AUM — Vol. 5, No. 1, 27 Aug. 1969
AUMMan is Infinity’s Heart.
Man is Eternity’s Breath.
Man is Immortality’s Life.
Desire and aspiration1America’s fond child is New York. New York’s fond child is New York University. This evening I wish to offer my sincere affection, true admiration and humble dedication to you, O fond children of the New York University.
Desire is a wild fire which burns and burns and finally consumes us. Aspiration is a glowing fire that secretly and sacredly uplifts us, our consciousness, and finally liberates us.
Thirst for the highest is aspiration.
Thirst for the lowest is annihilation.
Desire is expectation. No expectation, no frustration. Desire killed, true happiness built. Aspiration is surrender. Surrender is man’s conscious oneness with God’s Will.
As war brings the commerce of a country to a standstill, even so our tremendous inclination to the pleasures of ignorance brings all our inner spiritual movements to a standstill.
Already as things exist at present, our very birth compels us to be far away from God. Why wallow deliberately in the pleasures of the senses and move farther away from God? Indeed, to satisfy the imagined necessities of our human life and cry for the fulfilment of the earthly pleasures cannot but be self-torturing evil. But to satisfy God’s necessities, real and divine, in us and through us, is self-illumination.
Poor God, ill-lit men always take you amiss. They think that you are merciless. Yet when you fulfil their lecherous desires, they think that nobody on earth can surpass you in stupidity.
Now poor man, look at your most deplorable fate. In the apt words of Bernard Shaw: “There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart’s desire, the other is to get it.”
Desire means anxiety. This anxiety finds satisfaction only when it is able to present itself before solid attachment. Aspiration means calmness. This calmness finds satisfaction only when it is able to present itself before the all-seeing and all-loving detachment. In desire and nowhere else abides the human passion. Human passion has a dire foe called judgment, the judgment of the divine dispensation.
In aspiration and nowhere else dwells man’s salvation; man’s salvation has an eternal friend called Grace, God’s all-fulfilling Grace.
Desire is temptation. Temptation nourished, true happiness starved. Aspiration is the soul’s awakening. The soul’s awakening is the birth of supernal delight.
A true seeker of the infinite truth never can gain anything from Oscar Wilde’s discovery. He says: “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.” The seeker has already discovered the truth that it is only through high, higher and highest aspiration that one can get rid of all temptations, seen and unseen, born and yet to be born.
Wilde says something else and this is quite significant. “I can resist everything except temptation.” Needless to say, nobody blames him for that for temptation is a universal disease. For a mortal without aspiration, temptation is unmistakably irresistible. But a true seeker feels and knows that he can resist temptation, but what he cannot resist is transformation, the transformation of his physical nature, his entire consciousness in the bosom sea of Time. Of course, the transformation of his physical nature, his entire earthly consciousness — never did he resist and never will he. On the contrary, that is what he is on earth for.
Look at the strength of a bubble of desire! It has the power to encage our entire life for its absolute use. Look at the strength of an iota of aspiration. It has the power to make us feel that God the Infinite is absolutely ours. And something more, God’s infinite Love, Peace, Joy and Power are for our constant use.
The objects of the senses and man’s attachment to them are inseparable. But the moment they see the smile of God, they fail to admit their intimacy. What is more, they become perfect strangers.
Fulfil your body’s demands and you lose your self-control. Fulfil your soul’s needs and you gain your self-control.
Don’t desire vice. In refraining, you will possess something more valuable — self-control. What is self-control? It is the power that tells you that you have not to run towards your goal. The goal has to come to you and it shall.
The capital of the outer world is money, which very often changes itself into poisonous honey. The capital of the inner world is aspiration which eventually transforms itself into self-realisation.
The acme of human desire is represented by Julius Caesar: Veni, vidi, vici. (I came, I saw, I conquered). The pinnacle of divine aspiration was voiced forth by the son of God. “Father, let Thy Will be done.”
Passion’s slave is man. God’s child is likewise man. What do you want to be? God’s child, or passion’s slave? Choose. One selection leads you to utter destruction, the other to immediate salvation. Choose, you are given the golden and unconditional choice. Choose, choose you must. Here and now.
AUM 485. This lecture was given by Sri Chinmoy at the New York University on 29th March 1969.↩
Duty supreme2The poet sang:
I woke and found that life was Duty."
What is Beauty? Beauty is the oneness of the finite and the Infinite. Beauty is the expression of the Infinite through man the finite. Beauty is man’s embodiment of God, the Infinite. In the material world, in the physical world, it is through Beauty that God reveals Himself.
It is the Beauty of the soul which is Beauty unparalleled in the physical world. This Beauty inspires the outer world and fulfils the inner world. This Beauty makes us one with God, God the Infinite. This Beauty makes us one with God’s Soul, the light Infinite. This Beauty makes us one with God’s Body, the Universe. When we live in the world of aspiration, we come to realise that the transcendental Duty and the universal Beauty are the perfect expressions of one and the same Reality.
Duty. In our day-to-day life, duty is something unpleasant, demanding and discouraging. When we are reminded of our duty, we lose all our inner, spontaneous joy. We feel miserable. We feel that we could have used our life-energy for a better purpose. Only a man devoid of common sense can say that he does not know what his duty is. Each man knows his duty well, too well. It is up to him whether or not to perform it.
Today I am supposed to speak on Duty Supreme. An aspirant’s is the life that has to perform the Duty Supreme. His first and foremost Duty is to realise God. There can be no other Duty save and except this Duty — God-Realisation — in his life here on earth. An aspirant, when he saw the light of day, was inspired by God Himself, with this message:
“Realise Me on earth.
Reveal Me on earth.
Fulfil Me on earth.”
Time is fleeting. Time does not wait for us. We shall have to be wise. Each moment we can utilise for a divine purpose. Each moment we can utilise in performing our soulful Duty.
Duty is painful, tedious and monotonous simply because we do it with our ego, pride and vanity. Duty is pleasant, encouraging and inspiring when we do it for God’s sake. What we need is just to change our attitude towards Duty. If we work for the sake of God, then there is no Duty. It is all Joy. It is all Beauty. Each action has to be done and offered at the Feet of God. Duty for God’s sake is the Duty Supreme. No right have we to undertake any other duty before we work out our own spiritual salvation for did God not entrust us with this wonderful task at the time of our very birth? The Supreme Duty is to constantly strive for God-Realisation. Time is short, but our souls’ mission on earth is lofty. How can we waste time? Why should we spend time in the pleasures of the senses?
Now we often say that we are under no obligation to others because we have not accepted anything from them. They have not given us anything. True, we are under no obligation, but there is a word called “expectation”. I may not have taken anything from you, but that does not mean that you cannot expect anything from me. At times your expectation may be legitimate. Expect, you certainly can, but there is one thing that you cannot do. You cannot claim. You can expect and it is up to me to give you what you want, but claim you must not. Only God can claim, nobody else. God and God alone can claim me my entire life. Each individual has to feel that God has the absolute right to claim him forever, here on earth, there in heaven.
Love your family much. This is your great duty. Love mankind more. This is your greater duty. Love God most. This is your greatest duty, the Duty Supreme.
There are two things. One is remembrance. The other is forgetfulness. All of us know that it is our duty to collect our salary. Indeed it is our duty. And we always remember it. But there is another duty. We have to work. That duty we forget. In order to get our salary, we have to work. Somehow we manage to forget this. In the spiritual world also, there is a duty. This duty is to enjoy the fruit of God-Realisation. We all know it and we are extremely eager to perform this duty. But unfortunately we forget the other duty: meditation. One duty is to enjoy the fruits; the other duty is to acquire the fruit. But we are clever enough to cry for the fruits of realisation long before we have entered into the field of meditation. No meditation; no realisation. Without meditation, God-Realisation is nothing but self-deception.
An aspirant has a most significant duty and that duty is to have perfect faith in his divine possibilities. If he has faith in himself plus faith in the living Guru, then he can easily perform the Supreme Duty, the duty of self-discovery, God-Realisation.
AUM 486. This talk was given at the Boston University, Boston, on 24 March 1969.↩
Love and devotionAUM 487-499. These questions were asked by Lavanya (Mrs. Wendy Brown) of the New York Centre.
Question: How can we teach ourselves to love humanity, not just as a collective whole, but also specifically, when a person's defects and bad qualities are so obvious?Sri Chinmoy: When you see that a person’s defects and bad qualities are so obvious, try to feel immediately that his defects and bad qualities do not represent him totally. His real self is infinitely better than what you see now. On the other hand, if you really want to love humanity, then you have to love humanity as it stands now and not expect it to come to a specific standard. If humanity has to become perfect before it can be accepted by you, then it would not need your love, affection and concern. Right now, in its imperfect state of consciousness, humanity needs your help. Give humanity unreservedly even the most insignificant and limited help that you have at your disposal. This is the golden opportunity. Once you miss this opportunity, your future suffering will be beyond your endurance. Because a day will come when you will realise that humanity’s imperfection is your own imperfection. You are God’s creation, so is humanity. Humanity is only an expression of your universal heart. You can and must love humanity, not just as a whole, but also specifically if you realise the fact that until humanity has realised its supreme Goal, your own divine perfection will not be complete.
Question: How can we tell if our love is vital or pure?Sri Chinmoy: You can easily tell whether your love is vital or pure. When your love is vital, there is a conscious demand, or at least an unconscious expectation from the love you offer to others. When your love is pure or spiritual, there is no demand, no expectation. There is only the sweetest feeling of spontaneous oneness with the human being or beings concerned.
Question: Is it possible to prevent oneself from giving off impure vital love and to substitute the heart's pure love for it? How can we consciously give pure love?Sri Chinmoy: It is not only possible, but absolutely necessary, to prevent oneself from giving off impure vital love. Otherwise one will have to constantly wrestle with the gigantic forces of ignorance. One has to use love, not to bind or possess the world, but to free and widen one’s own consciousness and the consciousness of the world. One must not try to substitute the heart’s pure love for the impure vital love. What one must do is to bring the heart’s purifying and transforming love into the impure vital. The vital as such is not bad at all. When the vital is controlled, purified and transformed, it becomes a most significant instrument of God.
Now you want to know how you can consciously give pure love to others. You can consciously give pure love to others if you feel that you are giving a portion of your life-breath when you talk to others or think of others. And this life-breath you are offering just because you feel that you and the rest of the world are totally and inseparably one. Where there is oneness, it is all pure love.
Question: In what way does love for one's Guru differ from devotion to him? Is it possible to have one without the other?Sri Chinmoy: To have love for one’s Guru is to take the first step into the spiritual domain. The second step is devotion. One cannot take the second step unless one has taken the first step. Moreover, true love and pure devotion cannot be separated. They breathe together. Love sees the Truth. Devotion feels the Truth. Surrender becomes the Truth.
Question: When we concentrate on love and devotion, should we direct it mainly to the Supreme or to our Guru?Sri Chinmoy: It entirely depends on the disciple’s conscious awareness of the Guru’s spiritual status. If the disciple’s ignorance compels him to feel that the Guru is only ten inches higher than he himself is in the spiritual domain, then naturally he will direct his love and devotion to the Supreme. But if he sincerely and consciously and spontaneously feels that the Guru is a God-Realised soul and that there is a yawning gap between him and his Guru in their inner achievements and that the Guru has achieved and established his conscious and constant oneness with the Supreme and that the Guru is the representative of the Supreme for the disciples and that he is the direct channel streaming downward from the Ultimate Source to cultivate the soil of human aspiration, then the disciple with the least possible hesitation, can direct his love and devotion to the Guru. To be sure, neither the Supreme nor the Guru is hurt when you approach one, leaving aside the other. As a matter of fact, just because they know and they are absolutely one, they are equally and supremely pleased with you when you offer your love and devotion to one of them.
Question: Do the words "psychic" and "spiritual" mean the same thing?Sri Chinmoy: No, the word “psychic” and the word “spiritual” are not the same. Let us better use the term “the psychic being” instead of “psychic”. It then simplifies the matter. The psychic being is the conscious representative of the soul. It is the aspiring, divine spark in us. It is supremely beautiful and is the fondest child of the Supreme. The psychic being… only humans have. The animals and plants and material objects, etc. do not have a psychic being. Anything that concerns this divine being or pertains to it is described as “psychic”. But the word “spiritual” is something general and all-pervading. It includes and envelops everything, including the psychic being. You can say “spiritual” is a garden and “psychic” is a most beautiful mango tree bearing countless, delicious, energising mangoes. About the soul: each object, animate or inanimate, has a soul.
Question: What is devotion? Just a desire to do everything possible for one's Guru?Sri Chinmoy: For a disciple, devotion means his purified, simplified, intensified devoted, consecrated, conscious and constant oneness with his Guru. The disciple must feel that the Guru is the spiritual magnet constantly pulling him towards the Infinite Light of the Supreme. Devotion does not mean just a desire to do everything possible for one’s Guru. Devotion is something infinitely deeper than desire. Devotion is the conscious awareness of Light in operation. In this Light the aspirant will discover that when he does something for the Guru or the Guru asks him to do something for him, he has already been given more than the necessary capacity by the Guru.
Question: What are the manifestations of devotion?Sri Chinmoy: The manifestations of Devotion are simplicity, sincerity, spontaneity, beauty and purity. The manifestations of Devotion are one’s intense, devoted feeling for one’s object of adoration and one’s consecrated oneness with the inner Pilot.
Question: If we feel that we are not devoted enough, how can we increase our devotion?Sri Chinmoy: If the aspirant feels that he is not devoted enough, then he can do four things to increase his devotion.
1) He should try to love the Master more than he already does.
2) He should try to feel that the Master loves him infinitely more than he thinks.
3) He should try to develop more purity in his outer life.
4) He should try to feel that the highest Truth can and will come to him from the Master and through the Master alone.
Question: If one has aspiration, but not devotion, does this hinder his spiritual progress?Sri Chinmoy: If the aspirant has aspiration and not devotion for the Master, certainly it hinders… I must say… it considerably hinders, the aspirant’s spiritual progress. If the aspirant does not care for a master and wants to aspire all by himself, then it is a different matter. He is not expected to show devotion to anyone. But here also I want to say that if he really aspires, then he has to feel that one day he has to reach his far-distant Goal through devotion. Now in order to reach the Goal, if he feels that he has no need for devotion or should I say, conscious devotion, towards his Goal, then he is hopelessly mistaken. There comes a time in the spiritual life when one is bound to feel that devotion and aspiration can never be separated. Devotion is the candle, Aspiration is the flame. No matter which path one follows, if his aspiration is not founded on one-pointed and surrendered devotion towards his highest Goal, then the realisation of the ultimate Truth will always remain impossible.
Question: What is the difference between spiritual strength and spiritual power?Sri Chinmoy: When we use the word “strength”, we usually refer to the physical strength, the vital strength, the mental strength or even we go as far as the inner strength. When we use the word “power”, we try to indicate a divine power which is the night-chasing capacity and the soul-fulfilling capacity of one’s inner being. In the spiritual life, it is always better to use the word power instead of strength. For power, unlike strength, immediately gives us the feeling of an essential aspect of God. Strength is bound in the physical and it can be used only in the physical world. Power too can be used in the physical, for the physical, but it is not bound there. Its home is high, very high, in the loftiest regions of the Infinite Consciousness.
Question: In the spiritual life, the importance of purity is always stressed. Are pure actions worthwhile if thoughts are impure? How can we purify our thoughts?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, in the spiritual life the importance of purity is always stressed. It is not only unavoidable but supremely necessary, for without the soulful purity, in the true spiritual life, the aspirant’s life, will have to dance with futility. It is true that when you act, your thoughts must be pure. That is why the spiritual masters say that it is not what you do but how you do it. Since I am one of them, how can I dare to take exception? Only I wish to add that at the beginning, even if your thoughts are impure and motives are conditional, do not be upset. Start your inner journey from where you are right now. If you wait for purity to flood your outer consciousness and then you will start your inner and outer workings, then I tell you that you are doing something absurd. If you stick to the spiritual path, then the divine purity is bound to dawn on your inner life and your outer life in the course of time. You want to know how you can purify your thoughts. You can purify your thoughts just by feeling that your thoughts are coming out of your devoted and consecrated inner life and not from your doubting, suspecting, scrutinising, reasoning, fault-finding and correcting mind.
Question: Should husband and wife try to feel the same kind of love and devotion for one another as they try to feel for their Guru or should it be of a different kind?Sri Chinmoy: Dear Lavanya, God bless you! I hope you understand the fact that there is a slight difference between a couple and a great spiritual Master in their spiritual attainments. The love and devotion that you will show to Savyasachi (Mr. Carl Brown) and the love and devotion that he will show his better half will no doubt make you two inseparably one in your inner life and outer life. But if you two expect realisation, illumination and liberation from each other on the strength of your mutual love and devotion, I think you have to wait until the Eternal Time enters into infinite ignorance. The love and devotion that you must necessarily have for the spiritual Master for your realisation of the transcendental Truth should spring from the inmost recesses of your crying, searching and aspiring heart. The kind of love and devotion you offer to your spiritual Father is infinitely purer, deeper, higher, more surrendered and more illumined than the kind of love and devotion that the husband and the wife can possibly offer to each other. The husband and the wife can truly, soulfully, unmistakably and unreservedly become one if and when they discover their oneness with their Master first. One partner has to feel the living presence of the other partner in the heart of the Master. Then only the divinity of one will be reflected in the life of the other. Let the husband and wife together, combined, show their love and devotion to their Guru. The Guru, in no time, will show them what he has for them, the Infinite Flood of Liberation.