Sri Chinmoy in the amusement park
Question: Why can't we straighten a dog's tail?Sri Chinmoy: God is so clever. He has to keep some impossibility for human beings. Otherwise, there will be no difference between God and man. If man can do everything, then he will no longer need to pray to God for anything.
But as soon as we realise God, God gives us some wisdom. He says, "What do you want? Do you want to get happiness by straightening a dog’s tail, or do you want to get joy by letting it remain as it naturally is?" God always says, "Be natural, be natural!" Natural things give us joy. That is why God does not want people to interfere with His creation by trying to straighten a dog’s tail.
Question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?Sri Chinmoy: This question is very easy. When you want to eat an egg, at that time the egg came first. When you want to eat chicken, then the chicken came first. Whatever we love most comes first in our minds. If we love someone, that person always comes first for us. Since we love God, God comes first. Similarly, if you want to eat an egg, an egg comes to your mind first. Naturally, if you love to eat chicken, then the chicken will come first. So it depends entirely on your choice. Whatever comes to your mind first was definitely created before the other choices. And every day it can change.
Question: There is a saying that I have heard many times: "God made the fly but forgot to tell us why." Why did God make the fly?Sri Chinmoy: God created flies and insects to make Himself perfect. Otherwise, you will say that God is only good. No, God needs all qualities in His creation, both good and bad. Flies cause irritation. This irritation is not a good quality, true. But God had to create that quality too, to prove that He is both night and day, good and bad. God said, "I am in the fly, and I want to develop irritation-power so I can say I know I have that capacity. Then only can I be completely perfect."
Question: Can we eat caviar?Sri Chinmoy: I won't mind, but your soul will mind. If you can get permission from your soul, I have no objection. As long as your soul gives permission, why do you care for anybody's comment. But, in all sincerity, I have to tell you that your soul does not care for caviar; your soul will not approve of it.
Question: I don't like it anyway.Sri Chinmoy: That means you are perfectly in tune with your soul. You always listen to your soul, so how can there be any discrepancy between your soul's way and your way? It is because you are perfectly in tune with your soul that your soul has made you such a great composer at this age.
Question: Why do some people sleep with their eyes open?Sri Chinmoy: It is the greatest achievement! It is because in their previous incarnation they were all horses. Their horse incarnation they are getting back.
Question: Why did God create boyfriends and girlfriends?Sri Chinmoy: God works very hard day and night. Sometimes He needs rest. He was clever enough to do something. Boyfriends and girlfriends think of each other all the time; they don’t think of God. So if they don’t think of God, God does not have to worry. They can think of each other and He can take rest.
Question: What is the difference between a guru who owns many birds and a guru without birds?Sri Chinmoy: The guru who has many birds has special fondness for his ancestors who remind him of the soul's flight in the firmament of Infinity and Eternity.
Question: What is the Supreme's favourite pet?Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme's favourite pets are His monkeys, because His monkeys remind him of the cute and restless qualities of His cute human children.
Question: Which way is better to lose weight" to starve yourself by dieting or to kill yourself running?Sri Chinmoy: How I wish to kill myself running! If I can kill myself running, then perhaps I can become a good runner. By dieting and not running, one becomes weak and at the same time one remains a useless runner. So it is better to lose weight by running than by dieting. At least if you die, you are dying for a good cause, and Heaven's door will be wide open for you because you died on the battlefield of running.
Question: Why do I like eating sweet things so much?Sri Chinmoy: You need a constant supply of sweet things so that you can remain sweet in your nature. That is why you like to eat sweet things so much.
Question: Why do we eat so much junk food during the celebrations?Sri Chinmoy: If you have a thorn in your foot, then you use another thorn to take the first one out. Then afterwards you throw both out of your system. Similarly, you already have so many junk qualities in your system. So if you add more to your system, then perhaps this new junk will take all the old junk qualities out, like taking out a thorn with a thorn.
Question: How can we make progress through eating?Sri Chinmoy: You can make progress through eating if you take food as cosmic energy. No matter what you eat, if you feel that you are putting into your system cosmic energy, then you can make inner progress. Also, if you are planning to become one of the heroes of the Mahabharata, like Bhima, who used to eat voraciously and had great physical strength, plus unlimited energy, then while eating feel it is not food but cosmic energy that you are bringing into your system. If you can do that, then you can make real progress.
Question: Will there be an old age home for disciples?Sri Chinmoy: Certainly there will be one. And when there is one, we shall have you as the caretaker of that place. The other day I was told that somebody referred to you as, "Oh, that old man." You are not even forty; you are just over thirty. Look at this human being: in spite of having two eyes, he cannot see that you are so young!
The day before yesterday I was coming back from a four-mile run. A fat old man stopped me and said, "You are still running! You don't want to grow old." So here I wish to say that people who aspire will never become old. They will always be children in the heart of the Beloved Supreme. And again, from the earthly point of view, when old age attacks us, naturally we will have a house, a home for old disciples. And I will think of you at that time to take care of these disciples. Even if you are physically not in America, but in Australia, you will be able to send your soul and spirit to take care of these old people.
Question: If the Supreme came to earth, where would He spend His vacation?Sri Chinmoy: If the Supreme comes to earth, without fail He will spend his vacation in Australia, and at the end of His vacation he will not forget to take with Him one kangaroo and one koala bear to Heaven, for those two cute animals are not available in Heaven.
But on the way, if the immigration authorities will not allow the Supreme to take His animals to Heaven, then He will borrow two most beautiful lambs from His Saviour Son and give them to the immigration authorities as bribes so that He can take a kangaroo and a koala bear safely to Heaven.
Question: What does my soul do when it sees the finish line in a race?Sri Chinmoy: Your soul gets tremendous joy when it sees the finish line because it knows that a new race is going to begin. A new race with more inspiration, more aspiration, more dedication is about to begin. Therefore, your soul gets tremendous joy.
The body can also get tremendous joy, but in the body's case it is a sense of tremendous relief that the battle is over and now it can enjoy rest. The soul gets joy only in constant movement. Therefore, the soul is very happy when it sees the finish line, for this finish line indicates a new beginning with a new hope, a new promise and a new satisfaction. The soul always believes in a new satisfaction. It is always running along Eternity's Road.
When the vital finishes a race, it whispers into the ear of the soul, "O my soul, I am telling you something secretly. You must not tell anybody. Will you give me your word of honour?"
The soul says, "I promise I will not tell anybody."
The vital says to the soul, "Believe it or not, I am even with my Master."
The soul asks, "What do you mean?"
The vital explains, "My Master has badly defeated me in the inner race, but I have badly defeated him in the outer race. So we are even."
The soul says, "Certainly, I will keep it top secret. I do not want to make any problems for a member of my family. Your problem is my problem. I do not want to create more problems for you. I will not tell a single soul about your stupidity-wisdom-light."
Question: Is a thick skin an asset in the spiritual life?Sri Chinmoy: Certainly a thick skin is an asset in the spiritual life, especially when you have a Master who scolds in season and out of season. His biting tongue cannot penetrate a thick skin. So having a thick skin is a great protection.
Your name means Mother-Earth, Mother of Compassion. With your compassion-skin you can also easily absorb the scolding-arrows, criticism-arrows, of your Master. They will not be able to torture you in the least. So you are doubly protected because you have both a thick skin and a compassion-skin.
Question: Does God ever get nervous?Sri Chinmoy: God never gets nervous, but He pretends to be nervous so that He can tell His children, "Don’t be afraid of your nervousness-fever. I also have nervousness-fever but I can get rid of it at My sweet Will. If I can get rid of it at My sweet Will, what is wrong with you? You also can get rid of this nervousness-fever at your sweet will."
God never gets nervous because of His implicit oneness with His creation. We are nervous because we have not established our oneness with God’s creation. Oneness is always above competition; oneness is always satisfaction. It is lack of oneness that creates competition, and competition always likes to create nervousness, because each competitor wants to go beyond others. When we want to go beyond something or someone, naturally apprehension starts. But when we feel oneness-song, there can be no competition.
So God never gets nervous, but He demonstrates nervousness, for that is the only way that He can make His children feel that if their Father has the capacity to get rid of nervousness-fever, then the children also have the capacity.
Question: How can I learn to talk to the flowers in my garden?Sri Chinmoy: This is a spiritual question, so I can't cut jokes. You can talk to the flowers in your garden if you constantly smell the fragrance of your heart-flower in your own soul's garden. You can talk to the flowers in your garden if you take the flowers as the members of your body — your eyes, nose, hands and limbs. If you take the flowers in this way, as the members of your own body, your own reality, then you can easily communicate with them. They have to become part and parcel of your conscious awareness. Then easily you will be able to talk to the flowers in your garden.
Question: Why are elephants afraid of mice?Sri Chinmoy: Unfortunately I will not be able to answer this question adequately because in my animal incarnation I was never an elephant. I was a lion in my last animal incarnation. If I had become an elephant, I would know why they are afraid of mice.
However, let me try to answer this question from a spiritual point of view. The elephant is not actually afraid. It is surprised that the same God who created such a huge elephant cares to create such a tiny creature. The same Power that is behind the elephant is also behind the mouse, so the elephant gets a tremendous surprise and shock. How can the mouse have the same Power behind it? How is it that God created such tiny little creatures in the same creation? So you can say that the elephant is jealous and insecure because God is not satisfied only with His elephant-product.
Question: What does God think of the soybean and soymeat?Sri Chinmoy: God has very special regard for soybeans and soymeat. God is the Supreme Poet. He wanted to think of a word which will rhyme with "soy", and He found immediately the word "toy". God is an eternal Child, so He likes to play with toys.
Then He came to the word "bean". God wanted another word to rhyme with "bean". Immediately He found the word "mean". Then God began to argue with Himself. He said, "I can't be mean. If I become mean, how can I take care of all My children? I have to become large-hearted, wide, vast, absolutely universal, so that I can play with all My creations around the world. I can never be mean. I will always love them and be with them and for them.
Now, soymeat. God says that since He is a strict vegetarian, if He really wants to eat meat, He has to be satisfied by eating vegetarian meat. He says, "While eating eggplant or potato or Italian manicotti, if I think of meat, it is in the thinking world. But while eating vegetable soymeat, if I think of real meat 'chicken or turkey' then thinking is enjoying. Enjoying is all that God needs. So He definitely has a special love and regard for soybeans and soymeat.”
Question: Why did God create the gossip world?Sri Chinmoy: God created the gossip world so that His most precious Ears would not remain inactive. With extreme difficulty He created such beautiful Ears, and if they remain inactive or lifeless, then poor God will be miserable. Therefore He created ears to function well, and while His Ears are enjoying gossip, He is able to digest the ignorance-food that He voraciously eats at every moment.
Question: Has there ever been a spiritual Master as cute as you?Sri Chinmoy: In this world, we see others through our own eyes. If I have something, then I see the same thing in others. If I have jealousy, meanness, fear, doubt and other things, I see in others also the same thing. In your case, you have cuteness. Therefore you see cuteness in me, as if you are standing in front of a mirror. The disciple and the Master are always the same — one indivisible consciousness, one and inseparable.
Editor's preface to the first editionThese humorous exchanges between Sri Chinmoy and his students took place between December 1980 and April 1981.