Austerity1

“My Lord Supreme, I have heard so much from so many people about austerity. Do enlighten me. I wish to hear from You, from Your Lips, what austerity actually means. Is austerity a kind of self-torture, or is austerity a kind of severe self-discipline?”

“O seeker, discipline and austerity are two different things. They are like the North Pole and the South Pole. You discipline yourself so that you do not get attacks from temptation. You discipline yourself so that the world of the immediate future will come to you with its gifts: happiness and peace of mind. These two gifts are of paramount importance. Even while you are disciplining yourself you get tremendous joy, and the after-effect of discipline is also joy and achievement, veritable achievement.

“But austerity is self-torture. You torture yourself, thinking that I will be highly pleased with you. But that notion is absurd. I am all Love. In order to reach Me, what you need is also love.

“Why do you want to go through austerity? You have the body, the vital, the mind and the heart. These are the members of your immediate family, and you are putting up with them. To put up with your lethargic body, to put up with your aggressive vital, to put up with your doubtful mind, to put up with your impure heart — is that not a form of self-torture? If you are so fond of austerity, then you have to know that already you are performing the most difficult type of austerity by having patience with your impossible body, vital, mind and heart. You do not need any further austerities.

“Just go through discipline. From discipline you will get peace of mind, and in peace of mind I have kept everything for you: peace, love, light and delight in abundant measure. If you are fond of austerity, then I wish to say, abstain from ignorance-food. Austerity is not and cannot be the achievement of any seeker. Discipline is and has to be always, always the achievement of the seeker in you and in everyone. Discipline is your constant opening, constant receptivity to a higher light. Through discipline you have to feel that you are invoking a higher light. When you do sports, when you sing, when you do anything, always feel that you are disciplining the physical consciousness, the vital consciousness, the mental consciousness and the psychic consciousness. Through this discipline not only will you eventually arrive at the Perfection-Goal, but you will become the Goal itself.

“Each thought properly regulated, each action properly regulated, is discipline. Inside discipline, all that I have is for you, O seeker, for you. Love, Peace, Light and Delight in measureless measure: all these I have kept for you inside discipline. For you is the path of discipline, never the path of austerity or self-mortification.”


  1. 7 July 1977, 7:15 a.m. — Jamaica High School Track, Jamaica, New York

Sri Chinmoy, Everest-Aspiration, part 1.First published by Agni Press in 1977.

This is the 352nd book that Sri Chinmoy has written since he came to the West, in 1964.

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by Sri Chinmoy
From the book Everest-Aspiration, part 1, made available to share under a Creative Commons license

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