Poetry, music and Eastern mysticism

Spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy brings Peace Concert to town


by Martha Sawyer Allen
Star Tribune Staff Writer


Internationally known spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy is coming to the Twin Cities with his Peace Concert, which combines poetry, music and Eastern mysticism in an effort to create a sense of peace in the world.

More than 12,000 reservations have been taken for the free concert Oct. 21 at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center. However, there are seats remaining. Described as an “experience of tangible peace,” the concerts promote not just peaceful relations among people but inner peace as well.

Chinmoy has written several books, including “The Wings of Joy,” a collection of inspirational meditations, anecdotes and messages. He agreed to an e-mail interview.

Q    What do you try to accomplish with your concerts?

A    With my concerts I try to be of devoted service to mankind and to be a good citizen of the world. It is my wish that we all cultivate the inner hunger to become good citizens to inspire the whole world and to work together for the betterment of the world.

Q    Do you find Westerners open to your Eastern concepts, or does it take extra training?

A    I feel that Westerners have always been open to Eastern concepts. They readily, soulfully and self-givingly have accepted our Eastern concepts.

Q    Does it take extra training?

A    No, it does not. Their hearts are completely ready. Therefore, it does not take extra training for them to accept the spiritual way of India.

Q    How does one truly reach one’s own pure heart?

A    One can reach one's own pure heart in two ways: either by soulfully repeating the word ‘purity, purity, purity’ or by cultivating sincere tears in one’s heart. In these two ways, one can automatically be blessed or inundated with most genuine purity. Again, to have a pure heart we have to bring devotion, sincere, genuine devotion, to the fore in our life. 

Q    Say a little more about your statement that, for the beginner, meditation seems to be the highest reality, but when one becomes an advanced seeker one knows that meditation only leads to the highest reality.

A    Meditation is both the way and the goal. In the beginning, meditation plays the role of a staircase. We need a staircase to climb up to a certain height. Then there comes a time when we see that this meditation not only leads to the highest but actually embodies the highest. We say that God is the Boat, God is the Boatman, God is the Way and God is the Goal. In exactly the same way we can describe meditation. With meditation, we go up, up and up until finally we become meditation itself. And this meditation embodies the universal Light, the universal Delight, God the Creator and God the creation at the same time. 

Q    You work with people of many faiths. Do you accept that all faiths are valid?

A    I do accept that all faiths are valid. They are all equally important.

Q    Do you have some standard for what is a valid faith? 

A    No. All the religions embody divinity in infinite measure. I take them all as one. But in my case, I say there is only one faith, one religion, and that is love of God. I love God according to my capacity. You love God according to your capacity. Someone else loves God according to his capacity. All religions, all faiths, are equally true and equally divine. Again, the universal truth is that there is only one religion and that religion is our love of God.

Q    What is your ultimate desire?

A    My ultimate desire is to see a world inundated with peace and bliss. And I would like to take part in that divine project. If the world becomes one with my hope, then there will be no misunderstandings, no disputes, no conflicts and no fights, no wars. Only harmony will reign supreme. Harmony will cover the length and breadth of the world.

Q    Don’t you ever get discouraged at the state of the world, with all the fighting, violence and unhappiness?

A Yes, for like everyone, I have both the divine in me and the human in me. The human in me does get discouraged. But the divine in me is never discouraged because the divine in me embodies infinite poise and peace. The divine in me accepts the world as it is. It is the bounden duty of the divine in me to be of service to mankind and to pray to the Absolute Supreme to elevate the consciousness of mankind. Therefore, the divine in me is never discouraged.

Each individual can become discouraged when his desire is not fulfilled, when his aspiration is not fulfilled, when his sincere and devoted service is not accepted by the world. But again, if he sees that the Supreme Pilot within him is guiding him and piloting him to the destined shore, to  what we call the Golden Shore of the ever-transcending Beyond, then his discouragement does not last more than five seconds or five minutes, or a maximum of an hour. In my case, it does not last more than 35 minutes, no matter how discouraged I am. After 5 seconds or 35 minutes the human in me becomes inseparably one with the divine in me and then there is no such thing as discouragement or sadness. At that time, I am dealing with Infinity’s Joy, Light and Bliss. Infinity’s Joy, Light and Bliss are blessing me and showering their wealth upon my devoted head and surrendered life.


Sri Chinmoy, spiritual leader is bringing his Peace Concert to the Twin Cities; he played an esraj during a concert in Jamaica in 1997.

Published in Star Tribune, Metro/State, Saturday, OCTOBER 14, 2000