Question: Guru, if we or other disciples of yours are disobedient, is it wrong not to tell you outwardly?

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the kind of disobedience. Suppose I ask you to come over from Agni Press as fast as you can, but you meet another disciple on the way and stop to ask him for something. Although to some extent you are not being completely obedient, this kind of disobedience you do not have to tell me about. When I ask my "best disciple" to come to my house, invariably he meets his landlady and she asks him why he has not paid his rent. Like this they talk and talk! He has a good heart. If I ask him to drive me somewhere, he will drive for hours and hours. But when it is a matter of immediate obedience, he is nowhere. If I say, "Please do such and such now!" then he stops and talks at every step before doing what I have asked him to do. This kind of behaviour is definitely disobedience, and it will diminish a disciple's implicit oneness with me. But it will not ruin his spiritual life.

Again, if somebody who is my disciple is doing something seriously wrong and you know about it, then you have to tell me immediately. The American theory is: "It is none of my business." But the spiritual theory is: "Since we are all sailing in the same boat to the Golden Shore, my business is your business and your business is my business." Otherwise, if one of your spiritual brothers or sisters is doing something seriously wrong and you keep that person's secret, a real catastrophe will take place. If you know that someone is in the emotional world, for example, you should inform me immediately. Otherwise, it starts with a headache, but from a headache it becomes cancer. And then it is too late.

Since you are a disciple of mine, the same thing applies when you yourself are doing something wrong. Disobedience is like rolling down a hill. One day you do something wrong, and it is only a small mistake. But you go on, go on, and the disobedience becomes bigger and bigger. Then suddenly you see that you are going down, down, down the hill so fast! At that time, when you are falling uncontrollably, it becomes a serious problem for me. But if you had informed me in the beginning, the problem would have been so much easier to deal with.

When some women disciples get a very serious type of feminine disease, sometimes they are afraid of telling me. They act as if they have done something wrong or committed a crime. Six months or a year later, when the disease has become serious and they feel it will kill them, only then do they tell me. Is this not disobedience? When there is something seriously wrong inside their bodies, should they not tell me immediately? But they tell me only when the situation becomes critical.

I am not saying that doctors cannot help. I see so many doctors about my knee problem! They may be failing and failing, but I know that God has given these doctors a special capacity, and they have cured so many people. But since you people have accepted me as your spiritual Master, you have to feel that I am also your doctor, only I operate in a different way from an ordinary doctor.

So you should never be afraid of telling me about your problems. By being afraid of the Master, the disciple can never become close. Only if the disciple tells the Master his weaknesses and allows the Master to become one with his weaknesses will the disciple become closer than the closest to the Master. At that time, the Master can come to the disciple's rescue like a roaring lion.

When people speak to me privately or write letters to me about their failures or weaknesses, I never scold them. I am all sympathy, all compassion, all concern, all affection. If somebody is suffering from some kind of mental problem, vital problem, emotional problem or any other kind of problem, I see his weakness as my own, and immediately I forgive him. Not only do I forgive that person, but I take immediate action. Inwardly I act and sometimes outwardly I also tell the person what to do. If the individual really wants to be cured, then I am all for him. But I am all for him only on one condition: that he is ready to change his life.

After a few days, a few months or a few years of disobedience, some disciples form the habit of regular disobedience. Why? Because they feel it is accepted! Since they feel it is accepted, disobedience becomes their obedience. No matter how disobedient a disciple is, in most cases I do not believe in justice. Justice comes only when I know there is no other way to make the disciple realise the seriousness of his misbehaviour. When I see that the situation is becoming simply impossible, then I have no choice but to be strict. I come with an iron rod only when nothing else has succeeded and I am absolutely helpless, more helpless than the individual who is doing the wrong thing. But when I come with an iron rod, I rarely succeed. If I threaten to throw someone off the path if he does not stop misbehaving, that person may change his life after a month or a year. But otherwise, there is only revolt, hostility and fear.

God cannot conquer us with fear. True, He can take our life away; He can kill us if we do something wrong. If God is angry with us, then definitely He can make us suffer. But that kind of punishment will not conquer us. With our last breath we will say, "God is cruel! God is undivine!" It is only with love that we can be conquered. The Master has to conquer the disciple's heart with love, and the disciple has to conquer the Master's heart with love. Everything else will fail. America is strong and it can threaten to drop the atom bomb on me. I am helpless, so I will surrender, but there is no love in my surrender. But if America comes with compassion and her other good qualities, then America will conquer my heart.

There are some disciples who have been doing wrong things for many, many years. Then suddenly they see that their Master's heart is breaking. When they see my bleeding heart, then their heart also starts bleeding and they say: "What have I done? What have I done?" At that time their heart becomes awakened. They are not afraid of me; only they are afraid of the thing that they have done, which is causing my heart to break. They say, "If I truly love my Master, how can I break his heart like this?" Then they become jewels once again. So their problem is solved by seeing their Master's tears. If you see tears not only in my eyes but also inside my heart, then if you have an iota of love for me, you will be able to conquer your weaknesses because of your love.