Individuality and personality

The lotus as a flower has its own individual identity, but each of its petals also has its own individuality. Some petals are small, some big and each petal has its own shape. When we look at the petals of the lotus separately, we get tremendous joy because we are getting the individuality and the personality of each petal and, at the same time, when we look at the petals as a whole, we get the individuality and the personality of the entire lotus.

You are all in my boat together, but I don’t want the disciples to be like some military gymnasts I once saw. How uniform they were! When we exercise too much uniformity, then everything becomes monotonous, mechanical, machine-like — there is no life in it. Here we are staying together and working together, but new inspiration, new light is also entering into us. Today some inspiration is entering into you, and that very inspiration can enter into another disciple a few hours later.

When you are meditating, your own individuality and personality are there, but you are also expanding. When you look at someone else during your meditation, you extend your consciousness. You may not recognise it, you may not believe it or you may not understand it, but it does happen. If you are meditating in a collective way, you will see that your child is an extension of your consciousness and your husband or wife is an extension of your consciousness. For example, when people meditate in front of me, even if their children are not here, sometimes I see the son or daughter in the mother’s or father’s heart or face. Sometimes the children feel very deeply moved by the parents’ meditation even when the children are at home.

You are expanding, expanding, but as an individual you are still yourself, and your wife is still your wife, and your children are still your children. Your family looks so beautiful when it is together here; I see all of you as a unit growing together. Although your daughter may be very young, you are both in the same family. I will never say that your child is so inferior to you that she must not stand next to you or be with you. No, I will simply be moved when I see you together.

Let us think of the play I wrote about Lord Krishna. One disciple had the role of Lord Krishna. From the spiritual point of view he held the highest part; he became Lord Krishna. He played his role extremely well and I was most proud of him. Again, Krishna’s friend Sudam, the most insignificant person, the poorest of all, also did his part well. Krishna was the king, the emperor, the Lord of the empire, the Lord of creation; and the other one, Sudam, had no status at all. When they met, the friend had his own individuality and personality and Krishna also had his own status, but when both of them talked they became one. At that time I was not able to separate Sudam or anybody else in the play from Krishna. They went together. Everybody’s personality and individuality all came together and it became a grand play. If we want to separate the characters, we can; one is Krishna and the other is Arjuna. But when both work together, they don’t lose their personality. When both mix together, they don’t lose their individuality. On the contrary, their personality and individuality are strengthened because one person’s force is entering into the other and vice versa. Additional strength goes from one person to the other. If we belong to the same family, then my strength will enter into you and it will increase your own individuality and personality, and your strength will enter into me.

Suppose you are doing a high meditation at the Centre. A close friend of yours who is not a disciple of mine may come into your consciousness. The soul of your friend may be unable to come to me directly, but that soul may feel a great affinity with your soul so it wants help from you. You yourself are getting help from me, but for your friend’s soul real help will come from you, and not directly from me. Of course, it is not the same as your thinking about a member of your family who is a disciple. In this case, the person has not accepted me as his spiritual Master whereas the member of your family has consciously accepted me in every possible way. In his case, the soul gets direct help from me because consciously the heart and soul of that person are here with me.

Each quality in our life, each capacity in our nature, is a kind of individuality and personality. An individual’s qualities or capacities are separating him from somebody else, so each quality is an individuality. Somebody can be a musician and also an architect, a carpenter and a cook. How many capacities one person can show! And these we can take as his individuality and personality. As an individual he is embodying the capacity for music, architecture, carpentry, cooking and so on. Everything he is doing as the same individual, but is it creating a conflict in his life? No. He is harmonising everything because he knows that all these capacities are his and he claims them as his very own. If you take the capacities as individual factors in his life, then you will see that each capacity has its own individuality and personality. But since the individual can house all the capacities perfectly in his life, the music capacity will not be threatened by the carpentry capacity; they will go perfectly together. Different capacities are like individualities and personalities, yet they are going together perfectly. In a group, somebody is a singer, somebody is a dancer, somebody is a poet; but they all harmonise. The group is only an extension of the individuals’ consciousness. Similarly, nobody is losing anything when he has a variety of capacities inside him.

A piano has many keys. Each key has its distinct note or sound, a distinct individuality and personality. When the keys are played together, they don’t lose their individuality and personality but they act as a unit and create something really special. In an orchestra, so many instruments are being played, and each instrument represents or embodies a kind of individuality and personality. But when they are played together, they create such a divine atmosphere; they bring down Heaven on earth. If you take them separately, each one will have its own individuality, but it will not be able to achieve that Kingdom of Heaven on earth. So we expand and we strengthen ourselves when we mix together.

From:Sri Chinmoy,A twentieth-century seeker, Agni Press, 1977
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