Fifty Freedom-Boats to one Golden Shore, part 1
Part I — Talks
Thought-waves1From the spiritual point of view, each thought carries a special weight in our mind. Each thought has a special signification. In our ordinary life, we all know what a thought is. We create thought. We cherish thought. There is nobody who does not know how to think — do ordinary thinking, that is. If someone does not know how to think, we call him a fool. But if one who has a developed mind chooses to stop thinking, if he has learnt the art of stopping the mind, he makes tremendous progress in the spiritual life. When a thought enters into a seeker's aspiring mind, he has to feel that it is like meeting an enemy on the battlefield. The more one can silence the mind, the sooner one realises the Goal.
The human mind feels that thought is the ultimate power and light. Unfortunately, this is a deplorable mistake. The aspiring heart constantly receives the supreme message from the soul. Only by silencing the mind can one receive this message and reach the highest absolute Supreme.
The Lord Buddha silenced his mind and entered into Nirvana, the bliss unfathomable of the Transcendental Height. The Christ opened his heart and embraced all humanity on the strength of his universal oneness with his Father, the ultimate Goal. Either by silencing the mind or by opening the heart, today's man can become tomorrow's God, tomorrow's Divinity. And embodied Divinity soon becomes revealed Immortality.
Desire and aspiration are two simple words, but they embody tremendous power. Aspiration consciously follows the road of light, whereas desire consciously or unconsciously follows the path of darkness. Darkness means satisfaction in limitation. Our desire wants to grab and possess, but before it possesses, it is possessed. While being possessed, while enjoying consciously or unconsciously the role of subjugation and imperfection, desire is to some extent satisfied. At the same time, desire embodies power which very often ends in frustration. And this frustration gives birth to destruction and annihilation.
Each human being has aspiration; each human being embodies aspiration. This aspiration in him builds up the tower of Truth, Light and Bliss. Aspiration is never satisfied with imperfection. It climbs up high, higher, highest. At each moment the mounting flame in us, while climbing towards the highest, illumines the obscure, impure, unaspiring elements of our gross physical. Then finally, he not only realises but also manifests the Kingdom of Heaven in his inner being.
Desire is the product of our thought-waves. Aspiration is the product of our soul's will. The soul's will we can possess and claim as our very own only when we consciously surrender what we have and what we are to the Supreme. What we have is an inner longing for Truth, Light and Bliss. We have to offer this longing unconditionally to the Supreme, our Inner Pilot. What we are is ignorance, unfathomable ignorance. This ignorance, too, we can and must offer to the Supreme consciously, devotedly and unconditionally. But instead of doing this, we wallow in the pleasures of ignorance and, what is worse, we often do it consciously and deliberately.
The desire in us demands that the physical in us rest eternally in the sea of ignorance. The aspiration within us warns us that once we go to sleep we will find it extremely difficult to awaken our consciousness and get up. The realisation in us, our soul's realisation, tells us that we are already fast asleep in the domain of ignorance, and that we have been sleeping there for millennia.
A sincere seeker of the highest transcendental Truth can transform and purify the desire-life with the life of aspiration. In order to do this, he must know what desire has done for him. Desire has offered him a sense of dissatisfaction. Even after his desires are fulfilled, still he is dissatisfied. The seeker sees that in the depth of his desire and in the very fulfilment of his desire there looms a sense of complete dissatisfaction. Why is this so? It is because desire is not the ultimate Truth. Desire cannot offer us the ultimate Truth, which is all-satisfying. But when we follow the path of aspiration, even an iota of Light satisfies us. Although we know perfectly well that an iota of Peace, Light and Bliss cannot quench our eternal inner thirst, each iota of divine Truth, Peace, Light and Bliss carries tremendous satisfaction for us. And gradually, on the strength of our aspiration, each tiny drop of Divinity grows into a vast ocean of Fulfilment.
Aspiration embodies satisfaction. Desire embodies dissatisfaction. Each human being has the right to stay either in the desire-world or in the aspiration-world. Here we are all seekers of the Truth. For us, aspiration is the road. We shall walk joyfully along the road of aspiration. Today the very thing that we call aspiration, tomorrow we shall call realisation. The day after, we shall call the same thing revelation, and the following day we shall call it manifestation, our manifestation of Divinity.
A sincere seeker is blessed with inner vision when he has free access to the Source. He continually and constantly depends on his inner vision. Once he has established his connection with the Source, his life becomes the realisation-message of God, the illumination-message of God, the perfection-message of God. And in the course of time, in either the near or the distant future, in the process of evolution humanity is bound to accept these messages. What is the essence of these messages? Love, love divine, which is the song of universal oneness. If we silence our thought-waves and listen to our heart-waves, we can spread the love-message of the Supreme. We can offer this love-message to the world at large, and we can sing the song universal to kindle the flame of aspiration in all individuals.
We are now conscious of the supreme Tree. We are climbing up the Tree. Eventually we can grow into the cosmic Tree and then we can watch the multifarious leaves, which are our brothers and sisters, grow and unfold. It is we, the seekers of the ultimate Truth, who can feed the inner hunger of these leaves of the supreme Tree.
FFB 1.Manning Hall, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, 9 January 1974 — 2:00 pm.↩
Realisation, revelation and perfection1With your kind permission, I wish to say that this is my fourth visit to Harvard University. In 1969 I spoke on The Vedanta philosophy; in 1971, on The Upanishads: The crown of India's Soul; last year, on The glowing consciousness of Vedic Truth; and now, my fourth talk will be on Realisation, revelation and perfection. Since I am a spiritual seeker, a seeker of the highest transcendental Truth, the subject of today's talk is one with which my heart and soul are intimately familiar.
Realisation, revelation and perfection. The animal in us has realised that destruction is perfection. The human in us has realised that separation or partition is perfection. The divine in us has realised that the transformation of our human nature is perfection. The Supreme in us has realised that the manifestation of our inner divinity and reality is perfection.
Destruction is power. Separation or partition is power. Transformation is power. Manifestation is power. Destruction-power is the animal revelation. Separation-power is the human revelation. Transformation-power is the divine revelation. And manifestation-power is the supreme revelation.
As we advance in our spiritual life, we come to realise that destruction-power is abominable and separation-power is deplorable, but that transformation-power is admirable and manifestation-power, the divine manifestation-power, is most adorable.
A sincere and genuine seeker goes deep within and discovers the truth that animal life is sheer futility; that human life, if it does not aspire, is stark stupidity; that divine life is immediate necessity; and that spiritual life is deathless and birthless immortality.
For God-realisation, we need aspiration-cry.
For God-revelation, we need dedication-smile.
For God-manifestation, we need patience-wisdom.
Aspiration is a perfect stranger to rejection. It accepts everything within and without. Then, the things that have to be transformed, it transforms on the strength of its climbing cry.
Dedication is a perfect stranger to calculation. When a sincere seeker dedicates himself to the right cause, to the inner goal, he forgets how to calculate. He goes far beyond the domain of calculation. His dedication is soulful giving, unconditional giving, self-giving, of what he has and what he is.
Patience is a perfect stranger to imperfection. When aspiration and dedication loom large in our spiritual life, patience, our third friend, plays its role most satisfactorily. Patience and God's infinite Compassion play together and dance together. At that time, we see that our teeming imperfections are ready to be transformed into perfect Perfection.
Realising God is like climbing up a tree. Revealing God is like climbing up and down the tree time and again at God's choice Hour. Manifesting God is offering the fruits of the tree to the world at large.
Love, always love. When we love soulfully, realisation does not and cannot remain a far cry. Serve, always serve. When we serve and serve devotedly, revelation cannot remain a far cry. And when we unconditionally become the transcendental Truth and Reality, God-manifestation does not and cannot remain a far cry.
Sri Krishna realised God, the absolute Supreme. After he had realised the Lord Supreme, he became God the eternal Lover and God the eternal Beloved. The Christ realised God, the transcendental Father. On the strength of his supreme realisation he declared, "I and my Father are one." The Christ became the universal brother. We too, if we are humble and sincere seekers, can realise God the Supreme Pilot. After realising God the Supreme Pilot, we can become universal servers of Truth and Light.
Realisation tells us who God is. Revelation tells us what we can do for God. Manifestation and perfection tell us what God does for us and what we do for God.
Who is God? God is our inner cry and our outer smile. He cries with us and for us on earth. He smiles with us and at us in Heaven. God is at once our heart's eternal Lover and our soul's supreme Beloved.
What can we do for God? We can do one thing, and that is to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. The Kingdom of Heaven is not a chimerical mist. It is a reality within us trying to come to the fore and reveal and manifest itself on earth.
What does God do for us? What God does for us is simple, spontaneous, illumining and fulfilling. He liberates us from our teeming imperfections with His unconditional and transcendental Compassion. And what do we do for God? What we do for God is equally simple, spontaneous, illumining and fulfilling. On the strength of our heart's constant, inner mounting cry, we try to make Him smile, smile with joy at His creation vast.
FFB 2. Paine Hall, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 9 January 1974 — 8:00 pm.↩
The world within and the world without1Dear seekers of the infinite Truth and Light, I wish to give a short talk on the two worlds: the world within and the world without, the inner world and the outer world.
The citizens of the outer world are brooding doubt, teeming fear and strangling jealousy.
The citizens of the inner world are blossoming faith, soaring courage and glowing love.
Fear destroys the supernal Dreamer in us.
Jealousy destroys the transcendental Lover in us.
Without the Brother, our body is helpless.
Without the Dreamer, our mind is hopeless.
Without the Lover, our heart is fruitless.
Faith inspires the divine seeker in us.
Courage feeds the eternal server in us.
Love fulfils the immortal runner in us."
With our serene and pure love, we run to God's Heart-room and occupy the special seat right beside God's Throne.
Two worlds: the outer world and the inner world. The outer world constantly demands. There is no end to its demand. When its demands are not fulfilled, the outer world begins to expect. When its expectations are not fulfilled, the outer world becomes frustrated and wants to destroy everything around it.
The inner world does not demand, does not expect. The inner world only accepts. It accepts human beings as they are. Once it accepts them, it tries either to transform or to fulfil them. Each human being has imperfections and limitations. The inner world tries to transform our limitations into plenitude, our imperfections into perfections. And again, within each individual there are divine qualities like hope, dream and promise. The inner world fulfils our hope, fulfils our dream and fulfils our promise. What is our hope? Our hope is to become good and divine. What is our dream? Our dream is to enter into the vastness of the Infinite and become the Infinite itself. And what is our promise? Our promise is to create here on earth the Kingdom of Heaven. The inner world helps us, inspires us, energises us and finally fulfils our promise at God's choice Hour.
In the outer world, the highest achievement is the mind. There are three types of mind: the physical mind, the intellectual mind and the intuitive mind. The physical mind is the mind that is involved in and controlled by the gross physical consciousness, the mind that operates in and through the physical only. The intellectual mind is the mind that dissects and examines everything and everyone from a distance without becoming inseparably one with the object of its scrutiny. The intuitive mind is the mind that runs like the fastest deer. It enters instantly into something and becomes the very essence of that thing on the strength of its God-given capacity to feel its oneness with everything around it.
Most of us do not have this intuitive mind, but we try to cultivate it. When we pray and meditate we gradually cultivate the intuitive mind. Once we have developed the intuitive mind we have free access to our inner realms where the bumper crop of realisation grows. Realisation is the song of plenitude, fulfilment and God-victory in our still obscure, impure, unaspiring and unfulfilled life.
In the inner world the highest achievement is the heart — the aspiring heart, the surrendering heart, the ever-transcending heart. The aspiring heart wants to climb up high, higher, highest, and while climbing it illumines the world around it. The surrendering heart offers its very existence to the Will of the omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent God, the Inner Pilot. The surrendering heart knows that it is a tiny drop that has to merge into the mighty Ocean, God. By surrendering to this Ocean it does not lose its individuality and personality. On the contrary, it gains the individuality and personality of the Ocean, itself. When it merges into the Ocean, the tiniest drop becomes the mighty Ocean. The ever-transcending heart knows that there is no end to our progress and achievement. Today's goal is tomorrow's starting point. Again, tomorrow's goal will be the starting point for the day after tomorrow, since God Himself is endlessly progressing and eternally transcending His own infinite Heights.
The inner world and the outer world can and will eventually go together. But we have to know that, at the outset of our spiritual journey, we have to change our priorities. That is to say, we have now to pay utmost attention to the inner world, instead of to the outer world. We have to go without from within, not the other way around. Once we are well established in the inner world, we can again turn our attention to the outer world. First we shall give utmost importance to the inner world, then gradually to the outer world, until finally we love and serve both worlds equally and simultaneously. When we are fully established in the outer world on the strength of the divinity we have acquired in the inner world, at that time we shall successfully unite both the outer and the inner worlds.
The inner world is the seed. The outer world is the banyan tree. We have to pay attention to the seed first. When the seed germinates, it grows eventually into a banyan tree. Without the seed the tree cannot come into existence, and without the tree our expectations from the seed can never be fulfilled. So in the beginning the seed is important. In the end the tree is important, because it has grown from divine origins.
The inner world is the soul and the outer world is the body. Without the body the soul cannot manifest. But without the soul the body cannot realise. If we pay attention to the soul and allow our inner being to be surcharged with the soul's light, then we can successfully enter into and illumine the obscurity, impurity and darkness of the outer world. Once the outer world is illumined, it can live harmoniously hand in glove with the inner world.
The outer world is the horse. The inner world is the rider. The horse has to carry the rider or Master to the destined goal. If there is no rider to inspire and energise the horse and direct it to the destined goal, the horse will reach the goal very slowly, if at all. So the rider needs the help of the horse, which is the body; and the horse needs the guidance of the rider, which is the soul.
In our ordinary life, no matter how much material wealth we have, no matter how much outer authority we can exercise, we shall not be satisfied. Satisfaction is not to be found in the present-day outer world, no matter what we do, what we say or what we achieve. But today's insufficiency is not and cannot be a permanent reality in our lives. When the light of the inner world looms large and comes to the fore, satisfaction automatically dawns in our devoted mind and surrendered heart. What we want from our lives is satisfaction — nothing more, nothing less. This satisfaction we are bound to achieve, provided we dive deep within and approach the outer world from the inner world.
Let us enter into the inner world and bring forward the plenitude, the Eldorado, of the inner world, and share it with the outer world. Today we are having a kind of experience, an unfulfilling or unfulfilled experience. But tomorrow we can, without fail, have fulfilling and fulfilled experiences of Divinity and Immortality, provided we aspire. What do we aspire for? We aspire only for the Highest, for the Ultimate, for the absolute Supreme. How do we aspire? We aspire through constant self-giving. And today's self-giving is tomorrow's God-becoming.
FFB 3. College Hall, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, 11 January 1974.↩
You1/You want God. You need God. You have God. You are God. /
You want God and you need God.
When you are in your vital, you want God.
When you are in your heart, you need God.
Your vital demands God's choice Hour.
Your heart devotedly waits for God's choice Hour.
When your vital knocks at God's door, no answer. Frustrated, you break open God's door.
Alas, alas, God is not to be found in His room. He is elsewhere.
God knocks at your heart's door.
You immediately answer.
God blesses your devoted head.
God embraces your surrendered heart.
You want God in order to dominate His vast creation.
You need God in order to emancipate your little world.
You have God and you are God.
You have God; therefore you can look up.
You are God; therefore you can dive within.
You have God; therefore the world loves you.
You are God; therefore it is you alone who can expand your universal consciousness, it is you alone who can always transcend your ever-transcending height.
You have God. Your sea-deep eyes can prove it.
You are God. Your sun-vast heart is the proof.
You have God. Your body of sound can prove it.
You are God. Your soul of silence is the proof.
You have God; therefore death bows to you.
You are God; therefore Immortality claims you.
You have God; therefore you are unmistakably great.
You are God; therefore you are ceaselessly good.
God you want?
Then your first friend is temptation,
Your second friend is frustration,
Your third friend is destruction.
God you need?
Then your first friend is love,
Your second friend is devotion,
Your third friend is surrender.
God you have.
Your first friend is aspiration,
Your second friend is liberation,
Your third friend is realisation.
God you are.
Your first friend is revelation,
Your second friend is manifestation,
Your third friend is perfection.
God you want?
God you need?
God you have.
Whom else do you need?
God you are.
Who does not need you?
Everybody needs you, for you have God and you are God.
You are the body,
You are the vital,
You are the mind,
You are the heart,
You are the soul,
Of what you have and what you are.
What you have is a vast heart.
What you are is a glowing soul.
God you want.
God you need.
God you have.
God you are.
FFB 4. Meyer Hall, New York University, New York, New York, 12 January 1974.↩
Self-examination1Dear seekers of the infinite Truth, just because we are all seekers we are all in God's Boat. God's Boat will carry us to our destined Goal. Today I wish to give a short talk on self-examination. Most of us here are students. To be precise, all of us are students. Some of us are studying at the university, while others are studying in the outer world or in the inner world. We work very hard to pass our examinations. Our teachers and professors work very hard to be impartial.
When the human teacher wants to examine us, very often his pride pleads with him. It wants to examine us on the teacher's behalf. When God, the divine Teacher, wants to examine us, His Compassion pleads with Him. It wants to examine us on God's behalf. The human teacher gladly agrees to the proposal made by his pride. The divine Teacher immediately agrees to the proposal offered by His Compassion.
When the human teacher examines us, we either pass or fail the examination. But when the divine Teacher examines us, we never fail. Why? We never fail because the divine Teacher is at once our examiner and our private tutor. He privately teaches us what He is going to ask us on His examination. Naturally we never fail. First He teaches us devotedly, constantly and unconditionally. Then He openly examines us, and we all pass His examination without any difficulty.
Self-examination and deception are total strangers. They are constantly at daggers drawn. Deception hates self-examination. Self-examination is fond of perfection, and perfection is proud of self-examination. Deception runs backward. Self-examination runs forward to its goal of perfection. At the end of the backward journey, Satan, the evil force, shakes hands with deception. And at the end of the forward journey, God, the Supreme Pilot, garlands self-examination.
Self-examination is our aspiration for the higher world and the inner world. The higher world is immortal Light. The inner world is infinite Peace. Light shows us the face of Truth and then makes us the body of Truth. Peace makes us the body of Truth and then shows us the face of Truth. Light says to Peace, "Sister, I need your Length. What you have and what you are is Infinity's Length." Peace immediately tells Light, "Brother, my Length is equally yours. What you have and what you are is Transcendental Height. I need your Light and your Height." The immortal Light says, "My sister, take it. My Light and my Height are equally yours."
Unlike us, God examines Himself constantly. We are reluctant to examine ourselves, but God is fond of examining Himself at every moment. He examines Himself in order to see whether His infinite Compassion is operating most effectively in the heart of mankind. And unlike us, God is fond of perfecting Himself at every moment. He feels that He is perfect only when we can offer Him a soulful smile. We pray to God for countless things, but He inwardly prays to us for only one thing: a smile, a soulful smile.
Self-discovery and God-discovery are one and the same thing, but they usually work in two specific ways. In God-discovery, we see the infinite Infinity crying in the heart of the finite. In self-discovery, we see the finite smiling through the soul of the Infinite.
Self-examination leads us to self-control. Self-control leads us to self-mastery. Self-mastery is the denial of ignorance-sea and the affirmation of Illumination-sky. Self-examination is our journey's start. Our first Goal is self-discovery. Our second goal is God-revelation. Our third and last goal is God-manifestation.
God-discovery or God-realisation, God-revelation and God-manifestation: these are the three rungs in the ladder of our spiritual evolution. Early in the morning, Mother Earth offers God-realisation to Father Heaven as her first gift. At noon, Mother Earth offers God-revelation to Father Heaven as her second gift. And in the evening, Mother Earth offers God-manifestation to Father Heaven as her third and ultimate gift.
All seekers of the Transcendental are receiving Truth, Peace, Light and Bliss according to their capacity and receptivity. Everyone starts his spiritual journey as a beginner-seeker. When a beginner-seeker examines his body, he discovers a stupid donkey. When he examines his vital, he discovers a mad elephant. When he examines his mind, he discovers a restless and mischievous monkey. And when he examines his heart, he discovers a feeble ant. His sincerity sees and feels it. But at the end of his journey's close, his sincerity makes him see and feel something else. He examines his body and discovers a sea of Purity. He examines his vital and discovers a sea of divine Power. He examines his mind and discovers a sea of infinite Peace. He examines his heart and discovers an infinite expanse of Light and Delight.
[The University of Connecticut in 1973 became the first academic institution to offer a credit course on Sri Chinmoy's philosophy. The course was developed and taught by Professor Peter Pitzele (Brihaspati). The following remarks were addressed by Sri Chinmoy to Brihaspati's wife, Indira, and to Brihaspati's students, who attended the talk.]
[To Indira:] You are Brihaspati's inspiration. You inspire him outwardly and I inspire him inwardly. He needs inspiration both from the outer world and from the inner world. Our deep inspiration and his lofty aspiration have made him what he is — a professor who is loved and admired by all his students. In the name of the Supreme, I offer my loving gratitude to you and to Brihaspati.
[To Brihaspati's students:] I am most grateful to you. You have studied our philosophy. I pray to the Supreme to shower His choicest, highest blessings upon your devoted heads and your aspiring hearts. By studying our philosophy, you have given us the opportunity to serve the Supreme in your aspiring hearts. Brihaspati will offer our light to the Supreme in you. For that I am offering you my soul's deepest love and my heart's blessingful gratitude.
FFB 5. St Thomas Aquinas Chapel, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, 14 January 1974.↩
Choice1Dear seekers, dear sisters and brothers, dear aspirants for the highest ultimate Goal, I wish to give a talk on the subject of choice. Who has made the first choice: God or I? My mind thinks that it is I who have chosen God. My heart feels God and I have chosen each other simultaneously. My soul knows that it was God who chose me first, long before I even dreamt of choosing Him.
Each human being is a chooser. He chooses mankind to obey his express orders. He chooses God to listen to his soulful prayers. The animal in man chooses life-destruction. The human in man chooses world-admiration. The divine in man chooses God-realisation. The Supreme in man chooses perfect Perfection.
We choose God when we come to realise that the world does not need us, that the world does not care for our wisdom-light. Only when the outer world has disappointed us and our immediate world has deserted us do we think of choosing God. God chooses us because He does not want to drink the nectar of Immortality alone. God chooses us because He does not want to reveal His transcendental Reality alone. God chooses us because He does not want to manifest His universal Oneness alone.
Our body chooses rest, pleasure-loving rest. Our vital chooses aggression, titanic aggression. Our mind chooses information, encyclopaedic information. Our heart chooses love, all-fulfilling love. And God chooses perfection within and perfection without — perfection in our inner life of realisation and perfection in our outer life of manifestation.
Before we enter into the spiritual life we choose the might of the outer world. But once we enter into the spiritual life we choose only the Light of the inner world. Before we enter into the spiritual life we choose the name and fame of the outer world. But once we enter into the spiritual life we choose to participate most soulfully and devotedly in God's cosmic Game in order to please Him and fulfil Him in His own Way.
Now what is the spiritual life? The spiritual life is the life of our conscious God-awareness. What else is the spiritual life? The spiritual life is the life of our constant God-loving and our ultimate God-becoming. I choose God, not because He is all-Power, not because He is all-Wisdom, not because He is all-Light and all-Peace, not even because He is all-Love, but because He and I are one, eternally one. God and I are eternally one. You and God are eternally one. We are all eternally and inseparably one with God.
I am the Dream-Boat of God's Heart and God is the Reality-Shore of my life. This is the realisation each individual seeker here and everywhere is bound to achieve sooner or later. We are all inseparably one with God. It is for this reason and no other reason that we choose God. As long as we are unconscious of the fact that we are one with God, we wallow contentedly in the pleasures of ignorance. But once our inner being is awakened, our soul comes to the fore and convinces our outer physical mind of the fact that we are not only God's chosen instruments but also God's eternal comrades. He needs us, as we need Him. He is the Tree and we are the branches and leaves. The Tree trunk and the branches and leaves need each other. We choose Him for our realisation, as He chooses us for His manifestation. Without Him we cannot realise our highest absolute Height. Again, without us He cannot manifest His Vision-in-Reality, His Reality-in-Vision.
Each human being on earth represents God according to his own capacity and receptivity. In and through each human being God manifests Himself in a specific way. Each individual is of paramount importance to Him, for He Himself has chosen each individual to play a significant role in His cosmic Drama. But we have to know that it is God who chooses us first, and not we who choose God. The Creator creates the creation, and then the creation admires the Creator. The creation is the choice of the Creator and admiration is the choice of the creation. It is through our heart's admiration and adoration that we become consciously one with the Supreme Pilot, and it is through His conscious, compassionate choice that He has established His inseparable oneness with each human being, each child of His on earth.
Duty is the supreme choice of God. He feels there can be nothing more important than duty. He discharges His Duty at every moment, for He feels that in performing His Duty He is not only awakening the earth-consciousness but also bringing down the Heaven-Delight into the very heart of earth.
We are at once the representatives of both Mother Earth and Father Heaven. As the representatives of Father Heaven, our first and foremost choice should be self-giving to the Supreme Beloved. It is in our self-giving that we can manifest the transcendental Reality on earth. As the representatives of Mother Earth, we feel that it is our bounden duty to spread our wings like a bird — not to cover the length and breadth of the world, but to expand our earthbound consciousness, to transcend the limits of our earthly existence. Here on earth we have to go deep within and try to spread our wings of Light and Delight so that we can consciously grow into the ever-transcending and ever-widening Universal Consciousness.
God made His choice in choosing us; now let us make our choice in choosing Him. His choice is the song of manifestation. Our choice is the song of realisation. And today's realisation is tomorrow's manifestation. Again, tomorrow's manifestation is only the beginning of a forward and upward and inward journey. Today, on the strength of our inner choice, we move forward, upward and inward and reach our chosen destination. But today's destination will only be the starting point for our farther, higher and more fulfilling goal of tomorrow. There is no fixed Goal, for we are all evolving. In the process of evolution we are running, flying and diving towards an ever-transcending, deepening and widening Goal. To run farther, fly higher and dive deeper is the only choice that each individual seeker on earth should consciously, devotedly, unmistakably and unconditionally make.
FFB 6. West Chapel, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, 16 January 1974 — 2:00 pm.↩
Meditation and the inner education1Dear seekers, dear sisters and brothers, this evening I shall give a short talk on meditation and education. Since my subject will be meditation and education, with your kind permission I wish to meditate for a while. I shall be extremely grateful to each of you if you would join me in my meditation…
Meditation and the inner education. Meditation is a vast subject. Being a spiritual man, I know a little bit about meditation, and I can speak on this subject for hours. But I wish to tell you, with all the sincerity at my command, that if we can meditate soulfully even for a fleeting minute, the result of our meditation will far surpass the effect of any talk given by anybody on earth on this subject.
But since we have to convince our physical mind, we talk and we listen. We are in the mind, and we feel that we are of the mind and for the mind. Such being the case, at times it is of paramount importance to give talks on meditation; but meditation is best done in utmost silence, in pin-drop silence.
Since we want to convince our physical mind, let us try to know what meditation actually means. Unfortunately, in the West, many people have misconceptions about meditation. They think meditation means living a life of self-abnegation, and that meditation cannot be applied to our daily needs. They think meditation is for those who want to live in the Himalayan caves, for those who want to shun society. But I wish to say that these notions are all ill-founded. A seeker who knows how to meditate properly, effectively and soulfully is a practical man. Meditation is not theoretical, but practical. Since God is Himself practical, a seeker of the highest Truth cannot be otherwise.
In this world either we desire or we aspire. At each moment we are given ample opportunity to possess and grab the world or to become inseparably one with the world. Meditation teaches us how to become inseparably one with the world at large. When we cry for the Vast, for the ultimate Truth, meditation is the immediate answer. When we want to achieve boundless Peace, boundless Light, boundless Bliss, meditation is the only answer. The world needs one thing, and that is peace, and meditation is the only answer.
Everybody meditates. If you tell me, "No, I do not know how to meditate," unfortunately I cannot see eye to eye with you. Everybody meditates, but there is a difference between my way of meditation and your way and his or her way of meditation. Since the dawn of Heaven, and the creation, everybody has been meditating, but we all meditate according to our capacity and receptivity. When we think of God and meditate on God, this is one form of meditation. When we cherish or treasure a good thought, even for a fleeting second, this is another kind of meditation. Anything that helps us in our self-expansion is meditation.
In the West, we most often speak of prayer, while in the East, especially in India, we speak of meditation. The Western belief is that prayer can and will do everything. In the East, we feel that meditation can give us everything, that meditation will help us to grow into the ever-transcending Beyond. Prayer and meditation are bosom friends. When we pray, our entire being climbs up high, higher, highest and reaches the ultimate Truth. At that time we offer ourselves to the Supreme, the ultimate Source. With our prayer we commune with God, we establish a free access to the highest Absolute Father. When we meditate, we make our mind calm, quiet, vacant and tranquil, and we receive Light from above in infinite measure.
Meditation and prayer are two different types of conversation, but they serve the same purpose. When we pray, we talk to God; we tell Him all about our needs and all our soulful expectations. Through our prayer we ask God for anything that we want; and anything that we would like to offer God from our very existence we offer through our prayer. But when we meditate we remain silent, absolutely silent, and we beg of God to work in and through us. He dictates and we try to execute His express Will.
In the beginning, we see and feel on the strength of our meditation that God alone is doing everything, and that we are mere instruments. But, in time, when we go deep within, we come to realise that He is not only the doer but also the action itself, and He is not only the action, but also the result thereof. To simplify the matter, we can say that meditation means God's conscious and compassionate dictates to us and prayer means our soulful conversation with God. When we meditate, God talks to us and we most devotedly listen. When we pray, we talk to God and He most compassionately listens.
Meditation and the inner education are one an the same thing; meditation _is_ the inner education. To be a proper human being we have to be integrally educated. To be a proper divine being we have to be supremely liberated in our inner life and in our outer life. The outer education tells us what the world is doing. The inner education tells us what we can do. The outer education helps us make a decent living. The inner education helps us live for God in the heart of man. The outer education is an observation, an observed fact. The inner education is an experience, an experienced reality. With our outer education we can at best knock at God's Door. With our inner education we can not only enter into God's Room, but actually sit on God's transcendental Throne. The outer education is the fulfilment of the physical mind, the vital and the earthbound consciousness. The inner education is the song of liberation, salvation and divine freedom.
Each human being has two teachers. As there is outer education and inner education, even so is there a teacher for us in the outer world and a teacher for us in the inner world. The teacher in the outer world tells us, "Accept me. If you don't accept me, you are bound to remain always a most deplorable fool. So the sooner you accept me, the better for you." The teacher in the inner life tells us, "Accept me, please, for if you do not accept me I shall always remain incomplete. You and I are one. If one part of my existence remains unlit, obscure and unaspiring, then I myself remain imperfect. Therefore, I beg of you, O seeker, accept me, for I wish to become complete and perfect with your kind acceptance of my reality's Light." The outer teacher tells me, "Follow me. I can show you the goal. If you don't follow me, there is no goal for you. It is I alone who can show you the goal, so follow me." But the inner teacher tells us, "Believe me, once and for all, the supernal Light is in you. The transcendental Light is of you. The eternal Father is for you. Finally, O seeker, I wish to offer you this message: you are the way and you are also the Goal. Believe me, once and for all."
FFB 7. Smith Hall, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, 16 January 1974 — 8:00 pm.↩
Experience1Dear seekers, dear spiritual brothers and sisters, I wish to give a short talk on inner experience. In the spiritual life there are few things as important and significant as inner experience. To have an inner experience is to have many millions of spiritual dollars. Inner experience is a seeker's most precious wealth. Since we are all seekers here, what is of paramount importance in our lives is inner experience.
An inner experience is the seeker's conscious awareness of his Immortality.
An inner experience is the seeker's conscious expansion of his Infinity.
An inner experience is the seeker's conscious fulfilment of his Eternity.
There are three things that we have to experience in our inner life, our life of aspiration and dedication. These things are: Light, divine Light; Power, divine Power; and Peace, divine Peace.
Ordinary light will expose us if we do something wrong, but divine Light never exposes us. On the contrary, it illumines us and tries to perfect us.
Human power is the power that urges us to break and destroy, to dominate and crush others. Human power is the power of separativity. But divine Power inspires us to create and build. It is the power of oneness.
Human peace is usually a forced compromise. But divine Peace is our fulfilment in the perfection-song of the Universal Consciousness, the all-pervading Consciousness that abides deep within us.
When we experience the divine Light, we feel that the soul-seed within us begins to germinate.
When we experience the divine Power, we see our life-plant growing slowly, steadily, unerringly, convincingly and fruitfully.
When we experience the divine Peace, we see the blossoming of the perfection-flower of our life-plant.
When we have the soul's need for inner experience, we grow into true seekers. But before we feel the necessity for inner experience, we are all ordinary human beings. For an ordinary human being, what is necessary is progress. And this comes through outer experience.
An outer experience is the insecurity of our human heart.
An outer experience is the obscurity of our human mind.
An outer experience is the immaturity of our human vital.
An outer experience is the impurity of our human body.
A human being at times represents his own divine qualities and at times represents his human qualities. At times, unfortunately, he even represents the animal qualities that still remain within him.
Destruction-night is the animal experience.
Aspiration-height is the human experience.
Perfection-light is the divine experience.
In our spiritual life, there is something infinitely more important than experience, and that is called realisation. When we have an experience of the highest magnitude, we feel that we are touching or are about to touch God the Tree. But when we have the highest realisation, we feel that we are not only touching the God-Tree but also climbing up the Tree and reaching the highest bough, where we then enjoy the nectar-fruits.
An experience of God can be denied and rejected by the doubting mind, but the realisation of God far transcends the domain of doubt and the judgement of the mind. It goes far beyond the jurisdiction of the human mind. Realisation has the power to remain constantly in tune with the highest Source, so the human mind cannot disturb its poise, confidence and certainty.
Man's inner experience of God makes man aware of the possibility of God-becoming. That is to say, when man has an iota of God-experience, he begins to feel that sooner or later he will be able to grow into the very image of God. God's experience in man makes God feel that the perfection of His Manifestation-Light on earth is not only possible and practicable, but also inevitable.
In man, God is a dream. This experience both man and God achieve. In God, man is a reality. This experience man and God simultaneously receive. In man, God is a dream. In God, man is a reality.
With God, man smiles. He smiles the smile of Perfection, transcendental Perfection. With man, God cries. He cries the cry that has been inside the human heart from time immemorial.
God's Compassion-experience and man's Liberation-experience are inseparable. When God's Compassion descends, the meshes of ignorance dissolve and man's Liberation dawns.
When we have an inner experience, we spontaneously learn something higher, something deeper, something more soulful and more fruitful than any ordinary human learning. One inner experience will teach us how to run towards the Goal, how to discover our higher and deeper reality. Another inner experience will teach us how to unlearn everything that has caught our mind in the outer world — everything undivine, unillumined, unaspiring, unfulfilled. The things that are fulfilling, we shall learn from our ever-evolving experience. And the things that are discouraging and destructive, these we shall unlearn. Every day, on the strength of our inner experience, we have the opportunity to learn the higher Truth and unlearn the many hostile and undivine things that our mind has mistaken for Truth.
When we are in the process of learning and unlearning, there comes a time when we achieve perfection both in our inner life and in our outer life. Today's experience grows into tomorrow's realisation. For a seeker, inner experience is the precursor of God-realisation, which is the most important, most significant experience. Then tomorrow's realisation grows into the perfection of the following day. Experience is the first rung, realisation is the second rung and perfection is the third rung of the Cosmic Ladder.
Outer experiences we can share with others when we are suffering and also when we are in a cheerful frame of mind. Whether we have something to be proud of or whether we have inner pangs, we can easily share these experiences. But if we share our inner experiences with others, we are just inviting doubt to snatch them away. And once we allow others to inject doubt into our mind and heart, our progress stops. No seeker will be able to go further if he prematurely shares his inner experiences with others. But once a seeker has reached the highest Height or has at least achieved something solid and concrete in his spiritual life, then he can share his experiences with others without the risk of losing the inspiration and illumination of those experiences. Indeed, at that time, his inner experiences will inspire and illumine his friends.
One may have hundreds and thousands of experiences during his life of aspiration. But two or three major experiences are more than enough for a seeker to realise the Highest, the Absolute. Now, we have to be careful about our inner experiences; we have to know whether these deeper experiences are real or not. When a seeker gets an experience, he has to go deep within in order to get a still higher and deeper experience so that he can know the true meaning of his previous experience. Or, if he has a spiritual Master, the Master can tell him the true meaning of his experience.
Let us start our journey with aspiration. If we have sincere aspiration, we are bound to have inner experiences, and then our realisation cannot remain a far cry. And once realisation dawns, perfect Perfection is bound to blossom in our life of aspiration on earth. We have to aspire to bring down the Kingdom of Heaven to earth. The Kingdom of Heaven automatically descends to earth when we grow into Perfection, when we dive into the Heart of the highest Absolute Supreme.
FFB 8. Commons Room, Graduate School, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, 22 January 1974.↩
The heart1Dear seekers of the transcendental Truth, dear sisters and brothers of the one transcendental Spirit, this evening I wish to give a talk on the heart.
I wish to tell all my friends and my spiritual brothers and sisters here in Philadelphia that inside the heart of each individual seeker rings the Liberty Bell. The Liberty Bell that we see here in Philadelphia has a large crack, and therefore it does not ring properly. But in the inner life, our Liberty Bell rings perfectly. It is up to each individual to listen to his inner bell every day. This bell has been ringing from time immemorial in each individual soul, inspiring the soul to take part in God's cosmic Drama and to run fast, faster, fastest towards the destined Goal.
We have a loving heart, an aspiring heart, an inspiring heart, an illumining heart and a fulfilling heart. With our loving heart we welcome the world at large. With our aspiring heart we climb up to the highest pinnacle of divinity. With our inspiring heart we inspire not only the world within us, but also the world without — the world of God's entire creation. With our illumining heart we illumine our ignorance, darkness, imperfection and bondage. With our fulfilling heart we fulfil God the Dreamer in us, God the Player in us, God the Lover in us and God the Beloved Supreme in us.
Also, with our loving heart we can unconditionally surrender ourselves to the Will of God. With our aspiring heart we can grow into the very image of God. With our inspiring heart we can spread the message of God throughout the length and breadth of the world. With our illumining heart we can manifest our inner divinity on the outer plane. And with our fulfilling heart we can fulfil both God the Creator and God the creation at once. Our fulfilling heart is nothing other than our unconditionally surrendered heart flying with the wings of the Supreme.
When we enter into the spiritual life, we come to realise that we also have a soulful heart, a heart of peace and a heart of delight. The soulful heart we need at every moment in our life of aspiration. Without it we cannot make an iota of inner progress. The peaceful heart we need because when peace is wanting in our life, this life has no abiding satisfaction. The heart of delight we need because it is the very source of our divine plenitude and infinitude. We came from delight, we live in delight and, at the end of our journey's close, into delight we retire.
Anandadd hy eva khalv imani bhutani jayante…
How can a beginner in the spiritual life have a soulful heart? Let him look into the sky in the evening when the sun starts to set. When the beginner-seeker looks at the sky and becomes deeply absorbed in the setting sun, his soulful heart comes to the fore. If the beginner needs a peaceful heart, let him concentrate, meditate and contemplate on the very depths of the ocean, the ocean of life. And if he needs a heart of delight, let him look at the ocean surface and allow his inner being to get in tune with the waves of the ocean.
The heart is most intimate to us and most significant in our life. When our physical heart fails, we pass behind the curtain of Eternity and die. Similarly, in the spiritual life, when our heart of aspiration fails even while we are living here on earth, we will be living in the world of death. Medical science will tell us that the physical heart is located within the chest on the left side. Some spiritual Masters are of the opinion that the spiritual heart is on the right side, and others are of the opinion that it is in the middle. Then again, there are still others who are of the opinion that it is inside the forehead, a little above the eyebrows. Naturally these spiritual Masters are dealing with the spiritual heart, and each is right in his own way. Each has discovered the heart according to his own inner light and inner wisdom.
When we are told that the heart is between and a little above the eyebrows, at the outset we are bound to be puzzled and somewhat disturbed. Whether it is on the left side or the right side of the chest may be immaterial to us. But when we are told that the heart is located between the eyebrows, naturally we are thrown into a sea of confusion. But I wish to say that those who are of the opinion that the heart is located there are perfectly right in their way, for that place is the source of our intuition, of our intuitive light. Heart means light. Wherever we feel the presence of light, without the least possible hesitation we can say that that very place is the heart, heart and light are one and the same thing.
Now we have to know that the heart is not the highest or the most perfect member of our inner family. It is the soul that is the highest, because the soul is all light. In the soul there is no darkness at all. The human heart receives light from the soul, and that is why the soul is superior. It is the source of the heart's light. The human heart identifies with the soul's light, whereas the mind finds it extremely difficult to do this. That is why the heart is superior to the mind. Again, the mind is superior to the vital because the mind searches for the truth, for light — at times consciously, at times unconsciously. But the vital does not care for the highest truth. The vital cares for the truth only when the truth offers satisfaction in the vital's own undivine way. But the vital does at least care for light, whereas the gross physical does not want light at all. It is ready to remain imperfect and incomplete for millennia.
When we enter into the spiritual life, we discover that there are two significant roads that can lead us towards our destined Goal. One road is the mental road, the road of the mind; the other is the psychic road, the road of the heart. Now both of these roads will take us to our destined Goal. But one road is shorter and safer, and that is the road of the heart. When we follow the road of the mind, at any moment doubt can snatch us away. The world's information can pull down human aspiration. But the road of the heart is sunlit. When he follows this road, a seeker always feels deep within himself a deer running towards the destined Goal. Each individual has to know whether he listens more to his mind or more to his heart. The message of the heart is altogether different from the message of the mind. Since we want to reach our Goal as soon as possible, we feel the supreme necessity of the heart.
There are two ways of approaching the ultimate Reality: one is the way of knowledge and the other is the way of love. Those who follow the path of the heart become convinced, on their way to self-discovery, that love itself is the supreme Knowledge. Right now, knowledge and love seem like two different things. The mind supplies us with knowledge and the heart supplies us with love. But the deeper we go, the clearer it becomes to us that love and knowledge are one and the same. God is omniscient, God is omnipotent, God is omnipresent. He is everything. He embodies Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. But when we go deep within, we find that these qualities do not satisfy us. There is only one aspect of God that satisfies us totally and most convincingly, and that aspect is God's Love. When on the strength of our own love we approach God's infinite Love, we are totally satisfied. We will not be satisfied when we see or feel God the all-awesome. Only the Love aspect of God quenches our eternal thirst.
In the spiritual life we see that two hearts can and often do become inseparably one with each other. One is the heart of the seeker or disciple, and the other is the heart of the teacher, the spiritual Master. These two hearts are constantly singing one song, the song of self-giving. When a true disciple meets his Master for the first time, his inner and outer promise to the Master is this: "I want nothing from you. Although I have come to you so that you can help me in my God-realisation, even if you never grant me God-realisation, my love for you, my devotion to you and my oneness with you will always remain total and unconditional." So a real seeker uses his heart of oneness, his heart of self-giving, when he accepts his Master. And he will grow into spiritual perfection through his love and devotion for the Highest in his Master, the Inner Pilot, God the Supreme. The spiritual Master also uses his heart when he accepts a disciple who comes to him for inner guidance. On the strength of his own self-giving heart, the Master tells his disciple, "I have already accepted you, no matter what you do for God. Even if you do not do anything for God, for God's manifestation, still I shall go on loving you."
So the disciple's heart becomes one with the Master's heart and makes the solemn promise: "Whether or not you help me in my God-realisation is up to you, but I shall go on loving the Supreme in you forever." And the Master also makes a solemn, soulful promise to the disciple: "Whether you care for God-manifestation or not is up to you, but my love for you and my self-offering to you shall remain unconditional forever."
It is said that a pure heart is everything. Now what does it mean to have a pure heart? First of all, there must be sanctity and serenity in the heart. But I wish to say that that is not actually enough. A pure heart means a heart that embodies the constantly climbing flame of aspiration. If within the heart there is an ever-mounting flame that wants to reach the Highest, then that is the heart of purity. All of us here have a pure heart to some degree. Since we are all seekers here, we are bound to have the inner flame of aspiration in our heart. Let us try to feed this inner flame through our constant spiritual practice, through our daily prayer, meditation and contemplation. The highest transcendental Goal resides deep within each of us. Our Goal can never be a far cry; it is within our reach, provided we constantly look ahead, look deep within and look upward to the highest Height.
We leave the starting point the moment we feel in the inmost recesses of our heart the flame of aspiration. Once we have left the starting point, it is only a matter of time before we reach the Goal. Those who are awakened can run the fastest towards the destined Goal. Those who are in the process of awakening may rest assured that the Goal is awaiting them. And those who still cannot get up will not be belittled by those who are in the process of awakening or by those who are already awakened. The spiritual life is not a life of competition. If competition is at all necessary, then each should compete with his own weaknesses, imperfections and limitations, with his own bondage and death.
If we practise meditation regularly, faithfully and devotedly, not only do we come closer to our Goal, but the Goal itself comes running towards us. Halfway along the path, the Goal and the runner meet to fulfil each other's needs. By reaching the Goal, the runner fulfils his task, the task of realising the highest possible Truth. And by reaching the runner, the Goal makes the manifestation of the highest Truth not only possible and practicable but also inevitable. The Goal and the runner fulfil themselves as they fulfil their respective roles in the life of aspiration and in the life of manifestation.
FFB 9. David Rittenhouse Auditorium, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 22 January 1974 — 8:00 pm.↩
Time1Dear brothers and sisters, dear spiritual seekers, this morning I wish to give a talk on time.
Time is love.
If we love time,
Then time gives us what we want: pleasure.
Time is love.
If we love time,
Then time gives us what we need: joy.
Time is love.
If we love time,
Then God accepts from us what we have: ignorance.
Time is love.
If we love time,
Then God gives us what He has: Light.
Pleasure. Pleasure on the physical plane, the vital plane and the mental plane is very short-lived, but during its brief span pleasure injures the real in us. The real in us is our cry for God, for Truth, or Light — our cry for Infinity's heart, Eternity's body and Immortality's soul. Today's pleasure ends in tomorrow's frustration and destruction. Tomorrow's frustration and destruction end in the total eclipse of our inner divinity. Therefore, a sincere seeker of the transcendental Truth tries to avoid pleasure.
Joy. In the spiritual life, joy is of paramount importance.
Joy grows, joy flows and joy soars.
God the climbing Tree grows with our joy, our inner joy.
God the dancing River flows with our joy, our fulfilling joy.
God the flying Bird soars with our joy, our illumining joy.
If a spiritual seeker remains in a cheerful frame of mind he makes very fast progress. Joy means confidence in his life of aspiration. Joy is self-discovery and self-fulfilment.
Ignorance. When we go deep within, we see that we have nothing to give to God but ignorance. This ignorance God accepts from us most gladly, most devotedly and most unconditionally. Our life of ignorance we offer to God, and in return God offers to us a life of beauty, a life of plenitude, a life of infinitude.
Light. Light is self-revelation. Self-revelation grows into self-manifestation, and self-manifestation grows into self-perfection. Self-perfection and God-perfection are one and the same thing, operating on two different levels. We notice self-perfection in the heart of the finite. We notice God-perfection in the body of the Infinite.
Time is our oneness with God, our conscious oneness with God. We establish our conscious oneness with God on the strength of our inner cry. Mother Earth offers us her wealth: patience, sacrifice and compassion. Father Heaven offers us His wealth: love, wisdom and illumination. With the help we get from Mother Earth, we prepare ourselves for salvation. With the help we get from Father Heaven, we prepare ourselves for divine glorification. Salvation we get from earth, and divine glorification we get from Heaven. When we receive salvation, we feel that we are growing into the very image of our Beloved Supreme. When we are offered glorification, we feel that our Beloved Supreme is playing in and through us. In the finite He is singing His Song Celestial, His song of infinite Beauty, Light, Melody and Harmony.
The animal in us does not care to know about time. The human in us knows that there exists something called time, but it does not value time. The divine in us utilises time most effectively and divinely. The Supreme in us, the Inner Pilot, fulfils His dream and His reality here on earth through time.
Here on earth a child has no time even to eat his candy. A young boy has no time to study. A young man has no time to think. An old man has no time to rest. But a seeker knows that his God has the time to eat candy, to study, to think, to rest. His God has time for everything. The seeker also knows that God has the time to do everything because He takes the help of time. Only with the co-operation of time can He achieve everything in and through His aspiring, devoted and surrendered children.
Unaspiring human beings do not enlist the help of time. They do not know the value of time. They think that achievement is of paramount importance, and not the time required for the achievement. So they do not care for time; they neglect time. They do not realise that time is the bridge that will carry them to the other shore. If they do not use the bridge, they cannot go on to the other shore where there is Light, Peace and Bliss in boundless measure.
But the aspiring person, the seeker, appreciates time and utilises it. When it is time to eat, he will eat; when it is time to think, he will think; when it is time to study spiritual books, he will study; and when it is time to rest, he will rest. For him, each day is a new challenge, a new opportunity. He enters into the battlefield of life to conquer darkness, limitation, bondage and death. He has to fight and rest at the appropriate times. He has to do all the things that are necessary to invoke Peace, Light and Bliss from Above in infinite measure so that he can bring to the fore his inner divinity and offer it to the world at large.
There are two types of time in the spiritual life: earth-time and Heaven-time. Earth-time is necessity, and Heaven-time is reality, while necessity's reality is God-intoxication. The seeker in us feels that it is of supreme necessity for him to see the face of reality. And when he sees the face of reality he becomes a God-intoxicated soul. Reality on its part enters into our necessity and fulfils our necessity by illumining us within and without.
A God-intoxicated soul comes to realise that he has to achieve the eternal Truth first and then serve the divinity in humanity. First he has to achieve the Highest, the Absolute, and only then can he serve the Absolute in mankind. In this way he will be able to grow into the transcendental reality. God's Reality, on the other hand, feels that since it already is eternal, it must always serve its own all-pervading consciousness. The tree feels that it is its bounden duty to fulfil the needs of the branches, leaves, flowers and fruits. It also knows that it has the capacity to do this. So Reality starts serving its infinite manifestations immediately, for it knows that it has what it requires: consciousness in infinite measure. So the one climbs up the tree and then brings down the fruit to share it with humanity, while the other, who is already seated on the top of the tree, comes down immediately and shares the fruit with the aspiring humanity.
In the spiritual life, a sincere seeker knows that there is a God-appointed hour, a God-ordained hour. We call it God's Hour. This hour we can neither pull towards us nor push aside, but we can expedite it. We can shorten our road to God-realisation provided we are ready to sacrifice ourselves, to offer to the Divine at every moment all that we have within us — our ignorant, undivine and unaspiring qualities, as well as our aspiring qualities.
There is one thing in our physical that is unwanted now and forever, and that is lethargy.
In the vital there is something that we have to get rid of, and that is aggression, or the feeling of superiority and supremacy.
In the mind there is something that we must get rid of, and that is doubt. We doubt others and we doubt ourselves. When we doubt others, nothing happens to them. They go on perfecting themselves through their daily experiences. It is we who suffer each time we doubt, for we eclipse our inner sun. This is the sun that is ready to offer us its light in abundant measure; it is ready to kindle the flame of aspiration within us so that we can climb up high, higher, highest into our transcendental Divinity.
In the heart we also have something to get rid of, and that is insecurity. Very often we feel that we are helpless, we are hopeless, we are useless. But this wrong notion we must not cherish. Once we become sincere seekers on the path of Truth and Light, we know that deep within us is the Inner Pilot. It was He who inspired us to walk along the road of Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. If He Himself had not inspired us, we could not have launched into the sea of spirituality. But He did inspire us, and He continues to inspire us every day. So we can never be helpless, we can never be insecure. We know there is Light within us. Just because we do not now have the Light at our disposal, we cannot say that this Light will remain always a far cry. On the contrary, today's impossibility is tomorrow's destined achievement. There is simply no such thing as impossibility in our spiritual life.
We know that we are aiming at a Goal, the Goal that has everything divine for us in infinite measure. We are trying to establish our conscious oneness with Someone who is infinite, eternal and immortal — our God. Since He is our Source, since He is our Goal, how can our ultimate achievement be limited? Everything that we want to achieve, everything that we want to grow into, needs time; and our time is determined by God. We shall not pull God's Hour. We shall not push God's Hour. We shall simply play our role. We shall pray, we shall meditate the way we feel best from deep within. And God will select His Hour to illumine us so that He can fulfil Himself in and through us. In His fulfilment is our real achievement and real perfection.
FFB 10. Happy Valley Common Room, Marlboro College, Marlboro, Vermont, 25 January 1974.↩
Part II — Questions and answers: New York University
Question: Is the potential that anybody has for spiritual growth limited by astrological possibilities or some other possibilities which are available to them, or can everything be overcome with a great enough effort?Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the eagerness of the aspirant and the intensity of his aspiration. There is no such thing as impossibility, but we have to know how much opposition we have to face. If we constantly pray and most soulfully meditate, then there is no difficulty that cannot be surmounted.
It often happens that when we cannot conquer some undivine forces during this lifetime, we feel that we will never be able to conquer these imperfections. But if we are real followers of Truth, eternal Truth, then we know this is not our first or last incarnation. At the age of four, let us say, we had a desire, and at the age of forty we fulfilled that desire. At the age of four we wanted something; at the age of forty we got it. But if we had died at the age of thirty-eight or thirty-nine, then we would not have fulfilled that desire. We would still have felt that it was impossible at the time of our death.
Now, at the age of forty, we have sincere aspiration to realise God. It may be that with this aspiration we will be able to realise God in two hundred years. But when we reach eighty we are totally tired, exhausted in the battlefield of life, so we go to the other world for rest. This does not mean that our opportunity to realise God is ended. Again we will come back and fight against ignorance like real soldiers in the battlefield of life. Then, after two hundred years of aspiration, we will realise God.
There is no such thing as impossibility. It is only a matter of time. But if we are really sincere and earnest, we can greatly expedite our spiritual journey. If something would take two years in the natural and normal course, we can achieve that very thing in three months or two months, or even a month if we are very devoted and sincere. Our achievements entirely depend on our sincerity, earnestness and the strength of our inner cry for the ultimate Truth.
Question: Why is there creation?Sri Chinmoy: Creation is for satisfaction. When we create we get joy. When we compose a song we get joy; when we write a poem we get joy. God felt the necessity of satisfaction for Himself and for all of us. Without satisfaction we cannot last even for a second.
God was quite perfect when He was the silent Brahman, when He was in the trance-bound state. But He felt the necessity for creation because He felt that remaining alone could not satisfy Him. He was a tree without a branch. Then He said, "No, I want to have quite a few branches." Then He said, "No, branches are not enough. I want to have leaves." Then He created millions of leaves. So we are all His creation.
Question: If I am God and I have God, then why do I need God and want God?Sri Chinmoy: Intrinsically, and by the very fact of your created existence, you are God and you have God. But since you are not consciously aware of it, at the same time you want God and you need God. What you really want and need is not God Himself, but conscious and constant knowledge of God and union with God.
Question: Does the divine Will predetermine what will happen in our life?Sri Chinmoy: To some extent it is predetermined. Again we have God's Compassion, God's Love, to change our fate. As you sow, so you reap: this is one theory. Two young boys are playing. One has struck the other, so naturally he will be beaten by the one he has hurt. But if the first boy goes running to his father for protection, then the fellow he has hurt cannot strike him back. He is under the protection of somebody who has much more strength than the ordinary retributive justice. If you have made some mistake or done something wrong in your previous incarnation, the time will come for you to receive punishment. But before that, if you consciously feel that you have done something wrong, you can invoke the protection of the Supreme, the Almighty Father.
Question: What does God have to do with suffering, pain and sickness?Sri Chinmoy: If you go deep within, then you will see that it is God who is suffering, that it is God who is going through each experience. Now you feel separated from God. That is why you say, "I am suffering, my friends are suffering, my relatives are suffering." But when you have the capacity for universal oneness, you will feel that it is only God who is having this experience in and through you and everybody else. He Himself is the disease, He Himself is the remedy. You call it suffering, but in God's Eye it is an experience that He Himself is going through in the process of His own evolution.
Part III — Questions and answers: University Of Connecticut, Storrs
Question: How can a person be sure that he really has aspiration?Sri Chinmoy: A person can be sure that he has aspiration by the mere fact that the question has entered into his life. You have aspiration. Otherwise you would not have come here. You would have become a perfect friend to desire. Whoever comes to a spiritual place or wants to see a spiritual Master most certainly has aspiration. Now you may say that some people have come here out of curiosity. But even in curiosity there is aspiration. Otherwise the person would say, "Who cares for spiritual life? It is all useless." But if a person has some curiosity, he will say, "Let me see what a spiritual man looks like and what others are doing." Curiosity is a kind of subtle eagerness, an unconscious eagerness to learn something, to do something, to grow into something. Curiosity is the precursor of aspiration. Here there are many, many people who are sincere, and one or two who are just curious. Now the many who are sincere will be able to inspire the curious people easily.
To come back to your question, you do have aspiration. But if you are conscious of your aspiration, if you are confident about it, then you will make better progress. If you are doubtful of its existence in your life, you will not be able to march like a hero. You do have aspiration, so you should try to run as fast as possible, like a deer. If you do not try, you will just plod along like an Indian bullock cart. We are all given the opportunity to walk slowly or to run the fastest. Please try to run.
Question: When we find ourselves encountering difficulties in the spiritual life, is the best thing just to surrender to God's Will and leave it all up to Him?Sri Chinmoy: It entirely depends on your own spiritual height, your own achievement. There are two types of seekers. One seeker is very idle, extremely idle. He has heard the idea of surrender to God's Will, so he will not lift a finger. "Let me surrender everything to God's Will and not do anything," he says. The other seeker will pray, meditate and devote his life dynamically to God. "I am offering the result of my aspiration to God," he says.
If one is sincere and really aspiring, he prays and meditates in a divine way, according to his capacity. He does what he can, and at the same time he watches all the situations, calamities and forces around him. He says, "I have done my part. Now it is up to God to free me from these undivine forces or unpleasant experiences." This is the best attitude. If we can go deep within every day during our meditation, we will become the observer, the witness, Purusha. But if we cannot go deep within every day in our meditation, the next best thing is to act like a hero. It is a kind of heroism when we offer the results of our actions to God. The result may take the form of defeat. But if we can gladly offer the result to God, we are a divine hero.
Unfortunately, most of us do not do that. We try a little, but when we see an enormous elephant in front of us, we give up. "It is simply useless," we say. And sometimes we blame God. Since we are encountering so many difficulties now that we have entered into the spiritual life, we think it would be better to return to the ordinary life. But at this point we are making a serious mistake. When we go deep within, we will realise that the difficulties we now are encountering did exist before. But at that time ignorance knew that we were absolutely at its mercy. Ignorance was our lord. We were fast asleep in the ignorance-room, so ignorance did not take the trouble to bother us much. Now that we are trying to come out of the sea of ignorance, ignorance is trying to pull us back. "Where are you going?" it demands. "You have to stay with me!" When we are conscious of the struggle, we are on our way out of the ignorance-room. The difficulties were there inside, but at that time we were totally unconscious of them. Now we are aware of them.
So if you can go deep within, please ask God to take care of you. Let your aspiration go high, higher, highest. But if you don't feel that you have very free access to God's Will, the best thing is to fight ignorance on the physical plane with your own eagerness and capacity. When wrong forces disturb you, you have to fight. If you surrender, many more wrong forces will attack you.
Question: What is the cause of ignorance?Sri Chinmoy: The cause of ignorance is our fondness for limitations. Although we say we want to be vast, we get real pleasure in separating ourselves from others. We always have a sense of demarcation, partition. We speak about peace, universal peace, but every day it is "I" and "Mine". "I am for myself and I do not need anybody. I want to stay with myself. I will have nothing to do with you. Don't bother me." Ignorance comes when we bind ourselves consciously. But when we expand ourselves and feel the universe itself as our home, when we feel that we are for all and of all, then there is no ignorance. Ignorance comes into the picture only when we limit and bind ourselves and feel that this limitation is our real satisfaction. If we can feel real satisfaction lies only in our self-expansion, then there is no ignorance.
Part IV: Questions and answers: University Of Maryland
Question: Is there any reason for doubt?Sri Chinmoy: There is no reason for doubt. The only thing is that we cherish doubt because we are in ignorance. A child eats mud and dirt. What is the reason? He gets pleasure; he feels it is nourishing food. But when he grows up he will never touch it. He knows that he has to eat proper food. Like the child, we doubt because we have not seen the face of Reality. Once we have seen the face of Reality, how can we doubt? When I look at my hand, how can I doubt my hand? I may doubt a thought, a judgement, a feeling inside me, but my hand, which I see and feel, how can I doubt? But unless and until we have the vision of Reality, we will be subject to doubt.
Again, there are some people who believe in others. They may not have seen the face of Reality, but they believe because they know someone else has seen it. If a child has faith in his elder brother, he will immediately believe what his elder brother tells him. And then, when he grows up, he will see for himself that it was true.
In the spiritual life, you have to know that the act of doubting is useless. If you doubt yourself, you are consciously weakening your own possibilities and delaying your own progress. If you say, "I have done so many things wrong, I am not meant for the spiritual life. God does not care for me," then you are making a serious mistake. If you see that somebody is superior to you in the spiritual life, you should not become discouraged. Do not think that he was always superior to you. No! Once upon a time he was also a beginner like yourself. Everybody was a beginner. You do not get your Master's degree all at once. So the best thing is to allow yourself to grow inwardly, silently, with cheerfulness and patience.
When we doubt others, consciously or unconsciously we betray our own ignorance. When we see an elephant, if we doubt the elephant and say, "This is just a dog or a cat," the elephant is not going to lose anything. But we will be simply indulging in stupidity. Similarly, if we doubt God, then God will not lose even an iota of His Divinity. God will simply say that we are walking along the long road. There is a very short road and a very long road. If we walk along the path of doubt, the road is very long, arduous and, what is worse, it is constantly lengthening. There is no end to it. But when we follow the path of faith, not only do we run along an easy road, but every day the road shortens itself.
Inside us there is a white tablet of inner purity. The moment we doubt, we create a dark spot on it. If we persist, there comes a time when the whole tablet is covered with dark spots. But the moment we have faith, that tablet becomes clear and pure again, and we can write on it according to our soul's dictates. After we have written, then we can try to manifest the reality that we have seen, felt and realised in our inner life.
Part V — Questions and answers: University Of Delaware
Question: What is the difference between the inner teacher and the outer teacher?Sri Chinmoy: The ordinary teacher, the outer teacher, very often imposes certain ideas on the students. Although this is the land of freedom, there are some preconceived ideas which teachers unfortunately thrust upon the minds of students. But the inner teacher will not impose anything; he will not thrust any ideas on his disciples. On the contrary, he will consciously and devotedly try to bring forward the seeker's own inner wisdom. The spiritual Master knows perfectly well that he is not the ultimate Truth. He is not the Guru. The only real Guru is the Supreme. The Master will tell the disciple that the disciple has everything. "You have the treasure, you have the box and you have the key. But unfortunately you have not used the key for a long time and you have misplaced it. You cannot get to your inner wealth. I have come here to show you where you have put the key and I will help you open the box. Then, once you get the treasure, it all belongs to you. Then my role is over."
Question: Why is it that so many Indian spiritual Masters come to America instead of trying to help the people in their own country, where there is so much poverty and hunger?Sri Chinmoy: Now, dear seeker, you have to know that a real spiritual man is not bound by any geographical or religious boundaries. Once you belong to God, you become universal. If you are a true seeker, you will feel that you are not an American or a Canadian or an Indian, but a citizen of the world. I am a spiritual man, and on the strength of my prayer and meditation I dare to say that I am a cosmopolitan. A spiritual Master is not bound by east or west or north or south; he will go wherever his Inner Pilot commands him. We are all spiritual brothers and sisters, and God is our common Father. If He wants a particular child of His to help His other children, then He will send the child to them.
If there is poverty and hunger in India, then certainly it is God's concern. And it is also God's concern if many people in the West are not living a spiritual life. Since it is God's concern, it is He who asks the spiritual Masters to come to the West. The same God sends Westerners who have scientific and material knowledge to the East.
To confine any human being to his native land is foolishness. It is the mind that creates this problem. The mind gets satisfaction only in separation, whereas the heart gets satisfaction in identification and oneness. If you can remain in the heart, then you will feel the joy of identification with the vast reality. At that time there is no "I" or "you", but all "we".
Part VI — Questions and answers: Princeton University
Question: How can we have more joy and less tension in our daily life?Sri Chinmoy: We can have more joy only in self-giving, not in demanding. When there is tension, it is because we want something to be done in our own way while others want it done in their way. Tension starts in the mind because we see light in one way and others see light in some other way. So there is no peace, no poise, only tension.
Tension also comes when we want to do something in the twinkling of an eye that takes two hours or two days to do. We have to know that God has not thought of it in that way. God wants us to take two hours or two days to achieve it. If we can keep God's Hour in our minds and not our own hour, we will get joy. Tension goes away from the seeker's mind when he knows the art of surrendering to God's Will.
We must see that God operates not only in us but in others as well. God also operates in our so-called enemies. But these are not our real enemies. Our real enemies are our doubt, fear, anxiety and worry. When we do not cry to perfect others, but only try to perfect our own lives then we will have joy. Also, if we do not expect anything from anybody else but expect everything only from God, then we will get joy. If we can feel that we are not indispensable, that without us the world can go on perfectly well, then we will have joy. This is the way we can all get abundant joy in our spiritual life.
Question: If we have a job that involves a lot of thinking and activity, how can we maintain any sense of spirituality or light?Sri Chinmoy: Undoubtedly, it is a difficult task. But early in the morning, before you enter into the hustle and bustle of life, before you go to your office, you are given ample opportunity by God to meditate on your heart. When you meditate early in the morning, you gain something from God: Peace, Light and Bliss. Then, when you go to your office after you have meditated early in the morning, inside your heart you have to feel that you are carrying some spiritual dollars. There you keep your spiritual wealth safe and protected. Then, while you are in the office, and are involved in your multifarious daily activities, you are carrying this inner wealth with you. When you need peace of mind or poise, immediately try to think of the wealth that you have inside you. It is as if you have kept a candle burning inside your heart. The moment you bring the candle out, the darkness of the outer world around you is illumined.
You always have the capacity to bring something forward which you have earned from your morning meditation. When you work you get a salary. In the inner life your work is your meditation. When you pray and meditate you get your salary, which is light. You put it inside your heart and then, when you need some peace or light or joy in your outer life, you can bring it out from deep within you to illumine you and save you in moments of crisis.
Part VII — Questions and answers: University of Pennsylvania
Question: What dies?Sri Chinmoy: Ignorance in us dies. But if we see ignorance with our inner eye, inner vision, we see that ignorance does not actually die but becomes transformed into light. When we use our earthly knowledge, we see that something lives for a long time and then it dies. But when we use our intuition we see that everything is in the process of transformation, illumination and perfection.
In India we have the trinity of God in three aspects. They are Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva; the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer or Transformer. Some people use the term 'Destroyer,' but inner philosophy uses the term 'Transformer.' God has created the world and He wants to preserve it. Who wants to destroy his own children? The mother will not destroy her children. The mother will only try to transform them. If the children are naughty and mischievous, the mother will not throw them out of the house. The mother will say, "My child only needs illumination and perfection." There is a feeling of oneness that the mother has with her children.
Creator and creation are one. When someone creates something, immediately he identifies himself with the creation. God has created us. So He is not going to destroy us. He is only going to transform us. But when we feel separated from God, the Source, when we feel that He is the Creator and we are the creation, then the problem arises. But if we go deep within, we see that there is nothing to be killed. That which needs transformation will naturally undergo transformation, that which needs illumination will undergo illumination and that which needs perfection will undergo perfection.
Question: Can we make as much spiritual progress living in the world and leading the life of a householder as we would living an ashram life?Sri Chinmoy: Unfortunately, it is not possible. Again, we have to know what kind of ashram life we are speaking of. One may live in an ashram, but at the same time think constantly of ordinary life — "That person has become a success and the world is appreciating him. This person everybody is extolling to the skies. But I am doing nothing but living in an ashram." This kind of thing is not real ashram life at all. If you live a proper ashram life, if you are constantly aspiring and have no outer bondage, then there is no one to come between you and God. If your whole life is given totally and unconditionally to God-realisation, if you are running towards the Goal all alone with only God in mind, naturally you will make the fastest progress, while someone who has family problems and has to deal all the time with the unaspiring world will naturally make slower progress.
But there is a way that the householder can make very fast progress. If the householder feels that he is looking after his near and dear ones, not because they are near and dear to him, but because the Living Presence of God is inside them, this is very good. If God comes into the picture all the time, then there will always be a soulful feeling towards the near and dear ones. It is the same thing with a student. If someone is studying to get world information or world knowledge which he feels is necessary, or if he is studying so he can get a good job, then that person will make no progress. But if the person studying feels that he has the capacity to receive and reveal God's Light only in a small quantity right now, but that the knowledge he is getting from books and the outer world is only a preparation for the inner knowledge, then this is the right attitude. Right now he is reading books written by others. But a day will come when he will be in a position to read his own book, which is already written inside his soul. Right now he does not have the capacity to read his inner book, but he feels that the inner life is leading him and guiding him in and through the outer knowledge. Today you have the capacity only to receive just a little of God's Light, through books. But tomorrow you will have a larger vessel and enter into the Ocean of God's Light.
If you have this divine attitude towards studies or towards your family, then you will make very fast progress. Then, if you are sincere and surrendered to God's Will, when the Hour strikes and God feels the necessity of your entering into ashram life, you will do so. If, in the beginning, you are not given the opportunity, do not feel that you are not meant for the spiritual life. Far from it! God knows His Will far better than you do. There are certain reasons why He wants you to go through the householder life or the student life — the life of outer responsibilities.
Part VIII — Questions and answers: Marlboro College
Question: When you speak of someone seeking enlightenment, doesn't that imply that the person does not have it inside him? And how can one ever attain it by seeking it?Sri Chinmoy: It is like this: I had something, but I have misplaced it. Suppose I had something precious in my room. It was I who had it and I who misplaced it, and now it is I who am searching for it. It has always been mine, but I do not know where it is. But when I begin searching for it, I know that after some time I will find it. Through constant seeking I will get back my inner wealth, which is illumination.
Question: Do you have any idea of why it was lost?Sri Chinmoy: When we came into the world we felt that temptation was more important than actual realisation. It is as though two coins were put in front of us. One was a counterfeit or false coin; the other was authentic. But the counterfeit coin was more charming on the outer plane than the real one. So we were attracted by the one that was outwardly charming, while we ignored the genuine one.
Question: Why are we more attracted to temptation, or the unreal coin?Sri Chinmoy: In the ordinary life, on the superficial plane, we always feel that the unreal is more charming. Here on earth, if we can get something by hook or by crook, if we can achieve something in the twinkling of an eye, we are pleased. To discipline our lives for five minutes seems most difficult. Anything that is difficult for us we immediately shun; while that which is within our immediate reach we try to grasp. That is why we do not get the real. The real is always there, but to achieve it we have to work very hard. Nevertheless, we have to know that true satisfaction, abiding satisfaction, can come only from the attainment of the real.
Question: Is meditation the only way to achieve enlightenment?Sri Chinmoy: No. Prayer is another way. In the Western world you pray, and in the Eastern world we prefer to meditate. These are two roads which eventually converge and lead to the same destination. If you pray most soulfully, you will definitely get illumination. Again, if you meditate soulfully, you are sure to get illumination.
Some people like to pray while others like to meditate. If you feel that prayer is most effective in your life, then naturally you will pray most soulfully. And if you feel that meditation helps you most convincingly in your life of aspiration, then you try to meditate. It is the individual who has to make the choice.
Editor's preface to the first editionThe ten lectures in this book are part of a fifty-state lecture tour Sri Chinmoy was invited to give in 1974. The talks in this first series were delivered in January of 1974. The questions in this book were put to Sri Chinmoy by students at the universities where he spoke.