God and the cosmic game

Question: How do you define God?

Sri Chinmoy: God is beyond definition. But according to one's own vision or receptivity, one will define God in one's own way. Some will say that God is all Love. Others will say that God is all Power. Each one will see God according to his own necessity, his own receptivity and, finally, according to the way God wants him to see the ultimate Truth.

I see God with form and without form. I see Him as boundless Consciousness, limitless and endless Consciousness. Again, I see Him as energy, infinite energy. But usually I see the Supreme in the form of a most luminous, golden Being. When I converse with Him, I also see this form. I am extremely fond of this particular form. Here on earth, where we judge beauty with the human eye, we feel that a particular child is most beautiful. But I wish to say that the Supreme that I pray to and converse with is infinitely more beautiful than the most beautiful child on earth. Again, the same Supreme, who is my Beloved, who is my Pilot, may assume the formless form of infinite Light, Peace and Bliss. But I personally prefer the personal form.

Some people don't even like to use the term "God." The Buddha did not use the term "God." He used the term "Bliss," or "Nirvana." But we have to know that this transcendental Bliss is none other than God Himself. Inside this Bliss is divine perfection and satisfaction. If you want to call it Bliss, you can. And if you want to call it God, you can do that, too. Whatever gives you satisfaction is the right way for you.

Question: Is there only one God?

Sri Chinmoy: There is one absolute God. But each human being, according to my philosophy, is a portion of God. The Supreme God is like the ocean. Each drop has a little of the consciousness of the ocean; therefore, we can say each drop is a tiny god, a portion of God. When you are portion of the Infinite, you can say that you also embody the essence of the Infinite.

According to our Indian philosophy, there are as many gods as there are human beings. What do we mean by that? We feel that each human being has God inside him. We believe in the soul; we believe that we have God inside us. Most of the time our God is fast asleep. But when we pray and meditate, our God comes forward. There are many who are still fast asleep. Their God is still sleeping. But we are praying, we are meditating; so we are bringing to the fore our God. The soul, which is God's representative within us, has a complete and inseparable connection with the Absolute God.

Question: What has God learned from His Self-transcendence?

Sri Chinmoy: God has learned from Self-transcendence that His own Light and Delight are constantly increasing. He does not want to be bound either by His Vision or by Himself. He feels that if His Creation binds Him, then it is useless. And if He binds Himself, then He is useless. He does not want to be bound by anything that He has done or by anything that He has become. He wants freedom, constant freedom from what He is and from what He has done. So God has learned from Self-transcendence the message of His own Freedom. Each time He transcends Him self, God increases His Freedom-Power. When He uses His Freedom-Power in Heaven, it is His Vision-Power. It is all His Vision that He is spreading. And when He uses His Freedom-Power here on earth, it is His Compassion-Power. Out of His infinite Bounty, unconditionally He is making us good. So that is His Compassion aspect that He is using. Freedom He has transformed into Compassion. But in Heaven He is using His Freedom in the form of Light, so that He can see what He has done and what He is going to do.

Question: How can God transcend Absolute Truth? I mean truth is truth, isn't it?

Sri Chinmoy: Truth is not truth. Truth is only on the mental plane and God is beyond the mind. Absolute Truth is far beyond the mind. You are five feet eleven inches tall; that is your height, that is your truth. Your truth will last sixty or seventy years and then it will end. On the physical plane your truth is the human body, which is flesh and blood. But on the spiritual plane, you are the soul, the eternal and immortal soul, the birthless, deathless soul.

If your truth is the birthless and deathless soul, you are constantly transcending. But if your truth is the human body, then here on earth you are only growing up and decaying; finally you will die. So with human truth, there is a limit. There comes a time when, at the age of seventy or eighty, you are finished; the game is over. This is one truth. But the other truth, the soul's truth, is that you are immortal, infinite. One truth is earthbound truth, which is limited. At the age of seventy or eighty it is gone. That truth is of the body. Another truth is of the soul. And this truth embodies the message of self-transcendence.

Question: How can Infinity transcend itself?

Sri Chinmoy: Again, you are using the mind. We say that God is infinite. But "infinite" is a term that the mind is using. It is like saying that the form is just so big, just up to that particular point which we call infinite. Then the mind immediately asks, "Is it larger than this?" And then the mind makes another jump. In this way the mind goes on trying to bind that which cannot be bound. But when you use the heart, you realise that something can be infinite and, at the same time, it can transcend itself.

God is transcending Himself all the time because He feels that this is the only way He can enjoy freedom. And this freedom He can use in the form of Peace, Joy, Love, anything. Only we have to know which reality we are dealing with. If it is the physical reality, then your height is fixed. Flesh, blood, muscles, nerves: this is your reality and it will die. But the soul's reality is constantly evolving, evolving, evolving, evolving, evolving.

Question: Are dream and reality the same for God?

Sri Chinmoy: Dream and reality go together. They are at the same place. Inside dream is reality. There are only two different names of a single reality. We call it dream when we look up, and when we look down it is reality. We stand at a particular place and look at a mountain. When we look at the top of the mountain we call it dream, and when we look at the foot of the mountain we call it reality.

Question: Since the Supreme can count from one to forty-five immediately, does He create time in order to have a game?

Sri Chinmoy: He creates the time that can be measured, earth-bound time; also He creates the time that cannot be measured. If He wants to play a game which has limits, He can. So on earth, He uses limited time.

Question: Does God ever change His mind?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, from time to time the Supreme does change His plan, His opinion.

He has every right. It is His world, His Game, and He is the Player. An ordinary human being has the right to change his mind, and the Supreme, being omnipotent and omniscient, also has the right. When He does change His Plan, He does it for our own good. We change our opinion because we don't know what the right thing should be for us. But in the Supreme's case, He knows that He is leading us from Light to more Light to abundant Light, infinite Light.

Question: Did the Supreme manifest just part of Himself as the Supreme, and is the other part — the evil forces — just lack of the Supreme?

Sri Chinmoy: No. Each human being is part of the Supreme. Multiplicity started from unity; from one He wanted to become many. Each human being represents His multiplicity. When multiplicity started, in that multiplicity some had more light, some had less light, some had no light. But when Creation started, even in the ones that were all darkness, still there was the Supreme. It is like this: in a shop there are varieties of things and some are more beautiful than others. Perhaps there is one that you may say is not beautiful at all. But somebody else will say, "Yes, it is beautiful." So like that, the one that is absolutely dark is appreciated by someone, even though his standard of beauty may be darkness itself.

When the Supreme started the creation, it was from an iota of His entire Being. Everything in the creation, every human being, is a very infinitesimal portion of the Supreme. So if you say that half of His creation is light and half is darkness, it won't be correct. When He started, it was all light. It is not categorically dark or light. It is light, but everything has a shade. When we make a comparison, we can say that one person or one thing has more light than the other. The one that has no light is simply an undivine force; the one that has abundant light is divine. When there is multiplicity, one individual is brighter than the other, and the one that is not bright at all is called dark.

Question: Is there any spiritual significance to an apparently healthy infant's death?

Sri Chinmoy: Either God sanctions and approves it, or God tolerates it. We don't know the past, we don't know what good or bad deeds the infant committed in his previous life, so we can't say why the infant has died. But either God's tolerance or God's sanction has to be there. And only God's Will knows whether it was an act of sanction and approval, or an act of tolerance.

Question: How does God let catastrophes take place?

Sri Chinmoy: Suppose our near and dear ones have died. It is a real catastrophe for us. But in God's Eye, it is only an experience that He is having in and through us. God is infinite and inside Him this particular experience is taking place.

Before the battle, Arjuna did not want to fight against his cousins and other relatives. You have read this in the /Gita,/ India's bible. Arjuna said. "How can I do this?" But Sri Krishna showed Arjuna his Universal Form and said, "Look, enter into my Universal Consciousness!" Sri Krishna showed Arjuna that in his Universal Consciousness, Arjuna's enemies were already killed. He said, "It is all done. Arjuna, you just become the instrument."

We see that a disaster has taken place and we ask, "Why is God so unkind?" Why did He allow this to take place if He is all Love?" But if we enter into His Will, if we have the capacity to identify ourselves with the Inner Pilot, then we will see that there is a reason. If we live in the soul, we will see that everything that happens here on earth has some meaning, because God does not do anything contrary to His own ultimate Fulfilment. With our human eyes we see unbearable pain and sorrow; the whole world is full of suffering. But when we pray and meditate, when we go deep within, we see that there is no such thing as suffering or joy. It is all the operation of God's Will. When this Will is in operation, sometimes we call it suffering and sometimes we call it joy, or we use some other term. A spiritual person tries to identify himself with the experience that God Himself is having, and not with what is taking place in the outer manifestation. If we identify ourselves with the outer manifestation, we will lose all faith in ourselves, in God and in the creation. There will be every possibility for our mind to mislead and misguide us.

So, in our spiritual life, we try to live in the soul. In the soul there is Light. When we become part and parcel of this Light, we become one with God's Universal Will. There we will see that it is God who is the Knower, the Known and also the Knowledge. God is the Experience, God is the Experiencer and God is the One who is constantly offering the Experience to us.

Question: Guru, why did the Supreme decide to go through suffering to realisation?

Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme did not decide to go through suffering. He wanted to go from Delight to greater Delight, and then to abundant Delight, greatest Delight. But then human beings started using their minds and created confusion. With their limited freedom they started running the wrong way and that wrong way led to eternal suffering. The Supreme did not want suffering. Only our minds created all suffering. The Supreme didn't do it; we did it. We did everything.

Question: When God knows everything, does He take into account the hostile forces?

Sri Chinmoy: He knows everything. These forces He takes as a challenge, and He sees if an individual is sincere enough to seek Him in spite of the hostile forces. Ultimately, God is going to win, but in the meantime God can either expedite the game or not. Those who are receptive are helped by God.

Question: How does the Supreme illumine the past?

Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme illumines the past by forgiveness. Real forgiveness means forgetfulness, conscious forgetfulness. If somebody really forgives you for something that you did, then he will not keep the memory even in his inner vision. But if he does not forgive you, he keeps it in front of his inner vision. Illumination is necessary because of darkness. Mistakes are darkness. So, the Supreme illumines our mistakes through forgiveness.