Sri Chinmoy answers, part 38

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Part I

SCA 1249-1259. Immediately after Sri Chinmoy played the organ at the Sydney Opera House on 30 November 1987, he was interviewed in the organ console by David Rumsey, Chairman of the Department of Organ and Sacred Music at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music and organist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. This interview was recorded for ABC Radio Australia.

David Rumsey: Thank you very much, Sri Chinmoy, for coming to the Sydney Opera House this evening and playing for us. You have a very unique style of playing the organ. As many other musicians have said, you combine a kind of Eastern as well as a Western style. Your own style is, perhaps we might say, Eastern; whereas, the organ itself is very Western. For many centuries, the organ has served the Christian church as a spiritual kind of musical instrument. Do you also find spirituality in the organ?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I find spirituality in the organ, more than I find it in any other instrument. Here I see that the organ is not only the king of all the musical instruments but it is also the queen of all the instruments. It is extremely powerful and it has a very subtle, delicate touch at the same time. When you think of a king, you think of somebody who is very powerful, like a sovereign, and, when you think of a queen, there is softness and sweetness, a delicate touch. So the organ combines both God the Man and God the Woman.

David Rumsey: So, in your music, you are finding an expression of God which comes from within you and is expressed by the organ, sometimes as king, sometimes as queen?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes.

David Rumsey: Those are very beautiful sentiments. I have seen you on videotape speaking about soulful music. Do you find the organ is, what we might call, a 'soulful' instrument?

Sri Chinmoy: It is soulful and, at the same time, powerful. Sometimes the soul does not express power. But I see that the soul of the organ expresses power as well. In the case of an individual, he can express his inner capacities through power or through love or through other divine aspects. But the organ has the capacity to express many divine qualities at the same time.

David Rumsey: Do you find that, through the organ and the sounds that it makes, there is a kind of awakening of spirituality, an expression of spirituality?

Sri Chinmoy: Not only the awakening, but also the expression and revelation of the inner being.

David Rumsey: Since you are a poet as well as a musician, I find it very interesting to compare the inner spirituality of poetry with the inner spirituality of music. In the Western tradition, for example, they have gone almost separate paths in the last two or three hundred years. Maybe four hundred years ago, music and poetry were rather more similar and, when we go back to the ancient Greeks, music and poetry were almost one and the same. Now, in your poetry and music, do you find a similar kind of spirituality?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. In my case, I find poetry and music go together. Poetry has the vision and this vision is expressed through music. We have the vision, let us say, of tomorrow’s dawn. But, although we have the vision, there is no way to reveal and manifest that vision. Music expresses the vision that poetry embodies. First we have the vision of reality deep within us and then music brings that vision to the fore.

David Rumsey: Regarding the improvisation which you just played, did it have a particular title or any particular ideas?

Sri Chinmoy: No, there was no particular idea. I do not use my mind. I see myself as a child playing in my own heart-garden. In the garden, there are many beautiful plants and I play hide-and-seek. I move around, I play with the leaves and plants and flowers. I enter into my heart-garden and I enjoy nature’s beauty deep within me. So, I do not use my mind. A child does not use his mind. He just plays with the flowers, with toys or dolls. In my case also, I play with the flowers, leaves and fruits.

David Rumsey: It is just creativity, just being creative.

Sri Chinmoy: Creation for creation’s sake. There is no set method, there is no hard and fast rule that I have to do this, I have to do that. A child uses his heart, he does everything spontaneously. So, in my case also, I try to do everything spontaneously, like a child.

David Rumsey: Your spontaneity comes through very clearly in your music. You have also been quoted as saying that music is next to meditation for a spiritual person, or words to that effect.

Sri Chinmoy: Music and spirituality must go side by side. A Truth-seeker and God-lover pays more attention to God the Creator. Twenty-four hours a day he is ready to pray and meditate. He wants to embody God’s infinite Light. A seeker is more conscious of God, fortunately or unfortunately, than a musician. A musician has the universal language deep within him but he does not know that the source of the universal language is silence. Language is not the source. Silence is the source. Sound is not the source. The source is silence. Meditation helps us to dive deep within. Silence is the source and sound is an expression.

When we enter into a temple, we see the shrine inside it. For me, meditation is the shrine inside the temple. Music is the temple. Without the temple, there can be no shrine and, again, without the shrine, there can be no temple. So, music and spirituality have to go together. Spirituality reminds us of God the Creator and music reminds us of God the Creation. Universal beauty we get through music but silence, Transcendental Silence, we get from meditation. They are like the obverse and reverse of the same coin. But we have to know which one has to be brought forward — the inner divinity or the outer reality. Inner divinity has to come forward to express the outer reality.

David Rumsey: Over the last two or three thousand years, there have been periods of Western civilisation —- such as the times of the ancient Greeks and the Renaissance —- where it has been considered important to look at all the things that make up a completely rounded person, a whole man: intellectual life, sport, music and so on. Many people have spoken of you, with all your interests, as a kind of Renaissance man.

Sri Chinmoy: I am jack of all trades, master of none!

David Rumsey: I think it is not just a question of being a jack of all trades, though. It is something that you have been able to use, in a sense, to transcend yourself. You set yourself a certain goal and you move in a certain direction —- just as, in music, you have taken up the organ only relatively recently. Previously, you have played the Indian esraj, the bamboo flute and many, many other instruments.

Sri Chinmoy: Tomorrow I will be playing about thirty instruments in Melbourne.

David Rumsey: Do you find that the organ, then, is a kind of transcendence in your own life?

Sri Chinmoy: In my case, the organ seems to be the highest peak. I have been playing quite a few instruments for the past ten years. Sometimes I play up to one hundred instruments. Usually I play thirty instruments in my concerts. But the organ is like the highest pinnacle, it is the culmination. When I play the organ, I feel myself complete. It is something deep within me. It is like the blossoming of the tree, a fully blossomed tree. Whereas, when I play other instruments — flute or cello or violin or viola — there I see a few beautiful flowers on a particular branch, a few most beautiful flowers. But, when I play the organ, I feel that the whole tree has blossomed fully and gloriously to my satisfaction. Here I feel my hunger, musical hunger, is satisfied completely.

David Rumsey: Well, Sri Chinmoy, thank you very much for granting us this interview. You have been very gracious and thank you very much once again.

Sri Chinmoy: You have been extremely kind to me. My heart is all gratitude to you. I have heard so much about you and I am extremely, extremely grateful to have been allowed to play here and to be here with you. My heart is all gratitude to you.

David Rumsey: Thank you, Sri Chinmoy, thank you very much.

Part II

Please try to develop your retentive faculty2

If you hear a song ten or twelve times, why do you need to look at the music in order to sing it? When I was learning songs, my harmonium teacher at the Ashram used to sing the song three times and in three times we learnt it. Then the following week, we would sing it for him. And those songs were at least ten or twelve lines long.

Please try to develop your retentive faculty. I know that many of you cannot read music. Perhaps eighty per cent cannot read music. Somebody sings and you follow. There are many who feel that you do not have to learn music in order to sing correctly. In that respect, our Indian system is so good. Maestro Ravi Shankar and other great musicians learn by heart. Then their music becomes spontaneous.

If you look at music, according to me, at least thirty per cent of your soulfulness you are losing. I strongly believe that when you look at the music and sing, you cannot keep your soulfulness because your eye is focussing on something else. There is no direct communication between your heart and God. There is a third party — a piece of paper. A piece of paper is an obstruction between your heart and God.

People who read music have to know that this piece of paper is nothing other than an obstruction between your heart and God’s Heart. You have put some wall there. But if you learn by heart, then it is between your heart and God’s Heart. There is no third person involved.

When you use music, you are using something else to help you. God says, “If you take help from someone, then what kind of direct connection or communication are you having with Me?” From the spiritual point of view, it is a real weakness. This is something that the Western world does not understand. According to our Indian theory, from the spiritual point of view, it is infinitely better to learn the songs by heart. And my songs happen to be very short. They are not like your Western classical music.

If you do not learn my songs by heart, you are putting a wall between your heart and God’s Heart. Over the years, you have learnt thousands of songs. If you are going to use music because you have not practised those songs for so many years, then it is very painful for me because I see that your attention is focussed on a piece of paper. Between your heart and your forehead or your eyes, there is a dislocation. If you do not look at the music, it is far, far better. Then you can keep your soulfulness at one hundred per cent.

SCA 1260. Sri Chinmoy made these remarks to the singers in Christchurch, New Zealand, on 21 December 2002.

Part III

SCA 1261-1274. Sri Chinmoy made this remark and answered questions in Christchurch, New Zealand, on 24 December 2002.

My simple desire was to work on the train

Today most of the disciples are enjoying a train journey. I would definitely have gone if the condition of my leg had allowed me. For me, train journeys are most charming, enlightening and enriching. There everything is bliss.

When I was very young, I wanted to work on a train. My father was head of the junction between Chittagong and the Assam line. I used to get the greatest joy when we travelled by train. At first, I thought the most important person on the train was the one who held the lamp and the flag. I would say, “How I wish I could be like him!” Because he waved the flag, the train went, so I thought he was definitely the most important person. Then I saw that the most important person was the driver. Without him, the train could not go anywhere. Finally, I realised that the most important person was the stationmaster because he is the one who gives the order. Anyway, my simple desire was to work on the train.

When you have a desire, God can transform that desire into aspiration or He can pay no attention to your desire. In my case, on the one hand, God did not allow me to work on the train, but again, I am carrying more people in my boat than I could have carried in the railway train. I am carrying thousands of people, not only my disciples, but many friends, admirers and dear ones. So, in that sense, God has fulfilled my desire.

Question: According to what I have read, the life span of the universe includes quite a number of cycles which are composed of yugas. I was wondering if the Supreme incarnates on earth in every single cycle of yugas or only in this particular segment?

Sri Chinmoy: At the very beginning of Time, the Supreme did not send Avatars, His direct representatives, to earth. His creation started and lasted for a long time without Avatars. Then the Supreme thought that if He sent His direct representatives to earth, earth would make more progress. He had created a garden. He thought that from the Highest, with His spiritual Power, He would be able to take care of this vast garden. But the garden was not receptive enough. So He started sending the Avatars to take care of His beautiful creation. Many saints and others say that each Avatar is like a gardener, and the gardener has many assistants and helpers.

As you know, Indian mythology has divided Time into four yugassatyayuga, tretayuga, dvaparayuga and kaliyuga. In one cycle, or yuga, there are many spiritual Masters and there can also be more than one Avatar. We take Sri Ramachandra as the first authentic Avatar in human form. Then came Sri Krishna and Lord Buddha.

Some scholars say that Sri Krishna lived on earth 5,000 years ago. I do not agree with them at all. It was absolutely 8,000, 9,000 or 10,000 years ago that Sri Krishna came. In Lord Buddha’s case, it is established that he came a little over 2,500 years ago and Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago. Then, after the Christ, it seems there was a big gap. Sri Chaitanya came just over 400 years ago. Right after Sri Chaitanya, there was another gap to Sri Ramakrishna. And, in Sri Ramakrishna’s time, Sri Aurobindo also came. There it was not a matter of even a hundred years’ gap. It was only about forty years.

So in this present cycle we are getting many more Avatars. Again, in the twentieth century, we also have Ramana Maharshi and Anandamayi Ma.

Who is not an Avatar, that is the question. All human beings are direct representatives of God, only an Avatar is more aware of his inner existence or his Source. Then God tells him, “I am blessing you with a boat. Now you have to carry a few thousand or a few million seekers to the other Shore.”

We have so much admiration, adoration and love for those spiritual Masters of the highest height who lived long ago. At the same time, I wish to say that the heights of the subsequent spiritual Masters are in no way lower. The only thing is that there was a time when it was necessary to show occult powers. If you did not show occult powers, then who would take you as a spiritual Master? Sri Krishna did it, Lord Buddha did it, Jesus Christ did it. Even now, millions of people only take a spiritual Master seriously if he performs some miracle. This is the human mentality.

But some seekers are wise. If you show a miracle in front of them, they will say, “Who cares for it? Did it transform my nature? What I was before I accepted the spiritual life, now I am the same. So what good did the occult power do?”

You can say that a miracle is like fireworks. When the firework goes up, it is so beautiful and for one second we get such joy. Then it falls down. Did it change our nature? No. Only for a fleeting second we say, “O my God, it is so beautiful!” But our human nature remains the same. We still have the same doubt, the same fear and so on.

Again, if our dear one is dying and the Master can be of any help with his occult powers, then that person may get an extension to live on earth for another ten or twenty or thirty years. In that sense, it is good. During those twenty years, that person is getting the opportunity to pray and meditate and become a spiritually developed, good human being.

Each spiritual Master has his own approach, his own path. When a spiritual Master guides his disciples, he is under no obligation to abide by the rules and regulations of the other spiritual Masters and vice versa. They are also under no obligation. Each one is right in his own way.

But then the question comes, whether the disciples have faith in their Master or not. Some disciples hear that another boat is more beautiful and there the disciples are more spiritual. So they go to that other boat. Then, alas, they see that another boat may be even more beautiful. Like this, they go from one boat to the next. Other seekers jump out of the boat and start swimming on their own.

But those who are wise, when they accept one boat, stick to it, whether the boat goes slowly or quickly. There are some true stories where the spiritual Master is teaching his students very sincerely and devotedly. Then there comes a time when the Master clearly sees that a particular student has far surpassed him.

In one case, which is absolutely authentic, there was a spiritual Master of a very high order. He initiated a certain disciple and then he saw that in a very short space of time the disciple had far surpassed him. So he prayed to the disciple, “Please promise me, in our next incarnation, you have to be my Guru.” The disciple could not believe his ears. He said, “What is this? My Master has given me such high, high experiences. Now he is begging me to be his Guru in his next incarnation.” Then the disciple saw the sincerity of the Master and he promised that he would fulfil the Master’s wish. The Master was so relieved and, in a few months’ time, this spiritual Master left the body.

To come back to your question, the very first yugasatyayuga — is called the Golden Age. God alone knows whether the Golden Age was really golden. When the present is not giving us joy, when the present is not charming or beautiful, we try to glorify the past. We claim that our forefathers were all saints. There is nobody from that era to say otherwise. Perhaps if some contemporaries of our forefathers were alive, they would tell us something different!

If we study the Mahabharata, we see that a tremendous battle took place between the divine forces and the forces of ignorance. Was there any time in God’s creation when there was no fight between good and evil? We give it the term ‘darkness’. At what point of civilisation was there no fight against darkness? In our times we have had the Second World War. But in the Mahabharata time there was also a battle. You may say that your forefathers, whom you call saints, were fighting against the evil forces. True, but the fact of the matter is that those evil forces lived at that time as well. Then how can we say those days were golden? Human beings who lived at that time also had the same weaknesses that we still have after so many centuries.

In terms of nature’s transformation, I feel that people today are more conscious of the supreme necessity of peace, love and oneness. Two thousand years ago, human beings believed more in morality. Again, in some centuries, there was no morality at all. Everything was “might is right”. But nowadays I see that in everybody’s heart peace-hunger is there. I may not be peaceful, you may not be peaceful, the world may not be peaceful. Left and right, countries may be fighting. But we see that peace is needed. There is a genuine hunger for peace.

Two thousand or three thousand years ago, they did not use the term ‘peace’. Only they saw that darkness existed and light also existed. Each side believed that they had the light and the other side was all darkness.

Now people are a little more wise. There are many good people on earth who have come to the point where they feel that they are not the only ones to be the possessors of light. There are others as well. A day will come when we will no longer make comparisons.

In a family, you will eat the food prepared by your mother or your sister. In my family, I will do the same. As long as we are satisfied by the preparations made by our dear ones, why do we have to go to our neighbours and say, “My food is much better than yours”? Whatever we get from our own family is excellent for us and whatever others get from their family is excellent for them. If both of us are satisfied, then there will be no comparison, there will be no fight. A fight only arises if you say that for my good you are forcing me to eat your food, or if I say that for your good you must eat the food that I am eating.

I have elaborated on your question in my own way. One Avatar does not encompass all the yugas. And, again, in one yuga there can be more than one Avatar. The more you read about Avatars, the more you can become confused because, in one sense, you have to take each human being as an Avatar. Each human being, each creation of God, is His representative. As long as we know there is a Source, then we become the representative of that Source. Everybody can interpret these spiritual concepts in their own way. If you get satisfaction from your interpretation, then you are the luckiest person. And if you do not get satisfaction, then you become miserable.

Question: Does the presence of an Avatar on earth bring about a sharper focus between darkness and light? Does he bring things to a head in that particular era?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, that is true, true. Avatars are like doctors. When there is a doctor, the patients come and challenge the doctor. They say, “Let us see what kind of doctor you are. Either you can cure us or you are just pretending.”

The Avatar-doctors accept the challenge. They say to the patients, “Then come here if you really mean to be cured.”

Question: Why is there such a big difference between the capacities of various human beings?

Sri Chinmoy: In a garden, why should there be only one type of plant? Why should there be only roses? A rose garden is beautiful, true. But there are hundreds of plants producing hundreds of flowers — some big, some small, some white, some red, and so forth. All of them give us joy in their own way.

Suppose you are the most beautiful person on earth and somebody else is the most powerful person. You are beauty incarnate and he is power incarnate. Human nature is such that both of you are not satisfied. You will think that power is more important than beauty and he will think that beauty is more important than power.

Then God says to you, “I gave you beauty. Now try to create more beauty in your heart, in your mind, in your vital, in your body.” To the other person, God will say, “I gave you power. Now you can have more power in your heart, in your mind — everywhere.”

God wants you to be a rose, and God wants him to be a lotus. Then each of you can spread your unique fragrance. But you are not satisfied with what you have. You want to grab what he has, and he wants to grab what you have. Your dissatisfaction is the gap that divides you. Human life is always the story of dissatisfaction.

At times it may happen that God may give us more capacities in different fields. In your hunger for power, you cry and cry to God. Eventually, He may say, “All right, let me give him a little power. If I give him a little power, then he will work better for Me.” And to the one who is crying for beauty, if it is God’s Will, God may say, “Let me give him a little beauty. Perhaps he will do better work for Me.”

Then God says, “If I give them both a little more compassion, a little more light, then each one will be able to do more.” God started with one capacity, but if He wants to give you more capacities in different fields, then you will be able to inspire more people on earth. The more capacities you have in different fields, the more opportunity you are getting, from the spiritual point of view, to serve people.

If you go to a very big garden, you will see there all kinds of flowers. How do you know which flower is going to conquer your heart, the big ones or the small ones? All are needed.

Similarly, all the notes in the musical scale are needed, but I happen to like 6½ the most. That note gives me much more joy than 4½ or 5½. Those notes are also needed to go up to 6½, but as soon as I hear 6½, my heart absolutely melts. When I go up to 8 and then come down to 6½, how soulfully I can sing there! Whereas, if I come down to 4½, I find that it is a dry note. But again, all the notes are needed, all the three octaves are needed. If I press only 6½, what kind of melody will it be? So I use all the notes, but when I come to my most favourite one, I get the utmost joy.

Question: Should a disciple bring his bad qualities forward when he is in front of you?

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely. Once a disciple went to his Master and said, “The whole day I have been praying and meditating. My mind is pure, my vital is pure, everything is pure. I feel that if I can continue like this for a few months, I will realise God. But, alas, when I come before you, all my bad qualities, all the lower forces in my nature, come to the fore and I am exposed. In a fleeting second, I see how horrible I am. During the day I was not hiding from you. I was only praying to you to give me purity. And I feel that you did give me purity. So why do these forces have to come forward?” The poor disciple was so miserable.

Then the spiritual Master said to him, “Have you come to me to hide something or have you come to me to give me what you have and to take from me what I am? Do not hide, my son. You think you are free from those forces because the whole day you have been so pure, so happy. But now you come to me and you see that it is not true. You have not conquered them. Who is going to help you? Am I your examiner that I will give you zero? Or am I the one who loves you at every moment? I am your compassionate Guru; I am the one to help you. If you feel that I am the one to help you with these impure thoughts, then why do you have to worry? But you have to give them to me. Unfortunately, now you are hiding them, holding them. You are wondering what I will think of you. You are afraid that I will take you as the worst possible creature. Your Master only thinks badly of you when you want to hide these things.”

So this was the spiritual Master’s answer. During the day, when the disciple was praying and meditating, these forces were hiding. But when the disciple was in front of the Master, that is the time these forces were trying to make his life miserable. They were trying to make the disciple feel that the Master was thinking low of him. What kinds of rogues these hostile forces are!

It is the Master’s bounden duty to be of service to the Supreme inside the particular seeker. They will work together. But a third party, the hostile force, wants to come and separate them and make the disciple feel how horrible he is so that he will become disgusted with his spiritual life and say, “O Master, I have prayed and meditated for so many years and still you have not cured this problem. I have not made any progress. Why then do I need you, Master?” This is how they want to break the relationship between the Master and the disciple.

Question: Spiritual Masters come to transform the world. Do the wrong forces in the world at large deliberately challenge a spiritual Master?

Sri Chinmoy: The spiritual Master represents light, while these wrong forces represent darkness. The spiritual Master has come into the world to change the nature of darkness. So from the point of view of these wrong forces, the spiritual Master is an enemy.

Ignorance is saying, “I am fast asleep. I am enjoying my life as it is.” A spiritual Master will say to ignorance, “You can see the light, but you are ignoring it.” Then ignorance says to the spiritual Master, “You stay with light. My darkness is my light.”

Idle people do not do anything, but they are seeing in their idleness, in their laziness, their light. In that way, they are satisfied. Spiritual Masters are sent by God, they are commissioned by the Highest. God tells them, “You go and awaken the sleeping humanity.” So spiritual Masters try to transform untold lives with their love, affection and light.

Ignorance forces feel that if they can come and attack and conquer the spiritual Master, then they will be able to enjoy their rest. If they can destroy the spiritual Master, then they will be able to continue their supremacy. The spiritual Master, on his part, believes that if he can transform ignorance, then it will be for the betterment of the whole world. This is the difference. The spiritual Master cares for the good of the world, whereas ignorance cares only for its own supremacy.

Question: Sometimes, when you get called for a special inner problem, I have observed you touching your third eye. I am curious as to what you are doing at this time.

Sri Chinmoy: I do not need to tap my third eye in order to open it up! No, it is not like that. I am not playing tabla on my forehead! I place my will-power there and immediately my third eye opens up. But sometimes if I have to enter with my physical body into the gross physical world — not the vital world or the psychic world — in order to do something, then I do it. I am going from the physical to the physical. Again, if I massage my third eye all of a sudden, those who are around me will be more attentive. They will think, “O my God, Guru is doing something serious inwardly,” which is true. Then they will be more alert. They will try to be more careful or conscious. That also helps me. Otherwise, they will be talking and moving around.

Question: Can you turn off all your inner vision faculties and just see the world as we mere mortals see it? Or do you constantly see all these other layers all at once?

Sri Chinmoy: Spiritual Masters can see them all at once. It is like what you call bleachers. The first, second, third, fourth rows and so on are all at different heights. If you want to cover them all at once, you can. Again, if those who are in the fourth row are more receptive, then the Master has to pay more attention to them.

Usually I am doing more than one thing at a time. Even when I am on stage during my concerts, I go from one plane to another. I am going up, up, up. If I see that one particular plane is more receptive, then when I am coming down, I go there. I hold my consciousness at that place for a few seconds so that I can give more. Sometimes two planes will offer so much receptivity. They do not have to be on the physical plane. My subtle consciousness has gone much higher than the level you are on when you are seated on the chair. At that time, I will not see even an iota of darkness because I am embodying the light and I am seeing this light reflected all around, like in a mirror. When I am in my highest, absolutely no world darkness can enter into me or be near me.

Then I try to be of service to the audience. I am bringing down light and here somebody will be receptive and twenty metres further away somebody else will be receptive. You cannot say that all the people in one area will be receptive — no, no, no. One will be receptive and five or six will be in a very unaspiring consciousness. The ones who are sincere and aspiring will definitely feel something. For those two or three minutes when I stand up before we start and again after I finish the concert, I try to give so much, so much, especially to people who are praying and meditating sincerely from the beginning to the end. They receive so much.

Then the question is, “How do you know they receive? How do you know that you are getting any result from your concerts?” Spiritual Masters know these things occultly. I know that the inspiration, joy and love that I pour into so many human beings lasts. The audience members start to value their own spirituality. They do not have to value the light they felt in me, no. They value, plus they create and develop, their own inner hunger to pray to God, to meditate on God. For two weeks or three months or even much longer they try to become a good person. Previously perhaps it was out of the question for them to pray to God. They had their own life, smoking, drinking and so forth. But when they attend the concert, they get a kind of fresh inspiration. That inspiration or light that has entered into them takes positive action. After some time, they may again return to their former lives, but they get an opportunity to become a better, more divine person. So that is the help that we give to them.

Question: Do you suffer when the disciples inwardly offer you their thoughts and problems?

Sri Chinmoy: If the disciples offer me their doubts, fears, worries, anxieties, lower vital thoughts and so forth, I am very happy because I can play the role of the ocean. You are the drops. You may feel, “I am such an ugly, filthy drop.” But I represent the ocean. I can absorb all your thoughts and problems. The struggle starts when you try to hold onto those thoughts.

Some people want to prove how pure they are. When they do not offer me their thoughts, it becomes much harder for me. When they give them to me, it becomes my responsibility because I am the ocean. But if the drops want to hold onto those thoughts, then it becomes more difficult.

Let us take the example of children. Some children do not want to take a shower or bath. When the hour comes, they hide from their parents. If they come near the parents, they are afraid the parents will say, “You are so dirty!” Eventually the parents force them to take a bath or shower and they do it very reluctantly. Then the children do get some joy. But the fact is that they get much more joy if they take a bath themselves than if the parents force them. Sometimes they want to do what is good, but they do not want to be dictated to. In their mind they have decided they will do the right thing, but the moment the parents ask them, they revolt. The egos of the children come forward. They do not want the parents to get the credit. So if they can do it on their own, they get much more joy than when they are forced to do the right thing.

Here also, a spiritual Master can compel the wrong forces in somebody to come forward. He can just grab the wrong forces and take them, but then you will not get the same joy. If you do something on your own, you will get much more joy.

Tagore wrote one very nice poem in which Mother Earth says to God, “God, You can do everything in the twinkling of an eye. You can sow the seed and let it germinate. Then it will become a huge plant, a tree.”

God replies, “Yes, I can do everything. But if you garden, if you dig for a few hours and then put a little seed in the ground and watch it germinate in the course of time, then you will be able to tell the whole world, ‘Look! I worked so hard. Now I have got the results.’”

Personal effort gives us tremendous joy. Parents can force the children to do the right thing, but children will get much more joy if they do it on their own. Otherwise, there is every possibility that they will revolt.

If somebody gives you a mango, you get so much joy. But if you know how to climb up the tree and pluck the mango yourself, you are bound to get infinitely more joy. When you do something personally, you get more joy always.

If you can get up on your own at six o’clock in the morning to pray and meditate, you will be so happy. But if your parents have to push you or your friends have to wake you up, yes, you will meditate, but you will not get the same joy because you were helped by a third party. Sometimes you may even become annoyed. On the one hand, you want to get up but, on the other hand, you do not want others to interfere.

To come back to your question, when you give your wrong thoughts to the spiritual Master on your own, it is much easier for him to help you transform them. When you hold back, he is compelled to act like a parent who is forcing the children to do the right thing, but you do not get the same joy.

Question: Recently it happened twice that I knew in advance what you were going to say. Once I saw someone going out of the room and I felt that you would call her for some reason. A few seconds later you asked for that disciple. Then another time I knew in advance that you were going to offer somebody their spiritual name. I was wondering, is this intuition or is it tapping into something?

Sri Chinmoy: You are on the verge of realising God! [laughter] Actually it can be both. It can be intuition, or it can mean that at that point you have come to my wavelength. That level may not be my highest, but whichever level I was on, your consciousness was there so you were able to see what was happening. Had you been one level higher or lower, you could not have seen.

In a broad sense, you can say these things are intuition, but I prefer to say that your consciousness was at that time elevated to a particular plane. On a practical level, a real level, it is the level of consciousness. It is where I have put my consciousness that I want to operate on. Your consciousness happened to be there. So it is the same wavelength. That is why you were able to see.

Question: Is it you doing that?

Sri Chinmoy: No, at that time you have to feel that I am not doing it. At that time, your consciousness, your heart, were extremely receptive. When you are receptive, then one of my beings will try to show you something that I am going to do on the physical plane in the immediate future. Your receptivity has touched my heart, so my heart is trying to give you a kind of reward. In a particular way, I am doing something new, something special for you. But I have to give credit to your receptivity to start with. If you were not receptive, I could not have taken you to that level. It is a very, very good experience.

Question: When we have an intense problem, is it better to pray to God to save us or should we concentrate on bringing in the opposite quality?

Sri Chinmoy: When you want an immediate result, at that time it is the right thing to do to pray to God, “Save me, save me, save me! Protect me!” But on a regular basis, it is better to offer the prayer, “O Supreme, do give me Your Light, give me Your Love, Your Peace, Your Delight.” The regular way will remain permanently. If you pray for these divine qualities regularly, then doubt will not remain inside you, insecurity will not be there, darkness will not be there.

Once you get a sudden attack, it is an emergency. Then it is absolutely necessary to say, “Help me, help me! Save me, save me!” That is the only way to get immediate relief. But on a daily basis, if you pray to the Supreme for His Protection, Love, Joy and so forth, you will be cured.

So one way will cure you, slowly and steadily, and the other way will save you, sooner than at once. Then again, you can have the same problem in the future, whereas if you are cured, the problem will not be repeated.

Question: Sometimes the customers in my restaurant think that I can read their minds because I identify with them so much. I assure them that I do not read their minds. It just happens.

Sri Chinmoy: It is a matter of identification. Your identification with me is now transferred to your customers. If you did not keep your identification with me directly, you could not have read their minds. Your connection with me was established before you were able to read their minds. If it is cut, the link is snapped, then you will not be able to read their minds or their hearts. Because your connection is established with the source, then easily you can read their minds.

Question: When you see us, if we have doubt or insecurity or any wrong forces or good forces, is it a matter of seeing something in our aura or are you seeing our thoughts or are you seeing the actual forces in us? How is it that you read our consciousness?

Sri Chinmoy: To start with, I am not reading, I am not reading. I am not eager, I am not even curious to know what is happening inside your mind. That I do on very, very rare occasions. In general, I will not. Most of the time what happens is that the flower inside you is trying to show me, “Look, now I am no longer blooming, I am blossomed. This petal is fully blossomed, that petal is fully blossomed.” Five or six different petals you are showing me. I am the seer, I am witnessing, but in no way am I trying to force you to show me or am I curious to know what you have inside you.

When a child has something, at that time the father does not say, “Can you show me what you have?” No, the child is so eager to show the father that he comes running, “Look! I have this, I have this.” In the same way, when my spiritual children have something very beautiful inside them, they are eager to show me. But I am not begging them, “Tell me what you have or what you are doing or what you have in your mind.” No. But you are coming like a little child to show the spiritual father, “Look, look, I have such beautiful things to show you.” Then I will appreciate them. After I have appreciated them, I will say, “I am so happy that you are satisfied, but again, in a few days or a few months or a few years, you will have much more beautiful things.”

So, on my part, I am in no way eager or anxious to know what is happening inside you. When we come to a certain height, we are not eager to know what is happening in somebody’s brain. Disciples can be eager to know what is inside the spiritual Master’s mind, whether he is thinking of them or not, but he is not eager to know in that way. The spiritual Master’s attitude is, “If you have something, then you can come and show me.” Then, as I said before, you get the joy because on your own you have come to show the Master what you have. Your eagerness has to compel the Master. He is not going to say, “Show me if you have something inside you worth watching or worth having.” I am not going to examine anybody’s thoughts. It is the disciple’s bounden duty to give and take. Whatever you are, whatever you have, you give me, and whatever you want to take, take, take, take. I am ready.

This is called openness of the heart, openness of life. When you are open, then you increase the receptivity of your inner vessel. When the father sees the child running towards him with a dime, the father is overjoyed. The child could have gone and bought something from the street, but instead he came running to his dearest, to his father, to show what he has. Then the father says, “My child is so happy with a dime. I want to increase his joy. I will give him a dollar.”

Always if you give what you have and what you are, even if it is a drop, then when the Master gives, he gives much more. When the little child came running to the father early in the morning to show him what he had, the father was so pleased because he saw that he was the child’s dearest. We do not go to our enemy to show what we have.

So that is the answer to your question. If I have to spend time on what is happening in this person’s mind or that person’s mind, then I am only wasting my time. Again, if the disciple wants to know, not out of sheer mental curiosity but out of oneness, what is happening inside the spiritual Master, then there is a way. With your love, devotion and surrender, you can enter into the Master’s heart. Then definitely you will see and feel what is inside his heart, what is inside his consciousness. Out of curiosity, if you want to see, you will get nothing. But out of oneness-necessity if you want, at that time necessity will compel you to bring your love, devotion and surrender to the fore.

Preserve silence, silence, silence4

Silence prevails. Sound ultimately fails. I shall tell you a funny story. Some of you perhaps have heard it, but most of you have not. This story happened when I was eight or nine years old. Because of the second World War, nobody knew what would happen next. So my brother Chitta went to the market and bought rice and dhal and other things in a very large quantity. He and I were standing at a particular place in the market. We were not selling anything. Only we were standing there.

My brother was reciting passages from the Upanishads, sacred mantras. I heard these mantras many, many times when I was a small child, but at that time I did not pay much attention because I was restlessness incarnate. Only four or five years later, when I was in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, my restlessness completely disappeared and I was the one to recite them loudly thousands of times, sometimes millions of times.

Anyway, my brother was reciting most soulfully. All on a sudden, a middle-aged man came up to us and he started screaming at my brother, “Your father borrowed money from me, and he has passed away. Now who is going to give me the money back? You! You have to give me the money.”

This man happened to be the manager of a circus. Why would my father borrow money from the manager of a circus? My brother did not pay any attention to the man and his shouting became loud, louder, loudest. He was almost ready to strike my brother. I was getting so annoyed that I was about to do something. But then the man suddenly left. I continued pumping my football with a pump. Then I was ready to go.

In ten or twelve minutes’ time, the man came back. Once again, my brother did not pay any attention to him. On his part, there was only silence, silence. The man came and fell flat at my brother’s feet. This time he was not shouting but crying. Why? My brother did not have to return any money. It was this man who had borrowed money from my father! He thought my brother would ask him for the money, but my brother was not even aware of it. My brother knew nothing about it. When the man saw the saintly qualities of my brother, his conscience came to the fore. Then he had to come back and beg for forgiveness. He said, “I was the one to borrow money from your father. But I do not have any means to return the money.”

My brother again remained silent. He did not say a word. Then the man went away. He knew that my brother was not paying any attention to him.

So here you can see how silence acts. As much as you can, try to preserve silence, silence, silence. In the beginning, the barking dogs disturb us so much. But when we have poise, inner poise, the barking dogs surrender. Quite often we are advised by our Inner Pilot that when people bite us ruthlessly, we cannot come down to their level to bite them. There should be some difference between a dog biting and a man biting. The very nature of a dog is to bark and bite. But, after some time, the dogs stop biting because their ego starts operating. It is beneath their dignity to bark when the man is not responding.

I have said many times how we can know whether it is a friend or an enemy who is knocking at the door. The friend will knock a few times, and the friend will think, “He is doing something important. Otherwise, he would have definitely opened the door for me. He has such love for me, I have such love for him.” Then the friend will wait patiently.

The enemy will knock hard for a few minutes. Then the enemy’s ego will come to the fore and he will say, “It is beneath my dignity to knock at his door. Who needs him? I will have nothing to do with him.”

So the enemy disappears, but the friend stays because the friend knows there is something important going on inside. That is why you are not opening the door.

A fly sits on your hand and you brush it away. Then it comes back and again you brush it away. Twenty or thirty times it returns. Then you decide that you want to compose a beautiful song or you want to write something. You cannot pay attention to those flies. What happens? You see that the flies have all disappeared. Why? It is their inborn ego. You are not paying any attention to them, so why do they have to stay?

Enemies always try to draw attention by hook or by crook. When you ignore, ignore, ignore, these enemies disappear. They go and knock at somebody else’s door. When you pay attention to them, it only creates more problems.

So silence is the answer. That is also the theme of my famous story, Silence Liberates.

SCA 1275. On 25 December 2002, in Christchurch, New Zealand, Sri Chinmoy was inspired to speak about the importance of silence after one disciple read out her poem entitled Silence.

Mantras are not the sole monopoly of Sanskrit5

There was a time when my ignorance-ocean thought that mantras could be written only in Sanskrit. Ignorance vast was my name. Then, when I read and studied Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri, wisdom dawned on me. I came to realise that mantras can be created in English as well. My wisdom increased when I read the lines of some well-known English poets. To my great surprise and joy, English poets have definitely created mantras. About other languages, forgive me, I do not speak those languages, so I have no right to say. I am sure that other languages also have offered mantras.

Now I know that mantras are not the sole monopoly of Sanskrit or the sole monopoly of English. They can be the most divine wealth of each and every language.

Our Lord Beloved Absolute Supreme, out of His infinite Bounty, has created thousands of soul-stirring, heart-elevating and life-awakening mantras, incantations, in English, in and through your Master.

SCA 1276. Sri Chinmoy offered these comments on English mantras on 29 December 2002, in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Part IV

These birds are a new creation, the creation that will sing the song of Immortality in the life of mortality6

My Lord Beloved Supreme, my life is fast approaching my 62nd birthday. Today I am offering 62,000 soul-birds from the depths of my gratitude-heart to You, to You, my Lord Beloved Supreme.

Each bird embodies a prayerful and soulful heartbeat of my earthly existence. May all the birds that I have offered to You fly in the Sky of Your ever-expanding Compassion for the progress of humanity. Humanity’s progress entirely depends on peace, and this peace is Your unconditional boon to mankind.

My Lord, like the birds, may all human beings sleeplessly and breathlessly fly in Your Compassion, Protection and Perfection-flooded Sky.

To each of you who has worked on this project, I am giving my heart of gratitude. God alone knows whether I will draw more or not, but the joy that these 62,000 birds have given me will remain deathless in my heart. How self-givingly you have helped me in exhibiting these 62,000 drawings! These birds are all flying, flying in the boundless sky of freedom and peace. My Lord Beloved Supreme will shower you all with His boundless Love, boundless Joy and boundless Pride. As a matter of fact, He is already doing it.

These birds are a new creation, the creation that will sing the song of Immortality in the life of mortality. Each bird that we see flying in the sky around us is the self-giving Heartbeat of our Lord Supreme.

Right now my spirituality-world is not giving joy to the entire aspiring mankind. But my art-world, especially my birds, will be able to give joy to each and every human being on earth. Whether or not you believe in the existence of these soul-birds, whether or not you believe these souls are direct representatives of God, these birds will be able to make each and every human being happy — consciously happy, illuminingly happy and fulfillingly happy. These bird-drawings will be able to give joy to each and every human being.

Even in the case of my disciples, from time to time some of you do not get joy from reading my books. But, I assure you, these birds and my other paintings will give you joy any hour of the day or night. The joy, the ecstasy, the delight which they have and they are have a free access to your heart of aspiration and your life of dedication. If at times your aspiration goes down, no harm. These birds will bring your aspiration back to the fore.

I do hope in this lifetime of mine or yours that one day all the birds can be preserved or at least exhibited either in a museum or in a special big hall. It will be a memorable contribution to the world at large from me and from my disciples all over the world.

I have created these birds with my inspiration, and these birds are creating me with their aspiration. I know it and I want all of you to know it and feel it. I want all of you to grow into the beauty, divinity and immortality of these birds that are direct representatives and genuine embodiments of the Immortal Divine within us.

SCA 1277. Sri Chinmoy made these remarks on 3 July 1993, at Aspiration-Ground, at a celebration to mark his completion of 62,000 bird-drawings.

This is the supreme secret: the more you think of your soul, the faster you can make progress7

In silence you will say only two words while you are meditating: ‘Supreme’ and Jharna-Kala. Please feel that you are bringing down the highest Blessings from our Lord Beloved Supreme into the soul, into the heart and into the life of Jharna-Kala.

We have completed 70,000 birds. I have given them the name: My Heart’s Seventy Thousand Soul-Bird-Flights. While looking at the birds, please feel that you yourself are a bird; you are your soul-bird flying in the Sky of infinite Freedom, infinite Light, infinite Peace and infinite Bliss. The soul is the only reality. Everything else is false.

When I complete 100,000 birds, by your grace, we shall give a banquet. We shall celebrate the birthdays of 100,000 birds.

Every bird gives me tremendous joy. In a few seconds I draw it, and immediately I get joy, for a new creation has come to serve God, who is our Lord Supreme. When you look at them, think that these birds have come down all the way from Heaven to be of service to our Lord Supreme. This will help you to imagine your own soul, which is Immortality’s representative on earth, and to feel that your own soul has also come from Heaven to serve your Beloved Supreme.

The more you think of your soul, the more progress you will be able to make here on earth. This is the supreme secret: the more you think of your soul, the faster you can make progress. And these birds embody the soul-consciousness in full measure.

SCA 1278. Sri Chinmoy made these remarks on 18 July 1993, at Aspiration-Ground during a celebration to mark his completion of 70,000 bird-drawings.

Like a fountain offer your aspiration and dedication spontaneously and sleeplessly

Supreme’s 100,000 Dream-Freedom-Peace-Birds CKG Sept. 26th, 1993

Just yesterday I completed 100,000 bird-drawings. Each bird is a God-messenger on earth. Each bird is a God-dream on earth. Each bird carries a human being to the Golden Shore. These 100,000 birds will be exhibited in Ottawa during the whole month of November.

Nineteen years ago, I started drawing, or you can say painting, in Ottawa. In Canada we started, on that glorious day! Again in Canada we shall continue with our glorious achievements. The 19th of November will be the 19th anniversary of our paintings. In Ottawa 100,000 birds will be exhibited, and I shall be dedicating the art exhibit to my most esteemed sister Raisa Maximovna, who is a supreme authority on art. Also, a year ago, she most graciously came and blessed our art exhibit in New York. I dedicated that art exhibit to her.

We are more than human beings. We are carrying the message of the Lord Supreme. This message is the message of freedom, the message of peace, the message of oneness. Dream is the source. From dream we get freedom, from freedom we get peace and from freedom we fly in the sky like the birds, we fly in the firmament of peace and bliss. On the strength of our aspiration-wings, at every moment we must fly high, higher, highest in the firmament of oneness, peace and bliss.

Today I am requesting all of you to come, appreciate and be part and parcel of my fountain-art. Like a fountain, if you can offer your aspiration and dedication spontaneously, sleeplessly, then there is absolute certainty that we shall be able to please our Lord Beloved Supreme in His own Way.

SCA 1279. Sri Chinmoy made these remarks on 26 September 1993, at Aspiration-Ground, at a celebration to mark his completion of 100,000 bird-drawings. Sri Chinmoy wrote on the blackboard. Supreme’s 100,000 Dream-Freedom-Peace-Birds. CKG Sept. 26th, 1993

Part V

Clear the way and then walk, march, run and sprint — that is meditation8

Let us start our programme with a short story. There were two friends. They were very, very, very, very dear friends. One day, God alone knows why, they had to make fun of each other.

One friend said, “Look at your shoulders! Look at your neck! Your whole body is twisted. For forty years you have been walking, and you find on the way pennies, nickels and some material objects. These things are almost useless, but for you everything is useful. You have bent down, bent down, for forty years. Every day, morning and evening, you go out for a walk and look what you have done to your body, to your health!”

Then the other friend said, “What have you done? When you walk, you just enter into another world. When you walk, you look into the sky and enjoy mental hallucination. Your mind is just roaming here and there. In my case, I am concentrating. Each time I bend, I concentrate and pick up a penny or a nickel. Then I have got something. I have accumulated so much money over the years by collecting and collecting. In your case, what have you got to show? You have only fooled yourself by looking into the sky. Your mind was just roaming.”

The first friend objected, “No, my mind was not roaming. I was meditating.”

So the two friends went to God to ask Him to be the Judge. The first one who accused his friend said to God, “Is it not a sheer waste of time? He has collected a vast quantity of nickels and pennies and other earthly objects, but these are all useless. For this, he has ruined his health by bending and bending and bending.”

God kept quiet. Then God asked the other friend what he had to say. The second friend said, “God, I have not destroyed my health. By examining the pavement, I have developed occult power. It has come from my concentration.”

The first friend said, “God, I was not fooling myself for forty years. I have been meditating while I was looking into the sky and at the beautiful flowers. Now I have become the vastness of the sky and the beauty and fragrance of the flowers and trees.”

Now God had heard both sides. One said he had developed occult power and the other said he had developed spiritual power.

God was supposed to say who had done the right thing. First God had to tell them whether they had actually developed occult power and spiritual power by looking at the ground with one-pointed concentration or by looking at the sky and trees and so forth.

God said, “Both of you are right. One has gained occult power and one has gained spiritual power.”

Then both of them began bragging once again. The first friend said, “My spiritual power is far better than your occult power,” and the second friend said, “My occult power is far better than your spiritual power.”

Once again, God had to be the Judge. God said, “When you have to concentrate, you get occult power. You throw away all earthly thoughts until there is no thought, nothing, and then occult power comes. And when you enter into vastness, you get spiritual power. Both are needed.”

At this point, the friend who had developed occult power interrupted God. He said, “I cannot agree with You. Please say that mine is more important. Occult power means that immediately I can do something. If something has happened, I can immediately go and save the person.”

The other friend said, “God, many times when my friend wants to save people with occult power, he does it so hurriedly that instead of curing the person, he can even kill the person because it is done so hurriedly. Whereas, I go slowly, slowly, steadily and with utmost confidence. When I cure them, it is a real cure. I do not kill anybody. But he misuses his occult power. There is a great tendency for the occultist to misuse his power. But people who have spiritual power on very rare occasions misuse it. Perhaps one out of a million times they can make a mistake, whereas occultists can make mistakes in season and out of season.”

God agreed with the first friend to some extent. He said, “True, occult power can be of immediate use, but in occult power there is again another problem. It is so powerful that there is some restlessness involved. You do everything fast, fast, fast. But spiritual power has so much vastness inside. It is already peaceful, silent, calm and quiet. As I said before, both occult power and spiritual power are needed. If you want spiritual power, you have to meditate by looking at the sky, but do not be absorbed. Meditate in such a way that you have become vastness, without fooling yourself. Become the vastness, beauty and fragrance.”

Then God said to the occultist, “When you walk, you have to look at the ground to develop occult power. But you have to be very careful. If you concentrate for a long time and it is beyond your capacity, if you do not have enough receptivity, then you can have some problems with your brain. If you have the power of concentration for five minutes and if you are concentrating for fifteen minutes intensely, then you will be in trouble. You may develop something wrong. Concentration has that problem after fifteen minutes or half an hour, if you do it very intensely, looking at a very small object. But meditation does not have that problem. In meditation, you are looking at the vastness and entering into the vastness, but the vastness will not turn you insane. True, while meditating you can fall asleep. What result will you get then? Nothing. If you are not fully alert while you are meditating, then you may enjoy sleep and you will get no result.

“When you concentrate you have to know how much you can concentrate. For how long? Five minutes, fifteen minutes or half an hour? More than that, if you want to concentrate at a stretch very deeply, very intensely, something may happen. If you are concentrating beyond your capacity, then you can have some serious problem inside your forehead, or inside your brain. Again, if you are fully alert, for five minutes, ten minutes or half an hour you can meditate. But if you are completely in another world and you are only fooling yourself that you are meditating, then it is no good. Here also, beyond your capacity if you meditate, you will find yourself in trouble.

“In a family, if one has mastered concentration and if another one has mastered meditation, they have to work together. If they want to do something, they have to establish friendship. The one who has spiritual power and the one who has occult power have to establish their friendship. They are members of the same family. They have to act like two brothers. When anything happens, they have to work harmoniously. Sometimes, unfortunately, an occultist wants to save someone, but a spiritual person feels that if he saves that person or helps that person it will be wrong. For some inner reason, God may want to give a particular experience to that person. In this case, the person who has spiritual power has more wisdom. The one who has occult power goes very fast because his heart is there. But the one who has spiritual power has more wisdom. He waits for God’s Command. The one who has occult power quite often does not wait, he does not consult God. You can say that he shows off. He just goes to help to show that he has the capacity. But the other one has time at his disposal. He discusses the case with God and takes permission from God before he acts. Somehow he takes approval from God to do it.

“According to Sri Ramakrishna and others, the one who can meditate most successfully is more in tune with God’s Will than the one who has occult power. The occultist develops intensity but union with God’s Will he does not have all the time. He does not care for that. But the one who has spiritual power always tries to be in tune with God’s Will.

“So occult power and spiritual power have to go together. If it is God’s Will, the occultist will play his role for immediate help and the spiritual one will play his role for a permanent cure. It does not have to be a disease. If somebody’s consciousness has gone low, at that time the occultist has to go and raise the consciousness a little higher and the spiritual one will go to keep it permanently high or even to raise it higher.

“So both the brothers must go together — the occult power holder and the spiritual power holder must go together.”

This story came because the other day in Oslo, early in the morning, I came out of the hotel. Thirty metres I was going for a haircut. I saw an American penny on the ground. Some American had dropped it. It was very new and bright. I said, “I do not need this penny.”

Five steps I took and then I said, “I have no sympathy for this poor little penny! Perhaps it wants me to pick it up.”

So I went back to the place. When I bent down, I got such a severe cramp in my right leg. I asked myself, “Now which one is better? Is it because I neglected to pick up the penny that I am being punished or is it because of my stupidity that I came back?” So this debate went on.

Then I came to realise that I should have taken it the very first time. I got the curse of this penny because I neglected it. So any material wealth if you see it and if you disrespect it, you have to know that these material objects have their own power. It is not a matter of seeing a dime and putting it in your pocket, no.

We have to take it that these coins get tremendous joy when we pick them up. We are all spiritual people. When we see some coins, we pick them up. But if it is a very large amount of money, we must be sincere and go to the police station or somewhere and try to give the money back. But for a quarter or a dime or a nickel or a penny, what will you do?

From this experience, I said, “Now let me have concentration and meditation.” So here today on Father’s Day I am saying, try to do both concentration and meditation. Concentration clears the road. Otherwise, many, many thoughts come — unhealthy, uncomely thoughts. They can destroy everything. Whereas, when meditation is successful, thoughts can come, but they do not disturb us. They are like a flight of birds. The sky is so vast that these birds cannot do anything. They cannot scratch the skies. Inside the mind, there is a vast sky. When we meditate, if thoughts come, they cannot damage the mind. Whereas, during concentration time, if wrong thoughts come and if you do not concentrate intensely, then you cannot proceed to meditation. So they go side by side, concentration and meditation. If you can concentrate for five minutes and clear the road, then you will be able to run very fast during your meditation.

When you come here to Aspiration-Ground, first try to concentrate for a few minutes — three minutes or five minutes or ten minutes — then enter into meditation. Otherwise, if you try to meditate right from the start, it does not work. Only spiritual Masters and very, very highly developed spiritual seekers can jump into meditation immediately, after a few seconds. But for ordinary seekers, it is always advisable to concentrate a little so that you can conquer the thought-world. Then you can go beyond the thought-world and meditation comes. So all of you kindly try to concentrate for a few minutes when you come here to Aspiration-Ground. Then meditate. That is the right thing to do. Clear the way and then walk, march, run and sprint. That is meditation.

SCA 1280. Sri Chinmoy made these remarks on 17 June 2001, at Aspiration-Ground, during a special programme to celebrate Father's Day.

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