Question: How can the feeling of patriotism help one's spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: The real spiritual life is the life of acceptance in order to be patriotic one has to accept one's own country as one's very own. I love my body, I love my vital, I love my mind, I love my heart, I love my soul and I love my God. But I have to feel that what I love is ultimately my own existence, my own transcendence, my own perfection. I love God for my own self-transcendence. I love a human being for my own self-expansion. I love a country for my own expansion and my own perfection.

Love is oneness. Love is the completion of perfection. If I love my country, I have to know that the country also has a soul, a body, a reality. If I love the reality in anything, that means I am loving the source. The source is spirituality the source is divinity. If I become one, inseparably one with something, that means I have established a higher, a deeper, a more meaningful reality within me.

The Creator is also bound to love His creation and vice versa. If we identify ourselves with the Creator, we will definitely feel love for the creation. If we identify ourselves with the creation, then we will naturally love the Creator. A child may be born blind or deaf, but the mother feels that he is the most beautiful child on earth. Why? Because the child is the mother's own creation. The world will say that he is blind, that he is deaf, that he is ugly, but according to the mother he is most beautiful, he is most perfect. The mother's sense of perfection or beauty does not depend on others' judgement or others' way of seeing reality. The mother will see according to her own understanding, according to her own awakening, according to her own standard. She will love her child no matter what. In the case of a country, if we take God as the Creator and identify ourselves with Him, then naturally what the Creator has created — our country — we will love. Even if the creation has millions of defects, just because we love the Creator, we love the creation. And if we love the country — the little child who is deaf and blind — then we will be able to go to the Source, God. So if I really love the creation, then I have to love the Creator; if I really love the Creator, then I will definitely love the creation. God is the Creator and the country is the creation. We cannot separate the two.

Either we appreciate the source and then learn to appreciate the creation of the source, or we appreciate the creation and then learn to appreciate the source. Our country is the creation and God is the Source. Either from the seed we go to the fruit or from the fruit we go to the seed. In this way if we develop love for our country then spontaneously we shall develop love for our Source, the Supreme Creator.