Question: First of all, I thank you. I have been very much struck by your beautiful poems, your stories, your great creative gift to do so much and your paintings. Do you have something to say about that great capacity to produce beautiful things through imagination that relates to spiritual knowledge?

Sri Chinmoy: In the spiritual life, when we go deep within, what we call “imagination” is not imagination. It is something else. It is actually the precursor of inspiration. And what we call “inspiration” is not inspiration as such. It is something else. When you go deep within, you see it is aspiration hiding in inspiration. And “aspiration” is not aspiration, but something else. It is something higher, something deeper. In aspiration itself is realisation.

So when I do something, paint or write, I feel that my Inner Pilot is having an experience in and through me and that experience is aspiration. But the same Pilot, the Inner Pilot, would like to have another experience in and through you. At that time He might want the experience of realisation or inspiration. The seeker has to remember that he is not the doer, he is the instrument. The Inner Pilot is the doer. I know and I tell my students that I am not the doer and they are not the doers. The doer is somebody else. The doer is the Inner Pilot. Since He is the doer, we have to offer our inmost gratitude to Him, because it is He who is utilising us.

Today He is utilising me. Tomorrow, if I misbehave, if I do not listen to His inner command, inner dictates, immediately He will cast me aside and will give somebody else a chance to be His instrument. There are about 250 seekers here. On earth there are millions of human beings. But how many people are consciously praying to God or meditating on God? In comparison to the world population, very few people are praying and meditating. So you see, people who are praying and meditating are already chosen and selected for a special purpose. God could have chosen somebody else, selected somebody else. But just because He has given us the opportunity to become His instruments, we feel it is our bounden duty to be of constant gratitude to Him. So when I do something as an instrument of His, before I begin, I offer Him my gratitude, soulful gratitude. And while He is having the experience, while He is acting in and through me, when I see that it is He that is doing everything through me, I am all gratitude to Him. At the end, when I see the result that He produces, I offer Him gratitude again. So if you ask me what I do, I will say from the beginning to the end I try to become a gratitude-heart placed at the Feet of the Lord Supreme. This is the only experience that I can share with you.