Conversation about Sri Chinmoy’s Art


Sri Chinmoy meets with Lindsay Clennell, a film writer and producer, at Annam Brahma Restaurant in Queens, New York. There, Sri Chinmoy signs one of his drawings for Mr. Clennell. Here are excerpts from their conversation:


Mr. Clennell: Thank you very much. This drawing is a real inspiration. The power of inspiration that you have for people is very, very important.

Sri Chinmoy: I take it as God’s unconditional Compassion acting in and through me. I am trying to be of service to Him lovingly, devotedly, prayerfully and soulfully. I tell God, “I want only to be Your football. Kick me whenever You want to, and as hard as possible. My only joy is to be kicked by You.” So He is kicking me right and left, and that is how I am getting joy. These paintings are coming in and through His blessingful Kicks. God asked me where I want to be. He said, “Do you want to look at My Eyes or at My Feet?” I said, “I get more joy by looking at Your Feet than by looking at Your Eyes.” In the Mahabharata, our Indian epic, the Kauravas wanted to be by the head of Krishna, but the Pandavas wanted to be at the feet of Krishna. In my case, I get infinitely more joy by being at God’s Feet. I prefer the devotional aspect of life. The other day I was reading the Puranas, which is one of India’s sacred books. There Krishna was saying, “I am ready to give you liberation because it is easier to give you liberation than to give you devotion.” In liberation, the seeker goes his own way; the bird flies away. But if there is devotion, then there is a magnetic pull between the Master and disciple — the sweetest feeling — and the Master plays with the disciple-bird in the sweetest way. So I feel that the sweetness of devotion far surpasses the grandeur of liberation.

Mr. Clennell: That is a very beautiful thing to say.

Sri Chinmoy: I want sweetness. If there is a beautiful flower, I will like it more than a huge building. What good does it do for me to see a huge building with many rooms? But if I see a beautiful flower, immediately I say, “How beautiful, how pure, how simple, how sweet!” These are the qualities that I want to grow in my life: sweetness, purity, simplicity. The mind is drawn to vastness, but the heart always wants to see something very, very sweet and affectionate.

That is why I tell God, “Kick me as hard as possible. Then only can I claim You as my own. If You give me freedom, I will only misuse it. I will become like a bull in a china shop and destroy everything. But the more You kick me, the purer I will become.” It is like the gold pot that becomes bright, brighter, brightest each time the goldsmith strikes it.

Mr. Clennell: What you have said is very striking for me, and it is a great comfort. There is something that I wanted to ask before I came to see you. You have drawn three million birds. This is genuinely inspiring, but it is also quite extreme. Could you explain it to me?

Sri Chinmoy: The mind will say that I am a greedy person. I am not satisfied with a little food; I want to eat voraciously — a larger than the largest quantity. But if you take it in a different way, if you see these things in terms of God’s Infinity, Eternity and Immortality, then do my three million birds have any significance?

We are birthless and deathless pilgrims walking along Eternity’s Road. Whatever we have in the inner world, the soul’s world, is infinite, eternal and immortal, and these inner qualities and capacities we try to bring to the fore. When we are in the body, mind or vital, everything is so limited; we are caged in a prison cell. But when we are in the soul, which is the direct representative of God, we are dealing with the limitless.

What the Supreme is trying to do is to let the finite in us, the little brother in us, try to follow the big brother in us, which is the soul. So our outer life is trying to run side by side with our inner life. Our inner life is flowing eternally in and through us, and we are trying to bring to the fore its boundless capacities. When I am drawing three million birds, at that time I am trying to enter into the unlimited Source, which we all have within us. I try to bring this limitless capacity to the fore.

The mind is always telling us that we can only reach a certain height, but how do we know that this is the ultimate? The mind tells us that we can only run 100 metres, but you see that people have already run a thousand miles. God’s Vision is infinitely larger than reality. When God created reality, God the Creator became God the creation. But God is infinitely, infinitely larger than His creation-universe. God the Creator, the One who had the Vision, is infinitely greater than His creation. You are a film producer. You can create films, but what you produce cannot create you.

Mr. Clennell: Yes, it makes very good sense. It is about spirituality and limitlessness. It is a definition. By breaking down the barriers and considering three million birds as something possible to draw, one is asserting spiritual reality. Is that correct?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. I have to feel that I am not a swimming pool or a lake. God wants me to be a murmuring, running river flowing from the inner Source and carrying that Source to the outer reality. If I want to be an expression of the Source, then I cannot separate my inner and outer existence. The main thing is to bring to the fore the limitless potentialities that I have deep within. From this point of view, even to speak of three million birds is binding. 

Spirituality is not something abnormal or unnatural. Spirituality is more normal and natural than anything else. God is limitless, infinite, immortal, and I want to become consciously part and parcel of His Existence so that I can serve Him in His own Way. At the same time, the One who is infinite, eternal and immortal is trying to express Himself in and through my limitations. He says, “Now I want to express Myself in and through your artistic life. I want to express Myself in and through your poetic life, your sports life.” But He can do it only according to my receptivity. A mother gives some candies to a three-year-old child and tells him to distribute them to his friends. Then, when she sees that the child is doing well, she gives him lots of sweets so that he can feed hundreds of people. In this way the mother is offering the sweets to others in and through her child.

I always say that the Supreme is expressing Himself in and through me, according to my receptivity. I am not the doer. I cannot claim these three million birds as my own and I do not want to claim them as such. I am grateful to the Supreme for having given me the golden opportunity to serve Him in His own Way. My poetry, my music, my art and everything else that I do are only expressions of Somebody who is operating in and through me. At every moment He is seeing how much purity I have, how much humility I have, how much sincerity I have, how much eagerness I have. According to these, He is able to express Himself in and through me.

Some people may say, “What is he doing? He is an artist, he is a musician, he is singer. Why is he not taking one subject and doing the utmost with it?” But I do not see it that way. A piano has many keys. Why should the pianist always stay on one key? If he plays only one key, one note, how can he produce the cosmic melody, the universal melody? Similarly, I feel that art is one key, poetry is another key, meditation is a third key and sports is a fourth key. If you strike the different keys, then you produce nice music. Otherwise, it will not sound good.

If I want to be a flower inside God’s Heart-Garden, or if I want to be a flower placed at the Feet of God, how can I have only one petal? If a flower is to be beautiful, it must have at least a few petals. If I bring you one petal on a stem, you will say, “Is it a flower? This is silly.”

My body has hands, legs, eyes and so forth. Shall I give importance only to my hands? Shall I make them stronger than the strongest and not pay any attention to my legs? And if I pay attention only to my legs and discard the mind, then who will tell me to walk? Again, if my eyes are not functioning, then how are my legs going to take me anywhere? As the body is integral, so life itself must be an integral whole.

Mr. Clennell: That is a lovely explanation. That makes something about you very clear, and I really appreciate your saying that.

Sri Chinmoy: Because you are practising yoga, I am able to speak to you in this heart-to-heart way. I am coming to you with my heart — with what I have and what I am. You are also accepting what I have and what I am. There is a great difference between ‘have’ and ‘am’. When ‘have’ and ‘am’ become one, then only can we become a real instrument of God.

Published in Sri Chinmoy Answers, part 3



An exhibition of Sri Chinmoy’s Jharna-Kala artworks opens at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris, France.