Sri Chinmoy in Ireland
Sri Chinmoy visited Ireland three times in the early seventies, meeting with Presidents Eamon de Valera and Erskine Childers and giving lectures for the general public in Trinity College. Read transcript of interview with President De Valera »
Transcendental Height and Aspiration-Light
Sri Chinmoy's second lecture in Ireland
University of Dublin Examination Hall
14 June 1973 1
Dearest brothers and sisters, I have special love and admiration for your country, Ireland. I have been cherishing and treasuring love for this country since I was twelve, when I read a book written about the spiritual Master, Swami Vivekananda. In his biography I read something most striking. A young woman from your country was so deeply inspired by the Swami's spiritual light that she went to India and offered her entire existence to Swami Vivekananda, her spiritual Master. Her name was Miss Margaret Noble, but her Master offered her a new name, a spiritual name, her soul's name: Nivedita. Nivedita means dedicated self-offering, total self-offering. She offered her whole existence to India. India's spiritual children will forever remain indebted to her love and sacrifice. India s freedom-boat will forever be indebted to her significant efforts to free Mother India from ignorance. Nivedita embodied dedicated self-offering.
When I was twenty-three years old, for the first time I read her book about her Master, Swami Vivekananda. The great spiritual Master, Sri Aurobindo, once remarked that this book of Nivedita's was written with the blood of her heart. From this book I learnt how a disciple can become inseparably one with the Master on the strength of implicit love, devotion and surrender to the Master's will.
There are two types of people on earth: spiritual people and unspiritual people. Spiritual people are often accused by those who are not spiritual of being abnormal. They supposedly want to live in the clouds and eat the moonlight; they have no sense of reality; they are just fooling themselves. This is the accusation that is often thrown at them. Spiritual people, in return, say that they are absolutely normal, whereas the unaspiring people are abnormal. An unaspiring person accuses a spiritual person of not paying attention to the outer life. But a really spiritual person is bound to pay full attention to the outer life. If he is not sincerely spiritual in the truest sense, then in the name of spirituality he will ignore and revile the outer world. But the outer world is the manifestation of God. If someone wants to realise the highest Truth, how can he ignore God's outer manifestation? A really spiritual person will not ignore the outer world. On the contrary, he will accept the world. He will accept the challenge of the world. Then he will conquer the ignorance of the world and he will offer his wisdom-light to the world at large.
Unaspiring people often say that a spiritual person is afraid of the world; he is a coward; he does not brave the world, but runs away and hides like a thief, while the ordinary, unaspiring person shoulders the responsibilities of the entire world. But I wish to say that if a genuine spiritual person does not involve himself in the activities of the world, it is because he is preparing himself to shoulder the responsibilities of the world. He knows very well that it is God alone who can give him infinite Light, infinite Bliss, infinite Peace and infinite Power to change the face of the world. Just by mixing with the multitudes, he will not be able to help the world. But by serving the Inner Pilot, by fulfilling the Inner Pilot, he can one day be of real service to mankind.
You can also read the full text of the other two lectures:
- Attachment and Detachment - December 1, 1970, Graduates' Memorial Building (there are also some excerpts at the bottom of this page)
- The Inner Hunger July 1, 1974
Impressions of Ireland
Upon his return from his very first European lecture tour in 1970, Sri Chinmoy spoke to his Puerto Rican students about his impressions of Ireland. 2
...Then we went to Ireland. In Ireland, we had the greatest success of all. Ireland took me immediately as its very own. The press was very courteous, very sympathetic and understanding. Everything they wrote was full of appreciative understanding.
... My room was on the sixth floor and the tiny elevator was not working. They didn't mind. They climbed up six flights of stairs, huffing and puffing. These reporters came with deep respect and interviewed me very politely, from three papers.
There I saw a real fight amongst the photographers of the various newspapers. One photographer asked me to take this pose and the other one said, "No, we want him to take a better pose." The third one said, "No, no, no, those poses don't show his Indian robes to their best advantage. I want him to stand this way, not sit that way." At one point they were actually fighting. Different photographers from different newspapers finally decided to each take their own photos. So in three newspapers there are totally different pictures. You have seen the cuttings.
Very, very nice articles they wrote....it was so sweet and moving. To get back to the University of Dublin; they asked me sincere, very sincere questions.
By the way, you know that Swami Vivekananda's greatest disciple, Sister Nivedita, was born in Ireland. Her original name was Margaret Noble. So I told the audience a few things about her and about Swami Vivekananda's teachings. They were very struck by my comments as they had totally, as a country almost, forgotten about Sister Nivedita. But in India, she has always been deeply admired for her spirituality and sacrifice... a most significantly special trip, this one to Ireland and the University of Dublin.
Excerpts from Attachment and Detachment
Sri Chinmoy's first lecture 1970 - these are the comments about Sister Nivedita that Sri Chinmoy was referring to above.
Here in Ireland, nearly a hundred years ago, a young aspirant named Margaret Noble went to India to become the famous disciple of Swami Vivekenanda. This great Yogi had come to the West in 1889 to participate in the Parliament of Religions at the great World’s Fair in Chicago. His spiritual stature was immediately recognised, and he became famous overnight.
When he went to England from the United States, Margaret Noble attended his talks and became his dearest disciple. He called her “Nivedita, one who is totally dedicated to the Supreme Cause.”
Indian people are all admiration for what Nivedita did for India. She helped Indian women in infinite measure. She helped to awaken their slumbering consciousness so that they could envision themselves as divine instruments and grow into the perfect embodiments of aspiration, dedication and illumination for their Mother India. We Indians are bloated with divine pride when we utter the name of Nivedita.
Her father was a clergyman, a lover of God, a great seeker. Before he breathed his last, on his deathbed, he said to his wife, “Don’t stand in Margaret’s way. If she wants to go to India, let her go.” Margaret’s mother had been very upset by her daughter’s desire to leave Ireland for distant India, but at her husband’s last wish, she did help Margaret and inspired her. Nivedita went to India and became India’s veritable pride. Hers was the heart that knew no despair. Just before she passed behind the curtain of eternity, she uttered under her breath, “The boat is sinking, but I shall see the sunrise.”
I wish to offer my humble talk to the hallowed memory of Sister Nivedita, Margaret Noble of Ireland.