The Poetic Spirit of Sri Chinmoy

Sri Chinmoy leaves behind a published body of over 100,000 poems in over 500 books of poetry; he also wrote many volumes of theatrical plays, prayers and stories. Taken together with his university talks and answers to questions from people interested in different aspects of the inner life, Sri Chinmoy’s total published output numbers over 1500 books.

Sri Chinmoy composed poetry with a spontaneity and prolificity unmatched by any other poet that ever lived. He began his poetic career in his adolescence with tightly metered rhyming verse, and developed his style into haiku-like aphorism-poems around the time of his arrival in the West from his native India in 1964. He completed his collection of Ten-Thousand Flower Flames in 1983 after just four years in the writing, and finished his epic “Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants’ in 1998. At the time of his passing, he was over half-way through his most ambitious project yet – a collection of 77,000 poems titled ‘Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees’.

His poems spoke of an inner world of the soul which most of us have only brief and fitful experience of, and described it with an assurance that could only come from one who has made that world his home:

“No mind, no form, I only exist; Now ceased all will and thought. The final end of Nature’s dance, I am It whom I have sought.” (1)

In each of his poems, Sri Chinmoy endeavoured to point the reader towards one of the infinitely many facets of the spiritual life. The poems are always aimed at the heart rather than the mind, for it is only the heart can feel these realities and claim them as its own. Some of the poems speak of the incredibly sweet and intimate relationship between man and God, others empathise with the spiritual seeker as he struggles to overcome his imperfections and advance along the spiritual path.

A sea of Peace and Joy and Light Beyond my reach I know. In me the storm-tossed weeping night Finds room to rage and flow. (2)


Sri Chinmoy’s poetry moves and inspires with a simplicity and directness that forces the reader to think beyond the page. The poetry is challenging because it speaks not to our comfortable sense of everyday expectations, but it awakens the heart and our own soul’s loftiest aspirations.

I who create on earth my joys and doles To fulfil my matchless quest in all my play, I veil my face of truth with golden hues And see the serpent night and python day.
A Consciousness Bliss I feel in each breath; I am the self amorous child of the Sun. At will I break and build my symbol sheath And freely enjoy the world’s unshadowed fun.(3)


Sri Chinmoy has a infectious enthusiasm for poetry. Throughout his life, he never stopped composing poetry and also sought to encourage others to write poetry. The difficulty of using words to express the transcendental beyond is an oft repeated maxim, yet, to Sri Chinmoy, poetry had that rare capacity to lift the written word from beyond the limitations of the intellect. Sri Chinmoy saw poetry as a unique medium to connect the human and the divine.

“Poetry that springs from a devout heart leads kindred hearts to the ever-sweet One and makes of them a Republic with Him for President. No other divine faculty perhaps has a greater power of transcendence over limits to the illimitable. In the bright days that are dawning upon the earth well may we look for the leaven of transcendental poetry to uplift the whole human mass….” (4)

Sri Chinmoy’s poetry is vast and wide ranging. It speaks to all aspects of life and the spiritual path. Yet, amidst the countless poetic avenues of exploration, Sri Chinmoy leaves an unmistakable assurance of a poet who speaks not just with imagination but the soul-certainty of a Seer Poet.

“My spirit aware of all the heights, I am mute in the core of the Sun. I barter nothing with time and deeds; My cosmic play is done.” (5)


Sri Chinmoy on Poetry

“The poet beckons tomorrow’s dream-dawn and then transforms tomorrow’s dream-dawn into today’s reality-day. It is a deplorable mistake we make when we try to understand poetry. Poetry is not to be understood. Poetry is to be felt. Poetry is to be loved. To try to understand a poem is like touching a rose with innumerable thorns. To try to feel a poem is to lovingly hold a rose without a single thorn. And to love a poem is to grow immediately into the beauty and fragrance of the rose itself…”

  • Sri Chinmoy On Poetry


“…Over 50,000 poems go to my credit. My critics justifiably criticise me for having written so many poems. They say that I believe only in quantity and not in quality. They are perfectly right in their own way or according to their own judgement. But I feel that quantity is necessary as well as quality. I visit the supermarket quite often. The supermarket has many varieties of food, and I am able to choose what I need or want. If the supermarket had only one thing, I would be disappointed along with hundreds of other customers. So quality and quantity must go together…”


Further Reading

“…Many of Sri Chinmoy’s short poems are also instructional, their apparent simplicity revealing more and more profound depth on each re-reading. They display a haiku-like compactness, a tremendous density and compression of language. He has, in fact, forged his own language, his own vocabulary, imbued familiar words with a new life, an energy and vitality. His style is unique, instantly recognizable…He is above all a poet of the inner landscape, and he never forgets that the poem is ‘a finger pointing at the moon’, an invitation to the silence beyond the words….”


[1] Excerpt from – The Absolute , From My Flute

[2] Excerpt from – The Absolute , From My Flute

[3] Excerpt from – Apocalypse , From My Flute

[4] Transcendental Poetry

[5] Excerpt from – The Absolute , From My Flute