AUM — Vol. 5, No.12, 27 July 1970

The inner light1

Philadelphia, to you I offer my soulful salute. You are great. You house the New World’s Liberty Bell. No liberty, no divinity. No divinity, no infinity.

Here we are all aspirants. When the time is ripe, we all shall hear the bell of inner liberty. It is in our liberty that we can and shall grow into the very Image of God.

Philadelphia, you are divine. You are called the city of brotherly love. To have brotherly love is to feel God the Love.

Do you know what our first Indian Avatar (direct descendent of God) Sri Ramchandra said?

Dese Dese Kalatrani........

In every country there are wives. In every country there are friends. But hard is it to find anywhere a brother of my own.

I am now at the University of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania and its founder William Penn will always go together. Penn was a Quaker. He was also an active member of the Society of Friends. This evening I am speaking here on “The Inner Light”. A good Quaker will correct me and ask me to call it “inward light”.

5 June 1963, was indeed a supremely significant day for this august university. It was on that day that your university conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws on Dr. Radhakrishnan, a teacher of the world-illumination. During his speech, Dr. Radhakrishnan said something unique, something absolutely of his own:

> Turn the face of the world to the sun. Let us look to him... let us not become victims of either baseless optimism or groundless despair. Take recognition of the reality of the situation. Take account of the inwardness of the human being, of the spirit that dwells in him. That spirit will conquer all the darkness and matter.

Light is the Creator yet to be fulfilled.

Light is the Creation yet to be realised.

Light is the Voice of Silence in the inner world.

Light is the fruit of action in the outer world.

When we live in darkness, our human life is a constant want. When we live in Light, our divine world is a constant achievement.

Light in the physical is beauty.

Light in the vital is capacity.

Light in the mind is glory.

Light in the heart is victory.

The secret of Light is divine energy. From this divine energy comes another secret, life. The secret of life is inner discipline. The secret of discipline is confidence. The secret of confidence is the aspirant’s consciously surrendered oneness with God’s Will.

Why do we love Light? We love Light because it embodies life. Why do we love life? We love life because it embodies Truth. Why do we love Truth? We love Truth because Truth is the breath of Reality’s Realisation.

Light is freedom. There is no freedom without perfection. There is no perfection without freedom. Freedom is the soul of realisation. Perfection is the body-manifestation of realisation.

The mounting light that glows within tells us that God is of us and for us. The dazzling light that glares without tells us that we are of ignorance and ignorance is ours.

When we use the outer light, we see how far we are away from God. When we use the inner light, we see how far we are away from ignorance. When we use the light of our fully awakened and realised consciousness, we see how close are we to Ignorance, yet not at all affected. When we use the Light of the Supreme, we see how close are we to God, yet so far, unimaginably far, are we from our divine manifestation.

AUM 569. This talk was given by Sri Chinmoy on 18 March 1970 at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Bhagavad Gita — The God-Song. Chapter V: Renunciation

Comparison was the order of the day. So is it still. Perhaps forever it shall remain so, especially in the field of manifestation. Renunciation and selfless action are now being compared. This is Arjuna’s request.

“Both you extol, O Krishna, renunciation and selfless action. Tell me decisively once and for all, which is the better of the two?”

Sri Krishna’s immediate answer is: “Both lead to the Bliss Supreme, but action is easier, action is superior.”

The Divine Teacher makes it clear, however, that renunciation cannot be achieved in the twinkling of an eye. And to achieve the fruit of renunciation without selfless action is next to impossible.

Yoga is action freed from separativity. The awareness of a separate feeling is the death of renunciation. Action done with a feeling of universal oneness is the glorious birth of renunciation.

Two schools. One school teaches the renunciation of any work whatsoever. The other school teaches the performance of action, right action. One school says: “Stop doing anything.” The other school says: “Start doing everything.” Alas! Since the message of the Gita has not been truly understood in India, that country abounds in both dry ascetics and in unlit men of action.

From action, action springs. Action as such can never put an end to action. Action is continuous. Action is perpetual. No matter how hard we work, how long we work, mere action can never show us the Face of the Supreme. He is a true Karma-Yogi who works for the Supreme and for the Supreme alone. Indeed the Karma-Yogi is also the greatest renouncer, for he seeks nothing, rejects nothing. Likes and dislikes to him have equal importance. At his high command are all pairs of opposites. They exist to affirm him, to fulfil him, to crown him with victory, inner and outer.

Krishna’s teachings aim at one Goal, the Bliss Supreme. Human temperaments are bound to differ. Human beings have varying tendencies and leanings. Such being the case, it is difficult for Arjuna to assess the most immediate and most direct path.

Action and renunciation are identical. Action is the tree. Renunciation is the fruit thereof. One cannot be greater than the other. The tree and the fruit grow in the bosom of Infinity to be loved by Eternity and embraced by Immortality.


Is there any freedom? If so, where is it? There is freedom. It lives in our conscious surrender to the Supreme’s Will. Our unreserved surrender is our infallible oneness with the Supreme. Since the Supreme is the Infinite Freedom, we, in essence, cannot be otherwise.

It was Marlowe who said:

> “It lies not in our power to love or hate,

> For will in us is over-ruled, by fate.”

This is true only when our fate is the ego’s extremely limited dictates. This deplorable fate of ours undergoes a radical transformation; stark bondage is transformed into boundless freedom when we, with our ever-mounting aspiration-flame, live in the soul’s unlimited and all-powerful Will. What we have within and what we see without is the consciousness of the evolving, expanding and radiating freedom. No matter what kind of freedom it gives us, physical or spiritual, this freedom is not just to succeed bondage or even to replace bondage, but to transform the very breath of bondage into freedom’s immortality. And it is freedom, as a world-figure once remarked, without quotation marks.


Service can do many things for us. First of all, we should know that service done in a divine spirit is the greatest opportunity that we have in our possession to kill our pride and vanity and to obliterate the stamp of ego. It is in dedicated service that we see the universal harmony, we grow into the universal consciousness.

Our will becomes God’s Will. What we call service is nothing but the fulfilment of the Divine Will. Here on earth one has the capacity; another has the need. The capacity and the need must go together. Capacity offered, not only is the need fulfilled, but the capacity is recognised, the capacity is valued. Capacity by itself receives only partial satisfaction. But when capacity and the need run abreast, full satisfaction dawns.

“From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” In our daily life, this truth is significantly applicable.

God has to occupy one’s mind and in this state of divine concentration, one should serve humanity. At that very hour, service itself becomes the greatest reward. In the field of spirituality, although meditation and concentration constitute a totally different approach, work and dedicated service are nothing short of pure meditation.

Krishna now tells us about pleasure and pain. “Sense-pleasure ends in pain. Hence sense-pleasure is shunned by the wise. Constant self-control is the real and perpetual happiness.”

Self-control continued, self-mastery dawns. The world-existence and the world-activity are at the command of self-mastery. The easiest way to achieve self-control is to take the path of self-consecration. Self-concentration is always blessed by the soul’s illumination. The turbulent forces of our senses must needs bow down to the soul’s illumination. He who has the inner illumination knows that his existence on earth is the embodiment of God and his actions are the expressions of God. He feels that he is never the doer; he is a mere instrument.

We now come to learn from the Gita what the body is. “The body is a city within nine gates.”

To quote Wesley La Violette from “An Immortal Song” (The Bhagavad Gita):

> “The body is a city with many gates in which the sovereign mind can rest serenely. Within that city is the sacred Temple of the Spirit, Mind, where there is no desire to act, nor any motivating cause, yet always the glad willingness to follow Duty when it calls.”

It is true that the body has a sacred temple. Equally true is it that the body itself is hallowed. Whitman’s powerful assertion is to be gratefully welcomed. “If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred.”

Today the body is the insurmountable obstacle. Tomorrow this very body can be and will be the pride of Divinity, for in and through this body God shows the world what He looks like, what He does and what He is.

Towards the end of this chapter, Sri Krishna firmly says that sensuality has to be shunned totally in order to live in and possess Divinity fully. The tiger-passions have to be conquered. The aspirant has to concentrate constantly on his Liberator. Indeed, for him alone is the Goal, the Salvation unique.

The inner life2

It is with deep joy and satisfaction that I wish to tell you that today I complete my Ivy League talks. Last but not least, far from it. Yours is the College which is a veritable pride of the United States of America. I am most happy and most proud to be here amongst you this evening.

Aum. Aum. Aum.

Before I enter into my talk, in silence I wish to invoke the soul of the illustrious poet, Robert Frost, a student of this august College.

> The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

> But I have promises to keep.

> And miles to go before I sleep.

> And miles to go before I sleep.

Indeed, these soulful lines come directly from the inmost recesses of the poet. Since I am going to speak on the inner life, that is to say, the spiritual life, I would like to say a few words on these immortal lines.

The woods, from the spiritual point of view, in the inner life, signify aspiration. The spiritual significance of a lovely, dark and deep wood is intense aspiration. Now, what is aspiration? Aspiration is the mounting flame deep within us that leads us to the Highest Absolute. And when we say intense aspiration, we have to feel that the intensity of aspiration is something that will lead us faster to our destined Goal and at the same time it will bring our destination closer. When intensity looms large in our aspiration, realisation can no longer remain a far cry. Nay, realisation will soon be within our easy reach.

The poet further says, “And miles to go before I sleep.” Here aspiration is the journey’s dawn and realisation is the journey’s close. When we launch into the inner path, we come to realise that the destined Goal is far, very far. The poet unmistakably and soulfully tells us that the Goal of the Beyond is extremely far. And once he reaches the Goal, he will be able to take rest, sleep.

Now, from the ordinary human point of view, this statement is absolutely correct. We enjoy the fruit of our realisation only when we reach our destination. But from the strict spiritual point of view we notice something else. Here realisation is something that constantly transcends itself. Today’s aspiration transforms itself into tomorrow’s realisation. Again, tomorrow’s realisation is the pathfinder of a higher and deeper Goal. There is no end to our realisation. God is eternal. Our journey is eternal and the road that we are marching on is also eternal. We are eternal, divine soldiers marching towards the Beyond that is constantly transcending its own boundary.

The inner life. This life is the union of truth and reality. This life reveals what the Transcendental Will truly is. This life manifests without what God has within.

Meaninglessness and impossibility are for the outer life. Not for the inner life. Never. The inner life unmistakably feels that everything has its own intrinsic value and that nothing can remain unachieved, unaccomplished or unfulfilled.

When we live in the gross and unaspiring physical, each hour is a deplorable loss, a dangerous sickness and a fatal failure. At this point, the message of Seneca demands all our attention. “The hour which gives us life begins to take it away.”

However, the human breath has an inner cry for immortality. It knows and feels that death is not and cannot be the ultimate answer. The real poet in Tennyson inspires us to sing,

> No life that breathes with human breath

> Has truly longed for death.

Needless to say that a true aspirant in his inner life does not long for death. He does not cry for immortality either. What he needs and cries for is the conscious, unreserved and unconditional surrender to the Will of the Supreme. To fulfil the Supreme’s Will is his heart’s only cry. 3

The inner life which is the smile of the soul is always in the making. It has no end to its realisation. Its past is the pride of eternity. Its present is the pride of infinity. Its future is the pride of immortality.

There are two levels of life: the conscious level and the unconscious level of life through pure inspiration and sure aspiration. The conscious level of life has to realise the Highest and fulfil the Absolute on earth through its ever-glowing meditative selfless service to the Divinity in humanity and through its ever-flowing contemplative unconditional surrender to the Sole Pilot Supreme.

The cry for the endless God is an endless cry. Because of its endlessness, the outer life finds God-Realisation a futile cry. But yesterday the inner life felt that God-Realisation was possible. Today it discovers that God-Realisation is inevitable. The inner life shook hands with yesterday’s limited light. It embraces today’s abundant light. It will drink deep tomorrow’s Infinite Light.

> Life seems to be divided into two periods: in the first we indulge, in the second we preach.

> — Will Durant

This is what we are apt to observe in the outer life. Strangely enough, we can divide the inner life, too, into two periods: in the first we aspire, in the second we inspire.

William James said something profoundly significant: “The best use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts life.” Now, what is that something that outlasts life? Before I answer this question, I wish to add something to my question. My final question is: What is that something that outlasts life for the longest period of time? We have seen that man’s inner hunger for the highest Truth outlasts life. But there is only one thing that outlasts life for the longest period of time and that thing is called sacrifice. Sacrifice is by far the best of all immortal treasures of earth and heaven. The Veda tells us who made the supreme sacrifice. Brihaspati, the preceptor of the gods, made the supreme sacrifice. “Death he chose to help the Gods. Immortality he chose not, to help mankind.”

They say that life is the same damn thing over and over. The seeker of the Supreme Light has a different experience to offer. He soulfully declares: life is God the ever-transcending Vision. Life is God the ever-fulfilling Manifestation.

AUM 571. This talk was given by Sri Chinmoy on 3 April 1970 at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire.

AUM 571,14. Original text was To fulfil the Supreme’s Will Supreme is his heart’s only cry.

From:Sri Chinmoy,AUM — Vol. 5, No.12, 27 July 1970, AUM Centre Press, 1970
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