Question: Is meditation a way of having absolute freedom from all attachments which cause us to be separated from delight which is our inheritance on earth, spiritual delight?

Sri Chinmoy: Delight is a spiritual term that I know you understand. The term we use for outer enjoyment is “pleasure”. Pleasure and Delight are two different things. Delight is infinitely stronger and more powerful than pleasure. Certainly meditation will take you far beyond the boundaries of pleasure, which is immediately followed by frustration. In the ordinary human life, we know what pleasure is. We get pleasure from satisfying the senses. As I said, this fulfilment is immediately followed by frustration and inside frustration, destruction looms large. First pleasure, which comes from temptation; then frustration immediately standing in wait for it; then destruction.

But in meditation we get joy, inner peace, inner light and inner delight. And about the freedom that you are speaking of, you are absolutely right, meditation will give you eternal freedom.

Now let us speak about freedom in the outer life. We see children who leave their parents and they feel that they are free. Right; they are free from their parents because they are living elsewhere. They are not staying with their parents. But there are hundreds and thousands of problems that they still have. Only since they are not staying with their parents, this is the freedom they feel they are getting. Yet there are other obligations all around them that loom large in their day-to-day existence. So where is freedom? First their mind is a constant victim to ugly and venomous thoughts. They cannot get rid of their thoughts.

Now, from the spiritual point of view, if one cannot get rid of ugly, undivine, hostile thoughts, then one is still subject to ignorance. Inner freedom comes from within. It does not come from freeing oneself from outer restrictions and obligations No. You may be free from your parents for a day or a month or a year, but this is no freedom. Real freedom is the feeling of universal oneness. This you can get from a life of meditation.

Meditation will free you from the sea of ignorance. Meditation will give you everlasting freedom. And this freedom is the freedom of oneness. Right now you cannot unite yourself even with another person right beside you. You feel with your ego that you are yourself and she is somebody else. So where is the freedom? Your freedom is so limited that even with your very limited capacity and limited knowledge you are trying to exercise your will and utilise your human power to lord it over others. That is what you call freedom. This is not freedom. Real freedom is the inseparable oneness with the universe. There you are growing together. You are achieving something and you are seeing that the entire world is achieving it at the same time. When you are sorrowful, immediately you feel that the whole world is suffering with you, sympathising with your cause, growing with you.

God is one and He multiplies Himself into many. Now God says, “I am a tree. Since I am a tree, I want to become also the branches, the leaves, the flowers and the fruits.” Freedom lies in becoming the many while maintaining the oneness. The leaves, flowers and fruit see the same consciousness flowing through them as flows through the trunk. A spiritual person, when he stands in front of a tree and meditates on it, sees the one consciousness which is flowing through the root, the trunk, the branches, flowers and fruit. This kind of oneness is the real freedom.

So if you want inner freedom, spiritual freedom, then I wish to say that it is in becoming one with the rest of humanity. Otherwise the freedom that you cherish in the West by separating yourself from others, what are you gaining? Yes, we should separate ourselves from ignorance, imperfection, limitation, bondage and so forth, but we should not, and we must not, separate ourselves from our soul, from the reality which is light and delight. So when we are following the spiritual life, we have to know that our real freedom is in identifying ourselves with the rest of the world, with humanity at large. By becoming one, we stand united, we march united toward the Highest, united we shall fulfil our Goal.