Question: In the Gita, it says that we must have discrimination. What is meant by this discrimination and how can we obtain it?

Sri Chinmoy: The Sanskrit word for discrimination is viveka and it refers to the power of discrimination which actually comes from the soul. Viveka comes not from the mind but from the inner being. Our mind can discriminate in its own way: this is right, this is wrong, he is the best person, he is the worst person. But having made an assessment, the very next moment, the mind contradicts itself. First the mind gets a kind of satisfaction in achieving a decision and then the following moment it sees that its judgement was absolutely useless. Because the mind is not at all poised, it is not in a position to address itself to its own truth which it has already decided upon. The mind can never be in a position to discriminate. It is our soul's wisdom, our soul's knowledge that can discriminate. We can make the discrimination between the false and the true, between light and darkness and between two pairs of opposites on the strength of our soul's light.

You were reading the Gita. Yes, from the second chapter onwards, discrimination is enjoined upon Arjuna by Krishna. Let us start with duty. Each human being on earth knows what duty means. But the real duty, very few of us know. What is the real duty of our inner being? In the process of discrimination, we come to understand that our real duty, our entire duty, is our self-discovery or God-realisation. Neti, Neti, (Not this, not this.) Then what do we want? I don't want this. I don't want that. What do I want? I want only the Real, only the True, only the Ultimate which is God Himself.

By discriminating, by separating the true and eternal from the false and transient, I come to a point where I can see my Goal. Then I step upon the path leading to my Goal. In our day-to-day life, if we want to emphasise our duty, then there is no end to our ordinary duties. I have to eat, I have to meet my friends, I have to see my family, I have to go to college. All kinds of duties I have. But we have to know that beyond these duties there is a real duty. These mundane duties we are fulfilling daily, but they do not bring us in any way nearer our Goal. Are we fulfilling any ideal in life? No, to fulfil an ideal, we have to select or adopt a Goal. There is only one Goal for each human being and that Goal is God-realisation. This does not mean that in order to realise God, we have to discard humanity. Far from it. We do not have to throw away members of the family: wife, sisters, brothers, parents, children. No. We have to see in them the existence of God. This is one of the major duties of each human being, to see the existence of God in children, in friends, in everybody on earth.

Then one also has to know that his true duty lies not in what he does, but in how he does it. If an ordinary human being knows what he has to do and why he is doing it and also how he is doing it, then in his very action, he is approaching God. You are a student, Chaitanya. You want to study in order to have more knowledge and wisdom in the field of psychology. The reason you are studying is that you want to widen your knowledge and by this means, you want to help humanity. Now, how are you doing it? Are you studying devotedly, soulfully, or we may ask, are you studying for the Grace of God? That is to say, does God want you to take up this particular subject? Why are you studying psychology? If you know that God wants you to do it, then here you get your real duty. How are you doing it? You are doing it with the conscious approval of God. Is your soul making you feel that it is the subject that you want to study in order to manifest your soul here on earth?

So I want to tell all of you here, when you do something, when you perform any action, first you have to know whether that action is really important in your life and will take you nearer to your Goal. Then if you feel, "Yes, it is required," do the action, but after the action, you may look for a result, either success or failure. Now here is the most difficult situation. If you have failed, you will feel that you are totally lost, frustrated, that you can never get the satisfaction that success would have given you. But after separating success from failure, if you can throw both success and failure into the hands of God, then you will see immediately that you are going beyond both, beyond the capacities of both success and failure. Here you are going beyond even discrimination.

First we have to start with discrimination — discrimination between darkness and light, falsehood and truth. First we have to start with morality and immorality; then we have to go beyond morality and immorality, beyond light and darkness. One has to remain only in the consciousness of the Supreme. So when we speak of discrimination, we have to know that we are dealing with our day-to-day life's duty, duty that takes the form of thought, feeling and so on. For example, discrimination can tell us which thought is a divine thought, which feeling is a soulful feeling. At each moment, let us try to see our soul's mission in each activity which presents itself to us as duty and let us discriminate one from the other. Then, at the end of the path, we shall have to go beyond both, beyond even discrimination, beyond viveka.