Part 1: Trent University

Question: How do we know if our actions are ego-motivated or whether we are following the message of our soul?

Sri Chinmoy: We can easily know whether it is the soul operating in and through us or whether it is ego operating in and through us. If we execute the message of the ego, consciously or unconsciously it will bind us; whereas, if we execute the message of the soul, immediately we will feel a sense of freedom. At that time we are not bound by our action; only we know we have done the right thing.

If we carry out the commands of the soul, then no matter what the result is — whether success or failure — we will be satisfied. When the soul asks us to do something, we will not be attached to the result. Even if the result comes in the form of failure, we will be satisfied. This is because in divine action, our attitude is of paramount importance, not the result. Our attitude should be one of giving. We will only give, give and give — according to our soulful capacity. Then it is up to God whether He blesses us with success or failure, whether He gives us Peace, Light and Bliss or not. If we feel this way, we are bound to be satisfied with our actions.

But if ego has compelled us to do something, if the ego’s desire is not fulfilled, we will be disappointed and upset. Even if our ego-centred desire is fulfilled, we will not feel a sense of abiding satisfaction; for immediately another desire will come into existence. Our ego-hunger will increase and we will say, “No, it is not enough.”

Question: What were you doing during the silence before you asked for questions?

Sri Chinmoy: I was doing quite a few things before I invited questions. I went to a very, very high plane of consciousness and from there I brought down Peace, Love, Light and Bliss. All the people in this hall have souls, and most of the souls were hungry. But some souls needed Love, while others needed Peace or Bliss and other divine qualities. So according to the different souls’ need and receptivity, I have brought down the divine food and fed them.

Question: Does a spiritual Master have any ego?

Sri Chinmoy: To be very frank with you, to be a true spiritual Master of a high calibre one has to transcend the ego. Once one is truly realised, the ego is bound to disappear and be divinely transformed. The ego is always in the world of ‘I’ and ‘mine’, the world of possession. This is a limitation. Only when he transcends this limited consciousness can he embody Peace, Light and Bliss in infinite measure in his inner being.

When a spiritual Master says, “I am God’s son; Him to realise, Him to reveal, Him to manifest, I came into the world,” this is not ego. True spiritual Masters are fully conscious of the fact that we are all God’s children. They have this inner knowledge, and they tell others how they can also attain it. At that time some people misunderstand. They feel that the Masters are exercising their ego-power. But I wish to tell you that with real spiritual Masters, it is not ego but oneness that they are offering. When they try to illumine others with their oneness, people feel that they are imposing or thrusting their ideas, emotions or idiosyncrasies upon them. But spiritual Masters know that they are not only God’s children, but His conscious, chosen children; therefore, they cannot make friends with ignorance. They feel God’s Love and Presence in all their multifarious activities so consciously and so vividly that they feel whatever He does they themselves are doing.

Spiritual Masters have something called divine authority. When a Master says something forcefully to his disciples, when he tells them that they have to do this or that, it is not the human ego that is operating; it is the feeling of oneness. The Master feels that they are a part of him, a part that is unlit or obscure; so he exercises his conscious will power to perfect that part. The part that is perfect tries to perfect the part that is imperfect. Spiritual Masters are very often misunderstood because of this. Ordinary people think, “If he is a Master, then how is it that he has so much ego?” But his ego, fortunately, is of a different type. His ego is not crying to show its superiority and lord it over others, or trying to separate him from others. No! His ego is expressing the feeling of divine oneness.

Question: Why do you go from place to give place and give lectures?

Sri Chinmoy: As a human being, I personally do not do anything for my own sake, absolutely nothing. For God, for God’s sake, I do everything. Earthly things I do not need. I need one thing only and that is service. God has given me the capacity and the necessity to serve Him in humanity. To offer my dedicated service to the world at large is my only will, and it is my will because this is what the Supreme in me has commanded me to do. I go from one place to another because I have been asked by the Divine within me to serve Him in this way.

I come here like an inner farmer and try to cultivate the inner crop. If I get fertile soil then it becomes easier for the farmer in me to cultivate the land. If the land is dry and barren, then the farmer finds his work extremely difficult. The people who believe in this farmer are the ones who will get the bumper crop of realisation from him. Others, who believe in other farmers, will get realisation from them.

Question: How can we attain lasting freedom?

Sri Chinmoy: If we try to achieve freedom through our vital power, by hook or by crook, then we will not get real freedom. But if we get freedom from the soul, it is spontaneous and everlasting. This is the freedom that is based on our feeling of inseparable oneness with the entire world. So if we want to achieve real and everlasting freedom, it has to come from the soul. If we use our human determination to attain freedom, we see that this determination usually comes from our vital — not the emotional vital, but the vital that wants to exploit its position of supremacy. When we attain freedom through the exercise of our determination, it does not last. On the contrary, just when we think we have attained freedom, we discover that we are badly bound in a hundred subtle ways. Real freedom is the feeling of love, truth and oneness; it is not through determination but through inner realisation that we can build up this feeling. It comes from our inner realisation that we are of infinite Light and for infinite Light.

There is another word we can use: will power. Will power and determination are two different things. Will power comes directly from the soul, while determination usually comes from the vital, which is often unillumined, obscure, impure. Will power, which is the very breath of the soul, immediately brings Light with it. It endows us with the ultimate Vision, and with that ultimate Vision we can attain the soulful and permanent experience of real inner freedom.

Question: Sometimes during meditation I get a feeling of timelessness. Can you comment on this?

Sri Chinmoy: At that time earth-bound time disappears and Heaven-free time appears. At that time you consciously obliterate from your physical mind the sense of time that binds. Now you look at your watch and feel that you are supposed to meditate for an hour or half an hour; but when your consciousness is elevated, you forget the time that binds and you enter into the eternal time. There it is all a continuous flow; the river is flowing into the ocean of Infinity.

Part 2: University of Toronto

Question: Do you have a particular meditation technique?

Sri Chinmoy: No, our technique is love, devotion and surrender. We practise this in our silent meditation and also in our life of divine manifestation. An outer technique we do not have; but our inner technique, or rather our path, is the path of divine love, divine devotion and divine surrender. These are like three rungs in the ladder of spiritual evolution: love, devotion and surrender.

We differentiate between human love and divine love. Human love binds; divine love liberates. Human love wants to possess and be possessed; divine love always wants to feel universal oneness through conscious and constant expansion. Human love eventually leads to frustration; divine love is a constant expansion of our consciousness. In divine love, all is self-giving with no expectation of anything in return. We try to love God inside each human being and in this way we develop divine love.

Then we try to devote ourselves to a higher cause, to the Supreme. If we love God inside each human being, we try to serve Him in everyone. We offer our dedicated devotion to divinity within humanity. In human life when we use the term ‘devotion’, what we are thinking of is pure attachment. If we go deep within, we will feel that when we are attached to someone we are wasting our energy on him. But in divine devotion we always feel the necessity of offering our very existence to the One whom we really and eternally love, who is God.

Finally, we try to surrender ourselves to the Will of God. Divine surrender is not made under any compulsion. It comes from our inner awareness of Truth and Reality. It is not the surrender of a slave to his master. At every moment the slave is at the beck and call of his master. If he does not listen to the master, then the master will punish him. But our surrender to God is not like that. There is no reluctance on our part to serve God or surrender our individual will to His infinite Will. We do it cheerfully, devotedly, soulfully and unconditionally. We feel within us the bounden duty to surrender to Him because He is all Love, all Light, all Wisdom. When a tiny drop of water enters into the ocean it loses its own individuality, but it gains the universality of the ocean itself. When we surrender to God, we do not regard God as a separate person or somebody other than ourselves. We feel that God is the highest and most illumined part of our own existence. This highest part also belongs to us, but right now our conscious existence is in our lowest part. We are living in the earthbound consciousness; but if we can enter into our highest part, then we can be totally freed from ignorance, darkness limitation and death. We therefore try to enter into our highest part, or we try to bring down our highest part into our less illumined part so that we can be inspired, illumined, transformed and perfected by the highest Light in ourselves, which is God.

If you want to call this a technique, you may do so. But we call it our path. Each seeker has a path of his own. He walks along that path and eventually reaches his destination. We know that those who follow the path of love, devotion and surrender will ultimately reach the goal. Those who are following other paths will also reach the goal. The destination is the same for everyone, but the paths are many. Each path is absolutely correct in its own way. But the individual seeker has to choose the path that suits him best, because he cannot follow ten different paths. He can follow only one path. Otherwise, if he is constantly changing his path, he will never reach his destination. In an ordinary school, we study many subjects — history, geography, science, physics and so on. For each subject we need a teacher. But in the spiritual life, God-realisation or Self-discovery is the only subject. Since there is one subject one spiritual teacher is enough.

We start with divine love and try to love the entire humanity with the inner awareness, consciousness and conviction that inside each individual is the presence of God. Just because we love God we try to devote ourselves to Him and serve Him in mankind. Then, because we know that it is His Will and not our will that can perfect the world, we surrender unconditionally to His Will. Again, we know that His Will is not and cannot be separated from our real will, the will that comes from the very depths of our soul; therefore, we try to remain in the soul, for there we can easily feel His Will. When we live in the mind, very often we are confused; we do not know what God’s intention is. We doubt His existence. But if we remain in the heart and the soul, then at every moment we feel that we are a conscious channel for God’s Will and we try to serve mankind by executing His Will.

Question: It is said that if a person is complex, then he cannot run fast in the spiritual life. Is this true?

Sri Chinmoy: God Himself is very simple and inside His simplicity we feel our constant oneness. Complexity is in the mind and not in the heart. The heart is all simplicity. We need the heart of a child in order to run the fastest. A child’s heart is all simplicity. But when the child develops the mind and lives in the mind, then world-confusion enters into him. At that time fear, doubt, anxiety, jealousy and many other undivine forces weigh him down, so naturally he cannot run fast.

Suppose you and somebody else are walking or running toward a goal. If the other person is carrying a heavy load on his shoulders, whereas you are not, naturally he will not be able to run as fast as you can. But who compelled him to carry that heavy load? Nobody! It is his self-chosen ignorance. In your case wisdom has dawned; that is why you know that fear, doubt and all these things have to be discarded. They have to be discarded or they have to be transformed and illumined so that they can become an added help to your race.

Speed is of great importance. When we reach our destination, our journey is not over. After we realise the Highest we have to enter into the world dynamically to be of service to mankind. It is like climbing up the tree. First we have to climb up the tree; then after reaching the highest branch we have to bring down the fruits and distribute them to those who are still trying to climb up but do not know how. These are sincere seekers who need help from those who are more advanced. The sooner we reach our destination, the better, for there are many things we have to do after we reach our goal. And the fastest way is the path of the heart, because the heart is not weighed down with world-confusion and world-anxieties.

Part 3: Mcmaster University

Question: I have read your aphorism that says. “When the power of love replaces the love of power, man will have a new name: God.” Could you please elaborate on this?

Sri Chinmoy: The love of vital power is destroying the entire world, but the divine love, which is power itself, can only transform us — transform the human in us into the divine. The love of power is the love of supremacy. If I can have a little more power than you, then I will try to lord it over you. An individual or a nation feels that by exercising power it is possible to conquer the heart of humanity. But this is impossible! We are crying to see the Face of God, not because He is all Power, but because He is all Love. It is only the power of love that can really conquer the heart and change the face of humanity.

This is not only my discovery; it is the discovery of all sincere seekers. If we feel that the world is full of hate, we will constantly have a bitter feeling toward life. Then immediately we will try to conquer the world with our vital power, the power that wants to dominate. But when we pray and meditate early in the morning, if we cherish good thoughts, divine thoughts, loving thoughts that come from the depths of our heart, immediately we feel that the world is our friend. We feel that there is no enemy for us or that there are very few enemies. At that time we are experiencing the positive power, the power of oneness, which comes from love.

When I say that ‘God’ will be man’s new name, God means universality. He is one and He is many. He was one, but He wanted to express Himself or enjoy Himself through multiplicity. In this sense, God means universality. Here individuality disappears and universality appears. When we use the power of love, the human individuality immediately disappears and is replaced by the divine universality.

Question: What is eternal Time?

Sri Chinmoy: There is earth-bound time and there is Heaven-free Time. Early in the morning, we look at the clock and think of going to school or going to the office. This kind of time is limited: It is divided into seconds and minutes and hours. On a particular day so many hours we shall study, so many hours we shall rest and so many hours we shall mix with our friends. When we use one hour for a particular purpose and the following hour for something else we are dividing time into parts. Each time we divide we see that there is an abrupt halt. This is earth-bound time. But when we pray and meditate we see time as a continuous flow. We feel that we are rivers, constantly flowing without interruption. The river is flowing toward the sea, its source. When we think of ourselves as a river, we feel that our existence is a continuous flow; our existence has come from time immemorial and it is flowing toward an eternal, infinite Reality. This is Heaven-free Time.

From earth-bound time we get constant suffering. We become a victim to earth-bound time. At this hour we have to accomplish something; otherwise we feel that we will be totally lost: the world will ridicule us or we will regard ourselves as a total failure. Time is limited, energy is limited, opportunity is limited, capacity is limited — everything is limited. But the moment we go deep within, we feel that we are freed; we are enjoying Heaven-freedom. When we meditate we soulfully establish an access to something unlimited, ceaseless, eternal and immortal. It is only through proper meditation that we can free ourselves from the limited time that has been assigned to us. There is no other way. In sublime, deep, profound, high meditation we see that there is an eternal Time, which is without limits and without sections, and we can grow into the very current of that ever-flowing eternal Time.

Once we become expert or advanced in our meditation, then what we feel within during our meditation becomes a reality in our day-to-day multifarious activities. In the beginning, only during the meditation do we feel that there is something called eternal Time. The moment we face the outer world we are immediately baffled and lost, because we cannot synthesise earth’s outer time with the inner timeless Time. But there comes a time when we are well-established in our inner life and are able to bring forward the Heaven-free Time into the hustle and bustle of life. At that time the inner world will constantly supply its wealth to the outer world. We have to be fully aware of the capacity of the inner world, which is always free, and of the capacity of the outer world, which is always bound. If we can dive deep into the inner world, where time is unlimited, and from there bring forward this limitless Time into the outer world, then the worries, anxieties and insecurities of the world cannot plague us. With our eternal Time we transform everything. If we have fear, we transform fear into divine courage; if we have doubt, we transform doubt into faith; if we have insecurity, we transform insecurity into security. Earth-bound time makes friends with the things that are perishable, but unfortunately some of these things don’t perish so easily. But if we can bring to the fore eternal Time, then we will see that all negative forces will be transformed.

Question: What is the power and significance of a mantra?

Sri Chinmoy: A mantra is an incantation. It can be one syllable, it can be a word or it can be a phrase or a sentence. Each mantra embodies a particular aspect of godhead. When we chant a mantra, immediately we invoke the presence of the presiding deity of that manta. We may not know the name of the god or his particular capacities, but this does not matter. A mantra is like the root of a tree. If we can touch the root, then immediately we feel that the current in the root will take us to all the branches and flowers and leaves and fruits. When we chant a mantra, all the capacities of the particular god that is being invoked will come into our system.

But this chanting has to be done most soulfully. When we chant a mantra, most of us do it like a parrot, so the mantra has no efficacy, and there is no result. But if the mantra is repeated most soulfully, then the infinite power that the mantra has becomes a manifested reality in us. We don’t have to know all the divine qualities of a particular god. But through a mantra, inwardly and in a very unmistakable way, we enter into all the capacities of that particular god. Chanting mantras can be practised from the beginning to the end of our spiritual journey.

Question: Could you please tell us the value of practising transcendental meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: I am the wrong person to ask; I am not competent to say. This morning somebody came up to me after I gave a talk and asked me about some other Master. He was holding a pin with the Master’s picture and he said to me, “Please tell me something about my Master.” I said, “Your Master is inside your heart. How will I know more than you do? Your Master is inside you and I am outside, so I am an intruder. You will definitely know much more about him than I know.” I have not practised transcendental meditation. Since I have not practised it, I do not know anything about it. Whatever I will say will be all wrong. I know what I have inside my heart or inside my room. About that I can tell you. But the things that belong to somebody else or are in somebody else’s room, I won’t be able to discuss. You will have to ask that person.

Question: Do you think it is better for us to think of God in personal terms or in impersonal terms?

Sri Chinmoy: God can be seen with form, with personal attributes, and He can be seen without form, with impersonal attributes, but it is easier to approach God in His personal aspect. If we try from the very beginning to enter into the impersonal God, it will all be very vague. Then our physical mind — which is so clever — will try to convince us that God is unreal, that our goal is all imagination. But if we see something solid right in front of us — a most luminous being, let us say — and then if we try to enter into the heart and depth of this being, there we will also see the formless. If we go from the form to the formless, the process is easier.

Suppose we see someone standing in front of us. If we know that this person is our father, then we can try to see how much knowledge, wisdom and capacity he has. But if we first try to fathom his knowledge without thinking of the person as our father, then we will be totally lost. If we know that he is our father, immediately his affection and love enter into us and then we can easily see his capacity. At that time, it is impossible for us to separate his capacity from his reality.

A commander has a big battalion and inside him is the power to make this battalion do something. He may say just one or two words and then the power that he controls acts and leaves the whole world stunned. He utters the word of command and immediately his power is seen all over. Once we see him and his capacity, it is impossible to separate his capacity from his reality. It is the same with the personal God. Once we see Him and realise where this immense capacity is coming from, then it is impossible to separate the Being and the capacity.

First let us take the form as reality and from the form let us go to the formless reality. For a seeker, form is a reality and formlessness is also a reality. But to go to the formless reality from the form is infinitely easier than the other way around.

Question: I would like to know whether I should pray for something I want or whether I should just pray for God’s Will to be done.

Sri Chinmoy: To pray for God’s Will to be done is the highest form of prayer. But a beginner finds it almost impossible to pray to God sincerely to fulfil him in God’s own way. Early in the morning, a beginner will say to God, “God, I want to be Your unconditionally surrendered child.” Then, the next moment, when jealousy, insecurity or pride enters into him, his self-offering becomes all conditional. At that time the seeker says, “God, early in the morning I prayed to You so sincerely to fulfil Your Will in me, but You didn’t listen to my prayer. Otherwise, I would have been above jealousy, fear, doubt, anxiety and attachment.” If the seeker prays for something in the morning and his prayer is not fulfilled in a few hours’ time, immediately he becomes discouraged. Then he stops praying and meditating for six months. For a day he offers his sincere prayer, then for six months the seeker is ready to enjoy his ignorance. So when the seeker is just starting out, it is always advisable for him to pray to God for whatever he feels he needs most, whether it is patience, purity, sincerity, humility, peace, and so forth. This kind of prayer is always best for the beginner. Then God will give the seeker a little Peace, Light and Bliss, which are the precursors of something infinite that is going to come into his inner being. Then, when the seeker has received and achieved some Peace, Light and Bliss and has become established to some extent in his inner being, at that time he will have some confidence in God’s operation and also in his own life of aspiration.

When one is making very fast progress or is a little advanced, he feels that there is some reality within himself and that this reality is not going to disappoint or desert him. Then he feels that God is fully aware of what he desperately needs and is eager to supply him with the things that he needs, because God wants to fulfil Himself in and through His chosen instrument. God has to fix his choice Hour for that seeker, and at His choice Hour, God will fulfil Himself in and through that particular chosen instrument. When a seeker feels this kind of confidence within him, that is the time for the seeker to pray, “Let Thy Will be done.” At that time he can sincerely say, “God, now I want to please You only in Your own Way.” At that time he will feel that God wants to manifest Himself in and through him. He will feel that the moment God makes him perfect, he will be able to serve the divinity in somebody else or be able to help somebody else toward perfection.