Question: It seems to me that at the start of the spiritual path we see God with form, and that as we grow into oneness He starts to lose His Form. Is this true?

Sri Chinmoy: No, unfortunately you are mistaken. I have realised the highest, topmost Absolute. I have reached, I have realised, I possess and I embody the Absolute. When I commune with the Supreme, I can commune with Him with form or again without form. It is our own mental conception that the formless is something superior to the form. We feel that before the creation, the Supreme was formless and only later He took a form to come to us. But look at the sun. Although it is so vast, when we look at it it has the form of a tiny disk. Why? Because it is coming from very, very far. Similarly, when spiritual Masters, great spiritual figures or God-realised souls come down, they embody the highest infinite Consciousness inside them. But when they come into the world of form, they are 5'8" or 6' or 5'4" or even of less physical height. Do you think they have then lost their inner height? Do you think they have lost their depth? No. It is like the vast sun that looks tiny here.

When consciousness descends into the physical, the physical takes a form. The individual is actually the soul, and the soul is the representative of God. The soul is infinite Peace, Light and Bliss inside God. But we don't see the soul, we see only the very limited frame of the body: this much height, this much length, this much breadth. We feel that something beyond the body or form is vaster. True, it is vaster, but it is a mistake if we say that the formless is more meaningful than the form. The idea that the higher we go, the more we are in touch with the formless is not true. When we go higher it need not be towards the formless. It can be towards the supremely divine God with form, who possesses boundless Affection, boundless Love, boundless Concern — everything in infinite measure. We can go beyond the form of the mind, but not beyond the supreme Form.

Real spiritual Masters can easily meditate on the formless — Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. But when you are in the body, you are in the mind. The mind can never meditate on Infinity; the mind can meditate on a tiny picture, a candle, an incense stick, a flower and so on. When you meditate, it is always better and safer to meditate on the form. You want to treasure God, you want to love God, you want to divinely possess God and be possessed by God. If you meditate on an infinitely luminous form having infinite divine Consciousness, Light and Delight, you will try to grow into it. You will feel that if you can see a thing, you can grow into it.

But you will not feel able to grow into something formless right now. Once you have realised God you can grow into anything. But before realisation, if you meditate on the formless, thinking it is something higher, I tell you that the day after tomorrow you will get a very vague, uneasy feeling. Try to meditate on the formless for two or three days. You will feel miserable because you will not get a reciprocal feeling. When you meditate on a spiritual Master, you immediately feel affection, concern, love and blessings. It is spontaneously mutual. You are offering your dedication and he is offering his compassion. But when it is something formless, like the boundless ocean, you are totally lost; your focus of concentration is totally lost. In the beginning you need concentration. It is easier for you to concentrate on something that has a form on which you can focus all your attention. Then you can enter into it and get the utmost from it. When you enter into the form, you get the consciousness of the formless. Again, to say that the form does not have the same capacity as the formless is a mistake.

Let us take the body as the form and its strength as the formless. The entire body has strength, but if you want the strength you can approach any portion of the body. You can touch the head, you can touch the foot. You can touch any part of the form to enter into the formless. If in that way you can feel the form and the formless as equally important, then you will realise God sooner.

You must never underestimate the value of the sweet feeling between God and the seeker, between the Master and the devotee, between the divine eternal Father and the divine eternal Son. Think of the sweetest feeling the Christ had when he said, "I and my Father are One." Or look at the relationship between mother and son. When you say 'mother', immediately you think of a form. When the mother is alive, you see all divine qualities inside her; inside the form you get the formless qualities. She embodies perfection, love, concern and compassion, everything. But if you think of her as formless, then where is she? It is all vague. If the mother dies, where do you get affection? Where is it?

Again I wish to tell you that it is a mistake to feel that the formless is superior to the form. They are equally important. And especially in the beginning, before you realise God, it is advisable to go through the form. You can go through the form to the formless quality. Then you will be happy. But if you try to go through the formless to the form, you will find it impossible. First you have to enter into the water and swim a little. Then when you become a great swimmer you can cross the sea. But if you try to cross the sea without knowing how to swim, you will drown.

At times if one wants to get joy from the formless, he can. If one wants to get joy from the form, he can. But I wish to say that even after you have realised the Highest and Absolute, you will get more joy from the form because you care for manifestation. The spiritual seekers who cry for the manifestation of the Divine on earth will get abundant joy, much more joy, from the Absolute with form than from the Absolute without form.