe in order to see the face of Reality and sit at the Feet of God. No, never. Humour does not and cannot take one away from the path of inner life.
Elizabeth, you are a staunch Christian, Catholic to the marrow. I have a few sallies of humour to present to you. I feel that nobody will be a better recipient than your humorous self.
We have not to dance in a church, for God dances while we sing. We sing with our devotion-flight. God dances with His Compassion-Light.
The victim can easily tell his critics that he at least is better than God, for God is both invisible and incomprehensible to them every single day of the week!
The clergyman is really lucky and should be proud that even his own mother cares for and believes in his teachings. Not only that, she practises her son’s lofty teachings. We all know that a prophet is not honoured in his own country. But here is an exception and a happy one, too.
I do not want a fool to remain always a fool. It will simply break my heart. The fool will at least learn something from le Monsieur Voltaire’s rascal clergyman-friend and then, for further knowledge, the fool can go to a true saint.
Some men leave aside the soul at home, the body on the way, the mind at the church gate and then, with the flesh neither aspiring nor receptive, but with the flesh perspiring and smelling, deceptive and inquisitive, they enter the church.
To my sorrow, I had to learn this truth at long last.
O dear Benjamin Jowett, at least I listen to your kindest advice every day!
Dear Elizabeth, I hope I have given you some joy. At least I believe I have taken some tension out of your mind. So you can be thankful to me for that. Before I end this letter, I wish to tell you from the bottom of my heart that I deeply appreciate the church, the clergy and the ministers in their sincere efforts to bring about a divine life on earth.
Finally, I want to tell you that no spiritual man has ever denied the existence of humour in his life. How can I dare to be an exception?
Yours in God, the Supreme Humorist,
C. K. Ghose
Jan. 12, 1969
You have written to me that your daughter constantly asks you for money, while your son constantly demands time from you. You need my advice. I wish to tell you that you should give money to your daughter when she needs it, and that you should give your son time when he demands it. Otherwise, you will suffer for the rest of your life from your daughter’s lack of love and from your son’s lack of knowledge.
Your wisdom-giving friend,
Jan. 12, 1969
Instructive jokesDear Joshua:
You want to know from me if so-called silly jokes can ever be instructive. I wish to tell you that sometimes they can be not only instructive but most instructive. Dear Joshua, you are now young and green. You are now in the seventh heaven of romantic life. Do you know what Baudelaire said? He said: “A sweetheart is a bottle of wine, a wife is a wine bottle.” I am sure you will agree with Baudelaire. But I want to tell you that when you start drinking the bottle of wine, one day it will be all used up, and it will naturally turn into a wine bottle. At that time, who can be your bottle of wine, nay, nectar? God and God alone.
Do not worry. Some day you are bound to taste God’s Nectar. Again, if you want the largest bottle of divinely intoxicating wine for your life-long use, dear Joshua, then your life’s partner must be spiritual, absolutely spiritual.
Joshua, your name means, ‘whom God has saved’. So you are lucky. God has already saved you by giving you a spiritual soul which you will use for God and which will use you for God.
I am mighty happy that God has saved you. I am truly happy that you two will work for God, my Beloved Supreme.
Love and blessings,
Jan. 12, 1969
Part VIIISCA 1218-1225. This interview with Sri Chinmoy was conducted on 6 August 1993 at the Jharna-Kala Gallery in Soho by Ms. Tricia Curry of The New Yorker magazine.
Interviewer: Is there one thing that has 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. So from deep within I get inspiration to compose songs, write poems, draw and do various other things. And this inspiration carries me. I listen to these inner dictates and try to offer what I can to the world at large, according to my capacity. I try to receive inspiration 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 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. So I feel that inside each of us there is an inner existence which we call the soul. The soul, like a bird, flies in the sky of God’s Infinity. So the birds we see flying in the sky remind us 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 go high, higher, highest. When the bird is flying in the boundless sky, there is no limit to its flight. 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. When we pray and meditate, we become simple, sincere, humble and pure. We learn to live in the soul. By praying and meditating, 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: Exactly. Let us say you have gone to the market and purchased 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 an instrument of His. So I have received some inspiration from within and I feel it is my bounden duty to share it with others, for I take the whole world as one family.
Inside each human being, we are trying to see the divine. If I see something beautiful and divine in you, then I get the inspiration and aspiration to be of service to you. And if you see something beautiful and divine in me, then you get the inspiration and aspiration to be of service to me. In this way we are inspired to become good citizens of the world and serve mankind. Otherwise, we are only for ourselves.
No matter how many things we get or how many of our desires we fulfil, we will never be happy 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 kind of childlike happiness. A child is inside a garden that has many beautiful flowers and plants. The child does not stay at one place. He looks at one flower and appreciates its beauty and fragrance. Then he runs to another flower somewhere else. He gets tremendous joy in 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. He gets joy by moving from one place to another.
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 boundless 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: So 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 they look at the drawings, they get a certain sense of peace. I have observed a few visitors and I 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 anything else that I do — then I feel that I have accomplished something because I have been able to share my inspiration and aspiration with others.
Interviewer: It is very peaceful here, 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 else, but if we do not find peace in the inmost recesses of our heart, then we will not be satisfied. Only peace can give us true satisfaction. Nothing from the outer world can give us abiding satisfaction save and except peace. And for this peace we have to dive deep within and pray and meditate.
So when people look at my drawings and find peace, this helps to bring forward their own soul’s qualities and 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 came up, you were just 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 and soulful consciousness. I do not talk. Usually I draw early in the morning when I am all by myself. Sometimes I draw inside the car or the plane. Occasionally I draw when people are moving around and I am in the middle of the hustle and bustle of life.
Interviewer: Do you have a special 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 surface, the same sea is all peace, calmness and quiet, and there we find the source of creativity.
I do not use the mind when I draw because I believe that the process of thinking binds us and limits us. As soon as we think of something, we bind ourselves. The mind is binding us precisely because it has not yet learnt the art of self-giving, which is all expansion. It is the inner heart, the aspiring heart, that has learnt 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, we become aware of that person’s imperfections, negative thoughts and so forth. Of course, if we enter into our own mind, we will see that we also have the same destructive thoughts. That is why our minds are always clashing. Each person wants to lord it over the other. When we live in the mind, we want to exercise our supremacy. But when we remain inside our hearts, we only love one another. At that time, the question of supremacy does not arise at all. So this is how we can solve our problems.
These birds represent unity in multiplicity. Here we have 70,000 birds. Each bird is different, but when you look at them, you feel unity. As soon as we think of the bird-consciousness, it is one. The bird-consciousness represents the consciousness of our soul’s inner freedom.
Interviewer: Will you continue to add to this?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I have been doing more. Today I have completed 76,000. It is my wish, on the 19th of November, to exhibit 100,000 birds in Ottawa. About nineteen 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. This November it is our plan to have a huge gallery that will house 100,000 birds. I do hope that by the end of October I will be able to complete them.
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 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 do that. I know that when the time comes — I call it God’s Hour — it is He who will direct me.
Interviewer: Did you call Him your Inner Father?Sri Chinmoy: 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 our life-boats towards the Supreme Destination, the Golden Shore.
Interviewer: I understand you will be giving a concert in Chicago on September 18th.Sri Chinmoy: Yes. That is another way for me to offer my service to mankind. For about two hours I shall play on various instruments and sing. This will be done prayerfully, and the audience also will remain in a prayerful and soulful consciousness. I am so grateful to the audience. They observe pindrop silence and they join me in my prayer and meditation.
Very often I dedicate my concerts to some individual who is responsible for bringing about world peace. I have dedicated many, many concerts to President Mikhail Gorbachev. He is a very, very close friend of mine and he has been extremely kind to me. I have the deepest admiration for him. Because of him, the two Germanies have now become one Germany, and so many other countries have been liberated. He has worked so hard to bring about world peace.
I wish to thank you for your most sincere questions. May I know your name please?
Interviewer: Tricia Curry —- from Patricia.Sri Chinmoy: Sanskrit is the mother of all our myriad Indian languages. In Sanskrit trisha means ‘thirsty for wisdom, light and peace’.
Interviewer: I guess I'm in the right field! Thank you so much — and good luck! I hope you reach your goal.