{{htmlmetatags>metatag-robots=()}} Sri Chinmoy speaks, part 3

Sri Chinmoy speaks, part 3

Part I

Concentration, meditation and contemplation

In concentration we focus our attention on a particular subject or object and do not allow our mind to roam. Thought-waves must stop in concentration. We are like a bullet entering into something divine, or we are like a magnet: we are pulling the object of our concentration towards us. This is concentration.

Then comes meditation. Here we try consciously, soulfully and devotedly to enter into something vast. Right now vastness is something we imagine with the mind. But if we can feel the reality of vastness inside us, if we can feel the existence of the vast ocean or the vast sky inside us, then we will find ourselves growing into this vastness. Meditation means our conscious growth in the infinite. In meditation, the mind becomes calm and silent and we consciously allow ourselves to be nurtured and nourished by Infinity itself. Meditation is our conscious awareness of the Vast, and from this point of our meditation we grow into the Vastness itself.

Contemplation is the third and last rung in the spiritual ladder. In our ordinary life we say that the knower and the known, the Creator and the creation, the Player and the instrument, the lover and the Beloved are different things. But when we learn the art of contemplation they become one. At that time, the Creator and the creation, the Player and His instrument, the Dancer and the dance, become totally one. Here dream and reality become totally one. Right now I separate myself from my action. If I am the doer, then I am separating myself from the action; and if I am the action, then I hope that the doer in me will do something to please me. But when we contemplate we see that the doer and the action go together.

So contemplation is the message of inseparable oneness; meditation is the message of vastness; and concentration is the message of alertness. First we become alert and one-pointed; then we enter into the Vast through meditation; and from the Vast we become one with Infinity.

Consciousness

What we call matter is not really inert or totally unconscious. Spirit is always there in matter. We see matter all around. The physical world is all matter, but Spirit is deep inside matter fast asleep. Spirit has to be awakened inside matter. Matter is the sister, Spirit is the brother. Sister and brother always go together. Or we can say Spirit is the husband and matter is the wife. Matter without Spirit does not exist. Similarly, Spirit without matter cannot function. Matter needs Spirit in order to have its life. Spirit needs matter in order to make its manifestation clear, visible and tangible. When Spirit starts functioning in matter, matter gets life.

Consciousness is the Light of the Supreme. It exists in Spirit, it exists in matter, it exists in life, it exists everywhere. Without Consciousness nothing can come into existence, nothing can grow, nothing can be manifested on earth. If you have true Consciousness, this Consciousness will be backed by Existence and, at the same time, by Bliss.

Consciousness is the connecting link, the golden link between our heart’s ascending inner cry and God’s descending Smile. The individual consciousness is divided, but the Universal Consciousness can never be divided. In your individual consciousness, early in the morning you can cherish pure thoughts, then in two hours’ time you can be subject to undivine, impure thoughts. This happens when you live in your own individual, personal consciousness. But if you enter into the Universal Consciousness, then it is all Peace, Light and Bliss in boundless measure. There you cannot separate consciousness into pieces.

Again, when consciousness operates in the physical, the gross physical, it has very limited capacity and opportunity. But when it operates in the soul, it has boundless capacity because the soul is all freedom, whereas the body is all limitation and bondage.

The highest state of Consciousness is all Light, all Delight. When you enter there, you see that you came from infinite Light and that you are offering infinite Light to the world at large. This state is normal, absolutely normal. When you realise the highest state, at that time you feel that this is some thing that you badly needed. When you enter into that plane, when you see God, you feel that it is absolutely normal, something more normal than your own eyes and nose. As soon as you realise the highest state, you will feel that from time immemorial this highest state was at your beck and call. Right now you are not searching for it, or you are searching for it at a wrong place. But the day you discover it, you will see it is like your own everlasting friend.

The highest state is something beautiful. Right now you see a beautiful child and say, “Oh, this is the most beautiful child I have ever seen on earth.” But when you enter into your own highest state, you will feel that your own inner beauty is infinitely more beautiful than the most beautiful child on earth. And it is not your imagination; it is reality.

Right now you may feel that you are very impure and that somebody else, a saint or a spiritual person, is very pure. But when you enter into your highest state of consciousness, there you will see that your own purity is infinitely greater than the purity of the saint. Previously you felt that he was the purest being, but in the highest state you are dealing with Infinity.

Because we are in the finite, our vision is very limited. We can see fifty or sixty metres and then we are like a blind person. But when we enter into the highest state and our Third Eye opens, we can see the past, the present and the future. But we do not use our Third Eye in order to enjoy. No! Once we see darkness in someone, we try to help that person. If we see ignorance in someone, we try to illumine that person. We do not look at the situation of others with a feeling of superiority or enjoyment. We do not get enjoyment from the fact that someone else is still in a low state of consciousness and we are in a higher state of consciousness. No, we only are happy that we are in a position to serve him at that moment, that we have the capacity. There was a time when we did not have the capacity, in spite of our best intentions. But now we have the capacity, so we utilise it.

Once we enter into the highest state, we look at Mother Earth as part and parcel of our own being. Here on earth, when we are superior to someone, we either show compassion or we ignore the other person. But when we enter into the highest plane of consciousness, we feel that those who are unrealised are part and parcel of our being. We have to help them. We have to illumine them. And the moment we serve them, help them, fulfil them, at that time we feel that we are entering into the highest plane of Delight.

Ego and freedom

Suppose you have a shop and in the shop you are employing quite a few workers. You pay your workers a salary, but one of them wants more money, so he revolts. This is what happens in the ordinary world. In the spiritual world it is also like that, but in a different sense. God is utilising us and the freedom he gives us is our salary. Here we get no money or cash; we get our freedom. He has given to each one limited freedom. Now, what do we do? We do not create within us the capacity to increase that freedom. No, we fight to get more freedom by hook or by crook, by adopting foul means. God has given us limited freedom and one day God will give us infinite freedom. But for that we have to prepare ourselves. We have to go deep within; we have to pray, we have to meditate. Freedom here means freedom from ignorance, freedom from bondage, from limitation, from imperfection, and from death.

But we don’t exercise our freedom in that way. We use the limited freedom God has given us to strike someone, to punish someone. It is just like a knife someone has given us. With that knife we can cut fruit and share it with others; again, we can use that knife to stab someone. We can misuse our freedom; and each time we misuse our freedom, ego comes in.

Now, limited freedom is not bad. But we are never satisfied with what we have. From one possession we go to two, from two we go to three, and so on. We are always trying by hook or by crook to get more. We have thousands of desires. We exercise our power of freedom in a destructive manner, not in a creative manner. But although desire wants to be rich overnight, let us say, still desire is afraid. The desire-thief in us wants to be as vast as the ocean, but when somebody carries him or drags him in front of the ocean and tells him to jump into the ocean, he becomes frightened to death. Desire wants vastness and, at the same time, it is frightened to death when others come and tell it, “Become vast.”

But if we aspire, at that time nobody will ever have to bring us in front of the sea. We ourselves will come and jump into the sea and start swimming. First ego came and made us want to become something vast. But inner courage we did not have. When we have aspiration, at that time we have inner courage. We know that we will not drown, but on the contrary, we will be illumined.

Desire comes from our self-imposed, self-styled authority. We can do this; we can say this. But the moment we say, “No, we are only instruments; we are not the doers,” then ego vanishes. When we say, “God is the Doer; I am just His instrument,” then ego disappears. But if we feel that we are the doers, ego comes into existence. Since we are spiritual seekers, we have to feel all the time that there is a higher reality that is acting in and through us. Then there can be no ego.

Once one realises the soul, he will not have the so-called human ego. He will say, “I am God’s son. How can I do anything wrong? You are God’s son. How can you do anything wrong?” He is saying that it is beneath his dignity and others’ dignity to make friends with ignorance. Here his ego is not speaking. It is his divine personality, not his human personality. It is his divine awareness, his universal oneness that is coming forward. When he says “you”, at that time he feels that it is his own life that he is speaking of; and when he speaks of his own life, he feels it is your life that he is speaking of.

After a person has realised the soul, at that time he becomes one with his friends, his relatives, his brothers and sisters. At that time, there is no ego. It is all oneness. When he says, “How can you do this? I don’t do this kind of thing,” it is not his superior feeling. It is only an injection of inspiration and encouragement. He is only trying to convince you that you are something really divine, something really great, something immortal.

The Christ said, “I and my Father are one.” Ignorant people will say, “Oh, look what kind of ego he had.” But he became one with his Almighty Father; that is why he said this. When we realise our soul, at that time it is only our oneness with others that is speaking. There is no ego there. It is only the song of oneness in infinite forms and shapes.

Ego and the Transcendental Self

There are two “I”s. One is the ego that says, “I, my, mine; my family, my brother, my sister, my home.” That is the little “I”. The other “I” is the Transcendental Self, the Universal Consciousness which houses everyone. The ego does not house anybody. It only claims and possesses: “This is my father. This is my sister.” But the Universal Consciousness or the Transcendental Self does not claim anything in that way. It houses everybody as its very own.

In an ordinary family, when one member tries to possess another, he feels that without the other person he is totally lost; or he feels that if that person does not take light from him, the other person will be totally lost. In the ordinary life, when the ego operates, we feel that we are indispensable. We feel that we know better than everybody else and we are responsible for everything. We feel that everybody needs us. This is the ordinary ego.

But the Transcendental Self houses the entire cosmos and offers liberation or freedom to each individual soul. The Transcendental “I” says like the Christ, “I and my Father are one.” Here the Father is not an ordinary human being, but the infinite Self, the infinite Reality. This “I” identifies consciously with Infinity. This “I” is the Inner Pilot within us.

The big “I”, from the highest spiritual point of view, is always extending itself. Even when we realise the Truth, we feel that there is no limit to our Truth. There is a goal. Yesterday, we felt that the goal was a far cry. But today we come and touch the goal and then we feel that the goal which we have touched is not the Ultimate Goal. It becomes the starting point for tomorrow’s goal.

When we are consciously expanding, we drink in ecstasy, nectar. We expand like a bird spreading its wings. But we are not possessing. When we try to possess something, we try to possess by hook or by crook. But this spontaneous expansion of our consciousness is like a mother spreading her arms around her children. There is no possessive feeling. It is a spontaneous feeling of one’s own extension. Right now I am raising my hand. Gradually, gradually I am extending it and stretching it. It is my own reality that I am extending. I am not possessing anybody or putting anybody under my control. I just feel that on the strength of my aspiration, I am extending my own inner reality. I am spreading my wings far, farther, farthest.

God is everything. He is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent. But He Himself is transcending His own Beyond. He is in the process of transcending His own Infinity. Now it is beyond our mind to grasp Infinity, but when we identify ourselves with the Lord Supreme we see Infinity and realise that it is to be found in the ever-transcending Beyond. Today’s Beyond is always our goal. And tomorrow when we enter into the Beyond, we feel that this Beyond is ever transcending its own reality.

So what we call the Transcendent is always extending itself. When we expand, we transcend. This is happening in the inner world constantly. Consciousness is always expanding. When it is a matter of the physical body, once you attain your height you will not grow. I am 5’8”. I will never be tall. But if I meditate, my consciousness will easily expand. There is no limit to our progress in the inner world.

In the inner world we are dealing with aspiration. In the outer world we are dealing with desire. Desire has a limit; it cannot go very far. But in the spiritual world, when we deal with aspiration, we are dealing with Infinity and Eternity. And there is no end to Infinity; there is no end to Eternity.

Evil

In the beginning there was only Silence and Light, infinite Light. Then each individual was given a limited amount of freedom, but we misused that limited freedom. God gave us limited freedom but we misused it to such an extent that we created, in some ways, our own world of ignorance, inconscience and undivine forces. Like a cow we are tied to a tree with a rope and given a little freedom. But the cow runs around and thrashes and destroys everything in reach.

The evil force is in our mind, not inside our aspiring heart. The mind wants to taste the whole world infinitesimally, piece by piece. The heart wants to embrace the whole world as a unit. The heart feels that the whole world belongs to it. But the mind says this is mine, that is yours. The more the mind can separate, the greater joy the mind gets. Evil is a sense of separativity. When there is union, there is no evil; but when there is separation, at that time evil starts. If we have goodwill, love, a feeling of oneness, then instead of destroying the world, we shall try to embrace the whole world.

It is the same old story: disobedience. If we obey the law, the inner law, then nothing happens. But when we disobey the inner law, evil comes into existence. If we properly use our freedom, then we go towards the Divine, towards the Light. But if we misuse it, then we become anti-divine; we become a hostile force. It was not God’s intention that there should be undivine forces, hostile forces. No! But many things happen in this world, in the creation, that are tolerated. It is one thing for something to be fully sanctioned and another thing to be just accepted or tolerated. Parents sometimes have bad children. Now what do they do? Disobedient, naughty children they just tolerate. We are all God’s children. Some are good, some are bad. But God did not intend to have a bad creation.

God is omnipresent. That means that God is everywhere; He is in good and He is also in so-called evil. For us a tiger is an undivine force. A tiger comes and wants to devour me, so I feel the tiger is an undivine force. But inside the tiger is also God’s existence. Everything is in the process of evolution towards greater God-manifestation. But no matter what stage of evolution a person or thing has reached, God is still inside that person or thing.

Right now I am drinking distilled water. It is good water. But water can also be dirty, filthy, impure. God can be found inside impure water as well as inside pure water. But I won’t drink impure water because I know it will harm my body. Even though God is there, I won’t drink impure water.

Here we are all spiritual people; we are meditating together. Bad people won’t come here. Because of our evolution, we are trying to see God at a particular level of consciousness. God is in bad things also, but we don’t want to go back to the animal kingdom and the lower realms of consciousness to look for God.

Now1

Now. N-O-W. “N” represents necessity. “O” represents oneness. “W” represents when. When must we feel the supreme necessity of discovering our conscious, constant and inseparable oneness with the Absolute Supreme? Now! Now is the time to see, now is the time to feel, now is the time to do, now is the time to become. Now is the time to discover what we eternally are.

What are we supposed to see? Beauty within, beauty without.

What are we supposed to feel? Peace within and peace without.

What are we supposed to do? Love the Real in man: God. Serve the real in God: man.

What are we supposed to become? God’s perfect instruments.

What are we supposed to discover? God’s Silence-vision and God’s Sound-reality.

If we have been living in the body-consciousness, now is the time for us to find a new place to live. From now on, let us live in the vital, the vital that builds and not the vital that destroys. If we have been living in the vital, now is the time for us to find a new place to live. From now on, let us live in the mind, the mind that believes and not the mind that disbelieves. If we have been living in the mind, now is the time for us to find a new place to live. From now on, let us live in the heart, the heart that expands and not the heart that contracts. If we have been living in the heart, now is the time for us to find a new place to live. From now on, let us live in the soul, the soul that longs for the manifestation of God-Reality on earth and not the soul that does not care for the manifestation of God-Reality. If we have been living in the soul, now is the time for us to find a new place to live. From now on, let us live in the Supreme God: the Supreme God who tells us that He needs us just as we need Him, and not the Supreme God who tells us that He does not need us, whereas we do need Him. As a matter of fact, the real Supreme God tells the seeker that He needs him infinitely more than the seeker needs God.

“How is it possible?” the seeker asks. God’s immediate answer is at once divinely simple and supremely convincing. He tells the seeker that, at times, unfortunately the seeker makes friends with fear, doubt, anxiety, jealousy, insecurity and other undivine forces. Therefore, it is not possible for the seeker to be always conscious of the infinite Truth that abides in him. It is not possible for him to be conscious of his infinite potentialities, infinite possibilities and infinite inevitabilities. The seeker does not know what he actually is.

But in God’s case, precisely because Infinity, Eternity and Immortality are at His express command, He knows what man actually is. Man is Infinity’s heart, man is Eternity’s breath, man is Immortality’s life.

Now is the time for each genuine seeker to develop an eternal God-thirst and God-hunger. With his eternal God-thirst and God-hunger on earth, he will transcend what he is not: ignorance-night. And with his eternal God-thirst and God-hunger in Heaven, he will descend to earth to offer God-satisfaction in life and God-perfection in life.

Through the sweep of the centuries each spiritual Master of the highest rank has offered something unique. Four thousand years ago Sri Krishna offered his supreme message to mankind, to the world at large: “Whenever dharma, the code of inner life, declines and unrighteousness prevails, He, the Consciousness Infinite, incarnates Himself in human form in order to transform the wicked propensities in us and fulfil the divine Reality in us.”

Then the Lord Buddha, two thousand five hundred years ago, descended with a most special message: “The Middle Path”. Do not wallow in the pleasures of the senses and, at the same time, do not resort to austerity: neither sense-gratification nor sense-mortification. Each seeker has to strike a balance by following the middle path. The transformation of our lower self and the manifestation of our higher self must take place at one and the same time, but without resorting to sense-gratification or sense-mortification. This was the Buddha’s message.

Two thousand years ago the Christ, the Saviour, descended into the earth-arena. His supreme message was: “I am the way, I am the Goal.” Here “the way” represents aspiration and “the Goal” represents salvation. It is through aspiration that one eventually attains the highest salvation. Today’s aspiration transforms itself into tomorrow’s salvation.

I wish to mention another spiritual Master of the highest order. His name was Sri Chaitanya. His message was purity and love — purity in love, love in purity. If one achieves purity in love and love in purity, then one divinely enjoys Delight, which is our Source, our perennial Source.

Thousands of years ago, the Vedic Seers of the hoary past offered a significant message: “From Delight we all came into existence; in Delight we grow; at the end of our journey’s close, into Delight we retire.”

Sri Ramakrishna came with a most significant message. His message to humanity was, “Cry, cry like a child to the mother. A child’s heart can easily conquer the Mother’s Love, Compassion, Divinity and Immortality. Cry, cry like a child, an innocent child. The Mother Supreme is bound to grant you the illumination of the highest Height.”

Then came Sri Aurobindo, with the message of life divine, with the message of nature’s transformation. Here on earth the physical body has to be transformed, here on earth the message of Divinity must be manifested. The transformation of human nature and the purification of all the limbs must take place here on earth, so that Immortality can find its due place in the physical frame.

Since then, many spiritual Masters here in the West and there in the East have offered their light to the aspiring humanity. Each spiritual Master has something to contribute to the world at large according to his own realisation, according to his own receptivity and according to the world’s receptivity.

Out of His infinite Bounty, God has given me the opportunity to be of service to the aspiring mankind. We have a path of our own and this is the path of love, devotion and surrender. For the followers of our path, the supreme necessity is love, devotion and surrender: love divine, devotion divine and surrender divine.

The love that binds and blinds is human love. The love that expands and illumines is divine love.

Devotion in the physical is nothing short of attachment. When we are devoted to the sense-world, the ignorance-world, it is not devotion but attachment. When we use the term “devotion”, it has to be applied only to the Divine in us, to the Supreme Reality in us. We are devoted to a higher cause, to a loftier ideal.

Human surrender is the surrender of a slave to his Master. Divine surrender is the surrender of one’s own unlit, obscure, impure reality to one’s own fully illumined, fully divinised, fully perfected reality. Here the lower in us surrenders to our own higher reality. It is not a surrender thrust upon us, it is not a surrender forced upon us. It is a surrender based upon our feeling of inseparable oneness with our own higher Reality-existence. The finite in us cheerfully, devotedly, soulfully and unconditionally surrenders to the Infinite in us. The raindrop surrenders to the mighty ocean and thus loses its individuality and personality and becomes the vast ocean itself. Likewise, we who are now in the finite consciousness, bound in the finite consciousness, will one day be totally freed and liberated, and we shall realise the eternal Freedom-Reality, which in the inner world we eternally are.

  1. SCS 54. University of Maryland, October 18, 1975.

Part II

SCS 55-59. Questions and answers following Now.

Question: When I am asleep, who is it that sees my dreams?

Sri Chinmoy: When you are asleep, one of your inner beings can see your dreams, or the aspiration accumulated in your inner life can watch your sleep, or the Divine Grace and Compassion which wants to manifest itself in and through you can watch your sleep. There is no hard and fast rule that one being or one person or one inner reality observes the sleep state or the dreams that you are having.

Question: Can you say something about the overcoming of fear?

Sri Chinmoy: Fear is one of our most troublesome difficulties; fear is extremely hard to overcome. But we do conquer fear on the strength of our oneness. When we establish our oneness, we always conquer fear.

A child has established his oneness with his father. The father is perhaps six feet tall, stout and strong. But the father does not create fear in the child’s existence; the child is not at all afraid of his father. Why? Precisely because he has established his oneness-reality with his father. Therefore, there is no necessity on his part to be afraid of his father.

The creation which is around us is frightening us, threatening us. It is causing unnecessary fear in our mind or in our earthly existence. Why? Precisely because we have not yet established our oneness-reality with the world around us. If we pray and meditate soulfully, we establish a free access to the inner reality, which pervades the entire outer world. For a seeker, the paramount thing is to dive deep within and discover the road that leads to the all-pervading oneness-reality. On the strength of our inner cry, which we call aspiration, we climb up and reach the high, higher, highest state of consciousness, where it is all oneness. Where there is oneness, inseparable oneness, there cannot be even an iota of fear. Fear looms large when the sense of separativity looms large. Fear exists just because we want to remain separated, consciously or unconsciously, from the all-pervading Reality which we eternally are.

Fear most of the time is in the mind and not in the heart. The aspiring heart knows how to establish its inseparable oneness with the reality that is within and without. But the doubtful, suspicious and sophisticated mind finds it difficult to see eye to eye with the reality that is blossoming right in front of us. The mind suspects the reality before it. And there even comes a time when the mind, to its wide surprise, doubts its own judgement. At that time the mind feels a tremendous sense of dissatisfaction. Once it was the judge and now it has become a victim to its own judgements. But the heart, right from the beginning, tries to identify itself with the reality around it. And on the strength of its identification with the reality, it absorbs what the reality is and what the reality stands for. So if we live in the aspiring heart, the heart that cries for the all-pervading oneness-reality, the torture of fear can easily come to an end.

Question: What does the soul do when it goes up to God's plane of existence?

Sri Chinmoy: The soul is the spark, the soul is the conscious representative of God. God is at once Silence and Sound. In His highest state of Consciousness, He is Silence; and when He wants to manifest Himself He manifests through Sound. The soul, like a bird, flies up and reaches the highest Height. Then it brings down the message of Light, Truth, Beauty and Perfection and tries to manifest these qualities on earth. The bird flies from one branch of the Reality-tree to another. Then it comes down gradually, steadily, unerringly and offers the fruits that it has collected from above. So the soul goes up to achieve the highest Truth, Light, Peace and Bliss. The same Divinity, same Reality, same Consciousness, Light and Bliss the soul then offers to aspiring mankind when it descends to earth.

Question: At what time should we focus on the heart and at what time should we focus on the third eye?

Sri Chinmoy: Now, there is no specific time when the seeker has to focus his attention on the heart or on the third eye. The third eye is the eye that sees the past, present and future all at once. The heart feels the reality, the omnipresent Reality, and omnipresent Divinity, all at once. If someone is a genuine seeker, he will see that he has two hearts. One heart is just a muscle located right inside the chest. The other heart can be found in his aspiration, in his mounting flame. The other heart is the Universal Heart, which houses the entire universe. This divine heart of ours is the Universal Reality which perfectly houses everything that is in God’s entire creation. It is composed of both God’s ever-transcending Vision and His ever-manifesting Reality. If it houses the entire universe, it also houses the third eye as well. The third eye offers us cosmic vision, but this cosmic vision is perfectly housed in the Universal Heart. So if one knows how to focus all his concentrative power on the divine heart, then he is at the same time concentrating on the Vision aspect of reality, which he longs to know or manifest on earth. If the seeker concentrates on the heart, he will get everything that he wants, far, far beyond his expectations.

Question: Is there any difference between meditation and self-hypnosis?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. When we meditate, we become a perfect channel through which the Reality above us can flow. Here we surrender entirely to God’s Will. “Let Thy Will be done”: This is the acme of meditation. We bring down God’s boundless Peace, Light and Bliss on the strength of our soulful meditation, and this Peace, Light and Bliss operates in and through us according to our capacity of receptivity.

But when we enter into the realm of self-hypnosis, we try to impose on our subconscious plane certain ideas or even ideals. We convince ourselves this is what has happened or this is what is going to happen. We try to bring to the fore, either from the subconscious world or from the inconscient world proper, thoughts which are not predominant or which have not yet come to the fore. We unconsciously or subconsciously bring up these ideas and make ourselves feel that these are realities which we once upon a time lived or which we are going to live in the near or distant future. So in the subconscious mind, formulated ideas or ideals operate.

But when we soulfully meditate, we go far beyond the realm of the thought-world. Here nature’s Dance comes to an end. All thought-waves cease and we see reality in its pristine form.

Part III

Realisation and reincarnation

The soul can easily go from one plane of consciousness to another. It is like visiting relatives in another place. The soul is not a stranger there. But can the soul make progress in these other worlds? No! Progress means evolution; and in the case of the soul, evolution means the manifestation of Divinity. This manifestation must take place here on earth while the soul is in the physical. And here, while the soul is manifesting the Light, the entire being is evolving. Each individual has to realise the Highest here on earth and not in Heaven. Only here can God-realisation take place, and in no other plane of consciousness.

God’s creative Vision created this world and God has special concern for us because we try to realise Him and manifest Him on earth with our limited capacity. Other beings in other worlds have got something and they are satisfied with what they have. But we are not satisfied. When we live in the desire-world, we want to have more, more, more material satisfaction; and when we are on a spiritual level, we want to realise God, reveal God and manifest God. God has special fondness for human beings because in other worlds the inhabitants don’t suffer like us. So when somebody is suffering, even if he is guilty, a kind of special compassion or grace flows from the inner world.

Many minor cosmic gods do not have the realisation that some human beings have. The realisation that the Christ had, the realisation that Sri Krishna and the Buddha had, is simply unique. It is incomparable. That kind of matchless realisation the minor cosmic gods do not have. Today the soul is for God-realisation, tomorrow it is for God-manifestation. Realisation and manifestation can take place only here on earth. That is why each time after a few years’ rest the soul takes on the physical sheath again.

The manifestation of Divinity cannot take place in one incarnation. Even to do one ordinary thing, just to fulfil a desire, it may take us ten, twenty, thirty years or more. So the manifestation of Divinity, which is a much more difficult task, takes quite a few incarnations for each individual. God will never allow us to remain unsatisfied, but we have to know what kind of satisfaction we are speaking about. If it is the satisfaction of our ego, then God is not going to grant it. Today He may boost up our ego; tomorrow He may not feed our ego. But when it is the inner satisfaction, heavenly satisfaction, divine satisfaction that we want, then naturally God is going to offer it to us even if it takes many, many years.

We start our journey with aspiration and when our aspiration reaches the end of its journey we realise God. First God aspired in and through the stone life and then He came into the plant life. There He aspired again. Then He came into the animal life and from the animal life He came into the human life.

Before we entered into the spiritual life we acted like animals. Jealousy and destructive forces, doubt and many, many negative things we cherished and treasured. Then we tried to reject these forces, but when they tried to enter into us we were scared to death. But we prayed to God and meditated on God and eventually we were able to threaten these negative forces when they tried to enter into us. We made them feel that they had nothing to do with us, that we belonged to some other world. So we can observe here in one incarnation the role that quite a few previous incarnations have played in our lives. In order to progress and realise God, one has to go through reincarnation. This is the only way. God wants us to continue playing His cosmic Game until He sees that we are playing the Game extremely well. Until we have realised God, God will not allow us to retire. And even after realisation, He may still not give a person relief. He may want that particular soul to continue to work for Him on earth.

Reincarnation means what? It is only a series of years and then death comes into the picture. We feel that there is a break, but it is not true. When we aspire we see that there is continuous life; only we take a short rest when death enters into the picture. On the strength of our inner aspiration we feel that there is endless Life, eternal Life. We are now waves of the Eternal Sea.

Sleep and the dream world

We can learn much from our dreams, but we have to know from which plane a dream is coming. If it comes from the vital plane, the lower vital plane, then we have to discard it. If we have a dream that somebody is killing us or that we are killing someone, it is absurd to pay attention to it. The lower vital is also a plane of consciousness and dreams from this plane are unimportant and useless. But if the dream comes from the intuitive plane, from the psychic plane, from the higher mind, from the overmind, from the illumined mind, then we have to give it importance. If we see that we have the capacity or the need to help someone in his meditation or elevate his consciousness, then to that kind of dream we have to pay proper attention. In this case, today’s dream is tomorrow’s reality; dream embodies reality.

The dreams that come to us from a higher plane, good dreams, divine dreams, we have to treasure and try to expedite. We shall try to transform these dreams into reality. We have to create new life within us all the time, but not in the dreams that try to destroy us or destroy others.

A human being is the king of destruction. One day I will destroy the whole world. Then, when I am in a divine mood, I will love the whole world, I will serve the whole world, I will fulfil the whole world. But we have to remain always in a very high state of consciousness. The Christ comes, the Buddha comes, Sri Krishna comes. They come to love the world, to inundate the world with peace. Again, there are others who come into the world to create destruction in themselves and in others. As spiritual persons, as seekers, we shall try to create peace. That should be our dream. We will invoke peace from above and then offer peace to mankind. So our higher dreams, divine dreams, are most welcome, but destructive dreams, lower vital dreams have to be discarded.

Right now it is difficult for us, impossible for us to know if we are dreaming. We feel that it is all reality. Then, when we get up we feel it was all dream. But if we are spiritually developed, while having the dream we will see it is all dream. It is just like a magic show. While watching the show, at the same time we are also seeing the reality. We are seeing the magic and we are wonderstruck. But we know it is magic, not reality. If we watch closely a coin trick, immediately we see which is the false coin and which is the real one. From a distance the false coin looks real; when we are far away it is difficult to distinguish. So the deeper we go, the clearer it becomes to us whether we are having a dream or whether we are in the world of reality.

When we sleep, sometimes our highest consciousness continues to operate and sometimes it does not. There is no hard and fast rule. It depends on whether God wants the high consciousness to operate while we are fast asleep or whether God wants the high consciousness to sleep while the physical is taking rest. It entirely depends on God’s Will.

There are many seekers who meditate every day and then sleep at night. Just because they have meditated during the whole day, God is pleased with them and God says to them, “My children, you have worked very hard. During the day, you have prayed, meditated. Now I have other instruments that can most powerfully help you. Now there are other forces that can work on your behalf.”

At that time, He asks the higher Self or the higher beings to operate and help the seekers who during the day prayed and meditated. But if during the day we don’t pray and meditate, God will never ask the higher beings, the higher forces to work for us. It is absurd. Only when the Inner Pilot is pleased with the seeker will He ask the higher forces to help when the person is asleep.

Yoga and self-giving1

Dear ministers, dear God-lovers, dear truth-lovers, dear oneness-lovers, I am extremely grateful to you for you have given me the golden opportunity to be of service to the universal reality-oneness in you. I have not come here in the capacity of a teacher. I have come here in the capacity of a friend, a brother of your heart and soul. You are teachers and I also happen to be a teacher. I feel that we are all truth lovers, peace lovers, harmony lovers and oneness lovers. I belong to a school and you belong to a school. To my deepest satisfaction, I see that our schools have basically the same principles: love and service. I feel from deep within that the Unitarian Church is all love and all service. The school that I belong to has the same basic message to offer: love and service. But mine is not a specific religion. My teachings are for humanity as a whole, for the real in every man is his heart’s oneness, universal oneness.

I come from India. My teaching is founded upon the Sanskrit word, “Yoga”. The significance of this word is spiritual oneness. This oneness cannot be established by talks. You and I have given hundreds of talks, but oneness can be established only by self-giving. Self-giving is truth-becoming and God-becoming. Yoga is oneness with the highest Truth, which is totally free from religious, political, racial or geographical boundaries. This Truth is also the goal of the Unitarian Church. If your goal and my goal are identical, then I am perfectly safe in the heart of my spiritual brothers and you are also safe in the very depth of my heart.

I wish to share with you some of the things which I teach to my students. You may call them my disciples, my followers, but to me they are like members of my family. We form a small group and we belong to one boat, the boat that is carrying us to the Golden Shore of the Beyond. This Beyond can be a vague term or it can be a living reality. We need only to realise that there is a goal. Before we reach that particular goal, we call it the world of the Beyond. But once we reach that goal, we feel that it is nothing but a new starting point for an ever-transcending goal. Each day in the inner world we try to reach our goal. Sooner or later we do reach it. But when we reach our goal, we feel that that very goal is nothing but a starting point for a higher goal.

We feel that God the ultimate Truth is also in the process of eternal Self-transcendence. He is infinite, He is eternal, He is immortal. We all know this, although we often try to bind Him. But He does not want to be bound and He does not want to bind us. The higher and deeper we go, the more we feel that God Himself is always transcending His own Reality and that we who are His conscious, chosen instruments are also doing the same. Each day we aim at a new goal and each day, consciously or unconsciously, we arrive at a new goal. Each day we look forward to something new, something more fulfilling, something more satisfying.

We call our path the path of love, devotion and surrender. Basically, it is a path of the heart, and from my own inner knowledge, inner aspiration, I feel that yours is also absolutely the same. What we want is universal oneness, founded upon love and peace. We are doing the same thing; we are in the same boat. We have adopted different names and different forms but in reality we have the same spirit, same goal, same soul, same awakening.

I came to the West at the express command of my Inner Pilot. Each time I see an individual, I try to see my Inner Pilot inside that individual. And each time I get an opportunity to be of service to an individual, I feel that my life on earth is blessed with some purpose, some significance, some reality. So I have not come here just to give a talk. I have come to make you feel that I am of you and I am for you in the Heart of the Absolute Supreme. We are like a rose or a lotus growing inside the Heart of the Eternal Reality. Each individual is a petal, and petal by petal the flower is blossoming. We are getting ready to be placed at the Feet of the Absolute Supreme, for He needs us as we need Him.

It is our misconception that tells us that God does not need us but that we only need Him, like beggars. No, we need Him, but He needs us more. How can we say that He needs us more than we need Him when we are so weak, so helpless, so meaningless, so insignificant? It is precisely because He knows what we are. We are exact prototypes of His all-embracing, all-fulfilling Reality, although we do not know it. We are helpless and hopeless because we are earth-bound; we treasure and cherish doubt, consciously or unconsciously, and then we forget our Reality, our Divinity, our Immortality. But He knows that we are of Him and for Him; therefore, He constantly reminds us of what we are and teaches us how we can feel in the inmost recesses of our hearts that we are of Him and for Him. The philosophy that we are studying and the school that we belong to teach us one truth: it is by self-giving that we eventually grow into the very image of God.

There is a message unparalleled in Indian history. This message tells us that today we are crying to realise God, tomorrow we shall realise God and the day after tomorrow we shall do something more: we shall become consciously aware of the truth that we are not only of God and for God but we are God Himself in the process of realisation and manifestation. This God you can call anything you want to: infinite Light, infinite Energy, infinite Bliss, infinite Peace, Infinity’s self-expanding, self-transcending Reality. This is what we all are in our highest.

Again, I wish to say that what you are doing and what I am doing is the same. The truth that we embody we are consciously, soulfully, devotedly and unconditionally trying to place before mankind. We are human beings. Some of us are fully awakened, others are in the process of awakening and still others are still asleep. We are trying to knock at the door of those who are awakening or still asleep. We believe in God’s Hour. God’s Hour has struck for us to knock at the heart’s door of the seekers who can run with us fast, faster, fastest towards the Goal. And that Goal is universal love, oneness in realisation, oneness in revelation, oneness in manifestation.

  1. SCS 62. Lecture before Ministers of the Unitarian Universalist Church, Community Church, Manhattan, 3 December, 1975.

Part IV

SCS 63-74. Questions and answers following Yoga and self-giving.

Question: I think that some of us might be interested to know what your view is of the thinking of Dr. Radhakrishnan, who was probably the best known philosopher of Hinduism in the rest of the world. Has his thinking made an impact on your religious philosophy?

Sri Chinmoy: To be very frank with you, not in the least, although I have the greatest respect for Dr. Radhakrishnan. While he was still alive, I received three letters from him here in New York encouraging me in my philosophy and in my inspiration to the young generation.

As far as I know, Dr. Radhakrishnan was a philosopher, a thinker. Now, Indian philosophy is founded upon Indian religion and Indian religion, which we call dharma, is founded upon Yoga. But Yoga is something that one has to practise. It is not theoretical. It is more than practical; it is a living reality. At every moment we have to live it and practise it in order to grow into the very image of that reality.

Dr. Radhakrishnan knew about this reality only in its theoretical aspect. In his practical life, unfortunately, he did not practise it. Anybody can speak on philosophy, on truth, even on the ultimate Truth, but if that particular person does not live those truths, then we feel that there is a yawning gulf between the reality that he understands or believes in and the reality that he embodies. Dr. Radhakrishnan knew the reality, but he did not embody it. I may know you, but if I don’t enter into you and become part and parcel of you, I will not get all the knowledge, wisdom, light, reality and peace that you embody. Dr. Radhakrishnan’s approach to what we call reality was theoretical, not practical. He could speak on reality in faultless terms. But he did not embody that reality.

In the case of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Ramana Maharshi and others, they not only knew the reality but also grew into the reality itself. For them it was a living reality. You could not separate that reality from the man. In Dr. Radhakrishnan’s case, he was the man and reality was somewhere else; whereas the real spiritual Masters grew into inseparable oneness with the reality that they knew. My experience is of the second type. Being a seeker, I wanted to experience and grow into the reality, not learn about the reality on an intellectual level.

Question: Your practice of Yoga seems to be distinct in some way from the practices of other teachers. When people come to you to be disciples, on what basis do you accept them? What do they have to do in terms of Yoga? In what way is your path distinct from the paths of others?

Sri Chinmoy: Thank you. When a seeker comes to me for guidance, the first thing I do is concentrate on that particular seeker and see if he is meant to follow the path of love, devotion and surrender. If I see that he can do well on our path, I accept him. When I do not accept a seeker, it does not mean that he is not sincere. Far from it. But each individual must follow the proper path for him. There are paths of the mind and there are paths of the heart. Some people are devoted to the mental approach, while others are meant for the heart approach, the psychic approach. The seekers whom I am unable to accept may be sincere, absolutely sincere, but they have to know that they can make faster progress if they follow another path or another Master. At the end of our journey, my Inner Pilot will not ask me how many millions of seekers I have brought to Him. He will ask me whether or not I have brought the seekers that He wanted me to bring to Him. The number is not important. If I try to take someone who is not meant for our boat, then He will be displeased with me.

Ours is the path of the heart. The heart means oneness. As soon as I see you, if I feel oneness with you, then you are meant for me and I am meant for you. But if I try to analyse and scrutinise you and want to know how much wisdom you have or how much capacity you have, then at every moment I will be subject to suspicion, doubt and various wrong forces. So when I look at a seeker, the first thing I see is whether the seeker is really in the heart and for the heart. I go deep within for guidance from my Inner Pilot to see if that particular seeker is ready to follow our path. If a seeker wants to follow the path of the heart, then there is every possibility that he will fit in with our path, which is divine love, divine devotion and divine surrender.

Human love, we know, is an express train whose destination is frustration and frustration is immediately followed by destruction. But divine love is a local train. Slowly and steadily it reaches its destination, which is illumination.

Human devotion is just another name for attachment. We are usually not conscious of it, but eventually there comes a time when we see that it is nothing but unconscious attachment. Divine devotion is our oneness-cry to the higher reality, our feeling that there is a purpose for our lives and our need to establish our deepest oneness with that purpose.

Human surrender is the surrender of a slave to the master. It is forced, fearful and resentful surrender, not spontaneous, loving and devoted. We surrender to our boss because we feel that if we don’t, he will dispense with our services. This is forced surrender. But divine surrender is totally different. Here the finite becomes fully aware of its oneness with the Infinite. When a tiny drop surrenders its limited existence and enters into the ocean, at that time it gets the message of Vastness, Infinity. This surrender is spontaneous, natural and cheerful. It is divine surrender, surrender to our highest reality, of which right now we are not conscious.

This is the essence of our path. In our ladder of divine consciousness there are three rungs: love, devotion and surrender. With divine love we start. Then we go to devotion and then to surrender. When we make our surrender, we feel that there is no end to our surrender. Each time we surrender soulfully and cheerfully, we reach a specific goal. But that goal is not the ultimate Goal; that goal is only the starting point, because we are pilgrims walking along Eternity’s Road.

Question: If you were to accept a seeker who was meant for you, would he be practising or following certain specific exercises?

Sri Chinmoy: In my case, I do not give much importance to the physical part of Yoga, the postures and breathing exercises. I give all importance to the mental discipline and vital discipline. This we get from our practice of concentration, meditation and contemplation. If you go to an Indian village, you will see many, many village boys who will be able to perform hundreds of difficult physical exercises. But perhaps they are millions of miles behind us in God-realisation or Truth-realisation.

The exercises do help to some extent. If you are wanting in physical fitness, then you will not be able to meditate well. But we should not give too much importance to physical fitness. The boxers, the wrestlers, the athletes of the world are physically extremely fit. But in terms of peace of mind, those who meditate will be much better off than they are.

Physical postures and exercises are like the kindergarten class. You can easily skip it and go directly to primary school. Concentration, meditation and contemplation are the higher courses. One can easily start with concentration. Concentration paves the way for meditation, and meditation paves the way for contemplation.

When we concentrate on a particular subject or object, we focus all our attention on it. We try to place in front of us the tiniest possible object or the tiniest possible thought; then we concentrate, we penetrate. The minutest thing that we can possibly imagine will give us the best result. If we keep a flower in front of us and concentrate on it, we try to enter into the fragrance of the flower, into the essence of the flower.

When we meditate, we do just the opposite of concentration. At that time, we enter into something vast. When we meditate, we try to feel inside us the vast sky, the vast ocean or the infinite universe. We try to expand our consciousness as far as possible.

When we contemplate, at that time we become consciously one with Reality. In contemplation the divine lover and the Supreme Beloved become one. When we contemplate on something, we feel that very thing as our own reality. We become both the object and the subject of our contemplation. The lover and the Beloved become one. Right now we see God as somebody else or somewhere else. But when we approach Him through contemplation, we see that He is also approaching us. Now we are seeking the Reality, thinking that it is something other than ourselves. But when we contemplate, we will see that what we considered Reality is running after us, because we are the Reality itself.

Question: I was going to ask what part Hatha Yoga had in your discipline, but you have already answered my question.

Sri Chinmoy: Discipline is a very significant word. It is necessary to have discipline. But just by having a certain amount of discipline we cannot say that we are on the road to self-discipline. If we take ten or fifteen minutes daily to keep our body fit, then early in the morning when we try to meditate, we will not have a stomach upset, a headache or some other ailment. In this way, physical discipline helps us. But just by becoming physically strong we cannot become spiritual. We know so many people who have excellent physical discipline, but they are not for truth, not for peace, not for reality. It is the spiritual discipline that is important to a seeker.

Question: You mentioned two paths, the mind and the heart. I was wondering if they were mutually exclusive or is a combination possible?

Sri Chinmoy: The ultimate goal of both paths is the same. The only thing is that if we take the mental path, our road will be long. When we follow the mental path, we often cherish doubt, because the mind tells us that by doubting someone we will remain a few inches higher than that person. Doubt makes us feel superior.

I have come here as a seeker. If you remain in the realm of the doubting mind, at this moment you may think of me as a good person, but before I leave this place you may think of me as a bad person. A few minutes later you will ask yourself whether you were right in your assessment. Then you will start doubting yourself. The moment you doubt yourself you are totally lost. By thinking that I am a bad person or that I am a good person, you don’t lose anything. But the moment you start doubting your own assessment you are totally lost.

If you follow the path of the heart, your inner feeling will tell you whether I am a good person or a bad person, and that feeling will last inside your heart for days, for weeks, for months. It is a question of identification. Once you identify with me, my entire reality is yours.

I wish to say that the body, vital, mind and heart all belong to one family: the family of the soul. The body, instead of remaining lethargic, must become dynamic. The vital, instead of remaining aggressive, must become expansive. The aggressive vital wants the entire world to remain at its feet. Like Napoleon and Julius Caesar, it wants to conquer the whole world. But that vital we don’t need. We want the vital that will expand and spread its wings like a bird.

The mind that suspects, the mind that doubts, we don’t want. We want the mind that has the eagerness, the thirst for universal knowledge. We want the mind that is eager to learn from everyone and from everything. We need the mind that has the sincere thirst to know something that is illumining and fulfilling. The seeker has to know which kind of mind he utilises. If it is a sincere and searching mind, then there can be a close connection between the aspiring heart and the mind. But if it is a doubting and suspicious mind, then we see that there is a yawning gulf between that mind and the aspiring heart.

Question: I find that search and doubt are part of the same thing, that part of searching is doubting. I am not sure of your meaning of doubt.

Sri Chinmoy: Unfortunately, you are using the mind. Suppose there are three individuals walking by. You will see three human beings right in front of you, but will feel a kind of affinity with one of them and not with the other two. The one you feel drawn to is meant for you. You have already established your oneness in the inner worlds. It is the same when you are looking for a teacher. There may be three teachers in front of you, but the presence of one of them is going to give you more joy. That particular teacher is meant for you, not the other two. You don’t have to ask anybody which teacher you should follow. You already have an inner identity, an inner oneness. Here there are so many seekers. With one, perhaps, you have more in common; you have a stronger bond, a feeling of oneness. With the others, you may not have that feeling. All this comes on the strength of inner identification. When you use the heart, immediately you feel something, and this feeling is the reality within you. But if you use the mind to find a teacher, you won’t know which will be best qualified to teach you. Has he studied Indian philosophy? Has he practised spirituality? Has he practised Yoga? Many questions will arise in your mind, and these questions will either be given satisfactory answers or not. Even if you are given satisfactory answers, still you may doubt them. But if you use the heart, immediately you get the answer to your questions and the inner assurance that the answer is right.

Question: I think one of the reasons I, as well as other people, experience this doubt is because there are so many bad teachers in the world.

Sri Chinmoy: You are absolutely right. There are false teachers. But just because there are twenty bad teachers who are deceiving themselves or deceiving others, I can’t say that you are also a bad teacher. That is why we are given the opportunity to choose. There are twenty spiritual Masters and you are given the choice. You say, “How am I going to know that I am choosing the right one?” The answer is that the one who gives you the utmost joy, whose very presence gives you joy, is the right one. He has already established his oneness with you in the inner world. In the inner world your soul has a free access to his soul’s reality. Any teacher who does not give you the same joy, the same delight and feeling of oneness, is not meant for you. You follow the one whose very presence gives you immediate joy. This is where the heart plays its role most satisfactorily.

Question: I am not sure how truthful it is to say that we are all doing the same thing, that we all have the same goals. You are saying we shall convert the individual and there will be a better United Nations, a better America, a better India. I think we say that we convert the individual, but also we must convert groups of individuals; we must change institutions and change society. And I don't perceive that you are in the same boat about personal religion and social religion.

Sri Chinmoy: To be very frank with you, I do not follow any religion. Our path is not a religion at all. Ours is only the message of oneness. As your faith believes in universal brotherhood, if I understand correctly, irrespective of sect, irrespective of nation, irrespective of race, so also do we believe that all are God’s children. For us there is no caste, creed, sect or nation that is more important than others. We are all members of the same family. Ours is not a religion at all. Ours is a path which anyone can walk along. But you have to live in one particular house, one particular religion. You cannot live in the street, and I cannot live in the street. You can live wherever you want to, but you will walk along the street with the rest of us when you want to get to a particular place. Let us do the first thing first. If we are bad people, we will not feel the necessity of having a better world. Only when we become good people will we be able to work divinely and soulfully to change the world in God’s own Way. My students are trying to change themselves and, at the same time, those of them who work here at the United Nations and in other places are working in and for the world as well.

Question: I think people would say that the way in which you choose to discover yourself is not good for people because it tends to turn them inward, so their attention is more exclusively on themselves rather than on making the kinds of changes that have a significant impact on large numbers of people. And by concentrating on one's own fulfilment and self-discovery a lot of other things that are of greater need to the world are neglected, in a sense.

Sri Chinmoy: I fully understand. The thing is that if I do not know who I am and what I stand for, how am I going to be of any use to mankind? I have to have some inner conviction first that I am of the Source and I am for the Source. Reality is within as well as without. My highest Reality I can bring to the fore by entering deep within. If I do not do this, what can I offer to mankind, or how can I make humanity feel that I am of them and I am for them?

Real spirituality does not mean entering into the Himalayan caves and remaining closeted. Far from it! Ours is the path of acceptance. The spiritual path that we are following demands the acceptance of the outer world.

I don’t ask my students to enter into a room and remain there meditating for hours. I don’t ask them to retreat to the Himalayan caves or the mountains. I tell them to mix with humanity and share what they have with humanity. The only thing is that inside they have to have something to share. If they don’t have something better than what the rest of humanity has, then what are they going to share?

We are not satisfied with our own lives or the lives of others right now. We want to change the face of the world for the better. But if I have no capacity, then how can I be of service to you? And to develop capacity, I have to dive deep within and establish a free access to the highest Source. I have to attain some inner peace and light and have something worthwhile to offer humanity. Only then can I become a perfect instrument of that Source and be of service to earth in the best possible way.

Question: Once they have looked within, then what do your people do socially for the world?

Sri Chinmoy: When we go deep within, we feel peace, joy and love. Then, when we mix with the world, people see and feel these things in us. Before we meditate, people will see something in us, and right after meditation they will see something else. Inwardly they will see and feel something; they can’t name it but they can see it. And that very thing, is it not our dedicated service? Before we entered into meditation, we were absolutely unaspiring, useless people. But afterwards, others will look and look and look. They will see something pure, divine, illumining. Is that not our dedicated service offered through our prayer and meditation?

You can go to the United Nations Church Centre on Tuesdays. Before we enter the chapel to pray and meditate, you can look at us; or you can even take a picture. Then, when we come out, you can look at us or you can take another picture. Then you will see and feel the difference. You are inwardly seeing something in us, and that seeing is nothing but becoming. When you compare the feeling you get from an individual before prayer and right after prayer, you will see that right after prayer he will give you more joy. Before your secretary enters into the chapel, look at her. When she comes out, you will see that she is a totally different person. The peace, the joy, the light that she receives from her prayer and meditation will inspire you inwardly or outwardly.

If we see a saint, immediately his face gives us inspiration. If we see a good person, his very presence gives us inspiration. Since we are all trying to be good people, each of us is offering inspiration to others. If we mix with bad people, with thieves or hooligans, immediately our consciousness descends. Even when we mix with ordinary unaspiring people, our consciousness descends. But the very presence of a seeker who is aspiring to become good and do good will elevate our consciousness. Nobody has to convert us; we are automatically transformed.

So after we have prayed and meditated, people see something in us. It is like a divinely contagious disease. This is just the beginning of our service to mankind.

Question: Is there another kind of Yoga that is specifically for service?

Sri Chinmoy: That is Karma Yoga; that is also part of our path. I have achieved something in the inner world. Now I go out and give talks and hold meditations at various places. In this way I offer my dedicated service to mankind. If we can inspire one person to lead a good life, that is our service.

Question: Is there any difference between prayer and meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: They lead to the same goal, but there is a slight difference between prayer and meditation. When we pray, at that time we feel that our Eternal Father is listening to us. Prayer goes upward. But when we meditate, at that time we feel that God is talking to us and we are listening. Meditation goes outward. So prayer is when we talk to the Father, and meditation is when the Father talks to us.

Editor's preface to the first edition

This volume consists of a series of lectures Sri Chinmoy gave at various universities and public places, as well as miscellaneous talks he delivered at his Centres, with selected questions and answers.

From:Sri Chinmoy,Sri Chinmoy speaks, part 3, Agni Press, 1976
Sourced from https://srichinmoylibrary.com/scs_3