Francisco Matos Paoli: I believe in this real life, although it is not an absolute life; it has finality. I don't believe there is a contradiction between religious mysticism and political struggle for liberty. I have been in jail for five years for the struggle for our political independence here in Puerto Rico. But I think of politics as a sort of transubstantiation of life in God, a mystical comprehension of all matter, and that matter in transfiguration is God.
Sri Chinmoy: Mysticism and politics are two different realities, although they may aim at the same goal. Mysticism wants liberation for humanity, and politics also wants people to be liberated. But the foundation of politics is not the same foundation as you see in mysticism. The foundation of mysticism is not in the mind, whereas politics is in the mind, in the vital and in the physical reality. Mysticism has a deeper source.
A pure mystic gets messages or revelations not from his mind, not even from his heart, but from something beyond this physical reality. A politician may be deeply inspired, but his inspiration is from either the heart, the mind, the vital or the physical. The true mystic will get his inspiration — actually we do not call it inspiration, we use another term, 'intuition' — from his third eye or from the Reality beyond.
Politics deals with earth-bound reality, but mysticism deals with Heaven-free Reality. A mystic gets messages from worlds beyond this physical earth-planet. His aim is spiritual liberation, absolute liberation. The politician's liberation is on the physical, vital or mental plane. The ultimate desire, the ultimate aspiration, is the same: liberation. But politics and mysticism operate from two different planes.
Francisco Matos Paoli: But are they interrelated?
Sri Chinmoy: They are interconnected in the sense that their objective is the same. But one does not necessarily add to the other. A politician does not necessarily have to become a mystic, and a mystic does not have to become a politician. But the goal of both is liberation; let us say, to march into infinite freedom.
Francisco Matos Paoli: But not the liberation of this everyday life?
Sri Chinmoy: The mystic's goal is not freedom from political constraints in daily life. It is the liberation from the bondage of the finite consciousness. A mystic sees the Reality of the Beyond and then, like a magnet, he pulls it into himself. A politician wants to go forward, he does not want to allow any obstruction. But the mystic looks beyond this world to the furthest point, and from there he brings divine light and delight into the earth-life. The politician says, "I will not allow any obstruction on my way. I want freedom. I am going straight forward." But the mystic says, "Let me bring the message of light, delight and peace from the Beyond to transform this world."
Francisco Matos Paoli: But do you not think that this spiritual peace that reaches the mystic is a negation of life?
Sri Chinmoy: Not at all. Real spirituality is not the negation of life; it is the acceptance of life and the transformation of life. The old theory was that you have to retreat into the Himalayan caves, you have to seclude yourself, you have to hide, you have to renounce the world, which is full of suffering, darkness, impurity and temptation. But that is not the right approach anymore. The right approach to spirituality is to accept life as such and then transform the world with divine peace, light and delight.
Francisco Matos Paoli: And this endeavour of the mystic will result in a sort of inward communication?
Sri Chinmoy: The real mystic is one who has a free access to the Absolute Supreme, from Whom he gets direct commands. He is in tune with something very high, deep and profound. He tries to manifest in the outer world what he has found within himself, which is God. But false mysticism separates everything. False mysticism will say that earth-life is useless, that here you cannot do anything divine, so the best thing is to remain always aloof, not to mix with earthly people, not to have any connection with the realities of ordinary life. False spirituality says, "Give up everything." But what should we actually give up? If I give up my body, if I give up my vital, if I give up my mind, then I will have nothing left with which to reveal God, to manifest God, or even to realise God. So what should we do? We should accept life and transform it.