Question: Some disciples live a long way away. What is the significance of their coming to see you and being in your physical presence?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, the disciples who come from a distance to see the spiritual Master are acting with divine wisdom. The Master is in the physical and the disciple is in the physical. Most of the time our physical consciousness has to be convinced of what is happening. In the inner world we experience peace, light and bliss, but when we open our human eyes, our earthly eyes, we do not see anything. Then we feel miserable. But if we can experience the same truth — the same peace, light and bliss — with our outer senses, then we get boundless joy. The spiritual and the physical must play together wherever possible. If the disciple is at a distance, he should make it a point to see the Master as often as possible because the Master's physical presence helps to convince the disciple's physical mind. Otherwise, the physical revolts. Then it becomes a deplorable case of out of sight, out of mind. If the disciple has firmly established his inseparable oneness with the Master, only then is it altogether different. But if circumstances permit the disciple to come to the Master, then he should always come.

The necessity here is very simple. The possessor of infinite light, peace and bliss has to be seen with the physical eyes if it is at all possible. If we appreciate the paintings of an artist in the museum, then if we see the artist, we get tremendous joy. If we see a poet whose poems we have all along appreciated and admired, we get additional joy. Capacity and the possessor of that capacity, the creator and the creation, both give us joy. We are extremely happy when we observe the creation of God: trees, rivers, sky, mountains, all of nature's beauty. But what is the aim of our appreciation? In the creation we want to see God the Creator, the Possessor and Source of the beauty that we see all around us. So the disciple should come to see the Master if he feels in the Master all the divine qualities. When he prays and meditates, he experiences these capacities and qualities of the Master inwardly. But if he sees the Master on the physical plane, face to face, then he experiences these qualities outwardly as well.

Again, this does not mean that for twenty-four hours a day he has to be in front of the Master. On the physical plane some of the disciples live close by me, while others live at a distance. Those who live nearby undoubtedly get additional opportunities to make progress. Inwardly and outwardly if an individual can become close to the Master, then he makes the fastest progress. But people who live a far distance are lucky in some ways because they do not go through some of the sufferings which the disciples who are nearer endure. If I smile at a particular disciple and not at you, immediately you may become a victim to jealousy. Right now, even if I look at your own wife, if you do not have a feeling of oneness, immediately you think, "Guru gave my wife a broad smile, but he didn't smile at me." Then you become jealous. If you are one with her, then of course you will feel that you have also received a smile from me. If you are developed spiritually, your oneness gives you complete satisfaction. But if you are in Australia, then you cannot see if I am smiling at someone else. So to be in the physical presence of the Master can be a disadvantage.

Another advantage or benefit of being away from the Master is that inwardly you are practising spiritual life and trying to establish an inner connection with him. Then, when you see him on the physical plane, at that time you will have the golden opportunity to convince your physical mind of what you inwardly feel so strongly already.