Question: How can I have compassion?

Sri Chinmoy: Compassion does not come from a feeling of superiority. Some people want to make us feel that they are very pure and we are very impure, that they are spiritually strong and we are spiritually weak. They want to be above us and have us at their mercy. Then they make themselves happy by giving us something insignificant. At that time they feel they are showing compassion, but this is not compassion at all.

Before thinking of compassion, you have to think of oneness. If I have knee pain, I put my hand there and feel such concern and compassion for my knee. Why? It is because I feel that my knee is part and parcel of my own existence, and the suffering that my knee is getting I am also feeling inside my heart and inside my mind. My heart, my mind and my knee feel total oneness with one another.

Similarly, if you feel oneness with someone, then compassion comes very, very easily. If someone is suffering, or if someone does something wrong, if you feel that person's suffering as your own, then naturally you will show your sympathetic oneness. And inside that sympathetic oneness, inside your willingness to be part of that person's life, is not only compassion but also all the other divine qualities.

In your particular case, to develop compassion think of your physical father or mother. Your mother has some good qualities that you will not see to the same extent in others. You may not call these qualities compassion, but they come from the feeling of oneness that she has with you. And this feeling of oneness is the source of everything that we call compassion.

A good way to develop compassion is to think of a tree. Although the flowers, leaves and branches are above the ground, they are not looking downward with contempt or a feeling of superiority. The trunk of the tree may be very tall; the flowers, fruits and leaves may all be above us. But when we pass below the tree, the leaves, flowers and fruits say, "Take us; we are ready to be utilised by you." Because of its oneness with us, everything that is good and beautiful that the tree has, it is begging us to take.

If there is no sincere oneness, there will only be a superior feeling. But if there is a feeling of oneness, inside that oneness you will find all the good qualities. Everything that is divine, inspiring, illumining and fulfilling is bound to be there. You are saying that you want to offer your compassion, but this compassion encompasses all your good qualities: your good will, your readiness and willingness to be of service to mankind, your self-giving. These you will be able to offer only if you have oneness with others.