Question: My spiritual life is like a roller coaster. I go up and then I go all the way down. When will that end? When will I only go up?1
Sri Chinmoy: If it ends, then there will be no fun! [laughter] You are saying ‘roller coaster’, but you have to use a different term: ‘spiral’. Always when you see that you are going very low, immediately try to remember that soon you will be going up. As soon as you are about to descend, remember that there the food is not so delicious. Then you will not want to stay there for a long time. I will answer your question in more detail, but first I wish to tell you a story.
Today I wanted to eat Indian food. Saraswati said that she had already made inquiries, and there is no Indian food available here in Brasilia. I said that there has to be Indian food. If I want to eat it, there will be Indian food. More than two hours we spent looking for it. We went to one place, and they said, “Go to South 1.” Before going to South 1, we went for a long ride and I went shopping to buy your birthday cake.
First I was alone in the store. I wanted the lady to write down the price, but she did not understand me. Then Savyasachi came in. The number of Portuguese words that Savyasachi knows can be counted on the fingertips, but still he tried. Everything was so confusing. More than twenty minutes we wasted there before getting the cake. Then we had no idea whether the cake would melt or not. We placed it in the trunk of the car and then continued on our journey. I completely forgot that the cake was in the trunk. After one hour, Savyasachi said, “Oh, the cake will be ruined.”
I said, “No. Something will remain.”
Finally, with greatest difficulty, we came to South 1. Then they said we had to go to South 3. It went on like that. That section was all residential. The commercial area was only one block. On either side there were a few shops and then there were restaurants — Chinese, Japanese, Italian. But we wanted an Indian restaurant. I was determined to eat Indian food. When we enquired, they said it was not available.
Savyasachi was driving. Poor fellow, he is an excellent, super-excellent driver. Otherwise, somebody else would have done me a great favour and given up. Finally Alo and Saraswati got out of the car and with a little bit of Spanish, Saraswati asked one man. The man said to her in Portuguese, “You should go to see the president of all the restaurants.” He pointed to one restaurant and said, “The owner of that restaurant is the president of the restaurant owners’ association. If you go there, he will be able to tell you whether there is an Indian restaurant here or not.” He said that a few years ago he had eaten in an Indian restaurant, but he did not remember where it was.
We went into the restaurant. It was a huge restaurant and the noise was unbearable. Saraswati spoke to the president. The president said, “This is not an Indian restaurant, but we have an excellent cook. He can easily make Indian food.”
I said, “See, God does listen to my prayers.” Of course, it is human nature to doubt, but again, a challenge is a challenge.
The owner came up to me and we shook hands. Saraswati said something about me. He said, “Definitely we will be able to give you Indian vegetable curry. Our chef knows how to make it.”
We waited about forty-five minutes. Then we made enquiries whether or not the food was coming. In New York also when you go to an Indian restaurant, sometimes you feel that they have gone to buy eggs from India!
Finally they brought the Indian food. I could not believe how delicious it was! I devoured everything. Alo and Saraswati also ate a large quantity. Then Alo took some for you for your birthday.
It was a real Indian meal, but they put French fries with it. They cut the French fries in a very peculiar way. If you looked at them, you would say, “These are not French fries,” but the taste was one hundred per cent French fries. Luckily it was a separate dish.
Never give up! It was not an Indian restaurant, but the man was sincere. His cook made the food, and it was really, really delicious. They were so polite.
While we were eating, a group of delegates, all high ranking officials, came in. They were all dressed in such a dignified manner! When they came in, they were very dignified, but when they sat down, it was like an Indian village market!
To come back to your question, it is very difficult, almost impossible, to maintain one’s high, higher, highest standard throughout the year. Then there is something called readiness, willingness and eagerness — and inside eagerness, intensity. Every day we may not have eagerness and intensity. When you enter into the spiritual life, readiness is already there. From the ordinary life you come into the spiritual life. From the earthbound life you come to the spiritual life, which is the Heaven-free life. Once you enter into the spiritual life, you cannot say, “I made a mistake. I am not ready for the spiritual life.” If you had not been ready, you would not have come to the spiritual life. Someone can make mistakes or lose interest in the spiritual life, but that does not mean that he is not meant for the spiritual life. It only means that his speed has slowed down.
Because we have entered the spiritual life, we know that we are ready. Every day we have to feed our readiness. The next step is willingness. We are willing to pray, we are willing to meditate, we are willing to serve. People who have not entered into the spiritual life are unwilling in everything. But we are willing because we see that by being willing, we are getting satisfactory results. In the beginning of our journey, the results may not appear to be satisfactory. Sometimes we experience inclement weather. When a plane is flying at a very high altitude and it encounters inclement weather, we may feel that it is going to crash, but somehow it reaches the destination.
In our spiritual life, we do not want to go down, but somehow some forces are bringing us down. While coming down, we have to be very strong so that we do not touch the abysmal abyss. When we feel that we are coming down one or two steps, we have to be so cautious, so careful. On one day if you do something wrong, then for the next ten days try to rectify it. The next day do the right thing, and then for at least ten days more do the same good thing. In this way you can deposit some will-power or heart-power in the bank. Otherwise, if one day you do something wrong and you feel that you are coming down, you may think that the next day if you do a good thing, your mistake will be nullified. No. Even if it is nullified, for the following ten days work very, very hard and try to accumulate as much as possible in your spiritual bank. Try to increase your aspiration, your inner cry, so that your inner flame climbs up high, higher, highest.
When some individuals see that they are falling down, they look around and see that there are so many who have already fallen and who do not want to get up. Those individuals who have fallen are quite happy with their standard in their own way. Some students fail and fail and fail. Then they give up studying. Here also, some disciples who are on the path unfortunately have given up. They have fallen down from the aspiration-tree and they are not ready or willing to climb up again. What is saving them is that they have not yet left the foot of the tree. As long as they remain at the foot of the aspiration-tree, there is hope that they may get a sudden inspiration to climb up again. Their inner cry may come to the fore, and they may say, “My God! What have I done? What have I done?”
There are some disciples who touched the rock bottom, but their soul, with the help of the Absolute Supreme, was able to inspire their heart, mind, vital and body to climb up again. Perhaps they have not yet reached their highest height, but they have the inspiration and aspiration that are carrying them again high, higher, highest according to their standard.
For those who want to reach the Highest, this is an excellent year. For those who feel they have seen the spiritual life and that the worldly life is more charming, illumining and fulfilling, this year will be the year of their decision-examination.
Whenever you feel you are descending, immediately be very, very alert. Do not allow yourself to touch the rock bottom. You are not going to touch the ground all at once. True, coming down is faster than going up, but it can take ten years, twenty years, even thirty years to go back to the most ordinary level. While going down, you have to bring forward your inner cry.
When we enter into the spiritual life, there are many, many things that we feel we have to conquer, such as insecurity, jealousy, pride, haughtiness, disobedience to the Master’s will or God’s Will. That eagerness usually lasts for two or three years. After that, relaxation starts. When seekers look around, they see that he has the same defects, she has the same defects, everybody has the same defects — insecurity, jealousy and so on. Then they lose their determination to conquer those shortcomings and they start to descend. Then it becomes very difficult for them to go forward again. What is worse, there is practically nobody to help them. They see that others are enjoying their insecurity, impurity and jealousy, so what is wrong with it? If they saw that there were more people either who were not descending or who had intense eagerness to climb up again, then these people would get more inspiration. But unfortunately, the number of people who have descended is much greater than those who have gone back to their highest height.
Once upon a time we took all the wrong forces that we came to conquer in our spiritual life as our enemies. Unfortunately we did not or we could not conquer them. Then, in many cases, we have taken these forces, which were previously our enemies, as our friends. We feel that by entering into us, these forces are strengthening our mind or our vital. Take insecurity, for example. Outwardly it may appear that someone who is insecure is very timid. We think that insecurity is something very weak. But if you enter into insecurity, you will see that insecurity has such negative power. Inside insecurity there is so much destructive feeling. If someone is insecure, that person may hide. While hiding behind a wall, he is using all his negative, destructive forces.
When you have jealousy, you may think, “Oh, I am jealous of that particular person, but does she know? Does he know? Does Guru even know? Nobody has to know.” As long as you know, you have to feel that you have to conquer it. There are many things that others do not know. If you feel that your Master also does not know, no harm. The problem is you — you and your life, you as an individual seeker. If you do not conquer your jealousy, your pride, all the things that are unspiritual, then you are the one who has to face the consequences. It is not the problem of others. You may think that when you are jealous of someone, you are destroying that person. We cannot destroy anyone with our jealousy. We only get inner fever.
Any undivine forces that we are cherishing will only destroy us. Those people who appear to be causing us suffering, those with whom we are dealing in the inner world or the vital world, have their own problems. Their wrong forces are not going to hurt us. Only our own wrong forces will destroy us. Whatever wrong qualities each of us has, we have to face them. We have to conquer them, either in this incarnation or another incarnation. There is not a single person here on earth who will not have to face the problems of their insecurity, jealousy and all these things. Again, there will not remain in God’s creation even one individual who will not conquer these wrong forces and be able to realise the Highest.
It is a question of satisfaction. First we are satisfied with one dollar. Then we feel that although satisfaction has come, we need a little more satisfaction — we want to have two dollars. Spiritually also, when we have an iota of peace, we are happy. Then, a few days later, our spiritual hunger returns. We want to have more peace. God says, “Definitely you can have more.” Then God gives us a deeper hunger for His Light, for His Bliss, for His Peace. Each time God creates a new hunger inside us, God says, “Go forward! Go forward! Go forward!” So only cry for the inner hunger. You are hungry for earthly food, but if you are hungry for spiritual food — peace, light and bliss — then even if you come down one step, your hunger for inner peace, light and bliss will compel you to go upward again.
Your name means transformation. Transformation is the most difficult subject in God’s entire creation. Trying to transform our nature is like trying to straighten the tail of a dog. You straighten it, and then as soon as you let go, it curls again. Human transformation can take incarnation after incarnation. Realisation is a most difficult subject, but nature’s transformation, world transformation is much more difficult. God-manifestation in God’s own Way is much more difficult than God-realisation. That is why many, many spiritual Masters did not care for God-manifestation. They said, “We have reached the Highest, the topmost branch. No more, no more, no more!” They feel that if they come down and share the fruits of their realisation, they will again be devoured by ignorance-night. Again, when God grants realisation, He gives illumination. When He illumines the heart, mind, vital and body, then inside that illumination, transformation takes place.
The earth-consciousness has to be transformed — not individually, but collectively. Collectively, everybody’s nature has to be transformed. “The Kingdom of Heaven” — these are not just sweet words. These are realities. Whether it takes two hundred years or four million years, there shall come a time when this earth will definitely be the same as Heaven. Whatever is in Heaven you will find on earth. Now Heaven has a few things which it is impossible for earth to have. Again, earth has a few things that Heaven does not have and does not want to have.
If you are extremely rich, you can keep half of your wealth in one room and half of your wealth in another room if you want to. Who can prevent you from doing it? In the same way, whatever God the Creator has kept in Heaven, He will keep the same on earth. That is God’s Plan. That is God’s Vision. When Heaven and earth have the same thing, how can human nature remain untransformed? How can human life remain unillumined? Realisation has to take place, nature’s transformation, illumination of the entire body, vital, mind and heart all have to take place. Then Heaven and earth will be able to shake hands on the same level.