Question: I wonder, could you tell me, this ignorance that we have, how did it come about in the first place?Sri Chinmoy: We started our journey with knowledge, with wisdom, with light. At the birth of our journey there was no ignorance. But, what happened? God gave us freedom, even in our outer existence; limited freedom. We misused it. We allowed the dark and undivine forces to enter into our consciousness. From there, they entered into the whole world. He has given something to us. Suppose he has given us a knife. With this knife, what are we doing? We are stabbing each other. We are not cutting fruit and sharing it with each other.
When we go deep within, we see that even in our outer existence, God gave us some limited freedom. It is like a cow tied to a tree with a rope — it has limited freedom. Now, our goal is right in front of us, but what happens? Whenever we do something wrong, we feel that life is gone. This life cannot link us to the goal anymore. But this very idea, again, is ignorant. Now, today, we have not reached the Highest, but that doesn't mean that tomorrow we will not reach our goal.
To come back to your question as to why ignorance started. There was no ignorance in the beginning. It is we who have created our ignorance, mostly through our mind. We do not live in the heart. We live in the mind. Now, a mind that is earthbound, physical — we call it the physical mind — needs abundant light either from within or from above. But we do not seek that. We are using our mind constantly in the wrong manner. We think we are far superior to animals. When we look at animals, we think, "They are constantly fighting. They are killing each other. They are living in ignorance." But, when we go deep within, we see that we are also doing the same things in our mind: fighting, thinking ill of others, disturbing our soul, our inner voice.