Question: Some people who have reached enlightenment have felt compelled through compassion to serve other people in the sense of spreading their enlightenment, like you for instance. Whereas other people have retired with their enlightenment to live almost solitary lives. Which is the best? What makes them make this kind of choice?

Sri Chinmoy: Now, it is like this. There are many students every year from each university, hundreds of students, who get their Master’s degrees. You see though that only a few go on to enter into the teaching line. Some people get their Master’s degree and then they enter into some office or industry or some consulate. Again, some enter into the universities and they start teaching. But they all have got their degree. In the spiritual life also, some people have realised God, but they feel that it is not necessary for them to spread light or to help mankind. It might seem as if they have gotten their realisation just for their own sake. But they really have enlightenment, and you cannot deny it. You cannot say that that person has not got his degree, I mean the inner degree of illumination. Again, some others feel, “No, let us help.”

Some people get their Master’s degree and then teach, while on the other hand, others do not teach after getting their Master’s degrees. They do not try to teach at the universities or anywhere. They enter into various fields, various walks of life. In the spiritual life also, some realised souls will feel that they crossed the barriers of ignorance and they are now really tired. It is not an easy thing to realise God, to get illumination. Now they feel that they have acted like real divine heroes in the battlefield of life. They fought against fear, doubt, anxieties, worries, imperfections, limitations, bondage and so forth. They feel they have every right to withdraw if they ask God and if God allows them. If God says, “All right, now you no longer have to take part. Don’t take any conscious part in the Cosmic Game. You just observe”, then, if they have got permission from God, naturally they can remain silent. But again, those people who are not taking part in helping mankind, say they are meditating, are also doing something very great because their will has become one with God’s Will. That is to say, they do not enter into any kind of conflict with God’s Will. Ordinary human beings will desire many things, will do many things against God’s Will consciously or unconsciously. These realised people, realised souls, may not take active part, they may not go from one place to another or they may not open up spiritual Centres and so forth, but they will offer their conscious good will to mankind. How many people are offering their good will to mankind? We quarrel, we fight, we do many things, we act like animals. But the spiritual people who have got their own illumination will try to offer that illumination inwardly, that is to say through their conscious good will to mankind. They take God’s permission and withdraw. God says, “All right, My son, do not take active part, but you be the observer. You be the witness. Let your other brothers who want to work here for us do it. Let them do it.” Then they obey Him. So here we cannot say that one is greater because he is crying for mankind, because he is trying to help. Only he is great who listens to God’s Will. God has told that particular Teacher, spiritual Master who has got illumination, “You don’t have to offer your light. You just inwardly give. Outwardly you do not have to move around and all that. Inwardly give your good will to mankind.” Similarly, to me or to others, He will say, “No. I want you to move around and give the light, the inner light that you have. If people want to have it, be of service to them. If they don’t want it, it is up to them.” So, what is most important is to listen to God’s Will at that time. If God tells me to take an active part I will take it. Also if God says, “No, I don’t need you to take an active part; you just offer your good will to mankind in silence. That is all,” I will listen to His Will.