AUM — Vol.II-1, No.11, 27 November 1974

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The significance of AUM1

AUM existed. Nothing else. AUM exists. Nothing else. AUM will exist. Nothing else. What is AUM? It is the mother of all Indian mantras. What is a mantra? It is power in the guise of a sound. The sound of AUM is unique. Generally, when two things are struck together, we hear a sound. But this sound needs no such action. It is anahata, ‘unstruck’. It is the soundless sound. A yogi or a spiritual figure hears it self-generated in the inmost recesses of his heart. When you begin to hear it, you can be certain that you are far advanced in the spiritual life. Your God-realisation will no longer remain a mere cry in the wilderness. The day of your Self-realisation is fast approaching.
"A stands for Aspiration to realise God.
U stands for Union with God.
M stands for the Manifestation of God in us, with us and through us."

AUM says that man errs when he says that he lives because he breathes. He lives because in his breath there is the Power that is God Himself.

O man, AUM can fulfil all your desires or AUM can free you from all your desires. Only one boon is granted; choose either of the two. If your worldly desires seem infinite, then rest assured that God’s wealth is more than infinite. You can freely continue asking Him for things mundane. But if you want inner and outer freedom, God, being absolute Freedom, can eternally fulfil your highest aspirations. So you can freely go on aspiring for things divine.

AUM is a single Sanskrit character represented in English by three letters pronounced as one syllable. We could speak about AUM until the end of the century without exhausting its infinite meaning. We can say that AUM is a tree. A tree has its roots firmly embedded in the ground. Its trunk, branches and boughs reach up, up in a mute prayer to the Highest. A tree is a living symbol of flaming aspiration. The roots, digging deep as if trying to reach the very bowels of the earth to extract its life’s nourishment, are represented by the ‘A’. The trunk and foliage, manifesting the eternal Life for all of us to see on this plane of existence, are represented by the ‘U’. The topmost boughs reaching up toward the Infinite as a mute prayer to the Highest, are represented by the ‘M’.

AUM is a river. The ‘A’ is the source, surging forth from the bosom of the earth. The ‘U’ is the rushing current of eternal Life carrying with it all that it touches. The ‘M’ is the ultimate arrival at the infinite Ocean of the transcendental Beyond.

AUM is a lighted candle. ‘A’ is the wax, ‘U’ is the flame, ‘M’ is the light and heat spreading outward toward the farthest and upward toward the highest.

AUM is a man. ‘A’ represents his basic physical nature, the forces that nourish and propel him. ‘U’ represents his life’s manifestation, growing toward greater and higher forms of expression. ‘M’ represents his aspiring soul touching the Feet of the Supreme.

AUM is God. ‘A’ manifests the visible existence: creation in its infinite forms and innumerable expressions. ‘U’ is the current of Life eternal, carrying all creation onward and upward. ‘M’ is the infinite Supreme, the transcendental Unmanifest.

AUM is the soundless sound. It is the vibration of the Supreme. It is a single, indivisible, ineffable sound. When we hear the soundless sound within, when we identify with it, when we live within it, we can be freed from the fetters of ignorance and realise the Supreme within and without.

  1. AUM 1309. From Sri Chinmoy's forthcoming book, Prayer-World, Mantra-World and Japa-World

Question: What happens when we chant AUM?

Sri Chinmoy : This Sanskrit word or syllable has a special significance and creative power. When we chant AUM, what actually happens is that we bring down Peace and Light from above and create a universal harmony within and without us. When we repeat AUM, both our inner and our outer beings become inspired and surcharged with divine Light and aspiration. AUM has no equal. AUM has infinite Power. Just by repeating AUM, we can realise God.

When you chant AUM, try to feel that God is climbing up and down within you. Hundreds of seekers in India have realised God simply by repeating AUM. AUM is the symbol of God, the Creator.

No matter how grave one’s sin is, if one chants AUM a few times from the depth of one’s heart, the omnipotent Compassion of God will forgive and redeem the victim. In the twinkling of an eye, the power of AUM transforms darkness into light, ignorance into knowledge and death into Immortality.

Question: Should meditation always be preceded by chanting AUM?

Sri Chinmoy: No. I sometimes do it, but it is not at all necessary. When I first started my spiritual journey, I was fond of this divine sound which represents God in three forms: God as Creator, God as Preserver and God as Transformer. When we begin our meditation, we can first enter into God the Creator who is creating aspiration in us. Then we can feel that God the Preserver is preserving us to continue our divine journey. Finally, we can feel that God the Transformer is transforming our ignorance into wisdom at every moment. He is transforming our unlit consciousness into the illumined consciousness, our darkness into light, our falsehood into the plenitude of truth. The chanting is not at all necessary, but if one wants to get inspiration, it can be helpful.

Question: Will you please tell me briefly about the soundless sound?

Sri Chinmoy: The most significant mantra is AUM, which is called the soundless sound, anahata nada. Anahata means ‘that which is not struck.’ If I strike something you will hear a sound. But the sound of AUM is created without any collision; therefore, it is called the unstruck sound, the sound that is not made by striking something. Yogis, great spiritual figures and all who are far advanced in the spiritual life hear the soundless sound in the inmost recesses of their hearts.

If you repeat the mantra AUM every day for two hours, three hours, or four hours, you will get the vibration of that sound within your heart. You will not have to strike your heart in order to hear this sound, but by repeating the word AUM outwardly, you get the sound inwardly. When the soundless sound is vibrating constantly in your heart, your whole body is surcharged with divine knowledge, divine light, divine power. If you practise only that mantra, that is enough to take you to God. The syllable AUM is the most effective mantra. Again, if you want to hear the soundless sound, you can aspire all the time, saying, “O God, descend into me and make me hear the soundless sound.” But the easiest and the most effective method is to repeat the mantra itself. AUM is the symbol of God, the Supreme.

Question: Guru, can the experience that AUM will give me be visual and auditory and will it bring me consciously closer to God?

Sri Chinmoy: Absolutely! It will do everything. It will be visible, it will be audible and it will bring you closer to God within you. AUM is the mother of all mantras. AUM is God’s sound. Every second God is creating Himself anew inside AUM. This sound He used to create the world; this sound He uses to preserve the world; this sound He is using to transform the world.

Question: How are we actually supposed to chant AUM?

Sri Chinmoy: There are various ways to chant AUM. When we chant AUM with tremendous soul’s power, what we actually do is enter into the cosmic vibration where the creation is in perfect harmony and where the cosmic Dance is being danced by the Absolute. If we chant AUM soulfully, we become one with the cosmic Dance; we become one with God the Creator, God the Preserver and God the Transformer. All that God has within and without, AUM can offer to us, because AUM is at once the Life, the Body and the Breath of God. This is what an Indian seeker or an Indian spiritual Master feels when he chants AUM.

If you get an attack on the emotional vital plane and wrong thoughts, wrong ideas, wrong vibrations enter into you, repeat AUM or the name of the Supreme as fast as possible. Do not chant slowly. When you are trying to cleanse your mind of impurities you must chant as if you were running to catch a moving train.

When you do japa, do not prolong your chanting too much. If you prolong the syllable AUM, you won’t have the time to chant five hundred or six hundred times. Just say the syllable in a normal but soulful way so that you will get the vibration.

I know that some of you repeat AUM and ‘Supreme’ at home. It is wonderful that you practise this, but please practise it aloud, not silently. Let the sound of the mantra vibrate even in your physical ears and permeate your entire body.

Question: Can we hear AUM inwardly if we can't say it out loud?

Sri Chinmoy: It is quite possible to utter the word AUM silently or to hear it inwardly without actually saying it. Wherever we are, the sound of AUM is already there. We have only to enter into the sound. If we know how to enter into the original source of the sound, which is inside the heart, then we need not chant aloud. We chant AUM aloud because when the outer mind is convinced, we get greater joy and a greater sense of achievement. We can very often hear the sound of AUM without chanting it ourselves, but we do not know whether it is coming from our heart or from the atmosphere.

Sometimes during our meditation seekers hear the sound of AUM although nobody is chanting it aloud. This means that inwardly somebody has chanted or is chanting AUM and the meditation room has preserved the sound. If we are conscious during sleep, we will hear the sound. It is not the heartbeat we will hear, but the soundless sound. We will hear and feel it most convincingly.

If you want to meditate while you are in some public place where there are all kinds of noise, what can you do? If you go deep within, from inside either you can bring to the fore just a drop of infinite Peace, or you can bring forward a louder sound. That louder sound is not a destructive sound, but a sound that contains indomitable power. It gives us the feeling of how potentially great and divine we are. If you can bring your indomitable power to the fore and become one with the force which is coming from your heart, you will see that the outer noises of the world are no match for your inner sound.

When you are surrounded by outer noises, try to enter into your own inner sound itself. To your surprise, you will see that the sounds which disturbed you one minute ago do not bother you now. On the contrary, you will get a sense of achievement because instead of hearing noise, you will hear divine music, and that divine music is produced within you.

Question: AUM is not a term which is meaningful to us in our culture.

Sri Chinmoy: True. In your culture the most significant word is ‘God’. In India, we repeat AUM or the name of a cosmic god or goddess, like Shiva or Kali. In chanting a mantra the most important thing is to know in what aspect of the Supreme we have absolute faith. I use the word ‘God’ here in the West because I know that all your life you have been trained to pray to God. But today AUM can enter into you with all its significance. The time will come when you can go deeper within, and if ‘AUM’ inspires you more than ‘God’ then you should chant AUM. It is the inspiration that you get which is of the utmost importance. You can chant the word ‘God’ if that gives you more inspiration.


In man is God’s activity.
In God is man’s certainty.
In God’s activity is man’s Immortality.
In man’s certainty is God’s Reality.

The power of purity1

Purity is the light of our soul expressing its divinity through the body, the vital and the mind. When we are pure we gain everything. If we can retain our purity, we will never lose anything worth keeping. Today we may have great thoughts or great inner power, but tomorrow we are bound to lose them if we are not pure. Purity is the Breath of the Supreme. When purity leaves us, the Breath of the Supreme also leaves. Then we are left with only our human breath.

Purity means following the dictates of our Inner Pilot without allowing undivine forces to enter into us. Wherever there is a lack of purity there is obscurity, which is the pioneer of death. What we call obscurity today, is death for us tomorrow. Purity is the only thing that can sustain our divinity. If there is no purity, there is no certainty. If there is no purity, there is no spontaneity. If there is no purity, there is no constant flow of divinity inside us.

In purity there is divine magic. If we can hold one single pure thought during our meditation, then for hours we will derive benefit from that pure thought. During that time our worst weaknesses are transformed into real strengths. We all know that quantity and quality are not the same. We all care for quality and not for quantity. But the more we develop divine purity, the greater becomes our inner strength. With purity, quality and quantity go together. Purity is like a divine magnet. It pulls all divine qualities into us. When we have purity, the world is filled with pride in us. If Mother Earth houses a single pure soul, her joy knows no bounds. She says, “Here, at least, is a soul I can rely upon.”

We should have purity in our thoughts, in our ideas, in our feelings, in our conversation, in all that we say, all that we do, all that we feel and all that we are. We can make our entire life like a flower in a garden. If we identify our consciousness with the flower, we can never have impure feelings. But even if we remain inside the garden, if we don’t consciously identify with a flower or with the garden itself, then we will remain impure.

Purity must be established in our entire existence. The body should also have the purity of the soul. For that, cleanliness and good health are required. Purity is something we must have inside us all the time, not something we can get from somewhere else when we need it. Purity is something to be lived. It is an integral state of divine consciousness.

Once purity is established, especially in the vital, much is accomplished in one’s inner life and outer life. In human purity abides God’s highest Divinity. Man’s purity is God’s Breath. Purity is tremendous power. We can accomplish anything with purity. But if we lose our purity, although we may have power, wealth or influence, we will crumble; we can easily fall.

All spiritual aspirants, without exception, have seen and felt the necessity of purity. Today they climb the inner Mount Everest on the strength of their highest purity, but tomorrow they fall down into the lowest abyss because of impurity. Purity lost, everything is lost; God Himself is lost. Purity won, the world is won; the entire universe is won.

  1. AUM 1311. From Sri Chinmoy's forthcoming book, Purity: Divinity's Little Sister


God’s Grace is man’s salvation.
Man’s life is God’s Compassion.
God is the action in man.
Man is the meaning of God.

The seance1

There once lived in America a very great spiritual Master who had only twenty-five disciples. Nine of the disciples lived in the same city as the Master. The others lived in neighbouring cities. One day the Master decided to take a journey to one of his other Centres. Since the Master was not sure that he would return by the time the evening meditation was to start, he had to find somebody to conduct the meeting. One of his disciples, a middle-aged man named Rakhal, asked the Master if he could do it.

At one time Rakhal used to be a Guru himself. He used to hold seances for elderly ladies and he had a small following. When he first started going to the Master’s meditations, he brought with him his own followers. But they saw the great difference between Rakhal and the Master, so they left Rakhal and became the Master’s disciples. After a while Rakhal also became the Master’s disciple, but he still felt that he was a leader in a sense. So when he asked permission to conduct the meeting in the Master’s absence, the Master said, “All right. Since many of my disciples are your admirers, you do it.”

That night Rakhal conducted his first meeting since he had lost all his followers. Now, Rakhal was ego incarnate and he insisted on conducting the meeting in his own way. He said, “Everybody will sit around the table and hold hands. In this way we will form a ring so that the hostile forces can’t come.”

Some of the disciples who had not known Rakhal when he was a Guru in his own right began to protest. “This is not the way the Master conducts meetings,” they said.

“I know what is best. Master told me to conduct the meeting, and he gave me the inner message about how he wants it done,” said Rakhal.

So they sat around a table and held hands and then Rakhal said, “Now let us invoke the Master’s spirit seven times. If we invoke him, then the hostile forces will leave us.”

One of the women in the group said, “Leave us? When did they ever attack us?”

Rakhal said, “The hostile forces always attack us. They are always there, so the first thing we have to do is throw them out.”

The group began invoking the Master while they were holding one another’s hands. Then, each time they chanted the Master’s name, they slapped their hands down on the table. Each chant was louder and more powerful than the preceding one and they began slapping the table harder and harder.

By the fifth time Rakhal was getting carried away and he was shouting the Master’s name as loud as he could and pounding the table with all his might. Right next to him was a very rich elderly lady. Suddenly he pressed her hand so hard that she let out a scream.

“Hah!” Rakhal said. “Now the hostile forces are really leaving us.”

But the lady became furious and she picked up her shoe and struck Rakhal on the knee with its heel. Then he let out a scream and a real shouting match began. It was at this point that the Master walked into the room. He was shocked beyond belief. “Is this the kind of meeting you conduct in my absence?” he asked.

“No, Master,” said Rakhal. “It is all her fault. Here we were trying to invoke your presence so soulfully and all of a sudden she starts screaming and carrying on like anything.”

The lady was so angry she could hardly speak. She came up to the Master and said, “That brute almost broke my hand. He was pressing my hand so hard when we were chanting your name that I thought it was going to break. Is this the way you told him to invoke you? What kind of Master are you, anyway?”

The poor Master had just come from a most sublime meditation in a neighbouring city. During the meditation he had gone into a very high Samadhi, and even now it was difficult for him to come down. But to come down into this was really unbearable. From where to where! Finally he asked everybody to go home and said he would discuss the matter with them all the next day.

The next evening, Rakhal came into the Centre with a big bandage around his knee. And the elderly lady came in with her hand in a sling. Neither one was speaking to the other and they wouldn’t even look at one another. Each was waiting for the Master to take his side and criticise the other mercilessly.

When the Master came into the room, he made no mention of the previous day’s incident, but went into a high meditation. The whole evening the Master remained in Samadhi and afterwards there was such a peace in the room that no one could even speak. Everybody filed out of the meditation room in silence.

The next time they met together, the lady’s hand seemed miraculously cured and Rakhal no longer had his leg wrapped in a bandage. Neither one mentioned the incident again and it was soon forgotten.

  1. AUM 1313. From Sri Chinmoy's forthcoming book, The Master's Self-Appointed Emissary


To feel the absence of ego is as difficult as to feel the presence of God in one’s heart. To feel the absence of ego is as difficult as to feel the presence of God in one’s self.

Man is ‘I’. God is ‘We’. Similarly, the ego is ‘I’; the soul is ‘We’. On the strength of its absolute oneness with God, the soul feels the entire universe as its very own. The soul knows and feels that the omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent God is within us. The soul sees and feels that it can sooner or later manifest the infinite Truth here on earth.

The ego does not see the truth; it does not feel the truth. The ego binds. The ego separates. The ego casts asunder the wisdom in us. When the ego expresses itself through self-delusion, it tells us that we can do nothing. Again, before we have achieved our soul’s liberation and perfection, the same ego tells us we are everything, we can do everything.

Ego is selfishness. He is lucky indeed who has freed himself from selfishness. God is in self-dedication, in selfless-service. At the same time, he is blessed who sees God emerging from selfishness itself. In the process of evolution we have to go beyond selfishness, beyond the ego. But we have no right to deny the existence of God in the ego. Even in the ego God abides. He also abides in doubt, in fear, in ignorance and in bondage, but that does not mean that we will cherish fear, doubt, ignorance and bondage. No, God’s Consciousness in these things is extremely limited. We have to transcend our limitations. Today’s achievements are not enough. We are the children of tomorrow. There is no end to our progress. There is no end to our soul’s journey. We are running toward Infinity, and the shore of Infinity always transcends itself. There is no limit to our realisation.

No doubt we are infinitely superior to the wild beasts. Yet we consciously drink two bottles of ignorance-wine. One is the bottle of ego. The other is the bottle of self-doubt. Self-doubt has to be transcended. Ego has to be transcended. Man used the terms ‘I’ and ‘mine’ because he feels that these things constantly feed him. But the real God-lover wants to be fed by God’s Grace and God’s Compassion. A true seeker of God, a true lover of God, will use the terms ‘Thou’ and ‘Thine’. He dines with illumination and God’s Compassion. He drinks the nectar of divine delight. He enjoys the bliss of oneness.

There are many inner thieves, but the worst of all these thieves is undoubtedly our ego. This thief can steal away all our divinity. Not only are our experiences afraid of this ego-thief, but even our realisation, our partial realisation, is afraid of it. We have to be very careful of this ego-thief.

Our human ego wants to do something great, grand and unique. But this unique thing need not be the thing that God wants us to do. It is always nice to be able to do great things, but perhaps God has not chosen us to do that particular thing. God may have chosen us to do something insignificant in the outer world. But in the Eye of God, he is the greatest devotee who performs his God-ordained duty soulfully and devotedly, no matter how insignificant it may seem.

Each man is a chosen child of God. Similarly, each man is destined to play a significant part in God’s divine Game. But each person has to know what God wants from him. When one becomes aware of God’s plan for him, then he abides by God’s decision. When God sees that particular person performing the role that He chose for him, then only will God be filled with divine Pride. Our ego will try to achieve and to perform great things, but in God’s Eye we can never be great unless and until we do what God wants us to do.

Ego comes to us in the form of self-flattery. When we remove the mirror of self-flattery from before our eyes and in its place we hold the mirror of truth, what do we see? We see that we are nothing but semi-animals. We are afraid of seeing the truth face-to-face. Truth seems painful. But the ultimate Truth is not painful. It is our ego, our doubt and our pride that make truth painful. The truth seems destructive, but that is not the real truth. Truth is sweet. Truth is harmonious. Truth is all-fulfilling. But we do not see truth the way truth has to be seen. We see truth according to our self-conceived ideas. Truth has to be seen in its own way.

The ordinary, common human ego feels that it has achieved everything and that it knows everything. This reminds me of an anecdote which Swami Vivekananda related to the Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893. It is called “The frog in the well.”

It happened that a frog was born and brought up in a well. One day a frog from the field jumped into the well. The first frog said to the other, “Where do you come from?”

The second frog said, “I come from the field."

“Field? How big is it?” said the first frog.

“Oh, it is very big,” said the second.

So the frog from the well stretched and stretched its legs and said, “Is it as big as this?”

“No, bigger! Much bigger!” said the frog from the field.

The other frog jumped from one end of the well to the other and said, “This must be as big as the length of a field.”

The second frog said, “No, the field is infinitely vaster.”

“You are a liar!” said the first frog. “I am throwing you out of here.”

This kind of thing is also the tendency of our human ego. Great spiritual Masters and sages speak of Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. The beginner who is just starting his spiritual life will immediately doubt. “Is Infinity a little larger than the sky?” he will ask. The sage will say, “No, Infinity is infinitely larger than your imagination, larger than your conception.” Immediately the sage will be criticised and will become an object of ridicule, because our ego binds us and makes us feel that what we have seen and what we have realised can never be surpassed by the realisation and experience of others. The ego does not like to feel that someone else has more capacity or that someone else can do something which it cannot do.

I am sure all of you have heard of Shankara, the great Vedantin. A Vedantin is one who follows the truths embodied in the Vedas or the Upanishads and who has realised the Vedic Law, the Vedic Truth. The great Vedantin Shankara, after a bath in the Ganges, was walking home along the street. It happened that a butcher carrying a piece of meat brushed against him. Shankara became furious and said, “I am a Brahmin! How dare you touch me! I am absolutely pure!”

The butcher said, “O Shankara, you are the Self; I am the Self. The Self does not touch anybody, and at the same time the Self is not touched by anybody.” Shankara came back to his senses.

In our day-to-day life, each human being feels that he is purer than others. He may do absurd things, he may be the prince of emotional affairs, but still he feels that he is superior to others in the realm of purity. Now, who is responsible for his foolishness? It is his ego. If we live in the soul, we do not have problems of superiority or inferiority because the soul immediately makes us feel that we are one, absolutely one, with the entire world.

Brahmosmi means in Sanskrit, “I am the Brahman.” It is the expression of the soul which has attained conscious oneness with the Absolute. But the tricky ego sometimes makes us say, “I am God.” Shankara had a disciple who used to imitate him in every way. When Shankara realised God, the absolute Brahman, he started saying, “I am the Brahman.” So this disciple used to say, “I am the Brahman.” All the other disciples used to mock and scold him. “You must not dare to say that you are the Brahman,” they said. “Master Shankara can say this, for he has realised God, but you must not.” But the disciple would say that he wanted to imitate his Master in every way. One day Shankara asked this disciple to follow him. They came to a foundry and Shankara took a lump of molten gold and devoured it. Then he told his disciple, “Since you imitate me in everything, you should imitate me in this, too.” The disciple was scared to death and left the place. The other disciples then knew that they had been right, and that they must never utter the word Brahmosmi unless and until they had actually attained that conscious and inseparable oneness. When that disciple transcended his ego and his emotions, he became a real, intimate devotee of Shankara. But first he had to get rid of the ordinary human ego and enter sincerely into the world of aspiration and realisation.

If we try to imitate the words and actions of the great Masters while we are still immersed in the ordinary life, it will be sheer foolishness. We have to grow in the field of spirituality first. This field is full of experiences. After that we can enter into the field of realisation. Then we will also be able to say, “God and I are one.” Right now we are not one with God consciously. In the realm of the soul we are one, but not in our day-to-day life. In our daily life we feel that God is somebody separate from us. Eventually we are bound to discover that this very God is inside us. One day we will be able to realise Him; we will be able to see Him and feel Him constantly. It is sheer foolishness and stupidity on our part to say that we are one with God while we remain in utter ignorance. We have to come out of ignorance and soulfully and devotedly become consciously one with God. Then, if it is the Will of God, in order to teach humanity, in order to arouse humanity from its agelong slumber of ignorance, we can proclaim that we are one with God, that we are God’s chosen children, here on earth to fulfil God in His own way.

At one time ego will make us feel that we are nothing and at another time ego will make us feel that we are everything. We have to be very careful of both our feelings of importance and our feelings of unimportance. We have to say that if God wants us to be nothing, then we will gladly be nothing and if God wants us to be everything, we will be everything gladly. We have to surrender unconditionally and cheerfully to the Will of God.

If the ego tells us that we are only God’s slaves, this idea has to be renounced. We have only to pray to God to make us what He wants us to be. If He wants us to be His peers, we shall be. If He wants us to be His slaves, we shall be. If He wants us to be His true representatives on earth, we shall be. “Let Thy Will be done.” This is the greatest prayer that we can offer to God. In the sincere depths of this prayer is the extinction or transformation of human ego.

  1. AUM 1314. From Sri Chinmoy's forthcoming book, Two Devouring Brothers: Doubt and Ego


There is and there can be only one definition of today’s man: Man the God of tomorrow.


AUM 1316-1318. From Sri Chinmoy's forthcoming book, Problems! Problems! are they really problems?

Question: I work in a warehouse and the atmosphere is very unspiritual. How can I keep the undivine consciousness from my job and the outside world from interfering with my spiritual growth?

Sri Chinmoy: For an aspirant, especially in the beginning, it is advisable to do some work which is congenial to his spiritual growth. You have told me that the place where you are working now is not at all spiritual, that you are the only person there who cares for the spiritual life. Everyone else there is enjoying the animal life. If you have come to the point where your spiritual life is the most important thing to you, then I wish to tell you that you should give up that job. If you leave this job, what are you going to lose? If you take some other job, you may get less salary, but what will you gain? In terms of money you will earn less, but in terms of peace, light and bliss you will earn more, much more.

If you were well advanced in the spiritual life and had been meditating for many years and already you had achieved some peace, light and bliss in your outer nature and in your inner life, then I would advise you to act like a lion and not be afraid of anything. With your divine capacity you would face the world bravely. But this is a time of preparation in your life. You are not yet surcharged with inner light, peace and power. The day will dawn, in the near or distant future, when you will be able to stand and fight like a divine soldier, but right now it is necessary to adopt a temporary means of release from unnecessary outer attacks. This is not a permanent escape. Only, at this time you are not ready to wrestle successfully with the worst forces of the outside world. You are not strong enough inwardly. But the day will come when, no matter where you are working or who your associates are, you will be able to stand on your own spiritual strength.

Now you have two enemies. One enemy is outside you and visible in the form of outer disharmony and ignorance. The other enemy is your own ignorance and imperfection. You have to fight with your inner enemy constantly, twenty-four hours a day. From that enemy there is no possibility of release until you have conquered it. So for the time being you have to pay the utmost attention to perfecting yourself in the inner world. You can certainly find some job which will not stand in the way of your new spiritual experiences and realisations. In this way, you can minimise the obstructions and attacks of the outer world, and this will help you immensely in your inner life of aspiration.

Question: Sometimes when I am very happy because I have had a very good meditation, the next day I get depressed. Why does that happen?

Sri Chinmoy: The reason is that hostile forces, undivine forces, become very annoyed that you have made progress. They are always alert and they are alarmed to see that you have made enormous progress through your good meditation. They are afraid that tomorrow you will make the same kind of progress and they will lose you for good. The undivine forces do not want to allow that, so they attack you. Only if you fight them can you continue to make progress.

How do these forces attack you? There are various ways. One way is that when you have had a significant experience, they come and say, “You have done so many things wrong. You don’t deserve what Guru, out of his infinite kindness, has given you.” Then the subtle ego inside you says, “It is true. I don’t deserve that, so I won’t keep it,” and you just give it up. Although you have come to me with utmost humility and devoted qualities, these forces are so clever that they convince you that you didn’t deserve what you received. In this world nobody wants to be a beggar; nobody wants to be an object of pity. The moment you hear that you didn’t deserve it, you don’t want it. Instead, you should say, “I worked for three or four hours. I meditated and I was happy. That is why he gave me the capacity to have that experience.” The only time these hostile forces can enter is when you allow them. If you are adamant in rejecting them, then they have to leave you.

Another way the hostile forces attack you is by giving you an inferiority complex. If you think that the person who sat beside you had a better meditation than you, that feeling is very bad. In the outer world we compete. “I was defeated by so-and-so or I defeated so-and-so,” is what human beings say in the outer world. But in the inner world there is no competition, or at least competition is one-sided: with oneself alone. You will compete with your own doubt, fear, anxiety, jealousy and so forth.

In the outer world you have only two or three competitors and this competition will last for a day. But in the inner world you have many competitors. Fear, doubt, anxiety, depression, worry and many others are all ready to rob you of your joy. They come to you and say, “Yesterday we lost, but today we are here to challenge you again.” What happens then? You are not prepared, but they have challenged you and with your little ego you say, “All right, I accept your challenge.” Then fear comes and runs ahead of you while doubt holds your legs, and jealousy pulls you backward. If they were fair competitors, before the big race they would agree to run properly, but they don’t. Just before you start, anxiety will come and strangle you. So you have to be really ready to run. You must be fully prepared so that when the competition begins, they won’t have a chance.

When you have a divine experience, if you can hold its reality inside you for a few days, then it becomes solid. At that time, the hostile forces cannot enter. Try to hold your divine experiences very firmly, especially for the first few days. Always try to remember whenever you do something good. Forget about the bad things and do not allow the tricky hostile forces to remind you of them. They are not necessary; they are all dust. If you can remember only the good things, then you can make much progress.

Question: In the beginning of my spiritual life I had a lot of enthusiasm but it has waned. How can I continue to make steady progress?

Sri Chinmoy: When we launch into the spiritual life we need enthusiasm. Without it we won’t budge an inch. Enthusiasm is very good, but over-eagerness and impatience are bad. If we eat beyond our capacity, we will suffer from indigestion. In your case it was not enthusiasm. Like a greedy fellow you became over-eager and tried to eat too much. We must not feel that we will be able to realise God overnight, or that we are running in a competition and trying to beat everybody. We are really competing only with our own ignorance. We need patience as well as enthusiasm to win the race.

We must always feel that we have something to achieve and something to give. If we expect abundant peace of mind without self-giving, we are bound to be frustrated. But time is an important factor. We may think with all sincerity, “I am going to realise God tomorrow,” but our utmost sincerity won’t get us a master’s degree overnight. Sincerity is good, but we must also be wise. We have to know our capacity. If we decide that by such and such a date we have to realise God, then we are doomed to disappointment. We should remember that we are like a child who studies a year, then goes one grade higher. We also have to study, to meditate with greatest enthusiasm, but it is a mistake to set a date for the achievement of our goal. If we are sincere, God is bound to give us realisation at His choice Hour.

When a stove is turned on just a little, we may not see the flame at all. When we turn the handle quite far, we see the flame. In the spiritual life also, at first our aspiration is quite small. But gradually we turn a little more and a little more toward God. When we have turned completely to God, our aspiration-flame will burn brightly. In the spiritual life there comes a time, after five or fifteen or even thirty years, depending on God’s Will, when meditation is spontaneous. Once our meditation is spontaneous, we no longer experience enthusiasm for five minutes, and then spend the rest of the day in depression because we thought that during those five minutes we would earn millions of spiritual dollars.

It is always good to have enthusiasm in our life. Otherwise there will be no progress. But if we are over-eager, we will be trying to get things from God long before we are ready to receive them. We are running toward our destination, but if we try to go beyond our capacity we will only stumble and fall and bruise ourselves. This can only delay our progress ultimately. So let us be patient and content to go a little slowly, but steadily and surely.


God is the “I am” in man.
Man is the Dream-Boat of God.

Aphorisms on man and God


I see myself as another stupendous failure.
God sees me as another God.


God is. I am. God is my Breath. I am God’s Life.
God has. I have. God has in me His transcendental Vision. I have in God my supreme Reality.


To serve God I need one thing: Joy.
To help mankind I need one thing: Patience.
To love God I need one thing: Purity’s breath.
To love mankind I need one thing: Humility’s soul.


God thinks of me. What more can I want?
God loves me. What more can I need?
I think of God. Because He is the only Thought.
I love God. Because He is the only Love.

Bengali song — Shok tap

Shok tap jetha nai
Setha jete chai
Kusumita hridayer
Alomoi pakhi
Heshechhila e dharani
Mor bedanai
Prana-shaka dao more
Prema sudha rakhi

My bird of light in the blossomed heart
Wants to go where there is no grief, no bereavement.
The world once mocked at my excruciating pangs.
O Beloved of my heart, grant me the cord of love-nectar.