Question: You frequently talk in your work about listening to the inner voice and following the dictates of the inner voice. How can you be sure it is the inner voice of truth that you are listening to and not the delusions of the ego?

Sri Chinmoy: If you hear the real inner voice, you will feel a kind of satisfaction within you which will not depend on the result of your action. If you feel that you will get satisfaction only if the result of your action is successful, according to your light, whereas if the result is unsuccessful, you will not be satisfied, then the voice which is telling you to do that action is not the inner voice.

An inner voice will give you a message, and inside that message will be action and reaction, or action and the result thereof. The result of the action will come in the form of either success or failure. If you feel that you will be able to take either success or failure — whatever comes — with the same type of cheerfulness, then you can rest assured that it is the inner voice that is guiding you. If the so-called inner voice is a mental hallucination, or something from the ego or desiring vital, then you will want to accept its message only if you see that it will fulfil your vital demands. Otherwise, you will want to discard it. At that time you will be like an opportunist. If the result seems like it will be satisfactory, according to your understanding, you will accept the voice. If it seems like it will be unsatisfactory, then you will reject it.

But the message of the inner voice will give you the necessary strength to be cheerful regardless of results. Even if the result comes in the form of failure, you will be able to identify yourself with God’s Will to such an extent that you will see failure not as failure but only as an experience. And success you will see not as something to boast of or to glorify yourself with, but as an experience that God wants to give you. So if you are able to assimilate the result of your action in a divine way, and from the result proceed toward your destination without any wrong inner movements, then it is the dictates of the inner voice that you are hearing.

The inner voice is the messenger. It only brings messages directly from above, and fulfils God’s Will. Whatever message is brought down by the inner voice, the seeker will accept cheerfully and soulfully. If he can do this with no regard for the so-called success or failure, then the seeker can rest assured that the message has come down from the highest Authority. If one really loves the highest Authority, no matter what that Authority offers, one will be satisfied with it. That is the only way to become inseparably one with the Supreme.