The Ever-Transcending Quest

A Literary Analysis of the Poetry of Sri Chinmoy

by Mrinali Christine Clarke

This dissertation was
originally submitted to fulfil
the BA (Honours) requirements
at Monash University,
Victoria, Australia, 1989.

INTRODUCTION

“It is hard to hear a new voice, as hard as it is to listen to an unknown language …
Why? – Out of fear.
The world fears a new experience more than it fears anything …”
                                                                                                    – D.H. Lawrence

You do not dare to know
The real truth.
He does not dare to face
The real light.
I do not dare to attain
The real silence.
                            – Sri Chinmoy

Does our own age fear a new spiritual voice? Lawrence was talking of a new voice to be found in the early American classics, while Sri Chinmoy’s poem here indicates that same instinctive aversion in relation to the new spiritual experience. How relevant then are Lawrence’s comments in relation to the poetry of Sri Chinmoy at the end of the 20th Century and the beginning of a new Millennium?

A common criticism of metaphysical poetry is that it is only understood by the initiated. If the poetry of Sri Chinmoy is placed in that category then it may also be restricted by traditional standards and expectations of the genre. Traditionally, literary evaluations tend to concentrate on poetic complexity or multiplicity in a way that masks or fails to uncover what really may be a distinctively new voice of the age, particularly in relation to spiritual poetry. Sri Chinmoy has intimated that the reading of his poetry and prose can be utilised as a method of entering into a higher state of consciousness for the novice, the seeker or the reader; in effect, a method of contacting or awakening the reader’s own inner pathway into this higher, more universal plane of consciousness.  View the complete PDF