Question: Please explain what will be the first step for an ordinary person who has not been in contact with spiritual teachings and wants to enter into the path of self-realisation.

Sri Chinmoy: The important thing is the ultimate Goal. If a person wants to have self-realisation, then the first step, the very first step, should be the acceptance of the spiritual life. Without accepting the spiritual life, one cannot realise God. It is simply impossible. The spiritual life, of course, is a very vast field — one has to know where one actually stands right now. If, as the first step in the spiritual life, one wants to have a better life, a more harmonious life, a more peaceful life and if he feels that the Peace, Joy and Harmony that he seeks are still beyond his reach, then he has to start by reading a few Scriptures; he should get some illumination from religious and spiritual books. These books will inspire him to some extent to enter into the inner life. Then when the person has studied the books and is getting some inspiration, but is unable to go farther, at that time he has to put into practice what he has studied in the books. When he is practicing these new principles, if he is not satisfied with his achievements, then he has to search for a teacher, a spiritual teacher. It is the teacher who can help him in his spiritual life, who can tell him what kind of spiritual discipline is needed for him.

I must emphasise again that at the very outset he has to determine that he needs the spiritual life. There is no other life that can give him self-illumination. When he is sure that it is the spiritual life that can give him that, then he has to enter into his deeper part. Through his inner cry, through prayer, through aspiration, through concentration and meditation, he has to start on the very first lap of his divine journey.