Sri Chinmoy comes into this world an hour before sunset on Thursday, August 27th, 1931, in the small village of East Shakpura, Chittagong, Bengal. He is the youngest of seven children born to mother Yogamaya Ghose and father Shashi Kumar Ghose.
A classic picture
Early in the morning I went to Nolini-da and made my most devoted pranam to him. He was very pleased. At noon I went to Amrita-da and told him that I would like to have a group picture with him and Nolini-da.
Amrita-da said: “With Nolini? Has he agreed?”
“Yes, he has agreed. Only now I need you.”
“Is Nolini ready?”
“He is,” I said.
“If Nolini is ready, I am already ready. Come along. Let us make you immortal or let you make us immortal on your birthday.”
Indeed, it was a classic picture. Nolini-da and Amrita-da were sitting in chairs. I was standing behind Nolini-da and Kalipada-da was standing behind Amrita-da.
— Sri Chinmoy
Published in A service-flame and a service-sun
To my dear students in Puerto Rico
O Children of the Supreme!
I bow to the Supreme within you.
Today my body completes thirty-five years of its earthly existence. You are entering into me with your hearts' joy and your souls' aspiration. I am placing your divine wealth at the Feet of the Supreme. I am also offering to the Supreme all that you have and all that you are.
A song without notes is no song. A song breathes because it has a Singer. The Singer is the Supreme.
A tree without branches is no tree. A tree lives because it has a Root. The Root is the Supreme.
O Flames of my Spirit's fire,
Fly into the Transcendental Beyond.
Note: This message was sent to the AUM Centre Inc. on the occasion of Sri Chinmoy’s birthday.
Published in AUM – Vol. 2, No. 2, 27 September 1966
Is the West unspiritual?
A talk by Sri Chinmoy
on his thirty-fifth birthday
at the first quarters of the Aum Centre, 3817 Fort Hamilton Parkway, Brooklyn, New York
Is the West unspiritual? The immediate answer may be in the affirmative. But this answer is absurdity on the face of it. There are, in the West, countless souls who have a unique inner urge. I also dare to say that they are far more spiritual than those who pass for men of spirituality in the East.
It may sound strange, but I cannot help mentioning that there are many Westerners who are practising spirituality in the truest sense of the term but do not realise it. Alas, this irony of fate is all due to their mind, their mental upbringing. Their mind tells them, nay, makes them feel that they are here and God is elsewhere. What is worse is that they breathe in God and Fear at the same breath. The very idea of God's omnipotence sends a shudder through them. Any grave error, on their part, they feel, can never escape God's most severe punishment. This is precisely what they have learned from their mind. But in their spiritual quest, the mind is not all in all. They have a heart that makes them feel that their earthly existence and God's Breath are one, inseparable; their aspiration and God's Grace live together and fulfil each other.
God is not something that is outside, something to be attained, as the usual Western concept goes. God is something that has to be unfolded like a lotus, petal by petal, from within.
Our present-day world, especially the Western world, is ultramodern in its complexity. Complexity tends to misery. Misery is frustration. Frustration is the death of achievement and progress. Simplicity is inner delight. This inner delight is Nectar. Nectar is immortality, immortality of the physical, the vital and the mental. Simplicity is the spontaneity of the heart. Complexity, on the other hand, has become the natural expression of the unintegrated aspects of the physical mind. This mind sees through the eye of divisiveness and ignorance. Ignorance sees through the eye of Death. The heart sees through the eye of Truth. Truth sees through the eye of God.
It is an unpardonable mistake, nevertheless, I believe, on the part of the East to pronounce that the West is unspiritual. Both East and West should be fully aware of the fact that each human being needs five major experiences in his earthly existence. The animal in man gives him the first experience; this is the experience of the sense-pleasure. After the animal in him has played its role, out of his subtler existence, discrimination comes to the fore. In the process of his discrimination, man becomes conscious of right and wrong, the true and the false. This is the second experience. The third experience is the experience of self-control. The more a man acquires self-control, the easier it becomes for him to walk along the path of peace and bliss. At this stage man comes to learn and feel the meaning of an inner tug-of-war between his higher self and his lower self, between the transitory and the eternal. The fourth experience makes him feel that he has to realise God and that God-Realisation is the sole purpose of human existence. He feels the difference between the finite and the infinite, between the self that binds him to ignorance and death and the self that frees him into infinity and eternity. The fifth and last experience is the experience of divine manifestation and divine fulfilment which comes after having the full realisation of God. Man's soul becomes God's Vision and his life, God's Reality.
Since both East and West go through these stages, the East has no right to condemn the West so arbitrarily.
The Western mind is a scientific mind. Science has helped the Western mind profoundly and at the same time, science has deceived the Western heart mercilessly. Science says in effect: "Look, heart and mind, I have bravely and successfully entered into the sky with my telescope. But the sky fails to offer me God. I have fathomed the very depth of the ocean. The ocean, too, fails to offer me God. Nor has the tiniest atom escaped my attention. I thought that at least this particle would offer me some clue to God's existence. To my sorrow, like the sky and the ocean, the atom, too, has failed to show me the Face of God. I venture to say that there is no God, none at all."
The mind immediately believes in science and is satisfied with the scientific discovery that there is no God. But the heart doubts the authenticity of the scientific discovery. It says: "I may not see God as minutely as science observes an object in its minute scrutiny. But I do feel the presence of God within me. To me, my feeling is as good as my realisation."
Evolution has come to the point where it is high time for man to realise that science and spirituality are not one and the same. This does not mean that science and spirituality are two bitter enemies, always at daggers drawn. But what we should do is to expect from science what it can and does offer — the perfect mastery over the external nature. Similarly, from spirituality, we must expect the inner illumination and the realisation of God. Let us accept both science and spirituality and not accept one and reject the other, for both of them are serving God here on earth, unveiling and manifesting His Supreme Reality.
To me, the aspiration of the West is both touching and striking. I maintain that the West is spiritual in the truest sense of the term. But what is required of the West — and it is true that the East has already discovered this — is an inner conviction that spirituality is its Divine birthright.
Published in AUM – Vol. 3, No. 1,2, 27 Aug.-Sep. 1967
Sri Chinmoy formally reveals his most sacred song, ‘The Invocation’, on the occasion of his 36th Birthday during a special meditation meeting with his disciples at his home on the 4th floor of 504 East 84th Street in Manhattan. He says, “Each note and each line is significant. Each word is a world of inner revelation – natural, spontaneous and soul-stirring. This is our most devoted dedication to the Supreme.”
Supreme, Supreme, Supreme, Supreme!
I bow to Thee, I bow.
My life Thy golden plough;
My journey's Goal Thy soulful Dream.
Supreme, Supreme, Supreme, Supreme!
I bow to Thee, I bow.
Supreme, I am Thy glowing Grace.
My world, Thy Feet of Light;
My breath, Thy Vision's kite.
Thou art one Truth, one Life, one Face.
Supreme, Supreme, Supreme, Supreme!
I bow to Thee, I bow.
Note: The Invocation was published in a collection of poems My Flute, 1972. At a later date, Sri Chinmoy made minor changes to capitalisation, punctuation, and added ‘The’ to the title.
Published in The Invocation
Sri Chinmoy’s birthday message to his disciples
O Sweetest Children of the Supreme:
Today you declare my body's birth. And my Soul asks me to tell you that it observes your birthdays, heavenly and earthly, every day when it enters into you with a new hope's light, a new inspiration's delight and a new aspiration's flight to pilot you to the Supreme's Golden Shore of the Beyond.
Published in AUM – Vol. 4, No. 1, 27 August 1968
The celebration for Sri Chinmoy’s 39th Birthday is held at Judson Hall in Greenwich Village. The Sri Chinmoy Orchestra begins the programme and this is followed by poetry readings and singing. After the programme, everyone returns to Sri Chinmoy’s home for a birthday dinner served in the backyard.
Also that day, Sri Chinmoy inaugurates Madal Press and tells stories at Guru Stationery on Parsons Blvd., in Jamaica, New York.
Sri Chinmoy performs on 27 different instruments for the first time, playing all songs from memory, in Jamaica, New York.
O lovers of poetry
by Sri Chinmoy
O lovers of poetry, you are not only lovers of poetry, you are also lovers of spirituality, for poetry and spirituality go hand in hand. They are inseparable. True poetry and true spirituality are always inseparable. It is said that poetry is next to spirituality. To me this is an Understatement. I feel from deep within that poetry, if it is spiritual and divine, without fail houses spirituality, and true spirituality must needs house poetry.
A poet is he who envisions the ultimate, absolute Truth. On the physical plane, vital plane, mental plane, even at times on the psychic plane, when we notice a particular poet offering to the world at large his contribution, we appreciate him, we admire him. But if we can see the seeker in the poet, the truth-lover in the poet, the real reality in the poet's vision, then we shall go one step farther. We shall discover our inseparable oneness with the poet.
Published in Poetry: My Rainbow-Heart-Dreams
Sri Chinmoy Day in New York City
On the morning of Sri Chinmoy's 47th birthday, Queens Councilman Morton Povman comes to the track at Jamaica High School to read the proclamation of Sri Chinmoy Day in Queens. Several of the 58 runners who are running 47 miles in honour of Sri Chinmoy's birthday are still circling the 1 14 mile loop as the ceremony takes place.
Proclamations are made in all 5 boroughs of New York City this year, making August 27, 1978, the first city-wide Sri Chinmoy Day.
Councilman Morton Povman: Ladies and gentlemen, I am here today to make a presentation in honour of your Guru. I was saying to the Guru just now that it seems almost a miracle that he has people, not highly trained in running, run 47 miles with only one person having to drop out. I know that this is because of the inspiration that Guru provided for the runners. Spiritual inspiration and aspiration is what keeps them going at a time when they should want to lie down flat.
It is an honour for me to represent Mr. Donald Manes, the Borough President of the Borough of Queens, to declare today, the 27th of August, the 47th birthday of the Guru, as Sri Chinmoy Day in Queens County. I would like to read the Proclamation.
Sri Chinmoy: Today, Councilman Povman, in you my disciples and I have felt a true member of our little spiritual family. You have been extremely kind to us for the last few years. You have granted us the opportunity to feel that we have done something real for the world at large. I wish to say that what we have done is really the result of pure Grace from above. It is the inspiration from above that has guided my students in this run, as well as my heart-felt sympathy with their struggles.
You have always been kind to me and my students. What we can offer you is our gratitude, and this gratitude blossoms in our hearts like a lotus, petal by petal, every day and every hour. Today, 300 students of mine have felt your heart, and I wish to say that you have conquered the very depths of their gratitude-hearts, for when someone shows me sympathy, love and oneness, my disciples' gratitude-hearts enter into that person.
You are not only a councilman, but also a distinguished member of society and a true loving brother and friend in the heart of all my disciples. You are our loving, kind, sympathetic oneness-friend.
On behalf of all my students, I am offering you my gratitude-heart on this auspicious day, my birthday. You have been dedicated to the Supreme in us, in all of us. The oneness of my gratitude-heart, plus all my disciples' gratitude-hearts I am offering to you this day.
Councilman Povman: You are the luckiest man in the world to have all these people who believe in you. [To the disciples] He is the richest man in this world. He has no material wealth, but he has the richness of the people who are here, and there is no greater wealth than this in the world. If the world would learn this lesson, it would be a much nicer place to live in.
Citation of Merit
Published in AUM – Vol.II-5, No. 7, 8, July-August 1978
Bela Chale Jai
Sri Chinmoy performs from memory 47 new Bengali songs, Bela Chale Jai, published that day in Jamaica, NY, USA.
47-mile run stories
by Sri Chinmoy
While I was running 47 miles, one person came up to me and said, “You do such nice things for people. Sir, can I be of any help to you?”
I said, “Thank you, I do not need any help right now.”
During the 47-mile run, I was limping. Mahiyan, our tennis champion, passed me and said, “This is what tennis has done to you.”
I was observing all the disciples during the ultramarathon. Pranika sometimes found it difficult to smile at me because she was dying. Shephali dies inside when she runs, but she always smiles at me. Such a peculiar style Shephali has! She runs as if she is boxing. Her elbows stick out.
Heinz was the rabbit of the day. He is such a good sprinter. He was ahead for so long. Then all of a sudden, he slowed down and disappeared. He sells tofu for Abarita’s factory, so he should have kept some tofu inside his pocket to give him energy.
Databir’s goal was to defeat Khudita, but what could he do? At one point she was 16 laps ahead of him.
I was born on a Thursday, so I recently made an oath to run 27 miles every Thursday, starting any time after midnight.
After running thirty-four miles in the 47-mile run, my oath descended to 13 miles. Soon it may descend to 10 miles.
Published in Run and become, become and run, part 11
by Sri Chinmoy
A fleeting unconditional surrender
When I go out to run early in the morning, as soon as Sona hears me coming, he comes out of his bed where he sleeps to see me and get attention. Sometimes he cannot open his eyes even; he comes to me with his eyes closed!
Then he lies down and makes unconditional surrender at my feet. The trouble is that his surrender lasts only for a second — like my disciples' surrender!
Sometimes when I am going out, Sona looks at me so soulfully and pitifully. Then, when I come back inside, he will not let me come in unless I bless him and show him affection.
See how the animal world is responding to my love and concern! The amount of affection, love and concern that I shower on human beings is unimaginable! But these innocent dogs are responding to my divine qualities most satisfactorily.
Published in Friendship with the animal kingdom
Video by kedarvideo
Message of gratitude
After setting a new world record for the 100 metres in the 1991 Tokyo World Championships, Sudhahota gave Sri Chinmoy the running shoes he had worn in that race. This is the message of gratitude that Sri Chinmoy, on 27 August 1991 — his 60th birthday — offers to Sudhahota from Aspiration-Ground.
My dearest Sudhahota, with my utmost divine pride in you, with my heart's infinite, infinite love, with my soul's infinite, infinite blessings and with my life's infinite, infinite gratitude, I am holding your world-record, champion-hero supreme running shoes. At this moment I am most devotedly invoking the soul, the spirit, of your father, whose joy and pride in your achievement know no bounds. His divine vision he is executing in you and through you. I am so proud of you for having offered your supreme achievement to your dearest father in Heaven. His blessingful concern, blessingful love and blessingful pride I am sure your heart and your entire being cherish at every moment.
Again, at this moment I am soulfully thinking of Ambalika, your sweetest mother. Her blessingful presence in Tokyo has helped you immensely, plus immeasurably. Therefore, I am very proud of your mother, Ambalika. Also, the encouragement that your sister Carol has offered in so many ways to your athletic career can only be felt and never described.
Something more: I saw the loving friendship between your mother and Leroy Burrell's mother. This kind of soulful friendship is rare, very rare in this world. I am extremely proud of these two noble and magnanimous hearts.
Finally, I would like to say something about the statement made by Leroy, your dear friend and great rival. The intimate connection and feeling of oneness between you two gives me enormous joy. May you two grow and glow in divine friendship.
Mr. Joe Douglas has kindly said a few very nice things about me and my Japanese disciples. I am very grateful to him. Takashi and Yoko are serving the Supreme in you in a very devoted way. These two spiritual friends, Takashi and Yoko, deserve my very special gratitude. In this connection I must also say that Kirit also has done much for you. To these spiritual brothers and sisters of yours I am offering my special blessingful gratitude and pride.
So again and again, Sudhahota, I am offering you my heart's infinite love, infinite joy, infinite gratitude and infinite divine pride. The world misunderstands you, for misunderstanding is the order of the day. He who is really great, unfortunately, is bound to be misunderstood. This is what we learn from this world. But again, he who is really a great, dauntless, supreme hero will walk, march, run and sprint faster than the fastest like you — towards the destined goal. May your fastest speed inspire us all — your spiritual brothers and sisters as well as all human beings on earth — to run faster than the fastest in our spiritual quest to reach our goal of the ever-transcending Beyond.
Note: Sudhahota’s inscription on the shoes “Dearest Guru, much love, Sudhahota — 9.86”
Published in Carl Lewis: the champion inner runner, part 2
My children, you can depend on me
A talk by Sri Chinmoy
at PS 86, Jamaica, New York
My children, you can depend on me. I am dependable. My children, you can rely on me. I am reliable.
In this incarnation I shall be able to prove to each and every one of you that I am both dependable and reliable.
And I am also indispensable — but only in the self-giving hearts of those who prayerfully need my sleepless and breathless blessing-guidance. I am indispensable only for those who allow me to breathe in their hearts happily and proudly. Here I am not talking of the human in me but of the divine in me, which is birthless and deathless. If you are in tune with my divinity, then definitely, definitely, definitely I am indispensable, for the Supreme and I are one, eternally one.
Otherwise, every day, every hour, every minute, every second you will have a different Guru: either your physical consciousness, or your vital, or your mind, or your heart, or your soul, or the Supreme. But if you keep your promise to the divine in me, then definitely I am and I shall eternally remain your Guru.
I do not want to make anybody's life unhappy. I came into the world to bring down happiness and this happiness you will get if you can dare to please the Real in you. But if you are consciously or unconsciously trying to please the unreal in you, then you can never, never be happy. Your love of God is the only reality that you have and you are.
In physical terms, sixty-three summers I have seen. In spiritual terms, birthless and deathless is my existence. If you are one with me, in me and for me, if you allow me to claim you as my own, very own and if you claim me as your own, very own, then you will forever and forever and forever remain my choicest instruments — not only here on earth but also there in Heaven.
I shall never, never fail those heart-children of mine who love me unconditionally and need me unconditionally. With your heart's gratitude-tears the deeper you can go, the sooner you will realise my Universal Love and my Transcendental Compassion, my Universal Cry and my Transcendental Smile.
Published in I wanted to be a seeker of the Infinite
Video by kedarvideo
Sri Chinmoy sings some of his famous Avatar songs at his birthday celebration function at Aspiration-Ground in Jamaica, New York.
Sri Chinmoy receives a Doctor of Philosophy in International Relations Honorary Degree from St. Petersburg State University of Education, Russia.
Final telephone conversation
Just a few days before Mother’s earthly departure, Sri Chinmoy calls Mother Teresa for her birthday on 27 August 1997. In fact, they share the same birthday. It is her 87th birthday and Sri Chinmoy's 66th birthday.
Brief selection from their final telephone conversation:
Sri Chinmoy: Happy, happier, happiest birthday, Mother!
Mother Teresa: Ah! You know it is my birthday!
Sri Chinmoy: Mother, who does not know that it is your birthday! When the sun shines, the whole world knows that the sun is shining! I am praying to the Saviour Christ to grant you His very, very special Blessings on your birthday. You came into the world to do something really great, and you have been doing that through your sleepless service to humanity.
Mother Teresa: All that you are doing is for the Glory of God and the good for people! Pray for me, as I pray for you for all of your many projects for world peace. Your works of love are works of prayer, and your works of prayer are works of God.
Please Do Not Forget
On the morning of his 67th birthday, Sri Chinmoy writes a series of nine short poems entitled, ‘Please Do Not Forget’.
Narada Michael Walden spontaneously sets the poems to music and teaches them to ;his good friend Sudhahota Carl Lewis, and together they sing them as a birthday gift for Sri Chinmoy the same evening, accompanied by Premik.
Inner blessings are of paramount importance
A talk by Sri Chinmoy
at Aspiration-Ground in Jamaica, New York
Dear ones, I observe your birthdays every day, every day, in the very depths of my loving and grateful heart.
Inwardly I have blessed everybody. Unfortunately, this year I could not observe outwardly the birthdays of many, many disciples, and some of them are very close to me. Their hearts have to forgive me, because their souls know how much I love them, how much I care for them. So many disciples had birthdays recently. I could not observe them outwardly because I am dealing with so many problems.
There are many, many disciples and many dear ones whose birthdays I could not observe outwardly. Do not feel sad, do not be upset if I have not been able to observe your birthdays outwardly.
Inner blessings are of paramount importance. Inner blessings, inner love, inner affection and concern — these are the most important things. They are infinitely more important than the outer blessings you get when you are standing in front of me and we are singing the birthday song for you.
Published in Our sweetest oneness
Sri Chinmoy offers a Peace Concert at Aspiration-Ground in Jamaica, New York.
Two talks by Sri Chinmoy
at Aspiration-Ground, Jamaica, New York
I wish to read out a few short articles in Bengali. This one I wrote when I was seventeen years old, in 1948. It is called Sathi. Sathi means "eternal companion." Lord Krishna and I were having a conversation. [Sri Chinmoy reads out his article.]
This one is about fear: Bhoi bibhikshikha…
[Sri Chinmoy reads.]
Now I shall read out two very, very deep philosophical articles. These I wrote in 1952, so I was a little more mature. I believed in philosophy! I studied philosophy — not only Indian philosophers, but all the Western philosophers whom I admired deeply. The title of the first article is Abhipsa, which means "aspiration."
[Sri Chinmoy reads.]
Now I will read out two more articles. First I shall read out "The Strength of Bengal" — Bangalir baler katha balte giye…
[Sri Chinmoy reads.]
I am ending with one more. This article is about Shivaji, the great king who fought against the Moguls. Shivaji was a Maharashtrian king. He was a very, very great soul, and he did not want to rule the country. He wanted to offer his crown to his Guru, Ramdas. Ramdas said, "No, you have to rule. Under my guidance you will rule the country." Now I shall tell you the story about this article. In our school at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram we used to get marks out of four, not out of one hundred. A perfect mark was four out of four. I happened to be an excellent student in Bengali, so quite often I used to get four out of four. When I submitted this article, my Bengali teacher fortunately or unfortunately gave me eight out of four! That created a very serious problem! The headmaster of the school was very upset. He said, "What kind of joke is this?" Alas, the headmaster was my enemy, because his friend, who was, I think, thirty years older than me, did not like me.
At recess time we had to study. The boys and girls would study together. The headmaster came while we were studying and insulted the teacher for giving me eight out of four. Then he said, "The poems were not written by him! They were written by his elder brother Chitta."
The school teacher was so fond of me. When I had been in his class for only six months, he wrote an article of twenty-six pages about me, because by that time he had seen my poems. Many times in front of him I wrote Bengali essays and articles.
The teacher invited the students to meet together. We accepted, on condition that he would give us a large quantity of milk and bananas. He said many, many nice things about me. He was the greatest Ashram writer.
Next to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother was Nolini Kanta Gupta, the Ashram Secretary, who asked me to translate his Bengali articles into English. There were many, many MAs in the Ashram, even triple-MAs, but Nolini chose me to translate his writings from Bengali into English. I translated many, many, many books. Tagore said, "Nolini Kanta Gupta's contribution to Bengali literature is unique." Again, this very short article of mine about Shivaji created a problem! In front of the students, the headmaster gave me two poems to write: one about a river, and one about a mountain. Then he left. He said that he was going to come back. So in five minutes, in front of so many students I wrote one poem about a river and one about a mountain. My teacher was overjoyed! He was so pleased. But the headmaster did not return. The teacher sent for him, but he did not come back.
Tagore had great admiration for Shivaji the king, and he wrote an immortal poem in which he urged the Bengalis to follow the Marathis. We Bengalis do not follow anybody; we always lead. But in this case Tagore begged all the Bengalis to follow the Maharashtrian leader Shivaji. A few extremely, extremely significant lines I quoted from Tagore. When I read, your heart has to feel what I am saying. Our Bengalis will be able to appreciate fully this immortal utterance of Tagore: "Oi itibrittakatha…[Sri Chinmoy quotes from Tagore's poem "Shivaji-Utsav".]
My article on King Shivaji was very short, but it created serious problems!
When East Germany and West Germany became one, under the kind guidance of my beloved President Gorbachev, it gave so much joy. One Germany, one Germany!
Division is always in the mind. The heart is always for oneness, oneness, oneness. We aspire to go to the Source, and our real Source is God. Does He believe in division? Never, never, never, never!
When I say "Yugoslavia" now, I get such joy when my children from all the countries that belonged to Yugoslavia are together, together, together. The Soviet Union was cut into pieces, but I have given it the name Oneness-Dream-Boat-Shore. When I say "Oneness-Dream-Boat-Shore," I get such joy. When I say "Yugoslavia," I get such joy. Other countries also give me joy when they are together.
We need oneness, oneness, oneness. Our hearts can never be divided. When I see you all as one soul, as one heart, as one life, it gives me boundless, boundless, boundless joy and pride.
Published in My golden children