Question: You talk about first getting truth from within and then bringing it out to the world. I am wondering how much of an involvement you would allow for things like politics, marriage and other secular activities while one is engaged in the inner search.

Sri Chinmoy: We must try to live a balanced life. The outer life and the inner life must go together. We must not exclude the world, but we must also use our wisdom. We have to know our own inner strength and how much we can be involved in ordinary earthly activities without being distracted or pulled down from our inner life. If we receive enough strength from within, we can easily handle the outer life. But if we are inwardly weak, the outer life can be like a mad elephant, which we are unable to control.

If we do not go deep within, if we give all our attention to the material aspect of life, then we find that even the achievement of material success does not satisfy us. Again, if we withdraw totally from the outer life and live a sheltered and withdrawn life, manifestation of our inner progress will be lacking. So we have to know that a true divine life is a life of realisation and manifestation. If there is only manifestation and realisation is lacking, then there can be no perfection. On the other hand, if we care only for realisation and not for manifestation, there will be no perfection there either.

Perfection means the oneness or the flowering of realisation and manifestation together. But light must come from the inner life to illumine the outer life, for in this way everything which the outer life offers to the world will be divine. The inner life will give what the inner life has to offer, and the outer life will give what the divinised outer life has to offer. The inner life will offer Peace, Light and Bliss to the outer life, and the outer life will gladly accept it. When the outer life is ready to serve, when the outer life is purified and illumined to some extent, then it will work in the world and offer its achievements and capacities to the world at large as a dedicated service. It is mutual acceptance that will offer us perfection in our lives. Those involved in the inner life will accept the outer life as well, and those in the outer world will accept the inner life as another necessity. In this way the Kingdom of Heaven will be born on earth.