Beyond likes and dislikes: illumining questions and answers

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Question: Guru, are there any qualities that human beings consider to be virtues or good qualities which God does not consider to be good qualities?1

Sri Chinmoy: Human beings think they are good, but God does not think they are good?

Question: Or God does not think they are significant or important.

Sri Chinmoy: If human beings think something is good, God will definitely take it as something valuable. Only you have to know what kind of consciousness the individual has at that time, and how much value he gives to that virtue or good quality. Value God will also give, but perhaps God may not give the same value to that quality at that particular moment. At a particular time, at a particular level of consciousness, we may value something more than God values it. Again, God may value some quality of ours which we do not value to the same extent. But if it is a good quality, definitely God will value it. The only question is at what point and in what consciousness we see the quality. But there is no particular quality that man values and God does not value.

God will definitely value a quality if man values it. I say and everybody says that truth is a supremely good quality. Truth is always good. But if some truth is divulged that really hurts someone, it can create serious problems. If at the wrong moment some truth is divulged, that also can create such serious problems. Truth itself will not do any harm. The truth has been told many times with no bad consequences. Nothing can be greater than the truth. But if the truth is spoken at the wrong moment by the wrong person, then it can create a serious disaster.

Again, God will say that wisdom is needed. With everything in our life, with any good quality or virtue in our life, we have to use the wisdom-virtue first. There can be serious problems if wisdom-virtue does not regulate other virtues. The others are also virtues, true; but we may run into very, very serious problems if we do not use wisdom to regulate them.

From our childhood, from the very start of our life-existence on earth, we say truth is good. But there are so many truths. Spiritual Masters know millions of truths. Sri Aurobindo said that there are some truths, some realities, that it will be a serious mistake to utter untimely, or even to tell at any time.

How many secrets a spiritual Master knows, not only on the outer plane but also on the inner plane! I tell many secrets. The disciples say, "O my God, Guru tells us so many secrets!" But how many millions of secrets I hold, that God alone knows. I tell some secrets, but if I tell you ten, you will not be able to hold more than ten. Those are outer secrets. But in the inner world, if I tell the secrets that I know about the past, hundreds of years ago, or even what is going to happen tomorrow, then you may say, "Why, why, why did I have to know?"

Let us say some accident has taken place, or someone is suffering from an illness. In India, someone may have cancer, or some other ailment. Four, five or six months ago I knew about it. When the time comes, the person will go to the doctor and the doctor will tell him. But if I tell the individual about it untimely, it will only create serious, serious problems. To know the truth is one thing; but to tell the truth at the wrong moment is a totally different thing. Knowing is all right. But some people, when they know something, cannot keep it a secret. People tell secrets much faster than non-secrets.

As I said before, wisdom is by far the best virtue. Otherwise, your human eyes will convince you that what you see is true. How can it be something other than that? This balloon is blue: you see it. Everybody is seeing that this balloon is blue. That is the truth. You are speaking the gospel truth: it is blue, blue, blue. Ten persons will say it is blue. Then, if a spiritual Master says, "No, it is not blue, it is green," an ordinary person will say, "Oh no, it is blue, blue." If one individual says, "Yes, it is green," then everybody else will say, "He is just stupid! He is a fanatic. How can it be? Everybody sees it is blue. Only the Master says it is green."

That is how Sri Krishna examined Arjuna and the Pandava and Kaurava brothers. Whatever Yudhishthira and the others saw as the colour of the fruit, everybody was of the same opinion. But Arjuna's wisdom was to wait for Sri Krishna to say what he wanted to say. People would criticise Sri Krishna if he said something other than what their eyes were seeing. It was blue. Why did he have to say it was some other colour? Those people, from the factual point of view, had told the truth. But beyond truth, beyond even morality, comes oneness with the Master's will. Arjuna had that wisdom. He said, "Why shall I say if the fruit is blue or green? If Sri Krishna says it is blue, I will say the same. If Sri Krishna wants to say it is green, then it is green." Oneness with the Master's will, oneness with God's Will, has no parallel. Arjuna knew that Sri Krishna was God, and he had oneness with Sri Krishna's will.

From the ordinary human point of view, people would think that Sri Krishna was saying something absurd. Everybody knew what colour the fruit was. Why did Sri Krishna have to say a totally different colour? But Sri Krishna wanted to see how much human beings could identify themselves with his will. By saying the fruit was a different colour from what others were seeing, Arjuna was not losing anything. He was only becoming one with Sri Krishna's will. The mind was telling others something, and it was the truth. But beyond the mind is the highest consciousness, the Transcendental Consciousness, which is the Consciousness of Sri Krishna. If you can please Sri Krishna on the mental level, which is called the morality level, then you can go higher. He wants to see how much you can become one with him on this level or that level or any other level.

For ordinary people, their reality is fixed. If something appears black, it is black. If it appears red, it is red. They will not change their opinion. But spirituality is totally different. In spirituality, at this moment Lord Krishna may tell the seeker to sit down, at the next moment to stand up, and at the next moment to run. The moment after that, he may say to lie down and sleep and snore. If he says something is good, it is good. At every moment, the seeker has to be at Sri Krishna's behest.

Who is responsible for what you say and do in this case? Sri Krishna himself is telling you what to do, so he will be responsible. If you think that you have told a lie and therefore you have to go to hell, you will see that Sri Krishna will be there to welcome you! He will be the first person to welcome you, because you told a so-called lie to become one with his will.

To please the Highest, to please one's Master, one has to go beyond everything, beyond likes and dislikes. As long as we are caught in the net of likes and dislikes, we cannot do anything. We will never be able to please God, the Supreme, as long as we care for our likes and dislikes. Every second, we like something or we do not like it; we will do something or we will not do it. If we remain with our likes and dislikes, then we can forget and forget about God-realisation, we can forget about inner peace.

Inner peace comes only when we go beyond likes and dislikes. The mind's so-called peace is silly. The peace that the mind has does not last more than five seconds. The peace that the heart has can last for days, weeks or months. But the peace that the soul has lasts forever.

The inner existence is the soul. If we become one with the soul's will, then we get the soul's peace, the soul's poise. Nothing is more illumining or more fulfilling than peace. That peace we have only in the soul's world. We have to go to the right tree to get the fruit. If we go to the mango tree, then only will we get mangoes. We do not get mangoes from any other tree. Similarly, we can go to the soul and bring down peace. Of course, the soul also gets peace from a Source, and that Source is the Supreme. Then we can bring peace to the heart, bring it to the mind, bring it to the vital and to the body. Nothing can be more fulfilling than an iota of peace.

Everything on earth that gives us ordinary happiness is a joke, everything! This happiness lasts for only five seconds. Afterwards, our ordinary happiness has no meaning. After two hours, happiness is gone. Is there any happiness that keeps its power for more than two hours? Again, suppose we say we want power or something else. Two or three hours after we get that power, who knows where the intensity of our happiness goes? Like a balloon, either it bursts or it flies away. The real happiness, which is peace, lasts, lasts, lasts and lasts, if we can get it from the soul or from the Supreme.

Your question is answered?

Question: Yes, it is answered. Thank you, Guru.

Sri Chinmoy: Do you want more clarification?

Question: Guru, if you feel like expanding on this answer, I will be very happy.

Sri Chinmoy: I do not know what else to say. You have to poke from another angle! How many angles can I capture? I am ready to speak. If you ask whether there is an open road in another direction, then I will say yes, there is another open road.

BLD 1-13. Sri Chinmoy answered the following questions at his home in September 1997.

Question: Guru, may I ask you about the experience of Arjuna and Sri Krishna in the story that you told? Was Arjuna's oneness with Sri Krishna such that if a balloon was blue and Sri Krishna said, "No, it is green," Arjuna's physical eyes literally saw it as green? He was not just agreeing; he was not just saying, "Yes, you are right." He literally would see it as a different colour. Was that the kind of oneness he had?

Sri Chinmoy: He literally saw it as that colour. At first he would not even say what he saw. But even if he said the object was a different colour, when Sri Krishna declared a particular colour, Arjuna would immediately see that that was the real colour, and he had made a mistake. At first, if Sri Krishna asked him, he might say one colour, or he would say, "Please tell me what colour it is." He would beg Sri Krishna to say what colour it was. Then Sri Krishna would tell him, and immediately he would see it was that colour. His physical eyes would see it that way.

In the beginning if he said another colour, and then Sri Krishna said something totally different, Arjuna would look at it and he would see exactly the same colour that Sri Krishna saw. His oneness with Sri Krishna was such that he would always see the same colour that Sri Krishna saw. In the case of others, there was no oneness, so whatever colour they saw at first was fixed in their mind. They declared, "That is the colour, that is the colour."

Very nice question!

Question: Did Arjuna realise God, Guru, in that incarnation?

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely he realised God.

Question: Through his oneness with Sri Krishna, or through spiritual practices?

Sri Chinmoy: Spiritual practices also he did — many, many, for years and years. And not only in that incarnation; before that incarnation he started. But in that incarnation, Arjuna got the utmost Grace, because Sri Krishna came into his life. The Mahabharata is not the beginning of our Indian creation, our Indian civilisation. That is why Sri Krishna said that he was this, he was that. Long before that incarnation, in his previous incarnation Sri Krishna was the sun, he was the moon.

In that incarnation Arjuna realised God. But again, realisation, fortunately or unfortunately, is not static. From that realisation he went on to many, many more. As I say, to be at the foot of the realisation-tree is a great achievement. Many people are millions or billions of miles away from the tree. Some people who are on the verge of God-realisation are only one or two or three or twenty or even one hundred miles away. Then again, some can come and sit at the foot of the tree for who knows how many years — perhaps two hundred or three hundred years. They are afraid of climbing, or Grace has not yet descended for them to climb up the tree. Others climb up, and then in many cases they do not want to come back down. They promise they will come back down, but they do not come back.

Again, there is one who becomes everything for the whole world. After he climbs up, he will become the tree itself. That is the Avatar. God wants him to become the entire tree — the trunk, the leaves, the flowers and the fruits. Others, like yogis or saints, touch the tree or go up a little higher and then stop. But when one is to become an Avatar, he has to become everything, not only the tree but countless leaves, flowers, fruits, fragrance — everything. At one moment he has to play the role of a tiny leaf, one among so many leaves. One part of him is playing the leaf, but one part becomes the trunk, which is so huge, and one part becomes the branches. Everything the Avatar has to do, everything.

Question: What is Arjuna doing now, Guru?

Sri Chinmoy: He has entered into the process of evolution. The soul has taken quite a few more incarnations. Lord Krishna gave him his entire Divinity, and he became completely merged with the Krishna-Consciousness. Krishna-Consciousness is all-pervading, but because Sri Krishna is known as the Lord, he remains the Lord. But again, by becoming one with the Krishna-Consciousness, Arjuna is doing infinite things for Lord Krishna, the way Lord Krishna is doing infinite things for mankind through Arjuna.

Question: In any of his other incarnations was Arjuna well known, when he was making further progress?

Sri Chinmoy: He was well known, very well known. Arjuna became many world figures.

Question: But not a world spiritual figure?

Sri Chinmoy: Not a spiritual figure, but many good figures. He became many world figures in a good sense, not in an undivine sense. Lord Krishna and Arjuna maintained their Divinity. They kept it.

Question: Would you please talk about the bad side and the good side of occult power?

Sri Chinmoy: In Sri Ramakrishna's day there was somebody who had occult power. He could show light from his back. Sri Ramakrishna took that power away from him. Now people may say, "How bad Sri Ramakrishna was! That occult power was somebody's possession. Why did he take it away? It was his. Why did Sri Ramakrishna grab it? He was so greedy!" But Sri Ramakrishna would say, "I am taking it away for his good. He is showing this power. He has not yet realised God, but he is showing his light. He is only creating a sensation for people, so I am doing him a favour. I took it away, I took it away." From the spiritual point of view, Sri Ramakrishna did the right thing, even though he took away somebody else's possession.

One of Sri Aurobindo's brothers left the Ashram. He also developed a kind of light. There was a dark room with absolutely no light in it. Sri Aurobindo's brother said, "Now take photographs." There was no flash, no light. He said, "For a minute or two I will illumine the room." There was no electric light, nothing; it was pitch black. He said, "Photographer, are you ready?" Then he brought light into the room and the photographer took a picture.

Then a report went to Sri Aurobindo, and Sri Aurobindo said, "Oh, this is what he is doing!" Sri Aurobindo was in Pondicherry, and his brother was in Calcutta. Sri Aurobindo took his brother's occult power away. His brother complained. He said, "What are you doing? You have so much power. Now you have to take away what is mine." Sri Aurobindo replied, "Yes, I have so much power. I am doing this for your good, for your good. I do not need your power, but by doing this kind of thing you are only drawing a crowd. Your God-realisation is still a far cry."

If my disciples develop some occult power, I will do the same. I will take it away from them. I will definitely take it away from them for their good. At one time in one of our Centres we had four or five self-proclaimed "God-realised" souls. One of them wrote to me and asked me to tell him how to use his so-called occult power wisely. He wanted me to advise him. What kind of occult power did he have? Eventually those "God-realised" people all left our path. One by one, all of them left.

Occult power and spiritual power are like the waves and the ocean. Occult power is like very, very huge waves. Spiritual power is like the ocean. Waves may frighten us, but even though the ocean is so vast, it does not frighten us. When huge waves come, then we get frightened.

Question: A lot of the time I have a crisis in my life.

Sri Chinmoy: Is there any day you do not have a crisis? A mind-made crisis! [laughter]

Question: Exactly! It feels like a spiritual crisis, but then I realise it is a mental crisis. It sometimes even comes down to the fact that it is a physical crisis. How do we deal with the physical so that it does not become a spiritual problem?

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes from a physical crisis, we get a spiritual crisis. Now I am speaking in the third person. Suppose someone has severe pain in his leg, for example. My own knee pain is so bad; it lasts for months and months. If an ordinary person had it, he would develop doubt, doubt in his prayer-life. That person would say, "I am praying and praying to God to cure my knee." Suppose God did not cure his knee at all. Then the person would say, "Either God does not care for me, or my prayer is not sincere, because we have heard that no sincere prayer ends in vain."

Now, that person's prayer may be very sincere; but if prayer is really sincere, then it must end in surrender. Sincerely he is praying, praying, praying to God to cure his knee. But if his prayer goes to the extreme — if he offers the ultimate prayer — it becomes surrender. At that time the seeker will say, "If that is what God wants, if He wants me to suffer from my knee pain, then let me suffer."

Before that point, we may doubt God's Compassion for us, or we may doubt the sincerity of our prayers. This is how a crisis starts with the physical. From the gross physical, a spiritual problem has started: loss of faith in oneself, in the Master, in God. It can start in the physical.

Then again, when there is a spiritual problem, it can manifest down to the physical. The number one spiritual problem is impurity. All spiritual problems have a root. At the root of the hostile forces is impurity.

Impurity takes different forms, different shapes. Impurity can be in the vital, the physical or the mind. Again, impurity from the mind, vital or body can enter into the heart. Even the heart can be made impure, but not the soul. No matter how impure I am in the physical, vital, mind or heart, that impurity is never going to touch the soul. The soul is beyond impurity, but even the heart can be impure.

I have some disciples whose hearts for years and years were extremely, extremely pure. 'Extremely' is the right word. But over the years their mental impurity, vital impurity and physical impurity became so powerful that they blighted the purity of the heart. When I look at those disciples who now have impurity in abundant measure in their hearts, I ask myself what happened. From the mind, vital and physical, impurity entered into the heart.

To start with, we were talking about the spiritual. I said that from a physical problem, one doubt can come and ruin everything. From the mind, the vital and even the heart, when impurity enters — depression, frustration, jealousy, insecurity — everything can be ruined. The root of the problem is impurity, but at one point it manifests in a particular way and we call it insecurity, jealousy or some other undivine quality.

The Ganges flows here and there. At different places it has different names. Again, a train goes from here to there. Each station has a different name, but it is the same train, part of the same line. My father was head of the Assam Bengal Railway. From one point to another, there may be a few hundred stations. It is the same train, only here the station has one name, there it has another name, and at a third place it has a third name. But it starts from one source, and the source of that particular train line has only one name. When our impurity comes to one point, it is called jealousy; at another point it is called frustration; somewhere else it is self-doubt, or rivalry, or ego. The train goes to all the stations, and each one has a different name.

What happens? Every day people who take care of the line check it so that the train is not delayed. In exactly the same way, we have good beings inside us who try to protect us. Each of us has guardian angels or some inner beings who protect us, or try to protect us. Like the people who check the train line, they try to enter into the mind, the vital or the physical when there are wrong forces in these parts of the being. The guardian angels or inner beings try to illumine us and protect us. Every day they check, like the people who are supposed to check the train line.

One day, if they are not careful, on the way a serious calamity may take place. All of a sudden, the vital revolts because of frustration. The seeker says to himself, "For so many days I have been struggling, for so many months, and I am not making any progress." When the vital revolts, what suffers the most? The physical. When the mind revolts, the vital suffers the most, and other parts of the being also suffer. If one part revolts, if the mind revolts, the other parts will suffer, and the heart suffers, too. The soul can remain far beyond suffering. If it wants to suffer, it can; but usually it says, "No, I do not want to suffer. I will only throw light into the vital and into the mind."

We have a mental crisis, and then we get a physical ailment. If the ailment does not go away after some time, we start to doubt our prayers or we doubt God's Compassion. When the spiritual crisis starts, whether from impurity, jealousy or insecurity, if we do not take care of it, if we do not cure it, then revolt comes. Revolt means that we leave the path, we give up spirituality. If we do not cure ourselves of those wrong forces in the mind, then what do we do? We may leave the path, we may speak ill of the Master, we may speak ill of spirituality itself. This is how the crisis starts. Everything in us revolts. We say to ourselves, "I do not want it any more, I do not want it any more. I tried and tried for years. I was on the path for twenty-five years. If there were anything there, would I not have received it by this time? There is nothing; it is all a joke."

Is it clear? From a physical crisis it becomes a spiritual crisis, or from a spiritual crisis it can become a physical crisis. Then our physical body leaves the path. This is what happens. The crisis may start in the mind. Then it goes to the physical, revolt comes, and we leave the path.

If we do not go beyond likes and dislikes, will we ever realise the Highest? I have realised the Highest. When I lived in the Ashram, raw eggs I had to deliver in a small casket to twenty of the Divine Mother's favourites. The Mother would write the names of her favourite disciples on the eggs. Perhaps I happened to be one of those. Whenever she was pleased with me, she used to give me two raw eggs. For my name, she would always write 'Chin'. Everybody's name was written on the eggs. I had to cycle here, there and everywhere to deliver them. There was cotton or something soft around the eggs, so that I would not break them. I had to go to so many places on my bicycle!

Sometimes, when I was living in the mind, I thought, "What am I doing, cycling from place to place?" Did I enjoy it? Yet, how much devoted service I performed! Like or dislike: if you do not like it, you have to do it anyway. Luckily I never dropped the eggs! I am telling you that likes and dislikes do not matter. Did I like to take eggs from here to there? I had to do it happily, and now I have the results. You should also serve in the same way.

Question: Guru, you did it, but you did not like it?

Sri Chinmoy: The divine results came. In my case, I knew my height. In your case, your spiritual height is perhaps a little lower. Why did I do it? Because Sri Aurobindo told the Mother that I had to do it, and my love for Sri Aurobindo was like that. Sri Aurobindo accepted the Mother as his Shakti. My physical mind may not have welcomed this job at first, but as soon as I thought of the Mother, I asked myself, "Who is representing whom? She is representing Sri Aurobindo." When I thought of Sri Aurobindo, my mind stopped.

Then again, I had to go beyond everything. I had to go to the Supreme. The physical said, "I cannot do it! I find it very difficult," so I went to the Supreme. Once I went to the Supreme, my complaints were finished! Perhaps sometimes I failed; I did not do it happily or cheerfully. But the Divine Mother compelled me to do it. As a student, I may at times have failed; but luckily I was saved because my God-realisation was inside my pocket!

This delivery job I did when I was twenty-five or twenty-six years old. By the time I was twelve or thirteen, I knew well who I was and what I was. You have to know what you are first. Then you can decide to do something or not to do it. Right now, you have not come to that spiritual standard, the standard that I had at that time. This was the experience Sri Aurobindo and the Mother gave me, even knowing my standard. This is how spiritual Masters try to compel you to break your likes and dislikes.

You can do service happily, cheerfully. Go beyond your likes and dislikes! Then you will make tremendous, tremendous spiritual progress — tremendous! At that time progress becomes fast. Otherwise, it is very difficult.

My brother was a Sanskrit scholar, a great scholar. His job was to carry heavy, heavy pots from the kitchen to the dining hall, about fifty metres. They were so heavy — vegetable pots, curries and all that. His job was to carry them. He was a great scholar, and that was the job he got. Then he had to wash bananas. He and somebody else had to wash the bananas every day. At the Ashram there were so many people who had not gone to school, even, but they did not have to do that kind of job. My brother had to wash the bananas and carry heavy, heavy pots. It was the Mother's order: he had to do it. At the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, you could be a professor, you could be a scholar, and they would still ask you to wash bananas. The first thing that happened was that the Ashram changed your profession. Again I say, go beyond your likes and dislikes!

Question: I am curious about the physical, specially for women. It is as if our emotions become so crazy sometimes, and then we have a spiritual crisis.

Sri Chinmoy: Now let me tell you how you can tackle your problems. In the inner world, whenever any problem arises, whether physical, mental or emotional, only write down how many times I have smiled at you and how many times you have smiled at me. For thirty years you have been on the path, let us say — thirty or forty years. How many times I have smiled at you, wholeheartedly! When I give a powerful smile, at that time I hold the Universal Consciousness. If I give a real smile, a sweet, cute smile, inside that smile I keep solidly the entire beauty and fragrance of the universe. I am bragging! The entire beauty and fragrance of the universe I hold inside my smile.

Remember how many times I have given you a smile! And again, remember that when you give me a smile, you give me the whole world, the entire world. When you smile, I will value your smile, that one smile which you have given me for three or four seconds, more than millions and billions of dollars. I will value your smile much more than a huge amount of money, because with that smile, you have given everything. Talk about likes and dislikes! At that moment, if I ask you to do something difficult, you will immediately do it just because you have become inseparably one with me. If I tell you at that very moment to go and run, you will run for miles. Anything that I want you to do, anything that I have been requesting you to do for years, at that time you will do it. The mind will not say, "Oh no, the heart can do this, but I cannot."

When you are giving me a smile, with that smile you are giving your entire existence. All the divinity that you have goes inside your body, vital, mind and heart. If you give a little smile, that smile is carrying all the divinity in your heart, mind, vital and body. So you see what a smile can do!

What Mother Teresa said about the smile was so right. She said that the smile is the conqueror of the world! When a little, innocent child smiles at his parents, they forget the rest of the world. Again, when a child gets a little smile from the mother or the father, he does not need anything more. The whole world is nothing in comparison to smiles.

I am coming back to the point. When you are suffering, if you have an attack of depression, frustration or something like that, remember those days. Just write down: "Three years ago Guru smiled at me." Then go back to that moment. Use your imagination for five seconds or five minutes. Then it becomes reality. At our tennis court I gave you a smile, or I gave you a smile at a function, or in my house or in the street or at the UN. Nothing can be more powerful than your smile and my smile.

And remember also when you gave me a smile, not only my smile. When you give me your smile, then all the wrong forces that exist outside you, all the wrong forces that you feel between you and me and all the wrong forces that are inside you disappear. Nothing can be more powerful than your own smile and my smile. Immediately when you remember these smiles, you get the strength of ten lions to conquer your frustration, depression, and all the forces that have attacked you.

Try it, starting today! It may be difficult, because sometimes you do not want to be cured. Some Masters say to their disciples, "I cannot cure you because you do not want to be cured."

Question: Guru, you are always telling us that our souls have the capacity to punish us, and that they will punish us if we displease them. I am wondering, if our souls have so much power that they can actually do physical harm to our body, why do they not appear to have the power to inspire us?

Sri Chinmoy: They have been doing that very thing for thirty years! They have been doing that since you joined the path. Since you joined the path, from that very day, who inspired you to come and meditate? Children will say that their parents brought them. But who inspired the parents to come? Was it not their souls? If the children say their parents brought them, then the parents were brought by their souls. Again, the parents gave the inspiration to their children.

From the day your soul brought you to the path, it has been inspiring, inspiring, inspiring you — begging you! The soul is not just inspiring — it is begging, begging, begging. When you are in a good consciousness, when you have a good meditation, at that time you are bound to feel that somebody within you, some being within you is begging you: "Continue doing this, continue doing this."

The joy that you get after six months' meditation, all of a sudden one day you will receive at a function or at home. With the joy that you are receiving, at that time you are feeding your soul, and the soul is so proud. The soul will say, "This is what I want from you!" This is the actual message you will get. Nobody will be able to deny it. When you have a very powerful meditation, on that day once again you are resolved, you are determined to become an excellent disciple. You resolve that you will conquer insecurity, jealousy, inferiority, superiority or anything else that you feel is uninspiring or undivine. That very day, when you do not have obstacles to your meditation, that is the victory for the soul.

To say that the soul has the capacity to punish is true. But this very soul for years — five years, ten years or fifteen years — has been begging you. Sometimes the soul almost every day for a month or two has been trying to inspire you. Sometimes a soul may say for a week or two that it is a hopeless case. But then the soul tries again and again and again. Is there any disciple who can say that his soul has not inspired him? And if the soul has not inspired him at least to a certain extent, no disciple will stay on the path. No disciple will stay on the path if the soul has not inspired him.

The soul gives inspiration, but how much can the body, the vital and the mind accept? The mind is determined not to accept inspiration. The mind is always ready to see the truth in its own way. The mind is telling the soul, the heart, the Master and even God, "If this is not done, I am not going to go farther. If this is not done for me, I am not going to move." So what can God do? The mind has put a limit before the soul, before God, before the Master. It says, "If I do not get this mango, then I am not going to do anything. If this is not done in my own way, I am not going to budge an inch."

Still the soul continues, with the hope that one day that same mind will say, "Why should it be done in my way? Let it be your way, the soul's way." The soul is only hoping to hear this message from the mind one day because the soul is trying to convince the mind to go in the divine way, to surrender. Surrender to the Master means surrender to the soul on the strength of your devotion and your love. The mind is determined not to surrender to the soul, but still the soul is hoping, hoping, hoping.

Again, the soul sees that in the past — five, ten, fifteen or thirty years earlier — the mind did surrender to the soul. At that time the mind wanted to see the light in the soul's way. But the mind is now determined not to receive light, because the mind has become stronger than anything else. The mind has its own thought: "This has to be the way I want it." The mind has become unaspiring. There was a time when the mind used to search for light, for truth, but now the mind has become stubborn, absolutely unruly. The mind will not listen. At times even if God stands in front of the mind, the mind remains stubborn. God can use His omnipotent Power, but He can only break the mind; He cannot make the mind listen. The mind does not listen even to God — forget about the soul and the Master!

I tell you, sometimes the disciples do not listen to me at all. If the soul, even if God stands right in front of you, you may not listen. The Master is higher than the soul. The Master may not be higher than God, true; but the Master and God are one. But you cannot say, "If my soul comes and stands in front of me and tells me something, then I will listen." If you cannot listen to your Master, will you listen to your soul?

Again, as soon as you see your soul, you may say, "I thought my soul was much more beautiful than this! Is this my soul?" The soul can take any form — that is the trouble! The soul may come to you as a beautiful flower and give you the message to listen to your Master. Then you will say, "Can this flower be my soul?" Or the soul can take the form of a balloon. When the balloon tells you, "Listen to your Master," you will say, "Can this balloon have the capacity to tell me anything?"

Only the spiritual Master knows that the soul has taken the form of a balloon or the form of a flower. The soul can also take the form of a most beautiful child. As soon as you see the child, you may say, "This is a silly child. He does not have more knowledge, more wisdom, more capacity than I have." Then the story is finished! The soul, as a little child, has infinitely more beauty and more power than the mind; only it has taken this particular form. Again, let us say it takes a huge form. It can take the Universal Form. But even if it comes as a lion or an elephant and stands in front of you, still you will not listen. You will say, "How am I going to listen to this? If I do not listen to my soul, then do I have to believe that my soul will devour me?"

When the mind does not want to surrender, whichever way the soul approaches is wrong. Ask any Master! The soul can take any form. If it takes the form of a little, beautiful flower, you will ignore it and say, "This cannot be my soul. My soul has to be beautiful, absolutely solid and robust. I have formed my idea of my soul." Yes, your soul can be like that, but your soul also can be totally different. Your soul can take any form. How many times have I said that the soul can take any form. Only on the strength of God-realisation can you immediately see when the soul is talking to you; but the soul is talking, the soul is talking. Any form the soul can take.

Talking about the soul, when we started our conversation here I said, "Can you wait for five minutes?" Why did I say that? At that time the soul of one of my very first disciples came to me. The soul was right there, standing in front of that wall, under the fluorescent light. She was giving me the request, or emotional or vital demand, to grant her the fastest speed. With her we started our mission. If you want to talk about a pioneer-disciple, there is no one else, only that lady. She was dearer than the dearest to me. Then insecurity, not impurity, came into the picture. Insecurity came and she herself took a "vacation" from our path for many years. Finally she came back. Then she became old, and the story was finished; she went to the other world.

My mission started because of that disciple. She is the one who discovered it — nobody else. Her soul took the form of a deer when it was standing there. She wanted to have the deer-speed from me; she was begging me to help her go the fastest. Now I am talking to you, and also I am rubbing my nose. You are thinking that I am only rubbing my nose. But I am concentrating because I am seeing her so clearly. She has taken the form of a deer. Like a deer, she wants to go fast.

If I did not know that it was that disciple's soul, I would say, "It is just my mental hallucination. I am seeing a deer here; it is my mental hallucination." Even if I keep my human eyes open, I see the same thing that I see with my third eye. Again I am saying, any form the soul can take. Perhaps someone will tell me, "You are absolutely wrong. She did not take the form of a deer." I will say, "Fine, fine, be satisfied. But I am satisfied, because I know that she took the form of a deer."

Fortunately or unfortunately, each soul has its own kind of divinity. The soul's usual form is a most beautiful child — most, most, most beautiful. It can be three, it can be five, it can be ten years old; it depends on the soul.

There is something else, which the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Mother talked about. It is called the psychic being. It is absolutely true that it exists. That psychic being is another part of us. The psychic being is the infant. The soul may be young, or it may be mature, more mature, most mature. But the psychic being that the Divine Mother and then Sri Aurobindo talked about will always remain like a two or three-year-old child. It does not grow up. It will always cry or smile, and then the mother or father will come. It makes me think of my dog. How I wish Chela would not become old! When he jumps nowadays, he comes up to my shoulder. Previously he used to come up to my waist, but now he jumps right to my shoulder. For the last four or five days, I have been afraid he will break his legs because he jumps so high. But at the same time I get joy that he has so much strength to jump up to my shoulder.

Now I am coming back to the subject. The psychic being remains always the same. The soul has its own maturity and divinity. God's representative is the soul or the spiritual Master. Let us not talk about the spiritual Master; God's direct representative is the soul. Again, the soul also has a representative. It is called the psychic being. If you want to see the psychic being, then the psychic being always takes one form: a most beautiful child. The psychic being will not take the form of a flower or a bird or a deer or an elephant. No, it will take a fixed form. It is a most beautiful, most, most, most beautiful child.

When I came to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, it was March. In May or June, or perhaps July, I saw for the first time my psychic being. I could never imagine that a child could be so beautiful! Then again, when you realise the Highest, when you realise God, you may say that the psychic being is childish, in the sense that it is always thinking that if it cries, the mother and father will give it everything. They are bound to give it what it wants. If it is crying, the mother is bound to give it milk, and the father is bound to give it a piece of candy.

Question: Guru, do only human beings have psychic beings?

Sri Chinmoy: Animals do not have psychic beings. Everything has a soul. My chair has a soul, my throne has a soul, but my chair or my throne will not have a psychic being. Only human beings have psychic beings - no other beings.

Question: And no other beings, like Cosmic Gods, have psychic beings?

Sri Chinmoy: Cosmic Gods do not have psychic beings. They do not need them.

Question: What is the purpose of the psychic being?

Sri Chinmoy: The purpose of the psychic being is to make the mind, the vital and the physical as pure as possible, as sweet as possible. The psychic being is most beautiful; sweeter than the sweetest; tender, most tender; and delicate in everything. These good qualities that the psychic being has in abundant measure can enter into the physical, the vital, and the mind as physical beauty, vital beauty and mental beauty. All beautiful things can enter into us when we see the psychic being or feel the presence of the psychic being.

Usually when the psychic being comes to the fore, it is like the opening of the chakras. The chakras open up in different ways. When they open, it can feel like an insect or a snake crawling. They say that when the life-energy flows through the centre of the body — what we call the sushumna in Sanskrit — it may be like a snake crawling or it may be something like a frog. Like a frog it may jump, opening up these chakras. But when the psychic being comes, it is always inside the heart, inside the soul. The psychic being does not move around. The opening of the chakras can take place in the throat, in the heart, in the navel; but the psychic being does not move here and there. It is at a fixed place, inside the heart.

Sometimes when the psychic being comes forward it will be as if very delicately, very softly, very tenderly somebody is touching you. Sometimes it does not do even that. If you have not drunk nectar, even if I tell you millions of times how sweet it is, for you it has no value because you have not tasted it. Here also, if I say the psychic being is most beautiful, still you have not seen it. You will not be able even to imagine how beautiful it is. Its qualities are goodness and surrender. It cries, and then it surrenders. Then the mother comes or the father comes. Here the mother or the father means the soul.

To come back to your question, the soul has been inspiring us right from the day we accepted the spiritual life. There is not a single day that the soul does not try to inspire us. The soul will tell us to get up at 5:30 or 6:00. Once if we get up, then for three weeks we may take a vacation. Again, for three weeks if we pray every day on a regular basis, then we expect some result. For three weeks we get up at 6:00 and pray and meditate, but then we feel that our prayer has no result. We think that either God has turned a deaf ear to us or our prayer is not sincere. Then what shall we do? We may say, "Oh, my prayer is sincere, but God does not care for me. God does not listen to me. If God does not care for me, then why do I have to take the trouble of getting up at 6:00 and praying?" Then our prayer-life ends, our meditation-life ends.

Question: Guru, if you are sincerely getting up and praying and meditating, why is it that the soul does not give you enough inner sweetness or encouragement to make you feel that it is worthwhile?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us think of the farmer. When the farmer sows the seed, he has to wait for months to see the plant. Here also we have to wait. Why do we use the expression 'God's choice Hour'? We do not say 'my hour'. We are doing the right thing, but the choice hour has not yet come. We go to the village stove and we try to light it. Then we say, "I have been trying to light it every day. How is it that it does not ignite?" But when we turn it a little more, finally the flame comes.

The farmer sows the seed. Every day he is going to the field and watering, watering. Eventually he may become fed up. He will say, "What is this? If there had been something to germinate, by this time it would have germinated." This is our impatience.

But the highest prayer will say, "Perhaps God wants to give me something else. He is not fulfilling this particular desire of mine. Perhaps He has something else in mind, and if that very thing He gives, then automatically I will get my wish also." That wisdom we do not have. We should say, "He is not giving me this for my own good, but He will give me something else. When I get that particular thing, which I am not even aware of right now, then automatically my present desire will be fulfilled also."

Do we have that kind of patience? Do we have that kind of wisdom, the wisdom to be one with God's Will? No! Instead, we ask why God is not giving us what we pray for. We have to know that either we are doing the right thing, but the hour has not come, or we are not doing the right thing. Perhaps He will change our mind and tell us to offer some other prayer or do some other type of meditation. Or perhaps He will give us something which will fulfil all our prayers.

This has happened in everybody's life. In our life we will all see that sometimes one prayer or desire is not fulfilled, and we curse God! But afterwards He will fulfil another desire of ours that encompasses our previous desire. At that time He gives us much more. Some ordinary people pray for twenty or thirty dollars. They need it badly, very badly. Then what happens? They do not get it when they need it. They pray so hard to get that particular amount of money. Then, after three months or six months, although they were dying to get twenty or thirty dollars, they receive four hundred or five hundred dollars instead! God's Hour has come out of the blue in the form of an insurance policy, or somebody has returned money they borrowed, or something else has happened. It was their money, but they totally forgot about it or they did not expect it. At God's Hour it comes back. When they are in need of twenty dollars, they see two hundred dollars coming back. They had not the slightest idea that it was going to come, but somehow it came.

In your case also, this particular desire God is not fulfilling, or the time has not come to fulfil it. Your desire is to have twenty dollars, let us say, but at God's choice Hour He will fulfil your prayer in such a way that He will give you four hundred dollars. Then the first desire that you had is already automatically fulfilled.

Question: What if someone dies of starvation, so to speak, while waiting for the twenty dollars? I am not talking about physically dying.

Sri Chinmoy: You do not die of starvation! Nobody has died spiritually by praying to God. There is always inner progress towards God-realisation. Is there anybody on earth who can say, "I prayed to God, but I only starved"? Is there anybody who died spiritually by praying to God and then had to say, "God, I prayed to You, but You did not care for me"?

Indian monks, like Swami Vivekananda and others, went begging for food. They were only roaming from street to street, from where to where, from this village to that village. Did they die? Is there anybody who died while praying to God? No! God will give a dream to someone to bring those monks some bananas or milk. Again, Indian sadhus sometimes say they will not eat anything. They are not begging for food; they are only praying to God. Then God Himself, or Mother Kali or another Cosmic God, will give a dream to a rich woman, and every day food will come to them. Every day milk, food, everything they need will come. The sadhus will say, "I am praying to You, God. It is Your business. If You want to preserve my health, then preserve it." Then God sees that they are praying most sincerely, so God brings food. That has happened to millions of sadhus. To all of them it happens.

You are not talking about physical starvation. But we have to see what you are longing for, for the fulfilment of what particular desire, and whether God thinks that desire is positive. If God is not fulfilling your desire, then it is for your good. Again, if God sees that you have no spiritual capacity, no potential, then God will definitely fulfil your desire. If God does not see something inner, deeper, more meaningful, more fruitful in your life, in anybody's life, then God will fulfil the unspiritual desire.

There are many desires God will fulfil for ordinary people who have not entered the spiritual life. But in your case, God still hopes that He will be able to take you high, higher, highest, so that is why God does not fulfil certain desires of yours. But the same desires that my disciples have, God would definitely fulfil for people who have not accepted the spiritual life. About those people, God says, "Their standard is different. They do not care for spiritual progress."

But God says that you have promised something. You have promised that you are not going to be satisfied if you stay in one place. You want to go much higher. Will God believe your promise? Or will God fulfil your present physical, mental or vital desire? Your promise is infinitely higher than your desire. When you are in a good mood, a spiritual mood, your promise is infinitely higher than the earth-bound desire that you have for a few days or a few months. God knows everything. He says, "If I fulfil your little desire, then you will be caught there. If I do not fulfil your earth-bound desire, then the promise that you have made to Me, which is infinitely higher, I am going to fulfil." God wants to take you higher.

Many, many desires God will fulfil for people who have not accepted the spiritual life. But if they are spiritual people, and if there is a special promise that their soul has made, and that they themselves have consciously made to their soul, then God says, "Their goal is very high. They themselves wanted and aimed at that higher goal." Love, devotion, unconditional surrender: if that is the higher goal they aimed at, and now the physical, vital or mind wants to be satisfied by fulfilling a particular lower desire, what will poor God do?

If God sees that someone made a promise to climb up to the highest branch of the tree and then started to pray for the fulfilment of desire, God will not wait for that individual. He may say, "All right, take your time. But I want you to fulfil your promise eventually." Or He may allow the person to lower his promise and say, "No, I do not want to climb to the highest branch; as long as I can come and touch the tree, it is enough." Perhaps the seeker will even say, "If I can come near the tree, or come within a thousand miles of the tree, I will be fulfilled." At that time God says, "Then stay there."

But our promise God always wants. God wants our promise, even if we break or forget our promise. Today that highest goal is out of our mind. But tomorrow, or in a few days, God hopes that again that highest promise will come to the fore, and once again we will want to climb up. Even if right now we are giving up the promise, after some time we will once again want to climb up the Himalayas, because that is our promise that is our goal. Then God waits. He says, "All right, you fell down; you do not want to climb today. Take rest for a month or two, or even for a few years. But then, again try, try to climb up the Himalayas."

Question: The hardest thing for me is to choose between two situations that appear equal. What is a good way, if two situations or two choices seem equally good, for me to decide between them?2

Sri Chinmoy: There are two situations, and you give equal importance to both?

Question: They both seem to offer a certain solution in my life, spiritually or materially. They both seem to be equally good.

Sri Chinmoy: You feel that either way will lead you to the destination?

Question: Yes, Guru.

Sri Chinmoy: Good boy, two ways can never lead to the destination — only one way. The other one is not correct. Kindly feel that, before you start, you have to make a choice. Then, once you have started, there will be only one way. There cannot be two ways. The way of spirituality is already chosen by the divine within us.

The mind is giving equal importance to both ways. It says either way will lead you to your destination. But the heart will not do that. The heart will always choose one way. The mind says: "Oh, this way is good, and that way is equally good." The heart will not do that. The heart will always choose one way.

Then, which way is correct? How to choose? What a dilemma! For a week or so, before you go to sleep, you will meditate. Meditate! You will not think of any way, whether this way or that way. You will make complete surrender, absolutely unconditional surrender.

You are saying that you feel that both ways will lead you to the destination. Kindly pray to the Supreme and ask Him. Pray to the Supreme to choose only one way, the right way. It may take one day; it may take two days. Even if it is very complicated, in two weeks' time you are bound to get the answer. At night you will have a dream or early in the morning you will see only one road right in front of you — not two roads. Two ways cannot be of equal importance — no! There can be only one way.

And again, inside that particular way, you may find the other way to which you previously gave equal importance. Do you understand? One way you have chosen, and the other way you will find, to your great surprise, inside the way that you have chosen.

BLD 14-20. Sri Chinmoy answered the following questions at his home on 10 November 1997.

Question: Sometimes when I approach you in person or when I try to approach you in meditation, I remember that you have said that inside gratitude everything is present.

Sri Chinmoy: Absolutely!

Question: I feel that I need to go towards sincerity before I can have any gratitude. I feel that if I admit I do not have this spontaneous feeling of gratitude, then I am being sincere. If I feel gratitude only on the surface, I think that it is not real.

Sri Chinmoy: It is real. Indians say that by doing japa they will realise God. In the morning, you may say "Guru" or "Supreme, Supreme, Supreme, Supreme." If you say "Supreme" four or five thousand times, perhaps the very first time your "Supreme" will not be coming from the very depths of your heart. It may happen that sincerity does not come at first. When you try to run your fastest in the 100-metre sprint, if you do not jog first, if you do not warm up, if you do not stretch your legs, can you run the fastest? No, you cannot. You need preparation.

I say inside gratitude, everything can be found, true. If you develop gratitude, inside that gratitude everything is found. But other divine qualities, like simplicity, must be there also. The mind has to be very simple, the heart has to be pure, and the whole life has to be childlike. These are like the stretching exercises. If you do not do the stretching exercises, if you do not jog, how will you run the fastest?

You are saying that if there is no sincerity, then gratitude is of no avail. What is the good of gratitude if it is not sincere? But I say that to get sincerity, you have to do a few preparatory things. You have to start with spiritual exercises, like japa. You say, "Supreme, Supreme, Supreme" or do other spiritual activities, and that is your stretching, that is your jogging. Then, after a few minutes, your goal is to run the fastest. At that time gratitude will come like the fastest sprinter.

Again, in the beginning you have to do japa or other spiritual exercises, like singing some spiritual songs. If you sing a few soulful songs, these are your stretching exercises. If you sing "Tomare Rakhibo", "Jiban Debata", "Bhulite Diyona" or other favourite songs, that will help you to bring forward your most sincere gratitude. Always in order to reach the highest, to do our best, we need something to prepare ourselves. Even in a car, if you put your foot on the gas pedal and immediately try to go sixty or seventy miles an hour, the car may be damaged and you may be injured.

Gratitude has to come little by little. It does not come all at once. Gradually, gradually some sprinters are able to take very little time to reach their fastest speed, while others take a long, long time. By practising and practising, if once you took, say, fifteen or twenty minutes to bring forward your utmost gratitude, gradually you can bring it down to five minutes or even three minutes.

Is it clear? These are cute questions, very nice questions!

Question: I have been reading about different spiritual Masters who you have said have realised God.

Sri Chinmoy: It is good to read writings about spiritual Masters, or by spiritual Masters, if it increases your devotion to your own Master. In my childhood and in my adolescent years, when I used to read Sri Ramakrishna's sayings, or read about Sri Ramakrishna, it immensely increased my love for my Master, Sri Aurobindo. When I used to read the writings of Sri Ramakrishna's disciples, or books about Sri Ramakrishna showing his love for Mother Kali, that helped me so much to increase my devotion for Sri Aurobindo and the Divine Mother.

When you are reading spiritual books written by other Masters or about other Masters, you have to know that the main purpose of your reading is to help you increase your devotion to your path, to your Master. But if you enter into comparison and say, "Oh no, my Master is better and his Master is worse," or "His path is better, mine is worse," or, "This Master is saying something better than my Master," or, "This Master is nothing — my Master is better, my Master is higher," then problems start. Many people get confused when they enter into the world of comparison. No comparison, no comparison!

If you want to read about other Masters at all, it is good sometimes to read when your aspiration is a little bit dry, when you are not getting immediate inspiration. By reading this book or that book if you want to increase your aspiration-intensity, it will be of help.

But once your aspiration is very, very intense, for some weeks or months, at that time you should not read books about other Masters, because already you are going at top speed. At that time you do not need to read about other Masters. If you feel that you are making the fastest progress in your own inner life, at that time it is not at all advisable to read about other Masters. Your train is going at top speed. Only you have to feel that your Master is carrying you, or you are carrying your Master.

Question: Can you give another method for stopping empty moments? In Everest-Aspiration you wrote, "You are saying that you suffer from empty moments. Do you know why?" Your answer was, "you are not playing inside the garden of your heart with your heart's child, the soul." Can you give me an additional method for stopping empty moments when they occur?

Sri Chinmoy: When you have emptiness, you can easily be fooled by your mind. When you feel empty, totally empty, at that time you do not know whether this emptiness is good for you or not. It can be the emptiness of a vessel, after you have emptied it. Then my grace, my divinity will enter into you. Sometimes this kind of emptiness is absolutely necessary. The mind is discouraging you by saying you are empty, empty; there is nothing in life — it is absolutely useless, hopeless. When the mind says that kind of thing, the mind is fooling you.

At times it may be that emptiness is preparatory. Emptiness is preparing you for the descent of something higher, something extremely important. The mind may tell you that life is a hopeless case; now you have gone down, you have fallen, and there is nothing. It may tell you that you are not getting any joy from your spiritual life, from your meditation.

But the mind can fool you. At that time you can easily tell your mind, "No, this emptiness is good." It will last perhaps only for a few hours, a few days or a few weeks. Change your mind: think that the emptiness is good for you, that you are preparing yourself. But if you feel lost, that is not good.

Always when anything discouraging takes place, you have to be clever. You have to be wise. That discouragement has to be counteracted. You have to fight against the discouragement by any means. If you feel empty, say to your mind, "No, this is necessary for me. Something within me is about to receive. Inside me something is happening, and I am not yet aware of it." Your mind may say, "Absolutely I am empty, empty, empty. There is nothing inside me. It is a barren desert." But the heart can say, "No, this is a special time. The farmer, my spiritual Master, is digging and ploughing the field." Try to feel that your Master is ploughing the field in your heart. Then he will sow the seed, and soon you will get a bumper crop. You are not fooling yourself — it is true!

These are the ways, the divine ways, to contradict and conquer the wrong forces that attack you. These are the absolutely positive ways to conquer wrong forces. Nothing should discourage you.

Question: Sometimes when I read writings by other Masters, I wonder — if two or three God-realised Masters are living at the same time, why do they not know about each other? Is the Supreme aware of them in His own Being in and through each of them? Are they like one person?

Sri Chinmoy: It may happen that the Supreme does not want them to know about each other. He wants all of us — not only spiritual Masters — to know only whatever is going to encourage us, inspire us. Anything that is illumining and fulfilling, anything that is necessary, the Supreme will tell us. Even in one human life there are many, many things the Supreme wants us to forget. Many, many things He definitely wants us to forget! Again, many, many things he wants us to remember in our own life.

Usually the Supreme says that we do not have to know what others are doing. The Supreme is being manifested in and through others, true; but I do not have to deal with their lives. I am in my boat, my own boat. My boat is enough for me. The Supreme says, "Be with the passengers that I have given you. Why do you have to know about another spiritual Master and what he is doing?" The Father has said to one son, "Take this boat and gather some passengers and come to Me." To another one He will say, "Take that boat." But if I start wondering about the other boatman, how he is piloting the boat, this and that, then I will get lost. Even while driving, two persons may be going in the same direction, but can one person go on looking to the left or to the right? His speed will disappear and he may have a collision. This is what will happen.

Basically, when two persons are realised, they have to know about each other. They do know what is happening, but the Supreme says, "You have enough problems with your life, with your spiritual children. You have enough, enough, enough problems!"

Again, different spiritual Masters can be God-realised, but their heights may differ. Some spiritual Masters have just reached the tree with difficulty. They have come and just touched the God-realisation-tree. They are claiming God-realisation, and for them there will be many, many disciples. Some Masters have reached the middle of the tree, and some are higher. Some will climb up the tree and then fly away. They have gone beyond the tree, this so-called God-realisation-tree. They have gone high, higher, highest, singing the song of transcendence.

Now, what benefit do I get by seeing what another Master is doing? Whether the other Master is at the foot of the tree or in the middle, I do not get anything. If God wants me to go and see him, then I will go. Definitely I will come down or go up to see another Master. But usually God does not want me to do that. God says, "You do your own job. I have given you a task, a supreme task. You fulfil it in and through your chosen disciples." That is all. Otherwise, why did God not choose just one spiritual Master right from the beginning? God is Immortal, God is Infinite. Whatever spiritual Master you name — whether it is Sri Krishna or Lord Buddha or the Saviour Christ — God easily could have kept that Master on the physical plane throughout Eternity. But He did not want to do that. He always wants somebody else, somebody else, somebody else.

Again, the essence God keeps the same. The Highest He will give to Sri Krishna, He will give to Jesus Christ, to the Lord Buddha and to others. But to know what others are doing is nothing but a waste of time.

If I as your spiritual Master can make you or any individual perfect, any instrument perfect, God will be so proud of me and so proud of that individual. God will never be proud of me if I use occult power right now and go inwardly to another country to see out of curiosity what the President is doing or what some other important figure is doing, or what another spiritual Master is doing there. God will say, "Do I want you to use your magic-power, or do I want you to use your heart-power to elevate humanity?"

Magic-power, occult power, we can acquire, but magic-power is not going to elevate anyone's life. In India some miracle-men have shown magic-power. I shall give you an example. A couple became disciples of a miracle-man, and they had a child. From the very birth of that child, the Master was so affectionate, so indulgent. He took full responsibility for the child's kindergarten, primary school, high school and college life. The child became dearer than the dearest to the Master. Eventually that fellow got married and had a child of his own. He was very, very close to the Master, and he saw all his Master's miracles, perhaps more than anybody else. His was absolutely the dearest family.

Then what happened? Insecurity started; jealousy started. Somebody else was becoming close to the Master. One day that fellow, absolutely the dearest one, came with a stick to beat up the Master. Then he came with another weapon. All the Master's problems started with the dearer than the dearest one. His dearest disciple was the culprit, because somebody else was becoming close to the Master. Whose life did the Master change by showing miracles?

The Saviour Christ showed the world forty-five or forty-six miracles, but it is not because of his miracle-power that today the world is worshipping him. Because of his oneness with his Father, the Christ said, "I and my Father are one," and "Let Thy Will be done." It is for these messages that people worship the Christ. No outer miracle can elevate anybody's consciousness. It is like fireworks that go up and then disappear.

Again, there are times when occult powers are used for a right cause. When God wants somebody to remain on earth, and some hostile forces have attacked, I shall use occult power. If it is God's intention to keep that person on earth, if God wants to grant an extension, then I shall use occult power to save the person. But to use occult power to know what is inside another person's mind, or who is a spiritual Master, is not only a waste of time; it is discouraging. Why do we have to get this kind of world-information? We are not looking for world-information. We are looking for world-illumination and world-transformation.

Knowing what another spiritual Master is doing, whether he is eating or cutting jokes with his disciples or playing tennis - will that help me? Only one thing will help, and that is to know that he is for God, like me. He has his own spiritual family. He is also trying to please God by transforming the nature of his disciples. He is trying to take a few disciples to God. It is more than enough for me to know that he is doing the same thing as I am doing. I am doing it for my disciples, my spiritual children, and he is doing it for his spiritual children. More than that is absolutely unnecessary; it is only collecting world-information.

Sometimes when we feed our curiosity, it gives us tremendous joy. From curiosity, on very rare occasions, comes real spirituality, real sincerity. We had a disciple many years ago, when our meetings were in Manhattan, who was very promising. When she came to the meetings, she used to shed tears. We gave a rose to each seeker in those days. Then this particular seeker got a boyfriend, and they went to another spiritual Master's place. This seeker was really doing good meditations. The other Master told her, "I see that behind you Sri Chinmoy is standing." That Master gave a full description of me. I have done similar things with my disciples.

This seeker was so moved. Then what happened? Before she left to see the other Master, she had been on our path for six or eight months. She was so moved that the other Master could tell who her spiritual Master was. But when she came back, she did not come to our meetings more than two or three times. How did it help for her to know that another Master could see that I was her Master? Suppose she thought, "O my God, she is a spiritual Master! She knows about my Master and she was speaking highly, very highly of my Master." Still, nothing happened. The seeker was enjoying her vital life, so she had to leave. If she had been a sincere seeker, that experience would have increased her love for me and her devotion to me. Then she would have come back to our path and become strict. But that did not happen. What can you do?

Question: Through meditating and being here, I get so much happiness and joy and you spoil me and fulfil me in so many ways. When I am with the other disciples, I almost feel we just joke all the time.

Sri Chinmoy: That joking is infinitely better than brooding and sulking and speaking ill of others — infinitely better! You are lightening yourself when you joke, when you enjoy the humour aspect. Is there anybody among the spiritual Masters who did not like jokes? Sri Aurobindo enjoyed humour very much. So did Sri Ramakrishna. All the spiritual Masters enjoyed humour.

Humour takes away the mental fever, not only the physical fever. To take away the fever that we have inside the mind, humour is the best medicine.

Question: Is it all right to be that way all day long?

Sri Chinmoy: Not all day long! The time comes when you must be serious. But why do I allow these things here? These funny things are lightening your mind. The whole day you work very hard for your livelihood. That work puts such a heavy load on the mind.

Even if you see a person — it does not have to be someone at your work — it can affect you. You go out in the street, you see an individual, and that person has so many problems. You are not talking to that person, but his problems are entering into you. You do not know why your mind has become so heavy, heavy, heavy. That heaviness has come from the person whom you saw for a fleeting second. Then it takes time, so much time, for you to unburden yourself. You do not know what has actually entered into you, but you feel something heavy — a very, very heavy load. By looking at a person even unconsciously, not to appreciate something in him, you are being attacked, attacked.

Again, humour takes away that heaviness of the mind. Then after a few minutes, perhaps fifteen or twenty minutes, the time comes when you feel that the mind is light, the mind has become serious and sincere, the mind is searching, not doubting. You have to know at what point the mind is searching for truth, and at what point the mind is doubting your spirituality, doubting someone or doing other negative things. When the time comes that you feel the mind is searching for light, for truth, that is the time you are ready to meditate.

Question: Guru, I sometimes find myself preoccupied with the frustrations of my past and my insecurities about the future. How can I conquer my attachment to time?3

Sri Chinmoy: Good boy, you know that the past is dust — the past that drags us back. We think, "I did this wrong; you did that wrong; I did this wrong." By thinking of the past, we are not going ahead. The past is like a chain pulling us back. We want to go forward, but the chain is so powerful that it is bringing us back.

Again, the future is also something never to be thought of. The present is the only thing that we should care for. If we think of the future, including our future worries and anxieties, we cannot go forward. The future is all uncertainty, uncertainty. Even the Highest Himself changes His Opinion. Today the Highest says, "The future will be like this." The next moment, to our greatest surprise, the Highest can change His Plan.

It is like football, or what you call soccer. When you play soccer, you are sure that another player is going to score with his right leg. Alas, at the last moment he uses his left leg. Or you are sure that he is going to try to score, but he passes the ball on to somebody else. That person is coming towards you, and he is trying to score. You think that he is going to use his right leg, but he uses his left leg. Then you think that he is definitely going to try to score. No, he passes the ball on to somebody else. This is what happens in our day-to-day life.

Again, ultimately we know that our team will score. Either you will score or your brother will score or somebody else will score; that we know. The ultimate conclusion of the Cosmic Game we know. The ultimate conclusion is the Victory of the Divine. You have been watching the Mahabharata videos on television. How the good people, the Pandavas, are suffering, suffering, suffering, suffering! Is there any comparison between the Pandavas and the Kauravas? The Pandavas are suffering, suffering and suffering, but Sri Krishna is always there for them. This is the Cosmic Game. Sri Krishna goes on, suffering inside the Pandavas, with the Pandavas. Then what happens? He knows that ultimately the Pandavas will win. Sri Krishna is God Himself, but he has to leave his place with all his people and establish a kingdom somewhere else. It is all part of the Cosmic Plan. When the time comes, he wins the divine Victory.

Let us not think of the future. The more we think of the future, the more confusion we create. And if we think of the past, we will see that the past only knows how to pull us back, pull us back, pull us back immediately. Then we go back to the beginning and again we have to start our journey. The moment we think of the past, a very powerful chain is dragging us back. And when we think of the future, it is all uncertain. True, it is certain in the sense that we know the divine Victory is the ultimate conclusion. But in the meantime, if we want to see the light in a particular way, even if we are sure that the light is at a particular place, we will find that the light is not there; it is somewhere else.

Always there are times when we do not expect the game to proceed in a certain way. Let us think of our Sunil.4 In his case, he lived five years more than he was fated to live. But how do we know that Sunil did not have a strong desire to climb the Himalayas one day? How do we know that he did not want to swim the English Channel once more? Now look at his future. He imagined a rosy future. He thought, "I will do this, I will do that, I will improve my health." He had already climbed so many mountains, and he was hoping that one day he would climb the Himalayas. He hoped that once more he would swim the English Channel. If we think of the future, it is all hope.

Somebody is studying in high school. He thinks that he will graduate, then he will get a Bachelor's degree, then a Master's degree. He is planning. Planning is not bad, but if he thinks only of the future, he is wasting time. If he is studying at the high school level, he should think of the immediate next step, college - nothing more. He should think of only one step. And again, if he is really wise, he will think only of his present studies. He has not to think of college at all. Now he has to complete high school. If he is completing his high school course, then let him only think of that. Otherwise, he is dealing with uncertainty. The goal is there, but the road is not straight; it is zigzag, always zigzag.

We say there is a golden road, but that is only if one has tremendous aspiration, a most intense inner cry, twenty-four hours a day. How many people can have a twenty-four-hour-a-day inner cry? Yes, there is a short cut: the golden road. But we may not be aware of that golden road. Or we may know it is there, but how will we get there? With constant prayer and constant meditation we can arrive at that golden road. Otherwise, the road is like a snake. This serpentine road goes on and on.

Worrying either about the past, about what we have already done, or about what is going to happen in the future, does not help. What we need is light, more light, abundant light. Then we have to know that we should never try to fight against darkness. Darkness has to be illumined. Some countries are fighting, fighting, fighting, but where is satisfaction? If we want to have joy, "tit for tat" does not work — never! We cannot fight against darkness. Yes, we can fight, but darkness will also fight against us.

Light does not fight. Light only illumines. For us, light is here, in the present. The light that the present gives us, or the light that we have in the present, that light we have to increase. By increasing the light, we shall try to illumine the uncertain future, where we are imagining what is going to happen. If we can illumine the future, it does not remain the future; it becomes today. It becomes now. If we have the light, that light will show if there is any danger ten steps ahead or if the road is clear. But if we do not have the light, then the next step we do not know. To see the future, we have to increase our inner light.

The more we have inner light, the farther we can see. At that time we can call it the future, or we can say that the reality ahead of us has come into our today's life. The reality is in the future, but with our light we are not seeing it there. We no longer see it at a distance. At that time we feel that it is within our easy reach, or it is inside us.

My advice to all of you, my spiritual children, is always to see the light inside you. That light will always see what has to be seen. If you are worrying, do not worry. If you are thinking that the past is discouraging, do not think of the past. At every moment we have to illumine ourselves and also forgive ourselves. God will forgive us, true. God does forgive us, but we do not forgive ourselves. We think about the past: "I did this wrong thing, I did that wrong thing." If we pray to God, God will forgive us. But we do not forget what we have done wrong — no! And sometimes it happens that even when God has definitely forgiven us, we think that God has not forgiven us.

If we cannot forgive ourselves, if we always think of what we have done wrong, then when God forgives us, His Forgiveness itself does not last. God's Forgiveness is there for us, and God knows that He has forgiven us. But we always think, "O my God, how can He forget what I did? How can He forgive me? How can He forgive me for this?"

Forget about the past! True, many good things also happened in the past, but while you are trying to bring forward the good things, the devouring tiger grabs you and grabs those good things as well. Let us say that when you were five or six years old, you did something very, very good, or something very good happened in your life. Right now, to try to bring those good memories forward is a waste of time, because you have so many problems at this stage. What will you do? What shall we all do? We shall increase and increase our light, and then there shall come a time when all the good things from the past we shall be able to bring forward safely.

I always say that today's problems are enough to make us unhappy. Why do we have to think of yesterday's problems, or tomorrow's problems? Do we think today's problems are not enough? For each individual, today is enough! This moment is enough for us. If we depend on God's Will, if we pray and meditate, then this moment we are safe. The next moment again we can pray and meditate and please God in His own Way through our devoted selfless service, and then again we shall be safe.

I tell you, the service that some of you are rendering to me is in no way inferior to meditation. To some extent it is even better, because while you are serving the Supreme in me, in your Master, you are fully alert. Some of you are doing electrical work. If you are not alert, you may get a shock and go to Heaven. I do not want you to go to Heaven in that way! While you are meditating, you may at times vegetate. You may look at my Transcendental Photograph, meditate for five minutes and then fall asleep. While you are working with an electrical current, can you fall asleep? In many cases, your devoted service is infinitely more effective than meditation. You are working intensely. You are not allowing any thoughts to enter your mind. Afterwards you can rest for five minutes, but while working you cannot take rest. If you stop for half an hour or an hour, you will be delaying your important work. And if your concentration is missing, you may be injured.

If you do not meditate well, even if you fall asleep, you are not losing anything; it is only that your realisation will take place perhaps two days later. But when you are working with such intensity, you are not making any mistake and you are not getting any kind of injury, so you can see how intensely you are concentrating.

Concentration is so important in life. If you concentrate, then a wrong force cannot come to you. If you concentrate, then a good thought comes. I am saying, and other spiritual Masters have also said, that devoted service is extremely important. While serving, you cannot think wrong thoughts, you cannot look around. Serious, serious tasks you are performing. If you are breaking down a wall or building something, you may meet with danger at any moment. But if you try to meditate and then you fall asleep, is there any danger? Only if you are very sincere and intense in your meditation, then you are making very fast progress.

Even if you make the fastest progress in your meditation, the road of devoted service is easier. And if you want to do something for humanity, then you have to offer service. As a seeker, you are looking towards your own realisation. But if you do selfless service, any kind of service, then you are doing it for mankind; whereas if you pray and meditate, you may be doing it only for yourself. Again, while praying and meditating, you can say, "I am offering the results of my meditation to humanity."

On the practical level, selfless service, devoted service, is so important. While you are doing physical work, at that very moment your concentration is so powerful. If anything goes wrong, the house you are working on may collapse or catch fire. But if you do not meditate sincerely or devotedly, the house remains the same; only your inner progress is delayed. Look at the difference!

I am coming back to your question. Right now do not think of the past. Many good things happened in the past, in addition to the bad things. But right now if you want to bring them to the fore, you will be in difficulty because of all the mistakes that were committed. Those bad things, try to devour; or let those bad dogs sleep. When the time comes, the good experiences will come forward like deer. We shall beckon the deer, and the deer will come to us with all the good things that we have done.

And never think of the future! Think only of today. Even in the next hour, what is going to happen, God alone knows. We cannot see the future. Some good ideas about the future may come and lift you up, but some wrong ideas can also come and devour you. This second is enough for you to become a good person. This very second you have to strive to become a good person. If you think of the next two hours, on the strength of your imagination you can do it. But in two hours so many things can happen! Accidents are taking place in the twinkling of an eye. You are going to Manhattan, and you are sure that in half an hour you will get there. Then an accident takes place, and alas, there is a traffic jam. You will see that your thinking has nothing to do with reality.

The divine approach is to say, "The reality of today, the reality of this moment, is enough for me. At this moment I am going through so many inner crises and outer obstacles. Outer obstacles and inner crises have captured this moment, so I have to disentangle them." Never think even of the good things from the past. There are millions of good things, but never think of them — no! If you have a hundred dollars of spiritual wealth, just make sure that you deposit it in the safe. By becoming a good person at this very moment, you are adding one more dollar to that amount in the safe. Always add, add, add, and never think of tomorrow.

People who think of tomorrow or the day after tomorrow or next month will not have enough faith in God. People who have abundant faith, boundless faith in God will say, "God took care of me up to this day, and again God will take care of me tomorrow. My job is to pray for God's Victory. My job is to pray for God's Protection." If we love God, He will mould us and shape us in His own Way. Your faith in God will determine your life, whether present or past or future. If you have faith in God, He will take care of this moment, He will take care of the next moment, He will take care of all the subsequent moments. Only remain good for this very moment, for this hour, for today. And when tomorrow comes, again do the same thing.

Do not think of tomorrow, what you are going to become or what tomorrow will give you. Do the needful today. Tomorrow will come automatically, and again tomorrow you will do the same thing. Then, the day after tomorrow will automatically come. Do not think of tomorrow and how you will behave tomorrow. Today if you are behaving well, that is enough for today. The same inner joy and strength that you got by becoming a good person today, you will again get tomorrow. But do not bring tomorrow into today. Tomorrow is all ready to come to you. Tomorrow is knocking, knocking, knocking at your door, only you are not ready to open the door. Your friend or enemy — tomorrow — is knocking and knocking, but you are not ready, you are not ready. When you are ready, then you will open the door. Then you will see that your friend has come.

Do not think of the past, do not think of the future; only think of the present. And the present has to be full of determination and full of faith — faith not only in God, but also in yourself. If we do not have faith in ourselves, no matter how much faith God has in us, it will not operate. If we have faith in ourselves, God gives us more and more and more faith. People always say, "I do not have faith in myself. O God, You give me faith." But God will say, "If you do not have faith in yourself, then where is your vessel? Where shall I put My Blessing? I am ready to give you My Blessing, but you do not have a vessel." To have faith in oneself is to have a container where God can pour His Light and His Bliss. If we do not have faith in ourselves, then we do not have a container. God says, "I am ready to give My Blessing, but how will you hold it? Where is the vessel?" That vessel we call receptivity. When we have receptivity, God pours His Blessings into our vessel.

No past, no future — only present, present, present! Have faith in God. Have faith in yourself. Have faith in your soul. Have faith in your Master. Then the road becomes clear. You do not have to see the destination. The destination itself is coming to you.

BLD 21. Sri Chinmoy answered this question at his home on 1 7 March 2002.

BLD 21,6. Sunil, a long-time disciple of Sri Chinmoy, left the body unexpectedly in 2002, when he was in his fifties.

Sri Chinmoy: The other day I drove to Main Street. When you drive, your hands go this way, your legs go that way. You can do four things at a time on the outer plane. In my case I do the inner and the outer together. You have not yet realised God. Tomorrow you will realise God!_5

Question: Is your physical mind aware of all the things that you do, Guru?

Sri Chinmoy: You have to go beyond the physical. If you do not go beyond the physical, you cannot do two things at once; the inner and the outer you cannot do at the same time. In your case, outer things you can do simultaneously. You are doing something with your hands and something else with your legs. But if you want to do the inner and the outer together, you must go beyond the physical. For you, one door is closed. You have kept the outer door open, so you are seeing what is happening in the outer world. The other door is closed, so you have to go through the door to see what is happening. But if you realise God, although the door is closed, you can see through the door like an X-ray machine. What is happening in the inner world and what is happening in the outer world you can see.

BLD 22. Sri Chinmoy answered the following question at his home on 27 April 2002.

Sri Chinmoy: [to one of his disciples:] You are very kind to people at your job. You are organised. You are polite; when I call and you answer the telephone, your response is quite good. You are a good worker. All kinds of excellent reports I have got from one of your fellow workers. Do you have a question? I will answer it very quickly! 6

Question: Sometimes I find myself in total darkness, but you lead me back to my spiritual life. You are taking me to the Goal. How can we invoke God's Grace so we do not lose you in our spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: The answer I will be able to give you. There is one easier than the easiest way. You love me; I love you. Now, comparison has to come into the picture. You have to feel constantly — if not constantly, then every day — that I love you infinitely more than you can love yourself. First you have to feel that I love you infinitely more than you love me — that is absolutely true. And the second part of the answer is that I love you infinitely more than you can love yourself.

These are not mere words, because I am dealing with your soul. This is not your first incarnation, good boy, and it is not your last incarnation. I am dealing with Eternity. Since I am dealing with Eternity, automatically Infinity comes into existence. Eternity and Infinity go together. These are not just English dictionary words. These are realities. When I deal with the soul, it is a matter of Infinity. Unfortunately, you cannot deal with your soul, or your soul is unable to deal with you because you have a mind, you have a vital, you have a body, and there your problem starts! But I can deal with your soul. Your soul has a free access to me, and I have a free access to your soul. That means I am able to handle Eternity and Infinity together. This body lives for seventy, eighty or ninety years, and then it is finished. But the soul brings the message of Immortality.

Think of any disciple, no matter how good he is or how absolutely bad he is. There is one "famous" disciple whom you know. How many people have his heart? His vital life is unthinkable, but when it is a matter of his pure heart, I do not think he loves anybody else except me. Believe me, it is absolutely true! He is impossible in his vital life, but when I concentrate on his heart — let us not even think about the aspiring heart — I see that his heart's love is for nobody else on earth, only for me. When it comes to vital life, emotional problems, he is to be found there. He is prominent in the vital world. But when it comes to a pure heart that loves only one person, if you have to identify his heart and his life-breath, you will see that he loves Sri Chinmoy and nobody else. In his outer life, where he is, God only knows! But I know the oneness of his heart with my heart. There are a few "famous" disciples like that.

In your case, there is no comparison between you and those people. But I wish to say that you and all my disciples have to convince yourselves that I love you infinitely more than you can love yourselves. And again, I have told you that you cannot love me as much as I love you. On the outer plane, if you have ten million dollars, let us say, then poor me, in comparison I have a hundred dollars. You may be able to give me millions of dollars, but I will be able to give you a maximum of one hundred dollars. If you are pleased with me, you can give me millions of dollars in terms of outer wealth. If I am pleased with you, the maximum I can offer you is one hundred dollars. I am giving you a simple example to show that you are infinitely richer in the material world than I am.

But that is only in outer terms. In spirituality, in aspiration and dedication, I am dealing with Infinity and Eternity. If you want to give me something outwardly, you can give me so much more than I can give you. In exactly the same way, all the disciples must feel that I love them infinitely more than they can love me. The mind will say that is impossible. The mind will not allow that thought. It will say, "Oh, I have got stomach pain. Is Guru thinking of me? I am the sufferer!" Outwardly I may say, "How are you feeling?" That is like the ordinary communication between a mother and son. The mother will say, "O my God, my son has got a stomach upset." But you will see that inside the pain itself is my soul, because your soul is bringing the message to me.

Always we have to bring divinity to the forefront and say, "My Guru is dealing with my eternal life. My Guru is dealing with Infinity." Every day a disciple should say that I love him infinitely more than he can ever love himself or love me. When that feeling comes, darkness goes away! Darkness may come, but inside the darkness there will be this thought: "O my God, my Guru is there — no matter how dark it is; no matter what consciousness I am in, even if I am in hell. My Guru is there no matter how many months I have not been able to pray and meditate."

A seeker may have a dry period. Swami Vivekananda said and Sri Aurobindo said that a dry period could last for six months or even two years. But if we invoke the devotional aspect, then the dry period does not come. All the time we have to invoke the devotional aspect. I am not comparing myself with any other spiritual figures, but I wish to say that from the very beginning I took the devotional approach. Sri Ramakrishna did not go through a dry period — never — because from the very beginning he took the devotional approach. If my disciples take the devotional approach, they do not have to go through a dry period.

When it is a matter of love, sometimes you love me, but sometimes you do not love me when you have a mental conflict. Surrender comes for five seconds, but then for five days or five years surrender may disappear. But if devotion is there, if devotion is all the time alive, it becomes the bridge, the link. It connects love and surrender. It makes the connection absolutely tight! This side is love, that side is surrender. Love and surrender are connected by devotion.

Some disciples stand in front of me with folded hands, but their minds are somewhere else. Let us say you are folding your hands, and you really feel that your submission or your surrender is complete. You can fold your hands twenty-four hours a day, whether devotion is there or not. You may only be putting your two hands together. But while you are putting your palms together, if devotion is alive inside you, then no problem arises.

To you I am saying, inside darkness or inside your suffering or pain, only keep love. You and all the disciples must keep love inside your suffering. You may say, "I am suffering so much, but I am doing this service, I am doing that service." Somebody else will say, "O my God, what am I doing working in the rain? I am working in the storm, and Guru is at home sleeping." That is what the mind will say. But the heart will say, "This service I am doing in the rain, during the thunderstorm, because of my Guru's love for me and because of my love for my Guru."

Those who serve our Marathon Team races will say they do it because of their love for me and my love for them. If they do not feel my love, then they will be somewhere else. And if I do not feel their love, then they will no longer serve me in that job. It is a matter of mutual love: my love for them and their love for me. Their souls and hearts will say, "Physically my Guru is not here in this storm, and so many problems I am facing. But inside each problem, my Guru is coming to give the answer. He is coming to solve the problem." That kind of attitude the disciples should have: "I have problems, but my Guru will be there to solve my problems in and through me."

When you have dark periods, when you have problems, always feel that this is a game — the Cosmic Game. You have been watching videos of the Mahabharata. Who won the war? In the end, it was the good people, the righteous people, the Pandavas. Suffering is always there. As long as there is ignorance, we shall have to suffer. We shall be kicked, kicked, kicked. The football goes from this side to that side, and finally one party wins. The good party, the party that has light, is bound to win. If truth prevails, life prevails. When you say, "Life prevails," that means, "My Guru is with me, in me and for me." Always have this mantra, my divine child: "My Guru is with me, in me and for me." Then all your problems will be solved.

Ask one question in your life: many years ago, was there any disciple who cared for me as much as you did when I was suffering, when I was practically dying? Absolutely my case became very serious. You were the only one to know that I could not walk any more. You were always with me. You were with me everywhere. I could not breathe. For three days I could not take a normal breath. I suffered so much! Five or six people massaged me. My case became very serious. If it had continued one day more, I would have called a doctor. And what were you doing? Everywhere I went, you were there. You were the one to come if I needed something. Do you remember that? All the time, you were the only one to remain only ten metres behind me, or beside me. You were the only one going on, going on. Will I ever forget this?

You may forget. You have had twenty million problems since then, so you may forget. But I shall never forget. This incident I have told a few times. Your heart became absolutely one with my heartbeat while I was suffering so badly. I sat down and I could not breathe, I could not breathe, and you were always serving me — physically, not spiritually, not inwardly. Physically you served me. How can I forget these things?

Then again, at times when the computer takes you away from your spirituality, I say, "Now stop, stop!" Computer, internet, e-mail: for me, these three can carry hostile forces, like the rakshashas that we see in the Mahabharata. They carry so many evil things. They help people, true; but in terms of taking mankind from divinity, they are real culprits. I have been saying this for the last ten years.

Again, that one good thing that you did is stuck in my mind! As soon as I see you are doing something wrong, I say to myself, "My God, he did such service for me!" For those four or five days what you did will last eternally inside my heart, inside my life-breath. To all my disciples I am saying that when you do something good for me, I eternally remember it. You may forget, because in between your good deeds you may do quite a few things wrong. At that time you may forget that such an immortal thing you have done in my life.

You all have done good things, but you do not want to remember the good things. You only want to remember all the bad things that you have done since the beginning of Creation! Always try to think of how many good things you have done, all of you. Then the bad things will disappear. But if you want to say, "I am a sinner, I am a sinner, I confess," then you will remain a sinner. Instead you should say, "I have done this good thing, I have done that good thing." Then you will get tremendous joy, tremendous enthusiasm and tremendous inner strength to destroy your undivine qualities. Always say, "I have done this, I have done this, I have done this!" Then the divine forces that worked in and through you will come to your rescue.

This was supposed to be my short answer! Always think of how many good things you have done for me. If you think of how many good things you have done, then the wrong things cannot stand against you. Do not identify with any of the bad things that you have done or that you may do in the future — forget about them! Only think of the good things, the good things. Then the good things will get the strength of ten lions. If you give importance to the bad things, each one, even if it is like a goat, will turn into a devouring tiger. Never give importance to the things you have done wrong. Only think of the good things that you have done, or the good things that I have done.

You can even think of how many times I have scolded you! If you can remember those scoldings, then you will see whether I scolded you for my good or for your good. It was for your good. But eventually who gets the benefit? I get the benefit! If I can help you turn into an excellent instrument, is that not my benefit? In the meantime, you get the scolding, but you will see that it is for your good.

For a short time, a very short time, you got from me a "vacation" from our path, for your illumination. Who suffered? I suffered infinitely more than you — "infinitely" is the right word! When you got the vacation, I suffered infinitely more than you suffered. Then the darkness was over. Now you are in the light, in the effulgence. People never realise that when they suffer because I become strict with their life and I take some outer action, I am the sufferer in and through them. Then again, when an individual comes back to light from darkness, he values my strictness.

But sometimes people can do stupid things! They feel that they have to go to darkness in order to appreciate light. That is absolutely the wrong approach. Our philosophy is to go from light to more light, to abundant light, to infinite Light. We now have abundant light, and we are aiming at infinite Light.

BLD 23. Sri Chinmoy answered the following question at his home on 1 May 2002.

Question: Of all the spiritual Masters of the past who come to you, Swami Vivekananda seems to come very often, and to have a close connection, but he seems to be stern with you, Guru. Is there ever a time when he displays his affection and devotion to you?7

Sri Chinmoy: Affection, love, admiration and fondness I receive from Swami Vivekananda. Devotion I cannot expect! Devotion he has to keep for his Guru. But affection, love, fondness and admiration he has shown me many, many, many, many times. On the earthly level I came down after him. Devotion he has to keep always for his Master. But I have received affection, love, fondness and admiration from him many, many times. And the same blessings I have received from his Master, Sri Ramakrishna.

Once, perhaps twice, they came to visit me in the inner world, and then we had a long conversation. I phoned my sister Lily in India, and she told me that she already knew about our conversation. She saw very clearly that on the previous night Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda were with me, and they came to her as well. Our family is very, very close to Swami Vivekananda and Sri Ramakrishna.

Yesterday's newspapers, including the Indian Express, had so many articles about Swami Vivekananda. They have such admiration for him. India was fast asleep, and he said, "Get up, get up, get up! Arise, awake, awake!" Then his indomitable spirit destroyed or illumined the lethargy of India. He was dynamic, dynamic, dynamic!

On one of our Christmas Trips, I was lifting weights when Swami Vivekananda came inwardly. I said, "It cannot be!" Then he threw his walking stick near me. In those days when I was lifting heavy, heavy weights, how many times he came, sometimes for fifteen or twenty days in a row at a particular place, only to watch and to encourage me. And he appeared when I was walking in the street. He was everywhere, everywhere, everywhere!

Closer than the closest is our connection. Some disciples of Swami Vivekananda and Sri Ramakrishna may find it difficult to believe. At the centenary of Swami-ji's presentation at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago, where he became immortal, the organisers wanted me to open the session. It was about Swami Vivekananda's triumph, and God has His own Ways. With my prayer and meditation, I opened the Chicago Conference.

The soul of America is blessing us today. Yesterday at our gathering everyone sang "America the Beautiful" very, very nicely, and today Paree's group has sung the songs about Swami Vivekananda very, very beautifully. Soul, soul, soul!

This morning at 5:20, Vinaya was driving me to Goose Pond Park. Vinaya is very fond of the ducks there. I started my one-mile walk. Right from the first step, Swami Vivekananda was walking with me inwardly for one full mile. A very thin crane was watching us. On the earthly level, I saw one Indian, a Hindi-speaker. He was lying down most comfortably on a bench, speaking on the phone. God alone knows whether it was his wife or someone else that he was speaking with. I passed by, and when I came back, he was still talking. I went around again. I walked comfortably for over eighteen minutes, and Swami Vivekananda was with me inwardly, chatting and chatting.

Afterwards Vinaya took me to see our 3,100-mile race. Swami Vivekananda also saw the race. There, when I was about to start another mile, Swami Vivekananda said, "Good-bye." For that mile I was walking all alone. For Swami Vivekananda to be with me for eighteen minutes! This is not my mental hallucination; it is all my God-oneness-realisation. With such affection he was walking with me.

BLD 24-25. Sri Chinmoy answered the following questions at Aspiration-Ground in Jamaica, New York on 4 July 2002 — America's Independence Day, and the centennial of Swami Vivekananda's passing.

Question: Guru, one time you said that Swami Vivekananda came and took away your knee pain, and the relief lasted for a day or two. I was wondering if there is any way of explaining his motivation, and if he would ever do it again?

Sri Chinmoy: Why did he do that for one or two days? Only to do me a favour! Once there was a long-distance walk around the track at Jamaica High School, and I was in such pain. Inwardly, Sri Ramakrishna touched my knee and took my pain away. I was so happy, and I walked 200 or 300 metres. Alas, then the pain came back. Sri Ramakrishna said, "I can do this much. The rest is between you and your Supreme." I was in such agony, and then I was so thrilled that my pain had gone away. Alas, after I had covered another 200 metres, the pain came back. I said, "What is this? The pain is back." Sri Ramakrishna said, "I can only do this much for you. A permanent cure is between you and your Supreme."

On the physical plane I have the same experience. When my Chinese doctor gives me an injection for my pain, I feel better for two weeks. The pain does not go away, but I feel better, so I am in the seventh Heaven. Then, after two weeks, alas, alas, the pain comes back, and my doctor gives me another treatment. I trust him! I have such love for him. And I must say, at least the pain does not increase!

In this world a kind of miracle many have performed, by touching people. But unfortunately these are not like Jesus Christ's miracles, because the doctors and others are not Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ touched people, and their pain went away. It did not come back. In my case, some people show me a so-called miracle, but it lasts for only a very short time. Then the problem comes back very nicely.

There is not a single spiritual Master who has not suffered on the physical plane. Each one has suffered. Perhaps there are some spiritual Masters who have suffered physically much, much more than I have been suffering — much, much more. But there is not a single spiritual Master who did not have physical pain.

Sometimes a spiritual Master will blame his disciples, and sometimes the disciples blame themselves for the Master's suffering. God alone knows who is responsible: the Master himself or the disciples. In my case I always say, "No disciple is responsible. It is not their problem. No, it is my problem. I am responsible for my suffering." Sri Ramakrishna said to his disciples, "I have got cancer in my throat because I have taken the sins of all of you." How many disciples did Sri Ramakrishna have? At that time he had sixteen or twenty disciples. Openly he said, "I have taken your sins. They are all inside my throat." Other Masters also said similar things. But in my case I will never say that I am getting pain from the karma of my disciples — no, no, no.

Editor's notes

Book title selected by Sri Chinmoy Centre Publications NY from Sri Chinmoy's answers on pages 5,17 and 20.

Bird drawings and CKG signature on cover, and flower drawings throughout the book, are by Sri Chinmoy.