Questions & Answers

Over the years, Sri Chinmoy was asked many questions about his art, and art in general. Here is a selection of some of his answers.
Art and Spirituality

Sri Chinmoy: In the inner world they look much more beautiful, because the inner world is the source. In the source, the beauty has just blossomed. And in the inner world, there is no conflict to ruin the beauty.

Here in the outer world, when something is created, it can be appreciated and it can be criticized. Jealousy can enter into it and, again, oneness can enter into it. Each painting gets quite a few blows from human beings when they say it is very bad. With your outer eye you will say that nothing is damaged. But if you look with your inner eye, you will see that the painting has become damaged. Again, if people are appreciating the painting, it is strengthened. But in the inner world, the painting is absolutely fresh; nobody has touched it. The inner eye does not pollute. In the outer eye there is envy and jealousy, and if you look at a painting with the wrong consciousness, with an unaspiring consciousness, then the painting will be affected. But if you are aspiring while looking at the painting, your aspiration adds to the beauty and reality of the painting. So each time we pass judgement on a painting, we hurt the painting. If we simply say, "Oh, the colour should be that. Here it needs blue, and so forth," then we hurt the painting. Each time we pass judgement on a painting, we hurt the painting; we strike the painting. Again, when we appreciate the painting, it becomes stronger.

The outer world is like a battlefield. Sometimes the painting is winning, sometimes it is losing. But in the inner world, it is not like that. When we look at a painting, we don't criticize or judge it. Only we feel that this is how the Supreme wanted the painting to be done. We say, "Let us be one with the Supreme's manifestation in and through this painting. Whatever is achieved in the inner world is the right thing." So we become one with the painting as such. In the outer world, we see the painting as something other than our own reality. But in the inner world, we see the painting as an expression of our own inner reality. Therefore, we can't criticize or judge, because we are what we eternally are. In the outer world, we are constantly separating the painting from our consciousness. Therefore, we are seeing it in a different light. In the inner world we are seeing it with oneness-light and in the outer world, we are seeing it with a sense of separativity. So naturally the paintings are different in the inner world and the outer world.

Sri Chinmoy: If my paintings are beautiful, then it is because l am trying to keep my heart always beautiful. My paintings are the outer expression of my heart's prayer-beauty. When you appreciate my paintings, it is the outer manifestation of my heart's beauty that you are seeing with your aspiration-heart. Therefore, you see my art as beautiful.

Sri Chinmoy: Beauty and art go together. It is like a beautiful flower. A flower is nature's art, God's art. But when you look at it with your eyes and appreciate it, then what you see along with the flower is its beauty. The flower itself is art, but what it embodies is beauty. How can you separate beauty from the thing that embodies beauty? So, in that way, art and beauty go together.

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. I have to feel that I am not a swimming pool or a lake. God wants me to be a murmuring, running river flowing from the inner Source and carrying that Source to the outer reality. If I want to be an expression of the Source, then I cannot separate my inner and outer existence. The main thing is to bring to the fore the limitless potentialities that I have deep within. From this point of view, even to speak of three million birds is binding. Spirituality is not something abnormal or unnatural. Spirituality is more normal and natural than anything else. God is limitless, infinite, immortal, and I want to become consciously part and parcel of His Existence so that I can serve Him in His own Way. At the same time, the One who is infinite, eternal and immortal is trying to express Himself in and through my limitations. He says, “Now I want to express Myself in and through your artistic life. I want to express Myself in and through your poetic life, your sports life.” But He can do it only according to my receptivity. A mother gives some candies to a three‑year‑old child and tells him to distribute them to his friends. Then, when she sees that the child is doing well, she gives him lots of sweets so that he can feed hundreds of people. In this way the mother is offering the sweets to others in and through her child.

I always say that the Supreme is expressing Himself in and through me, according to my receptivity. I am not the doer. I cannot claim these three million birds as my own and I do not want to claim them as such. I am grateful to the Supreme for having given me the golden opportunity to serve Him in His own Way. My poetry, my music, my art and everything else that I do are only expressions of Somebody who is operating in and through me. At every moment He is seeing how much purity I have, how much humility I have, how much sincerity I have, how much eagerness I have. According to these, He is able to express Himself in and through me.

Some people may say, “What is he doing? He is an artist, he is a musician, he is singer. Why is he not taking one subject and doing the utmost with it?” But I do not see it that way. A piano has many keys. Why should the pianist always stay on one key? If he plays only one key, one note, how can he produce the cosmic melody, the universal melody? Similarly, I feel that art is one key, poetry is another key, meditation is a third key and sports is a fourth key. If you strike the different keys, then you produce nice music. Otherwise, it will not sound good.

If I want to be a flower inside God’s Heart-­Garden, or if I want to be a flower placed at the Feet of God, how can I have only one petal? If a flower is to be beautiful, it must have at least a few petals. If I bring you one petal on a stem, you will say, “Is it a flower? This is silly.”

My body has hands, legs, eyes and so forth. Shall I give importance only to my hands? Shall I make them stronger than the strongest and not pay any attention to my legs? And if I pay attention only to my legs and discard the mind, then who will tell me to walk? Again, if my eyes are not functioning, then how are my legs going to take me anywhere? As the body is integral, so life itself must be an integral whole.

Sri Chinmoy: When I look at a painting, I try to feel its inner existence, which we call the soul. If a painting gives me an immediate inner thrill or a feeling of joy, if it touches my aspiring heart and makes me want to become a better person, then I feel that painting is meaningful for me. But if a particular work of art does not give my aspiring heart immediate inspiration, then I find it very difficult to appreciate. When I get a magnetic pull from a painting, then I become one with it. But if I see there is a yawning gulf between the painting and my own inspiration or aspiration, then I am unable to identify and become inseparably one with the artist and his painting. In no way am I judging these artists or their paintings; it is a Question of my incapacity or my capacity. There are millions of people who do appreciate these paintings.

Sri Chinmoy: If the artist is a seeker, or the seeker is a divine artist, then only can this easily take place. As a matter of fact, a sincere artist, a divine artist, is a seeker. While a divine artist is creating something, his aspiration is going high, higher, highest. And then, if he is also a seeker, his very aspiration is creating something in the earth atmosphere. He is aspiring in his own room, but the fragrance of his aspiration, the power of his aspiration is spreading all around. So when the seeker and the artist become inseparably one in their aspiration and manifestation, then the perfection of art in human life is not only possible but inevitable.

The art that makes us universal is called perfection, and the aspiration that makes us universal is called supreme art. The secret of supreme art is its universal oneness, its universal consciousness. And again, real aspiration, aspiration of the heart, is also part and parcel of the universal conscious­ness. So artist and seeker, art and aspiration, are absolutely one. When one has that kind of awareness, when one discovers the truth in that way, then perfect perfection dawns in one’s art‑life and aspiration‑life, which become inseparably one.

Sri Chinmoy: Exactly the way flowers blossom. So go to your flower garden and look at a flower. See how slowly, stead-ily and unerringly the flower blossoms, petal by petal. So you kindly imagine inside your heart there is a lotus, or rose, or any flower that you like. Try to imagine that particular flower inside your heart. Then try to imagine that it is blossoming petal by petal. Similarly the heart itself expands. First it opens up. When you aspire, when you pray and meditate it opens up and gradually, gradually it expands. What we need at the very beginning, is the opening of our heart, and then, gradually, gradually, the expansion of our heart.

If you can imagine a flower inside your heart, it is quite possible to open up the heart. A flower is beautiful, pure, extremely beautiful, and extremely pure. Our heart is infinitely more beautiful and infinitely more pure and at the same time it is more than eager to pray and meditate. But the mind comes in and the mind does not allow the heart to come to the fore and do its regular activities, which are prayer and meditation.

Sri Chinmoy: In the inner world they look much more beautiful, because the inner world is the source. In the source, the beauty has just blossomed. And in the inner world, there is no conflict to ruin the beauty.

Here in the outer world, when something is created, it can be appreciated and it can be criticized. Jealousy can enter into it and, again, oneness can enter into it. Each painting gets quite a few blows from human beings when they say it is very bad. With your outer eye you will say that nothing is damaged. But if you look with your inner eye, you will see that the painting has become damaged. Again, if people are appreciating the painting, it is strengthened. But in the inner world, the painting is absolutely fresh; nobody has touched it. The inner eye does not pollute. In the outer eye there is envy and jealousy, and if you look at a painting with the wrong consciousness, with an unaspiring consciousness, then the painting will be affected. But if you are aspiring while looking at the painting, your aspiration adds to the beauty and reality of the painting. So each time we pass judgement on a painting, we hurt the painting. If we simply say, "Oh, the colour should be that. Here it needs blue, and so forth," then we hurt the painting. Each time we pass judgement on a painting, we hurt the painting; we strike the painting. Again, when we appreciate the painting, it becomes stronger.

The outer world is like a battlefield. Sometimes the painting is winning, sometimes it is losing. But in the inner world, it is not like that. When we look at a painting, we don't criticize or judge it. Only we feel that this is how the Supreme wanted the painting to be done. We say, "Let us be one with the Supreme's manifestation in and through this painting. Whatever is achieved in the inner world is the right thing." So we become one with the painting as such. In the outer world, we see the painting as something other than our own reality. But in the inner world, we see the painting as an expression of our own inner reality. Therefore, we can't criticize or judge, because we are what we eternally are. In the outer world, we are constantly separating the painting from our consciousness. Therefore, we are seeing it in a different light. In the inner world we are seeing it with oneness-light and in the outer world, we are seeing it with a sense of separativity. So naturally the paintings are different in the inner world and the outer world.

Sri Chinmoy: What kind of popularity does God want? Popularity is one thing; fulfillment is something else. One can be popular and, at the same time, one may not have the capacity or the willingness to fulfil God's Will on earth. There are many people on earth who are popular. They are popular on the physical plane, on the vital plane or on the mental plane, but they are nowhere in God's Oneness-plane. God wants to be fulfilled on all planes in a divine way. If we fulfil God on the physical plane, vital plane, mental plane, psychic plane and soul's plane, then only will He be happy. By becoming popular in an ordinary human way, we do not please or fulfil God. What He wants is the fulfillment and execution of His Will. If we do not fulfil God, then although we are human beings, in no way is our consciousness better than the consciousness of animals and stones. If we fulfil God, He will be happy. Fulfillment is the thing that He needs, divine fulfillment--not so-called human popularity.

Sri Chinmoy: In my case, even now I do not know which colours are friends and which colours are enemies. Even now I do not know, although I have done thousands and thousands of paintings. You may see that I use green and yellow quite often. It is not because they match but because intuitively I get a kind of joy in using them together -- side by side or one overlapping another. It is not because the artist in me or my artist-heart has learned from somewhere that these two colours or any two colours can be put together. No. Only I feel that they have a peaceful harmony or that they complement one another's beauty and inner wealth.

I enter into not the battlefield of life but a garden of light. With the human body we enter into the battlefield of life. But when we deal with delicate things, with subtle and beautiful things, at that time we enter into the garden of our hearts divine reality. There we see that everything has its own purpose-reality. Everything has a special purpose. Everything contributes something to the total integrity of the object, of the subject, of the mission, of the vision, of the supreme Truth. It is not because they mix together or because they are good friends, but because they are all members of the same inner family, spiritual family. So they automatically go together.

The mind is not used and the mind will never be used. Unfortunately, I don't have the kind of mind that knows which colours should go together or things like that. God feels that if I don't have this kind of discriminating mind, then it is a great blessing. If I had it, then I would have a problem of preferences and partialities. But I don't have it.

Sri Chinmoy: In a broad sense, sensitivity plays a considerable part in art. You can say they remain peacefully together. Again, if sensitivity does not want to remain in art, or if art does not want or need sensitivity, then they can remain totally apart.

An artist may have sensitivity in large measure. Again, an artist may have no sensitivity at all. Art and sensitivity can go together and should go together. But even if they remain separate, the artist can still manifest.

Sri Chinmoy: Spirituality means a higher life, an inner awakening, a better way of self-expression. So when art embodies these things, when you offer these things to the world through your art, at that time your art is manifesting spirituality.

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the artist. If the artist is a seeker and he cares for the significance of colours, then if he is drawing, he may give more importance to colours than an ordinary artist. If this artist is a seeker, then he will know that blue represents Infinity or that blue is Krishna's light. Then while he is using the colour blue, he may think of Krishna or he may think of Infinity. In that way, if he is a seeker, the artist will get much from his inner knowledge of the significance of different colours. If he knows in the inner world what a particular colour signifies, and if he wants to project this quality to the outer life in his painting, then his inner knowledge will definitely help. Again, there are artists who do not know these things and do not care for them, but who have an inborn inner inspiration. And through that inspiration they do wonderful things.

Sri Chinmoy: From the spiritual point of view, art is an expression of divinity that is extremely meaningful and fruitful, It is through this divinity expression that we increase and bring to the fore our own inner potentiality,

Sri Chinmoy: The role of art in the spiritual life is first to awaken oneself and then to awaken the sincere seekers around one. Through self-discipline and self-sacrifice the seeker will first develop his oneness-heart, and then he will offer his oneness-heart to others. In the spiritual life, one has to be a seeker first. Then his aspiration he will offer to the world at large: That is his art. That is his progress for earth and his service to God.

Sri Chinmoy: Art is supremely important for the evolution of mankind. It is through inner art and outer art that mankind evolves. Inner art is discipline; outer art is the execution of God's Command. Inner art is prayer and meditation. If you pray and meditate, then easily you can know if God wants you to become a singer or a teacher, or something else. Then, if you listen to God's inner Command, that becomes outer art. This inner art and outer art are most important for the evolution of mankind.

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, one can manifest some form of art even if one does not have the sensitivity of an artist. There are many artists who do not have any sensitivity but they draw quite well and do excellent work. It is like people in certain professions or vocations who have no liking for their particular field, but who are experts. They don't have to be sensitive; they don't have any feeling for their particular work. But they do it well, God's Grace is working in and through them, but they are not conscious of it. So they do not get as much joy in their work.

Again, if an artist is sensitive, then naturally his art will be more soulful and more fruitful. Mother Earth and Father Heaven will deeply appreciate his kind of art, because consciously he is creating. And a sensitive artist gets much more joy in his creation than an artist who is not sensitive.

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly every seeker should try to manifest some kind of art. But that doesn't mean that you have to draw something on a piece of paper or paint something on a canvas. Now, Art can be in your talk, in your movement, in your prayer, in your meditation. In everything he does, each seeker should have, at every moment, an artistic touch -- while talking, while giving, while moving, while conversing.

Sri Chinmoy: In terms of the spiritual life art is definitely a most powerful manifestation of God. Or we can say that it is most a powerful God instrument for giving joy to mankind and helping mankind to lead a better and higher life.

Sri Chinmoy: In the outer world we manifest, in the inner world we achieve. In the inner world we don't try to manifest anything. In the inner world, only we try to achieve. Only in the outer world do we try to manifest. Manifestation is on the outer plane, realization is on the inner plane. We try to realize the ultimate Truth inside us and then we try to manifest that ultimate Truth here in the outer world.

Sri Chinmoy: In the spiritual life, there is no basic difference between music and art because a seeker-artist is definitely a divine musician. Again, a divine musician cannot be anything else other than a seeker-artist.

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the person. If the person is a seeker, then art reaches the heart. If the person is not a seeker, usually it reaches the mind. But again, if somebody is an integral seeker, then both his mind and his heart will be touched by art.

Sri Chinmoy: Art is supposed to be manifested in the world in the same way that we try to manifest our good qualities: joy, peace, love, bliss and so on. Anything good that we have or that we are, anything that is good in our nature should be manifested. Art is also an excellent thing which must be manifested.

Sri Chinmoy: You are supposed to see my art with your aspiration-heart and dedication-life. Aspiration-heart means an inner cry, and dedication-life means a soulful smile.

Yes, one can manifest some form of art even if one does not have the sensitivity of an artist. There are many artists who do not have any sensitivity but they draw quite well and do excellent work. It is like people in certain professions or vocations who have no liking for their particular field, but who are experts. They don't have to be sensitive; they don't have any feeling for their particular work. But they do it well, God's Grace is working in and through them, but they are not conscious of it. So they do not get as much joy in their work.

Again, if an artist is sensitive, then naturally his art will be more soulful and more fruitful. Mother Earth and Father Heaven will deeply appreciate his kind of art, because consciously he is creating. And a sensitive artist gets much more joy in his creation than an artist who is not sensitive.

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. I have to feel that I am not a swimming pool or a lake. God wants me to be a murmuring, running river flowing from the inner Source and carrying that Source to the outer reality. If I want to be an expression of the Source, then I cannot separate my inner and outer existence. The main thing is to bring to the fore the limitless potentialities that I have deep within. From this point of view, even to speak of three million birds is binding. Spirituality is not something abnormal or unnatural. Spirituality is more normal and natural than anything else. God is limitless, infinite, immortal, and I want to become consciously part and parcel of His Existence so that I can serve Him in His own Way. At the same time, the One who is infinite, eternal and immortal is trying to express Himself in and through my limitations. He says, “Now I want to express Myself in and through your artistic life. I want to express Myself in and through your poetic life, your sports life.” But He can do it only according to my receptivity. A mother gives some candies to a three‑year‑old child and tells him to distribute them to his friends. Then, when she sees that the child is doing well, she gives him lots of sweets so that he can feed hundreds of people. In this way the mother is offering the sweets to others in and through her child.

I always say that the Supreme is expressing Himself in and through me, according to my receptivity. I am not the doer. I cannot claim these three million birds as my own and I do not want to claim them as such. I am grateful to the Supreme for having given me the golden opportunity to serve Him in His own Way. My poetry, my music, my art and everything else that I do are only expressions of Somebody who is operating in and through me. At every moment He is seeing how much purity I have, how much humility I have, how much sincerity I have, how much eagerness I have. According to these, He is able to express Himself in and through me.

Some people may say, “What is he doing? He is an artist, he is a musician, he is singer. Why is he not taking one subject and doing the utmost with it?” But I do not see it that way. A piano has many keys. Why should the pianist always stay on one key? If he plays only one key, one note, how can he produce the cosmic melody, the universal melody? Similarly, I feel that art is one key, poetry is another key, meditation is a third key and sports is a fourth key. If you strike the different keys, then you produce nice music. Otherwise, it will not sound good.

If I want to be a flower inside God’s Heart-­Garden, or if I want to be a flower placed at the Feet of God, how can I have only one petal? If a flower is to be beautiful, it must have at least a few petals. If I bring you one petal on a stem, you will say, “Is it a flower? This is silly.”

My body has hands, legs, eyes and so forth. Shall I give importance only to my hands? Shall I make them stronger than the strongest and not pay any attention to my legs? And if I pay attention only to my legs and discard the mind, then who will tell me to walk? Again, if my eyes are not functioning, then how are my legs going to take me anywhere? As the body is integral, so life itself must be an integral whole.

Sri Chinmoy: I am a man of prayer and meditation. For me, birds have a very special significance on a spiritual level. They fly in the sky, and the sky is all freedom. So when the birds fly in the sky, they remind me of the soul’s infinite freedom. The soul has come from Heaven. When we think of birds, we are also reminded of our Source, and this gives us enormous joy. I feel that if people come here to view these birds, their inner hunger to fly in the sky of infinite freedom will be fed.

Sri Chinmoy: As you know, where there is a will, there is a way. I pray to God and meditate on God. Out of His infinite Compassion, He has given me the capacity to accomplish quite a few things. These creations of mine are not my personal belongings or my personal possessions. These are my dedicated offerings to my Inner Pilot. Out of His infinite Bounty He has given me the capacity, and it is He who receives the fruits.

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, most of them are abstract. When I paint, I see a streak of light and I follow that streak of light very faithfully. Art is not my forte. When I started painting, I did not dislike it; I just did not have any particular interest in the subject. But who am I? My Inner Pilot inspired me and I just obeyed His command.

There are many, many things that I have done because I have been inspired from deep within. In no way had I ever thought of doing these things. I just try to be receptive to God’s Will and, according to the power of my receptivity, He acts in and through me. So I can’t take any credit for what people see in me. His Grace descends and I try to be a humble instrument of His.

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I use acrylics in my paintings. There will be an exhibit of my paintings in Cebu City. We have brought a few hundred of my paintings from New York.

Sri Chinmoy: In the inner world they look much more beautiful, because the inner world is the source. In the source, the beauty has just blossomed. And in the inner world, there is no conflict to ruin the beauty.

Here in the outer world, when something is created, it can be appreciated and it can be criticized. Jealousy can enter into it and, again, oneness can enter into it. Each painting gets quite a few blows from human beings when they say it is very bad. With your outer eye you will say that nothing is damaged. But if you look with your inner eye, you will see that the painting has become damaged. Again, if people are appreciating the painting, it is strengthened. But in the inner world, the painting is absolutely fresh; nobody has touched it. The inner eye does not pollute. In the outer eye there is envy and jealousy, and if you look at a painting with the wrong consciousness, with an unaspiring consciousness, then the painting will be affected. But if you are aspiring while looking at the painting, your aspiration adds to the beauty and reality of the painting. So each time we pass judgement on a painting, we hurt the painting. If we simply say, "Oh, the colour should be that. Here it needs blue, and so forth," then we hurt the painting. Each time we pass judgement on a painting, we hurt the painting; we strike the painting. Again, when we appreciate the painting, it becomes stronger.

The outer world is like a battlefield. Sometimes the painting is winning, sometimes it is losing. But in the inner world, it is not like that. When we look at a painting, we don't criticize or judge it. Only we feel that this is how the Supreme wanted the painting to be done. We say, "Let us be one with the Supreme's manifestation in and through this painting. Whatever is achieved in the inner world is the right thing." So we become one with the painting as such. In the outer world, we see the painting as something other than our own reality. But in the inner world, we see the painting as an expression of our own inner reality. Therefore, we can't criticize or judge, because we are what we eternally are. In the outer world, we are constantly separating the painting from our consciousness. Therefore, we are seeing it in a different light. In the inner world we are seeing it with oneness-light and in the outer world, we are seeing it with a sense of separativity. So naturally the paintings are different in the inner world and the outer world.

Sri Chinmoy: In my case, I do not need confidence because I know that each painting is a dedication. When it is a matter of dedication, the dedication itself is joy. When we live in the world of confidence, confidence itself is not enough; we need something more. After confidence, success has to come. You are confident of doing something, but you may fail totally. You are confident that you will stand first in the race, but then you get a cramp and leave the track. Look at your confidence now! But if you have a surrendered will, it is different. At that time, you will say, "If l fail, even if I stand last, it will give me equal joy. Only I wish to execute the Supreme's Will. lf you have that kind of faith in the Supreme's operation, then you become a real instrument and you know that you are doing the right thing. To become absolutely one with His Will: this is what we all want; this is what we all need.

Sri Chinmoy: Mentally there is no meaning; there is no meaning at all. You as an individual can give one meaning and somebody else can give another meaning. Just use your fertile brain. You will say, "He is drawing the world, and he is saying that the world is the place for realization, manifes-tation and perfection." Somebody else will say that round, here, signifies zero. The world is nothing. It is meaningless. There is nothing here on earth, so he is saying, "Give up, give up everything. Only think of God." So one will say that the paintings are telling us to accept everything, because the world has everything to offer -- aspiration, realization, revelation and manifestation. And another will come up with the theory that this world is absurd, nothing, zero. So these are two theories that you and your fellow beings can apply to these paintings, if you use your fertile imagination.

But I as an artist, as an individual, know absolutely nothing as to why I have done this. It is a mystery to me, because I have not done it. lt is my Beloved Supreme who is painting in and through me.

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, I have not aspired to draw even one painting. I aspired to realise God. The Supreme out of His infinite Bounty granted me that boon. I aspired to be a poet and a writer. The Supreme was kind enough to grant this to me. At the dawn of my life, I wanted to become a good athlete. The Supreme was kind enough to grant that boon also. So I became a yogi, poet, writer, athlete, and so on. For all these things I aspired. To become a musician, I aspired in my own way. But when it is a matter of painting, I have been saying all the time that it is the Supremes absolute unconditional Grace and Compassion that has made me an artist, if I am one.

I will never aspire to draw or paint for the sake of appreciation. No! But if the Supreme wants to inspire me, if He wants to aspire in and through me in order to illumine the art-loving mankind, then He will paint in and through me. I as an individual will never aspire to make one more painting to draw world-acclaim or to manifest my capacity, which is only incapacity. I am not inspired to do that. I will aspire only to do one thing: to become and remain an ever-transcending, ever-illumining and ever-fulfilling instrument of the Supreme. For that only I will aspire. I will always try to become a perfect, more perfect, most perfect instrument, ever-transcending perfect instrument of the Supreme. For that I shall always aspire. But after realising God, I no longer aspire to become an athlete or a singer or a poet or a writer. No, no, no. I aspire only to become a more perfect, more illumining and more fulfilling instrument of the Supreme for the Supreme, and for this I shall eternally aspire.

Sri Chinmoy: In my case, even now I do not know which colours are friends and which colours are enemies. Even now I do not know, although I have done thousands and thousands of paintings. You may see that I use green and yellow quite often. It is not because they match but because intuitively I get a kind of joy in using them together -- side by side or one overlapping another. It is not because the artist in me or my artist-heart has learned from somewhere that these two colours or any two colours can be put together. No. Only I feel that they have a peaceful harmony or that they complement one another's beauty and inner wealth.

I enter into not the battlefield of life but a garden of light. With the human body we enter into the battlefield of life. But when we deal with delicate things, with subtle and beautiful things, at that time we enter into the garden of our hearts divine reality. There we see that everything has its own purpose-reality. Everything has a special purpose. Everything contributes something to the total integrity of the object, of the subject, of the mission, of the vision, of the supreme Truth. It is not because they mix together or because they are good friends, but because they are all members of the same inner family, spiritual family. So they automatically go together.

The mind is not used and the mind will never be used. Unfortunately, I don't have the kind of mind that knows which colours should go together or things like that. God feels that if I don't have this kind of discriminating mind, then it is a great blessing. If I had it, then I would have a problem of preferences and partialities. But I don't have it.

Sri Chinmoy: There is no difference between the souls of my earliest paintings and the souls of my latest paintings. Each soul has its own way of embodying, revealing and manifesting the Supreme's Light. When the hour comes for a particular soul to embody, to reveal and to manifest the Light, that soul spontaneously, graciously and unconditionally makes me an instrument for the establishment of the divine Victory of the Supreme.

Sri Chinmoy: Most of the time I do not think at all when I am painting. But sometimes I do think of the higher worlds. Sometimes I think of my friends in the higher worlds. Sometimes I think of my disciples. Again, even when I am thinking, my thinking is not affecting my art. When I am thinking, I can keep my thinking capacity away from my painting capacity. They are like two persons in front of me, I am looking at only one person, my art the other person is watching what I am doing, but I am not conversing with that person, and I am not being affected by him at all. So when I am talking to someone in the inner world, or thinking of someone, It cannot directly affect my paintings. lt is like birds flying in the sky; they leave no mark. You may think that there will be some mark in the sky, but there is no mark at all. In my case, also, when thought comes, or when I enter into thought, it doesn't affect my creativlty.

Sri Chinmoy: The colours in my paintings have the same meaning that they have in the spiritual life. If it is blue, it means Infinity. Green is new life or new life-energy. White is purity and it is also the colour of the Divine Mother. Purple is for the divine manifestation. What I have said that colours signify in the spiritual life applies equally to my art.

Sri Chinmoy: Most of the time when I paint I get a kind of inner joy and a kind of inner discovery. When l paint, I discover something which I did not know before. That is why I get tremendous joy, most of the time, when l am painting.

Sri Chinmoy: If my paintings are beautiful, then it is because l am trying to keep my heart always beautiful. My paintings are the outer expression of my heart's prayer-beauty. When you appreciate my paintings, it is the outer manifestation of my heart's beauty that you are seeing with your aspiration-heart. Therefore, you see my art as beautiful.

Sri Chinmoy: There are quite a few famous artists who didn't get any inspiration from God directly. There are some famous artists who were atheists; they didn't even believe in God, So how can you say that they got their inspiration directly from God? In one sense, everything is from God -- good, bad, everything. Inspiration, you can say, comes from a higher source, and this higher source is God. Or you can say that these artists got their inspiration from nature, Nature itself has its own in-spiration, its own capacity, and some artists identified themselves with nature. Again, nature also is a part of God. But when it is a matter of God as a personal deity, God in His per-sonal aspect, they did not necessarily get their inspiration from God.

This house, let us say, belongs to God, If anybody takes something from God's House, you can say that they have taken that thing from God. For what is the difference between God and God's House? Again, there is a difference, because God is inside one particular room of the House. If you pray and meditate, then you can go into that room and get inspiration from God directly. But if somebody doesn't care for that kind of personal God, then he can get inspiration from God's House, which is nature. Nature is also God; it is God's outer manifestation.

Sri Chinmoy: When I look at a painting, I try to feel its inner existence, which we call the soul. If a painting gives me an immediate inner thrill or a feeling of joy, if it touches my aspiring heart and makes me want to become a better person, then I feel that painting is meaningful for me. But if a particular work of art does not give my aspiring heart immediate inspiration, then I find it very difficult to appreciate. When I get a magnetic pull from a painting, then I become one with it. But if I see there is a yawning gulf between the painting and my own inspiration or aspiration, then I am unable to identify and become inseparably one with the artist and his painting. In no way am I judging these artists or their paintings; it is a Question of my incapacity or my capacity. There are millions of people who do appreciate these paintings.

Sri Chinmoy: If the artist is a seeker, or the seeker is a divine artist, then only can this easily take place. As a matter of fact, a sincere artist, a divine artist, is a seeker. While a divine artist is creating something, his aspiration is going high, higher, highest. And then, if he is also a seeker, his very aspiration is creating something in the earth atmosphere. He is aspiring in his own room, but the fragrance of his aspiration, the power of his aspiration is spreading all around. So when the seeker and the artist become inseparably one in their aspiration and manifestation, then the perfection of art in human life is not only possible but inevitable.

The art that makes us universal is called perfection, and the aspiration that makes us universal is called supreme art. The secret of supreme art is its universal oneness, its universal consciousness. And again, real aspiration, aspiration of the heart, is also part and parcel of the universal conscious­ness. So artist and seeker, art and aspiration, are absolutely one. When one has that kind of awareness, when one discovers the truth in that way, then perfect perfection dawns in one’s art‑life and aspiration‑life, which become inseparably one.

Sri Chinmoy: An athlete is already an artist. Art does not mean a piece of paper with a drawing of it. Art means discipline. The supreme art is a disciplined life. He who has disciplined his life is a great discoverer of truth, light, beauty, peace and bliss. In order to become a good athlete, one has to discipline one’s life considerably. One has to get up early in the morning to practise, and one has to practise hard again at noon or in the evening. One cannot become friends with lethargy, indolence and lack of punctuality. So the athlete’s disciplined life is already veritable proof that he is an artist.

An artist is he who has disciplined his life to discover the one Truth that manifests itself in various ways. With this discipline he expresses the beauty of life, reveals the duty of life and brings to the fore the Will of God. So, from the beginning, the artist must have a sense of discipline. The athlete already has a sense of discipline—the discipline of the body. The discipline of the physical consciousness is of paramount impor­tance, for the physical discipline takes a very long time to achieve. Through prayer and meditation we can easily discipline the psychic consciousness, the mental consciousness and the vital conscious­ness. But it takes a very long time to discipline the physical consciousness, because the physical in us is like a mischievous monkey. It takes a very long time to establish a disciplined peace in our physical consciousness. So the athlete who has achieved this discipline in his outer life is undoubtedly an artist from the spiritual point of view.

Sri Chinmoy: Exactly the way flowers blossom. So go to your flower garden and look at a flower. See how slowly, stead-ily and unerringly the flower blossoms, petal by petal. So you kindly imagine inside your heart there is a lotus, or rose, or any flower that you like. Try to imagine that particular flower inside your heart. Then try to imagine that it is blossoming petal by petal. Similarly the heart itself expands. First it opens up. When you aspire, when you pray and meditate it opens up and gradually, gradually it expands. What we need at the very beginning, is the opening of our heart, and then, gradually, gradually, the expansion of our heart.

If you can imagine a flower inside your heart, it is quite possible to open up the heart. A flower is beautiful, pure, extremely beautiful, and extremely pure. Our heart is infinitely more beautiful and infinitely more pure and at the same time it is more than eager to pray and meditate. But the mind comes in and the mind does not allow the heart to come to the fore and do its regular activities, which are prayer and meditation.

Sri Chinmoy: What kind of popularity does God want? Popularity is one thing; fulfillment is something else. One can be popular and, at the same time, one may not have the capacity or the willingness to fulfil God's Will on earth. There are many people on earth who are popular. They are popular on the physical plane, on the vital plane or on the mental plane, but they are nowhere in God's Oneness-plane. God wants to be fulfilled on all planes in a divine way. If we fulfil God on the physical plane, vital plane, mental plane, psychic plane and soul's plane, then only will He be happy. By becoming popular in an ordinary human way, we do not please or fulfil God. What He wants is the fulfillment and execution of His Will. If we do not fulfil God, then although we are human beings, in no way is our consciousness better than the consciousness of animals and stones. If we fulfil God, He will be happy. Fulfillment is the thing that He needs, divine fulfillment--not so-called human popularity.

Sri Chinmoy: In my case, even now I do not know which colours are friends and which colours are enemies. Even now I do not know, although I have done thousands and thousands of paintings. You may see that I use green and yellow quite often. It is not because they match but because intuitively I get a kind of joy in using them together -- side by side or one overlapping another. It is not because the artist in me or my artist-heart has learned from somewhere that these two colours or any two colours can be put together. No. Only I feel that they have a peaceful harmony or that they complement one another's beauty and inner wealth.

I enter into not the battlefield of life but a garden of light. With the human body we enter into the battlefield of life. But when we deal with delicate things, with subtle and beautiful things, at that time we enter into the garden of our hearts divine reality. There we see that everything has its own purpose-reality. Everything has a special purpose. Everything contributes something to the total integrity of the object, of the subject, of the mission, of the vision, of the supreme Truth. It is not because they mix together or because they are good friends, but because they are all members of the same inner family, spiritual family. So they automatically go together.

The mind is not used and the mind will never be used. Unfortunately, I don't have the kind of mind that knows which colours should go together or things like that. God feels that if I don't have this kind of discriminating mind, then it is a great blessing. If I had it, then I would have a problem of preferences and partialities. But I don't have it.

Sri Chinmoy: The paint, the brush, the paper,these will not be aware of the appreciation that is coming from the art-loving mankind. But the dedicated, devoted and loving consciousness of the artist will be aware. In the ordinary human life, appreciation may create problems. It may arouse ego, vanity and pride. But when the appreciation is for divine paint-ings, when the appreciation touches the divine consciousness of the artist, at that time it is not ego, pride or vanity that is aroused. Rather, an opportunity dawns both for the artist and for the painting, as such, to offer something to the art-loving mankind and also to Mother Earth, which always wants to cherish and treasure something more illumining and more fulfilling in her heart-garden of aspiration, love, light and delight.

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. When we see some art, immediately our mind, like a dynamo, wants to do something, grow into something and become something. Again, when we see other art, immediately we feel that it is like the bottom of the sea or the vast sky. It is where peace and poise reign supreme and there is only eternal tranquility.

Sri Chinmoy: lt entirely depends on the receptivity of the particular child. Some children are more drawn to music, while others ore more drawn to art. There cannot be any categorical rule. But you have to know that music is also a form of art, and art is a kind of Inner music. So if a child is interested in music, eventually he can develop considerable interest in art as well. Again, if somebody in the beginning of his life is deeply inter-ested in art, he can easily develop on interest in music. Music and art are very close to each other, and they can easily move together.

Art is supremely important for the evolution of mankind. It is through inner art and outer art that mankind evolves. Inner art is discipline; outer art is the execution of God's Command. Inner art is prayer and meditation. If you pray and meditate, then easily you can know if God wants you to become a singer or a teacher, or something else. Then, if you listen to God's inner Command, that becomes outer art. This inner art and outer art are most important for the evolution of mankind.