Question: What does power mean in the spiritual life?1

Sri Chinmoy: In the ordinary life, power means supremacy. If you have power, consciously or unconsciously you will try to be one step ahead of me or one inch above me. Human power tries to lord it over others. It does not allow you to be one with someone else. But spiritual power, divine power, is the power of expansion, the power of identification, the power of oneness. When you first achieve spiritual power, it takes the form of identification. Identification can last for an hour, half an hour, a minute. For a short time you will identify yourself with the rest of the world; for a while, the sufferings and joys of all human beings will become yours. If you see a person suffering, you will momentarily identify with his suffering. If you see someone in a very cheerful frame of mind, you will identify yourself with his happiness for an hour or so. But when the particular person is not in front of you any longer, you do not know whether he is suffering or in a happy mood. So it becomes “out of sight, out of mind.”

When you go higher and deeper in your spiritual life, you go beyond identification to conscious oneness. When you have established oneness, no matter where the person is, in some way that person’s suffering or joy will become part and parcel of your life. When you have oneness, it lasts for twenty-four hours a day.

After achieving oneness, you have to reveal and manifest your oneness. It is one thing to embody oneness, another to reveal it, still another to manifest it. Each represents a different kind of power. Let us say that you have the capacity to write a poem. This is also a form of power, which right now you embody. When you actually write the poem, you reveal the power. Anybody can see it if he comes and asks to see it. Then, if the poem is published and people are getting benefit from it, that is called manifestation.

In the spiritual life, power will enable you to identify and establish your oneness with the rest of the world. Then it will help you to reveal your capacity, and finally it will help you to manifest your capacity — all without any sense of supremacy.


  1. MUN 351. 1974.

Sri Chinmoy, My meditation-service at the United Nations for twenty-five years.First published by Agni Press in 1995.

This is the 1094th 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 meditation-service at the United Nations for twenty-five years, made available to share under a Creative Commons license

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