Question: When your disciples accompany you on your trips to other countries — during the Christmas holidays, for example — what do they receive from these countries and what do they offer?

Sri Chinmoy: When a disciple accompanies his Master on a spiritual journey to another country, the disciple not only gets new light in his inner life, but he also gives new light to the place that he visits. On the material plane, you give your money-power to hundreds of stores, which makes a great difference to them. On the spiritual plane, you give your soul-power. Because you are praying and meditating, the people in these countries may see something prayerful in your face and eyes that they do not see in their neighbours and acquaintances. You are coming on these trips not only to take, but also to give. You take what these countries have to give you and you also give them what you have. Afterwards, you will have a very close connection with those countries.

Question: Why do some people not care for God-manifestation?

Sri Chinmoy: When you realise God, it is as though a most beautiful flower has blossomed inside you. When you try to reveal and manifest God, you bring that flower out to show the world what you have inside you; you try to offer the beauty and fragrance of your heart-flower to the world. After realising God, some people do not care for God-manifestation because it is such a difficult task. They say, “Who cares whether or not others believe that there is a most beautiful flower inside my heart? If they do not believe it, why do I have to prove it to them? I am satisfied with what I have.”

But some realised souls, who are more daring, see that there are people who are miserable because they do not know that this beautiful flower even exists. These realised souls want to show the flower, not in order to show off, but out of generosity. Because of their heart’s magnanimity, they want to share the beauty of the flower with others. They know that they will not lose this precious flower by sharing it, because it is not something that they possess, but something that they have become. A possession we can lose, but what we are eternally, we can never lose.

Question: How can we conquer our defects?

Sri Chinmoy: In the beginning, consciously or unconsciously, we actually cherish our weaknesses. Usually they come in the form of temptation. When we become wise, we separate ourselves from our weaknesses. We feel how stupid we were to have been insecure or jealous or impure, and we want to conquer our weaknesses. If we sincerely want to conquer them, we cannot be at all relaxed; we have to be fully determined. Where does this determination that we need come from? It has only one Source, and that Source is God’s Compassion. Ultimately, we have to go to the Source to conquer our defects because the determination that we need has to come from God’s Grace.

Question: Is the soul of America still as receptive to the spiritual message that you are offering as it was when you first came to this country?

Sri Chinmoy: When I came to America, I came with tremendous enthusiasm and cheerfulness and many, many positive, illumining and fulfilling qualities. I was carrying within me a hope-sky and a promise-sun. At that time, the soul of America and the heart of America gave me the warmest response. But, unfortunately, the mind, vital and physical consciousness of America were not ready to receive my light, even before our so-called manifestation work started.

Even now the soul of America has boundless, boundless, boundless love and appreciation for me, and the heart also has boundless appreciation for me, according to its capacity. Unfortunately, the other aspects of the country are lagging behind. But I will never give up — never! Even when I leave this mortal coil and pass behind the curtain of Eternity, my soul will continue to work in and through the physical consciousness, the vital, the mind and the heart — not only for America but for the entire world. I am grateful that the Supreme in me chose America and that the Supreme in me still wants me to be in America. My heart of infinite gratitude I shall always offer to the soul of America.

Question: What is the best way to please our Lord Supreme in His own Way?

Sri Chinmoy: At every moment we have to surrender to God’s Will. This surrender has to embody readiness, cheerfulness and willingness — the readiness of the mind, the willingness of the heart and the cheerfulness of life itself. At every moment we have to surrender our will to God’s Will, and inside our surrender we have to feel the mind’s readiness, the heart’s willingness and the life’s cheerfulness. If we can do this, then definitely we will become a most devoted and most perfect instrument of our Lord Supreme.

Question: Is it best that a spiritual Master be in sahaja samadhi when he deals with his disciples?

Sri Chinmoy: In sahaja samadhi, one is in the absolutely highest consciousness and, at the same time, one enters into earthly activities like an ordinary human being. In my case, the sahaja samadhi consciousness started when I was eighteen or nineteen, but after the age of twenty-three it became permanent. In many cases I have to hide that consciousness when I am dealing with individuals; otherwise, the disciples and others may not take me seriously. They find it difficult to understand that someone can be absolutely, totally and inseparably one with our Beloved Lord Supreme and at the same time function normally on the earth plane. They have more faith in me and take me more seriously when they see me in a deep meditative consciousness. That consciousness is better able to serve my purpose.

But for me, this kind of meditative consciousness is not the highest type of samadhi. The reason is that sometimes when I am in absolutely the highest meditation, I may completely ignore the earth-bound aspect. But in sahaja samadhi one can remain in the highest consciousness and simultaneously come down to the earth-consciousness to manifest.

Question: When the Buddha reached Nirvana, was that the first time he realised God?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, that was the first time.

Question: I have read descriptions of what happened when Buddha reached Nirvana, with the serpents and images of women coming. I was wondering if everybody goes through the same process.

Sri Chinmoy: Each individual has to go through different experiences, just as each individual must have his own realisation. Many times it happens that an individual may be attacked by lower vital forces. Then, as you go higher, the cosmic gods who once helped you may stand against you. When you were a tender plant, they helped you. But when you want to become a tree and go higher than them, at that time they try to stop you. In some cases the cosmic gods stand very vehemently against the seeker. They do not want human beings to go beyond them. But once you do go beyond them, at that time they become your friends again. In the Buddha’s case, he did not utter the name ‘God’; he did not use the word ‘soul’. He used the term ‘Light’. For him, Light is God. But, for us, the soul and God do exist.

Question: Why is it that you do not give so much importance to occult power the way that Gorakshanath and others have done?

Sri Chinmoy: You have heard so many stories about occult power. But I wish to say that occult power is just a wave, a huge wave you can say, whereas spiritual power is like the ocean. How can a wave, no matter how powerful, be stronger or more peaceful than the ocean itself? Gorakshanath showed his occult powers and performed many miracles. But quite often it was outwardly destructive. Again, he also had the capacity to use his occult powers in a positive way. He would destroy someone and then he would revive them. All kinds of things he did!

Eventually he realised that he had to stop using occult power in season and out of season, at his own sweet will, and give all his attention to realising God. So, after using occult power for many years, during the last thirty or forty years of his life, he entered into deep meditation in the Himalayan caves. At that time he became convinced that occult power is nothing more than a juggling act or a magic show. It is like fireworks — something that goes up and is then finished. So he stopped using occult power and cared only for meditation-power and spiritual power. Spiritual power is infinitely more powerful than occult power, and it is always constructive.

In Nepal you can visit some of the caves where Gorakshanath meditated. In these caves it is his meditation-power and not his occult power that you will feel. Through meditation he developed forgiveness and received tremendous peace. Then when people did not listen to him, instead of using occult power to destroy and revive those individuals, he simply forgave them. He just entered into his own meditation once more and became flooded with peace. It is only from meditation that one gets peace, not from occult power.

Question: How can we get rid of our undivine qualities?

Sri Chinmoy: If you can feel that you are not thirty or forty or fifty years old, but only seven years old, you will be able to discard so many of your bad qualities in the twinkling of an eye. Depression, frustration, doubt, idleness, lethargy and, especially, disobedience, you will be able to cast aside like old, torn clothes.

Disobedience is the worst of the disciples’ undivine qualities. For a little girl or a little boy of seven to love the father and obey the father is not an impossible task. Up to the age of fourteen or fifteen, obedience is natural and spontaneous. Disobedience usually starts at the age of seventeen or eighteen. Once people reach the age of twenty, forget about obedience! Then, when they reach forty or fifty, they lead their own life! Only some very lucky disciples have maintained their obedience after they have reached the age of twenty. I am lucky and they are lucky.

Of all the divine qualities, obedience is supremely important. If you have real inner and outer obedience to your soul, to your highest part, then you will love God, you will devote yourself to God and you will surrender unconditionally to God. All the disciples’ good qualities come from one source and that is obedience. Obedience is like the root of the tree; from the root there comes a tender plant, and eventually a most beautiful tree with countless flowers and fruits. But if there is no root, nothing will grow.

I have observed that old age has entered into the minds of many of my disciples. They are constantly thinking in an old way. You have to challenge your old ideas, old thoughts and old habits. Discard your old way of life! If you can feel sincerely that you are a seven-year-old girl or boy, so much poison that is inside your mind will disappear and easily you will be able to escape from your mind-jungle. Such enthusiasm and joy will enter into your life, and such love you will have for God and for your spiritual Master! Every day you will see your life in a new way and your sweet, sweeter, sweetest qualities you will be able to bring forward once again. At that time, you will blossom like a flower, petal by petal. But if you continue to think that you are thirty or forty or fifty or sixty or seventy, you will see that all the flowers in your heart-garden are withered; you will be nothing but a completely dead flower. For a seven-year-old child there is no doubt, no depression, no frustration, no negativity. The child is just jumping with joy and playing and playing in his heart-garden.

Question: My children are behaving very undivinely, but they do not listen to me. At what point are parents no longer responsible for their children’s behaviour?

Sri Chinmoy: After children reach the age of thirteen, I shall never, never blame the parents if their children misbehave. Until children reach the age of thirteen, the parents are responsible for making sure that the children do the right thing. After that, I will never, never blame you if your children misbehave and want to leave the spiritual life.

Question: Is it spiritually destructive to spread rumours and gossip?

Sri Chinmoy: Many people get tremendous pleasure, malicious pleasure, by distributing juicy stories or spreading wild, unfounded rumours. But today’s rumour-mongers definitely, definitely, definitely will themselves fall victim to rumour tomorrow. Today you may be deliberately spreading rumours about somebody, with the idea that you are purer than the purest and better than the best. But, before long, you yourself will be the helpless victim. Why? Because when you think of others’ weaknesses, their weaknesses actually enter into you; and then you will suffer the same fate that they have suffered.

So try to think of others’ good qualities, divine qualities, self-giving qualities. If you are always thinking about their bad qualities, you are only digging your own spiritual grave. Before long your spiritual life will touch rock bottom — the abysmal abyss.

Question: Why do you ask your female disciples to wear saris during meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: As soon as someone puts on a policeman’s uniform or a doctor’s uniform, that person immediately thinks of his role. A uniform reminds you of what you are. On our path, a sari is like a uniform for the women. It reminds them of their spiritual life.

Everything you wear affects your consciousness. If you come to meditation in your running clothes and think that you will be able to reach your highest sooner than the soonest, you are only fooling yourself. In terms of consciousness, there is definitely a great difference between a sari and a punjabi, and between a sari and Western clothes. You can wear a sari and be unspiritual, true; but wearing a sari will definitely remind you of your spiritual life and help you to bring forward your aspiring consciousness.

Of course, aspiration is the most important thing. But there are a few things that will add to your aspiration, and wearing a sari is one of them. If something adds to our aspiration, we should avail ourselves of it.

Part II

SCA 230-232. Sri Chinmoy answered three questions during a special programme at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. on 21 July 1995.

Question: How can we help bring peace into our own lives and into the lives of others?

Sri Chinmoy: We can be of help to ourselves and to others only when we feel the necessity of praying and meditating every day. We have to feel that there is Someone who is always eager to make us happy and to show us the way to serve our brothers and sisters of the world. But we have to pray and meditate to get His inner Guidance. It is from within that we have to get the message of light, and only then will we be in a position to offer this message to the world at large.

Every day, preferably at a fixed hour early in the morning, we have to pray and meditate. Then one day we are bound to get illumination, and this illumination will transform our lives. Spiritual books can help us to some extent, but if we want to be good or perfect instruments of our Inner Pilot so that we can make not only ourselves but also other human beings happy, then we must look to our inner life. In that inner life we will find the answers to all our outer questions.

Question: The situation in Bosnia deeply troubles me and I have been meditating very much in the hope that President Clinton will make the right decisions. I am wondering if there is anything special we can do to help bring peace to these people?

Sri Chinmoy: If we feel that some problem is outside our own reality, then we will not be able to solve it. When there is a problem arising in any part of the world, immediately we have to bring that part of the world deep inside us. We have to feel that it is part and parcel of our inner existence. If we want to do something special for Bosnia from a spiritual point of view, first we have to bring Bosnia into our own inner existence. Then we are bound to see and feel that there is Somebody within us to tell us absolutely the right thing to do. This is our Inner Pilot. He is the Pilot, He is the Boat, He is the Journey and He Himself is the Golden Shore.

If we come to realise that the Supreme is the Pilot, the Boat, the Journey and the Shore and that we are just passengers seated in His Boat, then we will know that it is His bounden Duty to take us to the Shore. Our role is only to be consciously, prayerfully, soulfully and self-givingly part of this journey.

Whenever we make a decision, it usually comes from our mind of intelligence or, we can even say, from our mind of wisdom. But there is something infinitely higher than our human intelligence and human wisdom, and that is the Will of God within us. At every moment we are exercising our individual will. Everybody wants the world to be happy in his own way. I feel that if my way is followed, then the world will be happy. You feel that if your way is followed, then the world will be happy. But a particular individual’s way of happiness, or his way of injecting happiness into other individuals, may not actually make them happy at all.

God is both the Creator and the creation. God the Creator definitely wants God the creation to be happy; He wants everybody to be happy. God the Creator is all Love, all Compassion and all Concern for God the creation. But God can make us happy only if we are willing to be happy in His own Way. If we can consciously invoke the Presence, the Guidance or the Will of God the Creator, then the world will be inundated with peace and happiness. Following God’s Will is the only way to achieve happiness individually, collectively and universally. Otherwise, if each individual tries to make the world happy in his or her own way, then we will definitely make mistake after mistake before we solve the world’s problems or even our individual problems.

How can we know God’s Will? God’s Will we can know by virtue of our prayer and meditation and by virtue of our conscious self-giving to the world that we live in and claim as our own, very own. If we have a free access to the inner life of aspiration and to the outer life of selfless dedication, then we do come to know and realise the Will of God. And if we listen to the Will of God, then all our problems and all the world’s problems will be solved.