Question: I have read descriptions of what happened when Buddha reached Nirvana, with the serpents and images of women coming. I was wondering if everybody goes through the same process.

Sri Chinmoy: Each individual has to go through different experiences, just as each individual must have his own realisation. Many times it happens that an individual may be attacked by lower vital forces. Then, as you go higher, the cosmic gods who once helped you may stand against you. When you were a tender plant, they helped you. But when you want to become a tree and go higher than them, at that time they try to stop you. In some cases the cosmic gods stand very vehemently against the seeker. They do not want human beings to go beyond them. But once you do go beyond them, at that time they become your friends again. In the Buddha’s case, he did not utter the name ‘God’; he did not use the word ‘soul’. He used the term ‘Light’. For him, Light is God. But, for us, the soul and God do exist.