Question: What does it actually mean to see the divine in someone or something?

Sri Chinmoy: There are several ways to see the divine in someone or something. To try to see God consciously is one approach. Another approach is to see Him spontaneously. Suppose you enter into a garden. You are not consciously trying to see the beauty or smell the fragrance of the flowers. Spontaneously their beauty pulls you. It is like a magnet. If your eyes are not attracted by the beauty of the flowers and if you have to consciously go very near a particular flower and put it in front of your nose, then it is not spontaneous. The beauty is there, but only when beauty acts like a spontaneous magnet will the immediate manifestation of beauty enter into your eyes and heart as it has already entered into your soul. The beauty you feel inside your mind and inside your heart is real beauty.

I will give you another example. Yesterday morning I went to Goose Pond Park. It was drizzling and I was running slowly. Five times I passed by a man sitting on a bench who was heavily drunk. Each time I came by him, he smiled at me. I could not understand what he was saying, but each time I passed by him, he said something encouraging to me. Now if I had had to consciously try to see the divine in him — if I had said, “He is also God’s creation. Although he is drinking heavily, let me see the divine in him” — I would have been wasting my time. But each time I came by, spontaneously I got such joy. If I had identified myself with his outer life, I would have been disgusted. I do not care for drinking at all. For me, it is something abominable. But while I was passing him, I was seeing the divine in him. His inner divinity immediately attracted me. His heart entered into me and my heart entered into him. Therefore I sincerely got joy.

If the joy or the sweetness that the soul is giving us comes immediately and spontaneously, then we can easily see the divinity in something or someone. But if we have to think of the soul or concentrate on the soul of a chair or some other object, then we are wasting our time. When it comes to the human level, everyone is trying to be conscious of God and we are also consciously trying to acquire some good qualities. Seekers may try to see the divine in others, but they may have no way to enter into the soul or the heart of another individual.

If you can get a spontaneous feeling, that is absolutely the most important. Then if you see that somebody is a good seeker, that he is praying and meditating or that he has other good qualities, then you can appreciate the divine in him. You will not allow your insecurity, jealousy, impurity or dividing mind to interfere. There must be no competition between you and that person.

Sometimes it happens that the heart is appreciating, but the vital is jealous or the mind is mean. The mind does not allow you to get joy. If you see a beautiful flower, the mind may say, “I am not as beautiful as this flower, so who cares for it?” Again, when you see a beautiful flower, you can say, “How I wish I could be as beautiful as this flower, as fragrant as this flower.” This wishing is not creating any jealousy, any insecurity, any separativity.

But just mere wishing is not enough. If you see that someone else is meditating or praying soulfully, you have to pray to God, “Please help me to become as soulful and as prayerful as this person.” Then God will see that you are not competing with that person. You are only seeing something beautiful — like a beautiful flower — inside him. God sees that you want to identify with the divine aspect of His that has already been manifested inside that person. Then God will say, “One of My children has achieved something and now another child of Mine has come to appreciate it, instead of becoming jealous. This child is praying to Me to have the same good qualities. I am more than ready to give them to him.”

Many times it happens that if we do not have certain good qualities, we will try to degrade them in others. We will try to see no value in them. But again, there are some good souls who want to become better and best. Today they are good. Tomorrow they want to become better and best. How do we become best — by separating ourselves or uniting ourselves? By separating ourselves, either through meanness, jealousy or insecurity, we can never, never become better. Only by using the positive way, by having peace, poise and love for the Divine that is manifested, can we become better. We will not love the flower or the seeker as such, but the divinity that made the flower beautiful, the divinity that has made the seeker soulful. You have to have love for the divinity that is being manifested in each thing.

If you get the feeling of divinity spontaneously, that is always best. Otherwise, if you see something beautiful or divine, you can consciously try to become that by praying to God. Then the development of your body, vital, mind, heart and soul will increase and spread wide, wider, widest. Your own divinity will blossom much quicker if you can appreciate the beauty or divinity of something else or somebody else. If you are sincere, God will never think that you have become jealous. No, you are not competing or fighting. You are only appreciating, admiring and adoring something which God Himself has manifested in somebody else.

There is also another way to see the divinity in others. This way is the highest way. When a mother sees that her child is very beautiful or skilful, when she sees the capacities of the child, she does not pray to God, “O God, please give me the same capacity! My son is so tall and strong! He is running so fast! He is so intelligent!” The mother immediately feels that her son’s qualities are all hers. This is not because he is her product, but because she has established her inseparable oneness with her son to such an extent that she feels that what he has is all hers and what she has is all his.

If your consciousness is very high — higher than the highest — you can establish exactly that same kind of oneness with others. When Sudhahota does something, I have such oneness with him. I do not say, “Supreme, can You give me the speed that he has?” No. I have such oneness with him that I feel I have done it. The mind will say you are fooling yourself. But if the heart gets the same joy as he is getting on the strength of its oneness, then it is absolutely real. Sometimes the person who has achieved the thing may not be as happy as somebody else. I have seen that Sudhahota’s mother gets more joy in Sudhahota’s success than Sudhahota himself.

Similarly, my brother Mantu used to get infinitely more joy from my athletics than I used to get. His whole heart used to be thrilled if I was first. On the day of my competition, his whole day was spent only worrying and worrying about me. His oneness was such that it was as if his whole world would collapse if I did not do well in 100 metres or long jump. Definitely I got joy from my sports. But if you measure the joy, his joy was more than the joy that I experienced. Oneness can be on the same level, or somebody else can get more joy than the person who has actually achieved the thing.

First try to see the divinity in others spontaneously. If it comes immediately, that is excellent. If it does not come immediately, then on the human level, try to see it consciously. If you see somebody has already achieved more divinity than you have or that God has manifested one aspect of His Divinity inside someone else more than in you, then you can try to emulate that person or you can pray to God to give you the same qualities. There is nothing wrong in imitating something good. When a child tries to imitate his father, he is not a copy cat. He sincerely appreciates, admires, adores and loves the way his father walks, the way his father talks. Whatever his father says, he imitates. When the child imitates the good qualities of his father, he does not become a carbon copy. He is seeing the good qualities, the divine qualities of his father, so he wants to have the same good qualities. Readiness, willingness and eagerness are coming to the fore at every moment to inspire him and energise him to become as great and as good as his father.

In your case, your divinity will not decrease if you pray to God to make you as sincere or as aspiring or as self-giving as somebody else. It will only increase. Already you have some good qualities, but by appreciating, admiring, adoring and loving the development of the soul in somebody else, you can increase your own good qualities. Here jealousy is not coming, competition is not coming, only appreciation is coming to the fore. Appreciation you have to such an extent that you want to establish oneness.

If I had used the mind for these three questions, I could not have spoken for more than three minutes for each question. After three minutes, my mind would have become bankrupt. But if I use my heart and soul, I can go on and on because it is spontaneous. If I had used the mind, you would not have gotten any joy. Even if the mind had had something more to say, the mind would not have given any joy. The mind does not want to share joy. The mind only wants to hold it. When the mind knows something, it keeps it a top secret. The mind feels that if it gives what it has to somebody else, it will not be the owner any more. The mind feels that if it says something, its secret will be gone. But the heart is a spontaneous flow, only blossoming and blossoming. You have asked me such nice questions, and your questions deserved nice answers. The heart is always ready to appreciate the divinity in others.