Question: Guru, does the world have more beauty or less beauty than it had one hundred years ago?

Sri Chinmoy: The present-day world has more beauty than the world of one hundred years ago. An individual or country or nation or the world is composed of many parts. We have to separate them all. We have to see on the physical plane how many divine things have occurred recently and then compare them with the achievements of a hundred years ago. We have to see the physical things that have been discovered, and know whether they have been used for a good purpose or a bad purpose. We are creating and creating and each creation is beauty. But we have to know whether this power of creation has become a form of destruction or not. We have to know whether all the things that have taken place for the last one hundred years are divine — that is to say, whether they are progressive and being used for the divine purpose. The answer can be given by each individual soul.

You may say, "Oh, four thousand years ago we were all spiritual people." We like to bask in the past. Our parents and grandparents never told a lie, we think. Falsehood was not born at that time. Go to any Indian village and the people will tell you, "We have fallen, but our parents were all saints, and our parents' parents were absolutely all gods." But if you know a little bit of world history, you will know that their parents also quarrelled, fought, killed and did God knows what else.

Now, look at our achievements. Astronauts have gone to the moon. We have the atom bomb, the hydrogen bomb and all kinds of scientific inventions. Of course, with these creations we are destroying the world like anything. Achievement we have got, progress we have made, but God alone knows how we are using these things or going to use them. Still, we are all in the process of evolution. Gradually, gradually we are going from the animal life to the divine life. We cannot say categorically when the consciousness of earth was more divine. Historians will widely differ as to that. But one thing we can say is that the general trend, by virtue of evolution, is progressive.

We have tremendous power at our disposal, although if it is not properly used it can create real problems. But almost any earthly achievement can be used in two ways. The radio is a comparatively modern achievement. Two hundred years ago there were no radios. Now the radio is doing wonderful things in spreading knowledge. But if you use the radio to listen to undivine music, how is it helping your soul? The jet plane has conquered distance and made the world very small. But again, the jet plane can do something very damaging. It can carry bombs from one place to another.

There was a time when the question of a destructive purpose or a constructive purpose did not arise because there was no achievement at that time. But evolution has come to a point where, when we achieve something, it becomes common property. We do not try to keep our achievements only for our own use. If we get something, we share it. This achievement is a real kind of beauty. The main thing right now is that we have to learn how to utilise all our achievements for a constructive purpose.