Question: Do you agree that some people are led to spirituality through philosophy first?

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely. Not only have some people received a promotion from philosophy to spirituality, but they have eventually become spiritual giants. Sri Aurobindo himself said that he began as a poet; then he became a philosopher; then he became a spiritual aspirant and then he became a great spiritual Master. Vivekananda was also deeply immersed in philosophy. In his student days, he studied Western philosophers in great depth. He used to argue with people extensively based on his philosophical knowledge and wisdom. Then he turned to spirituality. Similarly, there are many who had a philosophical background at the beginning, and then they entered into spirituality and became great spiritual figures.

In my case, poetry, philosophy, spirituality and yoga — everything — went together, so that I could become a jack of all trades, master of none! When I was young, poetry entered into my life, and by the age of twenty-two or twenty-three, I had studied almost all the Western philosophers. By the age of twenty-five I knew a considerable amount of Western philosophy. But now I pray to God to remove even the little I remember of Western philosophy from my mind. Now I pray to God: “Do not keep philosophy inside my mind. Keep only spirituality.”