Question: At what point do seekers who do not have the guidance of a living Master become responsible for knowing the will of their soul?

Sri Chinmoy: If an individual does not have a spiritual Master and does not practise spirituality, then the soul will never expect him to know the soul's will. But if the individual is a sincere seeker, then his sincerity will make him responsible for knowing the will of his soul. If he does not have a Master, no harm. If one has accepted the spiritual life, one does not need a Master to know the will of the soul. His utmost sincerity will get the answer. But if one has a Master, it expedites his progress. The Master can tell the disciple, "This is what your soul wants." The other way is a very long process. If you have no teacher, self-doubt can come in. You may say, "I am only a human being; I do not have higher guidance." That is self-doubt. Even when you are doing the right thing, you may feel you are doing something wrong.

Once we accept the spiritual life very seriously and sincerely, we are responsible for knowing the will of our soul. If we do not listen to our soul, we will always make mistakes. If we do not know the will of the soul, our progress will be extremely, extremely slow. We must try — through our prayer, meditation, aspiration and self-giving — to know the will of the soul. This is the only way we can know the will of the soul.