Question: How does concern differ from compassion and love?Sri Chinmoy: Concern, compassion, love: these are three rungs in one ladder. Compassion in the ordinary sense of the term, when it is given from one individual to another, always has a sense of separativity and inferiority. He who has compassion is superior; he who receives compassion is inferior. He who has the capacity uses the compassion-power, and he who does not have the capacity receives the compassion-power from the superior. But in the spiritual life, compassion is nothing other than oneness itself. Compassion does not mean a sense of pity. Compassion is the expansion of what one eternally is.
On the physical plane, when one has concern, there is always a reciprocal feeling. We feel that we are concerned and the other person also has to show his concern. On the spiritual plane it is a different matter. When we show concern, that means the other person has pulled us. On the human level, we feel that it is so difficult to help someone. But the Supreme Plan is that when we use concern-power, we see that there is already an inner magnet operating. Although we don't see this magnet, it is pulling us to go towards another person. The other person may also be unaware of it, but real, true concern is like a magnet.
So many times I have said that if there is love, then there is concern; and if there is concern, then there is compassion. It is like the seed, the plant and the flower or fruit. This moment love can play the role of the seed, and then from the seed comes the tree, which is concern. Then from the concern-tree comes the compassion-fruit, which flowers into oneness.
These qualities can also change their roles. Compassion becomes the seed, concern becomes the tree and love becomes the fruit. First there is oneness in the inner world. Then it manifests its compassion-seed in the outer world. When it becomes a tree, it serves in the form of concern. Then the concern-tree bears love-fruit. The seed, the tree and the fruit must go together to complete their evolution. Whether we call them concern, compassion and love, or the other way around, they always have to go together to make a complete whole.