Question: The yogi believes in realisation on earth after a series of reincarnations; the Christian believes in salvation after death through Christ. How can one synthesise these two great beliefs?1

Sri Chinmoy: There is no conflict. In the East, especially in India, we speak about realisation. In the West, the ultimate achievement is salvation. Salvation is freedom from sin, from darkness, from bondage, from ignorance. These things are not our own; they are strangers or enemies that have come and attacked us, and now we are trying to save ourselves from them. But realisation is self-discovery: the discovery of what we truly are. What are we? We are God's representatives; we are inseparably one with God and with God's ultimate Reality. So realisation is our conscious awareness of our highest Reality or our conscious, inseparable oneness with the Highest.

These are two ways to approach reality, but they are not contradictory. We only synthesise when there are contradictory ideas. Salvation through Christ is one way. Realisation is another way. Realisation has to be achieved here on earth through prayer and meditation. Salvation is achieved in Heaven.

God wants us to realise, reveal and manifest Him on earth. This is His Playground. In Heaven He wants to play with us in a different way. Here we are trying to know what we eternally truly are and bring to the fore our inner realities and inner divinity. Here, at every moment, we are fighting against ignorance and wrong forces in the battlefield of life. After fighting for a certain number of years, naturally we need rest. The soul's world, Heaven, is for rest. So Heaven and earth have different objectives. Here we enter into the hustle and bustle of life in order to realise, reveal and manifest the Highest; there we go to rest.

You also spoke about reincarnation. The Indian belief is that this is not our first or our last life. We believe in reincarnation because we feel that God wants us to be happy and fulfilled both in the desire-world and in the aspiration-world. A desire we may have had since the age of four may take forty, fifty or even sixty years to fulfil. In the aspiration-world, it takes years to achieve even an iota of peace, light and bliss. If we want boundless peace, boundless light, boundless delight, it is impossible to get these things in the short span of one life. If God's unconditional Grace descends, then naturally we will be blessed with peace, light and bliss. But usually, even to get peace of mind takes many, many years. So we feel that God-realisation, which is the ultimate achievement, cannot be achieved in a single life.

  1. MUN 429. 18 March 1977.