Question: Our path is the path of love, devotion, and surrender. Can there be oneness with each of these qualities, or does real oneness come only in surrender?

Sri Chinmoy: It is like this. Stand in front of a tree, preferably at night, and look at the tree's foliage, its leaves and branches. Try gradually to feel that you are the tree — you are the branches, you are the leaves and you are the roots. Each portion of this real tree is yours. This is the outer tree.

Then you have to imagine for a couple of minutes that you have a tree inside you. This tree has only three branches. The name of these three branches are love, devotion and surrender You will sit on the branch that is called love, and there you will try to feel that you and God are absolutely one.

Then you will sit on the branch called devotion. While sitting on the devotion branch you have to feel not only that God and you are one, but that there is a tremendous intimate concern and feeling of inseparable oneness between you and God. God devotes His infinite Light to the fulfilment of the aspirant and the aspirant devotes his utmost capacity, whatever capacity he has, to the fulfilment of God's Will. On the branch of devotion your oneness is thickened and intensified.

Next comes the branch of surrender. When you sit on the branch of surrender, you have to feel that the oneness that was on the love branch, and the intimacy that you felt on the branch of devotion came to you only on the strength of your implicit surrender to God's Will. You had aspiration to become one with God, but it was not your aspiration that made you one with Him. Inside your aspiration you had surrendering light. Your aspiration was not to get something by hook or by crook, by foul means. Inside your aspiration was surrendering light: "God, I am aspiring, but I have surrendered to You and it is up to You to fulfil my aspiration or leave me where I am." This was your prayer. When you sit on the branch of surrender, you have to feel that your oneness on the love branch and your intimate oneness on the devotion branch came because of the implicit, unconditional surrender that you had inside your flaming, climbing aspiration.

Who has silence? He who is firmly established. When a man can feel that he has an inner tree which is firmly rooted in his inner being; then naturally his outer life is founded on something very solid, which is deep inside his inner being. In his case, the higher silence is bound to permeate his outer being.