The Universality of Religion

A talk by Sri Chinmoy
at 8:30 p.m., at the Universalist Church of New York City, 67th Street and Central Park West, at the invitation of its director, the Reverend Leonard Helie


The Universalist Church of New York is for all the religions of the world. It is a growing family with one home. This home is the embodiment of Heart. Heart is the embodiment of Truth. Fulfilment is there where Truth is.

Why do we need religion? We need religion because we want to go beyond the finite in order to commune with the Infinite. It is not only possible but inevitable, for in us there is a conscious being which envisions God's Reality in totality.

Religion is a spontaneous experience and never a theoretical knowledge. This experience is immensely practical and we can use it consciously at every moment of our earthly existence.

Religion has never been thrust upon man. It has sprung from the very need of his inner being. When this inner being comes to the fore and looks around, it feels God's all-permeating immanence and when it looks up, it feels God's all-transcending Transcendence as its own divine heritage.

Religion has two lives: outer and inner. It offers its outer life to the universal love and service. It offers its inner life to meditation and God-realisation.

Religion in the physical is an unconscious cry for God. in the vital a blind struggle to possess God, in the mind a constant fight to capture God, in the heart a selfless surrender to sit in the Lap of God, and in the soul a consciousness-boat that longs to ply between the shores of the ever-transcending Infinity and the ever-blooming Immortality.

Immorality wants to blight religion. God says to religion: "Fear not, my child, I am giving you the indomitable strength of morality." Egoism wants to suffocate religion. God says to religion: "Fear not, my child, I am placing you in the ever-widening vastness of universality." Death wants to devour religion. God says to religion: "Fear not, my child, I am making you the embodiment of immortality."

Science and religion. They say that science and religion are always at daggers drawn. It is not true. Science plays its role dynamically in explaining the immanent God. Religion plays its role divinely in interpreting the transcendent God. Science deals with the physical world, while religion deals with the inner and spiritual world. Mind is the teacher and nature is the professor of science. Heart is the teacher and soul is the professor of religion.

Philosophy and religion. Philosophy and religion are two intimate friends. Philosophy reaches its acme of perfection when it is inspired by the faith, vision, experience and realisation of a soulful religion. With the help of alert and sound philosophy, religion frees itself from the snares of superstitions, vagaries and fantasies.

Morality and spirituality in religion. Morality in religion is a steady journey towards an ideal life. This journey at times appears to be a never-ending one. Nevertheless, it embodies an approximation to the ideal visualised. Spirituality in religion is fully aware of its inherent, implicit infinity. It transports an aspiring individual into the living abode of God. The infinity that spirituality reveals in religion is actualised and materialised with a spontaneous inner urge. The religious aspirant's hope flies into certainty, struggle enters into conquest, will-power is beckoned by absolute fulfilment.

Individuality and universality. Universality does not and cannot mean an utter extinction of the mounting individual flame in the human heart. On the contrary, when an individual transcends himself in the continuous process of universalisation, then he will have the full assurance to abide in the deeper, vaster and higher realm of Light, Peace and Power, and then alone will he eventually grow into his own true self, his self eternal. No doubt, at the very beginning, he will apprehend a deplorable conflict between individuality and universality. But this apprehension of his does not last for good, for the self same conflict is the harbinger of a most convincing concord, a pure amalgam of unique transcendence.

Religious faith. Religion without faith is a body without life in it. Religious faith is a transforming experience and not a mere idea. Faith has the magic key of self-discovery. Self-discovery is, in fact, the discovery of Reality. Faith makes religion an active participant of the divine love, harmony and peace. Finally it transports religion into the all-delight of the Beyond.

Sin in religion. It is true that the conception of sin looms large in religion. What is sin? It is nothing but an experience of imperfection. This imperfection exists simply because creation is still in the making. Perfection must needs dawn on creation. It is a matter of time. Creation is action, a constant movement, forward, upward and inward. Evolution is the immortal song which is perpetually sung by creation. Today's sin is imperfection personified. Tomorrow's virtue is perfection embodied. Two things comprise God's entire creation: the finite and the Infinite. When I, the finite, go up, it is my self-realisation. When God, the Infinite, comes down, it is His Self-manifestation. When I enter into Him, his Highest, He presents me with His Unity. When He enters into me, my lowest, I offer to Him the multiplicity with which He Himself entrusted me when my soul descended on earth, Him to reveal, Him to fulfil.

All religions are in essence one, inseparable. Each religion is an unfailing path leading to the eternal Truth. "United we stand, divided we fall." This oft-quoted maxim can adequately be applied in today's talk. The united strength of all religions knows the supreme secret that no individual religion is to be looked down upon. If the united strength is wanting, then no religion can stand up, head erect. Religion is one. The teeming religions are its significant applications. Religion does not change, but religions must undergo vicissitudes, so far as the outer forms, customs, habits, rituals, circumstances and environments are concerned.

I am majestically proud to be here at the Universalist Church, for it is here at this opportune time that my heart voices forth the truth the Religion which is universal is the core of all religions, and the realisation of this universal Religion is not the monopoly of any particular group. Any individual, irrespective of caste, creed or nationality, can have the realisation of this universal Religion if he has dynamic imagination, creative inspiration and fulfilling aspiration to assimilate the spirit of all religions.

I am a Hindu. I am proud of my Hinduism. My Hinduism, Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion, has taught me: Aham Brahma, I am the Brahman, the One without a second. You are a Christian. You are proud of your Christianity. Your divine religion has taught you: I and my Father are One. Now, if I am a Hindu in the purest sense of the term, I must be a Christian to the marrow, for deep within me, what I see, feel and become is the universal Truth. Likewise, deep within you, what you see, feel and become is the universal Truth. What is Truth? Truth is our divine Father. A child does not mind when his physical father is addressed as Brother by one. Uncle by the second, Nephew by the third, and Friend by the fourth. He is equally happy in each individual approach to his father. Similarly, when religions approach the Truth, our divine Father, each in its own way, we must be supremely happy, for each religion wants the Truth and the Truth alone.

Published in AUM – Vol. 2, No.12, July 27, 1967


Sri Chinmoy Answers

a question at the United Nations in New York 


Question: How can we more fully surrender to the Supreme?

Sri Chinmoy: The easiest and most effective way to fully surrender to the Will of the Supreme is to increase your necessity for Him. In this world, when you feel the necessity of something, immediately you surrender to that necessity. If you feel the necessity for money or material power, you surrender to the necessities involved in getting and keeping a good job, you surrender to your boss and so on. If you want to be a good singer, you surrender to the wisdom and capacity of your singing teacher because you feel that he is superior to you and will be able to show you how to attain your goal. By surrendering to a real authority, you learn how to achieve your necessities.

The highest Authority within you is the Supreme. How do you surrender to Him? First, you must feel the necessity of oneness. When you feel the necessity of inseparable oneness with Him, immediately you offer your will to His Will. Next, you must ask yourself if you want this oneness to be constant. If it is not constant, at one moment you will be inseparable from Him and the next moment you will be totally separated from Him. This moment if the Supreme says, “Go and sit down,” you will do it. But the next moment you may refuse. Only if your necessity for oneness with the Supreme becomes unconditional and constant will you be with Him, in Him, of Him and for Him twenty-four hours a day.

When you are in your office, you have to think of office activities; otherwise, your work will not be satisfactory and your boss will fire you. But while you are working in the office or talking to your boss or your colleagues, if you can remember how devotedly you prayed to the Supreme early in the morning, that will give you tremendous inner strength and confidence. On the mental plane you will give all attention to your office work, but on the inner plane, on the psychic plane, you can think about God and try to feel God’s Presence.

If you have a large amount of money inside your pocket, nobody is going to see that it is there. Similarly, if you keep the light and peace that you felt during your meditation inside your heart, nobody will know what wealth you are hiding there. And although it is possible for someone to steal the money from your pocket, from your heart-pocket no thief can steal anything. So when you meditate, please feel that you have stored up a divine treasure trove inside your heart. If you can establish a permanent feeling of God’s Presence inside your heart, then it will not be difficult at all for you to listen to the Dictates of the Supreme and be one with His Will all the time. Even when you mix with people and enter into all kinds of activities, you will not lose your oneness with the Supreme. It is not only possible and practicable to do this, but in the course of time it will be inevitable.

Published in My Meditation-Service at the United Nations for Twenty-Five Years


An Orphan Boy

by Sri Chinmoy


There was an orphan boy.
His name was Madal Chinmoy.
He hailed from a wee village, Shakpura.
He became his Family’s ananda fuara.

He lost his Father at the age of eleven.
The following year, his Mother
    was summoned by Heaven.

At the age of twelve, he came to Pondicherry
To be a passenger of his Master’s Ferry.
Sports he liked and became a mountain-champion,
But neglected not his dream of God-union.

One night his Guru Supreme
Entered into his sweetness-dream,
    “Get up to meditate.
Get up to meditate.
    In years to come you will have to navigate
    The birthless and deathless mankind’s sorrows
    To the Golden Shore of Tomorrows.
    Give due importance to your body, vital,
    mind, heart and soul
    To help the world reach its destined Goal.”

Madal, kettledrum of the cosmic Gods,
    Became Chinmoy Consciousness-full.  
God’s Compassion-Eye made him
    A teacher of His inner School.
His student-life he took as his life’s bondage-night.
Therefore, his heart pined for Freedom-Light.

Now that he is a teacher of the inner School,
He realises that he is an unspeakable fool.
Humanity’s transformation-fate
Is a completely closed iron gate.
He breathlessly cries to God,
    “Save me, my Lord, save!”

“For you, no rest. 
Sunlit Path you needs must pave.
For you, no rest, no rest, not even a fleeting rest
Because in you I have found My Heart’s Satisfaction-Nest.”

“O Lord, I am crying, bleeding and dying.”

“Who prevents you from smiling and flying?”

The whole world came to him.
    He desperately wanted to hide.
His Absolute Lord commanded him
    all-where with Him to ride.

Published inAn Orphan Boy


Final typed version

approved by Sri Chinmoy5 


1. The Bengali words ananda fuara can be translated as “fountain of delight”.

2. Madal went to Pondicherry in 1944, to become a permanent resident of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

3. Sri Chinmoy composes and dictates this poem to Nishtha Baum on 24 May 1998. Later he remarks the poem represents his life. He expresses the wish for all his students to learn it by heart. The poem is read out at a function and disciples are invited to enter a contest to illustrate the poem. That contest is held at Public School 86 in Queens, New York, the following weekend.

4. On 20 June 1998 — the day before Father’s Day — after a recording of the author reciting the poem is played, Sri Chinmoy offers his commentary at Public School 117 in Queens, New York.

5. The typed version of the poem is corrected — ‘Chinmoy’ is added to the first line of the sixth stanza — and approved by Sri Chinmoy with the words “Perfect Final” in his own handwriting.