Question: I feel that spirituality is essential for everyone and has to come first in our life. What are your thoughts on this?

Sri Chinmoy: I fully agree with you. But again, in some cases I have to disagree in the sense that it depends on the individual. One individual will say that he can easily stay on earth without smoking, whereas another individual will say that he can’t stay on earth even for a day without smoking. Similarly, there are some people who will say that they can stay on earth without the spiritual life, without God. Again, there will be others who will say, “No, without God we can’t stay even for one fleeting minute on earth.” So it entirely depends on the individual.

In this world we have to know one thing: first things first. If I have to go to school, early in the morning I brush my teeth and take a shower, and only then do I go to school. I don’t just run from my bed to my school. We have to know that we can’t put the cart before the horse. Early in the morning, before we go to our office, we pray to God. We don’t go to the office first and then pray and meditate after we come back home. No. We know that early in the morning if we pray to God and meditate on God, then we enter into the spiritual world, the inner world. Instead of enjoying jealousy or hatred towards mankind, if early in the morning we can pray and feel the universal love, then this love we can spread in our multifarious, day-to-day activities. But if in the morning we do not pray and meditate, then we may enter into the world of jealousy. We will see competition and all kinds of destruction around us and we will be spreading this destruction. So the inner world has to come first. From the inner world we enter into the outer world. The light of the inner world has to enter into the outer world. Only then the outer world will want to be like the inner world. If I have love, then I can give you love. And if I give you love, then this love you will be able to give to somebody else. But if I have hatred, then I will only give you hatred and immediately you will offer your hatred back to me.