Question: Does one have to wait until one is on the verge of realisation before one becomes consciously aware of the soul?

Sri Chinmoy: No, you do not have to be on the verge of realisation to be consciously aware of the soul. Far from it. If you have real devotion, your devotion can easily make you consciously aware of the soul. So many of my disciples have experienced this. Not only have they felt their souls, but also they have exhibited the soul’s consciousness for a day or a month or even a few years because of their sincere devotion. Sincere devotion can perform miracles at every moment. It is like a sharp knife. It will just cut into pieces anything that is unclean, impure or unwilling in you. Even unreadiness it will not allow.

Someone may fold his hands, but his devotion may be totally false or superficial. The hands are folded, but the mind is roaming somewhere else. When you fold your hands, you have to feel that your very heartbeat is entering into the nerves of your fingers. If there is real devotion, how can a disciple do anything wrong? Devotion has a very powerful magnetic pull that immediately draws the Master’s compassion and affection. Even if you are lost in a dark cave, immediately the Master’s compassion will pull you out. If someone has pure devotion even for a minute, he will make real inner progress. With your devotion if you have caught someone who is affectionate, powerful and illumining, or if that person has caught you, will he not give you what he has and what he is?

When the Master receives the disciple’s devotion, he responds, not only with compassion and affection, but also with divine pride. Divine pride is not like human pride. It does not say, “Oh, that person is so devoted to me.” No, divine pride says, “How wonderful that the disciple is pleasing and manifesting the divine in himself.” It is the kind of pride that the parent feels when the child does the right thing. Since the disciple is the Master’s spiritual son or daughter, the Master feels divine pride when the disciple does the right thing, the spiritual thing.