Question: Should we participate in the political movement that is going on now in our country?7

Sri Chinmoy: There are many ways to participate in the life of one’s country. If we simplify the answer, we can say there are two ways: one is the inner way and the other is the outer way. The inner way is to pray to the Supreme for the fulfilment of your aspiration — whatever you feel best for your country. The outer way is to take sides with one party and join in the demonstrations, and risk being injured or killed. That I do not advise for my disciples. The inner way is the way of prayer. You can adopt one party, but do not join a demonstration or become involved in violent activities.

We can pray inwardly for whatever we feel is best; but outwardly we should not enter into the political fray, because that will not at all help our inner progress. Our inner progress depends on our inner prayers. We may feel that one side is right. If we feel one side is right, definitely we have every right to pray to the Supreme for the victory of that particular side. Then we have to surrender and say: “Supreme, I feel that this side is by far the best, so I am praying to You for its success. But if this side fails, I shall place the results at Your Feet with equal happiness.”

Always pray for whatever you feel best. If you want to do something good, it is a matter of your feeling. You are feeling the necessity of helping your country. To pray for the improvement of your country is not an ordinary desire; it is a great aspiration. To pray for your country is not like a silly desire to have five houses or ten cars — no! There are certain desires which are as good as aspiration. At that time they do not remain desires; they become aspiration itself. Praying for the betterment and improvement of your country is definitely an inner aspiration.

If your prayer is not successful, do not feel miserable. You have the right to pray for the right thing, but the results you have to place at the Feet of God. Lord Krishna taught us, “You have the right to action, but not to the fruits thereof.”

Your inner prayers I will deeply appreciate; but outwardly if you take one side and enter into the political arena, God knows what is going to happen. Let people criticise us. Let them say that we are cowards because we do not come onto the battlefield. I will say that there are many ways to enter onto the battlefield. The real battlefield is inside us.

We have every right to pray for the success of the particular party that we choose. We may not be aware of which side the Supreme has taken, but we have every right to pray to the Supreme for the victory of the particular party we have chosen, because it concerns our own Motherland.

OGT 27. Sri Chinmoy answered the following question on 8 October 2000 at Aspiration-Ground in Jamaica, New York