Sri Chinmoy’s First TV Interview

with Senor Hector Campos Parsi, on the Government Station, WIPR. (Channel 6) in San Juan, Puerto Rico


From left to right: Agni (José Luis Casanova), Sri Chinmoy and interviewer Senor Hector Campos Parsi


Interviewer: Master Chinmoy, I have just introduced you in Spanish and explained some of your works that I have read in Spanish.

What is your mission now in Puerto Rico and how long will you stay here?

Sri Chinmoy: My mission here in Puerto Rico is to help the sincere seekers in their inner life and help them realise their spiritual perfection. I shall be staying here until 6 August and then I shall leave for New York where I have another Centre. We have two Centres, one here in Puerto Rico, the other in New York.

Interviewer: Master Chinmoy, is this the first time that you have been in Puerto Rico?

Sri Chinmoy: This is my fourth visit. I was here exactly a year ago, last year in July. That was my first visit. Then I came here twice after that. So this is my fourth visit.

Interviewer: How many people do you have working at the Aum Centre in Puerto Rico?

Sri Chinmoy: We have here now fifty members, fifty sincere seekers, I must say. And there are many who are connected with the Centre but are unable to come to the meetings owing to family problems and so on.

Interviewer: Are they all well acquainted with philosophy? Are they students of different stages or are they all of the same level?

Sri Chinmoy: They attend the classes, they come to me to receive help and guidance in their self-realisation, but they are not of the same standard. Some of them are very well versed in both eastern and western philosophy, while others are not. All of them come to me and meditate with me and ask me spiritual questions to solve their inner and outer problems. The students range from absolute beginners to the most advanced aspirants.

Interviewer: Well, it is a very broad problem in order to attain to Realisation, is it not?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, it is a lifelong problem. To be accurate, a lifelong process. It depends on the individual. It may even take a few incarnations to achieve Realisation.

Interviewer: Master, I understand that in order reach the height you have now attained, it took you a very long time. I would like you very much to tell me how you felt the inner call, how you started preparing yourself for the spiritual life.

Sri Chinmoy: When I was very young, about a year and a half old, my parents took me to a spiritual place in Pondicherry, South India … in Madras State. I was taken to that spiritual Ashram three times more in my early childhood. And when I was twelve years old, I became a permanent member, a spiritual seeker in that Ashram. I stayed there for twenty years, from the age of twelve to the age of thirty-two, practising the spiritual discipline and living the inner life.

Then the Divine within me, the Supreme, commanded me to come to the West. He said, "I want you to be my instrument. I want you to help my sincere, spiritual children in the West. This is your Mission. Go to the West. My spiritual children there are thirsting for the spiritual life. I am in you, with you and for you."

Interviewer: Master Chinmoy, but ... do you not think that the East is more prepared, more inclined to understand the spiritual life and practise it than the West?

Sri Chinmoy: According to my own understanding of the Truth, the West has also abundant possibility to realise God. As the East has ample opportunity, so also has the West. True, formerly the East was more inclined to the inner life and the spiritual life. But now those days are gone. Even in the West there are many sincere seekers who can stand on the same level as the most advanced aspirants in the East. God-Realisation is not the sole monopoly of the East. God is Omnipresent. The West also has infinite divine qualities. For example, the West has dynamism and the West is extremely fortunate in giving importance to time. Time is a great factor in the spiritual life. The West knows the value of time, whereas in the East, in the name of Eternal Time, we have become very lazy. We wallow in the pleasure of idleness.

Interviewer: I just wondered, Master Chinmoy, if by creating the high materialistic form of life we have now, whether we have put too many barriers between ourselves and the Divine.

Sri Chinmoy: This is, to some extent, true, but at the same time, in the West, you have been aspiring for material perfection, which will help you hold the Divine most solidly. The Western soil is spiritually fertile. The West can easily and effectively express the Divine through the most advanced material development in the physical world. The East does not have that material development. The sense of material development is absolutely necessary for the East.

Here in the West, your material development need not stand as a barrier. On the contrary, it can be of great advantage. You have both dynamism and material development. Like the East, if the West is ready to accept and feel the Truth that the Divine is not only in Heaven but here on earth, and if the West cultivates, develops and adds eastern Silence to its matchless Dynamism and material development, then God's all-transforming smile will dawn on the West.

Interviewer: Master Chinmoy, in Puerto Rico do you find great spiritual possibility?

Sri Chinmoy: I must say in all sincerity that there is a great possibility for the spiritual life here in Puerto Rico and many people are practising it. Unfortunately some of them are doing this unconsciously. They are eating something but they do not know what they are actually eating. The Puerto Rican soil is spiritually fertile. The seeker in Puerto Rico is extremely genuine. Hence the spiritual fulfilment in Puerto Rico is inevitable.

Interviewer: And will it be your task and the task of the Aum Centre to make them realise their spiritual Goal?

Sri Chinmoy: That is my sole aim. They are ready, they are fit and they are able to enter into the inner life. Some of them are actually moving fast across the path of the spiritual life. To my sorrow, there are some who are not aware of their inner aspiration. So I wish to make them conscious of what they are truly doing.

Interviewer: Master Chinmoy, I am curious about the meaning of these three letters which you pronounce "AUM."

Sri Chinmoy: AUM is a Sanskrit syllable, or you can say, a complete word. We have, in India, the Trinity: Brahma, Vishnu and Siva — the Creator, Preserver and Transformer. A represents Brahma the Creator, U represents Vishnu the Preserver and M represents Siva the Transformer. And this AUM is the breath of the Supreme. The Indian sages, seers and yogins of yore chanted this AUM and they got their souls' illumination and liberation. Even now, most of the seekers in India chant AUM most devotedly. They will have their Realisation by chanting AUM, the Power Infinite.

Interviewer: In case our televiewers would like to communicate with you, where will you be staying?

Sri Chinmoy: Right now, I am staying at our Aum Centre. It is located at 659 Miramar Avenue. We are holding classes and meditations every night. The President of the Centre is Miss Carmen Suro. Our telephone number is 724-7286.

Interviewer: Thank you very much. Master Chinmoy, for your kindness to us and we hope that you will be visiting Puerto Rico very often. You are helping so many people. Thank you very much.

Published in AUM – Vol. 3, No. 3,4, Oct. – 27 Nov. 1967



Interview for People Magazine

Sri Chinmoy speaks with Jed Horne
at the Old Mill Farm in Harrison, New York


Question: Could you tell me about your childhood?

Sri Chinmoy: I grew up in an ashram. At the age of twelve I was about to be totally conscious of what I was in a previous incarnation; and when I was thirteen years old I became fully conscious of my first achievement, what we call self-discovery.

Question: When was that incarnation?

Sri Chinmoy: It was my immediate previous incarnation. I don’t wish to tell who I was, because it only creates problems, but I was a spiritual Master, a yogi. Some of my disciples have seen some of my previous incarnations during their meditation with me.

In this incarnation at the age of thirteen I became fully aware of who I was. It was like revising an old book. But it took me twenty years to totally revise the book. I studied that book; I did well. But when it is a matter of manifestation, it took me twenty years to bring to the fore everything that I had realised and achieved by the infinite Grace of the Supreme. Then I got a command from within. The Supreme, my Inner Pilot, wanted me to come to the West and be of service to Him in the aspiring West. It was His express command that I come. If He asks me tomorrow to go to India or some other country, I will gladly do it.

Question: Do you miss India?

Sri Chinmoy: I don’t miss it in a human way, because inside me is the universal Reality, as inside you is the universal Reality. When one has a free access to the universal Reality, one does not miss anybody or anything.

Question: Do you expect to go back someday?

Sri Chinmoy: It may happen. I have no expectation, no anticipation. I only live in the Eternal Now. Just at this moment if I get a command from Him, then I will be more than happy to go to the foot of the Himalayas or live inside a Himalayan cave, which I did in some of my previous incarnations.

My life is now a life of service. If the Supreme asks me to be of service here or in any other part of the world, then I shall gladly do it. I do whatever He wants from my life. I have no personal choice. It is He who is manifesting in and through us in His own way. When one becomes a seeker, he realises that he is a mere instrument and the Supreme Musician is playing on that instrument. But if he becomes a conscious instrument, then the Supreme Musician can utilise him fully in the best possible way.

Question: What do you remember as being a difficult problem you had to overcome on the road to God-realisation?

Sri Chinmoy: To be absolutely frank with you, in my case I didn’t have the kind of difficulty which other Masters have had. In some cases for six months they had a dry period and they could not meditate. Sometimes the lower vital forces attacked them. Sometimes the cosmic forces, even the so-called divine forces, the gods and goddesses, tried to prevent the Masters from surpassing them. But I followed the path of the heart, which I am now advocating. I always acted like a sweet child both inwardly and outwardly, and if one is a child, a real child, then he is liked, appreciated and encouraged by all. From a child we don’t expect anything.

The Supreme in me wants to remain always a child, to be always in a childlike consciousness. This is what I always say to my students, too. If one remains childlike, not childish, he makes progress. At twenty or twenty-four years of age the human mind becomes fossilized. It doesn’t want to receive anything new or know anything more. But a child feels he knows nothing. At every moment he can learn something new. At every moment he learns from you, from others. Newness is his life.

Question: What do you think will happen when you have left the body?

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on how much my disciples receive while I am in the physical and whether they can keep a very good inner connection with me. Out of 700 disciples, a few have a very close connection with me. Only those who have a good connection with me will be able to spread the Light that the Supreme in me has been manifesting.

Question: Would one of them become the Guru and lead the services?

Sri Chinmoy: No, unfortunately or fortunately, no. Unfortunately I say, because some of them may want to become Gurus. But their desire will not be fulfilled. Fortunately I say, because to become a Guru is to suffer constantly. I do not want my disciples to suffer the way I and every other true Master suffers.

Each of my Centres has a president or a leader. I have taught them how to conduct the meetings in my absence. But when it is a matter of real inner guidance, unfortunately they have not been able to attain the spiritual stature for that. While I am alive if one of my disciples attains God-realisation, then naturally I will say that he or she will succeed me. But right now I see that this is not likely to happen, and in that case there will be a good leader conducting everything, but he will not be my spiritual successor.

I take the role of a conscious messenger who carries the aspiration of the seekers to the Supreme. Others are not able to do this in the same way. Again, it all depends on how much progress the disciples make. Unfortunately, still we have not got any God-realised souls. But I am proud of them. They are really progressing.

Question: How many first-class disciples do you have?

Sri Chinmoy: Very few. They can be counted on the fingertips. They are very few, very, very limited. I can expect only those disciples to maintain their inner connection with me. But there is no certainty. Second-class disciples can become first-class. Provided he really wants to be a good student and sincerely tries hard, one who is not good now may become good. Again, some first-class disciples have gone down from first to second, third, fourth. I have written a book called The Ascent and Descent of the Disciples, all about this kind of movement. Some started from fifth class and slowly and steadily they have gone up. Some have maintained their standard. They are like good students who always do well in their studies. Some students have maintained their high standard right along.

Question: Have you ever lost any students altogether?

Sri Chinmoy: Some people have left our Centre. But people who have accepted me wholeheartedly once will never be and can never be rejected by me. They are like my children. A child may become naughty, delinquent, but the parents have to claim him as their own. Children may disown their parents and have nothing to do with them, but good parents can’t and won’t do that. They will claim their children no matter how bad the children are. These are my spiritual children. Outwardly they may go, but inwardly, in my spiritual heart, they have to remain because the Supreme in me has commanded me to take care of their lives, and inwardly I am asked by the Inner Pilot to remain responsible for them.

Question: How do you explain the popularity of Eastern religions in this country?

Sri Chinmoy: Something is unfortunately lacking or missing in the Western world and that thing one can call love, psychic love, heart’s love. At this point the parents must forgive me when I say that in general they do not show enough love to their children. In India the way we get love — sometimes it is too much; we are spoiled. But in the West, children don’t get enough love. Eastern religion, Western religion, all religions are founded upon love, compassion, concern. But when it is a matter of expressing or communicating love, in the West it is not shown as it should be. The Eastern spiritual Masters offer boundless love to their spiritual children.

Here in the West when children grow up, immediately they see that their parents have a different life. They don’t have their vision inside their children anymore. When they are absolutely little children, the parents think they will grow up and bring name and fame to the family. But when they are six or seven, the parents just give the children to the babysitter and go to clubs, movies, or other entertainment. They lead their own lives, and the babysitter becomes the parent. But why should she take responsibility for other people’s children? She thinks all the time of her own life. Then the children will also have their own life — a frustrated and undisciplined life — because nobody gives them the love and concern that they need.

Then, in the church, most of the priests are preaching spiritual truths, but they do not practise what they preach. Sometimes they do not really understand it. They tell what the truth is, but they do not or cannot live it; therefore, they are unable to inspire their students deeply.

About six years ago I gave a talk at Yale. During the question and answer period a professor of psychology stood up and said to me, “Whatever you are saying is not new to me or to my students. Everything you have said today during your talk and during the questions and answers, I have been telling my students. But look how they are listening to you, with such rapt attention!” Then a student beside him stood up and said, “There is a little difference between him and you.” The students saw something in me and gave real importance to what I was telling them, because my words and my actions, to the students, were one. But in the professor’s case, words and actions were two totally different things, unfortunately.

Question: Did you ever think of getting married and having children?

Sri Chinmoy: No, I have enough responsibility. Seven hundred children God has given me. India’s most famous scientist, P.C. Ray, was brought up in Scotland and he got his degree there. He was the father of Indian science. Once one of his students, who knew perfectly well that he was a bachelor, asked, “How many children do you have?” Immediately he said, “Wait a moment,” and he took out of his pocket a list of his favourite students. It was a big list. He said, “Here I have got seventy-three children,” and he read out their names. “These children are infinitely more important in my life than my own children could ever be.” Spiritual children are the real children, because they follow in the footsteps of the Master. They always try to follow him. The children of our first avatar, Sri Ramachandra, could have become more spiritual than they were. Our second avatar, Lord Krishna, had many physical children, but not even one accepted the spiritual life. His disciples, like Arjuna and others, were far dearer to him than his physical children. In the case of other Masters, not only their children but also their brothers and sisters were not spiritual. Undoubtedly Sri Ramakrishna had relatives, but Vivekananda, who was no relation of his, became his dearest spiritual son. I am lucky. My brothers and sisters all accepted spiritual life. Being the youngest, I followed them. My parents also were spiritual. All my brothers and sisters went to an ashram after our parents died.

Whoever adopts or follows my principles, my way of life, is my true child. He is not my blood relation, but he is my soul’s relation. If we can establish a spiritual relationship with someone, then he becomes a true member of our family. True, he is not a physical relative, but it is the soul’s relationship that will remain eternally.

Question: You were an athlete in your youth. Could you explain the relationship between athletics and the spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: We want to be integral; we want to be perfect in our body, vital, mind, heart and soul. If only one part of our being is perfect and the rest remains imperfect, then we will not be able to fulfil the Supreme the way the Supreme wants to be fulfilled here on earth.

Suppose early in the morning I want to meditate. It is time for me to meditate and I want to get up, but my body is weak. I have a stomach upset, a headache, a backache or some other pain, so how will I meditate? The best thing is to meditate for half an hour and then practise sports. The body is quite important. We can’t deny it; we can’t discard it. It is like a house or a temple. Inside the temple is the shrine. If there is no temple, then the soul will have no place to live.

As the soul aspires, the heart, mind, vital and body can also aspire. When the body aspires and reaches a certain height, when it achieves peace and light from above, immediately Mother Earth grabs or captures that light on the physical plane. When we practise athletics or sports, immediately our achievement becomes the possession, the treasure of Mother Earth. Here in the material world we claim the success of our own children. We are so happy, so proud of their achievements. Similarly, when the physical in us does something good, divine, immediately Mother Earth gets tremendous joy and pleasure in her children’s achievement.

Question: What forms of exercise and diet do you advise?

Sri Chinmoy: Sports, running, jumping, anything that keeps our body fit. Again, we don’t have to do anything too vigorous. We don’t want to strain or overtire ourselves. We do need the perfection of the body, but ours is not the aim to become Olympic champions. If an aspirant is good enough as an athlete to participate in the Olympics, well and good. But for most of us, our aim is not to go to the Olympics. Our aim is only to transcend our capacity, always to transcend our individual capacity. I will compete with you, not to beat you but to see my own capacity. My aim is to see how much I have achieved, and to transcend my own capacity. When we participate in sports, we try to keep before us the idea of our own self-transcendence. We wish to see how far we can go. We have a certain goal, but our goal is only for today. Tomorrow it will be our starting point. Today’s goal cannot remain the goal forever. A child’s goal is to go to kindergarten. Then he goes from kindergarten to primary school, and gradually to high school, college, university. Our goal also is constant self-transcendence.

Question: You don't do complicated yoga exercises?

Sri Chinmoy: We don’t give much importance to complicated breathing or postures, and difficult exercises like cleaning the internal organs, because we feel that our love of God will purify us. People take many exercises for purification. But we feel that our real love for God, who is all Purity, will purify us. We go to the Source. We pray and meditate; we pray to the Supreme to grant us purity, sincerity, humility and other divine qualities. In our sincere prayer and meditation easily we can get these divine qualities. Either we do it all ourselves with greatest difficulty through our personal efforts, or we rely on someone with the capacity to help us. He who has the capacity can easily give me these things provided I love Him. If I love Him, naturally He will give me what He has and what He is. But if I don’t love Him and want to get what He has, then I have to do everything myself.

Sri Chinmoy (to Jed Horne): You have a very fine soul. Most illumining questions you have asked me about my life from beginning to end. But there is no end. We are walking along the eternal path on the eternal journey. The Goal, too, is eternal, an eternally self-transcending Goal, and there is also an eternal traveller inside us.

Published in AUM – Vol. 2, No. 9, 27 September 1975