Question: Are you speaking of this incarnation of yours?

Sri Chinmoy : Oh no! This incarnation is only the vision of God-realisation and the headache of God-manifestation. It is true that when I came to the ashram in 1944, in thirty-nine days I knew who I was. But it was not that somebody had given me God-realisation. No, I had already realised God in previous incarnations.

When I realised God for the first time, it was at the time of my Gorakshanath incarnation. Since then I have taken a few more incarnations. My Master was so pleased with me that in thirty-nine days he gave me God-realisation. Even then it did not end, but in the books it does not tell this. In only a matter or seven or seven and a half years I went beyond him. And when I went beyond him he was so moved and so proud.

If any disciple of mine surpasses me, I will be the proudest person. It is not because that person will be able to take more of my headaches, but because it is like that with one’s children. It is a great joy for a loving parent to see his child surpass him. If you truly like someone or love someone — I mean sincerely, not in a jealousy-bound or insecurity-bound way — then if that person does something really well, even better than you, at that time you will be the happiest person. When the very close, intimate disciples defeat me in something, such as running or bicycling, I tell you, I get much more joy than they themselves get, because in them is my success. My consciousness, my will-power, my concern have been successful in another body. This kind of success is so difficult to achieve. But because that person has been so receptive to me, that person has achieved something and surpassed me. So I am the happiest person.

To come back to your question, in the ashram I knew my previous incarnations and I also knew when I had received God-realisation. I am not bragging, but since you are my children I wish to tell you that I have taken the least number of incarnations in all of history to get realisation or, you can say, to receive the Supreme Grace. This is the permanent realisation. An impermanent realisation I got in the time of the Mahabharata. I had the vision of the Krishna-Consciousness or God-consciousness that is infinitely inferior to the realisation of the Supreme Consciousness, but it did not last. I had it; then it disappeared. But after many centuries it became permanent. That is the thing: you can get the highest experience once, but if you can’t maintain it, then you are lost again.

In Sri Aurobindo’s case, the Krishna-Consciousness used to come and disappear in the beginning. After he started aspiring seriously, it took twenty-eight years before he finally declared that the Krishna-Consciousness had descended into him permanently. Before that, it used to come and go. Other spiritual Masters have had similar experiences.

Permanent realisation takes a very, very long time. Again, one may not care if it is not permanent. After being with Krishna in the Mahabharata time, I took rest for many centuries. Later, for full manifestation, I took incarnation in Russia. Where is spirituality there? And in several incarnations I entered into politics. I was in the French revolution. Then in Russia I was very nicely put to the guillotine. Shame, shame! The guillotine experience was very “nice.” Now you are horrified, but it really happened. I was in the battlefield in many places. That is why the heroic spirit still exists in me. I was always a fighter, right from the beginning.

Once upon a time I was absolutely the greatest Mogul emperor. Even now, while reading history books, when I see some pictures drawn one or two hundred years ago, the consciousness is exactly the same. Can you imagine? There is so much there inside the consciousness. It is not just a fancy, as everybody likes to identify himself with a hero. In history when you read that somebody was very great, immediately you say, “Oh, I was that person.” All the girls think that they were Joan of Arc, and all the boys think they were Alexander the Great or Socrates. But in my case it is not like that. When I was in Chittagong, I thought it was my sweet imagination. But when I came to Pondicherry, I saw it was absolutely true that I was a Mogul emperor.

So, once realisation becomes permanent and solid on the highest and deepest level, in what we call the Universal Consciousness or Transcendental Consciousness, then it can’t disappear anymore. At that time even when I cut jokes it remains. At that time there is no difference between my joking consciousness and my highest consciousness. When I am in my highest consciousness, it can be all joking. Sometimes in the church you see me in my absolutely most sublime, topmost, highest consciousness, but what am I doing at that time? I can be cutting jokes in the inner world with Krishna or Buddha or somebody else, and they are also cutting jokes. Pure joking is going on — absolutely silly jokes. On the earth-plane I am giving you people far, far beyond your capacity, necessity and receptivity, but then in another plane I am doing another thing. You can see and feel that I am giving you in infinite measure the things that you need, more than you deserve. But in another world, which you don’t see, there I am joking.

And when I am joking with you people outwardly, something very serious, very sublime, may be taking place in the inner world. Many, many things — millions and billions of things — remain unrevealed and unmanifested. That is true of all the spiritual Masters. In my case I may have done a little more or much more than some of the others. But I tell you, most of the great spiritual Masters have done many things which are not recorded. Either they did not get the time to reveal these things, or they did not get the right people to whom they could reveal these things. Only in a small group, where everyone is one hundred percent for the Master, does the Master open his heart. If one person is not fully receptive or does not have one hundred percent faith, then the Master inwardly gets all kinds of needles and pebbles. That is why I can’t tell intimate or most secret things in front of all the disciples. It is simply impossible. As soon as you open your mouth, before you say something properly, an attack comes. If persons who are listening don’t believe me, then inwardly they attack me with their doubt-arrows. Who wants to fight with them?

If you see a great difference between my highest consciousness and my joking or barking consciousness, then you are making a mistake. My consciousness is like a bridge. The highest is not separate from the lowest, and the lowest is not separate from the highest. They are the obverse and reverse of the same coin. If you cannot appreciate the highest because it is too sublime, then think of what you call the lowest, which is not the lowest but only the other side of the coin. If you get joy from my barking, then think of it and immediately get the greatest joy. But if you prefer my most sublime consciousness, then think of that and get joy. Whichever pleases you, immediately think of that aspect of me. But do not say that this one is infinitely lower and that one is infinitely higher. For some it is not easy to appreciate the highest aspect, because for that you have to reach a certain height. But to see my scolding or barking consciousness, you don’t have to reach any height; you just have to do something wrong.

Four or five years ago when I was meditating in the meditation room, my transcendental picture was on the wall. I don’t remember whether it was my coloured transcendental or my black and white transcendental. For the first time the consciousness in that picture fell down and touched my feet while I was meditating and said, “Why, why, why do you look at me?” Pictures were not taken on that day. Afterwards, also, many, many hundreds of times my consciousness has gone much higher than the consciousness in my transcendental picture, but those times were unfortunately not recorded. The photographers don’t take pictures at the right time; that is the trouble. I have to tell them first.

Somebody in the ashram who considers himself my worst enemy saw my transcendental picture and said, “Oh, after seeing this picture, I am ready to touch his feet.” Look at the power of this picture! Even my worst enemy can’t quarrel, can’t fight, can’t criticise. Only he is ready to touch my feet. Again, as a photograph, nobody appreciated the transcendental picture at first. But now hundreds and thousands of copies are made of it.