Question: Unless the peoples of the world as a whole aspire collectively, will there ever be abiding peace in the world?

Sri Chinmoy: Collective aspiration need not or cannot take place all at once. If collective aspiration means twenty people all meditating and praying together for world peace, then I have to say that even among twenty people the standard or height need not to be the same. If they are praying together but are not of the same standard, not of the same sincerity, then I tell you the result cannot be of deep value. Suppose your aspiration is of the highest and somebody else's is not as high as yours and the third person's aspiration is even lower. True, this kind of collective aspiration is better than nothing, better than no aspiration at all. But it produces many problems. When you meditate together, if you are of different standards, there will be some inner conflict. It is like somebody studying in college and somebody studying in kindergarten. It is very difficult to study together in the same class.

Suppose in your family there are three brothers. You are the eldest member in the family, so you know more about the inner world, more about God, more about spirituality. You have to run according to your own speed, according to your own inner light and wisdom, and they will also run in their own way. When we use the term "collective", we have an idea of people sitting together or doing something together. But this is not the right approach. We will do it in our own way, according to our own capacity. You will begin to aspire when the hour has struck for you, and somebody else will begin to aspire two months or two years later when his own hour has struck. The result in this case will be far better than that achieved by putting everybody together to meditate. Aspiration has to be spontaneous. You reach a certain goal, so you go and stand there as a perfect human being. Tomorrow my time will come and I will start aspiring sincerely; then I will go and reach the destination that you have already reached. And the following day somebody else will go.

Each day if some human beings can achieve perfection in the inner world, then that means that these particular human beings are freed from imperfections. No longer are they quarrelling and fighting. Peace will come about in the world from the perfection of individuals. When ten individuals have achieved perfection, then it becomes a collective perfection. But in the beginning, while you are walking along the path, if you feel that the whole world will aspire together, it will not work. The whole world will aspire, but in its own way according to its receptivity. And if your aspiration is genuine, it has to be much more sincere, much deeper and more profound.

It is the ideal for the world to aspire collectively. But the world is not ready. So collective aspiration will come when you aspire individually and somebody else aspires individually. But if you put all human beings together and meditate for world peace, it won't work out. It is through individual readiness that world peace will come into existence. And when a number of individuals have established peace in themselves and are ready to bring down peace into the world atmosphere, then you can say that it is collective aspiration.