Question: Is your ultimate feeling about the disciples one of frustration or satisfaction?

Sri Chinmoy: My ultimate feeling, from the human point of view, is that most probably our mission will be a disaster unless the instruments that I already have totally change their attitude towards the spiritual life, or I get new instruments. If I do not get new instruments, and if the instruments that I already have do not change radically, then my mission will be a failure. But as I told you before, I will not accept defeat or failure. So if the instruments that I already have do not change — the close ones or dear ones, the good ones and also the bad ones — then new ones will come and replace them.

I have kept these instruments for a long time, a very long time. They are like water in a vessel. Now the water is not pure enough or clean enough to be drunk. I have to purify this water, or I have to throw out the old water and bring in pure, new water. The mirrors that I need to see through, which are my disciples, have become clouded and dusty. I cannot see my face in them any more. Either I have to clean them or I have to get new mirrors so that I can see inside all the disciples an exact prototype of the Supreme within me. Either I have to get the inner assurance that I will be able to clean the mirrors and make them clear enough so that I can see my highest Self reflected there, or I have to throw away the present mirrors and get new ones. It entirely depends on the disciples' acceptance or rejection of me and on my acceptance or rejection of them.

There is a saying: morning shows the day. But that saying can easily be challenged and nullified. We know there have been many, many great human beings whose early lives were dark, obscure and meaningless, but eventually they became very great. Here also, some of the disciples could not make a brilliant start at the very beginning of their lives. They went very slowly. Their earthly lives were not at all satisfactory from the spiritual point of view. But once they joined our path, they ran fast, faster, fastest. In their case, you can say that morning did not show the day. In the beginning they went through all kinds of undivine, unaspiring experiences. They did not pray right from the dawn of their human existence the way some Indian seekers have done. But even if they did not aspire right from the age of four or seven or ten, even if they first entered into the ordinary life, the desiring life, the emotional life, once they accepted our path, at that time they ran very, very, very fast.

Each spiritual Master has two sides: the human side and the divine side. Although the Master is totally one with the Absolute, he sometimes measures the earthly success and the earthly progress of his children in an earthly way, because he has taken a physical body. When he is in the physical body, at that time he judges and he has to judge many things according to earth's capacity, using earthly measurement. When he judges the disciples' ignorance, lack of receptivity and other shortcomings — their doubt, disbelief, lethargy, insecurity and so many other discouraging qualities — then he feels sad and miserable, because he has come into the world to conquer these very things. He does not separate himself from his disciples; he feels that it is he who has failed, for he was the one who challenged the disciples' ignorance. He hoped that the disciples would come to realise that they are not ignorance as such. Ignorance is something from outside that has entered into them and now they are trying to get rid of it.

When the Master accepts a disciple, it is understood that ignorance the thief has already entered into the disciple's house. The Owner of the house is the disciple, and the Master is his friend. The friend and the owner of the house have agreed to search for the thief, catch him and throw him out of the house. But what has happened is that the owner does not sincerely try to search for the thief and throw him out of the house. Here is where the problem lies.

In spite of having the divine reality as his own, very own, the human in the Master becomes one with the earthly reality. The Master feels sad because he wanted to accomplish something for earth with the human capacity helping him at every moment. But then the Master’s divine wisdom and his inseparable, compassionate oneness with humanity's incapacity come to the fore. With his divine aspect, with his compassionate aspect, he becomes one with humanity's incapacity. At that time, his sadness disappears, because oneness — compassionate oneness itself — gives him satisfaction. He feels that all is not lost since Eternity is at his disposal and at the disposal of his disciples. He has nothing to lose and nothing to gain. As long as he is of Eternity and his disciples are sure of Eternity, there can be no dissatisfaction.

But again, the Master has come into the world for a short period of time, and his instruments are also on earth in this particular incarnation for a short time. If the Absolute Supreme wants both the Master and the disciples to work together and accomplish something at a given time, then the human in the Master suffers, the disciples suffer and also the compassionate aspect that compelled the Master to touch the earth plane suffers.

The compassionate aspect of the Master has two roles: one is identified with Heaven, one is identified with earth. The one that is identified with the earth-consciousness in the gross physical form feels sad because here everything is limited and bound, and things are not accomplished at the given time. But the aspect that is Heaven-free does not touch the earth-bound consciousness. It deals with human incapacity on a higher level — you can say in a theoretical way, not in a practical way. On this higher level, compassion becomes the observer and not the doer. When compassion becomes the observer, at that time there is no dissatisfaction. But when compassion becomes the doer, then it wants to achieve something for the Absolute with earthly human beings in a human way. And if its goal is not achieved at a particular time during a short life-span, then that compassion-aspect feels sad.

If we accept only the spiritual aspect of life as our own, then there is no time limit; we are bound to be happy no matter what we achieve or do not achieve. But when the Master touches the physical here on earth, then he feels miserable because he has not accomplished what he should have accomplished.