Dr Robert Muller: The first three of U Thant's four categories of needs — namely, physical, intellectual and moral needs — do not create any insuperable problems for me. But the last and most important one in his view, spirituality, gives me considerable difficulties because there are indeed so many definitions of that term. U Thant described it as "faith in oneself, the purity of one's inner self." How would you define the spiritual goals?

Sri Chinmoy: The seeker in me fully agrees with our beloved brother U Thant's four categories of needs. Each one must be fulfilled for an individual to become integrally perfect. Unfortunately, the term 'spiritual' always creates problems, not only in the minds of seekers who are endowed with few spiritual potentialities but also in the minds of those who are endowed with great spiritual potentialities. Each individual must needs have his own way of feeling and describing his own spirituality. To some, it is faith in oneself; to others, the purity of one's inner self. Still others would define it as God for God's sake.

According to my inner conviction, spirituality is at once self-giving and God-becoming. This self-giving is not an offering to somebody else, to a third party; it is an offering to one's own higher self. Self-giving is nothing short of an act of self-uncovering, which is another name for self-discovering. And self-discovering blossoms into God-becoming.

What is God-becoming? Each individual will have an answer of his own in accordance with his soul's development and his life's needs. My inner conviction is that God-becoming is the soulful recovery of one's own forgotten self. God-becoming is the fruitful discovery and soulful acceptance of this realisation: "In my yesterday's life, I had; in my today's life, I am. What did I have? God the man as the aspiring seed. What have I become? Man the God as the fulfilling fruit."