Sri Chinmoy delivered over 500 lectures at universities and cultural institutions around the world during his more than forty years in the West – most of them in his first two decades, between 1965 and 1985. He also offered thousands of informal talks and answered countless spiritual questions.
With this collection of rare recordings, there is now the opportunity to directly experience the charm and power of Sri Chinmoy’s original spoken words.
In relaxed, intimate surroundings, when addressing his students, Sri Chinmoy was the quintessential narrator. He was animated, using his hands and eyes or even a smile to illustrate a point. When referring to the spiritual heart, Sri Chinmoy would gesture to his own heart; or when referring to God, he would point upwards with his index finger, or raise his eyes and look towards the heavens. By his own account, he could talk “sixteen to the dozen.” Though, in his many formal lectures and on solemn occasions, he would speak from lofty meditative heights – often with eyes closed or half-open – in slow, measured, prayerful tones, where the subtle tension of syllables could stretch the boundaries of time; and the long silences between words would be filled with the immanence of the divine.
The original recordings that follow retain the spontaneity and immediacy of the point in time at which these extraordinary talks and question-and-answer sessions were created. The contemporary listener now has a front row seat in the audience.
Unfortunately, some of the early recordings, preserved on reel-to-reel tapes or cassettes, are not of the highest quality. Since many first-time listeners may find it difficult to grasp Sri Chinmoy’s unique phrasing, a word-for-word transcription of each original talk is provided so that the listener can easily follow, uninterruptedly, the poetic flow of Sri Chinmoy’s speech.
He had a magnificent command of the English language, a vocabulary that far exceeded most of his students, and a genuine love for the fine, old expressions that are increasingly lost in literature today. Moreover, his unique capacity to coin new compound nouns gives his writings a tremendous freshness and force.
Down the sweep of centuries, it has not been possible to record the speaking voices of the great spiritual Masters. In the case of Sri Chinmoy, we are extremely fortunate that on many occasions his talks were recorded for posterity.
– Animesh Harrington
EAST AND WEST – Original Audio Recording
by Sri Chinmoy
In February 1965, Sri Chinmoy was interviewed on a New York City radio station, during which he read a short message. This is the earliest known recording of Sri Chinmoy, made just ten months after his arrival in the West, at the age of 33.
Here, Sri Chinmoy shares his spiritual optimism for the union of East and West: “Across all physical and conventional barriers between East and West, high above national standards, above even individual standards, will fly the supreme banner of Divine Oneness.” These prophetic words were published six months later as an essay in the first issue of AUM Magazine in August 1965.