"Reflections": A radio broadcast

Interviewer: This morning we have a different "Reflections," and I think this music really sets the scene. There you had Yehudi Menuhin playing violin with the Eastern musician Ravi Shankar playing sitar: the meeting of the East and the West.

And this is what we're going to be talking about this morning — a meeting of the spiritual life of the East with the spiritual life of the West — because we are very lucky here at Medway to have a Guru, a Master from India, who has Centres of spirituality all over the world. And we've also got some of his students here. The Master, or Guru, is Sri Chinmoy.

You were born in India?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I was born in India.

Interviewer: Where?

Sri Chinmoy: In Bengal, in 1931.

Interviewer: And what happened to you in those early years to make you a spiritual Master today?

Sri Chinmoy: As a young boy I was brought to a spiritual community in South India. I stayed there for twenty years and practised spirituality. I prayed and meditated every day for a considerable amount of time until I realised deep within me something very high, powerful and supreme. Then, in 1964, I was commanded by my Inner Pilot to come to the West to be of service to the Supreme inside aspiring seekers in the Western world.

Interviewer: You are a teacher. You are bringing to us the spirituality which you have discovered, and teaching it to us in the West. Does it matter that I'm not a Hindu, but a Christian?

Sri Chinmoy: In our path there is no problem whatsoever with regard to religion.

One may practise Christianity, one may practise Judaism and one may practise Buddhism. I tell my students that religion is nothing but a house. You as an individual live in one house, and I as an individual live in another house. But although we live in different houses, if we both want to learn a certain subject, which is God-realisation, we will both go to the same school. This school is our inner school. When we pray to God and meditate on God, we go to our inner school, and in order to go there we may or may not walk along the same road. But both of us leave aside the limitations of our respective houses when we go to study in our inner school. Irrespective of religion one can practise spirituality.

Interviewer: I accept the fact that you are a Master, a Guru, a teacher. As a Christian, what am I expected to do, or what, in fact, would you teach me that would deepen my inner silence, my spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: Thank you. I deeply appreciate your sincerity and humility. Your soul is full of aspiration and dedication. When somebody comes to me as a seeker, I tell that person that each individual teacher has a way of teaching. Each teacher is right in his own way, and each student is right in his own way. On the basis of my own inner realisation, I advise each seeker to be as simple as possible, as sincere as possible, as humble as possible. Each teacher has a special path, and ours is the path of love, devotion and surrender: divine love for God, divine devotion to God and divine surrender to God.

Human love ultimately fails. It ends in frustration and destruction. But divine love constantly expands. From the limited individual it grows into the Unlimited, the Infinite, the Vast, and there we feel our inseparable oneness with the entire universe.

Human devotion is nothing but unrecognised attachment. We say that we are devoted to someone or to something, but if we go deep within, we discover that this feeling is nothing short of our attachment to that individual or to that cause. But divine devotion is totally different. Divine devotion is to something high, deep, sublime. It helps us to grow into the infinite Consciousness. We know that there is a goal, and that we have to reach this destination; therefore, we devote ourselves wholeheartedly to the supreme Cause.

Human surrender is the surrender of a slave to his master. He is under compulsion to please the master; otherwise the master will punish him. But divine surrender is totally different. Here the finite in us tries to recognise the Infinite in us and become one with it; but there is no compulsion. Cheerfully, devotedly and unconditionally our lower part surrenders to our own highest part.

We have within us both the highest and the lowest. Right now, unfortunately, we are wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance. We have totally forgotten our own divinity, our own highest Reality. But on the strength of our prayer and meditation, there comes a time when we realise the highest part that is within us, and we surrender to our own highest part. We do not surrender to somebody else or to something else. This is what I try to share with my students.

Interviewer: You have written a number of books, and after reading what you have written, it seems to me that peace, the inner peace, is the thing that is the result of all this. I am very interested to see that you emphasise that to get this peace is not a matter of departing from the life of work and retreating into the Himalayan caves or sitting on snow-capped mountains, but that it can be achieved here on earth in the hustle and bustle of life. Can I move from you, Master, for just a moment, to one of your disciples?

What has this really meant to you as a human being? Has it obviously enriched your life very much over the past years?

Ms. Siegerman: Sri Chinmoy has given me my source. In him I have seen a being who embodies the divine Consciousness, and this has inspired my whole life. It tells me to follow his teachings and to make within myself some reflection of what I see in him. I see a great soul full of majesty and inner divinity.

He has touched my soul, has given me my own inner existence, so that the outer world which I had been involved in before is now flowering with a new significance because it is impelled and activated by my inner life. That is to say, my whole existence has a purpose and a meaning because in touching my own soul I have seen a link between my own soul and the Supreme.

So my outer life has meaning and purpose now. And the activities of the Sri Chinmoy Centres are all done with the purpose of putting us into a higher consciousness so that everything we do, everything we involve ourselves in, is something good, something progressive and something of a higher consciousness. In Sri Chinmoy I see the most perfect spiritual Master, because in him I found a perfect balance of acceptance of the world and God-realisation.

Interviewer: You are not retreating from the world? This isn't sort of a retreat; this isn't sort of getting away from it all?

Ms. Siegerman: It's not an isolated community at all. We are involved completely in the outside world. Sri Chinmoy's disciples are in every kind of occupation. There are students, nurses, secretaries, businessmen, teachers, musicians, artists. Our lives in the Centres are full of very normal activities. We have dramas, choirs, sports, music, jokes. We are like a community that wants to operate in every field from a yogic consciousness, from the Consciousness of the Supreme.

Interviewer: I know that there is a Centre in London. And Ms. Plumbly here comes from London. You run the London Centre?

Ms. Plumbly: Yes, I do.

Interviewer: How long have you been with Sri Chinmoy?

Ms. Plumbly: It will be five years in October, on October 14th.

Interviewer: What did meeting Sri Chinmoy mean to you?

Ms. Plumbly: Longing to meet Sri Chinmoy and being able to become his student have given purpose to my life, given it some real meaning and depth which it didn't have before. I was looking for something which I didn't have, and now I have got it.

Interviewer: If I had known you ten years ago, and then I hadn't met you for ten years and I met you now, do you think that I would have seen a great difference?

Ms. Plumbly: Oh yes, I think so.

Interviewer: Mr. Orsell also belongs to the London Centre. P, what has this meant to you in your life?

Mr. Orsell: When I first saw Sri Chinmoy, I was feeling at that time a sense of frustration with the world around me. But now I feel a sense of expansion and progression towards the higher life which is deep inside myself. I feel a true sense of progression in my inner life, and I feel different in the outer life also. Before I met Sri Chinmoy, I felt very inadequate to deal with the world. Now I am starting to feel a sense of oneness in my own way. I feel more peace; I can accept peace much more now. I can accept the world more.

Interviewer: Were you a Christian?

Mr. Orsell: I never had any religious faith.

Interviewer: What about you?

Ms. Siegerman: I was from a Jewish background, a Russian Jewish family. But when I graduated from college, I went to India because I had become very interested in Oriental philosophy and I was searching for the source of that philosophy in India. I wanted to transcend the background I had been brought up in, because I had a great leaning toward the Orient.

Ms. Plumbly: I was brought up in a Christian background and I had a complete education. I found it very helpful to have a Christian background.

Interviewer: But you are not a Christian now?

Ms. Plumbly: Oh, yes. Although I don't attend any church, I couldn't say I'm not a Christian now. I haven't accepted any other religion and Sri Chinmoy's teachings easily embrace Christianity. Spirituality doesn't really reject anything one truly believes in. I've learned to understand Christianity more than I ever did before.

Interviewer: Maybe the spiritual life is missing in Christianity today?

Ms. Plumbly: Unfortunately, I think a lot of it has become just paying lip service to something people don't really understand. In the spiritual life, we are trying to live what we believe. That is something, I think, that the majority of Christians do not sincerely try to do.

Interviewer: Master, I'll come back to you now. I think we know a little more about it all now. You mentioned Yoga. One of your books is called Yoga and the spiritual life. For many people, Yoga is nothing more nor less than a set of physical exercises where you stand on your head, or fold your legs into impossible positions. But that's not what you mean by the word "Yoga," is it? Are there exercises? Are there physical postures that you try to teach your students?

Sri Chinmoy: No, not at all. "Yoga" means conscious union with God. The fastest way to achieve this is to concentrate, meditate and contemplate. This is the most effective way to realise God, to discover one's own Reality. If one practises Hatha Yoga, which is the physical exercises, it may help to some extent. But there are thousands of people, especially in India, who can do all the physical exercises most correctly. But God-realisation is still a far cry for them. If it were only by practising physical exercises that one could realise God, then everybody would have done it by now. These are like kindergarten courses. If one wants to study in kindergarten, one can. But if one wants to skip that course, one can easily do so.

Spirituality, which is true Yoga, demands concentration, meditation and contemplation. These three steps only are of paramount importance. As far as we all know, the Christ did not practise physical postures. Lord Krishna did not do it. Lord Buddha did not do it. But all of them did realise God and become one with God on the strength of their prayer, meditation and contemplation. They did not practise Hatha Yoga, but they did pray, they did meditate, and on the strength of their prayer and meditation they became one with the transcendental Consciousness and the universal Reality of the Supreme.

Interviewer: So Yoga really means union with God?

Sri Chinmoy: Conscious union with God.

Interviewer: God is within each one of us?

Sri Chinmoy: God has always been within each one of us. Each individual has to realise God according to his inner capacity. And each individual can choose to accept the aspect of God that pleases him most. Somebody may like God's personal aspect, as a most luminous Being, while another person may like the impersonal aspect: God as infinite Energy. Again, somebody else will be pleased only if the God he realises is a God beyond his imagination.

God is both personal and impersonal. God will come to each individual according to that individual's choice, to please him in his own way. If you care for the impersonal aspect, God will come to you as the impersonal Existence. If I care for God in His personal aspect, then He will come to me as a personal Being.

Interviewer: Now, for the many listeners who are living in this county of Kent in England, how can your spirituality, your teachings, help them?

Sri Chinmoy: As you know, there are two lives: the inner life and the outer life. The inner life is the seed, and the outer life is the plant. If we sow the seed, then only will it germinate and grow into a plant. So before we go to work, before we enter into the hustle and bustle of the world, we should pray and meditate for a few minutes in order to inundate our inner life with peace, light and bliss. Then we can enter into the battlefield of outer life with inner strength, inner courage and inner light. When we do this, we see that there is no difficulty, no insurmountable problem, in the outer world. First we must have inner courage, inner strength, inner peace, light and bliss. Then we can regulate our lives most satisfactorily.

Interviewer: Ms. Plumbly, what can interested people from here do who are listening to us now? Can they write to you at the London Centre?

Ms. Plumbly: Yes, they can write to me at the London Centre for literature or come talk to us in London. The address of the Sri Chinmoy London Centre is 31 Niagara Avenue, Ealing, London W5, England.

Interviewer: Thank you. Master, in addition you seem to have done many things. You paint, you write, you compose and play music.

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, right from my childhood I have been composing songs and poems, and I have written considerably. Over two hundred and fifty books I have completed. I have also done thousands of paintings. All this I do with one view, one purpose: to share with aspirants all over the world my aspiration and my realisation. One individual may be inspired by a particular painting or a particular song or a particular poem. Another individual may like another painting, another song, another poem. At the same time, I wish to say that I will remain an eternal seeker. While seeking ever higher Truth and Light, by the Grace of the Supreme, I am able to express my aspiration in various ways. I am trying to share with other seekers my own aspiration in various forms.

Interviewer: I notice, too, that you were a decathlon champion in your youth, that you were a fine athlete.

Sri Chinmoy: I was a very good sprinter. Now I am trying to run in the inner world as I once did in the outer world. So I am encouraging my students to run both in the inner world and the outer world. When we run in the inner world, we realise our divinity, and when we run in the outer world, we manifest our divinity. First we realise, then we manifest. These two worlds, the inner and the outer, must go side by side. This is our acceptance of life. When we pray and meditate, we go up high, higher, highest. Then, when we serve humanity, we come down and share with humanity whatever we got at the top of the tree.

Interviewer: Now we are going to end this morning's "Reflections." I want to read out one poem you have written, called "The Absolute." And while I read it we will hear the music of Yehudi Menuhin and Ravi Shankar again. But before we end, I would like to go around the table and ask each of you for one very short sentence about what life really means to you now.

Ms. Siegerman: For me, the meaning of life is to know what one really is, to discover one's inner life, which is the soul, the representative of God in the human body. And when we find the soul, then our lives find purpose, meaning, joy and fulfilment.

Ms. Plumbly: It means development and progress, spiritual progress.

Interviewer: Something which is so lacking in many people's lives.

Mr. Orsell: For me it has taken me from sadness and frustration to joy. I think joy, divine joy, is what life really means to me.

Interviewer: Master, for once you are not going to have the final word. But, in a way, you will have the final word, because I am going to read your poem. This is a poem by Sri Chinmoy, called "The Absolute."

THE ABSOLUTE

No mind, no form, I only exist:
Now ceased all will and thought.
The final end of Nature's dance,
I am It whom I have sought.

A realm of Bliss bare, ultimate;
Beyond both knower and known:
A rest immense I enjoy at last;
I face the One alone.

I have crossed the secret ways of life,
I have become the Goal.
The Truth immutable is revealed:
I am the way, the God-Soul.

My spirit aware of all the heights,
I am mute in the core of the Sun.
I barter nothing with time and deeds;
My cosmic play is done.

from My flute

by Sri Chinmoy

Medway Radio
Chatham, Kent
England
20 June, 1976

Confidence

Dear friends, dear brothers and sisters, dear seekers, I wish to give a short talk on confidence. Here we are in Cambridge. Cambridge immediately awakens confidence in us. What we call confidence in the outer world is nothing short of assurance in the inner world. Therefore, I bow to the confidence and the assurance in Cambridge.

Confidence awakens our physical. Confidence energises our vital. Confidence illumines our mind. Confidence purifies our heart. A pure heart, an illumined mind, an energetic and dynamic vital and a wakeful body can and will manifest the divine realities here on earth.

Confidence is a divine revelation of our inner assurance. There is an unseen reality within us, a divine Pilot, an Inner Pilot who moulds and shapes our lives. When we hear the message of the Inner Pilot, in our outer life we feel confidence. Confidence is an outer gift from above, whereas assurance is an inner gift from above. Confidence is self-awareness. We want to be aware of ourselves. We want to know what our source is, where we came from, what we are doing here on earth. We want to know our respective roles in this cosmic Game, this Lila. Our confidence brings to the fore the inner vision, the reality that we are aiming at, that we want to grow into.

Confidence is not a display of our egocentric life. Confidence is a divine force. Ego binds us, blinds us. Ego offers us the message of separativity and self-enjoyment. Confidence, on the other hand, wants to express its universal oneness. It is for all; it is for the Infinite, the Vast. Confidence cannot be satisfied all by itself. It wants to grow into the Universal Light and Transcendental Height.

When we have confidence in ourselves, we realise the ultimate Truth and Light, the Absolute Supreme. When God has confidence in us, He makes us not only His perfect instruments, but conscious representatives of His Divinity, His Reality, His Infinity, His Eternity and His Immortality on earth. With our confidence in God, we go up and reach His Transcendental Height. With God's Confidence in us, God comes down and makes us His Infinity, His Eternity, His Immortality. And this is not the end of His Game. Then He wants us to manifest what we have become.

Confidence is introduction. Confidence introduces our earthly reality to the divine Reality. And the divine Reality introduces its wealth — infinite Peace, Light and Bliss — to us when we are confident.

Life is either meaningful or meaningless. For those who do not seek, life is meaningless, a barren desert. For seekers, at every moment life is meaningful and fruitful; life has a purpose, a meaning, a reality and an ultimate Goal. What brings us the message of the ultimate Goal, what brings us the reality of the inner world, the more illumining, more fulfilling higher world? It is our confidence. With our confidence-light, we dig deep within; and while digging within we cultivate the bumper-crop of realisation, liberation and perfection.

An unaspiring person talks to himself and talks to the world. But he cannot talk to the Ultimate Reality. It is only a man of confidence, inner confidence, divine confidence, supreme confidence who can talk to the Highest Reality: the Transcendental Vision and the Universal Reality.

One portion of divinity comes down into the world and another remains above. The one that remains above is known as the Father-Reality and the one that comes down is known as the Son-Reality. Again, there comes a time when the two realities become inseparably one and tell the world of their oneness. Jesus Christ, the Saviour, announced, "I and my Father are one." His confidence-light he brought down into the world; and it was his confidence-light that uttered, "I and my Father are one." When divinity enters into humanity and illumines humanity, at that time humanity claims divinity as its very own.

Confidence is oneness with the Beyond, the oneness of earth-life with Heaven-life. Where God is, confidence is bound to be. God has given us the secret key to open up His Heart's Door and that secret key is confidence. We pray, we meditate, only to cultivate one divine quality and that one divine quality is confidence. Confidence shows us the way to go ahead, the way to dive deep within, the way to fly above. Confidence is the pioneer that constantly leads us, guides us, beckons us to the ultimate Source.

Each individual has teeming questions: "Who am I? Where do I come from? What is my ultimate goal?" All the questions of our inner and outer life can be answered by one solitary thing: confidence. If we have confidence, then we can explore the inner world. If we have confidence, then we can explore the outer world.

Here we are all seekers. We want to know the reality that we eternally are and that we are going to offer to the world at large. And for that what we need is perfection, self-perfection. It is only in self-perfection that we can please the Inner Pilot, the Supreme Pilot, the world around us, the world within us. This perfection is our constant confidence in ourselves and in our Inner Pilot.

Again, this confidence has a Source. Its Source is God's Compassion-Light and Compassion-Delight. God grants us Light in boundless measure at our journey's start. And it is He, the Supreme, the Eternal Pilot, who grants us eternal, boundless Delight. Light energises us. Light leads us, guides us to our ultimate destination, where we see the transformation of Light into Delight. Delight fulfils us. Delight immortalises us.

We aspire to become good, to become loving, to become devoted, to become useful to the world at large. But this aspiration also needs something from us. It is confidence that aspiration expects from each seeker. If the seeker is wanting in confidence, then his aspiration can never be regular, it can never be spontaneous, it can never be continuous. But if inside his aspiration confidence looms large, then he walks along a sunlit road to his destined goal.

A child has confidence in his parents. He feels that his parents know everything, have everything and are everything for him. Similarly, a seeker has all confidence in his Inner Pilot, the Supreme, who is guiding his destiny, his life, his aspiration, his realisation, his reality to the ultimate Goal.

Each day we are granted by the Author of all good, out of His infinite Bounty, confidence both in our inner life and in our outer life. But if we use our physical mind — our earth-bound, sophisticated, obscure, unlit, unaspiring, intellectual mind — to search, we may not feel God's Confidence-Light. For the earth-bound mind feels that it is complete in itself; it does not need any reality other than its own existence.

But the heart constantly feels that it can house something more, that it can see something more, that it can grow into something more, that it has something more to offer to the world at large. The heart has the eagerness to receive and to achieve from the world within and from the world without. The heart has a constant inner thirst to be universal, to be transcendental. Therefore, the heart always looks within and around to grasp and invoke the infinite Realities that abide in God's entire Creation. The heart comes to realise that there is only one way to achieve and grow into these infinite Realities and that is the way of self-giving. And what is self-giving today, tomorrow that very thing is God-becoming. So, on the strength of self-giving, our aspiring heart becomes both universal and transcendental. And this self-giving heart has a source of its own and that source is confidence. Confidence also has its source. Its source is God's Compassion, God's infinite, unconditional, immortal Compassion in man, for man.

Cambridge University
Cambridge, England
21 June, 1976

Human teachers and divine teachers

Man has many teachers. A child comes into existence. His first and foremost teacher is his mother. The mother teaches the child everything with her boundless affection, boundless love and boundless concern. The child responds with a smile. A child learns everything from his mother with a soulful smile. Then the mother teaches the child to recognise the father. The father becomes the child's second teacher. He also offers the child affection, love and concern in boundless measure. The mother offers everything to the child with a tremendous feeling of oneness, whereas the father does everything for the child with a feeling of vastness. Oneness is there, no doubt, but vastness is the lesson that the child learns from the father.

God has granted each individual being a small house and a big house. Both houses are of equal importance. The mother teaches the child everything that the small house has to offer: affection, love, concern, sweetness and oneness. The mother offers the message of the happy family. The father teaches something more. He offers the message of a larger family: a few friends and the outside world.

Two teachers are teaching us two things which are of equal value and equal importance. Just because the child is the student, he has to learn. In later years he will learn many subjects from many teachers. When the child goes to school, he will have a teacher for history, geography, science, mathematics: for everything he will have a teacher. Each teacher teaches the student a different thing. Since the student is young, he may not know what his future career will be. So, the best thing is for him to know everything to some extent. Then later on, he can make a choice. It is not that the teacher wishes the student to be a jack of all trades and master of none. No! The teacher wants the student to know a little bit about everything, so that in the future he can easily decide what career he wants. A student spends a few years in high school and then he goes to college. There the professors offer him a higher type of knowledge. Then, when he goes on to the university, he takes one or two subjects in order to get his Master's degree or Ph.D. At that time his future career begins to blossom. The student eventually gets his diploma and becomes a man of knowledge. All these years may bring what he has worked for: satisfaction, a higher satisfaction, a deeper, more illumining and more fulfilling satisfaction.

As a child he learned the alphabet and studied a few books. When he went to college he studied a higher and more illumining knowledge. Then he came to the university to get the vast ocean of knowledge. But in spite of that, he does not have satisfaction. He feels that there are still many things he does not know. At one time he thought that if he had the highest degree, he would be by far the best, and everybody would be under him. But now he sees that there are others who are as good as he is, or even better than he. So his pride is smashed and he feels that in this world of competition there can be no joy. He has got earth-knowledge, he has become an authority on a particular subject, but he feels that there are others who know more than he. He realises that as long as he remains in the world of desires, trying to compete with others and defeat others, as long as he feels the necessity in his heart to outdo others or lord it over others, then there will be no happiness. Happiness does not lie in mental achievements, in his outer achievements. Happiness lies only in inner achievements. The human teachers who have taught him his earthly lessons have played their role. Now he wants to go to a spiritual Master who has studied inner subjects and has a free access to inner life, inner wisdom. He feels that if he studies inner subjects, then he will have peace of mind, abiding joy and a sense of satisfaction.

On the mental plane he has achieved something, but on the spiritual plane, the inner plane, the plane that has abiding joy and satisfaction, he is a veritable beggar. So he comes to a spiritual Master to have inner lessons and study inner subjects. The spiritual Master tells him that there are quite a few inner subjects, but there are two main subjects he has to learn if he really wants to achieve satisfaction from life, if he really wants to be successful in a divine sense. These two subjects are prayer and meditation. If he studies prayer and meditation and learns them well, then he will definitely have joy and satisfaction in his life.

The spiritual Master says to the student, "If you want to learn how to pray, then you have to become simple, you have to become sincere, you have to become humble. Your prayers will be answered only when you have become totally simple, utterly sincere and unmistakably humble." So the student brings to the fore simplicity, sincerity and humility from within, and he prays. When he prays, he feels that his whole inner being, his whole life, is being elevated to a higher plane of consciousness. He is praying for peace, light and bliss, for illumination and perfection. His prayer itself is giving him joy. Even if he does not receive from above an iota of peace, light or bliss, he does not mind; for he gets tremendous satisfaction from prayer itself. Of course, if he is going to be a true seeker of the highest order, then only is it possible for him to pray unconditionally. If not, he will pray for peace, light and bliss conditionally. That is to say, he will be simple, will be sincere, he will be humble and on the strength of his simplicity, sincerity and humility, he will expect to be rewarded. But if he prays unconditionally, at that time he prays only for the fulfilment of God's Will.

The other subject the student has to learn is meditation. Here the teacher tells the student that he has to make his heart as pure as possible; he has to become purity itself. The teacher says, "Simplicity, sincerity and humility are needed, but if you want to be successful in meditation, you also need something else, and that is purity. A pure heart is of paramount importance. If there is impurity either in your physical consciousness, your vital consciousness or your mind, then you will not be able to study this subject well. If you lack purity, your mind will never be able to achieve the divine vastness and enter into Delight, Ecstasy and Light. So purity is of paramount importance: purity in thought, purity in deed, purity in the result of each action, purity at the journey's start and purity at the journey's close."

What is purity? Purity is our constant love of oneness, within and without. To love the entire world as one's own, to feel inseparable oneness with the rest of the world: this is purity. Each time the seeker breathes in, he must feel that his entire being is purified, that he has drawn cosmic energy to purify his whole body, vital, mind and heart. And when he breathes out, he has to feel that all the impurity from his body, vital, mind and heart he has thrown into the Universal Consciousness. He purifies and empties his system, and then brings down Peace, Light and Bliss in infinite measure so that he can become a true instrument of God.

The teacher tells the student, "If you want to become extremely successful, if you want to become an expert in the subject of meditation, then you should learn something else, and that is concentration. You have to concentrate on only one thing: the positive side of life, not the negative side of life. Concentrate on the reality that creates, not the reality that destroys. You have to feel the necessity of running towards your goal as swiftly as possible. You can reach the goal by walking and again by flying. It is you who have to make the decision. If your aim is to run the fastest towards your goal, then you have to concentrate. While concentrating, you are unburdening your many thoughts, your many ideas, your worldly activities; the incidents that are inside your mind you have to cast aside. In this way you have to unburden yourself. Concentration has to be like an arrow aimed at the target. At every moment you have to run the fastest, like a deer. You must not carry any burden: no thoughts, no worldly ideas. Only then can you run the fastest."

So the student devotedly listens to the spiritual Master, and anything that has to be cast aside, he casts aside. He only concentrates on the positive side of life, and he does make considerable progress. Simplicity is the first step to the goal. When the student becomes sincere, he comes to the second step; and when he becomes humble, he is at the third step. Then, if he can cultivate purity, that is the fourth step. At that time, inside his purity, simplicity, sincerity and humility, he will see something else: love. He has love for simplicity and his love for simplicity is giving him joy. He has love for sincerity and his love for sincerity is giving him joy. He has love for humility and his love for humility is giving him joy. He has love for purity and his love for purity is giving him joy. Everything that he has and is embodies love. This love he offers to the subject that he is studying: meditation.

When he meditates soulfully, on the strength of his simplicity, sincerity, humility and purity, the student feels that this world belongs not only to God, but to him as well. He feels that this world, God's creation, is not only for him but also of him. His sublime meditation makes him feel that God the Creator and he the creation are inseparable. They complete God's cosmic Vision, cosmic Game. The Creator without the creation remains unfulfilled; the creation without the Creator remains unrealised. So the Creator needs the creation for His manifestation, for His fulfilment, and the creation needs the Creator for its ultimate, transcendental, absolute realisation.

The student has learned how to pray, how to concentrate and how to meditate. Then the teacher says, "Are you getting joy in what you are doing?"

The student says, "Definitely I am getting joy. From my prayer I am getting joy, from my meditation I am getting joy, from my concentration I am getting joy."

Then the teacher says, "Now I wish to teach you another subject. It is the most important subject. From this subject you will get utmost joy, ever-transcending joy. Here the joy is limitless and, at the same time, it is transcending its own Infinity. This subject is called contemplation."

Here the student becomes the divine lover and God is the supreme Beloved. In each second of his earthly life, the seeker feels he is inundated with his Beloved's Presence. He sees a continuous growth of his receptivity. In each act, in each thought of his, in everything that he has, in everything that he does and everything that he has become, he feels the glowing Presence of his Beloved in the inmost recesses of his heart.

When one runs the fastest with concentration, one gets joy. When one goes up high, higher, highest with prayer, one gets joy. When one enjoys vastness from his meditation, one gets joy, but this joy may not be and cannot be constant. But when the student becomes the divine lover and at every moment sees and feels the Presence of his supreme Beloved, his Beloved Supreme, then his joy is constant and, at the same time, infinite and ever-transcending.

Now the teacher says to the student, "My child, I have taught you everything that I have learned from my teacher." The student asks, "Do you have a teacher?"

The Master replies, "Yes, my teacher is God Himself. You may call me a teacher, but to be absolutely honest with you, I am not a teacher. I am only a messenger. I carried God's messages to you. The lessons that you have learned from me are nothing but messages that I received from God. And the inner cry that you have shown me, the hunger, the thirst, the eagerness that you have shown me, are nothing but your messages. These messages I have taken to my Teacher, who is the only Teacher. I am the messenger, common messenger. I have taken your hunger to Him and from Him I have brought His feast for you. You gave me what you had, your hunger; and He gave me what He had, His Food, Nectar, for you. Now I want you to go to my teacher who is also your Teacher, everybody's Teacher, and in silence give Him your infinite love and concern."

Then the spiritual Master takes the student to God. At that time God says to the student, "What do you want from Me? Do you want to serve Me?"

The student says, "I want to serve You." Then God says, "Do I have to give you something in return?"

At that time the student may say, "In return I expect a smile from You, which is my salary. I will do everything that You want me to do, but I shall be grateful if You give me a smile, which will be my fee." If this is what the student says, then the Teacher, the Supreme Teacher, will grant it. But the student may say something else to God. He may say, "I will do everything that You want me to do, and I don't expect anything from You, no smile, no love, no concern, nothing. Only I want to please You in Your own Way, unconditionally and cheerfully. That is my goal."

If this is the promise that the student can make to the real Teacher, the only Teacher, God, then God says to him, "My child, you are My most perfect instrument. I shall be able to manifest in and through you on earth, for it is you who will carry me into the world and manifest Me fully on earth."

One seeker wanted to serve God conditionally. God said to him, "You have abundant Peace, Light and Bliss. You have also made tremendous progress. Therefore, undoubtedly, you are a very great seeker, and you will be My instrument." But the unconditional seeker is something more. This seeker God makes His Representative. To the one seeker God says, "You are My instrument and you will fulfil Me according to the capacity that you have." But to the other seeker God says, "You are a Representative of Mine, who will manifest Me according to My Will, according to My own Capacity, which is unlimited."

So the student either becomes a Representative of the Absolute Supreme, absolutely one with His Will, on the strength of his unconditional love, unconditional devotion and unconditional surrender; or the seeker expects a smile, recognition, as a salary for his work. So it is up to the student to make the choice. Here we are all seekers, all sincere seekers. We have started our journey right from our childhood, Our mother was our teacher, our father was our teacher, our kindergarten teacher and our college professors were our teachers. These were all our human teachers. Now we are knocking at God's Door and asking Him to accept us as His students. This is how we end our journey. But this end is not the real end, for God is endless in every way. When we reach our first goal, then He places before us a second goal, a higher goal. Each moment today's goal becomes the starting point for tomorrow's higher goal. At every moment God is taking us, carrying us with Him, to His own ever-transcending Vision and ever-transcending Reality.

Ipswich, England
21 June, 1976

Ipswich television interview

Interviewer: Yoga is becoming highly respectable. One Guru at least has been welcomed in the corridors of power. He's Guru Sri Chinmoy, who's Guru to the United Nations Meditation Group in New York. Sri Chinmoy was taking a break from his U.N. work today and enjoying a visit to Ipswich. For six years now, Sri Chinmoy has been Guru at the United Nations in New York, ministering to the spiritual needs of a growing number of the U.N.'s official staff. The Indian-born teacher and philosopher sees meditation as essential to world unity and peace, a view shared by his U.N. disciples, who see meditation as "Our hope for mankind."

Today his English disciples meditated with their Master in a room that was heavy with the scent of flowers and incense. Afterwards, I talked with Sri Chinmoy about his role at the U.N.

Sri Chinmoy: At the United Nations they are giving me the opportunity to be of service to them. I am not a teacher; I am a server. There is a great difference between a teacher and a server. I serve the United Nations according to the capacity that the Supreme has granted me, and there are people who are kind enough to accept my service.

Interviewer: Why does there seem to be an increase in interest in what meditation can do for mankind? I notice that on the U. N. Meditation Group book here, they call meditation "Our hope for mankind."

Sri Chinmoy: United Nations members have already tried other ways and have not been successful. So now some of them are trying this way, the inner way. The outer way they have tried; through politics and various outer means they have tried to bring about peace. But, unfortunately, they have not succeeded. So now they are trying to cultivate the inner way.

Interviewer: When you talk about peace are you talking about individual peace of mind or world peace?

Sri Chinmoy: I am talking about both: individual peace of mind and also world peace. The world is composed of you and I, he and she. So if you have peace of mind, I have peace of mind and he has peace of mind, then automatically it becomes universal peace.

Interviewer: So you think that an increased awareness of meditation and interest in meditation in lots of nations throughout the world brings hope for world peace and unity?

Sri Chinmoy: That is the only way, I feel. When a nation cares for peace, then another nation joins it and also cares for peace. In this way all the nations eventually will care for peace. At that time there cannot be any war or any ill feeling among nations.

Interviewer: Thank you, Sri Chinmoy.

ITV
Ipswich, England
21 June, 1976

Life

Dear seekers, dear friends, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to give a short talk on the subject of life. This subject is at once most familiar to us and most significant to us. Each individual can claim to be an authority on this subject. So I am grateful to you for having given me the opportunity to speak on this subject and be of service to you this evening.

There can be a philosophical approach to life, there can be a religious approach to life, there can be a spiritual approach to life and finally there can be God's approach to life. I wish to discuss each of these approaches from the spiritual point of view.

Philosophy is of two types. One is the outer philosophy; the other is the inner philosophy. The outer philosophy deals with some philosophical books and remains exclusively in the mental world. The inner philosophy deals with light and divinity, and with Heaven and earth. According to Indian tradition, philosophy itself is vision, for the Sanskrit word for philosophy is darshan, which means vision. We envision the inner world that is trying to come forward and manifest itself in our outer life. This inner world is the world of Peace, Light and Bliss. The outer world that we live in is full of conflicts and negativity and destructive forces. So we pray and meditate to bring to the fore the inner world and replace the outer world with it. But from the strict spiritual point of view, it is not a replacement but a transformation. The outer world is not replaced. It is transformed and illumined by the light of the inner world.

Now, let us deal with the religious approach to life. Usually there are two main religious approaches to life. One is the occidental approach; the other is the oriental approach. Eastern religion, especially the religion of the hoary past, tells us that we need only one thing: liberation. Western religion, mainly the Christian religion, teaches us the message of salvation; salvation from sin. In the East, we learn how to liberate ourselves from the finite consciousness and enter into the infinite Consciousness. In the West, we learn how to raise ourselves from the sin-reality and enter into Heaven to enjoy our salvation-light. Western religion tells us that our body, vital, mind and everything that we have is impure. In order to purify the body, vital and mind, what we need is constant prayer. When we sincerely and soulfully pray, our Heavenly Father listens to our prayer and grants us salvation. In the East, since our goal is to achieve liberation from the limited body, limited vital, limited mind, we have to practise meditation, for liberation we can achieve only through proper meditation.

What is meditation? Meditation is our conscious awareness of something vast and infinite within us. Meditation grants us Peace, Light and Bliss. With this Peace, Light and Bliss, we enter into our body, vital and mind and expand and transform them into vastness. Prayer and meditation are two approaches that lead to the same goal. This goal is called perfection.

In the spiritual approach to life, we have to know that there is a true approach and a false approach. If it is a false approach, then we want to give up life. If it is a real approach, a divine approach, then our spirituality teaches how to accept life and be fulfilled in life. If the approach is not real, we want to leave aside the members of our family, we want to discard society and the world itself. We say that the world is full of suffering, that it is all illusion; therefore, we want to leave the world. But the real approach is totally different. In this approach we accept life as such and we love life. We know that the world we live in is far from perfection, but if we give up life, if we shun life, we know that the world will always remain imperfect. Therefore, we feel it is our duty to accept life, love life and transform life.

How do we transform life? We transform life with our inner cry. There is an outer cry and also there is an inner cry. When we cry outwardly, we cry for name and fame and material prosperity. When we cry inwardly, we cry for divine Love, divine Peace and divine Light. When we get Peace, Love and Light from above, we start transforming the world around us.

Finally, I wish to deal with God's Vision-approach to our life. There is no difference between God's Vision-approach and God's Reality-approach to life. We feel that vision is one thing and reality is something else, that vision is at one place and reality is at another place. I am sitting here and you are facing me. You are the reality and I am the vision. We are not sitting together and we are not inside one another; therefore, you as reality and I as vision are two totally different things.

But this experience is only on the physical plane. On the inner plane, we get a totally different experience. There we see God's Vision and God's Reality together; there we see God's Silence and God's Sound together. For us, God the Creator and God the creation are two different things. But when we pray and meditate, we see that there is no difference between the two; both are part and parcel of God the Infinite, God the Eternal and God the Immortal.

Our physical mind tries to understand what God is on earth and what God is in Heaven. For this reason, we have created two separate existences for the reality and the vision. The mind cannot truly understand or even conceive of two things at the same time. One thought must follow another. We cannot at the same time observe two things with the same kind of concentration; one is bound to get more attention than the other. But when we pray and meditate, not only two things, but countless things we see simultaneously. Also, our focus of concentration will be equally distributed. And what are these countless things we see? They are nothing but God the creation. It is through our prayer and meditation that God the Creator makes us feel that His creation and He Himself are absolutely one. We cry inwardly to go up and be with our Heavenly Father and then He gives us a smile and sends us back to do His work here on earth in His way.

ABF Huset
Stockholm, Sweden
22 June, 1976

Two instruments: impurity and purity

Two instruments: impurity and purity. Here we are all seekers, seekers of the highest Transcendental Truth. In our life of aspiration and dedication, purity and impurity play two significant roles: purity in a positive way and impurity in a negative way.

Impurity tells us, "I am of myself and I am for myself. Although I am limited, I want to expand myself, I want to cover the length and breadth of the world." This is what impurity tells us.

Purity tells us, "I am of God's infinite Beauty and I am for God's constant Satisfaction." This is what we learn from purity. Its source is God and at every moment it wants to please God in God's own way.

Impurity is nothing short of division, world-division and self-division. But purity is all the time playing the role of creation, new creativity; and this new creativity is founded upon conscious oneness with the world at large.

Impurity is an inner disease and a contagious disease. Consciously and unconsciously the seeker is attacked by this disease. If a seeker even unconsciously mixes with impure human beings, then his consciousness is lowered considerably. If a seeker unconsciously walks along a road that an impure person has just travelled, then he is affected. If he sits at the foot of a tree where an impure person has previously sat, then he becomes a victim to impure thoughts, although he cannot account for them.

Similarly, if a seeker walks along a road that a spiritual person has just travelled, if a seeker sits at the foot of a tree where a spiritual person has sat a few minutes earlier, then he gets good thoughts, divine thoughts, illumining thoughts and fulfilling thoughts.

Impurity plays the role of a thief. It enters into the physical proper and from there it tries to steal a few divine things that the physical embodies. Then it enters into the vital proper and steals away a few divine things from the vital. Then it enters into the mind proper and steals a few significant things, precious things from the mind.

The soul, which is the eldest and wisest member of the family, looks at the body, the physical, and feels sad over the deplorable condition of the body. This body does not know what has actually happened; the body does not know that a part of its reality has been stolen, but the soul knows. Then the soul looks at the vital and feels miserable over the deplorable condition of the vital. Then the soul looks at the mind and again feels very sad. The soul looks at all the younger members of its family and feels sorry that impurity, the thief, has stolen so many of their divine qualities. The soul searches for the thief and at long last it discovers the thief in the tiny cave of the mind. In spite of having divine power, the soul pleads with the impurity-thief to change its ways. It tells impurity that only if it changes its life and grows into purity will it have satisfaction. The thief has robbed the physical, vital and mind of quite a few spiritual qualities, but still it is not satisfied: whereas if the thief is illumined and transformed into purity, then it will have abiding satisfaction. The soul convinces impurity and impurity gives way to purity slowly, steadily and unerringly. Yesterday's impurity grows into purity through the illumining light of the soul.

The seeker continues to walk along the road of Eternity with patience, perseverance and devoted service. But after a few years it may happen that another attack of impurity will assail the human mind. Impurity offers the message that temptation is everything; there is nothing save and except temptation. "Live in the world of temptation and then you will have satisfaction." If the seeker enters into the world of temptation, he discovers frustration; and inside frustration what looms large is destruction. Yesterday impurity was astounding temptation. Today it is frustrating frustration. Tomorrow it becomes petrified destruction. This is what impurity teaches us.

Purity teaches us something else. Yesterday purity taught us how to pray soulfully. Today purity teaches us how to meditate with a calm, quiet, vacant and tranquil mind. Tomorrow purity will teach us how to contemplate soulfully and unconditionally. What is prayer? Prayer is something that lifts us high, higher, highest, to where we can see face to face our highest Reality, God. With prayer we reach the Highest and there we see our Beloved Supreme. When we meditate, our Beloved Supreme descends and stands right in front of us. When we pray, God plays the role of a magnet; He pulls us up to His height. And when we meditate, we play the role of a magnet; we pull God down to our height, to our consciousness. Then, when we contemplate, we see that wherever God is, we are there also. We see that we are in the same play; we are playing the cosmic game of oneness. In this game, this moment God is playing the role of the Beloved Supreme and we are playing the role of the divine lover, the supreme lover; the next moment God changes roles and makes us, out of His infinite Bounty, the Supreme Beloved while He plays the role of the Supreme Lover. This is what contemplation is: oneness inseparable, oneness at the same height, which God grants us out of His infinite Compassion.

The Scriptures teach us the value of purity; the spiritual Masters teach us the value of purity. Now, what is purity, after all? Purity is our sincerity and our willingness. A sincere heart embodies purity to a great extent. If the sincere heart goes one step ahead with willingness, then it becomes all purity. A man may commit Himalayan blunders; therefore he falls down and begins crawling. Then he confesses that he has made a mistake. But just by confessing his mistake, he cannot rectify it. Just because he has confessed, he is infinitely better than one who has made countless mistakes, serious mistakes, but who is unwilling to confess. Sincerity is something most valuable; it gives him the added divine energy to enable him to stand up. Then comes the willingness to walk ahead, to walk forward. He may be frightened to death. He may think that if he walks forward he will again fall down; he will again be tempted and suffer defeat, so the best thing is not to stand up at all. At this point, he is making a serious blunder. He has to know that, in spite of making repeated mistakes, there is a way to reach his destination. And, for that, he has to grow inside him the willingness, the divine willingness to move forward constantly, consciously, devotedly and unconditionally, so that at God's choice Hour he can reach the Golden Shore of the Beyond.

When sincerity and willingness go together, the aspiring heart automatically becomes pure. Our heart that wants to aspire, that wants to dedicate itself to a supreme cause, is bound to be inundated with purity when there is conscious and constant sincerity and spontaneous, conscious and constant willingness to grow into the absolute Reality. This absolute Reality we eternally are, but unfortunately we are oblivious of the Reality. Through constant practice, constant awareness and constant self-giving, we can become fully aware of the Highest Reality which we inwardly, eternally are. But if we remain in the mind — the doubting mind, the suspicious mind, the mind that belittles others — then God-discovery will always remain a far cry.

Purity's role is unique; no purity, no God-discovery. If the heart and the entire existence become purity's flood, then God-realisation can never remain a far cry. A pure heart can and does claim God as its very own. Within easy reach of the purity-heart is God with His infinite Compassion, with His infinite Love, with His infinite Reality.

Indian Cultural Society
London, England
6 July, 1976

Question: Can you explain what is the meaning of the word AUM?

Sri Chinmoy: AUM is a Sanskrit word. It is the combination of three letters: A, U and M. A stands for God the Creator, U stands for God the Preserver and M stands for God the Transformer. God creates us, then He preserves us and then, if something goes wrong, He transforms it in order to keep it perfect. AUM is the mother of all Indian mantras. All the mantras have a source and AUM is the source of all the mantras.

Question: I am a Christian, and although I pray, I never get any higher than I am now. How can I start to do the things that you are talking about? What is the first step to take in order to learn how to meditate?

Sri Chinmoy: If you could learn how to concentrate on only one thing, that would be very good. When you are concentrating, if many thoughts come to your mind, you will discard them. When you concentrate, there should not be anything inside your mind. When it is possible for you to concentrate only on the thing that you want to, then you are ready for real meditation. As I said before, if you can lead a simple life, a sincere life, a humble life and a pure life, then it will help you considerably in your meditation. And if you read spiritual books, that will also help you. If you listen to the talks of spiritual Masters, if you mix with spiritual people, if you listen to spiritual music, all this will help. There are so many ways that you can get benefit.

Question: Thank you very much for your message. Would you be so kind as to give us further explanation about concentration and meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: When we concentrate, we focus all our attention on a particular object or subject. Concentration is one-pointed attention, focusing on the tiniest particle. When we concentrate, we do not have the need to have any thought inside the mind. We want to run the fastest, like a deer; we want only to reach our goal. When we meditate, we want to see the vastness, not only inside our mind but also inside our entire being. We meditate in order to feel within ourselves the vastness of the sky, the ocean.

So, we can say that concentration deals with the smallest reality and meditation deals with the largest reality. But both realities are equally important at a particular stage of our evolution. Concentration paves the way for proper meditation. Suppose right now I want to meditate but there are thousands of ideas entering into my mind. How am I going to meditate? If I want to meditate with these thoughts, then I will never get any peace of mind or vastness inside of me. In the spiritual life there are three stages. Concentration is the first stage, then comes meditation and finally contemplation.

Question: Is the spiritual reality involved in other activities? Is it bound to other realities?

Sri Chinmoy: Spiritual reality is not bound by any reality. It is inside all the realities that we see, but it is not bound by any of them. It is like God. God is not bound by anything, but out of His infinite Compassion He is within you, within me, within her, within everybody. God is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient; He is under no obligation to do anything for us. But, out of His infinite Bounty, at every moment He is working in and through us on our behalf. Spirituality is God's language; it is an inner language that we learn. Therefore, it is also unlimited, but it works in and through us for our joy and perfection.

Question: What is the real meaning of love between man and woman? What is the spiritual significance of marriage?

Sri Chinmoy: There is human love and there is divine love. The human love that exists between a man and a woman is a dance of possession. Each wants to possess the other, but to their astonishment, they see that they are already possessed before they possess each other. If one is possessed by someone, he is at the mercy of that person. When he is possessed, when he is caught, he is terribly frustrated. Today's possession becomes tomorrow's frustration. And, the day after tomorrow, frustration becomes total destruction. This is what we see and know as human marriage.

But there is also something known as divine marriage. Here it is not possession, but oneness. On the strength of our oneness we try to illumine and liberate others. Lo and behold, before we illumine and liberate others, we find that others have illumined and liberated us. Divine love is all-giving; here there is no demand. In divine love, we make constant sacrifice and we see that our heart and our whole vision is enlarged.

God Himself was one in the beginning. Then He became many in order to divinely and supremely enjoy Himself. When an ordinary human being enjoys, he enjoys the pleasure-life, lower vital life, emotional life. But when a God-lover enjoys, he enjoys God's Love, God's Light, God's Bliss: and this Joy, Love, Peace and Bliss he sees inside others.

When it is a divine marriage, one head becomes two heads, two hands become four hands. Everything is doubled; our capacity automatically increases. If one has increased everything and walks positively toward the goal, naturally he will run the fastest. But if there is a constant battle going on between husband and wife, if one wants to run the fastest and the other does not, then one will be a heavy burden on the other's shoulders. How can one run the fastest when one is carrying something very heavy that is unwilling to reach the destination?

So, it is the individual who has to make the decision whether he is going to marry and whether it is to be a divine marriage. If it is a human marriage, then it will be all frustration. If it is a divine marriage, it will be all illumination. Divine marriage is oneness. Oneness is perfection and perfection is complete satisfaction. It is satisfaction that both man and God need. God gets satisfaction by manifesting Himself through His creation, through us. We get satisfaction by climbing up high, higher, highest, to the highest plane of consciousness. We climb up for our satisfaction in and through God, and God climbs down in and through us for His Manifestation, His own Satisfaction, which is in and through us. The act of climbing up and the act of climbing down are one, inseparably one.

Editor’s preface to the first edition

During the summer of 1976, Sri Chinmoy embarked on his fourth European lecture tour. The talks that he delivered, and his answers to selected questions, have been collected into a three-part series, My Rose Petals, parts 5-7. Lectures from Sri Chinmoy's earlier European tours have been published in My Rose Petals, parts 1-4.