Question: How can we create and then maintain a warrior-like attitude towards overcoming our weaknesses?1Sri Chinmoy: There is something called weakness, and the opposite of weakness is strength. Again, weakness itself can play the role of strength. If we cannot conquer a weakness, what does it mean? It means that weakness itself has tremendous power. What we call strength — the strength we feel that we have or we are — is no match for our weakness at that time. Weakness is a negative power, a negative force. In particular, vital problems, emotional weakness and mental weakness have tremendous strength. But the strength of weakness is a negative strength. The positive strength is love, divine love. That love-strength is connected with Infinity.
Often when we are unable to conquer our weaknesses, it is because we are actually cherishing them in our vital life or in our inner life. Outwardly, we want to destroy all the weakness that we see in ourselves, but inwardly, secretly, in our vital, we enjoy them. This moment we take a weakness as our enemy, but the next moment we take it as our friend. In our outer life, our weakness is torturing us; but in our inner life — unconsciously, let us say, not consciously — we cherish this weakness. This applies to all those who are seekers. And for those who are not sincere seekers, their weakness itself becomes their strength.
Now, how do we cope with this situation? Is there anything that can cure our weaknesses? There is a medicine, an antidote, and that is our love-power. Our love-power for whom? Our love-power not for any individual, but for our Source, who is God. The stronger we can make our love for God, for our Source, the easier it is for us to conquer our weaknesses.
This whole world is run by a Power. We call it the Cosmic Knowledge, the Cosmic Wisdom, the Cosmic Power. Where has that Power come from? It has come from God’s Love. God’s Love created the Cosmic Power, and we can enter into the Cosmic Power when we love God. Again, all our weaknesses will forever exist unless and until we increase our love for God.
We love God. Who can deny it? We have entered into the spiritual life. But it is all a matter of degree. Do we love God more than we love ourselves, or our friends, or our insecurity and our other weaknesses? If you are sincere, you will have to say that you definitely love God less than you love some individuals or some possessions of yours. Daily, out of twenty-four hours, do you spend even two hours thinking of God, praying to God and meditating on God? No, no, no!
To sit down and pray and pray and meditate and meditate is one side of our aspiration. Then, there is the other side of our aspiration, which is our dedicated action, our selfless service. You may bind my books for three or four hours at a stretch, but during that time, for how many minutes do you keep your consciousness high? For four hours you are either carefully or mechanically binding so many books, and I am so pleased. But then the question of consciousness arises. You have to see if inside your consciousness there is meditation, there is prayer, there is goodwill for mankind. This is what we should feel when we are doing selfless service.
One aspect of our aspiration is to pray and pray and pray and repeat God’s Name or a mantra. But while praying, if we look around, we cannot climb up high, higher, highest. Again, the other aspect is dedication, and on the dedication-side we have so much opportunity. If we serve the divine in us, the Supreme in us, cheerfully and unconditionally, then again we make the fastest progress.
We have the weapons to fight against our weaknesses. We know how to pray, but how much time do we spend in prayer? We know how to meditate, but how long do we meditate? Again, we know how to serve, but how long do we serve? Some days you may work eight, nine or ten hours, and other days perhaps two hours. But even when you are serving for only two hours, for how many minutes are you in God-consciousness, and for how many minutes are you not?
There is only one power that can challenge and conquer our weaknesses, and that is love-power. That love-power has a Source, which is God. If we have done something wrong, we feel that God has the capacity and the right to punish us. Now, the question arises: do we love God out of fear that He will punish us? Or do we have tremendous fear and sorrow, not because He will strike us when we do something wrong, but because we may lose Him? There are two kinds of fear. One kind of fear says that because God is omnipotent, He will strike us very hard if we do something wrong. Another kind of fear says that if we do something wrong, He may withdraw His Love for us. If we truly love someone, and if that person withdraws his love for us, will we not feel miserable? Definitely we do love God; who can deny it? But again, for how many minutes, how many hours, how many days, how many weeks, how many months do we maintain our love for God?
Now, how can you maintain your love for God? Every morning you have to feel that you are a most beautiful flower in God’s Heart-Garden. And who is the Gardener? It is God Himself. As the Creator, He Himself creates you as a flower; and again, as the Gardener, He breathes in the beauty and smells the fragrance of His creation. Then He gets tremendous joy.
Every day think of yourself as a newly blossomed flower. Do not think of yesterday’s flower. Do not think that you have now become stale and withered — no! Every morning think of yourself as the most beautiful flower. Then you have to feel that you did not create yourself. Somebody else created you. And who is that Somebody else? It is your highest Self, God. Again, who is taking care of you the entire day? The same Person who created you is taking care of you. And that same Person is telling you, “Do not get stuck in the past — yesterday or the day before yesterday or the previous days. If you get stuck in the past, then you cannot make progress. Yesterday was fresh in its own capacities, in its reality and divinity. But today again has to be very fresh and full of life-energy. Do not bring yesterday into today’s life or carry today’s life into tomorrow’s life.”
Each day we shall love God as much as possible, and with our love we shall reveal Him and manifest Him. The answer to all our problems lies in our love for God and God’s Love for us. Unless we love God most sincerely, we will never, never feel God’s Love. God has made the game that way. First we have to love God. Then, if we are satisfying God, God will satisfy us. As a matter of fact, God will satisfy us infinitely more.
Any weaknesses that we have, we can conquer only by loving God. Our weaknesses can come to devour or strangle us; again, they can come to love or treasure us. We are the ones who have to either surrender to our weaknesses, or go to the God who is all Love for us. Any weakness can be conquered if we increase the eagerness and intensity of our love for God. Our weakness lasts because our love of God is not solid, not complete, not lasting. But if there is tremendous eagerness and intensity in our love for God, then no weakness can last.
God has given us the strongest Power, and that strongest Power is God Himself. The more we can love God, the more we can think of God, the sooner our weaknesses will die. If we want to fight our weaknesses, we will see that we cannot. Like the rakshashas in the Mahabharata, our weaknesses are so charming! We will say, “Why should I harm this charming personality or reality that is inside me?” That is why our weakness can be conquered only by increasing our love for God. The stronger our love for God, the sooner our weaknesses leave us. This is how we can increase our inner life-speed and our outer life-speed, which must go together. If there is no inner life-speed, then there can be no real outer life-speed.
There is only one way to conquer our weaknesses; there cannot be ten ways. You will see. You can meditate or run and say, “I am doing this for God.” True, everything you are doing for God; but God will see how long you maintain your highest capacity, your deepest capacity, your all-conquering capacity. Unfortunately, that capacity does not last for more than half an hour or an hour. So, our love of God is the only way to conquer our weaknesses.
Again, we can observe what weakness can do in others’ lives. Let us say that I am a thief. Perhaps that tendency may be inside you also. You may say, “Oh, I have worked so hard! Let me now steal from a rich person. Then I will become a multi-millionaire overnight!” But if you see that I am caught, and if you see how badly I am punished, you may change your mind. If you see how I am suffering because I have stolen something — people are kicking me right and left, and I am the object of all kinds of harassment — you may decide not to become a thief after all.
When people surrender to their weaknesses, we see how they ruin their lives. One philosophy is that we shall only pray and meditate on God, and God will take care of the rest of the world. But again, we can also look around; we can watch others and learn from their experiences. Let us say that I want to touch fire because I feel that fire is so charming. But if I see that somebody else has touched fire and his hand is now burnt, why shall I also do the same thing? Has God not shown me that someone else has burnt his fingers by touching fire? We can see what happens when others allow weakness to control them. As I said before, weakness itself is power, nothing else. We always divide the two — we say that this is weakness, that is strength. But weakness itself is a negative power. We have to use the positive strength to conquer our weakness, and that positive strength is our love of God. That is the only way.
From the heart, some people enter into the mind. Then, all the weaknesses that can be found in human life they want to examine for themselves. They knew those weaknesses in others, but now they want to test the weaknesses themselves; they want to have the first-hand experience. Why do I need the first-hand experience of weakness? If I know that my father has died and my mother has died, am I such a fool as to think that I will be immortal? Oh, no — my time will come sooner or later. Now, the question is, did my father pray and meditate? Did my mother pray and meditate? Did they have peace of mind? Did they have love in their inner life? For most human beings, immediately the answer will be no, they did not. Then let me be wise and say, “They did not pray and meditate. I will do it, I will do it!” Let me use my time wisely.
There is not a single weakness that we cannot conquer. We may feel that all the weaknesses look so charming, so we say, “How can I kick this weakness and that weakness out of my life?” But we can do it if we see that our weakness is ruining our inner joy, our divinity, our capacity to see light. Again, if we cherish our weakness, it is a different story.
From where to where an individual can go! It is all because of ignorance. When a seeker misuses the divine compassion, weakness becomes his strength. How painful it is to see the descent of an individual! My heart breaks when I see how much ignorance a person can cherish in his life. Sometimes I tolerate it, always with the hope that the person will change, for I was born with hope. There is hope, and there is expectation. Expectation is always in the mind and the vital, but hope is in the heart. Hope is the divine way. Hope says, “My disciple cannot be so bad!” But God says, “No, your disciple can be so bad. You cannot imagine how far one can go!” And it is all the result of cherishing one’s weaknesses consciously and deliberately.
Compassion is misused by each and every human being. Some people misuse compassion from the day they enter the spiritual life. Some people use compassion very nicely for five years, ten years or fifteen years, and then they start misusing it. When we see a weakness in others, we have to be more careful because that very weakness we ourselves also have. We have that very same weakness, but in their case they did not want to conquer the weakness. It is up to us whether, like them, we shall surrender to the weakness or we shall conquer it. If we are wise, we shall conquer all our weaknesses.
As I always say, if I become a good person, there will be one less rascal on earth. If one person becomes perfect, there will be one less imperfect person on earth. If I value my inner strength and if I want to get rid of my weaknesses, who can prevent me? Let us say that one room is in darkness because there is no electricity, while another room has light. I can go into the room that has light. Who can prevent me? Who is asking me not to go there? Again, if I bring an electrician into the room that is unlit, then in a few minutes there will be light in that room. Even if I enter into darkness and cry and cry and cry for light to come there, when light does come, the darkness is all illumined.
Instead of going into the light, is it not stupid for me to enter into darkness and pray to God, “Save me, save me”? Is it not stupid to enter into hell and say, “God, take me to Heaven, take me to Heaven”? Why should I deliberately go to hell and then beg God to bring me to Heaven? Let me go to Heaven and say, “God, You have brought me here. Now I am praying to You, please keep me here, keep me here, or take me to a higher world, a better world, a more illumining world.” But that we do not do. We enter into darkness, and then we totally forget God. We forget that there is Someone who can, at this very moment, help us and save us. We are totally lost in darkness. Then there is no God for us, and we sink.
So let us always look around and ask, “Where has he gone? Where has she gone? Do I want to be like that person?” That person definitely cherished weakness, and that weakness has tremendous power. That tremendous power took that person from the spiritual life, from his own real existence, from his own real home.
You have to use your indomitable will-power. In your previous incarnation you were a very high-ranking military officer. You can be militant in a very positive way. Just look inside. Do you have that indomitable will-power or not? If you look, immediately you will say, “Oh, it is there, it is there!” Why should the lion remain always asleep? Your name means the sun. Why should the sun be always eclipsed? Why should the sun always allow the clouds to cover it? No, no, no! Tell yourself, “I am the sun. If a cloud is covering me, I will just burst forth and destroy the cloud!”
You have to be sure — do you want weakness or do you want strength? Ask yourself a hundred times which one you want — weakness or strength. A hundred times out of a hundred your answer has to be: “I want strength, I want strength, I want strength!” Then you will see that you have not voted even once for weakness.
Again, to conquer anything in life, we have to increase our love for the Real in us. The Real in us is God. If our mind is not centred on God, if it is not for God, then weakness will always become strong in our life. Weakness will remain strong, and finally it will destroy us. Right from the beginning, we shall observe weakness and strength, and we shall see that weakness is also a kind of strength. But if one strength is the power of a lion or an elephant, and the other is the power of a bull or a cow, are we such fools that we will go to the bull or the cow? We shall always go to the stronger one. In a Mr. Universe competition, one individual will have muscles that are most powerful and symmetrical. Somebody else may have powerful muscles, but his physique will not be as beautiful or as striking as the physique of the most powerful individual. If we watch all the bodybuilders, we will see that some are really inferior to the champion. If I want strength, and if I am the judge, will I not appreciate the one whose muscles are more developed?
There is light, and there is infinite Light. Let us say that inside weakness also there is light. Inside everything that God has created, even inside darkness, there is light. But if I see the dark sky and the effulgent sun side by side, will I not go to the sun? Will I go to the inferior light? If I am wise, I will always go to the side that is bright, brighter, brightest. I will not go to the darker side. Why should I go there? If I go to darkness, then I will be destroyed. I am the one who has to observe which side is most beautiful and most powerful. The other side may be pretending to be most beautiful, but my heart will tell me which side is real, which side is infinitely stronger and more beautiful. I shall always choose the real strength, and that real strength is constant, sleepless and breathless love of God.
There is always a struggle between our love for someone and another person’s love for us. It is a matter of whom we want. Somebody may want you, but that person may be a negative force. Ignorance wants us badly, but shall we surrender to ignorance? No! Because of our wisdom, we want God, only God; we want Light, only Light. If we can increase our love of God, then the ignorance-power that is attacking us we can easily overcome.
Ignorance is trying to catch us, but we are running away at the fastest speed. We are running towards our goal. The goal of ignorance-power is to grab us, but before it grabs us, we run towards our own destination. We run so fast that ignorance cannot catch us. If we increase our speed, then how can ignorance attack us? Before it can attack us, we shall run towards our own destination.
SCA 788. Sri Chinmoy answered this question on 3 February 2000 in New York.↩