Aspiration-Glow and Dedication-Flow, part 2

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Part I

//These questions were answered by Sri Chinmoy at the San Francisco Sri Chinmoy Centre on 1 June 1973.//

Question: What should I do during meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: You have a picture of me in my transcendental consciousness. Look at that picture and try to empty your mind. If thoughts come into your mind and are creating problems for you, try to empty them. Throw them into the consciousness which you observe in my picture during your meditation. Try to throw away or destroy fear, doubt, anxiety, worry, jealousy and other undivine thoughts. If you have divine thoughts, thoughts of love for the world, or service to God, or thoughts about happiness and peace, then you should treasure them. But try to make the mind as quiet and calm as possible.

If you have a few friends who are aspiring, such as your brother and sister disciples, then automatically you will be inspired by them. Their aspiration itself is strength. So as long as you do not have a Centre in Santa Cruz, please try to come to San Francisco as often as possible. And when they can, the disciples of the San Francisco Centre will go to your place and inspire you. If you keep the place where you meditate pure and spiritual, they will definitely want to meditate at your place even if you do not have one other disciple there. Your own sincerity and spirituality will be appreciated and admired.

The door of this Centre will remain always open to you and to other disciples who belong to other Centres. If you are in a position to come from time to time to get inspiration from the San Francisco Centre, you are most welcome. This Centre is doing extremely well. If members of other Centres need inspiration and want to increase their aspiration, they should come here. Members of this Centre should invite you to come here so that you can receive their inspiration and aspiration, and when your Centres grow up, you should invite them. If the Centres in Phoenix, Vancouver and Victoria do well, they will invite the San Francisco Centre to visit them.

But right now I wish you to come here as often as possible, because from here you will be able to receive and achieve abundant light. There are people here who have been with us for some time and have accepted the path wholeheartedly. You will get tremendous inspiration from them. The San Francisco Centre is well founded, well established and very solid. So if you come here, you will get solid strength, illumining inspiration and fulfilling aspiration.

Question: What is the best time of day for my daily meditations, and what is the best length of time for these meditations?

Sri Chinmoy: The best time for meditation is early in the morning. When you get up, that is the best time. If you get up at 5:30, that is the best time. If you get up at 6:00, that is the best time. If you get up at 9:00, that too will be the best time, but you have to know that at that hour you will be swimming against the current. By that time the world has become full of noise and activities; everything is hustle and bustle. But if you get up at 5:00 or 6:00 or 7:00, you will still feel poise and peace in the atmosphere. So the earlier you can get up, the better.

Now, the length of time depends on your capacity. If you can meditate well for fifteen minutes, then do so. But if you just sit at your shrine for two hours, although your mind begins roaming after ten minutes, that is of no use. As long as you can meditate soulfully, you should meditate. But if you are just dragging it out and watching the clock to see how many hours you have meditated, that is of no use. If you can meditate well for fifteen minutes in the morning, that is more than enough.

Question: How can we always see the divine qualities in others?

Sri Chinmoy: If you do not see the divine qualities in another person, you will feel that you are seeing a tiger, a snake, a panther, a bull or some other animal; you will see jealousy, doubt, fear or other negative qualities. When you see undivine qualities in others, you have to feel that these are ferocious animals. Then what will happen? Those ferocious animals will devour you. If you see a tiger in front of you, do you think the tiger will just go away? The very nature of a tiger is to devour you. If you see the undivine qualities in others, then immediately those ferocious animals will come and devour you.

On the other hand, if you see in each person a divine child, or a beautiful flower, or a burning candle symbolising the ascent of the flame of aspiration, you will be full of joy. If you see inside them somebody praying and meditating, or a most luminous, divine child, you will be full of joy. If you see the divine in a person, then your strength, inspiration and aspiration will increase. Every divine quality that you have will increase. The moment you think that you see an undivine quality in someone else, feel that your whole hand is full of ink. You are soiled. You can wash it with a good thought. But if you touch the ink again, even though you have washed your hand once, it will again become dirty and black.

If you do not look for the negative qualities, automatically the positive qualities come forward. It is like this: either you like a person or you dislike him. If you do not dislike someone, automatically you like him. It is either one or the other; there is nothing in between. At a given moment, either you are thinking of God or you are thinking of Satan. At every moment the mind is either thinking of something positive and creative or of something negative and destructive.

So the best thing is to see the positive things in others. If you consciously see the positive things, then the negative qualities cannot come forward.

Question: Before I came here my thoughts wandered and I was feeling negative. What can I do to clear my head so I can be stronger in my mind and soul?

Sri Chinmoy: Constantly thinking that your mind is bothering you and that it is full of undivine thoughts is not good. By doing this, you will have no clear idea of truth. If the mind is constantly involved in our so-called aspiration, then we will not succeed.

The mind is like a sick person. Let us say you have two brothers. One brother is sick all the time, and the other brother is strong and healthy. If you constantly think of the brother who is sick, then you will also feel sick. If you go to the hospital four or five times a day, then you are bound to feel that you are sick, although the doctors will find nothing wrong with you.

If you spend most of your time with your sick brother, which is the mind, then you will be affected. But if you spend most of your time with your strong, healthy brother, the heart, then you will get strength and energy. When you have become strong, then the two strong brothers can go to help the poor sick brother, the mind. Always try to think of the heart. It is not that you are rejecting or avoiding the mind, but right now you are not strong enough to cure the mind. You are not powerful enough. Only with the added strength of your heart will you be able to go to the mind to make it spiritually stronger.

Part II

//The following questions were answered by Sri Chinmoy at Dipti Nivas Restaurant, San Francisco, California on 17 April 1974.//

Dipti Nivas

Dipti Nivas will always remain a temple. Every time I am here, I feel the presence of the cosmic gods and goddesses most powerfully. People who are working here and serving this restaurant are serving the Supreme directly: this is true. But something else is infinitely more true: you people are really fortunate here. You may work nine or ten hours a day, but you are working in a place where the Supreme has most special Blessings. His presence and His children’s presence — that is to say the presence of the cosmic gods and goddesses — is very powerful here.

To each of you I offer my blessingful gratitude for serving the Supreme here. Please maintain the same height, the same standard, which I have been noticing again and again. There is no end to our progress. I really want you people to transcend and transcend. I transcended my transcendental Consciousness in 1970. My transcendental Consciousness, where I am one with the highest Absolute, would have always been more than enough for me, but there is no end to our progress. You people can also transcend, in the same way that I have transcended. The divinity that I see here can be increased by your own aspiration.

Question: I sometimes wonder if you ever get tired and discouraged. You have the most difficult job that has ever existed.

Sri Chinmoy: Most of the time I remain in the soul and in the heart, and then I am not discouraged. But when I am in the physical consciousness of earth, sometimes, as a human being, I am discouraged. If I ask you a hundred times not to do something and then you do it, I do become discouraged. But I have infinite patience; otherwise, I could not have accepted so many spiritual children. When I am displeased with someone, people may think that I am scolding that person mercilessly. But at that time it is not the human in me that is speaking. It is the divine authority in me that I have to exercise.

Our path is the path of love, devotion and surrender. Love is the most powerful force. But sometimes when love does not work, we must use divine force, which is another form of love. This force is called concern. But our concern is sometimes misunderstood. If I have expressed my concern, then you have to know that I am using a kind of force. If I did not use this power of concern, then I would be totally frustrated. I tell my dear disciples that when I scold them, they should feel that they are the luckiest people on earth. When a spiritual Master becomes indifferent to a disciple, that is the disciple’s death blow. If you go on and on doing something wrong, I will scold you up to a point. But once I withdraw my concern, once I show indifference to you, that is your spiritual death-blow. If I am really discouraged and disheartened by a particular disciple, then naturally I will withdraw from that disciple.

The divine in me has infinite patience, compassion and concern. I try again and again with the disciples who consciously and deliberately violate my rules. But if I keep them in the Centre indefinitely, they will just poison the good disciples. What right do I have to keep the sick people and contaminate the healthy ones? They are sick because they do not want to become healthy. They are tired, they are exhausted, they are weak. If you are strong, you can climb the Himalayas. But if you are not strong, then you have to sit at the foot of the Himalayas. The spiritual life is for the strong and the willing.

Again, when disciples lose their aspiration and leave us, usually they do not go to other Masters. They just give up the spiritual life altogether. If they think that I am a bad Master and they go to some other Master, then I am very happy. That Master will then take them to the goal. But they usually do not do this. When they leave us, they just criticise us and try to take a few more disciples with them by speaking ill of us. At that time the human in me does get discouraged, because I see that the infinite love and concern that I gave them while they were with us was all wasted. Naturally the human in me feels sad. But the divine in me will say, “If they are such fools, if they are being tempted, then they are not for us, they are not worth keeping.” My disciples know what is right and what is wrong. If I identify with the human in me, I may feel sad. But, inside the human is the divine. In the case of a spiritual Master the human may come to the fore for a short time, but then the divine will come and solve the problem. It was when the human in the Christ came forward for a fleeting second that he said, “Father, why hast Thou forsaken me?” But then the divine immediately came forward and he said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Three years ago in one of my Centres, some of the disciples who had been with us for four years were still going to different groups and seeing other Masters. Then, when they came to see me, they created unnecessary problems with their doubt and confusion. For a long time the human in me just forgave them and did not pay any attention to their misbehaviour. But after a while I got exasperated. Then I had to show some divine authority. I just said, “I am sick of you people! Please leave me. You people are just exploiting my compassion. I want to make my boat quite empty, so that it will go very fast.” I have told my disciples so many times that they cannot make progress if they go on changing from one path to another. There can be only one path, one boat at a time. So when I saw that the disciples were creating problems for themselves and others by going to various paths and various teachers, then naturally I had every reason to be discouraged.

Question: How can we constantly feel that we are your instrument?

Sri Chinmoy: It is a matter of inner love and an inner bond, like the connection between a mother and son, let us say. Even if the mother lives in India and the son has come to America to study, the mother’s heart is all the time inside the son, and the son’s heart is all the time inside the mother. Even while the son is talking to his professors and colleagues, he can feel his mother’s presence constantly inside his heart. When he sees something beautiful he thinks, “If only my mother could see this, she would be so happy.” If he does well in his studies, and the teacher appreciates him, immediately he thinks, “Oh, how I wish my mother could hear this.” If something goes wrong, he will think, “Where is my mother to ease my sufferings?” His mother is always vivid in his consciousness, because he has established his loving oneness with his mother.

Similarly, you should try to establish that kind of oneness with me in every aspect of your life: in your success, in your failure, in your progress. Any time that you accomplish something or see something that pleases you, immediately you will say, “How I wish Guru were here!” Of course, this is only in your physical consciousness. If you have done something really good, I will feel it in my inner being, and if you have done something really bad, then too, my inner being will know it. But if you want to be conscious of your oneness with me at every moment, then whenever you perform an action, whether it is good or bad, immediately think of me. If it is something good or successful, immediately say to yourself, “Oh, I have got so much! How I would like to share it with my Master!” And if it is a failure or something sad or bad, then immediately say, “How can I bear it all by myself? I need my Master.”

In this way you can invoke and feel my presence at every moment. Think of me as a life-long friend who is always beside you, whether you are in the sun or in the rain. Your spiritual Master is your Eternal Friend.

Question: I would like to know if having pets necessarily slows down your spiritual progress.

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on your capacity. If you see that your pets are standing in your way, then you naturally should get rid of them. In India we have a traditional story about a king who used to think of his pet deer so much that when he took another incarnation, he himself became a deer.

If you focus your attention on your pet all the time, you will be making a mistake. The time, attention, love and devotion that you spend on your pets you could easily offer to God instead.

You may feel that you are indispensable to your pets, that if you do not look after them, then they will have no place on earth. But there are many people on earth who will gladly accept them. These people do not have an aspiring consciousness like you have, so the animals will not interfere with their present state of consciousness and development. They will be by far the best people to look after your pets. But if you would like to have one pet, and if you feel that it will not take much of your time, then you can do it. But if you keep three or four cats and a dog, how are you going to have time to pray and meditate?

Question: How do you offer your soul's oneness to people who aren't disciples, without entering into their consciousness?

Sri Chinmoy: You have to remember that you are trying to offer something to the divine in that person. The divine in each person is God. So when you see a person, please do not think of that person as a human being. Think of him as a representative of something divine, of God. Then naturally your attention will be focused on the divine in him. Everybody does not have to follow the same spiritual path as you. One boat is not big enough to hold all of humanity. A person need not have a Master; he need not follow a spiritual path. But inside him the Supreme exists, just as inside you the Supreme exists. It is the same Supreme. If you know that the Supreme exists in others just as He exists in you, then your problem will be solved.

We have come into the world to conquer our pride, but after we meditate or follow a spiritual path for a short time, a kind of spiritual pride enters into us. We feel that we are the only people who embody God. This is very bad. We know that ordinary pride is bad. When we see somebody who is very proud, we laugh at him and say, “Look at his pride.” But spiritual people sometimes become very proud of their inner achievement of Peace, Light and Bliss. When this kind of spiritual pride enters into us, we do not see the divine in others. We feel that it is beneath our dignity to feel oneness with them. We want to see darkness in others so that we can feel that we are at the top of the Himalayas and they are at the foot of the Himalayas. But we should not have that kind of feeling.

As soon as we see someone, we should try to go to the root of that person. The root is God. If we know that the root is God, then there can be no problem, because the moment we look at a person, we will not see the human in him or the animal in him, but the divine in him, the Supreme in him. That person need not be a spiritual seeker at all. If we approach the inner divinity in the other person, we will not have to enter into that person’s human consciousness.

Question: Guru, I was wondering if you could explain what thought actually is.

Sri Chinmoy: If it is a divine thought, then it is a consciousness that is progressing, like a river that is flowing towards the sea. If it is an undivine thought, then you have to feel that inside the mind there are quite a few flies or insects buzzing and biting, and this thought is one of them.

Question: When we have fun imitating other people, what actually happens on the inner planes?

Sri Chinmoy: Fun, innocent fun, takes away all our tension. If something takes away our tensions, worries and anxieties, then that very thing is as good as meditation. But the fun must be innocent. If it is undivine, unlit, let us say, vulgar fun — then that is forbidden. Innocent fun is a real form of meditation when we want to get rid of tension. Fun immediately relaxes us if it is very simple, innocent and sweet. If it is innocent and pure, then it adds to our aspiration. When our tension is released, we automatically make progress.

When we have fun with our imitations, we have to establish our oneness with the people we are imitating. We have no right to deliberately torture others. If my consciousness in my right hand mocks the consciousness of my left hand, I don’t feel sorry because the consciousness of my right hand and the consciousness of my left hand are one. So if you want to mimic one of your brother or sister disciples, please do it in absolute innocence. The next moment he will also imitate you. But there is a time for this kind of thing. There is a time for us to have breakfast, a time for us to read, a time for us to meditate, and so on. So we shall pray, we shall meditate and, when we have time, we can have some innocent fun. If it is innocent and pure, then it adds to our aspiration. When our tension is released, we automatically make progress. I am sure that nobody will want to do imitations at the time of meditation. But when meditation is over, when you are relaxing, at that time you can do it. If it is very innocent and soulful, it really helps us in our aspiration, just as our Madal Circus helps us in our divine manifestation.

Question: Can you teach us how to live in our hearts?

Sri Chinmoy: You can live in the heart the moment you think that you do not have any mind. First think that you have two rooms: one is the heart-room and the other is the mind-room. Now it is up to you whether you will stay in the mind-room or in the heart-room. You don’t have to stay in the mind-room at all. You are wrong if you say, “I have only the mind-room and I must stay there; otherwise, I shall have to stay in the street.” There is another room for you to stay in.

Right now you are staying in one room which is dark. This room will not always remain dark. Today it is dark, but tomorrow it will be illumined. We must do the first thing first. First we have to remain always in the heart-room and then, with the light from the heart-room, we must enter into the mind-room and illumine it. So for the time being, have nothing to do with the mind-room. Later, when you have light, the mind-room need not be neglected.

Question: You have talked about the way a soul remains around after it has left the body to see if people are feeling sorry for the deceased. I have always thought that the soul is perfect. How can it have jealousy and desires?

Sri Chinmoy: That is the way with ordinary souls. They like it if their dear ones cry. When an ordinary soul sees that its dear ones are crying, it feels, “Oh, they really cared for me.” But the good souls will say to those still on earth, “No, no, no. Only try to follow and live a divine life. Try to reveal and manifest the Supreme on earth.”

You have to know what kind of soul we are talking about. The vital has the same relationship to the soul that the physical has to the mind. If too much of the physical is inside the mind, we call it the physical mind. The soul is always good. But if too much of the impure, undivine lower vital is operating in and through the soul, then naturally the soul cannot come forward with its pristine beauty, purity and perfection.

Now, this house is good. It is so beautiful and glowing now that we have decorated it. But if we had put rubbish and junk here, it would give off very bad vibrations. Although the house is now very beautiful, the same place could be made very untidy and unclean, and then the consciousness, the vibrations, would be totally different. The house would then give a very bad vibration.

The soul is like a bird inside the body-cage. If the bird is tortured or mistreated while it is inside the cage, then it will become a very bad bird. Then, when it is released from the cage it will not have its original pure and free qualities. When the soul is hovering around the scene of the body’s death, the vital and the qualities of the vital will still be with it, so it will still maintain all its bondage.

The soul has to leave the vital world. There is a world for the vital, there is a world for the mind and there is a world for the psychic being. The soul has quite a few loads on its shoulders, let us say. After it leaves the body, one by one it will leave the psychic being, the mind and the vital on their own planes.

Question: When the soul is making plans for its next incarnation, what happens when the Supreme doesn't really like, but only tolerates, its plans?

Sri Chinmoy: In our Centre, we have first-class disciples, second-class disciples, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh-class disciples. We even have eighth-class disciples. Some souls are like first-class disciples. They are determined to manifest and reveal the Supreme on earth. Others become one with the vital. They come to earth to enjoy. Sometimes first-class souls come here with the intention of spreading light, but then darkness enters into them from the temptation of the world and they surrender to darkness. These are weak souls. Each soul does have the divine spark in it. But we have to know how capable the soul is of manifesting the light, and how much it has consciously or unconsciously accepted the ignorance of the world.

Question: Does every soul, when it comes down to earth, want to work for the Supreme?

Sri Chinmoy: Every soul comes down with a promise. When a disciple comes to me, he immediately says, “Your path is by far the best for me. I am going to manifest you and fulfil you. But the next day the same disciple may leave me and say that my path is the worst path on earth. In the same way, although the soul comes from the Supreme with a promise, as soon as it enters into earth-ignorance, it forgets. Sri Ramakrishna brought two most powerful souls to earth with him to become his disciples. You know about Swami Vivekananda, whom he found. But there was another disciple who had been brought down from the soul’s region, whom Sri Ramakrishna could not find on earth. Even Sri Ramakrishna, with all his spiritual height, could not discover this soul. Where did he go? Ignorance took him away. He never came to Sri Ramakrishna at all.

Question: I would like to know the difference between Cosmic Consciousness and Christ Consciousness.

Sri Chinmoy: Christ Consciousness and Cosmic Consciousness go together. Let us take Cosmic Consciousness as this room. This room needs someone to live in it. The Christ Consciousness will be the occupant. The Christ Consciousness lives in the Cosmic Consciousness. Then again, in the divine Lila, the divine Game, the Christ Consciousness may become the hall and the Cosmic Consciousness may become the occupant of the hall. They exchange roles.

One who has realised the Highest, like the Christ, has become part and parcel of the Highest. On the strength of his highest consciousness, on the strength of his inseparable oneness with his eternal Father, he said, “I and my Father are one,” and “I am the way, I am the goal.” How is it that he could say this? We all know that God is our Father, but this is just a mental idea. We heard it from our parents or we read it in books. But in the Christ’s case it is a reality, a living reality. He and his Father are one. So the Christ Consciousness and the Cosmic Consciousness are one. At times the Christ Consciousness is inside the Cosmic Consciousness, the universal Consciousness. And again, sometimes the Cosmic Consciousness is embodied in the Christ Consciousness. This is the game.

Part III

//These questions were answered by Sri Chinmoy at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California on 19 April 1974.//

Question: Is what you teach a religion?

Sri Chinmoy: No, this is not a religion at all. This is a path. This is not like Christianity, or Hinduism, or Buddhism or Islam. People from any religion can walk along a path, whereas a religion is like a house. If you are a Christian you live in Christianity, and if I am a Hindu I live in Hinduism. You may live in a different house from me, but we can both walk along the same path, and our destination can be the same.

Question: I've heard that when one accepts a spiritual path, there is a point at which one must surrender oneself to a Guru who is higher than himself. But I've also heard that one must constantly question the teachings of the Guru and listen to a voice within himself. This idea of scepticism and questioning seems to contradict the idea of surrender.

Sri Chinmoy: First of all we have to know that if someone goes to the trouble of getting a Guru, then he has to listen to his Guru. It is better for him not to accept a Guru at all if he feels that he must doubt and question his Guru. Surrender is a different matter. A real spiritual teacher will say that he is not the Guru; the only real Guru is the Supreme. A human being is only a leader for a few people. It may be a hundred people, or a thousand, or it may be millions of people. But the real Guru, the only real Guru, is God. When you accept a human being as your Guru, it is just because he is more illumined than you are.

You should always listen to your higher part. Right now your mind is superior to your physical and your vital. When the mind asks you to do something, immediately the physical in you does it, the vital in you does it. But again, the heart is superior to the mind. We know that the mind doubts and suspects, and that it does not have one-pointed aspiration for a particular goal, whereas the heart gets light and illumination from the soul. That is why the heart is superior. Similarly, if the Guru, the human teacher, is sincere and illumined, then he is getting Light directly from the Supreme. He should then be considered as the higher part of the seeker, not as a different person. Since the physical feels that the mind is superior, the physical listens to the mind. Similarly, if the seeker feels that the person whom he has accepted as his Guru has more wisdom-light than he does, then he listens to that person, not with a sense of separativity, but as he would listen to his own highest part.

Now, the questioning mind can never realise the Highest. Only the aspiring heart can realise the Highest. If we constantly question, “Is he right? Is he wrong?” then we will never be able to go forward. We have to know what we want. If we want light, then we have to have implicit faith. Faith in whom? Faith in ourselves, faith in God and faith in the one whom we accept as our guide or leader. Once we reach the highest Goal, we do not need the guide. But if we start questioning the truth or the wisdom of the Guru, then we will never arrive at the Goal. If we really want to follow the spiritual life, we must have implicit faith in ourselves, in our teacher and in God. Then only will we make the fastest progress. If we question, if we doubt, then we can never make satisfactory progress.

A spiritual teacher is only the elder brother in the family. If he claims to be God, then he is fooling himself and others. The elder ones in the family generally know more than the younger ones. So they are in a position to show the younger ones where the goal is. Once they do this, then their job is over. In the spiritual life, it is necessary to abide by the soulful dictates of that part of us which is already illumined. It is not somebody else whom we are listening to; it is only our own highest part. We cannot consciously remain in our own highest consciousness all the time, but if we know that there is someone who always represents or embodies our highest part, then we can easily listen to him. If my head tells my legs to do something, my legs do not constantly question the wisdom or truth of my head’s directions. I do not feel that it is beneath their dignity to do what my head tells them, because I know that my head and my legs are part and parcel of my own body. In the same way, the Guru and his disciples are inseparably one.

Question: How does one begin on a spiritual path?

Sri Chinmoy: If one wants to follow a spiritual path, then to start with, one needs inspiration. He can get this inspiration from spiritual books, preferably written by the genuine spiritual Masters. Then, if he does not get adequate inspiration from the books, or if the books are not satisfying the seeker, he should mix with the disciples of some Masters in order to get inspiration. If he mixes with aspirants who have already found a path, then he gets encouragement and assurance. Finally, he should find a teacher. If there are quite a few teachers available, he has to make a choice.

The easiest way to select a Master or a path is to see which one gives you the greatest joy. The teacher who gives you the greatest joy is meant for you: you have some inner affinity with that particular teacher. Once you have chosen your Guru and your path, then you have to have all loyalty to your Master and all faith in him and in his path.

Question: Why is it that you always speak of God in masculine terms?

Sri Chinmoy: When I say “Father”, I don’t exclude the Mother. God is both masculine and feminine. It is only that the term “Father” is more familiar in the Western world. In the West, the Christ taught us, “I and my Father are one,” and “Our Father, who art in Heaven.” He always said, “Father, Father.” So here I use the term “Father” because it is familiar.

In the East we use the term “Goddess” quite often — we think of the Supreme Goddess, of the Mother. We have so many goddesses: Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati. So in our case, it is very easy to think of God in feminine terms. But when I am with you, I have to use a term which is quite familiar to you, for I feel that it will become easier for me to share my experiences with you. In truth, God is both masculine and feminine. And again, He transcends both: He is neither masculine nor feminine. He is what He is, eternally is: He is His Vision, and He is His Reality. This Reality transcends both masculine and feminine form; and at the same time it embodies both masculine and feminine.

Part IV

//These questions were answered by Sri Chinmoy at Dipti Nivas Restaurant, San Francisco, California on 21 April 1974.//

Question: How can I know what God wants me to do?

Sri Chinmoy: You will know easily if you are not attached to the result or elevated by the result. Before you do something, pray to God: “God, if it is Your Will, then please inspire me to do it well.” While working, tell God, “God, since I have accepted this work with the feeling that You wanted me to do it, please work in and through me so that I can do it well.” At the end of the work, whether the result comes as success or as failure, offer it at the Feet of God with the same joy. Then you have done what God wants you to do. But before you do anything, you will have to pray to God, in this way: “If it is Your Will please inspire me. From your inspiration I will be able to know that it is Your Will.”

Question: What if I don't know what God wants me to do, but I want to serve God. How do I get an idea?

Sri Chinmoy: If you want inspiration, then pray to God. Inspiration is the first step. If you are not inspired, you will not budge an inch. You will not do anything. You will not make any progress. There is nothing wrong with praying to God to give you inspiration, just as you cry to Him to give you more aspiration, intense aspiration. People are inspired. That is why they become great scientists or something else great. If they are not inspired, they cannot do anything. So you can pray to God to give you inspiration.

Question: How can you take the mind to the heart? It seems impossible.

Sri Chinmoy: Why should it be impossible? If it is impossible, how has this restaurant done it? How have I done it? Do not pay any attention to what the mind tells you. Just feel that there are two boys in front of you. One is a mischievous boy; the other is kind, polite and nice in every way. So you pay attention to the nice one. The bad one will try to disturb you, but do not pay any attention to him. In this world there is something called pride. We think that only good people have a sense of their own dignity. But that is not true. Bad people also have it. That bad boy will bother you for a long time. But if you do not pay any attention to him, then he will say that it is beneath his dignity to bother you. The mind is like a very bad boy, pinching you all the time. If you do not pay any attention to him, if you just let him go on and on, then sooner or later he will stop bothering you. He will see that you are paying all attention to the other boy, the heart, which is very kind, affectionate and loving.

Then you will see that gradually the mind will become good. There is always competition in this world. The mind will try to compete. He will say, “By disturbing and bothering this person I have gained nothing. On the contrary, he is ignoring me like anything.” Then the mind will try to imitate the heart. It will say, “I can also become a nice boy. I shall become nicer than he so that I can get more attention, more affection from this person.” In the beginning it will try to imitate the heart. Then after a few months or a few years it will say, “Why have I to imitate the heart? Let me try to become good in my own way. Let me try to please the boss in my own way.” When it tries to please the boss in its own way, it will find it very, very difficult. Then it will say, “Let me go deep within and see how it is possible for the heart to please this person, while I cannot.” When it goes within, it will see that inside the heart the soul abides, and the soul is constantly offering light to the heart. That is why the heart is able to please you. So the mind will try to enter into the soul.

But the mind will find it very difficult to enter into the soul, because the soul is like the vast ocean. The mind will think, “Oh, if I enter into the ocean, I will be totally lost.” Then the mind will see how much light the heart has and how much light the soul has. When the mind makes a comparison between the heart’s light and the soul’s light, it sees that the soul has much more light than the heart. But the light that the heart has is more than enough to satisfy the person, and the mind will feel that the light of the heart is within its reach. The mind is ready to fight with the heart, but it does not dare to fight with the soul because it sees how powerful the light of the soul is. So the mind tries to compete with the heart’s light and then, while competing, it comes very close to the heart in a positive way. At that time, the soul, out of its infinite compassion, offers light to the mind through the heart. The mind is able to grasp or to know the capacity or quality or quantity of the heart’s light, but it cannot grasp the soul’s light. The soul is kind, so it tries to offer a little light to the mind through the heart, according to the mind’s capacity.

Try from the very beginning to think of the mind as a naughty boy who is creating problems all the time. Then ignore it. Think that your mind does not exist. There are thousands of people, millions of people, who do not have this kind of mind, but they do exist because they have the heart. You can ignore your mind for many years, but you will not ignore it forever. If anything in us remains imperfect, we cannot be totally perfect. If any part of our being remains imperfect, then we are not complete. It is not that we shall neglect and ignore the mind forever. But for the time being we have to be wise. Let the mind know that it is not sufficient, it is not complete, it is not perfect, it is not even necessary. Just as the mind tries to convince us all the time, let us now convince the mind that it is not perfect, it is incomplete, it is weak, it is helpless, and that we do not need it. We need something higher, something deeper, something infinitely more meaningful and fruitful. Now we have surrendered to the mind, but when we convince the mind, the mind will surrender to us.

Question: How can I conquer the animal in me?

Sri Chinmoy: To some extent you have already conquered it. If you had not conquered the animal in you, you would not have become a human being. So let us say, how can you conquer the human in you, human weakness? Human weaknesses you can conquer only by paying all attention to the divine strength, divine capacity, divine potentiality within you. Always look ahead, look forward; do not look backward. From the animal kingdom you have already come to the human. But that is not enough. You want to enter into the divine kingdom. Always try to remember the divine in you, not the human. Then the human in you, which is imperfection, limitation and bondage, will leave you, or you will transcend it.

Question: What can I do to clear my mind of old emotional attachments? Why don't they leave my mind?

Sri Chinmoy: The answer is very simple. What God has, or what God is, is not enough for you. If you can make yourself feel that God is enough for you, God is complete and God can make you complete, then thoughts about other people will go away. If you feel that by thinking of God, you will be able to get only ninety-nine dollars, and that if you think of your ex-wife you will be able to make it one hundred dollars, then naturally she will come into your mind. But if you feel that God is one hundred dollars, then you will not need to think of others. If God is enough for you, then your previous attachments will not come to plague you.

In one place, two persons cannot stay. An Indian Master once said, “If I have only one small room, then only God can stay there.” Your mind is a tiny room, let us say. The capacity of that room is very limited. Either God can stay there or man can stay there. There is not sufficient room for both. I am sure you have read my story, "Go Alone."1 On that flimsy bridge only one person could go at a time, not two. If two had gone, then the bridge would have broken. The mind is also weak like that. If you try to keep God and your ex-wife there together, then the mind will collapse. The best thing is to keep only God. Always try to feel that God is more than enough for you. Then nobody else can come into your mind. What God has and what God is are more than enough for you or anybody. If you do not feel this, then immediately everybody will come into your mind.

55,2. Story published in a book of short stories by Sri Chinmoy, In search of a perfect disciple.

Question: Is every event in our lives predestined, or is there just a general direction?

Sri Chinmoy: It is predestined that you will realise God without fail, either tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. The most significant events in your life are predestined, but if it is a question of what you are going to eat for breakfast, God is not interested in that. Again, even if it is predestined that you are going to die tomorrow, if you follow the spiritual life and God sees that you have genuine aspiration, you may not die. Instead, if it is God’s Will, you may just have a headache, that is all.

Fate can be changed by the Supreme’s Will. In the highest sense, the only thing that is predestined is that you are bound to realise God. He, she, everybody is bound to realise God. Ignorance can prevent you from realising God for only one day or two days, but you cannot remain unrealised throughout Eternity. Let us use the term “predestined” only in a good sense. If some calamity is going to take place, if you are not going to realise God in this incarnation, then you can use your will-power, your aspiration-power to change your fate. Fate can be changed by an unchanging will.

Take yourself as a player. A soccer player can use his right leg or his left leg. When he comes near the goal post, everybody thinks that he is going to use his right leg, and they are ready to prevent the ball from going into the goal. Then, at the last moment, he uses his left leg and scores. You may think it was predestined that he would use his right leg, but it is not true. He can use his left leg, too. So if you see that something undivine is going to happen in your life, some calamity, then you can use your aspiration-power to change it.

Question: Guru, I was wondering what is the difference between attaining samadhi and attaining realisation?

Sri Chinmoy: Read my books, read my books. Have you read the latest book, The summits of God-Life? Read, read, read that book. And again, please forgive me, but why do you ask such idle questions? When people ask me questions about realisation, siddhi and samadhi, the answers will be useless to them. You are asking about the top of the Himalayas when with greatest difficulty you may be able to come to the foot of the Himalayas. I am not discouraging you, but if you think about samadhi at this stage of your development, you will soon get discouraged. You will see that it is useless to think about these things, and you will just give up. Just climb up slowly, steadily and unerringly.

Some spiritual Masters used to say, “Don’t utter these words, ‘realisation,’ ‘liberation,’ ‘salvation.’ They should not be uttered at this stage of your spiritual development. Only use the words ‘aspiration,’ ‘dedication,’ ‘devotion,’ ‘love,’ ‘surrender.’ ” These are the things you should be thinking about right now. If somebody is studying in kindergarten and thinks of his elder brother who is completing his Master’s degree, a problem will start. He will be thrown into a sea of confusion and discouragement. Beginners should act sincerely. It is not that you will remain a beginner forever. One does not remain in kindergarten all his life. He goes to primary school, high school and then to college and university. But he has to know where he is. So you know where you are. Now is the time for you to think of your aspiration, love, devotion and surrender.

Question: How can anything be outside the Will of the Supreme?

Sri Chinmoy: The Will of the Supreme is in everything, true. The only thing is that we have to know what His ultimate Will is, and how much of that Will we are accepting as our own. He has given us a little limited freedom, just like the father who gives a penny to his child and watches to see how he uses it. If the child uses it for a good purpose, then the father gives him more — a nickel, then a dime. God has given us limited freedom in order to examine whether we really want to do the right thing. We have to be very careful. His Will is inside us, so that when He gives us a penny we will be able to use it properly. But because we develop our own ego, individuality and personality, we try to use this penny in our own way instead of going deep within to see why He has given us the money. When He gives us something, immediately we want to squander it. But if we use it in His own way, then He gives us more and more.

He has given us freedom so that we will get joy. If He tells us, “I have given you a dollar. Now you have to use it for this or that purpose; I am giving it to you only for that,” then we do not get joy. We feel that we are under compulsion. But when He says, “I have given you something. Now use it in your own way,” then we misuse it. But if we are wise, if we are clever, we will know that if we use it in His Way, then He will give us much more. On the one hand He is giving to us, and on the other hand, He is examining us. At the same time, inwardly He is inspiring us to do the right thing. But because we want to retain our individuality and personality, we try to use it in our own way. We use our own very limited, infinitesimal will. What can poor God do? Only if we offer our will to His Will, then we are safe, we are fulfilled.

Question: Guru, I was told that some disciples go to New York to see you on their birthdays. Is it more important to you that we all go on your birthday or on our birthdays?

Sri Chinmoy: If you go to New York on my birthday, it will be much more worthwhile for you. If you come on my birthday, then you will see all your brother and sister disciples. You will have their inspiration, plus the power of group meditation. There will be morning meditations almost every day, and other big meditations. There will be two weeks of spiritual activities every day, two weeks of joy and inspiration. But, if you go on your birthday, you will see only the local disciples. You will not get the strength of the long group meditations or the inspiration of multifarious spiritual activities every day.

Question: Do you have any practical suggestions for athletics, especially for the workers at the restaurant?

Sri Chinmoy: Physical work strengthens your muscles. When I lived in an ashram, I was a very good athlete, but I voluntarily asked the ashram authorities to give me the job of washing the dishes. They reluctantly gave it to me, and I felt that it was the best job I had ever had there. I had had at least ten different jobs at different times, and the best job, according to me, was to wash the dishes. We were only four or five boys, and two thousand people used to eat. It used to take us three hours, but we got the greatest joy. There were no mental problems at all — we just had to wash the dishes.

While you are working at this restaurant, see how many times you have to go downstairs and upstairs. Now, if your conscious mind makes you feel that you are taking exercise for your participation in athletics when you go up and down the stairs, then automatically all your muscles will get enormous strength. But if you remain unconscious, twenty times you can go downstairs and come up and your muscles will not be developed.

In the spiritual life also, it is true that God is for us. But we are trying to become conscious of God. Most people are not atheists, only they are not conscious of God’s Presence. When you become conscious of God’s Presence, you pray and meditate in order to realise God. So while you are working at the restaurant, you will pray, you will meditate. While you are working you will be spiritual. But from time to time you will be aware that while you are doing physical work, you are strengthening your arms so that you can throw the shot-put well. While you are walking from one corner to another, feel that you are taking exercise. Everything is in your consciousness. Otherwise, you will work there for seven or eight hours just like any ordinary worker. They do not focus their attention on either the exercise aspect or the spiritual aspect, so this kind of work does not help them in any way.

Whatever you do, try to keep your consciousness on a particular subject or object. While you are working, you can inwardly meditate, not outwardly. If you start meditating outwardly, everything will be burnt. While you are in the physical plane, you have to be aware, you have to be conscious. Then you will make constant progress.

Part V

//These questions were answered by Sri Chinmoy at the opening of the God-Ascending Beauty’s Feast Bakery, San Francisco, California, on 13 October 1975.//

Question: Guru, I've been earning my living through music for about ten years, but now it's very difficult for me to take money for my art. I feel that I only want to serve the Supreme through music.

Sri Chinmoy: You have to know that money can either be a divine power, or it can be misused. With a knife we can cut a fruit and share it with our brothers and sisters, or we can stab others. Money as such is not bad. Only we have to know how we are getting it and using it. We shall not get money by using foul means, and we shall not misuse money: this should be our attitude. Why should it be difficult for you to accept money for your music? Money can be God’s blessing if you use it properly.

I pray with you, I meditate with you, and then, out of your love and gratitude, some of you give me a love offering. Here I have not used foul means to get money. I could have said, “Come, I will give you immediate, instant God-realisation if you give your money to me. If you give me ten thousand dollars or twenty thousand dollars, your God-realisation is assured.” By these foul means I could have become a multimillionaire.

You have to know how you are earning your money. If you are singing lower vital, emotional songs and creating excitement, and if you feel that that is the only way you can earn money, it is absurd. You have to maintain your own standard. You will do something that will elevate the consciousness of others, not stimulate excitement. Vital music stimulates, whereas the soul’s music, psychic music, elevates. From now on, all our musicians must try to elevate the consciousness, not stimulate any excitement.

If you earn money by illumining and elevating somebody’s consciousness and with that money you support yourself or support the Centre, or do something good and divine, then how can anybody blame you? But you have to know how you are getting the money, from whom you are getting it and how you are using it. If you take all these things into consideration, then money-power need not be a stumbling block. Money-power is also God’s power, but it has to be used properly.

Money-power is necessary in this world. I have a little bit of spiritual peace, light and bliss. Now if I go to a grocery store or a restaurant and say that I will give them my peace and light instead of offering money, they will say, “Get out. We don’t need your peace, light and bliss. Give us money.” They are not asking for something strange or unusual from me. They are asking for something which they ask for from everybody else. It is a legitimate request. If I want to eat the same food as others, naturally I have to behave like others and buy it.

Question: How can we become more tolerant and understanding?

Sri Chinmoy: First think of how many millions of things you have done wrong since you have been in this body. You will be able to count at least ten undivine things. Out of millions of things you have probably done wrong, you will be sincere enough to admit at least ten things. Then ask yourself if anybody has forgiven you. Naturally God has forgiven you. If He had not forgiven you, by this time you would have been in the other world. But when somebody else does something wrong, you become angry and want to punish that person. Try to count how many things that person has done wrong to you. He may have done many, many things wrong in his life but perhaps he has done only two things wrong to you; whereas you are the culprit for at least ten individual items, and the Supreme has forgiven you.

God exercises forgiveness. In your case and my case, what we exercise will be called the strength of oneness. Yesterday I did something wrong, and God forgave me. How is it that today I cannot identify myself with someone else and feel that the very thing that he has done, I could have done? What he has done wrong today, I can easily do tomorrow. I should be grateful to God that I did not do it today, and remember that tomorrow there is every possibility that I will do that very same thing.

We should sympathise with the person who has done something wrong, or on the strength of our oneness, we should tolerate it. Toleration is not an act of weakness. Far from it! Toleration is the acceptance of reality at a different level of consciousness. Mother Earth, the trees, the oceans and the mountains, do they not tolerate us? We do many, many things wrong; we abuse them in millions of ways. Yet they forgive us and nourish us continually. We are able to use every part of them for our own purposes.

Question: Guru, can the aspirant tell whether he is falling asleep or if his mind has just become quiet and he is feeling soothed?

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes the aspirant knows, but sometimes he cannot tell. It is like a teacher and a student. The student may think that he is going to get a score of a hundred out of one hundred, but when the examination paper is graded, he finds he has failed the examination — or vice versa.

The students cannot necessarily tell how they are doing. Only the teacher can say. Sometimes the student is right. He feels that he is going to get good marks, and he does. But most of the time, the students miscalculate. In your case, you think that you are falling asleep, but you are totally wrong. So only the teacher knows if the student is doing extremely well or not.

Question: When I'm asleep, sometimes I feel like my being is being energised very intensely.

Sri Chinmoy: You are using the expression, “When I am asleep,” but when you are sleeping, how do you know what is happening? When you are sleeping, you are not aware. Only afterwards, when you get up early in the morning can you know that you have been energised. One day you will feel energised and fresh when you wake up; another day you will feel very weak and tired. But only spiritual Masters can feel what is happening to them during sleep, because they can easily keep the soul separate from the body, and the soul can observe the body. A spiritual Master can totally separate sleep from his wakeful consciousness. I can be sleeping soundly, but I will be fully conscious of what I am doing, and can see what is going on around me. From the spiritual point of view, I am totally awake. My body is sleeping at the same time that my consciousness is awake.

You don’t know what is happening while you are sleeping. When you get up early in the morning and you are energised, you have to feel that at night while you were sleeping, or just before you went to sleep, some divine forces were able to come to the fore from within. That is why you feel extremely energetic the following day. Or it may happen that you have received extra unconditional divine Grace from above. If you do not feel energised, wrong forces may have entered into you, or you did not aspire at all. That is why you are lethargic.

It is a very good practise to meditate before you go to sleep for at least half an hour. And people who have vital problems, emotional problems, should please concentrate on their navel centre for purity before they go to sleep.

Question: I'd like to know how I can become more responsible in both my inner life and my outer life.

Sri Chinmoy: You can be more responsible if you do everything soulfully and unconditionally. You usually do things soulfully, but at times you do not act unconditionally. That is where the problem starts. When you do something, the result will come in the form of either success or failure. Whichever it is, you have to feel that you are offering the result to the Supreme with equal delight. If you can cheerfully and unconditionally offer the fruit of every action to the Supreme and place it at His Feet, then you will make very good progress.

Sometimes you feel that you have done your best; you cannot do anything more. This may not be true. You can do more, much more. I will never ask you to do something unless I have given you the capacity in abundant measure. There is not a single disciple to whom I have not given the necessary capacity. If I ask you to bring me a heavy package, that means I have given you the capacity to carry it. I shall not ask a child to bring something heavy, because I have not yet given him that capacity. You are extremely devoted. I am in no way blaming you; but I clearly see in my mental vision, inner vision, that you can easily do more than what you are now doing.

Part VI

//These questions were answered by Sri Chinmoy at the First Unitarian Church, San Francisco, California, on 2 November 1976.//

Question: How can we protect ourselves from the mind and from making a Himalayan mistake, especially when we are making decisions or judgements?

Sri Chinmoy: It is a mistake to think that only with the mind you can calculate or judge things. This is a false distinction that we have given the mind. We are told by our parents and our teachers that only the mind can judge or make decisions; no other member of our earthly existence can do it. But this is not true. The heart can do it far better than the mind, and so can the soul. We have to consciously say to the mind, “I don’t accept you as a reality superior to the heart. You are a reality, and I don’t deny your existence, but just because in the outer body you are a few inches higher than the heart, that does not mean that in inner maturity, in spiritual development, you are superior to the heart. Far from it.” On the physical plane there are many here who are taller than me, but in terms of heart-power, I think I am one inch taller than you. Just because my heart is one inch larger than yours, your head is surrendering to me. Now you have to convince your mind that it is no match for the height of your own heart.

The mind has many things to do: add, subtract, multiply and divide. The heart has only one thing to do: to feel oneness. When it feels oneness, it grows into perfection. We must always feel that the heart is far superior to the mind. Unfortunately we do not do this. We have been trained by our parents, by our teachers, by our environment that the mind is superior, but it is not. Every day the mind digs a grave for us, but the heart will never do this. The heart always tries to save us; yet we take the mind’s side.

At the end of our life’s journey we should ask, “What has the mind taught us?” The physical mind, the earthbound mind has given us only information. If you can tell me who all the Presidents of the United States were, what do you gain? Only that others will say that you are not an idiot. This is what the mind can offer. But if you can identify yourself soulfully, with utmost love and concern, with whoever the President is, then you are becoming one with God’s creation. Only oneness with another creation of God will give you real satisfaction. You are a petal of a flower. Becoming one with another petal will give you tremendous joy. Just by knowing who the President is, you do not gain anything. You have only mental knowledge. But by becoming one with the soul of the President, you will receive tremendous joy. This joy you will never be able to receive from the mind.

If you become sincere, you will try to unlearn what the mind has taught you. You have learned too much; now try to unlearn. There are millions of things which you can unlearn. If you unlearn them today, you will not suffer so much. You are suffering because you have learned too much. The mind has learned many undivine things. If you can unlearn those things, you will be safe.

In the case of the heart there is nothing to unlearn. The heart has discovered the Supreme. The physical mind is nothing but information. We also have the intuitive mind, which is a higher mind, the overmind, the illumined mind and the supermind. These are not like the earthbound mind inside the head. In our spiritual development we can learn to use these higher minds. There we can have a quiet, calm and tranquil mind, and we can achieve boundless peace in the mind. But unfortunately we do not have access to these minds, or these levels of consciousness. We live only in the physical mind, which at every second is dividing us, separating us from others. It even separates us, in a very clever way, from its own outer life. In this respect children are far better than we. They do not use their minds. They live in the heart.

Question: Why is God sometimes referred to as "nameless"?

Sri Chinmoy: Everything that God has and is, is unlimited. God is eternally unlimited in all His aspects. “Nameless” is a term which we apply to God for different reasons before we have realised God and after we have realised God. Before we have realised God, we swim in the sea of ignorance. We do not know who God is or what God is; therefore, He is nameless. Once we have realised who He is and what He is, again we feel and we see that He is nameless, for His qualities cannot be grasped by the human mind. Eternity cannot be bound by name and form; Infinity cannot be bound by name and form; Immortality cannot be bound by name and form.

In God, Infinity itself is transcending its own Infinity; Eternity is transcending its own Eternity; and Immortality is transcending its own Immortality. Therefore, we cannot name God or give any form to His ever-transcending Reality; so again, God becomes nameless to us.

Question: How can we come to the realisation of God?

Sri Chinmoy: We can come to the realisation of God only when we feel that all that we have and all that we are cannot give us true satisfaction, not even an iota of true satisfaction. Material wealth, earthly achievements, cannot give us lasting satisfaction. Therefore, we dive deep within in order to discover if there is anything or anyone who can grant us satisfaction. Then there comes a time when our soul comes to the fore and convinces the doubting mind that there is a divine Reality in the inmost recesses of our heart, which is eternally flooded with Light and Delight. As outer hunger compels us to eat earthly food, our inner hunger will compel us to eat heavenly food. This heavenly food we call aspiration. When we aspire, slowly, steadily and unerringly, we come to the realisation of our Beloved Supreme.

Question: How can we stay on God's Path without getting lost?

Sri Chinmoy: We can remain on God’s Path without getting lost if our cry remains sincere and genuine. If a child cries on the first floor and the mother happens to be on the third floor, the mother comes down to the child because she knows that the cry of the child is intense, sincere and genuine. Similarly, when our inner cry is sincere and genuine, God feeds us with His Compassion-Light. Once we are fed by His Compassion-Light, without the least possible hesitation we can walk along God’s Sunlit Path.

Question: What is the difference between jnana and vijnana?

Sri Chinmoy: jnana is knowledge and Vijnana is superknowledge. jnana, or earthly knowledge, is all information. Vijnana has two meanings: one is “science,” the other is “Supreme discovery.” Vijnana is infinitely superior to the so-called mental knowledge, or what we call book-learning or world-information. It is a superior type of knowledge, which is founded upon one’s inner discovery. The inferior type of knowledge is jnana, which is desire-bound and earth-bound. Vijnana is Heaven-free. It is not bound by time or space. Anything that inspires us to become universal, to grow into the transcendental reality, is Vijnana. Anything that instigates us to bind the world is jnana. The higher knowledge inspires us to swim across the sea of light and delight, to fly in the vast welkin of peace, light and delight. The lesser knowledge instigates us to bind anything that we see around us.

Question: Can our own feelings or ideas about the nature of our ultimate spiritual goal hinder or interfere with our deeper perception of reality?

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes it does, sometimes it does not. It depends entirely on what kind of belief the seeker is dealing with. If it is only a mental belief, not based on inner reality, then naturally it will obscure his inner vision. But if it is something from the heart, from the psychic vision or reality, then it will without fail accelerate his progress. If it is mere mental belief which comes from the earthbound mind, it is bound to be contradicted by another type of belief. But if our belief has grown into positive conviction, soulful conviction, then it will not be an obstacle. On the contrary, our soulful conviction expedites our life’s spiritual journey.

The mind is constantly doubting its own convictions, its own realities. But beyond the mind, beyond the belief-reality, there is a reality which we can call conviction-reality. This conviction-reality is in the inmost recesses of our heart. Once we can become consciously one with our inner conviction, we will feel that at every moment we are given the golden opportunity to run fast, faster, fastest.

Question: What are the dangers involved in the awakening of the Kundalini?

Sri Chinmoy: The awakening of Kundalini is dangerous only when the seeker is not pure enough. If the seeker is impure on the physical, vital or mental planes, if he has not developed a sufficient amount of purity in his entire being, then it is dangerous. If the seeker is pure, and if it is God’s Will that the Kundalini power be awakened in him, then it will not be dangerous for him at all.

Question: What does it mean to misuse the Kundalini power?

Sri Chinmoy: After the seeker awakens or develops the Kundalini power, if he immediately starts using it to satisfy his ego, not at the direction of God’s all-loving Will, then the Kundalini power will be misused. He will create danger in his life, and danger for those who are around him. But if the seeker listens to the dictates of his soul after he has brought the Kundalini power to the fore, then he cannot make the mistake of misusing the Kundalini power.

You misuse something when you are not directed by God’s Will. Suppose you have two dollars. Now, two individuals have approached you, and both of them tell you that they are in need of money. If you are a seeker, you should dive deep within to know what is God’s Will — whether He wants you to give your money-power to both of them, to one of them or to neither of them. If you do not dive deep within, you may decide to give a dollar to each one. Now, one may use the dollar for transportation to go to a spiritual place, to pray and meditate. But the other may take your dollar to go to a bar and drink. Now, if you had listened to the dictates of God, you would have heard the message to give the money-power only to the seeker who was going to use it for a spiritual purpose, a divine purpose. But you gave your money-power to the wrong one, and his karma, the result of his action, will be worse because of your ignorance.

When we do something without listening to the Will of God, then we are misusing our capacities. We should try only to execute God’s Will. If we know what God’s Will is, then we do not care for the after-effect. By executing God’s Will we feel that we are fulfilled. But human nature has a peculiar way of deriving satisfaction. We feel that if somebody asks for something and we can give it to him, then naturally we are doing the right thing. But we have to know that we have come to earth not only to give, but to give to the right person, the person who is truly needful. If someone is not hungry and just because I have something I give it to him, I do not help that person, especially if I give it untimely.

Power should always be used at God’s choice Hour. At God’s choice Hour, God will inspire me to give you something or God will inspire you to give me something. But if it is not God’s choice Hour, and just because you have something you start giving it to others, then you are misusing your power, light-power, Kundalini power, money-power, any power. This way of using power is dangerous and in no way helps others. It only creates confusion and confusion is followed by destruction.