A Glimpse into Sri Chinmoy's Vision of America by Manatita
“O green-blue Sacred Fire,
O Sun Freedom-Light,
O Heaven’s gold Delight,
America, O my child of speed,
My Supreme Promise-Seed.” –Sri Chinmoy.
The Sacred Fire, Act 2, Scene 4, (1975), Agni Press
In this chapter, I will attempt to share with you, my reader, the vision of America as seen through the eyes of Sri Chinmoy. In doing so, however, it is necessary that I discuss four essential truths, which he felt contributed greatly to the development of America:
1. The Founding Fathers, poets, patriotic heroes and seers, were paramount to the true worth, sacrifice, lofty ideals and self-giving of America. They also contributed to the progressive spirit, speed and advancement of their country. Sri Chinmoy's supreme utterance below serves to remind us of this:
“The Supreme had a special vision for the soul of America, and He revealed it first through the Founding Fathers”. I Need My Country: Beauty’s Soul, Section 1, (1975), Agni Press.
2. To have an understanding of America from Sri Chinmoy's standpoint, it is important to recognise that it has a Soul. The Soul is the divine spark that creates its reality and embodies its vision for the future. Sri Chinmoy teaches us that:
“Every Nation has its soul. The Soul of a nation consists of its aspirations, aptitudes and capacities placed at the service of the Supreme... -Sri Chinmoy”
3. The Sacred Fire, from which some of my thoughts have come, was written in 1975. Nevertheless, Sri Chinmoy saw his vision of America, long before touching down on its soil on April 13th, 1964. Indeed, it was for this reason that he came. He felt that India’s vision and America’s vision ran parallel, and while both countries were sometimes at odds with one another, they “basically love each other, for each have the self-same goal: A peaceful life”. The Sacred Fire, Act V1, Scene1, P52, (1975), reprinted 1998, Madal Bal.
4. There was a profound relationship between England and America, which to an extent, assisted with the shape and growth of the two countries. In The Sacred Fire, Sri Chinmoy writes lovingly of England as the Mother and America as the daughter. The Mother is of ‘exquisite beauty’, and the daughter has ‘indomitable strength’. Indeed the Soul of America manifested mostly through power. As the Soul of America matured, it felt the need to take care of itself. In Sri Chinmoy's eloquent and poetic way, he describes America’s striving for self-advancement thus:
“...There is a beauty in the rising sun and there is a beauty in the setting sun, equally charming, illumining and fulfilling. You (England) have so far enjoyed the beauty of the rising sun, but from now on, you will have to enjoy the beauty of the setting sun. And you, my brave America, before long you shall start enjoying the beauty of the rising sun …. the sun that illumines, the sun that liberates, the sun that immortalises the soul and the body of aspiring humanity .....” (Ibid. Act 1, Scene 2, p.14).
Both countries eventually came to be happy with and in each other, sharing many heartfelt qualities together, including England’s nobility, and America’s self-giving heart. Before returning to the Founding Fathers, I would like to sum up with one soul-stirring quote on America by Sri Chinmoy:
“O Dignity-Majesty-Divinity-reality-flooded Soul of American Liberty! These are the good, better, best qualities of the real America, the America which is to raise the consciousness of the world, and why I came here. This is the America I envisioned in India. “Beautiful” – the real Beauty of the Absolute Supreme, universal Beauty of the Supreme, America the country embodies. http://us.srichinmoycentre.org) (Last visited 5th April, 2010.)
In Sri Chinmoy's writings, the self-giving of the Founding Fathers was for something higher and deeper. In the deepest recesses of their hearts, they wanted to manifest a higher truth, to show that liberty was not only for them, but for the use of the entire world. According to Sri Chinmoy, Light always has to be embodied by great individuals. It was Thomas Jefferson’s vision and of all those who surrounded him – Washington, Adams, Franklyn, Paine, Munro and others.
There was also another wave of patriotism when Abraham Lincoln came. Patriots, in Sri Chinmoy's vision, are “those who have helped their country and elevated its consciousness so that the reality of their country has widened”. He continues:
“The American patriots of the past felt that life and patriotism were inseparable. They felt that patriotism was the manifestation of life’s freedom, that it was the only way to love one’s country. ..they only wanted to give what they had and what they were” I Need my Country: Beauty’s Soul, Section 1, (1975), Agni Press.
According to Sri Chnmoy, the Soul of America came forward to offer its light and delight to those brave souls, to inject the feeling of patriotism into those few selected children of America. By so doing, they were able to become true and humble instruments of God, pleasing God according to their capacity, understanding and their inner and outer awakening.
Thomas Jefferson and his Declaration of Independence, was one such vision. Sri Chinmoy writes that he was a ‘good man. A God-messenger, a Vision-son of God’. He had ‘clarity, luminosity and vastness’, and in his case, ‘mind, body, vital, heart, everything went together’. ‘God gave him capacities in many walks of life and he used them well.’ I Love my Country: Purity’s Body, Section1, (1975), Agni Press.
Because it is so significant, I enclose below Sri Chinmoy's lofty utterance on the Declaration of Independence.
“The American Declaration of Independence had the pioneer vision of faith, dignity and humanity’s basic needs: equal rights, justice and freedom. Clarity, luminosity and vastness, these the Declaration of Independence embodies. It is not a mere declaration. It is something infinitely more. It is the freedom-cry of humanity’s aspiration-day from the frustration-night of ignorance” The Bicentennial Flames at The United nations, (1976), Agni Press.
Declaration of Independence
Sri Chinmoy saw George Washington as ‘the Father of the American Nation. He was the son of peace and the brother of self-giving’. He had the indomitable spirit of a General and the peerless wisdom of a President. He was also ‘the first and last President to be everybody’s choice’. Sri Chinmoy continues that his ‘high character and majestic will, powerfully blend with courage and capacity:’ The Sacred Fire, Act 2, Scene 2, (1975), Agni Press.
There were many other seers and patriots. Sri Chinmoy mentions Ralph Waldo Emerson’s indomitable will and utter self-reliance, and described him as a ‘prophet of Universal Faith, a seer visualising the future in the living present. ‘Very few souls as Emerson have come into the world; he had light in abundant measure’. Whitman was ‘the vision of the oneness of everything and in everything’. While Emerson was ‘soft, sweet and luminous’, Whitman ‘dynamically fronted the Reality which is manifesting to an ever-increasing extent’. They were both, ‘Fellow-pilgrims on their way to the Home of God, the culmination of today’s world, they march in stupendous glory.’ Philosopher-Thinkers: The Power-Towers of the Mind and Poet-Seers: The Fragrance-Hours of the Heart in the West, (1998), Agni Press.
Of course one would not speak of all these noble and God-given attributes without seeing how they have shaped America and its people. It has given her strength, vastness, a progressive spirit, courage, supernal beauty and matchless pomp. It has also given her an unimaginable speed for progress. ‘Speed’, that one quality that Sri Chinmoy loved so much:
“Do not waste time
Tomorrow never comes!”
To continue about America’s great: Abraham Lincoln championed the equality of every man’s birth right, and faith in God’s justice. His Gettysburg address was incomparable:
“He had the gift to dream of union,
The courage and capacity to fight,
The confidence to win,
The patience that knew no flagging.”
America in Her Depts. (1973), Agni Press.
John F. Kennedy was ‘the Universal Heart’:
“Prince of high idealism, Freedom incarnate,
Helper of humanity.”
Kennedy: The Universal Heart, (1973), Agni Press.
He was eloquent in his Inaugural Address, “that soul-stirring address that is as deep as the Atlantic in its outlook; ideals as high as the Himalayas and resolutions as powerful as atomic power.” (Ibid).
“President Kennedy is, as it were, the lineal descendant of the American nation’s traditional leadership. As George Washington was the father of The United States, as Abraham Lincoln was its saviour, as Franklyn D Roosevelt was the Voice of America, even so is John F Kennedy the Noble Defender of World freedom and World Peace.” (Ibid). (This is only the first half of the Chapter)