Part I: Questions and answers

Question: If a member of one's immediate family is sick, what is your feeling about praying to God for healing power?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us say that your mother is sick. Instead of saying, "Cure my mother, cure my mother," if you can say, "I place my mother at the Feet of God," you will be doing the best thing. Your best healing power will be to place your mother at the Feet of God, because He knows what is best.

When you offer your own will to the Will of God, you gain power, and this power will be utilised for God. God Himself will tell you how to utilise it. But if you try to heal on your own, in spite of your best intentions, you may stand against the Will of God.

Suppose you pray and meditate to acquire divine power so that you can cure people and help the world. You say, "I want to be a camel and carry the whole burden of the world on my shoulders." But if the camel is not illumined, then how can it help others gain illumination?

You are running towards your goal. If you ask God to give you something, then this is just an additional thing that you have to carry, and it may slow you down. So if illumination is your goal, think only of your goal and nothing else.

Again, if a remedy for a disease comes spontaneously from within and you don't have to exercise your mental power or will-power, then there is no question of ego, pride or vanity. If in your meditation, all of a sudden you see inner light, and in this light you get a cure for some fatal disease, then naturally you will be able to offer this inner illumination to the world at large. But otherwise, the best thing is to become illumined first. Then only will you be serving God in His own Way. Otherwise at times you will serve God in His own Way and at other times you will be feeding your own ego.

God will do it

Try your best;
Do your best.
Leave the rest
At God's Compassion-Feet.

He will, without fail,
Do and fulfil
What is left undone,

Do you know
 Who God is?
He is your desire's Lord
Your aspiration's Slave.

A better world

Daughter, I have been
Looking for you everywhere.
Where have you been?
What have you been doing?
“I have been inside my mind.”
Ah, that is why I have been missing you.
What have you been doing there?
“I have been thinking
Of how to create a better world.”
I see, Daughter.
Please do Me a big favour.
When you create a better world,
Make Me an honorary citizen of your world.
Not only are you disappointed
  In My world,
But I am also disappointed
  Far beyond your imagination’s flight.

Question: How can I be a better wife and mother?

Sri Chinmoy: You have to feel that inside your husband, inside your son, is God. You love your husband and son, not because they are your dearest, but because inside them is your Dearest, everybody's Dearest. Inside your family you have to feel the presence of God. If you can vividly see and feel the presence of God inside your near and dear ones, you will see that you are ready to do everything for them.

Right now, when you do something for your husband or child, sometimes you do it unwillingly. You do it because you feel it is an obligation. But when you do something for God, you will see that it is done with pure joy; because when He asks you to do something, He gives you the necessary strength plus the inspiration. So if you can see and feel God's presence inside your husband and son, then you will be able to maintain that same kind of inspiration and joy.

Question: From the spiritual point of view, what is an artist?

Sri Chinmoy: From the spiritual point of view, an artist is a creator who inspires mankind to lead an aesthetic life, a life of inner and outer beauty, a life of harmony and a life of perfection. He creates and the world gets inspiration and aspiration from his creation. Then there comes a time when an artist feels that he is not the creator but just an instrument of God. God alone is the Creator and God Himself is creating in and through him. When he realises this, he becomes a divine artist. A divine artist is he who feels that he is the instrument of God Himself.

Question: If one was meditating in his past incarnation and made good progress, will he get a head start in this incarnation?

Sri Chinmoy: If somebody was really sincere in his spiritual life in his past incarnation, then in this life he will start his spiritual life at a young age. He will start with his spiritual life when he is ten or twelve or sixteen years old. But it may happen that the child is brought up in an unfavourable environment. So even if he had started his spiritual life in his past incarnation, in this incarnation he will go slowly and steadily because he does not get help from his parents or his environment. But if he was a very great aspirant in his past life and only just failed to realise God, then in this life he will definitely come into a highly developed spiritual family, so that from the very beginning he will be able to enter into the true spiritual life.

Question: I am a beginning seeker and I work in a bar. I was wondering if that will be detrimental to my spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: You have jumped into the sea of spirituality and have come to the point where spirituality is most important in your life. You have entered into a new life and now you are preparing yourself. In your particular case, during the time of your preparation, you are not ready to wrestle with the outside world. You are not strong enough. Right now you have two enemies. One enemy is outside: we call this enemy disharmony or conflict. The other enemy is within; it is your own ignorance or imperfection. Since you are a beginner, you have to fight with this inner enemy twenty-four hours a day. So the best thing is to minimise the strength of your outer enemies and work at a job that will not cause you extra difficulties. But a day will come when you will be able to face the world no matter what you are doing, no matter where you are working or who your neighbours are. At that time you will be able to stand tall on your own spiritual strength. When you have grown strong inwardly, when you have acquired inner wealth from your meditation, at that time the whole world will have to surrender to the Light and Peace inside you.

Question: Do disciples sometimes doubt their Master?

Sri Chinmoy: Each spiritual Master has some doubting and insincere disciples. Some may doubt the Master's realisation; they doubt whether the Master has actually realised God. Now, who is the loser here? If the Master is realised, then he is far above the disciples' doubt and suspicion. The Master will remain in his own highest consciousness. He will never be affected if these disciples doubt him.

Then, there are some disciples who are convinced to a degree that the Master is realised, but they doubt their own acceptance of the spiritual life. They feel that they are not totally sincere. These kinds of disciples can have faith in the Master but not in themselves. To doubt the Master is not good, but to doubt oneself is worse. And to doubt one's Master and oneself is the worst thing one can do.

Question: After we stop meditating, how can we maintain the level of consciousness we reached during our meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: Here we are all aspiring; that is why our consciousness is elevated. The meeting will last for about half an hour more. Then we shall go home and our consciousness will go down. How can we maintain our present level of consciousness? We can do it through constant remembrance.

After you leave the Centre and go home, you may not retain the same level of aspiration because of some family difficulty or other problems. But even if there is nothing to prevent you from continuing to aspire, your own limited being will not allow you to stay on the top of the tree. You aspire for half an hour with utmost sincerity and then relaxation starts. You feel that you have worked very hard and now you are entitled to rest.

But the spiritual life is not like that. If you want to maintain your standard, if you want to maintain the height of your aspiration, then your aspiration should be flowing constantly. Suppose you have meditated for an hour; then you may not be able to meditate again for another hour or so. It is difficult right now for all of us to meditate for eight hours. But no harm. For half an hour you can easily meditate. Then you can do something which will maintain and preserve your meditation. For the next half hour you can read spiritual books; then after that you can sing spiritual songs. Then you can go to the house of one of your spiritual brothers or sisters or, if that is not possible, you can call up someone on the phone and speak only about spiritual matters.

Again, you can write about your own experiences in your own way, not with the thought of publishing them but just to help your own consciousness. While you are writing them down, you are perfecting your spiritual nature. For half an hour you can write them down; then you will read what you have written. As soon as you have written down your experiences, you have created something. The creator always wants to enjoy his creation. Look at a gardener when he sees a beautiful rose. First he took great pains to plant a rosebush and to tend it; then after six or seven months when he sees the rose, he deeply appreciates and admires the beautiful flower. Similarly, you also may get joy from reading about your own experiences.

It takes fifteen or twenty minutes for you to eat. During that time try to remember what experiences you had while you were meditating early in the morning. Just imagine them. This imagination is not fantasy or self-deception. It is like charging a battery. You are charging your memory with your achievement, with your spiritual progress. Each time you think about your own experiences, you will be transported back to that time and you will get abundant Peace, Light and Bliss and so forth. So in this way you can always retain your meditation from the early morning and you will be able to maintain your standard until it is time for your next meditation.

But unfortunately people don't do this. We meditate for half an hour or forty-five minutes and immediately we feel that we are tired and exhausted. Then we do so many wrong things. It is a kind of negative reaction. We feel that we have seen one side of the river and now we want to go to the other shore. But the other shore is unfortunately all darkness. We have to try to remain on the shore that has light. So to preserve our meditation we will do other things which will increase or at least retain the power of the meditation.

During the week we have to go to work. Early in the morning we meditate and elevate our consciousness, but then we spend seven or eight hours at work and we are unfortunately compelled to mix with people who are unaspiring. We are thrown into a world of desire, fear, anxiety, worry and so forth, and our consciousness falls. So what do we do? Please meditate early in the morning and read spiritual books, sing spiritual songs, mix with spiritual people. Then, when you are in the office or involved in some other activity, try to remain in the consciousness of your early morning meditation and other spiritual activities. In your early morning meditation you have gained Peace, Light and Bliss, which is spiritual money. Keep that inside your own heart, which is the safest of all banks. Then, when you enter into the world, when you are in the office where it is all anxiety, worry and desire, you withdraw some of your spiritual wealth. You concentrate on your heart and bring forward a little of the Peace, Light and Bliss which you acquired early in the morning. It is your own wealth and you can use it. In this way you will be able to maintain your spiritual standard and keep your level of consciousness high.

Right now, we have to be very careful and wise in our day-to-day life about how we spend each hour. But a time will come when our life itself will be a continuous flow of aspiration. Now after our meditation we use the mind and think, "Oh, the time has come for me to read some spiritual books." But one day we won't have to make any conscious effort. Our inner being will inspire us to read spiritual books. Right now the inner being is inside, deeply hidden, but we are trying our best, through Yoga, to bring it to the fore.

Question: I believe in God, but it all seems so unreal to me.

Sri Chinmoy: Right now the existence of God is only a belief for you. But you have to know that one day this belief will change to reality. When you have seen inside yourself the infinite Peace, infinite Joy, infinite Love, at that time reality will dawn in your belief and you will get total fulfilment.

Question: Is purity necessary for someone following the path of Kundalini Yoga?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, if you want to open the chakras, then purity is of paramount importance. You can open the doors to these different centres with the key of purity. Each centre can be opened easily, satisfactorily and most effectively if you have the key of purity within you.

Purity is of paramount importance in the spiritual life whether you follow Kundalini Yoga or some other path. Inspiration and aspiration are of utmost necessity in the spiritual life. But inspiration without purity is simply useless; aspiration without purity is simply hopeless. If you have inspiration to enter into a more spiritual life, then this inspiration has to be surcharged with the soul's purity. And if you have aspiration to reach the Highest, then this aspiration has to be surcharged with the soul's purity. If purity is looming large in the seeker's life, then there is nothing either on earth or in Heaven which he cannot acquire.

Who are you?

Jealousy, do you know
Who you are?
In case you do not know
I shall tell you who you are.
You are the shameless weakness
Of humanity.

Doubt, do you know
Who you are?
In case you do not know
I shall tell you who you are.
You are the useless sickness
Of humanity.

You want to know

You want to know
What my life of hope does.
My life carries the sunrise.

You want to know
What my heart of despair does.
My heart carries the sunset.

You want to know
What my mind of doubt does.
My mind carries the night.

Question: Is there any real difference between one religion and another?

Sri Chinmoy: There is no fundamental difference between one religion and another because each religion embodies the ultimate Truth. Each religion is right, absolutely right, because each religion conveys the message of Truth in its own way. If you dive deep within, you will see that there is no difference at all between the religions. It is all one Truth called different names by different seekers. Your religion may say one thing and my religion may say something else. But our religions will never differ when it is a matter of the highest Truth. The ultimate Goal of every religion is to realise the highest Truth. On the way to our Goal we may quarrel and disagree, we may misunderstand each other. Why? Precisely because there are many roads that lead to the Goal. Some will follow one road and some will follow another road. Each road will be able to offer inspiration. After a while, one person will say that his road is by far the best because it is pleasing him. Then another person will say that his road is the best. But when both reach their destination, they will be at the same Goal: Truth. In Truth there is no quarrel, no conflict; Truth or God-realisation transcends all religions.