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.