Sri Chinmoy – Love-Power, Gratitude-Flower

How can a spiritual figure love us more than we love ourselves? What role does gratitude play in receiving divine love?

Source: Sri Chinmoy Library

An Indian spiritual Master, who was living in the West, one day went to the hospital to visit a disciple who had met with a serious car accident. Although the disciple was in much pain and could hardly move, he was overjoyed to see his Master. “Master,” he said, “I feel that I have been helped considerably since my accident by your occult and spiritual healing power.”

The Master smiled. “You know, one of your spiritual brothers asked me yesterday if it was your past karma that brought on this accident or whether it was due to an attack of hostile forces. I told him that it was definitely an attack of hostile forces. The hostile forces are much more alert than the divine forces, even though the divine Will always wins eventually. The hostile forces are like children who go on and on pinching their father like a monkey, thinking all the time they will weaken their father. But they are wrong. Just one slap from their father and it will be all over. But they still go on and on pinching. When a divine soldier is attacked by hostile forces in this way, he is actually strengthened, rather than weakened. It gives him added strength.”

The disciple replied, “Master, I feel that this accident was worth every moment of pain for the experience it gave me. For the first time in my life I really felt and realised how much love you have for me. I saw that this love you have, that the Supreme has, is infinite, it is all-encompassing.”

“This is absolutely true, my son,” said the Master. “I am always telling you and the other disciples that I love you infinitely more than you love yourself. The mind won’t believe it, but it is true.” The disciple asked, “Master, how is it possible for you to love us more than we love ourselves?”

“When you think of yourself, you think of all your anxieties and worries. You think that your life consists of what you have to do, whom you have to speak to, what you have seen and so forth. But in the Eye of the Supreme, that is not your life at all. Your life is your receptivity — how much you are capable of receiving His Love, Peace and Delight.

“One of my disciples said to me the other day, ‘I can believe that you love me and I love you, but when you say that you love us more than we love ourselves, is it not just something nice that you are telling us?’ Then a few days later that disciple had a dream and in this dream he saw that with all the incidents in his life, with all that he had done and achieved, he had built a house. But gradually, gradually this house began to crumble; everything fell away from him and he saw how meaningless all these incidents were. He felt totally lost. But then he saw me standing there with my love for him. Only when he had become totally one with me and I had become totally one with him did he feel any joy, peace or fulfilment.

“Everyone feels that his life is made of these incidents — his daily routine — but I wish to say that these things are merely experiences that we have while we are living on earth. In order to live in God something else is necessary. In order to live in God, we have to know how much love we can receive, how much light we can receive from the Supreme.”

“But Master,” said the disciple, “I still don’t understand exactly why you can love me more than I love myself. I’m sorry. I know you do, but I’m not sure exactly how.”

“My son, the reason is this. You see yourself as a human being, full of ignorance. So when you think of yourself, you think of ignorance. You do not see yourself as another God; you see yourself as a half-animal. When you are insincere you think you know everything and when you try to be sincere, you think that you are full of ignorance. But you should know that what God is, you also are. Only when you are in your absolutely highest consciousness do you think of yourself as a chosen instrument of God. This knowledge of who you really are is what you are now crying for. I love you constantly and infinitely because I always know who you are. I know you not only as an instrument of the Supreme, but as the Supreme Himself. There are times when I am looking at you and the other disciples when I am not seeing the Supreme in you; I am seeing the Supreme Himself. You won’t believe it, but I see you not as a human being with the Supreme inside you, but as nothing other than the Supreme. I see this with my human eyes, without even using my third eye.

“I love the Supreme, who is your real reality, infinitely more than you can love the human being you consider yourself to be. So if I see you as the Supreme, how can I not love you, as I love myself — not as a human being but as I see myself through my realisation — as the Supreme? You may think that you are your problems, that you are the details of your life, and so you cannot love yourself most devotedly. You will be able to love yourself only when you are in your highest, when you feel my presence inside your heart. But I am loving you constantly. Here is the proof. Most of the time you are thinking of something else — your job, your wife, your children — but I am constantly thinking of you. You think you are loving yourself — your family, all that is your life — but your attention is divided. Always you are thinking of other things. But my attention is never divided. It is constant love for you.”

The disciple had now totally forgotten his pain. “Master,” he asked, “does the secret of being conscious of this love lie in gratitude?”

“Yes, absolutely. But the unfortunate thing is that our human mind feels that gratitude is something inferior. We feel that when we offer gratitude to God, because He offered us something first, we are doing something inferior. If someone has done something for us, naturally we will show him our gratitude, but we feel that the power of gratitude is inferior to the power of giving.

“But God sees Himself and us as one. He feels that He is giving what He has — Love and Compassion — and we are giving what we have — gratitude. Our power of gratitude is every bit as strong as His Light and Love-power, but we feel that it is inferior because He offers us His Light and Love first. In the beginning of the Game, He gave us what He wanted to give us, which is gratitude, and He kept for Himself His Light. Now, the Role He has is to offer us Light and our role is to offer Him gratitude. He is playing His Role, but we are not playing our role. Now, if we return to Him what He has given us, we are playing our role and if He offers to us what He has kept for Himself, then He is playing His Role. Our role is in no way inferior to His Role. When He is giving us His Light and we are giving Him our gratitude, then only can we manifest.

“When you feel gratitude, feel that a flower, a lotus or a rose, is blooming inside of you, petal by petal. And when you feel tremendous gratitude, then feel that the flower has totally blossomed.”

“Master,” said the disciple, “I am deeply grateful for this experience that I have had, even though it was a hostile attack, for I have learned and received so much from you in and through this experience. I know now that your love-power is the only thing on earth that can totally fulfil me and I pray that one day my gratitude-flower will totally fulfil you.”

— Sri Chinmoy, from Love-power and gratitude-flower, Agni Press, 1975

Sri Chinmoy

Sri Chinmoy

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Temple-Song-Hearts Video!

More of the spiritual girl group, whose unique blend of voices and instruments is truly enchanting. Plus Sahadeva Orchestra!

Temple-Song-Hearts at the Oxford Songs of the Soul Concert, November 2010

Temple-Song-Hearts at the Oxford Songs of the Soul Concert, November 2010

I’ve previously posted about Temple-Song-Hearts, the wonderful all female ensemble performing world music in such a natural style. This time we have full video taken (I think) from the Oxford Songs of the Soul Concert.

Cheerful, soulful, and dynamic are words that come to mind here. Percussion is a new feature of their music, and Chintamani (who usually plays cello) seems amused to be doubling on conga.

Because I’m something of a loner (perhaps even pathologically so), I’m always amazed to see what can be done when people come together to share their spiritual joys, hopes and longings through music. Sometimes I feel like a perpetual wannabe, so I take much inspiration from those whose have the courage to go beyond personal practice and join in the life of a community.

For those interested in comparative religion, I think an excellent question to ask about any spiritual group is “What does their music sound like?” In the case of Sri Chinmoy Centre, it can sound a hundred different ways. But I have a special place in my heart for the sound of Temple-Song-Hearts. Each person in the group expresses herself in a unique way, through her own personality, yet they blend together beautifully when performing Sri Chinmoy’s songs.

Please support them by buying their music on CD Baby:

Temple-Song-Hearts on CD Baby
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/templesonghearts

Or visit their home page designed by the most excellent Sumangali Morhall of Pure Web Designs:

Temple-Song-Hearts Home Page
http://templesonghearts.org/

After Temple-Song-Hearts, the video has a big ensemble number based on a song by Sri Chinmoy:

O Heavenly Bodies

O twinkling stars,
Do take me home!
I am all ready.

O sweet moon,
Where is my Eternal Father?
I am dying to see Him.

O brave sun,
Can you fight for me?
I must conquer ignorance-night
With your unparalleled might.

— Sri Chinmoy, from Transcendence-Perfection

The spirit of courage and determination shown in the music is something astonishing to behold. I believe the arrangement is by Sahadeva Torpy, who’s also a talented actor. See “Meditation music by Sri Chinmoy’s students 2013,” which has an assortment of arrangements by different groups, including another recording of “O Heavenly Bodies” by Sahadeva Orchestra.

We all need more beauty in our lives, as well as the courage to conquer ignorance-night. Fortunately, Temple-Song-Hearts and Sahadeva Orchestra can guide us on our way.

Father Tom, The God Squad, and Sri Chinmoy

Monsignor Thomas J. Hartman was known affectionately as “Father Tom.” He was a super nice guy who gave up his childhood dream of playing baseball to gain a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. Later in life, when he developed Parkinson’s disease, he raised enough money to found the Thomas Hartman Center for Parkinson’s Research, which opened in 2013. I can’t believe he passed away just a few days ago. (See this New York Times obituary.)

He was a champion of ecumenism and interfaith harmony who shared a spotlight with his good friend Rabbi Marc Gellman. Together, they formed “The God Squad” — a dynamic duo that team-preached religious tolerance and high ethics.

Father Tom and Sri Chinmoy met on a number of occasions. They became friends and even played tennis together, back in the day. In 2001, Sri Chinmoy honoured The God Squad in one of his lifting ceremonies. Rabbi Gellman recalls:

There are days when my hope wanes and when doubts corrode my faith. On those days I say that faith without reason is blind. But there are other days when I see miraculous things, and on those days I believe that faith without miracles is empty. When I awaken I am never certain what kind of day it will be. However, today I am standing behind Sri Chinmoy. On this day I remember the miraculous day of May 23, 2001, when Sri Chinmoy lifted me, my pal Father Tom Hartman, and a platform up into the air. Together—with the platform—we weighed more than 500 pounds (I had a very heavy cell phone in my pocket!). Sri Chinmoy took a seat underneath us and pushed up. With his two 70-year-old arms, he lifted us up into the air. Fourteen years earlier Sri had lifted 7,040 pounds with his left arm. Fifteen years earlier, at age 55, he lifted 7,063 pounds—with his right arm. Sri Chinmoy lifted airplanes and elephants and over 7,000 people. In fact, we were told Sri had postponed lifting Al Gore that day in order to lift us, the God Squad. Sri believed in “Lifting Up the World With a Oneness Heart.” It was part of his belief that “the physical and the spiritual must go together. They cannot be separated.” The weightlifter and body builder Bill Pearl said, “I have learned from Sri Chinmoy that the size of the arm does not make the man; the size of the heart makes the man. Nobody on earth has done what Sri Chinmoy has done.”

— Marc Gellman, “Are Miracles Real?” Newsweek

A year earlier, Father Tom had written the introduction to a compilation of Sri Chinmoy’s writings, The Wisdom of Sri Chinmoy. Here’s some of what he said:

Sri Chinmoy’s deep love for God is known worldwide. Long revered as a spiritual force for peace at the United Nations, this humble God-directed author asks people of this planet to look within, to rediscover the essential truths of spirituality that have so blessed his extraordinary life…

He is a champion of peace, attracting believers from all religions to see the oneness of the world. He suggests that true religions are recognized by forgiveness, tolerance, compassion, oneness and brotherhood. His work lends itself to a wide audience. Christians, Jews, Muslims and other believers will find many passages in his works of deep insight and helpful suggestion…

I find his works to be personally helpful. In an age when stress is real and it is hard to find the proper amount of time to pray, Sri Chinmoy reminded me that placing God at the center of my life, my work and my prayers will help me to make this a better, more peaceful world and to become the person of faith and love that I am called to be.

Monsignor Thomas J. Hartman

Father Tom also very kindly conducted an extended interview of Sri Chinmoy for the Telecare Network. Here’s the video of that interview:

It was natural that Father Tom and Sri Chinmoy should have become friends. They both expressed a keen and abiding interest in interfaith harmony. Years earlier, in November 1977, Sri Chinmoy had held a meditation and tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the United Nations. This was filmed by WPIX-TV.

Father Tom embodied all that is deeply good in the human spirit and all that is good in Catholicism. He will be missed by millions of viewers who knew him as the gentle voice of tolerance, and the gentle face of God.

Michael Howard

Better Reporting on Religious and Ethnic Minorities

Tips for journalists on overcoming false balance, rejecting hate material, and making sense of moral panics

Introduction

As someone who’s been familiar with Sri Chinmoy and the Peace Run for three decades, I’ve noticed that press coverage varies widely in reliability and accuracy. Here are some tips for journalists covering religious and ethnic minorities. These tips also apply to Sri Chinmoy, the Peace Run, and related entities (some of which are secular, but are inspired by spiritual beliefs).

Note: Many people would to be quick to point out differences between “religious” and “spiritual” — with “religious” perhaps connoting dogma and ritual, and “spiritual” suggesting a personal quest for meaning. Yet, there is a continuum between the two, and in this article the terms are used somewhat interchangeably.

Near the end, I include a list of resources which I find helpful in understanding Sri Chinmoy and the Peace Run.

The problem of false balance

I greatly respect journalists and journalism, and know there are practical reasons why some journalists don’t get a story quite right. There are time pressures, and difficulties making sense of an unfamiliar subject. Particularly if the story is considered low priority, there’s always the temptation to simply cut-and-paste material from the Internet, or to invoke a familiar meme rather than doing careful research. There’s also the problem of “false balance.” Rem Rieder writes:

No matter what the news media’s many critics believe, most journalists endeavor to be fair, to give both sides rather than choose sides. In that effort, there’s a tendency to print what someone says, print what the other side says and call it a day.

The trouble is, there isn’t always equal merit on both sides. So, in instances where one side is largely fact-based, and the other is spouting obvious nonsense, treating both sides equally isn’t balanced. It’s misleading.

Often journalists are reluctant to state the conclusions that stem from their reporting, out of the concern that they will appear partisan or biased. But just laying out both positions without going further in an effort to establish the truth can create [false balance]. And that doesn’t do much good for the readers and the viewers.

Journalism isn’t stenography. It’s not treating everything the same when it’s not the same. It’s about giving citizens information about public affairs that is as accurate as possible.

— Rem Rieder, “The danger of false balance in journalism,” USA Today

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