Question: Could you speak a little about how a new disciple should handle the pleasures and problems of daily life?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us deal with problems first. First you have to ask whether or not these problems that you now have existed before. Immediately the answer will come: yes. So how is it that now you are aware of them, and at that time you were not aware of them? You have to know that when you live an ordinary, unaspiring life, the hostile forces are clever. They know that you are at their mercy. They know your capacity; they know that you are in ignorance and at their feet. So they say, "All right, since he is sleeping, let us not bother him." But the moment you are up, they are going to attack you.

There are many seekers who complain to their Master, "Before we accepted the spiritual life, we had fewer problems. Now that we have accepted the spiritual life, our problems have increased. But it is not true. They must know that these same problems they did have; only they did not consciously want to conquer them. That's why they were not aware of them. If you don't want to conquer something, then you are fast asleep and the problem is fast asleep. But now that you have entered into the spiritual life, you are challenging all your problems. Since you are challenging the problems, the hostile forces stand with them and try to fight you. They feed the problems so that they can continue the fight. But these forces know that they will not be able to conquer you. Only they will try to delay, delay. So you have to challenge them.

Before you accepted the spiritual life, you thought that the life of ignorance, the life of pleasure, was the right life. You looked around and you saw that everybody was enjoying the life of pleasure. You said, "So what is wrong with me? If my friends, my neighbours, and everybody is in the same boat, then I don't want to be an exception." But now that you have accepted the spiritual life, you feel that the life they're leading is not meant for you. You have got now an inner call, a higher call. You can't be with them. Yes, you stayed with them for fifteen years or twenty years. Now the time has come for you to follow something else, to do something else. If you don't accept problems as such, how are you going to conquer them? If you try to avoid problems, they will come to you with more power. Most vehemently they will come and attack you. So you cannot hide from your problems. You have to conquer them here and now. If you wait and say, "No, tomorrow I will have more strength, and then I will be able to conquer my problems," I tell you that that tomorrow will not come. Each second is a golden opportunity, and if you misuse this golden opportunity, then you are strengthening unconsciously the forces of ignorance.

Now, about the life of pleasure. You have to know what you have received or achieved from the life of pleasure. Immediately you will say, "The life of pleasure has given me one thing and that is frustration." Even if you remain in the ordinary life, the unaspiring life, if you are sincere then you will say, "All I have gained from this life of pleasure is frustration." And then what happens? You see that there is no hope of coming out of this frustration unless and until you are destroyed totally.

What today we call frustration, tomorrow will be destruction. We started our journey with temptation. Then, in temptation there was pleasure. And inside pleasure is destruction. After destruction, what remains? Nothing. So the path of pleasure is the negative way of proceeding.

Then there is a positive way. That positive way is aspiration. What is aspiration? Aspiration is the inner cry that makes us feel that we have come from the infinite Peace, Light and Bliss and that we still embody this infinite Peace, Light and Bliss, only we have to bring these qualities to the fore. Now, unconsciously we have these qualities. Unconsciously we have someone called God. But spiritual life means our conscious awareness of God.

You have the treasure within you, but you have misplaced it. When you misplace something, you search for it, but you may not find it immediately. So you ask your friend, your dearest friend, to help you search: "I have lost something; will you search for it along with me?" The friend comes, and since he is more expert than you in finding things, he finds it for you. Who is that friend? He is your spiritual Master. Once he finds your treasure, he does not take it away from you. He will not dare to take it away from you just because he has found it on your behalf. A spiritual Master is like that. He finds your inner treasure for you, and then his role is over. Your role is only to thank him. He finds it for you, then it becomes your treasure. You just thank him.

The life of pleasure has to be replaced by the life of aspiration. In aspiration is the real treasure, the realisation that you come from the Infinite, that you are in the Infinite and that you are for the Infinite Truth and Light.

Each person has a friend and an enemy. If he aspires, then he feels that desire is his enemy and aspiration is his friend. If he does not aspire, if he is leading a life of desire, then he feels that desire is his friend and aspiration is his enemy. He is familiar with desire, even if it is not fulfilling him, he is aware of its reality in his life, whereas aspiration is a stranger to him. So he feels that desire is his friend. But eventually each individual will realise that his one and only friend is aspiration. There will come a time when each individual will feel that realisation does exist, that God does exist. And when that time comes, he will dive into the sea of spirituality and claim the life of aspiration as his own, his very own.