Question: Here in the West there is an acute shortage of spiritual Masters. How does one find one?Sri Chinmoy: In the spiritual life, there is a ladder, and this spiritual ladder has quite a few rungs. The first rung is inspiration, and the next rung is aspiration. In aspiration are contained the seeds of concentration, meditation and contemplation. After aspiration, the next rung is realisation. After realisation comes revelation, and after revelation comes manifestation.
Let us start with inspiration. You know that there are millions of books. You have already read hundreds of books. If you read spiritual books, preferably written by spiritual Masters, you are bound to get inspiration. When you read a history book, you become inspired to learn all about history. When you read spiritual books, you enter into a new field, a new domain, a new consciousness. You get inspiration when you read in these books that somebody attained peace, light or joy; immediately you want to have these things yourself. As you say, there is a shortage of spiritual Masters. But if you read books written by spiritual Masters, you are bound to get some inspiration.
Then a day will come when you will realise that this inspiration is not enough. Your inspiration will give birth to aspiration, the inner cry. A child cries. The mother immediately comes running. Why does she come? Because her child is crying. The mother cannot stay in some other place at that time. She has to come and care for her child. In the spiritual life also, when you have aspiration, this inner cry for God, no matter where He is, He has to come to you. And how does He come? He comes in the form of some spiritual persons who have seen Him or felt Him, or who have received some inner message from Him. When you go to school, you are expected to pay a fee for the opportunity of studying. In the spiritual life also, there is a fee. This fee is called aspiration. If you have this aspiration, the fee, then how can you be denied your inner education? God is bound to help you at that time. You may not get a real Guru, the highest Master, but you are bound to get someone. For some time you may have to wait for the teacher who will be able to give you a Master's degree, but there are many people in the West who can help you at the very beginning. In the spiritual life, this elementary help is as important as the kindergarten or primary school.
Then, if you are not satisfied, if you want to go higher and deeper and farther, if you want to make faster progress, I tell you, your inner cry will never be denied. You will find somebody else who will help you on your journey, and finally, you will get someone who will be able to take you to your destined Goal.
So, your first spiritual teacher is spiritual books. You will learn many things from books. These things may seem theoretical at the beginning, but if you learn something theoretically, then you will have some inner confidence in it. For practical knowledge, you must get a teacher. No sincere cry has ever been denied. It is only a matter of time. If somebody really wants to do something, to achieve something, he may not be able to do it immediately. But if he has a real, sincere, genuine aspiration to do it, then it is only a matter of time. In one year or two years, in one incarnation or two incarnations, he is bound to get what he wants. The very nature of God is fulfilment. God wants fulfilment for His own children. If our Father eats a mango, He will not deprive us of the mango. He will also give us a mango so that we can eat with Him. So, since God wants fulfilment for us, His aspiring children, we can certainly expect fulfilment from Him.