Question: Which would come first: realisation of the Divine or manifestation of the Divine, or both simultaneously?
Sri Chinmoy: As a principle, the realisation of the Divine must come first; then comes the manifestation. First you reach the height and then you bring down the fruit from above and share it with the world at large. This is the general theory. Again, there is another theory. If one has a spiritual Master, the Master may say to the disciple, "Look, I have realised the Highest, I have got the thing that you need. It is the Will of the Supreme that you start helping me in the manifestation of the Supreme."
At this point, while you are realising you are also manifesting. While you are realising the Divinity inside the Master, or directly inside the Supreme, you are at the same time manifesting the Supreme. So at this point realisation and manifestation go together.
As a matter of fact, it is the aspiration inside both the realisation and manifestation that we notice. Manifestation is not a finished product, just as realisation is not a finished product. There is no end to our realisation and there is no end to our manifestation. Let us take realisation as a tree. Somebody comes and stands in front of the realisation-tree and says that he has seen the realisation-tree. We can't deny it. But somebody else will come and touch the realisation-tree, while a third person will climb up a few metres. A fourth person will climb up to the topmost branch and the fifth one will not only climb up but also bring down the fruits and share them with the world at large. So his realisation is undoubtedly far superior to the realisation of those who either stayed at the foot of the tree or only climbed up a few metres.
If somebody has no Master and he wants to discover the Truth all by himself, let him realise God first and then listen to the dictates of God. God will direct him in manifesting God in God's own way. But if somebody has a God-realised Master, then it is up to the Master to tell him whether to realise God first in order to manifest God, or whether to realise and manifest at the same time. If the Master tells him to realise while manifesting and to manifest while realising, then the Master will be responsible and the individual should listen to the Master.