Question: Every time I act, I am not certain if I am doing the right thing. I was wondering if perhaps the best way to find real peace would be to withdraw from the world and not act at all.1

Sri Chinmoy: If we think that we must withdraw from life in order to achieve peace, then we are making a serious mistake. If we withdraw, our satisfaction will never dawn. It is only in activity that we progress and achieve. It is in action, in creation, in manifestation, that we can find real satisfaction.

But we have to know that if we expect something from our action, peace will never come in our lives. If we expect some particular result from our action, we will only be frustrated when the result comes. We will feel that we have failed. When this happens, naturally there can be no peace.

Instead, we have to feel that action itself is a great blessing. But the result of action we have to take as an experience. According to our own limited understanding, we see it as either failure or success. But in God's Eye, failure and success are both just experiences that help to develop our consciousness. Whatever happens, we should regard it as the precise experience that God wanted to give us. Today He may give us the experience of failure. Tomorrow He may give us another experience, which will satisfy us outwardly. But if we live a spiritual life, no matter what result comes to us, we shall be satisfied, for we see it as God's Will.

Let us look at a river. A river carries all kinds of rubbish — dirt, stones, leaves, sand — that it picks up as it moves towards its goal. But it always continues flowing towards the sea. We should also think of our lives as a river running towards the sea, the sea of fulfilment. If we are afraid to act because we do not want to get involved with the imperfections of the world, if we become still and inactive, then we will never reach the goal.

We may say that we do not know where the goal is right now. No harm! All that matters is that we move. If we go in the wrong direction, we soon will realise it and change direction. Then eventually we will reach our goal. But if we do not move at all, there is absolutely no chance that we will go in the right direction. If we cannot do disinterested work, selfless work, then let us work at first out of some ulterior motive. If ego and vanity come in while we are helping someone, let them come. A day will dawn when we will feel that the satisfaction this brings does not last; then we will try to work in a more divine way.

Activity is always far better than inertia. Even if we run around like a mad elephant at first, eventually we will start acting like a deer and run straight towards our goal. We may start our movement with the crude and destructive strength of an elephant, but we will complete it with the grace and speed of a deer.

Action is our peaceful realisation. Action is our peaceful fulfilment. Action is our peaceful manifestation. So we have to act. If we withdraw from life, then we are telling God that we do not want to be players in His Game. God will allow us to withdraw for a few days or a few months or a few years. But then He will compel us to participate again, so that He can fulfil Himself in and through us. Otherwise, if we do not accept the world, the world will remain imperfect and we will remain unsatisfied.

  1. MUN 296. 23 February 1973.