Stories by Sri Chinmoy's students and friends
Databir Watters • New York, United States

Singing to the Monkeys

Sri Chinmoy with his two monkeys, Jadhu and Madhu

Audio Interview

I’ll tell you a funny story. Guru had two monkeys, Jadhu and Madhu. There was a little monkey house off Guru’s porch at his house where the monkeys lived. My first job in the morning was to feed the monkeys. Each morning I would bring the food into the monkey’s house. They would come down and sit on my shoulder and they would sort of pick at the plate – it was a tin from Annam Brahma – and take what they liked. Guru would ask me if they ate.

One day, Guru told me to sing to the monkeys. I am a terrible singer. I don’t sing on key and I’ve been asked not to sing The Invocation because it puts everybody off. So I sang “Never Say No” to the monkeys. Guru would be sitting on the porch a lot of times, resting, looking out on the street. He had a couch there that he would rest on. 

After about a month of singing “Never Say No,” Guru said, “Change the song.” So I sang “I dearly love my India and I dearly love my America.” And that one went on; but one is hard to sing, I love it, but I do not think I sing it right, ever.

One time I was driving Guru to the court (Aspiration-Ground, the tennis court we use as our meditation garden), and it might have been my birthday but I cannot remember. Guru said, “Please sing a song.” To be honest with you, I said, “Guru, I don’t know any songs really, I don’t know any Bengali songs.” And I didn’t. I said to Guru, “The only song I really know Guru is ‘Happy Birthday’.”  So I start singing Happy birthday. “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you….”

Really, I don’t know any rock songs, I don’t know any of Guru’s songs, except for The Invocation. Now I know seven songs, but in those days I didn’t know any songs. Guru started singing along with me, “Happy birthday to you….”

And then I said, “Well, Guru, I do know ‘America the Beautiful’ a little bit.” Guru and I both started singing “America the Beautiful,” but Guru knew it better than me, to tell you the truth.

The animal life and the human life
Are fast asleep inside you.
Do not awaken the animal life.
Only awaken the human life
So that it can be a good student
Of the divine life.

Sri Chinmoy 1

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