Part II — Questions and answers: University of WyomingFFB 159-161. University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, 23 April 1974 — 10:30 pm.
Question: In learning to concentrate, what forms of self-discipline do you use? Sometimes it seems that learning self-discipline is selfish.Sri Chinmoy: Not at all! Self-discipline is not at all selfish. If I do not discipline myself, if I do not pray and meditate, then how am I going to be of any use to the world or to God? If I pray and meditate, it does not mean that I am neglecting humanity. That is wrong. But there are various ways to offer our dedicated service to humanity. When we pray and meditate, we enter into the root of the life-tree. The root of the life-tree is God, and the branches are all the human beings. If we do not water the root, then how are we going to nourish the leaves on the branches? If we do not start at the foot of the tree, how are we going to climb up the tree and reach all the branches? When I pray and meditate, I feel that I am radiating something that I have just received from God: Peace, Light and Bliss. These are the very things that my colleagues, my friends, my relatives, my dear ones desperately need. I am meditating in one corner of the room, but while I am meditating, I am giving inwardly to others what I am receiving from above. If this is not a form of service, then what else is service?
You may think that service is only outer help, but this is not true. Outer help is necessary, but inner help is more important. If somebody is poor, I may give him a dollar because I have money and I am generous. But tomorrow, again he will need money and he will have to go to someone else, and also the day after tomorrow. But if light enters into me during my meditation, then I will be able to inspire him and help him permanently. I will inwardly say to him, "Why are you wallowing in the pleasures of lethargy-ignorance? You are strong. Go and work!" Or God will listen to my prayer and in some way or other He will remove that person's poverty, if it is His Will.
There are many ways to be of service to mankind. The outer way is one way, but the inner way is also most effective. And sometimes, the inner way is more effective than the outer way, for if we help someone in an outer way, again and again he will have the same problem. But if we can go to the core of the problem and help the person who is suffering in an inner way, then his problem will be illumined for good, and he will not have to suffer from it again.