Question: Usually I think of self-doubt as the human quality and self-indulgence as the animal quality in us.

Sri Chinmoy: You think of indulgence as an animal quality because it has to do with the physical, whereas doubt has to do with the mind. But I give more importance to the destructive capacity of the quality. If you are self-indulgent, eventually you will get tremendous pressure from your mind and body to alter your behaviour. Self-indulgence brings its own punishment, for it will tell upon your health. But when you doubt yourself, it is a slow poison. Gradually it destroys you totally. When an animal destroys, it destroys totally. It won’t get satisfaction otherwise.

The animal in us is doubt because it is ready to devour us, the reality in us, at every moment. It is hiding inside the mind like a hungry wolf, and as soon as it sees something good, it tries to devour it. Anything that is good in us can be devoured by doubt. The human in us is indulgent because it has not received abundant light. The divine light has not yet illumined the human in us fully. When it is indulgent, the after-effect of this pleasure-indulgence is immediate retribution. When the human in us goes to the wrong extreme, it suffers immediately. There is something called divine nectar, which is ecstatic delight or bliss, and when the human in us goes in the right direction, which means with the divine, then it will have all ecstasy and delight.

So doubt is the animal in us because it is total destruction. If we doubt ourselves, doubt devours our divine possibility, potentiality and inevitability. It does nothing short of devour the reality in us. As long as we don’t doubt the wisdom of our spiritual aspiration, no matter how many bad things we do, we will be able to leave them aside before long. But if we doubt, we will never be able to cast aside our undivine life. Once we start doubting, there is no end to it. No matter what we achieve, and no matter what God gives us, we will say, “Perhaps somebody else has been given something sweeter.” Then we will be disgusted and dissatisfied and we will totally give up our life of dedication.