AUM — Vol. 1, No. 7, 27 February 1966

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The Divine Mother

A sadhak is not a beggar, but a chooser. He is seated between two extremes: an utmost incapacity and an omnipotent power. The Mother in all Her compassion comes and tells the sadhak that it is for him to choose between the two.

Our vital depression says: "The Mother is the examiner." Our heart's gratitude says, "No, She is the private tutor."

Our aspiration is a promising seed which brings to birth the psychic being. The psychic being needs the sunshine of the Mother's Grace for its full illumination. Therein lies the perfection of humanity.

Difficulties are perpetually present, but we have something in us which is at once dynamic and static: the Mother's Grace. It is static in location and dynamic in operation.

Earth's aspiration and the Mother's Grace combined make the first step. The second step is Supramentalisation leading to the third and final step, a perfect Perfection.

No aspirant is free from one enemy and that enemy is ego. Poor ego. It too has an enemy and that is the Mother's constant love for the aspirant.

When we look at danger with our own eyes, it is nothing short of poison. When we look at danger through the Mother's eyes, it is nothing but the pinch of a child.

The Mother is omnipresent, no doubt, but it is we, her children, who by constant remembrance, make Her live in the inmost recesses of our hearts.

Indeed, the Mother is the all-inviting Centre of an ever-expanding circle without a circumference.

Hers are the teachings that are at once refreshingly simple and divinely powerful. They are the all-nourishing food of the aspirants' evolving consciousness.

Hers is the all-fulfilling Reality which is Existence itself.

Her Grace is Her very life which is a divinely intoxicating breath founded on the ever-creative dynamic Silence.

The Mother is Reality. Reality has two perpetual lungs: Being and Consciousness.

The Mother and Her Self-Power are one. In Her Vision commences the greatest glory of the divine creation.

The Mother's Path is the Path of Perfection. Liberation means to gain one's freedom into the Spirit. Perfection is the full blossoming and highest expression of the evolving soul in the mind, life and body of the aspirant.

It is the Mother who would give the world to see perfection dawn on Her devoted disciples.

The world itself seems to be a problem of the first magnitude. The Mother's very eyes show that this problem is not what it seems. According to Her, the world is a climbing cry into the highest Beyond.

Suffering has a free access to all, including the Mother. We suffer that our desires remain unfulfilled. Mother suffers that we are still wallowing in the pleasures of Ignorance.

The Mother buys our perseverance with Her Smile and She buys our discouragement with Her Tears.

Philosophy, part 21

True wisdom must dawn on human consciousness. Affirmations and negations must be synthesised and move together. The world has come to realise that integrality is the only absolute self-fulfilment.

Neither Spirit nor Matter is superior to the other. We will be far from Truth if we belittle Matter only to speak highly of Spirit. From Matter alone did our earthly cloak see the light of day.

To be sure, the wings of the intellect are too feeble to fly beyond the limited sky of mind.

To the materialist, the Beyond is unreal because it is not within his eye-range. He has enquired of his senses if they were aware of the Beyond. They unanimously cried out: "No, there is no such thing!"

The Spirit, untouched and uncontaminated by imperfection, is the sole gateman of the Transcendent. Radiant and immaculate, it bears and upholds the world. Relation it has none. Its matchless qualities are the opposites of division, duality and multiplicity.

The eternal Truth can never be the monopoly of the Spirit. Dauntless Matter, too, has every right to claim her equal share.

Our present faith in Matter is not enough. It must needs be stronger. We must see eye to eye with the Upanishads and declare that Matter also is Brahman.

Our absolute Freedom will come into existence from the Spirit. But Matter's giant breast will be the field of our full manifestation.

The materialist is aware of the road that leads to matter. He is quite in the dark about the road that leads to the spirit. It seems that the Eternal Solace is extremely clever. It deserts both the materialist and the spiritualist en route when they want to be independent of each another.

What is energy? Energy is that which creates the cosmos and everything within it. What is Will? Will is synonymous with Consciousness. And its sole business is to sow and reap.

Materialism has begun to far exceed the limits of sense-knowledge. With this obstruction fading away, the march of materialism is now quite safe and satisfactory towards its unimagined Goal.

The supreme choice of an awakened mind is an unalloyed affirmation of the soul's light pouring into the mental vehicle.

Multiplicity is nothing but the outer robe of unity.

What is the most essential thing in our upward and inward march? Faith. Faith is the bud; knowledge is the flower. O Faith! Since you are the ceaseless breath of our hearts, we feel that before long we must win the crown of our journey's Goal.

What is Silence? Silence is that which alone bears the teeming vast. It upholds activity and inactivity in its own supreme delight and places the garlands of victory around the necks of these two apparent antagonists.

"All this is Brahman". The oneness of Matter and Spirit is the only affirmation of the Brahman. Therefore neither Matter nor Spirit can dwell beyond Its fond and boundless clasp.

AUM 58. continued from Vol. 1, No. 1

Spiritual discipline

Any method of spiritual discipline will have two inevitable and inseparable wings: absolute patience and firm resolution.

A progressive self-giving and an absolute confidence in God can easily challenge the strength of impossibility in one's spiritual journey.

March forward just three steps and God is won. Now what are the three steps? The first step is aspiration. The second step is self-giving. The third step is reliance on oneself, reliance on the Divine.

In the early stages of spiritual practice, to leave everything to the Divine and to think that personal effort is unnecessary is to dance before you can walk.

Tapasya (intense or austere discipline) says to the aspirant: "I shall make you see God." Surrender says to the aspirant: "I shall make God see you."

Faithfulness is the only key that both Tapasya and Surrender possess to open God's door.

In the ultimate analysis, no distinction can ever be made between Tapasya and Surrender. Surrender, when complete and effective, is the result of and nothing other than Tapasya.

The more complete the aspirant's surrender, the brighter the smile of his psychic being.

Surrender is fondly influenced by the psychic being. Knowledge is boldly influenced by the Will.

Surrender is the most suitable net to entrap the Divine. It is at once wisdom and power in action.

Spontaneous obedience is the husk. Conscious surrender is the rice.

Active surrender says to God: "Father, I am looking at you. Be pleased to look at me. Let us look at each other." Passive surrender says to God: "Father, I need not look at you. You just look at me. That will do."

There are three ways of fulfilling a soul's need: either the aspirant steps forward to see the Divine; or the Divine steps forward to make the aspirant see Him; or both the aspirant and the Divine step forward simultaneously towards each other.

When the aspirant bitterly starves his questioning mind and feeds his surrender sumptuously, God says: "The time is ripe. I come."

Surrender can never be a one-day achievement. Likewise realisation, when attained, is not a one-day wonder.

Although regularity in spiritual practice may appear mechanical, it is a constant blessing from above and shows the development of some inner strength.

To see God only during your surrender at meditation is to declare that God is absent from you more than He is present.

True meditation has a free access to the inner Being. True self-consecration has a free access to the right consciousness and attitude.

When the mind and the vital close their eyes for good, surrender, the inner strength, opens its eyes for good.

A spiritual giant and a seer-poet

Vivekananda was a flaming tongue of fire. Tagore was a sea of beauty and delight. Vivekananda was a clarion-call. Tagore was a soul-stirring flute. To both, humanity was a great love, dynamic and powerful on the part of Vivekananda, soft and sweet on the part of Tagore.

Vivekananda says in effect: "No time to linger! Awake, O India and with your dauntless strength, achieve the loftiest height of your Spirit." Tagore says in effect: "Look everywhere and see God's beauty, and then, O Ind, raise your proud head towards the Highest."

With his spirit's height, Vivekananda was the most nourishing, life-giving fruit. With his creative genius, Rabindranath was the most beautiful flower. The Goddess Mahakali shone in the eyes of Vivekananda. The Goddess Mahalakshmi smiled through the eyes of Rabindranath.

Yet it was only after the recognition of the West that the East would claim them, the spiritual giant by the impact of his Chicago address, the mystic poet by virtue of his "Gitanjali". In both cases, the divine singer expressed himself in divine measure. Through his spiritual emotion and his soul-stirring voice, Narendra pleased his divine master, Ramakrishna, and through him, the world. By his soul-awakening songs of transcendental beauty, Rabindranath charmed the world and seized the All-Blissful.

Both Narendranath and Rabindranath came into the world from the Unknown. They were, as it were, two tireless voyagers. Rabindranath touched the earth-sphere in 1861, just two fleeting years before Narendranath. Narendranath left earth and entered the upper-sphere in 1902, thirty-nine long years before Rabindranath.

Verily, Vivekananda and Tagore were pilgrims to Infinity's Shore, where the finite, at last, has its perfect Play.

George Washington

Born February 22, 1732

A divinely-inspired dream, daring and desperate;
A surprise that made history.
A farmer's son founds the New World.
"Inferior endowment from nature," he thought himself.
But the Divine made him His efficient instrument.

High character and majestic will powerfully blended
With courage and capacity,
Stood forth the Man of the Hour,
The Man of Destiny, the Man of God,
And from his mighty dream mightily
Executed burst forth a new free world,
Destined to be the hope and defence of more
Free worlds to be.

Victory in the War of Independence —
England lost to her own offspring,
Now a powerful foe;
England won for herself a mightier friend.
A new era heralded,
A new shattering blow struck
At man's domination over man —
Independence the first step to unity —
And unity, one Truth of God.

George Washington, first to embody America's hope,
First in inspiration, first in confidence, first in war,
First in victory,
First in conquering the heart of his Nation,
First to envisage a federation of states,
Single, powerful, united, whole.

Abraham Lincoln

Born February 12, 1809

Born under no lucky star,
But dynamic in his dreams
He fought his way to Luck:
"From log cabin to White House."

No soul on earth supreme over another —
Equality every man's birthright and treasure —
Black and white, brown and red
Make no difference —
This nation cannot exist half-slave, half-free —
From his voice these bold truths rang out.

He had the gift to dream of union,
The courage and capacity
To fight, the confidence to win,
The patience that knew no flagging.
Faith in God's Justice was his stamina,
Faith in God was his might.

Natural the affinity of vision-luminous souls,
So Emerson could say of Lincoln:
"His heart was as great as the world,
But there was no room in it to hold a wrong."

"Force is all-conquering,
But its victories are short-lived."
Love is all-conquering
And its victories live on forever.

What is really important?
Are we God's or is God ours?
The idealist in Lincoln reveals:
"We trust, Sir, that God is on our side.
It is more important to know
That we are on God's side."

Questions and answers

Question: I have studied a good many scriptures. I also indulge in preaching about spirituality, religion, the inner life and so forth. But personally, I feel a barren desert within me. There is no satisfaction at all from what I am doing. I feel I am wasting my own precious time and that of others along with it. Could you possibly enlighten me regarding this?

Sri Chinmoy: I fully sympathise with you. You are not alone. There are a good many human souls sailing in the same boat. The study of books and scriptures can give us information to quote from, and a certain understanding; they can give us, at most, inspiration. But nothing more. By borrowing others' ideas, we can never be truly enlightened in our inner life. It is by studying the eternal book of truth within us, by listening constantly to the voice of the Inner Self that we can become spiritually illumined. It is then that we find joy in our inner life. We must see God first and then we shall be godlike. To be truly godlike, talking must give way to Becoming. Let me tell you a true story.

In a certain village in Bengal, India, a rich man's servant arrived daily at his master's house by crossing a river in a ferry boat. One day there was a violent storm. The ferry could not ply across the raging river and the servant was late in arriving. His master was furious. "You fool," he shouted, "If you utter Krishna's name three times, you will see that you don't need a boat. You will be able to walk across the river!"

The following day, as the storm showed no signs of abating, the poor servant was threatened with the same situation. But in his simple faith, he obeyed his master's instructions. From the very depths of his heart, he uttered the name of Krishna. Lo! the miracle of miracles. He felt a power propelling him towards the water. He was able to walk upon the very waves. Thus he crossed the river.

On hearing the story, the master's joy knew no bounds. A swelling pride rose from his heart. Was it not his advice that had brought about the success? "I never knew that my advice had such great power," he thought. "Let me enjoy this miracle myself."

He went to the river whose waters were now calm and serene. He uttered Krishna's name three times and began to cross. But fear and doubt tortured his whole being, and although he shouted the sacred name hundreds of times, his attempt was fruitless. He was drowned.

Now what do we learn from this story? The servant had sincere faith in his master. He also had an implicit faith in Lord Krishna. It was this absolute faith in a divine power that saved him and proved the power of Krishna's Grace.

Similarly, a speaker, in spite of his own lame faith, can, it is true, inspire a genuine faith in his listeners. But it is by being truly spiritual himself that he can help others most significantly. If we want to convince others of our Truth, our highest authority must come only from the direct knowledge of Truth and not from any scripture. In the Divine Play unillumined authority plays the role of the lamp, while Truth-In-Realisation plays the role of the Light.

Question: The caste-system is absolutely bad. Why do you have it? Can you say even one word in favour of it?2

Sri Chinmoy: Well, I must take exception to your judicious comments and tell you that in this world there is nothing absolutely bad. The caste-system has served and even now serves a certain purpose. In spite of all its degenerations, it has been a system that unites the different parts of society. If we try to see it as a system uniting people instead of dividing them, we will better understand the value that it has had for thousands of years. Society was conceived as a great family. Each group worked to make it function harmoniously. In a family, one brother may be a spiritual teacher, another an executive, a third a merchant and the fourth a cultivator. Each one helps the family at the time of need. It is their combined knowledge and harmonious co-operation which create a real unity in their family life. So was it with the caste-system. Each group had responsibilities and duties. Each group worked for the good of the whole. The main thing is how one utilises this system. In itself the caste-system had much truth and value, but the wrong attitudes which entered it have necessitated that the whole system be supplanted with something more suited to a modern and advanced society.

These questions were asked by the high school students of the Central Synagogue of Nassau County, New York, after a lecture on Hinduism on 14 November 1965.

Question: Why do you believe in rebirth? I know pretty well that I shall go to God when I die. And that's all.

Sri Chinmoy: My friend, as you will go to God when you leave the body, so will I. Let us be wise. Our business is to go to God; it is God's business if He wants to keep you in heaven and send me back to earth. Or vice-versa. The best thing for us is to surrender to God and let Him fulfil us in His own way. Having thrown aside all our preconceived ideas regarding the existence or non-existence of rebirth, let us do the only thing of importance: be one with His Will and Consciousness.

Question: If an Indian living here marries an American girl, will his parents accept them when they go to India?

Sri Chinmoy: It depends entirely on the parents. If they are orthodox and conservative, they may not accept them. But if the parents are liberal in their ideas and cherish broad ideals, if they value the link between East and West, then they will gladly accept their son and daughter-in-law. From the spiritual point of view, in God's light, it is not the race, not the nationality, but the true fulfilment of two human souls in union that is of supreme importance.

Question: In India, the wives surrender to their husbands. Why do they not care for their own individuality?

Sri Chinmoy: I hope you know the meaning of surrender. In real surrender, we do not lose our individuality. On the contrary, we enlarge it. For example, when we surrender ourselves absolutely to God, we become one with God in our adoration for Him. His Power is then added to ours. Surrender is entirely voluntary. Submission, out of fear, to someone more powerful than yourself, is not surrender. True surrender is a great strength which fulfils itself when it becomes one with the object of its adoration. In India women cheerfully and unreservedly surrender their very existence to their husbands and get real joy of true union.

Question: Is it true that some people in India can walk on fire?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, it is absolutely true. I have twice had the good fortune to witness such a performance.

Question: Were you not afraid or astonished?

Sri Chinmoy: I was not afraid because fortunately I was not one of the performers. And I was not astonished because I was aware of the power of faith. They had a tremendous faith in Govinda (Lord Krishna). Chanting the name of Govinda in intense consecration, they walked unscathed over the fire.

Question: To pray to God or to work as God wants us to work, which is the better of the two?

Sri Chinmoy: I am happy to answer this question. It is a question of questions. But the answer is quite simple. To pray to God or to work as God wants us to work — both ways are of supreme importance. Both are inevitable means to an end. And that end is God-realisation.

Question: You have explained to us what the Supreme Surrender is. Now I would like to know from you what the Supreme Sacrifice is.

Sri Chinmoy: My young friend, it gives me great pleasure to hear your question. The Supreme Sacrifice is self-sacrifice for a noble cause. To fulfil God, if necessity demands, you may have to embrace Death. To uplift humanity, if necessity demands, you may have to forego your own immortality. The supreme sacrifice is this. Let us try. It is worth aspiring for.

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.

AUM 71e1. Editor's introduction from the first edition.