Question: How can we tell if we are making good progress?

Sri Chinmoy: There is only one way to determine one’s progress. Ask yourself this soulful question: “Do I need only the Supreme, or do I need anything else or anybody else?” If you say you need the Supreme ninety-nine per cent and you need something else or somebody else one per cent, then there is no real progress. If you can say, “I want the Supreme one hundred per cent,” then the beginning of progress has started. When the beginning of real progress starts, the Supreme starts bringing Peace, Light and Bliss to help you walk along Eternity’s Road.

Real progress in the spiritual life starts only when the seeker sees, feels and is convinced of the truth that he or she wants the Supreme one hundred per cent and not ninety-nine per cent. Before that time we may feel that we are making progress when we see that we have less desires, less insecurities, less impurities than we had before. But this progress is no progress at all. As long as we live on earth in human form, if we have not realised God, then we will always have these dark forces. If we had ten thousand desires before, and now if we have only one, then we may feel that we have made progress. We may say, “I had thousands of desires and now I have only one. Have I not made progress?” But I wish to say that real progress is not there. Inside that one drop of desire all the other thousands of desires are looming large.

If one drop of desire remains, you may think that you do not have countless other drops. But thousands and millions of desiring forces are inside that one drop. So where is the progress? All you can say is that previously you had something on a large scale, and now you have a small amount, but very concentrated. Your one drop is so powerful that it can expand into a very large quantity. That one drop, one iota, of desire can be as powerful as hundreds of desires, because it is concentrated.

The progress that we make in terms of earthly capacity is no progress at all. The only progress we can make is when we feel that our existence is one hundred per cent for the Supreme. On that day our spiritual progress starts. Then the Supreme grants us His Peace, His Bliss, His Light, and we receive His divine qualities consciously. Real inner progress starts only on the day when we consciously feel that we want God alone, and for everything we will depend on God only. If we depend on Him for every little thought and action at every second, then only can we feel that we need Him alone.