Question: Among the spiritual qualities, you very rarely speak about loyalty. Is it something you value?

Sri Chinmoy: Loyalty is bound to come if there is obedience. If I tell you, "Do this," then if you are obedient, loyalty is automatically there. What else is loyalty, if not obedience? When a servant is loyal to his master, it means he is obedient. If the master says, "Go and do this for me," he immediately goes. But obedience is something infinitely deeper than loyalty. When you obey your spiritual Master or when you obey your boss, at that time there is a feeling of oneness. You love your Master or you have respect or admiration for your boss. Your obedience is bringing you closer and closer. But when you are merely loyal to someone, at that time there is a kind of separativity. When I am loyal to a person, that means I will not deceive him, I will not betray him. But there is a sense of separation. Somebody is great, and I am inferior to him. That is why I am loyal. But when there is obedience, in between you and the other person there is love. I love my Master; my Master loves me. Therefore he commands me, and I obey him.

Obedience is infinitely more important than loyalty. Again, if one has obedience, it will house loyalty. The Master will not tell his disciples, "Do not be loyal to me." It is understood. If I love my Master, if I obey my Master, then how can I be disloyal to him? Immediately my heart will break. If I am going to betray him even for a second, my heart will bleed. It is because of my obedience that I cannot go this side, I cannot go that side. I feel that my freedom is inside my obedience. Obedience houses freedom. And if you have freedom inside your obedience, then you are bound to be loyal.

Loyalty is very, very inferior in comparison to obedience. In the outer life, a servant may be very loyal to his master or a worker may be very loyal to his boss. But obedience is like the ocean — it will absolutely engulf everything. If you are obedient, then you are bound to be loyal. Loyalty is on the physical level or, you can say, the practical level, while obedience is on a much higher level. Obedience immediately brings oneness.