World-destruction: never, impossible! part 2

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Part I — Supernatural phenomena

Supernatural phenomena

It may be helpful to have the capacity to know the future, but people should not pray to God to give them this capacity. They should pray to God only for the fulfilment of His Will.

Question: Could you please tell about any experience you had where the paranormal played an obvious and undeniable role?

Sri Chinmoy: In my case I have been using my inner vision and spiritual power since the age of thirteen or fourteen. I have had innumerable experiences, and I can give you a few examples that are both interesting and amusing.

In my youth, when I was a champion athlete in my community, quite a few times I predicted how far others would jump in the long jump. When the participants were about to start, I used to write down their distances on the ground, and my predictions always proved absolutely correct. I did this many times.

I also made predictions about my friends’ times in the hurdles. I used to write down their times on a piece of paper and give it to one of my friends in a sealed envelope, asking him to open it only after the race was over. Again and again, my predictions proved correct.

In another instance, a very good friend of mine was criticising Indian sadhus and swamis. He was saying that none of them had inner power. I told him to come to see me the next day and I would show him some spiritual power. The next day we stood face to face and I said, “Now look at me!” He was a great wrestler, but in a matter of seconds he fainted and fell down.

When he regained consciousness a few moments later, he called me a rascal and ran away. Then he started telling everyone that I had tried to kill him, which was absolutely untrue. But the enormous power he had seen in me in those few seconds had frightened him terribly.

Once in 1967 I was a panellist on a TV talk show in Puerto Rico. The weathermen, astrologers and others were predicting that a terrible hurricane would destroy Puerto Rico in a few days. I said that instead of the island being flooded, there would be just a little bit of water. On television there was a fight between me and the astrologers. I finally said, “Say whatever you want, but I see with my inner vision that nothing will happen.”

At that time I also appeared on a radio programme. The radio interviewer and a few others also challenged me about the hurricane. Then, when my prediction came true, the radio interviewer became my disciple.

Question: Do you think that precognition can restrict man's free will? Knowing the future, will he no longer be able to decide freely any more?

Sri Chinmoy: Precognition does not necessarily restrict man’s free will. It entirely depends on the wisdom-light of the one who has the knowledge of the future and on his capacity to deal with the prediction. It may be helpful to have the capacity to know the future, but people should not pray to God to give them this capacity. They should pray to God only for the fulfilment of His Will.

To know the future is good only if you have patience, faith and the wisdom to use this knowledge in the proper way. Suppose you see that something discouraging, disheartening and destructive is going to take place in your life in the near future. Because you know in advance, you have the opportunity to pray to God to avert the calamity. If you pray devotedly and sincerely, God may listen to your prayers. In this case, knowing the future is a great help because it allows you the time and gives you the inspiration to pray to God to save you. And even if God does not answer your prayers in the way that you ask, He will illumine your mind in a very special way so that you can bravely face the calamity.

On the other hand, if you see that something good, divine, inspiring, illumining and fulfilling is going to take place in the near future, then you can start offering your sincere gratitude to God, and also you can pray to God to expedite this fulfilling manifestation. God may listen to your prayers and accelerate the process if He sees that you truly value His Blessings.

So if God blesses you with inner vision or with the capacity to know the future, then you have to utilise it properly. There are people who have the vision, but who are not wise enough to use it carefully. When they predict disastrous future events, they create useless and destructive fear in people, instead of inspiring them to pray for protection or illumination.

Question: You have been able to predict many events, such as Carl Lewis' victory at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. How do you obtain these premonitions or visions of the future? Do you search for them? Do you always feel the need to communicate your findings?

Sri Chinmoy: Before the finals for the 200 metres of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, I met with Carl Lewis and we meditated together for about fifteen minutes. At that time I predicted not only Carl Lewis’ victory but also the second, third and fourth place finishers as well. Our conversation, including my prediction, was videotaped. I do not search for these revelations; I merely open myself to them. I was able to make this particular prediction because I heard an inner voice. Also, I clearly saw with my third eye what was going to happen in the race.

Similarly, I predicted what was going to happen with East and West Germany when I was standing in front of the Berlin Wall four years ago. I said that within several years East Germany and West Germany would be united. To my greatest joy, my prophesy has come true. But although I am frequently blessed with the vision to see what is going to happen in the near or distant future, I usually do not communicate this knowledge, since it is not generally helpful for people to know what the future holds in store.

I do not give much importance to predictions. I give all importance to God’s Grace. It is God’s Grace that helps humanity most, by giving us inspiration and encouragement, and by intensifying our aspiration and dedication. But if I want to know the future, my Beloved Supreme, out of His infinite Bounty, has given me the capacity to see it. On the eve of each New Year, for example, I offer an inspirational message about the coming year, and this message bears fruit in the course of the year.

Question: Are there spiritual methods for communicating with those who have passed away?

Sri Chinmoy: There are many spiritual methods to communicate with the souls of those who have passed away. The easiest and most effective way is to invoke the soul on the strength of your concentration-power. If you have acquired a free access to the soul’s realm, then you can either go to the soul you want or bring the soul to you, regardless of whether the soul is in the body or in the soul’s world.

Some people find it more difficult to communicate with souls that are in the soul’s world, while others find it more difficult to communicate with souls that are in a physical body. Spiritual Masters of the highest calibre find it quite easy to communicate with both the souls in Heaven and the souls on earth.

Question: Is there life after death? Will there be a judgement of what has been done in this life? Will there be punishment, reward or a sentence? If so, will it be eternal?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, there is life after death. Death is not and can never be the end. To me, life and death are like two rooms. During the day I work in the living room, and at night I take rest in the bedroom. Life is my living room; death is my resting room. Both I equally need in order to love, serve and please God.

Right now, death is something unknown, and most people are afraid of the unknown. But we have to realise that death is an important part of God’s Cosmic Game and a natural step in our evolution. An individual works very hard and makes considerable progress during his lifetime, let us say. But after playing the life-game for a certain number of years, he usually becomes tired. One cannot continue playing any game or sport without rest. We need rest so that we can start playing again with renewed energy and enthusiasm. So death is a well-deserved rest for the divine warrior who has been fighting hard on earth for the Lord Supreme.

At the end of the earthly sojourn, the individual soul passes on to the other world and offers to the Absolute Lord Supreme the quintessence of the experience that it had on earth. The Absolute Supreme, from His transcendental Height, evaluates the soul. But there is no hard and fast rule about punishment, reward or sentence. Whatever God does with the individual soul — although it may seem like a punishment or reward — is done from His transcendental Vision-Light for the progress of the soul. But even the worst possible human being will never be condemned to eternal punishment or torture.

The reason God created human beings was not to punish them but to love them and give them opportunities to transform themselves steadily and unerringly into divine beings.

Question: Do you believe in reincarnation? Who were you before and who will you be in your next life? Can a spiritual man decipher the mysteries of life?

Sri Chinmoy: I do believe in reincarnation. In one lifetime it is impossible to reach the Highest and manifest the Highest. In each successive incarnation we try to make more progress. We are like a plant that is growing up high, higher, highest. One day we will be a huge tree with countless leaves, most fragrant flowers and delicious fruits. But this cannot happen overnight.

God has created us. The very purpose of creation is the manifestation and fulfilment of God’s Vision here on earth in and through each individual soul. God will never allow any person to remain unfulfilled. But in one lifetime we cannot accomplish everything. Even on the earthly, material plane we cannot fulfil all our desires. At the age of seventy we may see that some of our desires from our early childhood have not yet been fulfilled. Similarly, on the spiritual plane, we cannot fulfil all our aspirations in the short span of one life. We must come back again and again to make inner progress and eventually transform God’s transcendental Dream into fruitful Reality.

In my immediate past incarnation I was a spiritual Master in India with just a handful of extremely soulful and devoted disciples. In that incarnation, I lived in circumstances of extreme simplicity, perhaps I should even say austerity. Although I offered my inner goodwill to the world, my role in that lifetime was not to work in the world but to concentrate on my own spiritual progress and that of a few excellent disciples. Both God’s Justice and Compassion are needed for the transformation of earth’s consciousness. In my immediate past incarnation, God used His Justice-Light for me, in me and through me more than He used His Compassion-Height. In this incarnation it is absolutely the reverse. Right now it is God’s Compassion that is playing a greater role in inspiring, uplifting, illumining and fulfilling countless God-seekers through me.

With regard to future lives, my Beloved Supreme, out of His infinite Bounty, has repeatedly told me that this incarnation of mine marks the unmistakable end of my earth-pilgrimage. In the future I will continue to love, serve and please my Lord Supreme in His own Way from the inner and higher worlds.

A spiritual man cannot necessarily decipher the mysteries of life. Only the highest spiritual giants can and do decipher the mysteries of life. Then it is the bounden duty of these spiritual giants to share their wisdom and light with the spiritually hungry and thirsty humanity.

Question: You have devoted yourself to sports and the arts and have achieved exceptional results. What is the basis of your success? You have said that it is natural, that it is sufficient to "open yourself to the Source of divine inspiration." What does this mean? You have also stated that, "Men themselves set their limits, but they also decide when to surpass those limits." Is man omnipotent? You lifted 7,000 pounds, a virtual miracle. If you wanted to, could you surpass other world-class performances?

Sri Chinmoy: Whatever I have succeeded in doing, the basis of my success lies in my self-offering to the Will of God. But in all sincerity I must say that my self-offering has God’s infinite and unconditional Compassion as its Source.

Whoever wants to create something in any field — whether it be literature, art, music or anything else — needs an access to the source of inspiration. If one wants to create something divine and illumining, then naturally he has to devotedly and soulfully establish a free access to the divine Source that embodies inspiration in infinite measure.

The desiring mind in man sets limits for everything — whether it is something that he already has or something that he wants to possess. But the aspiring heart in man deals with the Infinite — with things that are already infinite or things that eventually will be infinite. When someone lives primarily in the mind or in the desire-world, he is enchained by the limitations of his mind. When the same person enters into the aspiration-world, that means he wants to liberate himself, and he can liberate himself from the world of limitations.

Is man omnipotent? No, man is not omnipotent. But God’s unconditional Grace operating in and through man can do things that are absolutely unimaginable. Needless to say, man as such is not the doer of these unimaginable deeds. The omnipotent God is using man as an instrument. His own Omnipotence He can manifest through man’s pure and humble receptivity.

In my case, I have lifted over 7,000 pounds with both my left and right arms. To my mind it was, it is and it will forever remain unbelievable. When I am in the mind, I am the first person to disbelieve it. But when I am in my heart, on the strength of my soulful surrender to my Inner Pilot Supreme, I know that this achievement — which is nothing other than the result of God’s infinite Grace — is absolutely real. As a human being, with my own capacity I cannot surpass any world-class performances. But if God, out of His infinite Bounty, wants to perform something extraordinary in and through me, He can do so.

Question: Does each individual have a predisposition for using divine inspiration to achieve greatness in one specific athletic event?

Sri Chinmoy: An individual athlete can easily shine in more than one athletic event. Right now Carl Lewis is the supreme athlete in the 100 metres and the long jump. His idol-predecessor, Jesse Owens, was exceptional in the 100 metres, long jump and low hurdles. Again, decathlon champions like Bruce Jenner and Daley Thompson have excelled in ten different items. If an athlete has abundant receptivity, then he can receive divine inspiration and capacity from above to offer seemingly miraculous results not only in various athletic fields but also in other fields as well.

Question: You have written hundreds of books and thousands of songs, and have painted tens of thousands of paintings. When you are at work, do you function 'automatically'? Are you like a medium, working in an unconscious and passive state, or are you fully conscious of your actions? When you are at work, do you consider yourself more of an artist or more of a medium?

Sri Chinmoy: If I take the credit for all the things that have been done in and through me by God’s infinite Grace, that will be the height of insincerity. I am not the doer; I try only to be a soulful and unconditional instrument of God so that He can manifest Himself in and through me in His own Way.

In my case, I do everything consciously and dynamically, in a spirit of sleepless self-offering. I do not do things automatically, but I try to do creative things ‘spontaneously’. The way you are using the word ‘medium’ cannot be applied to me, for I am always quite conscious of what is being done in and through me by the divine Force of my Lord Beloved Supreme.

When I am at work, I do not consider myself to be either an artist or a medium. I regard myself as God’s Compassion-Light-receiver and God’s Compassion-Light-distributor.

Part II — The spiritual life

The spiritual life

God is infinite, and there are infinite ways to realise Him. Similarly, there are many ways to meditate, not one single way. Each individual has to discover his own way of meditation for the fastest spiritual growth.

Question: In your writings you say that there are different levels of consciousness: the inanimate one of stones, the plant world, the animal kingdom and the human state of existence. They are all progressing towards the divine state. Spiritual seekers try to climb up the progress-tree with spiritual methods such as meditation, but sometimes they fail. What happens to them? What do you advise for those who have difficulty meditating and cannot set aside fifteen minutes per day for their spiritual disciplines?

Sri Chinmoy: People who fail while trying to climb up the progress-tree will not always continue to fail. They will definitely succeed one day, for no soul will remain unrealised and imperfect forever. People who right now cannot meditate and discipline themselves should continue to try, continue to aspire, and one day their efforts will be crowned with success.

Making spiritual progress is like developing a muscle. Slowly and steadily, through regular practice, we develop stronger muscles. That is also the way we develop our inner muscles, which are inspiration, aspiration and dedication.

If I cannot meditate for fifteen minutes, I shall try to meditate for ten minutes. If I cannot meditate for ten minutes, I shall try to meditate for five minutes or three minutes. But I have to start. Then gradually I will increase my inner strength.

It is the same thing with leading a spiritual and disciplined life. To start with, someone can count how many good things he has done and how many bad things he has done in one particular day. Then each day he will try to decrease his bad actions and increase his good actions. Similarly, he must also try each day to be more disciplined in his actions. In this way slowly and steadily he will change his life.

What is most important is to try to develop a genuine hunger for God’s Love, God’s Compassion and God’s Blessings. There are two ways to increase one’s inner hunger. One way is to cry to God like a helpless child crying for his mother. The other way is to offer up one’s actions to God while keeping a cheerful attitude. With both these ways the seeker can make real inner progress.

Question: You are a vegetarian. Is being a vegetarian essential in the spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: At the age of twelve I became a strict vegetarian. Being a vegetarian is not part of the tradition that I follow, and it is not essential for the spiritual life. However, I do feel that it can be of considerable help to us.

If we eat meat and fish, then the restless and aggressive qualities of the animal kingdom will enter into us. If our minds or other parts of our being are restless and aggressive, then we cannot have powerful and peaceful meditations. But if we eat only vegetables, then the mild qualities of the vegetable kingdom will enter into us and we will find it easier to have high and deep meditations. Therefore, being a vegetarian can be of considerable benefit to a seeker.

But I cannot say that if someone is not a strict vegetarian, he will not have high experiences or that God-realisation will always remain a far cry. No, it is not true. In the past there were great spiritual figures who ate meat and fish; even now there are spiritual figures who do so, and their lofty experiences and sublime realisations cannot be questioned. But I feel that it is good for people to adopt in their lives anything that can help them make fast, faster, fastest progress.

A vegetarian diet is of benefit to a sincere God-seeker, but it is not essential.

Question: Why does man use archaic sounds in his prayer, such as Aum, Amen, Halleluiah, etc.?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us think of God the Silence and God the Sound. Needlesss to say, God’s Silence aspect is more difficult to comprehend than God’s Sound aspect. It is easier to enter into silence from sound. So when we use words such as Aum, Amen, or Halleluiah, through sound we are approaching silence.

We come from outside the church, where many people may be moving around and talking, to the altar inside, where it is all calm and quiet. God the Sound is like the outside of the church and God the Silence is like the altar. It is easier to stand and look at the outside of a church than to go inside and approach the altar. Again, we cannot imagine an altar without a church, and to have a church without an altar is useless. They complement each other and form a unit.

Although Aum is a Sanskrit word, it is not an archaic sound. Aum embodies the tremendous power of our Hindu trinity: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva — God the Creator, God the Preserver and God the Transformer. So Aum is the sound-expression of the Hindu trinity.

About the words which are used in other religions, I do not know what they represent to those who use them, so I am not the right person to answer this question.

Question: What do you say while you are praying? To whom are you speaking? Have you ever prayed for others, for the world, for peace? How have you done this?

Sri Chinmoy: When I am praying, I am communing with the Highest Absolute. I speak to Him either like a beggar to an emperor or like a child to his grandfather. I started praying and meditating — you can say unconsciously — at the age of four or five. But since the very beginning of my conscious spiritual journey, I have been praying to the Supreme not only for my own perfection in life but also for a oneness-world founded upon inner peace. At this point in my spiritual journey, all my prayers are for others, for the world, for peace.

Then again, in the highest sense, there is no separation between myself and ‘others’. After I attained my own conscious union with God, I came to realise that there is only one ‘person’, and that is my universal oneness-life.

So when I pray, automatically I include in my prayer all human beings on earth. And when I meditate, that too is for the benefit of all the souls in God’s entire Universe. Once you have established your oneness with God’s Will, it is extremely easy to meditate soulfully, powerfully and unconditionally for God’s Will to be executed in and through each human being on earth.

Question: In calling on God, should we use the pronoun 'You'? If not, what kind of language should we use?

Sri Chinmoy: You can say “You” or “Thou” or refer to God by whatever name you feel comfortable with, or in whatever aspect you like. You can offer your prayers to God the Compassionate, God the Almighty, God the Beloved Supreme or any other aspect of God that pleases you.

During prayer and meditation, it is advisable to speak to God in your own mother tongue because the language that you learned right from birth has become inseparably one with your life-breath, which is all simplicity, sincerity, purity and divinity. So it is advisable, especially for seekers, to pray to God in the language they were brought up with.

Most of the time I speak to God in the Chittagong dialect which was spoken in my village, or in pure Bengali. Sometimes I speak English, but English comes last. When I was younger, every day I would recite a prayer from the Upanishads, India’s sacred scriptures, which are in the Sanskrit language. Also, I used to read prayers in French, but I get more joy from Bengali prayers. If I pray to God in the Chittagong dialect, the prayer is more spontaneous.

Question: What techniques do you use in your meditation to achieve inner awareness, an opening up to spiritual strength and the creation of a 'new consciousness'? What do you do and what method do your disciples follow?

Sri Chinmoy: What we sleeplessly need in our inner lives is aspiration — the heart’s inner cry. This aspiration we get from deep within, during our prayer and meditation. God is infinite, and there are infinite ways to realise Him. Similarly, there are many ways to meditate, not one single way. Each individual has to discover his own way of meditation for the fastest spiritual growth.

In the case of my students, I advise them to meditate on the heart, and to think of the compassionate and personal aspect of God. What God has and what God is is infinite Compassion — Compassion in His creation and Compassion beyond His creation. So we try to meditate on this aspect of God. It is like father and child. The father may be very great; others may be afraid of him or hold him in awe. But the child is all love for his father, and can run to his father and speak to him at any time. So we try to approach God the compassionate Father with our heart’s love, devotion and surrender. But there are many ways to approach God, and others may prefer to approach God in His impersonal aspect.

I do not give my students any secret mantra or incantation to repeat. I tell them that if they want to repeat a mantra, they should say “Supreme”. In general, I advise them to remain calm and quiet and not to allow any thoughts to disturb their minds.

Sometimes I ask them to do different things in order to get inspiration. I may tell them to look at a flower and appreciate its beauty and purity, so that they will be reminded of their soul’s inner beauty and purity. Or I may ask them to get inspiration by looking at the flame of a candle, since this outer flame will remind them of their inner flame. I may ask them to imagine a vast expanse of water and try to enter into its vastness during their meditation. I may ask them to imagine a mountain, because this will inspire them to raise their consciousness high, higher, highest.

In my writings I have described many more techniques for meditation. The individual seeker has to choose the way that will help him make the fastest progress. But no matter which technique one uses, aspiration is of paramount importance. If one does not have the heart’s burning inner cry for God, then no technique will work. Again, if one is sincerely crying for God, then any technique will work.

Question: What is the difference between the meditation of the heart, spiritual concentration and contemplation of God?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us take spirituality as a huge book that deals with a great many subjects. Three of the main subjects are concentration, meditation and contemplation.

Concentration is one-pointedness. When the seeker concentrates, he focuses his attention on something tinier than the tiniest, and eventually acquires tremendous will-power.

Meditation is another subject. When the seeker meditates, he meditates on something vaster than the vastest in order to acquire infinite peace, infinite light and infinite bliss.

The third subject is contemplation. In contemplation, the seeker feels that God the Lover and God the Beloved are one. At one moment God plays the role of the Beloved Supreme to bless, illumine, transform and immortalise the seeker. The next moment He plays the role of the divine lover in the seeker to elevate the seeker’s consciousness so that the seeker can realise the ever-transcending peace, light and bliss of God’s own birthless and deathless Vision.

Part III — Personal views

Personal views

I did not choose my life-role. My Inner Pilot commanded me to serve those who want and need my inner guidance, and be their spiritual leader.

Question: You are able to combine the spirituality of India with Western dynamism. This is quite unheard of for a teacher of Indian spirituality. Do you follow a prearranged plan? Do you feel suited for today's world, or do you try to conform to the world while bringing good into it?

Sri Chinmoy: As the inner life is fruitless and useless without peace, even so the outer life is fruitless and useless without dynamism. According to me, India’s spirituality lies in its inner peace, just as the Western world’s progress lies in its outer dynamism. The dynamism of the West and the inner peace of the East must go together in order to bring about a world of perfect harmony and perfect satisfaction.

I owe my aspiration-heart to India; I owe my dedication-life to America. I feel that the inner life of aspiration and the outer life of dedication are both needed in order to manifest the divine Light of our Heavenly Father here on earth.

I do not follow a prearranged plan. I just obey devotedly, soulfully and unconditionally the express Command of my Lord Beloved Supreme. In the beginning I was absolutely puzzled and confused by the West. But over the years I have been able to accept the Western world, with all its good and bad qualities, as my own.

Now with my aspiration-heart I am praying to God to inundate both the Eastern world and the Western world with His absolute Love, Peace and Delight. And with my dedication-life I am trying to inspire the world to cry for a better, purer and higher life.

Question: Does God need man? Did you choose your life-role? Can we draw a parallel between your life and that of the Biblical prophet Samuel and also with the Little Shepherd of Fatima?

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely God needs man. God is both the Creator and the creation. Man is nothing other than God the creation. God needs man to manifest His Light on earth, and man needs God to realise his own highest height. So God the Creator and God the creation undoubtedly need each other.

I did not choose my life-role. My Inner Pilot commanded me to serve those who want and need my inner guidance, and to be their spiritual teacher. There are many God-seekers all over the world who are searching for a spiritual teacher.

I would not compare myself with either the Biblical prophet Samuel or the Little Shepherd of Fatima. I am only a God-lover who is trying to be a soulful and perfect instrument of God’s Will. But I can tell you that God is able to bestow upon others the same great capacities and good qualities that He bestowed upon the prophet Samuel and the Little Shepherd of Fatima. God’s Blessings are infinite, and He has a special Plan to fulfil in and through each individual on earth who is ready and willing to serve Him.

Both Samuel and the Little Shepherd fulfilled God’s Vision most satisfactorily. Each human being in God’s creation should also try to fulfil God in God’s own Way. Indeed, this is precisely what God wants from us — always to please Him in His own Way. Ultimately we will discover that to please God is to fulfil ourselves.

Question: You have said that from a very young age you knew that your mission would develop in the West. Was it an inner message you received during your first thirteen years, or was it a suggestion of your Guru? How did your knowledge of coming to the West develop?

Sri Chinmoy: It was a message from the inmost recesses of my heart that I used to get quite frequently during my adolescent years. So inwardly I was prepared to come to the West. On the outer plane, I came to the West when some American seekers saw me in India and invited me to come here to be of service to the seekers in the West.

Question: Your name, Chinmoy (“full of divine consciousness”), seems to tell it all. Why did your parents give you this name? Were they thinking about your future spiritual vocation?

Sri Chinmoy: Actually, my elder brother Chitta gave me this name. In India, it is not always the parents who give names to their children. Sometimes other members of the family may give the names. My brother Chitta is quite a bit older than I am. Before I was born, he had a few dreams in which he clearly saw that a spiritual figure would be born into his family, and it was he who chose this name.

Question: In your writings, you describe an episode in your life where you met or talked to the King of the Universe. Was it a subtle inner vision or could you see Him with your physical eyes? Were you in a meditative trance, or were you in an ordinary consciousness? What did the King look like?

Sri Chinmoy: I was in my highest meditative trance, my highest consciousness, when I saw the King of the Universe and had this most soulful and powerful conversation with Him. I saw Him with my third eye, which is called the vision-eye. This eye exists between the two physical eyebrows and slightly above, but only those who have the intuitive faculty can see it.

It was a subtle inner vision. In that vision He appeared before me in His Transcendental Form. He was all gold — a beautiful, more beautiful, most beautiful being — infinitely more beautiful than I can ever describe! In that particular vision I called Him the King of the Universe. But now I usually call Him the Supreme.

Previously I could only see Him with my third eye. But my Beloved Supreme, out of His infinite Bounty, has given me the capacity to see Him with my ordinary human eyes nowadays.

Question: What do you experience while you are producing your works at a tremendous speed? What do you do to reach the proper consciousness? Can you create or compose whenever you want to, or only when you feel a call from within?

Sri Chinmoy: When I work with tremendous speed, I experience a limitless sea of delight inside myself. I experience the finite in myself entering into the infinite Inner Pilot Supreme. I experience the limited speed entering into the unlimited speed. I experience my limitation-bound body becoming inseparably one with my free and measureless soul-vastness and immensity. Finally, I experience the way God the creation is offering gratitude to God the Creator, and the way God the Creator is becoming exceedingly proud of God the creation.

In order to be in the proper consciousness for creating something that will be of value to aspiring humanity, I do not pray to God for inspiration or meditate on inspiration. Before I create something or do something most important and significant, I just meditate for God to be supremely victorious in and through the poet or the author or the singer or the artist in me.

I can create or compose at any moment I want to. There are two types of poets, authors, singers, artists and so forth. One type has to run after the inspiration-bird in order to catch it. The other type is divinely blessed by God’s Grace; the inspiration-bird itself flies towards him in order to be caught. But in both cases there can be difficulties. Those who run after the inspiration-bird may not succeed in catching it. Again, those who receive the inspiration-bird when it flies to them may not be soulful and grateful. Therefore, they may also fail — in their case, by not offering the utmost divinity through their creations.

I am fortunate enough to be able to catch the inspiration-bird at almost any time, without my having to chase it. The inspiration-bird comes to me quite often — about ninety-five times out of one hundred.

Question: Why is there an abundance of gardens with exotic flowers and wonderful birds in your paintings? The inner garden or garden of the Beyond is a very happy state, but it contrasts with the problems of everyday life. It seems almost to evade them. Is this the case? What are you saying through your colourful gardens?

Sri Chinmoy: Spiritually, a bird signifies the soul, which flies in the firmament of Infinity, and a garden represents beauty and purity. If an individual has inner beauty and purity, then easily he can remain in touch with his soul. The soul will bring him the message of freedom from bondage, on the strength of its constant and inseparable oneness with God the Omniscient, God the Omnipotent and God the Omnipresent.

True, in the inner life everything is happiness and beauty, whereas in the outer life the story is almost always the opposite. But in no way am I trying to avoid or evade the outer life of pain and suffering. Through colourful gardens and flowers I am trying to indicate that the outer life also can have harmony, peace, love, light and delight, for I feel that the inner life must inspire the outer life. With my heart’s aspiration and my life’s dedication I am trying to bring to the fore the beauty and purity of the inner life so that it can bring happiness to the outer life.

All the divine qualities that we see in the inner life eventually have to be brought to the fore in the outer life as well. God wants us to participate devotedly and soulfully in His Cosmic Game by manifesting outwardly all the divine qualities that we have within.

I have done thousands and thousands of paintings, and many of these also deal with the battlefield of life and the hard realities that we find there. My art-world is like a big store where each customer can choose what he likes or needs. If you need the heart’s cry, you will find it. If you need the soul’s smile, you will find it. If you need consolation, you will find it. If you need illumination, you will find it. Whatever you want, you will be able to find in my paintings.

In various ways I am trying to serve humanity, and it is my fervent hope that each individual will take what he or she needs from my Fountain-Art.

Question: Your weightlifting achievements are unparalleled in this world. Which mental processes do you use to concentrate your physical and mental energies?

Sri Chinmoy: I do not use any mental process to concentrate my physical and mental energies; I only invoke God’s Grace. I consciously pray for God’s Victory in my cheerful self-offering to the weightlifting world. I shall be more than happy and gratified if the results of my self-offering can become a source of inspiration to all those who are interested in weightlifting. But I have always advocated the message of self-transcendence. He who has acted in and through me can easily act in and through others as well, if such is His Will. In the process of His own evolution in and through humanity, God will far transcend the accomplishments He has achieved through me.

Question: Is God Father or Mother to you?

Sri Chinmoy: God is both my Father and my Mother. I meditate on my Father-God for my illumination and perfection. I pray to my Mother-God for Her Compassion and Affection. When I wish to hear the song of the Infinite in the heart of the finite, I go to my Father-God. When I wish to hear the song of the finite in the soul of the Infinite, I go to my Mother-God.

My heart’s streaming tears in no time reach my Mother-God. My soul’s beaming joys reach my Father-God sooner than the soonest. My Mother-God proudly tells the whole world who I am: I am God’s choice instrument. My Father-God smilingly tells the whole world what my ultimate goal is. My ultimate goal is to serve both my Father-God and my Mother-God unconditionally while they are transforming today’s man into tomorrow’s God.

Every day in the small hours of the morning my Mother-God says to me, “How are you today, My child?” And my Father-God says to me, “What are your plans today, My son?” Late at night when I am about to retire, my Mother-God tells me, “My child, sweet dreams, sweet dreams.” And my Father-God tells me, “My son, do not dream of escaping from harsh reality. Fight bravely against ignorance-night. Be victorious! Your Mother and I are all for you.”

A sweet conversation in my fragrance-heart-garden: I say to my Mother-God, “Mother, You forgive me almost immediately when I do something wrong. How is it and why is it that when I do something wrong, Father, instead of forgiving me, illumines me? And that He does so slowly — although steadily and unerringly. Why, why?”

My Mother-God says to me, “My child, your Father is the one who has to answer this question."

My Father-God says to me, “My child, your Mother’s quick Forgiveness does not necessarily change your nature, but My Illumination can and does change your nature. Yes, it always does.”

My Mother-God says to my Father-God, “But if I do not forgive My child first, how on earth are You going to illumine him?”

My Father-God, heaving a smilingly tearful sigh, says, “Oh, I see! I helplessly agree with You.”

Part IV — Appendix

Foreword to the first edition

In a world where few feel totally at ease, Sri Chinmoy offers a plan for world and soul survival.

Sri Chinmoy’s deep love for God is known world-wide. Long revered as a spiritual force for peace at the United Nations, this humble, God-directed author asks the people of this planet to look within, to rediscover the essential truths of spirituality that have so blessed his own extraordinary life.

This book lends itself to a wide audience. Christians, Jews, Muslims and other believers will find many passages of deep insight and helpful suggestion.

Sri Chinmoy suggests that the spiritual life’s goal is self-transcendence. While man reaches up to God, God in turn reaches down to man. The connection occurs and deepens as each person aspires to open himself to the Light of God, the Will of God and a higher state of consciousness.

Sri Chinmoy believes in reincarnation. He articulates the notion that the soul progresses to a higher state in each incarnation. He roots his teachings in prayer and encourages his readers to adopt a “cheerful acceptance of the world with a view to transforming the fate and face of the world.” He beckons Westerners to avoid trying “to possess the world” while encouraging Easterners to see that “austerity isn’t the answer.”

He is a champion of peace, attracting believers from all religions to see the oneness of the world. He suggests that true religions are recognised by their forgiveness, tolerance, compassion, oneness and brotherhood.

For those trying to find their way, he proposes a form of prayer that includes: concentration, the focusing of all attention on a small object to become more aware; meditation, reflection on and identification with the vaster universe and the larger issues; and contemplation, an awareness of God so complete that one feels the oneness and love that comes from God and lives in each person and in all of creation.

Sri Chinmoy doesn’t shrink from the exigencies of everyday life. While he does promote soul growth and inner peace, he follows a long tradition of religious teachers who implore truth-seekers to exhibit and live a life of ‘dynamism’ that is transformative of this world.

The name Chinmoy, meaning ‘full of divine consciousness’, bespeaks the mission of this deep soul. He lives to be an unconditional instrument of God. He trusts God. There is a sympathetic oneness with God and people throughout his reflections. He becomes sad when he thinks of how people have used religion to separate themselves from one another.

Sri Chinmoy believes that God will save our world. The Light of God is stronger than the force of evil. While he has deep confidence in God, his tranquil reflections portray an urgency which calls out to mankind: “Wake up! Grow deeper! Love in such a way that ‘God’s Will be done’.”

I found the book to be personally helpful. In an age when stress is real and it is hard to find the proper amount of time to pray, Sri Chinmoy reminded me that placing God at the centre of my life, my work and my prayers will help me make this a better, more peaceful world and become the person of faith and love that I am called to be.

Monsignor Thomas J. Hartman Director of Radio and Television Diocese of Rockville Center, New York

Preface to the first edition

This book is the result of a remarkable collaboration between Don Antonio Tarzia, General Director of the Italian publishing firm Edizioni Paoline; writer and journalist Venanzio Ciampa of Italy’s RAI national television; and Indian spiritual Master Sri Chinmoy.

Sri Chinmoy met with these two men in New York and Rome, where several magazine articles and television specials about Sri Chinmoy’s life and activities were being completed. The first television documentary, aired nationwide in Italy on 23 July 1989, featured a probing interview with Sri Chinmoy at the United Nations, footage of Pope John Paul II receiving Sri Chinmoy in Vatican City and a testimonial to the astonishing power of Sri Chinmoy’s meditation by champion weightlifter Bill Pearl.

As Mr. Tarzia and Mr. Ciampa became more intrigued with Sri Chinmoy, they resolved to produce a unique volume of his spiritual wisdom which would appeal to a popular audience but still offer a glimpse of the salient depth and luminosity that have characterised his writing for decades.

In May 1990, Mr. Tarzia and his staff in Milan prepared some fifty questions, in Italian, for Sri Chinmoy. Mr. Ciampa edited and translated the questions, and in four intensive sessions during the ensuing summer months in New York, Sri Chinmoy dictated his answers.

The subject matter is wide-ranging, punctuated with rare autobiographical elements and fascinating personal anecdotes that serve to unravel complex mysteries. Some of the questions touch on traditional religious ideologies; here the author’s non-parochial sentiment and multicultural background allow new and profound treatment of these issues.

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