Niagara Falls versus children's rise

Question: When we do something good and divine, does God shorten the time we have to wait before His choice Hour dawns for our realisation?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. If we do something really good and really divine, then God expedites our spiritual journey. He increases our speed and shortens the time it will take us to reach our goal. If our speed is accelerated, then naturally we shall reach our destination sooner than otherwise. So we should try to do divine things in order to reach our destination sooner than at once.

Question: When am I God's eternal child?

Sri Chinmoy: You are God's eternal child when you can sincerely feel at every moment that God is also an eternal Child. First you have to want to be His Eternity's child-partner. Then you have to feel that God Himself is an eternal Child who is playing with you all the time in His Eternity's Heart-Garden. You have to feel that He is not only playing with you but also that He is always eager to play with you, smile with you, dance with you and cry with you and for you.

Question: How can we show more gratitude to God?

Sri Chinmoy: We can offer more gratitude to God only by feeling that He is giving us at every moment more and more and more. If somebody gives me a flower, I will offer him my gratitude. If he gives me two flowers, I will give him more gratitude. Then if he gives me three flowers, I will offer him even more gratitude. In God's case, He wants to give us infinitely more than we need, so naturally our gratitude will increase. But we have to know that He gives everything at His own time and in His own Way — not at our hour or according to our wishes. Our fixed hour is this very moment. But if He gives us something at this moment, then it may create a very serious problem for us. It may increase our ego, pride or vanity or produce many other undivine results. So we can show more gratitude to God by feeling that He is giving us at every moment infinitely more than we need and by offering more of our conscious and sleepless surrender to His Will.

Question: Does God love me more as an angel or as a human being?

Sri Chinmoy: Now you are not in the angel-world; you are now leading a human life, and human life will one day turn into divine life. If you can remain in the angel-consciousness — which is very, very pure and beautiful — while in the human body, God will definitely love you more than if you remain in the human consciousness. But you have to know that God will love you the most if you lead a pure and spiritual life as a human being. For it is only from the human life that we can reach the divine life. An angel is like a beautiful child. A child has no mind, no jealousy, no insecurity. Compared to someone who is, let us say, twenty years old and who is filled with jealousy, insecurity and so many other undivine qualities, an angel's consciousness is definitely better. So definitely God loves the angel-consciousness more. Again, if someone is a little more mature — thirty years old, let us say — and is leading a very pure, very spiritual, very divine life, this person will be able to manifest God much more than a little child. So if a human being is quite pure and, at the same time, is aspiring very hard and manifesting God most powerfully, then naturally God will love that person more than the angel who is only very sweet and very innocent.

Question: When did God first start to reveal Himself outwardly to human beings?

Sri Chinmoy: Thousands of years ago there lived the Vedic Seers. They prayed to God and meditated on God most soulfully and most devotedly. At that time God presented Himself to the Seers in a most beautiful, absolutely subtle, divinised human form. Although they were human beings, these Seers were able to see the subtle body of God. So 7,000 or 10,000 years ago, through the practice of spirituality the human consciousness was raised to the Himalayan height and people could see and feel God's Presence.

Question: When does God smile?

Sri Chinmoy: God smiles when a seeker tries to do God's Will even if he fails again and again. God smiles because the seeker is aiming at the right thing and one day will reach the right destination. God smiles when the seeker does the right thing and then cheerfully surrenders the result to God's Will, even if the immediate result is not satisfying.

God smiles when the seeker every day decreases his desires in the material world and increases his aspiration in the spiritual world. If there are five things that I want from the material world today, then tomorrow I will desire only four things. And in the spiritual world, if I have one good quality today, then tomorrow I will try to have two good qualities.

Suppose that previously I wanted to have three cars to show off to my friends. Now that I have become more spiritual, I will give up the idea of three cars and feel the desire for only two cars. Then after some time I will feel that only one car is necessary.

Similarly, in my spiritual life, let us say that today I want only simplicity. If I become more spiritual, tomorrow I will want not only simplicity but also sincerity. Then the day after tomorrow I will realise that I also need purity, and I will pray to God for purity as well. In this way I will increase my good qualities.

If we can decrease our desires in the material life and increase our aspiration in the spiritual life, then God is bound to smile. And each time He smiles, He makes us feel that He really wants us to realise Him, reveal Him and manifest Him in His own Way.

If you are forced to fight an enemy and you kill somebody, do you get any bad karma?

Sri Chinmoy: It all depends on what kind of war it is. If it is a war between good forces and bad forces, between divine forces and undivine forces, like in the Mahabharata, that is one thing. In that war, the divine people took the side of Lord Krishna, and the undivine people were those who stood against him. Those who fought for Lord Krishna were carrying out the Will of the Supreme. So if they killed someone, they did not suffer any bad consequences. And if they were killed while fighting for this divine cause, immediately they were taken to a higher world.

But today there is so much fighting that is against God's Will. These wars are caused by differences of opinion or because one country wants to increase its territory. Countries are fighting because they want to show their supremacy or because they feel that their policies are good whereas someone else's policies are bad. They want only to aggrandise their ego or show that they are stronger. If you fight in this kind of war and kill people, even if your government forces you to, you will have to suffer the consequences. And if you are killed fighting in this kind of war, you will not necessarily go to Heaven.

If your country is attacked and you are forced to fight, definitely you have to defend your country. If you are fighting against the ignorance of some undivine people, if you are fighting some human beings who have become hostile forces and you know it is God's Will that you fight, then you are doing the right thing and there will be no bad consequences. But people do not know what God's Will is, and so many modern-day wars are not divine. Just because you are forced by the government to fight an undivine war, there is no certainty, no guarantee, no assurance that you will go to a higher world if you are killed, or that you will not suffer from the laws of karma for killing others. Just because you or your government do not know what God's Will is does not mean that you will escape punishment for your deeds.

Question: How can I be aware of God at every moment?

Sri Chinmoy: You can be aware of God at every moment if you can feel that God is the only one who loves you and who can give you everything you want. You have to feel that God loves you at every moment, and will always love you. Also you have to feel that God is your best and only friend. You may feel that your first friend is your mother or father. But after fifty, sixty or seventy years your parents and you will have left the body. And in your next incarnation you may very well have a different set of parents. But God is your own friend who will be with you and for you throughout Eternity. If you can feel that God is your best and only friend, and that He will be with you throughout Eternity, then you will be able to be conscious of Him at every moment. In the ordinary life you think of your friends quite often. If somebody is your best friend, you think of him so many times during the day! So God is not only your best friend, but also your only friend who will never leave you or fail you. Others will eventually fail you in spite of their best intentions, but God is the only one who will always help you. So if you can feel this, then easily you can be aware of God at every moment of your life.

Question: How do people realise God?

Sri Chinmoy: People realise God only by doing one thing — loving God. And how do people love God? By praying to God and by meditating on God. I always say that love has to go from the few to the many. You started by loving your parents. Then you came to feel that your brother also is so affectionate to you, and you loved him. So, like this, you go from loving your parents to loving your dear ones, and then to loving your neighbours, your country, the world and, finally, the universe. God is both the Creator and the creation. When you can love the entire creation, God will tell you, "Look, you are loving my whole creation and my creation and I are one. I am very pleased with you. You can realise Me as your own."

Question: If there is something bad in store for you in your fate, and you do something good, will that change your fate?

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely! If you do something wrong, then you should do something good to nullify it. But you have to know that God has His own time. If today you do something bad and then tomorrow you do something good, God may not immediately change your fate. He may wait a few more days to see whether you are going to continue doing the right thing. Otherwise, perhaps the day after tomorrow you will start doing bad things again. So God will watch you to see if you are more interested in doing bad things or good things. If He sees clearly that from now on you are going to do only good things, then definitely He will nullify the bad things that you did and give you a very peaceful, joyful and illumining life. So no matter how many bad things you have done in the past, always try to start doing good things. Then eventually you will conquer the bad things in your life.

Question: Many yogis realise God on mountains or at the foot of mountains. Are mountains very close to God in any way?

Sri Chinmoy: Mountains are close to God; oceans are close to God. Everything and everybody is close to God. But if somebody realises God, then naturally He will be infinitely closer to God than those who have not.

It is true that mountains offer inspiration to some seekers. People get tremendous inspiration at the foot of a mountain because of its enormous height. The atmosphere is very pure, very divine, very inspiring. If something gives us inspiration and we love that thing, then we feel that God also loves that particular thing most powerfully. So, in that sense, you can say that a mountain is closer to God than some other place.

The ocean and the sky also inspire many seekers. Again, some Indian yogis, like Ramana Maharshi, got inspiration meditating inside a cave. So those who are his admirers and devotees will feel that God is closer to a cave than to a mountain. And some people who have realised God inside their own room will feel that their room is closer to God than a mountain. So it depends on who realised God at a particular place and on whether or not you are that individual's devotee or admirer. In general, however, people will get more inspiration from a mountain than from a small room.

Question: How can I love God and satisfy God in His own Way?

Sri Chinmoy: Now that you have entered into the spiritual life, you can easily love God and satisfy God in His own Way. You have to always feel that God knows what you actually need. In most cases this is very different from what you want. You want many, many things that will delay your spiritual progress. That is why God may not give these things to you. What you want cannot help you; it can only create problems for you. But what you need will definitely help you, and it will never create any problems for you. If you have love, devotion, surrender and gratitude, then God is bound to give you everything that you need. So you can please God in His own Way by praying to God to give you only what you need from Him — His Compassion, His Love, His Forgiveness. If you can pray for these things with love, devotion and surrender, then you will be able to please God at every moment in His own Way.

Question: Why is it that our mind is always there to fight what God is trying to give us?

Sri Chinmoy: The mind does not want us to get anything from anybody other than itself. Right from the beginning the human mind wants to keep us away from everything and everybody. If God is in the picture, then the mind will not have supremacy. Therefore, the mind wants to keep the Supreme away from us, and it wants to keep us from getting what the Supreme wants to give us.

Question: How can we feel free at every moment to enter into God's Heart-Garden?

Sri Chinmoy: First we have to free ourselves of impure thoughts and feelings. Once we have pure thoughts in our mind and pure feelings inside our heart, then we can easily enter into God's Heart-Garden at any moment, and we can remain there permanently.

Question: Is everything pre-planned by God?

Sri Chinmoy: On the one hand, everything is preplanned by God's Vision-Light. But on the other hand, God does change His Plan for the better. It is His own Cosmic Vision, so He has every right to change it, and sometimes He does. So we can say that God has envisioned everything from time immemorial and, again, we can say that He can alter His Plan. It is like a football [soccer] game: sometimes the player looks like he is going one way, and then he changes direction so that he can score a goal.

Part 2: Children's Answers To Questions Asked By Sri Chinmoy

Sri Chinmoy: If I were going to give either a rose or a mango as prasad, and you had to make the choice, tell me which one you would choose, and tell the reason.

Christopher: I'm not very aesthetic and I can't really appreciate the beauty of nature through my eyes. I can get more joy through my mouth, my physical. So I would choose the mango because the mango would give me more joy, and the joy I would get would last forever.

Matthew: I'd choose the mango as well because when eating it I'd think of your consciousness going through me and becoming part of me. It would come as well with the rose, but I think it would be more difficult for me to think of that. So I would choose the mango because I feel it would become part of me.

Ashley: I would pick the rose because even after the rose lost its beauty and its freshness I could still keep the petals. So the rose would stay for a longer time than the mango.

Joshua: I would choose the rose because even after it died I could still see and feel its beauty within my heart.

Amanda: I would choose the rose because if I ate the mango it would be gone so quickly. But if I had the rose, I could breathe in the fragrance and admire its beauty for a very long time.

David: I'd pick the mango because it has good juice.

Jennifer: I'd choose the mango because it would be very sweet. As I was eating it, I would think of Guru and get a lot of joy out of it.

Sarah: I would take the rose because it reminds me of Guru's heart, whereas the mango wouldn't remind me of Guru's heart so much. The flower is more like the heart to me than the mango

Andrew: I would take the rose because I don't like mangoes.

Stephanie: I would take the rose because mangoes are messy and the rose smells nice.

Christine: I would take the rose because it smells good and it lasts longer than the mango.

Daniel: I would take the rose because I feel that the rose would go right to my heart but the mango would just go to my stomach.

Brittany: I would take the rose because I find that I can appreciate nature's beauty more than I can appreciate a good taste.

Nicole: I would take the rose because after you eat the mango you can't really remember the taste, but when you think back to the rose you can remember its beauty.

John: I would rather have the mango because I like mangoes better than roses and I think they taste good.

James: I would take the mango because the rose stem has thorns on it and it hurts your hand.

Justin: I would take the mango because I would find it easier to appreciate the sweetness and beauty in the mango, and roses make me sneeze.

Robert: I would appreciate the rose more because I can appreciate smell much more than taste. Also, the rose would last longer.

Heather: I would also pick the rose because I don't like mangoes and I think the rose is much more beautiful.

Elizabeth: I would take the rose because it reminds me of the soul's beauty. A mango is good but it doesn't have the same kind of beauty as a rose.

Samantha: I would take the rose because it would last much longer. Also, I would be able to see the purity of the rose, whereas the mango I would probably eat in a day or two, and then I wouldn't be able to really remember the taste or anything.

Megan: I would take the rose because I could appreciate its beauty and also because it lasts much longer.

Joseph: I would take the mango because it tastes much better and I like mangoes. I wouldn't take the rose because it has thorns.

Ryan: My mind tells me to take the mango and my heart tells me to take the rose. So I would say the rose because I could appreciate the inner beauty of the flower.

Brandon: I would take the rose because of the purity that it offers.

William: I would take the rose because it has what I desperately need — purity's fragrance.

Sri Chinmoy: My nickname is Madal. My real name is Chinmoy. As Madal I would choose the rose and try to see and feel its beauty and fragrance inside my heart-garden. Then I would be able to purify my heart and see and feel my Beloved Supreme in my heart-garden smiling at me. But as Chinmoy I would choose the mango, because while tasting the mango I would think of divine Nectar, which is infinitely sweeter. I know if I can drink Nectar from my prayer and meditation, then I will be immortal and will be able to serve God forever and forever, throughout Eternity.

Question: What is nectar?

Sri Chinmoy: Nectar is a divine drink. If you drink it, you become immortal. If you become immortal, you will be able to serve God permanently.

Sri Chinmoy: If God tells you He is ready to have you either as His friend or as His slave, what would you prefer? Do you want to be God's eternal friend or to be God's eternal slave? Why?

David: I want to be God's friend because I love Him.

Joshua: I would want to be God's slave because if I was God's slave I would always be serving Him and I couldn't make a mistake.

Ashley: I would like to be God's friend because I like to think of God as my friend. Then I would always be with Him as his friend.

Amanda: I would like to be God's slave because then I would be serving Him eternally and by being His slave I think I would also be His friend.

Samantha: I'd like to be His slave because I know I would be serving Him. Maybe a friend might not see God too often but His slave would always be with Him.

Sarah: I would like to be God's slave because then I would never think of my own will but only of God's Will. But if I was His friend, I would always try to compromise between my will and His Will.

Elizabeth: I would rather be God's slave because, whenever I did anything wrong, He would be able to correct me.

Justin: I would rather be God's friend than His slave because I feel that I could love Him more.

Heather: I would rather be God's friend than a slave because as a friend I would be able to do the same things but feel better towards Him and love Him more.

Daniel: I would like to be God's slave so I could serve Him and obey Him and not develop a big ego.

Robert: I would rather be God's slave because He would always remind me that I would have to serve Him at every moment.

Matthew: I prefer to be God's slave because I'd be at His beck and call. If there were something which I didn't really want to do but He wanted me to do, I would do it. I know that it would be for the best because whatever He would tell me to do would be right. Also, as a slave I think I would see more of God than as a friend.

John: I would rather be God's slave because that way I would be doing what God wanted me to do and make more progress for God.

Megan: I would rather be God's slave so that I could please Him and make Him happy while serving Him.

Stephanie: I would rather be God's slave because then I'd be with Him more and longer.

Christine: I would rather be His slave because I would be closer to Him and in the meantime I could still be His friend.

Andrew: I would rather be God's friend because a true friend would still do anything that God asked him.

Jennifer: I prefer to be God's friend because I'd love Him more and I know He'd love me. I just prefer to be His friend a lot more.

Christopher: I'd prefer to be God's slave because only then can I serve God in His own Way and really please God.

James: I'd rather be His friend because slaves and friends are just about the same to God, so they'd both do the same thing.

Joseph: I'd rather be God's slave because I can make progress and prove myself worthy to Him.

Nicole: I would rather be God's slave because I would never have to leave God for any reason and I could always be at His side serving Him.

Brittany: I would rather be God's slave because if I did something wrong God would tell me and I would correct it. But if I were His friend, it might be harder for Him to be more honest with me.

Ryan: We've come into this world to serve God and please Him in His own Way. You could say I want to be God's friend so I could serve Him, but only God's eternal slave is His true friend.

Brandon: I would prefer to be God's slave. A slave is always on call 24 hours a day to serve the Supreme and always has the opportunity to serve unconditionally and with one-pointed devotedness.

William: I choose God as my friend because God is my eternal Friend, my only Friend.

Sri Chinmoy: As Madal I will try to be God's slave so that I can keep my humility all the time. If I have humility, then at every moment God will be able to act in and through me most satisfactorily. That is why I want to be God's slave — so that I can be His unparalleled instrument. As Chinmoy, I shall try to become His oneness-friend. If I can be His oneness-friend and feel that He is my only Friend, my Eternity's Friend, then I know that I will be able to defeat ignorance. In a tug-of-war, if there are two people pulling on one side, easily they will defeat one person who is pulling on the other side. So if God and I are on one side and ignorance is on the other side, my Friend and I shall win.

Sri Chinmoy: If you did something wrong, would you ask for God's Compassion or God's Justice, and why?

Amanda: I would ask for God's Compassion, because if I asked for God's Justice then I would be totally ruined.

David: I would take God's Compassion because the Justice.... Uh, I don't know what to say.

Ashley: I would take God's Compassion, because God's Justice is too powerful. God's Compassion is sweeter and gentler.

Daniel: I would ask for God's Compassion, because I don't feel that I am ready to accept God's Justice all the time.

Heather: I would accept God's Compassion, because Justice seems too harsh. Compassion is more loving and kind.

Robert: I would choose God's Justice, because it would help me remember better my mistake and correct it in the future.

Stephanie: I would choose God's Compassion, because it wouldn't be so hard.

Brittany: I would ask for God's Compassion because I would hope that, even without His Justice, God could trust me enough that I wouldn't make the same mistake twice.

Megan: I would ask for God's Compassion, because if I knew I did something wrong, then I would have a chance to make whatever I did wrong right.

Nicole: I would choose God's Compassion, because I would know that the next time that I did it wrong I would get God's Justice, and I wouldn't want that.

James: I'd take God's Justice, because then I'd know not to do it again.

John: I would choose to take God's Compassion, because I'm sure if I did something really bad, I would know not to do it again. And if I did do it again, I would take God's Justice.

Matthew: I think I would take God's Compassion, to give myself a second chance. Only if I did the same thing wrong again would I ask for God's Justice.

Andrew: I would take God's Compassion, because God's Justice might make me bitter, and I don't think God's Compassion would have the same effect.

Justin: I would take God's Compassion, because His Justice might confuse me, or I might misunderstand what is happening. But with Compassion I'd have a second chance not to make the same mistake.

Jennifer: I prefer God's Compassion, because I'd want Him to forgive me. Justice would be too hard to handle.

Sarah: I would take God's Compassion, because I feel I am too weak to accept God's Justice.

Elizabeth: I would take God's Justice, because then He would make sure that I would never do the same thing twice.

Samantha: I would take God's Compassion, because then I would know that I would be forgiven. I think that the Justice would probably be too harsh for me.

Joseph: I would take God's Compassion, because if I did something wrong, I wouldn't want to feel God's Justice after my first chance. I'd rather take His Compassion, because then I would have another chance.

Ryan: If I did something wrong, I would immediately say to God, "Please forgive me!" So that would attract God's Compassion. But I know that God is all Compassion, so inwardly I would pray for God's Justice-Light so I could make more progress in whatever I do.

Joshua: I would ask for God's Justice, because even if it might sting at the moment, I know in the long run I would learn much more powerfully from God's Justice than from His Compassion.

Brandon: When I do something wrong, I immediately ask for God's Justice, but what I receive is God's Compassion. If I really received God's Justice, then I would be totally devastated. So I have to be all gratitude that I receive God's Compassion when I do something wrong, even though I ask for His Justice.

William: I've wasted God's Compassion countless times, but if I am brave and strong I can make the best progress with God's Justice.

Christopher: I would accept God's Justice, because I know that God's Justice is trying to make me into a more perfect instrument for God.

Sri Chinmoy: As Madal I would choose God's Compassion, and as Chinmoy I would choose God's Justice. If I get God's Compassion, then I will be forgiven. If God forgives me, then I will have another chance to become a good person. But I will have to exercise tremendous self-discipline and will power, because I will not be getting the strongest push from God to become perfect. But if God's Justice strikes me mercilessly, then I will remember what I did wrong, and never repeat my mistake. Then I will start doing all the right things, and become His perfect instrument. Only if God is strict with me will I have the golden opportunity to become perfect. If He is not strict, many times I may make mistakes, and He may forgive me, but I will remain imperfect. So, as Madal I want Compassion, and as Chinmoy I want Justice.

David, you have never done anything wrong? Fine! Then you are God. We want to be like you. David, since you say you have not done anything wrong in this lifetime, we have to ask your brother if he agrees.

Editor's introduction to the first edition

On 23 July 1987 Sri Chinmoy took a group of children on a trip to Niagara Falls. During the long bus ride, the children asked their spiritual father a number of spiritual questions and he, in turn, asked each of them several questions. Their questions and answers form a sweet and charming dialogue, which is reprinted here.

From:Sri Chinmoy,Niagara Falls versus children's rise, Agni Press, 1987
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