Question: I think people would say that the way in which you choose to discover yourself is not good for people because it tends to turn them inward, so their attention is more exclusively on themselves rather than on making the kinds of changes that have a significant impact on large numbers of people. And by concentrating on one's own fulfilment and self-discovery a lot of other things that are of greater need to the world are neglected, in a sense.Sri Chinmoy: I fully understand. The thing is that if I do not know who I am and what I stand for, how am I going to be of any use to mankind? I have to have some inner conviction first that I am of the Source, and I am for the Source. Reality is within as well as without. My highest Reality I can bring to the fore by entering deep within. If I do not do this, what can I offer to mankind, or how can I make humanity feel that I am of them and I am for them?
Real spirituality does not mean entering into the Himalayan caves and remaining closeted. Far from it! Ours is the path of acceptance. The spiritual path that we are following demands the acceptance of the outer world. But we are not satisfied with our own lives or the lives of others right now. We want to change the face of the world for the better. If I have no capacity, then how can I be of service to you? And to develop capacity I have to dive deep within and establish a free access to the highest Source so that I can become a perfect instrument of that Source to be of service to earth in the best possible way.
We do not advocate an isolated life. I don’t ask my students to enter into a room and remain there meditating for hours. I don’t ask them to retreat to the Himalayan caves or the mountains. I tell them to mix with humanity and share what they have with humanity. The only thing is that inside they have to have something to share. If they don’t have something better than what the rest of humanity has, then what are they going to share? Just because they have dived deep within and attained some inner peace and light, they have something worthwhile to offer to humanity.