Question: How can you obtain a love for humanity in a true, practical sense? That is easy to speak about but difficult to practise.

Sri Chinmoy: It is true that it is easy to say that we love humanity. In reality we do not love; it is all a self-deception. But how can we acquire the true love of humanity? In order to love humanity, we have to go to the source. The source is not humanity, the source is Divinity. And if we really can go to the source and love Divinity, then Divinity is not something apart from our real existence. First you have to love God who is Divinity Himself. If you can love God, then you will feel that your inner existence is not separate, and cannot be separated, from God. Your existence, your true divine existence and God are one. Then you will see that your existence, which is your divine personality, is the entire humanity.

Your inner existence and God's outer reality are one thing. So when you divinely love yourself, not emotionally or egotistically, you are loving yourself just because God is breathing inside you, a God who wants to fulfil Himself through you. If you love yourself egotistically, you are killing yourself. If you love yourself undivinely, you are binding yourself. But when you love yourself divinely, you love yourself just because inside you is God. That is why you are loving yourself. You and God are one.

If you are fully aware of this truth, you will see, inside you, all of humanity. Humanity is not around you or outside you. It is inside you. If you become one with your divine existence, then you will see that inside you is humanity. Whatever is inside you is yours. Whatever is outside you is not yours. You can help to fulfil, illumine only that which is inside you. So you have to feel that humanity is inside you. Then you will be able to help humanity truly and effectively.

But first you have to realise God. Philanthropy is a very good practice, but real philanthropy begins inside. Just as it is said, "Charity begins at home," so also in spirituality, philanthropy and everything like it starts deep inside yourself. And what is the reality there? Only God inside you who is also the real humanity. So if you realise God, then God will show you how to love humanity. First things first. God-realisation is first for a spiritual seeker and not philanthropy; far from it. Realise God and then you will see that the world is inside you. If you don't realise God, you will see humanity around you as a world apart from you. The moment you realise God, you will feel that humanity is yours and the rest of the world is only yourself.