CEBU CITY, the Philippines — The University of Southern Philippines awarded an honorary degree Jan. 18 to global peace ambassador Sri Chinmoy.

Sri Chinmoy is the fifth person ever to receive this university’s highest honour. He joins an elite circle that includes General Douglas MacArthur, a former Philippines President, a top United Nations official and a university president. 

In bestowing a Doctorate of Humanities on the 61-year-old poet, author, artist, composer and spiritual teacher, University president Ronald Duterte said Sri Chinmoy “has devoted his life to helping others look into their inner selves that they may find their moral compass.”

Wearing a gold cap and blue-gold hood, Sri Chinmoy told a crowd of university officials. professors and other distinguished guests that there are two types of world peace makers. “The human peace maker happily feels and proudly declares how much he has already done for the world. The divine peace maker sincerely and soulfully feels how much he has yet to do for the world....”

Meetings and compromises of the mind, he continued may never lead, to world peace. “It is the heart-summit-oneness meetings that will ... fulfil the all-illumining Heaven-sent message for peace throughout the length and breadth of the world.”

Another speaker, Dr. Ruperta Martinez, the university’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, praised the spiritual teacher as “truly a harbinger of peace.”

In conveying “the message of the growth of the individual and global harmony in a beleaguered world,” she continued, Sri Chinmoy not only is the medium of the message. “He is the message.”  


Sri Chinmoy, wearing his honorary degree robes, addresses dignitaries at the university of Southern Philippines.  

Published in Anahata Nada, VOLUME 22, DECEMBER 1992 – MARCH 1993


Press Conference

by Sri Chinmoy
at the South Beach Holiday Inn in Durban, South Africa


Question: Could you please tell us a little about your philosophy and your way of life?

Sri Chinmoy: Everybody is a seeker of truth and a lover of God — either consciously or unconsciously. In our case, we belong to the first category. Consciously, sleeplessly and breathlessly we are trying to be God-seekers and God-lovers.

There are many good things and many undivine, unaspiring things in our nature. We try to increase and multiply our good qualities and, at the same time, on the strength of our prayers and meditations, we try to decrease and eventually eliminate our undivine qualities. We are not trying to destroy our bad qualities; only we want to transform and illumine them. Darkness has to be transformed into light. The ignorance that we have been cherishing from time immemorial must be illumined.

According to our traditional Indian philosophy, God is the Creator, God is the Preserver and God is the Destroyer. But we feel that God, being the Author of all Good and the Source of Compassion infinite, cannot and will not actually destroy His creation. We feel that, at His choice Hour, He transforms anything within us that is not aspiring and makes it divine, illumining and fulfilling. So there is no such thing as destruction, but only illumination and transformation, which take place at God’s choice Hour.

On our path we give due importance to the physical life. Inside the physical is the soul, which is the direct representative of God. The body is the temple, and inside the temple is the soul, the shrine. Both the shrine and the temple must be kept in proper order. We feel that our inner life of aspiration and our outer life of dedication must go side by side. Like the flower and its fragrance, they cannot be separated; they have to be taken as two complementary realities. My students practise meditation and follow the spiritual life, and at the same time, they have their respective jobs. We live in the world and we live for the world.

Question: Most people in this area of South Africa suffer a lot because of daily violence. I am interested to hear your views on the causes of violence and any message that you might have as to what we can do about it.

Sri Chinmoy: The causes of violence are the divisions created by the mind. The mind always separates; it gets tremendous satisfaction in dividing reality. Because it sees itself as separate from others, the mind always wants to exercise supremacy over others. Inside the mind is restlessness, which eventually becomes destruction. Long before violence is manifested on the outer plane, it takes place in the form of thoughts inside the mind.

If we listen to our mind when it tells us to strike someone, at that time the mind becomes our lord. But there is always something within us that reminds us that we have another boss: the heart. Unlike the mind, the heart only wants to establish intimacy and oneness with others; it gets satisfaction not in division but in unification. The heart tells us, “By destroying someone you will never get even an iota of joy, but by loving that person you will get abiding joy.” So we have to pray and meditate to silence our restless mind and to illumine our unaspiring mind. If we can transform the mind and live in the heart, then there can be no violence.

Question: Are your Peace Concerts political in any way?

Sri Chinmoy: There are many ways to bring about world peace. My way is to pray and meditate and offer meditative Peace Concerts. I am a total stranger to politics and I do not enter into the political arena. I have love for all human beings, so I love politicians, too. But I do not dare to say anything about their political views.

I have been practising spirituality since my childhood. I am a man of prayer. I am a student of peace. I devote myself to the art of self-discovery and I ask my students to do the same. People come to me when they are hungry for inner peace, inner light and inner bliss. Many, many times politicians — along with others from various walks of life — have come to pray and meditate with me or have remained in a meditative consciousness while I have played instruments and sung.

Question: As a Hindu, I believe that the ultimate Truth is God-realisation. How do we reach our goal?

Sri Chinmoy: God-realisation is a most difficult subject. We can say that it is like climbing up not one but countless Himalayas. Millions and billions of people are living on this planet, but how many have dared to climb up the Himalayan mountains? Most of us do not dare to even try; we feel that it is impossible for us. Fortunately, we do not have to justify our existence on earth by physically climbing up the Himalayas, but the inner mountains we all have to climb. God will not allow any human being to remain unrealised.

In the outer life there are many obstacles that we have to surmount. Every day, in the hustle and bustle of life, we face many challenges. If we do not accept all the challenges, no harm. If we do not like athletics, for example, it is not necessary to play soccer or to try and become the world’s fastest runner. We do not have to participate in the outer race for our evolution or for our individual growth. But even if we do not consciously participate in the outer race, we have to know that our mind is always racing and racing aimlessly — like a mad elephant. It goes this way and that way and, at the same time, it builds solid walls that divide us from others.

There is also an inner race — to our inner goal. Christians call that goal salvation. Buddhists call it illumination. Hindus call it God-realisation. We believe that each individual shall realise God at his own special time. When my hour strikes, God will definitely bless me with God-realisation; when your hour strikes, God will bless you with God-realisation.

If God-realisation is our goal, then the first and foremost necessity on our part is to pray and meditate regularly. Again, we have to know what we are praying for. Are we praying to God for money to buy one house, two houses, three houses? If we have a car, are we praying for a second car or a third car? If we are praying to God to bless us with more material possessions, then we are still in the desire-life and God-realisation remains a far cry.

There is another way, which we call the life of aspiration. In the aspiration-life, we pray to God to give us only what we truly need, not what we want. The highest form of prayer in the aspiration-life is to say: “God, You know what I actually need. If it is Your Will to bless me with the things that I truly need, then at Your choice Hour do bless me with those things. If You do not want to give me anything, that also is up to You. I want only to please You in Your own Way.”

When we are in the aspiration-world, we pray to God to give us the capacity to please Him in His own Way. When we do this, we are walking along the right road. God-realisation comes at the right moment, provided we walk along the right path. So if we can pray and meditate to please God in God’s own Way, definitely God-realisation will dawn on us.

Question: Do you work also in a political way to bring about peace?

Sri Chinmoy: I do not want to deal with politics, which is the world of the mind. I want only to live in the heart and discover a sea of peace in each and every country. A few countries are fighting wars today; tomorrow some other countries may engage in war. People proclaim, “We shall never again enter into war.” But as long as we live in the mind that is not properly illumined, there will always be conflicts and wars. The mind may remain silent for a few days, a few months or even a few years, but the very nature of the mind is to try to exercise its supremacy.

I will not dare to try to solve the problems in Bosnia and other places by exercising political means. I have my own way, which is to pray and meditate to bring about peace. In no way will I condemn those who follow other ways. Politicians are all my brothers and sisters, and we are aiming at the same goal. If they can arrive at the goal before us, I will be the happiest person. Or, after reaching the goal, if they ask us to walk along with them, definitely we shall abide by their request. But, right now, we feel that they have their way and we have our way. God alone knows which way is best! But we feel, in the inmost recesses of our heart, that the way of prayer and meditation is best for us.

Question: Do you feel that people in the world are moving further away from leading a spiritual life, or do you feel that there is a gradual awakening towards spirituality?

Sri Chinmoy: It is my own personal conviction that people are more awakened and that they are turning more towards light than before. There was a time twenty or thirty years ago when peace was only a dictionary word. People used the word, but they did not mean it; they did not even care to know what it meant. But now there are many people on earth who most sincerely believe in peace and want to lead a life of peace. We are still not fully awakened, but now at least we sincerely feel the supreme necessity of world peace.

So the world is progressing in the way it is accepting peace and light. Some individuals are consciously accepting this message, while others are unconsciously accepting it. Still others are not aware of it and do not care for it. But if we are talking of the majority, then I have to say in all sincerity that more people are turning towards light than before.

Question: What inspired you to follow this path of peace?

Sri Chinmoy: When we pray and meditate, there comes a time when we get an inner message. We can say that something within us prompts us to do something. I have been praying and meditating for many years. From deep within an inner Voice, which we call the Voice of the Inner Pilot or God, commanded me to be of service to Him by offering my prayers and meditations to the world at large and sharing with others the message of peace.

Here we are all students of peace. Peace is a common subject that we are all studying in the same school — the school of our heart. Whatever I have learned with regard to peace, I have come here to share with you. At the same time, I have come to learn from you. I am not only a teacher but also a student. I am still learning and learning, for peace is a subject that is vaster than the vastest.

Question: You mentioned the struggle between the heart and the mind. In an area such as KwaZulu Natal, where so many people have been killed and where people's hearts have actually been hardened or broken, is it much more difficult for them to follow the right path than for others who are leading a more peaceful or ordinary life?

Sri Chinmoy: It entirely depends on the individual. Those who are denied peace by outer circumstances or by undivine human beings often have a greater inner hunger for peace than those who have found an iota of peace or abundant peace. People who suffer unnecessarily are more likely to pray to God and receive His Light than those who already have some peace of mind. So while the more fortunate ones may be wallowing in the pleasures of the limited peace that they already have found, individuals whose suffering has led them to develop an intense inner cry for world peace and harmony may be blessed with abundant peace sooner by God. When innocent victims cry from the inmost recesses of their heart, their cry is bound to melt the Heart of God.

But the question arises whether someone is really hungry for peace or whether he has simply surrendered to his fate. Some individuals lose faith in God or in their inner existence when their relatives are killed by undivine human beings. They say, “My dear ones did nothing wrong. If God has infinite Compassion, why did He allow them to be killed?” These individuals may inwardly revolt and say God is not active or dynamic, that God is perhaps sleeping. Again, they may become furious that their dear ones have been attacked and go to the length of saying: “There is no God!”

Unfortunately, these people do not look for light. They do not pray for the light to illumine those undivine human beings who have attacked their dear ones. If they did, then God would definitely change the mental attitude of those undivine human beings. The victims’ sincere cry for the illumination of the wrong-doers would reach God’s Heart. So if we pray to God in the right way, then those who have done wrong things and also those who may do wrong things in the near future will be illumined.

Question: I have found that music can change people, although I am not speaking about political change. I would like to hear your views on music.

Sri Chinmoy: We have to know whether we are talking about the music that tends to destroy our nerves and subtle bodies, or prayerful music that gives us pure joy and inspires us to become good citizens of the world. Prayerful and soulful music is definitely going to help us bring about world peace and establish oneness in the world community, for that music has a special appeal to the heart. It awakens and deepens our longing for a better life. When we play or listen to divine music, or when we sing divine songs, it becomes easier for us to see the light within us. It also helps us increase that light and bring it to the fore so we can transform the darkness that the mind has and is.

Published in Sri Chinmoy Answers, part 10