Sri Chinmoy: Another word for growth is progress. Something that is growing is making progress. In our spiritual life, we say that the most important thing is not success but progress. Anything that comes to us in life in the form of success will eventually give us dissatisfaction, because the glory and joy of success does not last. Our success lasts for five minutes; then immediately somebody is there to smash our pride. That is because success-life and rivalry or competition always go together. No matter how successful we are today, there will always be somebody to defeat us tomorrow. Success makes us feel that we have become something, but this thing we cannot keep. And when it goes away, it is very painful.
But if we care only for progress, then we are not competing with anybody. Yesterday, let us say, I wrote two nice poems, and today I have written four poems. So I am very happy because I am making progress. I am not competing with you; I am not asking you how many poems you have written. But if I feel a sense of rivalry with you and ask you how many poems you have written, and if you say, "Oh, I wrote ten poems," then all my joy goes away and I feel miserable. So all that matters in our spiritual life is progress. That is absolutely necessary.
The next idea you asked about is peace. Peace we do not get by having something; peace we get only by becoming something. You have a farm and so many possessions, whereas a poor man may have nothing. So people may say that you have peace whereas the poor man has no peace, since early in the morning he has to think of where he is going to get food for the day. But you have other problems. Your problem may not be to get a little bread and butter, but you have to think of your wife, your children, your dear ones. They may get sick or something else may happen. Although you may have many possessions, at every moment they may cause you worry and anxiety. You know in your heart of hearts how much suffering you go through. So where is your peace?
What you have to do is consciously feel that you are not the owner of your possessions. Somebody has given them to you to take care of, and that Somebody may also take them back. Since You are not the owner but only the keeper, you will not be upset if He asks for them back. If you can feel that God has entrusted you with some prosperity and that you are keeping it for Him, if you can feel that you are not the possessor but only the keeper, then you will have peace. If you can feel that you are only consciously and soulfully executing His Will according to your capacity, then you will definitely have peace.
When we feel that we are taking care of something for someone, we feel that we are an extension of that person. Peace comes when we extend ourselves. I was born in a tiny village in India. That was my whole world. Then I went to a spiritual community and my world got bigger. Then I came to New York, the capital of the world, and my world became even larger. Now I am travelling in the Philippines, here, there, everywhere, and establishing my prayerful oneness with all of these places. So in the beginning I was only part of a tiny village, but now my soul-bird is flying the length and breadth of the world. The life-tree is one, but it has many, many branches. Each country is like a branch, an extension of the life-tree, and the bird is flying from this branch to the next. In this way I am expanding myself and becoming one with the whole world. When I am one with the whole world, who is there to take away my peace? At that time I have become peace itself.
You have asked about luck. There is no such thing as luck or fortune. Whenever there is luck, we have to know that in the inner world something has taken place. Luck comes in the form of the sea or the ocean, but a long stream or a long river has brought us to the ocean. When we reach the ocean, we feel that we are lucky, but we do not see that the life-river which carried us there is very, very long.
Everything comes from the inner world because of something we did either in this incarnation or in some previous incarnation, either twenty years ago or two hundred years ago. We believe in reincarnation. We feel that this is not our first or our last incarnation. If we want to please God and fulfil God, we need more than a single lifetime. Thousands and thousands of years are needed to do God's work properly. So what someone may call luck is actually the result of something good we have done.
Luck may also come from the good thoughts and good wishes of your friends and dear ones. You have so many friends. You cannot think of them all at the same time, but they all can easily think of you at the same time. If ten of your friends or dear ones are thinking of you with very pure, divine thoughts and offering you their love, affection and compassion, a solid inner power is being accumulated. It may seem that all of a sudden you are lucky. But you have no idea how many people have sent you goodwill at that very moment. You are getting the result, but you do not know the source. Again, the reason they are thinking of you with such goodwill is because you did them a favour either yesterday or many years ago. So luck is the result of something you have done in a previous incarnation or the accumulated result of things that you or your dear ones have done in this incarnation.
The last thing you asked about is fulfilment. We have to take fulfilment as happiness; there is no other way to think of it. Ordinary human happiness comes only when we get something that we wanted, when we are pleased in our own way. Let us say you want to be a very strong person. So you become strong and you are happy. But then you see that others are making fun of you because they are stronger. Or you see that although your body is strong today, it becomes weak tomorrow. This moment it has no ailments; the next moment it catches cold or gets a stomach upset. Then you cannot get up in the morning; you cannot talk to people. You are miserable. So for one moment this body gives you joy, and then for weeks or months it makes you miserable. This is the way everything happens in our life: we get something and then it is taken away. We get it for five seconds; then for five days or five months it is gone. When we get what we want, we are happy, and our happiness lasts for a fleeting second. When what we wanted is gone, we are miserable for a long time.
But there is another way of getting happiness — the way of surrender. The most powerful prayer in God's entire creation was uttered by the Saviour Christ: "Let Thy Will be done." There cannot be any prayer higher than this. He said, and everywhere on earth people have come to realise, that only by pleasing God in God's own Way can we be happy. Otherwise, we will keep the bird inside the cage for a few minutes, and then the bird will fly away. So if we want happiness, we have to change our attitude. We have to say, "It is God who brought the bird and gave me the inspiration and capacity to put it in the cage. And it was God who took the bird away from me." At every moment let us think of the Source — that God gave us something and that God took it away.
When our dear ones leave us, we have to feel that He who created them and who loves them infinitely more than we do, did what is best for them. Then we are happy. God's Love for His creation is infinitely greater than our love. God's Love for our dear ones is infinitely greater than our love for them. The potter has created a vessel with inspiration, affection and love. When we see the pot, we just grab it and break it. But he who created this vessel with such concern, such affection and such self-giving will never act like this.
God gave you [referring to Elias T.] your wife twenty-eight years ago out of His boundless Compassion. She existed before she married you, and now also she exists in the soul's world; she is in Heaven. It is as though while walking somebody comes and joins me for twenty-eight miles. After that, I become tired or the other person starts going faster. If I love that person, I will say, "You go according to your own speed. I am tired now; I have to take a little rest. Then, when my time comes, again I will run fast." So happiness comes by allowing the other person to go ahead if the person has the capacity and wants to go ahead. You have to surrender to God's Will and feel, "I will go in my own time. When my hour strikes, at that time I also will go to God."
Your wife was with you for twenty-eight years and now she is gone. But you have to know that for many years you did exist without her and now also you exist. If you care for that person, you have to feel, "The One who asked her to be in this room for a while has now taken her to another room. It is His House, His Mansion. He was the One who brought that person and He is the One who has taken her, so what right do I have to object?" Only by surrendering to God's Will can we get happiness. Otherwise, if we try to possess, we are miserable; if we are possessed, we are also miserable. True happiness, true fulfilment, lies only in becoming one with God's Will. There is no other way we can get fulfilment.