Part I

The disciples' inspiration-power

One day a spiritual Master was with a group of his disciples. The Master meditated for a while and then he started talking about various things with his spiritual children. After a few minutes he said to one of his disciples, "Ramesh, good boy, did you go to visit our Centre during your business trip?"

"No, Master, I spoke to the leader and some others and everybody agreed that I shouldn't go unless you told me to go."

"What happened? Why did they not want you to go?"

"Well, because Jyotish had gone there on Monday."

"So, they can't digest more light? The leader has just written to me that he is inspired again. He will be very spiritual, very devoted. For a few months he was very unspiritual, but now he has written such a soulful letter. So the more disciples who go there to visit, the better it will be for him. How is it that he does not want you to go? This is so bad. On the one hand he is trying to be good, to be spiritual and to dedicate himself more, and on the other hand this is his attitude. What was his reason?"

"Well, he felt that I couldn't do very much in the day I would be there and that Jyotish had done as much as was necessary during his visit there."

"But does he not feel that the very presence of a mature disciple is an inspiration? What a stupid fellow he is! He doesn't hear any good news, juicy stories or anything. Jyotish has told whatever Jyotish knows, according to his own inspiration and aspiration. But if another individual comes, it will add to his inspiration. You would have got another opportunity to tell him some news. Good disciples will always try to get as much inspiration as possible from others. To get a visitor from one of our main Centres is really something. It adds to their aspiration. So many things they will hear about our activities. Just because someone else has already been there, does it mean that others will have nothing to say? He is really something!

"I am under the impression that people from other Centres would have behaved differently if someone had wanted to visit them. Every day they would have said, 'Come, come!' Some Centres are like that. Today you have gone and then they hear that tomorrow someone else will come and, the day after, someone else again. They will gladly welcome everyone. They will feel that it is a great joy. So that fellow is mistaking our philosophy. I don't understand him."

Ramesh's wife said, "He might have been shy to ask Ramesh to come. Perhaps he felt that he would be causing Ramesh some trouble."

Ramesh said, "Jyotish's brother mentioned that it probably wouldn't be necessary for me to go."

"So, Asim discouraged you? Oh, Asim, have you nothing else to do? This is my request from now on. Of course, if other Centres don't want you, then how can you go as an unwanted guest? But I really want you to visit these little Centres and inspire them."

Ramesh said, "He would have been happy to have me, Master, but he didn't see any real reason for me to go and I guess I didn't either."

The Master said, "The real reason is to give added inspiration to those people who do not live near me. That is the most important thing."

"He did mention that I would give him inspiration, but as to what I could actually do concretely in such a short time, he didn't think it would be very much. He said that all I could really do was to give him inspiration."

The Master said, "What is most important? Inspiration is most important. When you have inspiration, for days and nights you can work. When you don't have inspiration, I have to go and touch your feet and beg of you, 'Ramesh, please do this.' You know the difference between inspiration and lack of inspiration. When I am inspired, I write so many poems."

"Inspiration is so important, especially for the disciples who do not live in this vicinity. They should feel that it is a great opportunity, a great honour, to have a visitor. It will give them great joy and a real sense of accomplishment. Now if Ramesh goes to visit this Centre and the following day his wife phones up and asks, 'Can I come?' what will they say?' Oh, Ramesh has said everything that we want to know. We don't need any more from you. Next year we shall see.' Tell me, is this what is going to happen? Always give the utmost importance to inspiration. Inspiration is the most important thing."

Newness and transcendence

Every day must come to you as a new hope, a new promise, a new aspiration, a new energy, a new thrill and a new delight. Tomorrow will dawn and you have already seen thousands of days. If you think that tomorrow will be another day like those which you have already seen, then you will make no progress. You have to feel that tomorrow will be something absolutely new that you are going to create in your life.

You can remember one particular day when you got the greatest joy, or the day that you accepted our path wholeheartedly. Remember the day I accepted you and you accepted me. Remember that day and then try to go one step forward tomorrow. Tomorrow you can have more delight than you had, say, three years ago. Then, the day after tomorrow, remember that joy and try to go one more step ahead. From joy you can always have greater joy, greatest joy, You can transcend yourself only by discovering and maintaining your joy. If you discover your previous joy and maintain it, then you will have the energy to go one more step. To discover, you need capacity; to maintain, you need capacity; and again, to go ahead, you need capacity.

If you do not have the first capacity, then you cannot have the second capacity. And without the second capacity, you cannot have the third capacity. Suppose you are lying down and then you get up. Getting up is your first capacity. If you know that you are no longer sleeping, that you have stood up and are looking around, then you have taken the first step. Then, when you get up, you have to start walking; this is your second. Then, as your third capacity, you have to run fast, faster, fastest. So if today you think of the joy you had when you first entered the spiritual life sincerely, that is your first step. And tomorrow, if you get more joy, you should take it as your second step. Then on the third day, you will get more aspiration and make a more serious promise to yourself and to the Supreme. That is your third step. But if you don't think of the day you accepted the spiritual life, when you gave up your desire-life and entered into aspiration-life, then you are not taking your first step. And if you do not take the first step, then the desire-life will compel you to lie down and sleep with ignorance again.

You get up early in the morning. That is your first step. Then you wash your face; that is your second step. Then, when you start eating, that is the third step. In the spiritual life, the first step is to get up from ignorance. The second step is to look around and start walking. The third step is to run the fastest.

Every day you have to energise yourself to such an extent that you will feel new hope and new aspiration. If on a particular day there is no hope, then on that day you are dead. If on a particular day there is no promise, then you are worse than dead. If you want to live on earth, then you must have hope. Hope is not a mental hallucination; far from it. Hope is a vast field. And if there is promise, then you can feel that you have sown the seed, the promise-seed. But if you don't have a field, then how are you going to sow the seed? So, you have to know that your hope is the field and your promise is the seed. Your promise is fulfilled only through constant aspiration. Aspiration was there inside hope, aspiration is now inside promise and, one day, when the promise-seed germinates, you will get the fruits of your aspiration. That is realisation: conscious, constant, inseparable oneness with the Supreme.

So it is only with newness, newness at every moment in life, that you can succeed and transcend yourself. If you always have the hope of newness in thought and in action, then only you can transcend. What you have is good, but it is not enough. You need something more. But this does not mean that you will act like a greedy man who has one dollar and wants ten dollars. You should only feel that you can't manifest the Supreme unless you become infinite like Him. You need more, but not for your own personal fulfilment or aggrandisement. Without infinite Peace and infinite Light, how are you going to manifest the infinite Supreme? Therefore, you have to treasure hope and promise at every moment. It is with hope and promise that you can think of Infinity, and it is only with Infinity that you can fulfil the message of Infinity.

Part II — Two divine wings: inspiration and aspiration

Question: Can inspiration be controlled?

Sri Chinmoy: Inspiration is like a flight of birds. When birds fly overhead, why should they land where you are? Why should they come to you? Since I am a spiritual Master, I can say, "Stop here," and they will stop. You don't have this kind of capacity to command inspiration. But when inspiration comes to you, you get satisfaction because it has listened to you and it is serving its purpose. If I call to a child who is running, she won't necessarily come to me. But if her mother or father calls the child, then she will come to them immediately. Here is the difference.

Question: Could you speak on the relationship between inspiration and creation?

Sri Chinmoy: Inspiration and creation always go together. No inspiration, no creation. I am blessing inspiration with my left hand and creation with my right hand. Without inspiration. nobody, nobody can achieve anything, not even God. He was inspired; that is why He created His creation. He was one; He wanted to become many. But how? On the strength of His inspiration. Inspiration entered into Him; that is why from one He became many. So here also the creation I am blessing with the right hand and inspiration with the left hand. Inspiration and creation are inseparable. One complements the other. One enters into the other. That is to say, inspiration enters into creation in the inner world and creation enters into the outer world while carrying inspiration inside the heart. Inspiration and creation always go together, for they are inseparable in the Heart of the Supreme.

Question: Does the Guru play the role of inspiration or aspiration in the disciple?

Sri Chinmoy: A real Guru always inspires and also aspires in and through the disciple. His task is to inspire outwardly and aspire inwardly, in and through the disciple. I aspire when I meditate on you in the morning in a secret way, an occult way. But when I am in front of you in the physical form, I inspire you. If you see that I am in a very high, exalted mood, then it inspires you. At the start of your aspiration, you feel that I am inspiring you. Aspiration is already there, but my inner being is illumining your outer being or outer consciousness. Then my aspiration adds true inner growth, inner light. Again, when I am not in the physical form in front of you, then you are bound to feel that while you are aspiring, I am aspiring in and through you. It is like a private teacher who is teaching the student privately what he has to learn. But in this case the student feels that his teacher is his eternal Father, unlike the school teacher.

So, when you are in front of me, mostly it is inspiration that you get from me. Of course, when I am meditating, your aspiration increases. But when I am not with you physically, you have the opportunity to feel that I am aspiring inside you to elevate your consciousness, to take you to the ultimate Goal. This is how a spiritual Master aspires and inspires.

Question: What is aspiration?

Sri Chinmoy: Aspiration is the inner courage. And what is the inner courage? The inner courage is called implicit faith in one's divine Pilot.

Question: Could you speak more about aspiration?

Sri Chinmoy: Aspiration is man's inner cry for the Highest. It is the mounting flame within us that climbs up high, higher, highest. In the outer world we use one thing to reach our goal and that is desire. In the inner world we use something else: aspiration. Now the difference between desire and aspiration is this: Desire tells us that we have to get one thing today and tomorrow two things. The day after tomorrow again we have to increase the number to two, three, four or more. But aspiration will not say that. Aspiration will say, "Enter into the infinite Vast and this Vast will give you boundless Peace, Light and Delight."

Aspiration is the mounting flame within us. If there is no aspiration, then one can never, never realise God. Aspiration has the key to unlock the door of God. Aspiration in concentration, meditation and contemplation is of paramount importance. No aspiration, no realisation. Now this aspiration has to come from the inmost recesses of our hearts. Very often we have mental curiosity and we take it for aspiration. This is absolutely wrong. Aspiration is a burning cry within us. A child is crying for milk. No matter where he is, the mother comes running because the child is crying for milk or something else. The mother comes and feeds the child. In the spiritual life also, when an individual seeker cries ardently, soulfully and devotedly, God comes and stands in front of him.

If you ask whether there is anything that is most important in our spiritual life, then I wish to say, "Yes, there is, and that is aspiration." Today's aspiration is bound to bring down God tomorrow or in the near future. It is in aspiration that God manifests Himself through us. The human aspiration and the divine Compassion go together. Divine Compassion is the flame of human aspiration. There is no end to our aspiration. There is no end to our realisation, no end. The goal is ever transcending its own limits. Today's goal will be tomorrow's starting point. There is no end to our goal; therefore there is no end to our ultimate realisation. There is no end to our aspiration. We aspire for the Highest, for the infinite, for the Eternal. The infinite cannot be measured. As we enter into Infinity, the finite and the infinite become inseparably one. Our Vedic seers voiced forth:

Purnam adah purnam idam, purnat purnam udacyate
Purnasya purnam adaya purnam evavasisyate

Infinity is that. Infinity is this.
From Infinity, Infinity has come into existence.
From Infinity, when Infinity is taken away,
Infinity remains the same.

That is the message we can get from our aspiration. Again, aspiration takes us immediately into the realm of Delight. From Delight we came into existence, from the transcendental Self. Again, in Delight we grow. Our inner being grows in Delight. The outer being may not be aware of it. The outer being goes through suffering, but the soul, the inner being, grows in Delight. At the end of our journey, we enter into the same perpetual Delight. This was the realisation of the Vedic seers, the seers of the hoary past. And also this is the realisation of all true spiritual Masters. Aspiration is that which offers us Infinity in the form of boundless Peace and boundless Delight.

Question: Is there aspiration in each part of us: soul, heart, mind, vital and physical?

Sri Chinmoy: Aspiration is in each part of the being. The central aspiration comes from the soul. The body, the vital, the mind, the heart and the soul all have aspiration. When all the members aspire together, then only we can run the fastest. Otherwise, the heart wants to pray in the morning when the body is fast asleep. Then, when the body is ready to meditate, the heart is not aspiring. The mind is thinking of its school studies and the heart is thinking of somebody else; it is cherishing jealousy. The vital is cherishing insecurity. Then what are we going to do? But if all the members of the being aspire together, then the mind won't allow doubt to enter, the heart says, "I am pure," the vital is secure and the body says, "I am now ready, I am alert." At that time there can be no obstacle.

Question: How can aspiration transform our body, vital and mind?

Sri Chinmoy: The physical likes to remain idle. The very nature of the physical is to remain inactive. The physical says, "I will sit here and everybody has to touch my feet. Everybody has to bring my food here." In every way the physical is like that. The ordinary vital, instead of being dynamic, becomes aggressive. It feels, "If somebody comes near me, then I want to show off how powerful I am. I will strike the person and show my strength." This is the vital's aggression. And what does the mind do? It immediately suspects. It suspects that somebody is insincere, that just ahead of us there is a rogue. If somebody comes, then immediately the mind will suspect that person, no matter how sincere he is. The very function of the mind is to suspect or belittle other people. It feels, "Only I can exist on earth. I am the greatest. I am the highest." This is how the mind will make us feel.

Now, what will we do? If we accept the spiritual life, then we will say that the body has to be active. Let the body run. Even if it is not running exactly towards the goal, even if it is going beside the goal, let there be some movement. If the body is taking a wrong direction, then somebody will immediately tell the body, "You have made a wrong turn. Come back and start again, run on the right path." So the body has to be energetic. Right now, the body is sleeping twenty-four hours a day. The physical body may not sleep, but what we call the body-consciousness is sleeping. When we don't meditate on God, spiritually we are fast asleep. He who does not aspire at all is absolutely dead according to the strict spiritual discipline. So the body is fast asleep. This body has to undertake some movement, it has to stand up, walk and run. While standing on its feet if it is not doing well, then our inner being will tell us that we are not doing the right thing.

What is the vital doing? The vital has become aggressive: It wants to destroy the world, absolutely destroy it. But if this vital becomes the dynamic vital instead of the aggressive vital, then it will try to energise and inspire the physical consciousness of others who are lethargic. It will say, "No, don't waste your precious time! Get up! Now do something good for yourself or for humanity." This is what the vital will say, the real dynamic vital.

Then the mind, the suspecting mind, the aggressive mind, the doubting mind, if it becomes the divine mind which is illumined by the soul's light, this illumined mind will say, "Let us be vast, let us be infinite. Let us think of everything in infinite measure. Let us think of ourselves as the vast sky or the vast ocean. We cannot be bound by anything. We won't suspect anybody, we won't belittle anybody. On the contrary, we shall expand our own consciousness and help others to expand their consciousness." This is the clear mind, the pure mind, the illumined mind.

So if we practise the spiritual life, then we will get this kind of active body, dynamic vital and illumined mind. If we do not take to the spiritual life, then we have to be satisfied with the body which does not aspire, which is fast asleep; with the vital which is all the time aggressive and wants to destroy the world; and with the mind which wants to suspect, criticise, doubt and strangle others with bad thoughts. This is our fate when we do not aspire.

Question: How can we have a free access to the higher worlds?

Sri Chinmoy: In order to have a free access to the higher worlds, you have to cry inwardly. Your mind has to be focused twenty-four hours a day on the Supreme. You should cherish the feeling that the Supreme is all for you and He is all for everyone. Always feel that you can keep Him as your very own. Don't try to take anybody else; only catch the person who is eager to be caught, and that is the Supreme.

Question: How can we increase our need for God?

Sri Chinmoy: How can you increase your need for God? It is very easy. Start by imagining your personal needs. There are millions of things that you need from earth. Just try to minimise them. The more you can minimise your personal needs, the sooner you will feel the increase of your need for God. If you have ten desires, then reduce the number to nine or eight. Then immediately you will see that your need for God has increased. Then, some time later, bring it to seven desires. Then immediately you will see that just because you have decreased your desires, your love for God and your need for God are increasing.

Again, one thing we have to know. Sometimes we make ourselves feel that we don't need the world but the world needs us. We don't need anything from the world but the world needs us. That kind of feeling is also equally bad. As we need many things from earth, we try to fulfil the needs of earth; but we find that it is simply impossible. Today we have one need, tomorrow we have another need. There will be an endless series of needs. Our expectation from the world is endless. That is also equally bad in the spiritual life. The world does not need us and we don't need the world as such. We need the Divine, the Supreme in the world. We do need the Supreme in the world. You need the Supreme in your father, in your mother, in your relatives and in humanity. But if you feel that you need human beings as such, then it is simply absurd. You are not going to get anything that you need from humanity.

So, to come back to your question, your need for God will increase immediately when your need to fulfil your desires decreases. Just count daily, early in the morning, how many desires you have. If you can count eight desires today, then the moment you have counted eight desires, start minimising them. Say to yourself, "Perhaps I can easily go on without that desire." Then, a few hours later, try to make yourself feel, "I can go on without fulfilling this desire, either. This desire is not very powerful in my life. I can live without it." Like that you go on, go on. Make yourself feel, convince yourself, that this desire is unimportant, unnecessary, only you have been staying with it or allowing it to stay with you. Like that, each time you can discard a desire, you will see that your love-power and your need for God will increase.

Question: What is the relationship between individual aspiration and collective aspiration?

Sri Chinmoy: Individual aspiration has to grow along with collective aspiration. Individually if one feels the need of realising God, then only he will enter into the collective world of aspiration. Without entering into the collective world, he will have no existence of his own. His true existence lies in offering himself to the rest of the world.

In the field of aspiration, in the field of realisation, individuality and collectivity must go together. To those who have become very, very close to my heart on the strength of their aspiration, devotion and dedication, I wish to say that each one should feel the necessity of spreading the message of the Supreme. I give you full authority to spread the message of the Supreme. If somebody asks you, "Who has told you to give this message?" just say, "My Master, my Guru has asked me to give the message." I give you full authority to spread the message of the Supreme. Each person here has the capacity to spread the message of the Supreme. This mission is your own mission. Each person has the capacity to awaken and inspire the seekers who have not yet found the Source or who do not have any temple in which to pray and meditate on the Source.

Question: Does meditating in a group improve our aspiration?

Sri Chinmoy: Meditation is, I must say, a new lesson almost every day. In meditation the spiritual Master is conscious of the fact that he has entered deep within each soul and that the souls have all felt something. It is collective aspiration that brings down the Light. I try always to go to the Highest and bring down the Highest and enter into the deepest Light, but there are some who actually go with me into the Highest and the Deepest. When they go with me, it is a great help. When I stand in front of others, at times they try to pull me down; but fortunately I am stronger and I pull them with all my power. I lift them up. Then, when they surrender, they go up. These people go on my shoulders like dead bodies, but I take the responsibility for them. There are only a few like that. Most of them can be pulled up; easily they can go up with me.

It is absolutely true that the disciples contribute much to our collective aspiration. When you are aspiring most intensely and somebody else is aspiring most intensely, this intense aspiration always helps in bringing down to earth the great spiritual Masters. I think that both the Bible and our Indian spiritual scriptures say that if twelve people pray intensely in a circle, then the spiritual Masters will walk among them. It is the result of their collective aspiration. One is aspiring with his inmost light, another with his power, another with his peace, another again with light. Then all the united aspiration goes up to bring down the presence of the spiritual Masters. So collective aspiration is very effective.

Question: How can we increase our aspiration and strengthen our meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us take the burning inner flame as our hunger. One day we are pinched with hunger. Another day we are not hungry at all, but we do eat. Early in the morning when it is breakfast time, even if we do not have real hunger, we go and eat. It is a daily routine or habit that we have formed which is necessary for our health. We should take food every day, whether we are really hungry or not. If we eat every day, then automatically we are nourished and our muscles are strengthened. Our whole body is nourished. Similarly, one day if the inner flame is not burning very brightly, let us say, still we have to meditate. Otherwise in the inner world we shall become weak. We don't get most delicious food every day; it is not possible. Even the world's best cook cannot make most delicious food every day. But still we have to eat. In the spiritual life also we cannot expect the highest type of meditation every day.

Again, the highest type of meditation depends on the seeker's own spiritual attainment and achievement. But there comes a time when one is on the verge of spiritual realisation or one has realised God. At that time meditation is a matter of his own will. Now, in my case, if I want to do the highest meditation, then at any hour, even right after I have eaten, I can enter into my highest consciousness. But that is not possible for the beginning seekers. So their duty is to meditate each and every day, whether they are hungry or not, for their spiritual nourishment.