Question: What should I do when I am in the position of giving advice to someone?

Sri Chinmoy: If you feel compelled from within to give advice to someone, you will do it. However, it may happen that my advice will be more direct or may work more quickly than yours. Your advice, I assure you, will not be as high or divine or spiritual or, let us say, as fruitful as mine.

But your advice is bound to be helpful and fruitful if you feel my presence and have tremendous devotion for me while you are giving advice to your spiritual brothers and sisters. If you have tremendous devotion when you are giving advice, at that time I tell you, you will not be able to make a mistake.

When some of my disciples give advice, they immediately consider themselves equal to me. They totally forget that they are my disciples and that I know a little more than they do. They are getting the utmost opportunity to reveal themselves. At that time, they negate my existence in their life.

Let us say that somebody needs advice from you or, even if he does not need advice, you feel that it is your bounden duty to give him advice. He has been your friend for a long time, and now he is under a cloud. Doubt or some other wrong force has entered into him. While you are advising the person out of your necessity, if you are full of devotion for me, then like a magnet you are pulling my wisdom and light. This will go to the person to whom you want to offer it. People make mistakes because they totally forget me. For a few minutes they become the Master of the particular seeker that they are speaking to. And then they make mistakes.

Sometimes when people don't ask us for advice, they will misunderstand us if we advise them. Still, we have to try. A daughter won't ask advice from her mother. But if she is doing something wrong, then will her mother just wait? Will her mother say, "Let her ask for my guidance, for my advice; until then I will be silent. Let her burn her fingers; then she will learn." No, the mother's heart will not allow the daughter to burn her fingers. The mother may be misunderstood if she tries to interfere and the child may get angry, but the mother's duty is to save the child. So, when you give advice, feel that the other person is a child, totally lost. Many times it has happened and many times it will happen that the Supreme wants a particular person to have an experience, so that in the future he will be more careful in his spiritual life. By giving advice to him you may make a mistake. Your heart is there because you know that he is doing something wrong. But how do you know if it is God's Will to help that person at that moment? How do you know if your advice is timely? Help he needs, but your best help you can offer during your meditation. Then you are going to the right person, to the Supreme. "Supreme, I feel that this person needs help. But who am I to help? It is only You who can help him." The Supreme is bound to hear your prayer, and then He will do it in His own way.

Very often spiritual Masters work in this way. They always offer their good will, even if disciples have left their path. If those people are having difficulties, at that time they pray to the Supreme to illumine them. This way is the most effective because the Supreme Himself is accepting your request.

But if you find it difficult at that time to surrender your will to the Supreme, and if you have a very good heart and you feel that the person does need your help, then the other way is to have tremendous devotion while you are giving advice. You have to have devotion for the Supreme or for the Master. If you offer your devotion to the Master, immediately he will take your devotion and put it in the right place, at the Feet of the Supreme. Devotion is like a flower. Either you yourself can place the flower on the shrine, or you can leave it at the door and the person who is there will put it on the shrine. But the flower will be put at the right place.