Question: On my birthday, I usually feel that the most important thing is my meditation with you, and I wish that people wouldn't make a big deal about it being my birthday. Is that not a good attitude?

Sri Chinmoy: Whatever people want to do to celebrate your birthday, they should be allowed to do. On your birthday if somebody else wants to express joy because you are a member of humanity, a member of a spiritual family, then they should be given the freedom to do so. On a birthday, joy is freely available. If somebody gets real joy by telling you "Happy Birthday" or by giving you a cake or by doing something for you, then he should be given the chance. Joy is not only in giving, but also in receiving. We always feel that if we give joy to someone, our role is over. No, if somebody wants to give us joy, then we should accept it. It is reciprocal. Otherwise, when I want to give you joy, why should you receive my joy?

If anybody wants to observe your birthday, to give you joy, genuine joy, then he should be given the chance. Otherwise, his self-giving will be denied. By giving you happiness, joy, a smile or saying "Happy Birthday," he is expanding his own heart, and when he expands his own heart, it is his own progress. Again, when you receive his sincere appreciation or any good will from him, it increases your heart-power as well.

Very often it is the frustrated mind which in an unconscious, perverted way wants to remain isolated on your birthday. You have to know if others are expressing their genuine feelings for you. If somebody wants to observe your birthday with a most sincere heart's feeling, then it will add to his progress. But if it is just a matter of buying a commercial birthday card and his heart is not in it, then you have every right to be silent. If you feel that the so-called well-wishers are not genuine in their appreciation or in their love for you, then you do not have to pay attention to them.