Dependence and assurance

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Individual meditation

There are quite a few ways to meditate, but no matter whose path you follow, mine or somebody else's, there is a general rule: You cannot allow your mind to be restless or agitated. You have to try to make the mind calm and quiet, like the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. This advice all the spiritual Masters will give.

How will you make the mind calm and quiet? The mind has its own power, but right now your determination does not have the same degree of power. The mind's power is now stronger than your present eagerness to meditate. But if you can get help from your heart, then easily you will be able to control the mind. The heart gets constant assistance from the soul; and the soul has all light and all power. If you take help from the heart, then you won't allow all kinds of silly rubbish — unlit, undivine thoughts — to enter into your mind. I always tell my disciples to begin their meditation by repeating the word 'Supreme' a few times. The Supreme is our eternal Guru: my Guru, your Guru, everybody's Guru. I am representing the Supreme only for my disciples, who think that I can be of service to them. There are other Masters who are representing the Supreme for their disciples. So think of the Supreme and repeat the word 'Supreme' a few times early in the morning. If you can chant 'Aum' soulfully, it will also help you during your meditation.

Also, you have to take help from the outer world. If you take a shower or a proper bath in the morning, it adds to your meditation. If you keep flowers in front of your shrine and burn incense and candles, it will help you. When you look at a candle flame, immediately you are inspired, and this inspiration has to enter into your aspiration. In this way the outer flame helps the inner flame.

You people may say, "I don't know how to meditate." But I wish to say that once you become a disciple and enter into my Boat, then it is the problem of the Boatman to take you to the Golden Shore. After you are safely seated in the Boat, you can lie down, you can sing, you can dance, you can do anything. But first you have to enter into the Boat. Occasionally I have given instruction outwardly to some of my disciples who needed it. But to most I don't give individual meditations: each one is allowed to meditate in his own way. When I accept a disciple, I concentrate on his soul and bring the soul forward. Then I give some inner meditation to the soul. At that time, the disciple is bound to receive my inner instruction. But if the disciple can consciously create a pure vibration and keep a sincere attitude, then it is easier for his soul to remain at the fore and to receive everything from me. In the early days I was very liberal in giving the disciples individual meditations. I had one disciple who never got satisfactory results from the meditations I gave her. She would come back after I gave her one meditation and ask me to please give her another one. Then I would give her another and she would come begging me for still another. That particular disciple used to go to all sorts of other spiritual Masters and she used to go to movies, parties and nightclubs. Then she would complain that the meditation I had given her didn't work! What could I do? The first one I gave should have been effective. Only out of compassion I kept giving her different meditations. Finally she accused me of not having any inner vision.

If you feel that you are inwardly drawn towards me but you have not got an individual meditation, do not worry. The best type of meditation comes when you enter into my consciousness by looking at my Transcendental picture and throwing yourself into me. Just concentrate on this picture of me when I am at one with the Supreme and enter into me through the forehead, where my Eye of Vision is located — the Eye which sees the present, past and future. You also have this Third Eye, but in your case it is still veiled. If you find it difficult to enter into my Third Eye, then try to breathe in slowly and steadily and imagine that I am also breathing rhythmically with you. You can be a few feet away or as close as possible to my picture, but try to feel that we are breathing at the same time.

When you meditate on my picture, you have to try to throw yourself into me with your utmost aspiration. Then I can take full responsibility for your meditation. When you enter into me, you should not feel that you are entering into a foreign element or a foreign person, but that you are entering into something which is your true self, your own highest part. But sometimes you may look at the ocean of Light inside me and feel, "Oh my God, if I enter into the ocean, then I will be drowned. I will be overpowered, destroyed." Here the Light trying to enter into you in abundant measure and you are trying to hide. But what have you done? Have you committed any crime? Only if you have done something wrong will you try to hide. You have to know that the light will not expose you: it only wants to illumine you. The more light that comes, the sooner you will be illumined. But if you feel fear, then it is better for you not to enter into me. Instead, you should allow me to enter into you. You will say, "Let the ocean come into me in one very, very small drop, or let just a few drops of its water and Light enter into me." This is another way. It all depends on your strength and receptivity and how much of my spiritual food you can eat. If you feel that you are strong enough to swim in my sea of Light and Bliss, then enter into me. If you have great inner strength, then enter into me. Otherwise, let me enter into you.

When you look at my Transcendental picture, try to feel that this person you are seeing is your very own. You have a husband or wife, you have children, and now you can add one more person to your family. You have to feel also that here is someone who is not only your own for this life, but who will be your own forever. If you feel your oneness with me, if you feel that I am not a foreigner but a member of your own family, then automatically you will try to mix with me and your consciousness, your soul, will try to mix with mine. This very mixing is called meditation.

When you meditate on me or on my Transcendental picture, you are becoming one with me. If you look at a tree, you become one with the consciousness of the tree. If you look at a flower, you become one with the fragrance of the flower. Similarly, if you look at my Transcendental picture, you become one with my inner divinity and reality. If you are sincere, at that time you get Peace, Light and Bliss in boundless measure. That is real meditation. But this is only for seekers who want to follow my path.

Those present here who are not my disciples may be thinking that it is the height of folly for my disciples to meditate on my picture. Perhaps they feel that I am proud, conceited and shameless because I allow them to admire that picture. But I can assure you — as my devoted disciples who have faith in me know — that my Transcendental picture does not represent my physical body. It does not represent me, Chinmoy Kumar Ghose. The picture was taken when I was in my highest consciousness; and in that consciousness I am totally one with the Supreme. So that picture represents the Supreme for each seeker who has accepted me as his Guru. When my disciples concentrate, when they meditate in front of that picture, they feel that they are meditating in front of the Supreme.

Those who are my real disciples, dedicated disciples, need not concentrate on anybody's photograph except mine. I tell them to first look at my whole face and then gradually, gradually to try to concentrate on my Third Eye. Whatever they want, if they want a vision or anything else, then my Transcendental picture will give it to them. It has infinite Light, infinite Peace, infinite Bliss; everything it has in infinite measure.

Your Guru is the farmer. He is all the time cultivating the field, which is you. Now if you don't allow him to cultivate, if you consciously or unconsciously turn to somebody else, then you are nowhere near the Goal. It is not that I will be jealous if you put up a picture of some god or goddess in your room; I am very fond of the gods and goddesses. But if I am to carry you to the Golden Shore, then you have to be in my Boat. For concentration, for meditation, for contemplation, for everything you have to come to me and I have to come to you.

If you have a beautiful picture of a god or goddess, you can use this picture for inspiration. But if you concentrate on it, meditate on it, there will be tremendous, tremendous confusion. One day you look at this picture and pray, the following day you will pray to another goddess, the third day to somebody else and the fourth day to me. Then I will be helpless. So I always tell my dearest disciples to stick to me as I stick to them all the time. You can keep other pictures for inspiration if you want to, but not for anything else.

My true disciples and all those who believe in me should have this picture in their meditation room. Also, they should carry a small one in their wallets so that they can look at it on different occasions during the day and when they are about to make important decisions. This way they can easily come in contact with my highest consciousness at any moment. You have become my disciples precisely because you have felt something in me: some Peace, Light, Bliss or Power. Some divine quality of mine you have felt. Also, you feel that this divine quality can easily enter into you. I have all kinds of disciples: first class, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh class disciples. But, no matter which category you belong to, if you can meditate or concentrate on my Transcendental picture, then you are bound to enter into my inner divine consciousness.

Love, devotion and surrender are the cornerstones of my philosophy because I feel that they make up the true sunlit path which can lead the aspirant to the Goal very fast. If you want to enter into my consciousness while looking at my picture, the best approach is that of love, devotion and surrender. If you want to concentrate and meditate on my picture and offer your heart's love, devotion and surrender, then my highest is also your highest.

I tell my disciples that it is always best to keep the eyes open while meditating. Otherwise, you will keep your eyes closed and then you may think that you are having a wonderful meditation when perhaps you have actually made friends with sleep. Instead of making friends with sleep, you should make an eternal friendship with my divine consciousness. Always keep your eyes open and meditate on my picture. Then you will feel my presence inside your heart. When someone becomes my disciple he has to feel my presence in his heart and also his own presence in my heart. When a disciple meditates or my picture, it automatically helps him in concentrating on the heart. And if he concentrates on his heart, automatically he will feel my presence there.

In the beginning please do not be disturbed if you cannot meditate well. God alone knows how many years one must practise in order to become a very good pianist. If an accomplished pianist thinks of what his standard was when he first began to play, he will laugh. It is through gradual progress that he has achieved his present height in his music. In the spiritual life also, in the beginning do not worry if you find it difficult to meditate. Do not pull or push. Ten minutes early in the morning is enough.

If you meditate every day, you will be able to make progress in your inner life. Again, you have to feel that every day you cannot eat the most delicious meal. Today you may eat most delicious food and then for three or four days you may eat very simple food. As long as you are eating and getting nourishing food, you know that you are sustaining your body. So, if you have a good meditation one day and then the following day you do not have a good meditation, do not feel miserable. In the spiritual life your business is to meditate, meditate. If one day you can't meditate very well or according to your satisfaction, please feel that some other day the Lord Supreme will again give you the opportunity, inspiration and aspiration to meditate extremely well. But if you are disturbed or irritated, then you will lose the opportunity to meditate well in the future. The best thing is to be very calm, quiet and steady in your spiritual life. Then definitely you will be able to meditate well and your meditation will be of the highest order.

Again, you have to know that meditation is not just sitting in front of your shrine. No! When you work for me and you think of me while working, that is one of the best forms of meditation. When you work for me, my consciousness enters into you and you remain in my consciousness. One of the best forms of meditation, dynamic meditation, is soulful dedication — not to sit and go into trance, but to work for me devotedly. If you want to follow somebody else's path, that person may give you different instructions, but this is one of the ways my disciples meditate.

Once you have entered into the spiritual life, at every moment you are dealing with consciousness. When you use the word 'consciousness', immediately you will see inside you a vast ocean or a vast sky. The word itself has that capacity. My disciples should feel that the infinite consciousness is within me. My name, Chinmoy, means 'full of divine consciousness'. When you think of me during the day, feel that you are thinking only of consciousness. When you think of consciousness, you are bound to feel an expansion; the very reality of consciousness is to expand.

When you think of me, see if you can visualise or feel a vast expanse right in front of you. If on the physical plane or on the material plane the earth atmosphere gives you a sense of vastness, try to imagine it when you think of me. When you look at the ocean, you will see an expanse of water. Water means consciousness. When you look at the sky, immediately you feel an infinite expanse of blue, of vastness. So you can expand your heart by looking at the ocean and feeling that the ocean is representing my consciousness and your heart is becoming one with it. Or you can look at the sky early in the morning just for a few seconds and feel that there your heart has become one with my consciousness.

I am a spiritual teacher, but I am not the only spiritual teacher on earth; there are a few others. If you follow my path, I will be able to offer light to your soul and your soul will be able to guide you and show you how to meditate. If you study my writings, if you come to our Centre meetings regularly and concentrate on my picture, if you work for me devotedly, then you will learn how to meditate. But if you follow someone else's path, naturally that teacher will teach you how to meditate in his own specific way.

Receptivity

During your meditation, just try to throw your outer and inner existence into my Transcendental consciousness. You do not have to think of anything. Just throw yourself into the sea; then the sea will feed you with Light, Peace, Bliss and Power. But do not expect any particular divine quality from me. I may want to give you one quality, but if you expect something else, at that time you are binding yourself with your expectation and also you are binding me.

Human expectation is very limited. Suppose you want Peace, divine Peace. When you expect, immediately your mind acts. You are trying to form receptivity inside you, but the receptivity that you will have in your mental world or physical world will be very limited. You feel that you have the capacity to receive, that you already have a vessel inside you; but you have to know that that vessel is very limited. But if you do not expect, but only give, then the problem of receptivity belongs to the Master. At that time the Master is bound to give you everything in boundless measure and, at the same time, to create the receptivity in you. When you give, then the Master has to give; and in order to give, he also has to make the vessel. He has to make it very large so that he can pour in the amount that he wants to give. So when you meditate on my Transcendental picture, try to empty yourself. If a thought comes, whether good or bad, just throw it into my picture. Each time a thought strikes your mind, feel that it is an attack and let me have the attack. Do not encourage any thought whatsoever. In this way keep your vessel absolutely empty. If you empty yourself and give me all your thoughts and undivine qualities, then I can fill you with Peace, Light and Bliss.

You have to know that I am ready to accept everything that you have and everything that you are. If you only want to give me the good things, that is not right. You should give me both the good and the bad. If you have fear, doubt or any negative thoughts, look at my picture and throw all your obscurity and impurity into me. Don't worry about me; I will throw these negative forces into the Universal Consciousness. But if you hold onto these things, you will only suffer. When undivine thoughts enter your mind, you actually become weak. If you doubt someone, you may think that you have achieved something. But no, you have only become weak. When you become jealous of someone, it is as if a heavy burden has been placed on your shoulders; naturally you become tired and exhausted. Today if you have one wrong thought, tomorrow you will have one hundred wrong thoughts, and there will be no end. When you have, say, jealousy, you inwardly communicate with the person you are jealous of and offer him your jealous thoughts. In the mind you are formulating the thoughts or ideas and you are consciously giving these to him. In the same way, any idea which comes you can throw into me. The moment you talk to me inwardly you are giving me your thoughts.

When you do your morning meditation, if you have not accumulated any mental garbage during your sleep, if your sleep was not disturbing but very sound and deep, if you have no restless feeling, then there may be nothing undivine that you have accumulated. At that time you can enter into me with joy, love and peace. If you can enter into me with divine qualities, then you should feel that it is like dealing with your own father. A child is coming to his father with such joy to give him a penny he has found in the street. The child could have bought candy, but he felt the necessity of giving the penny to his father. The father is so happy that his son wants to give him his only possession. Then the father will give the child much more than the child has offered. He will give the child a dollar.

In the spiritual life also, if you give me something good or positive — a little love, a little joy, a little peace — then immediately in return I will give you love, joy and peace in boundless measure. I will give you God only knows how many times more than you have offered me. If it is something bad that you are giving, then it will enter into my inner ocean. If it is a negative thought, an absurd or false notion, I will take care of it. And if you say, "I am giving you what I have unconditionally; I do not expect anything," then I assure you that what I give you will be in boundless measure, beyond your imagination, far beyond your expectation.

Sometimes I tell you to meditate on a particular quality, such as joy. Joy is something abstract, but you can imagine my face. Think of my face when I have been smiling at you or at anybody. When you see that I am smiling a very subtle smile and there is joy around my aura, then you know that this is my sincere smile. If you can see it, immediately it will give you tremendous joy.

My Transcendental picture appears very serious and austere. But if you enter into the heart of the picture, it is all smile, all peace, all love and all the other divine qualities. It is full of very solid joy, what we call 'Delight', but this is difficult to imagine. Hundreds of times you have seen your Master's smiling face; but if you see a picture where I am not smiling, then you yourself have to enter into my spiritual height or depth. If you want to enter into me, then identify yourself with my Peace, Light and Bliss and naturally you will get joy. But if you see a picture of your spiritual Master smiling or if you imagine my smiling face, then my smile will be recorded on the tablet of your heart. My smiling face will shine there and then you can easily meditate on joy.

Receptivity is most important in the spiritual life. One of the ways you can receive from me during meditation is through my eyes. But even if you are meditating with your eyes closed, if your soul is hungry for Peace, then at that time Peace will enter into you. If you are hungry for Light, then Light will enter into you. If you are hungry for any spiritual quality, then that quality will enter you. The mind may not understand, but here the mind is not at all necessary.

When the soul receives something such as Peace, Light or Bliss, at times the soul wants to assimilate it immediately and at times the soul wants to express it before it assimilates it. Assimilation is always good and, again, expression is also good. In many cases I see that the souls are eager to assimilate the divine quality and keep it for five hours or five, fifteen or twenty days and then express it. But in other cases I see that in a few hours' time or in a day the soul wants to express and reveal and manifest. When assimilation is not done first, then expression may be difficult, very difficult.

Your absorption of Light and other qualities can still take place even after you have left the meditation hall. It is like a star. Even if the star no longer exists, its light from aeons ago only now is reaching the earth. The absorption of the divine Light that you see or feel when I stand in front of you can take place immediately or it may take a few hours, days, weeks or even months.

One way to assimilate what I am giving you is to imagine my eyes right in front of you. Think of my eyes when I am in a high consciousness. Hundreds of times you have seen how my eyes are like waves moving from side to side; they are all-luminous, all Peace and Light. Here it is not really imagination, for when you see my all-illumining, all-compassionate and all-fulfilling eyes in front of you, immediately it is reality itself. At that time you are bound to assimilate the spiritual food that I have given you.

Sometimes when I am blessing someone or looking at a person and meditating on him, that person is absolutely unreceptive. With my infinite Compassion I am spreading Light in front of that person. But a person who may be sitting somewhere else, whose inner being is fully awake and who is most devotedly meditating on the Supreme, is receiving my Light because of his sincerity and devotion. He is taking away all the Light from the person to whom I want to give it. At this point I am not at all displeased with the person who has taken my Light, because my business is only to bring it. If the person to whom I offer it is not at all receptive, then naturally if somebody else has the capacity, he should take it. Then, when I come to the person who received the Light when I was blessing the other person, if that person still has the capacity to receive more, then I give more Light to him. Again, sometimes it happens that when I come to the person who received my Light five minutes ago, as soon as I look at him and meditate on him, that person becomes frightened and nervous — half dead — and receives nothing.

When I look at others and meditate on them, some of the disciples pay no attention. They meditate on themselves or sometimes they don't even meditate. They feel that it is not their turn, so they can relax. Then, as soon as their turn comes, they behave like naughty boys in school who immediately stand up when they see that the teacher is talking to them. Here also, the moment their turn comes, immediately these disciples come out of their stupor. But the good ones will always try to receive my Light and to remain in a very good, high, devoted, elevated consciousness, no matter where I am looking or concentrating.

The absorption of Light demands absolute sincerity and purity. Anybody who is one hundred percent sincere and pure in the spiritual life can immediately absorb the Light that I want to offer. It does not take more than two seconds or perhaps even one second. Now, the sincerity that I am speaking of is not ordinary human sincerity. It is something totally different from the sincerity that we use in our ordinary day-to-day life. Spiritual sincerity is something infinitely more subtle and infinitely more difficult to understand. At every moment you are dealing with your goal, your highest goal of oneness, which is right in front of you. Spiritual sincerity asks of you, "Are you going to make the utmost sacrifice to reach that goal?" If the hour has struck and if God wants you to give up everything for His sake, to realise Him; if He says, "Give up everything and walk with Me, run with Me," then, if you are ready to do it, that is called true sincerity to your goal. Then only you can go with God. If one is not ready to make all sacrifices for the realisation of one's ultimate Goal, then, according to me, one is not sincere. Only he is sincere who can say, "I am ready to give up everything if that is what God wants." And he must be doing it to please God, not just because it is demanded of him in order to realise God. Spiritual sincerity is constant inner sacrifice and outer sacrifice. If there is no sacrifice in the inner life or the outer life, then sincerity cannot take birth. At every moment self-sacrifice has to be done unconditionally and soulfully. This constant self-sacrifice to realise the highest Goal, to become one with the Supreme, is called real sincerity.

And then, if there is no purity, immediately you will lose the Light that you have received. Purity is actually the vessel inside you which holds Light, Peace, Bliss and Power. Very often you receive things from me and then you lose them because impurity enters into you. Impurity you can see in the physical, in the mind and in the vital. Impurity in the subtle physical body comes mostly from doubt, from fear, from anxiety. One of the undivine qualities that go hand in hand with impurity is self-deception, so you have to be very careful. If you want to expedite your spiritual journey, then purity must come first. Otherwise, no matter how much Light you have received or are going to receive, you will lose it. You may get it today, but tomorrow you are going to lose it.

Inner communication with the Master

If somebody wants to enter into my consciousness quickly, in the twinkling of an eye, then he has to prepare himself in every possible way: by taking a shower, wearing clean clothes, putting out flowers and so forth. Otherwise, it will be like climbing a very high mountain. But after you have made considerable progress in your inner life, there comes a time when your inner consciousness has become really pure. At that time, even if you do not take a shower, your meditation will automatically go high. But it is only in the case of those who are very advanced. If you meditate in front of my Transcendental picture, I am aware if you have not properly bathed or prepared yourself. But at that time it is my subtle physical that is more prominent than the gross physical. When you are approaching me through my picture, the vibration is coming into my subtle physical, and there I will not be so much affected if you have not bathed. When anyone approaches me directly on the physical plane, I will be more affected. The subtle physical is inside the physical, true; but it is higher than the physical and there I have more power. The higher we are, the stronger we are and the more power we have. The physical is very limited. In throwing the shotput or the discus, many good athletes will beat me. But I know what I can do with my occult power.

When a person concentrates on my Transcendental picture, immediately one of my inner beings, or emanations, comes to me and brings it to the attention of my physical mind. But a person must look at my picture with utmost devotion and it must be my Transcendental picture, where am one with my Lord Supreme, where I embody the Highest, and not just any picture where I am running or climbing trees. When an aspirant is concentrating on my Transcendental picture, then one of my inner beings tells me. I may not know the name of the person, I may never see him in this life, but his soul comes to me and brings the face and physical form of the person right in front of my physical mind, no matter what I am doing. I may be riding in the car or giving a lecture, but my inner beings are telling me that this person is concentrating on me or that person is concentrating on me. Also, early in the morning, after two o'clock, the souls of my dearest disciples come to me and give me a report on what happened to them that day, whether it was good or bad.

As you know, I have many classes of disciples: seventh, sixth, fifth, fourth, third, second, first and inmost disciples. But some people whom I have never seen, who are not my disciples on the outer plane, are making enormous progress — faster progress than my third or fourth class disciples, whom I see very often. These seekers are getting much help from me in the inner world. Recently a book of mine, Food for the Soul, was published. People are buying the book and reading it and I am most grateful to them. My writings are my consciousness. High or low, they are my consciousness, and those who read my writings can enter into my consciousness. As they are concentrating on important key words, my inner beings come to me and tell me. I do not know their names, but in the inner world they are getting abundant help from me.

It is all a matter of faith. If one believes in the spiritual Master, then one gets considerable help. One has not to be my disciple in order to receive my Light inwardly. Here I am considered a spiritual Master by my disciples. But I wish to say that my realisation tells me there is only one Guru and that Guru is the Supreme. I am the representative of the Supreme for my disciples, for those who want to be in my Boat. But the good will, the love that I spread: this I offer to all humanity. It is my bounden duty to offer this kind of help though outwardly I am responsible only for my disciples.

If a spiritual Master is not on the physical plane, even then people can get considerable help from him if he is a great Master like the Christ, the Buddha, Sri Krishna, Sri Ramakrishna and others. Their devotees get considerable help, constant help, on the strength of their faith in their Master. I have six or seven hundred disciples and I am lucky that most of my disciples do have faith in me. The disciples who have faith in me will get my help even if I am not physically present. The disciples who have established an inseparable oneness with me are bound to feel me no matter where I am. It is an inner oneness. With the outer oneness, two persons may be standing together, they may be friends and they may be talking, but their minds are somewhere else. They don't feel one with each other. They feel one with someone else, some place else. It is our oneness that makes us feel the existence of others and makes it possible for us to get help from others. If I am in Los Angeles and my disciples in Vancouver or in Europe want to contact me inwardly, they can reach me. Again, a disciple may stand right in front of me and if he is not aspiring, then he will see my face and I will see his face, but there will be no inner communication. If he is a sincere, devoted, surrendered seeker, however, then there is no time limit, there is no space limit; it is all oneness.

Here I am available on the physical plane; and if it is God's Will, one can find me. There are various ways to communicate with me, whereas after the Master has left the physical plane, the process is more difficult. Then one has to go very deep within in order to commune or communicate with the Master.

My sincere request to each of you is to please try to remain in your highest, in your purest consciousness. And if it is difficult for you to remain in your highest and purest consciousness, then just look at my picture. My Transcendental picture will raise your consciousness instantly, miraculously. If you have true faith in this particular picture, your inner life, your spiritual life will be most successful and most glorious. I have to say, with utmost humility and at the same time with utmost sincerity, that only great aspirants, spiritual giants and great spiritual Masters of the hoary past, the present and the future will fully recognise what this picture represents. What you need is God-realisation and that you will gradually get from meditating on my Transcendental picture. So if anyone concentrates on my picture or reads my writings with real devotion and aspiration, I have to help him. To serve, to help mankind is the only reason I am here on earth.

Group meditation

I can tell you a story. Once there was king who had a special desire to have a milk pond instead of a water pond. He had the pond drained of water. Then he ordered all of his subjects to come the following morning and bring a very small quantity of milk to pour into the pond.

Everybody is wise in this world; everybody is clever. A brilliant idea flashed across the mind of each subject. What was the divine idea? Each subject thought, "If I bring just a small quantity of water and pour it in instead of milk, nobody will be able to know that I brought water, because thousands and thousands of other people will be bringing milk." But since this idea unfortunately, or fortunately, entered into the minds of everybody, the following morning everybody brought water instead of milk and filled the pond with water. In the evening the king said to his queen, "By this time they have filled my pond with milk. Let us go and see." They went and to his utter disgust he saw that it was all water and not milk.

In this way many disciples play this kind of divine trick during our collective meditations. I don't say that everybody here does this. I am luckier than the king in that respect. But there are people here who enjoy mundane thoughts and think about family problems when they should be meditating. They think that others are having a wonderful meditation, so their Guru will not catch them. But this Guru has an occult vision and it is very, very effective. It works even more powerfully than a king's army.

Some of you feel that you meditate well at home or elsewhere, at unexpected hours, but you do not meditate well at meetings in front of me. Some disciples feel that they can't meditate when they come in front of me. Why is this? It is because they have fear. But why should there be fear? I am not a tiger or a snake or an elephant. You should not be afraid of me; but what actually happens is that when there are other people around, you automatically try — let me be very nice and say unconsciously, not consciously — to imagine what they are thinking of you and what I am thinking of you. But this is wrong. I am not thinking anything of you. I am only standing in front of you with my spiritual love, light and concern.

When you come in front of me, try to feel that I am an X-ray machine which will let you see what you are doing in your spiritual life. Are you aspiring or not? Are you meditating or not? In this way, when you stand in front of me, you will be able to see your own reflection. But instead you think, "Is the Master pleased with me?" I shall be pleased with you only if you show me what you truly are and not if you are trying to make me feel or believe you are something else. This is the mistake that some of you make. When you come in front of me, you try to make me feel that you are this, or that, but I know what you truly are. I know the mark you are going to get. But by trying to impress me with your aspiration, you only lose whatever aspiration you have. You throw away your own aspiration by imposing something on me: that I have to feel you are good, you are nice, you are aspiring. When you have that kind of idea, your real aspiration disappears.

So when you look at me, try to think that whatever you have come with will be seen. Good thoughts will immediately be reflected: joy, love, gratitude, everything divine will come forward; so will bad thoughts. After meditation when you become your normal self, if you feel that you have been absolutely sincere about what you have given to me, at that time I can give you much more. If you give me one cent of gratitude, at that time I will give you my boundless Compassion. If you give one cent of joy, then you will get much, much more in return. So when you stand in front of me, at that time do not try to deceive me. Even if you come with one cent of aspiration, give the one cent that you have brought with utmost sincerity. But if you try to convince me that you have come with ten thousand dollars of aspiration, I will see through it.

Meditating on daily aphorisms

Many of you have asked me how to meditate on a sentence or an aphorism. When you study these aphorisms, please read them very slowly and soulfully three times and then concentrate on each individual word. Let us take the first aphorism in Food for the Soul, the aphorism for January first: "Three hundred and sixty-five opportunities to realise the Supreme, to reveal the Supreme and to fulfil the Supreme."

The word 'Supreme' is the main word. Do not try to see the Supreme in a human form or in the form of the sea or a cloud or a star or anything like that. No, do not try to imagine anything; only repeat the word 'Supreme' and try to feel the word vibrating in your ear.

Next try to concentrate on the word 'realise'. You know what Realisation means. It is not just seeing something, it is not a feeling; it is something more tangible. When you realise something, that means you have become one with it. Realisation means oneness; total oneness is realisation.

Then comes the word 'reveal'. When you have realised something, you have to reveal it, not for name and fame but just because you have become the instrument of the Supreme. When the Supreme makes you realise what He is, when you become one with Him, then you have to reveal Him. What you have inside, you have to show to the world; and what you have inside is the Supreme. After you have revealed Him, He is not only inside you but all around you as well.

First you realise the Supreme, then you reveal Him to the world and finally you have to fulfil Him. How to fulfil Him? This is very complicated because you have to fulfil the Supreme in the way He wants to be fulfilled, not in the way you want Him to be fulfilled. You want to please everybody and you want to be pleased in your own way. But in the case of the Supreme, it is different. The Supreme has to be fulfilled in His own way. When you concentrate on the word 'fulfil' you have to pray to the Supreme, "I wish to fulfil You, but please tell me how I can fulfil You the way You want to be fulfilled."

Then comes the phrase 'three hundred and sixty-five opportunities'. This means that each day you are getting an opportunity to make your promise or your prayer afresh. Every day you can consider yourself a new, fresh flower ready for dedication. When this day ends, the following day you grow into another flower of absolute dedication.

Food for the Soul was originally entitled Flame-stars and Flame-worlds. Now I would like to explain the original title. 'Flame-stars' comes from particles of divinity that are entering into each aspiring soul. 'Flame-worlds' means that in the message of each meditation you will see a different world. If you soulfully read these aphorisms three or four or six times, I wish to tell you that you will see something more meaningful and more significant than if you just read them once. It is not that you will have different ideas or different thoughts. No, you will see that one truth is being expressed powerfully, more powerfully and most powerfully. So this is how you can concentrate on an aphorism.

Inner experiences

Very often my disciples get inner experiences or inner messages from me. Sometimes you are perhaps only imagining things, but sometimes you may be having a real inner experience. If it is a real experience, then before you start your meditation you will get tremendous joy. Then, when you enter into meditation, you will feel even greater joy; the experience will give you a push to go farther and deeper. But if your mind is not pure and free of undivine thoughts, then you will know that you are not having a real inner experience.

Any message that comes from within, even if it is really from your inner being, your physical mind may not believe. It takes just a second, though, for me to ask my soul or your soul whether or not I have given you the message, and immediately I will be able to tell you. If I have, I will definitely say so; if I give you a specific message in the inner world, then on the physical plane I will never contradict it. If I have said something very high, very divine, it may happen that you doubt it on the physical plane. You may feel, "How can it be true? This morning I did so many wrong things, I did not meditate — I did this and that." The difficulty is that one day I may tell you that I am very pleased with you, but the next day you may have come down. Just because you have come down, I shall not deny that I said something; I will simply say that I did tell you, but now you have fallen.

If you feel that you are not in the mind and that you definitely are getting an urgent inner message from me, then just tell me about it immediately. But you have to know whether it is really urgent or not. Something may be important to you today, but tomorrow that very thing may be most unimportant. You know that I am extremely busy, but nobody can say that when you have something really urgent, I ignore it. Immediately I try to do something, either on the physical plane, on the mental plane or on the spiritual plane. You may want me to deal with a problem on the physical plane, but I may feel that if I deal with it outwardly, it will not serve any purpose and that it should be handled on the spiritual plane. Many times you expect something to be done outwardly, but I feel that by satisfying you on the physical plane I will only be pleasing your ego. Then unconsciously you may try to create more problems of that kind so that you can get attention. But if I deal with the situation on the spiritual plane, then you won't indulge in those problems any more. On the other hand, it has happened that the infinite Love and Compassion I have showered on a disciple on the spiritual plane has failed, whereas when I try to deal with him on the physical plane, I succeed.

Sometimes when I deal with people on the spiritual plane they say, "How is it that Guru is not paying attention to me?" But I am trying to clear up their spiritual disease inwardly. The spiritual plane is most important. If I can solve the problem on that plane, it may remain the same outwardly; on the physical plane it may remain unsolved for ten days or ten months. But on the spiritual plane it is solved. Then there is no root to the problem any more. Some people ask for my assistance on the physical plane ten times a day, but if I help them outwardly, then again tomorrow they will have ten more requests of the same kind. But if once I can solve the problem on the inner plane, then it will not happen again. However, if you have problems that are purely on the physical plane, then please approach me on the physical plane. At that time do not try to approach me on the spiritual plane through meditation.

Sometimes you may think, "I have had a wonderful experience, but if I share it with Guru, I will never get it again." The inner being is prepared to offer the experience to the Master, but the vital thinks it will become a beggar by giving away this morsel. In India when some disciples tell their Masters of their experiences, then they don't get these experiences again. They feel that the Master has taken away the strength of the experiences. But they are wrong. The Guru only wants them to get more Power, more Light, more Peace. He has not taken away the essence, the true strength, the significance, the power of the experience. Actually, the Light from the experience is still there, but the disciples do not see it because of their jealousy and aggression. You have to know that whenever you tell me about an experience and you don't get it again, then the Supreme is preparing you for an infinitely higher Light and Peace. Your inner being is aware of this, but the vital, like a beggar, makes you feel that you have lost something.

Dependence and assurance

If you depend on me, if your consciousness stays in me and unites itself with my consciousness, then it will be very easy for me to help you, even if you live far away. But if you do not feel any oneness with me, we can be here all our lives in one room and I will not be able to help you. If you care only for my physical proximity, if you care only to come here to the Centre twice a week so we can see each other, that will not bring either you or me very far. I have tables and chairs in my room. They depend on me because I write on them and I sit on them; in a sense I feed them. But I don't think I will be able to transform their nature. This is because they do not consciously identify themselves with the person who is eager to help them.

What is important is inner aspiration. If you have aspiration, then what you call dependence, I will call assurance. You will use the word 'dependence' and I will use the word 'assurance'. A Centre head may live thousands of miles away. But where is his heart? Where is his mind? They are here in New York. It has happened that a Centre president speaks about me hundreds of miles away, but others hear my voice and see my face, even though the president may be a woman. There are many who geographically are thousands of miles away from me, but they are in my consciousness. They see me, they feel me, they talk to me. And when they write to me, they often say that at a particular hour they saw me and received my help. So we can see how one can have assurance of his spiritual capacity and oneness with his Master even though the Master is thousands of miles away.

Right now, physically I am here talking, but my inner beings are doing work on so many levels. A realised person has to operate on many different levels at the same time; otherwise, he cannot do the many things which must be done in a twenty-four-hour day. Each spiritual Master has an inner biography of his inner achievements. This biography is very, very long and, unfortunately, it cannot be written down, even by the Master. First of all, he does not have the time; secondly, he feels that it will all be regarded as sheer nonsense. Only the dearest disciples who have accepted the inner life and who can enter into their Guru's consciousness will be able to see and feel whether he is telling the truth or not.

There may come a time when you feel that I am no longer necessary in your life of aspiration. Let us take my own case. Do I need a Guru? In all sincerity I will say that I don't need a human Guru. My Guru is the Supreme. I can say this at my present stage of development. But if you say that you do not need a Guru right now, then I think it will be a mistake on your part. You need considerable help, either from this Guru or from somebody else. Your goal is realisation and your journey is quite long. 'Realisation' is a big word to swallow and assimilate. It is more powerful than the atom bomb or the hydrogen bomb. Even after you achieve minor realisations, you will need help from a very great spiritual Master. Only after receiving full realisation or, you can say, major realisation is it not necessary to be dependent on a living Master. Again, you can feel that it is like a father and a son. If the father is capable of teaching more to the son, even if the son has achieved major realisation, the son will naturally try to have further instruction from the father. Because the son loves the father, he will not want to leave him.

Singing and spirituality

Next to real spirituality is music, soulful songs; and after that comes poetry. Poetry is also very close to spirituality, but when it is a matter of setting up an order, first comes singing or playing on an instrument and then comes poetry. If we sing soulful songs — not rock and roll and so forth — then we are really adding to our aspiration. We cannot meditate twenty-four hours day, or even sixteen hours or eight hours; it is impossible for ordinary human beings like us. But if we are asked to sing, even if we are very bad singers, without difficulty we can sing for three or four hours a day. Even if you have very little talent in music, if you spend just fifteen minutes or ten minutes or even five minutes a day learning my songs, it will really help you in your spiritual life. But if you have no talent at all, then you can spend your time in meditation and selfless service. There are few unfortunate ones who cannot sing; but God, the Supreme, will utilise them in other ways, so they don't have to worry. But if you have even a little talent, then I would be very happy if you would practise and exercise your talent and learn a few of my songs. If you can sing one song soulfully every day, it will definitely help you in your spiritual life. From time to time I will ask you to sing. It gives me great joy to hear my songs. It is like a forgotten or lost wealth coming back to me.

Now, I do not always sing my own songs correctly. If you ask me to sing a particular song of mine, I will get sometimes three out of a hundred, sometimes zero out of a hundred. Why? Just because I do not sing them, I do not practise them. These songs I sing once or twice or a few times and then for years I don't sing them, so they are not at home in me; they don't stay within me. I excuse myself by saying that I do many other important things, but when I was in India, when I was in my teens, I learned hundreds of songs — not just ten or twenty. I sang each song twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, hundreds of times while walking along the street, while in the playground, while showering — everywhere. I used to practise these songs so much that even now I know them perfectly. Sometimes I show off on bus rides with my disciples. For two hours consecutively, I go on, go on, go on, singing one song after another. Before one song actually finishes I start another song, so I don't allow anybody else to sing. Believe me, I am not making up the tunes. The tunes are perfect. In India I had two or three very good teachers for two and a half years and I learned these songs very well. But now I do not practise my own songs and I can't sing one line of most of my songs without the harmonium and the notation. If I try to play on the harmonium without the notation, not even one line will I be able to sing well; all the notes will be wrong.

Lectures and public meditations

Always before each university talk, I look around to see if there are sincere seekers in the audience. I enter into the soul of each true aspirant there and offer my love, devotion and surrender at the Feet of my Lord Supreme. Unfortunately, sometimes the souls of only very few aspirants respond and enter into my consciousness. These seekers open their hearts' door to me and allow me to raise their aspiration and consciousness and then place it in the Heart of our Lord Supreme. They may not know consciously that their hearts are responding, but at least there is some response.

The mouth is not the proper organ for communicating divine feelings. My English, with its Indian accent, is poorly understood, but my heart is vast, boundless. The heart is the best medium for true communication. The mother speaks with her heart and understands immediately with her heart her infant son's requests. He says only, "Mother," and immediately she knows what it is he wants. Similarly, the son says, "Father," and immediately the father understands. But after the children have grown up, they can stand in front of their parents for hours trying to explain themselves, and still the parents don't have the slightest idea of what they are trying to say.

Or perhaps the son is in the military. He knows he has a mother who cares for him. She may write a letter every few weeks, but because this is of the mind, he reads it and it is all washed away. But he knows that his mother loves him and speaks to him through her heart, even from thousands of miles away. Similarly, I do not have to speak to or touch a seeker; this communication is of the senses. My heart communicates infinite love even if the person is far away.

When I give lectures, to be very frank with you, I am not in trance. During my talks I am below the trance consciousness, although I do move from one plane of consciousness to another. There are seven higher planes or worlds and seven lower worlds. The bird in me, which we call the soul, moves from one plane of consciousness to another. Even as I am talking, my soul is flying up, up, up: and I am fully aware of my soul's flight. At that time it is the soul that brings to the fore the knowledge, wisdom and light that I am supposed to offer to you all. If you have seen me in trance, which I can easily enter, it is infinitely superior to what I show you when I am speaking. Trance is something unique and, by God's Grace, I have the capacity to enter into trance any time I wish.

I have given talks at over a hundred universities. I have lectured at the Ivy League universities, and at Cambridge and Oxford, and I wish to say that I have inspired and awakened the consciousness of many seekers. At all the universities, according to their capacity and understanding, the students have accepted the divine inspiration that I have offered. But recently we have started offering our inspiration and aspiration through silence. I have been holding meditations at Columbia University and at various other places in the United States and in Europe. At these meditations I do not talk, but through inner silence, inner communication, I bring down Peace, Light and Bliss from above. The seekers then receive it according to their own receptivity and capacity. Let me tell you an amusing incident. You know that quite often when I meditate my eyes flicker. Once, when I was on television in Puerto Rico, a Hatha Yoga teacher who had previously seen me several times on television, happened to meet disciples who were at the studio with me. She said to them, "Of all the spiritual Masters Sri Chinmoy is the best, but I feel so sorry for him because, from his eyes, I can see he becomes really nervous. He is very devoted, very sincere, but he becomes very nervous during his meditation." I have told you people that when my eyes flicker I am flying like a bird, going from one plane of consciousness to another. But ordinary people don't see it that way. They feel I become nervous!

A few days ago I watched the film of my performance of the first scene from The Son, my play about the Christ, and I was observing my eyes flickering. How can people think that that movement is from nervousness? I am in such a sublime consciousness! At that time even my physical consciousness is not on earth. I may be sitting or standing, but my physical consciousness has left the body, my physical consciousness is not even there. Yet some people think that I have become nervous! When a person has come late to a meditation, I look at him and with a side glance I give him something; otherwise, he may not get much. If the room is surcharged with divine consciousness and he arrives in an ordinary or a bad consciousness, he will not be able to receive anything. People in a bad consciousness have very thick skins. They do not feel pain or anything when they come where there are good vibrations. Again, the good forces will not enter into them because they know it will be of no use. But if good people go to where the vibrations are bad or where there are bad people, it will be a very painful experience because the bad forces will attack the good people. Good forces will never do this. They will see if they are in a position to transform, and only then will they enter.

Sometimes I rub my eyes or scratch my face during meditation if I am exhausted or if some insect is biting me. But when I am in trance, at that time no matter how many insects sit on my nose or my eyes, I forget about them. At Thousand Island Park I entered into nirvikalpa samadhi when I sat at the place where Vivekananda meditated. Seven or eight mosquitoes were biting me, but I was in a very high consciousness, so they didn't bother me at all. It is not that I was pretending. I didn't have to prove anything. No matter what kind of torture I go through, if I am in trance I don't notice it. Otherwise, if I had been in an ordinary consciousness, I would not have been able to stay there for even five minutes.

The Invocation to the Supreme

Very often when my disciples hold meetings in my absence, I tell them to make a programme with a specific amount of time for meditation, say fifteen minutes or half an hour, and then to have some discussion and reading of my writings. But when the time comes for singing The Supreme, our Invocation, at that time if somebody says, "Now I am in a very high meditation; I don't want to sing," then I feel that he is doing something wrong. Meditation is extremely necessary, but we also have to invoke the presence of the Supreme twenty-four hours a day. This is the most important thing in our spiritual life.

Everything has a place of its own. During the hour and a half that you have your programme, you can meditate, you can discuss, you can read. But when the time comes to sing our invocation in a group, if you feel that you are too deep and withdrawn to sing, then unconsciously you are standing in everybody else's way. Consciously you are in a very deep meditation, but those others who are singing — who are now one and want to bring down Light or Grace from the Supreme — will find it difficult to sing because they will feel a kind of unconscious resistance from you. You may say, "I am not resisting. I am doing my own job and they are doing theirs." But when you are in a group, if the rest of the members are doing something, it is better for you to join them. Of course, you have to know what it is that they are doing. If they are singing our invocation or doing very soulful chanting, then you are obliged to join. But if one of them is inspired to sing ordinary songs and somebody else joins, at that time you have every right to refuse to participate. In the case of other songs if anybody says, "I don't feel like singing that song," he or she is at perfect liberty not to sing. But when it is a matter of singing our invocation, I feel everybody has to join because the invocation is our mantra, our realisation.

When we say, "Supreme, I bow to Thee," at that time we offer Him our whole inner and outer existence — everything; what we have and what we are enters into our Source. So the invocation is the real meditation for us. I always ask my disciples to learn that song first and then to sing that song at least once a day. When you sing the Invocation, it serves the purpose of prayer and meditation together. If you are unable to meditate early in the morning because of family pressures or because of your children, then the best thing is to sing The Supreme most soulfully on your way to work. That will help you.

Again, you can create circumstances in your favour. If you know that at a particular hour your children or your husband will demand food and create problems for you, then you can easily get up ten minutes earlier. If you know that at six o'clock they may create problems for you, then you can get up at five-thirty and meditate in secret, like a divine thief. Some spiritual Masters say, "Meditate, but do it in secret; do it like a thief, a divine thief." Since you know that you are missing your meditation from time to time, you can play a trick: in the morning get up a few minutes earlier than your family does and meditate. After you have finished your meditation, then you can feed your husband and children and go to work. But if this is sometimes impossible, if you have gone to bed late and you get up at the same hour as your husband and children, then what can you do? At that time, the best thing is to sing The Supreme most soulfully.