Question: With team sports the way they are — football, hockey and so on — there is considerable violence. Should these sports continue the way they are constituted or should there be a change in them to make them less violent?

Sri Chinmoy: Everything depends on the inner awakening. We can play these sports in a foul way. Again, we can play absolutely clean games based on our oneness with the other players. Ordinarily, most players want to win by hook or by crook. They will not hesitate in the least to adopt foul means. The same individuals, if they enter into the spiritual life, will hesitate ten million times before they adopt foul means. This is the difference. Once their conscience is awakened, they will say, "I will not adopt any foul means." Their aspiring hearts and evolved lives will not permit them to adopt foul means. Before people enter into the spiritual life, the goal is to win by hook or by crook — by any means possible. Then, once we enter into the spiritual life, we do our best to become a conscious instrument of God. Previously our goal was to be first, nothing else. But now we embody the Saviour Christ's supreme message: "Let Thy Will be done."

To come back to your question, it depends on the development of consciousness. A game can be played properly, with mutual respect and love. Again, it can be played with a destructive attitude right from the beginning. In that case, it is the destructive mind that is operating, not the heart. If the heart is operating, you know nobody is going to consciously harm anyone. But when you play with the mind, it is all division and destruction. The heart will play the same game, but with a different attitude.

If the hearts of these players come to the fore, they will play in the right way. Then they are bound to get extra joy from the game. Right now they are not getting joy from the game as such. They are getting joy only when they become winners. Then they feel that they have conquered the whole world. When they lose, they feel that they have lost the whole world. This moment they are the possessors of the world; next moment they are the losers of the world. But if we are seekers, God-lovers, truth-lovers, then when we play, everything is a joy. It is like children playing; they get joy from the playing itself. If you place twenty children in a beautiful garden, they will play all the time so happily.

The game itself has to give happiness, not our so-called success. If we depend on our success for our happiness, then today we will be happy and tomorrow we will feel miserable. But if we play the game cheerfully, then that will be at once our happiness and our success.