Question: How can you tell if a fellow disciple is having a spiritual problem?

Sri Chinmoy: It will be reflected in his face. If he has a spiritual problem, he can’t hide it. He may be able to hide it from you for a day or two, but he can’t hide it from me for even a second. He may hide it from you when he is just in front of you, face to face, but let him turn around or go to his desk and work, and if you secretly watch him, immediately you will be able to catch it. If he doesn’t want anybody to know he is having a problem, for a few minutes while he is face to face with you he may fool you by offering you a very smiling cheerful face, a face absolutely beaming with joy. But when he is off guard, he will be a totally different person.

The only thing is that there is no such thing as a spiritual problem. The problems that affect your spiritual life are all mental problems, vital problems, emotional problems, physical problems. Doubt is not spirituality. If one is suffering from doubt, he cannot say he is having spiritual problems. He is having mental problems. We use the word ‘spirituality’ for everything, but to say ‘spiritual problems’ is wrong. Spirituality has come into the world to save us, not to create problems for us. It is the forces that stand against spirituality that create problems. What is spirituality? It is man’s wisdom and God’s Compassion. So how can one have spiritual problems?

If one does not have faith in God or in his Guru or in himself, it is not a spiritual problem, it is a mental problem. And if one is living an impure life, it is not a spiritual problem but a vital problem or an emotional problem. If one has no self-control, is a very greedy fellow and cannot control his weight, then he has a physical problem. If you use the term ‘spiritual problem’, then you are blaming the wrong party.

When anything goes wrong, very often people blame their Guru or blame God. But if they were sincere, they would not blame their Guru or God; they would blame themselves, because they had made friends with doubt, they had made friends with fear, jealousy and insecurity. These things are problems to those who welcome them and embody them, but they are not spiritual problems.

To come back to your question, you can know in five minutes when you observe a person at a distance and not face to face. Also, your heart of love can tell you, because your heart will not get any response from that person. When you are speaking with a fellow disciple, that means you are offering your love, you are opening your heart’s door wide to him. And what do you expect? You expect him to enter into your heart so that you can give him concern, love and joy, but he does not enter. You have kept your door open in vain, expecting your guest, but the guest does not come. So you will know that something is wrong with him; otherwise he would have kept his appointment. Your oneness-heart is wide open, and you are eagerly waiting for the guest whom you’ve invited. But he does not appear.

You can know that a person is having problems, either in the physical plane, the vital plane or the mental plane. But spiritual problems do not exist. Spiritual is like God Himself. We say “spiritual problems” because we are practising spirituality and we are accustomed to using that term. But all our problems are either on the physical, the vital and emotional or the mental plane.