Question: In one of your poems you say, "Hope lost, gloom grows dark poison-blight: destruction flows." What can an aspirant do if he is losing hope?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, I wish to tell you why a person loses hope. One loses hope because he makes himself feel that there is a certain period, a given time, in which to achieve something. He decides, for example, that in two days he is going to achieve some specific thing.

Frequently, in our hopes we have inwardly, unconsciously fixed some particular time for the accomplishment of something. Outwardly we may say that in the near future we hope to get something or to do something. But it is not entirely true. For if we go deep within ourselves, we see that our minds have already projected a particular day by which to achieve it. When the date arrives, our outer mind may not know that this was the last date given or recorded in our inner mind’s calendar, but on that day we will feel that our whole world has collapsed, because we did not achieve or receive the hoped-for result. And when we don’t see the result on the day that we wanted it, we are miserable. We feel that hope is the instrument that will bring the result. On the day, therefore, that we lose hope, we lose the strength of hope even though our physical mind was not even aware of the expectations that were created by the subconscious mind.

What can we do to regain hope? First, we have to know that hope is not something weak. Very often our conception of hope is something very delicate — a sweet, smooth, soothing feeling which is a kind of balm to our outer minds. But this is not an adequate definition of hope. We have to know that hope is something very solid. It is something strong. It has seen the Truth, only it is unable to bring the Truth into the world. Hope is not something that is crying for the world beyond or crying for a truth which does not exist. No, hope has seen the Truth, but it cannot and does not yet possess it.

If we know what hope is, we will not lose it. If we know that hope is something that has already seen the Truth which we are ultimately going to achieve, then we will get strength from this knowledge. The time has not come; hope has not yet been able to bring the Truth to the fore in our lives. The time which has been planned by God has not yet come, but it will come.

How can we avoid losing hope? We must try to cast aside all expectations from our desiring mind. It is the desiring mind that feeds our outer hope. If we can be above the desiring mind, and remain all the time in the spontaneity of our heart, we will have a constant feeling of possessing the divine Truth.

Our inner heart is always full and complete, requiring nothing. It is our outer mind which feels that it needs something, wants something. Then hope comes into play. When we need something, hope begins to play its part, but when we need nothing, hope does not enter into the picture, for it is not at all necessary.

I would like to point out that ordinary human hope can rarely be fulfilled, because inside it there is no determination, there is no sincerity and there is no conscious willingness to accept the highest Truth. If, with our human hope, we want to achieve the Highest, the Ultimate, we will see that when the Highest is descending and descending, approaching our own physical being, human hope will be terrified and will try to escape the very moment it sees the enormity of the Reality that it was aspiring to possess.

Now let us look at the fulfilment of ordinary human hope. Hope expects something — say five dollars. When fulfilment comes, it comes as five dollars. Immediately this human hope is overjoyed, and it loses its inner poise. When spiritual receptivity is lacking, we always lose our inner balance and poise. But if we had started with divine hope, then Truth has already been seen in its highest aspect, and it needs only to be embodied. Our hope is only to bring that Truth into manifestation. Then when hope’s fulfilment comes, we do not lose our inner balance, because we knew what was bound to happen.

Now, your question was, “What can you do when you lose hope?” When you lose hope, you have to tell yourself that the Reality is bound to come to you precisely because you are in the world of aspiration. You are aspiring most sincerely, most devotedly. You know that you are doing the right thing. If the truth or the fulfilment that your hope has seen has not yet been able to come into manifestation, you need not worry. It is only when you lose your aspiration that you can feel that you are lost.

When I said, “Hope lost, … destruction grows,” it is because the ordinary man will not aspire in any way when he loses hope. It is hope that keeps him alive on earth. Hope plays a great part in the ordinary human life on earth. For example, some people say that they are doing disinterested work, and so on. Only aspirants and truly spiritual people really do this. Ninety-nine percent of human beings, in working, are only feeding their own hopes and desires. That is why they are living, working, existing. Otherwise they would not budge an inch.

For a spiritual person this does not apply. Where is destruction for a spiritual person? For him there is no destruction. He acts only to fulfil God’s Will. God’s Will can be fulfilled in two ways; in the form of success or in the form of failure. But God Himself is above both success and failure. So if you want to become identified totally and inseparably with God’s Will, then think neither of success nor of failure. Think only of pleasing the Supreme. According to our human eyes the fulfilment of hope is success. But the fulfilment of God’s Will goes far beyond so-called failure or success.

If you remain with your burning aspiration, you are constantly identified with God’s Will. And when you are one with God’s Will, earthly hope has no value. It will be impossible for earthly hope to knock at your door of aspiration, because your divine hope is already self-sufficient. It is already one with God’s Will. In God’s Will there is everything, the Vision and the Reality. If the Reality is earthly success, well and good. If it is earthly failure, also well and good. It is the fulfilment of God’s Will which is of paramount importance, not success or failure. Divine fulfilment is always beyond outer results. We understand the results and we derive the utmost benefit from the results only when we are one with God’s Will unreservedly. When we are identified with His Will unreservedly, we will undoubtedly feel that we are fulfilled.

So what can you do when you lose hope? Only feel the necessity of burning the flame of your aspiration more brightly and more intensely. Then you get the highest inspiration. Hope you don’t need. An ordinary person needs it because an unaspiring person, when he loses hope, will not make any move forward. For him life becomes a stagnant pool. Self-destruction starts when there is no forward movement. But if you have sincere aspiration, you do not have to worry; you will get everything.