In Our Deepest Meditation
- Sri Chinmoy 
Meditation and Spirituality
"When we go deep within, into the deepest recesses of our hearts, we commune with God through meditation. It is through meditation that we can know that God is both with form and without form, with attributes and without attributes."- Sri Chinmoy (10)
Prayer and MeditationOften people ask about the difference and similarities between prayer and meditation. Sri Chinmoy often replied that through prayer we feel we are talking with God - asking God to fulfill our desires. These desires may be worldly or prayers to increase our aspiration. But, whatever our prayer, there is a feeling of separation - a feeling of asking God for a boon. With Meditation, we try to listen to God. We keep the mind quiet and try to enter into the highest consciousness, which is none over than God. There comes a point when both prayer and meditation merge and lead to the same goal - the upliftment of the human consciousness to the divine consciousness. In the West, prayer has a stronger tradition. But, through the practise of both prayer and meditation we can make the fastest spiritual progress.
Meditation and RealisationThrough meditation we become aware of what we always had. As a beginner in meditation we feel we are trying to achieve something. But, in our highest meditation, we merely feel we are remembering what we always had. Meditation is a process of emptying the mind; often it is a process of unlearning many things and perceptions of the mind.
There is a story of a Zen Master, he was visited by a famous professor. When the professor arrived, the Zen Master poured some tea. When the cup was full, he kept on pouring and the tea went on the carpet. The professor said, what are you doing? the cup is full.
The Zen Master replies, yes. Your mind is like this cup - completely full because you think you know everything. If you want to understand Zen you need to first empty your mind otherwise you will not get anything.
Meditation and Modern Life
We can live in the remote Himalayas but be troubled by a restless mind. We can live in the hustle and bustle of New York but, able to gain inner peace through effective meditation. Meditation involves the acceptance of life. Meditation we can practise whatever our situation or location. The only thing we need is the inner aspiration, the inner hunger.
Many Actions from One Source
When time has passed and history is able to bestow its judgement with the benefit of distance, Sri Chinmoy's unique contribution to the world may well be appraised in terms of his efforts to show that meditation and spirituality can be brought into all forms of human achievement - creative, athletic, humanistic and philosophical. Granted, meditation teachers before Sri Chinmoy have certainly been engaged in outer activity - spiritual Masters have been composing mantric songs almost since the birth of spirituality itself, and many Masters have also been accomplished poets. However, to branch out into so many different fields - poetry, music, art and athletics - over the course of one lifetime is a very new development, and one especially suited to Sri Chinmoy's philosophy of harmonising the meditative inspiration of the East with the forward-flowing enthusiasm of the West.
So many and varied were the activities which Sri Chinmoy engaged in over the course of his lifetime that at first glance one might be forgiven for wondering what they all had in common. However, like the stem of a lotus branching out into its many petals, so all of these activities stem from a single unifying core that comes from deep within the human spirit. Deep inside us, beyond the reaches of our vacillating mind, lies the core of our being, a place of stillness, peace and vastness within ourselves. In this space deep in our hearts, we begin to experience higher and deeper realities of life, and terms which the mind cannot really comprehend such as Infinity, Eternity, the soul, God - are able to be directly experienced and communed with. Ever since primitive times, cultures all over the world have devoted some part of their society to this inner search; in the East, where Sri Chinmoy hails from, great yogis had been realising the Self for thousands of years through the practise of meditation. Sri Chinmoy began practising meditation in his early teens, and was soon meditating for eight hours a day and sometimes more; very soon he was attaining very high states where he was united with this higher self - his "Inner Pilot" as Sri Chinmoy fondly called it.
One effect of these many forms of creative and athletic output is to give us a glimpse of the nature of the relationship between the seeker of truth and that which he is seeking, between man and God. In Sri Chinmoy's writings and poems, we see that in one sense man and God are merely points along one continuous road of evolution - "Man is the God of tomorrow; God, the man of yesterday and today", he writes - and yet in another sense there is a sense of separation which can only be narrowed by the love of the heart. Many of Sri Chinmoy's poems and songs, take the form of sweet and living conversations between Creator and Creation: to the critical mind there may be two people talking, but reading these poems with the heart reveals a depth of closeness and intimacy between man and God that render the two inseparable, and increasingly indistinguishable, as evidenced by this sweet conversation-poem from "My Lord's Secrets Revealed":
"My Lord, I have millions of desires.
Do You have any?"
"Yes, My child, I have."
"You have? Please tell me what they are!"
"My only desire is to see you eternally happy.
Can you fulfil My desire?"
"I shall try, my Lord."
"Try, My child, try."
In Sri Chinmoy's art we find another aspect of this relationship manifested in the childlike spontaneity that gave rise to the name 'Jharna-Kala' which Sri Chinmoy gave to his paintings - it means 'fountain-art' in Bengali, or art flowing from the inner source. "I do not use the mind; I use the heart", he explains. "I try to make my heart a receptive instrument so that God, the Supreme Artist, can paint in and through me. I am like ballpoint pen. Somebody is using me to write something. Somebody is acting in and through me."
However future historians may very well regard Sri Chinmoy's athletic achievements as the most striking demonstration of what can happen when one goes beyond the mind and listens directly to the heart. In particular, Sri Chinmoy's weightlifting achievements serve as a direct challenge to the human mind and its often limiting concepts about what is and is not possible for a person to achieve. It is especially notable that weightlifting was never a favourite sport of Sri Chinmoy's to begin with: "Weightlifting was never my forte", he said in an interview one year after he started weightlifting in 1985. "Right from my early years I disliked bodybuilding and weightlifting. I was a sprinter and decathlete, and I did not care for weightlifting at all. It was something foreign to me. But last year I started weightlifting because of an inner command. I always listen to the dictates of my Inner Pilot, and my Inner Pilot asked me to enter into weightlifting....For that reason I do it cheerfully." Surrender to the inner voice is something that comes easily when the command is something we like doing; in the case of Sri Chinmoy, his weightlifting was very much a case of surrendering to the inner command when it was not so pleasant. And in that surrender, he was able to perform feats that astounded experts in the weightlifting world, and inspire countless people around the globe.
Just as Sri Chinmoy's activities stem from one inner source, his sole reason for doing them was to inspire everyone to in turn go deep within to that same Source in order fulfill their own dreams. Sri Chinmoy tried every day of his life to reach out to as many people as humanly possible during his 43 years in the West, and the huge range of his activities meant he was able to touch people from all walks of life - athletes, artists, religious and world leaders - whose paths he might never have crossed as a mere spiritual teacher. As part of his weightlifting, for example, he would honour people who had served as an inspiration in their own right by lifting them overhead - sometimes these would be household names, more often they would be ordinary people like teachers, social workers, doctors, pilots, lecturers, policemen, firemen, the backbones of society finally being recognised for their pivotal role. In doing all these activities, Sri Chinmoy's hope was that there would be at least something there that each person could enjoy.
"I try to inspire others. If I can inspire others, and if they in turn inspire the rest of the world, then we can have a better world. It is by virtue of inspiration that we can do good things for mankind. "
by: Nirbhasa Magee
Only by our positive thinking,
By our bringing the positive qualities
Of others to the fore,
Will this world be able
To make progress.
Photo by Unmesh, Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries
The New Year
farther, farthest. He does not want us to look back. We know when a runner runs fast, while running fast if he looks back he drops to the ground. Similarly, if we constantly look behind at the year that we are leaving aside, thinking of our sorrow, miseries, frustrations and all that we lose everything that we gained. But if we look forward, ahead, we see hope dawning deep within us, we see a new light illumining our consciousness.
Each New Year is like a rung on the ladder of consciousness; we have to climb up the ladder of consciousness and each New Year serves the purpose of a rung in the ladder. When the New Year dawns, we have to make ourselves conscious of the fact that we are going to transcend ourselves. We have to go beyond the present capacity, beyond our present achievement. And when we have that kind of firm determination, God showers His choicest blessings upon our devoted heads and He says, "New Year dawns, a new consciousness dawns deep within you. Run towards the destined goal." And we listen to God, we listen to the dictates of our inner soul, we run towards the Ultimate Reality. The New Year energizes us, encourages us, inspires us to run towards that Ultimate Truth."
- Sri Chinmoy.
Excerpt from Flame Waves, Part 8 by Sri Chinmoy.