Question: How can you tell if a fellow disciple is having a spiritual problem?

Sri Chinmoy: It will be reflected in his face. If he has a spiritual problem, he can't hide it. He may be able to hide it from you for a day or two, but he can't hide it from me for even a second. He may hide it from you when he is just in front of you, face to face. But if you secretly watch him when he turns around or goes to his desk to work, immediately you will be able to catch it. If he doesn't want anybody to know he is having a problem, for a few minutes while he is face to face with you he may fool you by offering you a very cheerful face, a face absolutely beaming with joy. But when he is off guard, he will be a totally different person.

The only thing is that there is no such thing as a "spiritual problem". The problems that affect your spiritual life are all mental problems, vital problems, emotional problems, physical problems. Doubt is not spirituality. If someone is suffering from doubt, he cannot say he is having spiritual problems. He is having mental problems. We use the word "spirituality" for everything, but to say "spiritual problem" is wrong. Spirituality has come into the world to save us, not to create problems for us. It is the forces that stand against spirituality that create problems. What is spirituality? It is man's wisdom and God’s Compassion. So how can one have spiritual problems?

If one does not have faith in God or in his Guru or in himself, it is not a spiritual problem, it is a mental problem. And if one is living an impure life, it is not a spiritual problem but a vital or an emotional problem. If one is a very greedy fellow and cannot control his weight, then he has a physical problem. If you use the term "spiritual problem", then you are blaming the wrong party.

When anything goes wrong, very often people blame their Guru or blame God. But if they were sincere, they would blame only themselves, because they are the ones who have made friends with doubt, fear, jealousy and insecurity. These things are problems to those who welcome them and embody them, but they are not spiritual problems.

To come back to your question, you can know in five minutes if someone has a problem, if you observe him at a distance and not face to face. Also, your heart of love can tell you, because your heart will not get any response from that person. When you are speaking with a fellow disciple, that means you are offering your love; you are opening your heart's door wide to him. And what do you expect? You expect him to enter into your heart so that you can give him concern, love and joy. But if you have kept your door open in vain and the guest does not come, you will know that something is wrong with him. Otherwise, he would have kept his appointment. Your oneness-heart is wide open, and you are eagerly waiting for the guest whom you have invited. But if he does not appear, then you can know that this person is having problems, either on the physical plane, the vital plane or the mental plane. But spiritual problems do not exist. We say "spiritual problems" because we are practising spirituality and we are accustomed to using that term. But all our problems are either on the physical, the vital or the mental plane.