Chinmoy Class At UConn
A two-credit course on the philosophy of Indian spiritual master Sri Chinmoy is being offered by the University of Connecticut at its Storrs campus.
The course, believed to be the first at any American university focusing on the teachings of a living yoga master, is being taught by Dr. Peter Pitzele, on loan from Harvard University.
Classes began in the third week in February.
Sri Chinmoy, who came to the United States in 1964 from Bengal, India, conducts bi-weekly meditation session for United Nations delegates and staff at the U.N. Church Center and U.N. headquarters in New York City.
He is the spiritual leader of some 40 Sri Chinmoy spiritual centers in the United States, Canada and western Europe. There is a center in Norwalk.
He has written 15 books on eastern spirituality and has lectured at Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge and Tokyo universities. He also delivers a daily meditation on WNEW-FM in New York City and, beginning this month will conduct regular short meditations on WNEW-TV in New York and Channel 30, the NBC affiliate in Connecticut.
Students in the class will study Sri Chinmoy’s philosophy, which is one based on love, devotion and surrender to God.
Published in The Hartford Courant, Saturday, March 10, 1973
Press Conference in Tokyo
An interview with Sri Chinmoy
Sri Chinmoy: Good morning! Now I wish to be of dedicated service to you. You are serving your country in a very special way. You bring messages from far abroad and you bring forward messages from your own country. The press serves a very special purpose: to bring home the outer world, the world abroad. Again, it carries the message of home to the outer and wider world. This is the most significant thing that you do. For that I am extremely, extremely grateful to you and I am extremely happy to be here with you all.
Question: It turns out that on the calendar today is the anniversary of the massive bombing of Tokyo during World War II. How do you feel about the coincidence of your Peace Concert being held on this particular day?
Sri Chinmoy: My students set the date and I gladly accepted it. Now, life has two realities: creation and destruction. When destruction takes place, either intentionally or unintentionally, we feel very sad, very miserable. Then, from the destruction itself, we try to benefit. That is to say, we try not to repeat the same experience. We feel that it is our bounden duty to have a new creation. The past is dust. The mistakes that I made in my past existence — forty, fifty or sixty years ago — I must not repeat. I must do something constructive, for I know that if I do something constructive, then I will be happy and also I will be one of those who will bring about a new creation.
On the one hand, destruction is a most deplorable experience. On the other hand, we should feel that this experience must not be repeated. Let it only remind us to have a better way of life, a better way of understanding, a better way of fulfilling our divine task on earth — that is to say, a better way of ushering in a world of harmony, a world of peace, a world of joy.
Question: What is the main message that you would like to give to the people of Japan through your concert here?
Sri Chinmoy: Each time I perform, I dedicate my Peace Concert to someone who I feel is responsible for world peace. This time I have chosen President Gorbachev. Today’s Peace Concert I am offering to him.
This is the message that I will be giving this evening to the audience: “Today’s Peace Concert I am most lovingly and most gratefully dedicating to President Gorbachev, whose Perestroika-Vision-Light ended the Cold War and sowed peace-seeds inside the heart-garden of the world-home for the transformation of the human mind and the perfection of human life.
“About a year ago — to be precise, ten months and twenty-three days ago — President Gorbachev came to visit Japan, Beauty’s Land and Duty’s Hand. At a dinner in the Emperor’s Palace his oneness-heart voiced forth, ‘Our countries and peoples are neighbours. Our ties are many centuries old. There are many historical documents testifying to the mutual attraction between the Russians and the Japanese.’
“At the same dinner, the unparalleled peace-lover in him also proclaimed, ‘Allow me also to express the wish that the presciently chosen name of the era of Your Majesty’s rule — Heisei, which means “achievement of universal peace” — may also come true in relations between the Soviet Union and Japan.’
“May the morning light of Japan and the serving heart of President Gorbachev together grow and glow to accelerate the perfection-promise of humanity.” * This is the message I shall offer this evening.
Question: I understand that Mr. Gorbachev is now in a time of trial. Circumstances around him are not favourable. At this crucial time for him, do you have any advice for him?
Sri Chinmoy: I do not dare to give him any advice, for he does not need any advice, from me or from anybody else. What he has within himself is more than sufficient to prove to the world that he is by far the best political leader plus peace-lover on earth. What he has is confidence. This confidence is coming from the very, very depths of his heart. Because of this confidence, his is not the statement of monarchs who say, “I came and I conquered.” No, his statement is, “I came and I loved.” His confidence is totally different. His confidence tells us that he loves the world and he wants to become part and parcel of the world.
Many great kings, emperors and monarchs of the past used to express their confidence by saying, “I came and I conquered.” That kind of theory they had. But President Gorbachev says, “I have come into the world to love you and to become one with you, and together we shall bring about a better world.” The vision of his perestroika is to think in a new way, to feel in a new way and to see the world with new eyes, to feel the world with a new heart, and to become inseparably one with the success and progress of the new world.
I am happy to tell you that I have already written three books about President Gorbachev, and one more book that is in now in preparation will come out shortly. This is my soulful appreciation and prayerful admiration for what he has done for the world at large. How many East European countries, how many people on earth — countless people — he has made happy! Perhaps he could not make all his countrymen happy, but he has made countless people in Eastern Europe happy.
Today there is only one Germany. There is no more East Germany and West Germany; it is all one. Similarly, President Gorbachev liberated Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. I have students all over the world. I know that to make even one student happy is a Herculean task. In spite of my best intentions, I find it so difficult to make them happy. But in Germany, for example, how many families which were doomed to destruction, doomed to disappointment, he has brought together! Family members are now together, whereas before they were completely separated. The Berlin Wall is no more; there is only one heart.
What President Gorbachev has done for humanity is far beyond our imagination. It far exceeds anybody else’s achievement. Over the centuries, people have achieved many, many things; but history will bear witness to the fact that there was one person on earth who ended the Cold War, who gave us a new hope: that we could depend on each other, we could trust each other, we could walk and run together. That was President Gorbachev. He made us feel that there should be no fear, no doubt in our lives; we belong to a oneness-world-family.
One year ago President Gorbachev came to Japan and he said many, many nice things about Japan. What he said came from the very depths of his heart. It was not just because he happened to be in Japan. If you come to a new country, you express appreciation, whether you feel it or not; but in his case, he definitely felt it. And it was his most sincere feeling that he expressed in words and offered to the Japanese people. I am happy that he will soon be visiting Japan again. I am sure that he and Japan will be of mutual help to each other.
Question: How many times have you visited Japan in the past?
Sri Chinmoy: Since 1969 I have visited Japan many times. Each time I come, my appreciation, my admiration and my love for Japan only increase. People say if you see something twice, you may not appreciate it the second time the way you appreciated it the first time. In my case, Japan gives me a totally different experience each time I visit.
Being a seeker, when I come to Japan, I see Japan as the most beautiful flower. For me, Japan is nothing other than a most beautiful flower. And what does a flower have? A flower has fragrance as well as beauty. This beauty and fragrance Japan offers to the four corners of the globe.
As soon as we see a flower, our own good qualities come forward to appreciate the beauty and fragrance of the flower. Before we see the flower, we feel that our heart is not so pure. When we think of our mind, we feel that it is full of fear, doubt, anxiety and many, many other undivine qualities. But the moment we see a flower, we feel purity inside our heart, and clarity and luminosity inside our mind.
When I come to Japan, I see the beauty of Japan and the purity of Japan. And Japan gives me another experience which is so significant in my life. Japan is a small country composed of a few islands. There are many countries which are infinitely vaster than Japan. But what does Japan do? Japan embodies the message of the Infinite. Inside these tiny islands, we see the achievements of the Infinite. Look at Japan and the achievements of Japan! How many things Japan has created! That is why I say that Japan gives us the message of the Infinite.
Inside a drop, we can see the ocean. Inside a flame, we can see the morning sun. This is the unique message that Japan offers to the world: that inside the finite we can see the Infinite, and the Infinite can sing in and through the finite. This is something that Japan is offering to the world at large, something that no other country can claim. It is Japan’s unparalleled, unique contribution to mankind.
Question: The prosperity of our economy has been noticed throughout the world. But the profound spirituality that Japan has may not be so prominent at this stage.
Sri Chinmoy: This material prosperity has come from sleepless efforts. We do not become prosperous unless we make efforts most sincerely. Japan has made sleepless efforts to further its material progress and success. Who asked other countries to remain idle, to talk foolishly or proudly, and not to act?
Japan does not talk; Japan acts. Sleeplessly Japan has been working for material success, material prosperity. If we do not have inner awakening, we cannot make progress in any field, whether it is the material field or the spiritual field. Now the question arises whether Japan is spiritually as well as materially awakened. I wish to say that the answer is definitely yes. Japan’s spirituality and Japan’s material success are going side by side.
A few minutes ago, I said that when I think of Japan, when I look at Japan, I see a flower. What does a flower signify? A flower signifies aspiration. When I look at a flower, immediately my good qualities come to the fore and I try to become a good person. Similarly, as soon as I see Japan, my own aspiration increases.
Now, where does this aspiration come from? It comes from the heart, where there is an inner hunger. This is not only the mind’s hunger to become prosperous, but also the heart’s hunger to love the world and offer to the world the good qualities of the heart. I can sincerely tell you that the spiritual aspect of Japan is also most encouraging and most inspiring.
Yesterday I visited the Lord Buddha’s statue at Kamakura. Except for a few regions, I have visited most of the countries of the world. I have visited many countries that love and adore the Lord Buddha. I come from India and the Lord Buddha came from India, but his message has been spread infinitely more in foreign lands than in his own land of India.
Again, there is no such thing as India or Japan or France or Russia; there is only one home, one world-family. The world is like a house with many rooms. If in one room Lord Buddha is not appreciated, as he rightly deserves to be, but people in other rooms appreciate him, admire him, adore him and love him, then it is quite sufficient.
Now let me come back to my answer. I have been to many parts of the world where the message of Lord Buddha is being followed, adored and fulfilled. But when I stand in front of the statue of Lord Buddha in Kamakura and offer him my soulful obeisance, my prayerful love and adoration, I feel that my life has seen something and achieved something most, most valuable. What Japan is, I am saying from my heart’s inmost conviction. If an individual feels that Japan is spiritual, and if that particular person stands in front of the statue of Lord Buddha at Kamakura, then the entire spirituality of Japan that person has to feel inside the Lord Buddha, the son of Asia, the beloved son of Asia.
It is very easy for human beings to discredit other nations. It is very difficult to appreciate others. One needs a very powerful heart to appreciate the good qualities of others. Just this morning I wrote something on this subject which I would like to read out:
“It is, indeed, a difficult task for some people — including, perhaps, world figures — to appreciate the lofty achievements of other people and other nations. But, to our extreme joy, President Gorbachev has not studied at the same school. Therefore, on April 19th, 1991, while addressing the Japanese Public Committee, his heart most beautifully and hauntingly sang for the soul, for the heart and for the life of Japan. This is his message: ‘Beautiful nature, sakuras in blossom, the combination of the past and the present to the visible breakthrough into the future, friendly people with a strong feeling of self-esteem and respect for others, curiosity and interest in life, the desire to make talents and ambitions a reality — in a word, the Japanese people are a wonderful product of nature and culture. All this is very fascinating and arouses feelings of fond affection. I am glad to have been able to feel the living pulse of the country and to see with my own eyes its achievements, which have rightfully given Japan a place among the leaders in world progress.’”
This kind of appreciation Japan has received from President Gorbachev. In his own way, he is also saying that Japan’s spirituality is being expressed through material success. The inner beauty is being expressed through the outer prosperity. A visitor does not have to go to various places in Japan to see and feel the spirituality of Japan.
If one goes to Kamakura alone, it is enough for him to find the tremendous spirituality of Japan. The vibration that Kamakura gives — not only the statue, but the entire town — embodies spirituality in abundant measure. Kamakura alone can feed the aspiration of any human being with boundless spirituality.
Something else I wish to say on a different subject. We all know that Japan has been making faster than the fastest progress in the material world, in material prosperity.
Now, since last year, Japan can claim the faster than the fastest human dynamo: Carl Lewis. Here, in Japan, he broke the world record in the 100-metre race. He became the fastest human dynamo. And I am sure he received tremendous blessings from the soul and from the heart of Japan. He became the fastest human being here in the country that runs the fastest in achieving material success and prosperity. So this is a very, very happy experience both for Carl Lewis and for the soul and heart of Japan. I am deeply honoured that he gave me the shoes that he wore in that race.
Published in You Belong to God