Question: How long have you been here in Puerto Rico?

Sri Chinmoy: I came here last Friday.

What do you think is the soul development, the vibration here in Puerto Rico?

Sri Chinmoy: Oh, it is wonderful. The spiritual soil is very fertile. People are aspiring, dedicated and they have genuine aspiration. What they lack is confidence in themselves.

Do you think that our commodities here in Puerto Rico are a hindrance to the development of the soul?

Sri Chinmoy: Not at all. Commodities are not a hindrance to the soul's development. We have to have a different attitude towards them, towards material prosperity. All hindrance, even if you consider them as hindrances, can be taken as opportunities in your life. If you take them as hurdles, these hurdles will give you an opportunity to surmount them and reach your Goal. What we think of as a hindrance is not a hindrance in God's view.

I was thinking for instance, that we have very good TV programmes here and we also have a spiritual meeting. But we feel more inclined to stay at home watching the TV programme than going to the meeting. So I consider that a hindrance.

Sri Chinmoy: That is not at all a hindrance; it is a lack of wisdom. If I have money, that does not mean that I am doomed to squander it all the time. I should know when to use it for a right purpose, for a divine purpose. Similarly, there are many things that might distract me or prevent me from following the spiritual path or the inner life. It is I who am the master of my possession. I shall have to deal with them according to the dictates of my soul. If I have a TV in my room, it is I who use the TV. It is not the TV that uses me. I am the Master of my possession. So long as I am the master, it is I who have to control my mind and say, "No, I have to go and listen to a spiritual talk which is more important that the TV show.

But don't you think that if you did not have the TV set, you would be more inclined to go to the meeting?

Sri Chinmoy: Unfortunately, no. That is not the case. At that time, laziness may enter into me and I might say, "Who cares? The spiritual life is not meant for me; it is something unreal. I want to talk to my neighbour." In that case, what you are saying is that the poorest people who cannot afford to buy television sets would all be more inclined to follow the spiritual life than the others. But it is not like that. There are beggars in India who do not care for the spiritual life. Here also. Poverty does not mean that we are one inch nearer to God. It is our mistaken idea to feel this.

The possession is not responsible for what we do; it is the possessor who is responsible. The TV is not responsible; it is the owner. I am sure you have heard the name of King Janaka. He had a vast kingdom and in spite of having this vast kingdom, his whole mind was always devoted to God and God-realisation. Similarly the material prosperity of the West is in no way an obstacle to God-realisation. If you can feel that you are the possessor and that you must not be possessed by what you have, then you will be the master of the situation. Those who don't have money will always harbour the feeling that they are poor and unfortunate. But for them, the same difficulty will arise and it will not be due to their poverty, but to their inner weakness.

You have a TV and you cannot go to attend a spiritual class but the person who does not have a TV will also be thinking of something else. His mind will also be thinking of something else. His mind will also be turned in another direction. Is it clear? Always we have to understand what is the possession and what is the possessor. We have to separate the possessor from the possession.