I am glad that I did not follow
The path of Nirvana.
Extinction is not my choice.
Action, action, divine action,
Forever and forever
Will be my only choiceal.
Traditionally, the completion of the Quest sees the hero returning to society transformed, with some kind of benefit or prize, and it is fitting to equate this with what Sri Chinmoy terms ‘manifestation’, or the artistic and creative endeavours that his Beloved inspired him to embark upon. He always stated the activities he embarked upon were completely due to God’s Command and His Grace for the sole purpose of serving humanity. Sri Chinmoy has indicated that reading his poetry, or indeed singing his song-mantras, can be utilised as a method of entering into this higher state of awareness for the seeker, singer or reader.
In Sri Chinmoy’s commentary on the Vedas and Upanishads, he explores the idea of the universe as action, mired in the meshes of ignorance: “It is the knowledge of the supreme Self that can destroy the human ignorance of millennia and inundate the earth-consciousness with the Light and Delight of the ever-transcending and ever-manifesting Beyond”am. It seems that Sri Chinmoy’s writings go a long way to addressing some fundamental questions across many spiritual traditions. He uses plain language, yet it is an elevated message, illumining mystical truths about the purpose of life and the nature of man and God, worthy of interest and further comparative research.
Each human being
Has to do only one thing:
Unmask his divinityan.
Sri Chinmoy intimates that when we try to speak of God we are limited by the mind. Also our unconscious, bound human ego takes control. But when we have surrendered our ego, our will, to the highest in us, then the manifestation of the Supreme can be achieved. The result is that all action is imbued with divine purity, delight and power, something that Sri Chinmoy explained became a permanent reality in the physical world, both illumining the human being and fulfilling God. Sri Chinmoy explained that God’s ancient dream was human aspiration, but his new dream was divine manifestation, as ever indicating the ever-transcending nature of God, his Beloved Supreme, who was progressing in and through the physical from lesser perfection, to a greater perfection.
In two words we can sum up the message of all the Upanishads: aspiration and manifestation. Aspiration is the way, and manifestation is the Goal. Aspiration is the song of the infinite, eternal Consciousness abiding within us. Manifestation is the dance of unity’s multiplicity, within and without usao.
Sri Chinmoy spent over 40 years, based in New York City, sharing, teaching, manifesting his own highest spiritual realisation in order to inspire humanity, and make his manifestation of Light permanent in the physical world. All of his endeavours, the extensive recording of talks, of questions and answers, poetry, thousands of musical compositions, and thousands of painting-mandalasap, are designed to awaken the inner spiritual aspiration. They arguably map almost every conceivable step of the human journey and illustrate the unseen higher and inner worlds of consciousness.
Silence is not silent.
It speaks most eloquently.
Silence is not still.
It leads most perfectlyaq.
The above short piece we can see signified the basis of the entire path – that meditation is the perfect communion with God, and that God can and does speak to us, lead us, only when we are in that silent place. Indeed, when we enter the words, we begin not only to understand the message, but to feel the calming silence itself as we are drawn back to the beginning in contemplation.
In defiance of the brevity of his style, the universal is always present underlying the personal, the imagery distilled down to a specific concept or experience and then expanded beyond the physical world, reflecting Sri Chinmoy’s wider vision. Below are two examples from many, of what I term the ‘conversation poetry’, the poet articulating/manifesting inner conversations with his Beloved Supreme.
“My Lord, I am singing.”
“Fine, that is what pleases Me.”
“My Lord, I am dancing.”
“Wonderful, that is what enchants Me.”
“My Lord, I am suffering.”
“No, My child, you are not suffering.
That is not true.
What is happening is that you
are having a series of experiences.
Furthermore, try to realise that it is I
who am having all the experiences
in and through you”ar.
“My Lord, is there anything sweeter than forgiveness?”
“Yes, My child, gratitude is by far sweeter than forgiveness.”
“My Lord, is there anything more fulfilling than the feeling of oneness?”
“Yes, My child, when you feel that you are the Eternal Lover and I am your Eternal Beloved, and when you feel that I am the Eternal Lover and you are My Eternal Beloved, the feeling of oneness is supremely transcended and immortally fulfilled”as.
It is astonishing to consider that this is not a simple literary contrivance, but an actual articulation, a record of an exchange. We are brought up short with the explication of a divine Will that, it is claimed, is unfathomable, unknowable, yet with some surprise we have to admit, it cannot be easily refuted. We are left in a higher contemplation on the nature of the divine.
Above all, Sri Chinmoy taught that the sacred can be more easily apprehended through the heart consciousness, as the psychic centre of being which is more spiritually evolved, being close to and receptive to the divine soul. For instance, our common experience of a ‘flash of intuition’, he explains as the message of the soul’s Light. The difference between the mind consciousness and the heart consciousness is that the mind functions on an intellectual level after the age of twelve or thirteen, whereas the heart consciousness remains child-like, fresh, spontaneous and full of joy and able to identify with others. It is when we begin to meditate in the heart that we first feel the sincere inner cry, which is aspiration. Indeed, he wrote a significant amount contrasting and comparing the heart-consciousness and the mind-consciousness, and their respective roles in the spiritual evolution of humanity.
Sri Chinmoy has indicated over and again that the Supreme as the Inner Pilot resides in the heart of each one of us, and that this Inner Pilot can not be denied forever.
Although God is infinite,
He prefers to live
Inside man’s tiny heart-nestat.
The fulfillment of the mind
Has been the hope
Of the past few centuries.
Now the fulfillment of the heart
Will be the hope
Of the next generation
And of all generations to come.
Indeed, this will be a unique
Of the 21st Century to humanityau.
Sri Chinmoy teaches that the deepest inner self cannot be accessed by the mind because the mind is always busy, like a monkey, who cannot stay in one place. The mind is necessary for our functioning in the world, but it is often not a good leader. We can think and think, but we do not get illumination, or even satisfaction from the mind. One moment the mind extolls us to the skies, the next moment the mind tells us we are hopeless, helpless and stupid; one moment it is positive, optimistic, and the next moment it is negative. Therefore to meditate, the fastest way is to tap into the heart. He explains it is the heart where the soul resides, and it has the capacity to identify. The mind is limited, the heart is unlimited. The heart never complicates, it simply feels – love, peace, abundance, oneness and joy. There are endless examples of this contrast throughout his writings.
Many people and of course the disciples who had the privilege of meditating with Sri Chinmoy perceived the aura emanating from him, of profound peace and love. When questioned about this, he stated:
As soon as I come in I bring down Light, Peace and Bliss from above. I bring down a sea of Peace, Light and Bliss, and this moves around like waves of the ocean … I bring down the sea and represent the sea. In that wavy movement … I am actually entering into each disciple. This white Light is the light of purity, inner purity and also it is the consciousness of God in the feminine form; that is to say, it is the Light of the Supremeav.
(Bennett 1991) has suggested that there cannot be a search for an ordered spiritual progression or diary of man’s journey to God in the poetry of Sri Chinmoy. She explained that he never wrote in thematic sequence but like the flame of aspiration itself, flickered from one height to another, one theme to anotheraw. Nevertheless, I have imposed my own order to try and gain some perspective on the work of over 100,000 poems. It is acknowledged the divisions are not always so distinct, there can be an overlap, or convergence across the steps of the Quest. Many of the poems I have used in the Return, were written early in the poet’s life, however I have used the literary device of the Quest to illustrate how his work is imbued with these themes on both a personal level and a grander universal canvas. The Quest arose to me as a logical choice of theme to contain the study to a small, unified sample and illustrate dimensions of the transcendental vision of the poet.
No matter what the world thinks,
Soon very soon,
Will be flooded with peaceax.
These words, one of a multitude of English song-mantras, illustrate Sri Chinmoy as the ‘seer-poet’ as he was sometimes proclaimed. He often states that humanity is on the brink of a new Golden Age where the ultimate goal is for each individual to manifest his or her own inner divine light in the world. Contrary to much of the darkness of popular opinion, his is an optimistic future for humanity. His work for both inner peace through meditation, and outer peace, supporting the United Nations, visiting international dignitaries, and multifarious other activities spanned four decades, yet he always claimed to be a student of peace. He maintained that each human being must be given complete freedom to find his or her own path to enlightenment, or realisation, as it is the Dream, the ever-transcending Will of the Supreme consciousness in his Own Cosmic Game.
Gazing into the future
I have come to learn
That the world will one day
Succeed in bringing down
Infinity’s Light from Aboveay.