Eternity's Soul-Bird, part 2

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Part I

Has your soul a special mission?

Your soul has a special mission. Your soul is supremely conscious of it.

Maya, illusion or forgetfulness, makes you feel that you are finite, weak and helpless. This is not true. You are not the body. You are not the senses. You are not the mind. These are all limited. You are the soul, which is unlimited. Your soul is infinitely powerful. Your soul defies all time and space.

Can you ever realise your soul? Can you be fully conscious of your soul and be one with it? Certainly you can. For, in fact, you are nothing other than the soul. It is your soul that represents the natural state of consciousness. But doubt makes it difficult to realise the soul. Doubt is man’s fruitless struggle in the outer world. Aspiration is the seeker’s fruitful confidence in the inner world. Doubt struggles and struggles. Finally it defeats its own purpose. Aspiration flies upward to the Highest. At its journey’s end it reaches the Goal. Doubt is based on outer observation. Aspiration is founded on inner experience. Doubt ends in failure because it lives in the finite physical mind. Aspiration ends in success because it lives in the ever-climbing soul. A life of aspiration is a life of Peace. A life of aspiration is a life of Bliss. A life of aspiration is a life of divine Fulfilment.

To know what your special mission is, you have to go deep within. Hope and courage must accompany you on your tireless journey. Hope will awaken your inner divinity. Courage will make your inner divinity flower. Hope will inspire you to dream of the Transcendental. Courage will inspire you to manifest the Transcendental here on earth.

To feel what your special mission is, you have always to create. This creation of yours is something which you ultimately become. Finally you come to realise that your creation is nothing other than your self-revelation.

True, there are as many missions as there are souls. But all missions fulfil themselves only after the souls have achieved some degree of perfection. The world is a divine play. Each participant plays a part in its success. The role of the servant is as important as that of the master. In the perfection of each individual part is the collective fulfilment. And at the same time, the individual fulfilment becomes perfect only when the individual has established his inseparable connection and realised his oneness with all human beings of the world.

You are one from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head. Yet at one place you are called ears, at another place you are called eyes. Each place in your body has a name of its own. Strangely enough, although they all are part of the same body, one cannot perform the action of another. Eyes see, but they cannot hear. Ears hear, but they cannot see. So the body, being one, also is many. Similarly, although God is one, He manifests Himself through many forms.

God tells us our mission. But we do not understand God’s language, so He has to be His own interpreter. When others tell us about God, they can never tell us fully what God is. They misrepresent and we misunderstand. God speaks in silence. Also, He interprets His message in silence. So also let us hear and understand God in silence.

Has your soul a special mission? Yes. Your mission is in the inmost recesses of your heart and you have to find and fulfil it there. There can be no external way for you to fulfil your mission. The deer grows musk in his own body. He smells it and becomes enchanted, and tries to locate its source. He runs and runs, but he cannot find the source. In his endless search, he loses all his energy and finally he dies. But the source he was so desperately searching for was within himself. How could he find it elsewhere?

Such is the case with you. Your special mission — which is the fulfilment of your divinity — is not outside you, but within you. Search within. Meditate within. You will discover your mission.

Part II — Questions and answers on the soul

Pavilion of the Eternal Beyond

His heart-life
Is a pavilion of earth.

His soul-life
Is a pavilion of Heaven.

His God-Life
Is a pavilion of the Eternal Beyond.

Earth sees
Through his heart.

Heaven feels
Through his soul.

The Eternal Beyond glows
Through his God-Life.

Question: What is atman?

Sri Chinmoy: In Sanskrit atman means the individual soul and Paramatman means the Self. Each individual human being has a soul. When the soul, through its own aspiration, realisation, revelation and manifestation, enters into the Cosmic Self, then it completes its journey on earth.

Everybody has atman. There are other members in the spiritual family: body, vital, mind and heart. These members, if they listen to the atman like obedient children, become conscious instruments of God. Right now we are unconscious instruments of God. The soul is always the conscious instrument of God and it is inspiring us, begging us to listen to God, the Inner Pilot. The soul is the eldest brother in the family. It says to the others, “Let us listen to the Father, to the Inner Pilot. If we listen to the Father, then we will become His conscious instruments and God’s full divine manifestation will be able to take place here on earth.”

If the members of a family listen to the eldest member, then that family is harmonious. Similarly, if the body, vital, mind and heart listen to the soul’s request, then the individual will make spiritual progress. If any member is unwilling to listen, then there is quarrelling, fighting and disharmony in the inner life of that particular person. All spiritual figures and sincere seekers of the infinite Truth feel that it is their bounden duty to listen to the soul, which is the conscious representative of God here on earth in each individual human being.

Question: When did God create the soul?

Sri Chinmoy: God created the soul when He started His creation, when He wanted to become many. God wanted to become many so that He could enjoy Himself in many forms. We cannot state a particular time because He is not bound by our time. He dwells in endless, eternal time.

Question: Does the soul have a purpose here on earth?

Sri Chinmoy: The soul knows that it has come from Infinity and that here on earth it is moving in Infinity and marching or running forward to its home, which is all Infinity and Eternity. The soul is playing a game and that game is called the game of manifestation. Each time the soul enters into the world it makes the solemn promise that it will manifest God here on earth. This time your soul has accepted a particular body and it is trying to manifest something divine on earth through this body. In its next incarnation it will take another body to manifest other divine qualities.

Question: Do all souls want the same thing?

Sri Chinmoy: In a very broad sense they do, but individual souls want different aspects of the Divine at different times. Some want particularly the manifestation of the divine Light, some want above all perfection of the inner and outer life and some particularly want oneness with the Inner Pilot. These three qualities are not like rungs of a ladder; they are not in ascending order like aspiration, realisation, revelation and manifestation. Let us say they are three different planes of consciousness. All three are equally important. According to our willingness and capacity, we should pay attention to all three. But one of the three is the most important factor in each soul’s evolution, either for a few years or for your entire life.

You may be more fond of your eyes than of your ears and nose. But in order to be perfect, you need your eyes, ears and nose. If you want to give more importance to your eyes, you can do so. By giving importance to your eyes, you become fully aware of your utmost love for them. But again, in order to be perfect, you need your eyes, your ears and your nose.

An individual soul may want either oneness with the Inner Pilot or manifestation of the divine Light or perfection of the inner and outer life for one incarnation. It may even happen that after three years, four years or twenty years the soul will change its wish. We cannot say that the one who now wants oneness with the Inner Pilot does not care for the manifestation of the divine Light. He does care, but right now he cares more for another aspect, which is oneness with the Inner Pilot. It is not possible to compare these three. The best category is the one that a particular soul wants for the time being, or for a few years, or for the whole incarnation. Whatever the soul wants from your life is the most important thing in your life.

Question: When someone reaches Self-realisation, what happens to his soul?

Sri Chinmoy: The realised soul remains with the body. If the soul remains in the body when a person is realised, then he can consciously work for the divinity in humanity. He will feel at that time that he is a conscious instrument of God, that God is the Doer and God is the Action and that God is utilising him. When the veil of ignorance is removed, the soul gets the greatest opportunity to fulfil God’s Mission on earth. At that time there is no death, no destruction, no ignorance around the soul.

Question: Will all souls be realised eventually, even the souls of the worst criminals?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, everyone eventually has to realise God. In life there are two rooms. One is all light and knowledge and the other is all darkness and ignorance. The criminals have chosen to stay in the room that is all darkness. But one day they will see that the other room is much more fulfilling. Then naturally they won’t want to stay in darkness anymore. They will come out and enter into the other room that is full of light.

Question: Which dominates the body, the mind or the soul?

Sri Chinmoy: The soul is supposed to dominate the body, but sometimes the vital dominates the body and sometimes the mind dominates the body. Actually, the soul does not dominate; it inspires. When the mind or the vital wants to get something done by the body, they do not hesitate to use force. But the soul will never force; the soul is always acting through inspiration and love.

It is easier for the soul to inspire the body through the heart than through the mind. A child can be inspired most easily through the heart. But one can also see and feel the psychic movement in an old man of eighty years. How is it that we can see an old man acting like a child? It is just because the soul is inspiring him through the heart. If he is not a spiritual person, naturally he himself will not know what is happening. He will think, “My days are numbered, so let me now act like a child, let me regain my childhood.” But what actually happens is that since the soul has love and concern for the body, the soul inspires the body through the heart. So where the soul is concerned, what we observe is inspiration, and where the vital and mind are concerned, what we see is domination.

Question: Is it possible that the soul is in any way connected with what we call consciousness?

Sri Chinmoy: Consciousness is always connected with the soul. But what we in our human life call consciousness is not real consciousness at all; it is a mere feeling. When we perceive something subtle which we cannot define, we call this awareness of ours consciousness; this is actually not real consciousness at all. It is rather very subtle desire. We enter into it and immediately we feel that it is our consciousness. But real consciousness is the Light which connects Heaven and earth. Heaven itself is in our consciousness.

Consciousness and the soul can never be separated, whereas the body can easily be separated from the soul and also from consciousness. When we use the term ‘physical consciousness’, we are referring to the finite consciousness. It is a portion of the infinite Consciousness which has entered into the gross physical and is now possessed and utilised by the physical itself. The same can also occur with the vital consciousness and the mental consciousness. But the divine Consciousness is a vast unity which houses silence and power. When it houses silence, it houses its own true form. When it houses power, it manifests its inner reality.

The soul, which is eternal, and Consciousness, which is infinite, go together. They have a common source, which is Life, eternal Life. The soul has eternal Life and consciousness also has eternal Life. They complement each other. The soul expresses its divinity through Consciousness and Consciousness expresses its all-pervading silence through the soul.

Question: How can we bring the light of the soul into the mind so that we constantly have love, devotion and surrender?

Sri Chinmoy: When we think of the light of the soul, immediately we have to feel that what we get from this light is illumination and transformation. Otherwise, the soul’s light will remain vague to us. We see the light of electricity, but no matter what voltage we use, this light cannot change our nature. It will not be able to offer anything to our inner life. But when we become conscious of the light of the soul in our spiritual life, we feel that this light not only illumines our lives but also convinces us that the soul’s light alone is real; all else is unreal. If the mind feels that it has no reality unless and until it is flooded with the light of the soul, then only is the mind sincere and aspiring.

How can you bring the light of the soul into the mind so that you can have constant love, devotion and surrender? Please feel that the mind is your possession and not that you are possessed by the mind. You are the possessor of your finger, it does not possess you. You have full control over your finger. Similarly, you possess money and you use it in your own way. But if the money possesses you with its material power, then it will corrupt your nature. You will be caught by greed and attachment. Money itself is not bad, but it is misused to such an extent that very often a wrong force operates through it. The same is true of the mind. If you feel, “Oh, my mind is using me all the time and I cannot do anything,” then you are helpless. Your mind should be like your finger. Your finger cannot utilise you if you know that it is yours, that it is under your control. Similarly, with your conscious will you have to make the mind your servant.

You can meditate and tell your mind, “I shall not allow you to go in your own way. Now I want to think of God.” Repeat the name of God inwardly or aloud. The next moment say, “I want to have purity in my whole existence. Then repeat ‘purity, purity, purity.’ At that time you are not allowing your mind to think of impurity or of some other person or thing. Don’t give your mind a chance to wander; simply utilise your mind for your own purpose. You have millions of things to accomplish in and through the mind. But the mind is so naughty and mischievous that if you don’t utilise it, it will utilise you.

So I wish to tell you from now on please make the mind feel that it is your slave, that it is at your command. Do you want to use your mind for a divine purpose twenty-four hours a day? Then do so. Each time you want to achieve something, just catch the mind and say, “Do this, do this, do this.” Utilise the mind for the divine purpose of thinking of God, meditating on God and concentrating on God. In this way you can easily bring the mind under your control. Once the mind is under your control, you can then offer it to the Supreme. And the moment you can offer the mind to the Supreme, you will see that the soul’s light has already entered into the mind and has started illumining the mind. When the mind is illumined, love becomes absolutely pure, devotion becomes absolutely intense and surrender becomes complete, unconditional and constant.

The bridge

I was the frustration-despair-bridge
My vital's first dark hour
My body's last deep sleep.

I am the rapture-treasure-bridge
My heart's birthless hour
My soul's deathless life.

Question: What Is the source of the highest light?

Sri Chinmoy: The highest light actually comes from the soul. If you can get free access to the soul, you will be able to bring to the fore the light from within. You have to meditate on the heart because inside the heart is the soul. The moment you have free access to the inner being or to the soul, you will see that the light is coming to the fore to permeate your whole existence.

Question: How does one develop inner power?

Sri Chinmoy: One can develop inner power by becoming one with the will of the soul. The soul is the representative of the Highest, the Absolute Supreme. If we want to acquire inner power, we should try to concentrate on the inner being or on the soul. When we become aware of the soul’s operation in the outer plane, we will be aware of our inner power. Inner power the soul has, not only in abundant measure, but in infinite measure.

Question: Does the soul ever observe the body from outside?

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes the soul leaves the body and looks at the physical body. I first had this experience at the age of twelve. My soul came out of my body while I was sitting on my cot. My own soul and my own body were standing face to face and I was looking with the eye of my soul at my physical body.

Question: Apart from giving you reports or telling you important things, do the souls of your disciples ever come to you just out of joy or gratitude?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, they come when there is sad news or good news and at other times they come out of joy and gratitude. Sometimes the soul cannot visit me because the disciple’s vital is not receptive. The vital may not receive my blessing at the time I offer it. But after two hours or so, the soul is successful in assimilating light in the vital.

A few days ago, a disciple fell very sick. She had a very high fever and was delirious. I blessed her once, but she was in another world. Then after five or six minutes I blessed her again. At that time I put a very strong force on her. Her soul and heart received it immediately, but her mind and vital were in another world and were not receiving my light. The soul was trying so hard, but the mind and the vital were not receptive, even though the soul was full of devotion and gratitude. Later that night, the soul of the disciple came to me and I meditated on her. Her soul felt miserable because the physical was not grateful. The soul was like a mother who is miserable because her child has not expressed gratitude for a gift he received from someone. But I felt that as long as the soul received light, my spiritual daughter would be all right and I would be happy. Why does the human parent or the spiritual parent need gratitude from the daughter? I felt that if she did not suffer the following morning, if I could hear from her that she was all right, then that would be more than enough for me.

The next morning when I was meditating on the disciple, this soul came to me and at last the physical, vital, mind and heart received what I offered and were full of devotion, gratitude and surrender. The soul had convinced the physical, vital and mind that they were wrong before. The soul at that time became the lord.

Question: Sometimes I am awakened in the morning feeling a very high state of elation and unity, but I am not conscious of what has taken place. Does any work take place at night on the spiritual plane that we are not aware of?

Sri Chinmoy: You are fully aware of this work. If you had not been aware of it at some point, then you could not have told me about it right now. You are not aware of it on the mental plane, but there are many other planes of consciousness. When you actually have the experience, you see the experience and at that time your soul is aware of it.

Consciousness is like a ladder. You come down the various descending rungs. Right now there is no link between the last rung, where you are now, and the rung where you had the experience. If you remain in the physical consciousness, which most human beings do during the day, then the experience that you had in the inner world cannot function properly. The physical consciousness does not have free access to that particular plane of consciousness where you had the experience. The physical consciousness must have divine light; then only can it have free access to all the planes of consciousness.

During sleep, when the soul moves from one plane to another, it is like a free bird. If the physical consciousness wants to observe consciously what the soul is doing twenty-four hours a day, then it has to be moulded and guided by the soul’s light. In your case, you were conscious at the time of your soul’s experience, but afterwards you could not remember it because you were not aware of all these planes of consciousness that exist between the soul and the physical consciousness.

Question: Are all souls good?

Sri Chinmoy: The soul is always good; it cannot be bad. But the more developed souls have more light and wisdom. Young souls have much less to manifest on earth. The soul is like the sun. For some time it is covered with teeming clouds and its light cannot be manifested. The lower vital will try to delay the progress of the soul’s manifestation. But the dynamic vital, the aspiring vital, will give an additional push to the soul. At the start of the spiritual journey, the potentiality of all the souls is the same. But at this point, because of their inner urge, some souls are manifesting their capacity more powerfully. They are running faster in the spiritual race. In India, parents often pray to God to give them a child with a powerful soul that will come out of ignorance very quickly and manifest the Divine on earth.

Question: How does the soul deal with good and evil and prevent us from doing wrong?

Sri Chinmoy: There comes a time when we go beyond duality. If you go deep within, you will see that what you call bad is not bad at all. It is just an experience that is taking place on the earth plane. Everything is relative. But here on earth we do feel wrong forces. How can we prevent them from operating in our lives or in the lives of our dear ones? There are two sensible ways.

The first way is through concentration, meditation and contemplation: If one knows how to do these well, then he need not enter into the world of wrong forces. During your soulful meditation, you can ask God for strength, solid strength, spiritual strength. If you can apply this solid strength in your life, then the bad forces are bound to disappear from you and from the atmosphere around you.

The second way is to try to see the ultimate Truth, God, in everything. This we have to do with our souls’ light. Each human being has a soul. The soul is an infinitesimal portion of the infinite Truth. The soul is in direct contact with the Divine, with the transcendental Being. The problem is that when we speak to a person, we do not approach his soul. We see only the outer body, the flesh and bones. The physical is full of darkness and imperfections, so it is difficult for us to approach the soul. But let us try to see the soul inside the physical being of the person and commune with the soul and bring to the fore the soul’s light. We may think that that particular person is the worst possible culprit in everything, but if we can bring the person’s soul to the fore, we will feel and observe something really divine. In this way automatically the evil has to give way to the good, for the soul is all light.

Question: When a person is crazy, is this condition the result of his soul's past karma?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, what kind of craziness do you mean? There are crazy people and there are insane people. Those who are insane or mad, those who are cases of a mental asylum, are altogether different from crazy people.

Ninety percent of those who are insane are that way because of a lack of purity in the vital being. Their impurity invites insanity. The body’s impurity, the vital’s impurity and the mind’s impurity invite all kinds of negative, destructive forces. Eventually these people are totally possessed by hostile forces and they become mad. In the case of insanity one has to know that the soul cannot influence the mind directly, without taking any help from the body or the vital.

In the case of crazy people, there is a dislocation either in the mind or in the vital or in the gross physical, but not in the soul. The soul is always perfect, in the sense that the soul cannot be crazy. Even a soul that is in the animal world can never be crazy. Souls simply differ in the degree of their manifestation,

The soul of a crazy person maintains its connection with the body and with the physical mind before coming to the earth plane. The difficulty develops when the mind becomes defective while entering the physical. You may ask, why does the soul, which knows everything, select or accept a defective mind? But that is not what actually happens. While descending to earth, the soul knows what kind of mental instrument it is going to use. But even if the soul brings with it a good mind, a sound and effective mind, very often it happens that disturbing vibrations from the earth-atmosphere, from the hungry vital or from the physical nature, enter into the being. At that time the mind may become defective although the person himself is not aware of what is happening to him. The defective mind does not have free access to the soul and the soul finds it extremely difficult to convey its message to the defective mind. But the soul, being the father and mother and guardian of the entire being, does not reject the mind. The soul tries its best to influence the mind, to bring down peace into the mind. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, it is peace that is wanting in the afflicted person. Even if he receives love, the condition of a crazy person may remain. But if soulful peace enters into him, then his problem will be solved.

There is no actual dislocation between the mind and the soul of a crazy person. The soul consciously identifies with the mind and tries its utmost to help the mind. But the poor mind is not aware of what the soul actually wants to offer. In such cases, if the soul takes the help of the body, the vital and the heart and if they jointly try to influence the mind, then the mind automatically gets relaxation. The crazy mind does not have the wealth that is called relaxation. If someone can offer it relaxation and peace, then it will become a sane mind that functions properly.

My soul's protection

My mind's serenity
Protects my soul.

My heart's sincerity
Protects my soul.

My vital's certainty
Protects my soul.

My body's purity
Protects my soul.

Question: You said that in a way our body is like a shell for our soul and that in due time our body will die and rot. What happens to the soul? What does it do? How far does it go?

Sri Chinmoy: The soul never dies. The soul is the immortal thing within us. It is the body that dies. At death the soul gradually goes back to its own region. As soon as the body dies, the physical enters into the gross physical, the vital enters into the vital world, the mind enters into the mental world and the heart enters into the psychic world.

The soul goes back to the soul’s region for a short rest. There are seven higher worlds, like seven rungs of the spiritual ladder, and seven lower worlds. The moment the soul leaves the body it climbs up one rung and then goes up, up, up and covers the seven rungs of consciousness of the seven higher worlds. Then finally it enters into the sea of immense peace. There it takes rest. The length of the rest depends on the individual soul. Some souls come back into the world after six years or ten years or twelve years. The more advanced a soul is, the longer it takes to return. In the case of an ordinary soul which has not been able to manifest much or offer much to the earth, it usually comes back in about six years' time from the soul’s region. But if the soul is very advanced, as in the case of great spiritual Masters, it comes only once in three hundred, four hundred years. And again if it is the Will of the Supreme, then even a very advanced spiritual person is bound to come again after fifteen years or twenty years. But usually ordinary souls come back into the field of creation and manifestation in six years' time.

Before it comes back into the world of manifestation, it goes to the Lord Supreme for an interview. They have a heart-to-heart talk. The soul tells how much it has achieved in its previous incarnation and the Supreme tells it how much it has to achieve in its next incarnation. When the Supreme tells the soul what to do, He gives the necessary power and light to the soul.

Each time the soul comes down like a divine soldier, it enters into the battlefield of life and fights against doubt, obscurity, ignorance, imperfection, limitations, worries and so forth. It tries to reveal its own inner divinity and establish the divine Truth on earth according to its capacity. And then, at the end of its journey’s close in a particular incarnation, it goes back to its own region. When the time comes to return, it tells the Supreme what it is intending to do, and the Supreme either sanctions or disapproves of its plan. Sometimes if the soul is not absolutely clear in its judgement, the Supreme throws abundant light on the soul.

Question: Does the soul decide what it is going to go through on the earth plane?

Sri Chinmoy: It is the soul that determines what we will do here on earth. But our human mind very often makes friends with ignorance and darkness. So what happens is that some souls have minor difficulties while other souls have great difficulties. The soul has accepted human fate. If the physical mind continues to enter into worldly desires and worldly enjoyments, then naturally the soul will have to fight harder to come out of ignorance. For some time it may be completely covered by ignorance.

But at the same time there are some souls that do not have personal problems. They are very large and wide. That kind of mighty soul feels that all humanity is his family. With all sincerity he takes others’ problems upon himself, as if they were his own. These souls are most gracious and most willing to accept and harbour others’ sufferings. The great spiritual Masters accept the difficulties of humanity as their very own. If they wanted to be completely separated from humanity, they would not suffer. But they choose to suffer by accepting humanity and they do suffer most intensely for humanity. An ordinary human being who tries to help others who are suffering is himself caught by their suffering. But a realised soul will accept everyone and everything and at the same time he will be flooded with absolute Delight. Even while suffering he has inner Delight because he is constantly one with the Divine, with the Supreme.

Question: Is it possible for the individual to remember the details of past incarnations?

Sri Chinmoy: The soul can easily remember its past incarnations, but it does not want to do so. It is like this: let us say that in a past incarnation you were living in Connecticut and now you are living in Puerto Rico. Why should you care to remember every day what your home in Connecticut was like or how many rooms you had there? Your business now is to stay in Puerto Rico in your present house. If anyone asks you where you live, you will say, “I live in Puerto Rico.” And if anyone asks you how many rooms you have in your house, you will immediately think of this house and not your previous house. Please do not pay any attention to the past. Right now you have to do your own work. You have to manifest the qualities that God has given you. You have to do everything here and now. The soul does not care much for the body in which it lived during a previous incarnation. You may feel that your house in Connecticut was much better than this house. Sometimes a kind of nostalgic feeling comes to your mind and you say, “I had a better house in Connecticut. Here I am staying in an inferior house.” The soul can remember that in a previous incarnation it had better circumstances, surroundings and opportunities. But actually the soul will not care. It just wants to fulfil God in His own way.

You have accepted your fate. You are going to work and study here in Puerto Rico. The soul also feels this way. It says “Now I am in this body. Let me go on manifesting as much as I can. To think about what I could have done in the past will not solve my problems. Only what I am going to do right now can solve all my problems.”

If you go backward it is a waste of time. Our Goal is in front of us, not behind us. The soul does not care at all for the past. It only wants to reach the Goal. God-realisation lies ahead of us, not in our past. If we go backwards, we will be wasting our time.

Question: Do all souls have hundreds or thousands of incarnations before realisation?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, it is only spiritual Masters who don’t take so many incarnations. There are some exceptions among spiritual Masters, but most of them do not want to go through so many incarnations.

My inner family

My soul loves
And achieves.
My heart becomes
And receives.
My mind watches
And perceives.
My vital fights
And surrenders.
My body sleeps
And sinks.

Question: Do the same souls keep coming back to earth?

Sri Chinmoy: The same souls do return, but the Supreme also creates new souls. For various reasons many souls have asked to take rest before completing their part in the cosmic game. Those who strictly followed the Lord Buddha’s path and entered into Nirvana have not come back. So the Supreme sends new souls into the world to take their place.

Question: Will the soul usually look the same throughout its incarnations?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, it will usually remain the same. But inside the soul is the psychic being, which will grow. Once it takes a form, the soul usually stays that way; but the psychic being grows gradually like a small child. At first it is very small, but then it grows up. In spiritual seekers the psychic being is better developed than in other human beings.

The souls fascinate me

The coming and going
Of souls bewilders me.
Yet I love it.

The dreaming and expecting
Of souls fascinates me.
Therefore I love it.

The illumining and fulfilling
Of souls awakens me.
Therefore I adore it.

Question: Does a beautiful soul always choose a beautiful outer being?

Sri Chinmoy: All souls are beautiful in origin. But if a certain soul is a special soul, then naturally in its outer manifestation also we will observe sweetness, beauty, serenity, purity and all other divine qualities. What we are within, we are without. But some people have very fine souls, wonderful souls, yet in their outer manners they are unfortunately very crude, unlit and uncivilised. Why is this? It is because the mind and the vital have not been properly touched with the soul’s light. These individuals do not care for the soul’s light and want to remain very crude, so their lives are lacking in harmony. In their outer manifestation they are absolutely unfortunate and miserable.

There is another reason for disharmony between the outer life and the inner life. If we sow the seed of a mango tree, then naturally we will get mangoes. But at times there are other trees around this tree which ruin its beauty. Similarly, if the members of the family do not care for the spiritual life, if they are absolutely unlit, unaspiring, then they can simply crush the finer qualities of a child. How is it that this wonderful child has come into such an undivine family? That is his fate. But generally if one has a beautiful soul, then the outer expression of the soul will also be beautiful.

Question: Guru, once you pointed out to us a man whose soul you said had already left his body. How could he still have been alive on the physical plane if his soul had left his body?

Sri Chinmoy: The soul leaves the body many, many times while a person is still alive. Your soul has left your body many times during your sleep and has come to me. The soul may leave the body for only a few seconds, but those few seconds of earthly time may seem like many months or even years. The maximum amount of time the ordinary soul can stay outside the body is between eleven and thirteen hours. If the soul leaves the body and does not return after eleven, twelve or thirteen hours, then usually it cannot come back into the body-cage. By that time the cord that connects it to the body will snap. But for half an hour or an hour, the soul can easily leave the body and the body can function automatically. The body is like a machine; the mechanic can leave while the machine is running. After a few hours he can come back and the machine will still be running. Sometimes during sleep your soul may go to various worlds or to a distant part of this world, but after half an hour or forty-five minutes it comes back to the body. This can happen not only during your sleep but also while you are awake. Many times during my deep meditation my soul flies like a bird to my spiritual centres. My disciples see me as clearly as you see me now. It is a matter of a few minutes or a few hours.

While outside the body, the soul may have an experience in one second which would take an hour to narrate. Here on earth you see with your ordinary eyes and it takes time to observe an experience. But if you see with the soul’s light then you will be able to see everything in a fleeting second. When you want to express the experience of that fleeting second with your mind, you can spend at least an hour giving all the details. So when we have a conversation with another soul, even though this conversation may have lasted for only a few fleeting seconds, in those fleeting seconds we get a collection of thought-waves which are absolutely real. In one minute the soul can do the work of ten or eleven hours.

If the soul permanently leaves the body, then naturally the body will not be able to stay on earth. If the bird flies away from the cage, the cage is useless. It is only when the bird is in the cage that we care for the cage.

Question: How can we live in reality all the time?

Sri Chinmoy: If we feel that we are living in reality, then our problem is how we can continue to live in reality. We have to feel that reality is constantly living in us. Unfortunately, either we are not conscious of reality or we are not allowing it to come to the fore. And what is reality? Reality is the feeling of oneness, inseparable oneness. If we have the feeling of inseparable oneness with our brother and sister disciples and with all of humanity, then we have to know that reality has come to the fore in us. We have become part and parcel of reality.

We do not have this feeling of inseparable oneness with others because very often we do not have a feeling of oneness in our own being. The mind wants to think of something in its own peculiar way; the vital does not agree with it. The body keeps its doors shut. The heart and soul want to realise the truth in still other ways. Our own body, vital, mind, heart and soul don’t go together. We do not have a feeling of oneness even in our own existence, so how are we going to have a feeling of oneness with others? It seems almost impossible.

What shall we do? First we have to know who really has a feeling of oneness. What part of our being has the most capacity? The immediate answer is the soul! The soul always lives in reality and, at the same time, the soul wants the other members of its family to live in reality.

The heart wants to live in reality, but at times it still feels that reality is too vast. The heart will live in the soul only through our self-effacement. Since the heart is not totally and supremely illumined, the heart is fearful, even scared to death.

The mind at first will try in a clever way to discourage reality. And if it finds it difficult to discourage reality, then the mind will try to break reality into tiny pieces and then hold on to them.

The vital does not want to have reality. It is simply stupid. In one stroke it breaks the world of reality. It feels that there is an obstruction between reality and its own existence. It tries to break asunder the house of reality because it feels that only in this way can its supremacy be established. Unfortunately, it does not realise that this house of reality is protection itself.

The physical is so blind that it does not see reality at all. It can stand right in front of the house of reality and still not recognise it.

What we need is to remain as much as possible in the soul, because the soul lives in reality and also wants the other members of the family to remain in reality. When we soulfully work for the divine manifestation, we should feel that it is the greatest opportunity we have to live in reality. When someone has done something for the Supreme, my inner Being immediately offers him my deepest Gratitude. Our part is simply to play our role through self-effacement by becoming a perfect instrument of God. In this way, we achieve a feeling of oneness and true satisfaction. When one works selflessly for the divine manifestation, my heart and vital will commend him; but my soul merely says that he has established the feeling of oneness. We have recognised God’s work as our own work; His Mission is our mission.

Each time we do something, if we have the feeling of our total oneness with our Master and with the Mission of the Supreme, then we are living in reality. We are constantly going into high, higher, highest Reality. What some would call sacrifice is only the real recognition of our inseparable oneness with the Highest inside us, inside everyone. Let us try to feel that reality is already inside our breath. Each time we breathe in, we should feel that reality is inside us. To live in reality is to extend one’s outer consciousness and allow the inner light of oneness to reign supreme. In oneness is reality, and this oneness comes only when we consciously spread our wings. There is one Reality and that is our conscious cry for inner realisation and God-manifestation. If we work for the manifestation of God, then we are bound to live in Reality; and at the same time, Reality is bound to live in us.

Soul's eye, ear and arm

Your soul has an ear.
With it you hear all about

Your soul has an eye.
With it you see

Your soul has an arm.
With it you create

Question: When I am meditating, I can see the reality. But when I open my eyes and stop meditating, how can I keep this reality?

Sri Chinmoy: First we have to make a distinction about the reality that you see in your meditation. We may call it reality but the real Reality is something much deeper, something permanent. If you truly feel real Reality just once in your meditation, then you will never lose it. If one moment you are experiencing real Reality in your meditation and the next moment you have to run very fast down the street, you will not lose that Reality. Real Reality is something we grow into and embody. We not only feel it in our meditation, but we are the embodiment of this real Reality.

What you see in your meditation is a momentary glimpse of real Reality, an insignificant, far-distant glimpse. So when you open your eyes and stop meditating, naturally you cannot keep what you have seen. You have not yet grown into the embodiment of Reality.

How can we grow into real Reality? It is through aspiration. We have to pray to God to give us the aspiration to surrender to Him so that we can embody the Reality. It is only through God’s boundless Grace that we can achieve our Goal.

Becoming the real Reality does not happen in the twinkling of an eye. It takes lifetimes. It may take many lifetimes. But with the Grace of God, His choice Hour for us may come in one lifetime. When we grow into true Reality, then we can never lose it.

Question: How can we achieve reality?

Sri Chinmoy: The Real, the Eternal Real, we can have only when we know how to aspire. The body, from the strict spiritual point of view, is unreal. It stays on earth for only seventy or eighty years, then it disappears. The soul does not disappear. If we live in the soul, then all is real, all is eternal. But if we live in the body, then all is illusion. The body is very limited. The consciousness of the body is limited to an awareness of our family, of our friends and of our neighbours. The soul is eternal and real because the moment it starts functioning it does so through the Universe, with the Cosmic itself. If we wish to get a sense of the Reality within us, we can concentrate daily for fifteen minutes on the Highest. The Highest is bound to be eternally real. The lowest can never be eternally real because it is all limitation, all darkness. Only the Highest is All-Truth, All-Light. We have an inner sun which is infinitely brighter than the earthly sun that we see every day. If we can concentrate consciously on our inner sun, then we will be able to enter into the Reality itself. And when we once enter into the Reality, then all other things, like the passing clouds, will disappear.

Question: If what appears real on one plane isn't real on all planes, then what is reality?

Sri Chinmoy: Who lasts forever? God. He is real. Therefore whatever comes directly from God is real. Reality, the highest Reality, is something eternal, something immortal. The other name of Reality is Eternity.

The ultimate Reality is one thing, but relative realities can be totally different. Again, sometimes on the physical plane we see something in one way, but when we concentrate on the inner plane we do not see it in the same way. Only things that are permanent will have the same type of reality. There are many transient things on earth and the essence of those things can never be the essence of other things which are immortal.

When we look down from the top floor of the Empire State Building, we see human beings as tiny ants. If we do not use a telescope, it is only with difficulty that we see human beings. So here on the physical plane we can see the same reality in different ways.

There are realities on the higher planes which are absolutely solid, pure and true; but when those realities descend into the earth-consciousness, they lose many of their inner qualities. When they appear here on earth, they are not as beautiful, as dynamic or as soulful as on the inner planes.

There are some realities which are immortal realities. On every plane they have the same capacity, the same truth. If we have the highest realisation of the absolute Truth, then it is bound to be the same on all planes. We can see the Truth on the gross physical plane just as we see it in the higher regions. It is only when we try to manifest the highest Reality on the physical plane that we realise it is a Himalayan task. Inwardly we see and feel that it is a matter of seconds to manifest everything on earth but when we try to establish the Reality here, when we want to manifest it fully on earth, we find it may take thousands and millions of years.

Question: How can you find clarity of Truth?

Sri Chinmoy: The clarity of Truth has to come directly from the soul. Otherwise, if we utilise the mind in order to determine the clarity of Truth, we will be disappointed. We feel that since we are developed human beings, our main instrument is the mind. It is the mind that will enlighten us. But we are mistaken. Our real instrument is the soul. Unfortunately, because we do not know how to use the soul in our day-to-day life, we use the mind. The mind first gives us a subtle message; then when we go deeper into the mind, the mental suggestion becomes a conviction. From this conviction we get some clarity. But our mental conviction does not last. Half an hour later or two days later, this very conviction turns into illusion. Then our limited clarity is lost. Real clarity comes when we feel the divine Love and the divine Presence constantly, when we feel a living flame inside ourselves which constantly illumines our doubts and the dark ignorance within and around us.

If you want to feel the clarity of Truth, please always try to see the burning illumining flame within you. Or at least try to feel that there is Someone who is always ready at every moment to offer you a divine message. Inside this message you will see the clarity of Truth. Then it is up to you to utilise this clarity in your life of aspiration. There are many people on earth who have not heard the inner message. For them utilising the clarity of Truth is out of the question. But there are many who have heard the inner message and have found the clarity of Truth. Yet they find it difficult to apply what they have learned in their day-to-day life because of their lack of faith in themselves. They see the Truth, but they feel that this Truth is so vast that it will devour them if they try to utilise it. This is absurd. Truth cannot devour or destroy anybody; it only energises, illumines and fulfils us.

Please go deep within and try to listen to the message of your inner being or see and feel the burning flame which is constantly trying to illumine the unlit part of you. Then the clarity of Truth will be at your disposal and the application of Truth will also be at your command.

My soul climbs down

My soul climbs down with Heaven
To celebrate Heaven's first few days
On earth.

My heart climbs up with earth
To celebrate earth's first few days
In Heaven,
And to protect it from getting lost
In the sun-brilliance up there.

Editor's preface to the first edition

The soul is the ultimate reality within us. If we want lasting satisfaction, then we have to aspire to become one with our soul. In this book, the God-realised spiritual Master Sri Chinmoy uses his soul's supernal illumination to answer a variety of questions on the divine essence of our human life.

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