I wanted to be a seeker of the Infinite
Part I — I wanted to be a seeker of the infiniteWSI 1-5. In February of 1965, Sri Chinmoy was very graciously interviewed by Mr. Edwin Ross of WBAI Radio in New York City. Following are excerpts from their conversation. This is the earliest known radio interview with Sri Chinmoy. Mr. Ross at times referred to his guest simply as "Chinmoy," as would have been natural at the time, but in those instances the honorific "Sri" has been added.
Mr. Edwin Ross: How long have you been in the United States, Mr. Ghose, Chinmoy Ghose?Sri Chinmoy: I have been here for the last nine months.
Mr. Edwin Ross: I see. Now, I imagine that the average Westerner — although I am sure there are some who are more familiar with it — thinks of yoga as something a little out of this world, where a man stands on his head with his feet up against the wall and somehow or other this is supposed to bring him something. What that is, I do not quite know. Could you elaborate on the physical aspects of yoga, which most people seem to be familiar with, and the other aspects, which I imagine most Americans, at any rate, are not quite so familiar with.
Sri Chinmoy: This is one approach to the spiritual life. We call it hatha yoga. It is physical yoga. This is only one approach to the spiritual life. It is not the only one, and it is not suitable for every individual.
Mr. Edwin Ross: The physical aspect of it is not suitable for the average individual.
Sri Chinmoy: The benefit that we derive from this yoga can be attained by other methods as well. One of these methods is meditation.
The traditional yogic postures and breathing exercises attempt to place the body into a state of receptivity in order to bring down peace, light and certain higher forces from Above. But with meditation we can bring down these higher forces into the body. The practitioners of hatha yoga know that it is only preliminary to entering into a higher consciousness, and there is a more subtle means to invoke this higher consciousness.
Mr. Edwin Ross: The hatha yoga is what I would call physical yoga. But apparently there is more than one path to this goal that you call a higher consciousness, is that correct? The physical is only one path.
Sri Chinmoy: It is one aspect of the total being. There are other yogas as well. We call them jnana yoga, the path of the mind; bhakti yoga, the path of devotion; and karma yoga, the path of service.
Mr. Edwin Ross: Do different people practise different types of yoga, as you have outlined, or do they generally practise all three types together? Are they all part of one whole, or are they separate?
Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the individual. Some people prefer to adopt jnana yoga, while others prefer other yogas. But I was brought up in a spiritual atmosphere where we gave importance to all yogas. That is to say, it is a path of fulfilment in the full sense of the term, where body, mind, heart and soul each will have its own function for divine manifestation. In earlier times, people used to pay more attention to one aspect of yoga. But now we have come to the conclusion that in order to see the Divine in each and every thing, we have to have a consciousness that is all-pervading. And in order to attain to that all-pervading consciousness, our body, mind, heart and soul must aspire simultaneously.
Mr. Edwin Ross: In other words, the manner in which you were brought up encompasses the body, mind, heart and soul, each as one aspect of yoga, whereas I gather that there are some groups that practise, let us say, the body yoga, and others that may practise the mind yoga, and others the heart? They concentrate on the heart as a separate kind of yoga.
Sri Chinmoy: On the heart. It is a devotional approach.
Mr. Edwin Ross: I suppose the reason that the body type of yoga has become most familiar in the United States is probably that it requires less mental effort on the part of the participants or the adherents than the others would. It is something that they can practise that is less alien to them than the mind, heart and soul yoga. Would you say that that is approximately correct? It seems to me that, as our other guest said, the pace of American life is quite different from Eastern life, from what I understand of Eastern life. I think that the average American is not given to thinking as deeply in spiritual ways, and he finds it difficult. The entire concept, I think, is more difficult for him, whereas something physical he can adapt to more readily than something that he would consider a lofty, idealistic sort of concept.
Do you have any thoughts on that, Sri Chinmoy? Or do you feel that your familiarity with the Western way of life is not sufficient for you to be able to have a reaction to this?
Sri Chinmoy: My own feeling is that the West still feels that the body is the only instrument to achieve something. That is to say, the West feels that whatever we aspire for, it is the body that should come forward. With the help of the body, the dynamic aspect of the body, we can reach our goal, we can fulfil our mission on earth. But as a matter of fact, if the body is pushed by the mind, heart and soul from behind, then the body becomes the real instrument of God-realisation, or whatever the aim people place before them.
Mr. Edwin Ross: Now, when you say "God-realisation," can you elaborate on this? As a Westerner, I recognise that it is a religious concept. And I think I have heard other, similar phrases in talking about this with you before. But could you please explain the phrase "God-realisation"?Sri Chinmoy: To me, God-realisation does not mean that we must kill all our emotional feelings, or we must pronounce a curse on the world. It is not that this world and God-realisation cannot go together — that either we have to live an inner life or we have to be fully one with the outer life. True God-realisation never obliges an aspirant to leave this world or to live the life of a recluse. God is in everything; He is everywhere. Where should one go to find Him? He being Omnipresent, we must try to feel Him, realise Him and be one with Him in every part of our being and in all our day-to-day movements. That is to say, when we breathe in and breathe out, it is God that is within us coming in and going out.
Mr. Edwin Ross: Occasionally I have heard, from various pulpits in the West, people speak of recognising the Omnipresence of God in everything, and yet somehow I must confess that one gets the feeling that, while this is said on one side of the pulpit, it is not practised very much or not realised very much on the other side — not in the West, at least. And yet, the impression I get is that in the East, in India, in yoga, there is more of a feeling of this realisation, or God-realisation, as you put it, Sri Chinmoy, among the actual participants, not just the leaders.
Mr. Edwin Ross: In India, what was your function or business or pursuit, Sri Chinmoy?Sri Chinmoy: I stayed in a spiritual Centre for twenty years, and God gave me the gift to write poems and articles. I also happened to be a good athlete. These are the secondary or subsidiary parts of my life. But I wanted to be a seeker of the Infinite, so right from my childhood I started meditating and concentrating in order to realise God — that is to say, face to face — to be one with His Will at every moment.
Mr. Edwin Ross: You say that right from childhood —
Sri Chinmoy: Right from childhood.
Mr. Edwin Ross: You wanted to be a seeker of the Infinite. How does a child obtain this kind of ambition? This seems, I must confess, very remote to a Western way of looking at things.
Sri Chinmoy: This is not ambition; it is the inner urge of our psychic being. The psychic being is the representative of the soul. When the psychic being feels that the time is ripe for the aspirant to be aware of God, then it comes forward. It pushes and it gives the inner urge to the human being to aspire and to realise the mission of his life — in other words, to be a conscious instrument of God in order to take part in His divine Play. We call it the divine Lila.
The time comes when one aspires to be a conscious instrument of God in one’s life. Everybody is an instrument of God, but one who aspires is a conscious instrument of God. According to his development and spiritual growth, he tries to manifest in his own being, as well as in the other aspiring souls, the possibilities of the full manifestation of God here on earth.
Mr. Edwin Ross: You have spent most of your life in this spiritual community. Would it be correct to say by Western standards, then, that — although I somewhat hesitate to use the word — this is your "profession"? By "profession" I mean "work."Sri Chinmoy: Yes. In a sense it is a self-dedicated service. I have not come to preach, but I want to be of some help to the aspiring souls who want to live the inner life but do not know how to live that life. I hope that I will be of some help to those who sincerely want to enter but at the same time are unable to enter into that life.
Mr. Edwin Ross: Is this why you have come to the United States, to help aspirants to the inner life?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes. Again, I must say it is my psychic being or my soul that has brought me here to be of some help to the aspirants and to be a synthesis between the East and the West. Between my own inner feelings towards spiritual realisation and how the West thinks of the spiritual life, there should be a synthesis, I feel. I hope I will be able to create an atmosphere — of course, with the help of the aspirants — in which we can feel peace and light and follow the inner life.
Mr. Edwin Ross: How do you propose going about helping people here reach this, or feel this?
Sri Chinmoy: At present we would like to have a small Centre here in New York, just to start with. God has His own Plans. He will develop this movement in His own Way.
Mr. Edwin Ross: In other words, you do not have any set plan; you are here and you are available and however it comes about, you feel, it will come about, without any specific, organised plan on your part. You want to create a Centre — would ashram be the word? I have one very Western question: will this be a commercial enterprise? I mean, will this Centre not require some kind of financial backing and some kind of remuneration for classes and so on?
Sri Chinmoy: It is nothing of the sort. But if people are one with our ideas and our ideals, they may want to help us to have a better place so that many people can come for a group meditation and feel the atmosphere of a true spiritual life. They must feel that it is their own.
Mr. Edwin Ross: I see. The message is, “It is yours.”
Sri Chinmoy: “It is yours.”
Mr. Edwin Ross: I see. “It is yours, and if you want to have a larger hall so that more people can participate, it is up to you.”
Sri Chinmoy: “If you want to make an improvement, it is all up to you. It is yours. We are one.”
Mr. Edwin Ross: It is a joint endeavour of all participants. I see. I have been talking with Chinmoy Ghose, and this is Edwin Ross. Sri Chinmoy, you had something that you wanted to add?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes. Now that I am here in the West, I would like to say a few words about East and West.
On East and West[Sri Chinmoy reads an excerpt from his article on East and West, which was later printed as follows in Yoga and the Spiritual Life:]
“East and West may be taken as the two eyes of the same human body. The other human divisions and distinctions — racial, cultural and linguistic — are destined to disappear from the human consciousness when it is flooded with the supramental Light and Force. This is the inevitable consequence of the Hour of God that is dawning all over the world. Diversities will be there, enriched and enhanced in fullest measure. But these diversities will not be disturbances to the general consciousness. On the contrary, they will be happy and harmonious complements to a unique whole. Humanity will be a true human family in every sense of the term and in a yet unknown sense. The response to the new Light will certainly exceed human expectations.
“The awakened consciousness of man is visibly tending towards the Divine. This is a most hopeful streak of light amidst the surrounding obscurities of today. This is a moment, not merely of joining hands, but of joining minds, hearts and souls. Across all physical and mental barriers between East and West, high above national standards, above even individual standards, will fly the supreme banner of Divine Oneness.”1
WSI 5,2. Sri Chinmoy, Yoga and the Spiritual Life: The Journey of India’s Soul, pp. 177-178, New York: Agni Press, 1974↩
6.Sri Chinmoy: Now —
Mr. Edwin Ross: Now?
Sri Chinmoy: I am inspired to say something about you!
Mr. Edwin Ross: About me?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes.
Mr. Edwin Ross: All right.
Sri Chinmoy: God has given you everything. He has given you a beautiful body, a beautiful voice, a beautiful mind, a beautiful heart, a beautiful soul. He is all Compassion to you. He is all Blessings to you. How I wish that you will be worthy of all His Grace and Blessings!
Mr. Edwin Ross: Well, I certainly hope to be!
Sri Chinmoy: And you will prove that you are His chosen son.
Mr. Edwin Ross: Well, it is very unusual to have someone else count my blessings for me, but it has certainly been pleasant listening to you recount them!
Part II — Discourses
When you are with your Master-Lord and when you are without your Master-LordWhen you are with your Master-Lord and when you are without your Master-Lord.
When you are with your Master-Lord, even ten thousand elephants cannot budge you an inch.
When you are without your Master-Lord, even the tiniest possible ant can take away your very life-breath.
When you are with your Master-Lord, the entire aspiring world soulfully adores you, to tell the truth.
When you are without your Master-Lord, the entire aspiring world shockingly ignores you, to say the least.
When you are with your Master-Lord, your life means sweetness, your life means happiness, your life means fulness.
When you are without your Master-Lord, your life means temptation, your life means frustration, your life means destruction.
When you are with your Master-Lord, give Him at every moment your physical breath, your vital breath, your mental breath, your psychic breath.
Your physical breath is your ignorance-surrender.
Your vital breath is your action-surrender.
Your mental breath is your thought-surrender.
Your psychic breath is your will-surrender.
In doing this, at every moment you will grow into an ever-transcending, ever-illumining and ever-fulfilling instrument of your Master-Lord, both in His Universe of realisation and in His Universe of manifestation. You will become undoubtedly His absolutely most perfect instrument throughout Eternity and you will be always with Him, for you are eternally His Life-Breath-manifestation.
Always be with your Master-Lord.
You will be His Eternity’s choice.
You will be His Immortality’s voice.
Two hundred miles: your supreme glory1My dear children, my divine children, your Guru shall cherish and cherish and cherish your loving, self-giving and sleepless oneness with your Guru’s vision-eye and with his satisfaction-heart. You have done something great, divinely great. You have done something good, supremely good.
In the New Year’s message I told you that this would be the year of teeming surprises. What else can be a surprise if not an achievement like this? I have said that this month will convincingly give all the seekers in their inner lives a true sense of progress and in their outer lives a true sense of success. During these four days you have made immense, immense progress in your inner lives and you have offered immense, immense success to your outer lives.
Since all of you are blessed with aspiring hearts, please feel my heart of gratitude, gratitude and gratitude. My heart established — as it always does — its constant sympathetic oneness with your two-hundred-mile run. Now my heart is establishing its oneness with your stupendous success-glories. An achievement like this makes me see and feel that my spiritual children can do and will do everything for their Master on the strength of their sleepless dedication and oneness-heart.
Three divine things I shall cherish and cherish in the very depths of my heart: your love for your Beloved Supreme inside my heart, your most exemplary dedication to your Beloved Supreme inside my heart and your brave, braver and bravest self-giving to your Beloved Supreme inside my heart. My pride in you knows no bounds today and my gratitude to you knows no bounds today, for you have proved to your brothers and sisters that this is an unprecedented month of inner progress and outer success. I made the announcement about this run, and you have executed my vision-prophecy. Each of you is a runner of tomorrow’s ever-illumining, ever-transcending, ever-fulfilling dawn. Therefore, my heart is all gratitude to you.
These two hundred miles represent your supreme glory. I am sure that each of you has placed this supreme glory soulfully and unconditionally at the Feet of your Beloved Supreme. His unconditional Compassion-Light has acted in and through each and every one of you. What we call capacity is nothing other than His unconditional Compassion. If there is one secret in God’s entire Creation for seekers like you, if there is one supreme secret for you to cherish in the inmost recesses of your heart at every moment in your life, then it is this: we can do nothing, nothing, nothing; we are absolutely nothing; and we will remain nothing without the Compassion of our Beloved Supreme. Because of His unconditional Compassion acting in and through us, we can do something to inspire humanity to raise its inner and outer standards.
We are grateful to our Beloved Supreme. He is proud of us. Our gratitude and His Pride shall always remain together in His Eternity’s Satisfaction — Heart’s Satisfaction-Nest.
WSI 8. 20 March 1986, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, New York. Talk at the awards ceremony for the four-day two-hundred-mile run in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park from 16-20 March 1986. Twenty-seven disciples ran to honour Sri Chinmoy's achievement of lifting two hundred pounds.↩
Smile1Every morning, look at yourself in the mirror. In the morning you may not be able to keep your eyes open, but you can smile, smile. While smiling, try to keep your eyes open. You will look so beautiful! If you can start smiling right from the morning, you will have a wonderful day.
WSI 9. 15 February 1997, New York↩
The 1984 Cologne Peace Concert1Eight thousand peace-lovers attended our first Peace Concert in Cologne, Germany. Since then, the number has practically doubled. In the Czech Republic we had 15,000, in Canada there were 14,000 [later 19,000], and in Japan, 12,000 came. But the thrill, ecstasy and excitement that I felt in Cologne has not been repeated.
I will never, never forget the thrilling experience I had in Cologne! It seems it will never be repeated. I was full of joy and excitement. It was such a new adventure — new, new, new! In so many ways it will remain unparalleled. That experience I will never, never forget, the Cologne experience.
WSI 10. 5 November 1997, New York↩
Unconditional surrender1There are many, many times when the human in me wants to be of service to some individuals most sincerely and eagerly, but the divine stands in my way. My Inner Pilot does not allow me to help in each and every case. What can you do? Sometimes you have the power to do things, but you are not allowed.
Again, sometimes the human in me does not want to help someone because the human is disgusted or disheartened with that person, but the divine says, “Your philosophy is unconditional surrender.” It can happen that when the human does not want something, the divine wants it; and when the human wants something, the divine does not want it.
The human in me gladly surrenders to the divine. First, for a second, I may think, “Do I have to work for that person? That person is so undivine!” But what can I do? For everything I have to surrender, surrender, surrender to my Inner Pilot.
WSI 11. 13 January 1998, Piramides Hotel Cancun, Mexico↩
What I wanted and what the Supreme gave to me1Cheyechhilam kabi hate
Karle amai rishi kabi
Cheyechhilam jogi hate
Karle amai abatar
Cheyechhilam bhera hate
Karle amai singharaj
Cheyechhilam pada dhuli
Dile amai tomar mala
Tomar mukut tomar singhasan
“I wanted to become just a poet,
But You have made me a Seer-Poet.
I wanted to become a Yogi,
But You have made me an Avatar.
I wanted to become Your lamb,
But You have made me Your lion-king.
I desired the dust of Your Feet,
But You gave me Your Victory-Garland,
Your Crown and Your Throne.”2
This song I wrote at eight o’clock last night on the way from Kuala Lumpur to Penang, Malaysia, on Malaysian Airlines Flight 2683. This song is immortal. It is extremely, extremely, extremely important to me. I would like everybody to sing it very, very soulfully.
This song is about what I wanted and what the Supreme gave to me. I wanted oneness with God, but God not only made me one with Him, He also made me His representative. In your case also, if you pray to the Supreme for a drop of His Compassion, He will come to you with an Ocean of Compassion. If you want something divine from God and if you make a sincere effort, then God will give you much more than you ever asked for. But you have to go step by step. You need patience, and you must cheerfully wait for God’s choice Hour.
There is a famous story about two men who asked Narada when they would realise God. One man had been practising austerities and yoga for many years. He asked Narada when he would realise God, and Narada told him that he would have to wait only three more incarnations. As soon as the man heard that he had to wait three incarnations, he became very sad and disheartened. Then there was a drunkard who never prayed and meditated. He also asked Narada when he would realise God. Narada said, “Look at this tamarind tree. You see how many leaves it has. It will take you as many incarnations to realise God as this tree has leaves.” When the drunkard heard this, he was so happy. He said, “Oh, I am going to realise God! I am going to realise God!” As long as the drunkard knew that he would one day realise God, at God’s choice Hour, he was ready to wait for millions of years. Because of his surrendered oneness with God’s Will, the drunkard realised God long before the seeker who had been practising yoga but did not have patience and surrender.
If you do not have patience and if you do not have surrender, then you are no better than the first seeker. You have to surrender to God’s Will and practise a different kind of life. Then God will do everything for you. God will say, “Since there is sincerity in your surrender, I shall forgive all your past mistakes. You do not have to worry.” This has happened in the case of many seekers. Some people were not divine before they accepted the spiritual life, but then they became divine. Unfortunately, some of them later became undivine once more, even to the extreme.
Again, some people do not become too divine and also they do not become too undivine. There are quite a few seekers like this who have a so-called balanced life and do not go to either extreme. They may be wallowing in the pleasures of comfort; they do not have the urge to go to the highest. At the same time, they do not want to go down, either. They do not want to go up and they do not want to go down.
For me, it is easier to climb up the stairs than to go down. When I climb up the stairs, I get more strength. When I go down, I suffer. That is why I always want to go up, up, up.
Whenever you sing in a group1Consciousness, oneness, sweetness, soulfulness, confidence and perfection: these are the things that I expect from you whenever you sing in a group.
First I am looking for consciousness. Next comes oneness, and the collective sweetness in the voices. Then comes soulfulness, then confidence and then perfection. For each and every song, inwardly I will give grades.
When I say “consciousness,” it is your collective consciousness that I am looking at, not your individual consciousness. When you sing in a group, please think of your collective consciousness. Before you sing, the members of the group should come together and meditate for at least two or three minutes. That will help your collective consciousness and your oneness.
Then comes sweetness. Sweetness you can get by repeating the Supreme’s Name. First sing one line of a song without repeating His Name. Then repeat His Name three times or seven times and sing the same line. You will see the difference! Of course, while you are saying “Supreme” you are praying to the Supreme to give you sweetness in your voice.
Not only for sweetness but for all these qualities you have to pray to the Supreme. He is the only one who can give you consciousness, soulfulness and all the other qualities. For everything you have to pray.
Next comes confidence. This is the confidence that you know the song well, and not the confidence that will make you use destructive power. Confidence means that you know the song very well from the beginning to the end. Even if all of a sudden the rest of the members of the group hesitate or forget a line and stop singing, if you have confidence you will be able to carry the whole group — even if you are not the leader. If the other members of the group and the leader also have forgotten the line, if you have confidence you have to carry the burden of the whole group.
Then comes perfection — how perfectly you are singing. If I request you to make a note a little higher at the end, or if there is some subtle quality at a particular place in the song, at that time you have to think of your divine geometry.
From each group I expect all these qualities. For each and every song I expect these qualities. It is perhaps impossible when you are singing thirty or forty songs at a stretch, but I really expect these qualities when you sing a very important song like “Cheyechhilam kabi hate” or “With every breath of my heart” or “The Invocation.”
“The Invocation” must be sung this way. When I request you to sing “The Invocation” while I am walking meditatively at P.S. 86, for my first four or five steps your singing melts my heart. But alas, there will always be some very unfortunate singers. This is what happens. When there is a large group, to have a high standard is impossible. At that time, compassion becomes the boss.
WSI 13. 16 January 1999, Sheraton Hotel Surabaya, Indonesia. Comments after various groups sang the song "Cheyechhilam kabi hate"↩
Question: What is the difference between consciousness and soulfulness?Sri Chinmoy: Consciousness spreads; it is vast, all-embracing. Soulfulness goes deep. When you are soulful, your whole being is going inward, inward, inward. Just think of consciousness as the ocean and soulfulness as the depth. Consciousness is like a very huge, vast tree. Soulfulness is inside every branch, every leaf. Soulfulness is very deep, and in its depths you will find the whole tree. Consciousness and soulfulness go together like the beauty and fragrance of a flower.
WSI 14,2. Sri Chinmoy added the qualities "cheerfulness" and, for one singing group, "freshness" on 20 February 1999; and he added "gratitude" on 15 March 1999.↩
Each river is sacred1When a country or something significant in a country becomes part and parcel of our Peace-Blossoms programme, it gives us such joy and others also get special joy. Now so many sacred rivers in India are becoming Peace-Blossoms: the Ganga, Yamuna, Sindhu, Narmada, Kaveri, Brahmaputra and Godavari.
Each river is sacred. Each river has a connection with spirituality. Each river embodies inspiration. It is all the time inspiring us. Each river is movement, giving us the feeling of a journey as it is flowing, flowing towards the ocean. Each river is water, and water is life, the life-force. Again, water is consciousness, infinite consciousness.
As soon as we think of a river, purity enters into us. We do not have to think of a particular river, for the very word “river” gives us a tremendous inner thrill. Even if I do not know anything about a particular river, the very name gives me joy. In my case, as soon as I hear “Mississippi,” I get an immediate inner thrill. What do I know about the Mississippi River? Nothing, but the word itself gives me joy. The Mississippi River is America’s most famous river, and the name gives me such joy. It is the same when we think of some rivers in Indian villages. There are sacred rivers near the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
If it is a moonlit night and we are in a small boat on a river, then Heaven is not very far. While I am watching the sky and the stars on a moonlit night from a small boat on a river, I feel that Heaven is only an inch higher than my boat. Such a divine feeling I get when I am in a small boat! If we enter into the ocean in an ocean liner, it is all vastness, but there is such noise!
Sometimes it happens that something small gives us tremendous joy. If we enter into a flower garden, a tiny, cute flower may give us such joy, whereas a huge flower may not give us that kind of joy. Sometimes a tiny plant gives us much more joy than a huge plant. In comparison to the ocean, a river is nothing, but the river can give us much more joy. Or we may see a huge boat, an ocean liner, in the ocean, but a tiny raft gives us much more joy. I still remember with greatest joy being in a small boat on a lake in Kashmir. The little boats had names like “New York” and “Chicago”!
Always when I think of my childhood, I get such joy. Anything that we see or think about from our childhood we feel is sweeter than the sweetest and better than the best. Afterwards, when we go around the world, we see things that are infinitely better or higher; but we are never going to get the same joy, the same sweetness. From our childhood days, everything is sweet; everything is by far the best. When we grow up, a scientist or an important person may mock the things that we treasure from our childhood. He may say, “This is such a silly thing!” But we are full of love for the littleness or so-called silliness of our childhood days.
A child’s dog will always remain sweetest in his memories. The child may later get love from the whole world; but no matter how much someone else does for him, a child’s dog or a child’s toys will remain sweetest in his memories. Fondness is always in littleness. When something becomes big, fondness disappears. Then the mind comes into the picture to dissect and judge.
When the heart is to the fore, everything is love, everything is joy. When we grown-ups enter into a garden, we look around to see if this flower is more beautiful or that flower is more beautiful. But a child just runs around the garden, from this flower to that flower, from this plant to that plant. That is why he is so happy. Alas, as soon as discrimination comes into the picture, joy disappears.
WSI 15. 21 August 2000, New York↩
An inner conversation1Bhavani’s soul came this morning at exactly 3:29, our earthly time, to be blessed.2 Good, very good blessings she received from her Master.
As soon as she came, she got frightened to death when she saw me meditating, high, higher, highest, looking at the picture of Mother Kali. The picture frame has some bright lights inside it. Bhavani asked, “What is this? What is this?”
I said, “You cannot recognise yourself?” Bhavani is an aspect of Mother Durga and Mother Kali! The electric lights were dazzling her and her soul got frightened. This is what happens. If you have not realised God, then even if you are a soul, you are bound to be frightened by these dazzling lights.
She looked at the lights. Then she turned around and I blessed her and blessed her. I said, “I am going to observe your birthday.” Her birthday is in January, on the 11th. Her soul will again come on that day. I said, “This time, stay a little. Do not get frightened and go away. I definitely told your son Sahadeva that I will observe his birthday today.”
Many things we discussed. We talked and talked. She is a good talker; I am a good talker. She talks in exactly the way she did in her human form — so fast! She can speak sixteen to the dozen, easily. Such love, such devotion, such surrender, where will you see? Mostly we talked about the world situation. I cannot share with you what we said. If it had been something purely on the spiritual level, then I could have told you. But it was not on the spiritual level; it was all on the political level.
I know the time was 3:29 because there is a watch under Mother Kali’s picture. One of the disciples bought this frame and placed the watch under it. The watch reminds us that earthly time, human time, has to be at the feet of the Heavenly time. Earthly time binds us; Heavenly time liberates us.
I was amused when Bhavani saw the picture of Mother Kali and the light was flashing. She got a little bit frightened. I was charmed and she was frightened.
Bhavani came today only for her son Sahadeva’s birthday. These souls are just on the next floor. There is a big mirror in between, so they can see us. As we are unhappy on earth with the world situation, they are infinitely more unhappy than we are, because they are on the top of the tree. They can see us far better than we can see them. We have to stretch our necks and strain and strain, but they can easily see us. When they see we are helpless and hopeless because of the world situation, they feel miserable. Again, they are equally helpless. They see we are suffering, but in no way are they able, at this point, to help us. That is why they are also suffering.
These souls suffer because they see that for various reasons Heaven cannot do things that Heaven wants to do for earth. Why? Precisely because earth does not want and does not need Heaven’s help. Such being the case, what can they do? If I have hunger, then somebody will come and feed me. If I have no hunger and somebody feels that I am hungry or thirsty, then I will say, “No, I am not hungry, I am not thirsty.” Again, if I am hungry and thirsty, I have my own way to quench my thirst and feed my hunger. Then what can be done?
If you are with me, then be for me1Dear ones, you have come here to be happy. I have come here also with the same purpose: to be happy. You know you have a certain way to make yourself happy and you feel that, if I do please you in your own way, then you will be happy. To those of you who expect me to make you happy all the time, I wish to say that it is an impossible task. Only God can fulfil your desire.
One or two disciples are saying that I do not give enough attention or adequate attention to meditation. With regard to meditation, you are judging me according to your own way. Early in the morning I pray and I offer you prayers and meditations. I feel that is more than enough. If you are a real disciple, you can practise on your own. There are some daily prayers that will definitely help in clearing the obscure, impure mind.
I want to live with those around me who will give me happy hearts, happy minds and happy faces. If you expect everything from me in your own way, I am the wrong person, absolutely the wrong person.
If God has given me realisation, if He has chosen me to be His representative on earth for Him, then to those who will remain faithful to me throughout Eternity, I give the assurance that I belong to them and they belong to me. If you are ready to be with me, then be for me — in body, vital, mind, heart and soul. Ask your heart if you are with me. If you are with me, then you are obliged to be for me.
I meditate in my own way. When one realises God, God meditates in and through him twenty-four hours a day. Apart from that, because of the world crises — which are not decreasing, but only increasing and increasing — there is not a single day that I do not meditate for at least seven hours. Some days I meditate nine to ten hours. Today I am talking, but I am also meditating. The way the disciples are supposed to pray and meditate, I am meditating a minimum of seven hours, sometimes nine or ten hours. When one comes into the world and takes responsibility for others, this is what he is supposed to do.
At night, the plays you perform are for relaxation. This is not a nightclub. Our performances are not soap operas; they are innocent relaxation. The whole day you are in the hustle and bustle of life and activity, so we have a little entertainment in the evening. Otherwise, some people may watch television or read newspapers or enjoy wild gossip. Our innocent plays give me boundless joy. This innocent relaxation is for your safety. I know what I have been going through and what God is going through. These plays give me, also, a little innocent relaxation.
Again, dear ones, if you are with me, then wholeheartedly be for me. Offer me your undivided attention. If you want to be with me and be faithful to me, then stay with me. Alas, when I look at some of your faces, I am seeing that your mind and heart are not here. Your mind is somewhere else, your heart is somewhere else, somewhere else.
Sri Ramakrishna had disciples like Nag Mahashoy who absolutely would not hear one word against their Master. If you are for me, then you can do me the biggest favour by sealing your ears to undivine comments. According to Indian philosophy, the worst possible sin is to hear people speaking ill of one’s Master. Sri Ramakrishna said this and other Masters say this.
I know I have some absolutely loyal disciples who will fight for me to the end. Then there are some disciples who write to me every second that they have made unconditional surrender, but the next moment, even ordinary surrender is farther than the farthest in their lives. It is not in writing but in action that your love, devotion and surrender must be expressed. When I look at you, when I look into your eyes, when I examine your heart, I wish to see that you are only for me, only for me. And if you are not only for me, what can I say? My boat is meant only for those who are one hundred per cent for me. Let me be with those who are one hundred per cent for me, inwardly and outwardly. While you are with me, while you are still on my path, only be for me. Only be for me.
WSI 17. 27 December 2001, Inter-Continental Hotel Phnom Penh, Cambodia↩
Lord Buddha's middle path1This is a story about Lord Buddha. Lord Buddha was in deep meditation, very deep meditation, when two musicians passed by. The elder of the two was giving advice to the younger one, saying, “If you want to become a great musician, do not play on the higher strings. They will snap. And if you use only the lower strings, then there will be no music. Play in the middle.”
Lord Buddha said, “This all applies to me! I have taken up such an austere life. No, I must not continue!” Then Lord Buddha started eating in a normal way. He said, “This musician has saved my life. He has shown me the right path.”
It is said that Lord Buddha’s middle path came from these two musicians. The older one was advising the younger one to use the middle notes and then Lord Buddha started following the middle path.
WSI 18. 4 January 2002, Inter-Continental Hotel Phnom Penh, Cambodia↩
Reverence1Dear ones, when you know it is the time for prayer and meditation, you must not indulge in talking. The mischievous monkey in your life must surrender to the poise of your soul. I am begging you to have respect for your own meditation-life. If I am late, please do not enter into your mind-confusion-world. Reverence, reverence, reverence.
The Master comes; he walks the earth and then disappears. At that time either you will be awakened to value the Master’s life on earth, or you will continue your ignorance-sleep.
WSI 19. 5 January 2002, Inter-Continental Hotel, Phnom Penh, Cambodia↩
Value your spiritual life1Sri Aurobindo was my Master. Now my Master is the Supreme. Everybody’s Master is the Supreme. Every human being who has taken incarnation has only one Guru, according to me and that Guru is our Lord Supreme. My Guru, your Guru, everybody’s Guru is the Supreme.
Let me tell you about my Guru, Sri Aurobindo. Four times a year we were able to see him: in February, April, August and November. Each time I do not think it was for more than three seconds. Five seconds, no — I do not think so. Four times a year we saw him and there was a long queue.
The very first time I went for darshan, the Mother was introducing me to Sri Aurobindo. She said, “Chinmoy, Hriday’s youngest brother.” Then she told Sri Aurobindo something. Alas, I could not hear. Sri Aurobindo’s two assistants grabbed me and showed me to the door. Now both of those gentlemen are extremely, extremely kind and dear to me.
That was our life. And how many years did it last? I became a permanent resident of the Ashram in 1944. Most of you were not born at that time. In 1950, Sri Aurobindo left his earthly sheath, his earthly body, his earthly frame. For six years I was with my Master.
Here I have disciples who have been with me for over thirty years. For how many hours you have seen me! Countless hours you have been able to spend with your Master. I am here on earth as the representative of the Supreme — for you, not for others. He is the Supreme. He is my Guru, your Guru, everybody’s Guru. Out of His infinite Bounty, He has chosen me to be His representative, only for you. Others have their own Gurus who deal with their disciples in their own ways.
If you do not value your spiritual life, if you do not value your own way of life, nobody can and nobody will force you to follow this path. If you are enjoying your own indulgence-life, then your progress-speed will be worse than India’s bullock cart speed. But if you have the inner urge, how fast you can go! Again, Indian bullock carts do go forward, slowly and steadily. The choice is up to you.
WSI 20. 5 January 2002, Inter-Continental Hotel, Phnom Penh, Cambodia↩
Morning shows the day1Our Peace-Blossom God-manifestation started with our Rhode Island Centre — with a twenty or thirty-metre bridge and tinier than the tiniest plants. Now we have Peace-Blossom bridges that span between one country and another and so many parks have become Peace-Blossoms.
Morning shows the day. We embarked on our God-manifestation-journey with tiny drops. Now these drops have become the ocean. With our Rhode Island Centre we started. There we sowed our hope-seeds. Now we are collecting a bumper crop.
WSI 21. 3 February 2002, Nexus Resort Karambunai, Kota Kinabalu Sabah, Malaysia↩
The beginning of the Puerto Rican Centre1Our Sudha went to Swami Vishnudevananda’s Centre in Montreal. There she became friends with Gariyasi. After some time, they did not continue there. One day Gariyasi said to Sudha, “My sister is in an Ashram in India. Soon a great Yogi from there will be coming to New York.” Then Sudha made enquiries and found out when I would be arriving in New York.
I started working at the Indian Consulate. One day, out of the blue, Sudha called me. I did not know who she was. She said, “I know you are a great Yogi! Marcia [Gariyasi] has told me all about you. Will you come to Puerto Rico? I would like to have a Centre here.”
We started our AUM Magazine. We sent it to Sudha and she read it eagerly. Then I accepted her invitation and went to Puerto Rico. That is how our Centre started. From where to where! At Swami Vishnudevananda’s Centre, Sudha found out about me. Then she became our first and foremost disciple in Puerto Rico.
WSI 22. 3 February 2002, Nexus Resort Karambunai, Kota Kinabalu Sabah, Malaysia↩
Hriday's song1The words for the song Tumi je hao se hao are by my eldest brother, Hriday. I was not even two years old when he wrote this poem. It is addressed to Sri Aurobindo:
O Absolute Lord Father,
Why do I have to know who You are
And what You do,
As long as I know You and claim You
As my Father Absolute.
You are not only my Guru,
But the Guru of the whole world.
Who and what Thou art,
What need have I to know:
Thou alone art my God:
Thy Grace in my life
Forever has been written in golden letters.
How great Thou art.
The real identity Thou mayst not reveal.
I accepted Thee in dream of night.
Thee alone I greet at the dawn of life.
I see Thee as the Formless One,
As the Infinite in Thy Universal Self-form.
O my Guru, O Guru of the world,
What kind of game art Thou playing Inside the world-room? 2
It is a most inspired poem and I also was most inspired when I set this melody at the age of thirty-five or thirty-six. The song is very, very appealing to me, both the words and the melody. I have sung this song many, many, many times. Once, I sang this song at Thousand Island Park, New York. While I was singing, my eyes were swimming in tears and uncontrollable tears were falling on my harmonium. I will never forget that experience.
Many people have written poems and songs about Sri Aurobindo. Among them, this song deserves a very, very special place in the heart of Sri Aurobindo’s disciples. I am not saying this simply because I am Hriday’s youngest brother.
This brother of mine received more than two hundred letters from Sri Aurobindo. When Sri Aurobindo had his accident and got a compound fracture in the knee, he could not walk. For the next few years, the disciples would write to him and he used to answer their questions. For five years or six years my brother received so many letters from Sri Aurobindo. And what was I doing at that time? Perhaps I was studying in kindergarten or primary school.
The goddess Saraswati1This morning, we have prayed and meditated for so many hours. Now go and do something on your own! You have pleased me in my own way. Now I wish you to please yourself in your own way. You can walk, you can swim, you can shop, you can learn songs. Or you can pray to the Goddess Saraswati.
[Sri Chinmoy chants in Sanskrit.]
Like this, I chanted millions of times in my youth to sharpen my memory, my retentive faculty. Then I was able to memorise page after page of history and other subjects. Many times in Pondicherry I showed this capacity to my sisters and my cousin. They would choose a poem of ten or twelve lines. After reading it once, I would recite it in front of them loudly, twice or thrice.
WSI 24. 5 February 2002, Nexus Resort Karambunai, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia↩
Question: Should we also try chanting this mantra?Sri Chinmoy: You will not be able to pronounce the Sanskrit words and you will not know their meaning. If you know the meaning of the Sanskrit words very well, then only will you get the benefit. Otherwise, you will be repeating them like a parrot. When you use mantras, you have to immediately understand the essence and quintessence of the words.
Another invocation to Saraswati I learnt from our servant. When I was nine or ten years old, he taught me. That one was easier, but I preferred the other one.
One day I was meditating downstairs in the main Ashram hall. That was called the Meditation Hall. There was pin-drop silence. It was ten or eleven o’clock in the morning. The Mother would be coming shortly. We were all meditating, about forty or fifty people. It was half an hour at least before the Mother would come in and I was in a very high meditation. I saw the Goddess Saraswati descending with her vina. While descending, she was playing and playing and playing so hauntingly. Then she came and stood in front of me and broke her vina into millions of pieces — millions, I saw them! — and put them all inside me. First she played. Then she broke her vina into pieces and put them into me, into my heart and she disappeared.
At that time, I was not reciting this mantra — far from it! I was doing a different kind of meditation, totally different. I was not even invoking Saraswati at that time. No, no, I was not thinking of her; I was not praying to her. The Cosmic Gods and Goddesses are not bound by our earthly time, so she descended. How will I forget that experience? Never! From the highest realm, Mother Saraswati came, playing her vina and then she broke it into pieces. All the pieces she poured into me. Then she disappeared. Ten or fifteen minutes later, the Ashram Mother came down. In life, if you have a very high experience, never forget it, never forget.
Sri Aurobindo wrote about Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati and Mahamaheshwari in his book The Mother. He wrote it in prose. I made his book into poetry and it came out in the Ashram magazine, Mother India. The Mother of the Ashram was in the physical at that time. Such freedom they gave me! It is at least sixty or seventy pages. My disciples can read it, if it is still available.
In my Ashram life, I was blooming, blooming as a writer. In my American life, my writing has blossomed. Unfortunately, some people who deeply appreciated my writing in the Ashram later criticised me. They said I was writing “newspaper English.” Again, when I received sincere appreciation from a few university professors and when the critics read these comments, these same critics changed their opinion. They said, “We knew all along he was a writer.” From a writer of newspaper English I became an excellent writer again! This is how appreciation goes.
Just three weeks before Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize, one particular poem of his came out in a magazine. Alas, this poem was criticised so mercilessly. Then, when the news came about the Nobel Prize, the same critic absolutely extolled Tagore to the skies for that particular poem. This story is famous. Only three weeks prior to his Nobel Prize, how ruthlessly Tagore was criticised for his poem! Then, in three weeks, the story changed. The same writer found such significance in the poem. Life is like that.
Shaking hands1In the East we greet each other with folded hands, but the Western world knows only how to break the hands! When I am compelled to shake hands with people, very lightly and delicately I do it, but they try to show how strong they are. They really press my hand hard and then I suffer. I also have a little strength in my hand, but they quite often press very hard, very hard.
Fifteen years ago, when I returned to India, one of my main mentors said to me, “Oh, you lift weights! Let me see.” He grabbed my hand so hard and started pressing and pressing.
The Western way is to shake hands. The Hindu way is to greet one another with folded hands. Muslims touch their heart. Immediately they enter into their heart. Their heart’s feeling they are offering to us as they invoke Allah. Russians go another way: they embrace. Again, our Hindu way is to fold our hands and say Namaskar or Pranam. We do it even on the phone, when we speak to our dear ones. We do not say “Hello”; we start with Namaskar.
The Western method for us is very funny! Of course, in a sense it is better. When two people shake hands, they are on the same level. You and I are on the same level, no matter how great you are or how insignificant I am. We are at that time not on the psychic level, not on the heart level; everything is taking place on the dynamic vital level. When the Muslims touch their heart, it is only on the heart level; and when we Hindus fold our hands, it is on the heart level. That is my way of understanding. You can have your own way of understanding it, but that is what I feel.
So many times after lifting people, when I give medallions, I see that they want to shake hands. Even yesterday, one man asked, “May I shake your hand?” I said, “Fine!” Then I gave him my hand and he grabbed it and pressed it quite hard. I had lifted him up and he weighed 180 or 200 pounds. He wanted to show me that he was also strong!
WSI 26. 7 February 2002, Nexus Resort Karambunai, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia↩
High, meditative consciousness1Today one disciple was in a very high consciousness. That is why he missed the step when leaving the stage. This is the trouble! When you go very high, it takes time to come down and be one with the Mother Earth.
All spiritual Masters suffer from this difficulty. Sri Ramakrishna used to touch his dearest disciple, Rakhal, to bring himself down to the earth plane. He touched his disciple’s leg or some other limb.
Once, in Canada, I had that problem. After a concert I could not come down. I walked at least thirty or forty metres, but still I was unable to find identification with the earth. Then Kanan happened to be near me. I placed my hand on his shoulder and immediately I became one with the Mother Earth.
WSI 27. 9 February 2002, Nexus Resort Karambunai, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia↩
Repeat your spiritual name1Those who have spiritual names, if you remember the date you received your spiritual name, kindly meditate on that date. If you have forgotten, no harm. As soulfully as possible, repeat your name in silence and try to bring to the fore the divine qualities, supreme qualities, of your name.
If you do not have a spiritual name, kindly repeat “Supreme, Supreme, Supreme” most soulfully.
WSI 28. 16 June 2002, Father's Day Celebration, Aspiration-Ground, Jamaica, New York↩
"The Ideal of Forgiveness"1It is a very special day for me. Today I have completed my longest song, which is 186 lines. Kshamar Adarsha (“The Ideal of Forgiveness”) was a Bengali story written by Sri Aurobindo. I rendered it into Bengali verse. At the age of 13 I did it and Sri Aurobindo was very pleased. He said that I had capacity as a poet and I must continue. My version came out in a Bengali magazine. The name of the magazine was Sarathi (“Charioteer”).
That was in 1945 or 1946 and now, in 2002, I got the inspiration to set the words to music.
WSI 29. 10 August 2002, Aspiration-Ground, Jamaica, New York↩
Celebration in honour of Chitta's birthday1Ranjana’s Bhajan group has sung all the songs in honour of my brother Chitta most beautifully, most soulfully and most perfectly and for that they have received very special blessings from my brother Chitta, who is dearer than the dearest in my life of poetry, in my life of literature and in my life of self-giving. We believe in the source. My poetry-world has only one source and that source is the heart of my brother Chitta. He taught me how to write poems. He taught me Bengali metre. He took tremendous pains in teaching me poetry. When I truly became a poet, his delight was infinitely, infinitely greater than I can ever imagine.
Today I will be singing our longest song. It has a very special message to offer to the world at large. Sri Aurobindo wrote an immortal story entitled Kshamar Adarsha (“The Ideal of Forgiveness”). He wrote this story long before I was born. The story is about how the Lord Absolute Supreme forgave a sage, Vishwamitra and this sage became immortal, absolutely immortal.
I started writing poems at the age of twelve and a half, perhaps. When I completed thirteen years and a few months, I put this story into Bengali poetry form, with rhyme. I was extremely fortunate that my poetry rendition of Sri Aurobindo’s story was submitted to Sri Aurobindo by his literary secretary. He is 96 years old now. He hails from Chittagong and his name is Nirodbaran. Sri Aurobindo requested Nirodbaran to read out the poem and he read it out to Sri Aurobindo. Another secretary of Sri Aurobindo’s happened to meet me on the way to the volleyball ground. He was so excited to tell me that Sri Aurobindo — they called him “Chief’ — was listening to the poem and there was a smile on his face.
The same evening, Nirodbaran said to my brother Chitta, while I was still at the playground, that Sri Aurobindo was very pleased with my achievement. Sri Aurobindo also said that I had talents and I must continue. Subsequently, my work was printed in a magazine named Sarathi, which means “Charioteer”. The editor wrote that a young boy of thirteen had put Sri Aurobindo’s story into verse and he said, “We pray to God for his tremendous success in life.”
Many years later I translated this poem into English as “The Ideal of Forgiveness.”
[Sri Chinmoy then performed his recently composed "longest song," accompanying himself on the synthesizer.]
According to some, this is my longest song. Some will say that this is the longest, while others will say that the one I wrote for Sri Aurobindo’s birthday, Dyulok Chariye is the longest. They are perfect rivals!
There is always something called God’s choice Hour. At the age of thirteen, I put Sri Aurobindo’s story into poetry form. Then, at the age of 26 or 27, I translated the story into English. Now, at the age of 71, I have set it to music. When God’s Hour will arrive, we have simply no idea.
WSI 30. 16 August 2002, Aspiration-Ground, Jamaica, New York↩
My poetry-journey1According to my brother Chitta, when I was four or five years old, I used to say things in poetry form. I could not read or write anything, but I used to say things, going on and on and my brother would write them down. Then, when I was seven or eight years old, he said I became fluent in talking. How I managed to create rhymes, God alone knows. My brother was so amazed at my rhyming capacity when I was seven or eight. At that time I did not write anything.
Then, when I came to the Ashram, Chitta taught me Bengali metre. It took him about a week or so. He had studied this subject and he was well versed in Bengali metre. There are quite a few Bengali metres. English also has got iamb, trochee, spondee and others, but Bengali has more metres. Chitta taught me and my ear was fortunately very well trained. Tagore’s poems he took as examples and then he said, “This is how it was done.” There are many poems of Tagore’s that are very, very easy to scan and then there are some metres that are very, very complicated. Those also I learned.
There are two Bengali metres that are very common. One deals with the words and the other deals with the sounds. In India, I composed poems using both sound and letter metres, but here it seems to me I have written the sound metre more often than the letter metre. When I started writing Uthe jakhan pub gagane savita2 my brother was in the seventh Heaven of delight because the metre was correct. Again, I have written some poems using both metres together, the sound metre and the letter metre. Those poems were very difficult, very difficult.
I started writing in June or July 1944. How many of my disciples had been born at that time? In 1945, I wrote two hundred poems. I sent about fifty of them to Dilip Roy to read. He lived on the same block. The house where I lived was at one end and his was at the other end. He read the poems and said nice things about them. Only one spelling mistake he found. The word was shardul (tiger). I spelt it one way and he corrected it. There was one thing that I did not know. When the peacock raises all its plumage, there is a special verb in Bengali to describe it. I did not know the word, so he wrote it. At the end, he gave a very kind comment.
My Bengali teacher was very fond of me. He translated my play The Descent of the Blue into Bengali. He was a very close friend of my eldest brother’s. He also used to write poems. Whenever I finished a poem, I used to run to show it to my Bengali teacher. He was so kind to me. Another person who helped, me was Biren Palit, who wrote the poem Tomari hok jai. I used to literally run to show him my creations and he showered his flood of appreciation and affection on me. This is how I started my poetry-journey.
Once, I went with fifty poems to the Ashram’s greatest poet. His name was Nishikanto. He was absolutely the greatest poet among the Ashramites, by far and he was very, very kind to me. When I was around seventeen, one literary society declared a poetry competition. I thought it was for young people like us, so I submitted my poem Alo Pakhi Alo.3 Who ever imagined that Nishikanto and Dilip Roy would join the competition! The organisers selected about forty poems, I think, to publish in a book. I could not believe it: mine was third! First was Nishikanto’s and second was Dilip Roy’s. Then came mine.
WSI 31. 19 August 2002, Aspiration-Ground, Jamaica, New York↩
WSI 31,3. Sri Chinmoy, Pole-Star Promise-Light, Part 3, song 1, New York: Agni Press, 1975↩
WSI 31, 6. It is believed that Sri Chinmoy is referring to his poem Ekti Katha. Sri Chinmoy, The Garden of Love-Light, Part 1, song 43, Santurce, Puerto Rico: Aum Press, 1973↩
Learning Sanskrit mantras1When I was five years old, we had three servants. The youngest was famous! His name was Kailash. The second was Phani. Phani itself means snake, but when it becomes Phanindra it means Lord Shiva. The name of the third servant has escaped me now. He used to suffer from asthma. He was kind enough to teach me some Sanskrit mantras. How did he learn those mantras? He did teach me and when I grew up, I found that the words were correct.
[Sri Chinmoy recites a mantra, invoking the Goddess Saraswati.]
This mantra I repeated and repeated thousands of times daily. It is addressed to Mother Saraswati. It helped me tremendously. They say Sanskrit is like Latin, a dead language, but I disagree with those critics. The language as such may be buried in oblivion, but still the words maintain such a strong power. When you recite something in Sanskrit, your whole body is inundated with power or devotion or light.
Alas, alas, if you recite the same mantra in any other language, you do not get that same power. If you take some slokas from the Bhagavad Gita, when you recite them in Sanskrit, there is such power! Even if the translation is perfect, super-perfect, you do not get that feeling when you recite them in another language. Sanskrit has such a great power because it conveys Lord Krishna’s direct utterances. When others translate mantras into Bengali or any other languages, the words do not embody that power. Translation is like that.
If you translate something from English into French or vice versa, perhaps there is not the same problem. But between Sanskrit and any other language, there is an unbelievable difference. Sanskrit is the root of all our Indian languages. Even if you translate exactly, word for word, there can never be the same power in the translation; there can never be the same depth; there can never be the same inner esoteric message. What can you do? If you do not know Sanskrit, if you do not know French, if you do not know German, what do you do? You have to be satisfied with the English translation. If you do not know English, you have to be satisfied with some other language; but the original is the original.
I have translated quite a few songs of mine from Bengali into English. I know I am really faithful to my original Bengali, but faithfulness has nothing to do with it. The sweet feeling, the immediate appeal of the Bengali words I cannot capture, although I know English very, very well. It is not lack of vocabulary that is creating the problem.
Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita, by Mahendranath Gupta (“M”), has been translated as The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. If you read the Bengali original, it will immediately melt your heart. The joy that you get, the immediate joy, from Sri Ramakrishna’s Bengali words, you will not get in English — never, never, never! Swami Nikhilananda translated M’s book so devotedly and he was extremely well educated; but if you read the whole conversation in the original Bengali dialect, there is an enormous difference, an enormous difference.
WSI 32. 8 January 2003, Novotel Palm Cove Resort, Cairns, Queensland, Australia↩
The genesis of Hope1The poem Hope is among my first ten poems in the English language.2
I started writing English poems in Pondicherry, India. One day the servants were breaking coconuts. I was watching them and reading Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri. I got inspiration all of a sudden that afternoon. This is how my Hope poem came into existence. It is one of my most inspired poems.
Spirituality is not cleverness1Dear ones, once a week we have our compulsory meditation. On that day, can you not meditate for half an hour or an hour more? Sometimes I come to the meeting late. Some of you feel, “Since Guru is coming late, we can also come late.” Spirituality is not cleverness. Spirituality is soulfulness. Cleverness and soulfulness are not the same thing; they can never be the same thing.
I was brought up in a spiritual community. I was also a disciple. Even now, I am a disciple of my Absolute Lord Beloved Supreme. It happened that the Mother of our spiritual community would give a time when she would appear. Sometimes she would come late — one hour, two hours, three hours or even four hours after the time she had given. Still, people waited and waited. Of course, there were a few unfortunate disciples who would go away; but the majority waited and waited.
A few years ago, I heard a story about a young spiritual Master who was supposed to visit a particular state. Alas, the plane was delayed. For eight hours, while waiting for him to arrive, his disciples chanted and chanted most soulfully and devotedly. I was so moved when I heard this story.
Many times I have seen that at our Aspiration-Ground weekend functions during the day, there may be only twenty or thirty disciples, but when it is time for prasad, the number becomes seventy or eighty. Where do they come from? They fly in like birds from here, there and everywhere! I fully understand that some are working at Divine Enterprises and other places. If those people arrive at the last moment, I will not mind. But there may be many who are not working or doing something very, very important. Perhaps they are only enjoying lethargy.
Being near your Master is infinitely more valuable than any other kind of activity. Satsang is a Sanskrit word. Other spiritual Masters have given tremendous importance to satsang. It means to be in the company of a spiritual Master or a holy man. With my students I have acted like a grandfather, not like a father. It is all my fault! A father is strict with his children, but a grandfather can never be strict. Again, something unusual has happened: some of my spiritual grandchildren are more devoted and more self-giving than their parents.
Some individuals are working very hard for manifestation, specially with regard to my weightlifting activities. For that you will definitely get my inner gratitude. But some of you feel that because you work very hard for manifestation, you can do anything you want to do in other aspects of your life. If you do not believe in self-discipline, then I cannot be of outer help to you. Inwardly I will offer you gratitude, but I cannot take you as really special disciples just because you are working very hard. You are working towards manifestation and for that I am very, very grateful. There are many, many disciples who do not care for manifestation. But if you are wanting in discipline in your own spiritual life, then please, please, do not expect my tremendous outer attention, gratitude and pride.
Those of you who come here from other states and countries also, please take spirituality as soulfulness, not as cleverness. Do not think that if I can come late, you can also come late. If you come earlier, who will get the advantage? Who will get more benefit from the spiritual life? It is you and nobody else.
There is something else to consider. For you it takes five minutes or ten minutes or fifteen minutes to enter into your highest consciousness, but at a moment’s notice I can enter into my highest. I doubt that anybody among my disciples has the capacity to enter into their highest consciousness in the twinkling of an eye. Such being the case, if you come here ten minutes, fifteen minutes, twenty minutes or half an hour early, it is only to your advantage. If you can meditate soulfully for an hour or two, will you not get more benefit from your spiritual life than if you meditate for only five minutes? Yes, there is a theory that it is better to meditate for five minutes with utmost soulfulness than to sit for an hour and think only of unspiritual things, but this is a totally different matter.
True, I have made it compulsory to attend our collective meditation once a week, but in many ways I doubt that any other spiritual Master is so indulgent with his disciples. Of course, in the West everybody is indulgent! But in India and other places, there are many, many strict spiritual Masters and their disciples also have become very, very strict with their own lives. Coming back to my point, once a week if you come here half an hour or an hour before the meeting starts, you will get tremendous benefit from your inner cry.
There are many more things I would like to say, but the main thing is this: take spirituality as sincerely as possible. Nobody has forced you, nobody has begged you; nobody can force you, nobody can beg you to be on the path. It was your decision, it is your decision and you can continue with your own decision. Kindly be strict with yourself. Do not look around. If you are strict, then it is worthwhile to be in my boat. If you are not strict, then you are wasting your most precious time. You can do something else outside my boat. Perhaps that will give you joy.
The more you can develop love of God, love of your own self, love of your own divinity, the faster you will run towards your Destination. You made the choice. Now be worthy of your choice, if you wish to continue.
WSI 34. 8 May 2003, New York↩
I am your spiritual father1Please take everything I have said today as soulfully as possible. This will help you. I have not come into the world to be a disciplinarian — no! I have come into the world to be a lover of God and a lover of mankind and to be a server of God and a server of mankind. Please do not misunderstand me. I am your spiritual father.
There shall come a time when you will be consciously in touch with your soul and your soul will tell you that I have loved you, I love you and I shall forever love you infinitely more than you can ever imagine. Your mind may not believe it. Your mind may say, “How can Guru think of me more than I think of myself? How can he love me more than I love myself?” But once you have a free access to your soul, you will see that what I am saying today is true, absolutely true. It is your soul that has given me this responsibility because your soul knows that spirituality means bringing the soul’s light into the mind, the vital and the physical.
The soul is the only reality that will last. This body-reality, vital-reality and mind-reality will not last. The soul is an eternal portion of God. Believe in the soul! After thirty, forty or fifty years you will be the soul-reality, not the body-reality. Just because you do not see the soul right now, you cannot say the soul does not exist. Just because an Indian villager has no way to come to America, he cannot say, “Oh no, America does not exist.” In spite of hearing about America from people who have come to America, if someone does not want to believe in its existence, who can make that person believe? Again, all the spiritual Masters, if they are really genuine, will definitely speak about the existence of the soul and the supreme importance of the soul.
If you are spiritually developed, you are bound to see the soul and communicate with the soul, with the supreme reality. Only one thing you need and that is the inner cry. As we need outer means, like money-power, to travel to another country, even so, we need the ceaseless inner cry to communicate with the soul.
Just because I do not know about something, it does not mean that very thing does not exist in the world. In exactly the same way, just because you have not seen the soul, just because you have no access to the soul, you cannot deny the existence of the soul. How many people have seen God? If belief in God’s existence has to depend on eye-to-eye contact, then nobody will accept the spiritual life! Just because spiritual Masters have said that God exists and Someone deep within you — your Inner Pilot, who is God — tells you that He does exist, you believe in God. Belief comes from the inner feeling'. We have to believe. If believing does not precede seeing, then spirituality is of no value. If you say that you will believe in God only if you see Him face to face, then God will say He has more important things to do than to come and stand before you.
You have to believe — believe in your soul, believe in your own inner existence, believe in your own inner reality. Then you will see. Because you have belief, you pray and meditate. But if you want to see God first, before you start praying and meditating, that is absurd, absurd, absurd. Always we have to have faith in ourselves, faith in God, faith in our Master. If faith is taken away and we only demand proof, then that proof is no proof at all.
There are atheists. They do not believe in God. They challenge the theists, people who believe in God. Now, just because the atheists do not believe in God, is God going to come and stand in front of all these non-believers? No, never! In exactly the same way, just because we are not illumined, we cannot say that illumination does not exist. Just because we are unable to do something, we are unable to become something, we cannot say that it is impossible. Impossibility in the spiritual life does not exist. It is merely a dictionary-word. When it comes to the inner life, impossibility does not exist. Even in the outer life, my mind will never agree that impossibility exists.
I have lifted thousands and thousands of pounds over the years. If I use my ordinary human mind — not the illumined mind — my own mind will be the last one to believe in what I have done. Let us take away my mind of illumination, my mind of oneness with God. My regular mind, my ordinary mind, will be frightened to death to think of lifting up such heavy weights. But if I go beyond the mind, I see that it is possible. It is all the Grace of the Supreme. God says to me, “I want you to inspire people with the message of the spirit in and through your physical body.”
Sri Aurobindo said, “Matter and spirit must go together.” Is it not the message of the spirit that my body is carrying? In the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, I was perhaps the best athlete. There they had a huge gymnasium. Two days a year I went there and lifted twenty pounds only to increase my strength a little for shot put. Now I am lifting thousands of pounds. Why? To convey the message of the spirit. The inner spirit and the outer body must go together.
Why do I give so much importance to physical fitness for my disciples? I am not asking you to be a tennis star or a great football player or a champion athlete. No! I simply want you to keep your body fit. Otherwise, early in the morning you will be afflicted with a headache, stomach upset and other ailments. Kindly take care of the body. Every day set aside one hour for exercise. Out of twenty-four hours, one hour you can give. I spend at least three hours a day! From 4:30 in the morning, I spend a minimum of three hours, believe it or not, on the physical. Stretching exercises I take for about forty-five minutes or more. I do all kinds of stretching exercises. You may call it greed, but I call it wisdom, because I know that if we have to stay on earth, physical fitness is of paramount importance.
Again, if you are not physically well, do not delay. Go to a doctor! Do not wait for six months or three months or even one month. Please, please, if you have pain in your physical, take a doctor’s help. God is also inside the doctor. As God is inside your prayer, so too, He is inside the doctor. God is omnipresent. Be wise! Go to the right person.
Forgive me; I have given a long sermon. I have to be very, very strict with all the disciples. Some of you are doing very well, while others are not disciplined at all. You feel, “Oh, I have done so many things for Guru this week. Now I can be relaxed.” There is no such thing as continuous relaxation. Certainly you can relax for a few minutes or a few hours. But if it continues for days, then it is nothing short of destruction. Please, dear ones, take me seriously.
WSI 35. 8 May 2003, New York↩
Heart-throbbing songs1[Sri Chinmoy made the following comments after teaching these five songs at the monthly public meditation for seekers.]
1. I raise my heart. God bends His Ears.
2. Every heart is beautiful when it weeps.
3. Every life is beautiful when it smiles.
4. My God-surrender-heart is made from The Lotus-Petals of my Lord’s Feet.
5. Wherever God goes, the tears of my heart follow Him.
The seekers need not be my students, but I am absolutely certain that, from these songs, they will definitely receive tremendous inspiration. These heart-throbbing songs will help them increase their love of God and their surrender to God’s Will in abundant measure. There shall come a time when these songs will be sung by countless people who want to increase their love of God, their devotion to God and their surrender, complete surrender, to God’s Will. It is only a matter of time.
I want my disciples, no matter which class of singer they may be, to sing these songs. Even if you are not a singer, even if you cannot carry the melody properly, I shall gladly allow you to sing your own melody, as long as you have most sincere, most devoted feelings when you sing these songs.
WSI 36. 1 June 2007, Seeker Meditation, Aspiration-Ground, Jamaica, New York↩
Inside the finite, the Infinite1The world’s smallest horse came here yesterday. It gave me so much joy! I am inviting the seekers to come and receive something cute: a photograph with the world’s smallest horse, Thumbelina.
At the beginning of the month, I lifted the smallest horse; at the end of this month, I shall lift Radar, the tallest horse.
[A video of Sri Chinmoy lifting Thumbelina was shown. On the video, Sri Chinmoy remarked:]
I was getting tremendous joy. Although I was lifting one little horse, the smallest horse in the world, I felt that I was lifting at that time hundreds of little horses. These are my little brothers and sisters from another kingdom, from the animal kingdom. They give me tremendous joy! They are so innocent, so, so loving, always. They exist on earth to give us joy. These animals live on earth only to give us joy. We are their elder brothers and sisters, their superior ones and they serve us in a very, very special way. For that we should be very, very grateful to our little brothers and sisters who are now still in the animal kingdom….
For me it was a great experience. I was meeting with my little sister, Thumbelina, who is full of love, full of affection.
[After the video, Sri Chinmoy made the following comments:]
When we think of God, we immediately feel that God is infinite, eternal, immortal. We think of His Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. Tagore, India’s greatest poet, wrote a poem that became a song. The first line runs, Simar majhe asim tumi bajao apan sur. It means, “Inside the finite, O Absolute, You play Your song-music-melody. I am a tiny body. Inside my finite body You play Your infinite melody. Therefore it is so sweet, so sweet.”
Inside the finite if we can see the Infinite, that realisation is infinitely more beautiful than the realisation that tells us that only inside the Infinite can we see God. God is inside both the Infinite and the finite. It is very difficult to imagine God when we see a tiny object — let us say, a grain of sand. For us, to think of God inside that tiny grain is very difficult. If we think of the Himalayas or something else very vast, then it is quite easy for us to think and feel that God is there.
Yesterday Thumbelina gave me boundless, boundless joy. We have seen many, many horses and at the end of this month we shall see the world’s tallest horse. This is the smallest horse and the tallest horse also I shall be able to lift. God is so kind to me! I shall be able to go from the smallest to the tallest in the same month.
WSI 37. 1 June 2007, Seeker Meditation, Aspiration-Ground, Jamaica, New York ↩
My children, you can depend on me1My children, you can depend on me. I am dependable. My children, you can rely on me. I am reliable.
In this incarnation I shall be able to prove to each and every one of you that I am both dependable and reliable.
And I am also indispensable — but only in the self-giving hearts of those who prayerfully need my sleepless and breathless blessing-guidance. I am indispensable only for those who allow me to breathe in their hearts happily and proudly. Here I am not talking of the human in me but of the divine in me, which is birthless and deathless. If you are in tune with my divinity, then definitely, definitely, definitely I am indispensable, for the Supreme and I are one, eternally one.
Otherwise, every day, every hour, every minute, every second you will have a different Guru: either your physical consciousness, or your vital, or your mind, or your heart, or your soul, or the Supreme. But if you keep your promise to the divine in me, then definitely I am and I shall eternally remain your Guru.
I do not want to make anybody's life unhappy. I came into the world to bring down happiness and this happiness you will get if you can dare to please the Real in you. But if you are consciously or unconsciously trying to please the unreal in you, then you can never, never be happy. Your love of God is the only reality that you have and you are.
In physical terms, sixty-three summers I have seen. In spiritual terms, birthless and deathless is my existence. If you are one with me, in me and for me, if you allow me to claim you as my own, very own and if you claim me as your own, very own, then you will forever and forever and forever remain my choicest instruments — not only here on earth but also there in Heaven.
I shall never, never fail those heart-children of mine who love me unconditionally and need me unconditionally. With your heart’s gratitude-tears the deeper you can go, the sooner you will realise my Universal Love and my Transcendental Compassion, my Universal Cry and my Transcendental Smile.
WSI 38. 27 August 1994, P.S. 86, Jamaica, New York↩