Sri Chinmoy offers ‘An Iota Of Light, Peace and Bliss’

by Hick Ratliff,
Section D, Living Today, The Miami Herald

‘I do not act like a teacher or a preacher.’ Sri Chinmoy explains, ‘but I become absolutely one with the inner cry of those who are in front of me ... the inner cry is for peace, light and bliss. The outer cry is for name, fame and material possession.’

No one was impressed with what Indian guru Sri Chinmoy had to say as he sat cross legged between flowers and candles before 350 persons in the Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School auditorium.

Sri Chinmoy, author of 300 books, painter, musician, leader of a spiritual movement and director of the United Nations Meditation Group, faced the audience Tuesday night for about an hour and a half.

And said virtually nothing.

But folks didn't get huffy, storm out and demand their money back. For one thing the event was free. For another, silence can be peaceful and peacefulness can nurture meditation. and meditation — public meditation — is what the evening was all about.

WHILE MANY OF those present were Sri Chinmoy disciples (recognizable because the women wore saris and the men wore white shirts and pants) many others were curious folk who dabble in the inner peace movement.

"I’m into mixed bag," said Paddy Long, 50, a high school guidance counsellor. "I do white light meditation and, I don’t know, I guess you’d call it a Ram Dass of the senses... You concentrate on the feet and see the feet disappear then on the ankles...

"Basically what I try to do is quiet the chatterbox we call the rational mind.” He learned about the Sri Chinmoy session earlier that day he said, from a friend whose car he was fixing.

Addy Farinas, 41, the owner of a flower shop in Haileah, described herself as a follower of another guru — Paramahansa Yogananda.

BUT SHE SAW no conflict in attending a meditation with another master, she said, because they are all one — all united from one energy.

Meditation, she said, helps develop the spiritual side of her life.

The crowd was divided between persons in their late teens and early 20s, and those in middle age.

Younger attendees included Bill Luongo and Tom McCabe, both 18, who said they didn’t know a lot about Sri Chinmoy and had come to learn more.

"We’re seekers,” said Luongo with a quiet smile.

BEFORE THE meditation began. Sri Chinmoy’s disciples milled about, fixing up the stage and adjusting lights and microphones.

Some talked about his teachings. Michelle Samole, 24, is one of about 20 disciples who live in greater Miami, and has been a disciple for more than three years.

"He taught me ... the soul which lives inside of us is like a spark of divine consciousness ... By meditating, we can come in contact with divine consciousness.

"We do things everybody else does," she added. “We don’t hide in our houses and meditate all day." She and her husband, for example, both teach school.

“It’s not a matter of having to give up material things,” although disciples are asked not to smoke cigarets or drink alcohol.

THE IDEA, says another Miami disciple, Tom Pliske, is to improve oneself from, the inside, through a process Sri Chinmoy calls "love, devotion and surrender."

Sri Chinmoy arrived on stage unannounced, as the sound of talk filled the auditorium. But after Chinmoy stood silently and barely moving on center stage, with his palms pressed together chest high, the talking stopped.

Every motion stopped.

Sri Chinmoy pivoted his head very slowly from side to side. Candles reflected in his eyes, making them appear to flicker and glow.

Eventually he sat, took a bow in one hand and a musical instrument called an esraj in the other, and began to play.

THE ESRAJ looks like a cross between a sitar and a violin, and sounds, as one disciple put it later, "a bit other-worldly."

When he finished, he sat quietly again. The silence was broken occasionally by soft choruses and instrumental music, all sung or played by disciples. All the music had an Eastern flavor though some lyrics were In English.

Sri Chinmoy's audience, including many dressed in white, sat silently while he played an esraj and while his disciples sang. Some of the lyrics were in English, and expressed such questions as, “Problem … how to lighten?”

Caption: Sri Chinmoy audience, including many dressed in white, sat silently while he played an esraj and while his disciples sang. Some of the lyrics were in English, and expressed such questions as, “Problem ... how to lighten?”

Published in AUM — Vol.II-4, No. 1, January 27, 1977.



Sri Chinmoy at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


New York Telephone Interview

by Sri Chinmoy
with Daibel Faye of Radio Kan Kan, WBAI 99.5 FM, New York


Daibel Faye: Could you tell us what your mission is and what you are trying to achieve?

Sri Chinmoy: I am a student of peace. Only a student can learn, and peace is something that we learn from our day-to-day life. When we pray, when we meditate, we try to become a better person. If we become a better person, then we shall have joy, and this joy comes from our inspiration. I inspire you, you inspire me and both of us together try to inspire the whole world. This world of ours has everything save and except one thing — peace. Material wealth will not give us peace. Earthly possessions will not give us peace. Talks on peace will not give us peace. Peace we get only from our self-giving life. This self-giving life has to be sleepless and unconditional.

I happen to be a poet, a musician and an artist. Now, you may say I am a jack of all trades, master of none, but I have tried through my poems, through my music and through my art to offer my inspiration to the world. Each thing that I do is for inspiration. When I am inspired, I create something and then I try to share with the rest of the world the same inspiration. I feel we can become good citizens of the world on the strength of our inspiration. When we are inspired, we do great, good and immortal things.

I have met with many, many world figures. Although some of them are well known in the world of politics — such as President Gorbachev, President Mandela and a few other politicians of the highest rank — they are so kind to me. They never discuss politics with me. We only talk about world peace from the depths of our heart and not from our mind.

Here I have to beg the pardon of the listeners. The mind, no matter how great and cultured it is, will not be able to give us peace. Only a simple heart, a pure heart, a childlike heart will be able to give us peace. I have written considerably, I have given talks at various places. But I must say I get peace only when I share peace with others. That is why I give peace concerts all over the world. I have only one goal — peace, universal peace.

For many years I gave talks on world peace at the United Nations. But I found that my talks were of no avail. Only when I meditate in silence or play soulful music do I feel peace in the inmost recesses of my heart. At that time I feel I can be of true service to mankind. So in everything that I do I try to become a self-giving life founded upon my inner peace.

Daibel Faye: Well, it is quite refreshing to hear you go through all the different things that you do. Apparently you travel a lot, and yet you can manage to write all these books, to learn all these instruments and to practise them. It seems that you do not make a distinction between your private and professional life.

Sri Chinmoy: Mine is not a professional life. Mine is the life of prayer and meditation. I do not separate my outer activities from my prayer-life. You may ask why I have thrown myself into the hustle and bustle of life. For me, everything that I do has only one aim or goal — peace, universal peace. I feel that if I enter into a garden, there should be many flowers of various types. If there are different kinds of flowers, then individuals who enter into the garden can appreciate the flowers. In a shop there are many, many things. You can buy the things that you like, and I can buy the things that I need. Similarly, I feel that inside my heart-garden, inside your heart-garden, there are all kinds of beautiful flowers and they have a divine fragrance. When I enter into your heart-garden, I derive tremendous peace, joy, harmony, love and the feeling of oneness. In the same way, when you enter into my heart-garden, you also see and feel the same thing. This is how we grow together. Only on the strength of our oneness can we have peace. This oneness we can get only when we are happy. How can we be happy if we are not inspired? So right from the beginning we have to think of inspiration. Inspiration is of paramount importance. Anything great, good, divine and immortal that we are planning to accomplish in this lifetime has to come from inspiration. I go from this country to that country only to be of service to mankind. My service and my inspiration are like the beauty and fragrance of my heart-flower.

Daibel Faye: I understand that you have lifted over 92,000 pounds in a time space of three hours.

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. On the 27th of November, in three hours’ time I lifted over 92,000 pounds. Again, I must say, it is not my physical strength. It is all God’s Grace. My biceps are not even 13 inches. I am not muscle-bound and I am of very short stature. For all that I do, I depend on God’s Grace. I can do nothing on my own. I entirely depend on God’s Grace for my poetry, music, art and sports. Everything that I do comes from my prayer-life and meditation-life.

Daibel Faye: Even though it is by God's Grace that you lifted all that weight, indeed, there has to be a physical connection. Even though God's Grace is responsible, there has to be a lifting process.

Sri Chinmoy: Let us use the term ‘faith’. Every day I try to increase my inner faith in God. He is full of Compassion, Love, Affection and Concern for His creation. When we look up, we see God the Creator, and when we look around, we see God the creation. God the Creator and God the creation are the same Person. When we pray to God the Creator, He tells us that He will be pleased with us only when we serve Him inside His creation.

This weightlifting that I do inspires many people. When it is on television, millions of people watch me. They get innocent joy when they see this 67-year-old man lifting weights. Especially people who are over sixty get tremendous inspiration. They say, “Oh, he is of our age. What is wrong with us? Why should we allow ourselves to be inactive? Why should we wallow in the pleasures of idleness?” Young people who are twenty or forty years younger than I am say, “If this old man can lift such heavy weights, what is wrong with us?”

My weightlifting is such an innocent thing. I am not boxing or wrestling with anybody. I am only trying to transcend my own capacity. I am only loving the divine in me, in you and in everybody. That divine is telling me to be of greater service to humanity. So when I lift weights, I have only one objective in front of me, and that is to serve mankind according to the limited capacity that I have been entrusted with. Again, my capacity is founded upon faith, and this faith comes from my prayer-life and my meditation-life.

Daibel Faye: That is very well said. We have seen people who use worldly material power to do wrong towards people. Thank God that those who have the divine power know how to manage that power and will hopefully do what you are doing, which is to promote peace and unity in the world.

Sri Chinmoy: There are two kinds of power. One power divides, the other power unites. When we use our mind-power, we try to exercise our superiority. We say, “I am superior to you; I am better than you.” This becomes our philosophy at that time. We divide ourselves completely from each other. When we live in the heart, we become inseparably one with others. Your good qualities and your bad qualities become part and parcel of my life and vice versa. My good qualities and my bad qualities belong to you in the same way.

The power of oneness is infinitely, infinitely stronger than the power of division. There shall come a time in the near future or in the distant future when we shall grow into the power of our oneness-heart, and this world of ours will be transformed. Now mind-power is trying to lord it over the whole world. But there shall come a time when heart-power, which is all oneness, will be found everywhere. We will have a world of universal oneness. At that time, there will be no destruction; it will be all fulfilment.

Now we are not fulfilled. We have one house, but we want to have two houses, three houses, four houses. We have one car, but then we want two, three, four, five, six. Each time our desires increase, we feel miserable. But when we aspire, pray and meditate, we know that if it is absolutely necessary, our Lord Supreme will bless us with a car or a house. Anything that we need, He will supply. In that way, we can have peace. Whatever we need, God will definitely bless us with, but He is under no obligation to please us by giving us whatever we want.

Right now the whole world is expecting and demanding from individuals, from countries, from humanity because we live in the mind. But if we live in the heart, then we will not demand. We will only grow and glow together. As I said before, when I pray and meditate, when I go from one country to another, when I give peace concerts, when I compose songs or write poetry, I have only one aim — to be of service to mankind. I want to serve mankind according to my very limited capacity, lovingly, prayerfully, soulfully and self-givingly. While I am doing this, I feel abundant peace in the inmost recesses of my heart.

Published in Sri Chinmoy Answers, part 22


Photo by Pulak Viscardi


Sri Chinmoy being interviewed after lifting 7 people at Hai Tian Hotel in Qingdao, China.