Question: On the islands of Hawaii, nature is so beautiful. Is the beauty of nature preventing the people here from entering deeper into spirituality?

Sri Chinmoy: Nature is God the Mother. Nature is supposed to help God’s children. But God the Mother is ready to give like any human mother. If the child wants something to munch on, the mother gives. If the same child wants sugar, if he wants milk or nectar — whatever he wants, the mother gives. If we use the mind and the vital, then nature is only charming and tempting. Let us use the term ‘tempting’. If we see only the outer beauty, then temptation enters and we are ruined. But if we want to see the inner beauty of nature, then immediately we have to pray and meditate. If we want to appreciate the inner beauty of nature, then we can pray and meditate at the foot of a tree or near a river or in a garden.

When we look at a flower, we have to dive deep within. Then immediately we have to ask, “This beauty has come from whom?” It has come from God, not from the gardener. If we pray and meditate, then we appreciate the inner beauty of the flower. But if you do not care for the inner beauty of the flower, then this flower only gives a kind of charm. It can create even vital excitement in us. Then the problem starts.

Here in Hawaii, nature could have been of great help. Nature is always ready to be of help. But people come here not to pray or meditate, not to get inner light or inner beauty. They come here to enjoy the outer beauty. So this place is like a mother or like the famous desire-fulfilling tree. If you ask the tree for the fulfilment of your desire, the tree will give it. If you ask for the fulfilment of your aspiration, the tree will give it. Whatever you want, you will get.

It is like Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is ready to give you anything you want. If you want the power to destroy somebody by putting your hand on their head, Lord Shiva will say, “All right, take it.” Again if you pray to the same Lord Shiva, “Give me realisation as soon as possible,” he says, “Take it.” The same person grants both these boons! So we have to use our wisdom. If I do not ask for something good, then I will have to meet with the consequences. Lord Shiva will say, “It is your fault. You asked me for it, so I gave it to you.” The beauty of nature is also like that. It depends on what you want from the beauty. If we want to enter into the heart of beauty, then we pray and meditate. But if we want to see and appreciate the body of the beauty, then we are lost.