Dr Robert Muller: When I speak to audiences about U Thant's four ways to happiness — physical, mental, moral and spiritual — I sometimes hear the following criticism: "Life cannot be artificially cut into four. Everything is interdependent and linked. We must concentrate on life as an entity and not on components that are the product of the intellect." I am not overly impressed with this argument, for I have indeed observed that life is richest when I cultivate simultaneously all four categories. Nevertheless, there is some truth in that criticism and I would be grateful to learn how you would respond to it.

Sri Chinmoy: I am sorry to say that it is not possible for me to see eye to eye with your critic-friends. Indeed they are right when they say that life is one. But where did they ever get the idea that you were cutting the life-tree into four parts? Neither you nor U Thant ever spoke of any need to artificially cut the life-reality into four. Let us take life as a ladder that helps us reach the pinnacles of liberation, illumination, universal oneness and realisation. This life-ladder has four rungs. The first rung we unmistakably call the body-reality. The second rung is the intellect-reality; the third rung, the morality-reality; and the fourth rung, the spirituality-reality.

Once we firmly step on the body-reality-rung, the physical consciousness casts off the ignorance-layers that it has had for millennia. When we ascend from that rung and step on the intellect-reality-rung, our illumined mind sees the vastness inside smallness and the smallness inside vastness, the infinite Beauty inside the finite duty and the finite duty inside the infinite Beauty. Then, when we ascend to the morality-reality-rung, we try always to do the right thing. We try to expand our little 'I', which consciously or unconsciously enjoys the song of division and the dance of separativity, and embrace all of humanity as our larger, expanded self. Finally, we ascend to the spirituality-reality-rung, where we discover and become one with our highest Height.

To quote your singularly momentous and apposite inner depth: "We progress physically, mentally, morally and spiritually towards a higher level of human consciousness, towards that smile of divinity which knows that someday the human race will be able to re-establish paradise on earth. There is no longer much difference between the political approach and this broader, richer concept of human fulfilment."

I fully agree that these four approaches are not independent; they are interdependent. They are interdependent precisely because they know that they can reach their satisfaction-goal only on the strength of their becoming inseparably one. Interdependence is the harbinger of oneness. Human life is itself an eternal journey. While walking along Eternity's road, if after covering some distance the seeker wants to give that distance a name, he is perfectly entitled to do so. But in the heart of his heart, he knows that there is only one road, one journey, one aspiring soul and one smiling goal. These four are Eternity's duty, Infinity's beauty, Divinity's necessity and Reality's Immortality.

From:Sri Chinmoy,My meditation-service at the United Nations for twenty-five years, Agni Press, 1995
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