Through talks and answers to questions offered at the United Nations, the members of the Peace Meditation Group as well as the wider UN community received valuable inspiration and guidance from Sri Chinmoy. Below are some excerpts from talks given over the years pertaining to concentration, meditation and contemplation that aspiring practitioners from various traditions found useful in enhancing their own meditation practice.
This selection of “meditation related” talks provides practical guidance on meditation and concentration techniques. These excerpts also appear in a 2021 publication which celebrates 50 years with 50 talks covering many more topics.
Note: The talks appearing in this selection have been condensed from the original. For ease of reference to the original unabridged text, references to the online versions are listed after each talk heading. The full text can be accessed on SriChinmoyLibrary.com by adding the abbreviated reference, e.g., /xx-##, also provided at the end of each talk.
Excerpts from “Meditation Related” Talks
Inauguration Meditation, 14 April 1970 (/gns-27)
Sri Chinmoy offered the following illumining words at the inaugural meditation of the Peace Meditation at the United Nations, held on 14 April 1970.
Today’s United Nations was yesterday’s perfecting Vision. Tomorrow’s United Nations is today’s fulfilling Realisation.
Unity is not oneness. A bud is not a flower.
Unity is the temple. Oneness is the shrine.
The absence of unity is imminent confusion.
The absence of oneness is the ultimate destruction.
The presence of unity is the immediate end of human imperfection and limitation.
The presence of oneness is the glorious beginning of man’s perfect Perfection.
– Sri Chinmoy, The Garland of Nation-Souls, 1972 (/gns-27)
Peace Is Our Birthright (/gns-14)
How Can We Have It?
The outer peace and the inner peace. The outer peace is man’s compromise. The inner peace is man’s fulfilment. The outer peace is man’s satisfaction without being satisfied at all. The inner peace is man’s satisfaction in being totally and supremely fulfilled.
How can we have peace – even an iota of peace, in our outer life, in the hustle and bustle of life and amidst multifarious activities? Easy – we have to choose the inner voice. Easy – we have to control our binding thoughts. Easy – we have to purify our impure emotions. The inner voice is our guide. The binding thought is the dark and unpredictable weather. We have to face it and then dominate it. The impure emotion is the inner storm. We have to refrain from the luxury of the emotional storm.
How can we choose the inner voice? To choose the inner voice, we have to meditate early in the morning. To control and dominate our undivine thoughts, we have to meditate at noon. To purify our unlit impure emotions, we have to meditate in the evening.
Peace is the beginning of love. Peace is the completion of truth. Peace is the return to the Source.
– Sri Chinmoy, The Garland of Nation-Souls, 1972 (/gns-14);
Meditation – Applied (/un-16)
Since we are seekers, we all need meditation. Everyone meditates either consciously or unconsciously. There is not a single human being on earth who does not meditate. But most of us are not aware of our meditation. We all want peace of mind. Whatever method we adopt to bring about peace of mind is our way of meditation. We all want happiness. Whatever we do in order to achieve happiness is our way of meditation. We all need love in the inner world and in the outer world, and for that we do various things. Whatever we do in order to achieve love is our way of meditation.
There are some people who are awakened to some extent. They feel that the desire-life is the life of a beggar and will never be able to satisfy them. From an iota of wealth we try to get more wealth. But unless and until we achieve boundless inner wealth – infinite joy and love – we will never actually be happy. When we realise this, we enter into the life of aspiration. Aspiration deals with infinite peace, light and bliss, which we all have in the inmost recesses of our hearts. If we want to achieve boundless happiness, we can do so only on the strength of our meditation.
Everybody wants freedom. If we can free ourselves from our mind, then we can get the joy, peace, love and fulfilment that at every moment we are looking for. If we can have peace of mind, then we will have everything, for inside peace looms large our complete and perfect satisfaction.
We may study hundreds of books on meditation. We may dis-cuss meditation for hours with our friends. But only meditation-power itself actually can give us peace. Meditation is the art of silencing the mind that tortures us at every moment. If we can meditate soulfully for even a few minutes, then for hours afterwards no uncomely thoughts can attack our mind or disturb its poise and tranquillity. And it is inside the poise of our mind that oneness universal at every moment grows. By virtue of our meditation, our thought-world will be trans-formed into the will-world, and our everyday life unmistakably will be inundated with peace – the peace that grows, the peace that glows, the peace that embraces all mankind.
I meditate so that I can give to the world what my heart has to offer—love and the feeling of oneness.
I meditate because I know that it is by virtue of my meditation that I can get an awakened body, a dynamic vital and a mind totally free from doubt, which is absolute poison to my system. By virtue of my meditation, my fearful and timid heart can be transformed into an indomitable heart.
There are some individuals who think and feel that meditation cannot be applied to all spheres of life. Unfortunately, I do not see eye to eye with them. Meditation has a free access to all spheres of life. There is no activity on earth that cannot benefit from meditation. There are some who are of the opinion that politics and meditation can never go together. I wish to say that they are making a deplorable mistake. Politics and meditation can go together. From one point of view, a politician is a seeker. What does he seek? He seeks peace and oy. Somebody may be working here at the United Nations –in the vortex of politics – but still that individual has the capacity to benefit from meditation.
As a human being, we need success in our outer life and progress in our inner life. The mind gets tremendous satisfaction from the success-life. The heart gets tremendous satisfaction from the progress-life. If we can meditate soulfully every day, then our mind will get considerable peace and our heart will get considerable assurance. On the strength of this inner peace and inner assurance, our mind will succeed in its outer life and our heart will proceed towards its destined goal in the inner life. If each of us can meditate soulfully for just ten minutes early in the morning and again in the evening when the day draws to a close, then before long our life will have a new meaning, a new purpose and a new fulfilling and illumining goal.
– Sri Chinmoy, The United Nations: The World’s Oneness-Home, 2005 (/un-16)
Meditation: Discovery and Invention (/sm-11)
We meditate for various reasons. Peace of mind we all badly need. Therefore, when we meditate, either consciously or unconsciously we aim at peace of mind. Meditation gives us peace of mind without a tranquilliser. And unlike a tranquilliser, the peace of mind that we get from meditation does not fade away. It lasts for good in some corner of the inmost recesses of our aspiring heart.
Meditation is not an escape exercise. The seeker who meditates faces suffering, ignorance and darkness, and inside the very life and breath of suffering he tries to establish the kingdom of wisdom-light.
The true seeker who meditates also knows that whatever he is doing is not for his own personal salvation. Sincere seekers try to assimilate world-truth, world-light and world-capacity and meditate for world transformation, illumination and perfection.
Real meditation never forces us to do something, to say some-thing or to become something, for it knows that everything has to be natural and spontaneous. It only helps us enter cheerfully into the current of spiritual life.
Human life is beset with difficulties, dangers and so forth, but we can overcome these difficulties. We see ahead a perfection-light. But as soon as we see this light that perfects us, we are frustrated. A red traffic light is frustration to us, especially when we are in a hurry to reach our destination. But we forget that it is the red light that saves our precious life from destruction. The red traffic light is regular and punctual. Regularly and punctually it is warning us, saving us. Similarly, regularity in meditation saves us, illumines us and fulfils us.
Silent meditation is the strongest force that can ever be seen, felt and executed. So silent meditation we must learn.
Just by not using outer words, we are not doing silent meditation. Silent meditation is totally different. When we start meditating in silence, right from the beginning we feel the bottom of a sea within us and without. The life of activity and restlessness is on the surface, but deep below, underneath our human life, there is poise and silence. So, either we shall imagine this sea of silence within us or we shall feel that we are nothing but a sea of poise itself.
Can Meditation Enhance Leadership? (/uv-5)
But if meditation means an expansion of our consciousness, if meditation means that we are of all and for all, then our qualities of leadership are bound to increase.
In mental leadership we notice that the world around us is all imperfection and we feel that only our own mental world is perfect.
There is another type of leadership. We call it psychic leader-ship, the leadership of the heart. Whoever leads in the heart is a real leader. This leadership is the recognition of one’s inseparable oneness with the rest of humanity. The one is for the many and the many are for the one. Here real oneness makes us feel that all are equally responsible for embodying the highest Truth, revealing the highest Truth and manifesting the highest Truth.
Meditation is a dynamic active power; it is movement. Movement itself is progress. Movement itself is the growth and expansion of our reality. Whenever we meditate, at that time we are moving toward some destination which we are bound to reach. While progressing toward the destination, this movement increases its potentiality, its capacity, its reality, its vision.
In the outer world, a leader is he who has more capacity or more opportunity than other individuals or many other individuals. But in the spiritual life it is not like that. If one can accept the reality around him as his very own despite all its imperfection, limitation and bondage, then he is the real leader – and not he who has a little more capacity than another individual or the rest of the group. He who claims his brothers and sisters as his very own, he who accepts the challenge of ignorance and who stands in front of ignorance-night determined to conquer it and transform it into the flood of Light – he is the real leader.
If one has not come into the world with a quality of leader-ship, it does not mean that that person will never have leadership. No! If one accepts the spiritual life, it means one is beginning a new life. A new life means a new hope, a new promise, a new prophesy, a new dream which is about to be blossomed into reality. This new life is bound to offer the seeker what he wants, whether it be leadership or anything else.
The capacity for leadership is not the sole monopoly of any individual. It is granted to all. But each individual has to be aware that this capacity and reality abide in him.
Mediation and Meditation (/gns-17)
Two conflicting parties need to reach a compromise. A third party, the mediator, is then of paramount importance. His is the task of offering light to the conflicting and strangling par-ties. When the mediator is successful, the two conflicting par-ties end their mutual enmity and hostility. They live, or at least try to live, peacefully, in their own domain.
The animal in us incites us by roaring that might is right. The human in us inspires us by feeling deep within that right is might.
Here on earth, since everything is fleeting, if we can derive a little joy, a little peace, a little harmony from mediation, our mental wisdom, we should be proud of our achievement. At a certain stage in human development, when most of the people are not aspiring to be perfect, mediation is of great importance. Therefore we must pay attention, reverential attention, to mediation. It is a temporary mental relief, a pause, a rest in the life of constant conflict. It is a clever com-promise. But to expect abiding peace and illumining fulfilment from mediation is simply absurd. For these higher goals we need meditation.
The United Nations is the mediator unmatched and unparalleled in today’s world. Its achievements are unique. Unfortunately these achievements may not, or do not or cannot last.
In the inner life, we also see two conflicting parties: fear and doubt on one side; and inner courage and faith on the other side. Meditation plays three distinctive roles in the inner life. Meditation is the medicine; meditation is the doctor; meditation is the cure, the ultimate cure. Meditation cures our fear.
It transforms our fear into strength, adamantine will. It trans-forms our doubt into constant, unmistakable and inevitable certainty. He who is surcharged with inner courage and faith will get constant help and illumination from meditation.
In the outer world of turmoil, mediation is necessary. In the inner world of frustration and despair, meditation is necessary. If we can bring the result of meditation to the fore, mediation will have a new life that will be flooded with ever-lasting peace, light and bliss. In the fleeting, in the finite, we shall hear the message of the eternal and the infinite.
-Sri Chinmoy, The Garland of Nation-Souls, 1972 (/gns-17)
Does Meditation Really Accomplish Anything? (/gns-12)
A man of sterling aspiration will confidently ask, “… Is there anything that cannot be achieved by meditation?”
What is the first and foremost thing we expect from meditation? Peace. Peace and nothing else. Meditation is the embodiment of peace. The present-day world needs only one thing: peace.
The peace-lover, former Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, offers us a sublime message: “No peace which is not peace for all.” In peace, what looms large is eternal, fulfilling rest. He says, “. . . no rest until all has been fulfilled.”
Why do we meditate? We meditate just because our life needs inspiration, our life needs aspiration. Aspiration is, to some extent, a form of meditation. It is our meditation that promises to give us our realisation-tree. Today meditation plays the role of aspiration and tomorrow meditation will play the role of realisation.
In our human life two things are of paramount importance: role and goal. At every moment we have to know what our role is, and then we have to be conscious of our ultimate Goal. At our journey’s start we have to be fully aware of our role. At the end of our journey’s close we have to be fully conscious of our Goal. Now, there must needs be a connecting link between our role and our Goal. Meditation is this connecting link.
Meditation, in fact, accomplishes everything.
Experiencing Concentration and Meditation (/rd-14)
I have offered to each of you a flower. Try to look at the entire flower for a few seconds. While you are looking at the entire flower, please feel that you are the flower and also that this flower is growing inside the inmost recesses of your heart. You are the flower and, at the same time, you are growing inside your own heart. Then gradually try to concentrate on one particular petal, any petal that you select. Feel that the petal is the seed-form of your reality-existence. After a few minutes’ time, concentrate again on the entire flower, and feel that this flower is the universal reality. In this way go back and forth. Keep your eyes half open and do not allow any thought to enter into your mind. Try to make your mind absolutely calm, quiet and tranquil.
Now close your eyes and try to see the flower that you have concentrated upon inside your heart. Then, in the same way you did with your eyes open, concentrate on the flower inside your heart with your eyes closed.
Now we shall meditate. Keep your eyes half open and imagine the vast sky. Either try to see or feel the vast sky right in front of you. In the beginning, try to feel that the sky is in front of you; then later, try to feel that you are as vast as the sky, or that you are the vast sky itself.
Now close your eyes and feel that you are the universal heart. Try to see and feel the vast sky inside your heart. You are the universal heart, and inside you is the sky that you meditated upon and identified yourself with. The universal heart is infinitely, infinitely vaster than the sky, so you can easily house the sky within yourself.
The Voice of Silence (/tnh-19)
No matter how long I speak about the Voice of Silence, I shall not be able to make you hear the Voice of Silence. But I wish to assure you that if you meditate with me for a few minutes before I speak, if you can dive deep within as I shall dive deep within for a few minutes, then either you will hear the Voice of Silence or your prayer and meditation will expedite your journey towards receiving the message of Silence. (A short period of meditation followed.)
It is true that it takes years for a seeker to hear the message of the Voice of Silence. But, I wish to say that on the strength of our inner aspiration and outer dedication, we can and will hear the Voice of Silence which sempiternally is guiding our life.
We wish to hear the Voice of Silence, but how can we hear it? There are two principal ways. One way is to silence the human mind totally.
The other way is to feel that the heart-vessel has to be filled with peace, light, bliss and power. When we want to hear the Voice of Silence through the mind, we empty the mind. But when we want to hear the Voice of Silence through the heart, we fill up the heart.
What else must we do to hear the Voice of Silence? When we pray, when we meditate, we have to do something quite specific. When we breathe in, we have to imagine consciously that inside that breath, within us, is a peaceful nest and a bird. After a few minutes we have to feel that the nest is our outer existence and the bird is our inner existence. Now this bird has to come out of its nest. How do we bring the bird out of the nest? One way is to make our concentration, meditation and contemplation as dynamic as possible. Here, dynamism means the constant feeling within you of a speeding train that does not stop – an express train that does not stop at any station or at any junction. It is a tireless train, an endless train, continuously going on. In the flow of dynamism, we see the bird of our inner being leaving its nest.
Another way to hear the Voice of Silence is to feel, the moment you enter into your meditation or start praying, that you are an infinite expanse of ocean. A few minutes later, please feel that you are deep inside the ocean, and from there try to spread the wings of the bird that you were when you followed the dynamic way of hearing the message of Silence.
A seeker may hear the Voice of Silence as something very faint and feeble – a tiny voice like a ripple of calm water. But this feeble voice, this faint voice, can be compared to an atom. When we split the atom, we release unbelievable power. Similarly, when we know how to hear the Voice of Silence properly, our inner being immediately is inundated with the power of thousands of inner suns.
How can we know whether we are hearing the Voice of Silence or something totally different which we are mistakenly calling the Voice of Silence? When we hear a voice from the very depths, from the inmost recesses of our heart, and if that voice gives us a message which our outer mind or physical consciousness is ready to accept with utmost joy and love, then we will know that that is the Voice of Silence. If the physical mind or the outer consciousness does not get immediate joy, then it is not the Voice of Silence. When the Voice of Silence is heard, the outer mind will accept it so wholeheartedly that it will feel that the lofty truth it has discovered is its own achievement.
– Sri Chinmoy, The Tears of Nation-Hearts, 1974 (/tnh-19)
The Inner Call (/rd-20)
For those who are sincere, the inner call is always illumination.
The forces of aspiration tell us that only a new life, a new nourishment, can give us happiness and satisfaction.
Always the call will come to each individual on a different plane. It can come on the political plane, on the spiritual plane, or on any other plane. When we hear that call, we have to know how far we should go with it. Some people want only to start their journey, while others want to walk a consider-able distance and still others want to reach the destination. There will be a few who will want to come back to the starting point again to teach others how to walk properly and how to reach the goal.
When we get an inner call, no matter where we are, we have to go forward.
The United Nations also has an inner call. That inner call does not come from the geography of the world or the history of the world; it comes from the cry, the inner cry of the world. The living inner cry says that the role of the United Nations is to serve, not men as such, not the world as such, but the cry that is inside the world, the cry that is inside each human being, inside each individual on earth.
An inner call comes to awaken us, to illumine us. If it is from the inner call that we make a choice, then it is from the inner call that we move forward, and it is from the inner call that we eventually realise the Highest. Everything must be illumined and perfected. This happens only when we do not turn back. The road is a one-way road.
– Sri Chinmoy, Reality-Dream, 1976 (/rd-20)
Click here to open or download the pdf format of the 50th anniversary publication of
- 50 selected answers to questions:The Vision of the United Nations: A Oneness-World-Family, Part 1.
- 50 selected talks: The Vision of the United Nations: A Oneness-World-Family, Part 2