Sri Chinmoy: I feel improvement is necessary in order for us to make progress. In this world we are happy only when we make progress. When I studied English, in the beginning I had to learn the alphabet, the ABCs. Now at this age, if I had not studied hundreds and thousands of English books, I would have felt miserable because my teacher taught me the ABCs so many years ago. So that is called progress. This progress is giving me satisfaction. What we want is satisfaction. If we are satisfied with what we have right now, and we do not want to go forward, then we will not be happy.
Again, we have to know that there is a great difference between competition and progress. When we want to compete with others, sometimes we adopt foul means — by hook or by crook we try to win. Then we bring to the fore our feelings of rivalry and almost animal propensities, animal qualities. We are only thinking of how we can defeat others, how we can lord it over others. But when we are competing with ourselves, we know that we have to purify our inner existence in order to improve. So here is the difference. When it is a matter of self-transcendence, we have to depend on our inner purity, inner love, vastness and oneness with the rest of the world. We try to develop universal goodwill, whereas, while competing with others, we may not have those feelings. At that time, we may see others as rivals, we are on the border of enmity with them. It can be as if we are fighting with enemies when we are competing. But when we are trying to transcend ourselves, we cannot fight with ourselves. If we can go ten steps ahead today, tomorrow we will try to cover twenty steps, and the day after thirty steps.