Sri Chinmoy answers, part 4

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Part I

SCA 114-124. On 2 April 1989 Sri Chinmoy was invited to meditate with the nuns and Mother Superior of the Benedictine Monastery Heiligenkreuz in Cham, near Zug, Switzerland. Afterwards, he answered their questions. This is a transcript of that question-and-answer session.

After the meditation at Heiligenkreuz Monastery

Sri Chinmoy: From the depths of my heart I wish to offer my most soulful gratitude to the Mother Superior and to the Sisters of this convent for having given me this blessingful opportunity to pray and meditate at their most beautiful and soulful chapel.

Mother Superior: This reminds me of my visit to South Korea, where we also have Sisters. We had contacts with Buddhist monks and we tried to be one in meditation together.

Question: How can we better manifest the peace and joy that we feel in meditation in our day-to-day life?

Sri Chinmoy: From our prayer and meditation we get solid peace, joy and love. If we can see God the Creator and God the creation as one, if we can feel the same Father inside each and every heart, we will claim the whole world as our own. Then naturally we will be inspired to offer our brothers and sisters the peace, joy and love that we have received from Above. The joy and peace that we receive from the Supreme we can offer to the Supreme in others through our dedicated and selfless service.

Question: What is the difference between prayer and meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: When we pray, we ask for and receive something good and divine: God’s Protection, Compassion, Love and Blessings. But when we meditate, we become those very things. We get God’s Compassion, God’s Love and so forth from Above and assimilate them. Once we become these things, it is our bounden duty to give them to our sisters and brothers in the world. But we cannot give unless we first become. Both prayer and meditation are equally necessary. When we pray, we receive; when we meditate, we become. Then, once we become, we claim God the creation as our own and give back to God the creation everything that we have received from God the Creator.

It is like going to a garden and picking some beautiful flowers. We place these flowers on the altar and pray to Lord Jesus Christ. While we are praying, the fragrance and divinity of the flowers enter into us and, in the depths of our heart, we become this fragrance and divinity. Afterwards, when we go out on the street, people see and feel something in us — although they may not know what it is. And what they see and feel in us they also receive from us. When they see us, they enter into our heart-garden, where they also can get the beauty and fragrance of these most beautiful flowers.

Question: I would like to know your opinion about Jesus Christ.

Sri Chinmoy: I have the utmost love and devotion for the Saviour Christ. The Father is in Heaven and the Son, who represents humanity, is on earth. Again, the Son said, “I and my Father are one.” So, this moment, when the Christ’s consciousness is with humanity, he is the Son; and the next moment, when the Christ becomes one with his Father, he is the Absolute Father — the omnipotent God, who is the Lord of the Universe.

I am an Indian, but I have the same God that you have. He is not the God of Switzerland or of India but the Lord of the universe. So when Christ the Saviour becomes inseparably one with the omnipotent God, he is none other than my Father in Heaven, and my prayer and meditation — like everybody else’s — are going to him. Again, when he is one with humanity, when he is praying and meditating with us and teaching us how to grow into our own highest divinity, at that time I feel that he is like a brother lifting me up to the Father. But when he is in his own highest consciousness — inseparably one with the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Supreme — at that time I feel that he is the Lord of the universe.

It depends on my own consciousness how I approach him: as the one who lived on earth for 33 years or as the one who has existed for all Eternity. This moment I get tremendous joy when I claim him as the Son and feel that he has become one with crying humanity. The next moment I get tremendous joy in seeing him as Lord of the universe, inseparably one with the Father.

Question: What do you say about the Holy Spirit?

Sri Chinmoy: I take the Holy Spirit as the connecting link between the Father and the Son. On the one hand, the Holy Spirit represents earth’s climbing cry. This climbing cry from the depths of the Son’s heart passes through the Son and carries him to the Father. Again, the Holy Spirit is also Heaven’s descending Smile. It brings the Father’s highest Consciousness down to the Son’s earthly consciousness. The Father and Son are being united by the Holy Spirit.

Question: What is the spiritual meaning of the colour blue?

Sri Chinmoy: From the spiritual point of view, the colour blue has several meanings. First of all, blue signifies the vastness of Infinity. Human beings are full of worry, jealousy, fear, doubt and various other negative qualities, which constantly bind us. At the same time, deep within us we have vastness. When we look at the vast sky or the vast ocean, we feel our own inner vastness. Through prayer and meditation we are able to free ourselves from our fears, worries and other limitations and become one with the vastness inside ourselves.

Blue can also be the predominant colour of a person’s aura. Each human being has an aura. It is through our aura that we manifest our divinity. Ordinary people who do not pray and meditate have only one aura. But people who pray and meditate and become spiritually developed are blessed by God with more than one aura.

I have been praying and meditating since my childhood. So God, out of His infinite Compassion, has blessed me with quite a few auras. But the most important and most significant aura, in my case, is blue. It is through this colour in particular that I offer my peace, joy, love and goodwill to mankind.

Question: Did you grow up as a Christian or as a Hindu?

Sri Chinmoy: Up until the age of eleven, I was raised as a Hindu. Then I went to a spiritual community where I prayed and meditated most sincerely and soulfully. After a few years, I went beyond the boundaries of any one particular religion and said, “Now I have only my sincere love of God.”

Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam and all the other religions are like houses. Everybody is born in a particular house. But after a time we leave our house and go out into the world and mix with our brothers and sisters. If anybody now asks me what my religion is, I will not say Hinduism. I will say that my religion is my constant, conscious and sleepless love of God. Our love of God is the living breath in us, and that is the one universal religion.

Question: In that case, is Christ like a prophet or somebody like Gandhi for you?

Sri Chinmoy: The Christ and Gandhi cannot be put on the same footing; they cannot even be pronounced in the same breath. Gandhi was a leader of suffering India, a saint; the Christ is the Saviour of the whole world. To compare the Christ and Gandhi is like comparing the ocean with a single drop of water.

For me, Krishna, the Buddha, the Christ and a few others are all one; only they go by different names. More than seven thousand years ago, God sent His son to earth and called him Krishna. Then, after some time, He sent the same son to earth and called him the Buddha. About two thousand years ago, He again sent His son to earth and called Him the Christ. But they are absolutely one. Only they came at different times to save and uplift the consciousness of mankind. The Heavenly Father sent them down to carry humanity to His highest Height.

Question: Do you believe in reincarnation?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I do believe in reincarnation. God wants us to realise Him. God wants us to be perfect. But in one incarnation we cannot realise the Highest or become perfect. Thirty or forty years ago, let us say, we had so many desires. Then we entered into the life of aspiration and started praying and meditating. At first we had a very small amount of peace, joy and love. Gradually these increased. At the same time, our desires began to leave us. We started decreasing our desires and increasing our aspiration for light, peace and other divine qualities. But this process cannot be completed in a single lifetime. In order to realise God and become perfect, we have to come back to earth many, many times. That is why reincarnation is necessary.

Question: It is the Christian belief that because Christ died on the Cross, we will all reach salvation after our death. What is your view of this?

Sri Chinmoy: When the Christ was on the cross, he became inseparably one with humanity’s suffering, bondage and ignorance, and these things he carried to the highest world. At that time humanity was at a particular stage of development. But the creation has not stopped; God is still creating. As long as creation is taking place, ignorance continues to reappear.

When we speak of God granting us salvation, we are speaking of salvation from sin. Let us say that we have got salvation and we no longer have sin. But that is not enough, for sin is not the only wrong force that we have inside us. It is only one aspect of ignorance. We have many bad qualities, and they all need to be transformed into good qualities. We have to grow from our earthbound desire-life into the vastness of our real Self. For this, we have to be completely liberated from ignorance. In our philosophy, we do not use the word ‘sin’ at all. We speak only of bondage or ignorance. Because we have ignorance, we have to pray and meditate so that Christ’s Consciousness will descend into us and liberate us.

Mother Superior: Tomorrow you are going to see our Federal Councillor, Flavio Cotti. As a final question, I would like to know if you are going there as a private person or as a spiritual leader.

Sri Chinmoy: I am not going there as a spiritual leader. I am a student of peace. Wherever I go, I try to offer the lessons that I have learned from my prayer and meditation. I am going there as a seeker of truth and as a lover of God. Since I pray and meditate, I would like to pray and meditate with him for world peace.

I am so grateful to you, Mother Superior, for allowing me to be here. Twenty-three years ago I visited a chapel in Puerto Rico. Some Sisters saw me and became disturbed and annoyed that a Hindu was in their chapel. They went and called the Mother Superior. At first she was furious that a Hindu had come into the chapel, but when she saw me praying with folded hands in front of a picture of the Christ, she said, “This fellow has devotion for our Lord. Let us forgive him.” Then she said to me, “You must never, never come to this place again, because you are a Hindu.”

Look at your heart’s magnanimity. You were born a Christian and I was born a Hindu, yet you have given me a place in your heart. You have invited me here to offer my prayerful service. Look how the world is progressing! One Mother Superior scolded and insulted me, and you have asked me to offer my soulful prayers. This is how we make progress and please our Heavenly Father.

Part II

SCA 125-134. On 11 July 1994, Dr Josephine Davis, President of York College — a branch of the City University of New York based in Queens — met with Sri Chinmoy at Annam Brahma Restaurant. These are excerpts from their conversation.

"The statue embodies the most powerful peace you can ever imagine or feel."

Dr. Davis: We are trying very hard to foster the spirit of peace, community, respect and dignity at our College. I am feeling so encouraged because the people who are coming around me now are of like mind and of like spirit; we all have oneness of heart. It is interesting how we are all arriving at the same level, saying that we really need to illumine the darkness. And the only way we are going to do it is through prayer and meditation. I respect very much your work and what you are doing.

After going to Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Berlin and the camp in Dachau, Germany, where they persecuted the Jews, I really had to commit myself to a peaceful existence. When you see the brutalities and the horrors of those places, there is no way that you can foster ill feelings among men. I often try to talk to students about the experiences I had in those four settings because they were the most unnerving, I think, of any that I have had in my life.

Sri Chinmoy: I have not been to Dachau, but I have been many times to Nagasaki, Hiroshima and Berlin. Have you ever been to Kamakura, Japan? For me, it is one of the most peaceful places on earth. There are thousands of statues of Lord Buddha in existence, but the large statue at Kamakura embodies boundless peace. When you go there, no matter how restless you are, no matter how much your mind has been bothering you the whole day, no matter how involved you are in the hustle and bustle of life, as soon as you stand before the statue, all your inner turmoil is washed away. The statue embodies the most powerful peace you can ever imagine or feel.

Dr. Davis: At this stage in my life, I am feeling the need to do more meditation. For the last month now I have been doing mantras while meditating on the heart.

Sri Chinmoy: While you are meditating on your heart, if you do not mind my mentioning it, you could do a few more things. No matter what time of the day you are meditating, even if it is in the evening, imagine the rising sun for a few fleeting seconds. Imagine that the sun is rising and radiating light inside your heart. Or you can imagine a most beautiful and most pure flower opening up and blossoming petal by petal inside your heart.

As soon as you see either the rising sun or the flower, you will feel the light or the purity of your heart. Then, as you breathe in and breathe out, you will feel the light or purity inside your heart increase. The more light and purity you feel in your heart, the brighter will be the rising sun or the flower. Afterwards, try to feel that you have become the rising sun, or try to feel that the purity-flower inside your heart has fully blossomed and that you have become this most beautiful flower. Feel that your very existence, from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head, has become the flower itself, and the beauty, the purity, the fragrance of the flower are your own.

Then, from the rising sun or the most beautiful flower that you have become, light will radiate and purity will spread. When the light and purity spread, they enter into those around you.

Dr. Davis: Is it all right if I share with you what I have been using as a mantra? Does it matter if I tell you?

Sri Chinmoy: It matters if you tell me in front of others. The mantra that you use, others should not hear. It is all right if you tell it privately to a spiritual master like me, for I can be always in tune with you; but others cannot. In India they say that if you share your mantra with others, its inner strength goes away. The mantra that you repeat is like your life-breath. You are repeating it millions and billions of times. It is part and parcel of your divine reality. That most sacred possession of yours represents your very existence on earth; it is not to be shared. Only you and God and the person who has blessed you with the mantra should know it.

Dr. Davis: But if I took the mantra from a book, does that still apply?

Sri Chinmoy: It is the same thing. Even if you got it from a book, that mantra is sacred for you. You are taking it very seriously in your life, and that automatically makes it sacred. Anything that we are serious about eventually becomes sacred in our life. Seriousness and sacredness go together. There are many things that you have read which you have not memorised or recited over and over again. But this one mantra you have selected. It is giving you immense joy and a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment. So this mantra has to be kept very sacred inside your heart; otherwise, it loses its power.

As soon as you share it with someone else, no matter how friendly that person is, immediately jealousy and other negative forces can enter. If the person with whom you share it is undeserving, he or she will ruin it for you. It is like dealing with a monkey. Let us say you have got a most beautiful flower and you are enjoying its beauty and fragrance. If you show the flower to a monkey, the monkey will just tear off the petals, because that is its nature. Similarly, if you reveal your mantra to people who are not praying and meditating, people who are restless and full of self-doubt, they will destroy its sacredness for you. As soon as they touch it, its beauty, its purity and its divinity will go away.

Dr. Davis: I did not realise that. You would think it would be just the opposite, that by sharing you can grow.

Sri Chinmoy: There are a few things that you can share; again, there are a few things that you cannot share. If from within you have acquired a constant supply of God’s Love, God’s Affection, God’s Compassion and God’s Grace, if you have a free access to this divine wealth, then you can and should share it with your dear ones according to their necessity. You can offer them inwardly your purest love and joy. But you should not outwardly share with them the secret way you are getting these things. This has to be very secret and very sacred; it is not their business. What you are giving them, they need. But how you have become a multi-millionaire in the inner world, it is not necessary for them to know.

Again, you have to know how much receptivity someone has. A five-year-old child can handle only one dollar. If you give him fifty or a hundred dollars, he will not know how to use it and he may throw the money into the street. The spiritual standard of your students right now is very limited. If you share with them your unlimited wisdom-light, it will just burst like a balloon because right now they are not ready; they are not mature. To a kindergarten student you cannot give a university course. No, first he has to learn the alphabet, the ABC’s. Otherwise, you will not help him at all but just confuse him.3

SCA 127,7. In a later impression (print run), this paragraph was edited as follow: /Again, you have to know how much receptivity someone has. A five-year-old child can handle only one dollar. If you give him fifty or a hundred dollars, he will not know how to use it and he may throw the money into the street. The spiritual standard of your students right now may be very limited. If you share with them your unlimited wisdom-light right now they may not be ready; they may not be mature. To a kindergarten student you cannot give a university course. No, first he has to learn the alphabet, the ABC’s. Otherwise, you will not help him at all but just confuse him.”

Dr. Davis: This is very interesting. The path to spirituality is a very complex one.

Sri Chinmoy: The path to spirituality is not complex. Only there are different roads. If you want to go to Rome from some place in Europe, you can go by car, you can go by boat, you can go by airplane. If you go by plane, it is faster than the fastest. But if you take a boat, God knows how many days it will take. And if you are stupid enough to just start walking, then the road will never end!

In the spiritual life there are two main roads to take us to our destination. One road is longer than the longest; it is zig-zag and serpentine. That is the road of the mind. The other road is the road of the heart. This road is shorter than the shortest. You can say it is a sunlit road.

If you choose the mind-road, you will be constantly haunted by self-doubt: “Am I doing the right thing?” Or you will bring into your system the doubts of others. You will ask yourself, “What are they thinking? Are they saying that I am on the right course?” But if you follow the heart, it is not like that at all. Here there is a magnetic pull between God and you. He is your dearest Father and you are His dearest child, so both of you are using your own special magnets to pull one another closer.”

Dr. Davis: So I am on the right track! It is good that I came to see you. I needed this confirmation. It is truly amazing. It is incredible. I started meditating on the heart because I feel that to protect myself, I must keep my heart pure. I like to radiate peace, love and joy, and I like my face to give off a smile and brilliance. In order for my face to show that, I must feel it inside. I am trying to keep my heart as an open vessel. There’s a trait of youthfulness in me. I try to feel youthful, alive and energetic inside, and I hope it radiates.

Sri Chinmoy: Every day if you think of yourself as a child of four or five years old, then a childlike simplicity, sincerity and purity will abound in your life.

Dr. Davis: That is how I think of myself. What you are saying to me is very timely.

Sri Chinmoy: Your childlike qualities will always inspire others. The very presence of a child gives inspiration. When a child comes into a room, he brings spontaneous joy. And his joy is contagious; it enters into the elderly people who may be quarrelling and fighting there.

Each child is a new dream of God, bringing love, sheer love. When God’s Dream enters into these elderly people who are quarrelling and fighting, they have to be silent. When a child is running here and there, he does not look at my face or your face to see how beautiful you are or how ugly I am. He just runs and shares his spontaneous joy with everybody. Your very presence radiates that kind of love. You do not have to look at somebody; you just have to be there and the love spreads.

Dr. Davis: That is beautiful. My husband and I enjoyed your concert when we were there. It was marvellous to see you play so many different instruments. I did not even know the names of some of the instruments.

Sri Chinmoy: If you are free this Wednesday evening, we will have a special meditation at P.S. 86. About 400 people come to meditate with me. Collectively we try to raise the consciousness of mankind on the strength of our silent meditation.

Dr. Davis: I will try very, very hard to come on Wednesday.

Sri Chinmoy: If you would like to meditate for three or four minutes personally with me on the stage, I would like to offer you my special way of meditation.

It is better not to eat for two hours before the meditation. You can drink a cup of tea or liquid substance, but if you take solid food, the heaviness you feel will create lethargy. We have to be dynamic when we meditate. Peace is nothing but inner dynamism. When we are at peace, twenty things we can accomplish in one second in the inner world. If we are not at peace, we are not able to accomplish even one thing in twenty hours.

Dr. Davis: I notice that everybody wears open and free-flowing clothing. Is that significant?

Sri Chinmoy: Clothing has tremendous significance. When a policeman wears his uniform, the consciousness of the uniform enters into him and he is able to do his job more effectively. If somebody wears a military uniform, then he gets a military spirit. When a basketball champion wears his uniform, immediately the basketball consciousness enters into him. Otherwise, he may be thinking of his family, his wife, this and that. But as soon as he puts on his uniform, he thinks of how to score and other things. When these girls put on saris, immediately they feel serenity. They feel that something within them is inspiring them to lead a spiritual life, a life of peace. If they wear Western garments, they may not be inspired in this way. So no matter what we are doing, if we have a uniform it will help us get into the consciousness of that thing.

Dr. Davis: It appears to me that when you start on the spiritual path, that is when the evil things come at you at a more intense pace.

Sri Chinmoy: When we enter into the spiritual life, sometimes it happens that the hostile forces attack us more vehemently. We enter into the spiritual life to become one with God’s Will. Then the forces attack us and say, “We will not allow you.” God tells us, “You now want to become consciously one with Me. Then prove that you need My Love only.” So we pray and meditate and God inundates us with His Compassion and His Grace to fight against these hostile forces.

The last time when you told us that you could not come to the meeting that we had scheduled, I had such a feeling for your soul. I saw in the inner world that your soul wanted to come. I said, “How is it that the mind is not listening to the heart and soul?”

Dr. Davis: You reached out at the time when I really needed to come. But it was like an avalanche of crises that I had to deal with. So today when my assistant came in and said, “Sri Chinmoy is inviting you, but I know you cannot go,” I said, “No, I will be there.” When he mentioned your name, I said that I would cancel everything.

When I started practising meditation, I used to go to religious book stores and pick up the books you had written. I knew your name when I was in Georgia and Minnesota. Without knowing you, I was reading your books. When I learnt that you live in New York, I was just amazed. I said, “Sri Chinmoy is in Jamaica, New York! I do not believe this!” I was thinking one would have to go to the Himalayas to see you.

This meeting tonight is spiritual food for me. Whenever we begin trying to do something with the spirit, we let the mind take over and we say, “Am I doing the right thing? Should I give up and go on?” A meeting like this says, “You are doing the right thing.” Now I have confirmation.

Dr. Davis: May I ask you a question about the role of candles and burning incense?

Sri Chinmoy: Each thing has a spiritual significance. Incense gives us purity, and the flame of the candle represents our intense inner cry. Like the flame of the candle, our aspiration or inner cry is going up high, higher, highest. Our inner flame is going up to reach the all-illumining inner sun and then it is entering into the sun and becoming one with it. So definitely you should use a candle when you meditate. When you look at the flame, feel that it is burning in the heart, not in the mind.

Dr. Davis: Does the colour matter?

Sri Chinmoy: Use any colour that you like. Again, in each soul one particular colour is predominant. In your case, sky blue will give you much more joy than another colour. My favourite colour is also blue. The significance of that colour is Infinity. Blue represents the most beautiful, spiritual vastness. Although your main colour is blue, you can wear any colour. Similarly, you can select any flower to place on your shrine. You may like a rose whereas I may prefer a lotus.

Dr. Davis: The lotus is my favourite! I use the lotus as the symbol of my life. I started to tell you earlier that when I think about my life, I say that I am rooted in the water.

Sri Chinmoy: My most favourite flower is the lotus.

Dr. Davis: I chose the lotus as a symbol of my life because I want to stay grounded in water with the fluid motion around me. It goes deep. I tell people that I chose it as a symbol of my life because I want to be grounded in my family and God.

Sri Chinmoy: Water means consciousness.

Dr. Davis: When I meditate in the morning, I go to the water.

Sri Chinmoy [offering some books]: For me there is only one religion: love of God. You can be Christian, I can be Hindu, but our love of God is the only religion.

Part III

SCA 135-147. On 24 April 1993, Sri Chinmoy met with Russell Wilson, who was then Staff Director of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Sub-committee on Asian and Pacific Affairs. This informal conversation took place at Annam Brahma Restaurant in Queens, New York.

Russell Wilson: I want to tell you that I felt that I had to see you. I read one of your books and some of your poems. I found them to be very inspiring. I felt that I needed to see you so I could learn from you.

Sri Chinmoy: I am very grateful to you for your kind letter. I understand that you have been practising meditation for a few years. I am very proud of you — of your mind’s sincerity, clarity and luminosity and your heart’s genuine love of God. Yours is a life of purity and self-giving oneness with the world of aspiration. For the few minutes that I was meditating with you here, I saw that you were very receptive. You have received what the divine within me wanted to offer you. For that I am very happy, very proud of you and very grateful to you.

Russell Wilson: I can feel you inside me, Guruji.

Sri Chinmoy: The moment I came in here and saw you, at the very first glance I entered into the very depths of your heart, into your life’s central being.

Do you have any specific question you would like to ask me? I would like to be of service to you.

Russell Wilson: I am honoured, Sir. I can feel you so strongly that it is hard to talk. But it is a very pleasant and beautiful feeling. I am seeking inner peace, and I felt a very strong connection with you. If you would be accepting of me, I would like to learn from you.

Sri Chinmoy: Everything is mutual. We cannot clap with one hand; we need two hands. Here also we are seeing the mutual acceptance of our two hearts. This acceptance can be made permanently illumining and fulfilling if you can remain beyond the domain of the earthbound mind. The heart establishes its oneness on the strength of its inner purity, beauty and divinity. But because the human mind has not yet been illumined by the light from Above or within, it tends to doubt the purity, beauty and divinity that we see and feel within our heart. Everything that is divine within us our own mind doubts.

Suppose one day early in the morning you have a very deep, sublime meditation. Immediately your mind may start to doubt it. “How could I have such a good meditation? It cannot be true. Yesterday I was in the vortex of politics, facing so many serious problems. So how is it possible today for me to be swimming in the sea of peace?” But the heart will say, “No! No matter how involved I am in the problems of the outer world, inside me there is something eternal and immortal, which remains unaffected.” The heart always brings us the encouraging, inspiring and illumining message of the Beyond. The heart always reminds us of what we truly are in the inner world, whereas the human mind is all the time judging and criticising its own very limited capacity.

My request to you is that when you pray and meditate, keep the door to your mind completely shut and try to bring to the fore the light that you have inside your heart. Your heart-room is always filled with abundant light, so you should try to remain there as much as possible. Then, when God’s Hour strikes, you will bring the light from your heart-room into your mind-room, which still needs illumination. The electrician has brought light into your heart-room. He has put wires there and connected them. Now the same electrician will go into the other room, your mind-room, and also bring light there. In this case, the electrician is your own soul. Once your mind-room is also lit, at that time your heart and your mind can work together.

While you are engaged in your multifarious daily activities, you have to use the mind. But while using the mind, please try to see how much sincerity is there, how much simplicity is there, how much purity is there. Each time you feel in your mind the presence of these and other divine qualities, your mind becomes more illumined. Eventually you will be able to bring the divinity of your heart into your mind, so that your mind will also be divinely illumined.

When you are not engaged in your daily activities, when you are praying and meditating, please try all the time to remain in your heart-room. The more you can remain in your heart-room, the more you will increase your inner beauty, your inner purity and your inner divinity. It is only by giving all importance to your heart in your spiritual life that you can be inwardly happy. If right now you cannot give one hundred per cent importance to your heart, then try to give it at least eighty or ninety per cent importance. Then, when the time comes, you will take the inner wealth that you have in your heart-room and place it inside your own mind-room.

If you take the inner wealth that you have inside your heart and bring it into your mind, your heart will not suffer. Far from it! In the outer life if you take something from one room and bring it to another room, then that thing is gone from its original place. But the wealth that you have inside the heart is boundless. The joy, the peace, the light, the love, the devotion to God and all the other divine qualities that you have inside your heart are limitless. If you take your heart’s love and bring it into your mind, that love will only increase inside your heart. At every moment your heart-vessel is being replenished. The more the heart gives, the more the heart’s receptivity increases, and the more of God’s Divinity it is able to receive and hold.

Russell Wilson: How do I go to the heart?

Sri Chinmoy: Do not feel that you have to go to the heart. Only feel that you are the heart. We use the term `heart-garden’. Inside our heart-garden are all our divine qualities. They are like beautiful and fragrant flowers. First, repeat to yourself, “I am inside my heart-garden.” Try to see and feel all the beautiful flowers there. Then say, “I am my heart-garden. All the divine flowers inside my heart-garden are part and parcel of my own self.” Up until now you have established your oneness with the reality that you see in your outer life. But now you want to establish your oneness with the dearest and purest existence of yours, which is your inner life, the life of your heart.

When you are meditating, if you happen to look at your shoulder or your knee, please say to yourself, “This is my heart.” If you have a good thought during your meditation, then immediately inside that good thought try to feel the existence of your heart. But if you have a wrong thought, an uninspiring thought, immediately discard it. Have nothing to do with that kind of thought.

[There is a long, silent pause as Sri Chinmoy meditates.]

You have a very beautiful heart. I am not flattering you. Your heart’s inner cry is very genuine. The more you can cry for God and shed streaming tears for God, the more your outer life will be able to shine and smile. Your outer existence has to be founded upon your inner existence — not the other way around. The inner existence is like the seed. The seed is inside you, inside the very depths of your heart-garden. So let us see how the seed germinates into a plant and then into a huge tree with most beautiful flowers and most delicious fruits.

Russell Wilson: Guruji, your philosophy has already been an inspiration to me. I have one of your poems in my office. I show that poem to everyone who comes into my office. And whenever I feel myself getting angry or upset, I look at it. Whenever a problem comes up, I read that poem first before I deal with the problem. It brings me back to the basic reality — that you can't improve anything until you improve yourself. I showed the poem to my wife, who is a physical therapist. She works with very sick children.

Sri Chinmoy: See her compassion! Some of us are physically sick, but many of us are mentally sick. When we do not love God, we are mentally sick. When we cannot love God, when we cannot do the right thing and do not want to become the right kind of person, then definitely our inner health is not very good.

Russell Wilson: When I saw your face on the video, I somehow felt a pull towards you. I can't explain it.

Sri Chinmoy: It is the heart’s magnetic pull. Your heart’s own inner cry is the magnetic pull. Your heart is pulling me towards you and my heart is pulling you towards me. It is our hearts’ oneness-song.

Russell Wilson: You just read my mind, Guruji. You know how sincere I am. Can I ask you to bless my wedding ring, which I always wear. [Sri Chinmoy holds the ring in his hand and blesses it.]

Russell Wilson: I know from the video, Guruji, that you were very close to U Thant.

Sri Chinmoy: As soon as U Thant saw me, he saw something in me and I saw something in him. His very first utterance to me was: “People have been telling me such nice things about you, and I see that it is absolutely true.” Then we developed a genuine friendship. He was a Buddhist and I come from a Hindu family, but once we sincerely accept the spiritual life we go beyond the domain of religion. Religion is like a house. I live in my house and you live in your house. But we study together in the same school, and that school is our love of God. So he had transcended his religion and I had transcended my religion; our only religion was our love of God. He was my dear friend, an excellent friend. You also know of my love and admiration for my brother, Congressman Gary Ackerman.

Russell Wilson: He feels the same way.

Sri Chinmoy: For years and years I have been basking in the sunshine of his affection. He is such a good friend, such a brother. Each time I think of Gary Ackerman’s name, boundless love and boundless gratitude immediately fill my heart.

Russell Wilson: I didn't even know that you knew him when I first decided that I had to see you.

Sri Chinmoy: Everything depends on God’s Hour. When the Hour strikes, we see the reality, we feel the reality and we become the reality. This song I composed many years ago in honour of Gary Ackerman. These students of mine will now sing it. They have come from all over the world to observe the anniversary of my arrival in America 29 years ago. They are from Great Britain, France, Austria, Japan and other places.

[Sri Chinmoy’s students sing the Gary Ackerman song.]

Sri Chinmoy: I am Gary’s genuine fan.

Russell Wilson: He feels the same way about you, Guruji. That’s unbelievable — really amazing!

Russell Wilson: I have to tell you that even before I met you, you touched my life with your brilliant poetry and philosophy. I knew you were something very special and I wanted to really learn from you. But I felt that this could not be accomplished without meeting you. I thank you for the honour of meeting you. I just want to tell you how much I admire your brilliance and how much you have touched my life.

[A long pause follows, in which Sri Chinmoy meditates with Russell Wilson. Then Sri Chinmoy gives him a few of his books — for himself and for his wife, Laurie.]

Sri Chinmoy: Do you play tennis or any other sport?

Russell Wilson: I used to be on the national Fencing Team, and now I am chairman of the United States Fencing Judges’ Commission. I put in ten years of my life as a professional fencer, but I don’t do it anymore. Now, unfortunately, the business of trying to solve nuclear problems in North Korea and putting out fires between Pakistan and India is taking up most of my time. I don’t have much time for it, but it is a wonderful sport. As someone who was on a national team, I can tell you that the kind of things that you do give so much inspiration to people who are training to reach their goals.

Sri Chinmoy: I am trying to be of service to mankind. Our philosophy is that physical fitness and spiritual activities must go together. We do not aim to become world champions, but we want the body to be fit. Only then will we be able to hold the message of the spirit when it enters into the body. The physical body has to be in perfect condition in order to execute the will of the soul. To be a champion is not the goal of our life; our goal is to become a good instrument of God in anything that we do.

There was a time when your parents were your world. Then your town, your city, your state and your country became your world. Now the entire humanity has become your own. Humanity has become your brothers and sisters. You feel that all the countries are like branches of the one life-tree. You look at the life-tree and see that one branch is not doing well. You feel that it is your bounden duty to fix this branch so the tree can be perfect. Then you see that another branch is creating problems, and with your heart’s love you go there. Any time you see a defect in the tree, your heart goes there to make that particular branch perfect. For that I am very proud of you, very proud of you.

Russell Wilson: Without spiritual satisfaction, it is very difficult to do that work.

Sri Chinmoy: If you have inner poise and inner joy, then you can serve humanity happily and cheerfully. But if there is only a barren desert inside, it is impossible to give cheerfully. We can give only what we have. If I have joy, then I can be of service to you. But if I have nothing inside to give, then what will you be able to receive from me? I may be able to fool you for one day or two days, but eventually I will be caught and you will dismiss me.

I have come into the world to love the world and become one with the world. If I am serving you and you take my service lovingly and affectionately, then I get as much joy from you as you get from me. At that time the giver and the receiver offer one another equal joy. If I give you a smile and you take it with joy and love, your joy and my joy are equal. So the giver and the receiver are on the same level. At this moment with my right hand I am putting something into my left hand; the next time my left hand will put something into my right hand. So the giver and the receiver always go together.

Today we have meditated together. But you have to know that I am not the Guru. There is only one Guru, and that is our Lord Beloved Supreme. He is your Guru, my Guru, everybody’s Guru. Only in this particular field, spirituality, perhaps I know a little more than you do, just as you know infinitely more than I do in the field of politics. If I want to learn politics, then I have to come to you. The only thing is, I do not want to learn that subject — it is beyond my comprehension!

Russell Wilson: That makes two of us, Guruji!

Sri Chinmoy: To me, politics is very often filled with confusion, and I try to stay away from confusion. But to the political world also we have to try to bring illumination. Politics I do not understand, but the individuals who are studying that subject I love. That is why I meet with political leaders and mix with them. I hope that my love of those who are studying politics will one day enter into the field that they are studying.

I wrote something about politics and spirituality that came out in an Indian magazine. There I said that since politics is a branch of life, we cannot discard it. If we can bring spirituality into politics, then politics can play a most significant role in fulfilling God’s Will. When the leader of a country says something, even if people do not like him, his words carry tremendous weight. And if he makes the right decisions, then he can offer so much illumination to his countrymen and to the world. We pray to God to make the political leaders receptive to His Will so that this world of ours can become a perfect garden for God the Gardener to cherish. We pray and pray to God to make the politicians spiritual so that at every moment they can offer illumination to the world at large.

Russell Wilson: Guruji, I have a very difficult question to ask you. Why, in India, which some believe is the centre of all religion and where spirituality plays such an important role, is there so much strife and tension?

Sri Chinmoy: Because I am an Indian, I am able to answer this question. Once upon a time, India was the land of peace. Now there is constant quarrelling and fighting. Why? The answer is very simple. God has given us freedom and we have misused it. At every moment we, as human beings, can choose to do either the right thing or the wrong thing. I can get up early in the morning and pray and meditate to become a good person, or I can sleep until ten or eleven o’clock and get up when it is too late for me even to go to work. Perhaps for six months I received light from Above and my sincerity, my integrity and my love of God compelled me to get up early in the morning to meditate. But after six months I stopped aspiring and thinking of God, so I no longer get up early to pray and meditate. Outwardly I am the same person, but in my inner life I have changed.

In the hoary past, politicians used to go to spiritual Masters for blessings and illumination. One of the greatest Indian heroes, Shivaji, used to go to his spiritual Master and say, “Please advise me.” Then Shivaji got fed up with his country and with politics. He said, “It is all corruption. I no longer want it.” But his spiritual teacher compelled him to remain in politics. He said, “If you give up, then who is going to transform this world? Stay in your post but only think of me. The Supreme in me will guide the country in and through you.”

There was a time when India had poise and peace of mind. But India was not satisfied with its inner peace and poise. It wanted to compete with America. Unfortunately, India began to lose its spirituality when it entered into the world of competition. It is one thing to retain your own height and then give what you have and receive what someone else has. But India, instead of maintaining its pristine purity and divinity, became greedy and started to care more for outer wealth. It wanted to become as rich as America, and it no longer gave as much importance to its inner wealth. That was India’s greatest mistake.

If God gives me something, I should cherish it. Then, when the hour strikes, God will give me something else because He is pleased with me. But if I reject what God has given me and cry only for something else, then the inner qualities that I once had will desert me and I will be a beggar. India should have remained grateful to God for what God gave to India. Instead of trying to imitate the West, it should have cherished its own divine qualities. But when it began to care less for its inner wealth and more for outer wealth, at that time my Mother India began to lose something very precious.

Something similar is now happening in the former Soviet Union. President Gorbachev was responsible for awakening the consciousness of the Soviet Union. After he had awakened the Soviet people, he said, “We have been asleep for many years and we have just awakened. So right now let us walk slowly, steadily and unerringly to our destination. Then, when the time comes and we have more capacity, we shall march, and later we shall run.” But the people did not listen. They became very greedy and wanted to be just like the West. They wanted to run right from the start, even though they did not have the capacity. So they chose another politician who promised immediate results. We all want to have instant realisation — like instant coffee. We want to have everything in the twinkling of an eye.

It takes a child a few years to learn how to walk. If I tell that little child that he can run as fast as his elder brother, then the child will be inspired to try. But, unfortunately, he will only break his leg. A mother will always tell her child, “No, go slowly. Your brother is five years old and you are only one year old. How can you expect to walk alongside your brother?”

Russell Wilson: May I ask you just a few more questions on meditation? When is the best time to meditate, and for how long should I meditate?

Sri Chinmoy: There are two times that are most important. The first time is when you get up in the morning, before you enter into the hustle and bustle of life. Then, in the evening, when everything is calm and quiet, for ten minutes or so before you go to bed you can invoke the universal peace into your system.

When you meditate early in the morning, it is like earning a spiritual salary. You meditate for fifteen minutes or a half hour and put the spiritual wealth that you receive inside your heart-pocket. Then, during the day if you have to talk to some colleagues who are quarrelling and arguing and are immersed in the world of confusion, you can withdraw some of the peace, love and light that you accumulated early in the morning and give it to them. As you take money from your pocket, even so from your heart-pocket you can take spiritual wealth and offer it. That is how we use our spiritual wealth to bring about world peace.

It is also good if you can meditate every hour during the day. It does not have to be exactly on the hour. Only keep aside a minute or two each hour to think of God and talk to God. Nobody will know what you are doing. Outwardly you may be talking with your colleagues, but inwardly you are talking to God. You can just repeat God’s Name. You can say ‘God’ or ‘Supreme’ or anything you like. Those who follow our way of life use the term ‘Supreme’. When I say ‘Supreme’, immediately I feel more of a close inner connection with God — in the same way a child gets a more intimate feeling when he calls his father ‘Papa’ instead of ‘Father’. But you can call Him anything you like when you are praying or meditating.

Russell Wilson: Do you advocate meditating with the eyes open or closed?

Sri Chinmoy: The eyes should be half open. If you keep your eyes wide open, there is often tremendous tension. If you keep your eyes closed, on the other hand, you may fool yourself. You may think you are meditating when actually you are in the world of lethargy and sleep. You may think that you have meditated for ten minutes when most of that time you have been asleep. It is not that you have to meditate for a set amount of time. No! What is important is to meditate until you get peace of mind, until you feel that love, joy and purity have entered into your system and filled it to the brim.

If you keep your eyes half open, you are in control of both the inner world and the outer world. Half your consciousness is in the inner world and half is in the outer world. This is called the meditation of the lion. I tell my students to meditate with their eyes half open so that they can communicate perfectly with both worlds. This is the safest way.

Part IV

SCA 148-152. These questions were asked by Mrs. Noemi Kovanda, wife of the Czech ambassador to the United Nations, during a meeting with Sri Chinmoy at Annam Brahma Restaurant on 13 June 1994.

Mrs. Kovanda: I have to tell you that our baby is a greater and greater joy for us every day. I wish I could feel what he is feeling!

Sri Chinmoy: Every day he is bringing you a surprising new joy. Your son is a most beautiful flower, a most beautiful rose with so many petals, and petal by petal he is blossoming every day. Every day a new flower is blossoming inside his heart-garden; at every moment of the day and night its petals are blossoming.

If you want to feel what he is feeling, you can meditate on his heart, especially when he is sleeping.

Mrs. Kovanda: I would like to ask you how I should meditate, concerning the baby.

Sri Chinmoy: At this stage, when he is only a little baby, it is better for you to pray. This will be more effective and more fruitful than if you meditate. When he is six or seven years old, at that time you can start to concentrate and meditate on him. But now I think it is advisable for you just to pray for anything that you want him to have. You are observing daily how many good qualities he has. So you can pray to God to increase those good qualities. On the strength of your prayers, the good qualities that you already see in him you can try to increase. Again, if you see certain qualities that he does not have but you feel he should have, you can pray to God to give these to him. You can ask God to add to the good qualities that he already has.

Along with your other prayers for your sweetest child, please pray for two more things: peace and bliss. Pray to God to inundate the child’s head with peace and to inundate his heart with love. Bliss may be difficult for the child to conceive, but love he can easily understand. He loves his mother and his father so much. As soon as he sees you or his father, he feels tremendous, boundless love. Bliss comes from love; if there is love, there is bliss.

While praying for your child, there is another thing you can do. Please try to imagine that he is breathing in and out. As soon as he starts to inhale, you can start your prayer; and when he releases his breath, you should finish your prayer. You have to pray very quickly. Sometimes when you are holding him in your lap or keeping him on your shoulder or very close to you, you will be able to feel or hear him breathe, and you can match your prayer to his breathing. But even if your imagination does not coincide exactly with the time that he is breathing in and breathing out, no harm. Your imagination has a reality of its own. In a few days you will be able to develop the capacity to synchronise your prayer with his breathing. This will be the most effective way for you to pray for whatever you want for him.

Mrs. Kovanda: What should I do for my husband?

Sri Chinmoy: You can definitely concentrate and meditate for your husband and for yourself. For your husband, you can concentrate or meditate inside your heart or between and a little above your eyebrows, which is the third eye. You can do whatever comes naturally. Early in the morning, when he is about to go to work, it is good if you can concentrate on him. Your concentration-power will enter into him and help him during the course of his day. He is doing so many important things, and he cannot concentrate most powerfully all the time. When the hustle and bustle of the political world enters into him, with the concentration-power that you are offering him he will be able to concentrate most powerfully and focus on what he is doing most intensely.

At the end of the day, when he comes back home tired and exhausted, bringing the whole political world back into your apartment, at that time you can meditate for peace to enter into him. When he is desperately trying to get rid of politics from his mind and he only wants to have love from his wife and from his child, that is the time you will meditate for peace. At that time there is no politics, no mind; it is all heart. So concentration is needed to help him at his office during the day, and meditation is needed when he comes back home so that he can have all peace, all love and all joy with his family.

Mrs. Kovanda: I find it very difficult to pray for anything other than health because health is so important. I feel selfish when I pray for anything else.

Sri Chinmoy: You are doing absolutely the right thing. When you pray for health, you are praying not only for the physical body but also for the mind, vital, heart and everything. If your health is not good, if you are suffering from a headache or stomach upset or some other ailment, then how will you be happy? Your mind will be occupied only with pain; your heart will be breaking. The best thing is to pray first and foremost for health. Afterwards, you can pray for other things that you would like to have.

Mrs. Kovanda: Should I pray in silence or out loud?

Sri Chinmoy: Praying out loud is always better. If you say out loud, “O God, please bless me with good health. Grant me love, joy and peace,” then your physical mind will be convinced. But you do not have to break down the ceiling! You do not have to pray that loudly. Although I was born a Hindu, I also love Muslims and feel that they are my brothers. But when they pray in the mosque, they pray so loudly that you can hear them at quite a distance. We Hindus feel that as long as you can hear your prayer with your own ears, then you are convinced that you are praying and that is enough.

While praying, you are using words: “O God, give me this, give me that. Do this for me, do that for me.” At that time you can speak reasonably fast — the way we are talking now. Pray loudly enough to hear yourself and also at your normal talking speed. But when it comes to meditation, try not to have any words or any thoughts at all; try to keep the mind empty. Every thought or idea that enters into your mind you have to silence. If you cannot silence it, then try to slow its speed. If some current of thought is entering into you very rapidly and you cannot stop it altogether, then try at least to slow it down. Eventually you can try to silence it. Also, to make the mind more silent, it is good if you can imagine something very peaceful, such as the vast sky early in the morning or the setting sun in the evening. Or you can try to feel that you are at the bottom of the sea, or on the top of a mountain in the Himalayas.

While you are praying, you are talking to God and God is listening to you. While you are meditating, God is talking and you are listening. While you are praying, your prayer is going up high, higher, highest. Then while you are meditating, God’s Love, Light, Peace and Bliss are entering into you. That is the difference between prayer and meditation.

There is also another difference. When you pray, try to feel that you are utterly helpless. You have to pray like a beggar-woman asking for alms: “God, give me this.” And you have to sincerely feel that you are in desperate need of what you are praying for. You have to feel that your whole world will collapse if you do not get it. Unless your prayer is fulfilled, you will be absolutely hopeless.

When you meditate, on the other hand, you have to feel that you are a princess, or a queen, or the dearest daughter of God, with infinite wealth inside your heart. When meditating, you are bringing to the fore your own divinity and inner wealth — your own inner peace, inner bliss, inner love, inner joy. You are not inventing these things; they belong to you and you are discovering them.

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