Fifty Freedom-Boats to one Golden Shore, part 4
Service1Dear seekers, dear sisters and brothers, I wish to give a short talk from the spiritual point of view on service. I am a seeker, and I feel that a seeker is under a divine obligation to be of constant, dedicated service to mankind. I serve humanity, not because I am helpless, but because I long to be deathless. When I become deathless, I serve both man and God. I serve man, the unrealised God; I serve God, the unmanifested man.
My service has to be unconditional. My unconditional service is my transcendental Freedom. My transcendental Freedom is my eternal satisfaction. And my eternal satisfaction is God’s universal manifestation, the manifestation of Divinity’s Perfection and Reality’s Immortality.
Service is love and love is service. When I love God, humanity cheerfully loves me and God blessingfully serves me. When God serves me, He serves me with His boundless Concern, and when humanity loves me, it loves me with its dedicated, immortalised oneness.
As a seeker, I serve both earth and Heaven. I serve earth with my inspiration-race. I serve Heaven with my aspiration-face. My inspiration-race and my aspiration-face have a common source: God's Grace, His infinite and unconditional Grace. God's Grace enables me to have a free access to my soul.
I frequently go to my soul’s realm, for my soul has given me permission to take anything that I want from there. Such being the case, I take my soul’s purity and offer it to my body. In this way I serve my body. I take my soul’s dynamism and offer it to my vital. In this way I serve my vital. I take my soul’s light and offer it to my mind. In this way I serve my mind. And then I take my soul’s delight and offer it to my heart. In this way I serve my heart.
I serve my inner existence with faith, love, devotion and surrender. Faith is my reality. Love brings me the message of universal Oneness. Devotion makes my existence on earth sweet. Surrender to God’s Will makes my life constantly meaningful and fruitful. I serve my outer existence with concentration, meditation and contemplation. Concentration means the one-pointed focus of attention on an object. First we concentrate on an object, and then we grow into it. Meditation means the invocation of vastness within our hearts. Contemplation means the absolute, inseparable union of the seeker and the Sought, the lover and the Beloved.
I serve the desiring man with my renunciation-light. This renunciation-light I get from my prayer, my meditation and my love of Light and Truth. I serve the aspiring man with my Realisation-height. This Realisation-height is my oneness with the Source, which is all Light and Delight. This oneness I discover only in and through my self-giving. I serve the liberated man, the man who is freed from the meshes of ignorance, with my earth-bound cry and my Heaven-free smile.
I serve the unknown with my imagination. Today my capacity is imagination; tomorrow my capacity will be aspiration. Aspiration is the inner flame within us that climbs up to the Highest and then comes down to offer its divine wealth to the world at large. Today imagination is my capacity; tomorrow aspiration will be my capacity; the day after tomorrow realisation will be my capacity. And in realisation, God-revelation and God-manifestation can take place.
The state motto of Arkansas is “The people rule.” Here we see the importance of collectivity. In the spiritual life, we have to go together in a collective, unified way. Individual assertiveness has to be totally negated; collectivity has to be constantly embraced. And what is collectivity, but the song of oneness. It is our oneness, our inseparable oneness with the vast, that rules. If we are seekers, then we will feel in our inner life a connection with the entire universe. We will feel that we exist not for ourselves alone, but for all. I give to you what I have; you give to me what you have. It is through reciprocal self-giving that we exist. Oneness is the flowering of our reciprocal self-giving. What we call self-giving today, tomorrow that same thing we call God-becoming. God is the root of the tree and He is also the branches, leaves, flowers and fruits. By collectivity we mean the leaves, flowers, fruits, branches, trunk, root, everything. Inside this collectivity is the divine Harmony, the all-loving, all-illumining, all-fulfilling Harmony of the Supreme.
FFB 108. Student Union Theatre, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, 6 March 1974 — 12:00 noon.↩
Renunciation2Dear seekers, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to give a talk on renunciation. We are all seekers here, so we are not afraid of the word “renunciation”. An ordinary, unaspiring person is usually alarmed the moment he hears the word “renunciation”. For him, renunciation means giving up everything he loves and cherishes, whatever he claims to be his own. But as spiritual people, we know that renunciation means something else. It means giving up the things that are undivine, unreal, imperfect — things that are compelling us constantly to lag behind in our Godward march. Anything that is real in us, anything that is divine in us, anything that is perfect in us we will never renounce. As seekers of the transcendental Truth, we are not afraid of renunciation precisely because we know what we are going to renounce, and what we are going to achieve by renunciation. We are going to renounce the finite in order to achieve the Infinite, Eternal and Immortal that abides within us.
What do we renounce? We renounce our ego. We renounce ego precisely because our ego is limited and blind. What else do we renounce? We renounce our doubt. We renounce doubt because doubt is slow poison which will eventually kill us. We renounce our ignorance. We renounce ignorance because ignorance binds us and makes us feel that we are forever doomed to the earth-bound consciousness. Ignorance makes us feel that we are weak and impotent, and that a life of Infinity, Eternity and Immortality is a far cry.
Renunciation cannot be achieved overnight. Nor can we get it by accident. For renunciation, we have to go deep within and pray and meditate. Also, we have to know the necessity of self-conquest. This self-conquest is nothing but our self-discovery, nothing short of God-realisation. Self-discovery and God-realisation are one and the same, the obverse and the reverse of the same divine, spiritual, immortal coin.
India’s greatest poet, Tagore, once remarked that he would renounce, but not in an austere manner. There are people who want to renounce everything and embrace the life of austerity, but austerity is not real renunciation. Real renunciation says we must enjoy the freedom of liberation here amidst our multifarious activities; we must achieve liberation through the purification, illumination and transformation of our limitations, imperfections and bondage. We must lead a normal, natural life but be constantly aware of the things that must be inwardly renounced for a higher, better, more fulfilling life.
The motto of the state of Oklahoma is most significant: “Labour conquers all things.” Renunciation is dedicated labour, dedicated service. When we soulfully offer our dedicated service, we conquer everything and achieve everything. What is the thing that houses everything? God’s Smile. When we offer our dedicated labour to God, God’s Smile dawns in our life of dedication. A sincere, dedicated worker knows that his life is like a tree. A tree works very hard to offer us flowers and fruits, to offer us shade and shelter. From its root to its topmost bough, everything a tree has is a selfless offering. From the beginning to the end, the life of a tree is sacrifice. Even when we cut off a branch of the tree, the tree continues to offer us shelter and protection with its remaining branches. Similarly, when our dedicated service is misunderstood, we shall not stop serving or offering our Light. We shall go on with our dedicated service, for we know we came into the world for self-giving. A man of dedicated service gets constant and abiding satisfaction from his labour regardless of whether or not the world accepts it.
This is the prayer of a sincere, genuine server of mankind, a divine labourer:
O ignorance, I wish to be a tree of compassion.
O man, I wish to be a tree of dedicated service.
O earth, I wish to be a tree of patience.
O Heaven, I wish to be a tree of constant aspiration, climbing up high, higher, highest.
Conscious renunciation is the manifestation of peace. An ordinary person is satisfied with the kind of peace which spiritual seekers see as mere compromise. It is a compromise between husband and wife, between nation and nation, between one adversary and another. This world needs real peace, but the moment some temporary agreement, some compromise, is reached, the world thinks it has achieved peace. But real peace is something infinitely more meaningful and fruitful than this. Real peace is our heart’s infinite ecstasy and our soul’s eternal satisfaction.
Renunciation is the manifestation of our awakened consciousness. An awakened consciousness is the bridge between Heaven and earth. In consciousness, man becomes; in consciousness, God is. Man becomes his highest Reality, which he once upon a time was. God is His all-pervading, transcendental and universal Consciousness, which He eternally has been.
A man of renunciation raises the consciousness of others who are aspiring or who are about to aspire. This selfless act of his is the greatest gift that he can offer to humanity. The world is fascinated by miracles, but the greatest, the most fulfilling of all, is to raise the consciousness of others. An ordinary miracle lasts for a fleeting second, and when it ends we find ourselves in the same consciousness that we were in before. But when the true miracle takes place, our consciousness is elevated and illumined. As the man of renunciation marches forward towards the farthest Beyond, he climbs up an evolving ladder of transforming, divinised consciousness. By his very act of self-transcendence, the man of renunciation inspires and elevates the consciousness of his brothers and sisters who want to climb up the same ladder.
An ordinary person is afraid of transcendence. He feels that transcendence is something unknown, and perhaps unknowable. He feels that the moment he enters into the unknown, he will be thrown into the very jaws of a devouring tiger. But for true seekers, the unknown is not a ferocious animal. The unknown is something or someone whom we have not yet seen, but whose friendship we shall one day cherish and treasure. We are not afraid of the unknown because we pray and meditate. Our prayer and meditation is like a searchlight that lets us see far ahead. If we do not use this searchlight of prayer and meditation, we will not be able to see anything ahead of us. The unaspiring person feels that the only light is where he now stands, and that one step ahead of him is all unknown darkness. But in us, us seekers, there is a constantly burning lamp which illumines our path until we see that it has become sunlit and quite safe. And what is this lamp? It is our faith — our faith in God and our faith in ourselves.
For the beginner, for one who has just started walking along the path, renunciation is necessary and obligatory. But for an advanced seeker, renunciation is not necessary. If someone is on the verge of realisation or has made tremendous progress in the inner life, renunciation takes a different form for him. He does not actually renounce any more, but he tries to transform. If he feels fear in the world or in himself, he does not renounce fear, but with his inner light and wisdom he transforms it into courage. If he sees the world’s doubt or his own doubt, with his inner light he transforms it into faith. When he transforms fear into courage, this courage is nothing short of divine manifestation. And when he transforms doubt into faith, this faith is the eternally sunlit path towards the ultimate Beyond. At this point, renunciation is the transformation of our earth-bound consciousness into the Heaven-free consciousness. Earth’s pangs and privations are transformed into Heaven’s boundless yet ever-increasing Delight. Ignorance is transformed into divine Wisdom, darkness into Light, imperfection into Perfection, and human bondage into transcendental Liberation.
Divine Love is a flowering of delight and self-giving.
Human love is the gambol of sufferings and limitations."
FFB 109. 6 March 1974, 4:00 p.m. Great Hall, Westby Student Center, University of Tulsa, Tulsa (Oklahoma)↩
Friendship3Dear sisters and brothers, dear seekers of the transcendental Truth, I wish to give a talk on friendship, which is the motto of Texas. Friendship is extremely significant in all phases of our life. Friendship is the bridge between two human beings. Friendship is the bridge between earth and Heaven. Friendship is the bridge between the known and the unknown.
Here on earth we try to establish friendship with our fellow human beings. Sometimes we are successful, sometimes we are not. But even when we are successful, this friendship does not satisfy us completely. Then we go deep within and discover our Eternal Friend, God, the Inner Pilot. God and each individual on earth are eternal friends. But only when we begin to aspire do we come to realise this truth.
There are three types of friendship: animal friendship, human friendship and divine friendship. The friendship that exploits us is animal friendship. The friendship that mutually helps two persons is human friendship. The friendship that unconditionally gives, that gives with no expectation whatsoever, is divine friendship.
Friendship can arise out of necessity and also out of generosity. If two human beings are in the desiring world, their friendship is founded upon necessity. But if one is in the desiring world and the other is in the aspiring world, then we have to know that the friendship of the aspirant is founded upon generosity, while the friendship of the desiring person is based upon necessity.
Desire makes unending demands; its hunger can never be appeased. No matter how much experience or possession is accumulated, still satisfaction does not dawn in the heart of a desiring individual. Aspiration also has an eternal hunger, but when aspiration achieves an iota of Peace, Light and Bliss, it feels a kind of satisfaction. Although an aspirant aims to reach the Highest, the Absolute Pinnacle, although he longs for infinite Peace, Light and Bliss, an iota of Peace, Light and Bliss satisfies his grateful heart. But he knows that today's achievement is not complete. If he looks forward, or dives deep within, or climbs high, higher, highest, he knows he is bound to be inundated with Peace, Light and Bliss in boundless measure. At God's choice Hour, God will give the aspirant infinite Peace, Light and Bliss.
In our ordinary human life we have two friends: fear and doubt. Fear tells us, "Stay inside your body-cage, where you are safe. If you come out, the ferocious world-tiger will devour you, so don't come out of the cage of your body." Doubt tells us that our real friend is our physical mind, the mind that cautions us, that warns us, that tells us that the outer world is a real stranger. Doubt says, "If you allow the outer world to enter into you, it is like dealing with a stranger. At any moment you may be exploited, deserted and destroyed for good. Have no faith in anybody on earth. Expect nothing good from anyone on earth. You are your own saviour, you are your own salvation — you and nobody else. Exist for yourself."
Here we are all seekers, so we shall have faith in God. If it is impossible for us to establish divine faith today, we can start with faith in ourselves. In spite of knowing that we are limited and bound, let us have faith in ourselves. Then this limitation and bondage of ours can be transcended on the strength of our inner cry. But if we have faith in an undivine force, a force that destroys, then in addition to destroying others, we will ourselves be destroyed. A similar thing happens when we have faith only in ourselves. We try to possess others, but before we can actually possess them, we are ourselves possessed. It is only in divine faith that we do not possess. There we just expand — expand our consciousness, expand our reality, expand what we have and what we are. But let us start, if necessary, with faith in ourselves, and then go beyond and attain divine faith. In divine faith we see that there is no end to our journey and achievement. We are in the flow of an ever-transcending, ever-illumining Reality, which is perfection.
Friendship is harmony, friendship is peace, friendship is bliss. Friendship is harmony. Mutual harmony removes all dark conflicts. Each individual has opinions of his own, but when friendship becomes the connecting link between two persons, all conflicts are removed and they become one.
Friendship is peace. Here, peace means confidence. I have confidence in you and you have confidence in me; our mutual confidence is peace. I shall not speak ill of you or try to ruin you; you will not speak ill of me or try to ruin me. On the contrary, I shall give you what I have: my love, my sympathy, my concern, my compassion, my total support of your cause, and you will do the same for me.
Friendship is bliss. When friendship lasts, it offers bliss. The Kingdom of Heaven is established when love inundates our beings, when the feeling of oneness reigns supreme and there is no sense of separativity. At that time illumining, fulfilling and perfect Perfection dawns in our life of aspiration. Thousands of years ago the Vedic seers offered us the message of bliss.
Anandadd hy eva khalv imani bhutani jayante…
From Delight we came into existence.
In Delight we grow.
At the end of our journey's close, into Delight we retire.
Friendship is sweet when it is all harmony.
Friendship is sweeter when it is all peace.
Friendship is sweetest when it is all bliss.
Now, the moment we are awakened, the moment our inner light comes to the fore and awakens us from our ignorance-sleep of millennia, we discover that fear and doubt are not our friends at all. Our true friends are courage, indomitable courage, and faith, boundless faith. Our inner courage tells us, "Go out, look around the rest of the world; all of earth's inhabitants are your friends, your brothers and sisters. If you stay in your physical consciousness, you are binding yourself, you are limiting your possibilities and potentialities. Go out. The world is eagerly awaiting your arrival." Our dear friend, faith, tells us, "We are all of the same Source and for the same Source, so how can we be afraid of others? The Source is one, but the One wanted to play the game of many. The tree is the Source, and the branches, flowers, leaves and fruits are the many. From the same root we all came into existence, so let us consciously establish our inseparable oneness with all human beings. Let us sing together, dance together and play together. In this way we will please and fulfil the Absolute Supreme with our universal oneness."
Each individual has faith in something or in someone. We cannot say that someone has no faith at all. This moment he has faith in God, another moment he may have faith in himself and a third moment he may have faith in somebody or in something else. Now, when an individual has faith in God, he is in the world of aspiration and vastness, in the world of Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. When he has faith in himself, he is in the world of desire, in the world of possession, limitation, bondage and death. When he has faith in neither God nor himself, then he has faith in destruction — in world-destruction or in self-destruction. But he always has faith either in God or in himself or in some undivine force.
Friendship is service, the dedicated service we offer to Mother Earth and Father Heaven. When we want to offer our dedicated service to Mother Earth, we pray to the Lord Supreme to grant us a life of ceaseless duration. When we want to offer our dedicated service to Father Heaven, we pray to the Lord Supreme to grant us a life of selfless contribution. With our service, Heaven gets the opportunity to manifest itself here on earth, and earth gets the opportunity to realise the Highest, the Absolute.
In the spiritual life friendship is founded on inner acceptance. A spiritual teacher and a seeker become one on the strength of their inner friendship. The seeker goes to a Master and says, "Master, I love you, I trust you, I give you my life." The Master immediately says, "My son, I love you, I trust you and I give you my life and also God's Life." The disciple says, "Master, I offer you my solemn promise that I shall serve the Supreme in you." The Master says, "Son, I offer you my solemn promise that unless and until I have taken you to our Father, the Absolute Supreme, I shall not rest. Your promise is just to me, but my promise is to two persons. Here on earth I am promising you that I shall carry you and guide you to the Golden Shores of the Beyond, and the same promise I am making to the Inner Pilot, who is your Master, my Master, the Eternal Master; to Him I am giving the same promise. With your friendship you will give me what you have: ignorance. With my friendship I will give you what I have and what I am: Wisdom-Light. This Wisdom-Light the Supreme has granted me out of His infinite Bounty, and this I offer to you. If you think that you are a beggar, then you must know that I am more of a beggar than you. You have to go begging only to one place, but my condition is more deplorable; I have to go to two places. I go to you with folded hands and beg you to give me your ignorance. Then I go to God with folded hands and beg Him to give me His Compassion-Light for you. I am the messenger between you and God. This is the friendship that I have established with earth and Heaven. Earth's pangs and penuries I take to Heaven, to the Eternal Father in Heaven, and from Heaven I bring down Peace, Light and Bliss in abundant measure for sincere seekers." This is the eternal friendship between the Master and the disciple.
The Master also says something else to his disciples. He says, "Your Master is not and can never be myself. The real Master is somebody else — the Supreme, the Absolute Supreme." A spiritual teacher is only an elder brother to humanity. When seekers are aspiring for the Highest, the teacher shows them where the Father is. Once he leads them to the Father, his role is over. And the seeker of today becomes the leader, the teacher of mankind tomorrow. When his time comes, he shows aspiring humanity, his younger brothers and sisters, the same God, the same eternal Friend, the same transcendental Supreme, that his own teacher once showed him.
Intuition selflessly feeds the inner life and recognises, inspires and fulfils the outer life."
FFB 110. Student Centre, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, 7 March 1974 — 9:00 am.↩
The practical reality4Dear seekers, dear friends, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to give a short talk on the practical reality. Reality is at once a simple and a complicated word. For an ordinary, unaspiring human being, reality is a far cry. At every moment life offers him frustration. His life is the life of desire. When his desires are not fulfilled, he is frustrated, and when his desires are fulfilled, still he feels no abiding satisfaction; therefore, according to him everything is unreal. This is his realisation. But we here are all seekers. We feel that everything is real, for we see the soul in everything and the soul of everything, while an unaspiring person sees the body in everything and the body of everything. But the body is ephemeral, whereas the soul is eternal, and reality abides only in the heart of Eternity.
Practical reality is the conquest of our teeming earth-bound desires. This conquest has another name: Freedom-light. Freedom-light liberates the seeker from the hunger of the finite. Freedom-light liberates the seeker from the darkness of bondage-night. Freedom-light does not permit ignorance to lord it over the heart of the sincere, loving, devoted and surrendered seeker. Freedom-light is the inner necessity of one who seeks the highest transcendental Truth, which is the perennial Source. Freedom-light is the outer necessity of one who seeks the Ultimate Truth, which is the transcendental Goal.
When we approach reality with our earth-bound consciousness, we feel that reality is not at all practical. But when we approach reality with our Heaven-free consciousness, we realise that reality is always practical. Reality is the ideal in human life. Reality is the natural beauty of the life divine. The animal in us does not know or feel the existence of reality. The human in us at times knows and feels the value of reality, but it does not strive for reality's breath. The divine in us always wants to grow in the heart of reality. The Supreme in us is all-Reality in us, with us and for us.
What is practical reality? Practical reality is silence. Silence does not date from any particular point in time. Silence owes its origin to no particular being. Silence is eternal. Silence is universal. For its validity, silence does not depend on our world-wide proclamation or on our genuine and implicit acceptance. Silence transcendental has God; Silence transcendental is God. God's transcendental Silence wants total and perfect manifestation here on earth. Why do we need silence? We need silence precisely because we need abiding satisfaction. Why do we need satisfaction? We need satisfaction because of our inner divinity's Immortality. How do we achieve satisfaction? We achieve satisfaction by purifying our mind, illumining our heart and liberating our life.
Practical reality is also sound. Silence prepares the life of aspiration. Sound reveals the life of aspiration. Love fulfils the life of aspiration. Silence immortalises the life of aspiration. A life without silence is a goalless life. A life without sound is a meaningless life. A life without love is a helpless life.
The man who knows that God is within him feels his goal within and without. The man who knows that he is for God is bound to feel that his life is meaningful. He who has discovered the truth that he is of God is bound to feel that his life can never be hopeless. On the contrary, his is the life of adamantine will; his is the life of all-energising, all-fulfilling, all-pervading reality. When a seeker feels God's Presence within him, he smiles the smile of God-transcendence. When he feels that he is for God, he sings the song of God-compassion. When he feels that he is eternally of God, he dances the dance of God-perfection.
Practical reality is Delight. Delight is God's Eye of Compassion and Liberation. When God's flood of Delight enters the very breath of the seeker's aspiring life, God's Reality-dream looms large and God's inner Promise comes to the fore. The seeker feels that his life of imperfection will be transformed before long into a life of perfect Perfection. When the seeker's heart is liberated from the meshes of ignorance, God's unfulfilled Dream gets the opportunity to expedite its earth-bound journey and ultimately to fulfil its Dream-Reality in and through the loving and unconditionally surrendered divine warrior-seeker.
Practical reality is the seeker's attainment of perfection — perfection within, perfection without. The seeker achieves perfection in the outer life by disciplining his life, by acquiring mastery over his outgoing energy. The seeker achieves perfection in the inner life through constant and unconditional surrender to the Will of his Inner Pilot.
Practical reality is the attainment of supernal peace. The state motto of Nevada is "All for our country". The undivine critic may find this lofty message sentimental or emotional. But the sincere seeker of the Highest Truth, from the spiritual point of view, will observe this message in a divine way. From the spiritual point of view, “country” signifies the “abode of peace”. In the motto, "All for our country", “all” signifies simplicity, sincerity, purity and humility. These qualities are to be found in the abode of peace. When we live in the abode of peace, impossibility cannot knock at our heart's door. Nothing is impossible. Everything is not only possible, practical and practicable, but also inevitable.
Earth has glowing aspiration. Heaven has descending illumination. When earth's aspiration and Heaven's illumination meet together, the dream-boat of the seeker reaches the Reality-Shore of the Beyond. Earth aspires; Heaven inspires. Earth aspires for the Heaven-soul; Heaven inspires the heart, the reality of earth. Because earth aspires, earth is supremely great; because Heaven inspires, Heaven is divinely good. Each individual seeker has the golden opportunity to knock at his own heart's door at God's choice Hour, not only to see the face of Reality, but also to grow into the Reality itself, provided his life is a life of constant dedication to the Inner Pilot.
FFB 111. 17 April 1974, 2:00 p.m. The Center for Religion and Life, University of Nevada, Reno (Nevada)↩
What has life taught me?5What has life taught me? Life has taught me how to exclude and include — how to exclude unreality and how to include reality. When I feel that I am of God and for God, I become the fulfilling reality. When I feel that I am of myself and for myself, I become the self-deceiving unreality.
Reality unveils, reveals and fulfils.
Unreality veils, conceals and kills.
Reality expands and transcends.
Unreality cries and dies.
What has life taught me? Life has taught me conscience, common sense and God-sense. My heart utilises conscience; therefore, my heart is pure and brave. My mind utilises common sense; therefore, my mind is clear and direct. My soul utilises God-sense; therefore, my soul is divine and perfect.
Life has taught me how to live and learn, how to learn and live, how to live and live, how to learn and learn. When I live and learn, I try to jump up onto the topmost bough of the tree instead of climbing up right from the foot. When I learn and live, I do the first thing first — I walk and then I run. When I live and live without first learning the inner lesson and discovering the real essence of my life, I deliberately deceive the divine within me and the divine in others. When I learn and learn, I constantly expand my earth-bound consciousness and transcend my earth-bound reality.
Life has taught me how to learn, unlearn and relearn. I learn. I learn the song of divine duty. By performing the duty divine, I know that I fulfil the divine within me, the Supreme within me. I learn the song of the childlike heart, for I know that if I have a childlike heart, I will always have the eagerness and inner urge to fulfil the divine by learning and discovering the Reality itself.
Each time I learn something, I march forward towards my destined Goal, my transcendental Goal. When I learn that my life is God-Light, then during my soulful prayer and meditation I feel God the Infinite Peace, God the Eternal Light, God the Immortal Life claim me in the inmost recesses of my heart as His very own. At that time, I claim God’s Infinity as my length, God’s Eternity as my height and God’s Immortality as my depth — the depth of my silent being. At that time I consciously become one, inseparably, eternally one, with the Inner Pilot, the Absolute Supreme.
I unlearn. I unlearn the song of self-importance and self-aggrandisement. As a seeker, I have to unlearn many other things, as well. My mind is full of information and empty of illumination. If my mind is filled with information, then I feel that I am a donkey carrying a heavy load on my back. What I need is not world-information, but world-illumination. So first I have to unlearn this world-information, for in order to get world-illumination I need a mind of clarity, a mind of luminosity. Also, I have to unlearn the capacity of the physical mind. The physical mind teaches me how to doubt, how to suspect, how to belittle and how to bind myself and others. When I doubt others with my physical mind, I do not gain anything; at the same time, they do not lose anything. And when I doubt myself, I immediately dig my own grave.
I relearn. I relearn the song of God-union, of conscious God-union. When I am in Heaven, I am the soul. There God and I are one, inseparably one. But when I, as a soul, enter into the world arena and take on a physical frame, then I enter into the world of bondage, limitation, darkness and ignorance. There I become the body-consciousness. If I take the body-consciousness as my reality, then I cannot learn anything from life, for the body-consciousness is limited, unlit, obscure, impure, undivine. But when I think of myself as the Soul-Reality, I get the opportunity to relearn the truth that God and I are eternally one.
Life has taught me how to examine the essence of God's Silence and God's Sound. When I use my human eyes to examine God's Reality, I am totally lost. But when I use my heart to examine God's Reality, my heart immediately sees the true Reality, on the strength of its total identification with Reality. The physical eyes are very often misled, but the inner heart cannot be misled. The inner heart is the direct representative of the illumining soul, which is one with the Source. As long as I use the physical mind, I see others as others; but when I use the aspiring heart there is no you, no he, no she, only I — the Universal I, and not the limited ego. So when I use my heart, I become the Reality. But when I use my mind or my physical eyes, I am quite often deceived, and I remain unfulfilled.
When I do not aspire, my life teaches me frustration, and I push and pull. I push my life towards something, but eventually I come to realise that this something is a goalless nothing. I pull myself towards the little, puny ego-consciousness, and I see that I have pulled myself towards an empty reality. But when I neither push nor pull, just offer my existence in its totality to the Inner Pilot, I consciously become what I eternally am: God-consciousness.
As a seeker, I know that my life has taught me how to love and whom to love. How to love? Devotedly, soulfully and unconditionally. Whom to love? God in man and man in God. When I love God in man devotedly, soulfully and unconditionally, I become one with God the Unity. When I love man in God, I become one with God the Multiplicity. One is the Source; many are the manifestations of the One. The tree needs branches; the branches need the tree. By loving God, the seeker in me becomes the tree itself, and by loving man, he becomes the branches.
Life has taught the seeker in me how to devote myself to my higher part and to my lower part. When the lower part in me devotes itself to the higher part, the higher part gets additional strength for its manifestation. When the higher part devotes itself to the lower part of my being, the lower part gets the opportunity for transformation.
Life has taught the seeker in me how to surrender. I surrender soulfully, devotedly and unconditionally to my own higher reality. This higher reality encompasses and embodies everything as its very own, so when I divinely surrender, I feel that the unillumined part of me is surrendering to the fully illumined part of me. When God’s Hour strikes and the unillumined becomes fully illumined, and the illumined becomes fully manifested, then my entire being becomes totally divine and perfect.
When I live the animal life, I see darkness all around and feel that this darkness is my only reality. When I live the human life, I see an iota of light and feel that one day I will be able to bathe in an infinite sea of Light. When I try to lead the divine life, I feel that my Inner Pilot has already paved the way for me to walk along the path to His ultimate Reality. At that time, I feel that God’s Dream-Boat is carrying me to His Reality-Shore — the Golden Shore of the ever-transcending Beyond.
The soul tells me that life is perfection. We are not travelling from imperfection towards perfection, but from less perfection to greater perfection, to the greatest perfection. In the process of evolution, life is continuous progress. This progress is perfection aiming at the highest Absolute Perfection. When life began from the mineral world, it was the beginning of life’s perfection. But there is no end to our progress. Today’s perfection is the starting point for tomorrow’s higher, deeper, more illumining and more fulfilling perfection.
Life has taught me something sublime: that I am not indispensable; only the Supreme in me is indispensable. Life wants to offer me happiness, and real happiness lies only in this discovery. When someone feels that only the Supreme in him is indispensable, then his life is all happiness.
Finally, life has taught me the most important thing: that God and I need each other. I need God for my perfect perfection, and God needs me for His total Manifestation on earth. This is the supreme lesson that life has to teach, and I am offering it to each seeker present here.
Yesterday I discovered kindness in myself.
Today I see how beautiful and soulful I am.
Yesterday I discovered kindness in humanity.
Today I see how meaningful and fruitful humanity is.
FFB 112. Memorial Chapel, Stanford University, Stanford, California, 19 April 1974 — 8:00 pm.↩
Transformation, liberation, revelation, manifestation6Dear seekers, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to give a short talk on transformation, liberation, revelation and manifestation — four sublime realities in our life of aspiration.
The animal in us needs immediate transformation. The human in us needs conscious liberation. The divine in us needs perfect revelation. The Supreme in us needs complete manifestation. To see God we need transformation. To be invited by God we need liberation. To be loved by God we need revelation. To be immortalised by God we need manifestation.
Transformation of the body shows us how pure we can be. Liberation of the vital shows us how dynamic we can be. Revelation of the mind shows us how vast we can be. Manifestation of the heart shows us how divine we can be. We can be as pure as the dawn. We can be as dynamic as a divine warrior. We can be as vast as the sky. We can be as divine as the soul. Transformation is walking along the road of Infinity. Liberation is marching along the road of Immortality. Revelation is running along the road of Eternity. Manifestation is flying the fastest towards the ever-transcending Reality.
When we are freed from the binding past and transformed, we do not remain in the body-cage; we start living in the soul-palace. When we are transformed we change our friendships. Ignorance-night no longer remains our friend. Instead, knowledge-light becomes our true and dear friend. When we are transformed we sing a different song. We cease to sing the song of the finite. We sing the song of the Eternal in order to become the Infinite.
When we are liberated from the meshes of ignorance, we come to realise what we eternally are: God the dreamer, God the lover and God the fulfiller. At that time, we want to reveal ourselves. Unless and until we have revealed our divinity, we cannot prove God’s existence on earth. The world may think that all our sublime experiences are mental hallucinations, chimerical mists and acts of self-deception unless we can reveal God’s Divinity within ourselves. But when we can reveal our inner divinity to others, they will see that our dream-boat has touched the Reality-Shore. And when we manifest our inner divinity, at that time the Golden Shore of the Beyond becomes firmly established in the here-and-now.
Transformation. In the hoary past, the seekers of the Highest did not care so much for nature’s transformation, for physical, vital, emotional transformation. They cared only for their own realisation. They realised the Highest, but in spite of that, their physical nature remained unlit, obscure, imperfect.
Liberation. In the hoary past, many liberated souls cared only for their own liberation. They did not care for the liberation of the world at large. They felt that because it was so hard for them to get liberation, everybody else should also have to work hard. Also, they felt that everybody would realise God, everybody would be liberated at God’s choice Hour, and that it was not their business to expedite this Hour.
Revelation. In the hoary past, the seekers of the highest magnitude did not care for revelation. They thought that if they revealed what they had realised, then there was every possibility that the world’s ignorance would capture their knowledge-light and wisdom-height. They were afraid of revealing their inner divinity. They realised the highest Truth, but they did not want to share it with the rest of the world because fear, fear of the unknown, tortured their inner existence.
Manifestation. In the hoary past, seekers of the highest magnitude, liberated souls, great Yogis, did not care for manifestation. They felt that here on earth nothing is worth manifesting, because nothing can last for good. They felt that this planet is the abode of sorrow, of suffering, so why try to establish something divine here permanently? They felt that there was no assurance, no guarantee that this world would be transformed into divinity’s flood; therefore, they did not care for manifestation.
But the present-day seeker wants perfection within, perfection without. Unless and until the body is perfect, the vital is perfect, the mind is perfect and the heart is perfect, we feel that perfect Perfection is a far cry. The process is long and arduous, but once we succeed in this sublimely significant task, we reach the Golden Shore of the Beyond.
The motto of the state of Oregon is "The Union". Here we are all seekers. A seeker is he who practices spirituality. Now, spirituality has a secret and sacred word to offer: the word is Yoga. Yoga means conscious union with God. I am truly happy that the motto of this state encompasses the same ideal as the breath of spirituality, which is Yoga. Union has to be established between the finite and the Infinite, between today's imperfect man and tomorrow's perfect God.
How do we establish our conscious union with God? There are various ways to do this. First, we can minimise our earthly needs and thus establish ourselves to increase our Heavenly needs. Then, we have to cry for God inwardly, as a child cries for his mother. The Lord Supreme will fulfil our inner cry of aspiration. Two concepts govern the length and breadth of the world: desire and aspiration. Desire binds us; aspiration liberates us. Desire makes us feel that we are of the finite and we are compelled to be for the finite. Aspiration tells us that we are of the Eternal and for the Infinite. Infinity, Eternity and Immortality are not vague terms, but divine realities that are trying to come to the fore so that we can become tomorrow's God.
Besides crying inwardly, we also have to feel consciously that God needs us as much as we need God. As ordinary human beings we need God to fulfil our teeming desires. When we become spiritual seekers we need God for only one thing: to discover our highest transcendental Height, our deepest transcendental Depth. And we do discover these when we realise God. Now, just as we need God for our realisation, so God needs us for His own Manifestation. He has to manifest Himself in and through us. He was one; that was His Silence-realisation. He wanted to become many; that was His Sound-manifestation. When we achieve His Realisation and He achieves in and through us His Manifestation, perfect Perfection dawns. When we feel that we are of God and for God, we see that we are of the all-pervading Silence and for the all-fulfilling cosmic Sound. At that time we are totally liberated, revealed and transformed.
Each seeker represents a promise to God. The promise is his own physical transformation. He wants to free his earth-bound life and he does free his earthbound life on the strength of the boundless Compassion of the highest Absolute Supreme. Each seeker's promise to God is to manifest God on earth in God's own Way. The seeker fulfils his promise only when he gladly, cheerfully and unconditionally gives to God what he has and what he is. What he has is inner cry, and what he is is ignorance. When he gives to God devotedly, soulfully and unconditionally his achievement: inner cry, and his present reality: ignorance, then the seeker is transformed, liberated, revealed and manifested in God's own Way.
FFB 113. Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, 22 April 1974 — 10:00 am.↩
Just for today7Just for today, I shall pray to God. My prayer is my inner, climbing cry. I know this cry will reach God’s Palace. My snow-white prayer will knock at God’s Door. God will open His Door and ask me what I need. I shall tell God that I need His infinite Compassion to awaken me from my slumbering life. God will grant my prayer.
Just for today, I shall meditate on God. I know that when I meditate on God, I empty my heart. When my heart is empty, my Eternal Friend, my Eternal Divine Guest comes in and sits on His Throne inside the very depths of my heart. In the inmost recesses of my heart His Life of infinite Concern, Compassion, Love and Blessings abides.
When I pray, my Eternal Friend listens to my prayer and fulfils my prayer. When I meditate, my Eternal Friend comes in and fulfils my inner need. When I pray, I talk and He listens to me. When I meditate, He talks and I listen to Him. This is how we converse. My prayer and my meditation are of paramount importance in my life of aspiration, dedication and surrender to the Will of my Inner Pilot.
Just for today, I shall love my God, my Supreme. I shall not love anybody else, not even my own existence. I shall love only God, God alone. Has He not loved me from time immemorial? Will He not love me throughout Eternity? Since He is all love for me, it is my bounden duty to love Him, at least for this day. I shall love Him, and my love for Him will immortalise my earthly reality and my heavenly dream.
Just for today, I shall become the divine lover and call my Lord the Supreme Beloved. In human love there is constant demand, constant expectation and constant disappointment. In love divine there is no demand, no expectation and no frustration; there is only self-giving. This self-giving is eventually transformed into God-becoming.
Just for today, I shall love God unconditionally. I shall feel His infinite Compassion, His blessingful Love in and through my life of aspiration. I shall feel that God loves me infinitely more than I love myself. When fear, doubt, anxiety and jealousy assail my life of aspiration, when I cherish and treasure limitation, bondage, ignorance and death, at that time, I hate my life. But my Eternal Friend, my Pilot Supreme, loves me still.
Just for today, I shall serve God. I have come to realise that there is nothing and there can be nothing as sweet and as fulfilling as service. When I serve God, I feel that my life of frustration is transformed into a life of illumination. My service to God makes me feel that my existence on earth is meaningful and fruitful. When I serve God I feel that I have expanded my earth-bound consciousness into the Heaven-free consciousness.
Just for today, I shall surrender my will to God’s Will, His all-loving, all-pervading, universal Will. Yesterday God surrendered compassionately and unconditionally to my animal greed. Today God surrenders lovingly and compassionately to my human wants. Tomorrow God shall surrender joyfully and proudly to my divine needs. Just because He has surrendered to my animal greed, just because He surrenders to my human wants, just because He will surrender to my divine needs, I feel it is obligatory on my part to surrender my earthly life just for a day to His Will, so that His Will can be done on earth in and through my life of aspiration and dedication.
Just for today, I wish to share my supreme secret with my Supreme Pilot. My secret is this: that I shall no longer call ignorance my friend. My friendship with ignorance terminates today. From today on I shall have God as my only friend, my sempiternal Friend. I shall have Him not only as my Friend, but also as my All.
Just for today, I wish to have peace of mind. In order to have peace of mind I must feel that I am not indispensable at all. I must end my song of self-importance and realise that the world does not need me. The world existed before I was born; the world shall exist long after I pass behind the curtain of Eternity. Who is needed? Only the Supreme Pilot in me is needed. When I feel that I am not indispensable I receive an iota of light and achieve peace of mind.
Just for today, I shall be the all-loving child to the Supreme Pilot. Just for today, I shall be the hero-warrior walking along the path of Eternity. Just for today, I shall feel that I need God and God needs me, and ultimately I have to feel that God needs me more than I need Him. At times, because of my ignorance, I feel that I do not need Him. But God, being perfect, sees me always with His all-illumining Light. He knows that I am destined to be His seeker, His lover, His instrument for manifestation. He knows my potentiality and my capacity. He knows that I am an exact prototype of His ultimate transcendental Reality; therefore, He needs me more than I need Him.
I need myself this moment to fulfil my countless, teeming desires. But when my desires are not fulfilled and when I realise that I do not have the capacity to fulfil them, I feel that I do not need this earthly existence. I want to discard this body-consciousness, for this body-consciousness does not give me an iota of satisfaction. Since I am a failure, I feel that this life is of no avail. But God knows that there is no such thing as failure. There is only experience. We work, we serve, we pray, we meditate each moment in conscious dedication, and the result of this dedication takes the outer form of either success or failure. But when we go deep within, we feel that there is no such thing as success or failure. We see everything as an experience that has come to us in the march of evolution. Finally, we realise that even this experience is not our possession. It is actually God’s experience, for He is the doer, He is the action and He is the fruit thereof.
Just for today, I wish to be a conscious garland of gratitude to be placed at the Feet of my Inner Pilot.
Just for today…
FFB 114. Hughes Auditorium, Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington, 22 April 1974 — 4:00 pm.↩
The existence of God8Here we are all seekers. Some of us may not be as sincere as others. Some of us may be curiosity-seekers. Some of us, at times, may be doubters. Some, at times, may be atheists. Yet we are all seekers. Just because we are seekers, one day — at God's choice Hour — we shall realise God.
The motto of the state of Idaho is "Let It Live Forever". We know that the human body does not live forever. It exists only for sixty, seventy, or eighty years, and then its role is over. But there is something within us that does exist forever, and that is the soul. Just because we are seekers, we do believe in the soul.
How is it that the soul exists forever and not the body? The soul exists forever precisely because the soul is the direct representative of God on earth. The soul, from its very beginning, has embodied the message of Divinity, Eternity, Infinity and Immortality, whereas the body has not. The soul exists forever because the soul is an immortal part of its ultimate Source: God, the Eternal Pilot.
Our next question is: does God exist? The atheist in us says, “No, God does not exist. God does not and cannot exist; therefore, I don’t need Him.” The agnostic in us says, “I doubt it, I doubt it. And since I am not even sure of God’s existence, why should I pay attention to God?” The desiring man in us immediately says, “Yes, God exists. I can see Him; I can feel Him. When? When my desires are fulfilled! At that time, I imagine God according to my sweet fancy. But when my desires are not fulfilled, then God does not exist for me. And if I see that others’ desires are being fulfilled and not mine, then I may say that God exists for them but not for me.”
Now, the aspiring man in us also has something to say with regard to God’s existence. The aspiring man in us says, “God exists even though I cannot prove it to the world at large. I see and feel His Presence, and I know a day will come when I will be able to bring Him to the fore and show Him to the world at large.” When we become one with the aspiring man, something within us tells us that God exists, and this something is our inner urge, our inner cry.
As a human being, one moment I can be an atheist, the next moment an agnostic, the next a desiring man or an aspiring man. I can also be a dreamer and can dream all the time. Now, when I dream of God, I feel that although God exists, He is far away — very, very far. I see a yawning gulf between my dream-boat and my reality-shore. I can also be a lover. When I become a lover of God, I see God as nearer than my eyes and dearer than my heart. Or I can become a server. When I serve God, it is because I get the utmost joy in serving God. There are many things I have done, many things I have said, many things I have offered in my life, but nothing has given me real and lasting joy. Only my service to God has given me everlasting joy; therefore, the server in me feels that God’s existence is for my own happiness.
As a seeker, I have three friends: concentration, meditation and contemplation. I ask them, “Friends, have you seen God?” They immediately say, “Yes, we have seen God. Not only have we seen God, but also we can make you see God.” When I ask them how, my friends tell me that they work together, one after the other, in a successive manner. They say that they are like three rungs of a ladder. My concentration friend tells me, “Just take any object and concentrate on it. Don’t allow any wave of thought to enter into your mind, whether good or bad, divine or undivine. Make your mind absolutely thoughtless.” I listen to my concentration friend and abide by his dictates. Then my meditation friend offers me his advice. He says, “Your heart is full of fear, impurity, insecurity and ignorance. Just empty it, empty it.” I empty my heart, and immediately I feel tremendous joy, for then the Eternal Guest, God, comes in and sits on His Throne inside the inmost recesses of my heart. Finally, my contemplation friend tells me, “When you contemplate, try to feel in the beginning that you are playing a game of hide-and-seek with an intimate friend. This moment you hide and he seeks; the next moment he hides and you seek. Now, how long can you play hide-and-seek? For fifteen minutes, half an hour, an hour. Then it is all over and you come together as real friends, intimate friends, freely and totally revealed to each other. This is what happens between you and God when you contemplate.”
I ask my three friends who has taught them all about God. They tell me that it was their parents who showed them the Face of God and taught them all about God. I ask them who their parents are. They say that their parents are aspiration and will-power. Aspiration is their mother; will-power is their father. When we become one with our aspiration, with our aspiring heart, we acquire knowledge from our conscious identification and oneness with the ultimate Reality. And just as our heart’s identification with the supreme Reality can show us God’s existence in Heaven, so, too, can our soul’s light show us God’s existence on earth. And what is our soul’s light? It is our will-power. In the spiritual life, aspiration and will-power go together. We need both mother and father.
What is aspiration? Aspiration is our inner cry for the Highest. And what does aspiration do? Aspiration helps us to minimise our desires. Once our desires are diminished, we feel peace within and joy without.
Anandadd hy eva khalv imani bhutani jayante
anandena jatani jivanti
anandam prayantyabhisam visanti
Thousands of years ago the Vedic seers of ancient India sang this message. "From Delight we came into existence. In Delight we grow. At the end of our journey's close, into Delight we retire."
What is will-power? Will-power is something that expedites our journey. We know that we have a starting point and a destination. If we take the help of an Indian bullock cart to reach our destination, it will take us years and years. But if we make use of a modern jet plane, it will be only a matter of a few hours. Similarly, with our adamantine will-power we accelerate our progress. While we are proceeding along the path, concentration enters into us like a divine bullet, energises us and makes us feel that we can run the fastest to our goal. Meditation tells us that we have to dive the deepest to find our goal. Finally, contemplation tells us that we do not have to go anywhere. We do not have to run; we do not have to go deep within. We can stay where we are. Only we must give to God what we have. What we have is soulful gratitude to the Inner Pilot. We have gratitude because we feel that our aspiration and our power of receptivity have come directly from God.
Receptivity grows only when gratitude flows. God’s existence can be proved only when our receptivity is complete, for if we cannot receive Him, no matter how many times He appears before us we will not be able to claim Him as our very own. And unless and until we can claim God as our very own, we will not be able to prove His existence.
Right now we are in the finite and we are for the finite. We find it very difficult to imagine the Infinite as our very own. But this is the limitation of the physical mind. There is also an intuitive mind, an illumined mind, but right now we do not have this mind. The physical mind always wants to experience the truth by cutting it into little pieces. For the mind to accept God or any reality as a whole is impossible. The mind limits; the mind binds. But the heart does not do that. The heart expands; the heart liberates. The heart wants to see the truth in its entirety; it wants to feel, possess and claim the truth as its very own. How does the heart do this? The heart is very wise. It secretly enters into the room of its elder brother, its most illumined brother, the soul, and brings back to its own abode boundless light. When the aspiring heart is inundated with light, whatever it sees it accepts in its entirety. Eventually there comes a time when the physical mind enters into the heart, which takes it into the soul. At that time the mind becomes liberated, just as the heart has been liberated by the light of the soul, and the soul has been liberated by the Consciousness-light of the Supreme.
We are all seekers. For us God does exist. It is only a matter of time before we become consciously one with Him. He who has already left the starting point will naturally reach the goal sooner than those who are still lingering behind. But spirituality is not a matter of competition. If we have to compete at all, then let us compete with the fear, doubt, anxiety, jealousy and other negative forces within ourselves. Let us defeat them, which means transform them. If we can transform our fear into courage, our doubt into faith, our insecurity into security, our impurity into purity and our imperfection into perfection, that is a worthwhile success and a significant progress. In the spiritual life we give all importance to progress, because progress is our soul’s constant necessity. We are part of an eternal progress. From the unmanifest we entered into the mineral kingdom, then into the plant kingdom, then from the plant to the animal and from the animal to the human. Now we are trying to enter into the divine kingdom. When we think of ourselves as a song of progress and not as a song of success, then God-realisation is within our sure reach.
FFB 115. Administration Building, North Idaho Junior College, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, 22 April 1974 — 7:30 pm.↩
Beauty is in giving. Beauty is in receiving. Beauty is in giving and giving alone. Beauty is in receiving and receiving alone. When I give, I see that before I have given anything, Heaven is already smiling through my offering, my self-giving. When I receive, I see that earth is smiling in and through me. When I give and give, I see that God the divine Pilot is offering Himself to aspiring humanity in and through me. When I receive and receive, I see that God the infinite Compassion is entering into me and expanding my earthbound consciousness, finally transforming it into the Heaven-free Reality.
When I invoke the soul and become one with the soul, I have the capacity to reveal the Source at God's choice Hour. At that time, I have a most significant message to offer to my brothers and sisters of the world:
I have known this Great Being, effulgent as the sun beyond the boundaries of tenebrous gloom."
When I invoke the heart, become one with the heart and try to offer the wealth of the heart to the world at large, I see a new beauty growing within me and flowing around me. At that time my message is:
Twameva mata pita twameva…
Thou art the Mother.
Thou art the Father.
Thou art the Friend.
Thou art the Comrade.
Thou art Knowledge.
Thou art Wealth.
Thou art my All.
Thou art my Lord Supreme.
This message that I offer to the world is founded upon my heart's oneness with my Inner Pilot. This is the sweetest and, at the same time, the most convincing feeling of inseparable oneness with the Inner Pilot. When I establish my inseparable oneness with my Inner Pilot, I feel Him as my Mother and Father of Eternity; as my Friend and Comrade from time immemorial; and as my Lord Supreme, my All. This is the beauty of the heart that a seeker embodies, reveals and manifests here on earth.
When I invoke the mind and become one with the mind, I offer the wealth of the mind on the strength of my soulful prayer.
Aum bhur bhuvah svah…
This is the Gayatri Mantra, the prayer for the mind, for the illumination of the mind. This is India's peerless mantra or incantation. All the other mantras of India are derived from this one. This is the loftiest prayer that the Indian seers of the hoary past realised and offered to aspiring humanity.
We have already discovered beauty in the soul, beauty in the heart and beauty in the mind. Now we have to discover beauty in the vital. When beauty in the vital dawns, we become energetic, dynamic, progressive and fulfilling. At that time we pray to the Supreme to inundate our vital with power infinite, power divine, the power that builds, not the power that breaks; the power that energises us, the power the vital needs for the full manifestation of divinity on earth. The message of divine power which I offer to the world is:
Tejo asi tejo mayi dhehi…
Thy fiery spirit I invoke.
Thy manly vigour I invoke.
Thy power and energy I invoke.
Thy battle fury I invoke.
Thy conquering mind I invoke.
This power in the vital is the beauty of the vital for the manifestation of God here on earth.
I also try to invoke the body-consciousness and become one with the aspiring body in order to discover beauty in the body. For this, I pray to the Supreme to grant me sound health and an aspiring body. This is the prayer of my body:
Tach chaks ur debahitam…
May we, for a hundred autumns, see that lustrous Eye, God-ordained, arise before us…
In this case a hundred years means an infinite or indefinite expanse of time. If we have a long life of aspiration on earth, then we can realise God, reveal God and manifest God. We need a long life of aspiration, dedication, devotion and surrender. This is the beauty in the body and of the body, for the soul and for God, the Supreme.
If we want to discover more beauty here in the earth-consciousness, we have to realise what is essential and what is not essential. Another most significant message of the Upanishadic seers is:
Not this, not that.
Ignorance, no! Darkness, no! Bondage, no! Limitation, imperfection, no! We do not need them. We need faith, courage, humility, purity, sincerity and all the divine qualities. We renounce the unillumined parts in us and invoke the parts that are illumined, the consciousness that is illumined. Not this; not the ignorance which we now claim as our very own and which claims us as its very own, but light, the light that claims us as its very own and the light that we are going to claim as our very own.
There is also a supreme Beauty. The supreme Beauty is in our conscious, inseparable oneness with the Supreme. This supreme Beauty we discover on the strength of our conscious, constant and unconditional self-giving. When we dare to say, “Not my will, but Thy Will be done,” then we can also say, “I and my Father are one.” When we sincerely say, “Let Thy Will be done,” at that time the supreme Beauty reveals itself in and through us. And when we say, “I and my Father are one,” at that time the supreme Beauty finds its complete manifestation on earth here and now.
I have given a short talk on beauty. Now my students and I will sing a Bengali song on beauty.
[This is a translation of the song which Sri Chinmoy and his disciples sang. The words and music were written by Sri Chinmoy.]
/Sundara hate sundara tumi nandana bana majhe…/
You are beautiful, more beautiful, most beautiful,
Beauty unparalleled in the garden of Paradise.
Day and night may Thy Image abide in the very depth of my heart.
Without You my eyes have no vision;
Everything is an illusion, everything is barren.
All around me, within and without,
The melody of tenebrous pangs I hear.
My world is filled with excruciating pangs.
O Lord, O my beautiful Lord,
O my Lord of Beauty, in this lifetime, even for a fleeting second,
May I be blessed with the boon to see Thy Face.
Stop pushing! Your ignorance-night is too heavy.
Stop pulling! God's knowledge-Light is too vast.
Pushing is frustration.
Pulling is temptation.
Prepare yourself slowly, steadily and unerringly.
Yours will be the Goal of goals.
FFB 116. 23 April 1974, 9:30 a.m. Montana Rooms, The Student Center, University of Montana, Missoula (Montana)↩
Philosophy, religion and spirituality10Dear seekers of the highest Truth, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to give a short talk on philosophy, religion and spirituality. As you all know, philosophy is a vast subject. Religion is a vast subject. Spirituality is a vast subject. Time will not permit me to do justice to these lofty subjects. Yet, with your kind permission, with your loving goodwill, I shall say a few words from the spiritual point of view on each one.
Philosophy is in the thinking mind. Philosophy is of the searching mind. Philosophy is for the illumining mind.
Religion is our conscious or unconscious response to the beckoning Light. Religion is our firm belief in the lofty experiences of our predecessors. Religion is our great satisfaction in our glorious past.
Spirituality is in the aspiring heart. Spirituality is of the liberating soul. Spirituality is for the fulfilling and immortalising God.
A lover of philosophy talks about God’s Vision. A lover of religion talks about God’s Power. A lover of spirituality talks about God’s Compassion. A lover of philosophy wants to see God’s Face. A lover of religion wants to see God’s Eye. A lover of spirituality wishes to grow into God’s all compassionate Heart.
A man of philosophy is a dreamer. A man of religion is an observer. A man of spirituality is a divine lover. A divine dreamer, a divine observer and a divine lover are good friends.
A man of philosophy wants to see the height of life. A man of religion wants to see the depth of life. A man of spirituality wants to see the reality of life and the reality in life.
There is a human philosophy and there is a divine philosophy. The human philosophy is a dry piece of wood. The human philosophy is a soulless goal. The divine philosophy is a fruitful tree. The divine philosophy is an all-illumining life and an all-fulfilling goal. The divine philosophy knows that its Source is transcendental Silence. The divine philosophy knows that its Source is transcendental Delight.
There is a human religion and a divine religion. The human religion is a baseless self-aggrandisement. The human religion is a lifeless confidence. The divine religion is a constant God-proclamation from the very depth of the seeker’s heart. It is in the inmost recesses of his heart that a seeker proclaims God’s Reality, God’s Divinity, God’s Immortality.
There is a human spirituality and a divine spirituality. The human spirituality, in the name of God, deceives mankind. The human spirituality, in the name of God, deceives its own true being by offering a false God-realisation to aspiring humanity. The divine spirituality knows that at God’s choice Hour each follower of religion will be inundated with infinite Light, Peace and Bliss. The divine spirituality is fully aware of the fact that each practitioner of spirituality is a conscious, chosen instrument of God, crying for the dawn of Life immortal here on earth.
A man of true philosophy, a man of true religion and a man of true spirituality need God. For them there is no other choice.
I am extremely happy to learn that the motto of the state of Colorado is “Nothing without Deity”. Without God, without the Inner Pilot, we are nothing. With the Inner Pilot, we are everything. God is the Realisation-tree, and this Realisation-tree has many branches. Philosophy, religion and spirituality are three branches of God the Realisation-tree. The man of philosophy can sit under the philosophy branch, the man of religion can sit under the religion branch, and the man of spirituality can sit under the spirituality branch. It is in the protection and shelter of the Divinity that we can grow into Immortality.
The heart's love claims God but does not blame God.
The mind's love doubts God in the morning, fears God in the afternoon, hates God in the evening and cries for God's Love at midnight."
FFB 117. The Physics Building, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, 23 April 1974 — 9:00 pm.↩
Part II — Questions and answers: University of Arkansas
Question: What do you concentrate on?Sri Chinmoy: You can concentrate on anything, but if you are a spiritual seeker you will choose something that has some spiritual significance. Suppose you have a flower in front of you. A flower signifies purity. First you focus all your concentration on the flower, and then try to feel that you have become the flower itself, that is to say, purity. First you concentrate, and then you try to become part and parcel of the object you are concentrating on. The flame of a candle signifies aspiration, so you can concentrate on the flame of a candle, also. If you wish, you can concentrate on a divine quality, such as love or peace. Each person can make his own choice.
Question: Do you respect other religions?Sri Chinmoy: I do respect other religions with utmost joy and utmost reverence. Just because I am a spiritual man, I feel I can treasure all religions and claim them as my very own. If one is not spiritual, then one is bound by a particular religion. But because I have become a spiritual seeker, I feel that all religions are like branches of a tree, and the tree is God. How can I deny the existence of the branches when I accept the tree as my very own? If I accept the tree as my very own, then whatever is part of the tree I also claim as an undeniable reality.
Question: How can one work for God?Sri Chinmoy: Whenever we work, we can and should feel that we are working for God. Right now when you are working, you may not think of God, or you may not feel the reality of God. You see physical work as just work. But if you can see work as an opportunity to express your capacity, or to reveal your goodness, your divinity, then most certainly you are working for God at that time. By working, or serving, you have to feel that you are moving towards your goal.
If you are a labourer and are working with your hands, your mind can be inside God, your heart can be inside God, and you can consciously place your very action inside God. Otherwise, your action will be in somebody else — in somebody's appreciation or admiration or judgement — and you will be concerned with what he thinks about your work. But if you are working to please one person, the Inner Pilot within you, the Inner Pilot will naturally expect you to work perfectly. He will not tell you to cheat or deceive the person who has asked you to work, for the real employer of everybody is the Supreme.
Right now when we finish a difficult job, we are very pleased with ourselves. We say, "Ah, I've done it. It was such a hard job, but I did it." But there comes a time in the spiritual life when we feel that all the work we accomplish is actually being done through us by the Inner Pilot. We realise that we can do nothing by ourselves; we are mere instruments. It is God who does everything in and through us.
Until we have that kind of feeling, let us try to offer the fruits, the results of our actions to God. If success comes from our work, let us offer it at the Feet of God. And if failure comes, let us offer this also at the Feet of God. Both success and failure are experiences that God is having in and through us. If we do not have this attitude, then we shall only try for success by hook or by crook. And this success may lead us to a kind of confusion. Today's success may be transformed into tomorrow's frustration. But if we offer the results of each action of ours at the Feet of God instead of trying to claim them as our own, then we are free.
Question: I am a vegetarian but I work as a meat handler. Is this increasing my karma?Sri Chinmoy: If you are a vegetarian, and if your earthly duty demands that you work at a place where you have to handle meat, do not feel that you are increasing your karma or doing something wrong. As long as you do not feel the necessity of eating meat, and your consciousness is not in the aggressive animal consciousness, then there is no harm.
Sometimes, I know, there is something called compulsion. If this is the only place that you can get a job, then you should do it. But your consciousness must not be in the meat; your consciousness must be in something pure and divine. You have to know where your consciousness remains while you work. There are some people in the spiritual life who do not eat meat, but when they see meat and fish immediately their greed and desire comes to the fore. This kind of vegetarianism is only self-deception. But if you do not want to eat meat and do not feel the need of it, then even if you touch meat there will be no problem.
If you are extremely sincere, and if you feel that touching meat lowers your consciousness, then your sincere aspiration will knock at God's Door and God will provide you with some other job. If He feels that your consciousness is being lowered by touching meat and if you are sincerely crying and searching for another job, then He will not allow you to remain with this one. But if your consciousness is not lowered, then God will say, "There is no harm in it."
Question: How do you see the physical body as entering into the scheme of things?Sri Chinmoy: The physical body is a temple. We have to keep the physical clean and purified and in good repair. Otherwise, even if we achieve something high we will not be able to keep it permanently. We must not discard the physical, but we must try to keep it pure and divine for the soul to work through. And when the soul comes to the fore, the physical has to invite and accept the Light, and become part and parcel of the soul's consciousness. Only then can the physical be properly used for the divine manifestation.
Part III — Questions and answers: University of Tulsa
Question: Is it necessary to transcend all emotions for the spiritual life?Sri Chinmoy: There are two types of emotion. One is vital emotion, which wants to possess. Unfortunately, before we possess, we are possessed. The other type of emotion is divine emotion. This emotion is not bad. It says, "Since I am God's chosen child, how can I do this? How can I wallow in the pleasures of ignorance? I have to work for God, I have to realise God, I have to serve God in aspiring mankind." This is an emotional approach. But this is a purified emotion. This kind of emotion will illumine and liberate us. If we can transcend the vital, earth-bound emotion, then we can feel freedom, real freedom, infinite freedom.
Question: Is it important for spiritual seekers to spend time with one another?Sri Chinmoy: It is always advisable for seekers to mix with other seekers, for then they will be inspired. If you stay with somebody who is not aspiring at all, that means you are constantly struggling. It is very difficult for a seeker — especially in the beginning — to maintain his highest consciousness. As soon as he goes someplace immediately he sees unaspiring people. Even if he does not talk to them, still they are spreading their vibration. If a saint comes here, immediately you will feel his vibration. And if a thief comes, immediately you will feel that vibration. But if you are a seeker and another seeker is with you, then immediately your strength increases tremendously. So it is always advisable for seekers to be in a community together or to meet together often.
Question: How many levels of initiation are there, and how many times will a Master initiate a disciple?Sri Chinmoy: No matter on what plane the Master initiates you here on earth, that is more than enough. Initiation means that the Master teaches you how to swim. Once he teaches you how to swim, he will constantly inspire you to swim across the sea of ignorance. He will not have to teach you again and again how to swim. Once he teaches you, that is enough. He will constantly inspire you, guide you, shape you and mould you until you reach your Goal, your transcendental Self, your highest Reality.
Part IV — Questions and answers: Southern Methodist University
Question: How important do you think it is to have a spiritual teacher if one is very eager to make fast progress? And also, how long does one have to stay with the teacher?Sri Chinmoy: It entirely depends on how sincerely the seeker wants to go to the highest plane of consciousness, how deeply he needs Peace, Light and Bliss. If his need is great, he will immediately try to get someone who can be of help to him. If he feels the necessity of making the fastest progress, then a teacher is of paramount importance, for even if he is able to make some inner progress alone, he may be doubtful of his achievement. If he has an experience, he may doubt the experience or not know its actual significance. A teacher is bound to clarify his experiences and expedite his inner progress. In the ordinary life, a teacher examines you and either passes or fails you. But a spiritual teacher is more like a private tutor. He does not examine. He just teaches his students how to pass God's examination.
A teacher is necessary unless and until we have reached our own highest goal. In the ordinary life, we start our schooling with kindergarten, and progress to the university. Once we complete our course in the university, we do not go to school any more. In fact, we may become teachers ourselves. Similarly, once we have reached the highest Absolute, we no longer need a teacher.
Question: How is it best to cope with the occasional fears and doubts that plague us?Sri Chinmoy: Why are we afraid of something or someone? Because we have not established our oneness with that person or thing. When a child stands in front of his father, his father seems as tall and strong as a giant to this little child. If he had not established his oneness with his father, he would be scared to death. But he is not afraid of his father, for he knows that his father loves him and that his father's strength is all for his use and his protection. In the spiritual life also, we are only afraid of something or someone because we have not spread our wings of consciousness. If we spread our wings, then the whole world becomes ours.
To cope with doubt we should ask ourselves whether we accomplish anything by doubting others. If we doubt somebody's achievement to the very end of our days, our doubt will not take away from his achievement. If he has achieved something, it is done and our doubt cannot diminish it. But if we start doubting ourselves, that is our real destruction. The moment we start doubting our own possibilities, potentialities and capacities, we can no longer progress. If you now doubt me and feel that I am not a sincere seeker, a few moments later you will feel that I am a sincere seeker, and a few moments later you will doubt your own capacity and authority to judge. Now, when you doubted me, I did not lose anything, and when you had faith in me, you did not lose anything. But when you started doubting your own judgement, then you reached a stalemate. If you cannot now accept a Master wholeheartedly, it is best to try to create aspiration within yourself, so that you can conquer doubt.
Let us take fear, doubt, courage and faith as four persons knocking at your door: two friends and two enemies. Since it is your door, you can allow your friends to come in, but not your enemies. Allow courage and faith to enter, then bolt the door to keep out fear and doubt, for once you allow your enemies in, they will exploit you. They will try to take every advantage of your weakness. It is you who can accept or reject fear and doubt, faith and courage. At every moment a seeker must be conscious and cautious about when he should open his heart's door and his mind's door.
When the seeker has become very advanced and has travelled far, very far, towards his goal, at that time he does not reject fear, he does not reject doubt. With his inner wisdom, he transforms fear into courage and doubt into faith. When a seeker is on the verge of realisation, when he has the inner will-power, he does not want to leave any imperfection on earth untransformed. He feels, "If I do not conquer this fear, then it will go and torture my younger brothers and sisters, who are my very near and dear ones. Let me conquer it and transform it once and for all."
Question: For spiritual beginners, it seems that it is necessary to make some compromise between their family life and their spiritual life. Do you think that this compromise will always have to exist, or can it be transcended by some other kind of relationship?Sri Chinmoy: In the beginning, if your eagerness and love for God are not intense, if you feel that you can live with God, but not with God alone; if you feel that other human beings are also necessary for your happiness, then you have to make a compromise. Otherwise, you will not be able to remain in the spiritual life. But if you feel that you can live only in God's Luminosity, if you feel that you cannot live even for a second without Him, then go to Him and do not think of compromise. He will take care of you and He will also take care of the members of your family.
If God wants you to run the fastest, at that time you have to know who is dearest to you — God or the members of your family. Right now you are making a compromise so that your near and dear ones can be happy. But you know that your capacity is very limited, whereas the One you are approaching has unlimited capacity. You do not want to neglect your family, but you have to know that you do not have infinite capacity to make your mother or father or brother or sister happy. In trying to please them, you reach a kind of compromise. But if you reach the Source with your intense inner urge, then you can ask the Supreme, your Inner Pilot, to take full responsibility for your near and dear ones. And He has infinite capacity to make them happy.
Who looked after your near and dear ones twenty or thirty years ago, before you came into this life? And in fifty or sixty years, when you go away from this earthly scene, who will take care of them? Right now, we feel that we are indispensable. But when we enter deeply into the spiritual life, we feel that only one person is indispensable, and that is God. If you need God badly, He will allow you to go to Him directly. He will give you the capacity to deal with the members of your family without having to compromise your spiritual life, and He will give your near and dear ones the strength to lead their own lives without hampering your spiritual progress.
Part V — Questions and answers: University of Nevada
Question: How can one know the God inside himself without becoming confused by the mind?Sri Chinmoy: I am glad you have come to realise the limitations of the mind and the confusion it creates. Our philosophy is the philosophy of the heart, for the heart accepts and becomes one with reality in its pristine form. If you live in the mind, you will always be confused. This moment the mind accepts reality, and the next moment it rejects reality as something unreal. The mind that I am speaking of is the physical mind, the mind which is in the physical body and which is constantly seeking satisfaction in and through the physical. But there is also a higher mind, which we call the illumined mind. This illumined mind is ours when the heart offers light from the soul to the mind, and the mind accepts the light devotedly and soulfully. But until the mind becomes illumined, nothing will be lost or destroyed if the seeker tries to separate his mind from the aspiring consciousness of the heart.
For the time being the seeker knows that he has two rooms — one is the mind room, the other is the heart room. Unfortunately, in the mind room there is no light. If the seeker remains there all the time, there is no guarantee that one day he will be illumined. But if the seeker enters into the heart room and stays there for a few months or a few years, then his entire being will be surcharged with light. Then, when he is convinced that his inner being is surcharged with light, he can enter into the mind room with his inner light and illumine the darkness there. The mind also has to be illumined at the proper hour, but right now we have to pay all attention to the aspiring heart. And because God does not want a seeker to remain imperfect in any part of his being, from the aspiring heart, the illumining heart, we have to bring light slowly, steadily and unerringly into the limited, doubting, suspicious earth-bound mind. Then all confusion there disappears and the earth-bound mind becomes the Heaven-free mind, the illumined mind.
Question: Is there but one Satguru in any one age or are there many Satgurus at one time?Sri Chinmoy: There can be more than one Satguru at one time. As on the human level there are many teachers, so also there can be many spiritual Masters on earth. But the only real Satguru is God; not any human being. I always tell my disciples that I am not the Guru. The real Guru is the Supreme. Spiritual Masters are His representatives; they represent God for their own spiritual children.
Question: If we fall asleep during meditation, does that mean we should sleep more at night so we can stay awake?Sri Chinmoy: Some people may sleep twelve hours a night, but when the time comes to meditate, they will still fall asleep. So you have to know whether you fall asleep during meditation because you did not have enough sleep or because you are lethargy-prone. If you sleep for only three or four hours, then probably your body needs more sleep. But if you sleep for seven or eight hours at night and still fall asleep during your meditation, then I wish to say that it is not because of lack of sleep. It is because of lack of aspiration, lack of determination.
Question: How can we see the divine in another human being when each human being has so many faults?Sri Chinmoy: Since you would like to see the divine in others, you have already covered half the distance. Some people do not want to see the divine in others. On the contrary, they want to see only the undivine in others so that they can criticise and ridicule. But when you become a sincere seeker, at that time you try to see the divine in others in spite of their limitations. By seeing someone's limitations, we only delay our own progress. And, at the same time, we do not help the other person in any way. If we find fault with somebody, his undivine qualities are not going to disappear, nor are ours going to decrease. On the contrary, his undivine qualities will come to the fore in his defence, and our pride, arrogance and feeling of superiority will also come to the fore. But by seeing the divine in someone we expedite our progress and help the other person to establish his own life of reality on something divine.
In the spiritual life, we have to see others with the heart of a lover and not with the eye of a critic. Each individual knows his own limitations, but still he should think primarily of his divine possibilities and divine potentialities. By constantly thinking of his divine potentialities, by focusing his attention on his divine possibilities, he is able to enter into the realm of fulfilling reality.
To see the divine in others, we have to love. Where love is thick, faults are thin. If you really love someone, then it is difficult to find fault with him. His faults seem negligible, for love means oneness. This oneness comes from our conscious acceptance of his reality as it is. A mother, in spite of knowing her child’s countless limitations, does not stop loving him, because she has established her oneness with him. If there is imperfection in the child, the mother claims this imperfection as her very own. And when the child grows up, he feels that his mother’s weaknesses are his own.
If you find it difficult to love the human in someone, then love the divine in him. The divine in him is God. Just because you are a seeker, you know that God exists in that person just as God exists in your own life. Even if it is difficult to love the human as such, for you to love God is extremely easy because you know that God is divine and perfect. So each time you look at an individual, if you can become consciously aware of God's existence in him, then you cannot consciously be disturbed by his imperfections or limitations.
Part VI — Questions and answers: Stanford University
Question: I've heard that when one accepts a spiritual path, there is a point at which one must surrender oneself to a Guru who is higher than himself. But I've also heard that one must constantly question his teachings and listen to his own inner voice. These two injunctions seem to conflict.Sri Chinmoy: First of all, you have to know that if one goes to the trouble of getting a Guru, then he has to listen to his Guru all the time. It is better for one not to accept a Guru if he cannot accept his teachings, for the words of a real spiritual Master are directly inspired by the Supreme. A human being may be the leader of a few hundred or a few thousand, or a few million people. But the real Guru, the Guru within him, is God.
When you accept a spiritual Master as your teacher, it is because he is more illumined than you. As I said during my talk, you have to listen to your higher part. Right now your mind is superior to your physical or vital. When the mind asks you to do something, the physical and the vital in you obey. But again, the heart is superior to the mind, for the mind doubts and suspects, whereas the heart gets illumination from the soul. Similarly, the spiritual teacher, if he is really illumined, is the seeker's own highest part. He is not a different person. So just as the mind must listen to the heart, which is its more illumined part, in order for the seeker to make spiritual progress, so too the seeker must listen to his Guru, whose illumination is that of total oneness with the Supreme. There should be no sense of separativity when the disciple listens to his Guru, for the unillumined part of him is listening to the illumined part.
In the matter of surrender, we do not surrender to somebody else. We are only abiding by the soulful dictates of some part of us which is already illumined. It is not somebody else we are listening to; it is our own highest part. As beginners, we cannot remain constantly in contact with our higher part. But if we know that there is someone who represents and embodies the Highest, we can try to listen to him. When my legs listen to my mind, I do not feel that it is beneath the dignity of my legs to do so. I know that my head and my legs are part of the same body. The spiritual Master and his disciples are in that sense inseparably one.
The questioning mind can never realise the Highest; only the aspiring heart can realise the Truth. If you want Light, then you have to have implicit faith. Faith in whom? Faith in yourself, faith in God and faith in the one whom you choose as your guide or leader. Once you reach the highest Goal, you do not need a guide. At that time, you and the Goal are together. But if you start questioning your own sincerity, or the sincerity and the capacity of your Guru, or the existence of the Goal itself, then you will never arrive there. If you really want to follow the spiritual life, you must have implicit faith in yourself, in your teacher and in God. Only then can you make the fastest progress.
Question: How does one begin on the spiritual path?Sri Chinmoy: If you want to follow a specific spiritual path, then you need inspiration to start with. This inspiration you can get from spiritual books, preferably those written by the real spiritual Masters. If you do not get adequate inspiration from books, or if books do not satisfy you, you should mix with the disciples of spiritual Masters. If you associate with seekers who have already found a path, you will get inspiration, encouragement and assurance. Then you have to go to a teacher.
The Master and the path are one. If you follow a specific path, naturally there will be a Master for that path. There are quite a few teachers and paths, but you have to make a choice. The teacher who gives you the greatest joy is meant for you.
Question: Why is it that you always speak of God in masculine terms?Sri Chinmoy: God is both masculine and feminine. The Christ always called God the Father, so the term "Father" is more commonly used in the Western world. In the East, we quite often speak of the Supreme Goddess. But when I am with Westerners, I use the term which is more familiar to you, because I feel that it will be easier for me to share my experiences with you in that way. Nevertheless, God is both masculine and feminine. Again, God is neither masculine nor feminine, but transcendental. He is what He eternally is: He is His Vision and He is His Reality. This Reality embodies both masculine and feminine and also transcends both.
Question: What is the nature and purpose of the soul?Sri Chinmoy: Each soul is a direct representative of God. God is one, yet He wants to experience Himself or enjoy Himself divinely and supremely in infinite forms. When we enter into the world, we aspire in order to realise the Highest. There are many worlds, but God-discovery or Self-discovery can take place only here on earth. In order to reach the Highest, the Absolute, we have to come here, to Mother Earth. The soul, the inner bird, comes here in order to fulfil the promise that it has made to the Absolute in the highest plane of consciousness — let us say, in Heaven. Each soul has to manifest the Light here on earth in a specific way. Nature is the field. A farmer needs a field in order to cultivate. So the soul comes to Mother Earth and cultivates Light, Peace, Bliss and Delight in the physical manifestation. The soul is like a divine farmer. The body is a field, the vital is a field, the mind is a field and the heart is a field. In each field the divine farmer cultivates, and from each field he expects a bumper crop of realisation. When the body-consciousness or the body as a field becomes fertile, and when the vital, the mind and the heart become fertile, the soul fulfils its promise to God and manifests divinity on earth. It is through the revelation of the soul's Light that the Transcendental Supreme becomes manifested. So the soul and nature go together. One is the divine farmer, and the other is the ground for cultivation.
Question: Was the Christ an avatar?Sri Chinmoy: On the strength of my own highest realisation I wish to say that the Christ was, is and shall always be an avatar. Avatar means the direct representative of God — God in human form. An avatar embodies God's Vision and Reality all at once. With him, Vision and Reality go together. The Christ, Sri Krishna, the Buddha, Sri Ramakrishna, all came from the same Source, but had different names. This moment I call Him Krishna because I like the Krishna form; the next moment I like the Buddha form and I call Him the Buddha; and then I may call Him Ramakrishna or Christ. But they are all eternally one.
Part VII — Questions and answers: Portland State University
Question: Is there a difference between sleep and meditation?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, there is the greatest possible difference between sleep and meditation. In a sense ordinary people are always sleeping as long as they are in ignorance. Even when they are physically working or running, unless and until they are spiritually awakened, they are fast asleep. From the spiritual point of view, he who is not aspiring is fast asleep.
Physical sleep is necessary, for the body needs rest. Every day the seeker goes out into the battlefield of life and fights against fear, doubt, anxiety, jealousy and other undivine forces, so he does need rest. When the body is tired and exhausted, it needs sleep. But we have to know whether our desire for sleep is the body's necessity or the necessity of pleasure-life, whether it is the body's need or merely its demand. If the body has worked very hard, then certainly the body deserves rest. But if the body demands ten hours or twelve hours of sleep, unless we are sick we are only making friends with inertia, lethargy, ignorance and death.
When we indulge in excessive amounts of sleep, we do not create anything; we just add our own contribution to ignorance, to death's capacity-might. Because of lethargy and our love for idleness, if we wallow in the pleasures of ignorance, then the time that we are offering to sleep, we are unable to offer to God. Time does not wait for us. Time comes to us, and we can use it either to pray or meditate or to take rest. But when we have established inner peace, we diminish our need for sleep, because peace itself is rest. We can sleep for only two hours or we may not sleep at all for days and nights. For the beginner it is advisable to sleep for seven hours; but eight, nine or ten hours is too much.
The great spiritual Masters have a different kind of sleep. It is called Yoga-nidra. Because of their realisation, they are constantly one with the soul. When they sleep, others may see and feel that they are fast asleep, but their souls are all vigilance. These Masters may snore, and their bodies may be totally inert, but at that time they have separated the body from the soul and have become inseparably one with the soul. They are allowing the body to take rest because it has worked hard and it needs and deserves rest, but they know that they are not asleep, their consciousness is not asleep. Their real reality, which is the soul's reality, is absolutely alert. The soul is meditating most powerfully. For ordinary seekers this is not possible. This dreamless sleep, which is at a very high state of consciousness, is experienced only by seekers on the verge of realisation or actually realised. This kind of sleep is inseparable from meditation. But normally, sleep is sleep and meditation is meditation. If it is beyond what is necessary, sleep is friendship with ignorance. Meditation is always friendship with illumination.
Question: Could you tell us what Christ is?Sri Chinmoy: Christ is the Infinite Consciousness, the Eternal Reality. Christ as the physical man, the son of a carpenter, stayed on earth for thirty-three years. But if we care for the spiritual, for the divine, for the immortal, then we will say that Christ is infinite, eternal, immortal. Two thousand years ago Christ came in the physical form, but even now He is with us in spiritual form, and He shall eternally remain with us. For spiritual seekers He is always inside their hearts. For ordinary people, even if He comes and stands in front of them, still they will doubt Him and suspect Him.
Question: Why is it so difficult to unite one's worldly work with the spiritual life?Sri Chinmoy: The difficulty is that we do not really try to follow the spiritual life. The moment we get up in the morning, we think of our school, our office, our family problems and our earthly duties. We do not do the first thing first. We do not think of God. Consciously or unconsciously we forget the existence of God, but we never forget the existence of mankind. God does not exist in our mind; what exists in our mind is man alone. Naturally we cannot combine the two. If God took precedence in our mind early in the morning, before humanity came into the picture, then we could combine them. But we have not invited our Eternal Friend to enter our room and stay with us; we have invited only man. When we do not invite our first and foremost Friend, naturally we cannot introduce our other friend to Him. We want to tell God, "This is my friend man," and we want to tell man, "This is my Friend God." But one of the friends is missing. So we have to make sure to invite both friends. But again, we shall be wise if we know which of the two friends has more capacity to please us and should come first. Before we invite the world at large, before we invite mankind into our mind and heart, let us invite God, our Eternal Friend. If He comes and we feel His presence in our heart, then easily we can combine both the outer world and the inner world.
Question: How should one meditate?Sri Chinmoy: It entirely depends on the individual. Somebody may find it easier to meditate inside the mind; somebody else finds it very easy to meditate inside the heart, or to meditate on a flower or a candle, or to meditate while looking at the vast sky or at the blue ocean. If you have a Master, you can meditate on your Master's picture. Whichever form of meditation gives you utmost joy or the utmost sense of satisfaction is the best form of meditation for you.
Part VIII — Questions and answers: North Idaho Junior College
Question: When a disciple meditates on you or on your photograph, how much does he actually feel your presence?Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the disciple's aspiration. If the disciple is meditating most devotedly, most soulfully, then he is bound to feel my inner presence strongly. Either he will feel me inside his heart, or he will feel his own existence inside my heart, or both. But in order to be able to meditate soulfully, the seeker has to meditate daily, with love, joy and concern for his own progress and for his Master's divine manifestation.
Every day we do not eat most delicious food. One day we eat delicious food and then, for a week, the food we eat may be quite ordinary. Similarly, one day a disciple may feel his Master’s presence strongly, and then for a few days he may not. No one can become an expert all at once. Everyone needs practice. In the beginning, it may not be possible for a seeker to feel the Master’s presence every day, but there comes a time when he is bound to feel the Master’s presence within him, not only during the time of his meditation, but also during his multifarious activities.
How does one become a sincere, devoted, genuine seeker? He does so by feeling in each thought, in each action, that his Master is within him and for him. Naturally, when the disciple constantly feels his Master’s presence, the Master will feel the disciple’s conscious, constant inner cry, which is called aspiration.
Question: What is the Will of the Supreme?Sri Chinmoy: The Will of the Supreme is to make each of us His perfect instrument. Right now we are all imperfect instruments, but His Will is to make us perfect so that he can manifest Himself in and through us most perfectly. Perfect Perfection has not yet dawned on earth, but His Will is to make everybody in His creation perfect. In His Vision He saw perfection, but in His manifestation, perfection is still a far cry. So, His Will is to manifest perfection in the earth-consciousness.
Question: How can we achieve peace in our outer life?Sri Chinmoy: We can achieve peace in our outer life provided we do the first thing first. Early in the morning, before we enter into the hustle and bustle of life, if we meditate for ten or fifteen minutes, then peace will enter into us. If we bring forward our divine qualities of aspiration, dedication, love, devotion and surrender to the Will of God, they are bound to bring down peace from Above. These qualities are like divine friends, eternal friends within us; they are more than eager to be of service. If we invoke them early in the morning before we leave our house, then we will go outside with peace. But if we do not feel the conscious need for peace and do not invoke it, why should peace come to us? Unless and until we invoke it, peace will remain in its own world.
The power of peace is similar to the power of money. If we put money in our pocket early in the morning, we can buy things all day. Similarly, if we meditate early in the morning for peace, and peace descends, then when we enter into the mad, insane world, we are surcharged, inundated with peace which we can utilise all day. Peace itself is adamantine power. If we are powerful and strong, then the restlessness of the world cannot torture us. But if we are weak and lack inner peace, naturally we will be overwhelmed by the restlessness and undivine qualities of the world.
Part IX — Questions and answers: University of Montana
Question: What is the difference between seeing God and realising God?Sri Chinmoy: There is a great difference between seeing God and realising God. When we see God, we can see Him as an individual or as an object or as something else. But we do not consciously and continuously embody Him and feel that He is our very own. When we see God, it is like seeing a tree. We do not at that time consciously embody the tree-consciousness. And since we do not embody it, we cannot reveal or manifest it. But when we realise something, at that time it becomes part and parcel of our life. We may see a flower, but when we realise the flower we actually become one with the consciousness of the flower.
When we merely see something, we cannot claim it as our very own, and that particular thing also will not claim us. Seeing is on the physical plane, while realising is on the inner plane. Seeing does not last, whereas realising does remain with us. If we see something, the vision may last for a short while; but when we realise something, this knowledge lasts forever. In the spiritual life we always say that there is a great difference between experience and realisation. Experience is something that lasts for a few hours or a few days or months or years; but it does not last forever. Experience enters into our life but does not and cannot make its permanent abode within us. But once we have realisation it becomes part and parcel of our life and lasts for eternity.
Question: Could you please talk about attachment and detachment in love?Sri Chinmoy: Human love is attachment; divine love is detachment. Why is human love attachment? Because human love constantly demands. Human love wants to possess and be possessed; otherwise it is not satisfied. But even when we are possessed or when we possess, there is no satisfaction, because we see the limitations inside the other person and the limitations in our own being. When we see limitations in ourselves or in others we are not satisfied, for the soul in us can never be satisfied with imperfection. It wants constant illumination and perfection.
When we love divinely, we are not attached to anybody. We care only for the expansion of our own consciousness and of the consciousness of others. We feel that it is not right to bind them. By binding an individual we do not accomplish anything. When we really love we feel that we should expand our consciousness into Infinity and should allow and help those with whom we are closely connected to expand their consciousness as well. Divine love is the song of expansion. Constantly we try to expand our reality and help others to expand their reality. And while we are expanding, one day, at God's choice Hour, we will become one with His universal Consciousness, His transcendental Consciousness.
Attachment is in the body; detachment is in the soul. If we live in the body-consciousness, we will always be attached to people and objects around us. But if we live in the soul-consciousness, we will try to illumine the things in us that have to be illumined, we will try to perfect the things in us that have to be perfected and to manifest the things that have to be manifested fully here on earth for God's purpose.
Question: How may one realise God?Sri Chinmoy: If one wants to learn history or geography, one studies these subjects. In the same way, to realise God inner study is necessary. This inner study we call aspiration. In the field of aspiration there are three significant friends or guides: concentration, meditation and contemplation. When we practice these disciplines sincerely and devotedly, they lead us inevitably to God-realisation.
Question: How do we deal with negative emotions like anger, jealousy and fear?Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes people feel that the more they think of their negative qualities, the more they are conscious of them, the sooner they will be able to get rid of them. Unfortunately, this is not true. In the spiritual life, the more we think of our negative qualities, the more they lord it over us and the more we are caught by them. What we have to do is to see if there is anything in us that we can invoke to solve our problems.
Suppose we are constantly at the mercy of anger. Now, if we can establish peace in our being, we will not have anger. How do we do this? We do not think of anger at all; we pray and meditate only for peace. The very nature of peace is to spread. When peace spreads its wings inside our being, our anger is bound to be transformed because it comes under the influence of peace.
Suppose we are assailed by jealousy. We are jealous of others because we have not established our oneness with them. But if I put the shot with my right hand, my left hand will not be jealous even though it will not be able to throw as far. My left hand and right hand have established their oneness. When one part of my body does something, the other part does not feel miserable, because each knows that it belongs to the same body, and that the entire body is its reality. When I work with my mind, my feet do not feel miserable, because they have established their oneness with my mind. In the spiritual life also, when we establish oneness with the Source, which is God, then we are not jealous of anybody. If we feel that our reality is God, then each individual is like a limb of our conscious, dedicated, devoted spiritual body. If they are all limbs of my body, then they are part and parcel of my existence. So how can I be jealous of them? So if we pray for inseparable oneness with the Source, the problem of jealousy will easily be solved, because God is the root and the tree and the branches. Jealousy can be overcome only by our constant feeling of oneness with others. Unless and until we have realised others as our very own, we call them different personalities, different individualities. But if we can see and feel them inside ourselves as members of our own larger family, jealousy will disappear from our life of aspiration.
Similarly, with all other undivine qualities, the best way to deal with them is to invoke the divine qualities which will illumine and transform them.
Part X — Questions and answers: University of Colorado
Question: Could you please tell us about your path to God-realisation?Sri Chinmoy: Our path is the path of love, devotion and surrender. We feel that if we can love God truly and soulfully, we will be able to run to God faster. We feel that if we love God truly and soulfully, we will want to devote our lives to Him, to please Him and fulfil Him. Finally, we feel that we must surrender our human will to the Will of God consciously and unconditionally. We feel that if we surrender our will to God, then we will be able to realise Him in His own Way. If we want to realise God in our own way, we shall have to be satisfied with only an iota of divine Reality. But if we want to realise God in God's Way and at His choice Hour, then He will inundate us with His Infinity, Eternity and Immortality.
Love, devotion, surrender — this is our path. Divine love, divine devotion and divine surrender. Human love, we know, ends in frustration, and inside frustration what looms large is destruction. Human devotion is attachment. As with human love, with human devotion we try to possess and we are possessed. In this song of possession, we do not get any sense of satisfaction. But when we devote ourselves to the Supreme, to the Inner Pilot, we feel boundless satisfaction. When someone devotes his life to an ordinary human being, one imperfect being is devoting himself to another imperfect being. And two imperfect beings, when they come together, cannot make one perfect being. So we try instead to offer our devotion to the Perfect One, who is God, and from Him we expect perfection through our dedicated, devoted service.
Divine surrender, too, is totally different from human surrender. A slave surrenders to his master under compulsion, because he is at the mercy of his master. But in the spiritual life, when we make divine surrender to God, it is not the same kind of surrender. We feel that we are a tiny drop entering into the vast ocean. When the tiny drop, the individual consciousness, enters into the vast ocean of infinite Consciousness, it does not lose its individuality or personality. Rather, it grows into the infinite Individuality and Personality.
Who is God, after all? God is not a third person. God is our own highest and most illumined part. A real seeker can feel that there is no difference between his existence and God's existence. It is only that God's existence is his most illumined existence, while his personal existence is right now still wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance. When he surrenders, he is surrendering his lowest self consciously, soulfully and unconditionally to his highest and most illumined Self, so that his highest Self can mould him, shape him and guide him according to its own transcendental Vision.
Question: How does a person surrender? What does a person do to achieve divine surrender?Sri Chinmoy: We all know that a human being is expected to work on the physical plane. This kind of work is noticeable. On the mental plane and the psychic plane we also work, but this work is not so noticeable. Now, when we work on the physical plane, immediately we expect some result. This result takes the form of either success or failure. If we can offer the result of our work at the Feet of the Supreme, this is divine surrender. When we dive deep within, we see that we are not the doer. God Himself is the doer, as well as the action and the fruit thereof. When success comes, if we take it as an experience, and when failure comes, if we take it as another experience, then we will not be disturbed by failure and not allow pride to enter into our heart because of success. It is in our dedicated action and the surrender of our achievements to God's omniscient, omnipresent and all-loving Will that divine surrender lies.
Question: In the highest state of samadhi, when you look at other human beings, what kind of consciousness do you feel in them?Sri Chinmoy: When one is in the highest transcendental samadhi, the physical personality of others disappears. We do not see others as human beings. We see only a flow of consciousness, like a river that is entering into the ocean. He who is in the highest trance becomes the ocean. And he who is in a lower state of consciousness is the river. The river flows into the sea and becomes one with the sea. But there is no individuality, no personality that the one who is enjoying the highest samadhi notices in the other. A human being who is not in this state of samadhi is a flowing river of consciousness, while the one who is in samadhi has become the sea itself, the sea of Peace and Light.
Question: If God is the only doer, what is the role of man's free will?Sri Chinmoy: God is the doer, but our free will has to be united with God's Will. Free will is our soul's consciousness-light. We can use the light of the soul for God-manifestation, or we may not use it at all. If we do not use it, then the aggressive part of the vital or the lethargy of the physical or the doubt of the mind comes into the picture and captures us. God does everything through the soul, which is His direct representative. God is the sun and the soul is like a lamp. This lamp embodies and represents the sun here on earth. But we usually do not remain in the soul's light and take full advantage of it, so our free will takes the form of lower vital movements, our free will becomes our friendship with lethargy, our friendship with the doubting mind, our oneness with the heart's insecurity. Our free will decides that the body, the vital and the mind have enough light to guide us, or it tells us that we are helpless without the guidance of our Lord Supreme.
Question: Why must a seeker love God?Sri Chinmoy: A seeker is not forced to love anybody, not even God. A seeker's love is always spontaneous; it comes from the inmost recesses of his heart. In the heart, everything is spontaneous. In the mind, love is something we force, and in the vital, also, sometimes we force it. But in the aspiring heart, the love that we see and feel for God and for aspiring humanity is spontaneous. We cannot separate the heart's consciousness or the psychic consciousness from spontaneity. We cannot say that a seeker must love God, but we can easily say that a sincere, genuine seeker will love God, for God Himself is all Love.
Forgiveness means the freedom of the mind, the bliss of the heart, the oneness of the soul."
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 fourth series were delivered in March and April of 1974. The questions in this book were put to Sri Chinmoy by students at the universities where he spoke.