Four intimate friends: insincerity, impurity, doubt and self-indulgence

Part I: Emotion, detachment and attachment

Emotion, detachment and attachment

There are two types of emotion. One type of emotion is in the gross physical. This emotion is aggressive. It only binds and finally drains our physical, vital and mental energy. The other type of emotion is divine emotion. It tells us: "I came from God, who is Infinity, Eternity and Immortality." This kind of emotional thrill helps us to enter into our highest and deepest self. The emotion that expands is always welcome, but the emotion that binds us to our limited, gross physical body has to be overcome and thrown aside.

Now let us think of detachment. Detachment has to be seen in its proper light. If we know the meaning of responsibility, then automatically we will know the meaning of detachment. Who is responsible? Not you or I. Not the outer self or the outer body, but the Divine in us. If we can throw our responsibility sincerely, genuinely and devotedly to the Supreme, to the Divine within us, then automatically we will learn the meaning of detachment.

Detachment does not mean indifference. It does not mean, "I do not belong to him; he does not belong to me. So let me forget him. Let us have no connection with each other." True spiritual detachment comes only when we feel that we have given to the Supreme what we have and what we are. We have friends, children, a husband, a wife, relatives and various belongings. Also we have our own existence: body, vital, mind, heart and soul. If we can offer what we have and what we are at the Feet of the Supreme and say that He is responsible and that it is He who has to look after us, then only can we learn detachment. Otherwise, just by negating and separating ourselves from others' consciousness, we cannot practise detachment. Detachment can be practised only when we feel that the Divine within us is equally responsible for us and for others. Then our inner aspiration will tell us how far to go, where to stop and when to stop in our relationship with others. Our aspiration, if it is sincere, is bound to tell us where the limit of detachment is, because the Supreme is constantly speaking through our aspiration.

When we have a child, we have to take care of the child. We have to bring him up and give him all the necessary things for his existence. During his childhood we have to help him. We have to feel that for a few years the Divine is acting in and through us to help the child. Then, when he grows into a youth, at that time our help must stop. If we go on trying to interfere with his personal life, we are making a mistake. He has to enter into his own world. He has to make direct contact with the Divine and fulfil his own life.

It is not at all difficult to detach oneself from one's environment. But true detachment should be detachment from ignorance, not from a particular person or thing. Ignorance has to be separated from our existence. Then we will see that there is nothing else to be detached from; it is all Wisdom and Light.

Question: In our daily life, are we supposed to suppress our emotions?

Sri Chinmoy: No, in our daily life we have not to suppress anything. Suppression is very bad. If we suppress something today, then tomorrow there will be an inner revolt. We must not suppress our emotion but try to illumine it. While we are illumining it, we get real joy. But by suppressing, what are we doing? We are only forcing ourselves beyond our inner willingness. When we try to suppress something, we have to know that our inner will has not yet become adamantine will-power. It is just a kind of desire that we have. As we have a desire to enjoy the pleasure-life, so also we have a desire to suppress it because we feel that it is something bad. We have to come to realise that the life of pleasure is followed by frustration. But suppressing the life of pleasure is the wrong method. If our aim is light, then let us think more of light than of night.

Emotion as such is not bad, but human emotion is unfortunately bad. With our human emotion we possess and are possessed. But divine emotion says, "I am God's child. It is beneath my dignity to surrender myself to ignorance. My Father is all-Light, all-Perfection, all-Love." This emotion comes directly from the inmost recesses of our heart. But the human emotion which we observe or which we are subject to is only lower vital emotion. That emotion we have to transform and illumine. As night has to be transformed into light, so also human emotion has to be transformed into divine emotion.

If we meditate on the positive side, that is to say, on light, then light is going to enter into us. But if we think of night and are always afraid of night, then we are unconsciously entering into the domain of night. Let us all the time think of light, which is, after all, our saviour. Then we are running towards our destined Goal.

So whenever emotion comes to the fore, do not try to suppress it. Just try to think of divine emotion. When we can expand ourselves totally, when we can remain in Infinity, in the Vast, then there is no necessity to possess anything or to get limited pleasure. If we meditate on joy, divine joy, then automatically we will grow into that joy. So let us not try to suppress anything. Let us try only to meditate on the right thing, and the right thing is light.

Question: I have trouble with emotions and bad thoughts. They attack me and when I try to fight them off, they become stronger.

Sri Chinmoy: No, no, no! That is your wrong way of thinking. If someone is attacking you and if you feel that he is stronger, then if you try to fight him how can you win? Instead of fighting in a human way, you have to strengthen yourself. Right now you cannot prevent these forces from attacking, but you make your fort strong and formidable.

How will you do it? You will do it through constant aspiration. If you aspire constantly, then your inner being and your outer body will become very strong and powerful. At that time, when the hostile forces attack you, they will feel that they are knocking at the wrong door. But if you give up trying to make yourself stronger, or if you stand against them while you are still weak, then you are making a deplorable mistake. You have to strengthen yourself every day, every hour, every minute.

Again, if the enemy comes, you have to be strong. You are not going to attack anybody, but self-defence is always necessary. Otherwise, you will be allowing thieves, robbers and all kinds of murderers to enter into you. Why should you allow an undivine or hostile force to kill you? That is absurd. If it happens, then you are creating more ignorance. When you are defending yourself, it is wrong to feel that the person whom you are fighting is stronger. If that were the case, then nobody would conquer his enemy. You think, "Oh, if the enemy wants to kill me, let him kill me. I will remain silent." But that is a wrong idea. You won't do anything wrong and, at the same time, you will not allow others to do something wrong in your life. That should be your attitude.

Question: We usually think that we are attached only to someone we like. But we can also be attached to somebody we dislike. How can we detach ourselves from a person we dislike?

Sri Chinmoy: There are two kinds of attachment: positive attachment and negative attachment. Positive attachment comes when you like someone. You are all the time trying to please that person and you are trying also to be pleased by that person. Negative attachment means that you have an enemy. He is jealous of you and you are jealous of him. At the same time, your mind is not at all free from thinking of that person. All the time that person is operating in your mind in a negative way. Constantly you are thinking of how you can surpass that particular person and make him feel that you are superior to him. There is a kind of challenging attitude that you have.

Either way, you have no time to think of yourself. Either you are thinking of your friend or you are thinking of your enemy. But when you are thinking of your friend, it is in a positive way. You are trying to bind that person or you are allowing that person to bind you. You get joy by thinking of that person and you get joy if that person also thinks of you. The negative way means that you want to hurt that person and, at the same time, you do not want to be hurt. You try to hurt the person whom you dislike and, at the same time, you want that person to be silent. You don't want him or her to strike you back. You want to stay on the top of the tree and you want that person to remain at the foot of the tree.

But in both cases you have to know that you are binding the other person and being bound by him. If you want anything from that person on the physical plane, you are only binding him. And that particular person wants something from you, he is also binding you. On the physical plane it is always like that.

But on the spiritual plane we have only a devoted feeling towards someone. It is not attachment; it is only the devoted feeling of oneness, inseparable oneness. When we deal with ordinary people, unaspiring people, it is all attachment. We are binding someone with our desire and that person is binding us with his desire. But a spiritual person, a spiritual Master, we do not bind. Only we are trying to throw ourselves into his vast consciousness, which our soul feels. When we throw ourselves into his boundless consciousness, that means that we are going to be free. At that time we want to be with the Vast, in the Vast and for the Vast. We consciously dive into the Infinite and act with and for the Infinite.

But when we throw ourselves into someone who is unillumined and we want that person to throw his or her existence into us, naturally it is all darkness and limitation. Where there is darkness there is limitation. We are entering into darkness consciously or unconsciously, since the other person is not illumined and also we are not illumined. Two blind persons going together can never show light to each other. Two sick persons in the hospital cannot offer strength to each other.

So whether this attachment is positive or negative, it is always destructive. When our thoughts and ideas are directed towards an unaspiring and unrealised person, then they are useless. But if we can direct our thoughts, ideas, ideals, aspiration and sense of inner duty, towards our mission, towards our goal, towards our spiritual Master, then we are safe and fulfilled.

Part II — Psychic depression and vital depression

Psychic depression and vital depression

When we are assailed by worries and anxieties, we have to feel that there is an antidote. When a snake bites us we try to get cured. If the worries and anxieties of the thought-world want to enter into us and attack us, then we have to get the antidote. And the antidote is to feel inwardly God's Love for us.

We love God, but we are not sure whether God loves us. We pray to God, "Oh God, grant us this, fulfil this desire." But whether or not God loves us remains vague. But we have to start with the feeling that He loves us always infinitely more than we love ourselves. How is it possible for God to love us more than we love ourselves? The answer is that God does not doubt us as we doubt ourselves. One moment we feel that we are very strong, like a great emperor; the next moment we see a red ant and are frightened to death.

Anxiety comes when there is a gap between our existence and God's Existence. Also it comes when we don't claim God as our very own or don't care to say, "I am of God; I am for God." Worries and anxieties will go away only when we identify ourselves with something that has peace, poise, divinity and the feeling of absolute oneness. If we identify ourselves with the Inner Pilot, then we get the strength of His illumining Light. Worries come because we identify ourselves with fear. If we identify ourselves with something divine, eternal and immortal, then naturally the hidden essence and quality of that particular thing will enter into us. By worrying all the time or by thinking undivine thoughts, we will never move towards our goal. We will enter into divinity only by having positive thoughts: "I am of God. I am for God." If we think this, then there can be no worry, no anxiety.

There is psychic depression and there is vital depression. In psychic depression the individual feels that there is so much that God has asked him to do and that God Himself is trying to manifest in and through him; but the world-ignorance is not letting him manifest God. Here you are with friends and your boss is the Supreme. This boss has asked you to do something, and you are trying and He is trying in and through you. But again, there are people around you who are resisting your efforts. They claim God as their Father and He claims them as His children, but they are not receptive to God's Light. Psychic depression occurs when you know what is best and, at the same time, you are helpless. Some of your brothers and sisters who are around you know what is best for them, but they do not want to do it; they do not want to budge an inch. Again, there are some who do not know what is best for them. But you know what is best for you and also for them, and you want to do it; but you are blocked.

You know what the truth is and you want to manifest the truth. But you are helpless because the people around you and before you do not co-operate. The Supreme, or your Inner Pilot, puts pressure on you and you put pressure on yourself, but it does not help. When inner peace and inner light find it difficult to come to the fore the way the Supreme wants, at God's choice Hour, then psychic depression comes.

But vital depression is different. Vital depression comes from the unfulfilled demands of pride, ego and vanity. In this depression, you wanted to do something or you wanted to fulfil some desire, but you did not succeed. You are frustrated; so immediately vital depression comes. Psychic depression is on an infinitely higher level, where your choice and God's choice are one and the same. In vital depression your choice is your desire, and this has nothing to do with God's Will. There is only you and your unfulfilled desire; here God is not involved. In psychic depression you have envisioned God's Vision; God has placed His Vision in front of you, but you are unable to transform His Vision into reality. It is not for the sake of personal gain or for ego that you wanted to succeed. No. You and God have the same aspiration, the same vision, the same goal; but it is not yet manifested. Psychic depression is the result of the unfulfilled Vision of the Supreme in and through you. It is God's Divinity that wants to manifest in and through you, but it is being delayed because the world forces, the ignorance-forces, are standing against you. God and you have become one: one aspiration, one soul, one goal. But God's Vision is not fulfilled. so you have psychic depression.

The cure for psychic depression is to surrender openly to God's Will. Aspire soulfully and constantly, and then surrender to God's Will. You may soulfully cry and cry, but sometimes after psychic depression enters, you may want to take rest. You feel it is a hopeless case, so the best thing is to give up, to surrender-not to God, but to world-ignorance. Many times it has happened that the individual knows that God and he are one, but when he sees that the Supreme in him is constantly remaining unfulfilled, then he gives up. Many spiritual Masters and many seekers give up. They try together with God, but when they think that it is a hopeless case, they give up. But this is not good. One should never give up. One has to fight to the end. Sooner or later God's Will is bound to be manifested in and through you.

Question: When something in the world bothers me, I lose all my sincerity and become depressed.

Sri Chinmoy: You have to know that there is a great difference between sincerity and stupidity. If somebody has told a lie, you must try to illumine that person. If a mistake has been made by somebody, you must try to rectify that mistake inwardly or outwardly by offering your good will. In your own case, stupidity comes into the picture. If you have done something wrong, you feel that by increasing your guilt you will solve the problem. But this is not the right approach. Always think of the goal, which is perfection. You have to bring perfection into the picture.

If something wrong has been done, either by you or by somebody else, at that time you have to offer the result immediately to the Supreme. You have to say, "I was helpless, he was helpless. We were attacked by wrong forces. We know that we were attacked and we want to offer our mistake to you." Again, you have to be conscious and wise. Once you discover that you are doing something wrong, you have to stop doing that thing.

Depression is not the answer. When you run a race, if you are disqualified, what will you do? You will wait for another day and then again try to reach the goal. Just because you have had an unfortunate experience, if you stop competing in the race, you will never reach the goal. A sad experience must not be the ultimate experience. Take it as a passing cloud. You will definitely come out of this ignorance-cloud.

Question: What causes depression?

Sri Chinmoy: Depression comes because we do not want to live in the truth, but consciously or unconsciously we want to live in ignorance-pleasure. This pleasure is bound to be followed by depression. Depression is caused by our acceptance of ignorance. When we take ignorance as our very own, we become depressed. At that time we cannot go beyond it. We are caught; we are caught in the little self of ignorance.

We want constant success, constant progress, constant achievement and fulfilment, but in our daily life we do not get these things. Each moment is an opportunity to grow into more of God's Light, Peace, Bliss and Power. But if we misuse our time, then immediately the negative forces will enter into us. These negative forces are doubt, fear, anxiety, worry and depression.

If we are depressed, we cannot expect more of God's Grace and God's Love; nor can we expect continuous sympathy from humanity. If we are depressed, then a friend of ours may come and console us or sympathise with us; but his consolation will not cut the root of our depression. The only cure for depression is light.

We have to know what we actually want. If we want only light, then we have to know where light is. Light is in our peace of mind, in the tranquillity of our heart. When we unveil our inner peace, we will see that it is all achievement, all fulfilment: infinite achievement and fulfilment in the process of growing into infinite Realisation. If we don't unveil our inner peace, then we are bound to be princes of depression.

We have to feel that we are not ignorance, we do not represent ignorance, we are not in ignorance and we are not for ignorance. No. We are in light and we want to grow into deepest, all-fulfilling light. If we have that feeling, then there can be no depression. The light which is the result of our aspiration will immediately burn our depression into ashes, or it will transform our depression into constant aspiration. If we can identify with the soul's inner spontaneous joy, then we will always have joy within and without. So let us try to remain in the soul's spontaneous joy.

Question: Guru, do you ever feel depressed?

Sri Chinmoy: I don't feel depression for myself, but when I enter into you and identify myself with you, certainly I feel depression. I get all kinds of depression when I enter into you. When I meditate early in the morning, if I enter into someone and identify myself with him, I see that he is cursing me or crying for my head. If I identify myself with him, naturally I will become furious or depressed like he is. But again, if I identify myself with the person for a short time, I can transform his depression. Naturally, when I use my identification-power I get depressed, but then immediately I throw away that depression. To me personally, depression does not come. When you see me sad or depressed, you may think that it is because of my mission or my problems. But at that time what has actually happened? I have identified myself with someone. But this identification I do not keep for a long time.

Question: Guru, when you see our states of mind and our moods, do you see us as a sort of composite or average of what we were during the day, or do you see us as we are at that moment?

Sri Chinmoy: It is not like an average. Thirty percent of the time you can be depressed, thirty percent of the time you can be angry, and perhaps every other undivine quality you may have at different times during the day. But for one second if you have the soul's will, then you have to know that the strength of the soul's will is more powerful than all your fear, doubt and other negative qualities. If you have this will-power one percent of the time, then you can conquer all your depression and other undivine qualities. You may suffer for half an hour from depression, but if even for one second you can bring forward your soul's inner will-power, then you can easily nullify your depression.

Question: In psychology there's a symptom called manic depression where first of all the person is very lively and gay and then he becomes depressed. Sometimes I've noticed this in disciples because it seems to be part of the human psyche. What can we do to break the cycle?

Sri Chinmoy: The difficulty with all human beings is that they are not satisfied with one thing for more than five minutes. If we have something for five minutes, we feel that we are very rich. Then that particular thing does not satisfy us any more, and we run after something new. Always we feel that the other side of the field is very green. So we go to the other side and see that it is not green at all there. Or it may happen that we go to the other side and feel that that side really is green. So we enjoy it for five minutes. But then again we think, "No, no, no! I was mistaken, the other side was equally green." So then we come back to the other side and there we find nothing. In this way three or four times we will be happy during the day, and three or four times we will be unhappy. Or one day we are very happy and then the following day we are depressed. Up and down, up and down! But why should there be a descent? If we are walking along the right path and if we are sincere walkers, then we should just continue.

When we are happy, at that time we are living inside our heart, inside our soul. But we are not satisfied there for more than five minutes. We want to go to the vital, to the mind or to the physical because we get tremendous joy in constant change. So, unconsciously or consciously again we go back to the physical, to the vital and to the mind. Change is good when it is a change from good to better and from better to best. If we are getting a little joy from the heart or from the soul, we try to increase it and intensify it. Then, when we enter into our highest frame of mind, when we are in our soul consciousness, there is no end to our joy.

We have to know what we have in the kitchen and what we have in the meditation room. In the meditation room there are incense, candles and flowers. So here we will get great joy because of our inspiration, because of our sincerity in the spiritual life. Knowing what the meditation room can offer, why do we have to go into the kitchen and get all this confusion? It is because we feel that this place also has joy. But I wish to say that the kitchen is the wrong place to find joy.

We should be like an Indian farmer. An Indian farmer does not wait for rain or sun; he feels that his job is to plough the field. Every day he goes out to the field and does his job. So, in our case also, we should not anticipate ups and downs. After staying one day in a cheerful frame of mind, the next day this cheerful frame of mind is followed by a wave of depression. But if we live in Light, if we live in divine Peace, then this does not happen. It comes only because we have not totally mastered our vital and our mind.

Question: If we feel elated or depressed and we don't know the reason for it, can there be an inner reason?

Sri Chinmoy: There is always a reason, but at times the mind has not grasped the reason. Sometimes outwardly there is no reason, but something has taken place on the inner plane and the mind is not able to see the reason on the mental plane. Today, while one particular disciple was going home after the meditation at the United Nations, I saw something unusual in her. On other days I get a good, sound vibration from her, but today I saw that there was something wrong. When she went back to her office, she found out what had happened. Some people had come into her apartment. The forces that entered her house had entered into her being while she was in her office, even though she was unconscious of the fact. While she was walking I saw it. The forces had attacked her on the physical plane.

Question: How can I control my moods?

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes the weather is bright and sunny; sometimes it is all dark. In the spiritual life also, unless we have access to the inner sun, doubt can come and destroy our joy. Fear can come, lack of confidence can come, every undivine quality can come. What we need is inner happiness. Quite often I see you people laughing and joking, but that is not actually inner happiness. When you are inwardly happy, then you see that you are really making progress. Again, from inner happiness you can get outer happiness also. When outer happiness comes due to inner achievement, inner progress, then that outer happiness is real happiness. Otherwise, the so-called outer happiness is not genuine happiness.

In your case, what actually happens very often is that you feel inferior, which is absurd. You feel that so-and-so is superior to you. If I ask you how many people in the Centre are superior to you, then you will tell me that everybody, everybody is superior. Why do you have to think of them as superior and yourself as inferior? Just think of yourself as my spiritual child, as God's chosen child. Here we are all God's chosen children.

The inferiority complex creates a problem in your life. If somebody writes a poem or speaks to me, then immediately you feel inferior. I am so happy to tell you that in your case it is not jealousy that creates problems. In your case it is an inferior feeling, but that is also undivine. Please feel that it is not your problem whether somebody is superior or inferior to you. Your problem is to make progress for yourself. When you make real progress, at that time you will see that others are also making progress.

Please do not consciously cherish the feeling of inferiority. In God's family there are many persons. If one member of the family starts feeling that he is inferior, then he will always remain inferior in the mind, whether he is actually inferior or not. But if he thinks of himself always as a member of the family, then the question of superiority and inferiority does not arise.

Question: How can we have a wonderful meditation one day and then the very next day a terrible one?

Sri Chinmoy: It is very simple. If you had a most delicious meal yesterday, that does not mean that you will be at all satisfied with your meal today. It depends upon the capacity of the cook. Let us take your wonderful meditation as a most delicious meal. In this case, the cook is your aspiration. If you aspire most soulfully, then the cook will be able to prepare you an equally delicious meal today. The taste may not necessarily be the same; it can be of the same high quality and, at the same time, it can taste different. Or, if you like, you can again ask for the same meal which you enjoyed yesterday. In the outer life if you do not pay the cook, then he will leave you. Similarly, in the inner life also you have to pay the cook, and the wage that you pay is your inner cry. Your inner cry for Truth and Light must be constant and your inner flame must be kept burning. Then you will always have a good meditation.

Question: What should we do if we are struggling and, at the same time, losing the quality of joy in our lives?

Sri Chinmoy: We have to know whether it is a real inner struggle. It is very easy for us to use the term "struggle". Again, "struggle" is a very complicated word. If a lazy person has to budge an inch, he calls it a struggle. If we have to get up early in the morning, or if we have to tell the truth, we say that it is a struggle. If we have to face reality for a fleeting second, if we have to work, it is all a struggle.

Each individual has to realise within himself what true struggle is. The real struggle for a sincere seeker is to conquer ignorance in his own life and in the world around him. But if he is sincerely struggling to conquer himself, to be the conqueror of his own life, then his very effort is bound to give him joy. If he is sincerely struggling against falsehood, inertia, darkness, imperfection, limitation and bondage, then he is bound to feel a kind of inner joy.

We have to know how hard we are trying to realise the Highest, how many minutes of our daily life we are consecrating to the Supreme in us, how much we are struggling to see the Light within us and within others. If we have this kind of struggle, then we are bound to feel that the divine qualities which we have and which everybody has are bound to increase. It is the divine qualities within us that are looming large and inspiring us to fight against teeming darkness and ignorance. So how can these divine qualities desert us when it is they who are asking us to fight? In really sincere spiritual struggle we are not going to lose our inner qualities. On the contrary, our inner qualities will increase in boundless measure.

Question: Sometimes I feel much devotion towards you, and at other times I feel very far away from you, almost unspiritual.

Sri Chinmoy: You are absolutely right. You have to know that your consciousness has not yet attained to a fixed standard, so I do not blame you. You are sincere; you are telling me about this. There are many in the same boat. It is applicable to many, if not to all. The question that you are asking is a universal question. This moment you are all-devotion; the next moment you can do many undivine things.

This means that at the present stage of your spiritual life you cannot expect the most delicious food every day. You want to eat delicious food every day, but once a week perhaps you get it. But the standard that you want to maintain in the spiritual life will come gradually, gradually. Once you are well-established inwardly, at that time you will feel that I am always your dearest friend. Then afterwards, you will feel that I am part and parcel of your life.

Please feel that I am an extension of your consciousness. Don't think that I am a foreigner, an Indian; don't think that I have come to disturb your poise. No! Just think, "My Master is part and parcel of my existence. Since I have accepted him as my teacher, that means he is one inch better than I am. Otherwise, I would not have accepted him." I know that my right hand is stronger than my left hand. When I throw shotput, I use my right hand and not my left hand, but the left hand is also mine. I will use this hand to do many other things that the right hand will not do. In the spiritual life also, if you can feel me as an extension of your consciousness, then, I tell you, there will be no problem. Even if you feel that you are undivine, my love and concern for you will never diminish. A real spiritual Master never depends on the disciples' restless, unpredictable, inner emotional weather. This moment you will be divine, the next moment you will be undivine. But don't feel sorry. This is only an experience that you are going through. Don't worry about it at all. Only try your best to do the right thing.

Question: I've been trying to meditate for some months now, but have been troubled by restlessness and depression.

Sri Chinmoy: Let us deal first with restlessness. Restlessness comes because the mind is not properly controlled. Restlessness is in the mind, in the vital, in the gross physical and, to some extent, even in the heart, but it is never in the soul. Why do we have restlessness? We have restlessness because the mind is not consciously becoming one with the soul's light. The soul is crying to offer light to the mind, but the mind is rejecting this light constantly and deliberately. You may say that your mind also wants to meditate, but this is not true. The physical mind does not want to meditate. It is the illumining mind or the mind that has been purified considerably by the soul's light that wants to meditate. Restlessness comes because the mind is unwilling to surrender to the soul's will.

Depression comes for two reasons. The first reason is because of the vital. When you have a good meditation, the ordinary vital — the vital that cries for name, fame and outer achievement — feels that it is not going to be fed any more, that it is going to die. The calmness that meditation brings is like poison to the restless vital. At this point patience is of paramount importance, because patience makes the vital feel that its existence is not being threatened.

There is also another reason why depression starts. The heart brings from the soul the message that you will go very far, that you will reach the ultimate goal in this life or the next. The whole being at that time becomes one with the light that the heart is bringing from the soul. Looking forward, you see that it is all sunshine. But when you examine your present state, you see that it is only dark, inclement weather. Then depression comes. You see a vast gulf between your present situation and the goal, which is quite far. Your possibility contains the highest truth, the highest realisation. But your present reality is totally different! Possibility and reality seem so far apart that naturally depression starts.

The best way to conquer depression is to meditate every day early in the morning, but not to expect anything from your meditation. Only you have to give your conscious concern to your meditation. Treat meditation like a child. You offer a child your concern, your love and affection, but you do not expect anything from him. Similarly, please offer to your meditation your love and concern. Do not expect anything, but only give what you have. If you can give and not expect, then a time will come when your meditation will give you all the divine qualities.

Part III — Four intimate friends: Insincerity, impurity, doubt and self-indulgence

Four intimate friends: Insincerity, impurity, doubt and self-indulgence

In the spiritual life nothing is incurable. But you have to know how sincere you are in accepting the spiritual life, how sincere you are in walking along the spiritual path and how sincere you are in your aspiration to reach the ultimate goal.

Insincerity is a durable but curable disease. When the Divine descends, insincerity can be cured. Impurity is a durable but curable disease. In the case of impurity, it lasts for a long time — sometimes for many lifetimes. When an insincere person sees sincere people all around him, he gets inner inspiration and tries to become sincere. He will feel that it is shameful to be insincere when his friends and neighbours are all the time telling the truth. So insincerity at that time can be overcome. But in the case of impurity, it is different. People may practise the inner life, but purity is not an easy thing to achieve. People get experiences and then they lose these experiences. Why? Because they do not have enough purity. The soul is always pure, true. But around the soul the vital creates a veil of impurity. The soul has to consciously throw away this veil of impurity if the individual is going to progress.

Then comes doubt. Doubt is almost an incurable disease. If a seeker is making very fast progress or when he has gone a long way in the spiritual life, even then he may be a victim to doubt. Unless and until one has realised the highest Truth, there is bound to be doubt. Even the great spiritual Master Swami Vivekananda doubted his Master, Sri Ramakrishna. Even when Sri Ramakrishna was on his deathbed, as he was passing behind the curtain of Eternity, Vivekananda doubted him. Then, Sri Ramakrishna had to tell his dearest disciple that he who is Rama and he who is Krishna in one form is Ramakrishna.

I wish to tell you that there are some seekers who have made considerable progress, but now they have entered into the doubt-world. They feel that the spiritual life is not meant for them and that they have wasted their precious energy in the spiritual life. These are the wrong ideas that they sometimes consciously cherish. I always say that doubt is slow poison. The seeker who cherishes doubt will eventually be killed by this slow poison within him.

You are God's chosen child. If God exists, then you have to feel that you also exist. When you go deep within and accept the spiritual life, you have to feel that doubt is the worst thief in your life. It is taking away all your precious inner wealth. Also, doubt is your worst enemy. Why? Because doubt starts doubting itself. Today you doubt someone and tomorrow you are doubting yourself. Today you have come to one conclusion and tomorrow another wave of doubt envelops you. But that does not mean that today's doubt is washed away. No, it has only been replaced by another doubt.

Then comes self-indulgence. Self-indulgence is really and truly an incurable disease in comparison with insincerity, impurity, doubt and other weaknesses, obstacles and negative qualities. Self-indulgence lasts for a long, long, long time. After insincerity goes away, after impurity and doubt go away, you will see that self-indulgence still remains. Either in thought or in action, on the mental plane or on the physical plane, self-indulgence will maintain its abode in the outer consciousness.

After self-indulgence, God is there to forgive us, but when our sincerity and divine dignity come to the fore, at that time we cannot forgive ourselves. How can we achieve the fruit of realisation and liberation when we know that we are so inferior in our physical and vital nature? The inner being is all light, and the power of this light we try to offer to the outer being. But this is most difficult when it comes to self-indulgence, because the present standard of human aspiration is very low. If the seeker in us is not strong enough, then self-indulgence is certainly incurable.

True, by the Grace of the Supreme one day we have to be cured of this self-indulgence. But for that we need tremendous aspiration, constant aspiration, in addition to the divine Grace. It is very easy to say that by the Grace of God everything is possible. That we have heard from every spiritual Master. But this Grace does not come for all and sundry. This Grace comes only for those who really want to bask in its sunshine. If a seeker is prepared to run the fastest and sacrifice what he has and what he is, if at every moment he is ready to give up everything for God, then for him nothing remains incurable.

If you want to run to God, the divine Grace is within you and the divine Grace will operate for you. When you sincerely give up all doubt and impurity, the golden day will dawn when self-indulgence will also be cured. I have not come here to discourage you; it is my business only to encourage you. But while encouraging, with all my heart I have to say that to conquer self-indulgence is something really difficult. I am not throwing cold water on you, but truth is truth. It is the most difficult task in the journey of a spiritual seeker. But the spiritual seeker one day has to conquer self-indulgence, because God will not allow anybody to remain always self-indulgent. God wants perfection from each individual on earth. It is a matter of time, and that time God has chosen for us. But if we cry, we can expedite God's Hour. God is very pleased when the sincere seekers can expedite His choice Hour.

Ordinary people are only playing with words and ideas, reading millions of books and learning the truth by rote. The deeper we go, the clearer it becomes to us that for these seekers, self-indulgence is incurable. Swamis and spiritual Masters we have by the hundreds. But when it comes to the really and truly realised persons on earth, then I wish to say that there are only about a dozen. The world is quite vast, but Mother Earth is blessed with only ten or twelve spiritual Masters who have realised God. Others have gone deep within; they are far more advanced than ordinary seekers. But they are not realised and when it comes to self-indulgence, they will be caught. But those who have really realised the Truth are far above self-indulgence.

When we look at self-indulgence from the highest point of view, we see that it is something that can be conquered only by great spiritual Masters and also by those who have got boundless Compassion from the Supreme. Ordinary seekers for one hour a day can identify themselves with God's Will, and the rest of the day their will and God's Will are totally different. But when one is about to be fully realised, at that time nothing remains impossible because one's will becomes one with God's Will. In the case of real spiritual Masters, the Will of God and their will are totally and inseparably one. At that time nothing can remain incurable.

Question: Even though I have accepted the spiritual life, I still have doubts. Why is this, Guru?

Sri Chinmoy: Before the day dawns, darkness is our teacher. At that time there is no hope. Then, when the day dawns, when the sun comes into the picture, darkness is gone. But again, during the day the sun is very often covered with clouds. Many times we notice clouds obscuring the sky. Like that, in the spiritual life doubt comes and disappears. When it disappears, at that time the eternal sun shines most powerfully within us. Actually, we have many inner suns. If we could see even one of our inner suns, then we would feel that the effulgent radiance of that sun is infinitely more powerful than the physical sun. How can we see the inner sun? It is through constant prayer and meditation. When we become advanced seekers, we will see quite a few inner suns. Then, when we become realised, at that time we will discover that we have many inner suns. Sri Ramakrishna's great disciple Vivekananda had eighteen inner suns. Again, the same Vivekananda used to doubt his Master and his own spiritual life. Even the existence of God he used to doubt. So doubt is not at all an uncommon experience.

Question: Sometimes when I am attacked by doubt, my first reaction is that I won't let it enter. But it comes back every five minutes. I want to know what is the best thing to do to put it away permanently.

Sri Chinmoy: Unfortunately, we cannot use the word "permanent" until the end of our spiritual journey. Some spiritual Masters are so sincere that they have told us that doubt remained with them until the last. Even one second before God-realisation they still had doubt. Again, some sincere seekers have no doubt, even from the very beginning. That doesn't mean that they are far better than the spiritual Masters. No. Imperfection in the form of doubt or something else was inside those great spiritual Masters, and eventually they conquered it.

There are two ways to conquer doubt. When doubt or other negative forces enter into you, you can take it as a monkey which is constantly bothering you. You are praying and meditating, and here a monkey is constantly bothering you. You let the monkey go on and on, because you are patient. There is a competition between your patience and the monkey's mischievous pranks. Just because you are a seeker, you are bound to have more patience than someone who is not aspiring. The monkey is not aspiring, so the monkey's patience can never equal your patience. In this world, as we have an ego, the monkey also has a form of ego. Only you don't see it. If you are not paying any attention to it, the monkey will eventually feel that it is beneath his dignity to bother you again and again. Patience has such capacity to dissolve wrong forces. If you have the capacity to ignore or to constantly reject the negative forces, then they can never win.

There is another way. If doubt enters, you have to think of the antidote for doubt, which is faith. If doubt is entering into your mind, immediately utter the word "faith" and have faith in yourself. Just say, "I am God's daughter; so how can I doubt myself, how can I doubt others, how can I doubt God?" God has become God not by doubting me or by doubting you or by doubting somebody else. He has become God by loving, by becoming one. And oneness comes only from progressive qualities like faith. So this is the evolving or progressive way to conquer doubt.

Doubt is an undivine force. I call it a slow poison. Doubt is our worst enemy in the spiritual life. Today I doubt myself, tomorrow I doubt God, the day after tomorrow I doubt the whole world. If I doubt God, nothing happens; God remains as perfect as ever. If I doubt some other individual, that person remains the same. But when I doubt myself I am ruined. I can't go even one inch forward. So the best thing is not to doubt oneself, not to doubt others and not to doubt God.

_Question: Is not the absence of doubt the same thing as unquestioning faith?_

Sri Chinmoy: Impossible! Absence of doubt is one thing, but faith, real faith, is something else. You may not doubt someone, but that does not mean that you are indulging in blind faith. There are many people who do not doubt the capacity of a spiritual teacher or Master, but they do not have so-called blind faith in that spiritual Master. They do not doubt his spiritual height. But that does not mean that they are going to have infinite faith in what he advises them to do in their business life or their mental life. These are two different things altogether. One may not have doubt, but one may have a neutral feeling. Real faith in a true spiritual Master is nothing but wisdom-light. My sympathetic feeling towards a spiritual Master does not mean that I will go and touch his feet.

Question: What is the best way for me to conquer doubt?

Sri Chinmoy: The best and most effective way to conquer doubt is to take the positive side. Feel that you are not doubt; you are certainty. Feel that you are not fear; you are courage. Always try and identify yourself with the positive quality. Right now, unfortunately, you are identifying yourself with doubt. You feel that doubt is reality. But if you change your attitude towards your own inner life, then you will say that doubt is not reality, fear is not reality; the real reality is faith, the real reality is courage.

You are accepting doubt as your friend. You have been with doubt for twenty years, let us say, and you feel that doubt is your real friend; otherwise you would not have stayed with him and he would not have stayed with you. But the moment you see that a better friend is entering into your life, you will not act like a fool. You will say, "Now another friend has come into my life and I see that this friend will take me to a higher goal. Even though I stayed with ignorance for twenty or thirty years, I don't have to stay one second more when I see that somebody else has come who is more illumining, more fulfilling." Immediately you will take that person as your friend.

Your new friends are faith and courage. These two friends have always been beside you; only you have not sided with them. Previously you sided all the time with doubt and fear. Now take them as your past friends, old friends, since your new friends have come. In that way, if you change your friendship, immediately your problem is solved. Otherwise, you will constantly be on the battlefield fighting with your old friends, fear and doubt.

If you do change friends, then what happens? In the beginning those old friends, fear and doubt, will try to bring you back. They won't want to lose your friendship. But soon they will feel that it is beneath their dignity to mix with you. They will say, "All right, let him go, let him go. If he does not care for us, if he does not need us, then we also do not need him." It is like human pride. When we lose a friend, in the beginning we try to bring the friend back. But afterwards, when we see that it is a hopeless case, that our friend is not going to come back because he has accepted somebody else as his friend, our ego comes to the fore. We say, "If he does not need us, then we also don't need him." So in this way doubt and fear leave us when we make friends with faith and courage.

Question: How can one transcend the self-indulgence that interferes with duty?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us not try to use such a big, illumined word as transcendence when we speak of self-indulgence. Self-indulgence needs severe punishment. Ego and ignorance we have to transcend; limitations we have to transcend. But self-indulgence occurs in the gross physical consciousness, and here we have to be extremely strict with ourselves. When a child does something wrong, the mother punishes him. We also have to feel that when we cherish self-indulgence, we are doing something that deserves immediate punishment. We have to know that self-indulgence is a kind of crime that we are committing against our soul. You may say that by punishing yourself you do not illumine yourself. But we feel that there is something called light and something called night. Self-indulgence is night. First we have to separate ourselves from night. Then we can enter into a room that is lit to some extent. From there we can go into a room that has more light and then to a place that is fully illumined.

Part IV — Jealousy and personality conflicts

Question: What is the difference between jealousy and admiration?

Sri Chinmoy: If somebody achieves something and you are jealous, you will definitely know it. You will feel that you are ready to stab that person. Jealousy is just like a knife. When you are jealous, you yourself become a naked sword. If you are given the chance, then in total darkness you will stab the person. During the day you are afraid that you will be caught, so you try to hide it. Inwardly you try to conquer your jealousy because you feel that either in the inner world or in the outer world you will be caught red-handed. But if it is sincere admiration, then you have a feeling of an ideal in your life. You can't do what some other person has done, but you admire him and his action. That means that you have a spontaneous feeling to achieve or grow into the very thing that he has achieved. This is your sincere admiration.

Question: I was wondering about jealousy. Sometimes I try to convince myself that it doesn't matter if you show more attention to somebody else but it doesn't work.

Sri Chinmoy: It does work, if you think most sincerely about the many times that I have shown you my affection, concern, blessings and so forth. When you are jealous of somebody, you have to try to convince yourself that you are far better, far superior. If somebody says that so-and-so can sing far better than you can, you say, "Oh, I can sing far better if I want to." If you want to conquer jealousy in the ordinary human way, you think, "I can sing far better than that, only I don't want to sing because I don't want to waste my time." This is a clever way of conquering jealousy: making yourself feel that you are a better singer than that other person. That is one way, the human way. Another way, the spiritual way, is to expand your consciousness. Just feel that you are one with the other person. So if she sings well you will feel that it is you who are singing.

Again, since you are a disciple of mine, there is still another way to conquer jealousy which is very easy. Just think, "How can I openly be jealous of that particular person when Guru is in front of me?" Right now you say, "It is happening in my mind, in my own room, and Guru cannot see me. But I tell you, jealousy or any other wrong movement that takes place in my disciples' minds is all being recorded on the golden tablet of your heart. When you are jealous of someone or you are angry with someone, that is all being recorded in your heart. When I meditate early in the morning, if I see a dot on your heart, then I know that it has come from jealousy. When I see another dot, I know that it has come from anger, fear, or doubt. I don't have to watch for three hours, to see if you are jealous of so-and-so. When I meditate on you I will immediately see a dark spot in your heart and I will know.

I am a divine detective. One of the disciples says that whenever he uses two hands I am not there to see him or appreciate him, but whenever he uses only one hand, at that time I catch him. So I told him that I am a divine detective: when you do the right thing I don't have to poke my nose in, because you are doing the right thing and that is what I want. But when you do the wrong thing, that is the time for me to catch you. If I allow you to go on doing the wrong thing, then I will be doing an injustice to your soul.

You have to feel that the things that you cannot do in front of me are things that are instigated by hostile forces. When jealousy is in your mind or in your vital or somewhere, at that time you have to take me there. As soon as you bring me there, you are ashamed, you are embarrassed. "Oh, my Guru is seeing that I am jealous of so-and-so or God knows who." Then your jealousy goes away. But what do you do when jealousy comes? You forget. When you are jealous, already your consciousness has dropped. It has gone low, so you forget about me then. But no, always you have to feel that I am of you and I am for you. In that way easily you can overcome your jealousy.

Question: Guru, one thing that really often ruins my morning and my whole day is very negative feelings against one or two disciples. A few months ago you said to try to think of their divine qualities, but I haven't been able to do it successfully.

Sri Chinmoy: I am most proud of you for being sincere about your jealousy and undivine qualities. Now, please do this. If these particular disciples have good qualities, then please feel that you have those same qualities to an infinitely greater degree. The only thing is that right now those qualities have not come forward or the Supreme is not yet utilising those divine qualities in and through you. If they have good qualities which you do not see in your outer life, just feel that those qualities you do have, but it is not yet time for them to come forward. Or, in spite of the fact that you have those qualities, the Supreme feels that in your case, right now He does not want to use those qualities. He is using other good qualities which you have in His own Way.

If you feel that the bad qualities of these disciples are entering into you, then immediately use two weapons. One weapon is the weapon of compassion. Just say to yourself, "I feel sorry for them because they have such bad qualities." Each quality you can take as a heavy load on their shoulders. Tell yourself, "I am running the fastest, I am reaching my goal, and this poor fellow has a heavy load on his shoulders. I pity him. But again, I don't want to be a fool. I have to reach my goal. When the time comes, he will also reach his goal." In that way you can sympathise with him.

Then, if you want to have another weapon, feel that your time is very limited: "If I am using this second to think of this person or that person, then who is the fool? I am the fool. By thinking of them, I am not reaching my goal. Only I have now established my goal with them. If I am jealous of someone, then instead of running towards the real goal, I am now running towards a new, self-created goal. In my jealousy or in my negative thoughts, I have discovered my new goal."

As I told you before, when we run the fastest we don't look to this side or that side. Early in the morning if you think of another person, you have to know that the person whom you are thinking of is either beside you or behind you or around you, but he is not the goal itself. So if the person whom you are thinking of is not the goal, then you are a fool. You are just wasting your time by thinking of him. If that person is the goal, then you will not be jealous of him because your very aim is to reach the goal and become one with the goal. But naturally that person is not the goal. Otherwise, the frustration, the anger, the jealousy or the outer undivine qualities which have come into you would not have come. The goal will not give you negative, undivine thoughts. The goal will only bring you Peace, Light and Bliss. Since you are not getting these divine qualities from the other person, why should you think of him? Since your aim is to reach the goal and become one with the goal, you are a fool if you have to look at someone or think of someone who is not the goal itself.

Even a child will eat only the candy that pleases him most. You may put in front of him all kinds of candy, but he will pick only the one that he likes best. He won't take the other candies because he knows that they do not satisfy him.

Question: How can your spiritual children help one another to overcome jealousy and other undivine qualities?

Sri Chinmoy: You will not be able to conquer your jealousy by mixing with other people who are jealous. Only by loving the Supreme in me more will you be able to conquer your jealousy. You are jealous of someone because he is a great photographer. Again, he may be jealous of you because you are a great reporter. This jealousy will never end. But you have to know that there is a third party who is responsible for both of you and that is God, the Supreme. If you love Him and become one with Him, then you will also be able to identify yourself with the capacity of others. If first you want to identify yourself with someone who is displaying a particular capacity, then you are touching the branch and not the root. But if you become one with the Source of the capacity, then the question of jealousy does not arise. If you go to the root, there will be no problem; your ego will not resist. If you really want to conquer jealousy, then love the One who has given all capacities to you and to everyone. If you love God more, then jealousy goes away. Jealousy is very bad. The reason the world is not progressing as fast as it could is because of jealousy. Had there been no jealousy, then the world would have moved very fast. So, dear ones, you have to conquer your jealousy.

Question: How can we avoid minor personality conflicts?

Sri Chinmoy: You can avoid them by feeling that the dark spot that you are seeing inside someone else is actually yours. When somebody is attacking you or doing something wrong, if the person is your friend, then immediately try to feel that that ignorant thought or ignorant idea or ignorant action is being done by you and not by your dearest friend. The first thing is to expand your consciousness. If there is something wrong in the cosmic nature, it becomes yours. First you will identify yourself with the doer and feel that you have done the wrong thing. Then what will you do? This wrong movement has to be removed from your nature. How? Through your inner cry. The moment you cry to the Supreme, "O Supreme, I really want to be perfect," the Supreme will illumine this dark spot in your nature.

There are many who cry outwardly in the Centre just to show off. I offer you my blessings, concern and all that, but I feel inner disgust. Believe me, you cannot deceive me. You are only deceiving yourselves. But many times you people sincerely cry. Yesterday somebody cried and she became the real soul. She was crying with gratitude to the Supreme. So, if you can cry inwardly only once during the day, no matter how many times you have made mistakes or your friends have made mistakes, you can rest assured that this cry has enormous power. Like a magnet, it will pull down God's Compassion. And when God's Compassion-Light comes, immediately the mistake will be illumined.

When it is your own mistake, feel that there is Somebody to forgive you and that is God. He will do it if you can sincerely cry. For name and fame, for so many things, we cry; but when it is a matter of self-enlargement, self-purification, at that time we do not know how to cry. We feel that since we are God's children, God will take care of us. But God does not take care of us in that way. God takes care of us only when we give Him the chance to take care of us. Otherwise, He will take care of us, but we will have to wait for millennia.

You can also do something else when minor conflicts arise. Feel that these conflicts are nothing but a very heavy load. When conflicts have started, try to collect them and make a bundle, and then just throw it right into my Transcendental picture. Just throw it. Your conflicts, others' conflicts, all conflicts: just throw them courageously, like a divine soldier. Collect them and throw them. While you are throwing them, you have to feel that you have really thrown them away. Do not feel that they may come up again. No. If you are ready to throw them, I am ready to take them.

Question: What should our attitude be in regard to the competitive spirit?

Sri Chinmoy: In the spiritual life, progress is of paramount importance. Always we will try to transcend our capacities. If we lose to someone, it is immaterial. The results of the competitions we offer at the Feet of the Supreme. As long as we have tried our best, even if we stand last, we have to feel that that is what the Supreme wants from us. But if we don't make progress here on the physical plane, on every plane, then we won't try to make progress on the spiritual plane. We will say, "Oh, what can I do? Let me get up at seven o'clock or eight o'clock. If I meditate once in a blue moon, who is going to see or feel the difference?" So, if we are sincere, we can start our sincerity with the physical; then we can go to the vital, the mind and the heart. When there is a feeling of oneness, there can be no competition. There should be no competitive spirit; only there are rules and regulations. Two persons cannot throw at the same time. There should be some discipline. You and somebody else cannot throw the javelin at the same time. You will throw right after him, or he will throw right after you. Then there will be a result. You may throw much farther than the other person. So, that is your progress. And his progress also you will see.

From:Sri Chinmoy,Four intimate friends: insincerity, impurity, doubt and self-indulgence, Agni Press, 1977
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