Give, receive and become1

All of us here are seekers. According to me, a seeker is a spiritual farmer who cultivates his inner soil. So we are all spiritual farmers. We cultivate our inner soil and, in the near future, we shall collect the bumper crop of realisation. Today we are in the process of aspiration. Tomorrow our aspiration will blossom into realisation.

Give, receive and become. Let us give what we have: love. Let us receive what others give: love. Let us together become what God eternally is: Oneness, transcendental Oneness and universal Oneness.

Real giving is self-offering. Real receiving is self-expansion. Real becoming is God-perfection.

There are many ways to give, receive and become, but usually we adopt one of two principal ways: the way of the mind and the way of the heart. When we give with the mind, we give love plus uncertainty. When we receive with the mind, we receive love plus doubt. When we give with the heart, we give love plus concern. When we receive with the heart, we receive love plus fulfilment. When we become with the mind, we become an uncertain illumination. When we become with the heart, we become fulfilled perfection.

When the mind gives something, it thinks that it is being most generous and helpful, and it tries to inject this feeling into the one who receives. When the heart gives something, it feels extremely fortunate that it is privileged to become a soulful server, and it offers its humble gratitude to the one who receives.

Right now we feel that our human mind is the supreme member of our inner family. But unfortunately, this member ponders and forever thinks in an effort to know the solution to life's teeming problems. But thinking, doubting and pondering will not lead us to any permanent solutions. It is only the illumination of the heart which offers a final solution and ultimately becomes the solution itself.

Again, we have other members in our family: the vital and the physical. When the vital wants to give something, it tries to draw all attention to itself like a magnet. When the physical wants to offer something, it delays and delays, and the hour of offering never strikes at all. But if we wait, we shall stay in the world of doubt. Fear, anxiety and worry will all join together the moment we want to give our love to our dear ones, and then these undivine qualities will enter into our dear ones along with our love.

God gives us His Compassion-sea; we give Him our gratitude-drop. His gift is unconditional and perpetual; our gift is conditional, and it has a secret motive. We feel consciously or unconsciously that if we offer a drop of gratitude to God, then eventually we shall be able to win His Heart. At our journey's start, we are sincere to some extent. We enter into the spiritual life with the aspiration for self-offering, God-receiving and God-becoming. But while we are running along the road, deception assails us and we consciously try to deceive even God the Almighty. Our ignorance within tells us that we shall be able to dethrone God, that we shall be able to win God's Power with our tears and excruciating pangs. And once we achieve this Power, we shall be able to lord it over others.

It very often happens that a seeker launches into the spiritual life and comes to a spiritual community because he is disgusted with the outer world. The spiritual leader of the community knows that he has two types of disciples. One type practises the spiritual life most devotedly and sincerely and is constantly learning. The other type is constantly preaching and offering sermons. The leader tells the new seeker, "It is up to you to become either a teacher or a student." The seeker immediately says, "I would like to be a teacher, and not a student." It has happened countless times that when the earthly life disappoints us and fails us we want to enter into the spiritual life. But before we make any progress, we start deceiving others and soon begin to deceive ourselves. We deceive our own aspiring existence. But if we start giving to our inner life what we have and what we are — our outer ignorance and our inner aspiration — then God, out of His infinite Bounty, will come to the fore and give us what He has and is: a flood of Compassion, a flood of Light and Delight.

When a child offers his mother a penny that he has found on the street, the mother receives that penny with greatest joy and offers him a dollar in return. The child has spontaneously given the mother all his tiny wealth, and the mother joyfully gives the child wealth far beyond his imagination. In the case of an aspirant, his surrender is like a drop of nectar to God. But when this drop offers itself soulfully to the mighty ocean, the ocean inundates the drop with its own vastness, and the drop receives all the inner wealth of the mighty ocean.

There are two types of seekers. One type will give and immediately expect ten times more in return. The other type will just give, and then wait for God's choice Hour to strike. Even if God's Hour does not strike, this kind of seeker will not mind in the least. There is an anecdote about this that I would like to tell you.

Once God's messenger entered into the world-arena and saw an aspirant singing and dancing in the street in praise of the Lord. He was a half-lunatic, but in his own way he was praising the Lord. The messenger also saw a serious seeker seated at the foot of a banyan tree practising spirituality in a most austere fashion.

Now, when the God-messenger approached the singing lunatic, immediately the lunatic asked, "Please tell me when I shall realise God."

"Right now I do not know," replied the messenger. "Let me go back and ask the Lord and, on my return, I shall let you know.

Then the messenger approached the seeker who was practising austerities. This particular seeker asked the same thing: "Please tell me when I am going to realise God."

The messenger said, "I do not know right now. But I am going back to the Lord, and I shall ask Him. When I come back, I will let you know."

A few months later the messenger came back to the same place, where the one seeker was singing and praising the Lord and the other was in deep, contemplative meditation.

As soon as the singer saw the messenger, he was overjoyed. He said, "Now, please tell me my fate."

The messenger replied, "Yonder is a tamarind tree. Look how many leaves are on that tree! It will take you as many incarnations to realise God as there are leaves on that tree."

Immediately the singer was overjoyed. He said, "Then definitely I shall realise God. It is only a matter of time before I realise God."

Then the messenger went to the seeker who was practising penance and told him that it would take him only three more incarnations to realise God.

The seeker immediately felt intensely disappointed. "Three more incarnations?" he cried. "I have been practising spirituality so sincerely, so devotedly, and yet I have to take three more incarnations? Then there is no use in even trying. I shall give up this austere life. If God is so unkind then I don't need Him, and He does not deserve me." With that, the seeker gave up his spiritual life altogether.

One seeker was ready to wait millions of years in order to realise God. That is called waiting for God's choice Hour. The other seeker could not wait even for three incarnations; it seemed too long for him. But the real seeker offers himself and does not expect anything in return.

In the spiritual life we have to feel the necessity of surrender. Our self-giving is nothing but surrender to the Inner Pilot, the eternal Source within. This surrender is not demanded or exploited. On the contrary, only surrender consciously and cheerfully offered blossoms into Infinity in our aspiring consciousness.

If our attitude is to wait and decide whether to give or not, then we shall never see the face of satisfaction. But if we do not wait, if we feel that God's Hour has already struck, then we shall give to God what we have and what we are. At that time our spiritual progress will immediately be enhanced.

When a seeker fails to give, he ceases to be. The moment his giving comes to an end, he becomes non-existent. Existence is the radiation of our self-offering. Non-existence is the destruction which results from our self-withdrawal.

Let us offer God our solemn promise to fulfil Him unconditionally in His own Way. And let us receive God's solemn Promise that He will make each of us a conscious representative of Himself on earth, so that He can manifest Himself in and through us.

When, as a seeker, I give, I become a chosen instrument. When, as a divine lover, I love, I become an immortal instrument. When, as a devoted server, I serve, I become a perfect instrument.

When I become a chosen instrument, I embody God the One, the sole Reality, the transcendental Truth. When I become an immortal instrument, I reveal God the Many, the divine Multiplicity in Unity. And when I become a perfect instrument, I manifest God the Whole, the Golden All.


  1. MMT 2. University of New Brunswick, Head Hall, Fredericton, New Brunswick, 17 March 1974

Sri Chinmoy, My Maple Tree.First published by Agni Press in 1974.

This is the 73rd book that Sri Chinmoy has written since he came to the West, in 1964.

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by Sri Chinmoy
From the book My Maple Tree, made available to share under a Creative Commons license

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