Mrs. Tripathi: Does that mean, then, to be a better human being is consistent with spiritual progress?

Sri Chinmoy: They have to go side by side. They are like the obverse and the reverse of the same coin. Spirituality means inner progress and outer progress, or you can say inner progress and outer success. When the outer success is founded upon inner progress, then only the outer success will not lower our consciousness. Otherwise, pride and haughtiness will definitely take us in the wrong direction. But if spirituality is there deep within us, we will feel that we are doing something to manifest God's Light in and through us. Then our outer manifestation — our selfless service to humanity — will not take the wrong direction because spirituality is the foundation. Spirituality and the outer life, with its multifarious activities, must go together. We cannot separate them. If we separate them, we shall be bankrupt both in the inner world and in the outer world.

There was a time when Indian sadhus, swamis, saints and spiritual figures wanted to live in the Himalayan caves to pray and meditate. But those days are gone. If we want to accept God the Creator, then we have to accept God the creation as well. Spiritual figures of the hoary past only wanted to accept God the Creator, not God the creation. They said, "Let us climb up and remain on the top of the Himalayas."

But God says, "If you truly love Me, then you should come down for the sake of poor humanity, for the sake of those people who are at the foot of the mountain, and serve them with your light, with your delight, with your peace — with whatever you have achieved. If you want to go up, I am there to give you light and bliss, but I want you to share it with humanity."

So the acceptance of life is now our philosophy, not the rejection of life. If today we reject our body, if we do not pay any attention to it, then tomorrow we will reject the vital, the day after the mind and the day after that the heart. Then what will we have? Nothing. But if we accept life, then if something is wrong with our body, we shall try to perfect it. If something is wrong with our vital or mind, if we have jealousy or insecurity or other obstructions, these things we shall try to overcome. In this way, we are going to perfect ourselves. Then only can we become choice instruments of God — not by negating, but by accepting the world as it is and then transforming the world.