Question: The past is dust, but sometimes when I try to do the right thing, my friends keep reminding me of past mistakes. They say they are doing it out of concern.

Sri Chinmoy: It is not out of concern! I am telling you to go forward, not backward. Now you are trying to lead a divine life, but they want to go back to your animal life to trace what you did wrong there. Looking backward is dangerous and destructive. Only the sweet things from the past should you remember. At the age of five, if your mother or father showed you tremendous affection, that you should try to remember. Anything that is sweet and affectionate, try to remember.

Again, you have to know that your mother’s sweetness and affection are not enough for you now. Only when you get affection and smiles from the Supreme is it enough. Again, the little affection that you got from your physical parents — which is nothing, nothing, nothing in comparison to the affection of the Supreme — can remind you of the Supreme’s affection. So it is good to remember those sweet experiences.

But do not try to remember how many mistakes you made in the past or how many unfortunate things you have done. If you are trying desperately to forget these things and if others are reminding you of them out of so-called concern, just tell them to mind their own business. Tell them, “My life is for God. My life is for the Supreme. My life is for my Guru. My life is not for you. It is none of your concern. You take care of your own life.”

I am begging my disciples to deal with their own problems and not to indulge in reminding others of their problems. People who remind you of your past blunders are not your real friends. In most cases, these people have committed more blunders than you have. So let them deal with their blunders. Let them look into their own minds and hearts. They will see what their minds and even their hearts are like. So do not think of them. Only think of the Supreme.

I always say that the past is dust. When I was a lion in my animal incarnation, God knows how many of God’s innocent creatures I devoured. Shall I now think of that and say, “O God, O God, forgive me, forgive me”? God says, “I have already forgiven you. But the moment you think of your past animal incarnations, I withdraw My Forgiveness.” It is the same with the mistakes that we have made in our human incarnations. The moment we cherish and treasure our undivine life of twenty or forty or fifty years ago, our consciousness immediately falls down again to that level. God says, “Only go forward, go forward!”

If you have to think of anything from the past, then think of the times that you had your highest meditations. While you were meditating, you imagined that you were on top of the snow-capped Himalayas, where there was only white snow. Everything was purity-flooded and you were there meditating. Right in front of you was Lord Shiva, who has a close connection with you. If you imagine that kind of thing, it is not mental hallucination; you do have a connection with our Lord Shiva.

So many well-wishers you have. But if you leave the path today — which is something I do not want and you do not want — those so-called well-wishers inwardly will dance with joy. They will say, “Unlike us, she was not meant for the spiritual life.” Their human mind of division will come forward and they will feel happy that only they are meant for the spiritual life. Human friendship is like that. Human concern is all false. Most of the time, others’ concern for us and our concern for others is nothing but a joke.

Many people get malicious pleasure when their so-called dear ones jump out of the spiritual boat and enter again into the quagmire of the ignorance-world. ‘Malicious’ is the right word! Outwardly they will say, “Oh, I am miserable that he or she has left the path.” But ninety out of a hundred do not feel any real sympathy. Even if those unfortunate ones are members of their own family — a father or mother or sister or wife or husband — still they are happy when they leave the boat. Such separativity human beings enjoy! Do I not know anything about the inner world? I see what kind of roguish nature people can have. Human nature is always division, division, division: “I am better, I am better, I am better. That is why I am still on the path.”