Sri Chinmoy describes his path
Our Path - a talk by Sri Chinmoy
"Our path is basically the path of the heart and not the path of the mind. This does not mean that we are criticising the path of the mind. Far from it. We just feel that the path of the heart leads us faster towards our goal."
Sri Chinmoy answers some questions frequently asked about his spiritual path, and about spirituality in general.
- You say that yours is a path and not a religion, is that correct?
- How did you obtain the inner experiences on which your philosophy is based?
Question: Many religions claim that the Gods of other religions are false and only their God is the right one. You speak of the Supreme, but this does not seem to be a specific God to the exclusion of all other Gods. It is everyone's God, somehow. Your students are not strictly following a religion, but a path. Is that correct?
Sri Chinmoy: God is like a tree. A tree has many branches. Each branch is powerful, but without the trunk, there can be no branches. God is the trunk of the tree. If one particular religion claims that their saviour is the only saviour, we cannot agree with them.
...To me, each religion is like a house. Today you have come from your house, and I have come from my house. Together we are meeting at this restaurant. In exactly the same way, all religions have to feel that they are only representing different houses. But we can all meet together in the same inner school 1
Question: You say that yours is a path, not a religion. But after the teacher of the path leaves, it becomes a religion, like Buddhism, for example,and it stands against other religions.
Sri Chinmoy: In my case, I only speak about the soul. My philosophy is that the soul is the only reality and at every second we have to listen to our souls. I have not said a word against any religion. On the contrary, I have expressed the greatest love, admiration and adoration for the Saviour Christ, the Buddha, Sri Krishna and the spiritual Masters associated with other religions. So why should my path become a religion and stand against other religions? My writings will make it very, very clear that I was not a man who directly or indirectly tried to establish a new religion. After my departure, the world will see only my creations. 2
Sri Chinmoy: From meditation. From my concentration, meditation and contemplation. I was in a spiritual community for twenty years. Similarly, if you spend fourteen, sixteen, twenty years in spiritual practices, naturally you will also get inner knowledge in abundant measure. From the ages of twelve through thirty-two, I went through rigorous spiritual discipline: concentration, meditation, Yoga. It took me eight hours, ten hours, twelve hours, fourteen hours of meditation daily to achieve what I have right now. When you study in school and get your master's degree, you start offering your knowledge to the world at large. In the inner life, also, when one concentrates, meditates and contemplates, one enters into the world of inner Wisdom, inner Light. From there he can bring to the fore at his sweet will the Light, Bliss and Power that he has achieved and offer it to others. 3
Sri Chinmoy: The essence of every religion is love of God. There is not a single religion that does not tell us to love God. The problem comes with the followers of religion. Very often they say, "My religion is by far the best, whereas your religion is very bad." The followers of the different religions are like children in a family. The children have the same parents and receive the same affection, love and compassion from their parents. But still the children quarrel and fight. If one sister sees that another sister is more beautiful, then immediately she becomes jealous and quarrels with the other one. If one brother sees that another brother is more powerful, immediately the weak one speaks ill of the strong one. Again, in a family, many times one brother will say, "I know better than anybody!" and the other brother will say, "No, I know better than you!" Similarly, each religion will tell its brother and sister religions, "I know more about the Heavenly Father than you do." Or they will say, "My way of loving God is the only correct way, and your way is wrong." So, quite often it happens that there is quarrelling and fighting among the various religions.
But one thing all religions agree on is love of God. And if we really love someone, we feel our oneness with that person. So if we really love God and feel our oneness with God, we will also feel our oneness with God?s creation. In the inmost depths of our heart we know that we are all one, but then pride enters into us and we tell others, "I do not need you." But we do need one another. We are all part and parcel of the same existence-reality. A tree consists of the trunk, branches, leaves, flowers and fruits. If the trunk says that it does not need the branches or leaves, then what kind of tree will it be? And if the flowers say that they do not need the branches and trunk, then how will they live? So unity has to be established.
When we enter into a garden, immediately we become aware of the beauty, purity and fragrance of the garden. Each flower has its own beauty, but the beauty we feel in the garden is the beauty of multiplicity. And this is the beauty that gives us immense joy. Similarly, God gets immense Joy from the multiplicity of the flower-hearts of all His children. 4
Bird drawings: part of Sri Chinmoy's Dream-Freedom Peace-Birds collection.