Earth’s cry meets Heaven’s smile, part 3

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Question: I would like to know how you felt the call of God in your life?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, I would like to tell you that I came into the world with a special mission. I have to tell the truth. It is far from boasting or bragging. When a person comes with a high mission to fulfil God here on earth, he automatically brings with him the love for God, the call of God, the spontaneous feeling for God. Ordinary persons do not have that.

An ordinary person grows slowly and when the years advance on him, he sees around him others who are thinking of God, praising God and people who feel that without God there can be no joy. These ideas enter into him and then, of course, he may also develop a little aspiration for God. Gradually, with the help of others and with his own sincere cry for God, he feels that he has also got the call of God. In my case, though, I came with a very high mission.

Then I had the opportunity to come into a very spiritual family. My parents were spiritual, my sisters and brothers are all living in a spiritual community; they have been there for the last thirty years or so.

When I was a child of a year and two months, my parents took me to a spiritual centre which in India we call an Ashram. From that time on, even my physical being was inspired with the message of my soul's inner call. Then when I was twelve and a half years old, I came to that place to stay permanently and I remained there for twenty years. At the age of thirteen, or when I had completed thirteen years, I became fully aware of what I was in my past incarnations. That is to say, my past spiritual achievements and so forth became revealed to me. Gradually, in the course of a year or two, I became fully aware of my self-realisation in my past incarnation and also my role as a spiritual teacher in my past incarnation.

So if I have to tell you, if you want me to tell you when actually I became fully aware of my spiritual realisation, then I must say that it was when I was between thirteen and fourteen years of age. But the call, if you ask when I got the call, I must say that the call I got or I had when my soul entered into this physical body, this physical frame. And that call I got hundreds of years ago to realise God and to fulfil God here on earth. But in this incarnation, I must say that I became totally and fully conscious of my inner call at the age of twelve and a half.

1966

Note

The following questions were asked on July 20, 1966, during Sri Chinmoy's first week in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Question: How long have you been here in Puerto Rico?

Sri Chinmoy: I came here last Friday.

What do you think is the soul development, the vibration here in Puerto Rico?

Sri Chinmoy: Oh, it is wonderful. The spiritual soil is very fertile. People are aspiring, dedicated and they have genuine aspiration. What they lack is confidence in themselves.

Do you think that our commodities here in Puerto Rico are a hindrance to the development of the soul?

Sri Chinmoy: Not at all. Commodities are not a hindrance to the soul's development. We have to have a different attitude towards them, towards material prosperity. All hindrance, even if you consider them as hindrances, can be taken as opportunities in your life. If you take them as hurdles, these hurdles will give you an opportunity to surmount them and reach your Goal. What we think of as a hindrance is not a hindrance in God's view.

I was thinking for instance, that we have very good TV programmes here and we also have a spiritual meeting. But we feel more inclined to stay at home watching the TV programme than going to the meeting. So I consider that a hindrance.

Sri Chinmoy: That is not at all a hindrance; it is a lack of wisdom. If I have money, that does not mean that I am doomed to squander it all the time. I should know when to use it for a right purpose, for a divine purpose. Similarly, there are many things that might distract me or prevent me from following the spiritual path or the inner life. It is I who am the master of my possession. I shall have to deal with them according to the dictates of my soul. If I have a TV in my room, it is I who use the TV. It is not the TV that uses me. I am the Master of my possession. So long as I am the master, it is I who have to control my mind and say, "No, I have to go and listen to a spiritual talk which is more important that the TV show.

But don't you think that if you did not have the TV set, you would be more inclined to go to the meeting?

Sri Chinmoy: Unfortunately, no. That is not the case. At that time, laziness may enter into me and I might say, "Who cares? The spiritual life is not meant for me; it is something unreal. I want to talk to my neighbour." In that case, what you are saying is that the poorest people who cannot afford to buy television sets would all be more inclined to follow the spiritual life than the others. But it is not like that. There are beggars in India who do not care for the spiritual life. Here also. Poverty does not mean that we are one inch nearer to God. It is our mistaken idea to feel this.

The possession is not responsible for what we do; it is the possessor who is responsible. The TV is not responsible; it is the owner. I am sure you have heard the name of King Janaka. He had a vast kingdom and in spite of having this vast kingdom, his whole mind was always devoted to God and God-realisation. Similarly the material prosperity of the West is in no way an obstacle to God-realisation. If you can feel that you are the possessor and that you must not be possessed by what you have, then you will be the master of the situation. Those who don't have money will always harbour the feeling that they are poor and unfortunate. But for them, the same difficulty will arise and it will not be due to their poverty, but to their inner weakness.

You have a TV and you cannot go to attend a spiritual class but the person who does not have a TV will also be thinking of something else. His mind will also be thinking of something else. His mind will also be turned in another direction. Is it clear? Always we have to understand what is the possession and what is the possessor. We have to separate the possessor from the possession.

Question: Do you believe there is a great strength in stillness?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. Stillness is where we get the strength. The abode of stillness is in our higher mind or quiet mind. So if you can stay in that room, the quiet mind, then you can grow in stillness. It is stillness that creates. Creativity actually starts from stillness.

Even if one moves he may be still. I think stillness is like the eye of a storm, which is still, but around it, everything moves. I think also that artistic stillness, even if it has a lot of movement in it, has to be quiet at the centre.

Sri Chinmoy: Actually in Sanskrit, they say, "That moves and That moves not." Actually stillness is moving all the time, yet it is not moving. "That moves and That moves not."

Let us say that I am at the piano and I am moving my fingers, playing, but if I am a witness of what I am doing, the fingers are moving, but I am not.

Sri Chinmoy: True. You will see both action and inaction together. You will see that you are creating action with your fingers; at the same time you see the stillness that we are speaking of. It is just like the sea; on the surface you see the waves, but when you enter into the depths, you see all calmness. The deeper plane is that which moves not; the outer plane is that which moves. At the same time, you cannot separate the surface from the depth. In that way, your action and inaction go together. Action is on the outer plane; inaction is on the inner. That is why we say: "That moves and That moves not, at the same time."

Editor's note

On the Master's first visit to Puerto Rico on July 20, 1966, he answered, at great length and in considerable detail, a number of questions on karma, reincarnation, occultism, the Guru-disciple relationship, illness, death, etc. About 50 pages of this material, in manuscript form, were removed and used in a group of booklets published around 1974, including "Death and Reincarnation," "The Inner Worlds", etc.

In compiling this book, we found that in several cases, we were left with the original question itself, plus a few disconnected, disjointed and unmarked paragraphs of unused material. As we have been unsuccessful in tracing the published material, i.e. the specific answers which originally belonged to these questions, we have had to use whatever material we have, as it is. The asterisks indicate large portions of the answers cut out.

On a higher level, though, everything that is said by the Master has a universal Truth and Beauty, quite apart from the context in which it is placed. So in whatever publication his teachings appear, and whether his answers appear as originally spoken, or not, his Light and Power as such, fulfil an eternal need in the searching life of the eternally aspiring seeker.

Week of July 20, 1966 Remainder of material referred to.

Question: Had you heard something about Puerto Rico in India?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, well geography tells us something, history tells us something, and literature also tells us something. I will tell the children at the YMCA in a few hours my impression of Puerto Rico, strictly from the spiritual point of view, whatever it is; from the spiritual point of view plus a little geography and general knowledge. But it is all based on the spiritual feeling of the island, now that I have seen the place, and since I have been taken around.

But more than that, the moment that I entered and touched the feet of Puerto Rican soil, it has given me the knowledge of what it is. As soon as I landed there at the airport, my first thing was to touch the feet, to touch the soil and be blessed by the Puerto Rican presiding deity. And then she gave me the wisdom-knowledge of what she is and what she represents.

Question: How long will you be staying here: A week?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I will be staying one week; then I shall have to go back to New York.

I am not flattering you. All of you are sincere and at the same time, dedicated. My humble request is to please have confidence in yourselves. If you have got a Guru, well and good. If you don't have one, or you don't need one, do not be at all disturbed. The first thing is to have confidence in yourselves, that you are God's child. Say, "I am God's child. I have to realise God. There is no alternative." If you have a Guru, well and good. If you don't, what can you do? If you don't need one, that is also alright. But confidence you must have, saying, "How can I stay, how can I live without God-realisation, without seeing Him?

God is our Eternal Father and we are His eternal children. It is only a child that can make progress, not the one who is learned. He will be in his own mental world. But the child knows and feels that he has much to learn and he wants to live in God's consciousness, which is limitless. There is no limit to our knowing and learning. We are all a drop, a tiny drop in the vast ocean of God's infinite consciousness.

If it touches our mind that we should live a spiritual life, then only will we, one day, begin to do it. Otherwise, if we don't think of the very idea that we should try to live a better life, a spiritual life, then we will never start the spiritual life. If we want to bathe in the sea, we may not jump into the sea right now, but we have to go, at least, to the seashore and stand there and observe the waves. If we don't leave our room and stand before the sea, then we shall never enter into the sea. So at least let us start our journey and then one day we shall reach our Goal.

If I have a father and a mother and if I am in prison, I must break through the door and go to see my parents. Similarly you know that our father and mother is God. And we have to break asunder all ties of ignorance and go and rush towards God. If we go one step forward, we will see that He has already come hundreds of steps towards us. So my request, my sole request is to please, all of you, have confidence in yourselves. You are God's children and you have to bring Him to the fore. He is already within and you have to reveal Him.

Question: How can imperfection be removed quickly?

Sri Chinmoy: Imperfection? On which plane? If it is in the mind you have to apply one type of treatment, but if it is in the body, you have to apply a different type. But the general rule is that if you feel some imperfection in yourself, please do not think of it as something that is part and parcel of your life. You have to think, on the other hand, that you are perfection itself. For some time, you have to think, "No, I am not this imperfection. I can never be. I am God's child. How can I ever be imperfect? It is something quite wrong." Go on thinking in this vein for a few days. Then your thinking will be transmuted into feeling. First you will be thinking with the mind, "No, I cannot be that." Then you will feel, "No, I cannot be imperfect. I cannot bind God's child." Then you create, within yourself, a kind of oneness with perfection: "I am all perfect." First you are thinking, then you are feeling that oneness. You will become one with perfection. When you have become one with perfection, will you dare to say that you are imperfect?

Those of you who ask me questions, if my answers are not satisfactory or do not serve you satisfactorily, do tell me. I can try to throw more light on it if you feel that it is not convincing you. I will try my best to convince you, but I may not be able to succeed.

What about sickness?

Sri Chinmoy: There are various reasons for sickness. The main reason is a very material one. A certain internal imperfection or dislocation develops in our organs or our cells. It is natural and it occurs with all living things. Very often, due to that, we fall sick.

The second reason is that certain chronic diseases or fatal diseases may come to us owing to our previous wrong actions.

Then again there is another reason which is deeper still. That is that God wants to give you that experience. You may not have done anything wrong in your life; you may not be responsible in any way, but in this life, you are getting the experience. Why? Because God wants you to have the experiences of poor, suffering humanity.

Question: I would like to know the name of Swamiji.

Sri Chinmoy: It is very kind of you. My name is Chinmoy Kumar Ghose. I was born in Bengal and I was brought up in South India. So this is my name, my Bengali name.

Today we are discussing religion. Until we know what religion is, we will not understand spirituality. And until we understand spirituality, we cannot understand yoga. Until we have understood yoga, we cannot think of God. Tomorrow I shall be speaking on spirituality and then I shall give a few more talks on "The Aim of Life" and "What is God's Plan? " and the principal Yogas: Karma Yoga, the path of Action, Bhakti Yoga, the path of Love and Devotion, and Jnana Yoga, the path of Knowledge and Wisdom. These are the things I would like to deal with during my stay in Puerto Rico.

Question: With what movement is Swamiji connected in New York?

Sri Chinmoy: I am not connected with any movement.

You came by yourself?

Sri Chinmoy: No, I was brought up in a spiritual Centre. I stayed for twenty years in a spiritual Centre in India, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. For twenty years I stayed there. I went there at the age of one but they were not accepting children. But I stayed there from the age of 12 until I was 32. Twenty years I stayed doing intense meditation and all that. My brothers and sisters were all there. I am the youngest of the lot and my sisters and brothers are still all there. Some of them have been there for thirty years, forty years, in that Centre.

I got the Command from within. The Supreme within me demanded it. In the beginning I was afraid, but I was compelled.

My American sponsors also insisted. I said, "Well, if it is the Supreme's Will, I have to accept." And I came here. We do not decide anything. We wait for the Command. Where is India? Where is New York? I had to come.

Did you go to Europe first?

Sri Chinmoy: No, I did not go to Europe. Only on the way we stopped there for two and a half hours. Otherwise I did not go to Europe. I have been here in the U.S., in New York. I have gone to quite a few states to give talks. I went to Canada. Most probably at the end of my visit here, I will go to California. Again, these are all speculations. We do not know actually what will happen. Here I have come. Who knows if I may come here again. I may not come here at all.

You have to come back again.

Sri Chinmoy: We don't decree such things.

But you must try to arrange it.

Sri Chinmoy: We say that the Guru is always at the command of his disciples. If the disciples want him, the Guru is bound to come. There is no alternative.

If a child cries, the father will not feed himself, but he will remain unfed and he will come to the child, to try and feed the child. It is like that.

We need to be fed.

Sri Chinmoy: You have here so many spiritual figures for guidance. I am so glad that at least Puerto Rico has been blessed with spiritual figures. There are places, unlit places, where spiritual figures have never come and it is quite unfortunate.

On that table is a display of the magazine that Sri Chinmoy is publishing. It is his way of spreading the Truth. When we finish here, you have the opportunity of looking at it and deciding if you are interested.

What is the name of your magazine?

Sri Chinmoy: The name is AUM. You know A represents Brahma, the Creator, U represents Vishnu, the Preserver, M represent Lord Siva, the Destroyer. So what happens is that when we say AUM, we are invoking the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer. I beg to be excused, but in my philosophy, I feel that there is no destruction. It is all transformation. As a matter of fact, we can't destroy anything. First we create something, then we preserve it. Then what do we do? Transform the thing. So Creation, Preservation and Transformation. Brahma is the Creator, Vishnu is the Preserver and Shiva is the Transformer. If it is destruction, who is destroying whom? God only transforms us. In our creation, we enter into ignorance and we do many things wrong. For that He has to transform us and again take us back into His bosom of infinite Light.

Note

The following questions were asked when the first few disciples of the AUM Centre met at Sri Chinmoy's home at 3817 Fort Hamilton Parkway in Brooklyn, New York, on September 10, 1966.

Questions by Kalipada

Gurudev, the word 'Yoga' means 'union with God.?"

Sri Chinmoy: Yes.

The union of the individual soul with the God-Soul.

Sri Chinmoy: Yes.

But in ordinary experience, all of us know what this is. I can stretch out my hand to Mr. Friedman. I can talk to him; I can communicate with him. Now when we want the Goal, the abode of spiritual union, what is this? What is the experience? What is it like?

Sri Chinmoy: The thing is this: you can touch Mr. Friedman and communicate with him. You may even feel that you have become one with him. You get a kind of vibration or feeling that you have united with him in the spiritual sense. But actually, you have not really become one with him in the inner planes; you have not achieved a union with his inner being or with his soul. You have the feeling that Mr. Friedman's thoughts and ideas have entered into you. This comes from your intellectual closeness to him and your heart's ties. You do have a deep affinity with Mr. Friedman and a fine understanding of him. But the feeling that you have fully entered into him or that he has entered into you is partly your imagination and partly your mental projection. It is also due to your sense of affinity and the closeness that you feel towards him. But it is neither your inner being nor his inner being that has united you two. Needless to say, your souls do not enter into the picture here at all.

Kalipada, it is very difficult to achieve a union with another person's soul without first having achieved union with the Supreme Soul, God. You have correctly stated that Yoga is union with God. When you have achieved union with God, you get the Consciousness of God. When you achieve union with someone's soul, however, you get a glimpse of God's Consciousness. You see an aspect or a facet of the Divine Consciousness. The more developed the soul is, of course, the more powerfully and beautifully will God's Consciousness be manifested in that person. But in union with God Himself, you feel that you have become inseparably one with Him. Not only do you feel it and see it, but actually you have become one with what He eternally is. In Yoga, through your aspiration and meditation, you consciously enter into the ocean, which is God, the Supreme. Like a drop, you enter into the ocean and you lose your individual, separate existence.

Now if you touch Mr. Friedman, you will get a partial glimpse of his existence, his feelings, thoughts and vibrations. But you will not really become one with him. It is only a momentary oneness. But in Yoga, when we identify ourselves with God. We become like a drop in the ocean and we lose our very existence. At the same time, we become the infinite ocean itself. The union with God is different from the union that we try to achieve by identifying ourselves with someone, especially when it is a limited identification such as we get by touching or talking to someone.

In the true spiritual union, what actually happens is this: the union with the Highest may last for a few days or a few months and then you lose it until you have created a free access to the Highest, until you can go there at your command or bring it down at your command. When you can do that, it becomes something permanent. Otherwise it may last for a few hours, a few days or a few months. Then it vanishes. But in our inner consciousness, it is all being recorded-how many times you have gone up to your highest consciousness and how many times you have come down. You have the experience a number of times and then you make it a living reality. Eventually it becomes a permanent realisation.

One further question on this. If anyone here in this room or anywhere else, for that matter, attained union with God in some previous life, but in this present life they have not yet attained it, how does that previous attainment affect him?

Sri Chinmoy: If he had already attained realisation and in this present life is not conscious of it, how can he become aware of it and how can that previous realisation affect his everyday life?

Yes.

Sri Chinmoy: It is through the same process: it is through Yoga, by practising Yoga. All the great spiritual figures — you know Krishna, Buddha, Christ, Sri Ramakrishna — they all attained to the greater part of their spiritual perfection in their previous lives. But even then, they had to practise Yoga for quite a number of years to get back to their original Home. Then, of course, once they get back to their original Home, they bring down all of their spiritual wealth.

Here also, I must say, most of you… no, all of you, all ten of you here in this room today accepted Yoga in your previous lives. Some of you are conscious of this and some of you are not. Those of you who are conscious of it, how have you become conscious? You did not become conscious overnight. Only by practising Yoga for a number of months, and in most cases, a number of years, did you become aware that you did something previously in your spiritual life. Something reveals itself inside you.

Revelation comes in the course of time. Then you go spontaneously, openly, freely back to your original Home, the Home of your true existence. Then you bring it down to affect your present incarnation.

All spiritual figures, the Avatars too, in the beginning, were unconscious of their total realisation. They acted like ordinary human beings, but inwardly they had a great inner urge and surge, and in the course of time, what happened? They entered deep within themselves and they got back their Realisation, their old Realisation.

Question: Gurudev, when I come into contact with Mr. Friedman or anyone else in this everyday experience, I get a certain joy and sometimes a certain pain in that association. Now what do you experience when you are in union with God?

Sri Chinmoy: When we are in union with God, we experience Absolute Bliss. There is no suffering at all. At the same time, if you see, within God's Consciousness, the cosmic suffering, that suffering itself will be experienced as a kind of joy.

You have perhaps noticed that many times in a spiritual seeker's life, when he has a terrible headache or a stomach-ache, in the beginning he has unbearable suffering. Then what happens? He brings down Peace from above and that Peace touches the suffering itself. And when it touches the suffering, the suffering transforms itself into joy. The seeker gets enormous joy.

I remember once in India I was undergoing a small operation; I was having a boil opened. The doctor was an intimate friend of mine. He said, "Please be calm and quiet for a few minutes." And I did what he asked. While the doctor was performing the operation, I was actually smiling at him. It was not that I wanted to show that I was confident. No, I was actually deriving joy. The pain was unbearable, but while he was operating, I was getting joy and I was smiling. The doctor said, "What is the matter with you? Are you cutting jokes with me? " I said, "No, I am getting joy from the suffering."

In your case also, you will see that if you enter into God's Consciousness, the first experience will be Absolute Bliss. Then when you see that the universe and nature are within God Himself, you will see, from the human point of view, that the world is truly full of suffering. But the suffering world is also contained within God's Consciousness. Then you will see, in the period of a few seconds, that inside the suffering there is great joy. The suffering transforms itself into joy and there is no suffering as such.

Question: Now once I have entered into this ocean of Bliss and I come back down to my normal self, would I be normal in the sense that I was the same as before I went into this ocean, or would I be radically different?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly you will be different. There will be a radical difference from your old consciousness. You will be a totally different man. And your intimate ones, your wife and daughter, will see a great change in your movements, your conduct, your attitudes.

I attained my highest experience at the age of thirteen. I became conscious of what I was. Then again I had to toil. At the age of thirteen, I knew what I was and what realisation I had achieved and all that. But again for years I had to struggle to make it permanent. To know something and to make it permanent in one's life are two different things. It takes time.

A special blessing and power

Sri Chinmoy asked each disciple present to place his hand on his heart. The Guru then concentrated intently on each person.

He then said, 'Today at about a quarter to three (one half-hour previously) the Supreme came to me and gave me a Special Blessing and Power. I was commanded to share it with all of you. The most effective way, I find, is when you place your hand on your heart. It becomes very easy to part with the inner Wealth, the Wealth that I received. So it is in order to give you something most valuable, invaluable, most precious, that I requested you to do this. That invaluable thing, the Blessing, the Power that the Supreme gives, I offered to all of you here now. And it is now working. All of you will make great progress by the very touch of the Supreme within your heart. You may not feel it right now, but within an hour, in the early evening or at night, you will feel that something most special has entered into you.

And now I wish all of you to place your hand on your heart individually when I look at you. That is to say, I wish to concentrate on that particular person most intensely, spiritually and divinely. And that concentration and meditation will be meant only for him or for her. After that we will have a general meditation. In that meditation, all of us will aspire and invoke the Supreme and all of us will be benefited.

Just one thing more I wish to say to Kalipada. It takes many, many years for a spiritual seeker to identify himself spiritually with what he was before, to get back his old realisation in his present incarnation. I know people in India who were once realised souls. They had achieved realisation. Now, although they have become aware of it, they have not been able to bring down their realisation into their mental and physical consciousness. In their deep meditation, they feel a kind of revelation, but they have not been able to bring their realisation, their highest realisation, back into their outer existence. In some cases, it takes forty or fifty years. In some cases, at the end of their lives or on their deathbed, they get back their realisation. In my case also, it took years.

Question: Suppose one achieves realisation, say, at the age of twenty. Does this realisation wipe out all karmic debts for that individual?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. After you have achieved your realisation, you are no longer bound by karmic laws, cosmic laws or universal laws. What you do is that you surrender; you become one with God's Will and Decision. At that time, suppose you still have some suffering or pain, it is not because of your previous karma, the reaction to your previous actions. No. Once you have consciously realised God, karma cannot bind you any more. But if God wants to give you a particular experience, then you have to accept it.

It is like Sri Ramakrishna's cancer, you know. He took it from his disciples; it was not that he did something wrong. Certainly it was not his karma. No. Mother Kali wanted to give him that experience. He took it gladly. This experience is different from the experience of a normal man. A normal man has to undergo this suffering because of his previous karma. But a spiritual figure, a yogi, does it for a different reason. He accepts the burden from his disciples because he feels that he and the disciples are one. He has to accept it because the Divine within him wants to give him that particular experience. After all, the experience and the Divine are eternally one.

1967

Question: Is it correct to think of love, forgiveness and wisdom while one pronounces the name of the Supreme?

Sri Chinmoy: No. Do not think of anything at all. When you invoke the Supreme, do not keep anything in your mind. Try only to feel that your whole existence is inside your soul. If, from the soul, love comes, wisdom comes or forgiveness comes while you are chanting, well and good. But mentally do not formulate any thought or concept regarding the Supreme. The divine aspects of love, forgiveness and wisdom are wonderfully inspiring. But while you are chanting or invoking the Supreme, please do not try to formulate with your mind any of these divine attributes.

Let the Supreme work through your soul and bring to the fore the divine qualities that He wants to reveal or manifest in your outer life. This will be the best attitude. Let Him work in and through your soul.

Question: Is it possible to realise the Supreme in one life?

Sri Chinmoy: I am repeating Lakshmi's question. Is it possible to realise the Supreme in one incarnation? I wish to add: has one to come back into the world and have many incarnations in order to realise God? The answer is: It depends on the individual soul, how advanced the soul is. In one human incarnation alone, nobody can realise God. Impossible. No human being on earth realised God in his first human incarnation. In his first human incarnation, he is a semi-animal. Even after many incarnations, we have many animal qualities in our nature. In the first incarnation, it is simply impossible for a human being to realise God. He has to come through many, many hundreds of incarnations. Then when his aspiration develops through each incarnation and he enters into higher worlds, deeper worlds, he grows nearer and nearer to God.

Finally if he becomes fully consecrated and devoted, if he has the deepest aspiration for God-realisation in one particular incarnation, and if he gets the help of a spiritual teacher in that particular incarnation, then it is possible for that person to realise God in that life-time. If, however, he has to do it by his own personal efforts, it will take him another several incarnations; perhaps eight or ten or twelve more in spite of having the deepest aspiration. This is because the process is very arduous, very difficult.

But as I have said, if he is of a high calibre and extremely sincere, if he has abundant receptivity, if he has the highest aspiration and if he wants to dedicate his life only to God and no one else, and if he gets a spiritual Master who is a realised soul, who has the capacity to help him in his realisation, then in that one incarnation it is possible. That is what the greatest spiritual Masters do for their most advanced disciples but not for all disciples.

Question: Is there a difference or distinction between surrender, devotion and selfless love?

Sri Chinmoy: Sri Chinmoy: Now, let us take them. Wonderful! Selfless love, devotion and surrender. Now, let us put them in order. Let us put devotion first; you used the word "selfless", selfless love, second, and surrender, third. One, two, three. Devotion, selfless love and surrender.

Devotion is wonderful in the inner life or in the outer life. Devotion: what does it mean? It means to devote oneself to and to serve with total absorption something usually apart from oneself. If you devote yourself to something or someone, then sooner or later, you will achieve success in whatever you aspire for. Then also, devotion is something very intense, especially if it is used in a spiritual way. Devotion need not, or at times it may not be pure, because of thousands of desires which the individual has or by the impure motives of his devotion. Somebody is devoted to me, but at the same time, he may be assailed by thousands of desires and then each desire is like a drop of poison in his system. But he is coming to me with devotion. It is wonderful. But he is unaware that he is bringing this poison also. But if his devotion is freed from desire, at that stage, we have come to selfless love.

Here we go one step ahead. We love but we don't care for any return. In devotion, there may be a kind of give and take. "I devote my entire life to you. You have to give me inner realisation or illumination or something else." In selfless love, when you come to this stage, there you are loving selflessly and you are becoming one with the object of your adoration. Then, in that love, there is a subtle understanding that He will give you the best reward because you do not bother Him with your silly emotional problems or desires. You no longer say, "Give me this or give me that. That stage I have gone through." In selfless love, you know that He will give you something worth possessing.

Now let us take surrender. It is the best stage. There the disciple will say, "I do not care for Heaven. I do not care for Hell. Only I care for my spiritual Master." (This is what you have said in your unique poem, Madhuri. Whatever he wants to give me or do with my life, with my existence, I am ready. I fully surrender my very breath, my existence. Then, even if he does not want my help or assistance, or my life, I am still happy. In one of your poems, you have said this. I expressed the thought conveyed at the end of your poem.) This is the truest surrender. There we want only the Will of God, the Supreme. Let Thy Will be done. That is the highest Surrender. It is very easy to say, "Let Thy Will be done." But that is when we identify ourselves with God's Will. When you really surrender, then you become one with God's Will. And there can be, in the spiritual life, no greater achievement or more powerful weapon with which to enter into the spiritual life than surrender, which is most difficult, especially in the West. In the East, it is much easier, the practice of surrender. So devotion, selfless love and surrender.

Question: Does resurrection come when perfection in body and mind is attained?

Sri Chinmoy: Man's perfection in the body and mind? Man can be perfect in the soul, in the heart, in the mind, in the vital and eventually even in the body. Perfection must dawn on all levels. If man achieves perfection in the physical body, then the body will be automatically transformed, but it will take a few centuries.

There are two processes. What you call resurrection, I wish to call transformation. Resurrection would mean (as it does in the Christian tradition) that we would leave the physical body, ascend to a higher world, then come down again and animate the inert body with a higher consciousness than it had before. This process would not be necessary. For millions and millions of years, the body has been in darkness, this physical body, but not the heart, not the soul, not the mind. So this physical body, in the march of evolution may take a few hundred or even a thousand years to be perfected. When perfection has dawned in the mind, in the heart, and in the soul and when the soul within the body is fully realised by the outer being, at that time there would be two ways of living on earth. One way is this transformation which is the complete perfection of the body. The other way will be what you can call the divinisation of the body. Right now, if you want to speak in the strict sense of the term, the body is undivine; it is not divinised. However, with aspiration and inner realisation, everything will be divinised. So one process is the transformation and physical perfection of the human body here on earth, which is similar to what you call resurrection; the other is divinisation in which all the functions of the physical body lose their mechanical, automatic nature and are controlled directly by the inner will. Everything in the body will be luminous, malleable and totally at the direct, supple service of the inner divinity, the soul.

An ordinary seeker in the future will have the capacity to transform his physical body by using his spiritual light and his inner spiritual powers. His bodily perfection will be divinely "normal" at that time. In the case of a realised person, however, his physical body will be not only transformed and made perfect, but it will also be divinised. He will not have to go back and take another incarnation in order to have a divine or perfect body.

Then there is a third method. That method is that the beginning of human existence would not take place here on earth. The soul will take its physical form, its human shape in the psychic world. In the psychic world, the soul will be able to unite with a physical sheath or form, a divine body already created. Then at that time there will be no necessity for the spiritually realised soul to enter into a human mother, the human body. At that time, procreation will be stopped for those spiritually realised persons. They will no longer enter the earth through human birth. But in ordinary human beings, procreation will go on.

Just as we came out of the animal kingdom and we still see around us monkeys, elephants, dogs and all, so these divinised beings will be surrounded by ordinary human beings. But after thousands and thousands of years, millions of years probably, there will be a golden creation. It will be the creation of divinised, transformed beings. It will be a new Golden Age.

Question: Is all that happens to a human being caused by karma or by trials or by a third force? Can we call that third force "will"?

Sri Chinmoy: Actually, let us not use the word "trial". You may call it a trial, but the actual truth of it is experience. The law of karma and experience — either one the soul wants to give you or the Divine wants to give you or else, it is the law of karma which is giving you the experience. Although the law of karma can be separated from experience, at the same time, karma itself is an experience. So the law of karma may be an experience that God wants to give you or the soul wants to give you.

The third thing that causes things to happen in the human being is will-power. In its purest term, in its highest term, will-power is inner determination. But in ordinary terms it is desire. At its highest, it is the inner urge; at its superficial level, it is an outer, shallow tinkering or wanting. So you can call the third force, will-power or desire.

Lastly there is God's Vision in Reality and Reality in Vision. God has All-Vision and that Vision is surcharged with Reality. So now these are the four things that affect us: the law of karma, experience, will-power or desire, and God's Vision in Reality. So there are the four major reasons for things that we see happening in the world.

Question: How can we succeed in breaking loose from the bonds of karma?

Sri Chinmoy: Man can free himself from the bonds of karma by divine Grace and by his own aspiration. Who is the cause of karma? Man!

But if you go deep within, you see that it is not the man but some other force, an inner force or law which initiates the karma. Now if you carry this inner force to the original source where karma and its results stay together, there karma cannot be separated from its results. I shall explain. We have done something today; the next moment we will get the result; or it may be years later or perhaps a few months later. But if one can stay where karma and its result are conceived or formulated, then that is one way of freeing oneself from the law of karma. Needless to say, this method is not widely applicable.

The easiest and most effective way of freeing yourself from the bonds of karma is to feel that you are not the doer. You are just an instrument. An instrument is not responsible, but the Doer, who is God, is responsible. If one can feel all the time that there is Somebody else who is the Doer and he is merely the instrument, then who will be responsible? The doer. If He does something wrong, He is responsible; if He does something good, He will be appreciated. Unfortunately in ordinary life, it is impossible for the average human being to think or feel that he is not the doer. If he does something wrong, immediately he curses himself and says, "I made a mistake." If, on the other hand, he does something right, he is bloated with pride and feels that he alone did it. Our human action compels us to feel that we deserve the fruit. But if we feel that we are not the Doer, that the Doer is God, immediately the fruit, the result, goes to the One who has actually acted. And who is that person? It is God, the Supreme.

So any human being, any man on earth, can free himself from the bonds of karma just by changing his attitude towards karma. "He is the Doer, I am the instrument." This may be very difficult, but at the same time, it is the only way for an aspirant to free himself from the bonds of karma. And if the aspirant is sincere and aspiring, sooner or later, he will be granted liberation, self-realisation and all that. When one has realised God, one has liberated himself from the fetters of ignorance. Then one is not bound by the law of karma. He does another kind of karma which in Sanskrit is called Agami Karma. Agami karma is done by the liberated soul, the realised person. When he works, he is not bound by the results of his work, either good or bad, because he knows perfectly well that he is the instrument and he is not the doer. Another kind of karma is Sanchita karma, accumulated karma which brings together the results and the consequences of a great deal of past karma all, more or less, at the same time. There is also Prarabdha karma, the actions that you have done in the distant past and for which you are now reaping the results.

So after realisation, after being liberated, one feels that he can never be bound by any karma. At the same time, he will have to work here in the world to manifest the divine, the Supreme here on earth. Liberation does mean abstention from work. Liberation means the acceptance of the work and the manifestation of Divinity within us. This manifestation can be achieved here on earth when the seeker feels that he is only the channel, the instrument and that God is the Doer.

Question: Please explain the relationship between karma and fate.

Sri Chinmoy: Let us start with karma. In the West, very often this term is used erroneously. The word karma comes from Sanskrit and often it is translated into the English word action. Action does not convey the same meaning as the word karma. It is not just any kind of action being done. It is not like that. Karma is something significant and it conveys an esoteric meaning. When we use the expression "the law of karma", it is used in a spiritual way. It refers to a cosmic law in which actions and reactions, causes and effects are part of a chain of experiences given to us by a higher Power.

Karma can be done physically, vitally, mentally, psychically. We can work with the heart, we can work with the soul. And again, in silence we can work. Silence is a kind of karma, if there is the power of conscious determination behind it. And that karma is most difficult: to remain silent, not inert, but dynamically silent.

Now to come back to your question. You are asking if whatever is happening is destined. Today's suffering or tomorrow's joys, is it all destined? Today I run into an accident. Is this destined? Or could I have avoided this accident to some extent, or could I have totally freed myself from that accident? Here we have to know whether there is something called Divine Grace. That Divine Grace can protect us totally or partially or it may not interfere at all in our day-today activities. It enters, it permeates our being only when we are in the field of aspiration.

Now another method you can adopt to obliterate the law of karma is the exercise of will, adamantine will. That will is not desire proper. It is adamantine will-power which we get through aspiration, through meditation.

You speak of karma, but there are many people who call it fate and do not differentiate between the two. A spiritual person says "Fate shall be changed by an unchanging will." Right now, most of us do not have that unchanging will. We have only a bundle of desires. Desire is not the same as will-power. We are always saying, "Give me, give me" like a beggar. We have to be conscious of what we are praying for and that is our oneness with the Will of the Supreme. When we can identify ourselves totally with the Supreme's Will, we develop and we possess that will-power. That will power is our soul's power.

Let us come back to Grace, Divine Grace. In our ordinary life, we often see people attacked. Immediately the person who is wronged tries to take revenge. But there is or can be a third power. This is the intervention of Divine Grace which is infinitely mightier than my action and your reaction. If I do something wrong, immediately you will take revenge, you will punish me. But my wrong action can also be obliterated by Divine Grace and at the same time, your power, your revenge cannot take place in my life.

Here is an analogy of a child who goes and strikes his friend. He expects his friend to strike him back and he is afraid. He runs to his father. The father has compassion for his child. He knows that the child has done something wrong, but at the same time, he does not allow the second child to strike his child back even though his child deserves it. In this way, when we do something that we ought not to do and we run to God, God nullifies our karma. He prevents it from coming back to us out of His Infinite Compassion and Love for us. So if we have complete faith in God and we surrender to Him and we immediately run to Him with our wrong doing, our error or our defects, He will bless us and protect us from the karma which would have normally come back to us.

Question: I believe that if we live our lives according to the laws of nature, most harmoniously with the laws of nature, we won't have as much suffering as we now have, because everyday we are actually violating the laws of nature.

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, that is true, we are violating the laws of nature. That is why we are suffering. But again, just by following nature we will not reach our Goal.

Question: I think that one should not try to imitate the laws of nature, inasmuch as each one has his own nature which is more important to him. We cannot imitate a tree. The tree does not have to know that it is a tree to be a tree. A man has to know that he is a man to be a man. We have to be conscious, but the tree is not required to be conscious.

Sri Chinmoy: But the thing here is that God wants all human beings — all His creations — to have an individuality of their own. Creation is such that in God's manifestation, no two human beings are alike. Not even my two fingers: one is shorter, one is longer. So in His creation, God wants to enjoy Himself in infinite ways. No two beings are the same. So we should not be a carbon copy of anything else. A man is a man and a tree is a tree. Each has its unique divine essence. I have my human individuality. This individuality is not the individuality of ego or pride. This individuality is the expression of God's infinite Self-Expression. And each divine individuality has its own degree of conscious awareness. The tree is fulfilling God by being a tree, whether or not it is aware of being a tree. But you are absolutely right in feeling that since we are more conscious than the tree, we should not try to regress to the tree-consciousness. The tree is playing its part; we must play our part. A tree is a tree. It need not be conscious (although many large and old trees are deeply conscious of their existence.) But a man is a man, and to fulfil his divine destiny, he has to be conscious of his inner reality and his soul's oneness with the Supreme.

Question: We try to live the spiritual life and then we feel that the forces of the world seem to act apart from us and try to drag us down. When we give in to those forces, something happens and then we lose our contact with the Divine. We get mixed up with the things of the world. We have desires, passions, and we ask God for material things. Then when we try to go back to the spiritual life, we find that we do not deserve it.

Sri Chinmoy: The thing is, first of all, that we are making a great mistake, a serious mistake, when we say that we don't deserve God. If you don't deserve God, who does deserve Him? God-realisation is your birthright. From whom did you come? From God and nobody else. And where are you? In God. When you go back, where will you go? You will go back to God. God-realisation is your birthright. So the first thing is to annul the idea that you don't deserve Him. You do deserve Him. We came from God and certainly we should be an exact prototype of the Father, the very image of God. And we deserve Him because He is deep inside us and we have come here to express Him, to reveal Him. So we fully deserve God-realisation.

The thing is that sometimes we sleep. What you say, that you have entered into the ordinary world, you have forgotten God and that you harbour these ugly forces like passion, anger, fear and all that — let us take that as sleep or rest, conscious rest. Now sometimes, instead of sleeping for eight hours, we sleep for twelve hours. Why do we sleep? Sometimes the body needs rest but sometimes out of laziness or mere whim, we are inclined to sleep more than our due. Similarly our outer being wants to take rest, or sleep, for a few years. It has meditated for so many years and it could not keep up the continuous prayer and meditation, the mounting cry which I always speak of. The flame of aspiration, consciously or unconsciously I can extinguish. The flame is extinguished and then for some time, I sleep. Then after four or five years, ten years, again I light the flame. Then my aspiration mounts.

Now the truth is that we don't lose anything. God is in this room. You have been trying to come here from the other room. There is a passage and you are about to knock at the door. Instead of knocking at the door, you stand in front of it for few hours or a few days. You changed your process of entering into God's room.

You felt either that you were frustrated in the world, frustrated with the world, that there was no God, or that in the material world God was there but in desire, in fear, in passion. In whatever you were doing, you discovered that God was there. Here, however, you are making a mistake with your human mind. Certainly in everything there is God, but we have to find out where precisely God can really illumine us. God is in dirty water as well as in pure, distilled water. But what do we want? We want pure water which will give us new life and not dirty water which will make us sick. Similarly we should not try to find God in the most ordinary, obscure and impure activities and foolish desires.

But what is the opposite of desire? It is aspiration. It is like the obverse and reverse of a coin. When we are on one side, it is desire; when we are on the other side, it is aspiration. What do we want to do with that aspiration? We are trying to bring down Peace, Joy, Light and Bliss, all these things. So we can go on living in this world. It is like two brothers: one brother is desire, the other brother is aspiration. If we enter into aspiration's side, we see in everything the living face of aspiration. The chair is aspiring because in that chair there is a soul. The world is aspiring because in the world there is soul. We have to see with the eye of aspiration and then everything is changed.

So to come back to your point, Agni, you have not lost anything. You have not lost anything. In the Gita, it is mentioned that, if, owing to circumstances, a man could not stay on the spiritual path and adopted a path of enjoyment, he would not necessarily come back in his next incarnation as the most ordinary man, but that he would again enter into an aspirant's family. Suppose a man for twenty years has meditated and practised the spiritual life. Then for ten or fifteen years, he enters into the world of enjoyment. Then, what will happen? Does it mean that he will never regain the spiritual life? No, he will get it either in this life, in the evening of his life or in his next incarnation. Again he will be given the opportunity to enter into the spiritual life. God will give him another opportunity to enter into the family of a spiritual seeker. So he will lose nothing.

The only thing is that the sooner you can come back to your inner life, by emulating the aspiration of others, the better it is for you. By observing the aspiration of others, you get inspiration again to start treading the path. They will inspire your own aspiration. That is what a spiritual person does. He does not speak. When a disciple has lost aspiration for a month or two, if he is sincere enough, he will just come and look at his Master and then just by looking at his face, he will get back his long-forgotten aspiration. In your case, I am elaborating on your personal question, so that if there is any further question on this, you please tell me.

It is very clear. Thank you.

Sri Chinmoy: So nothing shall we lose, nothing shall we lose. The only thing is that if we are wise, we can get back our own wealth sooner by seeing true aspirants. And there is also another process which is the process of devotion, which is difficult in the West. In the West, devotion should grow a little more. First of all, in the West they do not know the meaning of devotion. They think that showing me devotion means that if I am the Himalayas, then you are just a hill. No, devotion actually means that you are showing loving care and service to your own Highest. When you look at me, if you show devotion, it is not to me that you are showing this loving concern, but it is to the Highest within me and that Highest abides within you as well. The moment devotion comes, you have to feel that you are showing devotion to your own Highest which you consciously want to become.

Now you know that you have a highest and a lowest consciousness. We are living, most of the time, in the lowest consciousness. The highest consciousness we don't see, but at the same time, we want to become it. How can we become our highest? Only when we see someone who is constantly trying to bring forward that highest and that is the Guru or the Master or the illumined Teacher. And that Teacher is not, even for a second, separated from you, because his Highest and your Highest are the same. Only he is conscious of the fact that he has free access to that Highest and you are not. Otherwise his Highest and your Highest are the same. So in the West, if the westerners cultivate more the soil of devotion, they will grow faster. In the East, in the Orient, there is devotion, but at the same time, the East is lethargic. In the West, there is dynamism, but this dynamism is used as restlessness. So again, when you are acting like a restless fellow, you are misusing your dynamic faculties. When we are not aware of devotion, we cannot identify ourselves with the Highest. Devotion immediately becomes one with the object of its love. Like this it comes and it touches and it becomes what I am, what I stand for. 'I' means your own Highest.

When you lose faith in yourself or faith in God or faith in your own achievement and fulfilment, the best thing is to bring forward your own devotion which is here in the heart and let it come out and grow. As the inner devotion starts growing, your outer life will also start blossoming. This is the first, fundamental preliminary step, without which one can never, never realise God.

Question: How do you find a Guru? This is all new for me in this life. Idle urge is already there, but how does one know?

Sri Chinmoy: It is not a matter of knowing. It is a matter of feeling. Please go deep within and shed bitter tears and pray to God: "I have wasted my life, all my life; now You must tell me whether I am meant to have a Guru." Then God will say, "Yes, you are meant." You will ask God, "Who is my Guru? I implore You to tell me." If you are totally sincere, then God will immediately answer your prayer. A child, when he cries bitterly in front of his mother, how long can she, if she is a real mother, deny him what he wants? You are also a child of the Supreme. If you sincerely cry, it is a matter of hours or days. The Supreme will quickly make you feel whether I am, or someone else is, meant for you.

The thing is — whom do you actually want? Do you want a Swami or a Master or a Guru? Mahatma Gandhi, whom you were speaking about before was not a realised soul; he was a saint who expressed his love in a patriotic way. A saintly patriot need not be a great spiritual Master. Mahatma Gandhi was not an authority on the inner life or the spiritual life. He was a supreme authority on the moral and religious life; he was an authority on what was decent, proper and necessary in Indian social life and Indian politics. He was a very great man and a very great soul. His illumining vision was much higher and wider than that of his fellow men. He showed his heart's deepest compassion and oneness for the simple Indian villagers who were downtrodden and neglected. He offered his whole life to help raise the condition of the Indian masses. But as far as self-realisation is concerned, all spiritual masters know — I am not the only one — that Mahatma Gandhi did not have this. He was not a man who had realised God. He was not a second Sri Ramakrishna or even a Vivekananda. He was nowhere near them. He was not a spiritual figure according to our definition of the term.

It is true to say that spiritual figures are not as easily available as before, but it is simply a wrong idea to say that there are no spiritual figures any more. It is as I told you before that in order to recognise a yogi, one has to be a yogi. But there are spiritual masters available, and if you are sincere, even though you may not be able to recognise one yourself, the Supreme will lead you to a genuine yogi.

Coming back to Mahatma Gandhi, he was a saintly person, a wonderful character and full of heart, sacrifice and inner strength. But when the question of realisation arises or of his being a great spiritual Master, he was unfortunately not in that category. I have a great admiration for his complete identification with the Indian people in our India's independence movement.

Question: In the Bible, it says that there will always be a Joshua to follow a Moses. Joshua was Moses' disciple. I see also in Indian books that there is always a disciple who starts a line of followers. Is this spiritual chain a necessary part of the manifestation?

Sri Chinmoy: It is not quite like that, actually. If the spiritual Guru is really great and has real power, it is quite possible that his power will be given to a spiritual descendant. Sri Ramakrishna had a spiritual descendant, Vivekananda. But at the same time he had a few more disciples who were spiritually great. Undoubtedly, Rakhal (Brahmananda) was one of them. You can say that a master might have one major disciple, but you cannot say that all his spiritual Power, all his Light he gives to this one person, while the others get next to nothing. It is not like that. When the Master realises God, he represents the Divine to his particular disciples. Indeed, because he represents the Divine, his spiritual Power, Knowledge, Peace, Light and Delight are unlimited. Each disciple can get boundless Light, Delight, Peace and Power. "When infinity is taken away from infinity, infinity still remains the same." This is what the Upanishads teach us.

One disciple can play the part of a leader and he can be described as the Master's spiritual descendant, but the Master's spiritual powers and achievements are given to each disciple according to his capacity and receptivity. The master may make one disciple a leader, as Sri Ramakrishna did with Vivekananda. Everybody cannot be a leader. But even the leader will receive from the Master according to his own spiritual capacity and receptivity. There are many sincere disciples who do not have the capacity of leadership, but at the same time, they most sincerely aspire. If they are sincere they, too, can get everything.

Actually, each disciple can think that he is the dearest. How can he know? The moment the disciple feels that he has offered everything, his outer life as well as his inner life, to the Guru, he can feel that he is the dearest and closest. He lives just because the Guru wants him to live. He lives for the sake of the Guru, for the sake of the Divine. If any disciple can do that, undoubtedly he will feel that he is dearest to his Master. This feeling of his is absolutely true. Nobody will have to reassure him on this point. No one will even have to tell him. If any disciple can make a constant, cheerful and unconditional surrender to God, then I must say he is or she is the dearest disciple to the Master. Just to fulfil the Will of the Supreme in the Master, he or she is on earth. This absolute surrender to the Will of the Absolute has no equal in the spiritual life.

Question: This state or condition of complete surrender is not easily obtained. On the other hand, you cannot obtain liberation until first you reach the condition of complete surrender. However we find out that we cannot reach that Goal unless we bypass the limitations and self-consciousness of the limited mind, be it in the sphere of the personality or elsewhere. To by-pass that self-consciousness, we find that we cannot do so by the development of the intellect or by the development of the reasoning power because this condition transcends the sphere of both, of the intellect and the reasoning power. And there is a difficulty here because to attain this condition you cannot be consciously immersed in life's problems. I mean to say, we cannot be attached or chained by those problems.

Yet life is a challenge that we must meet because life is the process by which the Atman will develop the power and the wisdom to merge with the immanent and transcending power of the Divine. Now the question is: On the one hand we cannot run away from life, but I have found now that this is true only until a certain stage. The stage comes when you have to pull out from this daily turmoil so that you can concentrate and develop or not, but at least get in contact with the inner powers of the Self. For that we need to retire in solitude and meditation so that we will not be disturbed. And my question is: Is this retirement indispensable? Is it also indispensable at this ultimate stage that you have the guidance and help of the Guru to attain that condition of complete surrender? Is it indispensable? Once you have attained that condition, then can you come back into life and serve in whatever position that the Supreme wants to put you into?

Sri Chinmoy: Well, thank you. Many, many questions in one question and if I forget any question, you will afterwards tell me.

To start with, you are absolutely right when you say that it is extremely difficult to make a surrender. Even a partial surrender, not to speak of a total surrender, on the one hand is difficult. On the other hand, it is said that without a complete surrender, you cannot realise God. Both are equally true. Now, how can we solve the first problem or make it easier? We say that it is extremely difficult to surrender to God or to the Guru. But everyone consciously or unconsciously has to surrender; God Himself is helpless in this respect. If one does not surrender to God or to the Guru, he is bound to be unfulfilled, since the entire purpose of our existence is to fulfil the Will of God. So here I wish to tell you how one can surrender.

If one has sincerely accepted a spiritual Master — I am using the word "sincerely" because it is not a matter of just saying that one has accepted a Master in order to show off: "I have the greatest spiritual Master on earth. My Master has miraculous powers, my Master has written hundreds of books, my Master knows all the inner worlds and outer worlds," — no; I have accepted the Master just because I felt in him my real existence, not because of what he has achieved or what promise he is going to make or what he is going to manifest. Some Masters are absolutely illiterate. They can't read or write. Other Masters are thoroughly conversant with both Eastern and Western philosophies and scriptures. So whether your Master is a scholar or a fool does not matter. No. You have accepted the Master because in him, in the Master, you feel your highest existence, your highest reality. Only for that reason have you accepted him, not for what he has achieved or what He is going to give you.

If the disciple comes to the Master with the expectation that the Master will give him liberation, realisation, that is a wonderful idea. The Master will give them, He will bring them from God. But a real disciple is he who comes to the Master saying, "Master, take my life. Do anything. If you want me to be your eternal slave, I shall be one. If you want me to realise God, alright, take me. I am at your feet. My realisation is at your feet. My total surrender, my life is for you. Either use me as an eternal slave or use me as a king; for me it is the same." But if you have the expectation, "Oh, the Master will make me a realised soul," it is a wonderful expectation, but what happens? When the expectation is not fulfilled today or tomorrow, frustration comes, anxiety comes, worries come, fear comes and doubt comes. "I have been on the spiritual path for forty years; what is wrong with me? Still I am not getting the sense of realisation, not even a glimpse of it!" But where is your surrender? When you accept the Master, if you say, "Now I have totally given myself to you. Use me the way you want, not the way I want," that is the correct way. But if you say, "I want to be a realised soul, I want to help humanity. I say 'I' referring to my highest Self and I do not care for myself, but only for humanity," that, too, is wonderful. But again, how do you know what is best for you, to help humanity or to realise God first? God knows best. God knows the hour, God knows what He wants, in and through your life.

So you must feel that all your expectations must also be offered to God, to your Master — your expectation to be the highest person or the greatest person on earth or to be a great spiritual Master yourself. If all these expectations you can consciously surrender to the Master — good expectations, highest expectations — then it becomes very easy to make a surrender.

After you have got rid of desire, you have come into the field of aspiration. A time comes when you have to give up your aspiration also. To give up aspiration does not mean that you won't pray or meditate. No, you will. Giving up aspiration means that the result of aspiration, which is expectation, that also you have to give up. Ramakrishna used to say, "When you have run a thorn into your foot, it is that desire has entered. Now, what do you do? You take another thorn and pick out the first one. Then you throw away both thorns. You do not keep them." So first you have ignorance. Then you take knowledge to remove your ignorance. Then you throw them both away and you go beyond both ignorance and knowledge. In the Upanishads, it is said, "Through ignorance, we conquer death and then through knowledge, we get Immortality." Yet a time comes when we have to go beyond both ignorance and knowledge. When you can transcend them both, at that time your absolute surrender comes.

So what I wish to tell you in this matter is that you must give what you have and what you are, if you want to fulfil the Divine in your life. Are you a beggar that you expect this and that? If God is your real father, if you have a spiritual Master, he has to do everything for you. Yesterday I told the disciples that whenever I accept a disciple, I consciously make a promise both to the disciple and to the Supreme that I will take responsibility for this person for Eternity or until he has realised God. Until then, I am responsible for him. So when I make that commitment to the Supreme, the Highest, I have to be sincere and honour it. Some people come and accept a spiritual Master; then after a few months or a few years, they leave him. Their own promise, however, is never ever over, because they have made the highest commitment to the Supreme. They haven't only made a commitment to their own individual soul. But it seems that often, an ordinary person, when he makes a promise to the Master, just takes that promise as nothing, as drinking water. Tomorrow he leaves the Master and enters into the ordinary life.

The role of the Master is the role of a private tutor. The disciple has to offer his aspiration, his conscious desire, his outer existence, his inner existence to the Master, to the Supreme in the Master. He should say, "I do not expect anything from you, good or bad. From my Master I know I will get only good things, but my only prayer to you is that you utilise my life, you will mould my life, you will shape my life."

You must go beyond expectation. When you go beyond expectation, at that time you will get everything in plenitude, in infinitude. There, at that point, you make your surrender very easily. Surrender becomes extremely easy when you have the feeling that the Master thinks of your life more than you do yourself, because the Master had made a commitment, not only to you, but to the Supreme to liberate you. If you are sincere in your belief that the Master's commitment to the Supreme is absolutely binding, then your expectation, although you have long ago transcended it, is bound to be fulfilled in infinite measure. In this way, surrender becomes absolutely easy.

Now to come back to your question as to whether surrender is only one thing but the first thing is God realisation. If, after accepting a spiritual Master, one wants to go this way or that, or one wants to turn back to one's own personality and individuality, then that is no surrender at all. You have to surrender to your Master or to the Inner Pilot or to God. These are all the same. The Master is representing God. The Inner Pilot in human form is the Master and in the Divine form, is the Supreme. So one has to surrender to one of the three in order to realise God. If one has no Master and he thinks of God, alright, he has to surrender his existence to God. But if one has a Master, he has to surrender to him, or, if he cares for the Inner Pilot in the human form, who is the Master, and in the spiritual form, the Divine and the Supreme Himself, he has to surrender to them. This is the first fundamental preliminary step, without which one can never, never realise God.

Now you said something about bypassing the mind?

A.: By "bypassing," I meant transcending.

Sri Chinmoy: That is very good. That is true. Otherwise "bypass" is not the right word. We cannot really bypass, but we can transcend. Now the thing is that here we have to ask how, while staying on earth, we can remain above the earth? While you are mixing with people or talking to people, while you are amidst human life, how can you think of the divine life? Here I wish to tell you that the divine life has to be manifested here on earth. How? How are you going to be unaffected when you are mixing with ordinary people who are not aspiring around you? You have to remember that a boat is inside water under water but is not affected by water. We don't say that the boat is composed of water, but while it as carrying passengers from here to there, it is on top of the water. Similarly you are amongst unaspiring, insincere people. But on the strength of your own sincere, spiritual life, you are carrying them to their destination. That is what the boat is doing, sailing in the water, but not being affected by the water. You can be in the ordinary life, amidst your friends and neighbours, but you need not be affected. Why? Because you have your inner urge to realise the Highest, to fulfil the Highest on earth. If you aspiration is sincere, your aspiration is like an arrow which pierces into the heart of others to stab their own ignorance. But if your own aspiration is very meager, not sincere, rather hesitant, then where do you go? You cannot inspire anybody, you cannot kindle the flame of aspiration in anyone. There you are lost. First of all, you cannot enter into them, then you can do nothing for them. So you have to know what wealth you already have. If you have the purest, which you have, the purest aspiration, then you can rest assured that you can mix with anybody because aspiration itself is the strength, the purest strength of God in human beings, in the aspirant. So if you have true aspiration, you can mix with anybody. Anybody, men, women, anybody, they will not be able to take away your aspiration. But if there is no aspiration, you are lost to the world, you are lost to yourself. Aspiration has a burning quality, but this fire does not burn people; it illumines people. Ordinary fire will simply turn everything to ashes. But the fire of aspiration, only illumines, illumines our lives. So when you are taking that kind of fire to the darkness, it is only illumining the darkness. The darkness is being illumined by our aspiration which is the constant inner fire. Easily you can stay amidst the world. What am I doing? It is my aspiration that gave me realisation. Now I am doubly secure, with my aspiration and realisation. Now you have the aspiration; what you need is realisation. Right now your own realisation is that you have to surrender your own existence to a spiritual Master who is totally one with the Supreme. So if your surrender to me is complete, then immediately we are one. When you are one with me, you are one with God. Then you need not be afraid of anybody. We are not afraid of ignorance.

Question: I cannot see anything created by God as imperfect. How can He create a soul that is not perfect and then say, "Alright, you go ahead in your own free way; develop the best you can?"

Sri Chinmoy: But God does not just throw the soul into the manifestation and leave it there helplessly. He Himself is going there. He is in the soul and with the soul, guiding it constantly.

A.: Good! G-o-o-d

Sri Chinmoy: God is…

A.: Perfect.

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, God is perfect — the Absolute God who is above all. The Highest is perfect, who is the Supreme, the Self. The God who is One Soul without a second, He is really perfect. But the God who has entered into the multiplicity, the One who has donned these clothes, Chinmoy, He is imperfect because He is now taking this human consciousness which is full of limitations and full of imperfections.

God Himself is in the process of making. I should say that He is going from imperfection to perfection. God wants to make me perfect. The potter, when he makes a pot, changes it constantly, moulding and changing the shape until it comes to perfection. So God is also perfecting Himself through humanity because He is the Spirit. He has descended into matter. This is His game. You can say it is a cruel game, but it is His game.

I say, we say, that we are all God, we have come from God. But where is our realisation? Where is our perfection? We are in the process of realisation: we are in the process of perfection.

When each individual represents God, what is actually happening? Even though that individual has not fully realised God, still we can't separate God from that person's existence. So much imperfection we are seeing in this world. Do you think that God is not there in that imperfection? God is everywhere. God is in a thief just as He is in the honest man. He is there; He is getting experience. God can be everything: He can be the Highest and He can be the Lowest. Of course I don't want to be the God who is in the lowest. I want to be the God who is in the Highest. God is in dirty, filthy water as well as in pure, distilled water. If I want to survive, I shall drink the pure water and not the filthy water; otherwise I would die. Similarly, if I want to be good, perfect and serve the Divine, I have to become Divine.

In our ordinary existence, during one day, how many times does each human being become the victim of ugly thoughts, undivine thoughts and all that? At the same time, you will see that he gets divine, fulfilling and sublime thoughts, too. So when God is in the uncomely thoughts as well as in the divine thoughts, how can He separate His existence from ours from one hour to another? No, He is in our imperfection and in our aspiration.

So God, the Spirit, has entered into matter, yet matter is ignorant, sleeping. There He is, awakening and pushing matter forward. Open your eyes, open your eyes; you have to grow into the Infinite. God is everywhere. God is in darkness and in Light. But with our knowledge, with our wisdom, with our aspiration, we have to grow towards the Best, towards the Highest, towards the most fulfilling.

Our conception of God is that He is up there and cannot come down, that my Father and I may be one, but that my Father is in Heaven and I am doomed to rot on earth. No, if I am in hell, my Father is also here in hell because my Father cannot remain in Heaven if I am in hell. When I say that I and my Father are one, if I am in the most abysmal hell, He will be there also. He cannot be up there. He is where I am, if He is really my Father. My Father will not be able to suffer the separation. If I am in prison, my Father will come to prison with me. He cannot separate Himself from me; He cannot remain aloof from me if He is my true Father.

Question: I would like to know why I have many times seen that when a person comes into profound practice of the spiritual or inner life, so many difficulties arise, many times discouraging the aspirant to go on in his practice?

Sri Chinmoy: You want to practice the spiritual life, you want to see God, realise God, become God. You want to achieve the highest, the greatest, the most fulfilling thing on earth. To do that, you also have to pay the price. Now the first thing is this: If we are sincere to ourselves, we will know that it is not God who is testing us. God never tests the sincere seekers. He never does. He knows how much capacity His daughter has and has no need to test her. But what actually happens is this: there are many hurdles right in front, between the seeker and his goal. When the seeker sincerely prays to God to see and to realise Him, very often it happens that by God's own Grace he is able to encounter most of the difficulties that otherwise he would have met and gone through all his life, or even in some future incarnations. Suppose you have hundreds of difficulties when you accept the spiritual life. These difficulties you had before. Under ordinary circumstances they would come to you — one, two, three, four, like this up to the last moment of your life. But if you accept the spiritual life, the inner life, God is most gracious in bringing all these difficulties right in front of you at the same time. At the same time He showers His special Grace on you so that all the difficulties may be overcome sooner. It is His Grace. And what actually happens to our limitations, imperfections, and ignorance? These are lions and tigers within us that we have been feeding. These tigers and lions are our desires, our wants that we have been feeding all the time. With God's Grace, they disappear.

Question: In relation to Sudha's question, are not other personalities sometimes involved in keeping the soul in its present condition? For example if you are attached to someone?

Sri Chinmoy: It is absolutely true. Very often it happens like that, that if you are connected with someone, you are trying your best to go up, up, up; but the other person keeps pulling you down.

And in connection with Sudha's question, I am glad to say one thing: If we go deep within, we shall see one thing, that the difficulties that we are now facing after we accepted the spiritual life, we had almost ninety-nine percent before we accepted the spiritual life. At that time we were not conscious; we were unconscious of them. Each difficulty we had. Just because you are unconscious while you are eating, whether you are eating rice or bread or fruit, you are still eating. But when you eat consciously, you know whether it is rice or bread or fruit. Similarly in the spiritual life, if we are conscious of the fact, then we will see that these difficulties almost ninety-nine percent of them we had before we accepted the spiritual life. At that time we were blind. We were ignorant. We were foolish. We did not know what actually was happening in our life. But now that we have become conscious, we are aware of the difficulties that rise to fight against us. We are glad not only that we have become conscious but that there is Somebody, there is some higher factor, God and His miraculous Grace, who are more than eager to help us. As we have become conscious, we reach Him, realise Him. So we are most fortunate to be conscious of the difficulties that we have and we must never try to avoid difficulties. Accept them…and we know that with us, for us, and in us is the omnipotent Grace of God.

Question: I would like to know if there is a point after pain? We live in pain, but then do you believe that there is a point beyond pain?

Sri Chinmoy: As long as we are in the physical, if our consciousness is all the time in the physical, certainly there is pain. But if we can withdraw our consciousness from the physical, then there can be no pain. Many spiritual figures have done it. They are undergoing a major operation, even without anaesthetic. Then what do they do? They put their conscious force on that particular place and then they smile. They smile while the operation is going on.

I remember one such incident. A girl cousin of mine went with one of her friends to the doctor. My cousin was undergoing an operation, a tremendous one. When the doctor started operating, she looked at the doctor and started smiling, but her friend, who was supposed to help her if she was crying, fell down on the floor and fainted. The actual person who was undergoing the operation started smiling! And I have seen quite a few times that the doctors in India do not use chloroform or ether.

Once I had three big boils here and the pain was unbearable when I went to the doctor. I raised my hand; the nurse was holding my wrist and I was looking at the doctor, smiling. Before the actual operation took place, for ten minutes I was concentrating. When the doctor was operating, I was looking at him, smiling.

There is another way to overcome pain. If you can consciously enter into the pain itself and stay in the pain for a few minutes, then the pain does not torture you as pain. For when we become the possessors of the pain, we can transform this very pain into joy. When you enter into the pain, you become the possessor of the pain. Right now, the pain possesses you; you are a victim of the pain and it keeps torturing you. But if you can possess the pain, you can actually inject into that area anything that you want. With your conscious power, you can inject delight, joy, whatever you want. It is quite possible and practicable. Many people have done it and the doctors have admired it. If you want to inject joy into the pain, you can feel it in that very spot.

Then, of course, if we can separate ourselves from the body-consciousness, it becomes easy. Ramana Maharshi suffered from a cancerous tumour. He used to laugh and say, "That gentleman has now come." "That gentleman" referred to the pain and he mocked it. Pain can easily be transformed into joy if we consciously enter into the pain or if we separate our body-consciousness from the pain itself. In two possible ways it can be done. Either you can enter into it and possess it and when it is possessed, you can give it your own joy. Or you can separate your body-consciousness from the pain itself. These are two possible ways.

Question: But do you think that a person can go on like this and not have to come back and stay in the physical plane? I mean, can he stay in a state of joy?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, a person can easily stay in a state of joy and, at the same time, remain on earth. There are many levels of consciousness. In one particular level, if you can retain that constant joy, you can stay there, while at the same time your other parts are remaining on another level. Realised souls, when they get news of suffering, say the death of their parents, for a time, suffer as intensely as ordinary people. At the same time, there is another part which is detached, completely detached. There it is all joy, all delight. On one plane, they are suffering like ordinary human beings and on the other plane, they are completely detached. So a human being can retain the consciousness of joy and at the same time, can operate on the physical level. It is quite possible. One can function on two different levels at the same time. That is what spiritual figures do.

Is it clear to you, Akuti? It is quite possible. Even in your meditation, if you go and enter into the place of Peace and Bliss, you retain a higher level of consciousness while you are doing your daily work. Even though you are involved in thousands of activities, you can consciously retain that beautiful state of Bliss. Although you are talking with your friends and are involved in physical activities, you are retaining the consciousness of Peace and Bliss.

In our Mahabharata, India's greatest epic, the mother of the Pandavas used to pray to the Lord, Sri Krishna, to give her pain and suffering so that she would think of God all the time and pray to Him. "O Lord, give me pain, give me suffering, so that I can always think of you." But in this evolved world and in our society, this should never be our attitude. We should pray to God to go towards the Light. "Give me Light so that I can think of You all the time in Light, in Joy, in Delight." But she prayed for pain. "If I am in joy, I will forget You", she said. That should not be our attitude.

On another human level, there are many people who cherish suffering. They feel that if there is no suffering, the day is not complete. There are many couples who feel that the day has ended properly when they have some calamity in the family among the relatives or friends; the day has played its part. But that should never be our attitude. Our attitude should be to invoke Light and to grow in the Light because God Himself is All-Light and All-Joy. Very often we invite suffering and pain just to justify and prove that we belong to this world. God does not want that kind of suffering and pain.

Question: Will you speak about the Divine Mother?

Sri Chinmoy: The Mother Divine is the Divine in its feminine aspect. As in the physical world, so also in the spiritual world: just as it is usually easier to please the mother than the father in the physical world, so also in the spiritual world, it is easier to please the Mother Divine. This is because She, the executive Force of the Supreme, the Divine Shakti, has Herself created the earth and therefore she identifies Herself with the earth-consciousness. All our imperfections and struggles rest upon Her infinite Heart of Compassion. Yet the Mother Divine does everything in consultation with the Lord, with the Supreme. And He consults the Divine Mother in all His Supreme Movements.

There are four major aspects of this Mother Divine, the transcendental Mother. The first aspect is that of immensity, power, vastness and majesty. That aspect we call Maheshwari, the Great Mother. In another aspect, we call her Mahakali, the Great Mother who is all the time fighting against the undivine forces, yet who is full of compassion. Of course, all the Mother-aspects of the Divine are full of compassion, but this Mother, it seems, has more compassion than the others. Now this Mother, Mahakali, does everything very, very quickly towards the final achievement. She cares only for those who sincerely aspire. She does not care so much for perfecting the seeker, but she cares for the highest height. If she is satisfied with the aspiration and sincerity of her disciples, of her devotees, then what she does is to give them, in a day, the progress which otherwise would have taken those particular aspirants fifty or sixty years. She works so fast; this is the Mother Mahakali, Great Kali. She is my favourite, my most favourite of all the Goddesses; but we cannot separate one Goddess from another, since these are only aspects of the one Divine Mother. I cannot separate my right arm from my left arm. In the same way, all the different aspects of the Divine Mother function in their own unique way, but they work together.

And I must say that the Maheshwari aspect of infinite wideness has another emanation, another personality, whom we call Durga. Durga is one of Maheshwari's aspects. Durga and Vijaya are the same goddess. Vijaya is also an emanation of the goddess Maheshwari. She fights for the Divine. She fights for the victory of Truth and Light. One of our great Avatars — an Avatar is a direct descendant of God — whose name was Ramachandra, the first Avatar, while he was fighting against the demons, prayed to this particular goddess, Durga. Durga was pleased with his prayer and Ramachandra was able to conquer the hostile forces and win the victory. He brought back his wife, Sita, who had been captured by the demon chief.

The third goddess is Lakshmi, Mahalakshmi. She is the Mother of beauty, charm, sweetness and fragrance. She is the Mother who creates in every aspect of life, a divine harmony. Most Indian women are inwardly connected and influenced by Mahalakshmi. She has infinite patience, whereas Mother Kali does not want to wait; she does not have patience. In our human sense, we can say that Kali won't wait. Immediately she will know whether I am sincere or not. If I am insincere, she will simply throw me away. But Mahalakshmi will wait and wait, no matter how insincere I am, no matter what my imperfections are. She is for each and every soul on earth. She wants a peaceful harmony in this earthly life; beauty, softness, sweetness, splendour, all of these heart qualities. So those who pray to her will naturally get all these divine qualities, but they do not go as fast as the devotees of Kali do. These want only liberation, the disciples of Kali; they go right to the Goal. Then after reaching the Highest, if the Supreme wants perfection in their nature, then they have to perfect themselves and become perfect perfection. I want to say one more thing about Kali: she is the Mother of aspiration also. She kindles the flame of aspiration in the sincere seekers. She does this immediately on seeing real sincerity.

Now there is a fourth goddess. Her name is Saraswati, Mahasaraswati. She is the Mother of Divine Learning, Knowledge and Wisdom. In India, when a child begins to learn to read, he is taught to invoke the Goddess Saraswati and at the same time, to learn a particular mantra (an incantation) and shloka (a verse) which he will repeat so that the goddess Saraswati will be pleased with him and bless his endeavour. Even when an adult person sits down to read in India, he will often invoke the name of Mahasaraswati to bless him with divine understanding and ultimate knowledge. I still remember the shloka which I had to learn at the age of four and a half or five. We had to say it repeatedly, so we learned it. It was in Sanskrit. "I bow to Thee, O Saraswati, who gives knowledge and wisdom, and whose eyes are very wide and who plays the vina." This goddess plays the vina, the Indian stringed instrument. She wants perfect perfection in her disciples. As I said, she is the Goddess of Learning and Wisdom, Knowledge and divine Understanding. She wants perfection in every minute detail. She is the Mother of Perfection. In everything, she wants divine perfection. Mahasaraswati is most gracious, most beautiful in this unillumined, ignorant world. She is the youngest and most recent of the four aspects of the Divine Mother.

So these are the four divine emanations of the Mother Divine on the transcendental plane. Through these four aspects, She manifests Herself here on earth. And at the same time, one disciple, one aspirant, can be the follower of all these four aspects, because ultimately one is praying to the one Mother Divine, only one. But in Her manifestation, she has taken four forms. Suppose, in my case, although Mahakali is my dearest, I have satisfied, pleased, all the aspects of the Mother. I do a little bit of writing. This writing, music, poetry and all this, I get from this Mother, Saraswati. Secondly, I am ugly now, but I think I have retained just a little beauty. In my childhood, I was not as ugly as I am now, I must tell you. I lived in South India, where it is very hot, so my skin is dark like this. But Mahalakshmi did bless me as a child. Then Mahakali — she has given me everything, so-called liberation and all that. The other Divine Mother who is immensity, vastness and who is unfathomable in Her highest aspect, Maheshwari — she has also blessed me. So I must say that any aspirant can be blessed and helped by these four aspects of the Divine Mother.

Question: Do you have pictures of the different aspects of the Mother?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, we have. Here in Puerto Rico we have a picture of Mahakali. In our reception room here, we have Saraswati. In our Centre in New York, we have pictures of all the goddesses.

Question: In that picture, Mother Kali is represented doing different things with her four arms. What is she actually doing?

Sri Chinmoy: These paintings are done by contemporary Indian artists. They are usually calendar illustrations. The ones of Kali show her in her vital aspect, not as she appears in the highest transcendental worlds. There she is all golden and extremely beautiful. But in these paintings, we see Kali as the divine warrior, sometimes looking very grotesque and even hideous. She wears a garland of skulls and has her tongue stuck out. The objects in her four arms differ according to the particular artist, but often with one arm she is blessing. With the second arm, she is holding the beheaded Ravana, the embodiment of evil. With a third arm, she is fighting the hostile forces with the bloody scimitar, and in her fourth arm, she is holding Lord Shiva's trident. I shall explain this later. Now in the picture, Kali is placing her foot on the chest of her husband, Shiva. How can a wife place her foot on her husband's chest? In India especially, this is unbelievable. Some people say that she brought out her tongue in surprise when she realised that she was stepping on her husband's chest. But it actually means that when this particular Mother was fighting with the hostile forces and their blood was running profusely, she was drinking the blood of these hostile forces. That is why her tongue is stuck out. When Kali was killing the great hostile force, Ravana, she saw that from one drop of his blood, millions and billions of hostile forces were taking birth. So after killing him and cutting off his head, she is drinking his blood so that no more hostile forces would be born. In some pictures of Kali, instead of one hand blessing the divine forces, this hand holds a bowl, into which is dripping the blood from Ravana's beheaded head.

And now, why is she seen to be standing on her husband? When she was fighting, it was all water and flowing blood. She needed space. When the divine starts fighting, both the dynamic and the static states are brought into play. Dynamism can take place only where there is a static base. Somebody must remain solidly anchored and still; Kali's own husband offered. She was moving while fighting, so she needed some place where she could get a footing. Lord Shiva played the part of her static base by lying down and allowing her to stand upon his chest.

Each goddess has a secret and special name. While this Goddess is normally known as Kali or Mahakali (Great Kali), her secret name is Kring. Many years ago, when I started worshipping her, I had to say her name most powerfully: AUM, Krinng, Krinnng, Krinnng…. All fear, all the world's fear has to leave when you repeat her name, her secret name. I used to repeat her secret name thousands and millions of times when I was thirteen or fourteen years old.

With other Goddesses, for example, if we invoke Saraswati, it is a softer and more gentle vibration. Saraswati's secret name is Ohing. You invoke Ohing, Ohing, Ohing. Sarawasti will bless you with inner illumination, musical capacity and perfectionism. But for this goddess Kali, you have to break your palate when you invoke her mantra, Kring. Here I am not doing it powerfully. When I used to chant it repeatedly in full voice, it was infinitely more powerful and sonorous than now.

Question: What is true humility and how does true love for mankind manifest in us?

Sri Chinmoy: Humility, what we call humility is truly the divine dignity. It is God's true divine pride. "Therefore know by that humility that thou art God."

We cannot be abused. We do not allow anybody to stand on our head. We do not allow anybody to treat us mercilessly. God… let us look at God. He lives in the grass. Early in the morning we walk on the grass and how it is crushed and spoiled, but there He is. Without humility we do not, cannot, possess the divine dignity. And what is this divine dignity? Divine dignity is the knowledge that we exist in everything. I am God, so I exist everywhere, in everything. So now, if one wants to realise God, the first and foremost thing that will be necessary is humility.

Now to go deeper; when one is humble it does not mean that he is weak, he is a beggar. No. Humility and humiliation are two totally different things. Very often here in the West we take humility as humiliation. Why should we allow anybody to trample us, to degrade us? No, that is called humiliation. But humility is something that spontaneously grows in our day-to-day life because it is the sweetest, softest, mildest and at the same time most fertile ground in us. Look at this Mother Earth. Can there be anybody or anything as humble as Mother Earth? Mother Earth is holding us, receiving all impacts from us, guiding us. She is all love, all compassion and at the same time, all powerful. But when we look at Mother Earth, the first thing that comes to our mind is humility. How humble! We see this when we appreciate nature and natural beauty all around us. How humble they are! The more humble one is, the greater is his strength. God is omnipresent. That means He is everywhere. Just because He is everywhere, He is also omnipotent; He is all powerful. So when we are humble, when we know the true meaning of humility, we immediately become one with the person who is around us, in front of us, and one with the object that is around us. The moment we become totally one with God or Light or Duty or Power or with Consciousness, we become the All-powerful, the Almighty in our inner life, as well as outer life.

So humility is the secret to show us the oneness with the outer world and also with the inner world. When we have true humility, we unite both worlds, the inner and the outer. When we unite the worlds, then we see what else is required: possessing the world. When we possess the world, what else is required? We become the real rulers of the world. This ruler does not dominate. No, he will be the conscious guiding light of the world.

To come back again to your question, true humility is man's true dignity: God's divine pride. We say "humility" and God says "God's divine pride" which is expressed not like the human pride of arrogance. No, God's divine pride is in everyone, in everything, and that divine pride you get only from humility.

Question: Does the spiritual life preclude other kinds of normal activities in life? I mean ... does the spiritual life mean that you have to give up what you happen to be doing at the time, say, being an interior decorator?

Sri Chinmoy: Not in the least. The spiritual life, if it is the true spiritual life, will never negate anything. It will always accept. First it will accept, then it will embrace; then it will become one with the activity itself. What for? For its transformation. It identifies itself with the activity in order to transform it. The spiritual life will never reject anything. If it is the true and integral spiritual life, it will accept each and every activity as an opportunity to go to God and manifest God.

You asked about work. Now there are two kinds of work: In the ordinary kind of work, you do something and then immediately you ask for the result. Then when you get the result, you say, "No, perhaps I could have got a better result." There is no end to it. If you want real joy, you will not get it by fulfilling a desire for a particular result. You won't get real joy. But in the second kind of work, in true spiritual work, you do the work but you do not care for the fruit or the result. Only by having the right attitude, will you become a happy person. If you do the work with a divine attitude, then it will not be the result which gives you joy, but the very act.

So within the spiritual life, we can easily house the outer life. But the true spiritual life will never ask the outer life to remain separate. No. What it does is that it enters into the physical life or the outer life and it tries to expedite the movement and progress of the outer life in a divine way.

What do we mean by the spiritual life? We mean that it is a life of inspiration, aspiration and inner communion. When you are able to meditate for a few minutes, the mind does not become a victim to doubts, impure thoughts, and unhealthy ideas. When there is no doubt, you can do some work in a very few minutes. If there is a little shadow of doubt, though, it may take an hour or even a day. So even in your day-to-day activities, the spiritual life is a great help in achieving success. And if you really and truly accept the spiritual life, you will see that in the twinkling of an eye, most of your difficulties not only decrease but disappear. This happens because in your spiritual life there is abundant strength which you don't have in your outer life. This abundant strength, when it comes to the fore, makes the outer life surrender automatically to the inner life. And when it surrenders, it is not from compulsion, but from a spontaneous, inner feeling. It surrenders with joy because it feels that in surrender itself, it gets the full power and total bliss of the inner life.

So to come back to your question, the spiritual life is the greatest help to the outer life. You can say that it is the elder brother of the younger brother. The elder brother will always beckon the younger one. In every way the spiritual life helps the outer life. Unfortunately, people harbour a wrong conception of the spiritual life when they think it means giving up the world. If you give up the world, where are you going to establish God's Truth, God's Kingdom? It is right here on earth that Self-realisation or God-realisation can take place. Not in heaven. Heaven is a state of consciousness. And here, earth is also a state, but it is a physical place where one has to manifest God. And it is through the spiritual life that the synthesis of the spiritual life and the outer life can be made. Again it is only through the spiritual life that God-manifestation can take place on earth.

Question: If there is no perfection in the body and no perfection in the mind, then my question is: would the soul's light lead the body and the mind toward perfection?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, if the body and the mind become the conscious instruments of the soul and say, "We shall work along with the soul," then the soul's perfection will automatically lead them toward their own perfection. If the mind, the body and the vital are not fully surrendered to the soul, then the soul's full manifestation can not take place. And if the soul's manifestation does not take place, it means that the soul is not fulfilled. It has to be fulfilled. Since it wants fulfilment, we will see that one day, the body, the vital and the mind will consciously obey the divine in us, our soul.

Question: Do the body, mind and heart function differently when they function with the light of the soul?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly, they do act differently; that is to say, they act divinely when they function with the light of the soul. With different eyes they see the truth, with different hearts they feel the truth. Always they function differently in the sense that they are tinged with God's Light. Their act of seeing and feeling is done through the play of energy. This energy is totally different from the usual physical energy. That is why we call it spiritual energy or cosmic energy. Cosmic energy is totally different from physical energy. When we draw in cosmic energy even for four or five minutes, we can overcome the need for rest or sleep most effectively. It is also the cosmic energy that quenches our inner thirst for Truth and Light most adequately.

Question: Can we draw upon the cosmic energy by going deep within ourselves?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, we can draw upon the cosmic energy by entering into our deeper consciousness, the all-pervading consciousness, which is here, there, everywhere. There are various types of "consciousness" in the spiritual worlds. It is the inner consciousness, the inmost consciousness, that touches the springs of the cosmic energy. If we can have a free access to our inmost consciousness, the cosmic energy is bound to come to the fore if you go deep within, it comes like a spring, a never-failing spring. And when it comes, it permeates the whole body.

Unfortunately we look at the spiritual life with our outer eyes. It is here that we make our mistake. But if we look at the inner life with our heart's feeling and our soul's light, then we see that the inner life has already housed the outer life, energised the outer life and perfected the outer life. The deeper we go within, the greater will be our fulfilling and fruitful achievement without.

Question: What did you mean when you said that now we have a choice with regard to the discovery of the inner life, but that some day we wouldn't have that choice?

Sri Chinmoy: The thing is this… we all know that in the world, opportunity is something that never knocks at our door twice. In the spiritual life, this is also true. But in the spiritual life, when one has entered into the inner life and is living the spiritual life, he feels that it is impossible to believe that this spiritual life might not be permanently meant for him. He feels that this possibility is only something imaginary. It is very good for him to feel this because God's Hour, which is now — and I shall explain it to you — will never come back. It does not come twice.

Those who have an inner Guide, a spiritual Guide or a Guru are extremely blessed. This is what I mean by "God's Hour". But out of their obscure folly, very often, disciples try to judge their teacher according to their own light. And they leave the Path. According to the Divine Law, you may leave the person, but you may not leave the Path. But very often, when people go to their spiritual teacher and are not satisfied, they become dissatisfied with the Path as well; that is to say, with spirituality itself. Here they make a great mistake. If they leave the spiritual Path, once having seriously entered upon it, they forfeit the Grace of God's Hour. And it does not return for thousands of years.

Now the Hour has come. Evolution, both the inner and the outer, has come to the stage where people have developed the conscious mind. Formerly the conscious and developed mind was lacking. In our human evolution, it was the animal mind that was working. Now the animal mind has been transformed into the conscious, developed, human mind. Consciously man knows what is right and what is wrong in his own life. In spite of that, man often does the wrong thing. But now man's conscious, developed and searching mind has become illumined to some extent by an inner light and by his heart's constant cry.

Evolution, not only of the mind, but of the whole being in general, is a spiral. It is not a straight or a direct movement, like climbing up a ladder. It is rhythmic, like this… like the waves of a spiral movement. It goes round and round in a circular motion, going higher and higher at each round. It comes back to where it had started in the spiral, but on a higher level. As the line of development comes full circle, there is almost a meeting of the new level with the old level. In the process of evolution, man's mind has become illumined and although he still appears to act in his old unlit way, he is actually higher than he was when there was no light at all in his mind.

Now here, in the world, the Divine, the Supreme, is trying consciously to awaken each individual soul because He feels that the time has come for the human to be transformed into the divine. Formerly, even in the spiritual life, there was only a one-sided aspiration, that is to say, aspiration from the soul or from the heart or from the mind — but only from one part. Now people have discovered the truth that the body and the vital also have to aspire. Formerly in the East, and in the West, too, they neglected the body. They thought that if the heart aspired or the soul aspired, then that was enough. But now it is not like that. Now at each moment we can serve the Divine with the physical consciousness — in the workshop or in the office or in the street. Our physical consciousness has been developed to such an extent that it can consciously aspire to enter into the Beyond. This is the time called "The Hour of God". It is a very special period. If we deliberately pay no attention to it, then what will happen is that we will lose the Grace, the infinite Grace. Then we shall have to work with our own strength which is very, very limited. It will take us lives to accomplish what we can do in a matter of months with the Divine Grace.

After this special period of Grace has ended, after forty or fifty years or even a century, or at most two centuries, there will be a compulsion from above, a force that will propel people forward. This will not be an opportunity but a coercion. Right now, there are some souls who have consciously accepted the inner life, the spiritual life. They are marching forward and accelerating their progress. They are moving consciously towards God. They have to be followed by those who are still sleeping. At that time, the push will come from God. Those who are now awakened are marching forward towards the Goal, but those who are not awakened will be forcefully compelled to arise and follow the awakened ones.

The human mind has achieved extraordinary marvels; the scientific mind is the proof. The scientific mind in the beginning was confused, but now it seems to be going in the right direction, and if it really and truly enters into the spiritual mind, then the success of mankind will be beyond measure. Now the Hour of God has come. Some of the scientists in the West do believe in God or believe in something that they call "even higher than God." Wonderful, as long as they feel that there is some conscious Force or Power in the universe! So when science sees, in the material world, the possibility of some inner truth, then it can easily enter into that Truth and ultimately understand that Truth. Here also the Hour of God has dawned. The animal in man has played its part, whether successfully or unsuccessfully, God alone knows. But the very animal in man is no longer satisfied. At the same time, it is unable to go beyond the animal kingdom. This is the opportunity, here and now, to go beyond. By our conscious aspiration and by God's constant Grace, we can bask in the sunshine of this Hour of God, once and for all time transcending ourselves, and becoming true divine beings — our real destiny!

Question: Why would God take the trouble to compel slackers like myself to accept the inner life?

Sri Chinmoy: We know that in the process of evolution, we came from the mineral life to the plant life, then to the animal kingdom and finally to the human consciousness. Now God wants a different being to descend on earth or to take incarnation. This being we can call Divine Man or Superman. So now God is trying to bring this being into the manifestation. With those who are consciously abiding by God's Will, God is happy and content. But the hour will come when God sees that some people have the potentiality and yet are neglecting this potentiality, which has been given by God Himself. He says, "Let the instrument himself consciously aspire." Then a day comes when God says, "I have given him the potentiality, the capacity, everything. Even then, there is no conscious striving, no aspiration, no prayer. Then let Me use force." When God uses force, it is a kind of blow which forces the person to come out of his usual unaspiring consciousness.

People are coming here to this Centre. People are going to churches, temples and synagogues. They are praying or meditating at home. They are doing all this consciously. Inside they are feeling an inner urge to move forward, to grow. They feel that they have some inner awareness, some inner capacity. God sees and observes and God is pleased with them. But when God sees that this same potentiality which He has implanted in all is not being utilised by some, He says to them, "No, I won't allow you to lag behind. You must follow those who are consciously awakened." And for that, He compels them.

The inner, divine qualities or the spiritual quintessence that you have and that somebody else has do not lead to the same results. In your case, you are awakened and you are happy and God is happy. You are marching. The other fellow who has the capacity and potentiality is sleeping. He is not aware; he does not care. He is engrossed in the material world. God says, "Now is the time. I have given him what he needs. If he doesn't grow, I have to compel him."

It is like two sons of a mother, standing in front of a pond in an Indian village. One child feels that his mother will be happy if he jumps into the pond and takes his bath. He knows that he has the capacity and that he himself will be happy. His mother also knows that he has the capacity and that he will happily jump into the pond which he does. The other son also has the inner capacity, but he is lazy. He says, "It is cold and anyway I don't want to take a bath." Then what does the mother do? She waits for a few minutes, observing whether or not he will do it. Then she finally pushes him in. So the second son eventually has to take his bath. In the beginning the mother gives the same opportunity and capacity to both of them. One jumps in willingly and the other, after some time, is compelled. Similarly in the spiritual life, everybody has the inner urge. One uses it, the other does not. Then, just as with the two sons, when one refuses to use the urge consciously, the pressure comes at that time, to which he has to surrender. This is how God compels slackers.

Question: There is still something I don't understand. You said that the is the opportunity at the Hour of God and yet you said that He could take away the Grace. Then if so, how is He divine?

Sri Chinmoy: He takes away the Grace for some time. The person who does not use the Hour of God forfeits God's Grace. I have just explained that later on, God will compel the slacker. But at that particular time, it is an act of withdrawal on God's part. Of course, one day everyone will realise God, but when God withdraws, it is a matter of centuries and not just years.

But if His Grace is infinite, how can He take it away for a while?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, God's Grace is infinite, but God is working through the finite. When the finite is unable to receive the Grace, due to its limited receptivity, the Grace is forced to withdraw. God can stay in you only according to your receptivity and capacity. He is Infinite, but I am finite. If the vessel in me is very limited and He is limitless, how long can He stay? Only according to my receptivity can He pour down His Grace. And if my vessel is very tiny, poor God!

Question: I ask this question mainly because I wonder why the greater part of the holy men or yogis that I know are unmarried or do not have a family life. I just wondered if marriage would be a deterrent.

Sri Chinmoy: No. It depends on each individual soul. You were saying that most of the Indian yogis are not married, but at the same time, there were many great spiritual Masters who were married. For example, Sri Ramakrishna, one of India's greatest spiritual figures: He was married. And many of the ancient Rishis, the greatest sages of the Vedic era, were married. In fact, only ten or twelve, some say six — of the Vedic rishis were unmarried.

Then in India, there is something called a spiritual partner, a collaborator. The Sanskrit term is shakti. They are not legally, or in the human sense, married, but on the highest spiritual level, they are divinely one. For God's Creation, man and woman must go together in some cases, and some spiritual Masters have a feminine counterpart.

But there are some spiritual figures who agree with our silly scriptures that woman is the door to hell. Our scriptures say, Nari narakesya dwara, "Woman is the door to hell." Women, on their part, can say and feel the same thing: "Man is the door to hell." But that is not the thing. The reason that men say this, is that they feel that women, in general, being bound to Mother-earth, have tempted them, pulled them down and bound them. But who is at fault here? Men. Why? By nature, women think of earth more than they think of Heaven. That is, they are always thinking of their children and family and they do not get the time to enter in the deeper world. But men have never given women the opportunity to cultivate their inner life, their spiritual life. And, of course, when the question of temptation arises, who tempts whom?

Apart from all this, many Indian seers and yogins think that it is an extra burden to get married and have children. They say, "We are going to our Father. Why should we have a heavy burden on our shoulders? " If one is married, he may say, "Let me save myself first and let her come in her own time. When she is ready, she too can see God." This is how they reject women. The ones who said, "Woman is the door to hell," when they finally achieve their own realisation, understand that it was not their women or wives who were the problem; the defect was in their own consciousness. With the others, it is a question of how much they can carry, how much responsibility they can bear.

If they feel that they can get married and have children and still lead a higher life, the life of true fulfilment, then God tells them to carry on. They are absolutely doing the right thing according to their inner understanding and their inner necessity. God's door is open to all. But I must say that this is an extremely difficult process.

Question: Referring to your talk on Illumination, I want to ask: In our daily life, when frustration and adversity attack us, how can we orient ourselves so that we know what to do about it?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us not bother ourselves with frustration, suffering and all that. Yes, they are all here, but let us try to bring down God's Grace. If He Himself wants to carry our frustration, we will be making ourselves happy, happier. If God does not take our pain, however, we can still let the flow of His Grace and Compassion descend into us; then immediately it will illumine everything, illumine all our suffering, frustration and adversity. Then let us use another process. This process is to see God's existence in everything. God does not give us pain, first of all. He does not give us suffering either. It is we who make mistakes in our day-to-day life or in our attitudes and ideas. But if we have frustration and suffering, let us enter into that frustration and suffering and see there the existence of God. So when the adverse forces attack us, they will not be able to do so fully because behind it, we are seeing the existence of someone who is all Love, all Affection, all Concern for us. And we can easily enter into that person to be saved.

It reminds me of an incident many, many years ago. In India at the time of the British occupation, an English soldier with a bayonet was about to kill an ordinary innocent man. That man immediately cried aloud without fear but with a soulful emotion, "You, too, are divine." When he said, "You, too, are divine," he actually saw in the bayonet the existence of God. The soldier did not kill him because at that moment he did not see in the innocent man anything aggressive or destructive, anything to feed his own aggression. Through the intercession of the Divine Grace, the soldier also saw something luminous in the man and was struck by it. Here also when suffering comes, if you say to the suffering, "You, too, are divine; in you, I am seeing the existence of God," then immediately the wrong forces of suffering which are disturbing you will also leave you.

What you are now doing is that you are separating God from the suffering. Suffering we do not invite; far from it. But if it comes, we have to see in it the existence of God. If you do not separate God from the suffering, then your own life-breath and God's Compassion will meet together. Otherwise you are not allowing God's Compassion to touch your life-breath, you are not seeing God's existence in everything. We say that God is everywhere. If God is everywhere, is He also not in suffering? Is God not in frustration? Or is God so weak that He has to be only in Heaven and not in our painful earthbound existence? When we suffer, God is there. We have to see His Face and not the face of the suffering that tortures us. So if we can do that, if we can see God's Face in pain and in everything, then we will see that suffering and frustration cannot exist. They have to be transformed into joy, constant joy, because our sweet Father, our affectionate, compassionate Father is there in everything to protect us and save us.

Question: When you tell us to learn by heart twenty meditations, are you not establishing a kind of competition among the disciples?

Sri Chinmoy: The world is full of competition. In the ordinary life, we are constantly competing. I am competing with you; you are competing with me. All the time, we are competing. But this competition must not take place in the spiritual life. In the inner life, the spiritual world, there is no competition. It is only you and God. We are not in competition, but if you say that there is competition, let it be between you and your ignorance.

How fast can you leave aside your ignorance and go toward your own Goal? Competition, if it is at all necessary, should be to see how far behind us we have left ignorance and imperfection and how fast we are running towards our Goal. Let there be two sides: one, perfection's side; the other, imperfection's side. How fast are we running from imperfection and ignorance towards the positive side of Perfection, Truth, Light and Bliss? That and not rivalry with others, should be your competition.

T.V. Programme — WKAQ, Channel 2

San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico

December 27, 1967

Moderator: Sudha (Miss Carmen Suro)

Panel: Vijaya (Mrs. Sarah Casanova), Agni (Mr. Jose Luis Casanova), Prajna (Mrs. Haydee Casellas), Mr. Pedro Dacosta

Introduction by Sudha:

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thanks to the courtesy of "Foro de la Comunidad" (Community Forum), I have the privilege and the pleasure to introduce to you the figure of Sri Chinmoy Kumar Ghose. To many here in Puerto Rico he is well known. Many know, "Una Pausa en el Dia" ("A Pause in the Day"), the column in "El Mundo", the daily newspaper where Sri Chinmoy expresses his teachings.

Sri Chinmoy is a spiritual figure, a great Master, philosopher and Hindu yogi. He is the spiritual director of the Aum Centre in San Juan and the Aum Centre in New York. Sri Chinmoy is with you.

Sri Chinmoy: Thank you. I am extremely happy to be here at this T.V. station and at the same time I am most grateful to the authorities of this T.V. station WKAQ for granting us the opportunity to be here. We do hope that we will be able to serve, to some extent, those who will be seeing us and listening to us. Again I wish to offer my deepest sense of gratitude to this T.V. station, WKAQ.

Question: Master Chinmoy, I believe that there are two wars, the inner and the outer. When and how will these two wars stop?

Sri Chinmoy: You are right, there are two wars, the inner and the outer. The inner war is the war that our inner being or the soul fights against limitations, ignorance, doubt and death. The outer war is the war that man fights with man, nation fights with nation, country fights with country. Now the question is: when and how can these wars come to an end? These wars can come to an end only when the inner war first stops. That is to say, when in the inner world, the inner being or the soul conquers ignorance, fear, doubt and death. Then in the outer world there will be no necessity to wage war. We fight because deep inside us there is disharmony, there is fear, there is anxiety and there is aggression. When deep within us there is peace, joy, plenitude and fulfilment we shall not invite war. So the outer war will come to an end when the inner war is resolved, when the inner war stops. Both wars will come to an end and are bound to end in the process of human evolution.

Question: Master Chinmoy, I have read in some Eastern books that man is greater than the gods. I wish to hear from you if this statement is correct?

Sri Chinmoy: Thank you. I am glad that you have read Eastern books. There often it is mentioned that man is superior to the gods. What we actually mean by that is that there are many, many gods in the vital world. According to our Indian scriptures, as many human beings, so many are the gods. So, these gods, what do they actually do? They help us at the time of our need. When we suffer from headache or stomach-ache or some minor diseases they come and help us and we pray to them. But there is something else that is called liberation. Liberation or Self-realisation can be had only by a human being. When a soul enters into the human being and starts making progress, in the process of evolution, his soul becomes fully liberated and fully realised; when this particular human being has fully realised himself, he has realised God also. But the gods do not have that opportunity. They do not take the human form. They live in the vital world and from there they operate. So, unless and until they enter into a human body and human form and go through the process of reincarnation, they cannot have the Self-realisation or liberation that we human beings have. When we have Self-realisation, we know that there is nothing greater than that self-realisation. That means we have crossed the barriers of ignorance and travelled across the sea of ignorance and death. That is why we say that man is greater than the gods, superior to gods, because man gets Self-realisation whereas the so-called gods who are in the vital plane do not care for it and do not get it.

Question: Can you explain further what liberation is?

Sri Chinmoy: Liberation means the actual freedom from fear, freedom from doubt, freedom from ignorance and freedom from death. Now, as soon as you come into this world you become a prey to ignorance, fear, limitation and doubt. But through our spiritual practise and by living the inner life, we enter into the consciousness of the Divine and there we start growing and a day comes when we are well established, fully established, in the spiritual consciousness of inner life. We become totally free from ignorance. Now we are caught by ignorance, we are wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance; but a day dawns when we will be free from ignorance, and the moment that we are free from ignorance, we are liberated for good.

Question: Is there a special means that would accelerate this process of liberation?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, there is a special way and is called "conscious aspiration", and this conscious aspiration should come from the body; from the physical, the vital, the mental, the psychic and the soul. Of course, the soul has been all the time aspiring. The physical, the vital, the mind and psychic have to be aware of this aspiring consciousness, and when we consciously aspire in all different parts of our being we will be able to accelerate the achievement of liberation.

Question: Master Chinmoy, from the spiritual point of view does the New Year have any special significance?

Sri Chinmoy: From the spiritual point of view the New Year has a special significance. On the eve of the New Year, a new consciousness dawns on earth. God once again inspires each human being, each creature with new Hope, new Light, Peace and Bliss. God always wants us to move farther, farthest; He does not want us to look back. We know when a runner runs fast, while running fast if he looks back, he drops to the ground. Similarly, if we constantly look behind at the year that we are leaving aside, thinking of our sorrow, miseries, frustrations and all that, we lose everything that we gained. But if we look forward, ahead, we see hope dawning deep within us, we see a new light illumining our consciousness.

Each New Year is like a rung on the ladder of consciousness; we have to climb up the ladder of consciousness and each New Year serves the purpose of a rung in the ladder. When the New Year dawns, we have to make ourselves conscious of the fact that we are going to transcend ourselves. We have to go beyond the present capacity, beyond our present achievement. And when we have that kind of firm determination, God showers His choicest blessings upon our devoted heads and He says, "New Year dawns, a new consciousness dawns deep within you. Run towards the destined goal." And we listen to God, we listen to the dictates of our inner soul, we run towards the Ultimate Reality. The New Year energises us, encourages us, inspires us to run towards that Ultimate Truth.

Question: When God thinks of me what does He really do?

Sri Chinmoy: God actually thinks of you all the time. It is I or somebody else that has to think of you at a particular time. But in God's case, God being All-Awareness, He always thinks of you. But He does not use his mind to think of you. We use the mind to think of a human being. In God's case, the mind is not required. So whether we think of God or not, God is constantly thinking of us. So in your case God has been thinking and will think of you, because deep within God it is you who are always there and at the same time, in you is God's Own Reality. So God does not need to think of you. He is All-Awareness and we are deep in His Heart all the time.

Question: Master Chinmoy, will you explain briefly to us what is Yoga?

Sri Chinmoy: Yoga means union. Union with whom? It is the union with God. By practising Yoga, that is, spiritual discipline, we unite ourselves with God.

Editor's note

Note: The T.V. Program was conducted on a bilingual basis. Sudha translated into Spanish all the questions while the person who asked the question translated into Spanish Sri Chinmoy's answer to him or her.

1968

Question: I believe that Adam and Eve were Vitudha and Atman and then they underwent that transformation. Is this true?

Sri Chinmoy: Both Adam and Eve were individual souls. It is not that one was the divine soul and the other, the human soul. No, both of them were human souls. In the field of manifestation, Paramatman or the Supreme took both Adam and Eve for His experience and for His manifestation. Now through silence, He embodies Peace and that embodiment takes place in man. Then through Power, God reveals His manifestation and that manifestation takes place in woman, that is to say, in Prakriti. So in order to embody Peace Infinite, God needed Adam. In order to manifest Power Infinite, God needed Eve. One for the embodiment of Peace, the other for the manifestation of Power. But both of them, Adam and Eve, were individual souls created in order to manifest and embody the Truth. God needed both of them. Not Adam, the cosmic soul and Eve, the individual soul. No. Both of them were individual souls, but God expressed Himself through them in two different ways in order to achieve the fullest Truth here on earth. Neither one was superior to the other: both of them were equal.

1968

Question: When we reach the Pralaya, how can the souls who have not attained the highest and are not pure blend into the Divine Purity if they themselves are not pure?

Sri Chinmoy: Pralaya is the dissolution or the final destruction of the universe. Now where is the destruction? You feel, Gauri, that when the Pralaya takes place, there will be souls who will remain unrealised, who will not realise God, that everything will be destroyed. But where will the Pralaya be? It will take place in the earth's atmosphere, not in God's Consciousness. There is no destruction in the infinite Consciousness of the Supreme. In destruction we only see that a few trees are blown out or a hurricane has taken place, an earthquake has occurred and thousands of people have died. But this destruction is not the destruction of Consciousness. Although we say that the world is destroyed, it is not destroyed in God's Consciousness. It is only destroyed, part of the world, in the physical, geographical sense, but not in the sense of God's infinite and immortal Existence.

When a country is destroyed, you think that all human beings are likewise destroyed. No. Only the earth, the external manifestation is annihilated. But the beings go back to their Eternal Abode. That Eternal Abode is the Supreme's Consciousness. There they have their own shelter. Then they can, at God's own hour, be given the chance to come back to earth to fulfil God's mission or their own self-realisation.

When they come back, do they come all pure?

Sri Chinmoy: No, they do not come at all pure because purification has to take place here. However, they will not be destroyed because the soul is immortal. Purification and realisation — everything — has to take place here. Here is the field of experience; here they have to be purified; here they have to realise themselves. When we are speaking of the dissolution of the manifested cosmos, Pralaya, we have to be aware that destruction does not take place in consciousness. It takes place only here in the manifested material world. A few million miles may be destroyed, but consciousness can never be destroyed. Human consciousness can never be destroyed unless it is the Supreme's Will.

Question: Many good people, spiritual people, are depressed by the things that are going on. How do you get these people to have hope without saying "Pollyana" to them?

Sri Chinmoy: You are speaking about "spiritual people," but I wish to tell you that a spiritual person will never be depressed, because he knows what is going to happen in the future. You say that they are depressed and you want to carry the message of hope to them. I wish to tell you that if a person really wants to be happy or wants even to be hopeful, then he must not expect anything from the world. If he expects something, even from another person, he will be miserable. He has to expect only from God. Even from Him, today you will expect something and tomorrow you will try to get it from Him; if you don't get it, you will feel frustrated. The person may think he is extremely sincere. It may be true; he may be sincere, but the time has not come for his expectations to be fulfilled by God. It is only when one is totally in tune with God that one can legitimately harbour any expectation. You can expect everything from God only when you are totally surrendered to Him. As for expecting anything from human beings, if you do, you will be frustrated and miserable. There will be no end to your disgust and frustration.

Now again, your expectation from the Supreme also has to be surrendered to patience. We expect something from Him and then we put a limit on our expectation in that we fix a time: tomorrow or the day after, God has to fulfil my desire. Here I am making a mistake. I do have a right to expect everything from God, but as to when my expectation will be fulfilled, it is not my business. My need will definitely be met by God, but the choice hour has to be fixed by God Himself. The hour and the moment must be surrendered to Him.

Now you asked about hope. Hope is one way of getting true wisdom in our life. There is another method. That method is to enter the consciousness that constantly wants to free us or transform our day-to-day life. We have a very limited physical consciousness, that is, the consciousness that is aware of the ordinary things and events in our outer material life. The moment, however, that we come out of the physical consciousness, we see that there is another consciousness which is the universal consciousness. If we can enter into that universal consciousness, we will see the entire world, the universe and the reason for the happenings of the world. We will see the creation of the world with its meaningful purpose. And if we enter into the region of the cosmic soul, the universal soul, we shall see the clear future in today's reality. When we see that future, we also see that everything is perfectly alright. So, what these distressed people need is the Light of Patience, because ultimately, everything will be alright.

Talk at the retailers' centre

Sri Chinmoy: Dear President and dear Vice-President: I am extremely glad to be present at your Centre. I offer to all of you present here my deep sense of gratitude. We were under the impression that there would be a large gathering here, but owing to circumstances, the actual situation is different. But let us try to observe the situation from the spiritual point of view. It reminds me of an incident that took place in India. A spiritual speaker came to our place to give a talk on spirituality. Unfortunately there were only two persons present to attend the meeting. So the spiritual teacher said, "Well, had there been no listeners at all, I would still, with my deepest joy, have said what I intend to say to the walls. The walls would have responded to my heart's soulful words. The walls would have been my listeners."

Let us not feel disappointed and let us carry on with today's significant talk, on the topic, "I know what to do." When I say that I know what to do, most of you will misunderstand me and this misunderstanding of yours will be quite natural. But at the very outset, I wish to defend myself. I wish to state my faith most humbly. I have just said that I know what to do. Now I wish to tell you the inmost secret of my statement. I know what to do precisely because God does it for me. You may, in no time, ask me why God works for me and not for you. No, God is not at all partial. I know that I do nothing, I know that I can do nothing. God is the Doer, God is the Action, God is the Fruit thereof. Unfortunately, there is a slight difference between you and me, between your approach to God and my approach to God. I am sure that all of you are well aware of the statement made by the Son of God. He said, "I and my Father are one." I try to live this paramount truth. In the same vein, our Vedic seers of the hoary past said, "I am the Brahman. The Brahman is me. I am the One without a second." I have also learned from Sri Krishna, one of the greatest spiritual Masters of India, nay of the entire world, in the Bhagavad Gita, the Song Transcendental, that a man is made by his faith. Whatever his faith is, so is he.

Now you are apt to cherish a surprising ideal. With your kind permission, I wish to cite your part-time ideals. You get pleasure, joy, in telling the world there is no God. You try to parade your views. You say, "Had there been a God, how could this world of ours be so full of suffering, pain and untold misery? " Even now if you feel that there is someone called God, that there is a God, you say that this God is for others and not for you. God is for others. Now your sincere belief makes bold to say that God does not care for you. God thinks of the rest of the world, but He has no time to think of you or care for you. To be sure, this is the acme of stupidity. Something more. You feel that God is terribly angry with you because twenty years ago, you told a lie or you deceived someone in your business or in your profession. And that is why God is terribly angry with you. Now He wants to punish you ruthlessly all the time. Poor God, as if He had nothing else to do! Believe it or not, God the Almighty, God the All-Compassionate, God the Transcendental Reality has many things to do with you, your life. Not one thing, but countless things He wants to do with your life and for your life.

God sings the song of Immortality within you, He sees in you the embodiment of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss. You are God's unparalleled pride, you are God's only dream, you are God's only Reality. For you, God exists throughout Eternity. He shapes you, He moulds you, He guides you, He transforms you into His very image, into the everlasting Life of the Beyond.

Friends, sisters, brothers, you are now in the same Boat as I am. Together, united, let us sing, "I know what to do because God does it for me. In addition to that, I know what to say, what to pray for, what to aspire for." With the blessing and benedictions of the Upanishadic seers, I wish to chant and sing the soul's message, a message of the Indian seers that has been ringing in the firmament of India for many centuries:

Lead me from the unreal to the Real.
Lead me from darkness unto Light.
Lead me from death to Immortality.

In Hato Rey, Puerto Rico,

July 15, 1968

Questions and answers following Sri Chinmoy's talk at the retailer's centre

Question: Is there a coordinated effort in all countries to study Yoga, philosophy and transcendental truth, searching for a spiritual approach to God?

Sri Chinmoy: To some extent, there is. Most countries are aspiring and praying to God according to their own capacity. What I spoke on today was based on Indian philosophy, spirituality and yoga. Here, at the same time, I must say that when I use the term "Indian", it is not that I come here to preach Indian thought and Indian ideas. Far from it. God-realisation, spirituality and yoga are for each individual and for all countries. But there are specific methods we apply to realise God. As far as aspiration is concerned, the entire earth is aspiring. At one particular place we can notice that the aspiration is intense, whereas in some other places, the aspiration may not be so intense. Mother Earth is aspiring, whether we believe it or not. Whether we are conscious of it or not, Mother Earth is constantly aspiring to embody the highest Truth, to manifest the highest Truth here on earth. So aspiration is all-encompassing and all-pervading, and, at the same time, its mounting radiance is an ever-burning flame.

Question: Is Yoga philosophy something similar to Unity, where one mission or one congregation or a series of ministers or self-abnegated servants of Christ are spreading the seed to teach people how to come nearer to, and enter into, pure Christianity?

Sri Chinmoy: If you ask whether Yoga is similar to Unity, the group that is so famous and well established, it is not actually so. Yoga, according to the strict concept, is something special. We have various kinds of Yoga, mainly the Yoga of Action, the Yoga of Love and Devotion and the Yoga of Knowledge and Wisdom. All these paths lead to the same goal. Yoga ultimately leads us to God-realisation and to Self-realisation. In India, the practitioner, the aspirant who wants to realise God takes the guidance of a spiritual Master. A teacher is required in order to help the aspirant in his self-discipline in his inner life and spiritual life.

However, according to my own understanding, Unity is something quite different. I have been to a few Unity groups. Last year I went to Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. There are large gatherings of at least five hundred people at the Unity of Jamaica. I spoke there. Unfortunately, the minister had not actually achieved the consciousness of a spiritual teacher, not to speak of a realised person. He teaches, he give sermons and the members of Unity try to utilise the truth of the sermon according to their capacity and receptivity. Farther than that, that particular minister could not go. He did not have the capacity to enter into the individual aspirant or seeker in order to help him in his self-discovery. Whereas when one practises Yoga, in India or somewhere else, one is supposed to have a teacher who knows the spiritual life thoroughly. We need a teacher in every walk of life. In order to learn singing, we need a teacher. In order to play the piano, we need a teacher. Similarly, in order to learn the inner discipline and make progress in our inner life, we likewise require a qualified teacher. And Yoga means "union with God". This union can be effected through the constant guidance and help of a spiritual teacher.

In Unity, however, whether they care for union with God or not, they lack that kind of spiritual Master who has a small (or large) group of his own, where he can pay attention to each individual and see where each one actually stands in his progress toward God-realisation.

So here is the vital difference between Unity and Yoga. If you take Unity as a spiritual discipline, inner discipline, I must say that you are right, it is true, for we are all moving toward the same goal; but Yoga is something absolutely deeper. It deals with all kinds of spiritual problems, inner and outer, and Yoga tells us that man is nothing short of the veiled God.

I wanted to avoid this question because I enter into a controversy when I say that Unity and Yoga are not one. Unity, as far as the teachings and the movement is concerned, is very high and true. But when we use the term "unity" in deeper sense of the term, Yoga is that union or unity with God.

Programme "Temas del momento"

TV Programme Temas del momento, "Themes of the moment", director: Mr Evelio Otero, 16 July 1968.

Introduction by Sri Chinmoy

God is seated in the hearts of all human beings, so when one practises Yoga, one is entering into God's presence. Yoga is not a religion; it is something infinitely deeper than religion. The so-called religions are satisfied with moral canons, ethics, creeds, and so forth. But Yoga helps a human being to transcend these finite, human standards. That does not mean that one has to act like an animal or violate civilised morality. It means that one has to be constantly in touch or in contact with one's Inner Being and listen to the dictates of his Inner Being. One has to go beyond the snares, the boundaries of morality. So we can say that religion is a human endeavour, while Yoga is a soul endeavour. The difference between Yoga and religion is the difference between the body and the soul. At the same time, there is no ultimate difference, because the body needs the soul and the soul needs the body. So religion needs Yoga and Yoga needs religion.

Interviewer: Sri Ghose, what is the advantage to the human body in being influenced by learning Yoga philosophy?

_Sri Chinmoy:_ There is abundant advantage in accepting Yoga in our day-to-day life. First of all, everybody wants to simplify one's outer life. One wants to free oneself from fear, doubt, bondage, limitation, imperfection and ignorance. Now, if one practises Yoga, one enters into the deeper reality of human existence. And when one has free access to the Inner Being, one is in a position to have a better life and have a more satisfactory human existence. Right now we see frustration all around us. Each human being has become consciously or unconsciously a victim of frustration, worry and anxieties. But Yoga assures us that we can easily free ourselves from this frustration if we follow the path of inner self-discipline.

Interviewer: Is it necessary for a person to abandon his religion, let us say Catholicism, in order to adopt the Yoga teachings?

_Sri Chinmoy:_ One does not have to abandon one's own religion or one's own faith. If one abandons one's own religion, then he will be committing a Himalayan error. One must live in one's own religion, in one's own faith. Religion is like a house. In your own home, you have complete security, you have a place to live and rest, you have a place to do your work, to be with your own family, you have a place of your own where you can be comfortable and at ease. Similarly religion has to be accepted. One should live in one's own religion, though, at the same time, aspire to realise God. Nobody is required to relinquish or abandon his religion in order to practise Yoga. If one does so, he is making a mistake. But at the end of his journey's Goal, when a person is liberated from suffering and feels that he is one with God's consciousness, then he knows that he can transcend all this. But at the beginning, one need not leave one's religion aside to attain liberation or to practise Yoga. No.

Question: What made you come to Puerto Rico?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, I would like to tell you that I came to the West in 1964. I came here on the invitation of some of my friends, admirers and disciples from the West. They invited me to come in 1964.

Question: And this is your seventh visit to Puerto Rico?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, this is my seventh visit.

Question: What other Centres do you have?

Sri Chinmoy: We have four centres: one in Puerto Rico, one in New York, the third is in Jamaica, West Indies and the fourth is in Miami, Florida. There we do our spiritual and yogic activities. Puerto Rico happens to be the first Centre and the name of our Centre is Aum Centre.

Question: Does that have a meaning?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, AUM is a Sanskrit word and it means God in three aspects: God as the Creator, God as the Preserver, and God as the Destroyer or Transformer.

Question: Is the membership of the Centre here almost one hundred percent Puerto Rican?

Sri Chinmoy: A little less than one hundred percent. We have one German disciple and three Americans who have lived in Puerto Rico for many years. The others are all native Puerto Ricans. All are most dedicated and most sincere in their spiritual approach.

Question: Do they follow your teachings with enthusiasm?

Sri Chinmoy: Mostly; and they have an earnest seeking for the Truth. They pursue their spiritual discipline most devotedly and satisfactorily during my absence.

Question: How many days do you spend in Puerto Rico when you come and engage in these teachings?

Sri Chinmoy: Each time I come here, I try to spend about a month or so, but this time, I shall be here for about six weeks.

Question: Then from here, where will you go?

Sri Chinmoy: I will go back to New York and there is every possibility of my going to Germany, Italy and a few other places in Europe.

Question: You don't have established headquarters in New York or in Puerto Rico aside from all these centres?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, we do. I have my permanent headquarters in New York, but these are all permanent Centres with a resident president in each place. They function here all the time without me, although I offer them spiritual guidance inwardly and by mail and telephone. I spend eight or nine months a year in New York and the rest of the time I spend in Puerto Rico, Miami, Jamaica, West Indies and other places. Then I go out on occasion when people invite me to speak on Yoga, philosophy, etc. I give a great many public talks in churches, synagogues, schools, Hatha Yoga groups, etc.

Question: I want to inform the television audience of the location and telephone number of your Centre.

Sri Chinmoy: Our Centre in San Juan is located in the San Marcos building in Santurce, at 659 Miramar Avenue. The telephone number is 7217286. Every week we hold special meditations and classes. On Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. we have a special meditation and a discourse. On Wednesday evening, we start meditation at 8:00 p.m. and end at 9:30 p.m.

Thank you, Master Chinmoy Kumar Ghose, Master of Yoga philosophy for the privilege of having you here on "Temas del Momento". Goodnight.

Question: Is the earth planet like a final stage for perfection? Do we have to go through the other planets first and then come here?

Sri Chinmoy: The earth is the only place to realise God. To other places, humans go as visitors, as you would visit your friends' or relatives' houses. According to what your own inner affinities are, you might like the place and stay, or else complete this incarnation and go back there. But there you do not make any progress. You do not meditate there or do anything to further your spiritual evolution.

This is the world where you have aspiration and where you practise meditation. No soul, no human being is able to realise God on other planes; only here on earth. That is why an Indian poet said, "Man above all." No one is superior to man because man is tomorrow's God and God is today's man, concealed but not revealed. Man is tomorrow's God revealed, whereas God is today's man concealed.

When the soul aspires in other worlds, it gets experience. Aspiration is itself an experience. But manifesting the divine fruits of aspiration can only take place here on earth. Here alone is the field for manifestation and here alone realisation can be had. Realisation is the culmination of the soul's evolution and it can only be had here on earth. The planet earth represents and embodies spiritual evolution. The soul incarnates in a human body in order to give liberation or realisation to human beings and at the same time the soul manifests the Infinite and the Highest.

"La Voz Del Figaro" Colegio De Arberos Villa Palmeras

Introduction

Introduction by the President of the Barbers' College.

Sri Chinmoy: Thank you very much, Mr. President of the Barbers' College.

Question: What do you mean by scepticism? Do you mean by the term the same thing that religions mean when they say that somebody is a sceptic?

Sri Chinmoy: Scepticism means absence of belief. It means the denial of the existence, of the reality, of Truth. A sceptic can exist in any walk of life. We can see people doubting religion, doubting ethics, doubting the capacity of others. So one can be a sceptic in any walk of life. By doubting somebody else, do we get any true benefit? Do we derive any benefit? No. When we doubt someone, we actually weaken ourselves. Truth always exists and Truth ultimately prevails. One who doubts the Truth will always starve. The one who believes in the Truth will be fed by the Truth. Truth is the all-nourishing food. The more we doubt the existence of Truth, the weaker we become. By doubting Truth, we never reach the Goal, whereas by believing in Truth, by staying in Truth, by feeling Truth, we finally become the Truth itself.

Question: Can a man be something else than what he thinks himself to be?

Sri Chinmoy: There is a saying that, "A man thinks, therefore he exists." Also there are people who hold the opinion that man exists, therefore he thinks. Both theories, both views are correct. I exist, therefore I think. If I am dead, if I am not alive, how am I going to think? At the same time, I think, therefore I exist.

Now to come back again to the question. Can a man be something else than what he thinks himself to be? A man may think anything he likes, but in the field of expression he may not be embodying what he thinks himself to be. A man may think wonderful thoughts, have wonderful ideas, but in his outer life, he may be extremely cruel and act like a beast. So he thinks that he is a wonderful person, but in his action he is worse than any ordinary human being. His thinking and action are totally different.

Let us go a bit deeper. There are people, renowned people on earth who thought that they were useless, nothing. But friends inspired them, teachers or great personages told them that they had tremendous possibilities or inner capacity to do something great, unique. Then they followed some technique or teaching or they entered enthusiastically into their respective creative fields and they became well known all over the world.

Now, let us go a bit deeper. There are people who feel, who think, that they can never realise God. In their thinking, they feel that God is somewhere else, in Heaven, that they are not God's children, they are useless and will never realise God; they are weak, they are ignorant, etc. But this kind of thinking is again absolutely wrong, for God is seated inside each human heart. Every one, sooner or later will realise God, no matter how many times one thinks that God-realisation can never take place in his life. So in his thinking, he may be afraid of God-realisation, the Infinite Truth, Eternal Life, but a day will dawn when to his widest surprise, he will not only see the Ultimate Truth, but he will become the Ultimate Truth. So I wish to say that if one negates the Truth in his thinking, then he is mistaken. One will ultimately have to recognise the Truth. This is the only way of entering into the Truth. That is to say, think of Truth and Truth alone. The more we think of Truth in its purest term, the sooner we grow into the Truth. At that time we can say, "As we think so we are."

But if we think wrong thoughts, we must not say that we can never have true thoughts, we can never become the possessors of real Truth. Thank you.

Question: What attitude should we take toward religions other than our own?

(This is Agni's summary of Sri Chinmoy's answer as no tape recorder was available on that day.)

Just as God has given us a free choice to follow any path, so we must give freedom to others to follow their own way. There are dozens of roads that lead to God. Each one has a right to choose the road that suits his temperament, his degree of evolution and his present needs. Tolerance and acceptance are fine, but we must go even further and feel that others' religions are as important and necessary as our own.

When you are in a family, true, it is very difficult to manage when everyone is going along a different path. And there is a great temptation to say, "You are a fool. You are wasting your time going along that particular path." But you must allow the other person the same freedom of choice that you yourself want. At the same time, you have the right to inspire others with your enthusiasm and your devotion. However, if they argue with you and constantly criticise you, it is better to act on them silently. At night, when everyone is sleeping and you are in your most peaceful consciousness, put all your sweetest and purest aspiration into the sleeping consciousness of the one whom you want to influence. Feel that your path will help him and that you are inwardly meditating on him. By acting silently, you help him most.

One should follow one's own path steadfastly and not worry about shaking hands with another religion until you and the other person have come to the end of your Goal. If you go to this Temple today, that Synagogue tomorrow and this Church the day after, you will never make any progress You must take one path and follow it to the very end. Then you can shake hands with the followers of the other paths. If you shake hands in the middle of the path, you will only break each other's arms.

Question: How should a disciple of yours meditate?

(Agni's summary)

Sri Chinmoy: There are two ways for Guru's disciples to meditate. They can either try to open themselves to Guru and allow him to enter into them, or they can try to enter into Guru. Both are effective, but Guru feels that the latter method is somewhat better. When the disciple tries to allow Guru to enter into him, fear may develop and prevent the disciple from receiving Guru. He may think that, "I told a lie this morning or did some undivine thing", and so he may feel that Guru will be like an inspector coming into a dirty or impure room. But when the disciple enters into Guru, He is all compassion. Guru keeps his room clean and pure, so the disciple can always enter and be cleansed, purified and elevated.

On the other hand, when the disciple sees Guru standing in front of him, he may be frightened or awed by His vastness. However, he needn't worry about being impure, since when he stands in front of an ocean, even if he is covered with sand and dirt, he can just dive in and he will be cleansed. So the disciple should feel that Guru is a Sea of compassion and he has but to dive in and become part of the Sea. The drop will not lose its individual self-awareness inside the vast Sea, but the drop will expand its individuality until the wideness of the Sea and the drop are one and the same. The drop becomes a conscious portion of the whole ocean without actually losing consciousness of itself. Rather, the drop receives the consciousness of the whole ocean: Peace, Power, Wideness, Depth and Unfathomable Divinity.

Interview with "Bohemia" Spanish magazine

Note

(Translated from the Spanish Text by Mr. Jose Luis Casanova)

Sri Chinmoy was interviewed by Mr. Roberto Garcia, at the Aum Centre, Santurce on July 29, 1968

Question: What was the main purpose of your visit to Puerto Rico?

Sri Chinmoy: I have come to Puerto Rico to inspire the seekers of Truth. There are persons who have an inner aspiration to realise God and I have come to help the Divine within them. This is our Centre and here I teach the correct way to practice meditation. I give talks and they ask me questions about the inner life and about some problems of day-to-day living. I try to bring down Light so that the person can face his particular problems and solve them.

Question: Do your teachings constitute a religion?

Sri Chinmoy: No, I do not preach any religion. I teach Yoga and philosophy. Each religion is confined to a group: Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and others. Yet any person belonging to one of these religions can accept our path without detriment to his own religious background.

Question: Why do you say that?

Sri Chinmoy: I think that any person who wants to realise God will not have any difficulty in accepting our path. Our path is the path of concentration, meditation and contemplation. A person can follow this path and remain in his own religion.

Question: These, concentration, meditation and contemplation, are they a means towards obtaining something?

Sri Chinmoy: It is my way of entering into Infinite Peace, Infinite Bliss, Infinite Harmony and Infinite Light and Power.

Question: Can a human being know the Infinite?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. If you can enter into my consciousness you can realise the Infinite.

Question: But you are not Infinite.

Sri Chinmoy: You are seeing me now as a man, but if you can enter into my consciousness, you will see there the infinite Consciousness. If you meditate with me, I can penetrate into you and see the infinite Consciousness that is within you. But you do not have that power. You are not only a human being with hands and feet. You come from God and have within you all the possibilities to realise God. But you have not cultivated them. If a person does not learn to read he remains ignorant. If he does not learn a certain type of work he will remain ignorant of what that work signifies. By the same token, if he does not meditate, how can he enter into that inner world? This outer world that we perceive with our physical senses is not the only world. There exist seven different worlds. An ordinary person knows nothing about those worlds. He only perceives this physical world with its buildings, roads and all that and he thinks that this is the only world.

But if you enter into meditation you will see another world that is much bigger. You will see lights and see other beings and many other things. A spiritual person practices concentration and meditation because to him this world is not enough. If one is satisfied with this present world, he is not invited to practise meditation; but if he is not satisfied, we invite him to come and meditate with us, so that he can see that other worlds exist.

Question: Do concentration and meditation have something to do with the power of the mind?

Sri Chinmoy: They have nothing to do with the mind. This is something that anybody can practise. The thing is to go beyond the mind. What you call the mind is an ordinary human mind. With this mind we cannot meditate or contemplate. We have to go beyond that mind. The mind thinks something now and the next moment thinks something totally different. It is always full of ideas and thoughts like a monkey standing in front of you pinching and biting you continuously. You have to enter into meditation and make the mind stay quiet and calm, like a lake without waves, perfectly tranquil. One has to go beyond the mind to be able to perceive Peace, Light and Bliss.

Question: By means of this meditation you try to obtain Peace, only Peace?

Sri Chinmoy: Not only peace. In peace there is Light, there is Joy, there is Power.

Question: One can obtain peace for a moment but then when he goes out from here, he will go back to the same hustle of human life.

Sri Chinmoy: This happens to ordinary people. You have to know that there is a big difference between a really spiritual person and one who only goes to church to pray for half an hour, obtains a little peace and then goes to the coffee shop and gives his peace to the coffee shop. But if he meditates for long hours and establishes this practice firmly, then he will get durable results. If you start to run, you will not do it very well for the first few days. The same thing with dancing or any other activity. Only continuous practice will give you satisfactory results. The same thing happens in the spiritual life. When you are advanced you can retain the benefits for a long period of time, but not at the beginning. What you say is absolutely right, you obtain peace for a moment and when you go again to the world, restlessness comes back to you. But if you can enter into the deepest world and stay there for some time during your meditation, a day will come when, in the midst of the outside world, in front of people, speaking with people, mixing with people, you will possess your own deepest Peace. This Peace remains imperturbable, unmoveable.

Question: What is the meaning of the word AUM?

Sri Chinmoy: It means God in His Three aspects: God as the Creator, God as the Preserver and God as the Transformer. He who transforms our ignorance into light. He who transforms our limitations into plenitude. It is a Sanskrit word that is used in all our spiritual disciplines and in our spiritual philosophy.

Question: If you are preaching something about God, that is religion, not philosophy. Philosophy knows no God.

This is an erroneous concept of Western philosophy. All Indian philosophy, the Vedic Scriptures begin with God, Brahman, the Infinite, the Supreme without a second. Indian philosophy starts with the Vedas, The Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and others. Modern Indian philosophy, too, begins and ends with God.

Question: Do you think that Westerners can understand Eastern philosophy?

Sri Chinmoy: Some understand it perfectly. Those who have no interest in understanding it must suffer for their lack of understanding. The Western mind finds it difficult to understand Eastern philosophy because in the East, philosophy is not separated from the true spiritual life and yoga. In the West, this is not the case. Here they say, "This is religion, that is philosophy, this is life. All are something different." In India, spirituality has a perfect right to call itself philosophy and philosophy to call itself spirituality. Both of them are interlaced.

Question: What is the rational and logic base for your philosophy?

Sri Chinmoy: Every man has the right to an inner life, a life of plenitude and joy and every man can feel and realise God. That is the base of my philosophy. Now man is immersed in suffering, in slavery, imperfection, ignorance; but if he has true aspiration he can very easily be freed from fear, anxiety, doubt, worry and all that. For that, one has to meditate. It is not precisely that he has to come to me; he can go to another spiritual teacher. He can meditate in some other place, but he has to meditate, he has to contemplate.

Question: How many times have you come to Puerto Rico?

Sri Chinmoy: I have come seven times.

Did you come to preach your philosophy?

Sri Chinmoy: No, I came because I was invited by my most dedicated disciples. I come here because I have disciples. This is our Centre where I give lectures. My disciples ask spiritual questions and I teach them how to meditate and tread the path of spirituality.

Question: About the truth, is there more than one Truth?

Sri Chinmoy: There is only one Truth. In Sanskrit there is a saying that Truth is only one but it is expressed in various ways. I own a truth, you have a truth, another one has still another truth. In the field of expression, Truth expresses itself in different ways. But truth is only one and my truth can never be different from your truth nor can your truth be different from mine.

Question: Does any religion possess the Truth in itself?

Sri Chinmoy: All religions claim one essential Truth and that Truth is their union with God. But in the field of manifestation one says: "If you do this, you will realise God." But in the last analysis we are teaching one and the same thing. All roads lead to Rome but you follow one road and I will follow another road. Yet when we reach the goal, this will be Rome. There exists only one goal that is Truth, but this goal is expressed and at the same time is sought in different forms.

Question: How many disciples do you have in Puerto Rico?

Sri Chinmoy: Here I have forty-eight or fifty disciples.

Question: During how many years have you obtained these disciples?

Sri Chinmoy: In three years, more or less. But the important fact is that I don't care to have a great number of disciples. I care for the sincerity and aspiration of the student. There are some teachers who want a great number of disciples. I, on the contrary, am very strict with my disciples. I do not accept hippies, alcoholics, or drug addicts, or those with problems due to a perverted nature. There are spiritual teachers who accept all comers. In my case I say differently. A person must at least be ready to follow this path. This does not mean that those persons cannot go to other teachers to learn about Truth. There are different methods

Question: What do you feel about hippies?

Sri Chinmoy: I do not say a single word about them, only I said that they cannot follow my particular method of teaching.

Question: Maybe they are seeking for peace?

Sri Chinmoy: Maybe. I am not qualified to judge them. I do not hate them, I love them. But what I say is that I do not have the capacity to teach them. Other teachers can guide them but I cannot advance them by my method. They are looking for happiness, but it is a different kind of happiness from the one I can give them.

Question: Maybe you could help them?

Sri Chinmoy: If I were a doctor and you asked me a question about medicine I could answer you easily but not one about politics. I cannot help the hippies because the kind of happiness that they want I don't have. Other teachers say that they do have that kind of happiness and the hippies are satisfied with those teachers.

Question: And what do you think is the reason that so many hippies and so many people are opposing society?

Sri Chinmoy: When they fight society, the simple reason is that they are not satisfied with society's norms. Why do people fight? Dissatisfaction, disharmony. They want society to give them something different from what it can offer them now.

Question: Do you think it is society's fault?

Sri Chinmoy: I do not know because I do not represent society. I cannot say a single word in favour of society or against society because I do not represent society. I only represent my inner truth. If society is guilty or not, only society knows. I can only speak for what I represent. If you ask me something about our Centre here or about my disciples then I can tell you.

Question: Are you trying to give some message to society?

Sri Chinmoy: No. I am not in a position to tell society that it is making a mistake because society is not paying special attention to me; it is not following my path. If it followed my teachings I would be in a position to tell society "This is the Truth." For those who do not believe me, why should I interfere in their way of approaching Truth? Society has a particular method of approaching Truth. Hippies have the belief that they know a better truth. I have my own way of approaching Truth. I think that in this world instead of trying to correct somebody, the best thing that we can do is to try to correct ourselves.

Question: Did you found this philosophy? Did you discover it?

Sri Chinmoy: No, I did not discover this philosophy. It was discovered by our Vedic seers four thousand years ago. Our most important books are the Vedas. Nobody can claim that he founded this philosophy. And philosophy in its Sanskrit concept means the direct vision of God, the vision of Truth, of unity in all. Each individual has his own personality, his own illumination. With this illumination the person tries to supply the proper method to be followed by his disciples. So I have my own way of working with my disciples, spiritually, inwardly and with my writings about spirituality.

Question: When did you come to the United States?

Sri Chinmoy: In the year 1964.

Are you the only priest preaching these teachings in the U.S.?

Sri Chinmoy: There are many, but I do not consider myself to be a priest. I am a spiritual person, a spiritual teacher. I teach the way by which a person can realise God and become conscious of the Truth.

Question: How did you come to Puerto Rico the first time?

Sri Chinmoy: The president of this Centre invited me to come to Puerto Rico. I gave a few lectures and many persons became interested in my teachings and formed a study group. I have study Centres in Puerto Rico, in New York, in Miami and in Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies.

Question: What is the meaning of that painting?

Sri Chinmoy: It represents the Divine Mother. We conceive her with four aspects. This one represents power. According to Indian philosophy she offers Infinite Power to her devotees. At the same time she has great compassion for all our sufferings. Her name is Kali.

Question: Do you have Christians among your followers?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, most of them are Christians in the West. I also have some Jews. There are Catholics, Protestants, Jews and a few others from other religions. All religions can come to my teachings because this is something interior. In the way we practice meditation, it does not interfere with religion. If it is a true religion it cannot say anything against meditation because any true religion advocates God-realisation and Truth. You can realise God in your own room or in the street but you have to realise Him.

Question: Do you charge a fee to sustain your Centres?

Sri Chinmoy: This depends on the regular members. Those who come to hear my lectures are not obliged to give anything. My disciples and followers sustain the Centres contributing according to their capacity or wish. Visitors can give a love-offering but they are not obliged to do it. My disciples feel that their Centre is their own house and they sustain it because of the feeling of oneness they have with me. It is not that somebody compels them but that they inwardly feel the desire to help pay the costs of rent, electricity, printing, postage, flowers, incense and so forth.

Question: How many followers do you have in the United States?

Sri Chinmoy: Of disciples who strictly follow the discipline that I impose on them I have about fifty. There are admirers and persons interested in the teachings who come to my lectures and form a much bigger group. These have no obligation but they cannot have me as their teacher. If, for example, something disagreeable in their family comes to happen, I am not obliged to give them help.

Question: I think this is enough for today.

Sri Chinmoy: I feel very happy that you have asked all these questions and it is with real joy that I have answered them. At the same time I wish to say that this house is open for all, but only those who have a genuine interest in these teachings can derive benefit from them. If you want to buy a pair of shoes you go to a shoe store. If you want to buy a suit you go to a clothing store. In the same way we here offer something that is of interest only to those who want to acquire Truth. Thank you.

Talk to members of the finance department of the Government of Puerto Rico: August 1, 1968

Talk to members of the finance department of the Government of Puerto Rico

Sri Chinmoy: Friends, sisters and brothers, I am extremely happy to be here. This morning I wish to say just a few words. I am looking at the picture of Christ, the Son of God, the true Son of God. The Son of God has taught us that all human beings come from the same source, the Eternal Father. Now what are we? We are also the children of God. We are His chosen children.

Each human being has three teachers: the mind, the heart and the soul. The mind tells us that God is a sempiternal mystery; the mind cannot fathom God's mystery. The mind tells us that God is an eternal mystery. The heart tells us that God is an eternal experience. Now the soul. The soul which is a portion of God tells us that God is an eternal achievement. At each moment we are achieving something from God, either consciously or unconsciously.

What does the mind need? The mind needs clarity. The heart needs sincerity. The soul needs spontaneity. Clarity is the mind's joy. God walks inside the head of our clarity. God sees through the eye of our heart's sincerity. God fulfils Himself in the nectar flow of our souls. His Divinity in us. When we think of God, we see Him standing behind us. When we pray to God, we see Him standing right in front of us. When we meditate on God, we see God deeply seated within us. When we devote ourselves to God, to God alone, we see God within, God without and God in His manifestation all around. Finally, when we surrender ourselves to God, to God alone, we become God's veritable child.

Man dies. When he dies for God, he lives eternally in the heart of God. And when man lives for God, in order to dedicate himself entirely to serve humanity, to help humanity, to illumine humanity, then he becomes the very breath of God.

This is the Department of Finance. Here I wish to say one thing. What is our necessity? What is our true necessity? We have only one necessity and that is God's Blessing. How can we have it, this Blessing of God? We can have it just by borrowing from God's bank. We can have this blessing only from God's bank. If we want to pay our debt, what are we going to do? Again we have to borrow from God's Bank. There is no other choice. Once we have borrowed His blessings, now we want to pay Him off. But how can we do it? We can do it only by borrowing once again from the bank. But this time we have to borrow only one thing and that is His Wisdom: the Eternal Infinite Wisdom. We do not commit any mistake. We grow in Light, we grow in Peace, we grow in Joy, in sublime Bliss. So if we can grow in God's wisdom, we embody everything. Let us try to grow in God's adamantine protection and at the same in His Infinite Wisdom.

Question: Is Yoga a religion, an art or a science?

Sri Chinmoy: Yoga is neither art, science nor religion. Art itself, from the strict spiritual point of view, is not yoga. Religion which is man-made and which is fighting against other religions, is also not yoga. Yoga is conscious aspiration for God. Yoga feels that to realise God is necessary. At the same time it is in religion, in science, and in art, but it is not like them. It is like a boat which is inside the water, but is not of the water. The boat is detached; it is not affected by water although it is in the water. Similarly when we paint something, draw something, and do it with our aspiration and our yogic concentration, that is wonderful. If we want to discover something scientific, if we can pay attention or concentrate for the purpose of scientific discovery, then that too is yoga. If instead of fighting each other, all religions meet together and say there is only one God, then that is yoga. So yoga is inside each study and at the same time, yoga transcends everything because yoga says, "The main thing is to realise God." When we realise God, when we become one with God's consciousness, then we see God's presence in everything. Right now, theoretically we are saying that God is here. But can we feel it? No.

But if you practice yoga, you will see in everybody, even in each material thing like this desk, the presence of God. So in that way, yoga exists in everything. Otherwise yoga transcends everything; it transcends art, science, religion and all.

Question: Please tell me about the basic principle which I understand you yogis follow very consistently about the respect for life. You see life in insects and in every animal and you respect such life. Is that a principle in yoga?

Sri Chinmoy: We should have respect for life in everything, in grass, in insects, in animals. This is the supreme knowledge: God is inside everything. But what is God? God is eternal Light, all-pervading Life. So we must have respect for all life. But in the field of manifestation we have to accept the fact that there are certain things we utilise for our own existence. Suppose when we are walking on grass, we know that the grass is being hurt. But can we fly above the ground? In the field of manifestation we have to adjust ourselves. Some animals eat grass; it is their only food. Some persons eat meat; it is their only food. The Eskimo, if they do not eat meat, they die; they cannot exist. And if the animals do not eat grass, they die. Now, what is the secret?

We know there is life; even then we are killing and destroying it at every moment. The secret is that the life that is being killed is not killed. We see the insect, just press it and it dies. But inside that life there is eternal life We believe in reincarnation. This insect is not dead. It is dead in our physical eyes, but the eternal life that the insect possess will immediately spread all over the cosmos. Then after some time, the insect's soul will enter into some other animal and progress gradually until it comes into human life. No life is destroyed because there is an Eternal Life. And this Eternal Life existed before the creation; it is in birth, it is between birth and death, then it goes beyond death. Eternal life started before existence. It is in birth, it is in death, it is between birth and death. This Eternal Life animates the things that we are using in our day-to-day life for our own existence and maintenance, but we have to see that there is no other way. But that does not mean that we have to go and fight and kill someone. That is not so. When it is unavoidable for our own existence, we have to use what we need. I need food; I personally do not eat meat or fish. But there are some persons who eat meat and fish. What are they going to do? They have to eat. An animal has to be caught. An animal itself has to eat grass. But we have to go beyond the ordinary life to the Eternal Life and then there is all peace. Who is destroying whom? Life the Eternal can never be destroyed.

T.V. Programme On Channel 2, Telemundo "Foro De La Comunidad" (Community Forum): August 3, 1968

Moderator: Agni (Mr. Jose Luis Casanova)

Greetings, televiewing friends. By the courtesy of Telemundo and the program "Community Forum" we are going to present a program of the AUM Centre. This Centre is dedicated to the study of Yoga and spirituality. It opens its doors to all persons interested in spirituality and inner development. It is located at 659 Miramar Avenue, Santurce, P.R. The telephone number is 724-7268. Meetings are held at 8 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and at 11 a.m. on Sundays.

Poet, philosopher, thinker and spiritual guide, Sri Chinmoy Kumar Chose is now here with us. He was born in Bengal, India. This is his seventh visit to Puerto Rico. He is the spiritual director of the Aum Centre in Puerto Rico and the Aum Centres in New York City, Miami, Florida, and Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies.

According to the philosophy of Sri Chinmoy, life must be accepted fully, life must be transformed devotedly and unreservedly, life must be lived in an integral and divine way. The Master teaches his followers, students and disciples that spirituality can never be an escape from the world of reality; on the contrary he says that spirituality is the only assurance we have in life, of solving the world's problems. It is spirituality that can and will change the face of the earth. It is spirituality that brings forth the inner life and manifests the Infinite here on earth.

With us also here today are Mr. Ramon Torres Pena, Mrs. Rose Albin, Miss Petrita Hernandez and Miss Lotti Wolff.

Question: What is detachment and what do we actually derive from detachment?

Sri Chinmoy: Detachment is true wisdom. Detachment is our divine Divinity. Nobody can be as happy as a man who has detachment. We are under the impression that a man can be happy only when he is attached to something or to someone, but this is a great mistake. When we are attached to something or someone, we actually become a prey to them. We actually become a victim of that person or that thing. So in this world, if we want to have true joy, true peace and true divine qualities, then we must be totally detached. This detachment does not mean that we shall not work for the world; no, we shall have to work for the world, in the world, but should not allow ourselves to be caught by anything.

Question: Could you tell me what is freedom, where is it and how can earthbound man have it?

Sri Chinmoy: True freedom is infinite joy, boundless joy inside us, around us, everywhere. This boundless joy we get when we see true freedom in us. Where do we get this true freedom? We get it when we live in the soul, when we are able to utilise our soul's will-power, when we are one with God's consciousness consciously. That is to say, when we are aware of our oneness with God, consciously we become the possessors of true freedom.

Now earthbound men can easily have this freedom. A day will dawn when each man on earth will be blessed with this freedom. Now each human being, most of the time, lives in the body, that is to say in the physical being. The body is limited, the physical is limited. It is like a prison cell; but inside the body there is something called the soul; this soul is a portion of the infinite. If a person lives in the soul then he becomes aware of the infinite within him.

When we say it exists in us, we will have to make ourselves feel that our very existence depends on the soul's will, the soul's achievement and fulfilment. If we live in the soul, we are bound to have true freedom, and this freedom is infinite Joy, Peace, Power. To have this infinite Joy, we have to live in the soul and not in the body.

Question: Most of the ordinary human beings take life seriously; should spiritual persons take life seriously?

Sri Chinmoy: Like ordinary human beings, spiritual people too take life seriously. I must say, most seriously. There is only a slight difference. An ordinary human being could be excited, worried, depressed and so forth the moment something goes wrong in the family or in his life. If somebody drops suppose a book from this table to the floor, immediately the man will be excited, disturbed. No matter what happens in his day to day life, he says, "This is life, I should take it seriously." But a spiritual person takes life in a different vein, a different form. To him each second is most significant because he feels that when he misuses a second, he is not able to go closer or nearer to God. Each second, each moment he takes as an opportunity to realise God. He wants to possess the infinite expanse of Consciousness. He feels that life is most significant, and when one is endowed with life, one has the opportunity to realise God here on earth. And in this short span of life if he misuses it, then he has to come back to this earth again, he has to come back into the world to fulfil his mission. So he is always conscious of the value of time, he wants to enter into the Timeless by utilising each moment divinely, spiritually, because he feels that he has to go far, very far, to the farthest end. If he loses time, he will never reach his Goal. The goal will remain a far cry to him. This is the difference between the seriousness that a spiritual man feels in his life and what an ordinary man feels in his day-to-day ordinary life.

Question: Please tell me what is wrong with the world: It seems to act like a madman and it seems to be running towards its own destruction; what is wrong with the world?

Sri Chinmoy: To start with, I wish to tell you that there is nothing wrong with the world but everything is wrong with you and me and the rest of the human beings. Poor world has not committed anything wrong; it is we who are misusing the world.

Now let us focus our attention on the poor world. God has created this world; we are utilising the world. We can use it in our own way. We can either destroy it or we can manifest the Divine, the Infinite Peace here on earth. This world is the field of manifestation where we can manifest our inner divine qualities. At the same time, instead of manifesting the divine qualities deep within us, if we want to destroy the world, which is what we are actually doing, it is up to us. Let us take the world as an instrument. If we play the wrong note, then who is responsible? The player, not the instrument. If we use the world in a divine way, then we shall see that there is no problem with the world. It is we who have the capacity and we can utilise the world in a divine way to fulfil the Divine here on earth.

Note

Thank you, respected listeners who have lent us your attention today. In the name of Sri Chinmoy and the Aum Centre of Puerto Rico we give you our heartfelt thanks. We also thank Telemundo and the Community Forum for their courtesy to us this afternoon.

Agni

T.V. Channel 6, WIPR Interview

Host: Hector Campos Parsi

Note

Good evening, Master Chinmoy. It is marvellous to have you here with us again in Puerto Rico. I have been informing our audience that this is the seventh time, I believe, that you have come to Puerto Rico, and you are with the Aum Centre group here, orienting them in their spiritual progress. I would like to ask you a few questions if I may.

Question: You have been here several times. Is there any particular reason, special reason that you come or do you come to visit Puerto Rico and be with your followers? Is there any special reason?

Sri Chinmoy: There is a special reason why I come to Puerto Rico. This is my seventh visit to Puerto Rico. First of all, I come here because I love this place very much. The aspiration of this place has conquered my heart. Here the spiritual soil of Puerto Rico is extremely fertile and I happen to be a spiritual farmer; so being a spiritual farmer, I come to this most beautiful and most fertile land to cultivate the soil, and here I get the bumper crop. The aspiration of this place, this island, has touched the very depth of my heart.

This is one reason; then there is also another important, most important reason. I have here a well established Centre called the Aum Centre. Here I have quite a few sincere, dedicated and devoted disciples who are absolutely dedicated to their inner call and God-realisation. I come here to inspire them and help them in their inner life and their discovery.

Then, there is another particular reason. I come from India and I see many things in common between India and Puerto Rico. There are many things which unite India and Puerto Rico. The qualities of this land immediately remind me of my India. The qualities of the heart, the qualities of the soul, the peace-loving qualities. Peace-loving countries have much to do in common. So for all these reasons I come to Puerto Rico, and I am pretty sure that I shall be here many, many, many times during my lifetime.

Interview at Radio Station WKYN, San Juan

August 13, 1968

Question: Your name is Sri Chinmoy Ghose?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes.

"Sri" means Mister? In what language?

Sri Chinmoy: In both Sanskrit and in Bengali. Sanskrit is the mother of all Indian languages, as Latin and Greek are for the western languages.

Question: Would you be classified as a Swami?

Sri Chinmoy: I should be classified as a spiritual Teacher.

I thought that was primarily what Swami meant?

Sri Chinmoy: A spiritual Teacher can be of various types and of different calibres. He can be called a Swami or Guru or can be addressed by a number of other titles like Acharya, Sant, Yogiraj, Nath, Rishi, etc. But I prefer to be called a spiritual Teacher.

So there is not really any difference between a Guru and a Swami or other titles?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, there is a difference in grade. A Guru is supposed to be one who has inner identification or conscious oneness with God, whereas the Swami need not be spiritually fully awakened or spiritually realised.

This is, of course, in Yoga?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, in Yoga.

Question: And is there a particular branch of Yoga in your philosophy?

Yes, my philosophy or my approach to Yoga is the acceptance of life. There are many approaches in Indian philosophy and yoga which do not accept life. In my case, my Yoga accepts life as it is and then transforms it.

Question: You have a centre in San Juan. What is its name?

Sri Chinmoy: Aum Centre, spelled A-U-M.

Does this name have a particular meaning?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, AUM is supposed to be, and actually is, the mother of all our spiritual mantras. A mantra is a syllable or a particular word which we chant or use in order to realise God. By repeating this AUM or a few other mantras, we feel that we can realise God.

Question: I read that people who embark on one of the varied spiritual programmes are usually given a particular sound for them. Is this based on a particular thing, or just a feeling at the time, or is there a way of determining what this sound is for the individual?

Sri Chinmoy: Each mantra or sound carries a special significance. It depends on the individual soul, that is to say, the individual aspirant. So when you give a particular sound, a particular mantra, one has to know whether the mantra is actually going to help the person. Any mantra cannot be given to any aspirant. Only the teacher is in a position to see the spiritual faculties, qualities, tendencies and aspiration of the aspirant and the teacher gives a suitable sound, a mantra, to that individual seeker.

Question: But you have to know the individual fairly well?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly, one has to know the individual seeker first and then one has to enter into the soul of the seeker and then give a special sound, the mantra.

Question: At your Aum Centre, you are preaching life? Is this the idea that I get from you?

Sri Chinmoy: In my Aum Centre, I teach them, first of all, how to meditate and how to concentrate, so that they can enter into the deeper layer of their existence. Then I give talks on the inner life, on spirituality and Yoga, so that they can have mental illumination. I also hold special meditation classes almost every evening.

Question: Where is the Aum Centre located?

Sri Chinmoy: It is located at 659 Miramar Avenue, Santurce.

So that is not too far from here?

Sri Chinmoy: Not far.

And you have these meetings every evening?

Every evening and on Sundays in the morning at eleven o'clock.

You are not here yourself constantly, are you?

Sri Chinmoy: I am the spiritual director of the Centre but I live in New York. I have four Centres: one here in Puerto Rico, one in Miami, Florida, one in Jamaica, West Indies and the main one in New York City.

So you travel between the four of them? How long have you had your Centre in San Juan?

Sri Chinmoy: It completed its second year on the twentieth of July.

Question: Do you find that the Western mind has difficulties in grasping the implications of the Eastern philosophers?

Sri Chinmoy: To some extent, it is difficult for the western mind to approach, or should I say, appreciate Eastern philosophy. But when the question if inner illumination and self-realisation come in, then I find that Westerners have no difficulty in approaching the inner life, that is to say, their self-discovery.

Question: If you had to wrap up your philosophy in one sentence, could you do it?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I can.

Would you?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I accept life, I face life, I discover the significance of life and I try to transform life into the everlasting Consciousness of the Supreme. This is my philosophy.

Question: If people want more information about this, can they come down to your Centre?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. I would be most happy.

Where is it, when they come down?

Sri Chinmoy: 659 Miramar Avenue in Santurce. If they want further information they can speak to the President of the Centre, Miss Carmen Suro at phone number 724-7286.

When are the meetings that you have?

Sri Chinmoy: Every evening at 8:00 and on Sundays at 11:00 a.m.

I thank you very much for stopping in and talking to us, Sri Chinmoy Ghose.

Question: I realise many times that people want to be involved and do things for the betterment of humanity, but for some reason, their inadequacy or their inefficiency does not allow them to do this. Or they cannot come forward and do what they would like to do. They think often about it but they cannot come forward and do it. What can they do?

Sri Chinmoy: Some people feel, from deep within, an inner urge to serve humanity, and at the same time, they feel their inadequacy. How can they help or serve humanity? Now there are two ways. According to strict Indian spirituality, philosophy and yoga, one has to realise God first and then one can try to illumine others. If it is a question of illumination, first one has to be illumined and then he can illumine others later. If one wants to serve humanity, first one has to serve divinity within himself. Then divinity will tell us how we can effectively serve humanity. Otherwise it would be placing the cart before the horse.

But there is another process. When a spiritual Master takes full responsibility of a particular disciple, he may say, "Now, you help people, serve humanity. I am within you, with you. I am taking full responsibility. The more you help humanity in my name (that is, in the name of the spiritual Master) the swifter will you make your own inner progress and fly to your own self-realisation." Like a flower, you yourself will unfold by the Grace of the Supreme and the Master. At the same time your very unfoldment will inspire people in their self-search, in their spiritual life, their inner discipline.

So either one has to be fully awakened and realised, or one has to be commissioned and authorised by a realised spiritual Master. When the spiritual Master says that he takes full responsibility, at that time you are not making any mistake in the beginning, because he is taking the entire responsibility. He is the Doer. He is in you, with you, through you and for you.

But if, out of self-imposed sympathy, kindness and concern for humanity, one tries to serve humanity, then actually instead of serving, one will be only feeding one's ego consciously. So I wish to tell you that the involvement that you are speaking about should be with the Guru, the Master, for the Supreme. To be totally one with the spiritual Master physically, vitally, mentally, psychically, with His infinite consciousness which represents the Supreme, is one alternative. Or, as I explained first, one must wait until one has totally realised God. This is the traditional, time-honoured and time-proven Indian spiritual method. Either of these two can be followed.

In the ordinary world, if one does not want to go farther, if one wants to remain satisfied with what one has (very little capacity), one will quite naturally try to help others according to one's own capacity. But that kind of help does not help much in the long run. It is just like a blind man leading another blind man. Very soon his wisdom or his light will be totally exhausted. But if there is full realisation or inner oneness with the Supreme or with the Spiritual Master and, at His divine command, the spiritual Master asks a particular disciple to help others, inspire others, at that time, the disciple can, with the deepest joy enter into the field of service. This service will all be dedicated to the Divine, the Supreme, and its dedication will all be offered to the divinity in humanity.

Question: I have always wondered if the AMEN of our Christian religion was originally meant to have the same significance as the AUM of the Hindu religion.

Sri Chinmoy: They are totally different. AMEN is said at the end of a prayer and means "So let it be." We have, in Sanskrit, a similar phrase, uttered at the end of invocations to the deities and prayers to God: It is TATASTU and it means "May that be so." But the syllable AUM is a mantric sound. It is used in a completely different way from AMEN or TATASTU. AUM is the actual sound of the creation; it is the Originator, the Mother, the Breath of Creation. From the sound AUM, Creation came into being. AUM is also the expression in sound of God in His three aspects: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Before AUM, nothing in the manifested cosmos existed. The Supreme began the Creation with the supreme sound of AUM.

When we say AMEN or TATASTU we are praying to have something we want fulfilled. The AMEN is always preceded by something else, whereas AUM is not like that. AUM always precedes everything. When we begin any religious or spiritual activity, when we start any mantra, we start it with AUM. We can also end any mantra with AUM if we want to, but we have to start it with AUM. In the Western religions of course, we do not start anything with AMEN. It always comes at the end, after a prayer. Moreover, the significance of AUM is infinitely more soulful and more intimate in the realm of reality and God's vision than is AMEN. When we say AMEN, immediately our physical consciousness enters into the fulfilment of some desire or prayer. But in the case of AUM, this does not happen. AUM will inspire the very existence of the seeker and then, after the inspiration is over, it will energise the seeker to enter into aspiration. When aspiration starts functioning, then AUM takes the aspiration of the seeker into the highest and the deepest in that individual's soul.

I am very glad that you have asked this question. The function and significance of AUM and of AMEN is not at all the same.

Question: In the Gita, it says that we must have discrimination. What is meant by this discrimination and how can we obtain it?

Sri Chinmoy: The Sanskrit word for discrimination is viveka and it refers to the power of discrimination which actually comes from the soul. Viveka comes not from the mind but from the inner being. Our mind can discriminate in its own way: this is right, this is wrong, he is the best person, he is the worst person. But having made an assessment, the very next moment, the mind contradicts itself. First the mind gets a kind of satisfaction in achieving a decision and then the following moment it sees that its judgement was absolutely useless. Because the mind is not at all poised, it is not in a position to address itself to its own truth which it has already decided upon. The mind can never be in a position to discriminate. It is our soul's wisdom, our soul's knowledge that can discriminate. We can make the discrimination between the false and the true, between light and darkness and between two pairs of opposites on the strength of our soul's light.

You were reading the Gita. Yes, from the second chapter onwards, discrimination is enjoined upon Arjuna by Krishna. Let us start with duty. Each human being on earth knows what duty means. But the real duty, very few of us know. What is the real duty of our inner being? In the process of discrimination, we come to understand that our real duty, our entire duty, is our self-discovery or God-realisation. Neti, Neti, (Not this, not this.) Then what do we want? I don't want this. I don't want that. What do I want? I want only the Real, only the True, only the Ultimate which is God Himself.

By discriminating, by separating the true and eternal from the false and transient, I come to a point where I can see my Goal. Then I step upon the path leading to my Goal. In our day-to-day life, if we want to emphasise our duty, then there is no end to our ordinary duties. I have to eat, I have to meet my friends, I have to see my family, I have to go to college. All kinds of duties I have. But we have to know that beyond these duties there is a real duty. These mundane duties we are fulfilling daily, but they do not bring us in any way nearer our Goal. Are we fulfilling any ideal in life? No, to fulfil an ideal, we have to select or adopt a Goal. There is only one Goal for each human being and that Goal is God-realisation. This does not mean that in order to realise God, we have to discard humanity. Far from it. We do not have to throw away members of the family: wife, sisters, brothers, parents, children. No. We have to see in them the existence of God. This is one of the major duties of each human being, to see the existence of God in children, in friends, in everybody on earth.

Then one also has to know that his true duty lies not in what he does, but in how he does it. If an ordinary human being knows what he has to do and why he is doing it and also how he is doing it, then in his very action, he is approaching God. You are a student, Chaitanya. You want to study in order to have more knowledge and wisdom in the field of psychology. The reason you are studying is that you want to widen your knowledge and by this means, you want to help humanity. Now, how are you doing it? Are you studying devotedly, soulfully, or we may ask, are you studying for the Grace of God? That is to say, does God want you to take up this particular subject? Why are you studying psychology? If you know that God wants you to do it, then here you get your real duty. How are you doing it? You are doing it with the conscious approval of God. Is your soul making you feel that it is the subject that you want to study in order to manifest your soul here on earth?

So I want to tell all of you here, when you do something, when you perform any action, first you have to know whether that action is really important in your life and will take you nearer to your Goal. Then if you feel, "Yes, it is required," do the action, but after the action, you may look for a result, either success or failure. Now here is the most difficult situation. If you have failed, you will feel that you are totally lost, frustrated, that you can never get the satisfaction that success would have given you. But after separating success from failure, if you can throw both success and failure into the hands of God, then you will see immediately that you are going beyond both, beyond the capacities of both success and failure. Here you are going beyond even discrimination.

First we have to start with discrimination — discrimination between darkness and light, falsehood and truth. First we have to start with morality and immorality; then we have to go beyond morality and immorality, beyond light and darkness. One has to remain only in the consciousness of the Supreme. So when we speak of discrimination, we have to know that we are dealing with our day-to-day life's duty, duty that takes the form of thought, feeling and so on. For example, discrimination can tell us which thought is a divine thought, which feeling is a soulful feeling. At each moment, let us try to see our soul's mission in each activity which presents itself to us as duty and let us discriminate one from the other. Then, at the end of the path, we shall have to go beyond both, beyond even discrimination, beyond viveka.

Question: When Arjuna refused to kill, was he discriminating?

Sri Chinmoy: Arjuna wanted to abstain from the fighting that was his duty. He did not want to fight. He thought, "If I don't kill anybody, they will think highly of me, appreciate me and be my friends." Sri Krishna said, "No, your warrior's duty is to fight this righteous battle, because it is the Divine Will. You are not to behave like a Brahmin who has to spurn earthly activity and dedicate himself to the interpretation of the scriptures. What God demands from you is to protect your subjects. You have to protect the world. Your duty is to fight."

At most you can say that Arjuna was ignoring his own dharma or inner law and indulging his own feelings of weakness and fear. This is not viveka, the soul's discrimination.

Question: Does not this battle of Kurukshetra mean that one is fighting against his own wrong ideas and ignorance, fighting an inner battle and not actually fighting to kill somebody?

Sri Chinmoy: No. The battle described in the Bhagavad Gita was a real war, a literal battle. It is not a symbolic description of an inner battle. Arjuna did indeed have to fight against his own ignorance, fear and cowardice but when he fought, it was as a real warrior. He thought that he was the doer and he had to kill people who were his relatives. Sri Krishna said, "No, you are not the doer, they are already killed. You just have to be the instrument." Outwardly Arjuna had slain hundreds of persons in other fights, but here he was assailed by powerful doubts and fears. What would people say? "They will say nothing," claimed Sri Krishna, "because you are fighting for the right cause, the divine cause."

His enemies, the Kauravas, were forces of evil incarnate and it was God who had made the decision to have them destroyed. In the name of morality and self-righteousness, Arjuna was absorbed in self-pity but Sri Krishna wanted to show him that he had to fight against evil, against ignorance, against darkness. Arjuna thought that he was fighting against human beings. Sri Krishna said, "No, inside human beings there is darkness, there is imperfection, so I want you to do God's Will and kill them."

Question: When one reaches the highest levels, does he have to come back to the world:

Sri Chinmoy: If one wants to work for the world, in the world, then no matter how high he goes, he will be granted the opportunity to come back; not only the opportunity but the assurance of the Divine that he can come back because God wants him to work for the world and manifest the Divine here on earth.

Question: Once I met a person who said that he did not believe in God because he could not see Him or hear Him. He said he believed in his wife because he could see her and hear her, and his child. What can we do and what can we say to persons who think that way, because we try a lot of arguments but to no avail.

Sri Chinmoy: So your friend does not believe in God, but he believes in his wife because he sees his wife and hears her voice. We can approach this question from various angles. First of all, although he sees his wife's face and hears her voice, is he satisfied with his wife? Does he feel that his wife is in a position to give him everything that he inwardly wants? No, there are many things his wife cannot do because she does not have enough power. Now the question is: If he does not want to believe in God and wants to believe in his wife, a spiritual person will say, "Fine, let him believe in his wife." Even though he is actually having faith in someone physical, his faith in itself will immediately take him beyond the boundary of the physical. He will enter into the spiritual realm, the realm of vision. Unconsciously he is having faith in some other world, but he does not know what that other world is. He sees his wife only in the physical world and that is the reason why his wife is all to him, physically, spiritually, inwardly and outwardly.

But we know that the Infinite Truth lies inside us and that Infinite Truth or Reality can only come to the fore when we consciously try to bring it to the fore. Now, in your friend's case, he does not want to know the Truth or see the Truth, feel the Truth or become the Truth. No harm, as long as he has faith in his wife, but his wife need not be a spiritual person. She may be a spiritual person. Let him give all credit to his wife because for him his wife knows everything and his wife satisfies him. We suppose all this because he does not want to progress beyond the achievements or capacity of his wife. But his wife, I do hope, will feel that the satisfaction that she is giving to her husband is actually coming from some higher or deeper source. And that deeper source is God or God's Light.

Now if that person deliberately wants to negate the existence of God, it is not advisable on our part to insist to him, or compel him to have faith in God. It is a waste of time. So long as he has faith in something, that is enough. In India, there are people who have great spirituality but who do not actually believe in God. They do believe in something. He says that he does not believe in God, but he does have faith. There is not anybody on earth who does not have a belief in something, even in negation. This man is negating, negating, negating the Truth. That very negation is an affirmation of Truth expressed in a negative way. So let us allow him to continue to negate the Truth, but at the end of the journey he will see that the negation itself is being transformed into something positive.

So I wish to tell you — please do not try to impose your ideas, your immediate feeling about God on this person. It will be a waste of time. Only try to observe what his actual feelings are. If his actual awareness of Truth lies in his wife, then let us not disturb him because God is deeply seated in his wife and it is God who is working through his wife in order to change and transform his mind and heart.

Question: I am deeply disturbed. I want to have peace. My greatest ambition is to study languages, but I cannot concentrate on the simplest things of life. This makes me feel sad, deeply sad and I cry a lot. I feel dispersed, I am so deeply disturbed. I want to regain my happiness, my tranquillity of spirit and mind. I would like you to help me, to lead me. I will follow you.

Sri Chinmoy: You are using the term "regain". Now if you say that you want to regain your peace of mind and tranquillity, that means that once upon a time you had peace of mind and tranquillity… if understand you correctly.

Now when we lose something, it means that we have done something wrong. If we have something in ourselves and we are constantly doing the right thing, we are not going to lose the precious jewel inside us. Why do we lose it? We lose it because we run after worldly things, empty things, temporary joy or temporary pleasure. Or what we do is to enter into others' business which is not our business. So there are various reasons for losing our peace of mind, the peace of mind that we once had. Now your question is: how can we get back that peace of mind which is our true treasure?

Each person present here knows what the Truth is. But just by knowing the Truth, one cannot be satisfied. One has to try to live the Truth. When one wants to live the Truth, the real problem arises. We know the Truth, all of us, but in our day-to-day life, when we want to follow or live this Truth, even an inch of the Truth, an iota of Truth, problems arise. If we could practise the Truth, most of the problems would be solved. Now, how to know what Truth is and what falsehood is. It is very difficult. In this world, very often Truth and falsehood are intermingled. We have to separate them, For that, we need God's Grace and our utmost sincere effort. When God's Grace and our own sincere effort go together, we shall not only see the Truth and feel the Truth, but we shall become the Truth. When we become the Truth, infinite Peace will be at our disposal.

Now we are running after Peace, but Peace is not paying any attention to our cry or desire. But the real object in our life should be to follow the Truth. When we follow the Truth, Peace is bound to come to us. Peace cannot live in falsehood. So if you want to have peace of mind, tranquillity, calm and silence, then you have to live the Truth and it is in Truth that we can have peace of mind.

Editor's note

The following questions were asked by S. in San Juan, Puerto Rico on August 17, 1968.

Question: Is there any way to overcome karma in one's lifetime?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, it is possible, Sivashankara. At the same time, it is not possible. If you ask if there is any way to overcome one's karma, I should answer, "Yes, there is one way." But if you ask if it is always possible for a human being to overcome his karma, then I would say that it is not always possible. Every human being on earth cannot overcome the law of karma just by mere desire or by wishful thinking or even by aspiration. Desire is out of the question. If something goes wrong in the family and I cry, "Oh, how I wish I could be the happiest person in the world and my dear ones would have no problems," then nothing will change. Even by praying, we cannot overcome karma. Just by aspiring, we cannot. The necessity of the Grace is required, and this Grace must come from God, from the Divine, from the Supreme. When God's Grace and the seeker's aspiration meet together, then we see that karma can be nullified and at the same time, future karma which the seeker will be creating, will all be done under the guidance and protection of the Divine. Your future karma will be made under His guidance, under His protection, under His knowledge, under His Grace. At that time, karma will not bind you. Karma does not bind you if it is the karma of devotion, dedication and surrender. Only that karma binds us which brings us results or the fruits of action.

We have to know what kind of karma we are creating. Real karma is that which is being done by the inner being within you. Otherwise there is no end of karma and responsibility, obligation and counter-obligation. I will say, "This is your responsibility." You will answer, "No, it is your responsibility." There is no end to human duty and obligation. But the real end we shall get only when we listen to our duty from deep within ourselves or from someone who can study our mind, who can study our heart, who can study our soul. Only he can advise us soulfully of our duty.

So to come back to your question, Sivashankara, it is possible to overcome karma when one has conquered desire and when the Divine Grace descends. Along with these are also required prayer and aspiration, but by themselves, they are not sufficient. When the infinite shower of Divine Grace descends upon us, when God's Compassion flows into us, then in one lifetime-it is not even a matter of one life — in a few days or in a few hours, it can be accomplished.

If you pray to a particular goddess, your own two thousand or four thousand years of karma can be nullified by her, by this Mother, by the Goddess Kali. And your name is Sivashankar. Siva is her consort. So you have already been blessed with this spiritual name, this Indian name. You are happy to have that name, Sivashankara. If you pray to the Goddess Kali, she will do miracles for you.

Question: Is getting married asking for more karma?

Sri Chinmoy: In the ordinary life, not only marriage, but every activity in life sets the wheel of karma into motion. Anything that you do — it need not be marriage; for example, if you just walk out of this place and think of something or someone (other than God) then karma is already created. In anything you do, it is the same.

"Marriage" is a very sweet word but most of the time it is made of very bitter experiences. Without being married, one has thousands of problems. Now when you get married, you add to your life another problem. You may say, "I am a hero; I shall conquer her problems." She, on her part, also thinks, "I am a heroine; I shall conquer his problems." So both of you enter marriage determined to solve the problems of the other. This I am saying from the viewpoint of difficulties, since you have asked about the karma entailed in marriage. But of course, there is another side, the side of joy. I mean human joy or human love. You will say, "I have so much love for her." She will say, "I have so much love for him, so let us be joined." Now if this human love is rightly guided by the inner reality or inner being of the couple, then they blend together; otherwise the union breaks into pieces. Immediately the two sides start fighting, this side and that. You start your journey with your possession: sweet love, human love. She also started this way. Then afterwards, everything goes wrong. This is the kind of karma that two people bring on themselves. But if you do not enter into marriage, then you may try to solve your problems alone. There is nothing on your shoulders. Now sometimes in this world, we feel, "If I can take somebody's burden from him, then I will be appreciated and I will feel a sense of pride," but again I tell you that this is all coming from a sense of ego. It is not only ego or marriage which adds to your karma, but anything you do, unless it is done by God's Grace. Then there is no bondage at all.

Normally in marriage, the individual karma of each party become joined into a whole which they naturally share. The woman, for example, offers the man all her soul's capacities and strengths, but she also gives him the effects of her accumulated actions and thoughts — her karma. The reverse is just as true. When they bring down a few more souls in the form of children, the children's karma is added to their own. That is why in India they say that there are three divine moments in a person's earthly sojourn: his birth, his marriage and his death. In India, marriage is extremely important, first because of the many, intricate ties, duties, responsibilities that the person makes, not only to his partner, but to the family of his partner; and second, because it was clearly understood that marriage set the pattern for the remainder of the person's lifetime and, in India, deeply affected the general growth and direction of the individual soul. To a lesser extent, the same is true in the West.

Marriage is certainly an additional form of karma, but if you marry with the idea of progressing spiritually and aspiring for a higher life, and if your spouse also wishes to lead the inner life, then the two of you can march along the path like two pilgrims, side by side. At that time, if you can offer all your joint actions to the Supreme, you do not have to worry about your wife's karma becoming a burden to you or vice-versa, because you will be surrendering your actions to Him. Marriage is a burden in the ordinary life; in the spiritual life, it can be different. The Supreme Himself can take the burden.

Question: The people we meet today — are they persons we were related to in our past incarnation?

Sri Chinmoy: Often yes, but not always. We meet people who were in our past lives, but we also meet new people. Since the Supreme wants us to grow and flower, He may place in our path persons who can help us, teach us, inspire us and lead us. And then there are associations that are not important, people who casually pass us as we carry on our normal activities.

Question: It is said that when twins are born, it is because they were enemies in a past incarnation and they had to be joined together in that way, I mean as Siamese twins. Then neither one can kill the other since he will be killed as well.

Sri Chinmoy: That is true. Sometimes they come to punish each other. In a past life, they could not tolerate each other, as it happens sometimes, and they were intense enemies. They come back to work out their mutual hatred. If one takes incarnation in a certain family, the other one says, "I, too, will take incarnation there so I can make your life miserable." So they come together, sometimes as identical twins to torture each other and all their lives they quarrel and fight. We often see that identical twins are not happy or harmonious. They were enemies in their past life and by getting the opportunity to be twins they may be able to transform their hatred into love. At least they get a chance to express their enmity. In any case, they don't bother with each other, usually, in the following lifetime.

Question: Sometimes we hate somebody without any apparent reason, just for his appearance.

Sri Chinmoy: Hate is often an obverse form of love. You hate someone whom you really wish to love but whom you cannot love. Perhaps he himself prevents you. Hate is a disguised form of love. You can only hate someone that you have the capacity to love because if you are really indifferent, you cannot even get up enough energy to hate him. Hatred is the frustration or blockage of normal, free-flowing love.

Question: I was thinking of my mother-in-law. No matter what I do to please her, she hates me.

Sri Chinmoy: Your problem is not your mother-in-law, Sivashankara. It is your wife. If you had not married that wife, you would not have that mother-in-law. You bring me a picture of your mother-in-law and I will tell you what connection you had with her in your past life.

Mr. Quinones Vidal's programme

August 17, 1968, 8:30 A.m.

Introduction

Mr. Quinones Vidal introduces the Master: Here with us is a representative of spiritual philosophy from the Orient. Although many great Masters have come from India like Buddha, Ramakrishna and others, I don't want to say that philosophy belongs to India because philosophy, like religion, is universal and does not belong to any particular country.

I greet Sri Chinmoy Kumar Chose with much love in the name of the station WKAQ and in the name of this program, Quinones Vidal. It is a pleasure to have such a noble person on our program.

Question: I heard the beautiful explanation of your philosophy about life. Really, that is what I understand by philosophy. But there is a word in Spanish, maybe it is because of the translation into Spanish, "to accept life". To accept or discover. Is there not a difference between acceptance without investigation, without doubt and merely discovering life?

Sri Chinmoy: To discover life is different from acceptance. When we say, "discover life," that means to go deep within and discover our own intuitive God-realisation. We speak of self-discovery, but self-discovery and God-realisation are one. When we discover our true self, we realise God, because in our true self is the existence of God. Now, we say life is a short span of time, say forty or fifty or sixty years. But this is not the real life. The real life came into existence and real life will always exist. This is a short span of life: fifty, sixty, seventy years which we call life, but the real life, which was there before the creation, and which transcends the creation, which is in the creation, which goes through death and passes beyond death and becomes the Infinity and Eternity together, that is called the real life.

So "acceptance" is the word I would use here for our day-to-day activities. Very often we get disgusted with the world and curse the world because of our fate. This is in outer life, in our day-to-day existence. Where the inner life is concerned, we call it discovery because we have to discover our true self and that true self is God. Self-discovery and God-discovery are one. When we are speaking of inner spiritual discovery, we call it self-discovery. But when we are speaking about our day-to-day life, people want to commit suicide because they are frustrated, they feel that the world has deserted them, the world has been a curse to them instead of a boon. So in that case I say, "No, face the world, face the problem." When we enter into life, immediately some problem arises. Life is no problem. Life is an opportunity to realise God here on earth but instead of that, we feel life is only thousands and millions of problems. That is life.

Note

Mr. Quinones Vidal: I would like to continue for the whole hour but unfortunately this is a commercial program and I am bound by time. We appreciate from our heart your holy presence on this programme. Really your philosophy is great and wonderful and certainly in a future talk we shall have more questions and answers.

The AUM Centre where Sri Chinmoy teaches is at 659 Miramar Avenue, Santurce. Thank you very much.

Question: Why could Vivekananda not overcome his doubts about Ramakrishna?

Sri Chinmoy: This is a very significant question. Let us start with doubt. Doubt is a slow poison. If somebody has doubt by nature, it is extremely difficult to remove it from his mind or from his being. Now if one remains most of the time in the heart or in the soul, but not in the mind, then it is easy to remove doubt. A spiritual Master had a disciple who was constantly doubting his Master. The Master had deep affection for that particular disciple. The disciple wanted to know from his Master how to overcome his doubt, so the Master said, "Even if I wrote sixty pages about doubt, even then I would not be able to remove an iota of doubt from your mind, as long as you live in the mind."

Now in Vivekananda's case, there are a few reasons why he doubted Ramakrishna. In the first place, Ramakrishna used to tell Naren (Vivekananda) that he was a great spiritual person: "I see inside you all divinity; I see inside you spiritual Power and at the same time, I see you as the Vibhuti of Lord Shiva." At that time, Naren was only a college student. He did not take the spiritual life seriously. He had an exuberant and external life. He could not believe Ramakrishna. He simply couldn't take Ramakrishna seriously. "One day you will awaken the whole world," Ramakrishna told him, "for you have all spiritual possibilities." Vivekananda's father had died and the son was an ordinary boy at that time. He could not maintain his family financially. He did not have the means to buy even the simplest necessities and he often starved for days together. Then he hears Ramakrishna say that he is a great spiritual person and that one day he will liberate the entire world. He said, "I cannot feed even my own mother! " He used to come home and say, "Mother, I have eaten at my friend's place, so you don't have to cook for me." It was all lies; he was starving but he wanted to save the food for his mother and for the elders of the family.

Another reason for Vivekananda's disbelief was that Ramakrishna's actual experience and assessment of Vivekananda were totally different from the boy's own experience of his life. His Master naturally used to see the highest and the deepest. Vivekananda would only see his ordinary life as a student. Ramakrishna had so many disciples, but in front of them, he used to have Naren stand and he would say, "Naren, Naren, Naren." If Naren did not come to Ramakrishna's place, then the Master would go to his place. If other disciples did not come, Ramakrishna did not care. But if Naren didn't come, he was unhappy. In fact, he got angry with his other disciples if they did not bring Vivekananda back to him. So this is the kind of thing that Ramakrishna did for Naren.

Now if you care for someone, there is always the tendency for that person to suspect that there is some ulterior motive in your love. What is behind it? Why are you not running after someone else? The human mind, no matter how pure the person is, tends to be suspicious. But the soul wants to love the person, not for himself and not for the soul's own benefit, but for the divine in the person.

Once Naren told his Master, "You are, all the time, thinking of me. Don't you know the story of King Bharata? He always thought of a deer and then he had to become a deer. Don't you know the story? " The other disciples said, "Naren, you are insulting Ramakrishna. You always ignore Ramakrishna, calling him mad and all that." But Ramakrishna immediately took Naren's rebuke seriously for he was, after all, a serious student of Western philosophy, Eastern philosophy, the Indian scriptures, etc. So he went and told his Divine Mother, Kali, what Naren had said. Kali told him, "No, you are not running after Naren. You are running after the Divinity that you see in Naren. It is for that you are running. But that Divinity will express itself only in years to come." So Ramakrishna went back to Naren and said, "It is not you that I want; it is the Divinity inside you."

All these things had disturbed Naren's mind. He felt that he was nothing and, at the same time, was worshipped by Ramakrishna who adored him. When he heard Ramakrishna say that he was so great spiritually, at the beginning, he had doubted him. "What is it that he sees in me? " he said. However, when the question of Ramakrishna's realisation arose, he used to say, "Ramakrishna is the Highest, he is the Highest." But at that time, he did not realise what he himself was. Ramakrishna used to say, "The day he realises himself fully, he will not stay on earth." Indeed, when Vivekananda came to know what he actually was, his life was nearly over.

So in one sentence, I wish to say to you that Ramakrishna's vision of Vivekananda's spiritual greatness, Vivekananda could not see or understand. That was the cause of the doubt in his mind.

In our spiritual life, there is only one enemy, a mightiest enemy, and that is doubt. We are always doubting. Either we are doubting ourselves or we are doubting God. In both cases, we limit ourselves. If we doubt ourselves, we never realise God and if we doubt God, then there is only frustration and misery in our life. If you have implicit faith in God then this will be complemented by faith in ourselves. If we have faith in ourselves, then when we go deep within, we see that divine love is embracing us. If we have faith in ourselves, we can solve all our problems. This faith is not the arrogant pride of self-attachment but it is the spontaneous light of wisdom which operates in our very existence.

Question: In the spiritual life, which way will be best, to arrive at the truth in order to gain freedom, or to try to gain freedom in order to arrive at the truth?

Sri Chinmoy: Now the thing is that truth and freedom go together. We cannot separate freedom from truth. Where there is truth, there is freedom. But this truth is Truth with a capital "T". In our ordinary life, we say, "This is true, this is false." Truth here is measured. But when we think of the highest Truth, the Eternal Truth, we see that it exists in infinite freedom.

Now we have to find out what our soul wants first and needs first, even within our daily existence. If the soul wants Truth and we are not getting the opportunity to obtain it because we are bound by the family or by circumstances, at that time, you have to think of Truth first, and even if you don't have freedom, you have to go to Truth first. Let me make this clearer to you. In your day-to-day life, your soul may make you feel, "This is the Truth; meditation is the Truth; God is the Truth; realisation is the Truth." Now in spite of this inner conviction, if you feel that the family is standing in your way, friends are standing in your way, society is standing in your way, then at that time, do not think of freedom. Just try to go to the Truth first, because this is what your soul wants. Freedom will automatically come.

If your soul's spontaneous urge makes you feel that Truth is the only thing that you need, then outer freedom is bound to come, because outer freedom will automatically come and assist your soul's aspiration. But if you wait for the outer freedom to be offered to you by humanity, then you will never get it. Truth has its own infinite power and when we approach it without caring for the outer circumstances, the Truth itself will pave the way so that we can live in the Truth, feel the Truth and become the Truth.

So freedom you do not get from other people — from society, from humanity. You should not worry, but you should try to go directly to the Truth. Then Truth will automatically bring freedom to your life. If you wait to be given freedom from friends, relatives, humanity, then you will never get it. Truth will always remain a far cry. You yourself have to approach the Truth and then the Truth is bound to come to you.

Let us run towards the Truth without looking to the right or left, forward or backward. Run towards the Truth, the Golden Shore. Then you will see that God's Truth will create freedom for you because Truth has infinite Power, the Power to make you free.

Question: You have explained how to remember. Now what is the best method of rejecting thoughts that you do not want to have?

Sri Chinmoy: There are two kinds of thoughts: one kind comes from outside and strikes the forehead here. The other kind of thought, which we already have inside us, has perhaps been taking shelter there for five years, ten years, twenty years or thirty years. Now the thought that comes from outside is easier to control than the thoughts that are already inside. Some people say, "I did not think of that, so how did that thought come inside me?" it is because the personality, the individuality, or the existence of someone you have already cherished has taken the form of a thought and entered into you.

So we have to know, first of all, if the thought that we are going to control is inside us or coming from outside. You please try, all of you, to distinguish. The one that comes from outside wants to strike us, squeeze inside us, go into our mind, into our brain. The other thought is the one that you have already inside your existence.

So when you want to reject them, you have to understand that it is these silly thoughts that are not productive, the thoughts that are damaging, the thoughts that are not fruitful, the thoughts that are negative, the thoughts that we do not want in our existence.

When you first observe that kind of damaging thought, uncomely thought, first you have to determine whether it is coming into us from outside or actually going out of our existence from inside. If it is coming from outside into our existence, it is easier, infinitely easier to control. Why?

Here right in front of your forehead, you have to feel that you have a shield, right in front of you. It is a protection. Instead of taking it as a part of your body, as a limb or an organ, you have to feel that right on your forehead is a coating, a protection. Try to feel that you are constantly on the lookout here in your mind to see if an attack is coming, if a thought is going to attack you. At the same time, try to feel that here, in the same place, is your shield and protection. If a thought comes to strike you, the shield will control the thought. But if we feel that our forehead is something soft, mellow, very delicate and exposed to anything and everything, then immediately we become victim to all these undesirable and wrong thoughts. Wrong thoughts can never come if we consciously make ourselves feel this forehead is a shield, a solid wall. They cannot come. But what usually happens is that when we think of our head or forehead, we think of them as something vulnerable and easily pierced. On the contrary, we have to consciously make ourselves feel that it is something solid, something very strong, like a solid wall or a fort where there are many soldiers deep inside, ready to fight against an attack. When an attack of wrong forces comes, the strongest soldiers inside us are purity, sincerity and aspiration. Our eagerness for God, for God-realisation — these are all divine forces too, divine soldiers: purity, sincerity, aspiration, concentration and our meditation. Even the very idea of God-realisation is a divine soldier inside us. All these soldiers will immediately be on their guard the moment a wrong thought comes. They will serve as bodyguards and if, by chance, the wrong forces attack here, they will be cast out by the divine soldiers deep within us. This is for the thoughts that are coming from the outside.

Now what about the thoughts that are already inside us, creating problems? It is very difficult, in comparison, to throw them out. But we can do it! How? Again it is through the extension of our consciousness. We have a body; inside this body are these wrong forces that have taken the form of ugly, damaging thoughts. If we can extend our physical consciousness as we extend an elastic belt, we will feel that we are extending our whole body through the mind's conscious effort, through aspiration. We are extending, extending, extending the whole body to the infinite. We are extending a sheet of white consciousness. The moment we feel the infinite extension as a sheet of white consciousness, you will see that it is all purity. Each pure thought, each pure drop is poison to ugliness or to wrong thoughts in us. On our part, we are afraid of impure thoughts, but impure thoughts are also afraid of our purity. Why is that?

This is what actually happens. We identify ourselves with impure thoughts, let us say, and do not identify ourselves with pure thoughts. The moment the pure thoughts and our physical existence become one, when we say, "This thought represents me," or, "I represent that pure thought," then impurity inside us immediately dies; it loses its existence. The impurity or the wrong thought inside us exists just because we identify ourselves with it. If we subsequently identify ourselves with something else, the first one has to die. Now I tell people that jealousy, anger, etc. have to leave us the moment we have poise, peace, etc. inside us. Anger feels that it has a legitimate place within us only because we identify ourselves with it and nourish it with our concern and attention. We cherish it within us. But the moment we make friends with peace, poise and tranquillity, anger says, "Why should I stay here; they don't want me." Anger itself will become jealous of peace. You can try it.

So about rejecting thoughts, I wish to tell you that if you can expand your consciousness, then the problem is solved. All you have to do with a negative thought is to fight it with a positive thought. If it is an undivine thought, we have to fight it with a divine thought. Always in this life, we have an opportunity to make a choice, as Anugata has said. Although we have become victims of wrong thoughts, these wrong thoughts cannot exist inside us if we open ourselves to divine thoughts. We have allowed wrong thoughts to exist inside us. New divine thoughts we can create through our love for God. When we create divine thoughts inside ourselves, they will act like powerful dynamic soldiers to fight for us and to give us what we actually seek.

Question: Are we to believe literally in the story of Adam and Eve, that we are actually suffering from the consequences of their fall? Or are we the product of evolution from animal life?

Sri Chinmoy: From the pure spiritual point of view I wish to tell you that there is no fall; there is no such thing as a fall. It is only an experience. Who is having that experience? Not you, not me, but God Himself. He is experiencing it. He is the experience and He is the experienced.

Now there are two viewpoints. One viewpoint is that of evolution which is absolutely true. We are evolving. From the plant life we have come to the animal life and from the animal life, we have come to the human life. This is the theory of evolution. Now again there is another viewpoint, which is equally real, that the Spirit entered into matter and Spirit permeated matter. When Spirit entered into matter it was not the fall of the Spirit, because inert matter had to be accepted by Spirit, a divine reality; Spirit likewise had to accept matter in order to have a divine life inside matter. So Spirit entered into matter, but people now say, "Oh, it is a fall; you were at the top of the tree and now you have descended! " No. Spirit descended there in order to create palpable life. Where there is creation there should be life and there should be manifestation. For that, Spirit is required to permeate and animate matter.

You say that according to the Bible there was the fall. I must say that from the strict spiritual point of view there is no such thing as a fall. It was an experience; at that time, Divinity was going to express itself through humanity and it was Adam and Eve, the representatives of the Supreme here on earth, who embodied humanity. The Supreme wanted to have that experience through these two human beings, Adam and Eve.

There is no fall; there is only one track, one single way towards the goal. But sometimes we take a rest, sometimes we halt. We can tread awkwardly, we can walk, we can march, we can run. This is the path of evolution. If we go unconsciously we will go slowly; if we go consciously we will go faster. Now when we speak of falling, it means that we are going back towards self-destruction, towards annihilation, where there is no existence, where it is all death. But it is not like that. So to come back to your question, there is no such thing as a fall. It is the experience that the Supreme had in Adam and Eve and it is the same experience that He is having in us, with us, through us — to fulfil His dream, to transform His dream into reality.

Question: A neighbour of mine often swears very loudly to the Supreme against Him and when he does that, I always say, "Dios te bendiga." ("May God bless you.") Is this the right thing to do?

Sri Chinmoy: The thing is — in such cases — I wish to tell you that the best thing will be on your part not to say anything to him. If you feel that you really want to help him, then you can spend five minutes of your most precious time in inner prayer to the Supreme, asking the Supreme to give him some illumination. He is ignorant, but if you tell him that he is ignorant, he will be your worst enemy and he will make no progress. But you can pray to the Supreme if you want to, if you feel from within that it is your duty. First you should feel inwardly that it is your duty. If so, then do it.

But you have to know one thing: whether basically that man is good or not. If basically he is not good, then I do not want you to spend even five minutes on him. Let him, at God's own Hour, come to some basic understanding of his behaviour towards God. So if basically he is poor quality, then you don't have to waste any time on him because you are not doing him any favour. But if he is basically good, you can offer five minutes of your prayer to the Supreme to change his mind towards God. He is, after all, God's child and God Himself is hearing him. Just as God is hearing your prayer and observing your meditation, so also He is listening to this man's curse. God has enough strength to bear his insult just as He has enormous capacity to observe your meditation and listen to your prayers. But you have to see whether he is a fine man, basically, or whether he is basically of poor quality. If he is bad by nature, then forget about him. If he has many good qualities and just for an immediate shock he is cursing, then if you feel from within that you would like to help him, then from the very depths of your heart offer your prayer to the Supreme for five minutes, in order to change his heart and mind.

Questions from students at Yale University

Editor's note

Sri Chinmoy had answered a question in which he said, "You will grow with the one thought, 'God wants me and I need God.' There should be no other thought around you. Then you will see that slowly, steadily and gradually, God's divine thoughts are entering into you and permeating your whole inner and outer existence. Then you will have tranquillity in your body, in your vital, in your mind. Please try."

The following question referred to this answer.

Question: It seems that mystical experience cannot be forced in this way, in that manner. And I would think that if one thought that he could reason himself completely into religious awareness or experience, he might never really get there.

Sri Chinmoy: Why not? One grows into one's own thought, when one is aspiring. One of our greatest spiritual Masters, named Sri Ramakrishna, used to say, "If you say 'I am a sinner, I have committed so many sins, I must be a sinner", then you will always feel like a sinner and you will always be a sinner. You will be earthbound. But if you say, 'My Father is God; I am free, eternally free," then you will become free. This is the positive way. God has created me in His image. I have to be consciously one with Him. He is one with me. Of this, I am consciously aware. You grow into these divine thoughts. You are not forcing experience; you are entering into the consciousness of a true devoted servitor of God and when this devotion and union become an integral and natural part of your everyday life, the higher mystical experiences will come by themselves.

If you really want to have Divine Oneness as your goal and if you say, "This is my goal," either you have to reach your goal with your aspiring inner cry or by asserting your own inner will and revealing what is already within you. You know you are God's Son; either you have to cry for that realisation or you have to feel that you already, in fact, have it within you and you just have to uncover it. There are two ways. One way is to go, like a beggar to your Father, saying, "Father, give me, give me Yourself." The other way is to feel that the Father has kept everything inside you in a box and inside the box is a jewel. The key is also inside you. Now if you have a spiritual teacher as your guide, the teacher can show you where the box is, where the key is and how to open the box. But if you don't have a spiritual teacher as your guide, then you have to cry for this inner experience of oneness. Crying does not mean shedding tears, but it means the inner cry of intense aspiration. This is the way to uncover your inner divinity. This is how our thoughts help us to enter into true, mystical experiences.

Question: Would you please explain the difference in some words you used: "Physically," "vitally," "mentally" and "psychically" ...I don't understand the difference between "vitally" and "physically."

Sri Chinmoy: You know that we have a body, this gross physical body. But inside the physical, we have a subtle physical body, which is the counterpart, on the subtler planes, of the physical body. Now inside or behind the subtle physical body is the vital sheath, Now where in our spiritual life does the vital come in? We know that when the soul comes to earth, it takes a physical form. We are inclined to think that this physical world is the only world. But there are many worlds. There are seven superior worlds and seven inferior worlds. The vital plane is one of these worlds. There is a mental world and there is a psychic or soul's world. According to our Indian philosophy there are seven higher worlds and seven lower worlds. The vital world is inside or behind the physical world and it is from the vital world that we get this vital sheath. The vital sheath is responsible for our ordinary desires and human emotions. When I use the word "vitally" I refer to the dynamic, emotional part of our nature. When I speak of the "lower vital", I am referring to the unillumined and untransformed parts of our desire nature. Often I refer directly to the physical sex-life when I say "lower vital". The ordinary vital comprises those emotions and passions which are not touched by the divine light, such as ordinary joy and sorrow, anger, excitement, etc.

The vital sheath came from the vital world and it will return to the vital wood and be dissolved there when the soul leaves the body. Where will the mind go? It will go back to the mental world. It is from the vital world that we get the vital being. "Vitally" refers to the dynamic, emotional nature and "physically" of course refers to the physical nature.

Question: Do you mean that the vital body is a less dense form of matter than the physical body and it interpenetrates or gets within the physical body?

Sri Chinmoy: The vital body is undoubtedly less dense than the physical body. The mental body is still lighter. The deeper you go within, the more subtle these bodies become: subtle, subtler, subtlest. But on the physical plane, we have this gross body. We have three main bodies and each body has a different substance. There is the Sthula Sharira, the gross physical body, inside it is the Sukshma Sharira, the subtle body. Then inside the subtle body is another body called the Karana Sharira, the causal body. The causal body contains everything in the being in seed form. Everything that is going to be manifested outwardly is contained in the Karana Sharira. When we go from the causal body to the subtle body, a manifestation actually takes place on the subtle planes of the physical. This manifestation is very ethereal in substance and cannot usually be seen with the outer eyes. However, people who have inner vision often see things happening on the subtle planes, where the manifestation begins. Then from the subtle body, the manifestation enters into the dense, material plane. Here the experiences, the realities, the realisations take their external and outer form. So this is how the manifestation of everything takes place: from the causal to the subtle to the gross physical plane.

Question: Which of these bodies is involved in extra-sensory perception and other psychic experiences?

Sri Chinmoy: All of them. All three bodies participate in the experiences. And once one gets the Real Experience, by which I mean realisation, one sees the experience in all the three bodies, the physical, the subtle and the causal all at once and also in the three worlds to which these three bodies belong: the physical, world, the subtle physical world and the causal world. When it is a matter of realisation, one will see, feel and become that realisation in all three planes of consciousness.

But this is not the case with minor experiences. Some ordinary unimportant experiences only the physical body will receive. And for people who do not have a strong hold on the material world, but who have an opening to the subtle world, they may receive certain experiences only in the subtle body. If it is not at all important, the experience may be received only in one body… just ordinary, minor happenings. But if something serious is experienced, then it must be recorded in all three bodies.

Question: Can you say something about past lives?

Sri Chinmoy: One has to be very careful when one deals with reincarnation. Suppose you are extremely eager to know about your past and you go to someone who claims to be able to tell you about your past lives. There are many clairvoyants, mediums, card-readers, etc. Ninety-nine percent of them are simply fabricating interesting stories. Most of these people are fakes. Some people claim to know about their own past incarnations and there are dozens of pocket books on the bookstands full of fascinating accounts of what people claim to have experienced in their past lives. But to a spiritual person, one of the signs that these accounts are totally untrue is that very frequently the person who claims to remember his past incarnation claims that he or she was a person of the opposite sex. Now a genuine spiritual Master knows that a woman will reincarnate as a woman and a man will always be a man in every lifetime. The exceptions are so rare that they can be left aside for the purposes of this discussion. So here is the first sign that their truth is no truth.

Secondly, their past lives as they describe them are often very bizarre or flamboyant or most extraordinary. These people almost never have past lives that are quiet or ordinary or modest. And there are many more things I could say about the consciousness of people who claim to remember their past lives. It is not easy to see your past lives. It is very hard to know one's past incarnations. Except for rare glimpses and flashes, you have to be an advanced seeker before your soul will give you the knowledge of what it did before.

Now there are some spiritual Masters who have the capacity to tell you anything about your past incarnations. They can easily tell. But what will it accomplish for you? Suppose a Master tells you that in your past incarnation, you were a thief … a dacoit. What will be your immediate reaction? You will say, "I was a thief. Then it is useless for me to think of God in this life. In my last life, I was so low. I was such an unspiritual soul." So you feel that in this life also you will be doomed to disappointment. Now the Master has told you about your past life. He has played his part. But who is the sufferer? You, yourself. If, on the other hand, he tells you that you were the President of the United States, you will immediately think, "Now in this present incarnation, where am I? I am nowhere near that." Immediately you will be disheartened. You will feel, "O God, in my last life, I was so great, but in this life I am nothing. So I see that it is useless. I will not aspire because I can never be what I was." So knowing that you were someone very high only created disappointment in you.

Now here is another possibility. If someone tells you that in your past incarnation, you started your inner journey, your spiritual journey, that you cried inwardly, you meditated, then that is a different story. You did not complete your task. You did not come to the end of the road; you did not reach your Goal. When you learn this, you get true inspiration. You say, "There is a Goal and I started my journey. Let me go forward. Let me aspire to reach the Goal. This is the purpose of my life."

Question: Will you give me an opportunity to have a private talk with you?

Sri Chinmoy: You have to forgive me. This time it is impossible. I will be coming back in January and at that time, I shall stay for about a month. If you care to stay with the Centre, until I come back, certainly I will give you an interview. So if you can stay for another month, I will be coming back again in January and remaining here another month. At that time, I will give you a very satisfactory interview, if you stay. This time, unfortunately, I will not be able to give any interviews because tomorrow I have much work.

If you want to come the day after tomorrow, on Thursday morning at 10:00 a.m. you are most welcome, all of you. And if you want to feel the highest Peace, Light and Bliss, you are most welcome at ten o'clock. Please come a few minutes early. On New Year's Day, we have to forget the past.

According to our philosophy, the past is dust precisely because the past has not given us what we wanted. Yesterday did not give us realisation. That is why today we are crying for realisation. If yesterday did not give us what we want, tomorrow has to give it to us. So we have to come out of the past, although what was good in the past, we will take. But what happens, very often, is that we enter into the world of depression. "Yesterday I did not get realisation. Am I a fool? How is it that I may get it today? Since yesterday, I did not get realisation, today also I will not get it. This is our human understanding. So I wish to tell all of you that if yesterday, you did not realise God, that does not mean that today you are not going to realise Him. Today, with your aspiration, you are bound to feel se Him. And if you cannot do it today, then tomorrow. You cannot say that God is not going to give it to you today.

1969

Question: Upon bringing a man born blind to be cured by Jesus Christ, his apostles asked him, "Who sinned, that this man was born blind? Did he sin or did his parents sin?" Christ answered, "No, it is so the works of God may be shown through him."

Sri Chinmoy: Christ was absolutely right. Nobody had done anything wrong, but it was God who was acting through him. God has experiences in and through every individual. It is true that as you sow, so you reap. If we do something wrong, we meet with punishment. This we see in the outer world. But at the same time, when we go deep within, we see that it is God who is the Doer and God is also the Action. In such cases, if one is very spiritual, one transcends the law of karma.

Now I wish to tell you something. The law of karma is limited but the Grace of God is unlimited. Again, inside the Grace, what do we see? It is God's experience. Within His infinite Grace and in His cosmic law, God is having the experience. When He is in His cosmic law, He follows the principle, "As you sow, so you reap." But when He goes beyond His cosmic law, beyond the universal phenomena, there He is boundless, He is infinite, He is limitless. There He does not follow any law or orderly principle. He is above, far above. He is owner of all His laws.

In connection with your question, I wish to say that the Christ was absolutely right. It was not the karma of that particular person; it is God who wanted to have a particular experience, a significant experience in and through that particular human being.

The thing is that one can go beyond the cosmic law. Even here on earth, when there is Grace, this Divine Grace can easily nullify the cosmic law. I think I have told you here a few times that there is an analogy. Suppose right in front of you there are two children, five years old. One is standing with his father and the other is all alone. The one who is standing with his father suddenly comes running and strikes the other one. Now the poor little fellow, the one who was struck, comes back to strike the first one, but the father is standing there and does not allow his child to be beaten. Similarly, although the cosmic law says that if you strike, you will be stricken, as you sow, so you reap, why is it that the one who committed the crime was not beaten? Just because he had the father. Who was the father? Someone who had more power. He was only a human being, but the father had more power than the little child. Similarly in our life, when you do something wrong, if we know how to aspire, how to pray, how to cry, immediately we approach the Highest Power, the Strongest Power, the Mightiest Power. That Mightiest Power comes to our rescue. It is inside us and at the same time, it is Beyond. It operates in this world: at the same time, it transcends this world if you know how to cry, if you know how to pray, that infinite Power, that Highest Power is bound to come to your aid, even though you made a mistake. You have made a mistake and the results are due to come in the form of painful punishment. But this punishment can be easily nullified by the intervention of a third power, the Highest Power. So here you can see, even in this world, that the cosmic law, "As you sow, so you reap," cannot be applied all the time.

Question: There are persons who pray and still are suffering!

Sri Chinmoy: How do you know that they have not received the Grace of God? Someone is suffering here, let us say; somebody has been suffering for a couple of months. At the same time, he prays to God most soulfully. I wish to say that this particular person who is suffering would have suffered for perhaps ten years. We do not know how long a person is destined to suffer by his own karma. Even during the suffering if one prays, meditates, contemplates, he will see that the suffering is bound to diminish or the duration of the suffering is being diminished.

The law of karma right now is beyond human comprehension, but if one lives all the time in God's infinite grace, then God will not only perfect that particular devotee and aspirant, but will show him the process of the Divine Grace: how it operates, when it operates and where it operates in a particular disciple.

Question: Why did Sri Ramakrishna not cure himself if he had the power?

Sri Chinmoy: In Ramakrishna's case, he himself knew and we definitely know that his disease was not due to his own karma. It was the karma of his disciples that he accepted and embraced. Sri Ramakrishna accepted very few disciples as his very own, when he was in the land of the living. When sixteen or seventeen true disciples had come to him, he said, "Stop now…..I don't want to have any more." Although the number of disciples was very few, their sincerity was so genuine and pure, that he really accepted the consequences of the disciples' wrong actions. He used to enter into the vital world, the lowest vital world, and almost every day he cleaned them and purified his disciples. Then, the ignorance that was about to attack them he would invite to himself, saying, "Don't touch my children, touch me." Not only the punishment for the wrong actions of the disciples did he accept gladly, but also the ignorance that would have threatened the disciples in future years. So on the strength of his intuitive oneness with his disciples, Ramakrishna accepted all his sufferings.

Now once it happened that Vivekananda, his dearest disciple, asked him, "Why don't you go and tell Mother Kali to cure you? You have the power to cure yourself, but if you don't want to, go and ask Mother to cure you."

He said, "Why?"

Vivakananda said, "If you are cured, you will be able to eat. Now you cannot eat anything; you are in such pain. You cannot put anything inside you."

So Ramakrishna went to Mother Kali and said, "Mother, Naren is telling me to ask you to cure me, so that I can eat." The Mother said, "What is wrong with you? You are eating perfectly." Ramakrishna said, "When? I am not eating." She replied, "You are not eating? You are eating through your hundreds of devotees and admirers and disciples. When they eat, are you not eating? Do you have to eat separately? In their eating, you are eating." Immediately he fell silent and went back to Vivekananda and told him, "I will never listen to you again. My Mother has told me that I am eating through you and eating through all my disciples. I am one with you."

So on the strength of his oneness, he became fully one with the suffering of his disciples. That is how and why Sri Ramakrishna took upon himself the suffering of the disciples. Otherwise he could easily have avoided this. But on the other hand, from the ultimate point of view, we can say that Mother Kali gave him the most significant experience of true oneness through his dearest disciples.

Question: What is the difference between the soul and the Spirit?

Sri Chinmoy: The Soul is the direct representative of the Supreme in each human being. The Supreme manifests Himself in each individual, as well as in every other form of life. He comes down as a living form when the individual soul begins its journey, its divine pilgrimage. When the animal enters into the human evolution, when one becomes human for the first time, his soul starts its divine journey proper. At the beginning, the human is partly animal and partly divine; his soul is like a small jewel implanted in clay. In each incarnation the jewel becomes more evident and more luminous. As the human grows and evolves spiritually, the divine jewel inside him shines more powerfully, until at the very end of his pilgrimage the person is full of radiance and the divine jewel, the soul, illumines his whole being. He himself becomes the soul. So the soul is the divine representative.

The Spirit is something different. It is not really connected directly with the earth. The Spirit is an aspect of the Highest Transcendental Consciousness which plays upon, shines down upon each individual soul, but is itself undifferentiated. The Spirit is eternally one, undifferentiated like the white light of the Supreme before it is broken up into different colours. The Spirit is higher than the soul. It pours down as a manifesting Divine Power and protection for humanity directly from the Unmanifest for the manifested cosmos. It is a kind of divine radiation hovering above and influencing the earth. It is a very high and unified Force from the Supreme. The Spirit should not be confused with other divine qualities of the Supreme, such as Peace, Power, Light, etc.

As you know, the soul, although it is a portion of the Supreme, is individualised and differentiated. Each soul possesses its own colour, fragrance, divine attributes and even its own mission and destiny. But the Spirit is eternally undifferentiated. The Spirit has a direct connection with the Supreme and also an exalted connection with the creation. When the Supreme breaks Himself up into small individual entities, you have the individual souls. When His Force is sent down as a pure and unified power, in direct touch with the Supreme, but hovering over humanity, high above, that is the Spirit. Normally we do not have the same direct connection with the Spirit that we do with the soul. The Spirit is there above us and only when we are in the highest meditation or in contemplation, can we reach it or be in touch with it. It silently advises the soul, elevates the soul or can illumine or console the soul.

We are speaking about the Spirit with a capital "S". In English we also use the term "spirit" for a multitude of small entities like ghosts, elves, gnomes, hostile elementals used in black magic, etc. These beings are small and insignificant and are not to be confused with the Spirit, the Transcendent Force coming from the Unmanifest. The soul is individualised; the Spirit is unindividualised.

Question: Does evil have a real existence?

Sri Chinmoy: At the highest level of spiritual consciousness, there is no such thing as evil, but in the lower manifestation of divinity here on earth, there is something which we call ignorance. This ignorance has been interpreted in the Western world as evil, sin and so forth.

Now if you say that by losing contact with the Divine, we have allowed evil to take birth inside us or in the world atmosphere, I say it is true to some extent, but let us not use the world "evil". We should rather use the word "ignorance" here because in this world we human beings are not in direct contact or in conscious union with God. We are one in God; that is one thing. But conscious union is altogether a different matter. So when most of us are not in conscious oneness with God, we are away from the Highest, from the deepest Truth or the Transcendental Reality. So you can call it "evil" if you like, but I would like to call it ignorance.

In India there is a philosophy called Vedanta philosophy. The followers or practitioners of that philosophy are not satisfied even with calling it ignorance; they will say that it is a mere obstacle in our path. What you call evil, what I call ignorance, they call an impediment, an obstacle in our way to absolute oneness with God.

So if you take evil in the sense of ignorance or an obstruction on earth, it does exist. But if you say that evil is something very dark or dangerous, like a roaring lion wanting to devour us at every moment, standing right against the Divine Will, a demon or a hostile force incarnate, it is not like that. It is only the play of ignorance in the lower planes of consciousness that we see. We use various terms to describe it. In the highest world, the spiritual world, there is no evil and God Himself has not created any evil. God had created only Good, Light, Peace and Bliss.

Question: Is it acceptable to offer the joy that one derives from one's outer life to God? For instance, my music, my songs — although they are not religious songs — or is it an offense?

Sri Chinmoy: It is not at all an offense; on the contrary, you can please God most through your music. The songs need not be particularly spiritual. If you can sing spiritual songs, well and good, but if you sing ordinary songs with a soulful voice, then your soul will come to the fore at that time and your joy, the joy that you get when you are singing the song, if you offer it to God, God will be most pleased with you.

Now in your eyes, you are an infinitesimal portion of God. Each human being thinks that he is only the tiniest portion of the infinite ocean, a bubble. But in God's sight, it is not like that. You may think of yourself as one individual. You may think that God has on earth infinite children but that you are not really one of His children. That is your idea. But God takes you as His very image, as His chosen instrument on earth. God takes you as His representative here on earth. Each individual God takes as His own representative, conscious or unconscious. God is conscious that He has sent you into the world as His representative, but you are not conscious. In order to become conscious, you have to realise God consciously, like me.

This is the difference between a realised person and an unrealised person. But in the case of God, He is most pleased with you because you have offered to Him what you have. God has given you a most remarkable voice, a soulful voice and you are offering God what He has given to you.

We cannot give to God anything more than He has given us. If He has given me a voice to sing, I will give Him my voice. If He has given me the dancing capacity, I will dance and please Him; if He has given me the capacity to write poems, then through poems, I shall please Him. He has given me this divine gift; it is I who have to offer what I have back to Him. He gives and I have to return it to Him. Nothing do we create on our own. He gave us everything and with our deepest gratitude, we are offering Him what He first gave. So what we have and what we are, what you are and what you have, if you can consciously give to God, God will be most pleased.

So in your case, I wish to say that with each song, each line you sing, if you can feel it as a dedication to God, no matter what song you are singing (it may not be spiritual; it may be romantic or anything else) but the very act of dedication purifies your song, illumines your inner life and your outer life. Then you become one with God. While singing on the radio, feel that you are singing to please God inside your admirers, inside the audience. Those who are seeing you or listening to you… please try to feel that you are pleasing the divinity in them, but that you are pleasing God at the same time in that way, you are killing two birds with one stone. You are pleasing your admirers and the audience, but you are pleasing the One who is dearest to you, who is God.

The most important thing in your life is to please Him in humanity. Then God is most pleased and each time you sing, please try to feel that you are offering each song, each line, as a flower or a garland of flowers to God, placing it at His feet. Then God will be most pleased. Now also He is pleased because your singing is the capacity, the talent He has given you and you are offering it back to Him. You surely are doing the absolutely right thing. Please continue it. And if you follow the spiritual path, you will develop an infinitely better voice, the inner voice, and you will please God infinitely more. I wish you to concentrate here, on this Centre, the throat. This Centre is called, in Sanskrit, the Vishuddha or Kanta Chakra. The Chakra is right here in the centre of the throat. If you can concentrate daily on it for about five minutes or ten minutes, you will notice an improvement in your voice.

Question: What should be the approach of the aspirant to the concept of the Supreme?

Sri Chinmoy: There should be no mental approach, first of all. The Supreme has infinite aspects. If the aspirant gets inspiration or aspiration to see the Supreme, let us say, in a human body, in human form, there is nothing wrong with it. Again, if the aspirant wants to feel the supreme concept as that of infinite Consciousness or infinite Light or infinite Power, he can meditate on that. But it has to come from within.

Some spiritual Masters say that God should be realised in a human form; then the seeker will be more convinced. Experiencing Him in His infinite aspect and infinite consciousness, they say, makes it difficult for the aspirant to even believe in the personal God. But I wish to say that the personal Supreme and the impersonal Supreme, we all know, are One. So each aspirant must realise the Supreme, both in His personal aspect and in His impersonal aspect. In His personal aspect, there is a form which we can see — golden; you cannot describe it. It is beyond description, the colour of the Supreme! It is dazzling and divinely luminous. It is all golden, beyond human description. That is the personal aspect of the Supreme when you see Him in a form. And again, when He is formless, it is all Consciousness or Energy or Power.

So there should be no approach. If from within, you get an inner urge to see the Supreme as a personal Being, try to approach Him or try to meditate on Him in the personal aspect. Again, if you feel you will be happy to see Him in His impersonal aspect, then meditate on the impersonal aspect. But the inner urge of the aspirant will make the aspirant run towards a particular goal. And once he reaches the Goal, there the personal and the impersonal become totally one.

Question: When I meditate on you, I feel that I enter into you as a personal God. Is there anything higher than that?

Sri Chinmoy: In my picture, my Transcendental picture, I am totally one with the Supreme. There I fully represent the Supreme and I am totally one with the Supreme in His Transcendental Consciousness. I personally look at my own Transcendental picture when I am not in my highest; there I am like a beggar. At times I look at my picture for two or three seconds and I enter into it. When I am in my normal consciousness, I see the difference between my highest and my lowest. There it is the top of the Himalayan peak and here, when I am cutting jokes and all that, it is lower than the foothills of the Himalayas.

But again, inside me, the divine consciousness and the infinite consciousness are very vigilant. It is not that I drop from heaven into hell. No. My highest is always accessible to me when I need it.

When you are concentrating on me, meditating on me, you are absolutely right in feeling that you enter into my Infinite Consciousness which is totally one with the Supreme. At that time, there is no difference between the Supreme and my Infinite Consciousness. At the time when I meditate right in front of you, in front of the disciples, here and in New York, I become everything that one can think of and aspire for. Even in the physical body, which you see inside the frame of the picture, the soul and the physical existence become totally one and there I see and I become the entire universe. At the same time, the entire universe is inside me.

And this experience of yours — I am so happy that you have it. In New York also, there are two or three who have told us about this. If the closest, dearest disciples feel that they can get everything from their Guru, from their Master, there is no mistake in it. It is absolutely true. For the disciple, the Guru represents the Supreme here on earth.

Question: What are the ways that we can expand our receptivity to the Supreme?

Sri Chinmoy: You can expand your receptivity, you can enlarge yourself in receiving the Supreme in your inner life as well as your outer life just by feeling that you are extremely helpless. You are a babe in the woods without the Supreme. Again with the Supreme, you are everything. Without the Supreme, you are nothing, nothing, nothing. With the Supreme, you are everything. This thought, this idea, this truth must be implanted on the tablet of your heart all the time. You are nothing without the Supreme; you are everything with Him. In this way, your receptivity automatically increases because you have already realised the real Truth in your inner life as well as in your outer life. You know that your entire existence depends on Him, your inner existence as well as your outer existence. Your outer existence depends on Him; your inner existence also depends on Him. If you feel that your entire existence is meaningless, useless, absurd if He is not inside you and within you to guide you, to mould you, to shape you, and at the same time to fulfil Himself in you and through you, then your receptivity will expand. Receptivity is bound to come the moment you feel that the Supreme is the only object of your life and it is He who is meaningful, essential, and inevitable in your life, both the inner and the outer life.

Always try to see, from now on please, that you are the chosen child of the Supreme just because He is utilising you. But if you feel that you are utilising yourself with your own ego and pride, then you are thousands of miles away. The moment you are away from Him, you have to feel that you are nothing, you are useless. The moment you are one with Him with your dedication, devotion and surrender you will feel that you are everything. When you feel that you are everything, automatically your receptivity expands.

Then there is another way to expand your receptivity. During your meditation, try consciously to have inner joy. Suppose the inner joy does not come to you all at once, then try to imagine for a few seconds or a few minutes that you have it. This will not be something false. You can take it as pure imagination but this imagination will help you to some extent in the long run, perhaps a few weeks later, to bring forth the true inner joy. Why? Because you are sincerely aspiring to get true inner joy. You are not going to stop with imagination, far from it. You have intense aspiration; however, at the same time, you don't have inner joy right in front of you. But you are crying for inner joy and this inner joy does not come. But your aspiration is so intense that it is going to bring you true inner joy in a few minutes' time. But before this, you can imagine. Imagination helps the aspirant to some extent and it intensifies the power of aspiration. Gradually, in the course of time you get genuine inner joy.

So to come back to your question, to expand your receptivity to the Supreme, you first need to feel helpless without the Supreme. Then you need to feel inner joy, for its very nature is to expand. You cannot bind inner joy. The very nature of inner joy is expansion, expansion, expansion. When you expand, your receptivity will automatically expand like a vessel that keeps getting larger. This is the way in which you can expand your receptivity in order to receive the Supreme in infinite measure.

Question: Does the factor of having spiritual experiences make you closer to the Supreme?

Sri Chinmoy: Now here I wish to say both yes and no. Sometimes you may get experiences, inner experiences, higher experiences and then, what do you feel from them? You get inner joy, inner zeal, but this inner joy and inner zeal are not enough to bring you closer to the Supreme. When you get inner experiences, it inspires you. Your very joy does take you nearer to your Goal. But you have to know that these experiences have been given to you by the Supreme. There are other persons to whom the Supreme has not given these experiences. So the experience is not the most important thing.

Another person has not been given a particular experience. The Supreme has not given it to him, but the Supreme wants that particular person to come to Him without the experience. So it depends on the Supreme. The Supreme can bring you to Him by giving experiences and He can bring you to Him without experiences. But I wish to say that each person has to have a few major experiences, a few higher experiences. If you say that he needs hundreds of higher experiences in order to realise the Supreme, that would be foolishness. There are people who have had only three, four or five major experiences and then, in the process of their meditation, they realise God. Again there are others who have had hundreds and thousands of experiences before they realise God So what is important? Aspiration. Then the rest we must leave to the Will of the Supreme. If He wants to take you to Him with innumerable experiences, well and good. If He wants to take you with just a few experiences, well and good. But one thing is that when you get experiences, you get inspiration, you get joy, you feel that you are fed. So that gives you inspiration to meditate again and again. But a real spiritual farmer goes on digging the ground. He does not care for the immediate crop. His very nature is to plow the field and he knows that at God's hour, he will get the bumper crop. So a real aspirant will continuously dig the inner soil and at God's hour, he will get a bumper crop. If you get experiences, wonderful; if you don't get experiences, do not feel that God is displeased or that it is an indication that you are not marching towards God, that you are not getting closer to God. That is wrong. Is it clear?

Question: I want to ask about the meaning of the gods. What powers do they represent?

Sri Chinmoy: You have Ganesha, so I wish to speak only on Ganesha because there are so many gods that it would take a very long time. So I will speak only on the god Ganesha.

Ganesha is the son of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva had two sons and Ganesha is the elder. The younger one is Kartikeya. Ganesha destroys all human darkness and he is worshipped or invoked by all Indians without exception. At the time of ceremonies, before we perform any rituals, we have to pronounce the name of Ganesha or offer obeisance to him. Ganesha is also called Siddhidada, one who gives siddhi, spiritual powers and realisation, one who fulfils our aspiration. So no matter what we aspire for, we have to please Ganesha first. When he is pleased, we can rest assured that we can have victory in our inner life as well as in our outer life.

One thing I would like to say is that the functioning of Ganesha is slow and steady. Slow and steady wins the race. Some gods, like the cosmic gods, work very fast through their aspirants, through their disciples and devotees, whereas Ganesha works slowly, steadily, and at the same time most confidently. When Ganesha achieves success in and through a devotee, this success remains. This success lasts forever. This is all I can say about Ganesha right now.

Question: I would like to know in which way to invoke Ganesha.

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, if you have a picture of Ganesha, you should place it in your room, in one of the southern corners or on the south wall. Facing the south, you should pray to Ganesha. In India, we invoke this god thus: "AUM. Dakshine Ganeshaya namah." Now AUM you understand from all that we have said about it. Dakshine Ganeshaya namah means, "I bow to Ganesha who abides in the south." This way you can start.

Now if you don't care for the southern part of the room, no harm. You can repeat the name Ganesha most soulfully one hundred and eight times. Either you take your rosary beads and with them say "Ganesha, Ganesha, Ganesha," etc. or on your finger tips you count "Ganesha" one hundred and eight times. In India, we are always advised to repeat the names of the spiritual Masters or deities or cosmic gods one hundred and eight times at least, and this, three times a day. Early in the morning is the best time and four o'clock is the hour of God. We call it the Brahma Muhurta. At that time, the cosmic gods start functioning; that is, the actual day dawns. So the best time for meditation is four o'clock in the early morning. But in the West, it is simply impossible. To most Westerners, we say that the moment they get up is the Hour of God! If it is five o'clock, if it is seven o'clock, even if it is ten o'clock, that is the Hour of God. That will be your first time of day. Then at noon, by which time everybody is up, you can meditate again. Then in the evening, at the twilight hour, it is again the best time for repeating the name of Ganesha and meditating. So you can do this.

Question: They are all the same, Ganesha and the other Gods?

Sri Chinmoy: They are all the branches. The Tree is one. You have studied Indian Scriptures? Yes? Oh, I am happy. "Ganesha: AUM Dakshina Ganesha." That is what they say. "Oh, Lord Ganesh, please grant me your help and blessings."

Disciple: Also Lakshmi, Kali, and Saraswati.

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, but there are also symbolic names for these deities. What are their symbolic names, please? Do you know? Each one has a secret name. Each god has a symbolic, secret name. They don't use the name Lakshmi, for example. When a spiritual figure, an aspirant, prays to Lakshmi, he will not say, "Lakshmi, Lakshmi."

There is a secret way of praying to Lakshmi, uttering her secret name. It is possible to use the ordinary name but here is a great secret term, which is the word, Shring. For Kali, you have to say Kring For Krishna there is one; we call it Kling.

What do they do when they want to have some spiritual power, psychic power? They don't say "Lakshmi, Lakshmi." What they do is very rapidly they repeat this name: "Shring, Shring, Shring, Shring." And if it is Kali, who is the bestower of power, it is "Kring, Kring, Kring, Kring, Kring, Kring, Kring." And within ten minutes you will feel a kind of power all over you. If it is done in the proper manner, you will get the results. These are the secret names, we call them the seed terms for each god.

Question: The question of responsibility has purified me for a long time. I have heard that the law of Karma is inexorable, that each action has its reaction; that any transgression of the law brings forth the corresponding reaction in the form of punishment or whatever it may be.

Now for example, a tyrant arises to power in a country and starts committing murders, imposing his will through the most brutal means. He stays in power for many years and causes suffering and bloodshed to millions of people. The prisons are full of innocent people. Why is it that he stands so long in power, doing so much harm. Is he responsible for his actions or is he not? If his actions cause such destruction, with holocausts of persecution and crimes, how is he going to pay to the Supreme for the many horrors that he has caused, the many crimes he has committed through his subordinates? Who is really responsible to the Cosmic Will? If not even the tiniest leaf of a tree moves without the Will of God, and God is All-Love and All-Justice, is the Supreme in all things absolutely perfect and absolutely loving? Why do those things happen and who is responsible?

Sri Chinmoy: Now who is actually responsible? This man is a tyrant. He is destroying the country and has been doing it for one year, three years, six years, and years beyond. Now let us see who is the tyrant and who is destroying the world. The tyrant is actually an instrument. Just as we are instruments of the divine force, he is an instrument of an undivine force, a dark force. Now there is a cosmic law. True. You say that nothing can be done on earth without God's approval. If God is all kindness, all love, how is it that God is tolerating this kind of injustice on earth?

Now I wish to say that God has given us very limited freedom. He Himself has limitless freedom but when we enter into the physical world, we have very limited freedom. This limited freedom we start to misuse. When an individual starts misusing this power, that power enters into the cosmic vibrations, or let us say, the Cosmos. There it vibrates in a wrong way. Then it spreads into the atmosphere of the world.

Now who is responsible? Undoubtedly the person who is destroying and torturing the world, but behind him there is a destructive force. Where did that force come from? It came from ignorance. Where did ignorance start? It started from matter. Now why did matter allow ignorance to abide inside itself? When Spirit entered into matter, in the beginning matter did not like Spirit, and matter did not respond to Spirit's action. Spirit is all Light, all perfection. But matter found it difficult to be totally identified with Spirit. So matter began to have its own life. Life is existence; and matter wanted its own existence which was, and is, based on pure inconscience. So you see, Spirit came and touched matter, but matter refused to respond. Inside matter dwells ignorance, and inside ignorance, can be found powerfully destructive forces. The destructive force is waiting to be channelled. How? It is waiting for a person who is ready to be an agent of its power.

Let us speak of responsibility again. Now if you see the Supreme as ultimately the Highest, then we also have to say that since He has approved our limited freedom, or since He has given us our limited freedom, He also has the capacity to withdraw this limited freedom. Now in the case of the tyrant you have spoken of, he has now been in power for ten years, twenty years, let us say. But in God's eyes, since He deals with Infinity and Eternity, these twenty years are not even a particle of a second, not even an infinitesimal portion of a second.

Then His Heart: we see the battlefield. The heart of the Supreme on the one hand is flooded with infinite Peace, infinite Harmony, infinite Joy, infinite Delight, but again on His Heart we see nothing but a battlefield of dark forces constantly fighting with divine forces; fighting, fighting. But the ultimate Victory will be His because He wants Light to prevail on earth.

So when He wants Light to prevail on earth, it means that He has taken responsibility. Right now we do not know the outcome of the battle. He is playing with a football, kicking it to this side and that side. Here is the goal post. He is pretending to kick the ball, pass the ball through. But instead of doing this, He changes His play, and using His left foot, He kicks the ball. There He secures His goal, His object. Similarly, in the beginning we feel that the dark forces that we see will eventually touch the goal, in the sense that they will destroy the entire world. For them that is the goal. But I tell you that the dark forces cannot destroy the world because the Light is God. Atom bombs will not be able to destroy God's creation because God's creation is God's body. If God wants to keep His body safe, He is fully responsible. How can he be separated from His body? Let us take God as the Soul and creation as His body. We know that without the soul, the body is useless. Again, without the body, the soul cannot manifest anything. So God's creation is God's body. How can they be separated? If God wants to fulfil His Vision and Reality together, if He wants His body and soul to go together, then naturally He will be responsible for both His soul and for His body.

So to come back to your question, Sanjivan. God is responsible. Ultimately He will be responsible both for His soul and His body. He is inside everything and finally responsible for everything.

But getting back to the tyrant. When we open our eyes, we see that there is a conflict right in front of us. The tyrant is misusing his limited freedom, but the responsibility goes to the Supreme. The Supreme, through His divine instruments, through His forces of Light, will eventually cause the destruction of the tyrant. Every tyrant is eventually overcome. Even if his brutal system remains, it is significantly weakened by the tyrant's own annihilation. Tyranny lasts only as long as we are in ignorance. Ignorance is temporary; conscious knowledge and perfection are permanent. Tyranny is only a temporary manifestation of darkness, ignorance and misuse of freedom. Since this is God's creation, eventually He is responsible for everything. He is so kind. He is infinitely great, infinitely compassionate. He says, "It is My fault".

Question: The consciousness of the self is a handicap in the path towards God-realisation and complete surrender. This self-consciousness will limit you in the world of plurality, differentiation and phenomena. Now, this is what we want to transcend because we are searching for that oneness of the Absolute. If we are searching for that oneness, where all differentiation ends and where you will integrate with the universal consciousness, you must try to pull away from these forces that will limit you in the sphere of personality or the ego, that will give you a distorted view of what humanity is, of what the purpose of life is and many causes of differentiation. You are dealing with phenomena that takes place in space and time. But you are not dealing with true values, the eternal values of the real Self. What I mean to say is that when I say that you have to transcend that self-consciousness, it is that you have to destroy this consciousness of the individuality as the "I" or the personality as the "I." You will have to live in a broader consciousness, in a broader vision, otherwise you cannot attain that goal. To reach that goal, we need the Master because the Master will be like a catalytic agent who will bring up those forces that are hidden in the inner Self so that they will flow into view.

Sri Chinmoy: So now, the part of the Master is the part of a private tutor. The Master is not the examiner. The Master is the tutor who constantly inspires you, teaches the aspirant inwardly. Then, who examines? God does not examine us. It is ignorance that stands in front of us. Doubt says: "Where are you going? " I am still, pass me, go beyond me. Doubt comes and stands in front of me. Fear stands in front of me. They are like solid blocks. So Master inspires and teaches the disciple how he can go, pass through fear and doubt and so forth.

Now you were speaking about self-consciousness. A spiritual aspirant must feel that his individuality and personality must be merged in his Master's or in God's individuality. Individuality is not the physical height, not that you are five feet, eleven inches, standing there full of aggression and lecturing to me. It is not that you are separate from the rest of the world. No. Divine individuality is the highest individual divinity in a person, not showing off how much power a person can exercise or how much knowledge he has attained. No. Individuality means the highest divinity which you have achieved as your own. When I say, "Aham Brahman, I am the Brahman," then your personality is full of Light. Your personality is the lantern-breadth of the universe. Your height is your divine individuality, your luminous breadth is your personality. If you can think that your breadth is your personality and height is your divine individuality, if you can concentrate on it, meditate on it, then the limited individuality and the limited personality which you see in your life is bound to go. You don't have to be conscious at each moment what your defects are. This is a very bad way of making progress in the spiritual life. Try to think what good qualities you have, not what bad qualities. By concentrating more and more on your good qualities, that means by concentrating more on light, you expand your light. Then that expansion automatically covers, envelops the darkness, doubt, fear in front of you. So, how can you expand? You see the positive side which is aspiration, purity, divine beauty, concentration, meditation. If you try the positive side, automatically you are going to the highest and that is your individuality. And when you are looking at this side, it is all your personality-covering. So I wish to tell you that to conquer self-consciousness, feel that you want to be, and say that you are God's child, that God-realisation is your birthright instead of saying that you are in darkness. How can I get rid of darkness? Darkness is all around me, inside me, inside the world. Let us see only the positive way. Then in that case it is not that we are ignoring the fact, the phenomenal world which is full of darkness, no. We are seeing what the reality is inside the phenomenal world and that reality is Light, that reality is Truth. When we consciously see reality and truth, then we expand. In the field of expansion, we expand and in the field of realisation, we go to the Highest. That is how it is done.

Always try, during your meditation, during your conscious life, to feel that you are God's chosen child, God's pride. You are not the pride of ignorance. You are the pride of God. God wants you. God needs you to fulfil Him, to manifest Him. Then, how are you going to think of this human world here on earth if you are only thinking of one individual and this and that? Say instead, "God needs me; thus I have surrendered. I have to fulfil God on earth because God wants it. Not that I want it, God wants me to realise Him, to fulfil Him on earth. What more do I need?" That is what the only concern should be for a spiritual aspirant. And in that concern everything is covered, everything in sight. All problems are solved, all answers are given when one feels that God wants him, God needs him for His manifestation on earth; and just because God wants him, not because he wants this thing from God. Here is the mistake. If he wants from God this and that, he will be frustrated, but God wants him and he wants to be consciously one with God's decision. So we can do all this. Right?

1970

Question: How can we teach ourselves to love people who hurt us? People who are bad?

Sri Chinmoy: Now here is the question. You say that in this world, you feel that some people are bad, really very bad. In this world, all people are not nice. Now by feeling that a person is very bad or by hating that person, are you gaining anything? Alright, you think someone is very bad. But either you will love him, or the opposite thing, you will hate him. Usually it is very difficult to be indifferent to someone when he has done something very hateful to you. Your immediate reaction will be to hate that person. But you will see what you have gained by hating that person, whether in fact, you have gained something or lost something. That particular person has not gained anything from your hatred. But what have you done? By hating that person, you have lost something very sweet in you. You have lost something. Why should one lose something very precious of her own, just because she wants to correct someone by hating him? In this world, we have to be very wise. You will say that he is very bad and that you have to do something. But hating is not the right instrument. If you want to use the right weapon, the most effective weapon will be love.

You may think that love is not a strong enough weapon, whereas hatred is just like a sharp knife. No. The power of love is infinitely more powerful than the power of hatred, because when you love someone, at that time his divine qualities have to come forward. Someone has done something nasty to you. Alright, but now what do you want? You want to punish him and strike him? After striking him, what will happen? In you, there is something called a conscience. That conscience will prick you. You will say, "What have I done? He has done something wrong, true, but now I have done something worse. Then in which way am I superior to him?"

Question: Can one develop this love?

Yes, you can develop it daily, if early in the morning, when you get up, you say your prayer to God, "Oh, God, in your creation I only want to see good qualities in others. If bad qualities are around me, or if people are bothering me, then please try to give me the necessary patience so that I can remain full of peace in my outer life. They have done wrong things to me but let me offer them my patience.

Question: Will God help me if I ask Him for help in that way?

Now look, this child of yours in the bedroom cries for food. You are in the kitchen, but you run when you hear the cry of your child. The child may be anywhere, but why do you come running from the kitchen? Because you have heard his cry. We are God's children and when He hears our cry, He comes to us. He comes to help us. He cherishes us because we are helpless and because we need Him. When we have a true need and when we cry most sincerely, God will certainly come. He will give you compassion, strength and the power to forgive and love the person who hurt you. God will change that person because when you yourself change, the other person is changed, also.

Question: I have read that one has to help oneself, too. If one does not help oneself, God will not help us.

But in the spiritual life, God gives us the capacity to do what He wants. Our surrender to Him is our way of helping ourselves, because He gives us the right attitude and tells us the kind of action that should take place in the outer world. God's Power and God's Light give us the capacity to help ourselves. We have to make an effort, but we must all the time remember that God is our Source. It is He who is giving us the capacity to help ourselves. We have to be His instruments. We do the work, but we have to do it for God. You are God's child and He will fulfil all your needs. Just as you fulfil your own child's needs, God will fulfil your needs.

Question: In each era God manifests in a different way. We are entering into the Aquarian Age. I was thinking that since energy changes her form of manifestation in each era, even psychic energy changes. There is a complete transformation of the creation in each era. I would like to know how true my argument is now.

Sri Chinmoy: Each era signifies a significant promise, but each era has been unsuccessful in a sense because it has not completed (it has not been able to complete) the whole drama in the way God wanted it to be completed or fulfilled. We are trying, in this era, to raise our consciousness to the Highest and bring down the Highest into the lowest.

When we think of transformation in the terms of an era, we have to be conscious of one thing and that is evolution. We are in the process of evolution. This process will find its proper satisfaction or complete satisfaction only when our human nature is completely transformed. You have heard of the eras of the past and there will be a few more eras in the future. We have to know whether the changes or the transformations that we have made up until now are really noticeable, whether these eras have brought any progress.

The transformation that we are crying for is the transformation of our human nature and human propensities. At the same time, we cannot deny that the ordinary person is making some kind of progress. He is getting a better life, a more fulfilling life. He may be transforming or changing himself but this change need not be actually for the better, even though we are all proceeding toward a higher life. But if one is not aspiring, you will see that he will be caught in his ignorance-sea even though while living there, he may start learning how to swim. In the beginning he was sinking all the time in ignorance-sea, drowning; now he knows how to swim and slowly, steadily, in God's own infinite time — God Himself knows when — one day he will be able to swim across the sea of ignorance and enter into the sea of knowledge.

So here we see again the play of an era. Human consciousness started to run towards the Light. Each era offers that opportunity to aspiring human souls, but what happens? That ignorance does not allow human consciousness to reach the Highest. Now we are marking time: one hour, two hours, three hours, four hours, but when we think of one hour, immediately we feel that in this one hour, we have to accomplish what we thought of accomplishing from the beginning. That is, we are standing still and yet we feel that in this era, we should accomplish everything that was not accomplished in all the past eras. Each era embodies a new hope, a new energy, a new will to accomplish the thing that has not yet been accomplished. But what happens? The promise is one thing, the fulfilment is another. There are various factors that do not allow the era to be fulfilled or to fulfil itself.

Now if you think of all the eras, according to our Hindu shastras, there are a great many, but right now we are in the Iron Age, they say. According to spiritual figures, this is the worst period. In this age, the world is going to be destroyed, it is said. When? Some say next month or next year. Some say tomorrow. But it is not true. What they call "destruction" will eventually be proved to be the transformation of human nature.

You were saying that each era is a promise towards a better understanding of Truth, but not even one era has fulfilled or has been able to fulfil its purpose. Here we are trying, but God knows how far we will succeed.

But what is going to happen? Ultimately, it may take a hundred years or two hundred, four hundred years or six hundred. It may take even thousands of years, but the Truth has to be fulfilled. Nobody, no hostile force, no undivine force can prevent Truth from being established. That is to say, Truth has to be established on earth and for that end, what is required from the earth's consciousness is the total transformation of human consciousness. Unless and until our human nature is completely and totally transformed, the Truth may touch the earth-consciousness, but it will not be able to stay there permanently, because the earth-consciousness is not wide enough to hold the Truth. The vessel is not big enough.

So, to come back to your question, Pratyay. In this era, we are trying to raise the aspiring consciousness into the Highest and bring the Highest into the lowest of our nature, so the Highest and the lowest can have a meeting-ground where the lowest totally transforms itself and becomes fully illumined by the Highest. Then they will work together inseparably.

Question: What is the quickest way to achieve self-control?

Sri Chinmoy: There are two major ways to achieve self-control. These are faster than other ways. First you have to have tremendous will-power. Determined will-power, you try to cultivate. Then you have to feel the necessity of the Grace. While you are feeling the necessity of the Grace, you have to feel that determined will-power is coming from the Divine Grace. First you can see them separately, your will-power, your determination, and God's Divine Grace. Now you will feel that it is your will-power that is causing the miracle in you, that you are controlling yourself. This is what you will feel, but this is not fully true. What is actually true is that the miracle-power which we call the Divine Grace is operating through you, through your determined will-power. Otherwise what happens is that the human will-power which people use is very limited. Today I say, "I won't do this; I won't eat that." This is my will-power, this is my determination. But tomorrow, I do the same wrong thing. I do that very thing. Though I said, "I won't eat it," I eat it. Though I said, "I won't do it," I do it.

Now the ordinary human determination that I had was also sincere. There are many people who have a sincere determination, but inside the determination, there was a lack of the Divine Grace. That is why they cannot continue their determination for a sustained period. So when you feel the necessity of the Divine Grace inside your will-power and when you feel that your will-power is operating so heartfully precisely because of the boundless power of God, which is manifesting itself in and through your limited will-power, then only can self-control be achieved very quickly and very completely.

Question: What changes do we have to make, when, as seekers, we have to work and eat with other persons who don't feel what we feel? Sometimes I have harsh reactions in my relations with the ordinary world.

Sri Chinmoy: It is true that you are superior to a street urchin because you are consciously praying to God and an ordinary person in the street is not thinking of God, is not praying to God, is not concentrating or meditating on God. In that way, naturally you are superior. But if you yourself consciously cherish the idea that you are a superior individual, then naturally you create a barrier between your existence and the existence of the people around you.

Now let us use an analogy. The mother is naturally superior to the child. But the mother does not consciously feel, twenty-four hours a day, that she is superior. What she feels is that she is absolutely one with the child. Hers is a feeling of oneness and not a feeling of superiority. It is we who say that the Mother has more knowledge, wisdom, more capacity, than the child. But if the mother consciously harbours the idea that she is superior to her child, then she won't be able to show affection or concern or be able to do anything for the child.

So if you consider the world around you and feel that you are superior because they are acting in an animal way, you won't be able to become one with them and enter into them. It is we, the witnesses, who will make the comparison, that you are superior to others who are not aspiring, who are still sleeping.

Now how can we mix with people who are not aspiring, who are destructive in their relationship with us? You lose your patience and you lose your temper, it is true.

Now every day, I am sure, you try to meditate. You not only try, you do meditate every day. Now when you go out, try to feel that your wallet is your spiritual bank. Early in the morning you meditated for five minutes and you gathered Peace, Light, Bliss and Power, etc. This all your money, your wealth. Just like nickels, dimes and dollar bills, you are putting all this money into your wallet. This is inner wealth, however. In the morning you meditated and you collected the money, this spiritual wealth, which you are putting into your wallet.

Now in your outer life, the moment you are displeased with someone, and you are about to fly into a rage, always when you are about to burst into fury, immediately try to open your inner wallet where you have kept the inner peace. These are the pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and bills that you have saved. If you can use your inner wealth, which is inside your wallet, then you will not be attacked by the wrong forces; at the same time, the peace and poise that you get from your inner wealth will prevent you from attacking them with your human power. What you will do while they are attacking you is to show your money, your light, bliss, peace, joy, etc. Just open your inner wallet and show them the solid protection that you have. They will not be able to enter into your inner sanctum when you have placed right in front of you a solid wall which is composed of your inner wealth.

Now every day when you meditate, try to feel that the result of your meditation will be in the form of spiritual currency and this currency you are putting into your wallet for later use. Then you will see that the rest of the world will not be able to torture you. At the same time, you will have no occasion to attack them.

Question: In one of your poems you say, "Hope lost... destruction close." What can one do if that person is losing hope? What can an aspirant do?

Why does a person lose hope? First of all, I wish to tell you why a person loses hope, not what he can do. Why does one lose hope? One loses hope because one feels that there is a certain period, a given time in which to achieve something. You have fixed the time, deciding that, for example, in two days you are going to achieve some specific thing. Now frequently in our hopes, we have inwardly fixed or recorded some particular time for the accomplishment of something. Outwardly we may say that in the near future, we hope to get something or to do something. But it is not entirely true. For if we go deep within ourselves, we see that our minds have already projected a particular date by which to finish something. Inside yourself, if you turn within, you will see that your mind has set the fifteenth of November, for example, as the date. Now when that date arrives, your outer mind may not know that this was the last date given or recorded in your inner mind's calendar. But on that day you will feel that everything has collapsed because you did not achieve and receive the hoped-for result. And when you don't see the result on that day, you feel miserable. You thought that hope was the instrument that would bring the result. On the given day, therefore, you lose hope; you lose the strength of hope even though your physical mind was not even aware of the day that was given by the inner mind. There you are lost. You lose hope.

Now what can you do to regain hope? Here we have to know that hope is not something weak. Very often our conception of hope is something very delicate; a sweet, smooth, soothing feeling which is a kind of balm to our outer minds. But this is not an adequate definition of hope. We have to know that hope is something very solid. It is something strong. It has seen the Truth, only it is unable to bring the Truth into its world. Hope is not something that is crying for the world beyond or crying for a truth which it has not seen. No. Hope has seen the Truth but it cannot and does not yet possess it.

So what can you do when you lose hope? If you know what it is, first of all, you will not lose it. If you know that hope is something that has already seen the Truth which you are ultimately going to achieve, then you will get strength from this knowledge. The time has not come; hope has not yet been able to bring the Truth in front of you. The real time which has been planned by God has not yet come.

Now again, what can you do to get back your hope? Try to cast aside all expectations from your desiring mind. It is the desiring mind that feeds our outer hope. If we can be above the desiring mind, and remain all the time in the spontaneity of our heart, we will have a constant feeling of divine possession, of possessing the Truth. We shall know then that hope is the vision that sees the reality and finally becomes the reality itself in the Supreme's own Hour.

Our inner heart is always full and complete, requiring nothing. It is our outer mind which feels that it needs something, wants something. Then hope comes into play. When you need something, hope begins to play its part, but when you need nothing, hope does not enter the picture, for it is not at all necessary.

Now I would like to point out that ordinary human hope can never be fulfilled because inside it there is no determination; there is no sincerity, there is no conscious willingness to accept the highest Truth. If, with our human hope, we want to achieve the Highest, the Ultimate, we will see that when the Highest is descending and descending, approaching our own human physical being, this human hope will be terrified and try to escape at the very moment that it sees the enormity of the reality that it was aspiring to possess.

Now let us look at the fulfilment, in boundless measure, of our ordinary human hope. Hope expected something, say five dollars. When fulfilment came, it came as five million dollars; immediately this human hope was overjoyed. Immediately also it loses its inner poise. When spiritual receptivity is lacking, we always lose our inner balance and poise. But if you started with Divine Hope, where Truth is already seen in its highest aspect, it needs only to be embodied. Your hope is only to bring that Truth into manifestation. There you do not lose your inner balance. Then when hope's fulfilment comes into you, you do not become unbalanced because you knew about it. You knew what was bound to happen. You remain poised.

Now your question was, "What can you do when you lose hope?" When you lose hope, you have to feel that the reality is bound to come to you precisely because you are in the world of aspiration. You are aspiring most sincerely, most devotedly, most uniquely. You are doing the right thing. Now if the Truth or the Fulfilment that your hope has envisioned has not yet been able to manifest, do not worry. It is only when you lose your aspiration that you can feel that you are lost. When I said in my aphorism, "Hope lost, destruction close," it is because the ordinary man will not aspire when there is no hope. It is hope that keeps him alive on earth. Hope plays a great part on earth. For example, some people say that they are doing disinterested work, and so on. Only aspirants and truly spiritual people really do this. Ninety-nine percent of human beings, in working, are only feeding their own human hopes and desires. That is why they are living, working, existing. Otherwise they would not budge an inch.

Now in a spiritual person, this aphorism "Hope lost, destruction close" does not apply. Where is destruction for a spiritual person? For him, there is no destruction. He acts only to fulfil God's Will. We tend to judge the fulfilment of God's Will in two ways, in the form of success or in the form of failure. But God Himself is above both success and failure. So if you want to become identified totally and inseparably with God's Will, then think neither of success nor of failure. Think only of pleasing the Supreme. According to our human eyes, the fulfilment of hope is success. But according to our divine vision, the fulfilment of God's Will is far above and infinitely higher than the achievement of failure or success.

So if you remain with your burning aspiration, you are constantly identified with God's Will. And when you are one with God's Will, this earthly hope has no value. It will be impossible for earthly hope to knock at your door of aspiration because your divine hope is already self-sufficient. It is already one with God's Will. In God's Will there is everything, the Vision and the Reality. If the Reality is success, well and good. It is the fulfilment of God's Will which is of paramount importance, not success or failure. Fulfilment is always beyond results. We see the results best and we derive the utmost benefit from the results only when we are one with God's Will unreservedly. When we are identified with His Will unreservedly, we know that we are fulfilled.

So what can you do when you lose hope? Only feel the necessity of burning the flame of your aspiration more brightly and more intensely. Then you get the Highest. Hope you don't need. For an ordinary person, (not you) but an unaspiring person — when he loses hope, it is destruction, because he won't make any move forward. For him life becomes a stagnant pool. Self-destruction starts when there is no forward movement. But not you. You have aspiration. You will get everything.

Question: I want to know the relationship between maya and creation.

Sri Chinmoy: Only you want to know what maya is. Maya is a Sanskrit word. It means measure. When we measure something we bind it. I gave a talk on maya a few minutes ago on the definition of the word. In the word maya, commonly translated as "illusion," the root meaning is to bind, is to measure something, to measure. Now in our day-to-day activity we are binding, we are trying to bind the Infinite which cannot be bound. Maya exists in us because we are afraid of something vast, something deep. On the one hand, we say that we want everything, but the moment a little thing is offered to us, our vessel is so small that we feel that it will break us totally. At that time we cry aloud, "We don't want it." Maya exists because we consciously and very often want to wallow in the pleasure of ignorance. That is, only when we aspire do we come to realise that very often, consciously we want the joy of inconscience and foolish emptiness. And when we wallow in the pleasure of ignorance, maya says, "Oh, you are my friend, you are my eternal friend."

Now, how can you get rid of maya, illusion? You have to feel that God the Creator wants something from you and this something is unique. It is only you who will perform God's Will in a unique way. Somebody else will perform God's Will in his own unique way. The moment you feel the necessity of fulfilling God in God's own way you can rest assured that maya, the illusion, or maya, the limitation cannot stand in front of your way. To fulfil God in God's own way is to fulfil, is to achieve Infinity in us. So when you are receiving and fulfilling Infinity in your inner and outer nature, there can be no measurement, no mental illusion, no hallucination of the mental life. In your aspiration, illusion will lose its existence and finally it will disappear for good.

Question: In the third chapter of the Gita. Arjuna asks Sri Krishna about action and inaction. I would like to know something more about it.

Sri Chinmoy: I will tell you about action and inaction but not from the Bhagavad Gita. If a specific question is put to me from that chapter, then I can deal with it later. Right now I shall speak generally.

There are two kinds of action. One is disinterested action and the other is the action of desire. Now most of us act only when we feel that we will get a satisfying result. Before we actually act, we think of the result and if we feel that it will be satisfactory and fruitful then we enter into the field of action. If we know beforehand that the result will be unfavourable, usually we do not enter into the action at all.

Now here, the disinterested action, which is the real action, is what we have to do. We have to act for the sake of God and not for the sake of the result, which is what the Gita calls "the fruit of action." Success is not our goal. Failure is not our goal. But the fulfilment of God's Will is our goal.

Now let us speak about action. Normally, we feel that we have acted when we use our limbs, our hands or at least our brains. We feel we must move and be dynamic. But spiritually speaking, when we act, we must feel that it is God who is acting in us and through us. It is God Himself who is acting and we are His instruments. We can feel that it is the Divine Play: our inaction but God's action. We are used by Him for His Purpose. We are consciously moving and working, but the inner Force and the source of the action is coming from Him. This is what "inaction" means here.

On the other hand, if we feel that it is we who are working and God the Witness, the Silent Purusha, is merely watching, then naturally, we will feel that the action is done by us. We call this silent, withdrawn aspect of the Supreme the Sakshi Purusha, the Witness Being. He is watching; we are working and earning our daily bread by the sweat of our brow. If this is our feeling and experience, we say that we are working and God is observing. I cannot say that if we have this feeling, then we are totally mistaken. It is a valid experience. It is also much better than being totally unaware of God's existence. But there is a higher Truth about God's relationship with us when we act. I shall speak about this another time.

I wish to tell you that whatever we do must be done only because He, the Inner Pilot within us, commands us. This is called real action. Unreal action is when we cry for the result and when we feel that we are responsible for what we say or do.

From now on, try always to aspire and in your aspiration, pray to God, "Oh God, speak through me, act through me, feel through me." This is real action.

Questions and answers following the lecture "The inner freedom"

Question: Does the inner world affect the outer world?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. It is through the inner world that our outer world can be fulfilled. As you sow within, so shall you reap without. If, early in the morning I offer to God one divine thought, one spiritual thought, I will see that during the day I receive the fruits of that divine thought. If I pray for, or meditate on, Divine Love, or Joy, or Peace, during the day I will enjoy the fruits of my prayer and meditation in the form of Love, or joy, or Peace or whatever I am crying for.

So, to come back to your question, the inner world can and must affect the outer world — for the better.

Question: What is the purpose of life?

Sri Chinmoy: The purpose of life is to realise the highest Truth, to reveal the highest Truth, and to manifest the highest Truth.

Our earthly existence is the opportunity to grow and develop both within and without. Inwardly, we grow in our realisation of Truth, and outwardly, we grow into the manifestation of our realisation.

Question: How do we reach the inner worlds?

Sri Chinmoy: It is through our aspiration, our real inner cry. As in the outer world we cry for name and fame and all that, so in the inmost recesses of our heart we must cry to realise the highest Truth.

On the strength of our aspiration we can easily enter into the inner worlds.

Question: How can one achieve this realisation of Truth?

Sri Chinmoy: To start with, what you need is inspiration. This inspiration you can get by reading sacred, spiritual books, preferably written by real spiritual Masters. Then you must try to live the wisdom of the books. From books you can get inspiration; then when inspiration has played its role, you must enter into the world of aspiration. This aspiration can be expressed through concentration, meditation, and contemplation. Once you are consciously aspiring, if you have a friend who is a very advanced seeker, he may be able to give you some help. And if you are absolutely sincere in your life of aspiration, then you will come into contact with a real spiritual Master who can really help you and guide towards your own realisation.

Question: Have you attained to realisation, or are you still a seeker?

Sri Chinmoy: No, I am not a seeker. To be quite frank, I am a realised soul. At my will I can, at any moment, enter into my highest trance where I am totally one with the Transcendental Consciousness.

But God the Infinite is constantly transcending His own Transcendental Consciousness and creating new worlds of Infinite Peace, Joy and Delight. So although I am fully God-realised, I am still a seeker in the sense that I seek with God His ever-transcending and ever-unfolding Creation. In this sense, I am an eternal seeker.

Question: What will happen to you when you die, being a realised soul? Will you be absorbed in God and not take incarnation again?

Sri Chinmoy: The thing is, we have not to feel that God is there in Heaven and we are here in hell. God is all-pervading, so I have not to leave the earth to go to Him.

At the end of this lifetime, when I pass through the tunnel of death, I will shed the five sthulas or sheaths and pass through the physical world, the vital world, mental world, and psychic world and then to the region of the soul's consciousness, where I will take rest in my own highest consciousness for as long as the Supreme needs. Then, when the Supreme wants, I will again enter into the manifestation to serve Him.

For all of us, this is not our first incarnation, nor can it be our last.

Question: Since you are a realised soul, will your next incarnation be different from that of an ordinary person?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. In each incarnation we are given more opportunity and a better situation for our spiritual development. In the case of a spiritual person, he will be born into a spiritual family where he will be inspired and encouraged to live the spiritual life from his very birth.

Each incarnation is a stepping stone towards our ultimate God-realisation. When one has consciously aspired in his last incarnation, his future birth will hold more opportunities for his spiritual progress.

Question: Why do we need a spiritual Master? Can't we find Truth by ourselves?

Sri Chinmoy: Why do you go to the university? To learn anything, we need the help of a teacher. If we want to learn to sing, we go to a singer; if we want to learn to dance, we go to a dancer. Similarly, if we want inner knowledge, we need the help and guidance of a spiritual teacher. For everything we need a teacher but not for the spiritual life — it is absurd!

If the mother does not teach the child, how will he learn the alphabet? So when we launch into the spiritual life, we need the blessings and concern of a spiritual Master, and then when we have got our degree — when we are on the verge of realisation or we have achieved realisation — then we graduate and no longer need his help.

True, the Light is within you, but unless someone shows you where to find the Light, you cannot see it. The treasure is inside you, but you need someone to lead you to the treasure box and show you how to unlock it.

Question: You said before that each incarnation is a stepping stone towards our God realisation. Does that mean that we can't reach God in this life?

Sri Chinmoy: No, not at all. It is a matter of previous background and development. If one has been aspiring and meditating in previous lifetimes, then there is no reason why he cannot attain realisation on the strength of his aspiration in his present incarnation. Since we are all progressing towards realisation, in one incarnation or another, this realisation is bound to take place. As I said, it is a matter of the aspirant's spiritual development.

Question: How do you define God? I try to define Him as an animate Force, but this just confuses me more.

Sri Chinmoy: We define something. We try to limit and bind it, but God the Infinite is limitless; thus we can never define Him. One minute the mind may think that God is this, then we see that God is also something else. You are absolutely right when you say that God is an animate Force, infinite Energy, if the lady sitting next to you feels that God is infinite Joy, then I must say that she, too, is correct. Another may feel that God is infinite Light. Still another may want to see God as an absolutely divinised human form with two arms, two legs and all. They are all correct. God is everything. God is both personal and impersonal, with form and formless. God is beyond the limitations of the mind. The Vedic Seers said of God (Guru recites in Sanskrit): "That moves and that moves not. That is far and the same is near. That is within and at the same time, without." Our human mind cannot understand it.

So, to come back to your question, each individual must go deep within where his inner being will tell him which aspect of God is most inspiring to him.

Question: You said that we are all evolving and progressing. But where did this whole process start? Was there a beginning?

Sri Chinmoy: We came into existence from God's delight. When we entered the creation, we evolved through the lower stages: mineral life, plant life, animal life. It is true that we are constantly progressing. Now we have entered into the human life — I beg to be excused, we are still half-animal! There are people who want to kill others, stab others, and do all kinds of violent and destructive things

But in the case of a spiritual aspirant, it is different. He tries to drop all the lower animal parts of his nature and tries to be aware of and live in his true divine nature where it is all Peace and Joy and Love.

In the beginning we came from delight, we are now growing in delight, and we shall consciously return to delight.

Question: Is the realisation you speak of achieved through a certain kind of Yoga?

Sri Chinmoy: It is only through Yoga that man can realise God. Yoga means "union" — man's conscious union with God.

There are three major kinds of Yoga: Bhakti Yoga, the path of love and devotion, Karma Yoga, the path of selfless service and Jnana Yoga, the path of wisdom and knowledge.

Now, all paths lead to Rome, but one may get us there a little quicker or easier. My path, which we call the Sunlit Path, is the path of love, devotion, and surrender.

It is up to the individual aspirant which path he feels best suited for. One has to be careful, however, not to follow a false teacher. A false teacher can bring your life to ruin.

But again, I must say, if one follows a real spiritual path, he will eventually reach the goal. All paths lead ultimately to the same goal.

Question: Is there a difference between man and God?

Sri Chinmoy: No Today's imperfect and unfulfilled man is tomorrow's perfect and fulfilled God. God and Man are eternally one. God needs man to manifest Himself; man needs God to realise his true Self.

You have a soul, I have a soul, the Christ had a soul. The soul is consciously one with God. On the strength of his highest realisation, the Christ said: "I and my Father are one." How can anyone dare to say differently? In India we say "Tat twam asi:" "That thou art" and "Soham Brahman." "I am the Brahman."

There is no yawning gulf between man and God. Through his aspiration and meditation, Man can become conscious of his oneness with God.

Question: Is there any relationship between imagination and faith?

Sri Chinmoy: There is no direct relationship between imagination and faith; in fact, there is a great difference between the two. Imagination plays mostly in the mind; in the mental region we imagine. Imagination can be of help to faith and faith can be of help to imagination. The mind imagines. It imagines things according to its own fancy. When something is finite, imagination can make you feel that it is infinite. Imagination in this way can very often mislead us or misguide us. While standing on this side of a river, we may feel that the other side of the river is very beautiful while this side is disappointing us. This is what we feel on the strength of our wishful imagination. Then when we take a boat and go to the other side, we see that it is no better than the first side. But our imagination made us feel that the other side was infinitely better.

Again, inside imagination reality can be found. Some scientific truth or poetic truth or any other type of truth may emerge. When a poet, for example, creates something, he may see the truth through his imagination's light. Then when he expresses it, it is all reality, all truth.

Now to come to faith: faith comes from the heart. Actually it comes from the soul. The soul does not have to imagine anything. The soul lives in reality. When one lives in reality and sees reality all around, then one need not imagine. You are sitting right in front of me; I don't have to imagine that I am seeing you. You are the reality right in front of me. Faith, the expression of the inner reality, makes us one with the object or the subject. That is why faith does not need any kind of imagination. Faith is our inner awareness of oneness. Awareness of oneness is faith. The finite is becoming aware of the Infinite. This awareness comes first, then comes oneness. Faith has the capacity to start with awareness and end in oneness.

How can faith and imagination help each other? When faith shows the truth and wants to expand, imagination can supply the fuel. Imagination can help faith expand. Faith has seen the truth. Faith knows that this is the truth, that we have come this far. Faith feels the truth but faith does not have the inner capacity, the immediate capacity to expand it. Now if behind or inside imagination, we can seize upon the divine intention or the divine will, then faith will be expanded and our vision will certainly be no mental hallucination. Otherwise we expand the consciousness of faith through imagination; and if, inside imagination, there is no trace of God's Will or of God's intention, the purpose is missing and then the result will always be fiction or hallucination.

Very often, our faith is shattered into pieces because when imagination comes to feed faith, imagination does not have God's approval or His Will-Power. It does not have His Concern or Blessing-Light. But if imagination comes with God's Blessing-Light, Concern and Love, then faith can be expanded. In this expansion, faith makes us feel that the finite has infinite possibility to be one with the Infinite.

And then how does faith help imagination? When we imagine something, we may be wrong, we may be right. But when faith comes and enters into imagination, faith gives living breath to imagination. This moment we imagine something and next moment our imagination is frustrated because we cannot go beyond it. We imagine and then, although it is imagination, we come to a halt. If we close our eyes now, we can go to Berlin with our imagination. Then we are unable to go further and there we are caught. Or we can go to some other place and we will be caught there. We cannot go further. But if faith is inside imagination, faith will give us its living breath. A living breath means dynamic movement. Now if Berlin exists, then there should be something farther than Berlin also. Then when imagination feeds us with its living breath, our imagination gets real divine strength to go farther and deeper. Otherwise, what happens is this: imagination loses its own strength to go any further. It comes to a point and then it stops because it feels that there, either it is all achievement or else all frustration. But when faith comes to help imagination, then there is constant movement in imagination, which does not stop. It feels that there is something higher, something further, something deeper. This is how faith and imagination help each other. But it does not happen always. On rare occasions it happens.

So if we say that there is a direct link connecting faith and imagination, we will be mistaken. Faith is something spontaneous. Imagination is not so spontaneous. When faith comes, there is reality flowing there. In imagination, truth can grow if so is the Will of God. If it is the Will of God, then Truth will grow there in imagination. But in faith, Truth is growing all the time because faith embodies truth, reveals truth and manifests truth.

Question: A disciple from Arecibo told me one night that he felt the necessity to meditate while he was driving his car at night and that he went out of his normal, physical mind. I told him not to do it and that I was going to ask you about that.

Sri Chinmoy: No, it is not advisable, especially for the beginners to meditate or concentrate while driving. When one becomes an expert in the spiritual life, one can do anything. Right now he is touching the wheel, he is touching the gas, he has to look around and be alert. But a day can come when he has more capacity; at that time he can concentrate, he can meditate. But right now he can repeat the name of the Supreme. "Supreme, Supreme," he can say slowly and quietly. While repeating this, he won't lose so much of his outer consciousness.

But if he enters into deep meditation and he does not have the capacity to keep a balance between his inner consciousness or his inner aspiration and his outer situation, then he can have a serious accident. At the beginning it is always advisable to meditate at home in one corner of a room. Here he is dealing with life. Here he is taking a tremendous risk and he is also involved with others. He is driving and if he enters into deep meditation and if he takes somebody's life, what right has he? If he is at home at the time of meditation, if he wants to sleep, he can lie down. He can do anything he wants, anything which will suit him. But when you are in a car, when others are involved, you have to be very, very careful. When others are involved in the street, you always have to be very careful. So for the seekers, especially for the beginners, it is inadvisable to meditate in the car. You have twenty-four hours. Right now the beginner need not, cannot, cannot is the right word, cannot meditate for more than an hour. Impossible. You can meditate for fifteen minutes, four times a day. If you can meditate four times for fifteen minutes each day, sincerely, then that is one hour. More than that if he wants to do, he will only count hours, saying that he has meditated ten hours, twenty hours, etc. Out of twenty hours, perhaps ten minutes he will have really meditated and the rest of the time he will have slept or enjoyed all kinds of earthly thoughts, activities, every thing except meditation.

So for my new disciples, from the beginner disciples, I don't expect more than one hour meditation. Then it is like a muscle that is being developed. One hour and ten minutes, one hour and a half, two hours, three hours. But while he is meditating at home or in a group, he has to feel that this is something that can be developed, slowly, steadily and gradually. And this is something right now that has to be done almost secretly. Ramakrishna and other spiritual Masters said it. If you are doing something which creates a sensation in others or which is drawing attention from others and if you are a beginner, then all of your meditation, all your progress will be in vain. Once you become expert and you are meditating most deeply, no matter how many people are looking at you or mocking at you, are appreciating you or flattering you, you won't listen. While they are flattering you, you will remain unperturbed. But at the beginning you will meditate at home or in the Centre. Otherwise, if you meditate in the street while you are walking, or during your driving, you will run into trouble.

Question: Master, please tell me, if I have to come back here in another incarnation, who is going to take care of my soul? You? If you don't want to come to this world again, will you name someone to take care of me?

Sri Chinmoy: Very good. First of all it is true that I will not come back anymore. I have played my role. When the game is over, you don't play again. When you are playing your part in a game, sometimes you lose the game, sometimes you win. You only know that you have played your part. You have done what God asked you to do.

You are thinking of your next incarnation. I wish to say that in this incarnation you have to know whether or not you have achieved an inseparable oneness with my soul or not. In ordinary human life we see the bond between mother and son. You are here. Now your son may be in New York. When you are working with your other children, you may be working in the kitchen, but your heart is inside your son. And your son may be studying in New York in the University, but his heart is inside the mother. It is human love, the human bond, and even then it has crossed thousand of miles. This is the human way. Your human body will perhaps stay on earth seventy or eighty years. But in these years, you have developed something which is called a heart. How it is crossing the distance of thousands of miles! Your son is in New York and from New York message is coming to your heart of all his affection, love concern. This is your offering and his offering. Now you must ask yourself if you have made this heart's connection with me, with my soul, with your Master's soul. Now on the spiritual plane, the teacher himself represents God and his soul is infinitely more illumined than the disciple's soul. Your soul wants to be illumined as my soul and it knows that everyone has to realise God. We can deceive everyone, but not God. We can say that we won't do something or eat something. But one thing we will have to eat is the fruit of the realisation-tree. Realisation-food we won't be able to deny. God will say, "Alright, if you don't want to do this, don't do it; if you don't want to eat, don't eat, but this food, the realisation-food you have to eat sooner or later, in this incarnation or ten incarnations later.

Now it is I, your eternal friend and your eternal Guru, who has to give you this realisation-food. If I am unable to do it during my lifetime, I shall continue to feed your soul after I return to my heavenly Home. I do not need to name someone to take care of you, Vijaya, for it is I who promised the Supreme that I would take care of you eternally. I made this promise to Him when I first accepted you as my disciple.

Even while remaining in the physical, which is a real bondage, a spiritual Master can help his disciples in different parts of the world. But when he leaves the body, he is totally free. From the other shore, the spiritual Master works through the soul's light or will-power. The soul's light can be offered from any plane of consciousness, from the highest plane right down to the earth plane. So from the higher worlds, the Master can easily make contact with the disciple's aspiring soul, and the disciple can respond to the Master's Light. In this way, the Master can and does and must help the disciple.

When a Master accepts someone as a real disciple, a true disciple, he makes a promise to God, the Supreme, and to the soul of the individual seeker that he will be eternally responsible for that soul.

When great Masters come to earth, they greatly expedite the progress of their disciples. But how far can they expedite it when the disciples themselves have made so little progress? Still, the Masters try to make a very brave fight; they challenge ignorance. They say, "Let us see how far we can go."

On the part of the disciple, there has to be a real feeling, a radiant feeling, a feeling of oneness with the Master. Then, if the person does not get realisation in this incarnation, the Master, when he has left his body, will make a definite, direct contact, an express connection with that disciple's soul. During the disciple's remaining earthly life and also in the soul's world, where she will go to rest, she will feel the Master helping and guiding her so that in her next incarnation or in one or two future incarnations, she can reach the Highest, the Absolute.

So when the Master is in the physical, it is the greatest opportunity because at that time, the physical mind is bound to be convinced of the value of the spiritual help the disciple is receiving. The soul always feels this help and never needs to be convinced. You get the greatest opportunity when a spiritual Master descends on earth. Ramakrishna used to say, "The cow is standing before you. The cow has milk. Where does the milk lie? Only in the udders. So milk the cow! You should not try to get milk from the tail of a cow, for there is no milk there. So here also Divine Bliss standing before you. The whole universe embodies his Bliss, but there is a place, a particular place where constantly Infinite Grace and Compassion are descending in bountiful streams. And that is where the spiritual Avatar has descended on earth.

At the end of the game, everybody will be judged as to where he lies, where she lies, whether or not it is in the Heart of the Master. Everybody is given a chance. Everybody will be given a chance. The Supreme will see the result.

Editor's note

Sri Chinmoy asked himself and then answered the following questions on an Eastern Airlines flight to Puerto Rico on October 27, 1970.

What does the human in us want? What does the divine in us want?

The human in us wants constant satisfaction. The divine in us wants everlasting fulfilment.

What is the difference between the divine Lover and the Divine Beloved?

God is the Divine Beloved and we are the Divine Lovers. That is the only difference. The Divine Lover smiles; the Divine Beloved cries. The moment the Divine Beloved cries, the Divine Lover smiles because the Beloved is won. The Beloved cries because the game between the Lover and the Beloved has at last ended and the two have become inseparably one.

What is life and what is death?

Life is man's present bewilderment and future fulfilment. Death is man's present necessity and future impossibility.

What is ego?

Ego is today's destroying gain and tomorrow's liberating loss.

What kind of loss and what kind of gain?

The loss of the ego, for then you are liberated. The gain of destroying it, for then you are free.

God means what?

God means existence.

Truth means what?

Truth means discovery.

Man means what?

Man means the eternal pilgrim.

The past means what?

The past means unfulfilled intention.

The present means what?

The present means determination.

The future means what?

The future means liberation.

What is God's contribution?

God's contribution is Creation.

What is man's contribution?

Man's contribution is his realisation.

What is aspiration?

Aspiration is self-searching.

What is realisation?

Realisation is self-finding.

What is revelation?

Revelation is self-transformation.

What is manifestation?

Manifestation is self-perfection.

What does my mind say?

My mind says that its goal is spirituality.

What does my heart say?

My heart says that its goal is spirituality.

What does my soul say?

My soul says that its goal is yoga.

What does my goal say?

My goal says that I am its fondest choice.

What is the difference between humanity and divinity?

Humanity is God's compassionate investment in Himself. Divinity is God's constant compensation to Himself.

What is the difference between inner and outer education?

Outer education explains everything outwardly, but constantly complains inwardly. Inner education feeds us inwardly and liberates us outwardly.

Who is the fool?

He is the real fool who thinks that there can be a compromise between the aspiring life and the unaspiring life. He who thinks the aspiring life and the unaspiring life can go together is a fool. An aspiring life must go with another aspiring life and an unaspiring life must go with another unaspiring life.

Who is the wisest of all?

He is the wisest of all who realises and who feels that God or the Master is infinitely more important than his human loves.

What does God do when I concentrate on Him?

When I concentrate on God, He proudly roars because His child is concentrating on Him.

What do I do when God concentrates on me?

When God concentrates on me, I powerfully snore and sleep.

What does God do when I meditate on Him?

When I meditate on God, He triumphantly sings.

What do I do when God meditates on me?

When God meditates on me, I fear Him and hide myself.

What do I do when I contemplate on Him?

When I contemplate on Him, God unreservedly embraces me.

What do I do when God contemplates on me?

I consciously, deliberately and willfully invite ignorance, and lust with ignorance unendingly.

1971

Question: How can we tell which is our ego's will and which is the Divine Will?

Sri Chinmoy: When it is our ego's will, we try to achieve something by hook or by crook. That is to say, we don't hesitate to employ foul means. We want something to be done and then, if we see that it is not done, then immediately we try to get it or achieve it by any means: through trickery… or bribing or by adopting some kind of foul means. That is our ego's will. And then if we don't get it, we curse the person from whom we expected the thing or we curse the thing which we wanted to have and couldn't get. But when it is God's Will, we will see it as a Force coming directly from the heart. It has infinitely more intense power than the ego's will, but this Force only uses its Power because God is inspiring it. It is the soul's will to achieve something for God. Now, when it is soul's will, when we bring soul's will to the fore, the first thing we feel is a kind of inner conviction. Whether it is something we are saying or something we want to achieve, we will have the inner conviction that it is something our Inner Pilot wants from us.

The ego's will is not like that. You are not convinced, but you are convincing yourself that you are doing the right thing. You are doing the wrong thing because you are adopting foul means, acting by hook or by crook. You are not doing the right thing, but you are trying to convince yourself that you are.

When it is your soul's will, you are automatically convinced because the ringing conviction comes from deep within. In the ego's will, you are convincing yourself through your mind, through your vital, through your physical. But, when it is your soul's will, you will feel a kind of inner confidence. This inner confidence is accompanied by joy, by an inner ecstasy. In the case of the ego, this does not happen. In the case of the ego, while you are exercising your ego's will, there will be some fear in it. "Perhaps I will lose the battle. Perhaps I will be smashed. I feel that I am going to be defeated by the other party." A constant battle is going on. "Although I feel that I am stronger, superior, more powerful, more dynamic, I have no security inside me, no confidence. I am afraid that the other party will defeat me and I will lose the battle". But in the soul's will, it is definite that we are going to win, not by any kind of foul means but just because God wants the soul to win, because God wants to conquer ignorance, because God wants that particular soul to gain victory over ignorance. That is why God is giving indomitable will to the soul to conquer ignorance.

Now, when soul's will-power is expressed, it is expressed the way we see a huge wave moving in the sea. Immediately it inundates the whole consciousness. Once the soul's will is expressed, you are bound to feel that your inner consciousness is inundated with inner energy, inner joy, inner delight, inner power, inner confidence. Everything is inundated there. But when you use your ego's will-power, you are thinking that you are building a palace. Again you have enormous fear inside you that while you are building, your palace is going to crack, the building is going to collapse. With that kind of fear, finally it really does collapse because where there is fear, there cannot be any light or strength. Light cannot exist in fear. In fear only doubt comes. Our fear and doubt go together and there we see vexation looming large. In the soul's will, we see only confidence, inner assurance, inner oneness with the soul which is Divinity.

Question: Could a creature of the Supreme Omnipotent, Omniscient, obtain a temporary suspension of his karma so that he can obtain worthy progress? What are the requisites thereof?

Sri Chinmoy: Spiritually it does not happen in that way. Suppose an individual has done something wrong. Then what will happen is that the cosmic forces, the cosmic law, we can say, offer him the results of it. Now if something wrong has been done and for five or six months the result is suspended although the punishment is due, it may be that for a few months, the cosmic forces are observing him and seeing if he is trying to turn over a new leaf and if he is praying and meditating and all that. You have to know that it is not actually that the result is being suspended. No. The forces are operating which are going to offer him the result of his action. But the divine forces that enter into the particular person, the seeker, here fight with him against these forces of karma. It is not that for five or six months the cosmic punishment is suspended. No, these karmic forces have already inwardly acted. As the result is coming, what is happening meanwhile is that the Divine Compassion is operating in and through that particular person. The Divine Compassion is acting like a divine hero, inside that particular man. So he feels, "Alright, I have done something wrong but now I am doing something right to nullify it. If I am doing something right to nullify it, if I have the capacity to do something good, in the inner life I also have the capacity in the inner life to draw to myself the Compassion of God in the form of forgiveness." Forgiveness is a divine soldier. So that divine soldier is fighting against the undivine result of the undivine soldier.

So I wish to tell you that it is not actually a suspension of karma. The cosmic law is operating. If you have made a mistake you are going to reap the fruit, but at that moment Compassion comes, falls downward to your aspiring heart and fights against outer desire. Your aspiration comes and fights against your outer desire. If a spiritual Master is involved, your own inner, higher deity is involved. Then what will the Master do? If he sees that somebody is about to be punished for his wrong karma and he sees that this punishment will last for only six months, if the spiritual Master wants, if it is the will of God, immediately he will take the pain inside himself. But he will not suffer for six months. He will suffer for ten days or fifteen days or even only three days if he wants.

Or what he can do is to take the pain and immediately throw it into the universe. That he can do. Now, here, for my dearest disciples, I can do this. About a month ago … you know today is Monday. Today they offer meditation at the Connecticut Centre where Akuti is President. About a month ago, A was not coming down; she was in Vancouver in our Centre there. That Monday, one of our very close disciples was suffering from an abdominal pain for the whole day. Her husband takes me to the Connecticut Centre and she was coming from her place with her husband to take me up there. Now it is a matter of two minutes from their place to our place. She was about to vomit, her pain was so unbearable. Then what did I do? I entered into the car and I was eating something. I was eating peanuts. So I said, "I am eating now, I can't do anything." She was suffering like anything. Then her husband needed gas for the car so he went three or four blocks to a gas station. While the man was filling the tank, I told her husband, "I am very hungry. Bring me a sandwich." He went to the cafeteria and brought me a sandwich. So I was sitting in the front seat and she was in the back. Unbearable, excruciating pain she was suffering. I told her, "Now look, place your hands on the affected area, wherever it is." I looked at her and the pain was gone. She could not believe it! Her husband came back. She smiled and told her husband, "The pain is gone." Now this pain that I took away would have lasted in her at least for four or five hours. At least four or five hours she would have suffered and when I took it, I suffered for three or four minutes. But the pain I suffered for her was a real pain and with the pain I was still eating and smiling. Inside I was suffering, outside I was eating and smiling. I knew that in four or five minutes the pain would be gone. This was done with my own conscious awareness.

Last week you saw Suparna here. She was suffering terribly from a headache, an unbearable headache. She started meditating at nine o'clock. She said to my transcendental picture, "Take it, take it, take it. I cannot bear it anymore." Her Master took it. So here I wish to say that the actual karma was for her to suffer. If I had not taken the karma, it would have lasted for a few hours. We can take it away but we can take it only when it is God's Will.

The other day Sevananda and others were saying that their parents are against me because I am exploiting their children. So I told them, "Please tell your parents that either this Indian fellow is very clever, more clever than you are or he has more love for us than you have. Either one of these two qualities he has. Either I am cleverer than your parents, or I have more love for you, and therefore you listen to me."

The law of karma, when you enter into the real spiritual path, is already nullified to some extent. The very fact that one has entered into the spiritual life has opened the person to some higher forces. The spiritual life means the acceptance of a higher force. When one has accepted the higher force, then the higher force tries to enter according to the person's own capacity. The child consciously runs towards his father. The child knows that his father has more power, more love, more wisdom, more capacity than he and that is why the child is running towards the father. Now, the spiritual life is the life of the Father, and the ordinary human life is the life of the child. So when in ordinary life we are running toward the spiritual life and have accepted the spiritual life, that means we are running towards the Father. So the spiritual life has more power, the Father has more power than the son. When one enters into the more powerful, that means the more powerful has the capacity to help the child. The child is the ordinary human life and the Father is spiritual life, the life of aspiration.

Editor's note

The following is a talk given by Sri Chinmoy to the students of Karate Teacher, Mr. Kimo Wall of Honolulu, Hawaii, at the Sagrado Corazon College in San Juan, at 2:00 p.m. on Jan. 19, 1971, after Kimo and his students had given a lengthy and extraordinarily skillful performance of Karate for the Master and the disciples of the San Juan Centre.

Discourse

Your teacher, our sweet Kimo, has performed something entirely unique. Today we have learned quite a few things from him. The most important thing we have learned is that his combined concentration in the physical, in the vital, in the mental, in the psychic and in the spiritual were all directed in a superb way for his purpose. You all know that Karate is primarily for self-defence, but again I wish to tell you, and I am sure that your teacher has already taught you, that it is not for self-defence alone, as such. It is for something deeper. Self-protection is necessary, but along with self-protection, what is necessary is self-realisation. What are you going to protect if you do not know what you are? In order to know the highest and the deepest and the inmost, we have to concentrate and meditate.

While he was performing this unique and extraordinary set of movements that we saw a few minutes ago, we observed, along with his superb skill, a power of concentration that ran from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. Every part of his being was surcharged with a dynamic will. Now this will comes from the soul, not from the body. His physical body became the conscious instrument of his soul's dynamic will. Now where did he, how did he, learn this so-called technique, which is actually the concentration of a spiritual Master? He learned it from his soul's inner will.

So what you are getting here is a great opportunity; and this is not the end. You will be taught by him for a few months or a few years and that is just the beginning. The very essence of everything you do is meditation. Kimo's performance was the result of inner concentration and meditation. So, this is my sincere request to each of you, that every day in the morning, you will please try to concentrate for a few minutes or meditate for a few minutes. Meditation is a vast subject. If I speak about it, it would take hours and hours and there would be no end. I have spoken considerably on meditation at various places: spiritual centres, churches, synagogues, American universities, Puerto Rican universities, European universities. I just came back from a tour on the Continent. There I spoke on meditation.

What I feel would be best for you here is to ask me a few questions on meditation. Otherwise if I give a talk on meditation, it may not serve your immediate purpose, because each one here has a different problem. Your problem need not and cannot be the same as someone else's problem. In your inner life, you have a problem of your own, or you want Light in a different way from your neighbour. You want to grow into the Light, the Light divine. For real growth, your way of approaching the Truth has to be different from the one who is sitting right beside you.

Now, in the spiritual life, we always say that we must grow and become. Now some people will say that unless you have become something yourself, you cannot give anything to others. Yes, it is true. If you don't know something and you try to teach others, it is a matter of the blind leading the blind. But I also wish to say that if you know something better than I do, then you are perfectly entitled to teach me that particular thing. And if I know something which you do not know, you should learn it from me. Now here is the golden opportunity to coordinate your knowledge of the physical, the vital, the mental and the psychic with the spiritual. The spiritual life teaches us the unification of all the members of the family: the physical, the vital and the mental must run abreast and inside the physical, the physic and the soul must predominate. Otherwise if you just become an expert in Karate, if you learn it mechanically, you are serving no purpose. But if you exercise your inner will through Karate, while you are performing, you are not only learning the technique of self-defence, but you are discovering your inner reality which is God-realisation. Everything you do when you study or when you speak to a person should have the soul's will coming to the fore from deep within; then your life will have a purpose. Otherwise you will achieve success, the so-called success, but if the spiritual part of your life is lagging behind, if meditation is missing, your joy will be limited, fleeting, and your achievement will be very insignificant. But if you meditate, you will see an abiding Peace, abiding Light, abiding Joy deep within you.

Now I wish to invite a few questions from those who are interested in the inner life, the spiritual life.

Question: Please explain your system, so we can know how to go about meditation.

Sri Chinmoy: There are various systems, but when one is approaching the spiritual life or the life of meditation, one has to adopt only one system. If one says that one will be able to reach God through selfless service, loving humanity and offering oneself, then that is the perfect path for that person. But if one feels that he will follow the spiritual life through mental discipline, that he will meditate on the mind and offer mental wisdom to others after having discovered Peace, Light and Bliss, then that is another system. Then if a third person feels that he can offer love and joy to mankind, then he has to follow the path of love and devotion. So when we meditate, we have to know what we are going to be or what we are going to offer to mankind. Now if you wish to give any of these divine qualities — Peace, Joy, Bliss, Love and so forth, to others — then I wish you to meditate on the heart, here. The heart is the most important place in our spiritual discipline, because the heart represents identification. If you want to help someone or to grow into something, then you have to identify yourself with that person or thing. You look at a flower; you appreciate its beauty and fragrance. Then you try to grow into the very same consciousness that the flower embodies, its purity and beauty. First, for a few minutes you observe the beauty and then you try to grow into that beauty. In the spiritual life also, when we enter into the heart, our heart identifies immediately with spiritual Light, Peace, Bliss and Power and so forth. On the strength of our identification, we grow into divine reality.

Now each individual has to learn how to meditate from a teacher, from a spiritual Master. Here you have a teacher, a Karate Teacher who is teaching you that art. So also in the spiritual life, you need a teacher. It is the teacher who will be able to direct you personally. Otherwise you will feel miserable that your way of understanding the truth will differ widely from the person sitting beside you. If you want to learn how to meditate, you have to follow a specific path. For that, you have to know if there is a spiritual Master like me. I am not the only Master; there are many Masters on earth. As soon as you see a spiritual Master, you have to feel the necessity of entering into him to see if his path suits you or not. If it does, then you should try to be in his boat. Then he is bound to teach you how to meditate.

Why to meditate? Because you want to be divine, you want to be perfect. But how to meditate, unfortunately, a seeker does not know. He has to learn it from an adept, from a spiritual Master. So, for that, one goes to visit spiritual Masters, goes to spiritual places, and then, if one is interested, and inspired to follow the spiritual life, then one asks a Master to accept him. The Master gives a short interview and meditates with that particular disciple.

He tells the new seeker that he has to meditate regularly, daily, devotedly and faithfully. We cannot say in public that there is a certain way to meditate. Yes, there are general rules. You have to keep your mind calm and quiet. You should not allow any thought to enter into your mind because thoughts create disturbances in your mind. These are general rules. Everybody will tell you that when you want to meditate, the first thing is to make your mind calm and quiet. That we all know. But how to do it? That answer has to be given individually. Everyone has a different type of mind and each person has to be dealt with in a different way, because everyone has a different nature. The goal is the same. From here I have to go to New York. New York is my destination. But I can take a plane or I can take a boat. The destination remains the same, but the vehicles are different. Similarly in the spiritual life you have to know that God-realisation is one, but your vehicle to reach it need not be the same as someone else's vehicle.

So in answering your question, I must say that if you are deeply interested in meditation, please read a few spiritual books written by genuine spiritual Masters and then start to meditate on them, then you will have the real need for a guide, a spiritual Master. Then the spiritual Master will give individual attention to your personal spiritual needs and teach you how to meditate.

Question: How are our actions in life connected with the spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: If you are speaking about the material life that is being led, then I wish you to know that it is a half-animal life; not a full-animal life, but a half-animal life. The complete or full animal life we can see all around us — the monkeys, donkeys, dogs and cats and the destructive animals like the foxes and wolves. But we ourselves are half-animals. How? Every day, consciously or unconsciously, we are cherishing jealousy, doubt and destructive forces in our minds. This makes us half-animal from the spiritual point of view. An ordinary man, in comparison to a spiritual man, is a half-animal. When an animal stands in front of a human being, the man feels that he is far superior to the animal because he has a developed mind and a developed soul. That is why he feels superior. Similarly when a spiritual man stands in front of an ordinary man, he feels himself to be superior because he is crying for Light, Peace and Bliss, he is crying for inseparable oneness, conscious oneness with God.

When ordinary persons are constantly fighting in their minds and when jealousy, doubt, obscurity (which is darkness), impurity and imperfection loom large in their everyday life, day in and day out, then they are half-animal, from the spiritual point of view.

But again, when a spiritual person sees someone quarrelling and fighting all the time, he does not look down upon that person. An ordinary person when he sees a real animal, like an elephant or a tiger will immediately think, "Oh, here is a real animal! Thank goodness that I am a human being. You remain in your own life. I am so proud that I am not acting like you!" But a spiritual person, when he sees someone below his standard of consciousness, does not lord it over that person. On the contrary, he tries to help that person to kindle the flame of aspiration inside him.

Now in answering your question, if you are following the inner or spiritual life, then your activities can be motivated from this inner life. Each thought gives rise to action. If you are leading a spiritual life, then at every moment, God comes first in your life. To an ordinary person, God does not come first. Prosperity, power, importance, fame and other things come first. But a spiritual person immediately says, "God has to come first; the inner life has to come first." From within we come without. An ordinary person usually feels that we should go from outside to inside. But this is impossible. "As we sow, so we reap". We sow a seed and it germinates. Then it grows into a huge banyan tree. So our inner life must come first because everything in our outer life, whether or not it is spiritual, is a result and an embodiment of whatever is in the inner life. A spiritual person feels that the inner life is of paramount importance and that it has to come first. An ordinary person feels, "No, the spiritual life is vague and meaningless. Let us enjoy life. Let us possess and be possessed. Let us enjoy the world and let the world enjoy us. There is no bridge between the spiritual life and the ordinary life." But a spiritual person sincerely cries and says, "Let me realise the Truth in its own way and then bring down the Truth into my outer life." The Truth is within, and then it has to be felt and expressed outwardly also. Truth is universal, it is true, but only if we go deep within do we first get a glimpse of it.

So in our day-to-day life, if we can meditate for ten or fifteen minutes a day, we can enter into the source of life, eternal life. From there, we have to enter into the fleeting life of fifty, sixty or seventy years, which is our life-span. Every day, consciously, let us offer our spiritual breath, our divine breath, to the Inner Pilot. Then let us try to grow into the perfect image of God in our inner life. Then from this inner life, we have to come forward to the outer life.

Let us not attempt to govern our inner life only with outer capacity. Outer capacity means possession. By possessing something or someone, if we feel that we will be able to govern our inner existence, it is impossible. Inner existence is always flooded with light, delight and inseparable oneness with the cosmos, with the universe, and with the transcendental Supreme.

Coming back to your question, I wish to say that the more we follow the inner life, the more meaningful will be the outer life. Otherwise the outer achievement without the core, that is to say, without the inner life, will have no meaning. Nothing will satisfy you or me or anybody on earth except the inner life. The inner life is the life of the soul, where reality and divinity are constantly growing. So please follow the inner life and the inner life will guide you, inspire you, instruct you on how you can be divinely and supremely successful in your outer life.

Question: Is meditation a way of having absolute freedom from all attachments which cause us to be separated from delight which is our inheritance on earth, spiritual delight?

Sri Chinmoy: Delight is a spiritual term that I know you understand. The term we use for outer enjoyment is "pleasure". Pleasure and Delight are two different things. Delight is infinitely stronger and more powerful than pleasure. Certainly meditation will take you far beyond the boundaries of pleasure, which is immediately followed by frustration. In the ordinary human life, we know what pleasure is. We get pleasure from satisfying the senses. As I said, this fulfilment is immediately followed by frustration and inside frustration, destruction looms large. First pleasure, which comes from temptation; then frustration immediately standing in wait for it; then destruction.

But in meditation we get joy, inner peace, inner light and inner delight. And about the freedom that you are speaking of, you are absolutely right, meditation will give you eternal freedom.

Now let us speak about freedom in the outer life. We see children who leave their parents and they feel that they are free. Right; they are free from their parents because they are living elsewhere. They are not staying with their parents. But there are hundreds and thousands of problems that they still have. Only since they are not staying with their parents, this is the freedom they feel they are getting. Yet there are other obligations all around them that loom large in their day-to-day existence. So where is freedom? First their mind is a constant victim to ugly and venomous thoughts. They cannot get rid of their thoughts.

Now, from the spiritual point of view, if one cannot get rid of ugly, undivine, hostile thoughts, then one is still subject to ignorance. Inner freedom comes from within. It does not come from freeing oneself from outer restrictions and obligations No. You may be free from your parents for a day or a month or a year, but this is no freedom. Real freedom is the feeling of universal oneness. This you can get from a life of meditation.

Meditation will free you from the sea of ignorance. Meditation will give you everlasting freedom. And this freedom is the freedom of oneness. Right now you cannot unite yourself even with another person right beside you. You feel with your ego that you are yourself and she is somebody else. So where is the freedom? Your freedom is so limited that even with your very limited capacity and limited knowledge you are trying to exercise your will and utilise your human power to lord it over others. That is what you call freedom. This is not freedom. Real freedom is the inseparable oneness with the universe. There you are growing together. You are achieving something and you are seeing that the entire world is achieving it at the same time. When you are sorrowful, immediately you feel that the whole world is suffering with you, sympathising with your cause, growing with you.

God is one and He multiplies Himself into many. Now God says, "I am a tree. Since I am a tree, I want to become also the branches, the leaves, the flowers and the fruits." Freedom lies in becoming the many while maintaining the oneness. The leaves, flowers and fruit see the same consciousness flowing through them as flows through the trunk. A spiritual person, when he stands in front of a tree and meditates on it, sees the one consciousness which is flowing through the root, the trunk, the branches, flowers and fruit. This kind of oneness is the real freedom.

So if you want inner freedom, spiritual freedom, then I wish to say that it is in becoming one with the rest of humanity. Otherwise the freedom that you cherish in the West by separating yourself from others, what are you gaining? Yes, we should separate ourselves from ignorance, imperfection, limitation, bondage and so forth, but we should not, and we must not, separate ourselves from our soul, from the reality which is light and delight. So when we are following the spiritual life, we have to know that our real freedom is in identifying ourselves with the rest of the world, with humanity at large. By becoming one, we stand united, we march united toward the Highest, united we shall fulfil our Goal.

Question: During meditation, can one enter into the level of unconscious thought?

Sri Chinmoy: One can enter into the level of unconsciousness, but it should be done with a view of transforming the unconsciousness into consciousness. While meditating, the very aim of the person is to climb to the Highest. When I have gone up to the Highest, if I see that my toe is bothering me, that there is some pain there, naturally I have to come down and cure it. I have to be perfect from my toe up to my head. I need total perfection. So if you enter into the unconscious level of your mind — let us call it inconscience — what for? To transform the inconscience that is in you; otherwise you will be limited. The body will be transformed, the heart will be transformed, but the mind will remain imperfect. Now if a member of my family is not progressing, is not perfect, I cannot be happy. So in your meditation, you have to take your whole existence as a unit, as a complete totality. If you enter into your unconscious level, you have to know that you are entering there to spread the inner light, to infuse the unconscious level and transform it into light, the light that is inside the heart and the soul. This is the soul's own light. With that purpose only you can go; not to show off that you have the capacity to go into your unconscious part or that you are far better off there, but only to transform the very face of the unconscious level. You want to be integral. You want to be perfect. You have to be perfect. If your unconscious mind is imperfect, I cannot call you perfect. You have to be perfect everywhere, both in the conscious and the subconscious. Subconsciousness is inside you. As you have the overmind, the higher mind, the illumined mind and all these higher dimensions, you also have lower qualities. Your higher qualities are that you pray to God, you want to be good, divine and spiritual. These are your higher qualities. Again you have undivine qualities which quarrel with the divine ones. These are doubt, jealousy, hypocrisy and so forth. These are undivine qualities within us. So with our divine qualities, our love for God, our feeling of universal oneness, our real concern for mankind, we have to enter into our undivine qualities that we cherish: fear, doubt, worry and so on. We have to transform fear into strength, doubt into certainty, jealousy into sympathy, separation into universal brotherhood and oneness. That is why we enter into the lower parts: to transform them.

Question: Is this done through a mental process?

Sri Chinmoy: No, it is done through an inner, psychic process. It is not through the mind, it is through feeling. When we aspire, we stop the functioning of the mind. It is from here, from the heart. When we think, for one minute we will think a good thought, cherish it, and then the next moment, we will think an ordinary uncomely, or undivine thought. But when we do it from here, from the heart, we don't think at all; we just go into the reality through inspiration. We discover that there is a burning flame within us. The burning flame helps us to become divine and spiritual. So when we kindle the flame of aspiration, we transform ignorance into light. The higher the flame of aspiration goes, the farther the light spreads. You go up, up, up and you see it spreading its light all around. It is a conscious awareness of one's inner Divinity within us. It is here; in the heart.

Question: How does a person become a Guru?

Sri Chinmoy: The word "Guru" means spiritual teacher. Kimo has become a teacher by practising Karate for fifteen years or so. He has acquired wisdom, knowledge and capacity from that particular field. In the spiritual life also, there is a kind of knowledge, an inner knowledge. One has to practise concentration, meditation, contemplation and a few other things in order to become a Guru.

When you go to school, you start your lessons from the kindergarten and then you complete your journey when you get your university degree. From kindergarten to go to elementary school, then to high school, then to college and then to university. In the spiritual life also, one has to start at the beginning. In my case, right from my childhood I took up the spiritual life. When I was two months old, my parents took me to a spiritual shrine, a very well-known spiritual place in India. Then when I was three years old, four, seven and eight years old, I was taken to another place. Unconsciously, I was going with my parents to a spiritual Master. When I was twelve years old, I became conscious of the inner life, the spiritual life. Then from twelve right up to thirty-two, I spent five hours, eight hours, ten hours, twelve hours a day in rigorous meditation. Now you know that when you study something, you spend an hour or two, or three or four hours, according to the necessity of your study. So spending all those hours in meditation is nothing unusual if one wants to achieve a high standard in the spiritual life.

When I was twelve years old, I said, "Now is my time to be conscious." And I started meditating one hour, two hours, three hours. But not for the sake of counting the hours. If you just count the hours, you are not doing real meditation. But if you can develop the inner capacity to meditate, your capacity becomes greater. When you take exercise every day, you gradually develop muscles. Then instead of five minutes, you can exercise for an hour. Then you develop your capacity to two, three hours. In the spiritual life also, we start with five minutes, then we increase it to ten minutes, fifteen minutes; then slowly it goes up to six hours, eight hours, nine hours a day. At that time, one has become an expert. One gets inner illumination; one becomes consciously one with the universal soul, with the Highest Absolute. At this point the person becomes a spiritual Master because he has achieved and received the inner illumination.

The spiritual Master at this point will not grow two horns or a tail. No, he is still a man. My spirituality is inside me, inside my heart, inside my consciousness. My disciples feel it, those who are my disciples.

Then when a spiritual Master meditates on his disciples, he offers them his Light, inner Peace, inner Bliss. He meditates on each individual and he spreads the inner Light. When he gets his own illumination, then and then only, can he offer his Light to others, to the seekers of the world.

Now you are apt to say, "How does he know he is illumined? " He knows on the strength of his absolute oneness with the Transcendental Truth. Those who are following the same path as he will see, inside him, the real light. If you are a doctor, you will have a very good idea of whether another person is a genuine doctor or not. Immediately you will ask him some questions and if he is not a doctor, he will be totally lost. In the spiritual life also, when a seeker comes to a spiritual Master, he asks a few questions, inner questions. If the Master is really spiritual, he will be able to answer them. If not, he will not be able to answer.

In the spiritual life, the Guru's answer is an immediate psychic response; it comes directly from the soul. It does not come from the mind. Many seekers come to me. Some of them don't ask questions, but others ask hundreds of questions during the hours they spend at the Centre. Sometimes these are questions that nobody has been able to answer for them, but when I answer their questions, they are convinced that this person has inner illumination.

It is not by answering questions alone, that you convince others that you are a spiritual Master. Thousands and millions of books, containing answers to questions, have been written on the spiritual life. From books you cannot get illumination. Books can give you inspiration. There are books about realisation, but you cannot get realisation from reading them. Inspiration you can get; realisation is inside you, inside everyone. But it has to be brought to the fore. And for that, a spiritual Master is needed. And when he has grown in inner illumination, it is the seeker who sees in his Master and feels in Him, the Illumination of the Supreme.

1972

Question: In your article "New Creation", you say that the best way to use our life, every moment of our life, is through inspiration and aspiration. My question is how can we, in what way can we put forth our utmost effort to bring to the fore our highest inspiration and aspiration?

Sri Chinmoy: As an individual disciple, as a seeker, as a child of your spiritual parents, you have to feel that you have a most significant task to perform. Each individual has to feel this. Then when you feel that you have something to do, you will go one step within. What is the message that you will receive from within? From within yourself, the answer will come that you have to become a most perfect instrument, a divine soldier and a unique messenger of Light and Truth.

Now this is not the end of the answer. Once you know what you have to become you will get inspiration and aspiration. But you have to ask yourself, at each moment, when you do something or say something, whether it can be utilised for a divine purpose or can be added to your own dedication or to your surrender to the Will of the Supreme. You have said something, for example. You have spoken for a few minutes. Then you have to ask yourself, "Will this, in any way, help in realising God or in serving God? " For five minutes you have spoken to someone. Now you have to ascertain whether this talking will in any way help you or help him or help anybody else. Then if you feel, "Yes, it has helped me; it is helping my friend; it is helping others," then I wish to say that everyday you should try to do that kind of thing. It can be used as a service to you and to the one whom you speak to and to others who are around you.

This is all done on the physical plane. It is outer action. When you do something, everybody notices you. But in the mental plane again, you will be the observer and we will be the observers. The Supreme Himself will be the Observer. In the mental plane, when you are seeing someone or saying something, talking to someone inwardly, you have to feel that the action is taking place in the mind. Is it going to be of help to you or is it going to be a hindrance to your spiritual progress? So at each moment, when thought tries to knock at your mental door, you have to be careful, very conscious and alert. Will you allow that particular thought to enter into your mental room or not? If it is a good thought, open wide the mental door. If it is a bad thought, do not allow it in. Just act like a soldier standing at the mental door.

So… action on the mental plane, action on the physical plane can make each person inspire and aspire most soulfully and most profoundly. Each action is responsible either to make you realise God or to take you away from your Goal and to delay you in realising God. Each action, whether on the physical plane or on the mental plane can do that. This is why I say that each thought, each idea is equally responsible, equally important in the spiritual life if one wants to be a man of knowledge or if one wants to do something extraordinary on earth. Each second is most important in the spiritual life.

When you value the breath of a second, the capacity or the gift of a second, then inspiration and aspiration automatically come to you. They have to come because action compels inspiration and aspiration to increase. They are within, but when you throw yourself into the sea of divine activity, they come forward and you can climb to the Highest. Inspiration will take you as high as it can. Then aspiration will come to take you to the Ultimate Goal of the Beyond. These are two friends. The first one takes you quite high but it cannot take you to the Highest. Then the second one takes you to the Ultimate Goal. But the second one also was there all along with the first one. But there comes a time when the first one, inspiration, has played its role and merges into aspiration. At that time, we don't see inspiration as such because it has lost its identity in aspiration. Then aspiration goes high, higher, highest and there it reaches its Ultimate Height which we call realisation. After reaching this Height, it merges into realisation itself; they become one. So the three become one: Inspiration, aspiration and realisation. And then after they have become one, they try to do something jointly. To do that, they come back here again from where they started. But this time, it is not with imperfection. This time it is with Perfection-Light. They try to manifest Divinity and Immortality here on earth.

Question: It is very easy for us to conceive of God in the Infinite and the ultimate. But how can we see God in our everyday life, in our relations with people, in our activities with people? How can we see God here, the Divine here?

Sri Chinmoy: When you look at others, you feel that they are all monkeys and all imperfect. True. The idea is coming to you that you want to see God in Sevananda, but when you speak to Sevananda, he says something nasty to you. At that time, you say, "How can I see or realise God in him?" This is wrong, but the very idea which has come to you, that you want to see God in Sevananda is the first step. Then what do you see? When you speak to Sevananda, you may use your outer eyes. You see him, his features. But try to feel and try to do one thing. Do not give any importance to your eyes catching his eyes; that is to say, do not allow the eyes to meet together. But feel that there is something which will really connect both of you. If the physical eyes meet together, immediately there will be some confusion. If you want to appreciate something of his physical nature, immediately you will be disappointed because you will see perhaps that he has not combed his hair properly or he has not taken a shower. Something, something will bother you because you are trying to see perfection in him. Poor fellow, he is not perfect, according to your judgement or according to your standard. So how can you see God in him? Don't try to see God. Only use your heart to identify yourself with him. When we stand in front of someone, we never think that we ourselves are imperfect. Always the other one is imperfect and "I am perfect". This is our constant feeling.

You stand in front of twenty persons. When humility comes forward for a second, you may feel that you are imperfect; otherwise twenty-three or twenty-four hours a day at least, you will think that you are perfect and others are imperfect. Why? Because the mind is playing its role. But if the heart plays its role, immediately it will see only oneness. The heart does not see defects. In oneness we do not see any defects. No. No matter how ugly my nose is, because I am one with it. I will feel that it is as fine as any other part of me. My eyes, my hands, my nose have all become part and parcel of my existence. I represent my nose and my nose represents me. This way, I cannot separate myself from it. When I use the heart, I see that even my little finger is equally important in my body. Here and everywhere I feel the message of oneness.

So use your heart and you will see God in all human beings. Sevananda is your friend, but there may be some people who are your enemies. You will see even in them the living presence of God because you are using an instrument within you which is bound to act like a magnet and that is your heart. Use the heart and you will see, you will feel, that God is in everyone; in addition, you will feel something more, that you are all the time for them and of them. When you use the heart, first feel your oneness with them. Then as soon as you have established your oneness, you are bound to feel that you are no different from them. When you establish your oneness with God, you are bound to feel that you are of God. If you have not created or established your oneness with God, you can never feel that you are of God. Somebody else is of God, but you are not of God. You are of something undivine; this kind of ignorance will come to your mind. But once you have established your oneness with God, you will know that you are of God. That means that you are of light. And once you feel that you are of light, the next moment you have to feel that you are for light. The reason for this is that in this world, as soon as we know the source, we try to fulfil the source in its own way.

Always try to identify with something vast that God has already given us. The sky He has given us. The ocean He has given us. Cosmic nature He has given us. Anything that immediately gives us the feeling of vastness must be brought to our physical consciousness. Then I assure you that your heart will become large, magnanimous, boundless and supremely fruitful.

Question: In one meditation you say that if anybody strikes me on the right cheek, I shall not turn my left cheek to him because I love him and I don't want him to commit the same mistake again. Do you mean that one can get mad at that person?

Sri Chinmoy: No, it is not that. Let us say that somebody strikes me or does something wrong. Now if I allow that person to do the thing once again, my theory is that in no way will I be helping to perfect him. On the contrary, I am increasing his ignorance. One thing is to forgive and not to take revenge. The saying of Christ from the Bible we all know. I do not want to enter into any controversy. I am only justifying what I have previously written.

Suppose I see that someone has consciously done something wrong and it is damaging him. By doing this wrong thing, he is not in any way, expediting his spiritual progress or inner progress. On the contrary, I am seeing clearly that he is descending in the scale of evolution. Then what shall I do? In me also is the living God. Now my living God here is acting like a Transcendental Being who is just. It is very easy to forgive someone. But by forgiving him, we have to know whether that person is really going to change his nature. If I just go on saying, "You have done something wrong; you can do more; you are exercising my compassion," yes, I will exercise my compassion, but in the eyes of God, I will not be allowing him to come to the right path and at the same time, I am wasting my precious life by indulging someone else's wrong action.

So we have to be very careful when somebody does something wrong to us. It is not that we are threatening them. Far from it. Only we have to feel that by allowing him to do the same thing again, or indulge in the same wrong action, we are taking him away from his own divinity.

At each moment, just as we should always try not to do anything wrong ourselves, consciously or unconsciously, we should also not allow another person to do anything wrong. We know that our encouragement of his mistake is in no way serving as kind of compassion. No. If we encourage him to do the wrong thing again and again, then this is not compassion. This is our self-imposed weakness in the name of compassion. We shall not attack anybody, consciously or unconsciously. If somebody attacks, then we have to defend ourselves because in this self-defence, he will realise that he is striking someone who is innocent, who is crying for Light, for Reality, for Truth. Since we are crying for Light, Truth, Reality and Divinity, we have also to make the other person feel that only in Light will he receive his satisfaction. By striking me, he will not get satisfaction. I tell you because a day will come when his soul will come forward and make him feel that he has done something extremely wrong. So if we know that he has done something wrong, then we have to make him understand this, the sooner the better. Then he can enter into the soul's Light and be guided all the time. So this is how I explain this aphorism of mine.

During Christ's time, the average man lived in a very undeveloped semi-animal consciousness. When Christ instructed them to turn the other cheek, it was in line with His entire teaching of brotherly love, and compassionate kindness. He was trying to teach them mildness and harmlessness which was very necessary at the time. If he had given them the same instruction that I have given you now, they would not have been able to understand it. They were not sufficiently evolved. Since the average person has evolved considerably in the last two thousand years, we have come to a point where a higher level of teaching can be applied. What Christ said was divinely and supremely necessary for the people in his day. I am not saying anything against the Christ or contrary to him. Each spiritual Master teaches according to the level of consciousness of his devotees. Each Avatar is bringing humanity one step higher up the ladder of evolution.

My view was never tit for tat, that if somebody strikes me, I have to strike him back. Only since we are marching in the process of evolution, each individual has evolved. Each aspiring human being has evolved. We are saying that we can also help others in evolving. If you have evolved, if you have come five steps higher on the rungs of evolution and if we see someone who has not yet climbed up at all, we feel that it is our bounden duty to stretch out our hand and lift him up and not allow him to stay all the time in the clay and mud. Unless we pull him up, he will go and throw mud and clay at us. If we pull him up, that action itself may be punishment to his unlit vital, but it is a reward to his soul.

Question: About two weeks ago, we were talking here about attachment and detachment. We think that we are attached only to somebody whom we like. But Sudhha told us that we can be attached to somebody we dislike. How can we detach ourselves from a person whom we dislike?

Sri Chinmoy: First let us speak about attachment in the positive way. You like someone and you are constantly trying to please him. You are trying also to be pleased by that person. This is the positive way. The other way is that you have an enemy. He is jealous of you; you are jealous of him. In spite of this, your mind is constantly on that person. You are all the time thinking of how you can surpass him, how you can make him feel that you are superior to him. In that way there is a kind of challenging attitude you have. You are thinking in a negative way, but all the time that person is on your mind.

Either you are thinking of your friend or you are thinking of your enemy. When you think of your friend, at least it is in a positive way. You are trying to bind him or you are allowing him to bind you. In the negative way, you are hurting the person, but at the same time, you do not want to be hurt. In the previous way you are binding someone and you get joy that the person is also thinking of you. But here in the negative way, you only try to hurt the person whom you decry and at the same time, you want that person to remain silent. You don't want him or her to strike you back. It is one-sided. You will strike him, for you know better, but you won't allow him to come near you. You will put a solid block in front of you the moment that person wants to attack you back. Only you want to attack.

In every possible way, you want to stay on the top of the tree and you want your enemy to remain at the foot of the tree. But the very fact that you want to be something and you want him to be something else shows that this is a negative attitude. In the positive way, when you want to be something, you want your friend to be that also.

But again you have to know what you want and what that person wants. If you want anything from that person, on the physical plane, you are only binding him. And if that particular person wants something from you, he is binding you. On the physical plane, it is always like that. On the spiritual plane, on the other hand, it is all a devoted feeling. You may ask, "When I think of the Master, then is it not attachment? " Far from it. Why? When you deal with a spiritual person, it is not attachment but a devoted feeling of your inseparable oneness. When you deal with ordinary, unaspiring, unrealised people, it is total attachment. You are binding them with your desire and they are binding you with their hearts' desire. It is all attachment. But in the spiritual life, you are not binding. Here you are trying to throw yourself into the vast consciousness which your soul feels.

In your aspiring moments, you feel that this consciousness is boundless. So when you throw yourself into it, that means that you are going to be free. But when you are ready to throw yourself into someone who is unillumined and you want the other party to throw his or her existence into you, since both of you are unillumined, naturally there is only a sense of limitation. Where there is darkness, there is limitation. Wherever there is Light, it is limitless and infinite.

So you have to know, all of you, that when you devote yourselves to the spiritual life, to your Master, it is not attachment; it is your devoted feeling of inseparable oneness, where you can be in the Vast, with the Vast and for the Vast. That is to say, you can consciously dive into the Infinite and act with the Infinite and for the Infinite.

The positive type of attachment is binding because there you are entering into darkness consciously or unconsciously, since that person is not illumined and you yourself are not illumined as an individual. Two blind persons going together can never offer light to each other. But one who is strong, powerful and mighty stands in front of both of you and he strengthens both persons.

In the spiritual life, when it is a matter of unaspiring beings, unillumined beings, unrealised human beings, then you are bound to be fettered. This is in the positive type of attachment. And in the negative type, it is always destruction. You want to destroy and at the same time, you don't want to be destroyed. You want to attack everybody and make them feel that they are no good; they are useless. This is when you have an enemy. Then at the same time you are well protected, shielded and guarded so that the enemy cannot come. But the mind is all the time thinking: sometimes, how to attack and the next moment, how to escape because you are afraid that you yourself will attacked, You are playing a game of tit for tat.

In the positive kind of attachment, you are thinking of someone and you want him to think of you. If he does not think of you, you are miserable. So both the positive and negative attachments are both useless when the attachment is directed towards an unaspiring and unillumined person. But you can direct your thoughts, ideas, ideals and aspiration, your sense of inner duty, towards your Mission, your Goal, towards your Master. Then I wish to say that you are safe, you are illumined, you are fulfilled.

1973

Question: Besides meditating, if you have confusion, say someone has told you something that confuses you in your own spiritual life, how can you clear that up?

Sri Chinmoy: Your name: I have given you the spiritual name Mita, friend, eternal friend, universal friend, friend to the aspiring world, friend to the illumining world. You are the friend to everybody. Friendship you have. Now we have confusion!

When somebody creates confusion, what does he say? He says something which is unreal, and only an unreal thing creates confusion, not a real thing. Somebody says to you, "Your name is not Mita," now what will happen? Either you have to believe or disbelieve.

You know your name is Mita. I have given you that name and whether others know it or not, you know. Even if there is no second person on earth to confirm it, you know that your name is Mita. So here in the spiritual life, you have to know that your name is also aspiration. If somebody comes and tells you that, "no, no, no, your name is not aspiration," then what will you do? Will you believe that person? As your name is Mita, so in the spiritual life your name is aspiration. Now, if somebody tells you something which creates confusion, that means you are denying your own name. It is like this: who can create confusion in you if you do not allow it? Confusion is an unreal statement, an unreal reality, it is not real. Now, if you are real, who can create confusion in you? If you have faith in yourself, if you have faith in me, if you have faith in God, who can create confusion in you?

Suppose this is your building and somebody comes and says, "No, no, this is not your building. This is my building," what will you do? He can stay for twenty-four hours saying it is his building. It is not yours, it is his building. How will you believe him? No, you simply will say, "No, this is my building." So if your building is aspiration, there can be no confusion. But if your building is not aspiration, if your building is doubt, or curiosity or an unsettled state of things in your spiritual life, then I tell you, confusion can get in any moment. You must be firm in your aspiration and feel that your name is aspiration. Who can tell you otherwise, who can deny it? But if you are not sure of your own name, which is aspiration, you see that at this moment you have many names: your names may be fear, doubt, insecurity, uncertainty. If you have four or five names, naturally you will lose the game. But if your name is only one, one name you have which is aspiration, I tell you, nobody can confuse you, nobody. Your aspiration is infinitely stronger than others' capacity. Their capacity is doubt, their capacity is fear, their capacity is undivine gossip, that is all. But if you think that you have only one name, aspiration, and one capacity, divine capacity, absolute capacity, supreme capacity, nobody can destroy you. Not even an iota of your aspiration can be destroyed if you feel that your name is nothing but illumined aspiration.

People say, "He has confused me." How can he confuse you? That means you have opened your heart's door. You will open your heart's door only to God, only to Truth, only to Light, only to Purity, only to Divinity. Do you open your door to your enemy? Do you open your door to the stranger? No. Who brings confusion? He who is a stranger, he who is your enemy. No, a real friend of yours will not bring confusion into your life. A real friend will only bring messages about God, message of aspiration, love, joy, concern, all the divine messages, divine gifts he will bring forth. But he who is not your friend will bring only undivine gifts, fear, doubt, anxiety, worry. No human being on earth who has aspiration can be confused. Where aspiration lags, confusion starts. It is like that. Otherwise there is no confusion.

Aspiration is a flame, a burning flame which is our divine property, our real divine gift. Constantly it is illumining us, illumining and fulfilling us. And how is it possible that Grace which is aspiration can be confused with something else? It is impossible. Here it is all light now. No matter what you bring in, it is all illumined. But instead of bringing obscurity into light, what we do is that we feel that in darkness there is some joy, some pleasure. That darkness here is gossip, darkness here is lack of faith.

So, instead of keeping ourselves all the time in light, for the sake of pleasure we go to others who tell us gossip and all kinds of things, undivine things. Then we are confused. I wish to tell you that nobody, nobody can take your faith away, nobody, unless you feel that your faith is of secondary importance. If you feel that your faith is of paramount importance, that there is nothing greater than, or superior to your faith, then this imperturbable, unshakeable faith you already have, everybody has, will remain adamantine. But we allow ourselves to waver. We feel that we have been in light for ten hours, now let us go and be in darkness for five minutes. I meditated here for a long time for half an hour; it is a long experience, now let me lie down in the back room. While lying down in the back room all undivine forces come to attack. No, while lying down also I have to continue keeping the vibration of my meditation inside me during my sleep. Twenty four hours we have to be vigilant. Then there can be no confusion. Always we have to be vigilant.

Question: What can we do with the hostile forces when they attack us and try to separate the Centre or the members, instead of feeling as one group? What can we do?

Sri Chinmoy: What can you do? First of all you have to know that the hostile forces do exist. If we say they don't exist, it will be wrong. If we say there is only day, there is no night, it is wrong. Day is followed by night, night is followed by day. This is absolutely true right now. This is the physical world, the planet earth. But again we see that when consciousness is awakened, when the consciousness is illumined with the inner light, one only sees light and delight. There one does not see the night at all. Here we have a few hours of day, a few hours of night. Again on the physical plane, there are places where you can get sunlight for nineteen, twenty hours out of twenty-four. When I was in Stockholm and other places, for practically nineteen hours or twenty hours a day there was light. When it was around twelve o'clock midnight, twelve thirty, it began to get dark. And at 3:00 a.m. it started to get light again. It was all light. I saw this for the first time because in India for eleven or twelve hours we had light. But in Scandinavia, for seventeen, eighteen, nineteen hours, sometimes for twenty hours, I was seeing sunlight. How vast is God's creation!

But let us not think about this light and night. Let us think of our inner light which is spiritual. First of all we have to accept the fact that hostile forces do exist. Then our next step is to challenge them. How do we challenge them? We challenge them not by standing in front of them. No, we challenge them by going to somebody else. We go to Light. The moment we go to Light, the hostile forces will say, "What kind of audacity do you have, that you go to Light and not to me?" And the hostile forces will come and attack you while you are in the Light. Then Light will immediately say, "What right have you if she is taking shelter in my heart? I will not allow you to stab or to take my child from my heart." Then immediately Light will fight. But if one wants to go to night and fight, thinking that if night is very bad, the hostile forces are bound to be very weak, you will find that they are very strong. They will attack you more. But the very moment one goes to Light, the hostile forces feel that it is a defeat on their part and they feel that you have the audacity to go to Light without going to them. These hostile forces are all from ignorance. For years and years we have fed ignorance and ignorance has fed us. So ignorance feels that it is its bounden duty to keep us under its jurisdiction. Light feels that once you take shelter in it, it is the duty of Light to guide you, to protect you, to help you in your full illumination, salvation and liberation.

Then every day, consciously, during meditation, first offer your gratitude to the Supreme that you are praying and meditating well, that God has given you the capacity, the opportunity to meditate whereas there are millions of people on earth who are not praying and meditating. So God has given you this opportunity and capacity. First you offer your gratitude to God, then you pray to God for protection, always for protection. Then, how will you receive God's protection? It is through gratitude. If you have gratitude, then God offers you protection. Then if you ask for protection, immediately God feels grateful to you that you are asking Him to do something. Here, on the contrary, in this world, in the human world, when we ask someone to do us a favour, we feel that that person should offer us his gratitude. I ask somebody to do something for me; why should he be grateful to me? If you ask me to do something, you should be grateful to me; why should I be grateful to you? This is on the earth plane. You have asked me for a favour; naturally I am the benefactor and you become an object of compassion. This is our human understanding.

In the spiritual life it is different. In the spiritual life, you ask me questions, I invite questions. Now here I am ready to offer you light. I beg you to ask me questions. Now when you are asking me questions, I feel that you have given me the opportunity to reveal the Supreme's Light which I have. Here in the case of God, God also is like that. When you ask God, beg God, "Give me illumination, give me liberation and give me strength and give me the capacity to save the world," immediately God becomes so happy and full of gratitude that you have asked Him, and not Satan, not the devil, not an undivine force, to be of service to you.

So God always appreciates those who ask Him for the right things. You are asking Him to give you light, illumination and not millions of dollars and not power to destroy the world. You are asking him to give you the power to love the world, to illumine the world, to fulfil the world. So each time you pray to God to give you something, God becomes really happy, really grateful, really proud of you because you are asking Him to do something significant. And when you ask Him for His service, He becomes extremely grateful. You could have asked somebody else to do the service, somebody else who is called ignorance. There are two teachers on earth, either God or ignorance. So you take the teacher God. Naturally, if you select a teacher to teach you, that teacher will be most pleased with you. The other teacher, ignorance, whom you have not selected to teach, naturally will be displeased with you. So here, we will care only for the teacher you need and that teacher is God. So when you offer gratitude, God protects you and when you ask for protection, which is a kind of light, God will be grateful to you.

And if you are in between the two shores, the shore of gratitude and the shore of protection, then I wish to say there can be no obstacle in your way and no problems in your life of aspiration.

Question: I would like to know if detachment is in humility or if humility is in detachment and which one comes first.

Sri Chinmoy: First things have to come first. If there is no humility then one cannot make any progress. And if we cannot make any progress, how can we achieve detachment? Detachment is very difficult to achieve. So if one wants to make a choice between humility and detachment, humility should come first and humility should always remain. Otherwise if you start with detachment, today you will be detached and tomorrow you will be full of attachment. But if you start with humility, then one gets an inner knowledge, inner wisdom.

These are two divine qualities, humility and detachment. There are people who are very good seekers, the best seekers, but who are attached. They can be humble but they are very attached. Humility and detachment are in the same room. Both are absolutely necessary. My hand is necessary; my legs are necessary. They need not come together. Sometimes when I am working, I use my hand. Sometimes while I am here sitting, I may use my leg and not my hand. But you have to know that my hands and my legs are equally important, especially when the time comes for them to work together. So in this case, these are two divine qualities, but we must know that humility should come first.

Question: How can we best tell the difference between true humility and when our ego thinks it is humble?

Sri Chinmoy: How can you know whether it is true humility or false humility? When it is true humility, you will get tremendous joy and you will feel that the person to whom you are bowing down is in no way superior to you. It is only that you see the Supreme in him. That is why you are bowing down to him. And while you are bowing down, you have to feel that it is like your hand touching your feet. You should not be ashamed of your hand touching your feet.

Now there are two ways. One way is touching your feet. We are not ashamed of touching our feet, no. But if we feel that the feet are something inferior to the hand, naturally we will feel that it is beneath the dignity of our hand to touch our feet. But when it is necessary, our hands do touch our feet.

Now, in touching my feet, I am getting joy. It is my foot; part of my body is touching another part. There is nothing wrong in it. I am getting joy. But when it is false humility, the moment you express your false humility, there is no joy at all, no joy. You don't get joy in your heart, you don't get joy in your mind. When you are offering insincere humility, your mind will be cursing you because it is all false. The mind will not get any joy and the vital will mock at you saying, "What kind of humility are you showing?" But when it is true humility, the physical, vital, mental, heart and soul all will participate in your action. And at that time you get tremendous joy. When you get real joy, it is true humility. When you are getting no joy or you are criticised by your own inner being or the members of your family, the vital, the mind and the physical, then you can rest assured that it is false humility.

Question: How can you obtain a love for humanity in a true, practical sense? That is easy to speak about but difficult to practise.

Sri Chinmoy: It is true that it is easy to say that we love humanity. In reality we do not love; it is all a self-deception. But how can we acquire the true love of humanity? In order to love humanity, we have to go to the source. The source is not humanity, the source is Divinity. And if we really can go to the source and love Divinity, then Divinity is not something apart from our real existence. First you have to love God who is Divinity Himself. If you can love God, then you will feel that your inner existence is not separate, and cannot be separated, from God. Your existence, your true divine existence and God are one. Then you will see that your existence, which is your divine personality, is the entire humanity.

Your inner existence and God's outer reality are one thing. So when you divinely love yourself, not emotionally or egotistically, you are loving yourself just because God is breathing inside you, a God who wants to fulfil Himself through you. If you love yourself egotistically, you are killing yourself. If you love yourself undivinely, you are binding yourself. But when you love yourself divinely, you love yourself just because inside you is God. That is why you are loving yourself. You and God are one.

If you are fully aware of this truth, you will see, inside you, all of humanity. Humanity is not around you or outside you. It is inside you. If you become one with your divine existence, then you will see that inside you is humanity. Whatever is inside you is yours. Whatever is outside you is not yours. You can help to fulfil, illumine only that which is inside you. So you have to feel that humanity is inside you. Then you will be able to help humanity truly and effectively.

But first you have to realise God. Philanthropy is a very good practice, but real philanthropy begins inside. Just as it is said, "Charity begins at home," so also in spirituality, philanthropy and everything like it starts deep inside yourself. And what is the reality there? Only God inside you who is also the real humanity. So if you realise God, then God will show you how to love humanity. First things first. God-realisation is first for a spiritual seeker and not philanthropy; far from it. Realise God and then you will see that the world is inside you. If you don't realise God, you will see humanity around you as a world apart from you. The moment you realise God, you will feel that humanity is yours and the rest of the world is only yourself.

Editor's note

This ends the transcription of questions answered by the Master in Puerto Rico and the New York area, over a span of seven years, from July 20, 1966 to July 23, 1973.

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