AUM — Vol. 1, No. 6, 27 January 1966
Prosperity and adversityProsperity and Adversity are the two eyes that we all have. Adversity leads us inward to correct and perfect our march of life. Prosperity leads us outward to illuminate and immortalise our human birth.
In prosperity our inner strength remains static. In adversity our inner strength becomes dynamic.
None can deny the fact that every step of progress which the world has made has come from both the smiles of prosperity and the tears of adversity.
Adversity, like poverty, is no sin. One merit of adversity none can deny: it helps us to be stronger within. The stronger we are within, the brighter we are without.
"No suffering, no salvation," so says the teacher Adversity to his student, man.
"No soul's delight, no salvation," so says the teacher Prosperity to his student, man.
One who is afraid of studying in the school of adversity can never hope for a perfect education in life.
Misfortune threatens prosperity.
Hope ignores adversity.
How often is our aspiration forced into play by dire adversity; but in glorious prosperity how rarely it peeps out.
No fall, no rise. Just as a wrestler often bears away the prize only after he has suffered numerous falls, even so Hell is to be experienced before Heaven has been won.
What is failure, if not an important portion, unrecognised, in the configuration of the whole?
Failure can have a soothing medicine to relieve it from its pangs, and that medicine is consolation. Failure can have an energising medicine to relieve it from its pangs, and that medicine is Will-power.
The world is strewn with difficulties. In a sense, it is full of thorns. But if you put on shoes you can walk on the thorns. What are these shoes made of? They are made of God's Grace.
Depression is the most effective smile of a wrong force. Once we allow it to enter, depression tries to crush the strength and joy of our life-force.
Illness has very little to do with the Divine Will. It is rather the acceptance of imperfection's invasion.
The pain of the body is often bearable. Not so is the pain of the heart.
Sorrow is an arrow to pierce into strength. Joy is food to feed strength sumptuously.
Sorrow lords it over the world. But the very presence of Time makes it lose its sting.
Time is the best physician for suffering. Then comes patience. And then comes tolerance.
Man is the visible hyphen between yesterday's torture and tomorrow's fear.
Natural justice, however painful, is mild. Legal justice, however mild, is atrocious torture.
Despair is an unworthy and shameless guest of our inner life. We must resist it with the current of will that energises our soul.
Disappointment is as powerful a negative force as expectation is a positive one.
Worry unconsciously welcomes trouble. Trouble unavoidably welcomes helplessness. Helplessness tearfully welcomes despair.
Human life is at once a burden and a blessing. It compels man to bear continual suffering. It gives man also a fair promise of God-realisation.
My dying soulTwo running ears,
One howling tongue,
Two trembling knees,
One bleeding heart,
Two weeping eyes,
One struggling breath,
Two surrendering arms,
One dying soul.
An experience of the author at the age of fourteenWhenever I had the opportunity, I flew to the edge of the ever-blue sea and took my seat there in solitude. My bird of consciousness, dancing slowly, rose to the sky and lost itself up there.
On that occasion — it was a full-moon night — as I gazed and gazed upon the blue-white horizon, I found only light, a sea of sweet and serene light. All was engulfed, as it were, in an infinite Ocean of light which played lovingly on the sweet ripples.
My finite consciousness was in quest of the Infinite and Immortal. I drank deeply of Ambrosia and was floating on an illumined ocean. It seemed that I no longer existed on this earth.
All of a sudden — I do not know why or how — something put an end to my sweet dream. No longer did the air emit its honey-like immortal Bliss, for my own depressed thoughts had come to the fore: "Useless, everything is useless. There is no hope of creating a divine world here on earth. It is only a childish dream." I felt, too, that I could not go on even with my own life. This seemed to be nothing but a thorny desert strewn with endless difficulties.
"Why should I suffer these unbearable pains and sorrows here? I am the son of the Infinite. I must have freedom, I must have the ecstasy of Paradise. This ecstasy resides ever within me. Why then should I not leave this mortal world for my Eternal Abode in heaven?"
A sudden flash of lightning appeared over my head. Looking up with awe and bewilderment, I found above me my Beloved, the King of the Universe, looking at me. His radiant Face was overcast with sorrow.
"Father," I asked, approaching Him, "What makes Thy Face so sad?"
"How can I be happy, my son, if you do not wish to be my companion and help me in my Mission? I have, concealed in the world, millions of sweet plans which I shall unravel. If my children do not help Me in My play, how can I have my Divine Manifestation here on earth?"
Profoundly moved, I bowed and promised: "Father, I will be Thy faithful companion, loving and sincere, throughout Eternity. Shape me and make me worthy of my part in Thy cosmic Play and Thy Divine Mission."
PreciousPrecious beyond measure is God's Will,
None can undo its Power.
Precious beyond measure are man's tears,
They alone can hug God's Hour.
Precious beyond measure is man's love,
Unveiling His Golden Face.
Precious beyond measure is God's gift:
His all-fulfilling Grace.
The SupremeFather, You are the Grace.
Father, You are the Law.
Father, You are the Birth
Death of Creation.
Father, You are the Child
The SupremeFather, I have Seen.
Father, I have Known.
Father, I have Felt.
Father, I have Become.
Father, I AM.
Three secrets: re-incarnation, evolution and transformation1To understand the secrets of re-incarnation, evolution and transformation, we must first understand the most significant secret of all, the secret of Karma.
"Karma" is a Sanskrit word which means "action". The heart can do it; the mind can do it; the body can do it.
There are three kinds of Karma: Sanchita Karma, Prarabdha Karma and Agami Karma.
Sanchita means "amassed." We wait consciously or unconsciously for the fruit of impressions that we have sown by our past thoughts, words, deeds and volition. Sanchita Karma is an accumulation of acts sown in some past life or in this very life. But the results have not yet been worked out, the effects not yet produced.
Prarabdha Karma is 'fate' or 'destiny' as the result of acts done in any former birth; the karmic effects have begun. However, they are not yet finished and necessitate re-birth for completion. Prarabdha is that part of Sanchita Karma which has started bearing fruit. We begin reaping in this life the fruit of our past karma and at the same time we sow seeds for a new reaping in the future.
Agami means "future" or "approaching". Agami Karma can be done only after one has attained to spiritual perfection, when one is bound neither by the lure of birth nor the snares of death. One acts then with a view to helping humanity. To fulfil the Divine here on earth, the liberated soul in this case plays a significant role in the Divine Play which has no beginning, no ending.
We know that there is some Being whom we call God. We know that there is something which we call the Soul. It was the great American philosopher, Emerson, who said: "God is an infinite circle whose centre is everywhere, but whose circumference is nowhere." We can say definitely that this centre is man's soul.
The soul is an eternal entity. Now what is its connection with re-incarnation? One can write endless pages on re-incarnation, that formidable concept which is so widely spoken about and just as widely disbelieved. Let us try to understand, in one short sentence, the essence of the matter. Re-incarnation is the process by which the soul evolves; it is for the growth and development of the soul.
We all know Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, the evolution of species. It is the change in the physical organism from lower to higher, or from simpler to more complex. Spiritual evolution runs parallel to physical evolution. It is this: the soul exists in all beings. True, it is divine and immortal. But it has its own urge to be more complete, more fulfilling and more divine. Hence in the process of its evolution, it has to pass from the least perfect body to the most perfect body. Meanwhile it takes into itself the real value of all its earthly experiences. Thus the soul grows, enriching itself, making its divinity more integral, more harmonious and more perfect.
Re-incarnation tells us that we have not come from nothing. Our present condition is the result of what we have made ourselves from our past. We are the consequence of our past incarnations.
"Many births have been left behind by Me and by thee, O Arjuna! All of them I know, but thou knowest not thine," said the Divine Krishna to the yet unrealised Arjuna.
Evolution is the hyphen between what was and what would be. I am a man. I must know that I was not only my father, but I shall also be my son. Problems I had. You had. He had. No exceptions. We faced them. We face them even today. But we shall solve them unmistakably.
We made a promise of Transformation, a promise that has no equal. We want the transformation of the inner and the outer. Each one of us may vision the face of Transformation and finally be ourselves transformed. But how to achieve this transformation that will hold aloft the Torch of Immortality? For this we have to know what aspiration is and what doubt is.
Doubt is a destructive influence, an inner war, that works day and night to prey on our inner life. Aspiration, on the other hand, is the most effective energising power in a truth-seeker. It is at once the uplifting joy and the intensification of our consciousness. Aspiration places the thirst for Truth above and beyond all things.
Aspiration can be developed. It is like crossing a street, one step at a time. Each time we aspire, we perform in the very depths of our consciousness, a miracle of welcoming the Beyond. Aspiration is based on a spontaneous faith that visions the future.
So now we have aspiration coming from our faith in God, more so in ourselves. We have also the significant secret of Karma, leading to the three secrets of Re-incarnation, Evolution and Transformation. In these secrets lie our true destiny, a Divine Immortality.
These are some highlights of a lecture delivered on 19 December 1965 to a group of spiritual aspirants at the residence of Mrs. Ida Patterson, 3124 Dupont South, Minneapolis, Minnesota. To this dedicated lady, the speaker extends his most sincere gratitude for her boundless hospitality.↩
Questions and answersThe following questions were asked at the various gatherings held on Christmas week at the home of Mrs. Ida Patterson in Minneapolis. There were a few university students present, although the groups consisted largely of elderly persons.
Question: Could you please tell me why people in India worship so many gods and goddesses and not one?Sri Chinmoy: Could you please tell me why you worship the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost and so many angels? Now, to be serious, we in India have millions of gods and goddesses. And we are proud of it. We even feel that each individual must have a god of his own; each man must have his own process of realising God.
Indeed, these gods and goddesses are simply different manifestations of the Sole Absolute. Each deity embodies a particular aspect or quality of the Supreme. Our inability to recognise the all-embracing Universal Harmony in all these different aspects gives rise to our misunderstandings and disputes. The moment we realise the universal Spirit, the Impersonal One, we can be in perfect harmony with all the different beliefs. Then we can see the truth behind the conception of the gods and goddesses.
Question: I believe that love is always the same, whether human or divine. Is this true?Sri Chinmoy: No, my young friend, human love and divine love are two completely different things. If I give you fifteen cents and you give me a piece of candy, that is called human love. In Divine Love, you don't wait for my fifteen cents. You give me the piece of candy cheerfully of your own accord. Divine Love is sacrifice, and in this sacrifice, you are fulfilling God's Will, consciously or unconsciously. In human love, we display the buyer's and the seller's love which is synonymous with self-interest. Mind you, I am not saying that human beings cannot express Divine Love. They can and sometimes do. But consistent Divine Love is, at present, rare in human beings.
Question: You have been speaking of faith. Could you make it a bit easier for me?Sri Chinmoy: Let me try. First of all, faith is not credulity or blind belief. It does not mean that you must constantly believe in the impossible. No, that is not faith. Faith is a spontaneous feeling. It does not care for human justification. It is the eye that visions the future, and it is always in tune with a Higher Truth. The door of faith is always open to the Truth Beyond, and by virtue of faith, we transcend ourselves.
Question: Would you kindly advise me as to whether I should leave my wife and child in order to enter deeper into the spiritual life?Sri Chinmoy: In your case, I feel that you must remain with your wife and child. Today you want to leave them, tomorrow you may want to leave God. It is not in the act of leaving aside humanity that you will be able to realise God. In remaining with them, your realisation will be deeper and more fulfilling. True, at a certain stage of our spiritual journey, the renunciation of the gross material life is necessary, but at a higher stage it is no longer necessary. At the highest stage, we neither seek nor renounce anything.
Question: Are spiritual experiences absolutely necessary to realise God?Sri Chinmoy: No. There can be many roads leading to the same goal. One road has many beautiful flowers on either side; another road has only a few blooms; a third road has none at all. If three seekers each select a different road according to his soul's need and preference, each of them will reach the Ultimate Goal.
Of course, experiences do give you additional confidence in yourself. They also give enormous delight. They encourage you and energise you to march farther and farther. And while you are having the experiences you may feel the presence of an invisible Guide within your being, pushing you towards the light of Truth so that you may be blessed with full Realisation.
But you can also have full and complete Realisation without so-called "experiences". One's expanding consciousness, as one grows into God, is itself a solid "experience".
AUM — a monthly journal of spiritual philosophy and yoga3"AUM" is a sacred Sanskrit mystic syllable which prefaces all Hindu prayers.
The first issue of the journal AUM (Vol.1, No.1) deals with its full spiritual significance.
AUM is a monthly journal devoted exclusively to the spiritual writings of Chinmoy Kumar Ghose. It will deal with the spiritual life and its problems from the point of view of Indian philosophy and yoga.
AUM is intended to help aspirants of the West in their search for a true inner life by acquainting them with the realisations of a seeker of the Supreme.
57e1. Editor's introduction from the first edition.↩