TV Interview in Puerto Rico

Sri Chinmoy on Temas del momento, ‘Themes of the moment’, a TV programme directed by Mr Evelio Otero


Introduction by Sri Chinmoy

God is seated in the hearts of all human beings, so when one practises Yoga, one is entering into God’s presence. Yoga is not a religion; it is something infinitely deeper than religion. The so-called religions are satisfied with moral canons, ethics, creeds, and so forth. But Yoga helps a human being to transcend these finite, human standards. That does not mean that one has to act like an animal or violate civilised morality. It means that one has to be constantly in touch or in contact with one’s Inner Being and listen to the dictates of his Inner Being. One has to go beyond the snares, the boundaries of morality. So we can say that religion is a human endeavour, while Yoga is a soul endeavour. The difference between Yoga and religion is the difference between the body and the soul. At the same time, there is no ultimate difference, because the body needs the soul and the soul needs the body. So religion needs Yoga and Yoga needs religion.

Interviewer: Sri Ghose, what is the advantage to the human body in being influenced by learning Yoga philosophy?

Sri Chinmoy: There is abundant advantage in accepting Yoga in our day-to-day life. First of all, everybody wants to simplify one’s outer life. One wants to free oneself from fear, doubt, bondage, limitation, imperfection and ignorance. Now, if one practises Yoga, one enters into the deeper reality of human existence. And when one has free access to the Inner Being, one is in a position to have a better life and have a more satisfactory human existence. Right now we see frustration all around us. Each human being has become consciously or unconsciously a victim of frustration, worry and anxieties. But Yoga assures us that we can easily free ourselves from this frustration if we follow the path of inner self-discipline.

Interviewer: Is it necessary for a person to abandon his religion, let us say Catholicism, in order to adopt the Yoga teachings?

Sri Chinmoy: One does not have to abandon one’s own religion or one’s own faith. If one abandons one’s own religion, then he will be committing a Himalayan error. One must live in one’s own religion, in one’s own faith. Religion is like a house. In your own home, you have complete security, you have a place to live and rest, you have a place to do your work, to be with your own family, you have a place of your own where you can be comfortable and at ease. Similarly religion has to be accepted. One should live in one’s own religion, though, at the same time, aspire to realise God. Nobody is required to relinquish or abandon his religion in order to practise Yoga. If one does so, he is making a mistake. But at the end of his journey’s Goal, when a person is liberated from suffering and feels that he is one with God’s consciousness, then he knows that he can transcend all this. But at the beginning, one need not leave one’s religion aside to attain liberation or to practise Yoga. No.

Question: What made you come to Puerto Rico?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, I would like to tell you that I came to the West in 1964. I came here on the invitation of some of my friends, admirers and disciples from the West. They invited me to come in 1964.

Question: And this is your seventh visit to Puerto Rico?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, this is my seventh visit.

Question: What other Centres do you have?

Sri Chinmoy: We have four centres: one in Puerto Rico, one in New York, the third is in Jamaica, West Indies and the fourth is in Miami, Florida. There we do our spiritual and yogic activities. Puerto Rico happens to be the first Centre and the name of our Centre is Aum Centre.

Question: Does that have a meaning?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, AUM is a Sanskrit word and it means God in three aspects: God as the Creator, God as the Preserver, and God as the Destroyer or Transformer.

Question: Is the membership of the Centre here almost one hundred per cent Puerto Rican?

Sri Chinmoy: A little less than one hundred percent. We have one German disciple and three Americans who have lived in Puerto Rico for many years. The others are all native Puerto Ricans. All are most dedicated and most sincere in their spiritual approach.

Question: Do they follow your teachings with enthusiasm?

Sri Chinmoy: Mostly; and they have an earnest seeking for the Truth. They pursue their spiritual discipline most devotedly and satisfactorily during my absence.

Question: How many days do you spend in Puerto Rico when you come and engage in these teachings?

Sri Chinmoy: Each time I come here, I try to spend about a month or so, but this time, I shall be here for about six weeks.

Question: Then from here, where will you go?

Sri Chinmoy: I will go back to New York and there is every possibility of my going to Germany, Italy and a few other places in Europe.

Question: You don't have established headquarters in New York or in Puerto Rico aside from all these centres?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, we do. I have my permanent headquarters in New York, but these are all permanent Centres with a resident president in each place. They function here all the time without me, although I offer them spiritual guidance inwardly and by mail and telephone. I spend eight or nine months a year in New York and the rest of the time I spend in Puerto Rico, Miami, Jamaica, West Indies and other places. Then I go out on occasion when people invite me to speak on Yoga, philosophy, etc. I give a great many public talks in churches, synagogues, schools, Hatha Yoga groups, etc.

Question: I want to inform the television audience of the location and telephone number of your Centre.

Sri Chinmoy: Our Centre in San Juan is located in the San Marcos building in Santurce, at 659 Miramar Avenue. The telephone number is 7217286. Every week we hold special meditations and classes. On Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. we have a special meditation and a discourse. On Wednesday evening, we start meditation at 8:00 p.m. and end at 9:30 p.m.

Interviewer: Thank you, Master Chinmoy Kumar Ghose, Master of Yoga philosophy for the privilege of having you here on “Temas del Momento”. Goodnight.

Question: Is the earth planet like a final stage for perfection? Do we have to go through the other planets first and then come here?

Sri Chinmoy: The earth is the only place to realise God. To other places, humans go as visitors, as you would visit your friends’ or relatives’ houses. According to what your own inner affinities are, you might like the place and stay, or else complete this incarnation and go back there. But there you do not make any progress. You do not meditate there or do anything to further your spiritual evolution.

This is the world where you have aspiration and where you practise meditation. No soul, no human being is able to realise God on other planes; only here on earth. That is why an Indian poet said, “Man above all.” No one is superior to man because man is tomorrow’s God and God is today’s man, concealed but not revealed. Man is tomorrow’s God revealed, whereas God is today’s man concealed.

When the soul aspires in other worlds, it gets experience. Aspiration is itself an experience. But manifesting the divine fruits of aspiration can only take place here on earth. Here alone is the field for manifestation and here alone realisation can be had. Realisation is the culmination of the soul’s evolution and it can only be had here on earth. The planet earth represents and embodies spiritual evolution. The soul incarnates in a human body in order to give liberation or realisation to human beings and at the same time the soul manifests the Infinite and the Highest.

Published in Earth’s Cry Meets Heaven’s Smile, part 3



Interfaith Gathering in Spain

Religious People Will Have to Take Responsibility for Human Rights in the World


On July 7th, 2004 the city of Barcelona, Spain hosted the week-long Parliament of the World's Religions for representatives of the main religions of the world.

From North and South America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, 3,200 people of faith from 76 countries of the world, took part in this event.

In the style of the world Olympics, with great flair and festivity, hundreds of seminars and discussions were also held.

Universal religious leader, Sri Chinmoy, focusing on the common goals of all religions, opened the Parliament with a silent meditation. Following this, he played the ancient musical instrument, the esraj, creating a wave of peace in the assembly hall. Well known for his writings, sports, paintings and multi-faceted creativity that inspire many God-lovers, Sri Chinmoy attended this significant gathering with a number of his students.

The keynote speaker for this event was 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate, Ms. Shirin Ebadi of Iran. Prior to her speech, Ms. Ebadi and Sri Chinmoy met to discuss issues related to world peace and humanitarian works.

Ms. Shirin Ebadi in her keynote speech noted that for the establishment and protection of human rights in the world, religious leaders and governments will have to take responsibility. Her message in this present world of turmoil was received warmly by the peace-seeking delegates.
After the opening ceremony, more than 400 small seminars on different subjects were held.

This great gathering of ochre-robed Buddhist monks, Jains from India, Vedic gurus, Hindu sannyasis, turbaned Sikhs, and Muslim and Christian priests from different religions and nationalities, lent an air of festivity to the city of Barcelona.

This event was the fourth Parliament of the World's Religions. The first one was held in 1893 in Chicago. A hundred years later, the second Parliament of the World's Religions was also held in Chicago, in 1993. The third Parliament was held in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1999.

The first Parliament was immortalised by the opening speech of the great Indian saint, Swami Vivekananda. Swami Vivekananda's message of the common essence of all religions has withstood the test of time and provides direction to people even today. In the opening ceremony of the fourth Parliament, the Indian rishi Sri Chinmoy, who serves as an inspiration for many God-lovers through his literature,   music, paintings and sports, offered a message of peace, oneness and creativity through his silent meditation.

Published in THIKANA (The Most Widely Circulated Bangla Newspaper) page 71, Vol. 15, No. 22, Friday, 16 July 2004