Part V — Questions and answers from the University of Toledo

Question: Is it easy to realise God while living in the world, instead of renouncing the world?

Sri Chinmoy: Some spiritual Masters, including myself, are of the opinion that it is not necessary to renounce the world and enter into a life of solitude. We have to face the world and we have to realise the Highest in the world. We do not want to lead the life of an escapist. Who escapes? He who feels that he has done something seriously wrong or he who is afraid. We have not done anything wrong and we have not to be afraid of the world around us. If we are afraid of the world, then we shall be afraid of everything.

Now we see a giant world of imperfection around us. We try to escape it in order to protect ourselves. But I wish to say that a far more formidable enemy than the present-day world is nothing other than our own mind. When we enter into the caves, we cannot escape our mind. We carry that mind with us — a mind which is full of anxiety, jealousy, confusion, doubt, fear and other undivine qualities. This mind of ours forces us to remain in the battlefield of life. If we do not conquer our mind while living in the world, what good will it do us to remove merely our body from this everyday world?

Here in the ordinary world we have to live amongst our friends. But we can easily choose our friends, and we must do so carefully. If we want to be spiritual, then we have to spend most of our time with spiritual people. If we spend most of our time with unaspiring people, then their consciousness will enter into us, and then our God-realisation and inner illumination will remain a far cry. But if we have proper guidance from within, if we know that we are walking along the right path, and if we mix with aspiring people, a day will come when we will be inundated with divinity. Then we will be in a position to reveal our inner wealth, and at that time we will be able to associate with all and sundry, to offer and share our experiences with them without endangering our own spiritual consciousness.