Sri Chinmoy was born in a small village in East Bengal (now Bangladesh) in 1931 as the youngest of seven children. In 1944, following the death of his parents, he entered the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, a spiritual community near Pondicherry in South India. He spent more than 20 years in spiritual practice refining his character through meditation, athletics, poetry, essays, and spiritual songs. In 1964, Sri Chinmoy moved to New York City to share his wisdom with seekers in the West. Today he serves as spiritual guide to devotees in 60 countries. He is one of the most creative gurus around with a passion for music, poetry, painting, literature, and sports. He regularly travels the world presenting free lectures, meditations, and concerts. A peace activist, Sri Chinmoy has given spiritual counsel to delegates to the United Nations.
This extraordinary volume brings together the wisdom of Sri Chinmoy gathered from 1,300 of his books. The question-and-answer format enables us to hear this spiritual teacher as if he were standing in front of us. The material is arranged into 71 thematic categories including beauty, death, desire, doubt, faith, God's will, illumination, inner peace, karma, perfection, reincarnation, saints, silence, suffering, worry, and yoga. There is also an appendix listing Sri Chinmoy Centers around the world and some of the enterprises connected with them.
Sri Chinmoy teaches that devotion is the candle of the spiritual life and aspiration is the flame. Unlike many spiritual teachers, he does not put down imagination. It can be used "to spread the Light of the Supreme." The enemy is the ego. Sri Chinmoy claims that it can "steal away all our divinity" if we let it control us. One of the easiest ways to conquer the ego is "to offer gratitude to God for five minutes daily. Then you will feel that inside you a sweet, fragrant and beautiful flower is growing. That is the flower of humility." Humility comes when we realize that the games of fame and money are nothing in comparison with God-realization.
Sri Chinmoy is convinced that we hurt God when we underestimate or ignore our inner wealth. That is why spiritual practice is so important: "Making spiritual progress is like developing a muscle. Slowly and steadily, through regular practice, we develop stronger muscles. That is also the way we develop our inner muscles, which are inspiration, aspiration and dedication." Sri Chinmoy teaches the benefits of daily meditation and the repetition of a mantra. He sees the value of patience and recognizes adversity as a spiritual teacher. He is also open to all religions: "Forgiveness, compassion, toleration, brotherhood and feeling of oneness are signs of true religion. . . . True religion has a universal quality. It does not find fault with other religions."
Delight can be at the start of our journey and carry us along to the end. Sri Chinmoy states that the spiritual life is never an escape from reality. Instead, it opens our eyes to what is right in front of us. Inner peace comes when we surrender to what he calls "our Supreme Pilot." He writes: "Why do you worry? Turn around; look, God is looking at you. Enter into your mind; look, God is devotedly thinking of you. Enter into your heart; look, God is all for you. Enter into your soul; look, God has already done everything for you."