Question: Is there any quality that will be most important for us to develop for the New Millennium?

Sri Chinmoy: In the New Millennium, we have to be sincere, not only to God but to ourselves. Not only this past year, but year after year after year, we have not been sincere to God; we have not been sincere to ourselves. If we cannot be sincere to ourselves, then it is like a stupid fellow who steals something and then ten times he tells himself that he has not stolen anything. He knows he has stolen something, but by saying ten times, “I have not stolen, I have not stolen,” he convinces his mind that he has not. If he is sincere with himself and admits that he has stolen, then he will not steal any more.

In the New Millennium, people will make the fastest progress if they are sincere to themselves and to God. Sometimes people are sincere, but they are not sincere to God. I have done something wrong and I know I have done it, but I do not have the courage to tell God, “God, I have done something wrong.”

Yesterday I was reading an Indian joke. One fellow went to a priest for confession. The fellow said, “I threw peanuts into the river.”

The priest said, “It is a mild crime.”

Another fellow went to the same confession box and said, “I threw peanuts into the river.”

The priest again said, “Your crime is not a serious crime.”

A third and fourth person came and confessed the same thing, and the priest told them the crime was not serious.

Finally a little boy came to the priest. The priest said to him, “What? Do you also have the same confession — you threw peanuts into the river?”

He said, “No! I have not thrown peanuts. I am Peanuts!”

Previously I did not give any value to the Christian way of confession, but now I see that this practice has its own value. If people cannot illumine their mind and purify their heart on the strength of their aspiration, then it is better to make a confession. Then they feel that somebody else is there to help them. When they make a confession, they have faith that the priest will do something to help them. If you can solve your own problems by praying and meditating for God’s Forgiveness, that is best. But if you cannot, if you are again and again suffering and suffering for the mistakes that you make, then the best thing is to tell someone such as a priest. Let him also take a share of your suffering and let him pray for you. If he is a good person, he will pray for your illumination.