The silent mind

Part I — The silent mind

Question: There isn't such a great role in the West of non-verbal communication. How do you deal with people who are used to a different kind of communication?

Sri Chinmoy: I wish to say that when someone comes to me with a sincere and aspiring heart, I can work most speedily and most convincingly through my inner silence. I hold meditations several nights a week, and I have quite a few Centres. Physically I may not be with my disciples, but spiritually I can guide them with my inner silence. This inner guidance is much more effective than outer guidance and outer talk. I can speak to you for hours and hours, but rest assured that if I meditate with you or on you for just a couple of minutes, it will elevate your consciousness and height. When I am talking, your physical mind is sometimes accepting what I am saying and sometimes it is not. The mind is like that. The physical mind, the mind which is in the physical, always wants to accept the truth in its own way; therefore it has tremendous limitation. At one moment, when it is accepting me, it thinks that I am a very great man, a very good man, a nice man and a kind man. But the next moment it wants to reject my thoughts, my ideas, my suggestions, my light, and it will immediately say, "He is very bad." And then, a moment later, what will happen? It will suspect or doubt its own judgement. It will say, "Am I correct in my assessment of this man?" Then where do you stand? First you judge me as a good person, then you judge me as a bad person, then you judge yourself in order to see whether your judgement is correct or not. Now who becomes the loser? Unfortunately you become the loser when you try to judge yourself. With your judgement of me, whether it is wrong or right, you can have some confidence. You have come to assess me and you know that I am a bad man or I am a good man. But when you try to judge yourself, whether you are right or wrong, you are totally lost.

Again, from the spiritual point of view, when you start judging yourself, that means that some humility has dawned, some sincerity has dawned, some inner awakening has taken place. That is why you are judging your own judgement. You try to go to a higher authority and that higher authority is deep inside you. When you get the message from the higher authority, you come to realise that this man who says that he can offer guidance through silence is saying the right thing.

I have given talks at hundreds of universities, and I wish to say that I have inspired and awakened the consciousness of many seekers. According to their capacity and understanding, they have accepted the divine inspiration that I have offered to them. Now recently I have started offering my inspiration and aspiration through silence. I shall be holding meditations at various places. I will bring down Peace, Light and Bliss from above only through inner silence and inner communication, and seekers will receive it according to their own receptivity and capacity.

In the spiritual life, and in our path especially, we always try to identify ourselves and to feel our inseparable oneness with the vast. That is what the heart can do. The mind cannot do this. Suppose the mind is right in front of the vast. It will take a portion of the vast and it won't be satisfied. It will try to scrutinise it, to see if there is any hole or imperfection in it. But the heart will not do that. Even if the heart sees imperfection, the heart will take this imperfection as its own imperfection. When the mother sees her child's imperfections, it is a matter of oneness. Since it is her son, she feels, "His imperfection is my imperfection." But if the mother used her mind, then when she saw all imperfection in the child she would curse God and say, "Oh God, why did You give me such a bad, naughty boy?"

In the spiritual life, real spiritual Masters always identify themselves with their disciples, with their own children. The Masters say, "Their imperfection is mine, their limitation is mine, because I accepted them as my own. As long as they remain imperfect and unrealised, I am unfulfilled. My fulfilment depends on their natures' perfection, on their realisation. Otherwise, I will keep my realisation, but I will remain unmanifest. It is their realisation, their acceptance of my light for the manifestation of the divine on earth, that is my fulfilment. So, as long as they remain imperfect I am imperfect, and as long as they are unfulfilled I am unfulfilled."

My fulfilment entirely depends on my disciples' realisation and perfection. Even my fulfilment is not mine. I am not the Guru. The Guru is the Supreme. There is only one Guru and that is God. I am only a representative, a leader. There cannot be two Gurus. There is only one Guru, the Highest, the Supreme. But somebody has to be His representative for His disciples here. Each Guru is a representative of God. I am a representative of God for my disciples, for those who have accepted me as their own; and they have to take my guidance. I am not the only boatman; there are other boatmen. The world is very big. There are quite a few sincere Masters, and each one has a boat. Each boat will take the sincere seekers to the destined Goal. But only we have to be very careful not to change our boat every day, or we will never reach our Goal. I have a boat and in it I have a few hundred disciples. I will definitely carry the sincere ones to the Golden Shore. The insincere ones will take a little longer time, but they too will definitely go. One has to realise the Truth, one has to be one-pointed so that one can reach the destination.

Question: How can we cultivate the inner silence so that we can know God's Will?

Sri Chinmoy: You don't have to go far to know God's Will. If you just meditate and do selfless service, you can know it. You do not have to adopt a difficult method when there is an easy one. If you cultivate silence to know God's Will, then certainly you will be successful. But there is an easier process. This process is self-giving. If you give yourself totally, then you will see that you will not be carried away by the waves of uncertainty; you will become the ocean itself. So, self-giving is the easiest and most effective way. One way is to dig and dig and then hope to find some water. But by digging and digging, God knows when you are going to get a glimpse of even a tiny drop of water. This way takes time and is uncertain, and while you are digging and digging if you do not get a glimpse of the water, or consciousness, let us say, then you will be disappointed. You will say, "For six years I have stayed with this Master and I feel that I don't know anything. The best thing will be for me to leave him." Whereas if you use the other way, you will go slowly and steadily. If you give yourself daily and if you throw yourself into the sea of self-dedication, then you will get real satisfaction out of life. So follow the easiest and most effective path — self-giving. Just throw yourself into the sea of peace. You do not know whether you will find dangerous water-animals or jewels inside the water, but you will be safe because it is the sea of peace.

Question: How can I make my mind quiet? It is such an unending source of confusion that it distracts me from my aspiration.

Sri Chinmoy: It is very easy. From now on think that you do not have a mind; it belongs to somebody else. You know that when a little child has money he wants to use it. He does not know whether he is using it for a good purpose or for a bad purpose. If he knows that he has no money, then he keeps quiet; he has nothing to use. Similarly, please feel that you do not have the mind. Make yourself feel that you have only the heart. As soon as some idea enters into your mind, then feel that your mind has nothing to do with it. When the mind bothers you constantly with fear, doubt and worries, simply say that you don't have the mind. But when you feel a little joy, peace or light inside your heart, immediately feel that you have everything to do with it. By convincing yourself that you don't have a particular thing, automatically you will get rid of it.

You may ask how you can live without the mind. But you can live without the mind. You can live with the heart and the heart will do everything for you. In the spiritual life the most important thing is to unlearn whatever the mind has taught you. The things that are important, the things that are illumining, will always remain inside your heart, although the mind may try to grasp them. If you feel that you don't have a mind, then how are you going to be affected by it? But if you feel that you have a mind and it is torturing you all the time, then it will always torture you.

When you are afraid of something, then that very thing will torture you. If you have something good, identify with it and say that you have it. But if you have something bad, please say that you don't have it. Just by saying this, the life of those undivine forces will automatically go away. This kind of self-assertion is extremely good. To get rid of the mind, simply say that you don't have it. If you don’t have it, how are you going to use it? Then the heart will take care of you.

Question: How can we transcend the intellect?

Sri Chinmoy: We can transcend the intellect only when we really care for something infinitely higher than the intellect, and that thing is intuition. If our love for one thing surpasses our love for something else, then only can we transcend the second thing. If our love for intuition, which is the direct entrance into truth, is greater than our love for the intellect, then naturally we can transcend the intellect. It is like a ladder. Take the first rung as the intellect and the second as intuition. If we are satisfied with the first rung, there is no necessity to climb up higher. But if we are not satisfied with the first rung, then we will definitely try to go to the second or third rung. It depends on which rung we care for most. We have to know which one we really love. If we care for intellect, then we have to stand on the first rung of the ladder. If it is intuition, then we will go one step higher.

Question: How does the mind make itself stop doing what it's doing?

Sri Chinmoy: The mind will never be calm and quiet unless it consciously listens to some higher power. The higher power here is the heart. If the mind consciously listens to the higher power, then it will derive much benefit. But if the higher power forces the mind to surrender, then the mind will not get the utmost benefit. How can the mind be a calm, quiet and perfect instrument of the higher power of the divine? First we have to enter into the heart and see the difference between the heart's capacity and the mind's capacity. It is we who have to differentiate between the two. It is we who have to see the capacity and the quality of the heart and the capacity and the quality of the mind. It is easy to criticise the mind. The mind is suspecting, the mind is doubting, the mind is limiting. But at the same time, we have to be fully convinced of the capacity of the heart. The heart has limitless capacity on the strength of its oneness with the soul.

Instead of entering into the mind, which is now unlit and obscure, we have to enter into the heart. Let us stay there for as many hours, as many days, as many months, as many years as possible. And then, when we feel that the light, the illumination of the heart-room has permeated our whole existence, let us enter into the mind-room.

In the beginning we have to feel that there is only one room that can save us: the heart-room. Then, when the light of the heart-room enters into the mind-room, we will not discard the mind-room. The mind-room is also a room, and a day will come when we will have to stay in that room because it also has possibility, potentiality and capacity. Up to now, we have not used that room properly due to our own ignorance in the physical, in the vital and in the mind.

To make the mind calm and quiet, to make the mind a proper instrument, a chosen instrument of God, we have to first approach the heart and remain in the heart before entering into the mind. We have to get strength, light and power from the heart and with these qualities enter into the mind. Then we shall be able to compel the mind to surrender its existence to the heart-power for its own good. At that time the surrender of the mind to the heart will not be the surrender of a slave to his master. No, it will be the surrender of our obscure, unaspiring, doubting existence to the confident and everlastingly assured existence of the soul. The mind will not be the loser. On the contrary, the mind will be the real victor over its own ignorance.

Question: How can I go beyond the restless thoughts of my mind?

Sri Chinmoy: Think of the sea. On the surface of the sea there are waves and it can be very rough, but if you go to the bottom of the sea it is all calm and quiet. On the surface it is all restlessness, but underneath it is all calm and quiet. Think of the mind as a sea. On the surface it is full of thoughts which are like waves, constantly moving. But if you dive deeper you see that there are no waves, there are no thoughts. The earthbound mind is full of thoughts and restlessness on the surface, but in the depths of the mind there are no thoughts, it is all calm and quiet. So it is there that you have to go. When you are in that mind, the vacant, tranquil, calm mind, you can accomplish very many things at one time, because that mind is not the human mind; it is the divine mind. Everything has come from the divine, including the mind, the body and the vital, but when these entities have been divinised, they will be infinitely better than they were before they were divinised. The human mind has not yet been divinised, but the divine mind, the illumined mind and the supermind have been divinised, so naturally they are superior.

As a human being I may have something, for example, a ballpoint pen, and God may have the same thing. Although we call it by the same name, the one that God has will be infinitely superior to the one that I have, because He has infinitely more capacity than I have. The mind that we are now using, the human mind, is full of doubt, suspicion and outer education. But deep within us God is using another mind, which is divinised, illumined and immortal. Vastness and infinity are inside that mind, whereas in the mind that we call our own we cannot even hold more than one thought. The divine mind has the whole universe inside it and by going deep within we can see what the divine mind is doing.

God is controlling the divine mind within us. God has pleased the divine mind, and the divine mind is pleasing God. We are trying to please the human mind, but we are unable to please the human mind and the human mind cannot please us. The thought world cannot please us with thoughts because it is only feeding the human mind. We are constantly seeing the weaknesses of our human mind and the human mind is also constantly seeing our weaknesses. But the divine mind, which has come directly from God, has no weakness at all, because God is operating all the time in that mind.

Question: How can I make my mind more quiet? I try so hard, but it is very difficult for me to make my mind calm and quiet. I have a hard time staying in the heart. The mind is always pulling me out of the heart and there is a constant battle going on.

Sri Chinmoy: Suppose you have just entered into an apartment. You need an apartment to live in, and you have gone to see this particular apartment. You are satisfied with one room of the apartment, whereas the other room has not satisfied you at all. The first room is most satisfactory. It is all illumined, clean, clear and full of pure vibrations. The other room is dark. In that room there are all kinds of rubbish and broken furniture. It is all in a mess and everything is most unsatisfactory. But you need an apartment and the landlord says that if you want this apartment you have to take this other room as well. When you rent an apartment, it is up to you to stay in the room that pleases you most; but you have to keep the other room because the landlord does not want to rent the apartment without it.

So let us say that our body is the apartment or the house. In this house there are two rooms: one is full of darkness and the other is full of light. The heart is the room where you have all light and the mind is the room where you have all darkness.

Now, in my house I have many rooms, but I am fond of my own room, my bedroom. There are so many other rooms on the third floor, on the second floor and in the basement, but I am fond of my bedroom, so I spend most of my time there. Now if I don't want to enter into a particular room in this house, I don't need to. I have so many rooms. Why should I use all of them if they do not please me? I stay in the room which pleases me most.

Similarly, you should feel that your heart-room is the room that you need. The other room is the mind, which is full of conflict, darkness and imperfection. This room does not want any perfection or illumination. Again, the room that is already illumined and crying for perfection, illumination and salvation is the heart; so you should try to remain in that room. Then, when you get illumination, salvation and immortality from the heart-room, you bring all these qualities into the dark room. Right now you are unsafe if you enter into the dark room. If you want to enter it, you will be caught by imperfection, bondage and impurity. But once you get illumination, purity, liberation and salvation from the other room, the heart, then you can enter the mind-room, because the light of the heart is infinitely more powerful than the power of darkness in the mind-room.

Right now the heart is not at your disposal. But when its divine qualities are at your command, at that time you can take them and enter into the mind-room. This way you will be safe, and you will be able to illumine and purify the other room. So try to feel that the heart-room is illumined, and it is crying for liberation and immortality. Just enter into the heart-room. When you feel that the wealth of this room has become part and parcel of your life, then you can enter into the dark room to purify and illumine it. At that time you will feel that you have two rooms that you can use.

Question: Inwardly, how does a negative thought affect us?

Sri Chinmoy: When a destructive thought comes, immediately you have to know that it was founded with destruction. If people continue to do something wrong for two or three days of a month, then negative forces become self-asserting. They say, "What right do you have to throw us out?" Then another thought comes. Inwardly the disciple says to the Master, "If you really care for me, then how is it that you did not prevent me when I started mixing with wrong forces? How is it that you did not stop me? How is it that these things have happened in my life?" That is the most destructive negative force, when the disciple cherishes that kind of thought about the Master. At that time the human in him blames the Supreme for everything.

Question: How can we know when the Supreme is inspiring the mind?

Sri Chinmoy: We will be able to know when the Supreme is inspiring the mind when we observe that the mind is not doubting, belittling or finding fault with anybody, but that it is expanding and illumining like the heart. If the mind is not condemning or finding fault, if it loves the world and it is ready to act like a divine child without constantly finding fault with the world, if it is serving the world like the heart, then we know that it is the divine mind that is inspired and chosen by the Supreme.

Question: I feel like something is rotating in my head. What does that mean?

Sri Chinmoy: It is God's protection that is rotating in your head. It is causing the mind to come out of confusion and wrong forces. So God's protection is rotating around your head. It is protection.

Question: Can we understand you with the mind?

Sri Chinmoy: If you remain in the mind, you will not understand me at all. Here we are all children, children of the Supreme. So we should try to only remain in the heart and, if possible, become the heart itself. Today we have proved to a great extent the necessity of becoming children. The divine in me, the divine in you, is an eternal child. An eternal child is he who gives and who takes. God is the Supreme Child within us. He eternally gives to us. We also try to give to Him. We give Him our aspiration-cry and He gives us His Perfection-Light. So let us try to bring this supreme philosophy down to the material plane. Today we are observing a special occasion, a special moment in our life of aspiration and dedication. If you can remain in the heart today, then you will understand me properly on the strength of your inseparable oneness with my heart.

Question: How important is silence in the mind in our meditation; and what is the best technique to achieve it?

Sri Chinmoy: In our inner life and in our meditation, the silent mind is of the greatest necessity. Without this silent mind, progress is difficult. If we bring to the fore the qualities of the heart: love, devotion and surrender, then the doubting mind, the restless mind and the separating mind cannot cause problems. If we bring these qualities to the fore, then naturally there will come a time when we will say, "It is beneath my dignity to draw attention to the mind." But right now the best we can do is to make the mind feel that the only thing that it wants and needs is the heart. In this way we can silence the mind.

Part II — The vital, mind, heart and soul

The vital, mind, heart and soul

When you live in the vital, you are always frustrated. And you have to know that this frustration will never be satisfied unless and until it destroys the person or thing that has caused the frustration. But even if you see the person who is responsible for your frustration right in front of you, you cannot destroy him. You cannot stab him or strangle him. You will be arrested. So there comes a time when your frustration tries to destroy a vital being inside you instead. When this happens, the vital being tries to escape and while trying to escape, very often, it is caught by a giant force which we call a lower vital force. This force adds to the power of frustration and then real destruction starts.

We have three kinds of vital: the lower vital, the human vital and the divine vital. First your frustration enters into the simple human or ordinary vital, and then if you are not fully illumined, the lower vital forces come forward. When the lower vital comes forward and adds to the strength of the human vital, you begin destroying yourself. Because of frustration in the ordinary vital caused by your day-to-day activities, the evil force of the lower vital comes to the human vital.

When you live in the mind, two things happen. One is that doubt comes and the other is that you have a feeling of inferiority. Now, if you doubt God, no harm. If you doubt me as a spiritual Master, no harm. If you doubt your husband or your wife, no harm. But if you doubt yourself, you are digging your own grave. What does God do if you doubt Him? He immediately smiles and says, "All right, I have My Eternity for My son or daughter. I shall use my Eternity-weapon and conquer My child's doubt." And if you doubt me, I say I am helpless. But when you doubt yourself or your spiritual life, no matter how much God or I tell you not to doubt yourself, at that time you think you don't have any capacity. So please don't doubt yourself. If you do, there is no salvation.

Once in six months, if you doubt your spiritual life, it is not very serious. But some disciples doubt their spiritual life consciously and constantly, so they can never make spiritual progress. True, there were great spiritual Masters and very advanced souls like Vivekananda and others who doubted their spiritual life. But again, they were giants. In general, if ordinary human beings cherish doubt for a few days or a month or so, they immediately drop from their previous level of spiritual development.

If you have come to a certain standard and if you want to take rest, you are mistaken if you think that after five or ten years you can go forward from the same point. In the spiritual life, once you begin doubting, you immediately come to a standstill. The next day, you won't even be able to stay at this point and the following day you will be compelled to go back to your starting point, or actually even further. There is a kind of inner retribution. You got the opportunity, but after getting it, you misused it by doubting your spiritual life. Before you accept the spiritual life, you can doubt your spiritual life. But if you doubt your spiritual life after you get inner, divine assistance, then you cannot remain in the same place. If you doubt the Master or God, compassion will be able to be of some help to you. But if you doubt yourself, since you don't have the same kind of compassion for yourself, realisation becomes a very long process. If you are about to take five steps, and you doubt yourself, then you go back twenty-five steps. So I ask the disciples not to cherish doubt. To stay in the mind means to doubt, and each time you doubt you will go backwards. Why do this if you know there is a way to shorten your journey instead? The shortest path is the path of the heart. So please live in the heart, and not in the vital or the mind.

Question: How can you tell whether intuition comes from the heart or the mind?

Sri Chinmoy: If it comes from the heart, easily you will know because it will be so convincing. The mind will not come and interfere. Suppose you have received a message and you carry it out. If you feel, "Only if I get success from this message will I know it was correct," then you will know that it comes from the mind. But if you feel that you have got an inner message and you will execute it whether it is successful or not, then that message is most assuredly coming from the heart.

Question: How can one make an intuitive vision of the future into a reality without the mind trying to claim it?

Sri Chinmoy: The heart got the vision, not the mind. When a vision comes from the heart, your mind cannot claim it. Just throw the mind away. However, if the mind wants to claim the vision and glorify itself, if it says, "I want to bask in your divine glory," then you can allow the mind to keep the vision.

Question: What is the best that I can expect from my mind?

Sri Chinmoy: The best that you can expect from your mind is mental illumination and your mind's acceptance of your heart. The heart has accepted the soul as its advisor; similarly, the mind has to accept the heart as its advisor. The mind has not accepted a teacher: it wants to remain its own teacher. But it should have the heart as its teacher. The best thing you can ask of the mind is for it to accept the heart's blessingful advice. The best thing you can expect from the mind is mental illumination. Illumination of the mind is the most important thing, and this illumination of the mind can take place only when the mind really goes to the heart, the aspiring heart and becomes totally one with the heart.

Question: How do we make the mind more alive and more soulful when everything seems out of touch and dull?

Sri Chinmoy: When everything is dull, when you are absolutely in the world of nowhere, you do not care for liberation, perfection, realisation or anything. At that time what actually happens is that you do not aim at any goal. When you work there should be always a goal. This goal should not be that in five minutes you will finish, but that you will do well, that your work will be perfect and flawless. You have a spiritual goal, but that doesn't mean you should try to reach your goal by hook or by crook or by using foul means. God is in front of you, within you and around you; but you are unconscious of it. When you become conscious you will see that the distance between your eyes and your nose is infinitely further than the distance between you and God. Just because you are unconscious now, He is distant. So always try to remember your goal.

Question: Is it true that you see a difference between the mind with its ideas, and the soul? Could you please explain the difference between the soul and the mind?

Sri Chinmoy: The soul is absolutely conscious of God. When we speak of the soul we speak of the conscious representative of God on earth. But it is not so with the mind. In this lifetime you have your present mind, and in your next incarnation you will have a totally different mind. But in each incarnation of yours, it is the same soul that is evolving in the process of ever-increasing perfection.

When the soul sees the truth, the soul feels that the truth is something of its very own because of the soul's own conscious oneness with the truth. Unfortunately, the mind does not have this indivisible consciousness or conscious oneness with truth or light. The mind is groping in the darkness, searching for the truth. And when it sees an iota of light it feels it has discovered God. But that is not enough. The soul, on the other hand, always sees infinity all around, and it tries to bring down the possibilities of infinite light into the field of manifestation.

The mind is very limited. It cannot think of infinity. It can think only of a finite object or person. It cannot think of two things at one time. We say that someone is thinking of so many things, but if we ask him whether he is actually thinking of two things at once, he will say no.

The soul does not think: the soul sees. In this room there is light, electric light, and I am seeing it with my eyes. But my two eyes cannot see everyone. Now I am looking at you, and I cannot see the other people. But we have another eye, the third eye, which is located between and a little above the eyebrows. This eye sees everything. It sees the past, the present and the future. The soul is in constant communion with this eye, the third eye, the eye of real vision. But the poor mind can never have free access to the third eye. That is why we say that we should either go beyond the mind or catch the mind and place it at the feet of the heart, which has a free access to the soul.

In conclusion, the difference between the mind and the soul is that the mind is bound and it is trying to bind others, whereas the soul is boundless and it is trying to free us. If I am bound, I will try to bind you also. Misery loves company. But as the soul is already free from the meshes of ignorance, naturally it will try to free the rest of the being and to free other human beings as well.

Question: When we look at very young children sometimes they seem so receptive. They seem to be conscious, as though the soul is right there. Can you see a real universal Consciousness in them?

Sri Chinmoy: Absolutely. Especially when a child smiles, at that time we see everything. When Sri Krishna was a child, his mother saw the universe in him. It is not an exaggeration, it is absolutely true. You can easily see the consciousness of the soul in children. The universal Consciousness, the transcendental Consciousness is there in seed form. Its potentiality is there. Then it germinates and becomes a plant, a small tree and then a huge banyan tree. The potentiality, the possibility, everything is there, but the problem is how to develop it once ignorance comes.

In a baby there is no mind at all. But after five or seven years, the mind begins to be developed and the mind separates everything. It gets pleasure in separating. As soon as the mind starts functioning, it gets tremendous delight in separating. If there are two things, immediately the mind will separate them. Even if there is only one thing, the mind wants to get satisfaction by dividing the thing into half.

In contrast to the mind, the heart gets satisfaction in oneness. If you live in the heart, two things will become one. Even if it sees two things, the heart will try to unite them and feel them as one.

Question: How can I feel oneness?

Sri Chinmoy: If you feel oneness for even a fraction of a second, you will feel that your human life is totally transformed and immortalised. Pray to the Supreme to grant you conscious, constant and inseparable oneness with Him. Then the question of separativity will automatically be solved. You will feel that what you have always wanted, from the dawn of your aspiration, is actually oneness, conscious oneness.

The mind has been deeply absorbed in ignorance. You have to catch the thief red-handed and take it to the judge. Then the mind problem will be solved. Here the judge is the soul. When the mind is brought to the judge, the punishment is illumination.

If you don't want to catch the mind, just take it as something unnecessary. Who wants to keep something unnecessary in his life? Even a child at the age of four doesn't keep the things that are unnecessary. If he has two pieces of bread and the second piece is unnecessary, he throws it out. If you also think of the doubting, suspicious mind as something unnecessary, you will automatically strengthen yourself and the mind will go away. When you feel that the mind is necessary, you give it some strength, but if you know that it is unnecessary, then half its strength goes away.

Question: Should we concentrate on the heart in order to control the mind?

Sri Chinmoy: You can concentrate anywhere: on the heart, on a candle or on any object. But if you are concentrating on a candle flame, please feel that nothing exists between you and the flame. Feel that nothing exists in your aspiring world but the flame; and while concentrating, feel that the inner flame is climbing high, higher, highest. The candle flame means aspiration. When you look at the flame, try to feel that you are aspiring, that there is no thought, nothing, in you or around you.

If you are concentrating on the picture of a spiritual Master, try to feel the spiritual and divine qualities of the Master. Otherwise the picture will only be a piece of paper to you. When you are looking at the picture, try to feel peace at one point. Feel that this man has peace and that that peace and nothing else is what you are going to have.

Then, when nothing is coming into your mind, you are ready for meditation. You will feel a sea of peace right in front of you. Either you are swimming in the sea of peace or someone is sailing a boat and you are there inside the boat.

Question: When we want to grow into the heart, is that always an inspiration from the heart?

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes it can be a blessingful gift from above. But sometimes it happens that the mind has become pure and it wants to grow into something divine, something illumining, something fulfilling. Then the mind can inspire the heart to go deeper and to become wider. So the mind can achieve something unique for the heart. Sometimes it may happen that it is high time for the mind to bring forward the heart and to inspire the other divine qualities of the soul to come forward.

Question: How can you take the mind to the heart? It seems impossible.

Sri Chinmoy: How can it be impossible? If it is impossible, then how have I done it?

The thing is not to pay any attention to the mind. Just feel that there are two boys in front of you. One is a mischievous boy. The other is kind, polite and nice in every sense of the term. The bad one will try to disturb you, but don't pay any attention to him. You pay attention to the nice one.

Now in this world there is something called prestige. You may think that only good people have a sense of prestige. If that bad boy bothers you for a long time, and you are not paying any attention to him, then he will say that it is beneath his dignity to bother you. I tell you, it is absolutely true. You are ignoring him, and you should ignore him because he is a very bad boy. He is pinching you all the time like a monkey, but you don't pay any attention. You just let him go on, go on, go on. He will see that all the time you are paying attention to this other boy, the heart, who is very kind, affectionate and loving. If you go on showing all your affection and love to the nice boy, then the other one will stop bothering you.

Afterwards you will see that while you are showing affection, love and concern to the heart and becoming one with the heart, there will always be competition. The mind will say, "By disturbing and bothering this person, I have gained nothing. On the contrary, he is ignoring me like anything." So the mind will immediately try to imitate the heart. First it will say, "I can also become a nice boy. I want to become nicer than he is so that I can get more attention, more affection from this person." In the beginning it will try to imitate. So here imitation is very good. I always say that in order to try something, we have to start by imitating.

After a few months or a few years, the mind will say, "I am imitating the heart, but why have I to imitate it? What is it doing? Let me try to become good in my own way. Let me try to please this person in my own way." But when the mind tries to please you in its own way, it finds this very, very difficult. Then it says, "How is it possible for the heart to please this man? How is it that I can't please him? All right, let me go deep within." When it goes deep within it sees that inside the heart is the soul. The soul is constantly offering light to the heart. That is why the heart is able to please the human being. So the mind will try to enter into the soul.

The mind finds it very difficult to enter into the soul because the soul is like the vast ocean. The mind thinks that if it enters into the ocean, it will be totally lost, like a tiny drop. It will see how much light the heart has, and when it makes a comparison between the heart's light and the soul's light, it sees that the soul has much more light than the heart. At the same time, it will see that the light that the heart has is more than enough to satisfy the person. Now the mind will feel that the light of the heart is within its reach. Just five minutes ago the mind and the heart quarrelled and fought. Even if the heart can get the soul's light, still the mind is ready to fight with the heart; but the mind is not ready to fight with the soul. The mind does not dare to fight with the soul, because it knows how powerful the light of the soul is. So the mind tries to compete with the heart's light, and while competing, it comes very close to the heart in a positive way. At that time the soul, out of its infinite compassion, offers light to the mind through the heart. The soul knows that the mind is only able to grasp or to know the capacity, quality or quantity of the heart's light and not that of the soul's light. The soul is so kind that it tries to offer a little light to the mind through the heart, according to the mind's capacity.

So from the very beginning, always try to think of the mind as a naughty boy who is creating problems all the time, and just ignore it. Think that the mind does not exist. In Indian villages, there are thousands and millions of people who don't use the mind. Does this mean that they do not exist? No, they do exist. They have the heart. Let us ignore the mind for one year or two years or ten years. We will not ignore it forever, because we know that if any part of our being remains imperfect, then we are not totally perfect or complete. But for the time being we have to be wise. It is not that we shall neglect and ignore the mind forever, far from it. But we will let the mind know that it is not sufficient, it is not complete, it is not perfect. The mind wants to convince us all the time, but let us convince the mind that it is not perfect. It is imperfect, it is weak, it is helpless. Let us go our own way to convince the mind that what it wants to be is not enough. We do not need it. We need something higher, something deeper, something infinitely more meaningful and fruitful. Previously we surrendered to the mind, but when we convince the mind, then the mind will surrender to us.

Question: How can we aspire to develop a divine quality in our heart instead of just having it in our mind?

Sri Chinmoy: Suppose you have sincerity. Unless you bring it forward through your heart, how are you going to convince yourself that you have it? If you have money in your pocket, what good is it if you don't take it out of your pocket and buy the thing that you need? Let us say that you have sincerity. Now, if you don't bring it forward and give it to mankind, then why should mankind be satisfied with you and how can you yourself be satisfied? So it is a matter of give and take. Inner cry comes from the inside to the outside. It is there already, but you have to bring it forward. It is like material wealth. If you don't bring the money out of your pocket, then how are you going to buy anything or achieve anything? It is impossible. All divine qualities you have, but you have to bring them forward. If they are not manifested, then nobody will get any benefit. You are not getting any benefit, not to speak of the world at large.

Part III — Problems of the physical mind

Question: What does it mean when they say, "The mind is the slayer of the real."?

Sri Chinmoy: "The mind is the slayer of the real." Inside the mind we have the physical mind, the mind proper, the higher mind, the overmind, and the supermind. The mind they are referring to here is the physical mind. This physical mind is always blind to something that is large, vast or infinite. Whatever exists on earth has its infinite part all over the world. When you enter into a tiny thought or a small thought, you will see that this thought covers the whole universe. But when the physical mind wants to observe or see the thought, it says that it is a tiny thought. Whatever the physical mind wants to see, it sees in an infinitesimal part. If you bring a vast amount of material in front of the physical mind, it will see one part here, another part there and still another part someplace else. It always divides, breaks and kills the entirety, the wholeness of the Truth. The very function of the physical mind is to limit the Truth, the Light, or whatever can uplift your heart and soul. That is why they say that the mind is the slayer of the Truth. The mind can never see the Truth in its entirety. It has to break, it has to give ideas, it has to make the Truth very tiny so that it can see and can appreciate it. When something is vast, the mind fails to see it. So the mind has to kill in order to appreciate.

Question: Could you comment on the saying, "Seeing is believing"?

Sri Chinmoy: When you live in the ordinary world, the unaspiring world, you have to see in order to believe. But when you aspire, first you believe the truth and then you see the truth. You have faith in something, and your faith is the precursor of your being. Normally you say, "Seeing is believing." But if you have belief in something, then only you can say that believing is seeing.

You have to have faith in your Master. You have to have faith that your Master is a realised soul and that he can grant you realisation. It is not only the Master who decides when to give you God-realisation: it is the Supreme who tells the Master the exact hour when realisation will take place. You are the instrument of God. If you have faith in your own life, that is to say, in the life of aspiration, and if you have faith in the divine Grace, then you can say that you are going to see, feel and become the Truth. So faith is the precursor of realisation. When you actually realise the Truth, at that time you will see that realisation is totally one with faith. Faith sees what is coming ahead; faith becomes totally one with what you are going to realise.

So the higher you go the more clearly you will be able to see that faith is clearing the way. It is your own faith in yourself, in your spiritual Master and in your life of aspiration that is hastening your realisation. What is realisation? Realisation means that you know that you are not the finite, you are the Infinite. It is in the finite that the Infinite is playing its favourite tune. You are also revelation, the revelation inside your Master. You are the revelation that is operating in and through your Master. When the Infinite plays through the finite and uses the finite as his very instrument, and when the finite can claim the Infinite as its own in the field of realisation and in the field of manifestation, then only God the Infinite and God the Finite become totally fulfilled in each other.

Question: How can sentimentality be transformed?

Sri Chinmoy: Sentimentality is sometimes in the mind, but it is usually in the vital. Now, if we want to transform sentimentality, then we have to transform it into something that gives us the feeling of constant and conscious progress: progress in the Light, with the Light and for the Light. When someone is sentimental, we have to know that that person is cherishing only a part of the whole. He feels that the way in which he observes the truth is the only way. If anyone hurts him, then he feels that his way of growing into the truth and becoming the truth differs from the way of that person.

Sentimentality arises because truth or reality is not getting the scope to manifest itself. If we want to conquer our sentimentality, if we don't want to be hurt, then we must grow into the Light. We must feel that we are of the Light and for the Light: the Light of the Infinite that grows in infinite shapes and forms.

We are sentimental because we don't want to be approached by some person and he has approached us. A sentimental person has a way of seeing and dealing with the truth, but he feels that his way should be the only way. But we always have to give freedom to the truth, to life and to reality so that everything can grow in its own way. That doesn't mean that when we hurt someone we will try to justify it; far from it. We have to feel inside us an adamantine will that always remains unaffected by others who want to hurt us or enter into us. Let them try to enter into us in their own way. We have to feel that we are the mighty ocean and others are only tiny rivulets. We have to know that we are the Life Infinite and we are for the Light Infinite. If we have this kind of feeling within us and if we are conscious of it, then sentimentality gives way to an infinite variety of self-expression. This expression of the Infinite Will wants to be manifested on all levels, both human and divine. If we give the proper scope to each sentimental feeling, then we will not be affected by anything. Inside us and inside others we shall let Light grow. Inside Light there is tolerance. Once we have this tolerance, we shall not suffer any more from the sentimentality-disease.

Question: Why is it that sometimes your answers seem so interesting and other times I don't find them as interesting?

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes the physical is very tired, exhausted, and the mind does not want to participate in what I am saying. Sometimes the mind wants to participate, but it feels that what I am saying is not something new. It says, "I am not gaining anything." If the mind is not gaining anything new, then it does not care for what I am saying. But when the heart wants to achieve something, the heart gets tremendous joy. Whether the answer is pleasing to the heart is of no importance. The heart will accept the message on the strength of its identification with the soul. Today the heart is very happy, so the aspiring heart is satisfied with the answers. Sometimes you like my voice and sometimes you don't like my voice. At times the disciples say, "He has spoken too much." It entirely depends on the individual disciple's consciousness and his physical standard. If the standard of the disciple is very, very low, then what I am saying will be of no interest.

Question: When we feel like going to sleep, how can we tell if it's just our mind or if we really need this sleep?

Sri Chinmoy: After your meditation early in the morning, you should feel that life is an opportunity. You should feel that if you go to sleep even for a minute, then you are really going to miss something or lose something that is extremely important to your life. This is not a threat to your conscious mind. Sometimes you don't need sleep at all; it is only your mind that is telling you that for the last two or three days you have not slept enough. But who knows, perhaps for the past few days you meditated well. You have not slept for more than seven hours during these days, true; but during these three days perhaps your meditation was extremely powerful. When your meditation is extremely powerful, then you don't need to sleep for seven or eight hours. If you feel that your meditation was not good and that now you need or deserve sleep, at that time you can try to be the master of the body. Do not allow the body to dictate to you. If the body comes and tells you, "I am so tired, please let me sleep," then it is just as if a worker were leading his boss. The workers always say, "I am so tired and exhausted. Please let me go home." But you are the boss. If you feel that your system, the worker, is really tired and exhausted, then you allow the body to sleep. But you be the judge. Otherwise, it is natural for the body to act like that. It will always try to convince you that it is very sick and weak. It knows that when it is hungry you will feed it. It is like a worker who knows that the boss has a big heart. The boss will always give him his salary because he has convinced the boss that he is sick all the time. So when you give in to the body, please feel that you are the owner of the body. Your soul is the owner of the body and you are one with the soul. If you see that the body is tired and exhausted and it cannot move an inch, then naturally at that time the body deserves sleep. But if you allow the body to dictate to you, then the body will tell you every day that it needs more sleep. Right after meditation it will say, "Now that I have done my duty, I deserve three or four hours of sleep." So you be the judge, and not the body. Let your soul and your aspiration be the judge of the body. Then, I tell you, you are not going to make any mistakes.

Question: Sometimes when I fall asleep, it's not because my mind is tired, but because it is roaming all over the place. What can you do when your mind starts roaming?

Sri Chinmoy: Think of the mind as a load of rubbish. Feel that everything in your mind is dirty and filthy. Just collect it, look for a garbage bag and then fill it and throw it away.

Part IV — General questions on mind and intellect

Question: Must one use the mind to manifest inner creativity?

Sri Chinmoy: No. The thing is that it depends on the seeker, the instrument. If the instrument wants to manifest his mental capacity, he will do it. Again, if the instrument does not want to use the mind at all, if he wants to use the heart or if he wants to manifest in a psychic way, then he can do it without using the mind at all. In most, or in practically all of my writings, talks, paintings and poems, I don't use the mind. I use the heart and the soul. Again, if I want to use the mind while painting or while writing poems, who can prevent it? Inspiration exists. It is just a question of bringing something from another world. Now, if I want to manifest that world here, I can use the mind, but the best thing is to use the heart. If I manifest on the strength of the heart, only then will it be appreciated. Otherwise, if I use the mind, it will be appreciated and admired for four months, five months or six months, and then people will find many things wrong with it. But if I use the heart, then there can be nothing wrong with it. Even if it is not perfect perfection on the outside, inside everything is perfect. So if you want you can use the mind to manifest inner creativity. Otherwise, you can do it without the mind.

Question: How do you know if your inner being or your mind is talking to you?

Sri Chinmoy: How do you know if it is your mind or the inner voice speaking? If the inner voice is speaking to you, then immediately you get tremendous joy. Suppose you have a desire and the inner voice tells you not to fulfil this desire. By listening to the inner voice you will get infinitely more joy than by fulfilling the desire. Whereas if you get the message from your mind, for a split second you will get joy or satisfaction. Then your mind itself will tell you that you have not done the right thing, that you are a fool, or that you could have asked for something better.

If the message is from your mind, even if the desire has been fulfilled, you will not be fulfilled. What you wanted you have received, but you will feel miserable and you will say, "Oh, God does not care for me; that's why He has given this to me. I wanted to have this particular thing and God has given it to me just because He wanted to get rid of me since I am bothering Him and nagging Him all the time. He has given it to me but He does not really care for me."

But if the inner voice has given the message, even if it says no to your desire, you will immediately say, "God is so kind to me. He has saved me. If that desire was fulfilled then I would have been doomed. Out of His infinite Bounty He has warned me and He has saved me. I am so grateful to Him." If the message is from your inner voice, you will feel great joy that the inner voice has taken the trouble to be your guide, that it has such concern for you. This is the way you can know whether it is the voice of the inner being or whether it is the mental voice talking to you.

Question: What is the best way to convince the mind that spirituality is the only thing worth having?

Sri Chinmoy: Don't try to convince the mind that spirituality is the only thing worth having. Only try to pay all attention to the heart. The mind will become jealous and it will run after you. Now you are running after the mind as if it were a mischievous child. You are telling it you don't want it. But, like a mother, you should ignore the mischievous child and go to some other child. Then the mischievous child will come running. If you go to the right person, the heart, which is simple, humble, sweet and polite, immediately the mind will come racing after you because the mind also wants attention. Then when the mind comes to you, you will illumine the mind with your soul's light. No matter how many times you tell a naughty boy not to do something, he won't listen. But when he sees that somebody else is getting attention by doing something else, then he will start listening.

Question: Could you explain what you mean when you describe the mind as a circle?

Sri Chinmoy: You have to know that the mind is a circle. Within that circle you can do many things, you can go many places. But you cannot go outside that circle, beyond the boundaries. These boundaries always remain the same. It is the same circle when you are four years old as it is when you are ninety. The heart is also a circle, but in the case of the heart the circle is constantly expanding and growing until it is infinite. In the heart there are no boundaries.

Question: Many of your disciples are professionals such as engineers and scientists, who spend the majority of their day working with their minds. Your path, the path of the heart, requires that we remain in the spiritual heart in order to make the fastest progress. What can we do when we are forced to remain in the mind in our job situations?

Sri Chinmoy: You have to feel that your thoughts are like food. In the kitchen you can either leave food on a counter and let it spoil, or you can put it into the refrigerator and preserve it. You can let your day's thoughts spoil in your mind after work, or you can put them away. After work you can either stay in the mind with your thoughts, or you can take the mind to the heart.

Question: I have noticed that some of your disciples never ask questions, whereas some of the more mentally oriented ones never stop asking questions. What is your comment on this?

Sri Chinmoy: One person sees a mango tree and says, "Oh, what a beautiful tree and what beautiful mangoes. Let me count the leaves on this tree first and then eat the mangoes." His realisation is long delayed. Another person enters the garden and upon seeing the mango tree runs immediately to the tree and eats the mangoes.

Question: How hard should I study?

Sri Chinmoy: If you care about your studies, you must try to get very good grades. If you get good marks that itself is a manifestation. When you secure good marks it will help you in the future expansion of our mission. You will be able to hold a better job and so forth. But if I have asked you to pay only a little attention to your studies and to devote yourself to manifestation, then it is a different matter. You have left Puerto Rico and are in Florida in order to study. This is the time for you to study wholeheartedly. In your case, I advise you to do your studies first and inside your studies you must have a burning aspiration. You must convince yourself that you are studying not for the sake of study but for a higher purpose so that you will be able to serve us better. Do not spend all of your time praying and meditating or mixing with your brother and sister disciples to receive peace, light and bliss. That would be a mistake. Don't give up going to the Centre, but do not be involved with doing selfless service. The very purpose of study must not be neglected — first things first. Your studies, which are a form of aspiration, must be given first importance.

Question: Can the academic life and the spiritual life go hand in hand?

Sri Chinmoy: Please do not separate your academic life from your aspiring life. You have to feel that you are not studying to become a mental or an intellectual giant. No, you are studying to become good so that you can be of better service to mankind. If you are studying a particular subject in order to teach it to someone, then you will do it devotedly, with utmost love. On the other hand, if you are studying because you want to show others that you are far superior to them, then there will always be problems, because you will be at the top and they will be at the foot of the tree. If you are studying in order to become good, then if I am at the foot of the tree, you will also want to be at the foot of the tree. You will not feel that you are becoming an intellectual giant and your friends and acquaintances are all inferior to you. Goodness and good service are nothing but aspiration, pure aspiration. Goodness is always aspiration, but greatness is always mixed with the vital. The moment I use my heart of goodness, I see that everybody is divine, everybody is beautiful. You exist as well as I. But when I use my vital of greatness, there is no second person. Only I exist and nobody else. But in the end we have to realise that there is no "I", "you" or "we"; there is only God.

Question: When a person meditates, what effect does it have on his mind?

Sri Chinmoy: When someone meditates properly, divinely and unconditionally, he is bound to feel peace of mind and he is bound to feel that he has a very large heart, where he can house the entire world. When someone meditates properly, he feels spontaneous joy. Sometimes he may not know where this joy is coming from, but it actually comes from his own meditation. When a person meditates whole-heartedly, from the depths of his heart, he feels that every moment is an opportunity to do something great, to feel something divine, to grow into something supreme, something transcendental.

From:Sri Chinmoy,The silent mind, Agni Press, 1977
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