This is a collection of writings by Sri Chinmoy's elder brother, Chitta. Chitta Ranjan Ghose was very close to his youngest brother Chinmoy. When Chinmoy travelled to America Chitta remained very close and took a keen interest in the activities of his youngest brother. Chitta wrote these reminiscences in the early 1980s.
The Supreme gets tremendous joy in concealing Himself. Mother Nature gets tremendous joy in revealing the Supreme. Creation within and creation without is all delight. But in order to see, feel and drink in delight, one must needs have the vision-eye of a seer.
God, out of His infinite Compassion, gave me the insight to see our youngest brother the way he is supposed to be seen. I was so fortunate that I knew who he was. I loved him dearly. He, too, reciprocated. We love each other deeply, soulfully, unreservedly and, perhaps, unconditionally, too.
'Chit' plus 'moy' = 'Chinmoy'. 'Chit' is consciousness; 'moy' is full: full of consciousness, consciousness all-pervading
As I have said before, I had a number of dreams before Chinmoy was born. When Chinmoy was two years old, I had a vision. A most luminous figure appeared before me in my dream and said to me: "The youngest and dearest Madal of your family is a supremely great soul. I am giving you the responsibility to serve him." This Command in my vision gave me joy far beyond my imagination. The following day, early in the morning, I grabbed Madal and placed him on my shoulder, and took him to our mother to tell her my dream. On hearing my dream, my mother gave me a sweet smile: "From the age of ten or eleven, long before you people were born, I used to pray to God to grant me sons like Sri Krishna and daughters like the cosmic goddesses so that I could love them and serve them all my life." This was our mother, Yogamaya, mother of affection, mother of compassion and oneness-heart. My mother's prayer was sanctioned by God and Chinmoy came into our family.
In 1933 our eldest brother, Hriday, joined the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. He was then twenty-one or twenty-two years old. He was a most brilliant student. My father was furious. He would not even look at our brother before he departed. Then my mother took an oath that she would fast unto death if my father did not bring her to the Ashram. It took two days for my mother to soften my father's heart. At the end of two days, he surrendered to my mother. He brought my mother and my whole family to the Ashram.
My mother was very, very happy to see the Divine Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Her heart was deeply moved. She saw them as direct incarnations of Lord Shiva and his consort, Parvati. On her return to Chittagong, like a child she told her friends all about her sublime experiences.
Again, the human in her had a mysterious role to play. It wanted to bring her eldest son, Hriday, home with her. Although she had such love and devotion for Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, she wanted her eldest son to come back and stay with her in Chittagong. There was a tug of war between human attachment and divine attraction.
Before she left the Ashram for Chittagong, she was about to tell the Divine Mother to ask her son Hriday to go back to Chittagong. But instead of that, she said something else, which was translated from Bengali by the Secretary of the Ashram, Nolini Kanta Gupta: "Mother, I am so grateful to you that you have taken full responsibility for my eldest son. I have six more children. I wish you to take them on your path."
The Divine Mother said, "Yes, yes, I shall take full responsibility for all your children."
Then our mother said, "They are quite young. Kindly allow me to keep them with me for a few more years. In a few years, when they grow up, I will send them all to you."
The Divine Mother said, "That is very good. All of them will come to me in the course of time."
So this is what the heart says and what the mind does. Our mother was fully prepared to ask the Divine Mother if she could take Hriday back with her to Chittagong. Instead of that, her soul came to the fore and she begged the Mother to take responsibility for the rest of the family.
I came to the Ashram to become a permanent member in 1942. The rest of the members of our family in forthcoming years joined the Ashram. Chinmoy visited the Ashram in 1933, when he was not even two years old, after Hriday had become a permanent member. Then he came in 1936, 1939, 1941, and at the end of March 1944 he became a permanent member. Our mother left the body at the beginning of the year 1944. In three months' time, Chinmoy came to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and became a permanent member. On the 13th of April in 1964 he left for the United States, obeying an inner Command.
In 1944, during the Darshan time, the Mother herself introduced Chinmoy to Sri Aurobindo, saying, "Hriday's youngest brother, Chinmoy...." Usually the Mother never did this kind of thing. Although some of us came long before Chinmoy and joined the Ashram, Mother used to refer to us as Chinmoy's brothers and sisters. Always Mother used to introduce me as "Chinmoy's brother." We have been in the Ashram now for at least forty years. Even now, when they talk about us, many members in the Ashram say, "Chinmoy's brothers and sister." Such affection, such love he enjoyed both from the Mother and the members of the Ashram.
In 1936, when we visited the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the Ashram Secretary, Nolini Kanta Gupta, wanted to know Madal's real name, because Madal is a nickname. I was a little bit puzzled. What suitable name could we give to our youngest brother? Our eldest brother's name is Hriday Ranjan. My name is Chitta Ranjan. My younger brother's name is Manoranjan. Then Prana Ranjan was coming to my mind to give as Madal's real name, but it was not satisfying my heart. All on a sudden, I got an inner message. A divine voice echoed and re-echoed in my heart: "Chinmoy, Chinmoy!" My human mind never thought that this name would one day be accepted, loved and adored by countless truth-seekers and God-lovers.
Unfortunately, I have forgotten quite a few stories of Madal's childhood life. One evening our parents and all of my brothers and sisters were sitting together enjoying evening conversation. It was a family soirée. Out of the blue, our sister Meri (Ahana) asked Madal whom he loved best of all the members of the family. Madal gave no reply. He just came and sat on my lap. Here my sincerity speaks. I have not been able to help him in any way, but my love for him will always remain fathomless.
Right from his childhood, Madal had a tremendous desire to write books and print books. I am so grateful to God that He has fulfilled my youngest brother's desire. In 1955, when Madal's first book in English, Flame-Waves, was published, his Bengali teacher, Prabhakar Mukherjee, who was all affection and love for Chinmoy because he was by far the best student in his Bengali class, in his introduction wrote:
"In 1946 the poet [Chinmoy] rendered Sri Aurobindo's Bengali story, 'Kshamar Adarsha', 'The Ideal of Forgiveness', into Bengali verse-no less than 200 lines. The poet Nirodbaran took it to our Master, who remarked: 'It is a fine piece of poetry. He has capacity. Tell him to continue.' " [That was Sri Aurobindo's remark.]
The poem was published in a journal, Partha Sarathi, in March 1948 with an appreciative editorial note. He had written this poem when he was 14 years old. At such a tender age he showed his great talent. No wonder he has become a celebrated poet! We noticed all along in Chinmoy the influence of Tagore, Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo. When Chinmoy was in his teens, we saw in Chinmoy Tagore, the manifold capacity; Vivekananda, the indomitable hero; and Sri Aurobindo, the founder of Integral Yoga.
Among Chinmoy's divine qualities, what pleases us, and perhaps the whole world, most is his fountain-heart's childlike quality.
When he was an infant, his head and abdomen were comparatively larger than the rest of his body. His horoscope name is Ganapati, so our grandmother used to say that he was definitely going to be another Ganapati—Siddhi Data—the giver of realisation and also the scribe who noted down the Mahabharata from the sage Vyasa in one sitting. Ganapati also has a big head and stomach. Our grandmother said that Madal was going to be a great writer like Ganapati. Many, many years ago she prophesied this. She was right. Now we hear that in America Chinmoy has written hundreds of poems in a 24-hour sitting.
Right from his childhood, Madal had tremendous eagerness for learning. He was always inquisitive. He wanted to know more, more, more and he had always a volley of questions to ask my mother. My mother used to say, "When you grow up, you will know everything, you will have all the answers."
One day Madal asked our father what our grandfather's name was. Our father said Ramachandra. Then Madal asked what Ramachandra's father's name was. With great difficulty, my father told him. Then Madal had to ask what was the name of Ramachandra's father's father—our great, great grandfather. My father said, "I do not know. How am I supposed to know all this?"
My little brother said, "How can it be that you do not remember your great grandfather's name? That means your father did not have a grandfather."
My father said, "My son, janina, janina—I do not know, I do not know. How am I going to know all this? How am I supposed to remember?"
Madal said to our father, "I cannot believe it! How is it possible for you not to know? When I grow up, I will know everything!"
My father said, "Definitely you will know everything."
Our mother used to make complaints against Madal. She would say, "He is always breaking things. He is becoming so wild." Our father never accepted her complaints. He used to say, "He is doing quite well."
Madal had a childhood hobby. He was able to tell time without seeing the clock. That he proved to us many times. When he was a little boy, he could not read the time on the clock properly. But when we used to ask him what the time was, he could tell without seeing the clock. The clock would be in some other room, but he used to look at us and tell us the time correctly. He never made a mistake. This gave tremendous surprise and delight to all the members of our family.
One day he said to me that he was going to fly in the sky. I said, "How?" He said, "That I do not know, but I am going to fly because I want to go and play with the moon and the stars. And when I come back, I will definitely pluck and bring down a few stars." We used to enjoy his soulful and innocent adventures.
He was not satisfied with anything. It was not dissatisfaction in the ordinary sense. It was the transcendence of his achievement that he used to long for. In his athletic life, he was a great champion. For sixteen years uninterruptedly he stood first in sprinting. Yet he was not satisfied, for he felt that he used to do better during his practice time. He really wished to do better than what he actually performed during the competition. Eagerness to transcend our capacity and not eagerness to defeat others gives us great satisfaction. He is advocating the same thing among his disciples and his followers: success is not their goal, but progress is their goal.
As a little boy, while he was growing up, he was not only adored by the members of the family, but by all the relatives and neighbours. He was sweet, he was kind, he was affectionate and, at the same time, mischievous. Whenever something broke in the kitchen, before he was asked, Madal used to scream at the top of his voice that he did not break it. Our mother used to say, "Then who broke it?" Madal would answer, "I did not break it, I did not break it. My hands broke it, not me." Then our mother would ask, "Whose hands are they?" Madal would say, "They may be my hands, but I am not the one who dropped it. It is my hands that dropped it." Then he used to offer a cute smile to my mother and run away.
Our father used to say, "I am so happy to have a son like this, who brings such life, vitality and enthusiasm into our family. The rest of my children are all saints. They do not believe in life-energy. But this youngest son is all life, all vitality and enthusiasm."
Madal's request was more like a loving command to all the members of our family. Father, mother, brothers and sisters used to get tremendous delight by fulfilling his requests. All his requests we used to take as his loving demands.
In 1963, on the 13th of January, Chinmoy went to give the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Secretary, Nolini-da, a book containing a poem he had written for Nolini-da's birthday which had been translated into twelve languages. Later that morning, Norman Dowsett came to congratulate Nolini-da on his birthday. Nolini-da said to him: "Now see what Chinmoy has done for me." Norman said, "Yes, I see it. It is very beautiful." Nolini-da went on, "In ancient times, people used to pay homage to kings in as many languages as possible. So I am a king!" Then both of them exchanged delightful smiles while leaving the room.
How much love Chinmoy enjoyed from the members of the Ashram! In two days' time, he was able to get the poem translated into so many different languages. Most likely it was all because of Nolini-da's highest position in the Ashram.
His first poem I shall never forget. One evening, while we were walking along the street by the Bay of Bengal, a line of poetry came to him. He did not want to write it down. He asked me and I wrote it down. I taught him the rudiments of Bengali metre, how to write poems.
Tagore received appreciation when he was young from other poets who were older than he was. In exactly the same way, when Chinmoy was quite young, he got appreciation from our great Ashram poet, Dilip Roy, who was one of the foremost disciples of Sri Aurobindo. Chinmoy sent two hundred poems to him and he corrected them in a few places and said some very nice things about them.
Chinmoy did not continue studying in the school. That was an unfortunate experience for the whole family. When he gave up, his eldest sister became so sad. She shed so many tears because she feared that her youngest brother would be illiterate. She suffered a great deal. But Chinmoy did study on his own at the library for hours and hours, and he had mentors like Prabhakar (his Bengali teacher), K.D. Sethna and, finally, our Ashram Secretary, Nolini-da, to cultivate in him his English literature capacity.
One day Chinmoy was coming out from the main Ashram building. A young man by the name of Romen caught him on the street and said to him, "You must write poems in English." Chinmoy said that he would not and could not because he did not know English metre. Romen said, "I am going to teach you." Then he compelled Chinmoy to bring him to our house for two or three hours. He taught Chinmoy English metre and Chinmoy was able to write his first poem in English, "The Golden Flute."
Chinmoy sent this poem to Mother India for publication and the manager was very, very pleased. He sent Chinmoy twenty-five rupees for the poem and Chinmoy offered it to the Mother. After Chinmoy submitted his third poem to this same manager, the manager happened to be paying a visit to the Ashram. When he came to know who Chinmoy was, that it was he who had written "The Absolute," he dropped his cane and embraced him. "Did you write it? Did you write it?" he asked. "Yes, I did," Chinmoy replied. This manager could not believe that "The Absolute" could be written as only Chinmoy's third poem in English.
Chinmoy's first book was Flame-Waves. The Mother appreciated it very much. His second book was The Infinite: Sri Aurobindo, and the third was The Mother of the Golden All. When the Mother read this book, she said to him, "You have put into verse my daily programme. It is excellent." Chinmoy's fourth book was Chandelier.
I was so fortunate to massage Chinmoy's head and feet. Whenever he did not feel well, he used to ask me to massage him. I massaged his head and feet and he used to get relief. I am so proud of having that job.
Before, Chinmoy was in our hands. Now he is in the Hands of the Supreme. But those who are helping him deserve our very special blessings and gratitude. We pray for his victory and the victory of his spiritual children.
[Source: "Chitta's Notebook" in Sri Chinmoy, My Brother Chitta, Aum Publications, Jamaica, New York, 1998. Available at Sri Chinmoy Library
My Brother Chitta - Stories from Sri Chinmoy Library
- Picture of Chitta and Sri Chinmoy in background.