Question: Could you explain what inner hunger is?

Sri Chinmoy: If you are dissatisfied or frustrated, if you feel that you have not achieved something that you wanted to achieve, this does not necessarily mean that you have inner hunger. But suppose you feel that within there is something vast, something luminous, something fulfilling, something positive which you don’t have right now. You think that inside you there is peace, but you do not have access to it. If you think that you have something inside you that is divine, and that you need this very thing, that means that aspiration is there. Hunger comes from your spiritual need. If you need something and you know where that thing exists, then you will try to get it. When you have this hunger, the next thing is to satisfy it.

If you enter into the spiritual life because of frustration, dissatisfaction or despair, you may not remain in the spiritual life. Today you are dissatisfied with someone or something, and tomorrow you will say, “No, let me try it again. Perhaps this time I will get satisfaction.” Here you are trying to do something in a human way. You have failed, and that is why you are dissatisfied, but tomorrow you may try again in a human way. But after a while, you will see that only dissatisfaction and frustration comes from desire. If you do not fulfil your desire, you are disappointed. Or even if you get the thing you wanted beyond your prayer, beyond your necessity, still you will not be satisfied. In desire life there is no satisfaction. Then you say, “No, I am not going to desire anything in a human way. I came from the Vast and I just want to enter into the infinite Vast.” This is aspiration.

When you aspire, you try to enter into the vast ocean of Peace, Light and Bliss. But when you desire, you try only to possess the object of your desire. When you aspire, you just jump into the reality and feel that that reality is yours. It is because of things like fear and doubt that you don’t dare accept the reality as your own.

Each individual has his own need. You need God right now; you want to have true accomplishment, true fulfilment in your life, so you want to go to the Source. But somebody else might need something totally different. If you need God, naturally He will give Himself to you. And if somebody else needs something else, God will give him that particular thing. But when God is asked for some material object, only God knows whether He will give it or not, because only God knows whether it is something that the person really needs. If a person gets the thing he is crying for, it may only increase his desire. Again, if he does not get it, he will be frustrated and displeased with God. But God has to decide whether it is best that he get the thing or not. In your case, since you are a sincere seeker, if you pray to God or meditate on God for Peace, Light or Bliss, even if He does not grant it to you the way you want, you will still be satisfied, for you will still have inner joy and inner peace. You will simply say, “He knows best. Perhaps I am not ready. That is why He is not giving me what I asked for. But He will give it to me the day I am ready.”

In the life of aspiration it is not actually your achievement that gives you satisfaction. It is your aspiration. The aspiration itself is your satisfaction.

In the spiritual life we do not progress by hook or crook. Spirituality cannot be achieved by pulling or by pushing; it is something spontaneous. I cannot thrust the spiritual life upon you and I cannot take your spiritual life or inner cry from you. But if you have something spiritual in you, I can inspire you. If you have one spiritual coin, then through my inspiration you can get millions of spiritual dollars. But to start with you have to have a little flame.

There are many who are fast asleep. For them spirituality is out of the question. No matter how sincerely we try, we cannot awaken them. You are on a spiritual path; that means that you are already up and awake. But if you try to pull down spiritual Light, you are making a mistake. Only when this Light comes on its own, when on the strength of your aspiration you bring it, can you receive it. Otherwise, when the Light descends, if you don’t have enough receptivity, the vessel will only break.

How can you receive this Light from above? For that you need constant practice. If you practise daily, without fail you will expand your consciousness. An unaspiring person has a consciousness which is earth-bound; it does not expand at all, but is limited, very limited. But when you aspire, your consciousness expands and your receptivity increases. So if you pray or meditate, then you can easily hold the Light and Peace that descends.