Question: You have been recognised in your lifetime by a greater number of people — disciples and the whole world — than any other Avatar. None of the other Avatars had more than a handful of people who recognised them while they were alive.

Sri Chinmoy: By whom am I known as an Avatar? By you?

Christ had twelve disciples. Nobody took him as an Avatar. They took him only as somebody who had more spiritual knowledge than they had. In the heart of their hearts, they did not feel twenty-four hours a day that Christ was God's representative. They thought that he was divine, that he was infinitely higher than they, but they did not take him as part and parcel of God's very existence. No! One denied him and another betrayed him; others' love was lukewarm.

Sri Krishna had five people who recognised him. So many people were part of the Kurukshetra battle, but only five recognised him. Sri Ramakrishna had sixteen disciples, and of these sixteen, even Swami Vivekananda said one moment that he was an Avatar, and the next moment, if Sri Ramakrishna did not do this or that, he said he was not an Avatar. Again and again Sri Ramakrishna told Swami Vivekananda to do something, and Vivekananda did diametrically the opposite. How many times he doubted his Master! Others went away and got married and did all kinds of things, like my disciples.

One moment you people will say to me, "You are an Avatar." The next moment, when your desires are fulfilled, you say, "You are not only an Avatar, You are God Himself." But when your desires are not fulfilled, you say, "You are worse than I am! Sometimes you have so much partiality. I myself am not as partial as you are." This kind of thing happens all the time. So, your Master is an Avatar only when you are in the happiest consciousness. At that time you say, "Guru, you are an Avatar." Otherwise you say, "You are in no way better than me." This is our human feeling.

As far as world recognition is concerned, the world has not acknowledged me at all. Only in one way have I been recognised: the world is taking me as a peace-lover. Some people know me as a poet, some people as a singer or musician. Some people know me as an artist. But how many people have taken me as a God-representative? You people have taken me in that way, but only according to your sweet choice. When your desires are not fulfilled, I am worse than a donkey! This is the human realisation.

It is good for disciples to think of their Master as an Avatar. The higher you can think him to be, even by virtue of your imagination, the more you will receive. Even if you have not had specific experiences, if you can imagine that your Master is higher than the highest, it helps you. You do not have to have practical experience in order to aim at something very high.

You get joy when you can bring your Master down to your level, but you do not want to get joy by going up to his real station. You get joy only when you can bring him down to your level so that he can be one of your playmates. But if you want to make him happy, you will go to his height. You want him to be your guest and you want to be the host. Does he not also wish to take you as his guest? But that you do not want. You say, "Master, come and see what I have, and be satisfied." But he also wants to say, "You come and see what I have to show you."

Each and every time I please people in their own way, they think of me as the best, as the highest. But they never ask why at other times I do not fulfil them or why I do not please them in their own way. When I do not please them in their own way, it is because my goal is to take them to their ultimate destination: to the Highest, to the Supreme. They do not realise that I have a task. But if I please them in their own way, then they tell the whole world that I am this, I am that. If I do not please them, then the problem starts! They doubt me; they lose all their faith in me. Then poor me! My promise to the Highest fails because the disciples want to go in their own way. I say, "There is only one way: God's Way." But their feeling is that there are many ways, and they try to show me their way. They create so many ways for me. God has created only one way, but my disciples create many ways for me.

In East Bengal during Swami Vivekananda's time, everyone claimed that his Master was an Avatar. It was as though the Avatars grew like mushrooms. Everyone said, "Come and see my Guru. He is an Avatar."

This world is not ready even for a saint. Among the seekers there are bad seekers, good seekers, high seekers, higher seekers, highest seekers. Then, when it is a matter of realisation, there are saints. Some people are of the opinion that saints are the lowest among those who have gone beyond the seekers. Then come the sages, then come the seers, then come the yogis. After the yogis come the Avatars. After the Avatars comes God Himself. So let us take it in this order: God, Avatar, yogi, seer, sage and saint. For now let us forget about the seekers' status. Because of their sanctity-life, saints are one thousand steps higher than the best seekers. Of course, saints are also seekers. Even an Avatar is a seeker. God Himself is a seeker. But in a human way if you want to evaluate them, saints are one thousand steps higher than the highest seekers.