Question: When you spoke of the need to transcend the past, you said that the world is continually evolving. Could you say more about this?

Sri Chinmoy: The world is progressing. If we go deep within, we see that the world is really evolving. In the outer world we see fighting, battles, wars. But actually, when we say ‘the world’, that does not mean the outer happenings. ‘The world’ means our very own existence. Each person represents the world. If we are aspiring, then while going deep within, we can see in our own human nature that we ourselves need to make progress. We still have within us millions of silly, dark and hostile forces.

Now when we accept the spiritual life, we feel that we are no longer victims to those dark forces. Those who have accepted the inner life, the spiritual life, can feel their inner progress. The world around us may be all chaos, but we know that there is also another world, the inner world. In the inner world, we see the achievement of ever-transcending perfection.

Each person has to know and feel how much he has progressed. When he accepts the spiritual life and walks along the path of spirituality, he is bound to see inner progress. In the inner world he achieves Peace, Light and Bliss; but in the outer world his nature is still imperfect. It takes time to manifest these divine qualities in one’s outer behaviour. If we look only at the outer activities, we will be disappointed. But if we go deep within, we will see how much Peace this person has already achieved. In the course of time, he will be able to manifest what he has inside himself. What we have within, we are bound to manifest either tomorrow or the day after.

So when I say the world is progressing or evolving, it is all the result of aspiration; we see it and feel it. At the same time there are many who are not aspiring and they may feel that the world is not evolving. When we aspire, we do see the evolution in our own nature and in others’ lives. But if we do not aspire, we do not see this inner progress at all. Only in the world of aspiration does our inner progress and the progress of the world exist.

The world is evolving. Once upon a time we were all animals. Now we are no longer in the animal kingdom; we have progressed. We have now discovered the mind. But a day will come when we will be far more illumined than we are now. When we think that just a few centuries ago we were all animals, who knows what we are going to be four hundred or six hundred or eight hundred years from now? In the process of evolution, perfection is bound to dawn.

The spiritual life and the outer life are one. It has been said, “I walk slowly, but I never walk backwards.” In the spiritual life also, one may either walk slowly and steadily or march fast, but he has to realise God. One may reach the Goal sooner than another, but all are moving forward towards the Goal.