Part I: Discourse

A life of blossoming love

A seeker's life is his blossoming love. A seeker's blossoming love is his illumining light.

A seeker's life becomes the many and the One. A seeker's love becomes the One and the many.

A seeker's life is at once dependent and independent. His is the life boundlessly dependent on God. His is the life sleeplessly independent of ignorance.

A seeker has belief, he has faith, he has conviction, he has realisation. God does everything: this is his faultless belief. God is everything: this is his spotless faith. God is all Love: this is his peerless conviction. God is His own Eternity's Silence, God is His own Infinity's Sound, God is His own Immortality's Satisfaction: this is his ageless realisation.

A true seeker's life and his gratitude-heart are always inseparable. By virtue of his gratitude-heart he sees the invisible, he feels the unimaginable and he achieves the impossible. He seeks the invisible perfection within and without him. He feels the unimaginable satisfaction in his entire being. He achieves the impossible: God's God-Heights and God's God-Depths.

A seeker's life embodies two supreme realities: his conscious, constant and soulful self-giving prayer and his loving, devoted and unreserved God-becoming meditation.

SUNY at Stony Brook
Stony Brook New York
3 March 1980

Part II: Interview with Don Francisco Matos Paoli

On 26 October 1977, Sri Chinmoy visited with Don Francisco Matos Paoli at the poet's home in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. Following are excerpts from their conversation.

Body and soul

Francisco Matos Paoli: I am extremely grateful to be meeting with you. You are a poet, a mystic. That is very special, because we are both living with God as the Guide of our mutual lives. There is perhaps some difference between Occidental mysticism and Oriental mysticism, but we can all realise that in human endeavours there is an identification between the body and the spirit. What is your belief?

Sri Chinmoy: My belief is also the same. You call it 'spirit', and we use the term 'soul'. The body is the temple in which the soul resides, and the soul is the deity that is housed in the temple. If there is no temple, then the deity will have no place of abode. The body is the manifestation, and inside the body is the essence. We need the body to manifest what we have within. If there is no body, then we cannot embody anything.

This is your house. This house is protecting you. At the same time, if you do not give life to the house with your achievements, with your poetical capacities, with your wisdom-light, with your inner spiritual development, then this house, which is like the body, is of no avail. Both the inner and the outer are complementary realities. We need the body in order to house the divinity within us. Again, the divinity needs the body to manifest its reality. So the body and the soul go together.

Francisco Matos Paoli: And there is also, after death, a spiritual body?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. There are three bodies — physical, subtle and causal. This is our physical body. Inside the physical there is our subtle body. It has the same form as the physical body, and we may sense it, but we can't touch or feel it with our hands. With our inner vision, with our third eye, we can see it. Then there is the causal body, which keeps the quintessence of our life here on earth. Here we do many things, we get many experiences. The quintessence of all the things that we do and grow into forms our causal body. We call it a body, but it is not like our physical body. It is very tiny.

Francisco Matos Paoli: Yes, there is a physical and a spiritual interrelation — what you call the cosmic apprehension of life and the spiritual apprehension of life — and you can't divide that realm, because sometimes existence transforms into essence and vice versa, essence transforms into existence.

Sri Chinmoy: It is like water and ice. Water becomes ice; again, ice becomes water. At one moment it is essence, and at another moment it is substance. Reality is also like that. Reality is both with attributes and without attributes, like God with form and God without form. Here also, essence and substance are inseparable.

Mysticism and politics

Francisco Matos Paoli: I believe in this real life, although it is not an absolute life; it has finality. I don't believe there is a contradiction between religious mysticism and political struggle for liberty. I have been in jail for five years for the struggle for our political independence here in Puerto Rico. But I think of politics as a sort of transubstantiation of life in God, a mystical comprehension of all matter, and that matter in transfiguration is God.

Sri Chinmoy: Mysticism and politics are two different realities, although they may aim at the same goal. Mysticism wants liberation for humanity, and politics also wants people to be liberated. But the foundation of politics is not the same foundation as you see in mysticism. The foundation of mysticism is not in the mind, whereas politics is in the mind, in the vital and in the physical reality. Mysticism has a deeper source.

A pure mystic gets messages or revelations not from his mind, not even from his heart, but from something beyond this physical reality. A politician may be deeply inspired, but his inspiration is from either the heart, the mind, the vital or the physical. The true mystic will get his inspiration — actually we do not call it inspiration, we use another term, 'intuition' — from his third eye or from the Reality beyond.

Politics deals with earth-bound reality, but mysticism deals with Heaven-free Reality. A mystic gets messages from worlds beyond this physical earth-planet. His aim is spiritual liberation, absolute liberation. The politician's liberation is on the physical, vital or mental plane. The ultimate desire, the ultimate aspiration, is the same: liberation. But politics and mysticism operate from two different planes.

Francisco Matos Paoli: But are they interrelated?

Sri Chinmoy: They are interconnected in the sense that their objective is the same. But one does not necessarily add to the other. A politician does not necessarily have to become a mystic, and a mystic does not have to become a politician. But the goal of both is liberation; let us say, to march into infinite freedom.

Francisco Matos Paoli: But not the liberation of this everyday life?

Sri Chinmoy: The mystic's goal is not freedom from political constraints in daily life. It is the liberation from the bondage of the finite consciousness. A mystic sees the Reality of the Beyond and then, like a magnet, he pulls it into himself. A politician wants to go forward, he does not want to allow any obstruction. But the mystic looks beyond this world to the furthest point, and from there he brings divine light and delight into the earth-life. The politician says, "I will not allow any obstruction on my way. I want freedom. I am going straight forward." But the mystic says, "Let me bring the message of light, delight and peace from the Beyond to transform this world."

Francisco Matos Paoli: But do you not think that this spiritual peace that reaches the mystic is a negation of life?

Sri Chinmoy: Not at all. Real spirituality is not the negation of life; it is the acceptance of life and the transformation of life. The old theory was that you have to retreat into the Himalayan caves, you have to seclude yourself, you have to hide, you have to renounce the world, which is full of suffering, darkness, impurity and temptation. But that is not the right approach anymore. The right approach to spirituality is to accept life as such and then transform the world with divine peace, light and delight.

Francisco Matos Paoli: And this endeavour of the mystic will result in a sort of inward communication?

Sri Chinmoy: The real mystic is one who has a free access to the Absolute Supreme, from Whom he gets direct commands. He is in tune with something very high, deep and profound. He tries to manifest in the outer world what he has found within himself, which is God. But false mysticism separates everything. False mysticism will say that earth-life is useless, that here you cannot do anything divine, so the best thing is to remain always aloof, not to mix with earthly people, not to have any connection with the realities of ordinary life. False spirituality says, "Give up everything." But what should we actually give up? If I give up my body, if I give up my vital, if I give up my mind, then I will have nothing left with which to reveal God, to manifest God, or even to realise God. So what should we do? We should accept life and transform it.

Personal self and Nirvana

Francisco Matos Paoli: What is the relation between the personal self and Nirvana?

Sri Chinmoy: When we deal with the personal self, we want to enjoy freedom in our own limited way. Nirvana is the extinction of the human way. In Nirvana, on the strength of our deepest aspiration, we enter into a very high state of consciousness. Then we decide that we do not want to mix with the world and its sufferings and problems anymore. Nirvana is the extinction of the earthly game. Here you are playing a game, I am playing a game, all people are playing a game, either consciously or unconsciously. It is God's Cosmic Game that we are participating in. But when we achieve Nirvana, we put an end to our part in the Cosmic Game. We do not want to play anymore. We choose to enjoy the static bliss, not the dynamic bliss.

Francisco Matos Paoli: Does it negate the individuality?

Sri Chinmoy: It does negate the individuality. In fact it negates the full manifestation of one's own reality. We can say that to some extent it is a narrow approach to Reality. Some people play the game for a while and then they say, "I don't want to play anymore." But others say, "No, we shall play as long as our Captain commands." Those who accept Nirvana do not care for the transformation of the world. They have suffered, and they have tried to give light to the world as much as possible. But when they see that earth is not receiving light from them in abundant measure, then they want to give up the battle.

Francisco Matos Paoli: This Nirvana is a sort of collective self?

Sri Chinmoy: No, Nirvana is a state of consciousness where you cut off your connection with the earth-realities. We have bound earth like a tight knot, and earth has bound us. It is a mutual attraction, a mutual bond. I pull somebody, and he pulls me. But when one enters into Nirvana, one cuts that bond. One wants to remain all alone, immersed in a sea of bliss. But this sea of bliss is static bliss, not dynamic bliss.

Francisco Matos Paoli: I believe in individuality after life. And this is not what you call egotism, but a reaffirmation of the personal life in God.

Sri Chinmoy: Absolutely true. God Himself is One and many at the same time. As you are saying, individuality need not be egocentric. God, in His Vision, wanted to become many, so He created this creation. God was One in the Silence-Life. Then He wanted to become the sound-life. When He wanted to become the sound-life, He projected Himself into many forms.

Francisco Matos Paoli: But if we are transformed into God, is there a negation of human life in that?

Sri Chinmoy: No, there is no negation. On the contrary, the human in us becomes divine and perfect. The individuality that a tiny drop of water has is very little — negligible. But when that tiny drop of water enters into the ocean, it becomes part and parcel of the vast ocean. Then the individuality that the tiny drop had becomes vast and powerful. So, when human beings merge into the Absolute, into God, we do not lose our individuality. At that time our finite, human individuality becomes transformed. It becomes vast, infinite.

Francisco Matos Paoli: Then, are we transformed into God?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, we are transformed into God. When the finite enters into the Infinite, it becomes the Infinite. The individual is now finite, although he is carrying the message of the Infinite. But when the finite consciously, soulfully and devotedly enters into the Infinite, it becomes the Infinite Itself.

The Christ

Francisco Matos Paoli: And what do you think about the Christian belief that our Lord Jesus Christ lived a human life and suffered death?

Sri Chinmoy: He lived, suffered and died because whoever comes into the world to fulfil the message of the Heavenly Father has to accept the suffering of the world. If you want to save someone who is drowning in the sea, you don't stay on the top of a tree. You jump into the sea and stretch out your arms to help him. The Christ endured the suffering of the world, because in order to save the world, he had to live here like any other human being.

Francisco Matos Paoli: There is the contention of Catholicism, that our Lord Jesus Christ has two natures, human and divine.

Sri Chinmoy: Each individual has two natures. The moment I have a good thought, I am divine. The moment I have a bad thought, I am undivine. The moment I become jealous of you, I am undivine. The moment I love you, I am divine. This moment I am divine; the next moment I am undivine. We have millions of thoughts; constantly we are assailed by thoughts. This moment we are in Heaven; the next moment we are in hell. Why? Our thought-world creates Heaven and hell inside us. When we make sacrifices, when we love humanity, when we do something for humanity or for God, then we are divine. But if we are only for ourselves, then we are undivine.

Francisco Matos Paoli: Our Lord Jesus Christ is an incarnation of God, is He not?

Sri Chinmoy: It is true. For God, Heaven and earth are like upstairs and downstairs in His House. When He is upstairs, we call Him 'God'. When He goes downstairs, He becomes 'man'. But it is still the same God who has gone downstairs. When He comes upstairs again, He is again called 'God'.

Francisco Matos Paoli: Yes, but there is a connection between immanence and transcendence.

Sri Chinmoy: Absolutely. They are two manifestations of the same reality. When the bird spreads its wings and flies everywhere, it is immanent. When it soars up high, higher, highest, into the Beyond, it is transcendent.

Eternal Life

Francisco Matos Paoli: Do you think there is a final termination of our life in Nirvana?

Sri Chinmoy: Nirvana is the final termination of the human in us, but not of the divine in us. There are two aspects of the divine in us: the dynamic aspect and the static aspect. The dynamic aspect enters into Nirvana and passes beyond Nirvana. Only the static aspect remains in Nirvana. Our human consciousness will not reach Nirvana. The divine consciousness has the capacity to reach it. Nirvana can be attained by the human soul only after many lifetimes of spiritual aspiration. Each human incarnation is in the process of flowing from the eternal life of the soul. This is not your first life or my first life. It is a continuous process.

Francisco Matos Paoli: And the eternal life is the negation of time?

Sri Chinmoy: Eternal life is not the negation of time. Eternal life and time are intimate friends, most intimate friends. In order to appreciate time here on earth, we divide it into various parts. It is one o'clock, two o'clock, three o'clock, one year, two years, three years. When we have stayed on earth for fifty, sixty or seventy years, we feel that we have completed the reality which we call life. At the highest level of Reality, time is continuous and life is continuous; the eternal life flows in eternal time.

Francisco Matos Paoli: There is no moral irresponsibility in the spiritual life, in this sort of transcendence of earthly life?

Sri Chinmoy: No, no, there is responsibility. When we speak of transcendence of life, we have to know what we mean. Now we have many undivine qualities. We quarrel, we fight, we strangle, we kill each other. This is very bad. We have to transcend this level of consciousness. If we have a pure consciousness, then we love humanity; we do not quarrel, we do not kill. Is not this kind of transcendence our real responsibility? Why do we pray? Why do we meditate? Why do we aspire? Just because we want to transcend our shortcomings, our weaknesses. We have countless weaknesses which we must conquer. And how can we do it? By virtue of our prayer and meditation. It is our first responsibility, our soul's responsibility, our life's most important responsibility, to become divine. Human life is still half animal. This half animal is trying to see something and grow into something divine. It is the transcendence of the animal-human life that we are aiming at through our prayers and meditations.

Francisco Matos Paoli: Then the mystic is the real human?

Sri Chinmoy: The mystic is the illumined and purified human in us. The mystic has received the message of the Beyond. He sees farther than we see. When we see with our human eyes, it is a very limited distance. But the mystic does not see with the human eyes. He sees with the third eye, the eye of inner vision. With this eye he sees the past, the present and the future. But he is not satisfied just by seeing something. He wants to bring it into his system to illumine it. The mystic is the illumined human in us, and this illumined human in us is trying to illumine others who want to be illumined.

Reincarnation

Francisco Matos Paoli: I am convinced about reincarnation.

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, this is not your first life, and this is not your last life. Through each incarnation the soul is receiving more light, abundant light, infinite light. At the same time, it is revealing and manifesting this light that it is receiving from Above. We believe in reincarnation, because in one incarnation we cannot achieve everything.

Francisco Matos Paoli: No, no, it is impossible!

Sri Chinmoy: At the age of four perhaps we had a desire, and at the age of fifty we have not yet fulfilled it. We may have fulfilled only a few desires out of countless desires which we have had in our lifetime, so we must incarnate again in order to fulfil our unfulfilled desires and also to do something for God. Eventually we do not want to go through the desire process anymore; we want to go through the aspiration process. In aspiration we pray to God to make us good, to make us divine, to make us perfect. Now, it is very easy, it takes only a few seconds to say, "O Lord, make us good, divine and perfect." But in order to actually become good, divine and perfect, God knows how many incarnations it takes. So, we feel that the road of aspiration is the road that can lead us to real happiness.

Francisco Matos Paoli: Can we reach a state of eternal bliss where there is no reincarnation at all?

Sri Chinmoy: If you enter into Nirvana, or when God says to you, "My son, you have worked so hard for Me. Now you can enjoy a rest. I have many other children. Let them now work for me." Before the Christ, Lord Krishna was also a great spiritual Master; the Buddha was also a great spiritual Master. The Absolute Supreme sent Krishna, Buddha, Christ and a few other Masters to help the earth-consciousness. They are no longer in the physical body, but their consciousness is alive. They are spirit, as you said at the very beginning of our talk. In that form they are still on earth guiding us, moulding us shaping us, transforming us and liberating us.

Francisco Matos Paoli: When we have illumination and we have entered into the eternal life, can we come back again?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. It is like a game that we are playing with God. After he has played for a long time, the son says, "I am tired. I don't want to play anymore." The Father says, "All right." Then tomorrow the son says, "I want to play again." So the Father allows him to play. The Cosmic Game is like that. If you don't want to play, you don't play. You are not forced. But if you want to play, you can. There is full liberty. If you play and enjoy yourself, wonderful. If you suffer and you say, "No, I am tired of this game; I want to watch from Above," that also you can do. The Supreme wants only happiness from you. By playing, if you are happy, it is wonderful. Just by watching, if you want to become happy, it is all right, too.

The Existence of evil

Francisco Matos Paoli: And what do you believe of evil?

Sri Chinmoy: In our philosophy we don't see it as evil. We see it as limited reality. Anything that is limited creates problems for us. But if we see something as evil, then our mind becomes polluted, the mind becomes dark.

Francisco Matos Paoli: There is no existence of evil?

Sri Chinmoy: No, there is only limited light. One person will have tremendous light and wisdom, while another will have less. But if we say that the one who has less light is evil, then we are making a mistake. A child does not have the knowledge of a university graduate, but he has the capacity to gain that knowledge. Just because the child does not have the knowledge and cannot read college books, can you call him an uneducated, illiterate fool? No, you have to allow him to grow up and get the same opportunity. Gradually, gradually, over the years he will go to primary school, high school, college and university and get the same knowledge. Anything that has very limited light we tend to see as evil, but it is only at the beginning of the gradual process of evolution of our reality.

The mystic and the world of limitation

Francisco Matos Paoli: And what is the relationship of the mystic with the world of limitation?

Sri Chinmoy: He can live on earth very firmly and well established, like a boat in the water. The boat is in the water, but it is not affected by the water. You live inside this house, but you are not bound by this house. You can neglect it or you can make it better. You are the lord of this house. In this way the true mystic lives with humanity. The mystic has the capacity to illumine the consciousness of mankind, to change the world, illumine the world, to make it more divine and more perfect.

Part III: Questions and answers

Question: I was playing the piano one day and there appeared a green light, a kind I had never seen before. It was transparent, yet it had a body. It filled the whole room. What does that green signify?

Sri Chinmoy: The green colour in itself symbolises freshness, liveliness and energy. In your case it means that a new life has dawned in you. It also indicates that you are full of life's activity, life's energy and life's agility. Your entrance into the spiritual life has brought to your soul a whole new life. Everything is now green with promise. A new life has begun for you.

Question: But what is this supposed to do for you?

Sri Chinmoy: It is just like receiving candy. If a mother gives her child some candy once or twice and the child likes it, then he starts asking for it. He himself goes to his mother and says, "Please give me some of that candy." These spiritual experiences are like that. They are the first reward, or you could call them the first spiritual temptation. They are not a temptation in the undesirable sense; they are a temptation to pursue the inner life for the joy of the experiences one gets. These experiences are the beginning of one's spiritual wealth. In the beginning the experiences may come of their own accord to inspire you. But then you have to earn them. You have to work for them, pray for them. You have to meditate to get them.

Question: About two and a half years ago I had an experience. I lost the consciousness of myself and all I could see was a yellow light with golden rays. After I came back to myself I felt extremely happy and thrilled. I have always wondered what that light was.

Sri Chinmoy: The light that you saw was not yellow. It was actually golden, a luminous golden colour, which comes from the supermind. There are many planes of consciousness connected with the mind and many which go far beyond it, like the supermind. I will mention them very briefly.

First, there is the physical mind, which gives the individual the capacity to deal mentally, in a concrete way, with the material world around him. Above that is the intellectual mind, which gives one the ability to deal with ideas and concepts as such. The intellectual mind can function on an abstract level. Next is the intuitive mind. The intuitive mind often functions with pure intuition. It sees the inner truth of something immediately and directly, without the use of the human intelligence. It has the eye of truth, and it touches the inner truth of things with no intermediate help.

Above the intuitive mind is the illumined mind. This mind is permeated by the soul's light and is a very illumined and spiritual form of mind. Above this is what is termed the overmind. At this stage, the mind as we know it is not used at all. This is a plane of consciousness in which the cosmic gods live and function. Beyond that is the supermind, where the golden light which you saw came from. In the Vedas, the supermind is known as the Vijnana Loka.

After the supermind there are only three planes of consciousness. These are Sat, Chit and Ananda. These three states of consciousness are interrelated and at a certain point they merge. Creation itself starts with Sat-Chit-Ananda. Immediately below this is the supermind. The golden colour like a disc or a sun comes from the supermind. You had a very high experience and it came from that plane. It did not touch the physical plane or your physical body, although you saw it with your physical eyes.

When the light of the supermind actually touches the earth plane, it changes its colour and is suffused with a reddish hue, which is the colour of the material world. Then you see the combination of the gold and the red as a luminous, golden red.

Question: I would like to know more about intuition.

Sri Chinmoy: The place of intuition is between the eyebrows, just a little above. It is here that we have the third eye. Intuition itself is the direct power, direct light or immediate conviction of the soul. Let me give you an example. When I look at you with my ordinary eyes, I see you sitting there and I see myself sitting here. Your whole existence is there and mine is here. That is what I see with my ordinary eyes. But when I use the power of intuition, I see the reality and the vision together as one. The eye of intuition, my third eye, tells me that you and I are absolutely one, that I the observer and you the observed can never be separated. Intuition unites both vision and reality. Otherwise, no matter what we see with our human eyes, there is a gap, a yawning gulf, between the person who sees and the object that he is looking at. In intuition, however, the reality and the inner vision always go together.