Question: In one of your meditations from your diary you mentioned that death was an obstruction. I always thought you considered death to be a transition that just enables us to be reborn and make continuous progress.

Sri Chinmoy: Wonderful. I have said that death is a transition. I have said that life and death are like two rooms: life is my living room, and death is my bedroom. When I say that death is an obstruction, here I am speaking of death from a different point of view. What is an obstruction? An obstruction is something that prevents us from going farther. It is a limit which we cannot go beyond.

This life is a golden opportunity given to us by the Supreme. Now opportunity is one thing but achievement is another. Our spiritual evolution, our inner progress is very steady, very slow and at the same time, most significant. Naturally there are people who for hundreds or thousands of incarnations will follow a normal, natural cycle of birth and death. Then one day, in God’s Eternity, they will realise God. But some real, sincere, genuine aspirants make a soulful promise that in this incarnation, here and now, they shall realise God. They say this in spite of knowing that this is not their first life or their last life. But they know that there are people who have realised God and they do not want to wait for some distant future incarnation. They feel that it is useless to live without God-realisation and they want to have it as soon as possible. In such cases, if death comes and they are still unrealised, then death is an obstruction. If somebody who is destined to die at the age of fifty is aspiring soulfully, if he can push his death back, with the kindest approval of the Supreme, for another twenty or thirty years, then during this period what will he be doing? He will be continuing his sincere aspiration, his deepest meditation, his highest contemplation. He will be like a racer running towards his Goal with no obstruction. During these extra twenty or thirty years he may reach the farthest end, where his Goal lies.

But if death interferes, then he does not realise God in this life. In the following incarnation very few souls can immediately take up the thread of their past aspiration. As soon as one enters into the world, the undivine cosmic forces come and attack, and the ignorance, limitations and imperfections of the world try to cover the soul. In the formative years of childhood, one does not remember anything. A child is innocent, ignorant and helpless. Then, after a few years, the mind starts functioning. When one is between eight and twelve years old, the mind complicates everything. So for the first eleven, twelve or thirteen years of the next incarnation almost all souls, despite being very great and spiritual, forget their past achievements and deepest inner cry. Now there are spiritual Masters or great seekers who get a few high experiences in their childhood or who start thinking and singing about God at a very early age, but usually there is no strong connecting link between the soul’s achievement on earth in its previous incarnation and these childhood years in the present incarnation. There is a link, a very subtle link, but this link does not function significantly for the first twelve or thirteen years.

Some souls do not regain the aspiration of their past incarnation until the age of fifty or sixty. From the spiritual point of view, these fifty or sixty years in their following incarnation are absolutely wasted time. So in this incarnation if one loses fifty years, and if in the past incarnation one has lost twenty or thirty years, then it is eighty years wasted. In this case I say that death is a real obstruction. We have to remove that obstruction with our aspiration, our unbroken aspiration. Aspiration should be like a bullet. It should pass through the death wall.

But even though it may take some time, eventually the inner being will come consciously to the fore and the person in his new incarnation will start praying and meditating on God most powerfully and sincerely. At that time he will see that nothing from his past has really been lost. Everything has been saved up in the Mother Earth-consciousness, which is the common bank for everyone. The soul will know how much it has achieved on earth; and all this is kept very safely inside the Earth-consciousness, the earth bank. You deposit money here in the bank. Then you can go to England and after six years or more you can come back and take out your money. The soul does the same thing after having left the earth for ten or twenty years. All the soul’s achievements are kept here intact in Mother Earth. Then Mother Earth gives them back again when the soul returns to work for God on earth.

Nothing is lost except time, in most cases, during those few years of childhood. But it is better to realise God in one incarnation so that we do not lose our conscious aspiration again in this transitory period. If we can continue on earth for fifty to one hundred years with tremendous, sincere aspiration, then we can accomplish much. If we get real help from a spiritual Master, it is possible to realise God in one incarnation, or in two or three. If there is no real Master and if there is no aspiration, it takes hundreds and hundreds of incarnations.