SCA 703-705. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions on 6 October 1993 in Tokyo.
Question: You said recently that this year will be difficult. What should we be careful of? What should we pay attention to?
Sri Chinmoy: Anything that brings down our consciousness, anything that is negative, discouraging or disheartening, we must reject immediately. Otherwise, no matter how many years we have been on the path, there is no guarantee that we are going to make very fast progress. It may not be possible even to stay on the path. Either we have to go forward or we will be pushed backward in the spiritual life. We cannot stand still at one particular place.
In the ordinary life, we walk a certain distance and then we take rest. Then again we go on or else we stop for some time. But in the spiritual life, we cannot stay indefinitely at the same place. The undivine forces pull us back.
Once upon a time many of you showed promise to be spiritual, to be excellent disciples. Once you have made fast, faster, fastest progress, God expects you to continue at the same speed. But when, through lethargy, you allow wrong forces to enter into you and you cherish those wrong forces, thinking that those forces are real and that what you were doing before is unreal, then you go backwards.
At every moment we have to be careful. The life of temptation attacks a spiritual person infinitely more than an ordinary person. Ordinary people have a certain standard. They are ready to walk at the speed of an Indian bullock cart. They feel that once they have started, that is enough. The goal is there and they have Eternity at their disposal to reach it. But spiritual people cannot behave in that way. Once they have started walking along the path sincerely and seriously, and if they have already shown their speed — extremely fast speed — then they cannot stop or slow down and allow ignorance to enter into them. Ignorance means the unaspiring life, the undivine life. They cannot return to that life because they have already made a solemn promise to the Supreme, inwardly and outwardly, to be His choice instruments, and the Supreme believed them and gave them His inner Assurance, inner Joy, inner Pride and many, many divine qualities.
So these people cannot slow down or stop because they have already made a very solemn promise. On the way if they become tired and start thinking that this is the time to enjoy retirement, then they are totally mistaken. For a real spiritual person, there is no retirement. Spirituality is a one-way street, not a two-way street. Once you have seen the light, either in yourself or in your Master, if you consciously and deliberately enter into darkness, then you may lose everything.
Those people who have taken the spiritual life seriously should be very, very careful, because God trusts them, God depends on them. If they fail God because of their unwillingness, lethargy and other undivine forces that they are consciously or unconsciously cherishing, then unfortunately God will not tolerate them, even if once upon a time they did much for Him. If you have done much for God, God expects you to do much more. He is our Beloved Supreme. If we fail Him, He will either withdraw totally or He will dispense divine retribution, divine punishment.
What I am saying applies only to those who have been following the spiritual life for a very long time, who have had very high experiences and who have done much for God. Those who have just accepted the spiritual life do not have to worry because they are just blossoming. If they can blossom happily, cheerfully and willingly, there will be no problem for them. But if they can be consciously aware of the forces around them and consciously, regularly and faithfully try to move forward in their spiritual life, then they will make very fast progress.