Question: The spiritual life is very important, but we live in modern society, no matter how good or bad it is. Don't you think that this kind of life is very confining to these young people, who rarely go away to school or keep a job other than around you and the Centre? I have heard that they need your inspiration and feel it is not good to be away from the Centre or these surroundings for any length of time.

Sri Chinmoy: We have to know that it is not good and it is not bad. But I wish to say that in this life everybody eventually becomes his or her own boss. That is to say, your daughter is nineteen or twenty years old. If she did not feel any kind of benefit from what she is doing, do you think she would stay with us even for a fraction of a second?

What you are saying is perfectly true from your point of view. Your experience, your wisdom, you are trying to offer. But she is now quite mature. At this stage of her life she knows that there are some things that help her in getting or in achieving joy from her life. Whether she gets joy from the life that she is leading or some other kind of life is quite immaterial. But the only thing is that if one place gives me joy, I will go and stay there. I don't say that this is the only place to get joy. Far from I! It is like this. I happen to be the teacher and she is the student. If the student feels that at this place she is getting joy and at other places she is not getting joy, how can I tell her that she has to go to other places or that all places have equal amounts of joy? That I cannot say because she is, after all, her own boss. She knows where she is getting joy. And tomorrow, if she doesn't get joy here, she will leave us for good. It is not that we are taking away your children from their homes and giving them a new orientation on life. The only thing is they find something in our community that they don't find elsewhere, and that is joy and nothing else.

But again, when it is a matter of visiting their parents, that is something else. I assure you that I have begged your children to go and visit you. You may not believe it. You may think that I have been saying to them, "Don't go, don't speak to your mother," but I simply beg some girls to speak to their mothers on the phone, but they don't listen to me. You can ask them whether I have asked them to speak to you and to go home to see you. You may think that your daughters are disobedient to you, but I wish to say that sometimes my students can also be quite disobedient to me.