Part I

SCA 1040-1044. Sri Chinmoy gave this talk and answered questions on 29 December 1998 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Self-assertion says, “I know, I know, I know.”

I have just come back from India. For three or four days while I was there, I could not lift. There was no weightlifting machine where I was staying, and the Indian heat made me feel very, very weak. So yesterday, here in the hotel, I started lifting weights once again. I should not have lifted heavy weights after so much travelling, but the problem is that I do not have any lighter weights. I have only my standing double-arm lift with 200 pounds on each side. Still, I started trying to lift it. One part of me was telling me how stupid I was for trying 400 pounds after not lifting for four or five days.

Then I came to Sumadhur and Bishwas’ machine. There I was so happy because I can adjust the weight. I can start from 30 pounds on each side if I wish, so I do not have to worry. I started with 30 pounds, and the cautious man in me said, “Do not go over 70 pounds. You will get hurt.” But when I was able to lift 70 pounds, I experienced tremendous joy, so I continued up to 80 pounds, and then 90 pounds. After 90 pounds, something within me said, “Now stop, for God’s sake. You have not done lifting for so many days. You may get hurt if you go on.” So there I surrendered.

Today when I started weightlifting, again the same wisdom was coming — something within me was saying, “Only on the third day should you start lifting heavy weights.” Again, my greed or determination or whatever you call it came forward. The divine in me calls it determination; the human in me calls it greed. So I began using the seated double-arm machine with heavier and heavier weights. When I thought of lifting 100 pounds with each arm at the same time, the human in me said, “Do not try, do not try. It is too high.” But something within me made me try, and it was quite easy.

Then the human in me said, “I should stop, for God’s sake.” But fortunately or unfortunately, another part of me was saying, “Let me try to equal the heaviest weight that I have lifted so far: 110 pounds with each arm.” When I tried, I was successful. I was so happy and so satisfied. After that I lifted 120 pounds and 130 pounds with each arm separately.

At every moment self-doubt will come and try to take away our inspiration, but once we do something, we are very happy. Something in us will always be stronger, either our determination or our so-called wisdom. But quite often our ‘wisdom’ is nothing but self-doubt. Wisdom is very good, but if there is determination in addition to wisdom, determination can increase the light of wisdom. Many times wisdom is seeing something in one way, but determination is seeing the same thing in a completely different way. Wisdom is urging us to exercise caution, but determination is seeing that we can go one step forward or one step higher. Again, if we quite often ignore the voice of wisdom, we may meet with an accident.

Here what we are seeing is the so-called wisdom or the so-called freedom of the mind. The mind tells us, “Do not do it. You cannot do it. You will get hurt.” When we give freedom to the mind, we cannot go very far. The mind tries to show us how much wisdom it has. In my case, all the time it says, “Be cautious, be cautious. One hundred pounds will break your arm.” But inside the heart there is tremendous love or oneness with the metal. When I look at the heavy weights with my heart, there is no fear. A child has a feeling of oneness with his father. Even if his father is very tall and stout, he will not be afraid of him. Similarly, when I look at the weights with my heart, I am not frightened at all, no matter how heavy they are. But when I look at them with my mind’s eye, I am filled with fear. I have no idea how I am going to lift them.

Now I am coming to the point: do not give freedom to the mind. We think that by giving the mind freedom, it can take us very far. True, on the strength of imagination, the mind can take us to the Himalayas in the twinkling of an eye or the mind can give us the capacity to cover the distance of a marathon in two hours. Again the same mind can say, “No! You will take ten hours.” When we give freedom to the mind, either it will create self-doubt or mental hallucination. Mental hallucination is the exaggeration of one’s capacity. When I want to walk seven miles, the mind says, “Oh, you will easily be able to do it.” Again, the next moment, the same mind will say, “You cannot even walk 800 metres. You do not have the capacity.” First the mind exaggerates our capacity, and because it exaggerates our capacity, we make so many mistakes in life. But most of the time when we allow the mind to be our judge, it only minimises our capacity.

As soon as we make the mind our boss, either it will take away our capacity or it will try to convince us that we are useless and worthless. Early in the morning at five o’clock you are supposed to get up, let us say, and even at six o’clock you are not getting up. Again and again you set the alarm. The mind says, “It is too early. Nobody is up. There is nothing wrong. Yesterday you worked so hard. You deserve another hour of rest.” Then when it becomes eleven o’clock, you eventually get up and the same mind says, “You are so useless! Look, everybody is already up. What were you doing?” This stupid mind was telling you all the time, “You deserve rest because yesterday you worked so hard. In every way, you deserve rest.” Then, when it is an absolutely useless time, the mind is blaming you and telling you, “How useless you are! Everybody else is up. Everybody has already prayed and meditated.”

The mind can take you to a place where you can become totally lost. Again, the same mind can push you down. It can take you very far to a wrong place where you will make all kinds of mistakes without realising it. Then, in another way, the mind may convince you that you are not doing anything wrong. At five o’clock if you do not get up, the mind will say, “Nothing is wrong.” At six o’clock it will give the same message, “Nothing is wrong.” Then when you get up at twelve o’clock, the mind says, “You fool! You have done everything wrong!”

The mind will tell you for days and months and years that you are not doing anything wrong. Then after a few years, the same mind will blame you and say, “Who asked you to listen to me?” The mind convinces you all the time that you are right, and then it blames you for listening to it.

The mind is nothing but self-assertion. Today I offered a prayer on self-assertion:

My Supreme, my Supreme, my Supreme!
My self-assertion,
You are embarrassing me.
You are weakening my heart.
You are destroying my life.
You are taking me away
Farther than the farthest
From my own divinity.
You are taking me away
Far beyond my own imagination
From my All,
My Lord Beloved Supreme.
My Supreme, my Supreme, my Supreme!

This self-assertion has come from the mind. We have become implicitly one with the mind. That is why our mind-teacher has taught us self-assertion. Our other teacher, the heart, relies on a higher light, a higher force.

I offered another prayer this morning:

My Supreme, my Supreme, my Supreme!
My only happiness
Is in the fulfilment
Of Your express Commands.
My Supreme, my Supreme, my Supreme!

I am seeing that when the Supreme requests us to do something, we do not value His Request. But when the Supreme commands us, either we value His Command or we discard it. When He makes requests inwardly via our soul or our heart, most of the time we do not listen. But when He commands us, at that time also, either we obey Him immediately or we revolt. We feel that we do not have to listen to Him. Then after six months or ten years or in the evening of our life, the penalty comes.

Always God tries first with His Request. Then, if He meets with failure, He commands those to whom He gives another chance. If some disciples or seekers do not listen to the request of the inner voice or the Master or the Supreme, at that time the Supreme may say, “It is a hopeless case,” and withdraw. He may not give any more chances. But in some cases, He still has hope. Then He gives a special chance to some people by giving a Command. If His Command also does not work, then it is a hopeless case.

To come back to the point, if we give freedom to our mind, it can lead us into the world of fantasy. We are walking in a dreamland. Eventually we come to realise that it was not a dream even; it was a nightmare. So do not use the mind. Use the heart. Everyone has a heart, and I request you all to use the heart. Then you will see how good you are, how divine you are, how strong you are, how powerful you are, how ready, how willing, how eager you are to manifest the Light of the Supreme.

Self-assertion says, “I know, I know, I know.” When you are in a divine consciousness, self-assertion is nothing but embarrassment. There will be no enlightenment, only embarrassment. And what does this self-assertion do? Gradually, gradually it takes away all our divinity. It takes us away from our Inner Pilot. It takes us away from our All, our Eternity’s All.

Question: If somebody were to develop a very close, conscious oneness with you, would it hurt you in any way or would you be giving anything up?

Sri Chinmoy: Once I was a seeker. Then I was on the verge of God-realisation. Then I realised God. Each time I made progress, was God not happy and proud that He could put some of His heavy load on my shoulders? When a son is growing up, he becomes more and more in tune with his father’s consciousness, his father’s capacity. If you are going higher and higher and establishing an inner connection with me, then naturally I will have more confidence that you can share some of my responsibility.

In my own family, my brother Chitta was learning and learning. Eventually my father gave all the responsibility for our family to him. Similarly, God-realised souls accept God’s responsibility. Will it hurt God? On the contrary, God is so happy, so proud of those God-realised souls and so proud of Himself that He has given them the capacity. He has moulded them, He has shaped them. That is why they have come here to earth. They are going to help Him fulfil His Cosmic Dream. In which way are they going to hurt Him? Are they going to take away some of God’s capacities? God is infinite. By becoming one with Him, do you think you are drawing away all His Cosmic Energy, Light or Power, and that He is now becoming bankrupt? On the contrary, God will have more confidence that He can entrust you with some of His responsibility.

When I ask you to do something for me, you are taking some of my responsibility. When disciples work on manifestation projects, I have confidence in them. In which way are they hurting me? They are hurting me only if they are jealous or insecure, or if there is rivalry. But here that is not the question. If somebody is able to raise their consciousness and establish a close inner communication with the Master, with the Inner Pilot or with the Supreme, that person will only be appreciated and admired by the soul, by the Master, by the Supreme, because that person is now getting ready to take some responsibility from the Master, the way I am taking responsibility from the Supreme. If somebody develops oneness with me, it will only help me.

But while that person is establishing oneness with the Master, that person has to be so grateful, so grateful. If, for any reason, on a particular day he suffers, always he has to say, “It is for my good.” If somebody has been making progress in the spiritual life and then for four months or six months that person feels that he is not making progress, that person has to accept it in a spiritual way.

There are two attitudes one can take. You may say, “Oh, hostile forces are attacking me. That is why I am not making any progress, and my Master is fast asleep. It is clear that he does not care for me.” That is one answer. The other way is to say, “My Master knows everything. If I am determined to remain really close to my Master, my Master will not allow hostile forces to attack me. But if I deliberately go away from my Master, my Master will say to the hostile forces, ‘Do anything you like.’”

If the Master sees that somebody has been good for three or four years and is making progress because every day the Master has been giving that person a special kind of food, which is the Master’s affection and love, then the Master may say, “Now, by not giving that food, let me see how much love, devotion and surrender he has, how much oneness he has established.” The Master is the one to give you the mango, and he is the one not to give you the mango. If he gives you the mango, then you think that he is pleased with you, and you are pleased with him. If he does not give you the mango, you may feel that means that he is disgusted with you, that you have done something wrong. No. The Master may do this to increase your surrender and oneness.

At that time, you have to feel, “He is training me. Yesterday he gave me a smile. Today he may frown at me. I must continue with my daily prayers, my meditation, my love, devotion and surrender. I know that whatever he gives me is for my own good.” If you have come to a certain high standard, then you will be able to say, “It is for my good.” Otherwise, if your standard is very low, you will never be able to say it. You have to come to a certain standard in the spiritual life. Then you will be able to say, “Yesterday my Master gave me something special. Today he is not giving me this for my own good. Always my Master knows best.”

So if one can communicate inwardly with the Master, one will never hurt the Master. On the contrary, one is helping the Master. In a family, the father is training and training his children. Then, when the children take responsibility, the father is so happy. His love they feel.

Question: In your books, you always say that you can make the fastest progress with this quality or that quality. For example, at one place you say we can make the fastest progress with gratitude, and at another place you say with love. My mother wants to know how she can make the fastest progress. She wants to concentrate on only one quality.

Sri Chinmoy: Let us say that on a plate you have put ten different items — a very small quantity of each one. Your mother should take love as a tiny portion, devotion as a tiny portion, surrender as one portion, gratitude as one portion. So a little gratitude, a little love, a little devotion, a little surrender she can eat — they go together. Each one is complementary. If she gives importance only to love, then if she sees a beautiful flower, she will be loving the flower, but she will not take the next step. She will be wise if she says, “Who has given this beauty to the flower?” Somebody is responsible. So she has to say, “I am so grateful to the one who gave the beauty to this flower, and I am so grateful to the beauty of the flower. I am so grateful that when I look at the flower, I am getting such joy, because it is so beautiful, so fragrant.”

When your mother is reading a poem on love or devotion or surrender, then immediately she has to offer gratitude because she is getting joy from the poems. We have to go always to the Source. Anything that you see, just ask, “Who created it?” Immediately the answer comes: “God.” It is He who gives me the capacity to look at the beauty of the flower, to enjoy the beauty of the flower. Will I not show gratitude? Why did He not bring so-and-so into the garden to appreciate the beauty? Always the immediate answer has to be gratitude. Anything that we see, anything that we feel, if immediate gratitude follows it, then we are safe. But if gratitude is not there, then we are separating ourselves at every moment. We feel, “I can do it, but nobody else can do it.” So tell your mother that if she feels love, if she feels devotion, if she feels surrender and then offers her gratitude, she will always remain safe in the Heart of our Lord Supreme.

Question: In the beginning I pushed very hard with personal effort, with aspiration, and I thought that this was good. But recently I realised that the transformation that I have already made was not made by me, but by you. So how much do I have to make personal effort and how much do I have to surrender? What should be the balance between personal effort and surrender in my case?

Sri Chinmoy: If you say that by virtue of your personal effort you have made 50 per cent of your progress and that by having faith in me or in your soul you have made another 50 per cent, if you are trying to balance what percentage you want to give to your personal effort and what percentage you want to give to the higher force — your surrender or your faith or God acting in and through you — then you are making a mistake. Your personal effort also has come from the Grace of God.

If we are sincere, then we will realise that there is no such thing as personal effort. Yes, I am taking exercise in order to lift heavy weights. I am lifting my hand, this and that, but inside my hand, Who is doing this? Why is He not doing it through someone else? If gratitude dawns in our life, then we will give 100 per cent credit to God. You are doing something — you are meditating most powerfully, let us say. Somebody else is not doing it. So whatever we call personal effort is an action that is being done in and through us by an invisible force. If you are conscious, you will see that Somebody is acting in and through you. If you give credit to God or that invisible Force, let us say, then you will be happy. Otherwise you will entirely depend on your personal effort. And if you do not do something for ten days, then on the eleventh day you will say, “I will not be able to do it.” You will not be able to imagine how you can do it, because you are depending only on your personal effort.

Personal effort cannot live by itself even for a minute, because its inner nourishment is the Grace from Above. The Grace is inside your personal effort. That is why you are doing this or that on the physical plane. If Grace is not there, personal effort will be very, very limited. After some time you will give up. You will say, “I have worked for so many days, so many months. Now I am not getting any results. I should give up.”

Those who have realised the Highest do not give any credit to personal effort because they realise that personal effort is coming from a Source and that Source is God’s Grace. In my own case, I always give 100 per cent credit to God’s Grace. Personal effort is an action that is being done in and through us by the Grace. This moment it is using our hands, next moment it is using our legs, next moment it is using our mind, next moment our breath or our heart. When any action is being done by our hands or our arms or our legs, we have to feel that it is the Grace that is operating in and through that action.

Question: Percentagewise, how much of your suffering is due to the world and how much is due to the disciples?

Sri Chinmoy: There is no percentage. The world is very vast, true. But our little family cannot be separated from the big family. When one member of a family does something wrong, every member is affected.

Again, what kind of realisation do I have if I cannot identify myself with you? If I have realised God the Omnipresent, Omniscient and Omnipotent, and if you are God’s creation, how will I dare to say, “Your life is your life. My life is my life.” Spiritual Masters can never say that. Ordinary people can say, “Mind your own business.” But I can never say that. I can only say, “We are one.”

‘Mind your own business’ does not apply to spiritual Masters. As we cannot separate ourselves from the best disciple, we cannot separate ourselves from the lower than the lowest disciple who is undivine to the extreme. Why did Jesus Christ suffer? What kind of evil did he do? He did nothing. When a spiritual Master of his calibre takes human incarnation, his suffering starts. When you identify yourself with others, your suffering increases.

But then, the reward is the Supreme’s Smile. If the Supreme sees that I am identified with you, with him, with her, with everyone’s suffering, then He gives me a Smile, because I am doing His work. The higher you go, the more suffering you have to take. Again, in the inner world there is something called delight and ecstasy. At that time, pain is not pain. Many times I cannot move because I have such pain but, whether you believe it or not, I take it as an experience that my Supreme is having in and through me. Each step I am taking is agonising, but in the very depths of my heart, there is one part of me that is so happy. If this is the pain that He wants to have me go through, then I am more than happy to accept it.

There is not a single spiritual Master to my knowledge who has not suffered on the physical plane. But I will never say that their suffering is sacrifice, far from it. It is all oneness, oneness, oneness. A few days ago I told a story about Mother Mary. She said that her son’s sacrifice was not in the crucifixion. No. Her son’s death was not his sacrifice. Her son’s birth was his sacrifice. In the case of other spiritual Masters also, some people may say that after realising God, their life itself is a supreme sacrifice, not their death. But the real spiritual Masters themselves will say, “Where is sacrifice? It is all oneness, oneness, oneness. If my leg does something for my head, it is not a sacrifice. We are only helping one another.”

Part II

Question: In your writings you say that the goal is to have the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, that we can transform the earth so that it is bathing in divine consciousness. When this is done, what will be the use of Heaven?1

Sri Chinmoy: Heaven is not like earth. It is not just a few buildings which house some peaceful souls. When we use the term ‘Heaven’, it means happiness, peace and harmony. This world of ours is full of suffering, and here misunderstanding plays a considerable role. We misunderstand others, we misunderstand even our own hearts at every moment. Of all the enemies that we have, misunderstanding is one of the most destructive. Of course, we human beings have countless other weaknesses — jealousy, insecurity and so on.

When we use the term ‘Heaven’, it means happiness and peace. Even if you pray and meditate, the goal is far, very far. When the Saviour Christ said “the Kingdom of Heaven on earth,” he did not think of Heaven as a piece of land. In the future, spiritual Masters will not carry into this world a piece of land on their shoulders or on their head. It is only in their souls that they carried, still carry and will always carry infinite peace, love and light into the world.

Spiritual Masters of the highest order do bring Heaven down to the earth plane, but then comes the question of receptivity. Sometimes even an iota of divine peace, divine love and divine harmony human beings cannot receive. Humanity’s receptivity is so limited that the term ‘iota’ is absolutely accurate. We talk about God day in and day out, but when it comes to receptivity, this receptivity is very limited. Receptivity is based on self-giving. The more we give of ourselves cheerfully, soulfully and sleeplessly, the sooner we create receptivity. At that time, our receptivity-vessel becomes large, larger, largest.

Unfortunately, we do not give even what we have, and to give what we are is a dream based on imagination. I always say, “Give what you have and give what you are.” But even what we have — let us say, a good thought — we do not give, even for a fleeting second. As soon as we see another human being, even for five seconds we do not give the best that we have — our love, our compassion, our goodwill. We hold back our five cents’ worth of love and compassion. We see that person with our own insecurity-heart or impurity-mind. We use our own insecurity-heart to see whether he is as insecure as we are. We use our own impurity-mind to see if he is as impure as we are. We want to see that he is more impure and more insecure that we are. Then we get malicious pleasure.

Whom are we fooling? We are only fooling ourselves, because we are not getting real joy. By seeing the bad qualities in others, we are only getting malicious pleasure. We know our own bad qualities — insecurity and impurity. If we can see more of these bad qualities in another person, then we think we are getting joy. But it is not joy that we are experiencing; it is pleasure.

If we do not give what we have, how are we going to give what we are? We have to do first things first. What are we? We are a solid portion of the Infinite. What we are is beyond our imagination even to grasp now. What we have, we know — good thoughts. For a few minutes we can become a good person, but even for a few seconds we do not act like a good person. Each time we do something good, we are creating a divine atmosphere around us. If each and everyone can offer good thoughts to the world, the atmosphere becomes divinely pure; it increases its divinity. But our very nature is to see the negative side and feed the negative side in our life. Always we are dividing everything with our desire-mind. Today we are dividing and tomorrow we are destroying. But when we use our heart, today we are uniting and tomorrow we are expanding our limited self. If we do not unite, we cannot expand. If we divide with our minds, the next thing is destruction. Division is not satisfaction, but in union we become satisfied.

To come back to your question, Heaven is not a piece of land. It is a plane of consciousness. This consciousness also has levels — seven solid ones, and inside the solid ones there are quite a few minor levels. Like a staircase, Heaven has seven steps, but in between there are minor steps. Those minor steps can also help us consciously in our journey.

We have to start right from the beginning to have good thoughts. As soon as we see someone, we have to think of seeing that person with good thoughts. Not only that, but right from the morning we have to think of ourselves as good human beings.

When you get up in the morning, forget about yesterday. If yesterday you did something wrong, forget about it. If you did something good yesterday, then immediately do something better. If yesterday you did well in your aspiration, inspiration and dedication, let that be your foundation. If yesterday you did something wrong, then feel that yesterday did not exist. But if yesterday you did something very inspiring, then that you have to use as your foundation.

Always we have to look within to see whether we can build something divine, illumining and fulfilling. If we see that we could not do it in the morning or in the afternoon, let us try in the evening. In many cases, the morning does not show the day. In the case of many, many spiritual Masters or other great figures of the world, the morning of their lives was not at all encouraging or inspiring. If the morning was not at all inspiring, then let us try at noon or in the afternoon or in the evening. The spiritual life can start at any moment. It does not have to start early in the morning. In the morning if you can begin your spiritual journey, well and good. That is why I say to get up early in the morning. It can be four o’clock for you, or for somebody else seven o’clock, or for somebody else eleven o’clock. As soon as someone gets up, that is the best time for that person to meditate. At that time the hour has struck.

Whenever the hour strikes, you have to value that hour and not see whose hour has already struck and who is still to follow you. You must only think of your hour, and from there you can expand. The best attitude is to say, “I am waiting for my call. When the call comes, immediately I will go forward. I am not going to look around to see who has got the call before me or to see if anybody is going to get the call after me. Everybody is going to be awakened at God’s choice Hour. Since my hour has struck, I must run fast, faster, fastest. If somebody else is also running with me, wonderful. But I am not going to look backward to see who is following me. I am not going to look forward to see who is very far ahead of me and then become depressed and disheartened. If I look at those who are ahead of me, then my competitive spirit will come to the fore. By hook or by crook I will want to defeat that person. Then I will lose everything. By looking behind, I will only get malicious pleasure. My ego-balloon will become filled with pride. No. I have received the call. I will run or walk according to my speed, the speed my Beloved Supreme has given me.” When we have these ideas in our mind, in our waking consciousness, then we are bound to make the fastest progress towards creating Heaven inside ourselves, towards manifesting Divinity here on earth.

  1. SCA 1045. Sri Chinmoy answered this question on 3 January 1992 in Sicily.

Part III

SCA 1046-1056. In May 1994, Victory-Banner Productions, under the leadership of K, presented Sri Chinmoy’s play entitled My Rama Is My All for several weeks in New York. On 12 May, Sri Chinmoy invited members of the cast to ask him questions about various aspects of the play. Stage personae of the questioners are given.

Performance of the play My Rama Is My All

Sri Chinmoy: Most sincerely, I am extolling you all to the skies. This is absolutely by far the best performance that you have done over the years. Now, if the performers want to say anything by way of self-criticism, then I can either agree or disagree.

Sita: Some people are saying that Sita is like the ‘bad guy’ in the play. I am uncertain how to portray the moment when she orders Lakshmana to go and look for Rama. I want to be angry with Lakshmana, but perhaps Sita was more afraid and lost because Rama was gone.

Sri Chinmoy: Let me answer this by telling you a story. Once upon a time, the British ruled India. One evening, a great patriot by the name of Vidyasagar went to a theatre performance. The play was about the actions of the British. You may know by now that the British used to torture the Indians mercilessly. One particular captain was notorious. He instigated others to torture the poor Indians because the Indians were fighting for the freedom of their Motherland. Ruthlessly the British soldiers used to kick and punish the Indians.

Anyway, when it came to a certain point in the play where this captain was behaving most cruelly, the great scholar got furious. He stood up, took off his sandals and threw them at the actor. Immediately the actor picked up Vidyasagar’s sandals and put them on his head and heart saying, “Today I have reached the height of perfection in my performance. I am an Indian, but I am playing the role of a British captain. I have to become fully identified with his brutality.”

So you have to know what part you are playing. My whole Rama play is about the human and the divine. Some individuals are all divine, but in some characters you have to play the human role. Each time a spiritual Avatar descends, he comes with a new message. In Rama’s case, he was identified with society. There was no competition between his reality and society. The main qualities that he manifested in his life were promise, obedience and sacrifice. These are called human morality.

The important thing is not to judge spiritual Masters. If you judge them, you will be totally confused and your aspiration will descend. They are far, far beyond our human judgement. When Rama and Sita returned from Lanka, Rama had to ask his wife to leave him. In Krishna’s case, he asked Arjuna to kill his own relatives. If you use your moral judgement, you will disapprove of the actions of Rama and Krishna most vehemently.

But if an Avatar does not play the human role, who is going to follow him? One moment he has to play the role of an absolutely helpless human being. The next moment he has to be in his highest consciousness. Look at the Saviour Christ. When he was on the cross, he called out, “Father, why have You forsaken me?” At that moment, he was acting like a human being. Then, the next moment, he said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Before his disciples came to him, Sri Ramakrishna used to go up on the roof and call out, “Where are my disciples? Where are my children?” He would cry most pitifully. He was inseparably one with Mother Kali, but at the same time he was crying helplessly for his disciples to come.

When a spiritual Master is in his highest consciousness, he can go beyond and beyond. He is ever-transcending. But when he identifies with the human level, then there seems to be so much contradiction. The same Supreme asks the spiritual Master to be kicked by human ignorance.

You know the famous story about the scorpion. A scorpion has fallen into the water. A spiritual Master shows compassion to the scorpion and puts out his hand to help it back to the water’s edge. Then, naturally, the scorpion stings him. How ungrateful the scorpion is! When it is suffering and dying, the Master lifts it up, and immediately it stings him. Then, the scorpion falls back into the water. Again it is dying and again the Master tries to help it. Why does the spiritual Master do it? The very nature of the scorpion is to sting, but the spiritual Master is determined to help it. He thinks that one day he will be able to transform its nature.

When you hold the tail of a dog, it is straight. But as soon as you release it, it becomes coiled again. Human nature is exactly the same; it is coiled. Spiritual Masters try to bring the Divine into human nature in the hope that again it will become straight.

The role of Sita has to be played as a blend of the human and the divine. In an absolutely human way she scolded and insulted Lakshmana. Sita was showing the human aspect at that moment. In other scenes, when she says such high, sublime things about Rama, at that time you can bring forward her divine aspect. But at that particular point, if Sita speaks to Lakshmana with utmost compassion, then the human aspect will not be there. So you are doing the right thing by showing anger.

Rama also has to show his human aspect. If he does not show the human aspect, then why did he take human incarnation? He became one with humanity with the hope that he would be able to transform humanity. Why does he have to justify his actions to humanity when he is obeying the Supreme? Humanity is millions and millions of miles below him. Spiritual Masters must not be judged by human standards. They are obeying direct Commands from God Himself. Look at the way Lakshmana obeys his elders: he obeys his brother and he obeys Sita because he has taken Sita as his mother. Even when Sita insults him, he obeys her.

When obedience is needed, you have to show obedience. When promise is needed, you have to show promise. When sacrifice is needed, you have to show sacrifice. What more can Rama sacrifice than his wife, his dearer than the dearest wife? These three things — promise, sacrifice and obedience — are either on the human level or on the divine level, but everything is coming from the Highest.

You cannot say that at the foot of the tree what Rama is doing is wrong, while in the middle of the tree he is perhaps a little wrong and a little right, and at the top of the tree he is only right. No. At the top of the tree the Highest will express itself in one way. In the middle of the tree it will express itself in another way, and at the foot of the tree it is bound to express itself in a different way. If Rama is only right at the top of the tree, then how can there be a tree? If there is no foot of the tree, no trunk, only the topmost branches, what kind of tree is it? The life-tree is not like that. Again, on the life-tree there are so many flowers, leaves and fruits — each one has to play its individual role.

So, according to the receptivity of humanity, the spiritual Master has to fulfil his message of promise and obedience. At every level, God is not bound. Otherwise you will have a fixed God. From your imagination you create an image of God. Imagination is reality, true, but you cannot bind the highest Supreme with your imagination. On the one hand, He is formless. On the other hand, He is with form. When He is with form, He takes millions of forms, countless forms. Perhaps you can see only one form and that form is fixed. Then if you see something else, you may say, “It cannot be God.”

At home, a human father may wear shorts all the time. Then, when he goes to the office, he may wear a nice suit. You may not recognise him in his office clothes. You may say that he is your father only when he is wearing shorts. So God is also like that. He has millions of forms.

My Rama play is about obedience, sacrifice and promise. From these three qualities you have to understand the whole play. We cannot judge the great spiritual Masters like Sri Ramachandra and Sri Krishna. We want to see them with our human eyes, feel them with our human hearts. That is impossible.

Let us say you want to judge the operation performed by a great doctor. If you are a nurse, you may know a little, but again there will be a yawning gulf between your knowledge and that of the doctor. The knowledge that the nurse has is just a drop, whereas a doctor’s knowledge is like an ocean. How can a drop judge the ocean? Similarly, the spiritual Doctor, God, can cure us in millions of ways if He wants to. And if He wants to have an experience in and through us, how are we going to judge Him?

The higher you go, the clearer becomes the message of surrender, promise and obedience. On each level, surrender takes a different form, promise takes a different form, obedience takes a different form.

On improving the performance of My Rama Is My All

In all sincerity, I am more than pleased with the performance, but in a few things you have to take me seriously for your absolute perfection. And also in a few matters you are quite innocent because you have no conception of that era when Sri Ramachandra lived.

First of all, your costumes are not satisfactory. But again, you have no idea of the clothing of that time, so what are you going to do? Also, it seemed that the actors wore the same kind of costume throughout the whole play, which is not accurate. You are taking one aspect of the Ramayana, the simplicity and austerity aspect, and maintaining it throughout. But it was not like that. Before Ramachandra was exiled to the forest, the scenes in the palace should have more grandeur. At that time there should be more gorgeous things on the stage. Right from the very beginning you are showing the austere aspect. But the austere aspect comes only after Kaikeyi asks for her boon. Before that, you have to show the prosperity and glamour of the court. A few times in the very beginning there is a jubilee; everyone is very happy. There you can show more pomp and majesty. Remember, all the main characters are of the king’s family.

Previously, when I used to watch the disciples’ plays, I was in trance! This time, each and every thing, from the beginning to the end, I watched. Even sometimes when I kept my eyes closed, I was keeping my third eye open. So now I will try to remember everything in detail.

First let us take Kaikeyi. In the beginning, Kaikeyi has no idea at all what is going to happen. She does not know what that rogue Manthara is going to say. At that time you have to be in a very cheerful frame of mind. But from the start you were so serious, as if you knew what would happen in advance. You have to know that Kaikeyi receives this idea from Manthara for the first time. Only gradually, gradually, when she is hammering at the idea that you will feel miserable if Rama is crowned king, you can become serious. Kaikeyi definitely did not have the slightest idea what Manthara was going to say. Manthara ruins all Kaikeyi’s joy, but from the beginning if you are serious, then you cannot convey that idea.

The first scene starts when Queen Kaushalya comes in. Kaushalya is the main queen of King Dasharatha. She has to be most gorgeous. Such simple white garments she will not wear. For the King you have made such a beautiful, gorgeous costume, but you have made the Queen like the goddess Saraswati, absolutely simplicity incarnate! Her crown and jewellery have to be more elaborate. The acting was excellent, but her costume was very poor. How can a queen come with such simplicity? How will she bring forward her majesty, her dignity, her regal aspect, if her costume is like that? How did you come up with that costume?

Director: We got books of the oldest art from Tibet, India, Nepal and all the countries that worship Rama. We took the costumes of the northern people.

Sri Chinmoy: Each country will contradict the others! Lord Buddha in one country is of one type, in Japan another and in Thailand another. We have to go to the source, which is the most pristine, and that is India. The whole Ramayana took place in India, so we should stick with the Indian aspect. Lord Buddha was born in India. Sri Ramachandra was born in India. If you base the costumes on the interpretation of other countries, then it will be a hotchpotch. I have seen Rama portrayed in Thailand and in other countries. They do it according to their realisation, according to their culture. They have adapted it to the customs, culture and circumstances of their country. If you adopt these versions, you start going far, farther, farthest from the origin. I feel it is better to stick to the origin.

In the case of Kaushalya, if you want to show her queenly aspect from the very beginning, then she must have lots of bangles and a most beautiful sari. Now her costume is not doing her justice. Also, if the audience wants to identify with the performers, they will get more joy if the costume adds something to the performer, to the way you people are expressing thoughts and ideas. Most soulfully, most eloquently, most powerfully you are expressing the ideas of the play, but the costumes could be better.

Now let us talk about the stage. A few times during the play if you can introduce a more decorative aspect, it will add to the production. Otherwise, very often, an austere aspect is coming. When Bharata returns to the kingdom, after visiting Rama in the forest, he will place Rama’s sandals on the throne, but he has to bring forward the royal family aspect. The throne itself can be simple, because there he is worshipping his brother, but the kingdom as such is very prosperous and splendid.

Then comes the subject of the deer. In your production the deer does not appear at all. You are only indicating it this side and that side. It is always offstage. But I feel you need something tangible on the stage. With a toy deer you can do something very quick to make it appear real. Otherwise, the actors are all saying that they can see the golden deer, but it is not visible to the audience. A deer has to be shown, or it will become like a circus act when a silly clown says that he is seeing somebody and nobody is there. The deer aspect has to become a little more tangible.

Bharata’s performance is excellent. Now, when he is talking to Kaushalya, when he says to her, “You are my real mother,” there I feel that he could show a little more devotion. For what his own mother has done, he is miserable, but he can show more devotion to Kaushalya. He really worships her.

The main thing is that there should be happiness in the beginning of the play. Until the King asks Rama to leave, you should not show the sad aspect of life. Happiness you have to show, and then all of a sudden the atom bomb drops. Before the atom bomb drops, if you are anticipating the explosion of the atom bomb, then the other joy you are not getting. In this case, they do not know in advance what is going to happen. Manthara is the one who started the wrong movement. Before that, Kaikeyi does not know anything. And the others also know nothing about it. So the play should start with boundless happiness.

The ending of the play was so beautiful, super-excellent. Next time you can add the Sanskrit verse:

Deshe deshe cha bandhabah
tantu desha na pashyami
yatra bratha sahodara

It means: “In all countries there are wives, in all countries there are friends, but I shall not find a brother like Lakshmana anywhere in this world.”

In the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Nolini and Amrita were like that. Amrita was like a younger brother to Nolini. If Nolini went one side, Amrita went that side. With my own eyes I saw it. Nolini was the Ashram Secretary and Amrita was the Manager. Amrita would not find any fault with Nolini. If Nolini said, “This is Heaven,” Amrita would say it was Heaven. If Nolini said, “This is hell,” Amrita would say it was hell. He did not keep any individuality whatsoever. The story of Lakshmana and Rama did not only happen ten thousand years ago. Even in this century, this Manager and Secretary proved it to be true. The Manager only followed the Secretary everywhere, everywhere. And he would never argue with Nolini. Only occasionally they would cut jokes together. I would be working inside and they would be drinking tea. Others were working there also. Sometimes I heard them cutting jokes. One day Nolini was bragging that his health was perfect. His only problem was that he could not increase his height. He was at that time 65 years old. So Amrita said to him, “It is very easy. Just stand on your toes and you will become taller instantly!”

How faithful, how obedient and how self-giving Amrita was to Nolini! If Nolini said anything, he accepted it implicitly. I have not seen and I will not see again in this incarnation any two persons who are so sincerely, sincerely surrendered and sincerely obedient to each other.

King Dasharatha: You said that the most important aspect for the King to have is more nobility. How can I get more nobility as the King?

Sri Chinmoy: Nobility comes from the expression of divinity. The higher you go, the more you become conscious of your divinity, the easier it becomes to express nobility. In your case, you are showing the majesty of the King, but your divinity is missing. Rama is showing his divinity by making his solemn promise to go into exile, and then Lakshmana is showing his divinity by following his elder brother. The third son is also behaving in a divine way. Now, all the sons saw divinity in their father Dasharatha. They are your sons. So your divinity has to be expressed along with your majesty. Through your own concentration you can bring forward nobility.

Yamaraj: Do you have any comment about Yamaraj?

Sri Chinmoy: One thing I could not understand. Yamaraj was looking at Lakshmana and addressing Rama at the same time. How could it be?

Director: To me, Rama is God. He knows when he is going to die. So the only reason I could see for Yamaraj coming was to test Lakshmana’s surrender.

Sri Chinmoy: No, no! Just before Yamaraj tells Rama that nobody should intrude during their interview, he says, “I wish to have a private interview with you.” Will he look at somebody else and ask for a private interview?

Director: The way I interpreted it, the real reason Yamaraj came was for Lakshmana’s death, to see if Lakshmana would sacrifice his life for Rama.

Sri Chinmoy: That is right. Rama knows that, but when Yamaraj is performing, he will behave as though he is sharing a supreme secret. Sometimes, when you tell me something, you have to pretend that I know nothing about the matter. That is why you are telling me. And even if I know, I have to pretend that I do not know anything. A child comes and tells his father all about something which his father knows infinitely better than he does. It is a game. Similarly, when Yamaraj is talking to Rama, Rama has to pretend that he knows nothing about when he is going to die.

You are seeing the divine aspect of Rama there, but he is not dealing with it in that way. Yamaraj is coming to give the information. Rama does not say, “I know everything. I know my past, present and future.” At this moment Rama has to behave like an ordinary human being. A messenger is coming to give him the message that he is going to die; his play is over. At that time if Rama does not look at the messenger, then it will not be right.

In Yamaraj’s case, he is putting Rama and Lakshmana on the same footing, although Rama is a little higher. But if Yamaraj realised that Rama knew everything, then there would be no play. Each time Yamaraj addresses Rama, he has to make himself feel that he knows everything and Rama knows nothing. In Yamaraj’s heart he knows that Rama is the Lord and, as such, Rama knows everything. But here in the play, Yamaraj has to make Rama feel that the supreme secret Rama is getting from him.