The Vision-Sky of California
Part I — Talks
Sincerity, purity and security1Dear seekers, I am glad to be here with you. I am glad to feel your aspiration-heart. I am glad to offer you my dedication-life.
You have sincerity. You have purity. You have security. Sincerity, purity and security are of paramount importance in the spiritual life. I, too, have worked hard to cultivate these three sublimely divine virtues in my own life: sincerity, purity and security.
There was a time when we were not sincere in our spiritual life. We were terribly insincere, shockingly impure and unquestionably insecure. But now those days are buried in oblivion. Those unhealthy incidents and unillumining experiences in our life are all forgotten, long forgotten. Now we have sincerity, purity and security in abundant measure. On the strength of these three divine qualities, we can march along the road of Eternity with success and progress. As we continue our endless journey, as we walk, march and run along Eternity’s road, we shall have more, abundant, infinite sincerity, purity and security. While we are running, we are establishing a new dawn, an illumining and fulfilling dawn. This dawn will illumine others who are still consciously or unconsciously wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance.
There are many seekers who are still not sincere, many seekers who are still not pure, many seekers who are still not secure. When we tell them about our own past weaknesses, we illumine the animal in them, we encourage the human in them and we fulfil the divine in them.
What is weakness, after all? Weakness is the temporary absence of perfection. And where does perfection lie? Perfection lies in our self-giving. Our beginning self-giving eventually grows into endless God-becoming.
Let us continuously strive for our perfection. For in our own perfection will loom large the confidence of others — their confidence in spirituality, in God-realisation and in truth-manifestation on earth. At every moment, in silence, our aspiration-life and dedication-heart can inspire those who are a little behind us to reach the selfsame destined goal, the goal of the ever-transcending Beyond.
VSC 1. 27 September 1978, 4:30 p.m., University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California↩
We are one2Dear seekers, you love God and I love God. Therefore, we are true friends. We are one. You need God and I need God. Therefore, we are true friends. We are one.
Out of His infinite Bounty, God has made us one. Our oneness is founded upon God’s unconditional Compassion. This Compassion is God’s supreme gift to mankind.
How shall we utilise this supreme gift? We shall utilise this supreme gift soulfully. How often shall we utilise this supreme gift? We shall utilise this supreme gift constantly in our day-to-day, multifarious activities.
Our oneness is soulful. Our oneness is constant. In our soulful oneness, we shall try to discover a new life and see the real Face of the real God. In our constant oneness, we shall try to discover a new surrendered heart and embody the true perfection of the true God, our Beloved Supreme.
Together we shall achieve. Our divine achievement will be to help aspiring mankind realise God here, there, all-where. Together, on the strength of our soulful prayer and fruitful meditation, we shall try to unite the world — the confusing and the confused world.
Prayer is our inner cry for the highest transcendental Reality. Meditation is our inner smile while we are manifesting a transcendental reality.
When we pray to God, we converse with Him; we talk to Him. We ask God for Peace, Light and Bliss in abundant measure, in infinite measure. When we meditate, God speaks to us. He tells us, “My children, manifest Me here on earth.”
The Saviour Christ blessed us with the supreme prayer: “Father, let Thy Will be done.” The Vedic seers of the hoary past blessed us with the supreme meditation. It is called the Gayatri Mantra, which is the mother of all Indian mantras.
Aum bhur bhuvah svah
Tat savitur varenyam
Bhargo devasya dimahi
Dhiyo yo nah pracodayat
“We meditate on the transcendental glory of the Deity Supreme, who is inside the heart of the earth, inside the life of the sky and inside the soul of the Heaven. May He stimulate and illumine our minds.”
VSC 2. 27 September 1978, 8:00 p.m., San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California↩
Message from Mr. L. L. Mehrotra3Reverend Sri Chinmoy, his devoted disciples and my brothers and sisters of America, I feel very humble at this moment. Whereas all my life and career it has been my ambition to mingle with the dust, Sri Chinmoy is trying to seek a place for me in the skies. I would therefore be one of the most ungrateful persons on the earth if I did not interrupt this programme, if only to express my gratitude. My heart is very heavy with that sentiment. I have known Sri Chinmoy as Chinmoy Ghose now for several years, and “Ghose” means resonance. Sri Chinmoy the resonant will always reverberate in our hearts with his eternal message. He brings to you a spiritual tradition which sprang up and flourished in the mountain-vastness of the Himalayas several thousands of years ago and which has been carried across the seven seas by Everest-streams and rivers. Sri Chinmoy is part and parcel of that eternal Stream. Sri Chinmoy belongs to that stream of thought and sentiment which has shown us the Light for ages. He recited a verse from the Upanishads a little while ago: Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya, “Lead me from darkness to Light"; Mrtyor ma amrtam gamaya, “Lead me from death to Immortality.” May I say that while we mortals pray for that Immortality, Sri Chinmoy is part of that Immortality.
I consider those blessed who sit in his presence and who seek his presence, and I know that even after I and you and everyone is gone, his voice and his message will be with us, for that is the Message Supreme to which I bow.
Thank you very much.
VSC 3. During a concert given by Sri Chinmoy and his disciples at San Francisco State University on 27 September, the disciples sang a song Sri Chinmoy had composed in honour of L. L. Mehrotra, Consul-General of India in California. Mr. Mehrotra had been Sri Chinmoy's superior at the Indian Consulate in New York City when the Master worked there from 1964-1967. After the song, Mr. Mehrotra spontaneously offered this most special message:↩
The past has fast faded behind us4There was a time when we were assailed by teeming doubts. There was a time when we were tormented by undying fear. There was a time when we were tempted by undivine forces. But now those days are buried in oblivion. They are no more. The past has fast faded behind us.
There was a time when our mind was devoid of clarity. There was a time when our heart was empty of purity. There was a time when our life was a perfect stranger to security. But now it is all over. The past has fast faded behind us.
There was a time when the animal in us wanted to destroy the world. It felt that destruction was nothing short of satisfaction. There was a time when the human in us enjoyed the desire life, the earthbound life. Aspiration was a far cry then. There was a time when the divine in us was hesitant, to great extent, about manifesting the divine Truth, Light, Peace and Bliss on earth. But now it is all over. Those days are all buried in the deep hole of oblivion. The past has fast faded behind us.
Now our inner life and outer life are at once surcharged with confidence and assurance. Our inner life is inundated with assurance, our outer life is inundated with confidence. We belong to God, our Beloved Supreme: This is our conscious and constant confidence. Our Beloved Supreme is all for us: This is our inner assurance. The past has fast faded behind us.
VSC 4. 28 September 1978, 8:30 p.m., University of California, Santa Cruz, California↩
Our departing friends, our lasting friends and our everlasting friends5Our departing friends are anxiety and worry, defeat and disappointment, darkness and ignorance.
Anxiety and worry we call our friends precisely because we unconsciously cherish them. It is the height of folly, but we do cherish them. We cherish them; therefore, they are our friends.
Defeat and disappointment surround our departing friends. Defeat and disappointment shatter our being; nevertheless, we cherish them unconsciously.
Darkness envelops us. Ignorance constantly assails us; we wallow in the pleasures of ignorance. As long as they are with us, we cherish them; we call them our friends.
But there comes a time when darkness and ignorance disappear. By virtue of our aspiration or inner cry, we liberate ourselves from these so-called friends: anxiety, worry, defeat, disappointment, darkness and ignorance. Our lasting friends are hope, determination, personal effort, faith, aspiration and realisation.
Hope is not mere wishful thinking. It is the precursor of a new dawn that slowly, steadily and unerringly comes to the fore and eventually grows into reality’s existence.
Determination is of paramount importance. Each time we are determined, we expedite our journey. In the battlefield of life, with determination we march fast, very fast, toward our destined goal.
Personal effort is also of paramount importance. Unless and until we give to the world at large what we have and what we are, we cannot grow into the all-widening and all embracing Reality — the Reality which we call the universal Consciousness of the transcendental Height.
Personal effort is founded upon the unconditional Compassion of the Supreme. What we call effort is actually a result of the Supreme’s Grace, which rains constantly on our devoted heads and surrendered hearts.
Faith constantly reminds us of our perennial Source. Faith constantly makes us feel that we are of the Absolute and for the Absolute. Aspiration is our inner cry. This cry, unlike the desire-cry, constantly reminds us of our own highest height. We cry for the loftiest height; we cry for boundless Peace, Light and Bliss. There is a constant hunger within us to transcend ourselves, to go beyond the reality which we have already achieved. This hunger is our aspiration.
Realisation is our oneness with the Infinite. To become one with our perennial Source is our soul’s goal. Here we feel at every moment that we are of the One and for the many. God the Creator manifests Himself in and through us, and we try our utmost to become constant and unconditional instruments of our Beloved Supreme.
Perfection is our everlasting friend. Perfection is an ever-transcending Reality. Perfection is satisfaction. This satisfaction is constantly flowing in and through our aspiring heart, devoted life and surrendered oneness with the Supreme Pilot. When we try to perfect ourselves within and without, at every moment we see a new dawn before us and within us. This new dawn beckons us to the Supreme Reality, which is more than willing to lead us, guide us, shape us and mould us into the Immortal Reality.
VSC 5. 29 September 1978, 2:00 p.m., University of California, Davis, California↩
I have only one need6I have only one need: oneness, oneness, oneness. Oneness with the animal consciousness do I need? No, never! Oneness with the human consciousness do I need? No, never! Oneness with the divine Consciousness do I need? Yes, forever!
Why do I not want to have oneness with the animal consciousness? I do not want it because the animal consciousness is all destruction. Why do I not want to have oneness with the human consciousness? I do not want it because the human consciousness is all division. Why do I want to have oneness with the divine Consciousness? I want it because the divine Consciousness is all satisfaction.
Oneness, oneness, oneness! Oneness with the temptation-life I do not want, precisely because temptation is frustration. Oneness with the earth-bound life I do not want; for earth-bound life is nothing short of limitation. Oneness with the Heaven-free life I want, for the Heaven-free life is Eternity’s Peace, Infinity’s Bliss and Immortality’s Life.
Oneness, oneness, oneness! O my Beloved Supreme, I have only one need: oneness. I shall be happy if my oneness-need is fulfilled. I shall be equally happy if my oneness-need is not fulfilled. I shall be happy even if it is not fulfilled because the very quest, the very longing for oneness with You, my Source, gives me abundant joy, boundless joy, infinite joy. Let me have this quenchless thirst, this thirst for conscious and constant oneness with you.
O my Beloved Supreme, even if You do not fulfil my oneness-quest, no harm. Just allow the flame of longing for oneness with You to burn in me forever and forever. In the inner world, all I have is You. In the outer world, all I need is You. May my inner world and my outer world become one. In their oneness I shall achieve satisfaction, which is perfection itself. Oneness, oneness, oneness.
VSC 6. 29 September 1978, 8:00 p.m., University of the Pacific, Stockton, California↩
Self-transcendence7What do we long for? We long for self-transcendence. What do we actually need? We need self-transcendence. In ordinary life, ordinary human beings desire something, but at the same time they do not need it. Again, they may need something, but they do not desire it. Here we are all seekers. We all need self-transcendence and, at the same time, we fervently long for it.
Self-transcendence brings us the message of happiness. We are happy when we fulfil ourselves in our own way. But when we fulfil ourselves in God’s own Way, then we are infinitely happier. When we fulfil our self-imposed duty, we derive joy. But there is something called God-ordained Duty. When we fulfil our God-ordained Duty, we get joy in boundless measure. Our God-ordained Duty is to give what we are. What we are is our aspiration, our inner cry, and what we give is our dedication-life. It is in our ever-transcending self-giving that we grow into God. Self-giving is the precursor of God-becoming, and it is only in God-becoming that true happiness can be found.
Self-transcendence gives us joy in boundless measure. When we transcend ourselves, we do not compete with others. We do not compete with the rest of the world, but at every moment we compete with ourselves. We compete only with our previous achievements. And each time we surpass our previous achievements, we get joy.
We measure our doubting mind and we measure our sacrificing heart. How far we are away from the doubting mind, or how much we have illumined our doubting mind, or how much we have cultivated receptivity in the inmost recesses of our heart — this we try to measure. At every moment we see how much we have transcended ourselves by measuring the capacity that we already have.
There are quite a few ways to transcend ourselves, but the two main ways are the humility-way and the awareness-way. We try to cultivate humility, true and soulful humility. It is through humility that we acquire the power of receptivity. When we have the power of receptivity, at that time Peace, Light and Bliss in boundless measure descend from above, and with no difficulty we can embody these divine attributes.
We have to be aware of our Source, which is flooded with Light and Delight. When we are tempted to do something undivine, if we can become aware of our Source — which is all Light and Delight — we will get the inner message which will prevent us from committing a misdeed. If we are aware of our Source, we will feel that it is beneath our dignity to wallow in the pleasures of ignorance; we will feel that it is beneath our dignity to swim in the sea of darkness. This is what we get from constant awareness, and this is the only way we can establish a free access to our own divinity and highest delight. So to achieve self-transcendence, either we can walk along the way of true humility, or we can walk along the way of awareness.
Transcendence is satisfaction and satisfaction and perfection go together. Satisfaction and perfection are the obverse and reverse of the same coin. Again, perfection and happiness go together. If we become perfect, then we are happy. At the same time, when we are happy, soulfully happy, we grow into fruitful perfection.
VSC 7. 30 September 1978, 8:00 p.m., Bakersfield State University, Bakersfield, California.↩
Desire-life and aspiration-life8Desire-life and aspiration-life. The negation of the desire-life is not and cannot be the aspiration-life. The starvation of the desire-life is not and cannot be the aspiration-life. The extinction of the desire-life is not and cannot be the aspiration-life.
The salvation of the desire-life is indeed the aspiration-life. The illumination of the desire-life is indeed the aspiration-life. The liberation of the desire-life is indeed the aspiration-life. Our bondage needs salvation. Our darkness needs illumination. Our ignorance needs liberation.
A man of desire loves life when his teeming desires are fulfilled. But the moment his desires are not fulfilled, he dislikes life; he even goes to the length of hating life. When life fulfils him, at that time life is beautiful, fruitful and meaningful, according to him. When life does not fulfil him, life becomes his true adversary. Poor life! Life is only a field. Here in the battlefield it is the soldier that has to fight against teeming darkness, falsehood and ignorance. We cannot blame life as such for our deplorable mistakes or defeats.
A man of aspiration loves life, for he sees in life the very Presence of God and inside God he sees the presence of life. Life and love, and also life and God, are inseparable in his life of aspiration, in his life of dedication and in his life of realisation. He sees and feels life as God’s manifestation in each individual being. God the life is all responsibility. Life the God is all beauty. This realisation he treasures in the inmost recesses of his heart.
A man of aspiration also feels that there shall come a day when he will be able to establish a free access to God’s Transcendental Height and Universal Reality. He feels that he will achieve this through his prayer and meditation, and by virtue of his dedication to both his inner and outer life. And for this, what he needs is divine love, divine devotion and divine surrender.
The aspiring seeker’s love constantly expands. Thus it creates large, larger, largest receptivity inside the depths of his heart. The larger his receptivity-vessel, the greater, the higher, the more illumining and the more fulfilling the Peace, Light and Bliss it will be able to hold.
Devotion is the intensification of the seeker’s dedication to the supreme Cause. His whole life becomes an altar of intensification. Everything that he does, he does with an intensification of his dedicated, devoted, unreserved and surrendered heart.
Finally, a seeker surrenders to the dictates of his Inner Pilot. He feels that this surrender is nothing short of perfection. What he needs is perfection, both in his inner life and in his outer life. Perfection is of paramount importance, for perfection is satisfaction. So in order to achieve perfection, he surrenders his entire being to the Inner Pilot. He offers to the Inner Pilot what he has and what he is. What he has is an aspiration-cry and what he is is a dedication-life. On the strength of his aspiration-cry and his dedication-life, he feels that one day he will become inseparably one with his Inner Pilot and grow into the very image of his Pilot Supreme.
VSC 8. 1 October 1978, 2:00 p.m., San Bernardino State University, San Bernardino, California↩
The heart, the mind, the vital and the body9The heart flies, the mind sighs, the vital cries and the body dies. Why, why, why, why? The heart flies precisely because it loves. What does it love? It loves oneness — oneness within, oneness without, oneness with the Inner Pilot — its Beloved Supreme. Just because it loves oneness, and just because it loves its Beloved Supreme constantly, unreservedly and unconditionally, it is able to fly at every moment in the firmament of all-illumining Conscious-ness.
The mind sighs precisely because the mind suspects the rest of the world. It suspects the world within and the world without. Finally, to its wide surprise, it suspects its own reality-existence. Suspicion is poison. It is a poison that spreads all over the domain of the mind. Finally, this poison corrupts us, our mind. The mind sighs. It recognises its folly, the height of its folly, and then it heaves a heavy sigh. The mind is failure itself. The vital cries. It cries for name and fame. It cherishes a quenchless thirst for name and fame. It wants to remain all the time in the desiring world. Always it wants something more than it has achieved. Either by hook or by crook, it always tries to have something more. It proves to be a veritable beggar — always crying for something and always dissatisfied with what it has and what it is. A beggar right from the beginning to the end, it cries. Shamelessly it cries. Constantly it cries for something more, for a little more name and fame. And when it achieves something, it is still not satisfied. It wants something else. Nothing pleases the vital. Therefore, the vital cries.
The body dies. Why? The body does not aspire. It always wallows in the pleasures of ignorance. It does not want to budge an inch. Lethargy is another name for the body, the body-consciousness. The body does not move. It does not want anything from either the inner world or the outer world. It feels no necessity to achieve anything. Always it is satisfied with its limitations, with its weaknesses, with its shortcomings, with its failures and deplorable defeats. The body is always lethargy-prone, and it does not want anything. Just because it is lethargic, just because it is always wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance, the body dies. There is no longing for heavenly realities — for truth, light, peace or beauty. So the body dies. The body that we are referring to here is the physical body.
There are many human beings on earth who physically live for a long time but do not aspire. They take physical exercises or they make friends with the Mother Earth and the cosmic energy. Unconsciously they draw energy from the Universal Consciousness, but they do not aspire. If an individual does not aspire, if his soul finds difficulty in illumining the body, or in aspiring in and through the physical body, then we call him a dead soul. But the spiritual body will always aspire. Inside the Atman-life it discovers a Heaven-free life, the life that is birthless and deathless at the same time.
There is another member of our earthly and heavenly family, and the name of that member is the soul. The soul is an exact prototype of our Inner Pilot. It embodies in quintessence all the qualities and capacities that our Beloved Supreme has and is. The soul sails its reality-boat in the Eternity-river. It sails the boat between Immortality’s life and Infinity’s beauty and delight.
Each individual seeker has the capacity to listen to the dictates of the soul. When the seeker listens soulfully to the dictates of his soul, he eventually grows into the very image of his Beloved Supreme.
Where is God? Who is God? How to realise God? All these questions can easily be answered when we listen to the dictates of the soul. With ritual prayer and meditation we can dive deep within and hear the constant message of and from the soul — the perennial message of Light, Truth and Bliss. Through our prayer and meditation we can embody Peace, Light and Bliss in infinite measure and then, like the soul, we can also enjoy Immortality here on earth as we enjoy it already in Heaven.
VSC 9. 1 October 1978, 8:00 p.m., San Diego State University, San Diego, California↩
Part II — Meeting
Meeting with Admiral J. E. LawgilleOn 2 October 1978 Sri Chinmoy visited the Naval Base in San Diego and met with Admiral J.E. Lawgille, Commandant of the 13th Naval District. The following is a transcript of their meeting.
Admiral: Do you have time for some coffee or tea?
Sri Chinmoy: We just had our breakfast a few minutes ago.
Admiral: Ah, I understand. Would you like to sit down a moment then? It’s a great view here. How long have you been in San Diego? Did you just arrive?
Sri Chinmoy: We arrived yesterday.
Admiral: How long will you be here?
Sri Chinmoy: Only a few more hours and then we will go to Los Angeles.
Admiral: I understand you are going to receive the keys to the city of Los Angeles. It will be a great honour. Have you been in Los Angeles before?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes. I have been there three or four times.
Naval Aide: He’s giving a presentation a little after noon so his schedule is a little tight. The chaplains are standing by, so we’ll have an opportunity…
Admiral: It will be very impressive to see the young men and how much we do with them in a period of about seven weeks. We will now reduce our basic training. And the women, of course…
Sri Chinmoy: Now women are also allowed?
Admiral: Yes. Women are now allowed in the Navy. You will see women recruits being trained, which is novel, if you will. We’ve been taking women in the Navy for some time, and we probably will increase the number of women — not just because of the emphasis on equal rights in our country, but because we need the woman power to supplement the man power.
Sri Chinmoy: Is it because of special talents or simply because of equality of rights?
Admiral: It’s really because of both of those reasons. But more than that, we’re facing a shortage in the male population in the United States. The birth rate is dropping off in the United States, and we no longer use the draft in our country. We depend upon volunteers. With the competition from industry and the competition from the rest of the military, we find that we need the woman power. I believe we have 20,000 women in the Navy now. Were going to probably double that to 40,000 women. We’re now looking at how we’re going to put them aboard ships — some of the ships that don’t go into combat, such as the service ships, the tenders and those types of ships. It should be an interesting experiment.
Sri Chinmoy: Have they already displayed some special capacity?
Admiral: Well, of course, women are able to do a number of jobs in the Navy quite well. And we’ve used them already for things like air control — to control air traffic. They’re very good in the area of computers — computer operations. Of course, we always used them in such things as nursing and we find that there are a number of other things that they do very well.
Naval Aide: Of course, the women that we have here are in communications.
Admiral: Yes. Communications in this building. We have a lot of women that are good in things like communication.
Naval Aide: The Admiral even has a woman here on this staff. She just happens to be out right now.
Admiral: Oh yes. I don’t normally have a driver, and we borrow a driver from the naval station. This happens to be a very nice black woman who is now actually my driver. She drives the Admiral’s sedan.
Sri Chinmoy: They also have the same sense of responsibility that men do?
Admiral: Yes. In fact, the unauthorized absentee rate, the desertion rate — which all services have problems with — is lower with the women than it is with the men. So, one must say that they probably have more responsibility in that sense, if you will, sir.
Of course, we’ve had women at sea in hospital ships. But we no longer have any hospital ships. We also have had women at sea aboard the transport ships. And now we will have them in our auxiliaries, in some of the destroyer tenders. And I think that one of our research ships will probably have some aboard.
Naval Aide: There’s one of the ships going out…
Admiral: That’s the Portuguese tall ship, Cyprus. She’s a tall ship, a square rigger… It’s a pleasure to have you visit us in San Diego.
Sri Chinmoy: It’s a great joy and honour for me. Our philosophy and your philosophy go together. You are working with the sea. For us, the sea represents vastness. Water is consciousness and a boat represents our journey. At every moment, we’re travelling along Eternity’s road. There’s no beginning and no end. It is our birthless and deathless journey. So a boat constantly reminds us of our eternal journey along Eternity’s road.
Admiral: Also, it reminds us of the unknown part of the sea, like the kind of thing we experienced this past week with the death of Pope John Paul.
Naval Aide: Or the tragic airplane crash we had here in San Diego. We all felt that here — especially in all the churches this past week — in the big ceremonies and the big memorial services.
Admiral: Yes. Yesterday afternoon Mayor Wilson had to leave the Portuguese festival to go to the funeral services for the 151 people that were killed when the plane crashed just a few blocks away.
Naval Aide: I had the privilege of showing our guest here our little chapel.
Admiral: Ah, yes! I go there to pray when I can. It’s nice to have a spiritual retreat like that in this big building.
Sri Chinmoy: Yes.
Naval Aide: Well, now we will show you some big chapels.
Admiral: I think you will find that interesting. And perhaps you will have the opportunity to see both the young Navy men and women, and also the young Marine men and women that we drill. They put on a ceremony yesterday. The young recruits that have only been there for seven weeks or less came out and did a very high-precision drill, in which they marched and threw their rifles up in the air and swung them around and then exchanged rifles while they were spinning — with the bayonets on the end. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to be able to do that in a short period of time. It was very impressive to all the people who were watching, particularly the Portuguese.
Naval Aide: I think if you want to make Los Angeles, we’d better move along.
Admiral: Ah, yes. Well, thank you so much for coming by.
Sri Chinmoy: Thank you.
Admiral: I wish you continued success in your endeavours. Thank you.
Part III — Talks
Where do I live?10Where do I live? I live in my heart. I live in my heart-muscle. I live in my heart-cave. I live in my heart-room. I live in my heart-home. I live in my heart-palace. I live in my heart-universe.
When I live inside my heart-muscle, I go back to the stone age; I embody my stone-consciousness.
When I live inside my heart-cave, I sing only one song day in and day out. I sing the song of I-ness: I, my, mine.
When I live inside my heart-room, at times I open my windows and see the world around me, but I am afraid of welcoming the world. I am afraid that whomever I allow to come in may be an intruder; therefore, I do not allow anybody to enter into my heart-room.
When I live inside my heart-home, I allow the members of my immediate family and my friends to come inside. Together we play, together we mix, together we throw ourselves into multifarious activities. But my heart-home is only for in near and dear ones.
When I live inside my heart-palace, I welcome only big celebrities, famous people, great personalities. I invite them to come into my heart-palace to receive some inspiration-light to offer to their many admirers and followers.
Finally, when I live inside my heart-universe, I feel the Presence of my Beloved Supreme constantly. Out of His boundless Bounty He appears before me and I see His Face. Him I see with my human eyes. Him I feel with my human heart. I ask my Lord Supreme to grant me His constant Blessings. He says that He has already granted me His Blessings infinite. He tells me to give Him what I have and what I am devotedly, soulfully, unreservedly and unconditionally. I give Him what I have and what I am: ignorance. He, out of His infinite Compassion, gives me what He has and what He is: Delight in infinite measure.
VSC 11. 2 October 1978, 2 p.m., University of California, Irvine, California↩
Part IV — Meeting With Deputy Mayor Remy Of Los Angeles
Meeting with Deputy Mayor Remy of Los Angeles11Deputy Mayor: I apologize for being out. I read that you are an expert in the world of meditation. I had the discomfort of being with an elected official 10 minutes ago, who gave a half an hour speech. I couldn’t get away. It’s nice of you to come to visit our city.
Sri Chinmoy: It is very kind of you to present me with this key. Los Angeles is a foremost city, one of the most famous places in the world.
Deputy Mayor: Thank you. We appreciate your coming to visit our city. We’re very proud of it as a city. We have a diverse culture and a diverse population. I myself am a third generation San Franciscan, as opposed to Los Angeles. I marvel at the fact that our city has the largest population of people of Hispanic, Mexican-American background in any city outside of Mexico. We have the largest Jewish population in this city, except for New York. Also a very large Asian population, including Japanese. Virtually every part of the world has added to the strength of our city.
Sri Chinmoy: It has a cosmopolitan view and a very large heart. It can accommodate all souls, all personalities.
Deputy Mayor: We need all the help we can get. This diversity has characterised the uniqueness of the city. It has a relatively small Black population. As major cities go, our city is only about 16 or 17 percent Black. Yet we have a Black mayor, and there are three Black members of our City Council. We like to think that our community elects people because of their skills rather than their racial, social or ethnic background.
A major issue, as you may know, has been our attempt to integrate our school system. Various and good people in all parts of our community were required in that process. Moving children from one school to a separate segment or separate part of our city in order to upgrade their education is very difficult socially and economically. We have at least been able to do that without violence.
Sri Chinmoy: You have succeeded in doing so? You have already succeeded?
Deputy Mayor: No, I don’t think I could say that. I think our city has succeeded in dealing with a very difficult social issue without community violence. There still is great resistance amongst the people, particularly amongst the white population: fear about the quality of education, fear about the safety of their children. But at least we have been able to deal with this in honest, open debate — through the judicial structure, as opposed to dealing with it in the streets. I know the mayor feels really proud of the city. That’s good. If we could only clean up our air and make the air a little more breathable! And if we could improve our transportation system and provide more job opportunities for people who want to work then we will have achieved an awful lot.
Sri Chinmoy: It will definitely happen in the course of time.
Deputy Mayor: You’re involved in the United Nations. How does that work?
Sri Chinmoy: It works very peacefully and soulfully. I pray and meditate, and quite a few significant people — delegates, diplomats and visitors — come to pray and meditate with us. They feel the necessity of the inner life. The political world, as it stands now, is constantly quarreling and fighting. Peace of mind is badly needed in the outer life. So they come and meditate for about half an hour or so. Then they feel a kind of inner peace.
Deputy Mayor: Very essential, very essential. Sometimes I criticise myself for not spending more time on that sort of thing. But so many things go on in a day that one doesn’t stop and think through what the day should be.
Sri Chinmoy: We believe that if we can pray and meditate in the morning, then the rest of the day will be prayerful and meditative. But if the morning is not soulful, then the rest of the day will have a very hectic vibration and we may not get peace of mind at all. It is like saving money. When we meditate in the morning we acquire spiritual wealth. Then, when the necessity demands, during our multifarious activities we can draw on our spiritual wealth. If we have enough spiritual money saved, then easily we can deal with our problems.
Deputy Mayor: I suspect it’s nice to have a spiritual bank account to draw upon from time to time. But I suspect that our country doesn’t save too much of that kind of money.
Sri Chinmoy: I have been here for fourteen years, and I feel that most people do pray and meditate. There is a soulful inner cry in America. There is an inner cry for justice, for truth. This Watergate incident has really helped America considerably. I feel that the standard of America has gone much higher now and the world has seen something unique in America.
Deputy Mayor: Watergate presents many contrasts for our country. It presented a view of some things that could have been very, very wrong. One of the lasting contributions of Watergate could be that the system of justice is very important in our country. It is strength that our country will always have.
VSC 12. On 2 October 1978, Sri Chinmoy met with Deputy Mayor Ray Remy of Los Angeles. This is a transcript of their meeting.↩
Part V — Talks
Our soulful prayer and our fruitful meditation12Our soulful prayer and our fruitful meditation. Our soulful prayer is answered even before we pray if we have a pure aspiration-heart. Our fruitful meditation is fulfilled even before we meditate if we have a sure surrendered life.
What is a true prayer and what is a true meditation? A true prayer is constant self-giving and a true meditation is constant self-transcendence.
We pray to God for His Greatness. We meditate on God for His Goodness. When we pray we feel that God is above us. When we meditate we feel that God is within us. We pray to God because He is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. His Greatness inspires us. We meditate on God because of His Love and Compassion, His unconditional Love and unconditional Compassion. Not because He is great but because He is good is the reason we meditate on God. We pray to God to give us what He has and what He is. We meditate on God for His manifestation in and through us.
When we pray, we feel our closeness to God. When we meditate, we feel our oneness with God. Closest intimacy we enjoy on the strength of our soulful prayer. Deepest ecstasy we enjoy in the inmost recesses of our heart by virtue of our fruitful meditation.
The finite in us desires the Infinite, the unknown, the unknowable. Therefore, it prays. The conscious reality, which is aware of itself in infinitesimal measure, wants to bring down the Infinite, the Eternal and the Immortal here on earth, in the immediacy of today. This is what our meditation wants.
Both prayer and meditation are of paramount importance. We pray because prayer constantly makes us feel that there is someone for us. We meditate because we feel that what we are now is not everything that we have or everything that we are. But there shall come a time when we shall grow into the very image of our Absolute Lord Supreme, which is our own perennial Source. With divine humility we pray, and thus we satisfy our Absolute Lord Supreme. With divine dignity we meditate, and thus we satisfy our Beloved Supreme.
VSC 13. 3 October 1978, 2:00 p.m., University of Southern California, Pasadena, California↩
Music13Music is inspiration, soulful inspiration. It inspires the human in us. Music is manifestation, fruitful manifestation. It manifests the divine in us. Music is satisfaction, supreme satisfaction. It satisfies the Pilot Supreme in us.
The human musician plays in order to become great. The divine musician becomes good first and then plays divinely, while soulfully and unconditionally offering the results to his Beloved Supreme. The Supreme Musician does not play in order to become great, and He does not have to become good in order to play. For the Supreme Musician embodies at once the universal sound-music and the transcendental Silence-Music.
God the Supreme Music feeds the aspiration-heart of the seeker-musician. God the Supreme Musician illumines the dedication-life of the seeker-musician.
The soulful prayer and the music world of a seeker-musician are the same thing. His soulful music is his soulful prayer, and his fruitful meditation is another name for his fruitful music.
The music of the unaspiring musician and God’s Compassion-Flood are inseparable. The music of the aspiring and surrendered seeker-musician and God’s Satisfaction-Delight are always interchangeable.
VSC 14. 3 October, 8:00 p.m., University of California, Los Angeles, California↩
My Ignorance14My ignorance is my excuse. Is it justifiable? No, never! My ignorance is my excuse. Is it pardonable? No, never! My ignorance is my excuse. It is changeable? Yes, it is!
What is my ignorance? My ignorance is my unawareness of my source, the golden orb. My ignorance is my negligence of my inner duties: the transformation of my nature, the perfection of my life and the satisfaction of my Beloved Supreme.
My ignorance is an excess of fondness for the earth-bound fleeting time and my total indifference for the Heaven-free immortalising life. My ignorance is that I do not claim my Beloved Supreme as my own, very own. I do not dare to become His choice instrument. I remain in the meshes of ignorance.
My Beloved Supreme can forgive me, forgive my ignorance. But I shall not and cannot forgive myself and my ignorance, for inside the depth of my ignorance what looms large is my ingratitude. My Lord Supreme, out of His infinite Bounty, has always been trying to give me His Eternity’s Love, Infinity’s Delight and Immortality’s Life. But I do not accept His divine Boons. Everything I shall forgive but one thing: my ingratitude.
VSC 15. 4 October 1978, University of California, Santa Barbara, California↩
Part VI — Pacific School of Religion Meeting
Pacific School of Religion MeetingOn 5 October 1978, Sri Chinmoy was named “Honorary Visiting Scholar” at the Pacific School of Religion, which is part of the Graduate Theological Seminary at Berkeley. Dr. John von Rohr, President of the Pacific School of Religion, made the presentation. Also present were Dean A. Durwood Foster and Dr. Stillson Judah, Professor Emeritus of Comparative Religion, as well as a few of the Masters disciples. A transcript of the ceremony follows:
Dr. von Rohr: Very, very nice to meet you. We welcome you here.
Prof. Stillson: How do you do?
Dr. von Rohr: Well, won’t you sit down?
Disciple: Dr. von Rohr, Sri Chinmoy would like to make a presentation to you.
Sri Chinmoy: May I offer these books to you? These are actually not books. These are my aspiration-plants which are growing inside my devoted heart. So my aspiration-plants I am offering to you.
Dr. von Rohr: Thank you very, very kindly. We appreciate so very, very much your generosity in supplying us with these books. We know that those here who read them will find them profitable and helpful and spiritually meaningful. And we’re very, very grateful for your kindness in giving not only books but also in giving of yourself and your own experiences that are reflected in these writings. In return, I would like to present, on behalf of our school, this token of our appreciation which indicates that you are designated as an honorary visiting scholar of the Pacific School of Religion. We welcome you, therefore, as a member of our family.
Sri Chinmoy: I take it as a great honour to be a member of your family. I am not a scholar and I will never be a scholar. I am not an author, writer or composer. No! I am just a seeker. I try to aspire with my heart’s sincerity, and it is my aspiration that I am trying to offer both to the heavenly Father and to His children, my brothers and sisters on earth. It is my inner cry which I am trying to offer to the world at large. All that I write is only the expression of my inner cry. Here I am not going to illumine anybody. Only I am trying to share with the rest of the world my heart’s cry, which tries to serve the Beloved Supreme in each individual.
Dr. von Rohr: If you join our family, you are joining a family of seekers, because we are all united together in that seeking. Oftentimes we seek by different paths and in different ways, but we are all seeking the same illumination, the same experience of Grace and Light, the same kinship with divine love that will help us even as that love helps you to serve brothers and sisters in all humanity.
Sri Chinmoy: I tell my friends and students that all religions are like homes. We cannot live in the street. You live in your house and I live in my house. But we all go to the same place to study and there we get illumination. There is no such thing as religion. It is only oneness: oneness of the heart, oneness in the heart and oneness for the heart. The heart is our home.
I am so happy, delighted and honoured at the same time. Here we are all seekers. As you have mentioned earlier, we are all members of the same family. We are seeking soulfully, devotedly and unconditionally. Our great spiritual Master, Sri Ramakrishna, once said, “In the hoary past, the Vedic seers used to have the vision of the ultimate Truth. The word for vision is darshan, which also means philosophy. Now the scholars study philosophy in books.” We feel on the strength of our prayer and meditation that one day we shall develop this power of vision. It is not the books but the dedication of the heart and the conscious awareness of the soul that gives us the realisation that we are of the One and also of the many, that the one life-tree has many branches and that we are part and parcel of that life-tree.
Dr. von Rohr: I like the image of the home that you used in your statement. I am reminded of Jesus’ words in the Gospel of John that: “In my Father’s House are many mansions.” There may be many mansions that are slightly different from one another, but they are all parts of the Father’s House.
Dr. Judah: When Dr. Foster and I went to India, we visited Auroville and we were there a while with the community. One of the things that impressed me was that there were youths that had come from France, from America, from all over the world. In thinking back, I realise that in our country, too, the youth of America, in the last few years particularly — from the sixties on — have had this great interest in India. In fact, they have had a great interest in religious experience in a way that I think we have not really seen before. Now I wonder, do you have anything to illuminate us on this thing? Because it seemed to me that even in India, the Indian young people were not turning towards religion as much as the youths from France and America and all of the other different countries — European countries in particular. Why has the West suddenly, particularly among the youth, found this great need for illumination and religious experience?
Sri Chinmoy: There are quite a few significant reasons. The West valued materialism for a number of years, but now it truly feels that materialism is not the way to true satisfaction. Everybody wants satisfaction. A child wants satisfaction, but his satisfaction is different from ours. He breaks something and gets joy; that is his satisfaction. But your satisfaction will be to give somebody peace of mind; unless and until you have given some peace of mind to someone, you will not be satisfied. So each individual has a way of offering satisfaction and, at the same time, of getting satisfaction from life.
The Western youth went through drugs and a few other things and they thought these things would be the answer. But they were not the answer. So they searched for something else, which is very good. They are always looking for the new. We won’t say that the old is bad; but the old has played its role. Our goal is forward, ahead of us. If we remain all the time with the things that we have already achieved, then we are acting like a stagnant pool. Our life has to be like a river, constantly flowing, flowing, flowing towards the sea, towards the Source. Then only will we be happy. The Western youth are like rivers flowing very fast towards the Reality-Sea. They are doing the right thing. They are getting something new and it is inspiring them.
The Indian youths, unfortunately, think that they have everything because of their forefathers. We Indians had the Vedic seers. We had some so-called spiritual Masters. So the Indians are like spoiled children. Their parents were rich and they have left them a legacy, and they are exploiting this legacy. Westerners, on the other hand, think that their parents have not left them a vast amount of spiritual wealth, so they feel that they have to cultivate it. Indians feel that they have everything because of their forefathers, but this is not true. I have to pray myself; my father’s prayer will not illumine me. If my father is a seeker, he will inspire me so that right at the very start of my life’s journey I will pray and meditate. But he will not be able to give me realisation. That my Heavenly Father has to give me.
Here in the West, they are seeing that, forgive me, they are not getting the answer either from the so-called priests or from the church. I am not speaking against anyone; only I am saying that the Westerners want something and they are not getting it. The real temple, the real church is here, in the heart. When we go to church, if the priest can inspire us and make us feel where the truth is, where the actual God is, then we will dive deep within. I always tell my students that it is not the place they go to or the person they see, but they themselves who have to answer the questions. I can help them; I can tell them where the box is, where the jewellery is; but I am not the jeweler, I am not the diamond, I am not the box. They have misplaced the box inside their heart and I can show them where it is to be found. “Here is the box. Here is the diamond. And if you want me to open it for you, I’ll open it, but it is your treasure. It is not mine. Within your heart you have everything, but you do not know this because you have misplaced your inner wealth.” I always say that spirituality is not the monopoly of any individual, of an Indian; everybody has it in abundant, infinite measure.
Sometimes my students have difficulty accepting our path because of Christianity. I tell them, “If you are sincere, then you will see the Christ and the Supreme are one. He and his Father are one. Here, the Father has quite a few children. One Son — the Christ — has come and has illumined the world. But also there was Sri Krishna and Lord Buddha and Sri Ramakrishna. They all come from the same Source. Now, if I love my Father, I have to love my brothers and sisters; I have to love my uncles and so on. If I truly love my Father, how can I disown my uncles or my brothers or my sisters? There are quite a few seekers whose faith in Christianity and Christ has considerably increased since they have joined our path. Instead of going far, farther, farthest from Christianity or from the Christ, their aspiration, their devotion, their surrender, their oneness with the Christ consciousness has increased. We are not taking anybody away from the Christ consciousness. Only many people were wanting faith in their own religion, in their own capacity, in their own receptivity. We are trying our utmost to bring forward that faith in their own religion, in their own divinity.
To our extreme joy, people who have become really spiritual are not giving up religion as such. Real religion is our inner cry for oneness with our Absolute Lord Supreme. There are many who gave up Christianity when they accepted our path. But we have to know that there is a tremendous difference between the Christ and Christianity. The Christ is the Saviour. He embodies the Universal Consciousness, the transcendental Consciousness. He and his Father are one. But when we think of Christianity, our consciousness descends, because so many things go on in the name of Christianity which do not inspire us.
Dr. von Rohr: [Speaking to one of Sri Chinmoy’s disciples, a former student at the Pacific School of Religion] You have found a combination, haven’t you, between the Christian tradition as you’ve known it and experienced it and the wisdom, inspiration and light of the East.
Disciple: Well, as Durwood knows very well, through my association with Sri Chinmoy I think I’ve come to understand and appreciate Christ very, very deeply. And I definitely attribute that fully to my three years with Sri Chinmoy — no doubt because I find that Sri Chinmoy represents in a living being, right in front of me, some of the things that I want to believe about Jesus. These things are rather far-removed historically but very, very present in a living soul of Sri Chinmoy’s stature. So I would say yes, that my appreciation for Jesus and his mission has really very much increased.
Dr. Foster: I want to say that he (the disciple) has been a great blessing to us in his study at the Pacific School of Religion this last year. We’ve been very privileged to have him. He has made us more deeply conscious of you in so many ways.
Sri Chinmoy: It is so kind of you to say so. It is your heart’s magnanimity. Your heart’s magnanimity is coming to the fore. I am very grateful to you. We belong to the same family, as you were saying. We try to serve our Beloved Supreme; according to our limited, very limited receptivity, we try. What He wants from us is a sincere approach. Here I am in real heaven. Here we are discussing religion. Here there is no Christianity, no Hinduism — only children of the same parents. We are discussing the Glory of the Absolute Supreme. Again, sometimes when children are not good, we suffer. About ten years ago, I was giving a talk at Harvard, and there were four or five priests sitting in the front row. They were very displeased, to say the least, that people were so drawn to me. The rest of the audience was almost spellbound. The priests were arguing with me in the question and answer period. Afterwards, they came up and said to me, “How is it that you can answer all the questions.” I said, “In your case, you feel that you are doing it. In my case, I feel that I am the instrument. Today my Father is speaking in and through me. Tomorrow, if He sees that I am not receptive, He will just throw me and use somebody else; He will take you. So if you can feel that you are His instrument, then you will be given the same capacity and opportunity. But if you think you are doing everything, then you will not.
Then, sometimes I have such unfortunate experiences. I went to the chapel, with folded hands, and offered my utmost devotion to the Christ in Puerto Rico one time. And the Mother Superior got mad at me because I am not a Christian. She scolded and insulted me, and then finally said, “Oh, you have devotion for the Christ; Christ will forgive you.” Then again, in some universities when the spiritual figures or priests introduce me, they show such sincere love and appreciation. All these experiences I accept with equal joy and equanimity. All of them I place at the Feet of the Supreme. Here I am appreciated, there I am insulted, to say the least. It is their lack of understanding and receptivity. Some people are very limited. Someone comes, but they can’t house that person because their capacity is very, very limited. But once they can widen their heart, they will see that everyone is inside their heart.
Dr. von Rohr: Do you find persons at the United Nations receptive?
Sri Chinmoy: Some of them are very receptive. I must say, some. All can’t be, but some of them are very, very receptive. Our past Secretary-General, U Thant, was very, very spiritual, and he was kind enough to be my personal friend.
Dr. von Rohr: Is there a chapel at the United Nations that can be used?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes, right across the street.
Dr. von Rohr: I see.
Sri Chinmoy: The present Secretary-General is also very sympathetic towards our cause. I tell the delegates that there are two ways to reach the destined goal of peace: through inner peace and outer understanding. I tell them, “You are trying to bring about world harmony through outer understanding. If I understand you and you understand me, then we don’t quarrel, we don’t fight. At the same time if I have peace of mind, if I have peace in the inner world, in my heart, then I will not fight you. Prayer and meditation can bring to the fore our inner peace. Again, their way of trying to create understanding among countries will also bring about world harmony. After all, the inner world and the outer world must go together. Otherwise, in the inner world we shall have peace of mind and in the outer world we shall fight. When we pray, at that time we are good people. But then as soon as we enter into our multifarious activities, if we quarrel and fight, this is no good at all. I always say, early in the morning when we pray, we have to feel that we have got some Peace, Light and Power, which is inner wealth — like money power. When we have money in our pocket, we can go and buy anything we want. Similarly, if we have peace, love and joy inside our heart-pocket, then when we need these qualities during the day, we can bring them forward and have them.
Dr. Judah: Some time ago I made a study of the Hare Krishna movement here, and I became quite close to their spiritual Master Bhaktivedanta. It was very interesting, you know. One time we were walking on the beach together down in Los Angeles. He was saying that they believed in Jesus as the Lord, but they believed also, of course, that Krishna was the highest personality of the Godhead, of the One. To me it was rather interesting, because this explained in a way why so many of the youth who had come from Christian families here in America had turned to Bhaktivedanta. As one of them said, “I was a Methodist, I am still a Methodist.” And he felt that he was still a Christian even though he was worshipping Krishna, because he was worshipping Krishna as the symbolic form, you might say, of the Father, with Jesus Christ as the Son. And he was still recognising the oneness and the unity of all. It was rather interesting because, you see, it indicated that there was a rejection of a materiality which many of them felt that our churches were expressing. And so, as they turned toward spirituality, it seemed to me that what they were actually doing was transferring the symbol, but still retaining the same general ethic which is identical in all of the great religions.
Sri Chinmoy: This is absolutely true. Only one thing: If they say that Krishna is above all, then I find it difficult to accept that. I am an Indian. I wish to say that the Christ, Sri Krishna, Lord Buddha are all one — with different names. A little boy will address his father as “Daddy.” But when the father goes to the office, he is “Mister so-and-so.” Here too, the Christ, Sri Krishna, Lord Buddha are all manifestations or representatives of the one Absolute Supreme. Unfortunately, one hundred years ago or so, the Christian missionaries went to India and said that the Christ was the only saviour. But Krishna, Buddha — they are all saviours. They are awakening and saving and illumining the consciousness of the entire world. But if one says that the Christ is the only one, then Indians will find it very difficult to accept this. Again, Westerners will find it very difficult to accept Krishna as the only saviour. This time our heavenly Father is using Christ as His representative. Next time it will be somebody else. These are only changes in the name and the form.
The missionaries used to go and say that Lord Krishna is only a thief; in his childhood he used to steal butter. But if they had taught us that you have your Krishna and we have our Christ, then that would have been something else. It is like this. Two brothers go to the market. One buys an orange; one buys a mango. Let us share both fruits. The Christ brought Compassion. For me, he brought everything but his Compassion aspect touches me most. He brought down Compassion. In Krishna’s case, you are seeing all harmony and joy. He is asking the two parties — the Kauravas and Pandavas — not to fight. Don’t fight, be peaceful! But that is not the solution. Then he said that good must transform the evil forces. We don’t use the term “destruction.” How can we destroy something? God has created the world not for destruction but for transformation. I am unlit. You will use your illumination to illumine me. But if you destroy me, then you are destroying part of God’s creation. If you do that, then how can you strengthen and illumine God’s creation? I am obscure and impure. Your duty is to purify me. But if your duty is to destroy me, then where do I stand? If you want to transform me, then only one day will I be perfect. Perfection comes through gradual progress, not through destruction. If somebody destroys me, then how am I going to be perfect. If somebody has more power than I, he has to show his compassion, encouragement, sympathy and light so that I also can be illumined eventually.
Dr. von Rohr: Yes.
Sri Chinmoy: I must not take any more of your precious time.
Dr. von Rohr: This has been very profitable.
Dr. Judah: Yes, it certainly has.
Dr. Foster: Thank you so much. Bless you. thank you.
Part VII — Talks
Run and become15Run and become. We run, we become. We run in the outer world, we become in the inner world. We run to succeed, we become to proceed.
Inspiration helps us run, far, farther, farthest. It helps us run the length and breadth of the world. Aspiration helps us become fast, faster, fastest the chosen instrument of our Beloved Supreme.
Inspiration tells us to look around and thus feel and see boundless light, energy and power. Aspiration tells us to dive deep within and enjoy boundless delight, inner nectar and bliss.
Inspiration tells us to claim and proclaim our own divinity, which is our birthright. Aspiration tells us to feel and realise once and for all that we are exact prototypes of our Beloved Supreme. We can be as great, as good, as divine and as perfect as He is. Inspiration tells us to become our true selves. Aspiration tells us to become God Himself.
Inspiration tells us to feel what we soulfully have: God’s Love, God’s Compassion, God’s Beauty and God’s Peace in infinite measure. Aspiration tells us to feel at every moment that we are of the Source and for the Source. We are of our Beloved Supreme the One, and we are for our Beloved Supreme the many. Him to fulfil, Him to manifest, Him to satisfy unconditionally in His own way is of paramount importance.
We run. We become. At every moment we are running to become something great, sublime, divine and supreme. At the same time, while we are becoming, we feel that we are in the process of reaching our ultimate Goal. But today’s goal is only the starting point for tomorrow’s new dawn. At every moment we are transcending our achievements; we are transcending what we have and what we are. By virtue of our self-giving we are becoming the Beauty, the Light and the Delight of our Beloved Supreme.
VSC 17. 5 October 1978, 8:00 p.m., Stanford University, Stanford, California↩
The meaning of discipleship today16Dear friends, dear brothers and sisters, dear distinguished professors and deans, here we are all seekers. We are sailing in the same boat, the boat that is carrying us to the Golden Shore of the Beyond. Nothing gives me a greater sense of satisfaction than to be of dedicated service to seekers, for I am also a seeker, an eternal seeker, a seeker of the infinite Truth and Light. As you know, I was asked by my esteemed friend, Dean Foster, to speak on the meaning of discipleship today. This is a most significant subject, and therefore I offer him my gratitude-heart.
What is a disciple? A disciple is a seeker; he is a truth-seeker. What is a disciple? A disciple is a lover; he is a Heaven-lover. What is a disciple? A disciple is a server; he is an earth-server. What is a disciple? A disciple is a fulfiller; he is a God-fulfiller.
If we want to know the meaning of discipleship today, we have to focus our concentrated attention on the role of the disciple. The role of the disciple is quite simple, of course, if he follows the path of the heart and not the path of the mind. The role of the disciple is to give what he has and what he is. What he has is an inner cry, which is birthless and deathless. The disciple offers this birthless and deathless inner cry to his Pilot Supreme and receives His infinite Light, eternal Peace, and immortal Bliss. What he is, is a devoted and soulful instrument. He wants to help mankind see the beauty of the Infinite in the very heart of the finite. He wants to unite earth’s helpless cry and Heaven’s endless Smile. He takes it as his bounden duty to serve both Mother Earth and Father Heaven. To manifest the eternal Truth is his constant cry and constant hunger. Undoubtedly, he is a chosen instrument of the Absolute Pilot Supreme.
Yesterday’s disciple, today’s disciple, and tomorrow’s disciple. Yesterday’s disciple was simple and humble. Simplicity was his outer life, humility was his inner life. Simplicity and humility inundated his entire being. Today’s disciple is complicated and argumentative. Complication and argumentation reign supreme in his life, day in and day out. Tomorrow’s disciple will be the fastest spiritual runner. His code of life will be to run and become, to become and run. He will run in order to succeed; he will become in order to proceed. At times he will run to reach the Goal; at times the Goal will come to him. When he reaches the Goal, he will be blessed with the transcendental Pride of the Absolute Supreme. When the Goal reaches him, he will immediately sit at the Feet of the Absolute Supreme with his heart’s soulful gratitude-sea.
In the days of yore, the disciple was advised and encouraged by the Master to renounce the world. Renunciation was taught right from the beginning when the disciple came to the Master. The Vedic seers of the hoary past, and also the Upanishadic seers, offered a supreme message to the world at large: “Enjoy through renunciation.” Everybody wants to enjoy, for satisfaction is of paramount importance. But the ancient seers came to realise that satisfaction can be achieved only through renunciation; there is no other way. This world of ours gives us things that do not last; their life-breath is very short. Everything here is an illusion — nothing can last and nothing will last permanently. Sooner than the soonest, everything dies. What is the use of running after things that will not last for good? So they taught their disciples not to run after material objects, and their students learned the message of renunciation.
Then there came a time when the message needed transformation. The sages, the seers, the spiritual Masters came to realise that acceptance of life is of paramount importance. If we renounce the world, if we renounce the body, vital, mind and heart, then what are we going to do for our Beloved Supreme? We say we love God and want to please Him. If we want to please Him, if we want to fulfil Him, then how can we reject or renounce the world? This world of ours, as it is, must be accepted. First we must accept it; then we have to transform it. Needless to say, this world is far, far from perfect. But unless and until we accept the world, unless we touch the earth-arena — the sufferings, the pains, the imperfections of the world at large — how are we going to change the face and fate of the world? Therefore, we must needs accept the world.
Our mind is full of doubts, worries and anxieties; our mind has to be transformed. Our vital quite often is destructive; we have to transform our destructive vital into a new vital which is dynamic. With a dynamic vital we will be able to run the fastest, dive the deepest and fly the highest. Our body is lethargic; our body enjoys ignorance-sleep. It has been sleeping for millions of years; yet it still wants to enjoy this ignorance-sleep. The seeker in us must tell our body to wake up. The Upanishadic seers have taught us how to inspire the body with inner dynamism just by repeating these soulful and powerful words of incantation.
Uttisthata jagrata prapya varan nibodhata;
Ksurasya dhara nisita duratyaya;
Durgam pathas tat kavayo vadanti.
Arise, awake! Realise and achieve the Highest with the help of the illumining, guiding and fulfilling Masters. The path is as sharp as the edge of a razor, difficult to cross, hard to tread — so declare the wise sages.
Until the Goal is reached, do not stop! And this Goal is for whom? Not for the weakling! “The soul cannot be won by the weakling,” Nayam atma bala-hinena labhyo. The inner Goal can be achieved only by powerful souls, not by weak ones. The Goal that satisfies our inner world and our outer world, the Goal that quenches our Eternity’s thirst, will not be achieved by weaklings.
Yesterday’s disciple could not satisfy us. Today’s disciple cannot satisfy us. Tomorrow’s disciple also perhaps will not satisfy us. Why? Yesterday’s disciple said to the Master, “Master, give me capacity. If you bless me with capacity, I shall please you.” The disciple did not want to go further; he did not tell the Master that he would be more than willing to please the Master in his own way. Today’s disciple says to the Master, “Master, I am giving you a golden chance. Do please me in my own way today. If you please me today, I give you my word of honour that tomorrow I shall please you in your own way. But you have to please me first, and I have already given you a golden supreme chance.” Tomorrow’s disciple perhaps will say to the Master, “Master, let us please each other. You give me something significant and I shall give you something significant. You give me your soul’s Himalayan realisation, and I shall give you my life’s sleepless service.” Here also the disciple has managed to forget the message of unconditional Reality. It is all conditional: the Master has to give something to the disciple; then only the disciple will give something else to the Master. Therefore, yesterday’s disciple could not accomplish the supreme task, today’s disciple cannot do it and tomorrow’s also will fail. But in the distant future — it may take millions of years — there shall come a time when the seeker-disciple will be ready to please the Master in the Master’s own way. The seeker-disciple will be able to identify himself with the supreme prayer-message of the Saviour-Supreme, the Christ: “Father, let Thy Will be done.” Here the message of surrender comes to the fore.
Unfortunately, the present-day world is scared to death when it hears the word “surrender.” But the surrender that we speak of in the spiritual life is not the surrender of the slave to the master. It is the recognition of the Infinite by the finite. A tiny drop recognises its inner identity with the vast ocean. It then enters into the ocean and becomes the vast ocean itself.
In the spiritual life, nobody is compelled to surrender. But everybody has an inner urge to grow into the Infinite. As the tiny drop grows into the Infinite, even so, our finite consciousness can eventually grow into Infinity. Surrender and freedom are always at daggers drawn, but if we dive deep within we see that there is no difference between these two so-called realities. They are just the obverse and the reverse of the same coin. Before we accepted the spiritual life, we enjoyed freedom in one way. We fulfilled, or wanted to fulfil, our earth-bound desires. We felt, perhaps, that we had the capacity and potentiality to be another Napoleon or Alexander the Great. Like Julius Caesar, we wanted to voice forth: “I came, I saw, I conquered.” This is the positive way that we could have embraced this reality. Otherwise, if we embraced it in the negative way, then we would have cherished and admired deep in the inmost recesses of our heart the destructive message of Hitler and Stalin. In any event, before we entered into the spiritual life we did enjoy freedom; whether it was real freedom or not is another matter. But we can say that we enjoyed something in a limited way, and the after-effect was total frustration. Therefore, we needed a kind of escape. Or we can say that illumination dawned on us. So we gave up the desire-bound life and entered into the spiritual life.
Previously we wanted to please and fulfil ourselves by fulfilling our desire-life, but now we want to please and fulfil ourselves by fulfilling our aspiration-life. It is not that we have given up our freedom. No! Freedom is always there. Only we have changed the course of the game, and now we are enjoying a different kind of freedom.
Unfortunately, when we enter into the spiritual life and follow a Master, we feel that we are surrendering to somebody else and giving up our freedom. But this is not at all true. Nobody is compelling us to follow a spiritual path; nobody is compelling us to listen to the Master. The seeker has come to the Master on the strength of his own inner urge. The seeker is staying with the Master in order to fulfil a divine longing that he feels. He feels that the Master knows a little more than he does, so he himself has decided to follow the Master. It is his own freedom that he is exercising. So the question of surrender does not arise at all. When we lead, we enjoy freedom. Again, when we consciously, deliberately, soulfully and unconditionally follow, at that time we enjoy another kind of freedom. In the case of the seeker, his inner awareness, inner development and inner sense of truth are compelling him to follow a higher life, a more illumining life, a more fulfilling life. It is his own free choice.
When the seeker follows a Master, he does not look upon the Master as a separate individual. He does not feel that he is a slave kissing the dust of the Master’s feet. No! He knows perfectly well that the Master who is in the physical is only a representative of his real Guru, his real Master, who is none other than the Absolute Supreme. He sees himself as an exact prototype of his Master’s divine consciousness, and he looks upon the Master as his own higher reality. So when he follows the Master, he is not surrendering his freedom to somebody else. Only he is exercising his freedom in a different way; he is exercising his freedom to follow his own higher reality.
In the spiritual life, it is always God for God’s sake right from the beginning. If this message the seeker can embody, reveal and manifest in his life at every moment, then he will be a supreme and perfect instrument of his Beloved Supreme. There shall come a time when Mother Earth will be inundated with seeker-disciples who will be carrying the banner of unconditional surrender to God which is nothing other than conscious, constant, inseparable and unconditional divine oneness with their own higher reality and their Master who represents this higher reality.
VSC 17. 1 June 1979, 3:00 p.m., Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California↩
Editor's prefaceIn the autumn of 1978, Sri Chinmoy embarked on a lecture and concert tour through the State of California. This book contains the lectures he delivered plus some of the interviews he had with educational, political and military officials in the state.
Included in this volume is a most significant lecture Sri Chinmoy delivered the following year at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, entitled "The Meaning of Discipleship Today".