Question: Can a real spiritual Master help the soul of a disciple?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. A real spiritual Master must have the capacity to help the souls of his disciples. As a matter of fact, if he is a real Master, then every day, either in the morning or in the evening he has to feed the souls of his disciples. If you have children, early in the morning the first thing that you do is to feed your children. It is your bounden duty. When a spiritual Master accepts disciples, they become his spiritual children. Inside the spiritual children is a real hunger and this hunger is the hunger of the soul. So the spiritual Master has to feed the souls of his disciples every day.

Question: Can disciples feel that feeding?

Sri Chinmoy: The disciples do feel it if they are in tune with their Master. Otherwise they will be unconscious. The Master is meditating on them and perhaps they are sleeping. But if they themselves meditate, they will be able to feel it. Their meditation does not have to take place at the same time as the Master's meditation. Suppose the Master meditates on you at two o'clock in the morning, when you are fast asleep. But when you meditate at six o'clock, what the Master has given you is still preserved inside your being. And at that time you are bound to feel it.

Question: Is there life after death?

Sri Chinmoy: Life after death is inevitable. If there were only one life on earth, then it would be impossible for us to accomplish the things that we have to accomplish. God, being all Satisfaction, will not allow us to remain unsatisfied. He will always want us to be fully satisfied. In one incarnation we cannot fulfil our aspiration; we cannot reach the Highest. So here we have life and then we pass through a tunnel which we call death. There we take a little rest and then we come back again. If there were no reincarnation, then no soul would be able to manifest the ultimate Truth. In one incarnation it is impossible.

Question: Guru, why don't we remember any of our past lives?

Sri Chinmoy: Do we remember even what we ate this morning? If I asked you what you ate last Friday or Saturday, you would be totally lost. Why? Because you did not give any importance to it. It is the same thing in the case of our past lives. Right now it is not necessary for us to remember them.

Question: Can meditation help people overcome their fear of death?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. Meditation can easily help the seeker to overcome the fear of death. Meditation means conscious communication with God. If one can establish his oneness with God, who is all Life, then there can be no fear of death. He will not only conquer fear of death, but he will also conquer something else. He will conquer his doubt about God's existence in his own life or in others' lives. It is very easy for us to feel that God exists only in us, or only in spiritual people. But if we meditate, then it becomes clear to us that God exists not only within us but also inside the people whom we do not like or appreciate.

Question: Back in the 1960's a number of intelligent people said that they had intense spiritual experiences through drugs, and a lot of people still make this claim. How do you see the relationship between drugs and the spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: Drugs and the spiritual life do not go together. They are like the North Pole and the South Pole. One is a real coin and one is a false, counterfeit coin. If you use the counterfeit coin, then one day you will be exposed; you will be caught. Just because you study history, you cannot say that you have learned mathematics well; it is absurd. History is history. If you have studied history for twenty years, then naturally you will know all about historical facts. But you won't know anything about mathematics, because you have not studied this subject. God-realisation is a matter of inner discipline, inner awakening. It is a different method, a different process, a different road. Here the destination is God. God has already told us how we can reach Him. He has told us that we can reach our destination through prayer and meditation. If we don't listen to Him and do something else, do you think He will be pleased with us?

Some people who have taken drugs feel that they have got high experiences. I will tell you what kind of experiences they have got. Take someone to a swimming pool and become a naughty boy and press his head down in the water. Then, after two minutes, let him get up. He will tell you that everything became white. So, this kind of experience people get when they take drugs. But real inner experiences, real realisation, we can never get from drugs, because God does not want us to come to Him in that way. He has already told us to pray and meditate. He never said that if we take drugs, then we will realise Him.

Question: Suppose someone comes to you, Guru, and says, "I take drugs. Can you help me get off drugs?" Could you help him?

Sri Chinmoy: These individuals have to excuse me, but unfortunately, I had quite a few sad experiences six or seven years ago when I accepted disciples who were taking drugs. So I decided that people may come to me only after they have given up drugs. It is not that I will not be able to help them, but here we have a family, a spiritual community. If people are still taking drugs when they come, then they may poison our system. If I didn't have any other disciples, I would tell them, "Yes, you may come. I will be able to help you." But right now I tell them that they have to conquer drugs first; they have to give up drugs totally. Only then can they enter into our family.

Question: Sir, why is it that so many American people are following Indian Gurus?

Sri Chinmoy: The reason is very simple. They are not getting or they have not got from their priests and rabbis the things that they are getting from the Indian Gurus. Some Indian Gurus may be fakes, while some may be sincere. But one thing Americans are getting from the Indian Gurus, which unfortunately they are not getting from their churches or synagogues, and that is love, concern. The Indian Gurus I must defend here. Some of them may be real rogues, but they are showing their hearts, and this is what Americans need. American parents blame their children for not being affectionate. The parents complain that the children are not showing their love and affection to them. But the children also have the same problem: they are not getting enough love, affection and concern from their parents.

Americans have been to their churches, they have been to their priests. But they see something new in the Indian Gurus. The Indian Gurus, real Indian Gurus, will never speak ill of any Master or any path or any religion. If you go to church, then immediately you are caught or embraced by the Christian religion. If you follow Judaism, then immediately you are caught by Judaism. But if you follow Yoga, you are not caught; on the contrary, you get a tremendous sense of liberation and freedom. Yoga will not tell you that you cannot go to church or that you cannot speak to a priest. No, no! Yoga will say that it is not a religion at all; it is only a path.

Religion is just like a home. Immediately you will claim that your home is far better than my home and there will be no end to our quarrels. But Yoga is just a road. Everybody can walk along a road. Only a limited number of people can stay inside a house, let us say ten or twelve people. But every day thousands of people can walk along a road. Inside Christianity or Judaism or Hinduism, only a few people can stay. But Yoga is for everyone. So Americans have come to know that if they want freedom, if they need freedom, then Yoga is the answer and not any particular religion.

Question: Guru, is Yoga really for everybody?

Sri Chinmoy: Yoga is for everybody, everybody. But if one is sincere, then one can make better progress. If one is insincere, then he will take a long time to reach his goal.

Question: How can a person tell which Guru he should follow?

Sri Chinmoy: Each person has likes and dislikes. If you like someone, then you talk and mix with that person and he becomes your friend. In the spiritual life also, when you look at a Guru, if you feel some inner affinity, if you feel that he is someone whom you can trust or that he has the thing that you want or need, then you will know that he is meant for you. The moment you see him, if you get a kind of confidence in him and also a kind of confidence in yourself, a feeling that you will be able to listen to him, then he is the real Master for you.

Question: But how can you tell whether you are linking up with a fake or not?

Sri Chinmoy: That you will know from your personal experiences. A fake may deceive you for two days or two months or two years; but if you are sincere, then he cannot deceive you forever. Usually it happens that if a person is sincere, very sincere, extremely sincere, then he goes to the right Master. But if the seeker is very sincere and does go to the wrong person, still the experience that he gets does help him in some way. No experience is totally lost. An individual may delay his progress for a year or two, but this experience will make him very strong inwardly and he will not make the same mistake again. And from the mistake that he has made, he will get an added experience. The next time he will be careful and cautious when he wants to do something for the world or wants to get help from human beings. It will make him very careful in assessing people or in mixing with people in this world.

Question: Without naming names, are many people following fakes?

Sri Chinmoy: Not many people. But 'many' is a vague term. Only you can say that there are more insincere Masters than sincere Masters. This I can say categorically. If you have to use numbers, if you want to make a comparison, then categorically I can say that there are more insincere Masters — not only in America, but all over the world.

Question: What are the ways that a God-realised Master can help his disciples realise God?

Sri Chinmoy: The God-realised Master will meditate on his disciples and bring forward their souls. This is the most important thing that a spiritual Master does. He enters into the soul, into the inner being of the disciple, and feeds it; and he helps the seeker to bring to the fore all his divine qualities. For that, the disciple also must have implicit faith in the Master. Otherwise, the Master will bring to the fore the disciple's divine qualities, but the disciple won't be able to utilise them. So with his meditation the Master helps his disciples. This is one way.

The other way is by giving constant outer concern and inner encouragement. He tells the disciples that they are doing the right thing or, if they do something wrong, then immediately he points it out to them. If you are doing something good, he will say, "Go on! There is no end to your achievement." If you do something wrong, then immediately he will prevent you from doing it again. So, it is through his inner meditation and his outer concern that he will be able to help.

Question: Sri Chinmoy, what is your philosophy on sex?

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the individual. That is to say, if an individual is leading an animal life, then I will say, "Please come up to the human life." If the individual is in the human life, then I say, "Try to transcend sex and come to the divine life." In other words, God-realisation and sex-life do not and cannot go together. But if an individual wants to conquer all his emotional problems, lower vital problems, overnight, he will fail. He will only turn insane. So I tell my disciples to become wise. Slowly, steadily and unerringly they have to try to curb their lower vital needs.

I tell my disciples that they have to curb their lower vital life on the strength of their inner awakening. If we condemn something, then we will not be able to conquer it. If we hate someone, then that person will just come and strike us. We can only say that at a certain point sex is unnecessary in life. There are many things that are unnecessary. Right now a child eats mud, clay, sand, everything that he can find. But the same child, when he grows up, does not go near sand, mud and clay; he knows that it only makes him dirty and filthy. At that time he eats proper food. Similarly, when one becomes a seeker, he takes proper food; and this is his inner experience, his divine, fulfilling experience. But one has to go slowly and steadily. To the married people I say, "Be faithful to each other." If people are married, they should go on in their own way and slowly and steadily try to transcend the vital life. But if people are not married, then they must lead a totally celibate life. Otherwise, it is impossible for them to make progress. And this has to be not only on the physical plane, but also on the mental plane.

Question: Guru, America is rather preoccupied with sex. Is it harder now for people to practise the spiritual life than it was, say, twenty years ago?

Sri Chinmoy: To some extent it is true. If you are more interested in the vital life, then naturally it will be more difficult for you to practise the spiritual life. But again, many sincere Masters also have come to America recently. So, on the one hand, you are doing something wrong; on the other hand, you are fortunate enough to get help from someone who can help you. In this way, you can strike a balance.