AUM — Vol. 4, No. 4,5, Nov. — 27 Dec. 1968

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Spirituality: what it is and what it is not1

Spirituality is man's boundless freedom in his life-boat, freedom of his life-journey, freedom from his life-pangs and freedom beyond his life-achievements.

In spirituality is man's farthest Vision. In spirituality is man's nearest Reality. God has Compassion. Man has aspiration. Spirituality is the consciousness-light that unites man's aspiration and God's Compassion. Spirituality tells man that he is God veiled and that God is man revealed.

Spirituality is not an escape from the world of reality. Spirituality tells us what the true reality is and how we can discover it here on earth. Spirituality is not the denial of life. It is the purest acceptance of life. Life is to be accepted unreservedly. Life is to be realised soulfully. Life is to be transformed totally. Life is to be lived eternally.

Spirituality is not the song of ignorance. It is the mother of concentration, meditation and realisation. Concentration takes me dynamically to God. Meditation silently brings God to me. Realisation neither takes me to God nor brings God to me: realisation reveals to me that God is the Blue Bird of Infinity's Reality and I am the Golden wings of Divinity’s Truth.

Spirituality has taught me the difference between my speech and my silence, between my mind and my heart. In speech I try to become. In silence I am. When I open my mouth, God closes my heart. When I close my mouth, God opens my heart. My mind says, "God needs me." My heart says, "I need God." My mind wants to possess God's creation while negating it. My heart wants to embrace God's creation while serving it. My mind says that it does not know whether it thinks of God or thinks of itself. At times my mind feels that as it does not think of God, so also God does not think of it. My heart sees and feels that God thinks of it even if it does not care to think of God.

Spirituality has told me secretly what my supreme necessity is and how I can have it. What is my supreme necessity? God's Blessing. How can I have it? Simply by borrowing it from God's Bank.

How can I pay off my debt? Easy. Just by borrowing once more from God's Bank. But I must borrow wisdom and nothing else. Wisdom possessed, debt nullified. Verily this wisdom is the breath of spirituality.

I am God's experiment. He has given me my name: Science. I am God's experience; He has given me my name: Spirituality. I am God's Realisation. He has given me my name: Oneness — Oneness within, Oneness without.

God is my Reality.
Heaven is my Immortality.
Earth is my Divinity.

On earth I grow.
With Heaven I become.
In God I am.

AUM 355. This address was delivered to the students of the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica, on 10 January 1968 at 8 p.m. during Sri Chinmoy's first visit to the Island.

Fear of the inner life2

Strange is this world of ours. Stranger is our human understanding. Strangest is our fear of the inner life.

Most of us do not know what the inner life is. What is the inner life? It is the life that lives to grow and that grows to live. It grows in the unhorizoned vision of the soul. It lives in the sublimest plenitude of the soul. This inner life always acts in accordance with the transforming and fulfilling light of the soul. If you do not know your soul, then in the world of divine wisdom you will be accused of dire ignorance. When you know your soul, you become acquainted in no time with God.

Please do not be forgetful of your great promise to God. Before you came into the world, before you donned the human cloak, you had told God, your sweet Lord, with all the sincerity at your command that you would participate in His divine Lila (Drama). He said to you, "My child, fulfil me and fulfil yourself at the same time, on earth." Divinely thrilled, your joy knew no bounds. You said, “Father, I shall. May my soulful promise be worthy of your compassionate Command."

As ill-luck would have it, you have totally forgotten your promise. Here on earth you want to fulfil yourself and not God. Your unlit mind instigates you to betray God. And you do it. You feel that God's fulfilment must come in your fulfilment. If it does not work out that way, you are not prepared to sacrifice one iota of your life-breath to fulfil God here on earth. Your divine promise sheds bitter tears of failure. Needless to say that to try to fulfil yourself before you have fulfilled God is to put the cart before the horse. It is the zenith of absurdity.

Perhaps you have come to learn by now what has compelled you to fail in your most sincere promise to God. It is your fear. If I ask you how many enemies you have, you will jump up and say, "Quite a few." I cannot help saying to you that you are mistaken. You have just one enemy and that's all. But to your wide surprise, it is a host in itself. And that unique enemy of yours is your fear. It is your unconsciously cherished fear.

You are afraid of the inner life, for you feel that the moment you launch into the inner life you are lost, completely lost, a babe in the wood. You may also think that in accepting the inner life, you are building castles in the air. Finally you may feel that to accept the inner life is to throw your most precious life into the roaring mouth of a lion who will devour you and your outer life completely.

You have countless sweet dreams. You want to transform them into reality. All your dreams want to enjoy the world. You want to offer your momentous mite to the world at large, but you feel that if you embark on the inner life, you will be deprived of all these invaluable achievements. So now it is high time for fear to make its appearance and naturally you will fight shy of the inner life. Fear starts torturing you. It tries to limit and bind you.

Unfortunately it is here that your life yields to this deplorable mistake. But once, only once, if with the help of your all-energising meditation, you can carry your long-cherished fear into the inner world, you will see that fear loses its very existence there. In the twinkling of an eye, it becomes one with the dynamic strength of your inner life.

Now if you want truly to possess the outer world, you have to possess the inner world first. Not the other way around. If you want truly to enjoy the outer world, you have to enjoy the inner world first. Not vice versa. If your heart pines to serve humanity, you have to serve the inner divinity first. Infallible is this truth.

AUM 356. This is the second talk given at the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica during Sri Chinmoy's visit to Jamaica in the winter of 1967. It was given on 12 January 1968.

Life means what?3

Life is God's Transcendental Blessing to His Creation. What is more important than God's Blessing? God's Concern. What is more important than God's Concern? The absolute Fulfilment of God's Will.

Life is man's experience of wisdom and faith. Wisdom without faith is the bondage of futility. Faith without wisdom is the smile of stupidity. Faith and wisdom can go together. Faith awakens us to see the Truth. Wisdom helps us to live the Truth.

The outer world is a play of conflict between the fleeting and destructive thoughts of man's mind and the constructive and lasting will of man's soul. The inner world is a play of harmony between the mind's surrender and the soul's acceptance.

Life is will. There is only one will that mediates between God and man. That will is at once the descending cry of concern and compassion and the ascending cry of love and helplessness.

Life is man's conscious attempt to see God face to face.

First try. Then cry. If necessary.
First give. Then take. If necessary.
First run. Then stop. If necessary.
First be the doer. Then be the talker. If necessary.

Thought, human thought, rules the world. But mere thinking is of no avail.

When I think, God is my frustration.
When I will, God is my illumination.
When I cry, God is my consolation.
When I try, God is my salvation.

We must love God first if we really love life, for God is not only the Source of life, but the Breath of life. Love of God costs nothing, absolutely nothing, but is worth much, measureless. Our mind knows this truth; our heart practices this truth, our soul embodies this truth.

The ultimate aim of the human life is liberation. Liberation is the choice of man and the Grace of God. Liberation is man's total freedom and God's constant responsibility.

You cry because you have no plans to make your life meaningful and successful. He cries because all his plans have come to a lame conclusion. I cry because I do not want to have any plans. What I want to do is to sit down all the time at the Feet of the Supreme who is at once Vision and Reality.

My life has three doctors: Dr. Love, Dr. Devotion and Dr. Surrender. Dr. Love cures my mind's narrowness. Dr. Devotion cures my heart's impurity. Dr. Surrender cures my life's ignorance.

My life has three Gods: God the Existence eternally lives in me. God the Consciousness constantly grows in me. God the Bliss immortally lives with me.

AUM 357. This talk was given by Sri Chinmoy at the Inter-American University, San Juan, Puerto Rico, on 17 October 1968.

Questions and answers

AUM 358-369. Following the talk "Life Means What?" the students at the Inter-American University, San Juan, Puerto Rico put these questions to Sri Chinmoy. Agni (Mr. Jose Casanova) has recorded and transcribed the entire Inter-American University program.

Question: What is the best point we can use to fix our gaze for concentration?

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the individual. Some people find it easier to look at the flame of a candle and concentrate, while others find it easier to look at a beautiful flower and concentrate. Still others prefer to look at the rising sun and concentrate. So if the individual gets a kind of inner joy when concentrating on a particular object, he should concentrate on that particular object in order to achieve his goal.

Question: Is Yoga considered a religion or a philosophy?

Sri Chinmoy: Yoga is neither a philosophy nor a religion. Yoga transcends both philosophy and religion; at the same time, it houses both religion and philosophy. Religion and philosophy can lead a human being up to God's palace, while Yoga means union with God, man's conscious union with God. Yoga leads an aspirant right to God's Throne.

Question: When you speak, you close your eyes. Is this a kind of concentration or what is it?

Sri Chinmoy: When I was speaking, you observed me closing my eyes. It is not that I was concentrating; it was only that I was entering into various worlds. There are seven higher worlds and seven lower worlds. When I close my eyes and then open them, this blinking that you see indicates that I am moving, my soul is moving from one region to another. During my talk, I was in a very high consciousness. Hence my soul got the opportunity to move from one plane of consciousness to another.

Question: Is there any difference between one religion and another religion? Does Yoga demand renunciation of all religions?

Sri Chinmoy: There is no fundamental difference between one religion and another because each religion embodies the ultimate Truth. So Yoga does not interfere with any religion. Anybody can practise Yoga. I have disciples who are Catholics, Protestants, Jews and so forth. One can practise Yoga irrespective of religion, while if one has been taught Hinduism, he may be afraid of accepting Catholicism and vice-versa. But the real aspirant who has launched into spirituality and Yoga will find no difficulty in remaining in his own religion. I tell people, I tell my disciples, not to give up their own religion. If they remain in their own religion and practise the spiritual life and the inner discipline, they will go faster because their own religion will give them constant confidence in what they are doing and what they are actually practising in their life. So I always tell my students to stick to their own religion, for Yoga does not demand renunciation of any religion.

Question: Is it easier for you to concentrate while you are standing?

Sri Chinmoy: For a spiritual person like me, concentration can be done at any moment, at any place and in any position. I can concentrate even while I am running. About fifteen years ago, I happened to be a very good sportsman — an athlete in India. Even while running the fastest hundred meter dash, I used to concentrate. While I was pole vaulting — in the air — I was able to concentrate. So concentration can be done at any moment, at any place, in any position; it need not be done while sitting alone.

When the inner being compels us to concentrate, we concentrate. There is no hard and fast rule that one has to concentrate only while standing or while sitting or while seated in the lotus position. When the inner being inspires us, we aspire and this aspiration can be expressed either in the form of concentration or meditation.

Question: Is reincarnation an entity in itself or is it a religious belief of Hinduism?

Sri Chinmoy: There are religions which accept the belief in reincarnation whereas there are other religions which do not. The Hindu religion, Hinduism, believes in reincarnation. But reincarnation in itself has very little to do with Hinduism or any other religion. And what is reincarnation?

It means that the soul comes into the world with a new garment. Now we are wearing clothes, garments. At any moment we can throw them off. They are at our disposal. Similarly, when the soul finds the body to be no longer capable of receiving the highest Truth or when the soul finds that the body needs rest or when the soul feels that God wants it to leave the body, it leaves; and again, when God wants the soul to enter into a human body, the soul enters. And I wish to add that this concept of reincarnation is not only the Hindu idea or the Hindu philosophy or the Hindu way of approaching life, but even in the West there are many, many who believe in reincarnation.

In the Gita, one of our most sacred books and sometimes called the Bible of India, we find a beautiful verse on reincarnation. I wish to cite it.

[Sri Chinmoy chanted Verse 22, Chapter 2 of the Bhagavad-Gita in Sanskrit]

"As a man discards his old and worn-out clothes and takes on new ones, so does the embodied soul discard this body and migrate from body to body."

This is what we call reincarnation from the Hindu spiritual point of view.

Question: What is meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: There are three stages in our spiritual practice. It starts with concentration, then meditation, then contemplation. Someone here asked me about concentration and I answered. Now meditation is the second stage. When you meditate, what you actually do is to enter into a vacant or calm or still, silent mind. We have to be fully aware of the arrival and attack of thoughts. That is to say, we shall not allow any thought, divine or undivine, good or bad, to enter into our mind. Our mind should be absolutely silent. Then we have to go deep within; there we have to observe our real existence. When we speak of our outer existence, we see our limbs and our body, the gross body, that is all; but when we go deep within, we approach our true existence and that existence is in our soul, in the inmost recesses of our soul. When we live in the soul, we feel that we are actually, spontaneously doing meditation.

So if you want to know what meditation is, I wish to say that meditation is that very state of our consciousness or the inner being which does not cherish millions of thoughts, which wants only to commune with God. It is God's language as well as man's language. Now I am speaking in English and you are able to understand me because you know English well. Similarly, when one knows how to meditate well, one will be able to commune with God. Thus meditation is the language we use to speak to God.

Question: Is life after death a reality or just a belief?

Sri Chinmoy: There are two lives: one is the life that we are seeing here. We have a short span of life, say forty, fifty, sixty, eighty years; then we pass behind the curtain of Eternity. There is an eternal Life. This life existed before the creation, it exists now in the creation, then it passes through death and it goes beyond death and enters again into its own realm. So when we speak of life here, we think of the short span of life that we are seeing: sixty years or eighty years. But eternal Life is not like that. It had no beginning and it has no end. It existed, it exists and it will forever exist.

Through our meditation, when we realise God, when we stay in God, we become the possessor of that eternal Life. Consciously we go beyond the veil of death and we remain in the eternal Life, which has neither beginning nor end.

Question: Is life after death a sort of consolation?

Sri Chinmoy: I have just explained that life after death is the highest affirmation of Truth. In this life, you have not fulfilled even all your desires, let alone your aspirations. How can you do all this in one lifetime? Desire fulfilled today is bound to be followed by frustration tomorrow. Then man throws away desire like a dirty cloth, man enters into the field of aspiration; he wants to grow, he wants to have infinite joy, infinite light, infinite bliss. These infinite gifts cannot be possessed by an individual in the course of one short span of life. For that we have to come back into this world. The soul comes back again and again in order to fully manifest its divinity here on earth. Because we cannot do all this in one short lifetime, the soul comes back and enters into various, successive bodies in order to embody, fulfil and manifest the Divine.

Question: That humming that I heard from you... I want to know if it is a kind of meditation.

Sri Chinmoy: Chanting is not, strictly speaking, a form of meditation. It is an invocation. You invoke God to enter into you, to enter into your inmost self, into your inner existence. Meditation is different. In chanting you usually invoke God to permeate your whole existence. In meditation you try, in a broader way, to enter into God's Infinity, Eternity and Immortality.

Question: Recently I read about a person who was buried alive for eighteen days and then he was able to come back alive. Is there any relation between this sort of thing and what you are doing?

Sri Chinmoy: My teaching is not a kind of miracle-mongering. My business is to help the aspirant to reach God. When one wants to reach God, wants to realise God, I try to help the person. But by being buried underground for eighteen days or by performing other feats, I do not lead my students to God nor are the students helped in their spiritual search. What leads us to God is our aspiration, our inner, mounting cry. So I do not advocate this kind of miracle.

What I want from my students is this inner cry. A child cries for his mother's love; a spiritual child needs and wants to have infinite love from God. And how can he get it? Only by reaching and realising God. My philosophy and spirituality are different from those who are meant only for displaying and teaching their supernatural capacities, their miracles.

Question: So what that person did has nothing to do with Yoga?

Sri Chinmoy: It has very little to do with true Yoga. Yoga means "union with God". If somebody does miracles, he is not helping you directly or indirectly to realise God. At most we learn from him that there is no end to human capacity if one enters into the secret domains of the inherent powers of the cosmic realities.

I know of an amusing incident in connection with a fakir in India who used to perform this very feat you mention. He could remain buried for long periods of time and often lay underground for as long as twenty-one days. Once it happened that when he was dug up from his long burial, the moment he regained consciousness, he looked around frantically for his girlfriend who was standing amidst his relatives, friends and admirers. Having found his paramour, he left the spot immediately with her.

Now did his unusual achievement help the audience in any way in their aspiration for God-Realisation? You tell me. By performing these miracles, we in no way inspire others to unite themselves with God, whereas in helping someone in his aspiration, his concentration and his meditation, we do help the person to realise God.


Man is Infinity’s Heart.
Man is Eternity’s Breath.
Man is Immortality’s Life.