Sri Chinmoy delivers a talk, entitled ‘A Spiritual Goal for the United Nations: Is it Practical?’, in the Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium at the United Nations in New York.
A Spiritual Goal for the United Nations: Is it Practical?
A spiritual Goal for the United Nations: is it practical? Without the least possible hesitation I venture to say that it is highly practical. It is not only practical, but also practicable. Something more: it is inevitable. We have to know what the spiritual Goal for the United Nations is. Its Goal is to become ultimately the saviour of the world’s imperfection, the liberator of the world’s destruction and the fulfiller of the world’s aspiration.
My heart tells me that the United Nations has a divine Ideal. My soul tells me that this Ideal is going to be transformed into the supreme Reality. Soulful concern is the essence of the United Nations’ Ideal. Fruitful patience is the substance of the United Nations’ Ideal. Supernal fulfilment will be the essence of the United Nations’ Reality. Sempiternal perfection will be the substance of the United Nations’ Reality. What is Reality? Reality is the inseparable oneness of Infinity’s smile and Eternity’s cry.
The great philosopher Aristotle once remarked, “Some men are just as firmly convinced of what they think as others are of what they know.” The firm conviction of the United Nations is the confident flight of sublime thought and glowing depth of its knowledge-light.
Today’s United Nations sees the nations as its true friends. Tomorrow’s United Nations will see the nations as its real sisters and brothers.
Today’s United Nations offers hopeful and soulful advice to mankind. Tomorrow’s United Nations will offer fruitful and fulfilling peace to mankind.
Today’s United Nations feels Truth, Light and Delight in its loving heart. Tomorrow’s United Nations will manifest Truth, Light and Delight with its all-embracing soul.
Anatole France said something which is at once interesting and amusing. He said, “It is human nature to think wisely and act foolishly.” But in the case of the United Nations it is totally otherwise. The United Nations thinks profoundly and acts selflessly.
My aspiring heart has a soulful message to offer to all the nations that have formed, that have made the Garland of United Nations. The message is:
There are two stumbling blocks: doubt and insecurity. Doubt in the mind, insecurity in the heart.
There are two stepping stones: faith and surrender. Faith in oneself, and surrender to God's Will, conscious surrender to God's constant Will.
True, we have lost and misused thousands of golden opportunities, but we cannot lose or empty God's infinite Compassion. Out of His infinite Compassion, He will make us feel and realise the Transcendental Truth. However, this can be done in two ways. One way is to realise the highest Truth at God's choice Hour; the other way is to realise the Truth when we feel the time is ready, according to our own sweet will. When we open our eyes at God's Will, we fulfil God in His own Way. When we open our eyes at our choice will, at our own selected hour, we fulfil God in our own way. The desire in us fulfils God in its own way. The aspiration in us fulfils God in God's Way. Needless to say, our aspiration is bound to manifest the ultimate, absolute Reality on earth; and in the manifestation of absolute Reality on earth, the face of earth will be transformed into the face of Heaven.
True, the man of the hour need not or cannot be the man of Eternity. But the message that the soul of the United Nations offers to the world at large is for Eternity. Its message is:
Today's imperfect and unfulfilled man is tomorrow's absolutely fulfilled and supremely manifested God.
Published in The Garland of Nation-Souls
Why Do I Meditate?
Sri Chinmoy delivers an inspirational talk and offers a special concert and meditation for the diplomatic community, held in the Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium at the United Nations in New York.
Why do I meditate?
I meditate so that my mind cannot complicate my life. I meditate so that I can one-pointedly concentrate on the things that I desperately need. I meditate so that I can easily obliterate my past mistakes that are still haunting me. I meditate so that I can bravely terminate my long-standing friendship with ignorance.
I meditate so that I can liberate my earth-bound life and place it inside my Heaven-free life.
I meditate so that at every moment I can elevate my thought-life to God’s Will Power-Life.
I meditate so that I can inundate my entire being with the omnipotent power of peace.
I meditate so that I can accelerate my progress while running forward, flying upward and diving inward.
I meditate so that when the Hour of God strikes I shall not be late in my unconditional surrender-examination.
I meditate so that I can celebrate the Transcendental Victory of my Beloved Supreme, not only in my own life, but also in the life of His entire creation.
Sri Chinmoy: If you have any questions regarding meditation, the spiritual life or the inner life, I shall be extremely happy and grateful to answer them.
following the talk
Question: For a long time people have been meditating for the good of humanity, but there does not seem to be any sign of humanity coming on the right path. Do you feel that meditation can be spread enough to envelop the entire humanity?
Sri Chinmoy: First we start with ourselves. If an individual can become good, divine and perfect on the strength of his own meditation — of course, along with God’s Grace — then at least one individual is liberated from the bondage of ignorance. Then another individual will be inspired to strive for liberation. It is from one to many that we have to go. Just because the world has not reached perfection, the sincere seekers will not give up. To reach perfection is a long process. One does not get one’s master’s degree overnight. For twenty or thirty years one studies; then finally one gets the degree. Here also, one has to practise meditation for years and years and years to achieve liberation. Sometimes it takes quite a few incarnations.
Just because I cannot have most delicious food every day, I do not give up eating. Just because I cannot maintain my peace of mind every day, I will not give up meditation or spirituality. What I need is patience. If in one day I cannot achieve abiding peace, then I will strive for it for two days. And again, if on the second day I do not get what I want, I shall continue striving.
Our progress entirely depends on our heart’s cry-on how sincerely you need, I need, he needs and she needs meditation, which is the only process that can bring about world peace. World peace entirely depends on the individual need and the collective need. If one person sincerely needs peace, then his inspiration, aspiration and inner illumination will automatically spread all around him. Then others will also be inspired to strive for peace, and eventually there shall come a time when the entire world will be inundated with peace.
Not in vain did our Beloved Supreme, God the Compassionate Father, create the universe. He and Peace are one and the same — the obverse and reverse of the same coin. Just because we do not see or feel peace within us and around us, we should not give up hope or stop praying and meditating. We shall continue to pray and we shall continue to meditate, for we believe in His Vision, which is to spread peace all around His creation. So if we pray and if we meditate, there shall come a day when instead of inner and outer conflict and disharmony, Peace, Light and Delight will reign supreme.
Question: Weren’t there more spiritual people in the past?
Sri Chinmoy: In the hoary past, in the Vedic age, many seekers prayed and meditated and reached a certain height. They may not have reached the ultimate height, but it was a height from which they could bring down peace from above. Also, in those days there was more abiding peace and harmony in the world.
Question: Are we to achieve knowledge through meditation? If so, what kind of knowledge?
Sri Chinmoy: It is not school knowledge that we get from meditation. It is an inner knowledge that we get, and inner knowledge means illumination. This Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium is fully lit. An hour ago or last night there was no light here. But now the switch has been turned on, and the hall is all illumined. Similarly, for millennia we have been in darkness. If we want to illumine our darkness — the darkness that covers our body, vital, mind, heart and central being — then we need meditation. Meditation brings about this illumination. If we meditate soulfully for a few months or a few years, then gradually we will see illumination taking place. In the beginning or even for a couple of years we may not see a flood of illumination. But if we can meditate soulfully and devotedly for many, many years on a regular, daily basis, then we most assuredly can have the same illumination that the great spiritual seekers and Masters attained through their meditation.
Question: Can this illumination be shared among people — for example, between a person who has meditated for a long time and a person who has not?
Sri Chinmoy: This illumination one can share with others. When a spiritual person prays and meditates, at that time he spreads his illumination-power, and others do feel it. If we are with a bad person, we are unconsciously affected by his bad qualities. Similarly, if we are with a spiritual person who prays and meditates and leads a saintly life, then automatically we will feel the light and bliss that is radiating from him. We will definitely see it and feel it and in this way receive inspiration from the spiritual person. When illumination takes place, we cannot hide it, just as we cannot hide anything in this hall because this hall is now fully illumined. But if we turn off the light, then the hall will be in darkness and we will be able to hide many, many things.
Question: There are many schools of meditation, and it becomes hard for a person to select one. How do you find the best one for you?
Sri Chinmoy: It is very easy. It is a matter of feeling. Here there are quite a few people. They are all God-lovers and Truth-seekers. They are all God’s children. But all of them are not giving you the same feeling. When you look at one individual, you may have a good feeling. This kind of feeling we call the soul’s affinity. From one person you may get a certain kind of joy or peace or confidence, and you will feel confident that this person will be able to help you. Again, if you look at another individual, you may not feel anything or be inspired at all.
There are many teachers and many paths. What you have to do is observe each one of them. Some paths will give you immediate joy, a kind of inner ecstasy, while others may not give you anything. The school or the teacher that gives you immediate joy or an immediate sense of satisfaction is undoubtedly the right one for you.
Question: What about the subjects of meditation?
Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the individual. You as an individual will have one subject that you meditate upon, and I as an individual will have another. Again, today you may meditate upon peace, and tomorrow you may meditate upon joy. Suppose that today in your office you had some difficulties with your colleagues and your mind is agitated, restless and wanting in peace. So you will meditate on peace. Then tomorrow, if you see that you are not able to feel joy either in yourself or in others, you will meditate on joy.
Ultimately everything is one. If you have peace, then you will also have joy; if you have joy, then you will also have peace. My body is one entity. But I can also speak about my eye, my nose and so forth. I can separate my body into its different parts, or I can take it as one. Similarly, peace, joy, love and all the other divine qualities can be separated, but they ultimately lead us to the same destination, which we call satisfaction. So, today your subject can be peace, tomorrow it can be joy, the day after, love. Every day you can change the subject of your meditation. Again, you can continue meditating for days, weeks, months and years on the same subject because each time you are increasing your capacity and receptivity. Today you may be satisfied with just an iota of peace, but tomorrow this will not satisfy you. Tomorrow you will pray for abundant peace, and the day after you will cry for infinite Peace. If you are praying and meditating for infinite Peace, then naturally it will take you more than one day to achieve it.
Question: Is there a place for prayer and meditation in equal measure?
Sri Chinmoy: Prayer and meditation can easily go side by side. In the West we hear more about prayer. In the East, especially in India, we hear more about meditation. But prayer and meditation should go together.
Although they lead us to the same destination, prayer and meditation have distinct qualities and capacities. When we pray soulfully, we feel that something within us — let us call it an inner cry — is going up high, higher, highest. We also feel that our Heavenly Father, our Eternal Father, is listening to our prayer or is waiting for our cry to reach Him. When we pray, something is climbing within us, and finally it reaches the Highest; it reaches the Feet of our Beloved Supreme.
When we meditate, we feel that the Highest, our Absolute Lord, is coming down to us. When we meditate, we feel that Something or Someone is coming down from above, from the highest plane of consciousness. What for? To bless us. When we pray, we feel that we are going up to place ourselves at the Feet of our Lord. But when we meditate, we feel that He is descending. During our meditation He comes down, blesses us, and tells us what to do. When we go up in our prayer, we ask Him to grant us something that we need:
“Lord, give us peace, light, love, joy.” When we pray, we tell Him what we need from Him. But when we meditate, He comes down and tells us what He wants from us. He tells us, “I need you to become My choice instrument, My devoted instrument. You have to please Me. I shall grant you what you want from Me, but you also have to please Me.” This is what He tells us when we meditate. In this way, prayer and meditation should go together.
Question: Could you explain what contemplation is and how it differs from meditation?
Sri Chinmoy: Concentration, meditation and contemplation are three different terms. If I look at a flower one-pointedly, with my concentration I am trying to pierce into the flower. When we concentrate, like a piercing ray we enter into the very depth of the object we are concentrating on. Then, when we meditate, we enter into silence, absolute silence. We can look at the vast sky or the deep sea and try to become one with it. When we concentrate, we focus our attention on something minute, small. In meditation we become one with something infinite.
Contemplation is totally different; it is the highest stage. In contemplation we not only enter into something and become one with it, but we also exchange identities with it in a game of hide-and-seek. When we contemplate on our Beloved Supreme, we see Him face to face. At one moment we are loving God with all our heart and soul. Then at the next moment we ourselves have become the object of adoration, and the Person whom we previously were adoring is now looking upon us with affection, love and adoration. So this is the third stage-contemplation. Here the God-seeker or God-lover becomes one, inseparably one, with God the Supreme Beloved.
Question: What do you recommend for beginners?
Sri Chinmoy: For beginners I recommend reading a few spiritual books to start with. You can also chant hymns from the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads or the Vedas, or sing some soulful songs — anything that inspires you. Then you should try to meditate early in the morning and in the evening at least for five minutes. In the beginning you will not allow any thought to come into your mind while you are meditating. At every moment one is either attacked by bad thoughts or inspired by good thoughts. Every second a thought-wave comes — a good thought-wave or a bad thought-wave. In the beginning it is very difficult to observe which kind of thought is coming. So what you should do is stand right at the door of your mind-room and not allow any thought to come inside-whether it is a good thought or a bad thought. You should not allow any thoughts at all to enter. Then after some time you can open the door and see who is waiting there.
If someone is a real friend, a true friend, he will wait for you indefinitely because he loves you. Good thoughts definitely love us. Good thoughts will wait on the other side of the mind-door indefinitely. Bad thoughts, on the other hand, will leave after a while. They will feel it is beneath their dignity to be kept waiting outside. Like this, the beginner should meditate for five minutes in the morning and in the evening.
Also, if it is possible, during the day while working at home or in the office, you should try to remember six or seven times-only for a minute, a fleeting minute-what you did early in the morning or what you are supposed to do in the evening. You don’t even have to meditate; only remember. This remembrance itself is a form of meditation. Here in the hustle and bustle of life you may not get the opportunity to meditate the way you can meditate at home early in the morning or in the evening. But if you can remember what you did early in the morning, around six o’clock, and what you will be doing in the evening, around seven o’clock, then it helps considerably.
Talk, questions and answers published in Meditation at the United Nations Bulletin, July/August 1982
Some of these same questions and answers published in My Meditation-Service at the United Nations for Twenty-Five Years differ slightly from the original publication.
When You Take One Step Towards Me
by Sri Chinmoy
Although I have an insincere mind,
I frequently think of You, my Captain.
Although I have an impure heart,
I fearfully love You, my Captain.
Although I have a complicated life,
I hesitantly need You, my Captain.
Please tell me what You actually think
Of my insincere mind, impure heart
And complicated life.
“My child, when you use your insincere mind,
Impure heart and complicated life,
It is like taking one step towards Me.
While you are taking one step towards Me,
I go one step farther away.
But if you ever use your sincere mind,
Pure heart and simple life,
Then I tell you,
When you take one step towards Me,
I take ninety-nine steps forward to meet you
And give to your mind
A beautiful Sincerity-Smile,
To your heart,
A powerful Purity-Embrace;
And to your life,
A fruitful Simplicity-Oneness.”
Published in Captain, My Captain