My salutation to Japan
Japan's Body and Japan's SoulO Body of Japan,
Your Soul is crying
in you, for you!
Soul of Japan,
Your Body is sleeping
in you, without you!
Japan has wonLook!
Japan runs and runs.
The race of the Hour
Japan has won.
Japan has won!
The mightiest Yes
Japan has won.
Tokyo's goalsTokyo hardly ever cries.
Tokyo rarely smiles.
Tokyo soulfully tames her outer life.
Tokyo manfully braves her inner knife.
Tokyo's outer goal
Is everywhere in the heart of nowhere.
Tokyo's inner goal
Is nowhere near frustration,
humiliation or consolation.
Tokyo's inner goal
Is in her mind's perfected
Three into three cheers for Japan!Simplicity
The Home of awakened mankindBuddha, the mightiest Height;
Kamakura, the sky of His Feet:
Kamakura stole the Buddha
In the brooding hour of darkest night.
India's Buddha Indian
Behold, here at Kamakura
The Homeless Soul
The Home of awakened mankind.
You in the Buddha
Are his Reality's Face.
You with the Buddha
Are his Divinity's Grace.
The Buddha's Life for you
Is the limitless consolation
Of descending mankind.
Your life for the Buddha
Is the boundless promise
Of ascending mankind.
In you and on youDivinely naked beauty is your name,
Supremely sacred duty your surname.
Self-restriction is your body,
Self-emancipation your vital.
Prakriti, God the Mother, dances in you.
Purusha, God the Father, meditates on you.
My first and second realisationsSupremely kind
The Times Square of New York
To give me, to thrust upon me,
My first realisation.
The perfection of my confusion:
My second realisation.
New York, capital of the fulfilling and
Tokyo, capital of the transforming and
To you both my boundless joy's
Only a Japanese policeman can and will doSmiling at a Japanese policeman,
said I: "I wish to get a copy of the Mainichi Daily News."
Two and a half blocks he ran.
He consciously forgot or bravely ignored
his terrific traffic duty.
Yes, he really ran and brought me the Mainichi Daily News
And what else did he do?
While handing me the daily, to my surprised eyes, said he:
"Thank you very much."
Our story ends not.
In vain did I try to give him money.
Repeated failure, and to home sweet home
The life of the Japanese policeman smiled.
My Indian heart cried and cried.
He wanted and needed God for two daysMy Japanese friend said:
"Do you believe in God, Mr.
"I think I do."
Ghose, I don't.
But yesterday I believed in God.
And today also, even now I am thinking of God.
But tomorrow my mother comes back
from the hospital, and then for me no God.
I need no God!"
"My dear friend,
God will never remain indebted to you.
Two long days and nights you thought of God.
Now it is God who needs must think of you.
At least for two fleeting years,
rest assured, He will."
In the heart of the SkyMy Japanese friend, Takashi, said:
"All countries good, but my Japan best,
I said: "Long ago, I tell you, long ago,
long before the breath of the twentieth century,
my life and breath knew it.
I was there.
I was a Japanese soul.
To my widest surprise, you have taken
my very name, my dear Takashi."
My friend shed hot tears on my African tie,
my American mother's purest gift.
"I shall, my heart shall always of you be proud,
my dear Ghose.
You are my brother, you and I."
I bent my Indian head down.
I lifted my long-lost athletic chest up.
I grew into Japan's cherry
and India's lotus
And placed my life
Soulfully at the Feet of the Supreme,
My Compassion-Father Supreme.
When I sawWhen I saw a man Japanese,
My curiosity increased.
When I saw a woman Japanese,
My simplicity revived.
When I saw a young male Japanese,
My smile decreased.
When I saw a young female Japanese,
My sense of life's assurance multiplied.
WhenWhen I heard a Japanese song,
I cried and cried
Because it was half Indian.
When I saw a Japanese dance,
My heart rejoiced and rejoiced
Because it was all Japanese.
Alas or bravo!Japan's wee eyes
Devoured my appreciation's breath,
My admiration's length,
My adoration's height,
My sincerity's depth.
Protection offered with no feeRaining cats and dogs!
I entered into a drug store,
enquired if umbrellas were sold.
An old lady, the owner — I am sure
she has already seen eighty summers —
with a smile, said: "Sorry, no!
My umbrella you take.
I go home, no rain."
I declined her kindest offer.
She made at least ten sincere requests.
Finally I surrendered.
She gave me her own rain protection.
I gave her 100 yen.
She refused adamantly.
Gift, my gift.
Perhaps the flow of my doleful gratitude
pierced her heart.
She changed her mind.
Smiling, she took the money from me and
gave me three beautiful handkerchiefs in
On the morrow the rain ceased.
I entered into a shop to buy a suitcase.
I saw the shop selling umbrellas, too.
Soon I came to discover
the price of umbrellas.
The one the old lady with the gold heart had
given me was worth 460 yen.
This time I prayed to God
to thank her on my behalf.
God did listen to my prayer.
My age according to my human father and according to my Divine FatherInside the elevator
the cashier of the hotel and I
were stuck on the seventh floor.
Both of us were generous enough
to exchange smiles.
Ghose, how old are you?"
"My human father says I am
thirty-eight years old.
My Divine Father says I am
older than Heaven and Earth combined."
"Who is your human father?
Who is your Divine Father?"
"My human father is aspiration.
My Divine Father is realisation.
My cashier friend continued:
"What is realisation?
What is aspiration?"
"Realisation is my room
on the tenth floor.
Aspiration is the Chinese restaurant
in the basement."
My hotel friend
became my aspiration and
realised my realisation.
Lo, the elevator did not want
to lag behind.
It displayed its proud velocity:
My salutation to JapanIn you, Japan, I see the dynamic Body of Asia, and the glowing Breath of Asia.
You do not belong to the past. You are constantly moving towards a higher light. This is indeed a great blessing.
You give birth to the ever-new. The ever-new is yours.
China offered to you, Japan, what she had: the mind's height.
India offered to you, Japan, what she had: the heart's depth.
Europe offered to you, Japan, what she had: the arm's strength.
You offered to yourself what you had: the message of Self-awakening.
And now you offer to yourself and to the world at large what you have: the flowering of a creative spirit.
To see you is to love you.
To think of you is to admire your life's beauty.
To meditate on you is to adore your soul's fulfilling luminosity.
You stand for beauty — natural, personal, individual, national and international. The beauty of your outer consciousness tries to purify the existence of the earth. The beauty of your inner consciousness tries to enlighten and fulfil the existence of the earth.
The realisation of the soul's infinite beauty is the answer to the teeming ignorance of the present-day world. To my deepest joy, you know it; you know this truth unparalleled.
Your divine sense of perfect Perfection encompasses all the problems the world is now facing. But here you stop not. Your sense of perfect Perfection will bring you an all-fulfilling answer. And then no more will the world breathe enmeshed in the tentacles of imperfection and limitations.
Self-perfection: this is what the world badly needs. Only in self-perfection, and nowhere else, can a new world flooded with Divinity be founded.
The sense of self-illumination will conquer the world. A universal renaissance is not a far cry. The dawn of a new consciousness is bringing about the transformation of the world. Although invisible today, tomorrow it will be clearly revealed.
The new creation means that one has to rethink devotedly and unreservedly everything that he has so far stood for in his life.
Your cry for the body's reality in the soul and the soul's reality in the body will forever shine as a significant effort, a lofty event and a stupendous achievement in the history of humanity.
In you, in your life, I see science and spirituality crying to stay together and fulfil each other. To be sure, this is the sign of a very great awakening.
And the result, undoubtedly, will be a very high response. God, the Inner Pilot of the universe, will break into the sunshine of a Transcendental Smile.
We need a new world, and for that we need a new consciousness.
When we give to God what we have and what we are, we immediately grow into a new and divine consciousness. This consciousness will fulfil not only today's need, but also yesterday's greed.
The world is your responsibility. The world is His Responsibility.
Upon our devoted head is God's transcendental Blessing. Inside our surrendered heart is God's infinite Concern.
God is ours. We are God's. When God is ours, we are transformed from within. When we are God's, we are transformed from within and from without.
You are surprisingly great because you cherish sublime ideas.
You are sublimely great because you expand and make the best use of them.
And you will one day be supremely great when you grow into them.
Your art has already pleased Nature — God, the Mother.
Now you may try to please the inner Self — God, the Father.
Your thoughts beautified express themselves through art.
Your experiences intensified express themselves through art.
Your realisations heightened express themselves through art.
You are a great nation, not because you have striking capacities, but because you have constant faith in yourself.
The world needs faith. Faith is today's self-discovery and tomorrow's self-manifestation.
You are pure because you live with nature. You are sure because you live in faith, and because the light of the heart, the inspiration of the mind and the aspiration of the body are in you and for you.
I admire you not for what you have done in the field of art. I admire you not for what you have done with the machine. I admire you because, unlike others, you understand yourself. I admire you for your implicit self-acceptance, sure self-discovery and pure self-manifestation.
Yours is the self-acceptance freed from destructive doubt. Yours is the self-discovery freed from blind self-deception. Yours is the self-manifestation freed from clever self-exaggeration.
You know what reciprocal understanding is. You know what self-control is. You know what self-confidence is.
Before long you will know what self-emancipation is. And this self-emancipation you will offer to serve the breath of the individual soul, the life of the national soul and the body of the international soul.
I fail to see in you the manifestation of stupendous pride. What I do see in you is the secret of self-dedication. This dedication of yours not only reveals the Light, but explains and fulfils the Light.
You do not starve for happiness. You do not deny happiness. You have realised that happiness does not spring from austerity, but from soulful self-dedication.
And you have realised something more. You have realised that happiness is the fulfiller of Reality within and without.
You have surrendered your entire existence to beauty.
Joy has offered its very breath to fulfil your necessities, inner and outer.
You are the hyphen between imagination and transformation, between aspiration and perfection.
You are at once the embodiment of self-control and the realisation of self-manifestation.
You at once respect and rule life in matter.
The world is empty of heart's beauty. You are empty of life's dullness.
O Japan, "the source of the sun," God will one day show the world the light and power, the concern and compassion, the Reality and Divinity of your inner Sun.
To perceive your outer life is to feel the beauty of your heart's simplicity.
To comprehend your inner life is to swim in the sea of your soul's serenity.
Every nation has its enemies. Unfortunately, you are no exception. But to your greatest joy and pride, all other nations, with no exception, will admit that your beauty without is worth invoking, and your beauty within is worth cherishing.
Percival Lowell's remark about you was this: "You speak backwards, you read backwards, you write backwards."
My humble remark about you is this: "You look forward to see the face of undeniable certainty, you walk forward to shake hands with the matchless necessity and you run forward to be embraced by the blessing of the Duty Supreme."
They say that either you have forgotten your emotion or you have yet to experience your emotion.
I say that you neither have forgotten your emotion nor have yet to experience your emotion. Your emotion knows perfectly well that you are her lord and master. She also cheerfully knows that she is always at your express command.
Your art is your heart's duty.
Your heart's duty is your soul's necessity.
Your soul's necessity is God's Smile of Infinity.
You have humility in the purest sense of the term. Humility is the divine reward for a seeker's long inner search. Humility is a seeker's glowing attainment and fulfilling possession.
Your soulful politeness signifies your mind's respectful oneness with the outer world and your heart's fruitful oneness with the inner world.
In your Emperors, you felt the pure breath of the Pope and the sure breath of the President.
The Pope inspired you to see the Life of Reality. The President commanded you to fight for the Breath of Reality.
The Pope wanted you to have the human and divine experience of Truth. The President wanted you to have the human and indomitable vitality to reveal the Truth.
The Pope wanted you to see your height. The President wanted you to expand your breath.
Your history is your religion. Your religion is your morality. And in your morality, I see the flowering of your heart's spontaneous and fulfilling duty.
Your ancestors govern you. Your ancestors protect you. Your ancestors guide you. Your ancestors fulfil you.
Your ancestors soulfully govern you in your real and true love for them.
Your ancestors significantly protect you in your crying devotion towards them.
Your ancestors majestically guide you in your flying adoration for them.
Your ancestors eternally fulfil you in your surrendering breath for them.
Your ancestral cult does not allow you to have any individual freedom. It does not permit you to have even the necessity of individuality. You devotedly obey its decree.
As a result, you have received two boons from your ancestral cult:
The vision of seeing your outer existence in totality.
The capacity to have your entire inner existence flooded with simplicity, sincerity, beauty, serenity, duty and certainty.
Shinto, "The Way of the Gods," teaches you how to be brave and sure. Butsudo, "The Way of the Buddha," teaches you how to be wise and pure.
In Shinto is your heart's breath and home. In Butsudo is your heart's life and vision.
Buddhism came in. Shintoism vehemently protested. Buddhism was wise. It said to Shintoism, "All right, I shall not find fault with your ancestral worship. You follow your ancient faith, but what I am going to offer you is also of great importance. You will soon realise it. You will appreciate my heart before long."
Shintoism said: "How strange! Yesterday I took you for my worst foe. Today I feel that you are my true friend. Let us live together."
But unfortunately the two friends failed to live together peacefully, and they started fighting again. Buddhism won the fight. The victory of Buddhism over Shintoism lasted for some time. But the fight began again, and this time Shintoism won the victory; indeed, a decisive triumph.
However, the inspiration and influence of Buddhism could never be insignificant. Its sense of tenderness, compassion and kindness toward all human beings, animals and creatures, its expression of capacity and beauty in various forms of art, and the law of karma still breathe in the Japanese life.
Confucianism taught you morality and loyalty. Buddhism taught you self-control and intuition.
Shintoism taught you how to see the fulfilling divinity and bask in the supernal glories of your ancestors.
And you are teaching yourself how to love God's Vision, which is crying for perfect manifestation on earth.
A Hindu and a Japanese see eye to eye on many aspects of life.
You have four classes: Samurai, Farmers, Artisans and Merchants. We have Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Sudras.
Both of us worship many gods and goddesses for our protection and illumination. Your ancestral worship and our ancestral worship significantly demand sacrifices and rites.
I offer my soulful obeisance to your fire god, Kagu Tsuchi, as I do to our fire god, Agni. I am equally devoted to your sun goddess, Ama-Terasu-oh-mi-Kami, and to your moon god, Tsuki-yomi-no-Mikoto.
I bow and bow to your 200,000 Shinto shrines, as I bow and bow to all my Indian temples.
I do hope that this first visit of mine will soon and often be repeated.
Editor's noteSri Chinmoy was in Japan from October 18 to October 30, 1969. He wrote these sixteen poems and this salutation to Japan during his visit to that country.