Question: It seems to me that one's own soul is the most strict, then comes the Master, then comes God. Do you agree?

Sri Chinmoy: To a certain extent, it is true. Let us take the soul as the mother or father of the individual. When the children do something wrong or undivine, the parents become very strict. Then comes the Master, who is like the grandparents. The grandparents are not as strict as the parents; they show much more indulgence. And if the great-grandparents are alive, their attitude is nothing but indulgence. If neighbours make serious complaints about the children's misconduct, immediately the parents will punish the children. The grandparents, to some extent, will say, "All right, all right! It is not so bad." And the great-grandparents — in this case, God — will say, "They are My creation. When the time comes, I will turn them into good children." You people do not believe me when I tell you the kind of strictness that your souls want to show to your human body, vital and mind. So many times your souls want to punish you most powerfully, but I do not allow them to do so. And, of course, the Supreme also does not want it.

But the story can be reversed. Sometimes it happens that God is extremely, extremely strict. Sometimes other spiritual Masters of the highest order, with utmost affection, demand that I be more strict with my disciples. While I am holding meditation, their affection for me is like a boundless ocean. Point-blank they say: "This one is misbehaving. That one is misbehaving. Why is it that you are not strict?" The Highest also wants me to be very strict. But I know that the particular individual will burst like a balloon if I execute the Supreme's Will. Again, the Supreme says, "I am telling you to do this, but it is you who are on the physical plane and can see the physical condition, vital condition and mental condition of the individual. So you decide if being strict will do any good or if it will only create more problems."

Sometimes the Command comes from the Highest: "Throw this one out, throw that one out! They are ruining the Mission. Forget about their past contributions and past achievements. Just throw them out of your boat!" But in my case, as soon as I see just one exceptionally good quality in that particular disciple, that good quality comes and stands right in front of me. Then, God knows, all the bad qualities seem to hide or disappear; the one good quality looms large and all the person's bad qualities are eclipsed by it and pale into insignificance. So, I am totally helpless and I cannot do anything.

Again, if I see that the Supreme is very serious about being strict with someone, if I see that it is His absolute Command, His express Will, then immediately I surrender. So there are definitely times when God can be infinitely stricter than the Master or the soul.

God's Vision may want something done in the twinkling of an eye. But, from Above, God is dealing only with possibility. The Command comes from the Highest, but God Himself is dealing with possibility. Certainty is one word that cannot be used. Certainty comes only by feeding, feeding and feeding our divinity. Every day, every hour, every minute, every second if we can feed our inner divinity, then certainty comes. Otherwise, there is no certainty in human life. We can go on to the very end, and at the last moment, if a gust of wind comes, then we are gone. The wrong forces can attack and destroy us even at the very last moment. Unfortunately, we human beings do not always feed our divinity; there are days when we do not feed our divinity at all. So human life is all possibility, not certainty.

If the Master is strict, he very often is not successful. If he is lenient, again he may not be successful. Spirituality means patience, nothing else. The disciples have to have patience and faith that the Master is doing the right thing. And the Master has to have the patience and faith that one day his disciples will really become good and divine and understand why he is acting as he does.

Of course, spirituality is not a matter of understanding; it is a matter of jumping. We cannot stand at the shore and try to understand the spirituality-sea. No! We have to jump into the sea of the unknown and the unknowable. The unknown or the unknowable is not going to devour us. We have to think of spirituality as a divine adventure. We must not worry about what will happen; we must not think of the outcome. If we are really meant for spirituality, then we have to jump and say, "Whatever happens, I am going to make my unconditional surrender to God's Will." Once we jump into the ocean of the unknown and unknowable, we will see that there are no dangerous creatures there to threaten us, but only divine experiences in boundless measure.