Part II — Questions and answers

Question: I would like to ask you, how do you develop these processes of meditation? For someone who has never done anything like this before, how do you begin?

Sri Chinmoy: If you are an absolute beginner, then you have to start by reading spiritual books written by spiritual Masters. Do not read the books written by professors and scholars because whereas the spiritual Masters are offering their own realisation in the form of writing, the scholars and professors are only borrowing the light from the writings of the Masters and, with their mental capacities, they are elaborating on them. If you study these second-hand experiences, it is like the blind leading the blind, for the professors have not realised the Truth, therefore they cannot offer the Truth. The Masters, however, have realised the Truth, and they have the capacity to offer the Truth, provided the seeker is willing to receive it the way the Master wants to offer it.

If you study their books, you will get inspiration. But inspiration is not enough. You will soon feel the necessity for someone who can guide you in the path of spirituality, because if there is no guidance, you are apt to make mistakes. One may be inspired to do something, but that does not mean that he will be able to do it correctly. You are inspired to run, but if someone has not taught you how to run properly, how to take big strides, and how to move your arms and so on, then naturally you will not be able to run very fast.

But then, while running, there will come a time when you will feel that you have to run in a particular lane. If a runner is constantly changing lanes, then he will be disqualified even though he is running fast. For he is disturbing others, and being disturbed by others, and there is bound to be a calamity. It is necessary to choose a particular lane, a particular path. In the spiritual life, one must choose a path. Otherwise, if one is constantly changing his path — today this path, tomorrow that path, the day after something else — then he will only confuse himself and he will not be able to run fast.

When you start your journey as an absolute beginner, you have to read books written by spiritual Masters. Then you have to have guidance from a Master in whom you have faith, and follow his path only. If you feel the necessity of individual concentration, individual attention, then you have to get a personal meditation from the Master. The Master will give general meditation instruction in his books; or during his talks he will say, "Make the mind calm and quiet," or he will give secrets of meditation in general. But if you want to become close to a Master, or if you feel that getting a specific meditation from a Master will help you make fastest progress, then you should choose your Master and follow his path devotedly and soulfully.

Sri Chinmoy, Promised Light from the Beyond, AUM Publications, New York, 1973