Question: In one meditation you say that if anybody strikes me on the right cheek, I shall not turn my left cheek to him because I love him and I don't want him to commit the same mistake again. Do you mean that one can get mad at that person?

Sri Chinmoy: No, it is not that. Let us say that somebody strikes me or does something wrong. Now if I allow that person to do the thing once again, my theory is that in no way will I be helping to perfect him. On the contrary, I am increasing his ignorance. One thing is to forgive and not to take revenge. The saying of Christ from the Bible we all know. I do not want to enter into any controversy. I am only justifying what I have previously written.

Suppose I see that someone has consciously done something wrong and it is damaging him. By doing this wrong thing, he is not in any way, expediting his spiritual progress or inner progress. On the contrary, I am seeing clearly that he is descending in the scale of evolution. Then what shall I do? In me also is the living God. Now my living God here is acting like a Transcendental Being who is just. It is very easy to forgive someone. But by forgiving him, we have to know whether that person is really going to change his nature. If I just go on saying, "You have done something wrong; you can do more; you are exercising my compassion," yes, I will exercise my compassion, but in the eyes of God, I will not be allowing him to come to the right path and at the same time, I am wasting my precious life by indulging someone else's wrong action.

So we have to be very careful when somebody does something wrong to us. It is not that we are threatening them. Far from it. Only we have to feel that by allowing him to do the same thing again, or indulge in the same wrong action, we are taking him away from his own divinity.

At each moment, just as we should always try not to do anything wrong ourselves, consciously or unconsciously, we should also not allow another person to do anything wrong. We know that our encouragement of his mistake is in no way serving as kind of compassion. No. If we encourage him to do the wrong thing again and again, then this is not compassion. This is our self-imposed weakness in the name of compassion. We shall not attack anybody, consciously or unconsciously. If somebody attacks, then we have to defend ourselves because in this self-defence, he will realise that he is striking someone who is innocent, who is crying for Light, for Reality, for Truth. Since we are crying for Light, Truth, Reality and Divinity, we have also to make the other person feel that only in Light will he receive his satisfaction. By striking me, he will not get satisfaction. I tell you because a day will come when his soul will come forward and make him feel that he has done something extremely wrong. So if we know that he has done something wrong, then we have to make him understand this, the sooner the better. Then he can enter into the soul's Light and be guided all the time. So this is how I explain this aphorism of mine.

During Christ's time, the average man lived in a very undeveloped semi-animal consciousness. When Christ instructed them to turn the other cheek, it was in line with His entire teaching of brotherly love, and compassionate kindness. He was trying to teach them mildness and harmlessness which was very necessary at the time. If he had given them the same instruction that I have given you now, they would not have been able to understand it. They were not sufficiently evolved. Since the average person has evolved considerably in the last two thousand years, we have come to a point where a higher level of teaching can be applied. What Christ said was divinely and supremely necessary for the people in his day. I am not saying anything against the Christ or contrary to him. Each spiritual Master teaches according to the level of consciousness of his devotees. Each Avatar is bringing humanity one step higher up the ladder of evolution.

My view was never tit for tat, that if somebody strikes me, I have to strike him back. Only since we are marching in the process of evolution, each individual has evolved. Each aspiring human being has evolved. We are saying that we can also help others in evolving. If you have evolved, if you have come five steps higher on the rungs of evolution and if we see someone who has not yet climbed up at all, we feel that it is our bounden duty to stretch out our hand and lift him up and not allow him to stay all the time in the clay and mud. Unless we pull him up, he will go and throw mud and clay at us. If we pull him up, that action itself may be punishment to his unlit vital, but it is a reward to his soul.