Question: Spiritually, is the world going forward or backwards?

Sri Chinmoy: Twenty years ago the world was not ready for some things, but now the world is ready for them. Look at the way modern science has improved outer facilities over the past fifty years! The same kind of progress has been made in the spiritual world. One hundred or two hundred years ago, it was so difficult for spiritual seekers to get the experiences that you people get. The kind of experiences it took people years to get during the time of the Vedic Seers — experiences they tried for and cried for and shed bitter tears for — in the twentieth century people get in perhaps a few days or a few months. In the past it took so long to make a little progress or to get an iota of peace. But now, as Sri Aurobindo wrote, spiritual figures are coming who are infinitely more powerful than the Vedic Seers. So the world is progressing, progressing. Then again, some Masters of the past like Krishna and others not only reached the Highest but became the Highest.

In general, modern-day seekers have many opportunities that seekers of the past did not have. Now if you want to get inspiration by praying and meditating with hundreds of people, you get in your car and drive to church. In the days of the Vedic Seers, where could they find thousands of people meditating and praying, such as we find at our peace concerts? If many people are aspiring together most sincerely, there is often more intensity than if one person is doing it alone. In the tug-of-war against ignorance, if on one side there are ten or twelve people, there will be more strength. Some of the seekers may be weak, but even their little strength helps you have a better meditation. Again, if somebody is weak and you waste your time thinking of him or her in a negative way, when the time comes for you to pull hard and use all your strength, you cannot.

So there are advantages and disadvantages today; but on the whole, it is much easier today than in the past. Again, the seekers of the past had more intensity and more aspiration. Today there are more distractions; we have wonderful friends like television and other things! Now we have more outer facilities, but they offer no spiritual benefit.