Question: If I have worked at length doing an important activity, I want to know if it is all right to miss meditation sometimes in order to get some sleep.

Sri Chinmoy: It is a matter of giving importance. To what do you give importance? Suppose something important is taking place and you are falling asleep. You have worked very hard and you can justify it. But by justifying it you are gaining nothing. You can say that you have worked for Guru and he will forgive you. But you also have to ask whether Guru has given you permission to miss it. If I tell someone not to come to the meeting, then I take the responsibility. I will give him the result of his meditation. If you work, I am responsible. But for the next occasion, if you do not ask my permission, then I may not take the responsibility. You will say that you are tired, but I will say that you are lazy and lethargic.

There are various ways to keep yourself awake. Do japa; say, "Supreme, Supreme, Supreme" as fast as possible. If that does not work, wash your face and eyes, and if even that does not work, then take a small drop of mustard oil and put it in the outer corner of your eyes. Rub it gently into the skin in the corner of the eyes. It will sting and burn your eyes, but it will not injure or destroy them. And it will keep you awake. That little bit of burning is nothing compared to what you get: peace, light and bliss.

The real problem is your sincerity. If you are sincere then you value everything correctly. When you know that something helps you, you do it. You have to give the right importance to things. You have to say that you will not dine with ignorance, and you will dine with light.

Some people feel that if they have meditated for two hours, then they can do anything they want: watch TV programmes, go to the movies, read silly books, or mix with unspiritual people. These things may be very good in the world's eyes, but spiritually they are nothing. For millions of years you have lived in sleep. Now do you want still to do things that give you nothing spiritually? You have to feel that your relaxation can actually negate your meditation. Suppose you have meditated for two hours. You can't meditate all day long. You have meditated well, but now you cannot go on. So what can you do? You can read my writings. When your eyes get tired, you can listen to my music, and when you can no longer do that, then you can look at prints of some of my paintings.

When you have done those things, you can sleep. You see that your Guru has quite a few things to offer — he has done hundreds of things. Instead of wasting your time with gossip and other worldly things, you can run the fastest. If you continue running you will make the fastest progress.

This is how you can live your life. At work you can repeat the name of the Supreme many times. When you come home you can meditate, read my writings, listen to my music and look at my pictures. That way you can stay in my consciousness all the time. Run the fastest when you can. If you give up running you are off the track, and then it will take a very long time to reach the goal.