Indian writer and spiritual teacher (1931-2007)
Sri Chinmoy (27 August 1931 – 11 October 2007) was a spiritual teacher, poet, humanitarian, musician and athlete. Born in Bengal, India, at age of 11 he moved to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram before moving to New York, in 1964.
Meditations: Food For The Soul (1970)Edit
- When the power of love replaces the love of power, man will have a new name: God.
- January 20
- Variant: When the power of love divinely replaces the love of power, man will have a new name: God. Source: Sri Chinmoy (1971): My rose petals: the master's extemporaneous talks in Europe, Sri Chinmoy Centre, p. 31. Google Books link.
- Variants: My books, they all have only one message: the heart's Power Of Love must replace the mind's Love Of Power. If I have the Power Of Love, then I shall claim the whole World as my own … World Peace can be achieved when the Power Of Love replaces the Love Of Power.
- Cited to Chinmoy's book My Heart Shall Give A Oneness-Feast (1993)
- In The Forbes Book of Business Quotations (1997) edited by Edward C. Goodman and Ted Goodman, p. 639 a similar statement has become attributed to William Ewart Gladstone, and is also cited in "The National Elementary School Principal" Vol 28 published in 1948: "We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace." A similar statement has also become attributed to Jimi Hendrix, though he could have been quoting or paraphrasing Chinmoy, or conceivably Gladstone: "When the power of love overcomes love of power the world will know peace."
- Some seekers will do anything for their Self-realisation — except work for it.
- January 24
- I take the greatest lesson from compassion — it takes away all the conceit out of my life.
- February 27
- Our human nature likes more to destroy than to build, more to cry than to smile, and more to correct the world than to love and embrace the world.
- April 25
- Anger has an enemy: Peace. Peace has no enemy. Peace has a special friend: Joy. Anger has only one friend: Destruction.
- April 27
- What you do not use yourself, do not give to others. For example, advice.
- May 11
- The atom has taught me that the little things do count — most.
- June 5
- When we try to express the experience of the Infinite Consciousness, our human tongue loses all its power of expression. What shall we do then? We shall have to remain silent. Lo! In no time we shall realise that Silence is infinitely more eloquent and more fruitful than words.
- June 19
- I love my enemies for two reasons: they inspire me to recognise my weakness. They also inspire me to perfect my imperfect nature.
- June 23
- Try not to change the world. You will fail. Try to love the world. Lo, the world is changed. Changed forever.
- August 31
Songs of the Soul (1971)Edit
- Man invents war. Man discovers peace. He invents war from without. He discovers peace from within. War man throws. Peace man sows. The smile of war is the flood of human blood. The smile of peace is the love, below, above.
- War forgets peace. Peace forgives war. War is the death of the life human. Peace is the birth of the Life Divine. Our vital passions want war. Our psychic emotions desire peace.
- A human being has many divine qualities. But there has never been another unparalleled divine quality like man's self-sacrifice, nor can there ever be.
- If failure has the strength to turn your life into bitterness itself, then patience has the strength to turn your life into the sweetest joy. Do not surrender to fate after a single failure. Failure, at most, precedes success.
- Now what should be the relation between science and spirituality? It should be a relation of mutual acceptance and true understanding. It is an act of folly on our part to expect the same truth, the same knowledge and the same power from both science and spirituality. We must not do that. Neither must we set up the same goal for science and spirituality.
- Science depends on outer experiment. Spirituality depends on inner searching and seeking. A scientist discovers the power that very often threatens even his own life. A spiritual seeker discovers the power that guides and moulds his life into a life of divine fulfilment.
My Rose Petals (1971)Edit
- Death is not the end. Death can never be the end. Death is the road. Life is the traveller. The soul is the guide.
- What is love? From the spiritual and inner point of view, love is self-expansion. Human love binds and is bound. Divine Love expands, enlarges itself.
Mother India's Lighthouse: India's Spiritual Leaders (1971)Edit
- No religion is absolutely perfect. Yet not only do we fight for religion, but also are we often willing to sacrifice our lives for it. And what we hopelessly fail to do is to live it. A true religion is that which has no caste, no creed, no colour. It is but an all-uniting and all-pervading embrace.
- The Buddha appeared on earth to dispel by the illumination of knowledge the ignorance that had enveloped the human mass, to release the human soul from the prison-cell of desire into the wideness of the silence and peace of Nirvana.
My Flute (1972)Edit
- No mind, no form, I only exist; now ceased all will and thought; the final end of [Nature]]'s dance, I am it whom I have sought.
- "The Absolute", p. 1
- Barren of events, rich in pretensions my earthly life. Obscurity my real name. Wholly unto myself I exist. I wrap no soul in my embrace. No mentor worthy of my calibre have I. I am all alone between failure and frustration. I am the red thread between nothingness and Eternity.
- "Between Nothingness and Eternity", p. 14
- No more my heart shall sob or grieve. My days and nights dissolve in God's own Light. Above the toil of life, my soul is a Bird of Fire winging the Infinite.
- "Revelation", p. 47
- First of all, let us try to know what love is. If love means to possess someone or something, then that is not real love, not pure love. If loves means to give oneself, to become one with everything and everyone, then that is real love. Real love is total oneness with the object loved and with the Possessor of love.
Fifty Freedom-Boats To One Golden Shore (1974)Edit
- Where love is thick, faults are thin. If you really love someone, then it is difficult to find fault with him. His faults seem negligible, for love means oneness.
- Citation- ffb-132, Part 4
Service-Boat And Love-Boatman (1974)Edit
- Nothing can be greater than love. God is great only because He has infinite Love. If we want to define God, we can define Him in millions of ways, but I wish to say that no definition of God can be as adequate as the definition of God as all Love. When we say "God", if fear comes into our mind, then we are millions and billions of miles away from Him. When we repeat the name of God, if love comes to the fore, then our prayer, our concentration, our meditation, our contemplation are genuine.
- p. 2, Part 1
Everest Aspiration (1977)Edit
- Spirituality tells the seeker not to live in the hoary past, not to live in the remote future, but to live in the immediacy of today, in the eternal Now.
- Don't suffer! O my body, O my vital, O my mind, O my heart, do not suffer. Do not cherish suffering. Don't act like a fool. Don't think that your suffering is going to accelerate your spiritual progress.
Opportunity and Self-Transcendence (1977)Edit
- If you do the right thing, eventually you will inspire others to do the right thing.
- p. 21
Ten Thousand Flower Flames Part 1-100 (1979)Edit
- Love the world. Otherwise, you will be forced to carry the heaviest load: your own bitter self.
- #1908, Part 20
- Since life is but a continuous series of experiences, everything ultimately helps me towards my final enlightenment.
- #4029, Part 41
- Not the power to conquer others but the power to become one with others is the ultimate power.
- #8756, Part 88
- The very nature of kindness is to spread. If you are kind to others, today they will be kind to you, and tomorrow to somebody else.
- #9280, Part 93
Twenty Seven Thousand Aspiration Plants Part 1-270 (1983)Edit
- The world's oldest wisdom: each evil thought infuses the mind, sooner or later, with an unholy fear.
- #106, Part 2
- I do not give up, I never give up, for there is nothing in this entire world that is irrevocably unchangeable.
- #233, Part 3
- To deliberately criticise another individual may cause an indelible stain on the critic.
- #14805, Part 37
- Be kind, be all sympathy, for each and every human being is forced to fight against himself.
- #12871, Part 13
- Alas, why does my mind have to walk through the dust of the past every day?
- #14702, Part 15
- There is no human being on earth who does not have the capacity to offer the message of peace to the world at large. But what is needed now is the soulful willingness.
- #18991, Part 190
- If you do not find peace inside your own heart, then you will not find it anywhere else on earth.
- #19822, Part 199
- Either consciously or unconsciously we are searching for the highest Self, which is at once eternal and infinite.
- #26618, Part 267
World-Destruction: Never, Impossible! (1994)Edit
- If we live in our oneness-heart, we will feel the essence of all religions which is the love of God. Forgiveness, compassion, tolerance, brotherhood and the feeling of oneness are the signs of a true religion.
- What we need is a life of balance — neither to wallow in the pleasures of wealth nor to lead a life of asceticism, but to embrace a life of simplicity and a heart of purity.
- In my philosophy everyone, including the poor, sick and aged, belongs to one family — God’s Family. God is at once poor and rich, sick and healthy, young and old, for He exists inside each and every individual. Here on earth we are all God’s children.
The Wings of Joy (1997)Edit
- I feel it is through prayer, meditation, and dedicated service that world peace can take place. Each individual has to try to make others happy, for it is only through happiness that we can have peace.
- A true spiritual seeker will have the deepest respect and utmost reverence for all religions. We can treasure all religions and claim them as our very own.
- The very acceptance of the spiritual life demands enormous courage. This courage is not the courage of a haughty, rough person who will strike others to assert his superiority; it is totally different. This courage is our constant awareness of what we are entering into, of what we are going to become, of what we are going to reveal.
- Fear is bound to disappear when you realize that failure is not something shameful, damaging, destructive, or painful, but something natural.
- Hatred is a disguised form of love. You can only hate someone whom you really wish to love, because if you were totally indifferent to that person, you could not even get up enough energy to hate him.
- If you really want to love humanity, then you have to love humanity as it is now.
- Life is nothing but the expansion of love. We can cultivate divine love by entering into the Source. The Source is God, who is all Love.
- Man is by nature a lover. Only he has yet to discover the real thing to love. This quest awakens him to the fulfillment of his real Self.
Sri Chinmoy Answers, part 1-33 (1996)Edit
- Lack of harmony comes when I feel that I know how to do something better than you. Lack of harmony is the song and dance of superiority. Because everybody feels superior, disharmony at every moment is entering into our lives.
- #337, Part 8
Seventy Seven Thousand Service-Trees series 1-50 (1998)Edit
- Unless and until you have developed a heart inundated with compassion, do not sit on the seat of judgement.
- #2861, Part 3
- Is the world so unbearable? No! What we need is only a little more love for the world.
- #4386, Part 5
- It is better to make mistakes than to lie idle.
- #13780, Part 14
- Instead of creating a reason why you cannot love the world, try to create a reason why you should and must love the world.
- #14550, Part 15
- The human mind is utterly stupid when it carries, quite willingly, the heavy burden of resentment.
- #16,575, Part 17
- To be rich is to give a smile with no expectation of return.
- #26508, Part 27
- To be true to oneself is the hardest test of life.
- #26570, Part 27
- Those who run after happiness will never be happy. Happiness is something that has to come to the fore from within.
- #40541, Part 41
My Christmas-New Year-Vacation-Aspiration-Prayers Part 26 (2003)Edit
- Hope knows no fear. Hope dares to blossom even inside the abysmal abyss. Hope secretly feeds and strengthens promise.
Words of Wisdom (2010)Edit
- A single thought has the power of a bullet: either it can destroy you or it can help you immensely.
- The difficulty is that we try to perfect others before we perfect ourselves.
- World-peace can be achieved when the power of love replaces the love of power.
- No price is too great to pay for inner peace.
America The Beautiful (2010)Edit
- America’s special strength lies not in frightening the weak and challenging the strong, but in strengthening the weak and illumining the strong.
- He was very pure in mind and heart. He was a lover: a lover not only of his race but a lover of all mankind. His heart was so broad, so great, so magnanimous, and this gave him a most sincere feeling of absolute oneness with everyone. This is what made him so divinely great.
Quotes about ChinmoyEdit
- When it came to finding pathways to spiritual enlightenment, the guru Sri Chinmoy had few equals. Chinmoy, who has died aged 76, spread his message of world peace through a mixture of meditative art, performance and extreme sport. … Chinmoy's teachings were a mixture of Hindu meditation, Vedantic yoga and Vaishnavism, which stresses belief in "the Supreme" the one transcendent force in the universe. He was unusual in giving equal importance to extreme physical activity, first long-distance running, and later heavy lifting, as a means of opening oneself to spiritual enlightenment. He also possessed a remarkable ability to win over doubters, particularly people of prominence, who inevitably succumbed to his message of peace.
It gave him a Zelig-like ability to attach their celebrity to his work, particularly when he was lifting them off the ground. During the past 20 years, he elevated everyone from Nelson Mandela to Muhammad Ali, figures as light as Yoko Ono or as heavy as sumo wrestlers, and, perhaps most amazingly, two New York congressman from opposing parties.
- Michael Carlson, for the obituary in The Guardian (18 November 2007)
- Popular mythology tends to imagine a guru – in the word's original and proper Hindu sense of spiritual adviser or teacher – as a placid and mostly sedentary figure. Not so Sri Chinmoy, who wove vigorous exercise into a meditational system that preached peace and inner harmony and gained him thousands of disciples worldwide, as well as admirers ranging from the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, to the Olympic champion Carl Lewis and the soul and jazz singer Roberta Flack. … Some derided his activities as gimmickry. Others claimed he ran a sinister cult. More fundamentally, his success reflected a paradox of the modern age, where official religion has manifestly failed to provide answers to the world's problems, leading man's unquenched spiritual thirst to seek less conventional outlets.
- Chinmoy's athleticism underlined a deeper point: that physical activity played a vital part in the search for enlightenment. "His life was all about challenging yourself and being the best you can be," Carl Lewis said.
- Rupert Cornwell, in the obituary "Sri Chinmoy : Spiritual leader and peace activist: in The Independent (17 October 2007)
- For Chinmoy, a particular person's religion was immaterial. "You call it Christianity, I call it Hinduism, somebody calls it Judaism and somebody else calls it Islam," he would say. "But there is only one religion . . . there are many branches of the religion-tree, but there is only one religion, and that religion is God-realisation."
The path lay through harmony and enlightenment, to reach what he called "the ever-transcending beyond". Progress towards that goal could never end, "for God himself is inside each of us and God at every moment is transcending his own reality".
- Rupert Cornwell, in the obituary "Sri Chinmoy : Spiritual leader and peace activist: in The Independent (17 October 2007)
- Santana … was already looking for some spiritual guidance. He had been fasting and praying, and, inspired by the example of John Coltrane, he had started to read about Eastern mysticism and philosophy. Then, when he met guitarist John McLaughlin, McLaughlin had a photo of Sri Chinmoy, and the guru seemed to have an enormous peace about him. The thing that really got Carlos was one of Chinmoy's statements: "When the power of love replaces the love of power." That made plenty of sense to him.
Chinmoy gave him the name Devadip, which means "the eye, the lamp of the light of God." Deborah, who had joined with him, became Urmila. They signed up to a stern regimen. "Cut your hair, no drugs, total vegetarian," he summarizes. "It was like a West Point approach to spirituality. Five o'clock in the morning mediating, every day." Long-distance running was an enthusiasm of Chinmoy's, and Deborah ran marathons. She also ran a devotional vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco. "We used to do ridiculous things," she says. "There was always this competition in how much we could do to prove our devotion – who could sleep the least and still function, because you were working so hard, how many miles could you run. I once ran a forty-seven-mile race. It wasn't enough just to run a marathon."
Carlos avoided most of the roadwork: "I was, 'This shit is not for me – I don't care how enlightening it is.'" Instead, he would play Chinmoy's songs at meditations and performances that, to his increasing frustration, were often announced as though they were Santana performances.
The few interviews Carlos gave in those years are crammed with reverence toward Chinmoy. "Guru has graduated from the many Harvards of consciousness and sits at the seat of God. I'm still in kindergarten," said Carlos. Likewise: "Without a guru I serve only my own vanity, but with him I can be of service to you and everybody. I am the strings, but he is the musician."
Eventually, says Carlos, "everything about him turned into vinegar – what used to be honey turned into vinegar." One turning point was when he heard Chinmoy pontificate meanly about Billie Jean King because she'd talked of a lesbian relationship. "And a part of me was, 'What the fuck is all this – this guy's supposed to be spiritual after all these years; mind your own spiritual business and leave her alone.'" Carlos emphasizes that he took much that was good from these years with Chinmoy – "It was a good learning experience about spirituality" – but the end was awkward.
"He was pretty vindictive for a while," Santana says. "He told all my friends not to call me ever again, because I was to drown in the dark sea of ignorance for leaving him."
- Chris Heath, presenting accounts of Carlos Santana about being a disciple of Chinmoy from 1972 to 1981, in "The Epic Life of Carlos Santana" in Rolling Stone (16 March 2000)