Part I

The seeker, the aspirant and the God-lover1

I would like to speak about the difference between the seeker, the aspirant and the God-lover. The seeker can pray or meditate from the heart, the mind, the vital and the physical. But the aspirant wants to pray and meditate only from the heart. The aspirant feels that the prayer and meditation that is in the heart and from the heart offers the shortest and quickest way to the Goal.

There is also a difference between the seeker and the God-lover. The seeker prays and meditates most devotedly and soulfully to reach the highest Height, where he will be able to see God face to face. But the God-lover wants God to come and stay in his heart-garden so that both of them can sing, play and dance there.

The difference between the aspirant and the God-lover is this: the real aspirant has a set goal, but if he becomes a victim to unaspiring forces and comes down one step from his level of consciousness, then his whole world collapses. He wants to overcome all the unaspiring forces in his life. But if he fails, he does not want to be exposed in front of others; he does not want them to see his shortcomings. He wants to maintain his spiritual height in their eyes and keep his spiritual dignity. So if he makes a mistake, if vital forces attack him and he descends, then he is miserable and embarrassed to the extreme.

The sincere God-lover also has his highest Goal. But unlike the aspirant, the God-lover is always happy and cheerful no matter what happens. Even if he fails every day in various things, he does not get sad and depressed. As long as his love of God is solid, he is happy; his love of God is more important to him than anything else. He is running fast, faster, fastest. If he stumbles and injures himself because of his carelessness or negligence, he does not give up. He knows that in due course his injuries will be cured and he will be able to run again. So no matter how many times he fails, no matter how many times he does stupid things or enters into undivine worlds, his love of God is so great that he is ready to stand up again. He feels that his only job is to love God devotedly, self-givingly and unconditionally. He knows that if he really loves God, then his millions of failings and shortcomings will never make God sad, for it is God’s bounden Duty to perfect him.

The aspirant does not feel this way. If the aspirant is injured, he curses and blames himself. If something goes seriously wrong with his aspiration, if he has not achieved his goal by a certain date that he has set, then he becomes displeased with himself and angry with God; he feels that God has not been just to him. Then he is ready to leave the spiritual life and enjoy a short or a long vacation. But the real God-lover goes on and goes on, no matter how many mistakes and Himalayan blunders he makes, because his love of God is infinitely stronger than his multifarious weaknesses. In every possible way, the God-lover is far superior to the God-seeker and the God-aspirant. We should all try to be God-lovers.

  1. SCA 366. 10 May 1996

Part II

SCA 367-375. On 18 January 1996, during a Peace Concert tour in South Africa, Sri Chinmoy gave a press conference at the South Beach Holiday Inn in Durban. This is a transcript.

Question: Could you please tell us a little about your philosophy and your way of life?

Sri Chinmoy: Everybody is a seeker of truth and a lover of God — either consciously or unconsciously. In our case, we belong to the first category. Consciously, sleeplessly and breathlessly we are trying to be God-seekers and God-lovers.

There are many good things and many undivine, unaspiring things in our nature. We try to increase and multiply our good qualities and, at the same time, on the strength of our prayers and meditations, we try to decrease and eventually eliminate our undivine qualities. We are not trying to destroy our bad qualities; only we want to transform and illumine them. Darkness has to be transformed into light. The ignorance that we have been cherishing from time immemorial must be illumined.

According to our traditional Indian philosophy, God is the Creator, God is the Preserver and God is the Destroyer. But we feel that God, being the Author of all Good and the Source of Compassion infinite, cannot and will not actually destroy His creation. We feel that, at His choice Hour, He transforms anything within us that is not aspiring and makes it divine, illumining and fulfilling. So there is no such thing as destruction, but only illumination and transformation, which take place at God’s choice Hour.

On our path we give due importance to the physical life. Inside the physical is the soul, which is the direct representative of God. The body is the temple, and inside the temple is the soul, the shrine. Both the shrine and the temple must be kept in proper order. We feel that our inner life of aspiration and our outer life of dedication must go side by side. Like the flower and its fragrance, they cannot be separated; they have to be taken as two complementary realities. My students practise meditation and follow the spiritual life, and at the same time, they have their respective jobs. We live in the world and we live for the world.

Question: Most people in this area of South Africa suffer a lot because of daily violence. I am interested to hear your views on the causes of violence and any message that you might have as to what we can do about it.

Sri Chinmoy: The causes of violence are the divisions created by the mind. The mind always separates; it gets tremendous satisfaction in dividing reality. Because it sees itself as separate from others, the mind always wants to exercise supremacy over others. Inside the mind is restlessness, which eventually becomes destruction. Long before violence is manifested on the outer plane, it takes place in the form of thoughts inside the mind.

If we listen to our mind when it tells us to strike someone, at that time the mind becomes our lord. But there is always something within us that reminds us that we have another boss: the heart. Unlike the mind, the heart only wants to establish intimacy and oneness with others; it gets satisfaction not in division but in unification. The heart tells us, “By destroying someone you will never get even an iota of joy, but by loving that person you will get abiding joy.” So we have to pray and meditate to silence our restless mind and to illumine our unaspiring mind. If we can transform the mind and live in the heart, then there can be no violence.

Question: Are your Peace Concerts political in any way?

Sri Chinmoy: There are many ways to bring about world peace. My way is to pray and meditate and offer meditative Peace Concerts. I am a total stranger to politics and I do not enter into the political arena. I have love for all human beings, so I love politicians, too. But I do not dare to say anything about their political views.

I have been practising spirituality since my childhood. I am a man of prayer. I am a student of peace. I devote myself to the art of self-discovery and I ask my students to do the same. People come to me when they are hungry for inner peace, inner light and inner bliss. Many, many times politicians — along with others from various walks of life — have come to pray and meditate with me or have remained in a meditative consciousness while I have played instruments and sung.

Question: As a Hindu, I believe that the ultimate Truth is God-realisation. How do we reach our goal?

Sri Chinmoy: God-realisation is a most difficult subject. We can say that it is like climbing up not one but countless Himalayas. Millions and billions of people are living on this planet, but how many have dared to climb up the Himalayan mountains? Most of us do not dare to even try; we feel that it is impossible for us. Fortunately, we do not have to justify our existence on earth by physically climbing up the Himalayas, but the inner mountains we all have to climb. God will not allow any human being to remain unrealised.

In the outer life there are many obstacles that we have to surmount. Every day, in the hustle and bustle of life, we face many challenges. If we do not accept all the challenges, no harm. If we do not like athletics, for example, it is not necessary to play soccer or to try and become the world’s fastest runner. We do not have to participate in the outer race for our evolution or for our individual growth. But even if we do not consciously participate in the outer race, we have to know that our mind is always racing and racing aimlessly — like a mad elephant. It goes this way and that way and, at the same time, it builds solid walls that divide us from others.

There is also an inner race — to our inner goal. Christians call that goal salvation. Buddhists call it illumination. Hindus call it God-realisation. We believe that each individual shall realise God at his own special time. When my hour strikes, God will definitely bless me with God-realisation; when your hour strikes, God will bless you with God-realisation.

If God-realisation is our goal, then the first and foremost necessity on our part is to pray and meditate regularly. Again, we have to know what we are praying for. Are we praying to God for money to buy one house, two houses, three houses? If we have a car, are we praying for a second car or a third car? If we are praying to God to bless us with more material possessions, then we are still in the desire-life and God-realisation remains a far cry.

There is another way, which we call the life of aspiration. In the aspiration-life, we pray to God to give us only what we truly need, not what we want. The highest form of prayer in the aspiration-life is to say: “God, You know what I actually need. If it is Your Will to bless me with the things that I truly need, then at Your choice Hour do bless me with those things. If You do not want to give me anything, that also is up to You. I want only to please You in Your own Way."

When we are in the aspiration-world, we pray to God to give us the capacity to please Him in His own Way. When we do this, we are walking along the right road. God-realisation comes at the right moment, provided we walk along the right path. So if we can pray and meditate to please God in God’s own Way, definitely God-realisation will dawn on us.

Question: Do you work also in a political way to bring about peace?

Sri Chinmoy: I do not want to deal with politics, which is the world of the mind. I want only to live in the heart and discover a sea of peace in each and every country. A few countries are fighting wars today; tomorrow some other countries may engage in war. People proclaim, “We shall never again enter into war.” But as long as we live in the mind that is not properly illumined, there will always be conflicts and wars. The mind may remain silent for a few days, a few months or even a few years, but the very nature of the mind is to try to exercise its supremacy.

I will not dare to try to solve the problems in Bosnia and other places by exercising political means. I have my own way, which is to pray and meditate to bring about peace. In no way will I condemn those who follow other ways. Politicians are all my brothers and sisters, and we are aiming at the same goal. If they can arrive at the goal before us, I will be the happiest person. Or, after reaching the goal, if they ask us to walk along with them, definitely we shall abide by their request. But, right now, we feel that they have their way and we have our way. God alone knows which way is best! But we feel, in the inmost recesses of our heart, that the way of prayer and meditation is best for us.

Question: Do you feel that people in the world are moving further away from leading a spiritual life, or do you feel that there is a gradual awakening towards spirituality?

Sri Chinmoy: It is my own personal conviction that people are more awakened and that they are turning more towards light than before. There was a time twenty or thirty years ago when peace was only a dictionary word. People used the word, but they did not mean it; they did not even care to know what it meant. But now there are many people on earth who most sincerely believe in peace and want to lead a life of peace. We are still not fully awakened, but now at least we sincerely feel the supreme necessity of world peace.

So the world is progressing in the way it is accepting peace and light. Some individuals are consciously accepting this message, while others are unconsciously accepting it. Still others are not aware of it and do not care for it. But if we are talking of the majority, then I have to say in all sincerity that more people are turning towards light than before.

Question: What inspired you to follow this path of peace?

Sri Chinmoy: When we pray and meditate, there comes a time when we get an inner message. We can say that something within us prompts us to do something. I have been praying and meditating for many years. From deep within an inner Voice, which we call the Voice of the Inner Pilot or God, commanded me to be of service to Him by offering my prayers and meditations to the world at large and sharing with others the message of peace.

Here we are all students of peace. Peace is a common subject that we are all studying in the same school — the school of our heart. Whatever I have learned with regard to peace, I have come here to share with you. At the same time, I have come to learn from you. I am not only a teacher but also a student. I am still learning and learning, for peace is a subject that is vaster than the vastest.

Question: You mentioned the struggle between the heart and the mind. In an area such as KwaZulu Natal, where so many people have been killed and where people’s hearts have actually been hardened or broken, is it much more difficult for them to follow the right path than for others who are leading a more peaceful or ordinary life?

Sri Chinmoy: It entirely depends on the individual. Those who are denied peace by outer circumstances or by undivine human beings often have a greater inner hunger for peace than those who have found an iota of peace or abundant peace. People who suffer unnecessarily are more likely to pray to God and receive His Light than those who already have some peace of mind. So while the more fortunate ones may be wallowing in the pleasures of the limited peace that they already have found, individuals whose suffering has led them to develop an intense inner cry for world peace and harmony may be blessed with abundant peace sooner by God. When innocent victims cry from the inmost recesses of their heart, their cry is bound to melt the Heart of God.

But the question arises whether someone is really hungry for peace or whether he has simply surrendered to his fate. Some individuals lose faith in God or in their inner existence when their relatives are killed by undivine human beings. They say, “My dear ones did nothing wrong. If God has infinite Compassion, why did He allow them to be killed?” These individuals may inwardly revolt and say God is not active or dynamic, that God is perhaps sleeping. Again, they may become furious that their dear ones have been attacked and go to the length of saying: “There is no God!”

Unfortunately, these people do not look for light. They do not pray for the light to illumine those undivine human beings who have attacked their dear ones. If they did, then God would definitely change the mental attitude of those undivine human beings. The victims’ sincere cry for the illumination of the wrong-doers would reach God’s Heart. So if we pray to God in the right way, then those who have done wrong things and also those who may do wrong things in the near future will be illumined.

Question: I have found that music can change people, although I am not speaking about political change. I would like to hear your views on music.

Sri Chinmoy: We have to know whether we are talking about the music that tends to destroy our nerves and subtle bodies, or prayerful music that gives us pure joy and inspires us to become good citizens of the world. Prayerful and soulful music is definitely going to help us bring about world peace and establish oneness in the world community, for that music has a special appeal to the heart. It awakens and deepens our longing for a better life. When we play or listen to divine music, or when we sing divine songs, it becomes easier for us to see the light within us. It also helps us increase that light and bring it to the fore so we can transform the darkness that the mind has and is.

Part III

SCA 376-377. On 25 May 1996, Sri Chinmoy answered a few questions from the television producer and writer Joel Martin.

Question: Do messages that people receive from their departed ones have any value for us here on earth? And can you share with the general public any such messages that you may have received?

Sri Chinmoy: Such messages do have value for us, especially when we are on earth. The departed souls have many things to teach us. Unfortunately, many, many times we do not listen to them, just as they did not listen to their friends and dear ones while they were on earth. Even when they give us messages from Heaven or from a high plane of consciousness, quite often we will not listen to them.

My dear brother-friend Joel, on the outer plane I am not a millionaire and I shall never become one because God does not want me to. But on the inner plane, in terms of inner experiences, I am a multimillionaire; I have received millions of experiences from the departed souls. But I cannot share these experiences with the public. On the strength of my personal realisation of the highest Truth, I have a free access to the departed souls, no matter how great or how unimportant they were. But I do not misuse my capacity. I just abide by the dictates of my Inner Pilot. Only when He wants me to communicate their messages do I faithfully and devotedly obey Him.

Question: What does a spiritual teacher or learned person such as yourself say to a Western-trained scientist who dismisses the idea of receiving messages from the dead as imaginary or hallucination?

Sri Chinmoy: There are many things on earth that outwardly we cannot prove. But just because we do not have the means to know something, we cannot say that that thing does not exist. Let us say that I have eaten a most delicious mango. If you say “Prove it!” how will I do so? My joy is in eating, not in proving. If a scientist wants to prove something, he takes us into the laboratory. If we want to prove something on the spiritual plane, we have to take the scientist into the inner world. To enter into the inner world we need a ticket. It is like flying from New York to India. Without a ticket we cannot go. Similarly, without prayer and meditation — which is our inner ticket — we cannot go into the inner world. Is there any scientist ready to pray and meditate like a true seeker and God-lover? If so, he will see that communication with beings of other worlds is unmistakably real.

Scientists get tremendous joy in proving their theories, but a spiritual Master gets joy only by breathlessly and sleeplessly obeying the dictates of the Absolute Lord Supreme. He can easily communicate with the departed souls, and he can do many other things. If others do not see it or believe it, the Master does not mind in the least. Real spiritual Masters have not come into the world to prove the authenticity of their capacities; they have come into the world to serve God. May the scientists get joy through their way of approaching their reality-destination! May the spiritual Masters get joy by arriving at their destination in their own inimitable way!

Part IV

SCA 378-388. On 19 February 1996, Sri Chinmoy met with the Japanese composer and concert pianist Masanobu Ikemiya at Annam Brahma Restaurant in Queens, New York. These questions were asked by Mr. Ikemiya and his friends.

Question: When you play different instruments, are you expressing different qualities?

Sri Chinmoy: Each instrument has its own unique soul. Again, each time we play an instrument, the soul of that particular instrument expresses a different quality. Again, while we are playing an instrument or singing, every minute or two and sometimes every second, our own soul can bring to the fore a different quality. The soul can change its garments very rapidly. This moment it wears one garment; the next moment it wears a different one. But it is not actually a garment; it is the soul’s fragrance that is changing.

This moment, while you are playing, your soul-flower is offering a soulful or prayerful fragrance. Then something happens in your consciousness, and the soul-flower offers a different fragrance. It is not that the music or melody are changing, no! Your own consciousness is changing, so your soul is expressing or manifesting another quality. The soul has countless qualities, and which one it expresses at any moment depends on the consciousness of the performer.

Question: Do you feel this when you play?

Sri Chinmoy: In my case, I try to become the embodiment of what my soul wants to express. I may play all wrong notes, but my soul does not care. My soul does not care for my perfection. It cares only for my prayerfulness and soulfulness. It cares only for how much mental purity I have and for how much psychic oneness I have established with my inner life. The soul does not care for technique at all; only it sees how much I am in tune with it in the inner world.