Living in societyQuestion: If a spiritual seeker is interested only in God but still does not want to reject humanity, how much does he have to contribute to society, and what should be the nature of his contribution?
Sri Chinmoy: First of all, we have to know the standard of the aspirant. If he feels that the inner life, the spiritual life, is of paramount importance and that he cannot do without it-if he is of that calibre-then he has to devote most of his time to God-realisation. His inner being will tell him to what extent he can contribute to society But if the aspirant is just learning the ABCs of the spiritual life, then he should accept society as something important and significant in his life, something that goes along with the inner life.
We have to know where the individual aspirant stands. In order to realise God, one does not have to leave society altogether. If one leaves society-or, in the larger sense, humanity-then how can one establish and manifest divinity here on earth? If one is a true aspirant, he has to go deep within in order to know how to help society. To be a philanthropist is a wonderful thing. But only if that particular philanthropist goes deep within and gets the direct message from his inner being, from God, will his help to society be meaningful. Otherwise, if he tries to help mankind in his own way, the so-called help or contribution will only be an act of self-aggrandisement, in which he feeds his own ego. A person says, "I have done this. I have done that." But the important thing is, "Was I inspired by God? Was I commissioned by God?" If his actions were not inspired by God but by his ego, then the service that he offers to the world will be full of darkness and imperfection.
One has to be wise in his spiritual search. He has to know that God comes first and then humanity. If one goes to humanity first and serves humanity according to his limited capacity, then he is not at all fulfilling God in humanity. To serve humanity properly, one has first to go to Divinity, and from there to humanity. If one does not meditate and achieve some inner wealth, if one does not possess something, then how is he going to give? First one has to achieve, then one has to offer. In this way, one can please God and fulfil mankind.