Part VSCA 1183-1186. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions on receptivity and surrender in the Philippines on 30 January 1993.
Question: I want to have higher experiences in my meditation.Sri Chinmoy: When Swami Vivekananda was a young man, he used to go to various spiritual Masters and say, "Tell me frankly, have you seen God?" The reply was usually, "I have read the Vedas and the Upanishads. There God is mentioned, but I do not have firsthand experience of God." Since he could not get any satisfactory answer, Naren [Swami Vivekananda] continued to ask the same question. It became his mantra.
One day, Naren came to Sri Ramakrishna and asked him the same question, "Have you seen God?" Sri Ramakrishna immediately said, "Yes, I have seen God face to face. I see Him more vividly than I see you and I can prove it to you."
So Sri Ramakrishna accepted the challenge and, in a few years' time, he showed Naren the state of Nirvana. At once, Naren cried out, "What are you doing? What are you doing? I have my father, I have my mother, I have my brother and sister at home!"
It was he who challenged Sri Ramakrishna by asking, "Have you seen God?" Then, when Sri Ramakrishna showed his power, Naren said, "What are you doing?" Naturally, Sri Ramakrishna insulted him. "You rascal," he said, "you ask everybody if they have seen God and what happened? When I wanted to show you God, you were thinking of your father and mother."
This lesson applies to many of my disciples. You feel that if I give you a high inner experience, you will be the happiest person. But when the time comes, what actually happens is that you become frightened. You do not see any connecting link between your own consciousness and the inner experience. There is a gap and you feel totally lost because there are no steps, no rope, to bridge that gap. If there were steps, then you would know that you can come down again. But since you do not see anything in between, while you are being lifted up all the attachments of the world, all your dear ones, suddenly come forward.
Vivekananda had prayed and meditated for six or seven years. But when the time came and Sri Ramakrishna wanted to give him a higher experience, he got frightened because he knew that if he remained in that state he would not be able to think of his family —- and he was so dear to them. That is why he cried out, "What are you doing? What are you doing? I do not want this!" Here he was literally dying for God, but when somebody accepted his challenge, he became frightened.
It is very easy for us, when we are seated comfortably, to say we want higher experiences, but when somebody really wants to give them to us, that is the time fear comes. Vivekananda prayed for so many years, and he was a mature soul from previous incarnations, but when the time came, he was not ready.
Again, a few years later, when he was ready, he passed his examination. His father died and he did not have any money for food for himself and his family. Sri Ramakrishna was examining Vivekananda. He told him, "Go into the temple and ask Mother Kali for material wealth." Sri Ramakrishna himself could easily have given a little money to support the family of his dearest disciple, but instead he said, "On this particular night, your prayer will definitely be granted."
For three days in a row, Vivekananda's mother had not been able to feed him and it was beneath her dignity to ask for food. How much poverty that family suffered! So Vivekananda went to Mother Kali's temple three times and each time he uttered exactly the same prayer: "Mother, give me the light of knowledge, the light of discrimination and the light of renunciation."
When he came out, Sri Ramakrishna was waiting for him. Sri Ramakrishna said, "What are you doing? Here your brother is starving, your mother is starving. You have only to ask and Mother Kali will give you material wealth." But Vivekananda could not ask.
So the same Vivekananda had two completely opposite experiences. When his divinity came forward, he could not ask for earthly things. But earlier, when God was giving him the experience of divinity, at that time he said, "Oh no, I have got my father and mother."
The spiritual Master has to wait for receptivity to develop. Otherwise, if all of a sudden he tries to give the disciple a higher experience, he will simply break the vessel. It is better to use a slow process.
The negative forces are so powerful. The ultimate Victory always belongs to God, but one negative force is enough to hold back a seeker's progress for years and years. The whole being has surrendered to God's Will, but one undivine force, like an insect, is enough to make the surrender incomplete. You look at the person and you see only surrender in the entire being but one particular place, one spot, has not made the surrender.
Let us say we have a large quantity of milk. In appearance, it is absolutely white. But one tiny drop of poison is enough to ruin it. Who can trace that drop? But, if I drink that milk, that drop has the capacity to destroy me.
So I am saying that one drop, one negative thought, one thought that is not surrendering, can ruin your progress. If you enter into the vital, the physical, the heart, you will see that everything is surrendered. But inside the mind, one little drop has not surrendered. Such a tiny insect has ruined the whole system.
In the case of some disciples, when they have this particular experience, they immediately think, "My entire being is not surrendering." No, the entire being has surrendered, but one portion has not. One hostile insect has entered. Just take a needle and remove it. Then you will see that the whole consciousness, the entire being —- body, vital, mind and heart —- wants to make cheerful and unconditional surrender.
Some disciples suffer because they cannot make cheerful and unconditional surrender. I tell you, it is a one-second job — one second, not even five seconds. One second is enough. In one second, if you remove the cork, then surrender will come. Of course, disciples who are not at that stage may take five years or five incarnations.
You can also liken it to a stove. You are turning the knob, but you are not getting a flame. The flame is not very far away —- perhaps a quarter of an inch. Even less! An eighth of an inch. But because the flame is not coming, you are disappointed and you think there is no flame inside the stove. Try! Try just a little more and you will get the flame. Unfortunately, that little extra bit you do not try. Every time you turn the control to the same point, and then you stop. Sometimes you do not even reach that point. You have to turn it just a little more and then you will see the joy of surrender.
I see that there are a few disciples who are not getting the joy of surrender because of that little fraction. It is not that they have to come a long way in order to make surrender, no. Of course, there are some who do have to come from an unimaginable distance. But others have come so far, they only need to go a little further. They do have the capacity, but what has happened? They are stuck at one point. And sometimes they even begin to go backwards again. Then cheerful surrender, willingness-surrender, oneness-surrender, all go away.
If they can go just a little further, just a little, then they will see that the joy they wanted from life is there. They will find infinitely more joy than they ever dreamt of.
Because they cannot come up to that point, they carry all the miseries, all the doubts, all the fears. Today they doubt themselves, tomorrow they doubt the Master, the day after tomorrow, they doubt the whole world. I always say, if you doubt me, no harm. But do not doubt yourself. If you doubt yourself, your spirituality will end there.
If one is really sincere, however, it is easier to have faith in the spiritual Master than to have faith in oneself. That is also true from the practical point of view. The Master has achieved many, many things on the outer plane as well as in the inner plane. We can easily identify with his achievements.
It is so easy to have more faith in somebody else than in oneself. When we think of our own lives, we are tortured by our shortcomings, our failures, our weaknesses. Perhaps that other person is also being tortured by the same problems, but you do not actually know how many times he has failed or made mistakes.
As an individual, how rarely you think of yourself as a good person! Let us forget about being a perfect person. Your incapacities come forward much more than your capacities in your day-to-day life. As soon as you start your day, incapacity is there to greet you.
Right now, if anybody asks me to run a mile, I will tell them, "Oh no, I cannot run. I have had my breakfast, my stomach is full, plus I have not taken proper stretching exercises." My immediate answer is no. So you see how incapacity is present in our daily lives at every moment. Capacity comes very, very rarely. The mind immediately brings forward incapacity and incapacity comes in the form of negativity: "No, I do not want to do this or that."
How many times are we cheerful when we are doing something? When we come out of the house in the morning, on how many days do we have a childlike burst of energy? You can ask yourself, how many days do you come out of the house like a child, absolutely full of energy, and how many days do you appear, full of lethargy, as if you were dragging a dead body? Early in the morning, you prayed and meditated. You did everything good and divine. But then, when you stepped out of the house, you were assailed by negative forces —- lethargy, sciatica, stiffness and so on. Perhaps if ten doctors were to examine you at that time, they would all agree that you do not have sciatica or any other medical complaint. Why then do you feel like that? It is because your mind has given you so many physical complaints. And this is happening in your life only because of one thing: lack of cheerfulness.
We can never have cheerfulness by possessing something or by becoming something. Cheerfulness itself is something that we become. Right now we feel that by getting a certain material thing or by pleasing someone we will get cheerfulness. No. Real heart's cheerfulness we can never get by pleasing ourselves in our own way. The mind's pleasure is what we actually get. For five minutes or five days, we will experience the mind's pleasure. But the heart's cheerfulness, which is spontaneous oneness with God's Will, or with your Master's will, or with your own soul's will, you will never get by possessing. It will come only from surrendering to your soul's will, or your Master's will, or God's Will.