Ego and self-complacency
FearWhen a seeker enters into the spiritual life, sometimes he is afraid that all his weaknesses and undivine qualities will be exposed. But it is not at all like that. Let us think of a mother and child. When the mother notices the shortcomings, imperfections and weaknesses of her son, what does she do? She hides them carefully and secretly. She will never even imagine exposing her own child to the world. In the spiritual life, the seeker has to feel that he is a child of the Divine Mother. The Divine Mother is infinitely more loving and compassionate than the human mother, so how can She expose Her own child? Only She hides the teeming imperfections of Her son, and secretly makes him aware of his shortcomings. She does this precisely because She does not want Her son to always repeat the same mistakes. If he repeats the same mistakes again and again, then God-realisation will always remain for him a far cry. So when She makes him aware of his ignorance, She does it with the best intentions. She wants him to know the difference between an ignorant life and a life of wisdom. But she does not stop here. She carries the child one step forward. She transforms his ignorance into wisdom-light. She transforms his weakness into strength. She transforms his life of night into a life of light.
When we think of a human child and a human father, we see that the child is very short, limited, weak and ignorant; but his father is tall, stout, powerful and full of knowledge. The human father may be commander-in-chief of a vast army. Thousands of soldiers are afraid of him. The whole nation is afraid of him. But look at the child! The child runs to his father and does anything he wants. He can do this precisely because he has established an inner oneness with his father. When there is inner oneness, there can be no fear.
A tiny drop is afraid of the mighty ocean as long as it retains its individuality and personality. But the same drop, when it feels its oneness with the ocean, just merges into the mighty ocean and feels that the whole ocean belongs to it. Not only that, but it feels that it has actually become the ocean. When we have a sense of separativity, we are bound to suffer from fear. But when we establish our sense of unity or oneness, at that time there can be no fear.
Thousands of years ago the Vedic Seers of the hoary past offered us a significant message. Nayam atma bale hinena labhyo: “The soul cannot be won by the weakling.” A weakling is he who is always afraid of something; he is even afraid of his own life. Yesterday he was afraid of today. He thought that today would try to fool and deceive him, or yesterday he had a dream and he thought that today would not allow him to fulfil his dream. Then, today he is afraid of tomorrow. He is afraid of tomorrow because he feels that tomorrow is a stranger. He cannot have faith in a stranger, he cannot trust a stranger, because a stranger may cause tremendous trouble for him.
Now we are all seekers. But there was a time when we were not seekers. When we lived in the life of desire, we were afraid of the life of aspiration. We thought that the life of aspiration, which is God-life, would not make us happy. We thought that it would compel us or inspire us to enter into the Himalayan caves and spend the rest of our lives there. But now we are living a life of aspiration, and we see that our fears were unfounded. We don’t have to go into the Himalayan caves. Here, in the hustle and bustle of life, we can succeed with the life of aspiration.
Unfortunately, now that we have entered into the spiritual life, we cherish another wrong belief. We are afraid that God-realisation is not meant for us, that it is meant only for the selected few. But if we are sincere, then we see that there have been people on earth who have realised God. If we have the same inner cry, then one day we shall also realise God.
Some people in the West have a peculiar type of fear. They feel that if they accept the kind of spiritual life which is advocated by Indian Masters, then they will have to give up their Christianity. This is a deplorable mistake. You do not have to give up your religion in order to practise the spirituality that is taught by the Indian Masters. The heart of spirituality is Yoga or conscious oneness with God. Religion is a house and Yoga is a path that leads to God. Each of us has to remain in our own house, but we have every right to walk along the same road to go to school and get knowledge. The road belongs to everyone; but a particular house does not belong to everyone. If it is your house, it belongs to you. If it is my house, it belongs to me. But the road belongs to everyone. Similarly, in the inner life we can walk along the same road, no matter in which house we live.
There can be many roads leading to the goal. Many roads lead to Rome; but the destination, Rome, remains the same. At the same time we have to be wise. One road may be short and sunlit, while another road may be long and, to some extent, obscure. If we follow the road of the heart, then we are walking along the short and sunlit road. But if we walk along the path of the mind, then we are walking along the long and obscure road.
We have to give due value, due importance, to time. When we reach our destination, we will realise God, true. But that will not mean that we have achieved everything. God-realisation is not the end of our achievement. After we have realised God, then we have to think of revealing God. Then, after we have revealed God, we have to manifest God here on earth. So, God-realisation is our first goal, God-revelation is our second goal and God-manifestation is our third goal. The sooner we can reach our first destination, the faster we can go on to our second and third destinations. Again, each of these goals themselves have no end; they are constantly transcending their own limits.
Fear causes worry. We worry about our physical bodies. We worry all the time that our physical may have to sleep for a long time or that it may suffer from ailments.
We also worry about our vital. We feel that our destructive vital will strangle and kill others.
We worry about our mind. We feel that our mind may become full of doubt. We know that if the mind becomes doubtful, then we cannot believe anyone. If we cannot believe anyone, then we cannot love anyone. If we cannot love anyone, then we can never be satisfied.
We worry about our heart. We feel that if our heart does not feel its oneness with everyone, then we shall suffer much. We worry that if our heart does not accept the light of the soul, then the heart will remain in darkness.
Finally, we worry about death. We are afraid of death because death is unknown to us. Anything that is unknown to us creates terrible fear in us. But we have to know that death is also afraid of us. Death is afraid of us when we become seekers of the transcendental Truth. Death is afraid of us when we become one with God’s Love. When we become one with God’s universal, transcendental Love, we grow into the eternal Life. This eternal Life is always unknowable to death. So before we grow into the eternal Life, we are afraid of death. After we have become the eternal Life, death becomes afraid of us.
Question: How can I conquer fear in my mind and in my heart?Sri Chinmoy: Let us start with the mental fear. You have fear in your mind precisely because you do not consciously want to expand your mind. This expansion of the mind does not mean an expansion of the intellectual capacity. No. This expansion of the mind means the removal of tension. Unfortunately, you have tremendous tension in your mind and in your vital life. But if you can expand your mind like the wide sky, then automatically your tension will be removed. Fear exists in a particular place only when there is no expansion. The very function of fear is to live in a tiny hole. It cannot stay where there is movement — outer movement or inner movement. You can remove all your mental fear through mental movement and mental expansion. So when you sit for meditation, please feel the necessity of expanding your mind.
Fear in the heart you can overcome if you can feel that you are God’s child and that you are all the time sitting in His Lap. A child has no fear because consciously or unconsciously he is constantly bringing his soul to the fore. He also feels that he always has someone to protect him — the mother protects him and the father protects him. But when the child grows up, he feels that there is nobody thinking of him, nobody taking care of him or looking after him. During adolescence he thinks that everybody is deserting him. There is no mother, no father, no friend. He has to do everything for himself. But when he was a child, a baby, he inwardly and outwardly felt that there was someone to think of him and protect him. He constantly felt an additional force behind him.
To get rid of fear in the heart, every day when you meditate, try to feel that you are inside the Heart of God, your Inner Pilot. Do not think that you are eighteen or nineteen or twenty years old. No. Think that you are only one month old and that you are inside the very Heart of the Supreme, or in the very Lap of the Supreme. Now, you have not seen the Supreme, so try to imagine the most beautiful human being, who is absolutely golden. Imagine that He is right in front of you and that you are inside His Heart or in His Lap or at His Feet. Today’s imagination is tomorrow’s aspiration, and tomorrow’s aspiration is the realisation of the day after tomorrow.
People who do not have the capacity to imagine cannot go very far. Imagination is not a false way of looking at the truth. Imagination is the proper way to look at the truth. We feel that a poet only lives in the world of imagination; but it is the poet who actually enters into the world of reality with his inner vision. In India the poets were called seers. But today, both in the West and in India, those who are endowed with imagination have become objects of ridicule. But this is a deplorable mistake.
To come back to your question, please try to imagine your Inner Pilot, the Supreme, around you and inside you. Then feel your own security, your own protection, inside Him. If you can do this, then there can be no fear. Fear comes because you feel that you are responsible. But you have to feel that you belong to Somebody else and that this Person is responsible for you. The child feels that the mother is responsible. Since you are a child of the Supreme, you have to feel that He is responsible for you.
Question: Sometimes I am fearful when I feel my heart palpitating during meditation.Sri Chinmoy: Fear is very bad. This palpitation is very good when it is the result of your inner joy or thrill. If the heart starts palpitating, sometimes it means oneness. But if you become afraid of this experience, then the vital or the mind makes you feel that an unknown guest is entering into your heart. So there should be no fear. If there is fear, then this fear you have to destroy.
Question: I become afraid when I have to meditate or perform in front of other people.Sri Chinmoy: Suppose you are in front of a group of two hundred people. Do not take them as two hundred people; take them as one individual. Feel that you are looking at one face. No matter how many people are there, take them as one person. When only one person is in front of you, you will not become frightened. But if you see two hundred different faces, then you are frightened to death. So always take them as one individual.
Then try to feel that you are just looking into a mirror and seeing yourself. Feel that this one person whom you are seeing is part and parcel of your own existence. You will never be afraid of yourself. When people have to perform, they practise at home in front of a mirror. So you can feel that that one person is your own prototype, your own existence. Then there will be no problem.
Question: Why do I sometimes become afraid after I've had a good meditation?Sri Chinmoy: When you do good meditation, sometimes you feel extremely happy and delighted, and sometimes tremendous fear enters into you. When you are meditating on the heart, if the meditation has also included the mind, the vital and the physical, then you will feel extreme happiness inside your entire being. But what happens sometimes is that you meditate well only in the heart. It is a very good meditation, but from the heart the light of satisfaction has not entered into the mind, into the vital or into the physical proper. During the meditation you are inside your heart; you are quite satisfied with what you are doing and you are deeply absorbed. But then right after the meditation, there is no link between your heart and your mind or between your heart and your vital and physical. There is no access here. The heart’s joy or peace cannot flow through the mind or the vital or the physical. So what happens? Your consciousness drops, your consciousness falls. When you enter into the vital or the physical, it is all dark and unillumined. If you look there and find no light, naturally you are scared to death. When you were in the heart you were safe, but now it is all darkness.
Right after meditation you have to feel that the light from the heart is like a river that is flowing to all the parts of the being. The consciousness-water, the consciousness-river, has found a way to flow most satisfactorily into the other parts of the being. So there will be no fear at all. At that time you will feel a connecting link between the heart and the other parts of the being.
So when you meditate, meditate on the heart. And then try to have the peace, light and bliss of the heart percolate through the entire being. In the heart you have got peace, and like a flower it has to blossom petal by petal, here, there, everywhere. Then you have a flower of peace whose petals have blossomed in all parts of the being.
Question: How should one deal with anger?Sri Chinmoy: One has to conquer anger. I am not criticising anybody, but even some great spiritual Masters used to have unbelievable anger. They were realised persons, but sometimes their anger was terrible, even to the last moment. There were many, many, many great spiritual Masters who expressed terrible anger.
Question: Does one ever get rid of that?
Sri Chinmoy: Some of the Masters could not get rid of it. In their soul, heart and mind they had realised God, but their nature’s transformation was a different matter. Many spiritual Masters could not conquer anger and a few other weaknesses. But they definitely had realised God.
Let me tell you a story. Once, hundreds and thousands of people were invited to a function by one particular Master. When everybody had come and the function was about to take place, the Master went to his spiritual Mother and prostrated himself before her. He said, “Mother, now you have to forgive me. I am entering into a private room and I am closing the door and the windows. If I see children fighting and talking, then I know that I will slap them. I will not be able to control my anger.” For a whole month he had worked to make this function as nice as possible, but he knew the power of his anger. So, knowing his weakness, he entered into a room and remained there alone until the function was over. Then he came down again, and he said to the spiritual Mother, “Now, Mother, I have succeeded.” But what kind of success did he have? Thousands of people were invited, but he could not control his weakness.
Suppose a disciple does something wrong and the Master is terribly angry with him. He does not appear before the Master, but unfortunately another disciple happens to come up instead. Then what will happen? That poor disciple will see that his spiritual Master’s eyes are absolutely red, as if the Master were going to burn him to ashes. He will not dare to confront the Master. He will say, “I have done nothing wrong today and yesterday I was so nice. Why are you so displeased with me, Master?” Then, if the spiritual Master has sincerity, he will say, “Oh no, I am not angry with you. I am angry with someone else.” The Master may be angry with someone else, but all his anger will enter into the disciple who is standing before him. I have seen many, many cases like this when spiritual Masters were angry and they did not want to control their anger. Then some unfortunate disciples would come before the Masters and get all their anger.
Question: When I am meditating and I am tired, I feel sick and angry. This experience is quite new to me. What am I doing wrong?Sri Chinmoy: When you are tired, please try to invoke peace from above or dive deep within to restore peace in your outer life. Peace is the nourishing light in us. When you feel tired, don’t mix with the disciples even if there are important things to do. Just wait and try to replenish your system. Enter into your room and meditate. First fill your inner vessel and then start mixing with others. If you are tired and exhausted and you mix with the disciples, then you will not be able to add anything to their aspiration or help them in any way. You have to become once more energetic and illumined so that you can illumine the other disciples. That is your job, since you are the head of your Centre.
When you are tired and exhausted, the moment you talk to someone you feel that you have nothing to give. So at that time your sincerity is displeased and outwardly it creates anger or frustration. A part of you becomes disgusted or disheartened.
You are the leader of your Centre. Each leader is my representative. From leaders the members always expect inspiration, compassion and all other divine qualities. If the leader cannot supply these qualities, then his own sincerity becomes frustrated. That is why you are becoming exasperated.
Question: Is becoming angry with other disciples the same as becoming angry with you?Sri Chinmoy: If you have to become angry, then become angry with me, because I have the capacity to throw your anger into the Universal Consciousness. But if you become angry with another disciple, then it is like a blind man attacking a poor fellow. This will be a very sad story. A blind man and a poor man will not be able to get any illumination from life. So it is better always to throw your anger into me.
When you maintain anger towards someone else, it becomes a serious problem. A disciple of a spiritual Master was once consumed with animal anger. He wrote to his Master and said, “If you say that you are going to grant liberation to this man, then I don’t need your liberation.” Then the disciple left the Master. So you can see the capacity of anger.
Question: Guru, if a spiritual person gets angry, does that anger have more power than the anger of an ordinary person?Sri Chinmoy: You are a spiritual person; you have been praying and meditating for several years. So, if you get angry with your mother, naturally your anger will not be so intense. But your mother does not meditate. If she becomes angry with you, her anger will be greater than yours. Again, if a spiritual person has been praying for dynamic power and if his lower vital is not completely purified, then when he becomes angry, his anger will possess tremendous destructive force. So it all depends on the particular situation.
Humility and unworthinessThere is a great difference between humility and unworthiness. Let us deal first with unworthiness. When we are about to do something, certain incapacities that we are born with may make us feel unworthy. Again, unworthiness may come as a result of something undivine that we have done. But whatever the reason, he who feels unworthy of something will automatically remain far away from the world of delight.
This is a negative way of approaching the truth. But if we take the positive approach, then we feel always that we have come from God. We have to be conscious of God within us, not through the feeling of unworthiness, but through humility. If I am unworthy of my Source, then why did the Source create me? Parents bring a child into the world. Now, who is responsible for the child’s life? The parents! If the child feels that he is unworthy of his parents, it is a mistake on his part. According to their inner capacity, illumination and meditation, the parents have brought their children into the world, so the children must not feel unworthy. Only the children should be humble, because in humility there is soul’s light.
God has created us. We are God’s children. Some of us are conscious children; some are unconscious. If we have entered into the spiritual life, that means we are conscious of God’s Presence. It need not be for twenty-four hours a day, but at least for one fleeting second we are conscious of God’s Presence. We may not see God face-to-face, but His inner Presence compels us to meditate on Him. If our Source is God and He has created us, then we must not feel unworthy of Him. Only we should be humble, because it is through humility that God’s Light can be seen, felt and manifested.
The more an individual has to offer to the world, the more he feels that he has to come down to the world’s level. If he remains above, then he cannot be approached. He is like a tree that is full of fruits; therefore, its branches bend down to earth. God has everything to offer us: Peace, Light, Bliss and all divine qualities. He is all Love. When He wants to offer us His Love, He has to come down to our level. The mother is very tall and the child is very short, so when the mother wants to give something to the child, she has to bend down. If she is standing erect, she cannot give anything. She has to bend down to the level of the child’s height.
Here also, when we bend, it is not that we are offering our obeisance or our surrender to someone. It is only that we have to come down to the level of other individuals in order to become one with them. When we are humble, we become totally one with the standard of the people around us. It is not through humiliation, but through illumination, meditation, concern and divinely fulfilling compassion that we come down to their level. God does it and spiritual people also do it because that is the only way to be inseparably one with others on their own level.
Humility is always good, because in humility we consciously expand our consciousness and become one with God and with mankind. But if we have a feeling of unworthiness, then we are only going farther and farther from the Light and from the Source. Why should we feel unworthy? There is no reason. Only we have to aspire with humility. Through aspiration we will bring to the fore our own divinity. With humility we come down and with humility we can go up. Inwardly God has made us one with Him and with His creation. Outwardly also He wants us to realise everything as one, and for that what is necessary is the soul’s light. The soul’s light can be expressed only through humility, for humility has the inner capacity to identify itself with anything or anybody as its very own.
Unworthiness is a very negative thing in our life. It comes from frustration, defeat and self-imposed or self-created doubt. “I cannot do this, I cannot be so great. How can I do it?” These feelings come from doubt, fear, despair and frustration. They are all negative forces, undivine forces. We have to feel that we are worthy. Why? Because we want to be inseparably one with our dearest Father and Mother, the Lord Supreme. A child must never feel unworthy. A child should be happy and loving, and he should have implicit faith in his parents. The very fact that he has implicit faith in his parents will give him confidence and inner assurance and allow him to totally accept the light in the proper way.
By feeling unworthy we will not be able to draw God’s Compassion. It is absurd. Not even one drop more of God’s Compassion will rain down on earth if we feel that we are unworthy. Far from it. But if we are humble, if we aspire and feel that the little capacity that we have has come from God, then we can fulfil ourselves and God will be pleased. So never feel unworthy. Only feel the necessity of real humility in your life so that God can act in and through you on your own level.
Question: Guru, sometimes I feel like a stone, as if I have no aspiration at all.Sri Chinmoy: Let us not cherish false modesty. False modesty is undivine. If you had no aspiration at all, would you be in my boat? Just because you have real, sincere, genuine aspiration, you are sailing in my boat. True, you could have been in some other spiritual Master’s boat. But many people in the world are in no boat at all.
It happens sometimes that while you are in an aeroplane you feel that the plane is not moving at all. You feel that you can defeat the plane even by walking, but it is moving at five hundred or six hundred miles per hour. When you are in the Supreme’s Boat, your capacity increases, your speed increases. Definitely you are making progress, but you may not be aware of it. If you really were not making any progress or if you had no aspiration, then some part of you would compel you to leave the Boat.
If you are aware that you are in the Boat, then you can say to yourself, “I am in the Boat. Even if I sing or dance or sleep, it will take me to my destination.” But if you are in a position to add to the Pilot’s inspiration, aspiration and illumining guidance, then naturally the Pilot will be more pleased with you. Instead of sleeping, you can look around and see the foul, inclement weather outside the Boat. If you see others who are sleeping, then you can inspire them. One day all of you will have to carry unaspiring humanity to the Golden Shore. So, if you are conscious of what you are doing right now, then you will be better able to accomplish your mission in the future.
Just because you are not conscious, you feel that you have no aspiration, that you are not in the Boat. But this is not true. Sometimes the disciples assume false modesty and tell their friends or they tell themselves inwardly that they have no aspiration. Then a part of their existence consoles them and this consolation is like nourishment. But this is very bad. To exercise false modesty is absurd. The consolation that you get either from your own inner existence or from your friends is superficial and unnecessary. You have to be extremely sincere in your approach to reality. If today you feel that you do not have aspiration, then cry more intensely. Tomorrow you are bound to feel your aspiration-flame mounting once again. The day you feel a lack of aspiration, you have to increase it by your inner cry. Feel that you are missing your own reality, your own capacity, but not that you have totally lost it. You can easily search for it and you will find it.
In your case, I can definitely say that you do have aspiration. Only try to become conscious of the aspiration-flame that is within you. No disciple of mine could remain in our boat if he had no aspiration. It is simply impossible. There are two magnets: one is pulling us towards ignorance-night, and the other is pulling us towards wisdom-light. We can’t stay in between. We have to surrender either to the magnet that pulls us towards ignorance or to the magnet that pulls us towards light.
Question: What is pride?Sri Chinmoy: There are two kinds of pride: one is human pride and one is divine pride. Human pride enjoys the sense of separativity. It cannot mix with the rest of the world. It is beneath its dignity to become one with the world or to stand on the same footing as the rest of the world. It always gets satisfaction by standing at least a few inches higher, so that it can lord it over others.
But divine pride feels, “I am of God, I am for God. So how can I mix with ignorance, how can I wallow in the pleasures of ignorance? I have to become one with my Source, I have to become perfect like my Source. The way my Lord Supreme is perfect and spiritual, I also have to become perfect.” We have to brave the buffets of ignorance when it threatens our progress. We have to tell ignorance that we cannot mix with it, because our Source is Light and Delight. When we have this kind of oneness with our Source, then we can enjoy divine pride in a divine way.
Question: I really want to cultivate more humility in my life. But no matter how hard I try, I keep forgetting to be humble. My pride and my critical nature always come forward.Sri Chinmoy: Be wise. Imagine a tree right in front of you. When it is humble, it is of real use to mankind. When the tree bears flowers and fruits, it bends down and offers its treasures. When the tree does not bear fruits, who appreciates it? Millions of people appreciate the tree only when it offers its wealth, which is fruit.
So, when you have something, you bend down. When you don’t have something, at that time you remain straight, erect, proud and haughty. If you want to be of service to mankind, then think of a tree right in front of you. The tree will constantly make you humble.
Question: Guru, what is the best way to conquer physical self-pity?Sri Chinmoy: Just throw yourself into a sea of dynamism. Then you will get some joy. But if the result is not satisfactory, don’t feel sorry. Do not feel that you do not have the capacity. In no way show pity to yourself. Be merciless to yourself. If he can do something, if she can do something, you can also do it. By doing that thing, others are becoming closer to God; and by not doing it, you are remaining very far from God.
Early in the morning, think of yourself as the soul. Do not think of yourself as the body. If you think of yourself as the body, you will feel that you are tired, exhausted. When six o’clock strikes, you will say, “No, no, no. Let me sleep until seven o’clock.” Then at seven o’clock you will think of eight o’clock. Your body needs rest, it deserves rest; all kinds of things you will say. But at that time don’t pity yourself. No, the time has come for you to meditate. It is six o’clock. You have to get up. If you do not show any pity to your physical, which is all the time fond of enjoying inertia and ignorance, then you are saved. Your dynamism, your soul’s dynamism, will ask you to do the needful.
Otherwise, if you identify yourself with the body, the body will tell you, “Yesterday you worked very hard, so for one day you can easily take rest. Tomorrow you will be able to meditate.” If you argue this way, you only lose your inner potentiality and fool yourself. But if you are dynamic, then at every moment you conquer the forces of sadness, depression, inertia and negative thinking.
Ego and self-complacency
Question: Guru, how can I silence my ego?Sri Chinmoy: The ego that you are speaking of is your little ego. The ego that binds you, the ego that wants you to bind others, is called the little ego: “I”, “my”, my family, my relatives, my intimate world. But instead of thinking of that ego, think about the big ego, the divine ego. “I am God’s son. I am God’s daughter. God is universal. If my Father is universal, I am also universal. It is beneath my dignity to confine myself to any individual or to a few people. I shall offer myself to all humanity. That is to say, I shall serve God in humanity. I can do only the divine thing. Anything that is undivine, I cannot do because for me God is all divine.”
When you are consciously one with something vast, infinite, then the little ego automatically disappears. So every day think of your oneness with God. The father may be a millionaire, and the child knows that when he grows up, the father is bound to give a million dollars to him. But right now, the child cannot have it because he is not mature enough. He will ruin everything. Since you are a child of God, everything that God has and God is, belongs to you. But right now you are not mature, so you cannot use it.
You have entered into the spiritual life and you are crying for infinite Peace, Light and Bliss. These are not vague terms. Eventually they will be at your disposal. Then this little ego, which wants to be satisfied with a penny or a nickel, will automatically go away. When infinite Peace, Light and Bliss dawn on you, at that time you will not try to possess anything. Your little ego will disappear in your oneness with the Supreme.
Question: Guru, whenever I do something well, my ego always tries to claim it and whenever something is not going well I find it very difficult, almost impossible, to offer that to you.Sri Chinmoy: When you do well, you feel that you are the doer; you try to take the credit. But you have to feel that if you are the doer, then how is it that there are occasions when you do something well that you previously could not do well? If you are the doer, then the action is at your command. If this time you can do something perfectly, then the next time you should again be able to make it perfect because you have the capacity. But since it is not always perfect, you have to know that some other force is operating in and through you. That force is the Force of the Supreme. So who should get the credit when you do something perfect? The Supreme Himself.
Then, when you feel that you have done something wrong and you are embarrassed to offer the result to the Supreme in me, again you have to know that this is a false, pious feeling towards your own life activities. It is a kind of pretence. You have to feel at that time that you are a child of the Supreme. A child is not embarrassed to come to his mother with mud and sand all over his body. He feels that he is coming to the right place. So when you do something wrong, feel that you are a child whose whole body is smeared with sand, filth and dirt; but you are coming to the mother, to the right place.
Both good experiences and bad experiences you have to give to the Supreme in me. Then only can you go beyond good and bad. It is not that you will do everything bad and then say, “Oh, good and bad we have to take on the same level.” There will always be a sense of separativity: this is good, this is bad. But a time comes when you have to transcend both good and bad.
A bad thought is like a thorn. A thorn enters into your foot, and you take help of another thorn to remove the first thorn. Then you throw away both the thorns because you don’t need them. So you take out the bad thought from your mind with the help of a good thought. But just because they are thoughts, they are binding you. Thoughts can only bind you, no matter how good they are. So you have to go far beyond the domain of thoughts. You have to enter into the world of will-power, where you really create and become one with the Divine Will.
So good thoughts, bad thoughts, everything, everything, has to be offered to the Supreme, because you know that you are not the doer. If you think that you are the doer, then naturally you shall claim your good thoughts. And if you have bad thoughts, then you will be embarrassed because you have identified yourself to such an extent with them. You will feel that to expose your bad thoughts means to expose yourself, your whole existence-reality, so the best thing is to hide yourself along with the bad thoughts. But this is all wrong. The best thing is to offer anything that you do, good or bad, to the Supreme and to feel that it is He who is operating in and through you according to your achievement and according to your present stage of consciousness.
Question: How can you recognise self-complacency and get rid of it?Sri Chinmoy: You have self-complacency only when you don’t want to transcend yourself. You have to run a marathon — twenty-six miles. When you have completed the race, you feel that you have done enough. To run a marathon is not a joke. Out of nine hundred disciples, only three or four can run a marathon. So once you have become one of the very few marathon runners, you feel that it is enough. There you want to end. But if you really want to transcend yourself, then you have to feel that there is no limit to your effort and to God’s Grace. Self-complacency means the end of the journey, whereas self-transcendence means the continuation of the journey. Once you feel that you have achieved the ultimate, then there is every opportunity for you to become self-complacent. But you should try to feel that the ultimate is not a fixed height. No, it is constantly transcending itself. So there can never be self-complacency. If you can feel the goal is not stationary, that it is constantly transcending its own height, and if you can enter into the height of that ever-transcending reality, then there can be no self-complacent feeling.
Question: How can we conquer self-deception?Sri Chinmoy: You can conquer self-deception by always loving the divine in you. What is the divine in you? The divine in you is your constant self-offering to the Source, the Supreme.
The attack of hostile forces
Question: I sometimes feel that negative forces are occupying me. They're not part of me, but they seem to be located on the left side of my body.Sri Chinmoy: They are already stationed inside your body. On the left side of the body is our earth-consciousness and on the right side is our Heaven-consciousness. So, the left side has more darkness than the right side. When you feel the pressure of the negative forces, that is where the earth-consciousness lies.
Question: Can you destroy hostile forces if an individual has accepted them?Sri Chinmoy: I have destroyed many — countless numbers. But transformation is another thing. Sometimes some forces don’t want transformation. Even now I have a few close disciples who accepted forces that I had to destroy. If I had not destroyed these forces, their transformation would not have taken place for twenty years or forty years, or who knows in what incarnation. I have dear disciples. I have destroyed forces in them, not because these people are close, but because they have really wanted help from me. If people do not want my help, it is like a mother trying to force her child to eat. How many times can a mother force a child?
Question: Why am I sometimes attacked by feelings of aggression?Sri Chinmoy: In your case aggression is not inside you. These forces are attacking you from outside. You have only to bring down more peace into your system. Aggression comes usually when an individual feels that he knows the truth and that others are not accepting the truth. He wants to correct the world and mould the world in his own way, but the world may not accept his light or the world may feel that he has no light.
You know the truth in one way, and if others are not accepting your light the way you want to give it, then immediately an aggressive quality comes forward in you. But you have to feel that if you want something from life, your way of achieving it may not always be the correct way. And even if your way is the correct way, let us say, why should everybody accept your way? Nobody on earth is indispensable except God. That is the best wisdom, the highest wisdom. If you leave the body, if I leave the body, if he, she or anybody leaves the body, still God’s creation will continue. This means that I am not indispensable, you are not indispensable, nobody is indispensable. If you look at the world in that way, then you will have peace of mind.
Sometimes we expect something from the world and because we have light, we feel that our expectation is legitimate: “I have done so much for the world, I am showing the light. I am not giving the world darkness, I am giving it light. How is it that the world is not taking it?” But we have to know that others may not be ready for the light. In this case, we have to be humble. “If he does not accept this light that I have, then he is not going to die. At the same time, by giving this light to him, I am not doing anything extremely great or good. If Mother Earth does not receive this light from me, then Mother Earth will not be totally bankrupt or poverty-stricken.”
You will say, “I wanted to give and it was God’s wish, but this person is not accepting my light. So now I have to make myself feel that I am not indispensable. When the Hour strikes, God Himself will either give Light directly to this person or perhaps some other time this person will take help from me.”
Only through devoted, unconditional surrender can we please the Supreme, the Highest Absolute. When we offer Him our constant unconditional surrender, at that time only do we become indispensable in His Eye.
So if we minimise or diminish our self-importance totally, then we will have peace of mind. And when we have peace of mind, there can be no aggression. Aggressive forces will not be able to enter into us from outside, and the aggressive forces which we already have within us will be illumined through compassion, concern and the feeling of oneness.
Question: How can we keep impure and undivine thoughts from entering into us?Sri Chinmoy: If you think of purity, impurity cannot come. If you look only at light, light, light, then where is the darkness? But if you stay all the time in darkness and say, “I need light, I need light; where did the light go?” then you are lost. If you go into the room that is dark, you can say, “I need light, I need light,” but that does not bring the light; the room is still obscure. But if you stay in the room which is light, then there will be no question of darkness. If you think of purity, then impurity goes away; but if you remain with impurity and cry, “Purity, purity,” then you are enjoying one thing and asking for something else. So only stay in purity; just remain in the room that is all illumined. Then you don’t have to worry.
Always do the positive thing. By remaining in the negative thing and crying for the positive thing, you won’t succeed. Only stay in the positive. When impurity knocks at your heart’s door, do not allow it to enter. The problem is that you are not selective. You just keep your heart’s door open, and no matter who wants to come in, you allow him. But when impurity comes, if you say, “No! I have kept my door open, true, but it is only for my friends: purity, faith and love,” then impurity will leave you.
Question: If I am trying to stay in the heart and a particular undivine force enters into me, does the love that I feel in my heart overpower that undivine force?Sri Chinmoy: If you take one drop from the vessel of love, then doubt is bound to come, insecurity is bound to come, jealousy is bound to come. Let the tumbler be full to the brim with water. Then, I tell you, there can be no problem. But take away just one drop of love, and then that particular part of the ocean will be filled with something undivine. When you take out one drop, immediately doubt or jealousy or insecurity or something will enter there. Immediately everybody wants to go and station himself there. But if you are already filled with light, then how can they come in?
Question: Why don't impure forces leave us?Sri Chinmoy: They don’t go away because the vital cherishes them. It is like this. You have five dollars. One part of your being is ready to give it to me because you know that I will give you a smile or tell others. But the other part will immediately say, “No, if I give it to him, then it is gone; I won’t be able to use it.” If you have any kind of material wealth, if you cherish or treasure it, then you will find difficulty in offering it. The physical, the vital and the mind will try to keep it for their own use while the soul and the heart will want to use it for a divine purpose.
In this case, your so-called wealth is your impurity. You may think that you are ready and willing to part with your impurity, but I wish to say that you are not. Your heart is ready to give, your soul is ready to give, but not the physical, not the vital, not the mind. Your delight, your aspiration, want to give, but your desire wants to possess. There’s absolutely nothing to be done in this case. You may say that you want to give all your undivine things to God, but you don’t give because part of you wants to keep them. That is why impure forces don’t go away.
Question: Do disciples suffer when they get undivine forces from other disciples?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, if you get undivine forces from somebody, you will suffer. If you keep your door open and someone comes in and damages your room, you will suffer. Again, you can also cause damage to others.
The disciples fight like anything. Sometimes when I am meditating, I see how the disciples are fighting in the vital world. Many times I see boys fighting with boys, girls fighting with girls and boys and girls fighting like cats and dogs. Sometimes, to my wide astonishment, the boys are badly defeated by the girls. These are not fabrications; it is absolutely true.
You begin with anger, and you harbour it for a few hours. Then it will happen that during your sleep, unconsciously you will attack someone. At that time, I am like a very old grandfather. I don’t know which side to take. I tell you people, “Strike me, then your anger will be over.” I am the right person to take your undivine forces. I am the universal garbage can where you should throw your anger. But some of you don’t listen. The day before yesterday, I saw that kind of fight. Sometimes it starts with jealousy, sometimes it starts with insecurity, sometimes it starts with attachment, vital attachment. Then it becomes frustration. So, those are the main reasons why, in the inner world, terrible fights go on among the disciples.
Question: In what manner must we fight the animal qualities we have inside ourselves?Sri Chinmoy: You have mentioned that we are still half animal. People who are not praying or meditating are half animal. We feel that we are not in the animal kingdom, that we do not destroy anything. But all the time we are destroying. In the animal kingdom, perhaps two, or ten or twelve animals will fight together. But when humans fight, at that time thousands are there. When there is a world war, countless human beings are killed.
So, human beings still have animal qualities in abundant measure. What should we do? When we pray and meditate, these animal qualities are illumined. When they are illumined, then they are totally transformed. It is like physical strength. With this hand I can strike somebody. And again with this hand I can work; I can do something constructive. Before, with animal strength, I used to strike somebody. Now I am using strength to do something good for the earth.
Question: Guru, you ask us to feel oneness with others, but how can we feel oneness with others and at the same time not be affected by their negative qualities?Sri Chinmoy: If someone is suffering from jealousy, I will not ask you to identify with his jealousy. If someone is suffering from doubt, fear, anxiety, worry or any other kind of shortcoming or emotional problem, I shall not ask you to identify yourself with the undivine, unhealthy qualities of that person. By identifying with a sick person’s sickness, you yourself will become consciously or unconsciously sick. But I shall tell you to identify yourself with the real reality of that person. The real reality of that person is the inner cry of the soul.
You have to try to separate the person from his sickness, just as you have to separate a thief from the theft he has committed. He who commits a theft is a thief, but he is also an individual with a soul. This moment he is committing a theft; that is why you don’t like him. But if the same person stops stealing and starts praying and meditating, then you will appreciate his spiritual qualities. So instead of identifying yourself with the sickness of that person, try to bring forward your own divinity and his divinity. Let your divinity enter into the worries, anxieties, insecurities and other undivine qualities of the person and illumine them. Everything that is negative will be turned into a positive power. Fear will be transformed into strength, doubt will be transformed into faith and worries and anxieties will be transformed into calmness.
A man has both ignorance and wisdom. We shall love him because he represents God, but we shall not love his ignorance. His divine qualities we shall try to share, embody and manifest. His undivine qualities we have to transform. If we become one with his undivine qualities, then they will destroy us. So let us always identify with the soul-reality of others. God identifies with the shortcomings of everyone. But if we identify ourselves with the shortcomings of someone, then we will have to pay the price. Let us start with the real in us, the aspiring soul, the Inner Pilot. Identification with anything that is destructive, anything that takes us away from Truth, anything that compels us to shirk from the path of Truth, must not be encouraged.
Question: Why do we love ignorance even though it hurts us?Sri Chinmoy: We love ignorance because right now we do not know anything other than ignorance. If we want to know something other than ignorance, then we shall discover it. There are two teachers. The ignorance-teacher we know, and whether we like or dislike that teacher, we stay with him. Since we have decided to stay with him, we feel that we should love him. But we have to know that there is another teacher whose name is knowledge-wisdom. When we get our new teacher, we will love him instead. For aeons and aeons we have loved ignorance, but a day will dawn when we will love only knowledge-wisdom.
Question: From the spiritual point of view, what is the difference between stupidity and ignorance?Sri Chinmoy: Stupidity is a child of ignorance. All our imperfections and limitations come from ignorance. Ignorance is the mother and father of stupidity, imperfection, limitations and bondage. What is stupidity after all? It is our fear of the unknown, of the Vast. If we know that our inner reality is vast and infinite, then we can never be satisfied with something limited, transitory and fleeting. But in our day-to-day life we forget that we have the eternal Life and divine Reality within us. We cherish all stupid thoughts and false ideas. One of the most stupid thoughts or ideas is this: “We cannot realise the Vast, the Infinite; it is beyond our capacity to realise God.”
This idea is based on stupidity. When we enter into the spiritual life, we have to feel at every moment that it is God who is inspiring us to realise Him. It is in our conscious realisation that we will have our constant union with God. This is the message that God wants to offer to us in our life of aspiration. But we, in our stupidity, feel that God is infinite, eternal and immortal, while we are mere insects — meaningless creatures. If we feel that our Father is millions and billions of miles away from us, then we will never realise Him. We have to feel that His Infinity, Eternity and Immortality are also inside us. We must run towards Him, for He is our Goal. If we have that kind of inner feeling and conviction, then only can we put an end to our stupidity.
So, stupidity springs from ignorance. From ignorance-sea we get stupidity; this is where fear, doubt, anxiety, worry, temptation, frustration and destruction grow. In the sea of wisdom we see that purity, sincerity, simplicity, fulfilment and the message of constant illumination and perfection grow.
Question: What is desire?Sri Chinmoy: What is desire? Desire is something that wants to bind you and wants you to bind others. When you see that you are binding someone, to your astonishment you will see that you are already bound. A desire is something which you have in order to bind others and, at the same time, in order to be bound by others.
When you feel that you have bound somebody else, you feel very happy. But when you see that you are bound by others, you feel miserable. Then there comes a time, after a few months or a few years, when you want to get rid of the person to whom you are bound. But that person doesn’t want to go. So desire leads to frustration and frustration leads to destruction.
Question: When we have desires, should we sometimes yield to them so we will see that they don't fulfil us and thus overcome them in this way?Sri Chinmoy: No! If you yield to the power of ignorance, at that time ignorance only increases. If one desire comes and you surrender to it, then another desire will come and say, “You have surrendered to my brother; now you have also to surrender to me.” Then a third one comes, and it goes on like this. But if you don’t listen to the first desire, a second desire will come and say, “You didn’t listen to my brother, how can I expect you to listen to me?”
To surrender to the desire is absolutely wrong. Some people say, “Now I am twenty. Let me enjoy the desire-life for ten or fifteen years, and then I will come back to the aspiration-life.” But every day the power of ignorance increases and people who leave the spiritual life usually do not come back. So please do not yield to desires. Always fight against desires, like a divine soldier.
Question: How can we conquer laziness and be more active, especially in the morning?Sri Chinmoy: How can you be more active? Right now, let us deal with the most difficult thing. Early in the morning, try to get up at 5:30 and feel that if you run for five minutes or take some other exercise, this is as important as your meditation. If you feel that meditation is infinitely more important than your exercises, then you are wrong. Inside your physical exercise you will find the capacity and the necessity of your meditation. Always when you do something, feel that that very thing is really important in your life. True, meditation will take you to God-realisation whereas physical exercise will not take you to God-realisation. But that physical exercise will definitely help you energise your body. If your body is energised and you want to meditate, at that time you will have a very sound, deep and sublime meditation.
You have to give importance to the preliminary exercises. You have to do the first thing first. If you don’t study in the kindergarten, then you can’t get your Master’s degree. Here also, in the spiritual life, if you take just a little exercise by stretching your legs and running, then automatically you will expand your capacity. Early in the morning for five minutes or ten minutes, take some exercise and feel that this is going to add to your meditation. Then laziness will disappear in the morning.
Question: Is frustration an undivine force?Sri Chinmoy: Think of what frustration can do and what frustration has already done. Think of frustration as the beginning of destruction. Frustration is the father and mother of destruction. We don’t need destruction. No one wants to be destroyed. So don’t walk along the road of frustration; walk along the road of continuous aspiration.