Life-enquiry and self-discovery

Question: How important is outer purity?

Sri Chinmoy: Outer purity is extremely important. Although it is not as important as inner purity, outer purity does add to inner purity. If you take a shower, if you wear clean clothes, if your body is clean and pure in every possible way, then it adds to your inner purity. But real inner purity is the constant remembrance of your Master, the constant remembrance of the Supreme, who is our Eternal Pilot. This is infinitely more difficult than taking a shower and keeping the body clean. But if you keep your outer life clean, then it definitely adds to your inner awareness of Truth, Light and Bliss, and it helps you considerably in remembering the Eternal Pilot all the time.

Question: How can you tell where fear is located in the being — whether in the heart, the mind or the body?

Sri Chinmoy: If you meditate daily, devotedly and soulfully, then you will feel that you have a room inside. This room has, let us say, four doors: body door, vital door, mind door and heart or psychic door. Early in the morning look at the four doors. If you notice a very ugly person at one particular door, then feel that that person is fear. Fear is very ugly. It is a very ugly being that becomes visible when you meditate soulfully at the physical, vital, mental or psychic door, and it can take a subtle human form. But if you do not see any ugly being at your physical door, vital door, mental door or heart door, then you can know that you have no fear.

Question: Is there a difference between Luminosity and Light?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us take Light as the body. Then naturally it will need a kind of dress, some clothes. So Luminosity is one of the garments that Light wears. Truth is also one of its garments, Delight is a garment, Peace is a garment, and other divine qualities are also garments that Light wears. But if Light does not want to wear these garments, it is not like a human being who would then be naked. No! Light is Infinity's purity, Eternity's beauty and Immortality's life.

Question: How can we learn to be sincere to our own soul at every moment?

Sri Chinmoy: We can be sincere to our soul at every moment if we can make ourselves feel that the soul has to come first and foremost in our life. We have to make ourselves feel that the manifestation of the dream of the soul is the only thing that we need. The dream of the soul is our treasured breath and the manifestation of this dream is our only goal. If we have that kind of inner awareness, then at every moment we can be sincere to our soul's need and our soul's immortal Reality.

Question: Do you ever test us inwardly?

Sri Chinmoy: When I am in my highest, in a divine consciousness, in my supreme consciousness, I do not test you, because I know that what you have in the spiritual life has been given to you by the Supreme in me. Your spiritual capacities and incapacities have all been given to you by the Supreme in me. But when I am in a human consciousness, an ordinary consciousness, at that time I do examine you on the physical plane to see whether you really care for the spiritual path, whether you want to follow my path soulfully and devotedly, whether you are ready to be all the time in my boat. I wish to see whether you are sincere and devoted to the Supreme in me, whether you want to become divine warriors to fight against ignorance for the Supreme in me. I examine you about your sincerity, purity, love, devotion and surrender. Again, I always say there is no end to our spiritual progress. We are all the time dealing with the ever-transcending Beyond. But it is necessary to examine you from time to time, and this I do when I am in a human, ordinary consciousness. I must say that it is necessary to be in the human consciousness also. For twenty-four hours a day I don't remain in my highest, loftiest consciousness. True, I have free access to the third floor. But if I remain in my transcendental consciousness all the time, if I remain on the third floor all the time, how will I be able to talk with somebody who comes and knocks at my door? I have to come down from the third floor to talk with him on the first floor, because right now he is not ready to be invited to the third floor.

Question: How can one develop one's intuition?

Sri Chinmoy: There are quite a few ways to develop one's intuition. The easiest way is to remain in the heart, become one with it, and cry and try to become what the soul has and what the soul is. You have to enter into the heart and cry for the soul, cry to have the soul and to become the soul. If you can remain in the heart and feel that the heart is a child who is all the time crying to become as good, as divine, as perfect as the mother or father, the soul, then automatically you develop the power of intuition. This way is very easy and, at the same time, most effective. It is for beginners and for those who don't want to go through austere discipline in order to develop intuitive power.

Question: Please explain Divine Justice.

Sri Chinmoy: Divine Justice is nothing short of Divine Forgiveness. Human justice says that if somebody has stolen something, he has to be punished. Human justice tells us that this is the right thing, and it gets tremendous pleasure by punishing the person. But when the Divine Justice operates, even if it takes an outer form, inside this Justice there is tremendous compassion. While the inner judge is telling the world that so and so is the culprit, he is illumining the person's mind so that he does not enter into ignorance again. So when Divine Justice is offered, there is an inner compassion and an inner illumination inside it. They work together so the seeker does not fall again and again into the sea of ignorance. When human justice operates, the culprit knows that nobody has instigated him. He knows he has been responsible all the time. But Divine Justice helps the culprit realise that it is not he who has committed the wrong act, but something else which we call ignorance which has operated in and through him. When Divine Justice operates, the person feels miserable that he has allowed some wrong forces to enter into him and act in and through him. He feels he was a fool to allow somebody or something else to operate in and through him. He realises he should act only according to his own inner will, according to his soul's divine guidance.

Question: I have had the experience that, when we try to help others, sometimes a kind of barrier builds up in ourselves and also in those we try to help. Could you speak about this?

Sri Chinmoy: Our world still is not the ideal world. At times unconsciously, if not consciously, the world takes away some divine qualities from us. It is not that we do not want to share our divine qualities; but it is just that the world exploits and misuses them. So there are times when we have to be careful. We are generous. We have come into the world to aspire and, at the same time, to illumine the world. But we have to know who is worthy and who is unworthy. Just because we are all God's children it is very easy for us to feel that everybody in the world is worthy. But let us take it in this way: who is ready and who is not ready? Many times we have observed that there are some people who are not ready. When we try to awaken their consciousness, when we try to help them or serve the divine in them, their vital immediately feels a great resentment. And this resentment takes the form of a wall between them and, let us say, our searching mind or struggling, striving vital. Our searching mind has found some truth inside the heart, and it wants to offer this truth to others. Our vital is striving, divinely striving, to give them the light that we are entrusted with. But just because most people are not ready to receive, we feel that there is a strong, solid barrier between our realisation and our self-giving.

When we see a partition in ourselves, it means that we are not always one hundred per cent consciously one with our Source. We are of the divine and for the divine; we are of the Supreme and for the Supreme. But it happens many times that, even though we are very sincere and devoted, when we give we expect something in return: either recognition or progress in the persons we have served. Even if they do not recognise or acknowledge our self-giving, we immediately expect some success, or let us say, some kind of gradual progress or growth in their life of inner aspiration. We are giving, giving, giving; but if we do not notice the world receiving, then at times we are frustrated. We feel that earth does not deserve us. We may wonder if we are doing the right thing, since these people are not making any progress. We may even doubt our own sincerity.

But these thoughts are wrong. We are doing absolutely the right thing because we are inspired and commissioned from within. Earth will eventually receive our light, but right now earth is not ready. If the Supreme tells us that someone needs more sleep, that we shouldn't awaken him, then we shall not approach that particular person. But if the Supreme within us tells us that we have to serve the Supreme in someone even though that person is sleeping, even though he is unwilling and reluctant to receive our light, then we shall do that too, because we are His instruments. Every day we have to think of ourselves as a little child five or six years old. If we are asked by our Eternal Father to offer something, then He Himself will tell us whom to offer it to.

The human heart sometimes makes us feel that it is so big that it is ready to help everyone. But this is absurd. There is something called God's Hour. God's Hour need not and cannot be the same for each and every person. Today it is my Hour, tomorrow it is yours, the day after it is time for somebody else. It is not that some people are bad, or that God does not like them. No! He loves all equally, but for some the hour has not yet dawned.

God is progressing in and through us. On the one hand He is Transcendental; He is all Divine and absolutely Supreme. On the other hand, He is progressing in and through each particular moment and through each individual life during that moment. In the finite, He is singing the song of Infinity, His own Infinity.

In the process of evolution, He is trying to perfect everybody. But He knows His own development best; He knows how much He wants to achieve in and through you today and how much He wants to achieve in and through me today. We cannot expect the same kind of treatment or same kind of light for each individual, because God Himself has not created the same capacity and receptivity for everyone.

God is trying to enjoy Himself divinely and supremely. But if we try to increase somebody's capacity or receptivity by virtue of our own will, we are doing the wrong thing. Let us become God's Will; let His Will flow through us. Then He Himself will tell us who is the right person to help. In this way we shall go to the right person today and go tomorrow to someone else who will be the right person then. If we approach the right person timely, then we will see that there can be no barrier or partition, because the right person is always ready to receive us and welcome us. But if we go to the wrong person, he will not welcome us and there will be confusion; and in this confusion frustration will loom large. So let us try to approach the right person at God's choice Hour, and then we will see that God is fulfilled, we are fulfilled and the world of aspiration is fulfilled in and through us.

Again, sometimes we feel a barrier or a wall in ourselves because at one moment we are identified with the soul and the next moment we are identified with the mind and vital. It is like this. The soul and the heart are one side, and the mind, vital and physical are the other side. Between them there is all the time a barrier. At this moment we call the mind the sole reality, the next moment we call the vital the only reality, and the following moment we regard the heart as the only reality. These are all realities, but the only real reality is God, and the direct representative of God's Reality is the soul.

Now, just as the soul is the representative of God, the heart is the representative of the soul. The heart and the soul are trying to perfect the mind so that it can represent the psychic being. Then, when the mind becomes illumined, the mind will have the vital as its representative. Similarly, the vital will have the body as its representative, and when the body becomes pure and the physical consciousness is aspiring, then the body also will become a perfect instrument.

Reality is a most complicated experience in ordinary earth-life, but in the higher planes it is most simple and most fulfilling. When we enter into the lower plane, or the physical plane, there the reality is very uncertain. There the reality is just what we see with our own eyes. Let us say that we are seeing a flower, and that this flower is the reality for us. But as soon as we go a little deeper within, or come into a higher level of consciousness, we do not see the flower as such. The reality is no longer the flower, but the fragrance of the flower or the beauty of the flower. Here on the physical plane, the flower is the reality and the fragrance, which is the inner reality, we can't appreciate. And the beauty, which is still higher, we do not notice at all. So the thing that is reality on the physical plane need not and cannot be the same kind of reality on the inner plane.

Again, there are many things which we see on the physical plane as real which are absolutely unreal. When a thought comes from the mental world, in our everyday life it is absolutely real and concrete for us. But when we go deep within, immediately the thought vanishes; like a drop, it melts into the ocean of the will. So what is a reality on the physical plane, such as a thought, is not at all a reality on the inner plane. On the inner plane, the reality is Divinity, Immortality and Perfection. On the outer plane, things that are real to us may not or need not be eternal. But on the inner plane, only what is eternal and fulfilling is real. So there is a great difference between reality on the physical plane and reality on the inner plane.

The outer world has a very mighty weapon, doubt; and the inner world has a most powerful weapon, faith. If we remain in the outer world more than the inner world, its doubt-weapon attacks us. Even though our own existence and our own powerful faith-weapon are inseparable, when we live in the outer world doubt fights against our faith and weakens us.

Now when we feel a barrier between one reality and another reality, between our mind-reality and our heart-reality or between what we have to offer and what we try to give, our spiritual life becomes a barren desert. Not only seekers, but almost all spiritual Masters have gone through this barren desert. Even spiritual Masters of a very high order, like Vivekananda and others, used to confess that they went through periods when they could not meditate at all. They entered into the world arena and offered their peace, love, light and everything they could. But then they felt a kind of frustration because their light was not accepted and the progress they expected from humanity was not achieved.

Here we are all seekers. If we find ourselves in a barren desert, if we find that multifarious thoughts or ideas are entering into us and making it impossible for us to meditate, we can do one thing. We can offer our gratitude to the Supreme, to the Inner Pilot. We can offer one minute of soulful gratitude that the Supreme has given us the divine aspiration to be of service to mankind, to the Supreme in mankind. If, even for a fleeting minute, we can offer Him our soulful gratitude, then immediately the barrier that exists between the mind and the heart in our inner being disappears. For the power of our gratitude immediately makes us one with God's Reality. And there is no power either on earth or in our inner existence which can ever be as powerful as our soulful gratitude.

When we look for the word 'gratitude' in the mind, it is something dry, silly and unnecessary. When we look for the word 'gratitude' in the vital, immediately we see that the word does not even exist. And in the physical, gratitude is all the time dormant. But if we live in the aspiring heart and can become one with the Supreme on the strength of our gratitude, then there can be no dry periods; there can be no wall, no barrier, no undivine forces that delay our progress. When we have gratitude, we are like a flower that is blossoming petal by petal in the Heart of the Supreme. This flower is full of fragrance, and its fragrance constantly illumines, energises and fulfils the human in us, the divine in us and the Supreme in us.

When our gratitude-flower blossoms, the dormant, sleeping humanity also begins to blossom, because our gratitude will have entered into God's choice Hour. When we enter into God's Heart with our gratitude, He expedites His own Hour for His children, for He feels that some of His children are more than ready to serve and please Him in His other children who are still sleeping.

Everybody cannot be a chosen instrument. Everybody cannot play the role of a king, true. But everybody can serve God according to his own capacity. When God has given someone the capacity to illumine others, to serve Him in others in abundant measure, it is that person's duty to clear the way if there is any obstruction, if there is any thorn on the road. And we can easily free the rose from the thorn when we see gratitude growing inside our heart.

The Supreme has made you the chosen instrument to illumine and increase the aspiration of hundreds and thousands of people. If you play your role as a conscious instrument, then in your conscious awareness you become a river that is flowing with all its light, love and dynamic energy towards the sea of Enlightenment. When you and the rest of humanity have become one, and when you enjoy this oneness divinely, there can be no partition, no barrier, no desert. It is all ever-increasing Bliss and ever-transcending Freedom.

Question: Is it possible to eventually feel our soul through meditation consisting of prolonged singing and chanting?

Sri Chinmoy: It is quite possible to see, feel and grow into the soul's light and reality through singing and chanting. It all depends on how you do it. While singing and chanting, if you look around to see whether others are appreciating your extraordinary voice, you will never be able to feel your soul. If you are watching to see how your voice is giving everybody tremendous joy in the form of a thrill, you have to know that this thrill is in the vital world of the audience. But if you are singing soulfully and devotedly, and if you feel at every moment that you are offering a flower of gratitude to the Supreme inside yourself, then you are bound to feel your soul. You have to feel that you have within yourself an endless supply of gratitude-flowers, and that at each second you are placing gratitude at the Feet of the Supreme, your Inner Pilot. If you can feel this, then you are bound to see the soul, feel the soul and grow into the soul's light and reality while singing and chanting.

Question: What is the essence of luminosity?

Sri Chinmoy: The essence of luminosity is that it wants to spread Light, the consciousness of Light. Take Light as a bird that wants to cover not only the length and breadth of the world, but the entire universe. The essence of the luminosity-flower is that it flies in the firmament of Infinity. While spreading Light all over the universe, it sees that Light is only another name for Life, universal Life, transcendental Life. While spreading Light, it sees that what it is actually offering is Life. Now, the flight of the luminosity-bird is witnessed by Eternal Time. Eternal Time is like the father who has millions of dollars, but gives the child only one dollar and says, "Don't waste this dollar. Buy only the things that are necessary for you, that will help you." Eternal Time tells the luminosity-bird, "Although I have infinite time at my disposal, don't waste a fleeting second. If you do, I will not give you Eternal Time." So Eternal Time advises the luminosity-bird, "I will give you everything I have, but first you have to prove that you won't waste time, that you will constantly fly, fly, fly and spread Light, which is Life."

Question: Is there any difference between liberation and realisation, or are they absolutely identical?

Sri Chinmoy: There is a great difference between liberation and realisation. Liberation is much inferior to realisation. One can reach liberation in one incarnation, and realisation in some later incarnation. Or one can become liberated and realised in the same incarnation. But it is not possible to be realised without first being liberated. Sometimes a great spiritual Master, if he is fortunate, will bring down with him a few really liberated souls to help him in his manifestation. Sri Ramakrishna, for example, brought down Vivekananda and Brahmananda. Some of these liberated souls who enter the earth-scene with the great Masters don't care for realisation. They come just to help. Others want realisation also.

A liberated soul is liberated from ignorance, from worldly undivine qualities. A liberated soul will inspire others with his presence. He will inspire them to be pure, simple, kind-hearted and loving. Tremendous purity and serenity will flow from him, and others will want to touch him, speak to him, look at his face. You can say that he is much more than a saint. True, worldly obscurities, impurities and other things will not enter into the liberated soul, or he will be all the time cautious so as not to allow them to enter into him. But a realised soul is much higher. He is consciously part and parcel of God.

A liberated soul knows that there is a special room where he stays and has his shrine. He knows that there is also a kitchen, which is all dirty and full of impurities. Ordinary human beings have no special room, no shrine at all. They are all the time locked in the kitchen, and naturally they cannot come into the room where the living deity is. The liberated soul is able to live in the room with the shrine, but he is afraid that if he enters into the kitchen, the undivine things there may attack him and he will again become their victim as he was before his liberation.

But realised souls are extremely powerful. They know what they are and where they have come from. On the strength of their universal and transcendental consciousness, they can enter into the ignorance of humanity, into the earth-consciousness as such, and illumine it with their torch-light. They do so only because of their infinite compassion, not because they still have some temptations or wrong forces in them. No! They enter into ignorance deliberately so that humanity can be radically transformed. But only realised souls of a high order accept this bold challenge.

A liberated soul is like a child, so beautiful and pure. But how long can you stay with a child? With his capacity you cannot go very far, or reach the Highest. But a realised soul is like a mature person, who can offer you tremendous aspiration, light and wisdom, the living reality. A liberated soul will inspire you to walk along the path, but a realised soul will not only inspire you but also guide you and lead you to your destination.

A realised soul is not only the guide, not only the way, but the Goal itself. First he pretends he is not even the guide, but just someone to inspire you. Then he comes and tells you he is the guide, but not the road. Gradually, however, he shows that he himself is also the road. And finally he makes the seeker feel his infinite compassion and shows him that he is not only the guide and the road, but the Goal as well, the seeker's own Goal.

The realised soul touches the foot of the realisation-tree, climbs up to the topmost branch, and brings down the fruit to share with humanity waiting below. That is realisation. But even the one who only touches the realisation-tree and sits at the foot of the tree without climbing up or bringing anything down is far superior to the liberated soul.

But again, to reach liberation is no easy matter. It is very, very difficult to become freed from ignorance. Out of the millions and billions of human beings on earth, there may be ten or twenty or even a hundred liberated souls. But God alone knows how many realised souls exist. To realise the Highest Absolute as one's very own and to constantly feel that this realisation is not something you have actually achieved but something you eternally are — that is called realisation.

Question: Early in the morning, how can the seeker convince his sleeping body of the necessity for meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: Every day you must feel one of two things. As soon as you get up, or are about to get up, you have to feel that the dearest in you — either your soul, or your Master or the Supreme — is waiting for you to serve him because he is very hungry. Your soul, your Master and the Supreme are eternally one, but take them as separate individuals. Now if the dearest in you is starving and you are in a position to feed him, will you not do so?

Again, you can have another idea, and that is that if you meditate early in the morning, then you will achieve the thing that you want to achieve. If you want to have something, then naturally you will work for it, whether it is Light or Peace or Eternity. Even if you want power so that you can dominate the world, or light so that you can catch all those who are doubting you in the mental world, or energy so that you can be the only thing with life in the physical world, still you have to work for it.

Now, why do you want energy in the physical world, or power in the vital world or light in the mental world? It is because you get pleasure in seeing inside yourself something which others don't have. In a competitive way you are trying to get something which others do not have. You are starting your journey with a competitive spirit, and in most cases I tell you this competitive spirit is essential. But the moment you feel energy, or the moment you touch power, light and other divine qualities, you lose your competitive spirit. If you have energy, you share it with others. If you have light, you share it with others. If you have power, you share it with others. Why? When you approach the Divine it automatically changes your consciousness, for the Divine gets satisfaction only in distribution. In the beginning you start in a competitive spirit, but while you are reaching your goal your consciousness is changing. You are running and running to get the flower so you can grab it and tear it apart petal by petal. But the moment you get the flower, immediately you change your mind. "It is so beautiful," you say. "Let me place it on my shrine so everyone can come and enjoy its beauty and fragrance."

If you really call someone your dearest, you won't be able to remain satisfied without feeding that person. When the child is hungry, the mother comes running because she knows who is dearest. So if you maintain the feeling that the dearest is inside your heart, after you have fed him, what happens? The dearest gives you satisfaction, and in that satisfaction you become eternal, infinite and immortal. When the child is fed, he gives his mother a smile. The mother sees her whole world, the entire universe, inside the smile, because the child is the mother's universe. So when you feed the dearest and the dearest smiles, at that time you feel your entire world smiling.

Question: Sri Chinmoy, how can we become childlike in spirit?

Sri Chinmoy: In the outer life we see that when the grandfather talks to his grandchildren, if he is wise he becomes actually another child. He knows that only by acting like a child will he be able to give the children satisfaction and get satisfaction from them. We have to feel that God Himself is a Divine Child who is always playing with us. A child is ready to play twenty-four hours a day. And we have to become like a child in order to play with God.

If a boy of nineteen does not have the capacity to draw something from the world or offer something to the world, if he remains aloof, if he does not care for the world and feels that he does not need anything from the world, then he is ninety-nine years old in spirit. On the other hand, if somebody of ninety-nine wants to learn the inner language, the language of divine love, the language of divine peace, the language of inner wisdom, the language of inner Light, then he is a child in spirit. But if he wants to get only information from the world, this will not help him spiritually at all, for this kind of information is given by the mind and received through the mind. And if a person lives in the mind he will never be able to act like a child. Who cannot act like a child? He who cares more for the intellect than for the heart. He who cares more for outer achievement than for inner achievement. He who cares more for society around him than for God within him.

If you really want to become a child, then you have to feel that there is someone who is thinking of you constantly. You have to feel that there is somebody who is not only thinking of you and meditating on you, but who is also taking responsibility for you. A child always feels that his mother or his father will take care of him. All the time he feels that there is protection, there is guidance, there is assistance. So naturally he has confidence in his life. A child can rely totally upon his parents because of his child's heart. Because he is always in the heart, he feels that there is no need which his parents will not fulfil. If he lived in the mind he would immediately think, "Oh, perhaps my father will not be able to do this. Perhaps my mother will not be there to help me." Then he would become fearful. He would become doubtful and anxious. In the spiritual life, no matter how old you are, you have to feel that there is someone with infinitely more wisdom-light who is constantly thinking of you, loving you, guiding you and protecting you, and that this person is God. And you have to rely upon God with a child's heart. We can have Peace, Light, Love and Bliss in infinite measure only when we feel that we are children. When a student goes to his spiritual Master he must feel that his Master has infinitely more wisdom than he has. He must maintain his feeling of humility. Whenever we deal with somebody who is superior to us and who has more capacity in the inner world, then we become a child. If we think that our Master is either of our standard or of a lower standard, how can we act like a child? How can we have faith or confidence in him? Immediately our superiority will come to the fore. Our mind will make us feel that we know better. And the moment we feel that we know everything and can do everything, we lose our childlike qualities.

A student is always a child in the presence of his teacher no matter how old or sophisticated he may be. Always we have to feel that we are learning. In the spiritual life, we learn everything every day, every hour, every minute, every second from our Father, God. If we constantly have the feeling that we are learning in the inner worlds, there is no end to our receiving and achieving God's Divinity. We can become childlike when we know that there is something to learn and that God is there to teach.

Question: How can one be constantly surrendered and deal with hostile forces?

Sri Chinmoy: If you really surrender to the Divine in yourself, then the hostile forces are automatically conquered. It is just because you don't surrender to the Divine Will inside you that you have to encounter these hostile forces. Surrender means to remain in Light, and if you are in Light, how can there be darkness? You have two rooms, a room of darkness and a room of Light. When you are in the room full of illumination, the undivine hostile forces cannot reach you. If you remain in this room you have its capacities and qualities; and it is the same with the other room, which is full of darkness. Surrendering and dealing with hostile forces are not like two things that you have to do simultaneously. No! If you live in the darkness-room, you will be conquered by the darkness. If you live in the Light-room, you are not only conquered by Light but you also conquer Light and claim Light as your own.

Question: While striving for detachment, how can we safeguard against indifference?

Sri Chinmoy: There is a great difference between detachment and indifference. When you are indifferent to something or someone, at that time you are almost, almost hostile to his progress. There is a kind of inner malicious hope that he will not pass his examination, not do the right thing, not be admired or adored by anyone. You may say you are indifferent to convince your own mind. But you will observe whether he is succeeding, and if he is, it will pinch you. And if he fails, you will get tremendous malicious pleasure. Indifference is like that. It observes in a secret way and gets tremendous joy when it observes failure and suffers tremendous jealousy when it observes success. We say we are indifferent, but if the other person becomes great, our jealousy will kill us, and if he falls down, we dance with joy.

But detachment is a spiritual quality. When we are detached, our physical is detached, our mind is detached, our vital is detached and so on. The thing in me that wants to bind you and the thing in you that wants to bind me from inside are warning each other, "I am not the right person to bind you and you are not the right person to bind me. There is someone else, the Divine, the Supreme, who is the only one. It is He who has infinite Light, Peace and Bliss, so run towards Him as I am running towards Him. I shall help you with my inner capacity, which is my prayer, meditation and concentration. But if I grab you and claim you with my vital, physical and mental longing, this is no help at all. Instead let me offer to you my prayer, meditation and concentration, and these things you have to offer to me. In this way we strengthen each other."

In detachment two persons grow together through their souls' light. Their souls' qualities make a bridge on which they can go to their common goal. The bridge is not the goal, but both use the bridge. They say, "Let us walk together along the path that leads to our common destination." So when we are detached, all the time we make ourselves feel that the human in somebody else or the human in ourselves is not the goal, but that we both have a common goal which we have to reach together with our hearts' aspiration and our souls' light. Detachment we have when we use our inner light and inner reality, rather than our physical reality.

Question: How can we be divinely practical in our day-to-day activities, not cleverly practical in a human way by deceiving others?

Sri Chinmoy: Real divine practicality allows us to feel the divine motivation in all our actions and share the inner wealth from each action with others. If that is what we mean by divine practicality, then I wish to say at every moment, before an action starts, feel that this action doesn't belong to you. And while acting, feel that you are not the doer, but someone else is acting in and through you. Then, when the result is out, you have to share it with others. Feel that it is not you who act, but rather the person who is inspiring you, who is acting in and through you. And this person is none other than your Inner Pilot. If you can feel this, then you can have divine practicality in your life at every moment.

Question: How can we attain selfless love?

Sri Chinmoy: You can attain selfless love by giving proper value to the object of your adoration and devotion. If you have a goal, and if somebody or something embodies your goal, then you have to feel the necessity of offering due value to that person or thing. When you give value to your chosen deity or to your Inner Pilot or to your Master, then automatically you develop and increase selfless love. If you value the person or thing soulfully, devotedly, unconditionally and constantly, at that time, your own life of aspiration expands, and while it is expanding, you feel the birth and growth of your selfless love.

Question: How can we strengthen ourselves against recurring temptation?

Sri Chinmoy: There are many ways. One way is to imagine the heart of your Master. It may be difficult for you to imagine the heart of the Supreme, but you can easily imagine the heart of your Master. I am your Master. Just imagine that my heart is a golden tablet. When temptation assails you, you have to feel that this golden tablet is immediately besmeared with ink. Just before temptation assailed you, you saw that your Master's heart was like the moon, absolutely pure, a golden sheet. But now that you have succumbed to temptation, you see the result: the gold has gone away, and it is all darkness and filth. Afterwards, when you become sober, you will curse yourself. You will think, "He who is my way, my goal, he whom I love with all my heart and soul — what have I done to him? Previously he was all gold, divine, immortal, but now that I have surrendered to temptation, his whole existence is gone. If it had happened to me, I would have forgiven myself, but how can I forgive myself when it has happened to my Master?" But there is no difference between the Master and yourself, and when you are caught in ignorance, the Master also suffers.

So if you approach the human aspect of the Master, then temptation can't overcome you. But if you approach the divine aspect of the Master, you may say, "He has realised God. If I surrender to ignorance and temptation, he will remain unaffected in a sea of Light, Peace and Bliss." This won't solve your problem. True, no matter what you do, he will remain unaffected. But if you take this attitude, your temptation increases, and you go on doing the wrong thing. Also, sometimes the tricky mind operates in the divine approach. The human mind is so clever. It will say, "Why does my Master subject me to temptation if he is divine? Even if I succumb, his compassion will rescue me. So where is the need to fight temptation?" Therefore, the human approach is infinitely better. When temptation approaches, you say to yourself, "Because of my temptation, he has swallowed all my poison. I have given him poison to drink." If you approach the Divine with reverence and sincerity, but also see the Master with human love, then you will be doing the best thing.

There is also another approach which is equally effective. You have to know that temptation is not something you are experiencing for the first time. It is something that you have gone through hundreds and thousands of times. Christ and other great spiritual Masters, even when they were on the verge of realisation, faced temptation.

You have to know that what you actually want is satisfaction, and this can be found on two planes: the reality-plane and the unreality-plane. These two planes are constantly playing with each other. If you are all the time satisfied sleeping and snoring, if you are satisfied when lethargy conquers you, or when you succumb to temptation, then you have to know that this satisfaction does not produce anything divine or fruitful. At that time, you are living on the unreality-plane.

Satisfaction on the reality-plane comes when you feel that you are making constant progress, going higher or deeper. While progressing, you get a tremendous sense of satisfaction. You feel that the Goal is coming closer and is about to clasp you. On the reality-plane, God is playing an ever-transcending game with us. The Goal immediately takes you twenty steps ahead, then goes twenty steps further. Then, when you are making the twenty-first step, it comes back again and carries you to the fortieth step and once more goes away.

First you feel you are progressing to something unknowable, then you feel you are progressing to something knowable. Finally you realise not only that the Goal was always yours, but also that it is what you have always, eternally been.

Question: Guru, you revealed your consciousness in the performance of your play, and you reveal your consciousness through pure meditation. What is the difference between the two?

Sri Chinmoy: There is a great difference. In my meditation, usually I first enter into my highest consciousness and then bring down and share with you what I have achieved or gained on the highest plane. Yesterday at the Manhattan Centre we had an absolutely sublime meditation. If you had seen me yesterday at the Manhattan Centre, you would have seen my highest height. I was trying so hard to come down, walking like an absolutely crazy person; I couldn't keep my feet properly on the ground. When I came to the door, I was still struggling to come back to normal consciousness. Even in the car, for ten minutes I could not come down.

While I was performing my play, I was in a very high consciousness, but I was not in my absolutely highest consciousness. You can say it was the fruit of my very highest consciousness that I was offering. I did not enter my highest, but the result of the highest I kept in store to share with you. And while I was performing, the Supreme told me many things, but all I wish to say is that it was a unique experience for me and for my Inner Pilot.

The moment we open our mouth and use our physical organs to speak, we can never remain in the absolutely highest consciousness. It will be one inch below the highest always. My highest in its purest form, I maintain only in silence. That is unfortunately the experience of all spiritual Masters. When we come down to the physical level and use earthly means to give something, the highest vision cannot remain the same; it becomes slightly less divine than it was in silence.1

LED 19 Sri Chinmoy played the part of both God and Christ in a performance of the first act of his own play The Son. The performance took place on August 27, 1974, during Sri Chinmoy's birthday celebration.

Question: Guru, how can we be more dynamic?

Sri Chinmoy: The dynamism that you want comes directly from the soul's light. Real dynamism is not aggression; real dynamism is the soul's light and our adamantine will. It is not that dynamism is found in the soul's light or in our adamantine will. No! The soul's light and our adamantine will are one and inseparable with divine dynamism. But we notice them at three different places. Dynamism we see in the vital world — not in the impure or emotional vital, but in the higher vital world. Here everything is like one big wave after another. They are not waves of destruction, but waves of boundless Light, Peace and Bliss.

As dynamism is the life-breath of the higher vital world, light, the soul's light, is the life-breath of the psychic world, the heart's world. The aspiring heart always wants to identify itself with something vast, and the soul's light is the breath of vastness.

Will also is found in a special place. Its location is in the third eye. And will is the life-breath of vision, the ultimate or universal vision of the future. In order to have constant dynamism, you have to be constantly aware of your goal and you have to feel that your goal is very close. It is not millions of miles away; it is around you, before you, in front of your nose. You have only to seek it consciously, grasp it and claim it. You have to always have the feeling that your goal is just before you, but that you are still unlucky and not able to see it. If you all the time feel that your goal is within easy reach, but that you don't know where it is, you will desperately cry for it and search for it, and naturally you will make an attempt to reach the goal. Then, while you are making the attempt, automatically your inner being is flooded with dynamism. If you feel that your goal is far, you become relaxed and feel that eternity is at your disposal. Then your inner dynamism doesn't come to the fore. But if you feel that what you want to grow into is just around you, only you have to use your conscious awareness to grasp it and claim it, then you will get dynamism. At that time, you will be constantly breathing in, consciously or unconsciously, the breath or soul of your goal, and dynamism will be yours.

Dynamism means the death of your lethargic life, the death of your ignorance life. The moment dynamism comes to the fore, immediately you see the death of lethargy, ignorance and anything else that prevents you from reaching your goal, growing into your goal and becoming your goal.

Question: Guru, how can I get inner strength?

Sri Chinmoy: In your particular case you can get inner strength by absorbing more purity in the physical and more light in the mind. You have to pay more attention to physical purity and mental light. Do japa, the thing that is bound to increase your physical purity and mental light. While walking along the street, or in the subway, or if you don't have anything most important to do during your work, repeat the name of the Supreme. Repeat the Supreme's name inside your heart, in silence, and each time you repeat it try to see with your open eyes that the letters S-U-P-R-E-M-E are being written in golden letters on the tablet of your heart. Then light in the mind and purity in the physical will come, and automatically your inner strength will increase.

Question: How can I develop patience?

Sri Chinmoy: You can develop patience just by feeling that there is somebody superior to you, greater than you, nicer than you in every way, and that this somebody is the Supreme. You can feel that all other human beings are your children, and that they are inferior to you. Then think that He who is superior to you is all the time tolerating you. God has accepted you and claimed you as His very own, even though you are making millions of mistakes. Just because He loves you dearly, His Concern for you is boundless, His Compassion is boundless, everything is boundless.

You have to know that if you get something from someone, that very thing you are supposed to give to somebody else. It is a game, and in a game there should be continuous movement. If somebody gives you something and you hold on to it, the game stops; there is no joy in it. The Supreme has given you something, let us say aspiration. He has started the game by offering you aspiration, and his aspiration embodies patience. Now it is up to you to give that same thing to your son and daughter, or to somebody else. If you have children, you are responsible for them. You have accepted them as your own. When you claim others as your own, you have to give them what you have and what you are, because you want to see your good qualities, your capacities, your achievements and your height in your dear ones. The Supreme wants to see His height in you, and you have to see in your children, humanity, your height.

This way automatically patience comes, because you realise that one cannot climb up the Himalayas in the twinkling of an eye. If you want to see your height in others, you have to use your compassion, your light, your feeling of oneness. You have to say, "If I had been in his position, I would have done the same thing." This is how you develop patience.

Question: It seems to me that it is easy to have a childlike feeling if one has a spiritual Master, is living in a spiritual community and has all his needs provided for. But what about someone who is a separate individual living in the world?

Sri Chinmoy: Why do people enter into a spiritual community? Because it is easier. And why do people mix with other spiritual people? Because it is easier. There are always opportunities and ways which present us with fewer difficulties, fewer problems. What you are saying is absolutely true. Sri Ramakrishna used to say that we are all children. Before realising God we play with ignorance. After realising God we play with Wisdom. If we are wise, we will go where the things we want are easier to achieve. No matter how much wealth we get, how much appreciation we get, how much admiration we get in the outer life, we will not get much satisfaction. But if we get an iota of Love, Peace, Light, Bliss, Concern from the inner life, we get everything. An iota of inner Truth is infinitely more powerful, more convincing and more fulfilling than the boundless wealth of the outer life. If the seeker realises this, then naturally he will find a spiritual Master and associate with spiritual people. In a spiritual community it is much easier to be childlike. There you will have a Master whose concern you can feel constantly. Then it becomes easier, infinitely easier.

But even a person who is living in the world can have a childlike attitude toward God. To be childlike does not mean to be childish. We can be simple, sincere and spontaneous in our dealings with the sophisticated world without being stupid or foolish. We can have implicit faith in God's protection and guidance even while living and working in the ordinary world. For this we must feel that whatever job we are doing, it is God who has given us this job out of His infinite Compassion, it is He who is giving us the necessary capacity to do the work satisfactorily and keep the job, and it is He who will enable us to find another job if we lose the one we have. This kind of childlike faith is not foolishness. Far from it. It is the spontaneous trust of a child in his father or mother. This kind of feeling will never stand as a hindrance in our life in the outer world.

If one does not take a childlike attitude his speed will be hampered. It is a child who can constantly be moulded. A child is like a lump of divine clay. He can easily be shaped into something divinely beautiful. But if one follows the spiritual life and at the same time tries to maintain his independence, he will not make much progress. There is only One who is truly independent, and that is God. The more we can be dependent on that One, the faster will be our progress. There is no human individuality; there is only divine individuality. What we call human individuality does not last. No matter how hard we try to maintain it, we must eventually give it up if we sincerely want to become close to God, one with God. If we try to expand our human personality, very soon it bursts like a balloon. But the divine Individuality, which is the highest, supreme Individuality, is already infinitely vast. It can embrace all our human individualities. When we surrender our human individuality it does not mean that we are becoming a slave. We are only allowing ourselves to be shaped the way the Highest wants us. The individuality of the Master does not enter into the student. The Master has long ago given up his individuality to the Highest Supreme. Now it is the Will of the Supreme which he is executing when he guides and moulds his disciples.

Question: What is the most effective way to see the divine in others?

Sri Chinmoy: We see the divine in others once in a blue moon, and the divine in ourselves we see a little more frequently. But when doubt starts, we can't see the divine in others or in ourselves. The most effective way to see the divine in others is to see at every second the divine in ourselves, in every cell of our body, in every breath that we consciously take in. Now, the reason that we are divine one moment and then become undivine the next moment is that we separate one second from the next. But this we should not do. If this moment we feel that we are divine, or that our husband or wife is divine, then we should not wait for the next moment to bring another type of experience. We should try to pull this experience, lengthen it, rather than try to have another experience. We have to think of this experience as a train, and allow the train to go from one station to another station without stopping at any place. The experience should go from one second to another in a continuous movement.

Many times we have good feelings about our brother and sister disciples during high meditation, for example, but that meditation we don't preserve or make dynamic. We have a good meditation but then we forget about it. But instead we should try to start with that same experience the next time we meditate. It may go farther, deeper, higher. Once that journey begins, once we see the divinity in others, this experience should be like a train, a non-stop train, and we should try to see more divinity inside others.

There is also another way to see the divinity in others, and that is always to think of the Source. There is something in you that wants you to see divinity in others. If you try to trace that thing, you will see that it is not the physical, the vital or the mind. The physical in you cries only to sleep for a few more hours. The vital in you wants only to dominate the world and lord it over others. The mind wants to find fault with the rest of the world. But something inside the physical, the vital and the mind is prompting you and inspiring you to see the divine inside others. If you search for the thing that is inspiring you, you will find that it is the inner cry coming from your soul. This inner cry constantly wants satisfaction, and satisfaction comes only in devotion, only in oneness, only in seeing the divine in yourself and others and becoming devotedly and unreservedly one with it.

Question: I want to be able to receive completely everything that you want to give me. How can I best achieve this?

Sri Chinmoy: In order to receive what I would like to offer you completely, unreservedly, devotedly and unconditionally, you have to do two things. First you have to claim me as your very own and you have to feel that you can do without everything and everybody on earth except me. By me I mean the Supreme in me, who is your Guru, my Guru, everybody's Guru. You have to feel that only I am essential and indispensable in your life, and that is why you are claiming me as your very own. Some people don't claim me as their very own. They feel I am too big or indifferent, or they have millions of other reasons. In spite of being my disciples, they regard me as a third person; they only accept the fact that I am their spiritual Master.

Now, when you claim me as your own, you must not do so in a possessive manner, but in an illumined manner. It is not a physical claim, but a spiritual claim. Because I have realised God and become one with the Universal Consciousness, what I have and am is also yours. The mere acceptance of me that others have is not the answer. Your constant acceptance and your constant remembrance of this acceptance must go together. You have accepted me and you have to make the fact that you have accepted me a living reality in your life.

But then you have to feel that claiming me as your very own is not enough. You also have to proclaim to the world at large what you have seen, felt, grown into and finally become. If you share with the world your experience of oneness with me, then you receive everything. Some people see and feel the light, but they don't want to share it with others. God is very clever. He says, "If you don't want to reveal Me or share Me with others, then why should I give you the capacity to achieve Me and possess Me unreservedly and unconditionally?"

If we want this capacity, God needs from us two things. First we have to claim Him as our very own, and then we have to share Him with others the moment we feel we have got Him in His own Way. First you have to get the mango, and while getting it you have to please the Owner in His own Way; then you have to share the mango and again please the Owner in His own Way. By doing this, you automatically get the capacity to achieve and feel what He wants to give you, and you get the things you want from Him unreservedly and in infinite measure.

Question: How can I get rid of human attachment and become more consecrated to the Supreme within me?

Sri Chinmoy: When you think of human attachment, feel that you are constantly and deliberately drinking poison. Then simply say to yourself, "If I die, will the people to whom I am now attached feel miserable? Will they enter into the coffin with me? Do they have the same love for me that I have for them?" Immediately the answer will come to you, "No! No!" Perhaps they will not even come to your funeral. So why pay attention to them? There is someone who will follow you faithfully through eternity like a dog, and that is the Supreme. Pay attention only to the Supreme. He will go wherever you go, whether it be Heaven or hell. This moment He tells you, "I am right ahead of you; just follow Me. Don't worry. I shall be with you wherever you go." The next moment He will say, "Go ahead, I am right behind you. I will follow him who is ready to follow Me." The Supreme will always follow you, no matter where you go, but no human being will do this. No human being is going to follow you to the end of your life, not to speak of following you for Eternity. And the Supreme will gladly and cheerfully allow you to follow Him. So what is the use of following human beings or allowing them to follow you? If you have that kind of feeling for the Supreme, if you are devoted only to Him, then your human attachment will go away. And when human attachment goes away, devotion to the Supreme takes birth, grows, develops and reaches perfection. The Supreme needs you; you need Him. You need Him for your highest realisation; He needs you for His perfect manifestation. When you have this understanding, you can easily rid yourself of human attachment and become more consecrated to the Supreme.

Question: How can I get rid of the feeling of inner emptiness?

Sri Chinmoy: Inner emptiness is a very good thing. When you feel empty inwardly, that is the time for God to fill you with His Light and Delight. You are using the wrong term. What you mean is barrenness — barrenness in your mental, vital or physical life. There is a great difference between inner emptiness and barrenness. If you feel barren inside the physical, the vital or the physical mind, that is a real problem. You have to try to get rid of this barrenness. You have to cry like a child and dig, dig, dig deep within yourself for God's Compassion. Barrenness can be got rid of only by a constant inner cry. You need a higher life, a better life, something that will really satisfy you. This need is not desire; it is the longing to be something good, to become something divine and to please God in God's own Way. If you cry and cry while digging and digging, you are bound to feel God's Compassion from above.

But if you feel emptiness in your heart centre, it is not barrenness. The very fact that you have emptied yourself is a divine achievement. With the greatest difficulty, or by God's Grace, you have emptied yourself, and this is most desirable. If you are really empty, that means that something has to come and fill you. When you are empty inwardly, the Supreme will fill you with Peace, Light, Delight and other divine qualities.

The more intense your inner cry for Light, Peace and Bliss, the larger your vessel becomes. Peace, Light and Bliss you have perfectly housed within you, for your heart-vessel is large. But when you cry, the vessel becomes larger and you feel that the qualities you have are not enough. At that moment your receptivity is increased, and you are bound to feel that God is bringing down more Peace, Light and Bliss into your system.

Question: How can one most effectively influence children spiritually?

Sri Chinmoy: Parents can offer their children most effective spiritual help only by leading the divine life themselves — that is to say by action, not by preaching. Whatever you tell a child to do, you yourself have to do it first, every day. Parents often ask their children to do something which they themselves do not do. Or they do something and then ask their children not to do it. They say, "I can do it, but you can't." You may tell your children, "Get up at seven o'clock and pray and meditate," but the next morning you will be sleeping. Similarly, you may tell your children not to tell lies, but you yourself will tell lies. Everything you do you will justify by saying, "Oh, I have passed your stage; these things don't affect me."

If you ask your children to get up and meditate and you yourself do the same, automatically they get added strength. But if you don't do the same thing, already half their strength goes away. Their attention is immediately diverted. They think: "If this is really good, how is it that my mother is not doing it?" or "If this is really bad, how is it that she is doing it?"

You have to feel that since your children are very young, you are responsible for them. If you feel that milk is really good for your children, then because you are responsible for your children you give them milk. You don't wait for them to become eleven or thirteen years old and discover for themselves that milk is good. As long as the Supreme has given you the realisation that milk is most nourishing, you have to share that realisation with your children. When their mind is developed, then let them make their own choice. It is the same with the spiritual life. What you call best, let your children also call best. Later, when their mind is developed, if their mind wants to take them away, let them battle with the mind and decide whether you were right or wrong.

Always try to become an example for your children. If you ask your children to draw something, and you yourself start cooking, you will be making a mistake. You should not cook at that time; you have to go and draw with the children. Even while the children are playing, it is better always to be one with them. If the children are playing with a ball, although you may feel that you have important things to do, the most important thing for you to do is to keep the children company. There can be nothing more important in your life. If you really want to see their progress, if you want them to enter into the spiritual life, make them happy — not by becoming indulgent, not by giving them twenty toys at a time, but by doing something for them. When you are with them, give them the feeling that they are good and divine. Tell them, "God loves you most. You are His chosen child. The whole world is waiting for you."

This is what I mean by making them happy. To give them real happiness, make them feel that God wants them. This is not insincere flattery. When parents admire and adore a child, even if the qualities that they are admiring are not at the fore, they come to the fore. In India when a child is born blind the parents give him the name "Lotus-eyed." They compare the child to the cosmic gods. Now people may say this is silly, but these parents are doing the right thing by saying that their children have the special grace of the cosmic gods. They are invoking the presence of the cosmic gods. So when you appreciate, admire and adore your children, please try to feel that you are helping them develop the qualities that you feel ought to come to the fore in them; you are bringing to the fore their dormant inner divinity.

Also, tell them about God, but do not speak about Him as an old man. Always make them feel that He is somebody of their age. If the children are three years old, then God is also three years old for them. Tell them He is their good Friend, their eternal Friend. Tell them to be prepared for Him. He is coming to them as their most intimate Friend, so they have to behave well.

Question: How can I do what I want to do?

Sri Chinmoy: If you want to know how you can do what you want on the physical plane, you are making a terrible mistake. Most of the time, if not all the time, what you want to do on the physical plane is an act of ignorance. On the physical plane most of the time you try to break, break, break. And even if you want to do something divine, you want to do this divine thing in your own way. The moment you use the word "I," ego comes to the fore. Your question should be, how can you do all the time what the Supreme wants you to do? If you put the question this way, immediately ego goes away like an obedient child. How can you please the Supreme the way He wants you to please Him? Immediately you have to feel that you are trying to please Him in His own Way because He has more light than you. Without the Supreme, you cannot exist. Forget even about the Supreme; without the best in yourself you cannot really exist. The best in you right now is the soul. If the soul leaves the body, you die. Forget about the soul; if your heart stops, you die. But you know that there is something infinitely better than the soul and the heart, and that is the Supreme. When the soul leaves, when the heart stops, you die; but there is something infinitely more important than life, and that is the Supreme. If you have that kind of feeling, automatically you will try to please Him in His own Way. If your breath is going away, naturally you will try to please Him who holds the breath, and is the breath.

Question: How can we permanently conquer expectation and demand?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us deal with demand first. Demand is always undivine, whether on the physical plane, the vital plane, or any other plane. On the psychic plane or in the soul, there is no demand.

There are two types of expectation. One is the human type: I do something for you, and expect you in return to do something for me. My action and my expectation are reciprocal forces. Then there is another kind of expectation, the spontaneous expectation of a child. A child does not do anything for his parents, but still he expects things from them. If a child is hungry, he just cries. If I am hungry, I will get something to eat from the kitchen. But the small child cannot do this, so he just cries, and wherever he may be, his mother comes to him with food. In that kind of expectation, we feel that there is someone who will come to fulfil our needs.

In the spiritual life, we see that expectation is of the second type. I feel that there is someone with infinite Love, Compassion and Concern who will do everything for me, even if I do nothing for Him. But again, this expectation has to be wise. True, He will give me everything, even beyond my imagination, but in His own Way, at His own choice Hour. I am a child of the Supreme Emperor. Just because I am spiritual, I have to surrender to His Will and wait for Him to give me what He wants to give me in His own Way.

When we have this kind of awareness, we conquer expectation. When we expect on the physical plane, we act like a beggar. A beggar knocks at the door and feels that just because he has knocked at the door his role is over. Then he expects alms or food from the inhabitants of the house. But when we expect on the spiritual plane, we do not act like a beggar; we just claim the Supreme as our very own.

Our human capacity is very limited in comparison to the capacity of the Supreme. When we think of the soul and when we think of the body, we see that there is a yawning gulf between them. The vital has more capacity than the body, but its capacity is limited. The mind has more capacity than the vital, but the mind is limited also. The heart has more capacity than the mind, but in comparison to the soul it is also very limited. When we look at the capacity of the soul, it is enormous, and when we look at the capacity of the body, it is very limited. But if we feel that there is somebody called the Supreme, the highest transcendental Absolute, we know that naturally His capacity will be greater than our soul's capacity, because our soul's capacity also has limitations, while His capacity is unlimited. If we expect something, immediately we have to know that it is the physical, the vital, the mind, the heart, or the soul that is expecting it. Since all the parts of our being are limited, if their expectations are fulfilled, the results will naturally be limited.

We are crying and crying for happiness in the form of expectation. However, no matter what we seek, the results will be limited. But we have to know that there is somebody with infinite capacity who is eager and anxious to share with us His capacity. There is somebody who is constantly crying to share His capacity with us, so let us be wise; let us give Him the chance. Let us allow His expectation to be fulfilled in us. Let His expectation grow in and through us. Let our human expectation be conquered by the divine expectation of the Supreme, the Eternal Pilot. Let us surrender our human expectation to the Supreme's expectation. When we surrender to the unlimited Light, we become really unlimited. If we take this attitude, we act like divine children, children of Light, children of Wisdom. At that time, our expectation is conquered by His expectation, which is unlimited. This way only, through surrender, can we conquer our human expectation.

Question: How can I become consumed with burning aspiration?

Sri Chinmoy: Just for a second think of your past, what you were five years ago. Just have a vision, and see all the undivine things that you did because of your ignorance. What has changed your life in the last five years is your aspiration. You have given up many undivine things just because you had a little aspiration. If you had not had any aspiration, you would not have given up the life of ignorance.

How can you increase this aspiration? You have tried through your own personal effort, but still it does not increase. You can increase it only by constantly feeling that it is not yours, that it belongs to somebody else. It is inside you, true, but somebody else gave it to you, and that person was the Supreme. The thing that you are crying for, the thing that you want, the Supreme has in boundless measure. So if you want Him to give it to you, naturally you try to please Him.

There are quite a few ways you can please the Supreme, but there is one way which is most significant and which will give you the result sooner than any other way. When the father gives his child a nickel, if the child offers him an immediate smile of gratitude, immediately the father gives him a dime, or even a dollar. In your case, if you want to be consumed with burning aspiration, try to feel that you do have aspiration, the aspiration of one dollar, let us say, which you were given by your Eternal Father, the Supreme. Just because you have this aspiration, you show Him your utmost gratitude. At that moment He gives you ten, twenty, fifty dollars. You are not consumed with burning aspiration all the time, but just because you do have aspiration, you show gratitude to the Supreme. There are millions and billions of people on earth who do not have the aspiration that you have. They are wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance. If the Supreme has given you one dollar's worth of aspiration, he can also give you a million dollars' worth. So if you offer gratitude for what you already have, then your aspiration will increase and become constant.

Question: Can you tell us exactly what the psychic being is? Also, if it is useful for the aspirant to try to establish some kind of relationship with his psychic being, how can he do it?

Sri Chinmoy: Just as the soul is the representative of God for us, the psychic being, to some extent, is the representative of the soul. Everything on earth, whether animate or inanimate, has a soul. You, as a human being, have a soul; this glass tumbler has a soul; animals have a soul; flowers have a soul. But the psychic being is found only in those human beings who have started to aspire consciously.

Animals do not have psychic beings. Not even all men have psychic beings, because there are many human beings on earth who do not aspire. When you walk along the street you can easily see that some people have had only a few human incarnations. Some have just come from the animal kingdom, and are in their first incarnation. They are half animal. Now these people do not have a psychic being yet. Only spiritual people who are sincerely and devotedly aspiring have psychic beings. Now the soul is not born on earth; the soul is born in the soul's region. But even though there is a world that we call the psychic world, the psychic being only takes birth on earth when the seeker begins to aspire. The psychic being, this most beautiful child, is born on earth and also develops here on earth. The psychic being grows like a seed. It germinates into a small plant that grows into a huge banyan tree.

The psychic being is most beautiful. When one develops the psychic being purity incarnate and divinity incarnate grow within his heart. When the psychic being is first formed, one may feel a very sweet, delicate sensation in the spine. The psychic being is like the youngest child in the family, like a baby. In the physical world, the parents feel that it is their constant, bounden duty to please their young child. The baby cries and the parents give the baby what it wants. Constantly the psychic being is making fervent requests to the Eternal Father, the Supreme, or to the eldest brother, the soul, to make the whole body, the entire being, divine and perfect.

When the psychic being is six or seven years old in terms of human age, then it takes a little responsibility. But when there is something very urgent, very important, to be done, or when power is needed, the psychic being cries, and the soul within us takes the responsibility.

In the spiritual life, there are quite a few ways one can know if danger or success is imminent even if one has not developed occult vision or spiritual power. If the psychic being is developed, it will immediately bring the news that something serious is going to happen — something dangerous or some catastrophe. The psychic will be like a messenger boy. Also, if something most encouraging and inspiring is going to happen, the psychic being will bring this news too. The psychic being knows and sees everything, but it does not have the necessary power to change what will happen; it can just inform us. Only with the help of the soul or with the guidance and blessing of the Supreme can the psychic being change something. However, it does have the power to transform our human nature with purity. But the psychic being does not have the same amount of power that the soul has. And the soul does not and cannot have the same amount of power as God.

In our path we see the necessity of always consciously feeling the Presence of God. The psychic being helps us to feel the Presence of God all the time. There are many divine gifts that we get from God through the aspiration of the psychic being. For instance, we get constant joy, a constant sense of security and a constant feeling of our own progress from the psychic being. Right now we are making progress, but we do not feel sure about it. But if the psychic being comes to the fore and remains to the fore, then our progress is noticeable to all.

If you pay attention to the psychic being, you can bring it to the fore without fail. When you develop real surrender to the Supreme, giving your whole life over to the path of love, devotion and surrender to God's Will, automatically the psychic being appears. To make your surrender beautiful, soulful and unconditional, you have to meditate every day. When you make complete surrender, immediately the psychic being comes to the fore. Before that, if you have love for God, the psychic being may come to the fore. If you have devotion for God or do devoted service, the psychic being may come, but that is not the rule.

If we can feel the presence of the psychic being, and if the psychic being prays and invokes the presence of God in our outer being, then we will make fast progress. But if we do not want to adopt that method, the most important thing we can do and the only thing that is necessary is to offer our conscious gratitude to the Supreme. The moment we offer our gratitude to the Supreme, our progress becomes the fastest.

The psychic being is like a messenger or a beautiful child. We do not actually need a messenger boy, or a little beautiful child. We do not absolutely need this little brother in the family to cry and speak to the Father on our behalf. We need only God. So if you do not want to have any connection with the psychic being, or if you feel that the psychic being is unnecessary, then you can do without its help.

Some of you sometimes see your psychic being, but if the Master does not tell you, then you may not know what it is. You may feel that you dreamed that you saw a most beautiful child. Or you may feel that you had a vision. In your case, also, once you saw it, but you did not know that it was your psychic being. A seeker can see the psychic being on rare occasions. Only someone who is realised or most advanced can see the psychic being at any time.

One can also see the psychic being of another. As a child, I saw the psychic being of my sister, Ahana, before I saw my own. I did not recognise it as her psychic being at the time. But one year later, when I started regaining all the spiritual and occult vision of my previous incarnations at the age of fourteen, I knew that it was her psychic being which I had seen.

The psychic being cannot come to the fore and grow most powerfully when the mind is still roaming in worldly information, worldly thoughts and worldly ideas. The psychic being comes to the fore only when we have the sweet, pure, innocent feeling of our oneness with the rest of the world, even with those we now consider our enemies. The psychic being has no enemies.

The psychic being finds it extremely difficult to deal with the developed mind. By the developed mind I mean the sophisticated mind, the dry and intellectual mind where there is no sweetness, but only a barren desert. The psychic being is a child. A child tries to play in the eternal garden of God, the Eternal Child. So the mind, which some people consider the greatest or the most developed part of our existence, is not and cannot be the real friend of the psychic being. The heart and the psychic being always go together. The heart, the psychic being and the soul forever go together.

A man will see his psychic being as a beautiful boy, and a woman will see hers as a beautiful girl. A man has a masculine psychic being and a woman has a feminine one. The soul, however, is neither masculine nor feminine, but when it incarnates it takes on a masculine or a feminine body. If it takes a masculine form in the first human incarnation, then it goes on taking this form in all future incarnations, and the same if it takes a feminine form. Only three times since the creation has a soul changed from masculine to feminine once it began incarnating in a human body. There are some spiritual Masters who tell people that in their past incarnations they were men while in this incarnation they are women, but this is not true. I have to say that, in the inner world, I know that the soul has changed this way only three times.

Now, the psychic being does not age like a human being. After forty or fifty years, the human body decays and we lose our strength, capacity and energy. As one matures spiritually, the psychic being comes to the psychic age of between eighteen and twenty-two. After that, it gains strength and capacity, but it does not age. It not only retains its beauty, strength, power, light and divinity of that time, but it actually continues to increase these. It may be two hundred years old in terms of human age, but the form that you will see will always be that of a youth. I am now forty-two, but my psychic being looks like a youth of twenty. My psychic being is now like a most powerful soldier or warrior.

When the seeker dies, the physical body is dissolved into the five principal elements. The vital enters into the vital world, and the psychic being goes to take rest in the psychic world. The soul will remember, however, which psychic being it had. Then, before the soul comes into the world for its next incarnation, it will go to its psychic being and say, "Now I am going down. You come also." First the soul goes to the Supreme for His blessings and to make a promise about how much it will accomplish for the Supreme in its next incarnation. Then the soul goes down. On the way down it asks the psychic being to join it. The psychic being is very happy to come back at that time. After the psychic being, the soul takes a spiritual heart from the heart's world. Next, if the mind is developed, the soul goes to the mental plane for subtle intelligence. Then it goes to the vital plane for the dynamic vital, and finally to the gross physical.

Question: Is it right for spiritual Masters to take on the suffering of their disciples? If the disciples do something bad and do not suffer the consequences, how will they learn the lesson?

Sri Chinmoy: It is often true that if one does not have the first-hand experience, then one will not understand or learn properly. One will not understand the seriousness of his actions if he does not suffer the consequences. If I see that somebody has put his finger in fire and burned himself, I know that that person is feeling pain but I will not suffer to the same extent that he does. But if God has given me a heart, I will feel the suffering that he is going through. It is not that these people are making mistakes for the first time, and it is not that they have never seen others make these mistakes. They have seen others make these mistakes, and they have seen how much suffering the others have gone through. But out of temptation, or because they have allowed some undivine forces to enter into them, they make the same mistakes and earn the punishment.

But the spiritual Master has the heart of a real mother. If the mother knows that her child has done something wrong and will be punished, the mother says, "O God, let me suffer on my child's behalf. Let him be protected." This is a mother's heart. And if the child is divine, if he is loving, if he is sincere, when he sees his mother suffering he says, "I deserved this suffering, but my mother is suffering on my behalf. She has all love for me. Let me not cause her more suffering. Let me not do this again." When the son sees and feels that the mother is suffering for his misdeeds, if he has real love for his mother, he does not want to repeat them. His mother has shown her real love by accepting his suffering as her own. And the son also can show his real love by doing the right thing from then on. In the case of the spiritual children and the Master, the same truth is applied. The spiritual children do not want their spiritual Master to suffer again and again on their behalf.

You may say that if one does not suffer himself he will not learn. That is true in most cases. But if a person is sincere, if he is aspiring, if he has love for his Guru, he will feel a kind of inner obligation not to do the same thing again. And what is more important, if he truly loves his Guru, he will suffer badly when his sincerity makes him feel that it is because of him that his Guru is suffering. The Guru takes on the physical suffering of his dear disciples, and when he does so it is much milder and briefer than it would have been in the disciples themselves, because the Guru has the capacity to throw this suffering into the Universal Consciousness. But when the disciple sees the suffering of his beloved Master, his divine heart of oneness simply breaks. In this way he does suffer and he does learn his lesson, although the direct karmic results of his actions go to the Master and not to him.

There are two ways to make progress. One way is to reap the results of what you sow. The other way is to be swept along by the Guru's grace. The Master sees that some of his disciples have a good heart, that they have sincerely accepted the spiritual life and are determined to reach the Goal. He sees that they are not ordinary people. They are praying and meditating, but while following the spiritual life sometimes they enter into the world of temptation and are captured by it. Then naturally they will suffer. But at the same time the compassion of the Master says, "Since you are serving God, or you are trying to please God in various ways through your daily prayer and meditation, let me help you so that you do not have to suffer." This is sheer divine compassion. The Master hopes that when they see his suffering, eventually they will realise that it was they who were going to suffer.

But before he takes anyone's bad karma or before he cures a person, a real spiritual Master will always ask God if it is His Will. I have to ask God if I should help someone even to cure a headache. You can tell the person to take an aspirin and his headache will go away, but I have to speak to God about it. Now God can say yes or no. If He says yes, that means He wants to allow a sense of gratitude to grow inside that particular disciple. He wants that disciple to feel that there is somebody who loves him and has taken his suffering upon himself. If God says no, it means that He wants that person to go through the normal process of suffering and learn the lesson by himself.

God has two ways of operating, either through Compassion or through Justice. This moment He can show all His Compassion and the next moment He can show all His Justice. If He wants to show His Compassion, which He quite often does, then He will tell the Master, who is His instrument, to take all the suffering of the disciple. If He wants to show His Justice, then He will tell the Master to allow that person to meet with the consequences of his wrong deed.

From:Sri Chinmoy,Life-enquiry and self-discovery, Agni Press, 1974
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