Flame-Waves, part 11

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Part I

FW 314-326. On 20 May 1977 Sri Chinmoy answered these questions, which had previously been submitted to him by one of the delegates to the United Nations.

Question: In general what is the order of importance, urgency or priority today of the following problems of mankind: economic, social, political, religious? Why?

Sri Chinmoy: According to me, this will be the order: religious, political, social and economic. Why? If people are religious, they will try to lead a better life, a purer life. What the world needs most is a better life and a purer life. Next is political. Politics governs the mind, the vital and the body of mankind. As religion mainly deals with the heart and inner feelings, even so, politics deals mostly with the mind — the organising mind, the energising vital and the alert body. Then comes the social. After religion has touched the heart and politics has touched the mind, the vital and the body, then there should be amity and friendship in the society. At this time the individual is becoming collective. After an individual becomes religious and offers light to mankind, then he has to establish his friendship, his social qualities. At that time economic problems will be solved easily.

So first we think of God and offer light to our nation, our country. Then we want to become closely connected with others. When we want to become closely connected with others, then economic problems will be solved considerably. For then my need you will feel as your need and your need I will feel as my need. At that time I shall be more than ready to help you and you will be more than happy to help me. But if we don't feel our oneness, then we shall not feel each other's needs. So first religion, then politics, then social problems and then economics.

Question: In particular, which is more important: the relations East-West — political — or North-South — economic?

Sri Chinmoy: Both are equally important. If East and West are not united, if they do not see eye to eye with each other, then there will be a disaster not only on the mental plane but also on the vital plane and the physical plane. So political relations between East and West are of paramount importance. Again, of equal importance are the economic relations between North and South. If North and South do not share their economic achievements, then there will also be a terrible disaster on the mental plane, the vital plane and the physical plane.

In both cases, between East and West and between North and South, what we need is a feeling of sympathetic concern, love and oneness. Between East and West the political reality is of paramount importance. Between North and South the economic reality is of paramount importance. The political reality of one hemisphere should not try to dominate the political reality of another hemisphere. Again, the poverty-stricken countries and the rich countries have to realise that they can have satisfaction only when the rich offer their wealth to the poor and when the poor accept this wealth with gratitude and not with a demanding attitude.

Question: What should be the attitude of a world-disciple in relation to dictatorships, imposed will and restriction of individual rights and liberties? To refuse any contact or compromise in the hope of their evolution?

Sri Chinmoy: A world-disciple will never compromise. His is the life that will soulfully and dauntlessly fight dictatorship, imposed will and the restriction of individual rights and liberties. Compromise can never be the answer. When we make a compromise with darkness and ignorance, then it is half-and-half: ignorance gives half and light gives half. But the half that ignorance keeps is destructive, so ignorance has to be totally transformed. The entire ignorance has to come and take shelter in light. So there can be no compromise between truth and falsehood. If there is a compromise between the two, then falsehood will rule half the world.

There is no such thing as compromise in the inner life — either God or Satan, either ignorance or light, either day or night. If you compromise with darkness and hope that eventually darkness will change into light in the process of evolution, then I wish to say that this is a false hope. Night will not change, darkness will not change. It is the light that has to operate consciously in and through night. Otherwise, night, as such, on its own will never give way to light. It is the power of light that will have to compel the night to surrender for its own good.

Question: Do you think it is possible to change the United Nations organisation without changing the Member States? If so, of what use would be the existence of such a closed circuit?

Sri Chinmoy: It is not necessary to change the Member States in order to change the United Nations organisation. One may call the Member States a closed circuit and, from a particular point of view, one may be justified in saying so. But from a different angle if we see the situation, then we can say that when there is a large body or organisation, within the large body there has to be a smaller body to organise the thing. If all the countries were equal, and everybody held the same status, then there would be no organisation. When there is a school, there is one teacher and many students. It is not a hierarchy in an authoritarian sense; only it is a necessity. If we build a house, then we need an engineer and an architect, and also a few workers. If everybody does the job of the architect, then there will be no workers to build the house.

In such a big organisation as the United Nations, some countries have to shoulder more responsibility than other countries, so naturally they will have more voice. If everybody became the king, then there would be no subjects. Here I am not saying that some Member States are kings; only some should come forward to show light to others. If everybody had light, then everyone would be in Heaven. At that time earth would be Heaven itself. But this is not the case. Again, all the countries should be more sympathetic and develop greater oneness. Then it would be an ideal situation.

Question: Do you agree that the main task of the world-disciple today is to help bring the nations' souls to the fore?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I fully agree. The world-disciple must needs help bring the nations' souls to the fore. When the soul comes to the fore with its inner effulgence, divine effulgence, then it is only a matter of time before the mind, vital and body accept it. The aspiring heart immediately accepts it, but the other members may take some time. But we have to come without from within. We sow the seed underground and then it germinates. It becomes a sapling, a plant and finally a giant banyan tree. So from within the reality must come forward, and it is the soul that embodies the reality and the divinity within.

Question: Goodwill is love in action and a first step to true spiritual love. Should it not be the main quality to be fostered and pointed out to mankind?

Sri Chinmoy: You are absolutely right. Goodwill is love in action and it has to be fostered and pointed out to mankind. But in order to point it out to mankind and foster it, we have to know where goodwill comes from. Does it come from the physical mind? No. Does it come from the dynamic vital? No. Does it come from the alert body? No. Goodwill comes only from the crying heart, the heart that cries to see its Beloved Supreme in itself and in all other hearts. So the source of goodwill is man's aspiring heart. This goodwill that comes from the aspiring heart is undoubtedly love in action. And without fail it has to be fostered and pointed out to mankind in order to accelerate humanity's progress.

Question: Do you see any role for the United Nations organisation in the enlightenment of mankind? If so, will music be one of the components of such a role?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I see that the United Nations organisation has a definite role in enlightening the life of mankind. But it is not the outer music that will do the needful. Only it is the inner music, the music of the heart, that continuously feels and makes others feel that we are of the One and for the many. The many are our extended and expanded reality. Not the instrumental music, not the vocal music, but the psychic music of the United Nations can and will enlighten the face of mankind.

Question: Do you think that the system of "one country-one vote" is democratic? If not, do you see alternatives before the accumulated wisdom of the nation's souls becomes the yardstick in the voting system?

Sri Chinmoy: It is always advisable for one country to have one vote. But this vote has to come from the general mass. It is not an individual will that is being executed. Otherwise, it will be like many minds going in many ways. At that time nothing will be settled and there will be no hope of reaching any conclusion. So the unity of the collective reality will have to voice forth, and then there will be one vote, one will, one reality — one illumining and one fulfilling choice.

Question: If the United Nations Development Programme is the "heart centre" of the United Nations, which of the following — the Secretary-General, the Security Council or Economic and Social Council — is or should be the mind? Are there any other correspondences or analogies between organs and centres?

Sri Chinmoy: The heart centre need not be an individual; it need not be the Security Council or the Secretary-General or the Economic and Social Council. These are all realities, but these realities need not remain as separate entities. They can be combined together or at least the essence and qualities of each of these realities can be unified. Then, when they are unified, there will be a feeling of oneness, and this feeling of oneness is nothing short of the heart centre.

Question: Do you envisage the creation of a second chamber at the United Nations? If so, should it be composed of some NGOs or of the wise men of nations? Should the General Assembly, as is, represent the will of the nations and that second chamber the love of peoples?

Sri Chinmoy: I do envisage the creation of a second chamber at the United Nations but it does not have to be composed of NGOs or of the so-called wise men of nations. The new creation must be composed of only selfless, dedicated workers — true servers and lovers of mankind, who do not merely remain in the theoretical plane but also come down to the practical plane and offer practical, effective answers to mankind.

Question: Do you foresee the possibility of a fully committed spiritual person becoming Secretary-General in this century?

Sri Chinmoy: It is hard to say who is fully committed spiritually and who is not fully committed spiritually. In this case, as far as my inner feeling goes, I feel that Dag Hammarskjold was undoubtedly a fully committed spiritual person. As we know, spirituality does not mean self-abnegation. True spirituality means the acceptance of life as such. Here we have to know that this life which we accept is composed of spirit and matter. So if one embodies the spirit and wants to make the spiritual reality operate in and through the material proper, then one is undoubtedly spiritual. In the case of Dag Hammarskjold, we saw his inner light inundate his mind. Then from the mind, from the illumined mind, he executed the will of the heart, combining the illumining realities of the vital and the sacrificing realities of the physical. In the case of U Thant, who was a staunch and devout Buddhist, we saw that he brought to the fore the compassion-aspect of life, which is the purest jewel-reality in the human existence. He offered this compassion-reality to mankind unreservedly, almost unconditionally.

Sometimes the word "spiritual" is misunderstood badly. A spiritual person becomes an object of ridicule to the cynical human beings. Sometimes the non-believers, if not disbelievers, in God the Source of the Oneness-Creation, look down upon those who are spiritual. But those who inwardly see the inseparable oneness of God the Creator and God the creation try to offer this realisation to the world at large. In spite of being misunderstood, in spite of being assailed by physical ailments, as in the case of U Thant, in silence they act. And they leave the result at the Feet of God, the Author of all Good. I wish to tell you that the twentieth century has already been blessed with two spiritual giants: Dag Hammarskjold and U Thant. Secretary-General U Thant and Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold are two most outstanding examples of spiritual persons. Outwardly they may not be recognised as spiritual figures. But being a spiritual man, I have established my own oneness with them — with their achievement, with their tremendous sacrifice, with their inner cry — and I wish to say that they were undoubtedly spiritual persons committed to spiritual realities which are not easy for the doubtful, sophisticated mind and analytical intellect to comprehend.

Question: The Preamble of UNESCO's constitution states that wars begin in the minds of men and it is there that they will have to be eradicated first. Mankind's minds are changing; yet a general war is still a possibility. Would you comment?

Sri Chinmoy: It is true that wars begin in the minds of men. If the mind changes, then there will be no war. But how will the mind change? The mind will change only when it is transformed. There is only one way to transform the mind and that is to bring the reality, the divinity, of the heart to the fore. The mind of humanity is changing, but it is going at the speed of an Indian bullock cart. At any moment the storm of doubt and the hurricane of jealousy can stop humanity's mind from proceeding farther. But if the heart qualities come forward and illumine the mind, then there can be no doubt-storm or jealousy-hurricane. An illumined mind founded upon the loving heart can not only put an end to war, but also expedite world oneness, world perfection and world satisfaction.

Question: Nuclear arms and nuclear energy are very dangerous tools. What is your attitude towards both?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, we do admit that nuclear arms and nuclear energy are very dangerous tools. Right now they are used for a destructive purpose, especially nuclear arms. But who is their creator? Their creator is a human being. A human being is the creator of nuclear arms and nuclear energy. But we have to know that the human creator is also a creation of a Supreme Creator. In a fraction of a second the Supreme Creator can change the destructive mind of an individual human being into a loving mind, a universal mind. It is the operation of the mind that either maintains mankind or destroys mankind. If the Supreme Force wants to operate in humanity's mind, then the dangerous things and dangerous achievements on earth need not and cannot remain dangerous. For there is something which is infinitely more powerful than the dangerous tools created by mankind, and this supremely powerful thing is God's Compassion for His children. When God uses His supreme weapon, Compassion, no human tool — no matter how dangerous — can face it. God's Compassion and God the Compassion are always for mankind. First God sends His representative, which is Compassion. Then, if He sees that His representative is not strong enough to solve the problem, at that time He Himself comes as God the Compassion. But in most of the cases, God's Compassion-Power is more than enough to save the world from imminent crises.

Part II

FW 327-334. In the spring of 1977 Mr. David Rowe, Political Advisor, United States Mission to the U.N., submitted these questions to Sri Chinmoy.

Question: Bhaktivedanta referred to the United Nations as a "society for united animals" where people are not interested in religious things. Could you please comment on this?

Sri Chinmoy: Dear David, it will simply be impossible for me to see eye to eye with the statement that has been made by the spiritual leader in question. To say that the United Nations is a society for united animals, since people at the United Nations are not interested in religious things, is to criticise the United Nations not only mercilessly but almost unreasonably. First of all, we all know that in the name of religion and religious matters countless people have been killed since the dawn of so-called civilisation. Almost all the religions have fought at one time or another against one another unreservedly and, what is worse, at times without any rhyme or reason. Just to show its supremacy over other religions, each religion has swerved from the fundamental principles of truth. Why blame the United Nations? The wisest thing for the wise man is to first solve his own personal problems, illumine his own darkness and perfect his own nature. This is the only way that either the united or the divided human animals all over the world can climb to a higher rung of evolution, which we can unmistakably call proper human life.

Question: Is the fundamental goal that the United Nations can aspire for no more than that of the member states which compose it?

Sri Chinmoy: No, the United Nations can and should aspire for a higher goal than what the member states that compose it represent. The member states are like strong pillars of an edifice, but many more things are required to build the edifice. Those things are also of tremendous necessity. When everything is in its proper place and all things are combined to achieve a specific goal, at that time the body of the achievement-reality becomes divinely integral and supremely perfect.

Question: Can we hope that individual delegations of member states will work towards higher goals than their home governments would normally support?

Sri Chinmoy: It entirely depends on the inner strength of the individual delegations. If an individual delegation has received a higher call to spread deeper reality in human life and, at that time, if it does not get support from its home government, then I think and feel that the individual delegation must move forward and listen to the inner dictates. Let us take the home government as an old man, an old father, and the individual delegation as a young man. The old man always thinks that he knows everything far better than his son, but sometimes it happens that a higher truth and more illumining realities want to express themselves in and through the young generation. At that time, if the old generation does not want to accept the new vision that has dawned on the young generation, then it will be a deplorable mistake. And this mistake may cause an untold disaster in the minds and the hearts of both the fearful and unwilling old generation and the daring and pioneering new generation. God does not have to speak all the time through the human father. He can easily speak to the father through the human son as well. Therefore, as it is obligatory for the son to listen to his father when the father's advice is founded upon unmistakable truths, even so, it is equally obligatory for the father to accept the son's vision-reality when it is unmistakably illumining and considerably fulfilling.

Question: When a member state assumes an "anti-United Nations attitude", the cause would probably be frustration or fear that the U.N. has taken or may take some action against it. Does such an attitude weaken the U.N. system?

Sri Chinmoy: When a member state assumes an "anti-United Nations attitude", it undoubtedly weakens the United Nations system. First of all, it violently and shamelessly goes against the United Nations system. When a member state goes against the United Nations system, on the outer plane it definitely weakens the system; but on the inner plane the strength of the United Nations system is extremely solid and sound. As long as the inner aspiration of the United Nations is sincere and strong, we do not have to worry if a member state or even if all the member states assume an "anti-United Nations attitude". For it is not the member states alone that can and will bring about world harmony. It is the united force of all the nations, big and small, that can and will bring about a oneness-world family.

There can be many reasons why a member state wants to stand against the United Nations policy. But just by standing against United Nations policy, a state will not be able to solve even an iota of the world's problems. If one sees that the United Nations is doing something wrong, that is no reason why one should want to stand against the United Nations. One has to love the United Nations more in order to bring to the fore its sincere aspirations which can and will change the face of the entire world.

To err is human, to forgive divine. To forget past blunders of others, as well as one's own, is to make friends with satisfaction-peace and perfection-bliss. Further, this is the only way to accelerate humanity's oneness-vision and oneness-goal. If you see the world's imperfections, you should not discard the world; you should not consider it a filthy object or speak ill of it in season and out of season. No! The wise thing is to accept and embrace the world — the well-meaning U.N. world — as a humble and trying instrument of an all-embracing and all-fulfilling supreme Reality.

Question: Secretaries-General have conceived their office in various ways. Is there a preferred definition of the institution of the Secretary-General?

Sri Chinmoy: According to my inner aspiration, I wish to say that an ideal Secretary-General is he who has a free access both to the inner realities and the outer realities of life. The inner realities are heart's cry, heart's oneness. The outer realities are life's total and consecrated dedication. The ideal Secretary-General is he who dives deep within in order to quench his inner thirst, the thirst of the oneness-world family, and then comes from within to without to share with the rest of the world the nectar-bliss that he has discovered and drunk profusely in his inner life.

An ideal Secretary-General is he who at once fulfils his inner vision and outer mission. His inner vision is love of humanity, for humanity's sake, and his outer mission is service to humanity, for humanity's sake. His inner life is a continuous growth to reach the acme of perfection. His outer life is dedicated to spreading his perfection, which is illumination itself, throughout the length and breadth of the world.

Question: The style and personality of the Secretary-General influences numerous individuals and national governments and to a degree determines the performance of the entire U.N. Don't you think, then, it is essential to select a Secretary-General who will not allow possible wrong influences or powers to guide his actions?

Sri Chinmoy: We should always try to be true servers and warriors of truth, for truth is life in the purest sense of the term. Therefore, our supreme choice and our only choice has to be an all-loving, all-caring, all-serving and all-fulfilling Secretary-General, whose love-power will transform the dominion-power or the influence-power, and not the other way around. Love inspires us to do the right thing in life. Power quite often, if not always, influences us or, rather, not always but quite often instigates us to do the wrong thing. Therefore, a Secretary-General who is higher than the highest in height is also expected to be wider than the widest in every sphere of his life.

Question: Is there a special need to promote co-operation between the newer and often poorer countries in the General Assembly and the older and, in most cases, more established, wealthier countries? Should the latter not take the lead in fostering good relations?

Sri Chinmoy: We all believe in progress. Progress is nothing but true satisfaction. If one country is more established and more financially secure than another country, that doesn't mean that this particular country is the happiest and the most perfect country. If one country wants to remain always at the vanguard of all the other countries, or if it wants to exercise supremacy over the other countries, then it may be able to do so. But true satisfaction, for which there is a common and universal cry, will never come. Supremacy will never be transformed into either an individual or collective smile.

Everything is relative. One country may be poorer than another country in one particular aspect of human life but it can easily be richer in some other aspect of life. Outer wealth it may lack, but inner wealth it may have in profuse measure. Again, if one country is wanting in the outer wealth as well as in the inner wealth, then it will be an act not only of kindness but also of wisdom if the superior country opens both its inner door and outer door to help, guide and illumine the unillumined, inferior one. At that time the illumined one is only increasing its reality-existence. The heart of love knows only how to expand, and another name for this expansion is satisfaction. Satisfaction-reality is the fruit of the satisfaction-tree, which comes from the perfection-seed.

Question: Co-operation of all nations is an ancient dream. Assuming we are building on the past, how can we assess the outlook now?

Sri Chinmoy: The ancient dream of co-operation is not a human dream which has very little to do with reality. The ancient dream, to be precise, is not a dream at all but a faultless and divine vision — an unhorizoned vision — which is slowly, steadily and unerringly shaping the individual and collective destiny in humanity's march towards the supreme goal of universal oneness and transcendental newness. The world is evolving and progressing and reaching a higher standard of life. It is not moving in a horizontal way, but in a spiral. Therefore, at times this progress is not immediately noticeable. At times it confuses and baffles our human mind. But on the strength of our inner oneness with the world situation and world evolution, we see unmistakably the world's slow and steady progress.

True, man-made destructive forces are to be found here, there and everywhere. Here they may be in small measure; somewhere else, in a large measure. But the creator of the wrong forces, the destructive forces, need not remain always a creator of wrong forces. He can easily become a creator of good forces. In spite of creating and possessing wrong forces, if one remains silent to catch a glimpse either consciously or unconsciously of the divine, illumining and fulfilling light, at that time one is taking the first step. The second step is to create positive realities in order to accelerate humanity's progress towards perfection.

A negative force is not by nature negative. Only it is a force that we use in a negative way. A knife can be used either as a destructive force or as a force of co-operation and oneness-expansion. With a knife one can stab others; with the same knife one can cut fruits and share them with others.

The ancient dream, nay, the ancient vision, will always remain a new and progressive vision, for creation itself is an ever-transcending reality. We shall have to open our heart's door and our mind's windows in order to see from the body-room the light that illumines and fulfils the world around us. Then only we shall discover continual progress in humanity's march along Eternity's road to Infinity's Satisfaction-Goal.

Part III

FW 335-360. On 15 June 1977 Sri Chinmoy was interviewed at the United Nations by a reporter from the world-wide news service United Press International. This is a transcription of that interview.

Question: You said once that honesty and frankness are the birthright of the West, humility and devotion are the birthright of the East, and the combination of these four powers should be the ideal of a human being. What do you mean by this?

Sri Chinmoy: When these qualities, the good qualities of the East and the good qualities of the West, are all combined, a human being can be perfect. Right now the good qualities that the East has are not enough. Similarly, the good qualities that the West has are not enough. But when we can amalgamate, when we can have the qualities of both worlds, then an individual can become perfect. Right now the West wants to proceed with only honesty and frankness, but this will be insufficient. Humility is also required. The East has humility, but honesty is also required if it wants to become perfect.

Question: These are the kinds of thoughts that you bring to the meditation sessions at the United Nations. Do you feel that you are accomplishing something at these sessions with United Nations people?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I do feel that we are accomplishing something meaningful and fruitful. The delegates and staff members at the United Nations are showing more and more interest. They come to meditate and they ask questions. Their response is most favourable.

Question: What is it that you do at these sessions that brings favourable responses from these people? Is it just meditation and prayer, or is there something more?

Sri Chinmoy: We pray and meditate, plus I give short talks and answer their questions. The inner world embodies Peace, Light and Bliss. The outer world, unfortunately, does not right now embody these qualities, whereas the inner world has them in boundless measure. So we try to establish a free access to the inner world by virtue of our inner cry and our soulful meditation. We call this our aspiration.

Question: So you don't sit down and talk about the boundaries in the Middle East; you talk about other things?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. I am quite ignorant of politics as such. My forte is spirituality. There are two approaches to every problem. One is the inner approach: the other is the outer approach. Those who come to meditate want to try to walk along the inner road. But ultimately both the roads can lead to the same destination.

Question: The inner road — is that an evaluation of yourself, or an evaluation of other people, or an evaluation of the spiritual world? What is the inner road?

Sri Chinmoy: The inner road is the road of sincere dedication to the highest Cause. In the outer world one can aim at a particular goal without having sincere dedication to the goal. But the inner road represents the attitude of the seeker. The seeker tries in every way to lead a more illumining and more fulfilling life, to find and follow the way that is right from the highest point of view.

Question: Are the people who come to these sessions people who really need to be there, people whose attitudes need to change and will change, or are they people who would normally came because they are good people and have been seeking the inner road already?

Sri Chinmoy: Here I must say that people come to spiritual gatherings when they have made some inner progress and they are already ready to lead a better life, a more progressive, more illumining and more fulfilling life. They have felt and seen considerable progress in their own lives, therefore they know that progress exists, and they are trying to make more progress in their day-to-day lives.

Question: Do you have any contact with these people beyond your meditation sessions? Do you talk with them privately? Do you ever see them socially?

Sri Chinmoy: I do not see them socially. Only when they come to pray and meditate with me do I see them. But on rare occasions if they need and want me to guide them in a specific manner, if they have some special problem, I try to satisfy their inner need at some other times.

Question: Have you ever been able to see a specific change in a person — in their attitudes or in the way they behave?

Sri Chinmoy: I have noticed considerable changes not only in individuals, but also in the United Nations as a whole. For the last seven years I have been coming to the United Nations. Now I see that people here are more sincere, more dedicated and more eager to bring about a true world-family.

Question: You talked about your sessions containing both prayer and meditation, so that means there is a difference between prayer and meditation. What is the difference or differences?

Sri Chinmoy: Prayer and meditation ultimately lead to the same goal. Prayer is a kind of communication with God, and meditation is, too. But when we pray, we talk to a higher Authority or higher Source, which you can call God or the Force which is guiding our destiny. When we meditate, the Source or the supreme Reality talks to us. It is like the conversation that we are having now. At times I am talking, and at times you are talking. So when I pray, my message goes to God, and when I meditate, God's Message comes to me.

Question: So we have one-way communication with prayer, and two-way communication with meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: You might say that. When we pray, we ask the Supreme to guide us. And when we meditate, we try to receive the inner guidance from the Supreme.

Question: Guru, what is special about your teachings, or what does your philosophy contain that is special and that man can benefit from?

Sri Chinmoy: I do not want to use the term "special", but I can say what I stand for. I stand for divine love, divine devotion and divine surrender. I am emphasising the term "divine". Human love you know. It eventually ends in frustration. Human devotion is nothing short of attachment. And human surrender is made under compulsion, because we are afraid that we will be punished. But divine love and devotion are pure and detached, and divine surrender is not made to somebody else. This surrender we offer to our own highest Reality. We have inside us an unillumined reality and an illumined reality. Our unillumined existence we offer to our illumined existence. We make our divine surrender to our own highest existence. The lowest existence which we now embody we try to offer to the highest, which we also embody. Unfortunately, people have not consciously realised that highest existence yet.

Question: The meditation that you have for people who take part in your sessions, is it Yoga, or are we talking about something different?

Sri Chinmoy: It is Yoga. Yoga includes prayer and meditation and spirituality in general. So we are definitely practising Yoga. Yoga is a Sanskrit word which means conscious union with God. We achieve our conscious union with God on the strength of our prayer, meditation, aspiration and so forth.

Question: Are you part of a particular organised religious body or a sect or cult, or are you just who you are?

Sri Chinmoy: I belong to no sect and to no religion. At the same time, my teachings embody the quintessence of all religions. I appreciate and admire all religions, but I do not belong to any particular religion. I was born as a Hindu: therefore, I know all the ins and outs of the Hindu religion. But I do not practise Hinduism. I do not follow any specific religion. My religion is to love God and to become a humble instrument of God. The Hindu religion is like a house, Christianity is another house, Judaism is another house. We can each live in a different house, and then come to one school to study. Spirituality, Yoga, is what we eventually must study.

Question: Therefore you do accept people with different religious backgrounds into your group?

Sri Chinmoy: I do accept people belonging to various religions. No religion should be an obstacle to the study of true spirituality.

Question: And they are not required to drop their religion?

Sri Chinmoy: On the contrary, when they pray and meditate with me they can strengthen and illumine their own religious beliefs. Previously they may not have seen any light or truth in their own religion. But once they learn to pray and meditate soulfully, they see that there is truth inside their own religion.

Question: In the past ten or fifteen years we have seen many Gurus come to the West. Are all Gurus good?

Sri Chinmoy: Are all human beings good? There is something called comparison. Day has light and night has darkness. But there are some people who will say that there is a little light in night, and that little is enough for them. As light is inside night, so God is inside the insincere Gurus as well as the sincere Gurus. Only He is there in a very limited measure, in an unmanifested form.

Question: Guru why did you come to the United States?

Sri Chinmoy: I devotedly followed an inner command from my Beloved Supreme, my Inner Pilot, to come to the United States. He commanded me to come and serve Him inside the sincere seekers in the West. The East and the West are like two houses. The father has every right to ask the son to be of service to his brothers who live in another house. For me the East and the West are not like two geographical boundaries. They are like two houses that belong to my Supreme Father. And it was He who asked me to come to the West and be of service to Him inside the seekers in the West who needed to feel more powerfully His Love, His Concern and His Blessings.

Question: Some of the Gurus who have come to the West have got bad press, and they have been accused of things that you wouldn't associate with a sincere God-server. They have got hundreds of thousands of disciples and vast amounts of wealth. I gather from what I have read about you, that you are not interested in amassing any wealth in the United States, or in getting a great number of followers. Is that true?

Sri Chinmoy: It is absolutely true. God will not ask me how many seekers I have brought to Him. He will ask me only whether I have brought the ones that I was meant to bring. He has asked me inwardly to take certain sincere ones. He has not asked me to put millions of seekers in my boat. The other thing is that He does not wish me to become a multi-millionaire. I have given hundreds of spiritual talks and I have meditated with countless people and I never, never accept any fee from them. I do not charge any fee, but I have written considerably and my students and disciples take care of my material needs. Money and spirituality do not go together. If money enabled people to realise God, there would be thousands of rich people on earth who had realised Him. It is only the inner wealth, which we call aspiration, which enables us to realise God. When one has the inner cry, one is bound to realise God. I care only for this inner wealth in my disciples. The outer wealth we need only in a very limited measure. We need it only to meet with our basic physical needs, not to live in the lap of luxury.

Question: When you first arrived in the United States 13 years ago, in 1964, did you see a greater need then than you do now for your teachings? I guess I am trying to say have you seen some changes in the way we Westerners are thinking?

Sri Chinmoy: It seems to me that the West has not only become more spiritual, but has also become wiser. When I came here in 1964 there was a strong hippie movement, and people indiscriminately flocked to the Gurus, no matter which one, no matter whether he was sincere or not. But now they have become wiser. Now they try to go deep within. They are looking for the real Gurus. They want something solid, substantial. Previously it was like a young man who wants to see the world by hook or by crook. They didn't have enough aspiration, patience or wisdom. Now the Western world has become spiritually mature, therefore they are trying to dive deep within sincerely, steadily and purposefully. Previously the Western world was like a restless individual who wanted to acquire everything in the twinkling of an eye. Now the same person has become calm and patient. He has come to know that spiritual wealth or inner illumination cannot be achieved overnight. He has become more sincere, and has cultivated patience in his spiritual life. Since he knows that self-realisation cannot be achieved overnight, he is now walking along the path of spirituality peacefully, devotedly and steadily. This is the right approach.

Question: So what you are saying is that maybe some of the qualities that were missing in the West are starting to take hold. Is there a need for a spiritual leader to leave the West and go to the East to teach frankness and honesty to the East?

Sri Chinmoy: The East still needs these qualities. But it is up to the Supreme to decide when the time is ripe. We call it God's Hour. When God's Hour strikes, I am sure the Supreme will send some spiritual figures to the East to cultivate the qualities that they badly lack. The hour has struck for the West; therefore, spiritual leaders came to the West to be of service. Similarly, the hour will strike in the East when someone will be inwardly asked or commanded to go to the East and do the needful there.

Question: Would you accept that role?

Sri Chinmoy: Immediately. I am at His behest. If the Supreme asks me at this moment to go back to India and be of service to Him there, I will be most happy to go. As I said before, for me there is no division between East and West. And I have no personal preference. Only to follow His Will, only to abide by His will, do I stay on earth. "Let Thy Will be done". This is the supreme message that the Son of God offered to mankind, and every day, every hour, every minute, every second, I try only to listen to His inner dictates and execute His Will, never, never my own.

Question: What do you require of your disciples?

Sri Chinmoy: A simple life, a sincere life and a life that feels the necessity of an inner cry. Not name and fame, but a sincere cry to become a devoted instrument of God, to please God not in one's own way, but in God's Way. If one really wants to please God in God's Way, according to his inner capacity and receptivity, then I feel that he is entitled to try my path.

Question: It is not your intention to have everyone become your disciple?

Sri Chinmoy: Far from it. That would be a mistake on my part. Suppose I am a spiritual leader and you are a spiritual leader. God wants me to have specific seekers in my boat, and God wants you to have specific seekers in your boat. If I try to grab the seekers that are meant for your boat just to have as many as possible, it will be an act of injustice. God will not be pleased with that. God wants you to have the ones that are meant for you. Ultimately you are taking them to the same Goal as I am.

Question: Do you envision the day when your goals will be achieved?

Sri Chinmoy: In the outer world it is a very, very slow process. In the process of time, definitely, people who are following our path will reach the destined Goal. If they have a sincere cry, no sincere cry will meet with frustration, disappointment or failure. So since my students have a sincere cry, the day is bound to dawn when their sincere cry will meet with satisfaction, supreme Satisfaction, which is illumination within and without.

Question: But you don't ever see the day when your work will be done, do you?

Sri Chinmoy: No, my work is not like that. It is a slow and steady process. We have to sow the seed, which has to germinate, then become a sapling, and gradually become a huge banyan tree. We are now in the process of consciously becoming that which we always were in the inner world. But this process of growth is an ever-transcending process. We can grow eternally. We need never stop.

Question: Where are you now? Have you dropped the seed? Do we have a seedling?

Sri Chinmoy: This is a most inspiring, encouraging question. I have been asked thousands and thousands of questions all over the world, but this last question of yours so far nobody has asked me, not even my disciples. We have sown the seed. Now we have a tiny plant. This tiny plant will grow and become a strong tree. If storms of doubt and hurricanes of jealousy and other undivine things enter, then naturally the progress can be very slow. But if there is implicit faith and devoted oneness, naturally the plant will very soon grow into a tree. Now we are in the plant stage: we have sown the seed, and it is no longer a seedling. It has germinated properly. Previously it was only a seedling, but now it has become a tiny but healthy plant. So there is every hope that it will weather all the buffets and blows of human doubts and weaknesses, and grow into a huge tree.

Reporter: Thank you, thank you very much.

Part IV

FW 361-366. On 16 August 1977 Sri Chinmoy answered these questions about the United Nations during a meeting of the U.N. Meditation Group.

Question: In what way does the United Nations please you?

Sri Chinmoy: The United Nations has a seeking heart and also a oneness feeling. This seeking heart and this feeling of oneness we may not outwardly see; and even if we do see these, we don't see them all the time. But in my case, I see and feel them all the time. These two things please me most: the United Nations' feeling of inner oneness, its feeling of world family, and also its seeking heart. These two achievements of the United Nations always please me most.

Question: How can the individual seeker offer his aspiration to the world community?

Sri Chinmoy: If the individual seeker feels that the world community, the outer world, is something outside himself, then he will not be able to offer his aspiration to the world community. But if he feels that the world community, the entire world, is within him — inside his body, inside his soul — then he can pray and meditate in order to raise the standard of the world community, which is part and parcel of his own life.

First he has to feel his oneness with the world community, and then he has to feel that the world community is not outside his sphere of existence, it is not something else, or somewhere else, it is within him. When he can feel that, he will be able to contribute much more to the improvement of the world community. Then, anything that he does for the world community is also for his own nourishment, his own success and his own progress. So the most important thing is for him to feel that the world community is inside him, part and parcel of his own aspiring consciousness. Then, his own prayer and meditation will help the world considerably. That is the easiest way to raise the standard of the world community.

Question: What is the best aspect of the Supreme to concentrate on for transformation?

Sri Chinmoy: It is always advisable to concentrate upon the Compassion aspect of the Supreme for your personal transformation or world transformation because it is the Compassion aspect of the Supreme that expedites our progress. When the Supreme offers His Compassion, it is all unconditional. If we concentrate on His Heart aspect, or Delight aspect or Peace aspect or any other aspect, we may have in our mind the thought that we have given the Supreme something. We have given Him a drop and now He may give us the ocean. Always there is a feeling of an exchange. He is infinitely richer, infinitely more powerful than we are in every way. He has infinite Capacities whereas our capacities are very limited, so we are giving him what we have and He will give us what He has. If we have that kind of feeling, transformation will take time.

But if we approach His Compassion aspect, we make ourselves feel that we are in no way adding to what He has, or offering Him anything that He needs. Instead, we feel that we need our own transformation and world transformation, and out of His infinite Bounty, unconditionally He is giving this to us. If we have that kind of approach to the Supreme, then our heart's gratitude will overflow and it will accelerate our progress. So the Compassion aspect is always best if we want to accelerate our own progress and the progress of world evolution. This is the fastest way to make individual and collective progress.

Question: Which is the best way for a nation to contribute to the world at large?

Sri Chinmoy: Each nation has to feel that there is only one nation: one world nation and one world family. We are not only of the One but also for the One. The Source is One and that means that the end is also One. When we say that we are of the One but for the many, we create a problem. As soon as we say "many", we feel that there are many different minds, different approaches and different realities; there is no feeling of oneness. But if we say that we are of the one and for the one, then there is no problem. Take a tree, for example. A tree has branches, flowers, leaves and fruits. If we don't take the tree as one unit or one reality — if sometimes we appreciate the flowers, sometimes the fruits and sometimes the branches, if each time we pay attention to one particular part or achievement of the tree — then we are unable to pay full attention to all the things that the tree embodies, and this creates problems. But if we take the tree as one reality and simply water the tree or sit at the foot of the tree for our prayer and meditation, for our own illumination, then all our problems are solved.

So, each Nation should feel that there is only one nation, one reality, and inside that one reality are all the nations. Otherwise, if one nation is meditating, it may say, "Let me pray and meditate for all the nations." And then, in a few days' time, if the other nations make some mistake or say something wrong, immediately that particular nation will feel displeased and will stop praying and meditating for the others. But if that particular nation feels that all the nations have been combined and amalgamated into one reality, then there will be no problem. It will all the time pray and meditate for the other nations.

The best way for the individual nation to make progress and also to add to world progress is to feel that there is only one reality. This reality is the source, the goal, and it is also the traveller. In that way, the individual nation will make fastest progress and also will be able to contribute much to the world at large most satisfactorily. Always it has to think of the source, of the course, the journey, the road and the destination — everything — as one, all one.

Question: Is it a good idea to have other meditation groups affiliated with this one?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, it is a good idea, if it is possible, to have other meditation groups connected or, you can say, affiliated with this one. We have to feel that we are one and try to feel this oneness through our dedicated and sincere efforts. All individuals have the same goal and that goal is perfection. This perfection comes only when we have the feeling of oneness. In aspiration we are one, in realisation we are one, in revelation we are one, in manifestation we are one. Since we are one it is a very good idea to have as many meditation groups as possible in the United Nations international community affiliated with this one.

Question: Is the Supreme pleased with the world progress?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, the Supreme is pleased with the world progress. Again, the Supreme believes in continuous progress. Whatever the world has already achieved has pleased Him, but He expects something more, and that something more has to be achieved by the sincere efforts of the United Nations, that is to say, by the people who work at the U.N., the people who love the U.N. and the people who are one with the ideals and the goals of the U.N. We can achieve what the Supreme wants by virtue of our joint efforts in the field of aspiration and dedication.

We believe in the world's continuous progress. For that continuous progress we have to aspire and dedicate ourselves more to the cause of the United Nations. Satisfaction is not a finished product. If we have come up to a certain standard, then our progress becomes like a stagnant pool; only in continuous progress do we find satisfaction. First we come up to a certain standard, which is what we originally wanted. Then we look around and see that somebody else has achieved something higher, something deeper, and we also try to do the same. It is not out of jealousy or a feeling of competition, no; only it is an inner urge that makes us want to try to surpass ourselves, to surpass our own capacities.

So the Supreme is definitely pleased with the sincere aspiration and dedication that the United Nations has offered so far to Him. But again, this achievement or this offering is not enough, for the Supreme wants continuous progress. Therefore, we have to make a special effort to make more progress if we want to please Him continuously.

Part V

FW 367-369. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions on 18 April 1978 during a meeting of the Meditation Group, held in the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium.

Question: When did the Supreme create the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme created the soul of the United Nations the day the vision dawned in the heart of Woodrow Wilson. But the vision did not manifest for many years. And when it did manifest, it did not manifest properly. On the one hand, it was a failure. On the other hand, it was not actually a failure; it was only that the vision was taken over by others. But it was the flow of the same river; it was the same flow and the same force of universal peace.

Question: When I meditate on my own, I take it as my own personal meditation. But I was wondering whether I should come here with the idea to meditate on the United Nations for the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes we meditate for ourselves, for our own benefit and sometimes we meditate on others, or for others. But we have to know that even when we are meditating on others or for others, we are actually meditating for ourselves. Humanity is only our enlarged and expanded self. There is no difference between our meditation when we meditate for peace, light and bliss for ourselves and when we meditate for the soul of the United Nations to receive light, delight and harmony from the highest Absolute Supreme, because it is on the strength of our oneness that we claim the body, heart and soul of the United Nations as our own. There is no difference when we pray and meditate for others or when we pray and meditate for ourselves. If we have a wider outlook and larger vision, then no matter when we pray or where we pray or for whom we pray or meditate, it is all for ourselves. For all are part and parcel of our universal family.

Question: What role will the United Nations ultimately play in the spiritual transformation of humanity?

Sri Chinmoy: As far as I can see in my own experience, the ultimate role of the United Nations in the spiritual transformation of humanity will lie in its recognition of the capacity of spirituality. Spirituality has the message of peace and the capacity to bring about peace all over the world. The seeker-members who are working at the United Nations will ultimately come to realise that it is spirituality that will bring about harmony, peace, light and bliss. Spirituality here means the discovery of inner oneness. If one does not first discover inner oneness, then one will not be able to discover, realise or manifest the outer oneness through politics or any other means of bringing about peace. Spirituality is the foundation; if there is no foundation-stone, the house will collapse.

In the inner world we have to feel our oneness first. The inner world is the world of the heart and the outer world is the world of the mind. Ultimately the mental approach will have to enter into the psychic approach. First we have to discover and establish our oneness completely and unmistakably in the heart through spirituality, and then this same discovery and same achievement of oneness can be brought to the fore. At that time we shall see in the outer world of division, harmony and peace, light and bliss. So, the importance, necessity and capacity of spirituality must be recognised and valued by the seeker-servers at the United Nations.

Part VI

FW 370-372. Sri Chinmoy answered these questions on 8 March 1978 during a Wednesday night meeting of the Meditation Group, held in Conference Room 10.

Question: What does our singing do in terms of our meditation and our offering to the U.N. soul?

Sri Chinmoy: Our singing adds inspiration and aspiration to our meditation, and when we have added inspiration and aspiration to our meditation we feel — and it is absolutely true — that we are offering more of our dedicated, devoted and soulful service to the soul of the United Nations. Each time we sing we invoke the soul of the United Nations to appear before us, to make us more active, more dynamic and more self-giving to the cause, the supreme cause: the vision of oneness-family that we have envisioned and we are in the process of manifesting.

Question: How can we avoid tension when doing a project under pressure?

Sri Chinmoy: Before we enter into a project, we must sincerely feel that we have been given the necessary capacity to accomplish it. Then once we undertake it, we have to bring to the fore our inner determination and inner faith. Once we feel that our inner determination and inner faith have come to the fore, then in silence we must say to ourselves that the new project we have undertaken is already done. On the inner plane it is done.

Let us take this inner plane as a higher plane and feel that we have a free access to this higher plane. It is like this. Let us envision a tree right in front of us. The tree has quite a few branches and on the branches there are quite a few fruits. The top branches, where the fruits are, we can call the higher plane. In order to get the fruits we have to climb up the tree to the higher branches. Once we climb up and pluck some fruits, we have accomplished our project on the inner plane. But that particular plane is not the plane of manifestation.

The plane of manifestation is at the foot of the tree. Therefore, it is obligatory for us to climb down. As soon as we climb down, we have to feel that we have reached the outer plane.

In the inner plane, if we are sure that something has already been achieved, then it is much easier on the outer plane to manifest it. From the beginning to the end, one thing is of paramount importance and that is confidence. We have to feel that we can do something or we shall do it or that we have already done it. If we say that we can do it, we are not fooling ourselves; if we say that we will do it eventually, we are not fooling ourselves. And even if we say that we have already done it, we are not deceiving ourselves. For it is already done; it is already done on another plane. And it is we who have done it on that plane on the strength of our inner faith and inner determination.

Question: Here at the United Nations many decision-makers take positions on controversial issues. What is the most effective way to make sure the position they take is the correct one?

Sri Chinmoy: When a controversial subject is being discussed, all those who are participating should be seekers. Unfortunately, it may not be that all are aspiring. All may not be trying to have constant and conscious self-giving to a higher ideal, to an uplifting cause, to the Source. Still, one thing we can try to do is to exercise the sympathy of fellowship. We can look around us and see quite a few human beings. If we can claim them to be our friends, and not strangers or adversaries, then the strength of our oneness itself is a divine achievement. When we achieve something divine, already we are on the road to a divine accomplishment. Oneness will never be able to hurt anybody. If I am really one with somebody, then I cannot hurt that person. Every part of our body is one with every other part. Our hands are so powerful, but do we strike our eyes with our hands? No! We know that our eyes and our hands are trying to reach the same destined goal. The eyes will see something and immediately the legs will go and help the eyes. The eyes are the ones that first see the goal and make the decision to go to the goal. Then the eyes give the message to the legs and the rest of the members, and they all go to the goal together.

So, when many individuals get together to come to a decision, if right from the beginning they feel that they are one, then once the truth is seen by any member, spontaneously the others will also see it and try to achieve it. If oneness is already felt and established on the inner plane, then on the outer plane all will try to aim at the same goal. When an individual offers his suggestion, if the individual is sincere, simple and truth-loving, and if others have any feeling of sympathy, concern and oneness with him, then automatically all will go to the same source, which will be satisfaction, constant satisfaction. No matter who sees something before the rest of the members of the family, it will make no difference. Seeing itself is the decision. And while others are participating in or becoming one with or seeing eye to eye with the decision, they are also expediting it. So, if each member can feel that the others are not going to deceive him, if each member will accept every other member as a real friend, it does not matter that only one has got the message. From one it will spread to two, and eventually all will be travelling to the same destined goal.

If we start on the basis of division, then there can be no proper guidance or divine assurance, and no decision can be taken. But if there is oneness, the oneness itself can go to the source, which is divine satisfaction; and from the source we will get the message as to which decision to take.

In the inner world we have to know what we are and what we are supposed to do. Then the capacities and realisations of the inner world we have to bring forward. That is the only way that each seeker-server and lover of the United Nations can contribute the utmost to the fulfilment of the United Nations world-embracing and world-illumining vision.

Part VII

FW 373-390. These questions were submitted to Sri Chinmoy by members of the Meditation Group in April 1978.

Question: You are always talking about serving God in others. How can I develop more of the feeling of being with God when I am with people?

Sri Chinmoy: Your aspiration is your flame, your inner flame, illumination-flame. If you are sincerely aspiring, then you do not see anything but God inside everyone. Even if somebody or something is darkness incarnate, if you come with your illumination-flame, your light will chase the darkness away. Here, light is aspiration. If you are aspiring, you are carrying an inner flame. That inner flame illumines darkness; then you see light everywhere. When you see light and not darkness, then you have to know that this light itself is God. What else is God but constant illumination? If you carry light inside you, no matter whom you talk to, each time you talk you enter into the other person with your aspiring consciousness. If you carry your own aspiration-sea, illumination-sea, you won't see darkness; you will see only your own light, your own illumination.

Question: What is the significance of the enormous amount of talent someone might have in sports, music or art? Is it necessarily a gift of Grace from the Supreme?

Sri Chinmoy: Ultimately, everything is the Grace of the Supreme. Some people have receptivity for this Grace while others do not. The sun is for everyone. But if you leave all your doors and windows open, then naturally light will enter into your room more than into someone else's room who keeps all the doors and windows closed.

The ultimate Reality is Grace. Some are receptive to Light, so naturally Light can function in and through them much more than through others who are not open. Each talent is only an opening of either the heart or the mind or some other part of our existence to the Highest.

Question: Why are people afraid of spirituality?

Sri Chinmoy: You are right: people are afraid of spirituality. Unfortunately, they do not know what spirituality is. If they knew the real significance of spirituality, then they would in no time embrace spirituality. Spirituality seeks to energise humanity. Without spirituality, humanity would remain always in the dark. But with spirituality, with the inner life, each human being on earth is bound to realise his highest, his deepest. I wish to tell you that spirituality is not something foreign: it is not something vague. Spirituality shows us our true life and our only goal, and that goal is the realisation of the Infinite within and without us.

Question: What is the spiritual purpose of Yoga?

Sri Chinmoy: We cannot separate spiritual purpose from Yoga. The spiritual purpose of anything is to become one with God's Light and Delight. Spiritual purpose, when it is applied in our day-to-day life, is Yoga. What can we derive from Yoga or from the spiritual life? We can derive peace of mind, divine joy, divine love and a sense of true accomplishment. On earth we do many things and we feel that we have accomplished something. Then, a few years later we feel that this accomplishment was only the fulfilment of some desires which did not give us total satisfaction. But if we follow the spiritual life and follow the inner discipline of Yoga, then at each moment we feel a true sense of satisfaction whether we have achieved anything outwardly or not. Outwardly we may not achieve anything or receive any recognition, but inwardly we feel that the very act of praying, of meditating is an achievement, an accomplishment.

In the outer life, if we see the results of our actions as success then we feel that we have accomplished something. If we have not achieved success, then we feel that what we did was no accomplishment at all. Failure is not accomplishment in our outer life; only success is accomplishment. But in the spiritual life failure as well as success are both accomplishments since they are both a form of experience.

Yoga is a continuous march, an inner march and each moment you are accomplishing something. While you are marching towards your goal you are accomplishing something. So this is the purpose of Yoga. When you follow the spiritual life, every second you are accomplishing something for God and for yourself which will last permanently in your inner being. This is the spiritual reason why we accept Yoga and why we follow Yoga.

Question: I pray and meditate, I feel a flood of love and joy. But then I find that all the suffering of the world seems to well up inside me and I feel guilty for feeling joyful when so many other people are so unhappy.

Sri Chinmoy: You may feel the suffering of the world, true; but you can go one step further. You can share your happiness with those who are unhappy. Suppose you have a mango. It is up to you whether you eat the mango all by yourself or share it. You may not want to share it because it is most delicious. Again, you can offer a portion of it to your dear ones or to humanity. If you offer it to others you won't feel miserable, but if you eat it all yourself, then you will feel sorry. So when you get peace, joy and bliss, you can share it with others in silence. Sometimes they may not use it; inwardly they may find fault with it and reject it. But you can do your part by offering others the peace and joy that you get.

Question: Can we give it to others by writing about it, and does it help them?

Sri Chinmoy: Our peace and joy does help others. But we can offer it most effectively through an inner method. When we pray and meditate, we do it in silence. Similarly, when we want to offer the fruits of our prayer and meditation, we can also do it in silence.

Question: When we receive joy from the soul, how can we keep it to the fore?

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes you get tremendous joy but then you cannot account for it. There is no outer reason for you to be feeling such joy. You are feeling spontaneous joy. You have not outwardly received any good news from your husband or your children or anybody, but you are getting tremendous joy. At that time, feel that your soul has come to the fore and that is why you feel such joy.

If you see that your joy is going away while talking to someone, then immediately try to shorten your conversation with that person. If you are doing something that is taking away your joy, then immediately stop doing it. When you get joy from within, when it is very fresh, do not do anything that takes it away. You have to strengthen and assimilate your joy. If for five or ten minutes you can stop doing whatever is taking away your joy, then that joy will be assimilated inside you.

Always be extremely, extremely careful when your soul comes to the fore and you are getting spontaneous joy. No matter how long it takes you to assimilate this joy — half an hour or an hour or even two hours — you do it. Then you are secure. If you feel that your joy is decreasing, always try to assimilate it. Once it is assimilated, then it is safe. Before that it is not safe. Before you are secure in your joy, even one word from someone can totally take away your joy. So immediately you should go deep within.

Question: How can we acquire practicality in a divine sense?

Sri Chinmoy: We can be divinely practical in our day-to-day activities, not cleverly practical in a human way by deceiving others. In divine practicality you share your inner wealth. You feel the divine motivation behind each action and you share the result with others.

Divine practicality means that before an action starts you feel that this action does not belong to you. Then, while acting, you feel that you are not the doer; it is someone else who is acting in and through you. When the result comes, you share it with others. You feel that it is not you who has accomplished something: it is the Person who has inspired you, who was acting in and through you. Then you can have divine practicality in your life at every moment.

Question: Can I reach the Truth with my intellect?

Sri Chinmoy: The intellect is very limited, but the soul is unlimited. For this reason an aspirant dives deep into the inmost recesses of his heart, for it is there that the soul abides. The Truth can be known only through aspiration. The true attributes of God are Peace, Light, Bliss and Power. These attributes all exist in boundless measure in the heart of Eternity. Only the seeker of Truth who aspires to go beyond the domain of the intellect can enter into the Light, Peace, Bliss and Power of the highest Absolute. Not intellect, but psychic aspiration is needed to know and to realise the attributes of God.

Question: What is most important in keeping the inner cry?

Sri Chinmoy: When you aspire for the inner cry, you should know that that very cry comes from God's Concern and Compassion. So the most important thing is to offer your gratitude. If you offer gratitude, then immediately your inner cry increases. It becomes continuous and constant. When you offer gratitude, your inner cry mounts to the highest.

Question: How can I have more will-power and clarity?

Sri Chinmoy: Unfortunately, very often when we think of will-power, we think of it as being inside our head, inside our brain. We never think of will-power here in the heart centre. We feel that the heart is feminine and the mind is masculine. In the mind there is a tiger, a lion or a bull there to fight. This is our human conception. But it is not true that will-power is inside the head. Will-power is inside the third eye, and the third eye is not inside our physical head. None of the centres are inside the physical. If they were there, medical science would have discovered them long ago. Real will-power is also inside the heart. The soul's light is will-power, real will-power. The easiest and most effective way to cultivate will-power is to concentrate on the heart. Two years ago I gave two or three exercises on the physical plane on how to develop will-power. They were printed in one of my books, I am sure. So read these and you can develop will-power. From your will-power you can have mental clarity.

You also want clarity. Now you are in darkness and if you have a little light, then you can walk, you can see what is around you. So if you can get even an iota of soul's light, I tell you, you will be able to see everything and walk along the darkest path if you want to. If you can see or feel the soul's light, it becomes all illumination. So, if you want clarity in your mind, concentrate on your heart and then dig there. Think that you have a tool to dig with, and every day dig. But don't be satisfied with your digging. Today you have dug and you have come to a certain point. Then tomorrow again you have to dig further. The deeper you can go, the sooner you will feel and see the light. First you feel, then you see, then you become. First you will feel that there is something inside like a very tiny insect: that is the light. Then you will see it with your inner vision or with your human vision. Finally you will grow into it.

Question: How can I get satisfaction right this moment?

Sri Chinmoy: We have to do first things first. Who has satisfaction? Who is satisfaction? God. So if we do the first thing first, if we pray and meditate on God, then satisfaction is at our disposal. If we go deep within, we see that satisfaction is there.

Question: Why does God love Peace the most among all His children?

Sri Chinmoy: God has countless children. Of all His children, He loves Peace the most precisely because Peace does not know and Peace does not need anything more than what God has and what God is, which is Peace.

Question: Are love and awareness the same thing?

Sri Chinmoy: No, they are not. Love is oneness; awareness is not oneness. You can be aware of an incident or an event; you can be aware of a person or an accident or a movement; but that does not mean that you are inseparably one with the person or the event.

Question: How do I go deep within?

Sri Chinmoy: You have to feel that there is something called the heart. You do not have to go to a spiritual Master in order to know that you have a heart of your own. Between the two lungs is the physical heart and the spiritual heart is also there. Then, you have to feel that inside the heart there is something called the soul. First go into the heart and feel that inside the heart you are trying to unlock another door. That is the door of the soul.

Question: Is there any difference between delight and bliss?

Sri Chinmoy: There is only a slight difference between delight and bliss. You can see the difference between delight and bliss in a very simple way. Delight takes a liquid form. It is like water, a vast expanse. Bliss is something thick and condensed. Bliss does not spread. It does not have the capacity nor does it want to spread. Everything it has; it stays in one place. But delight flows and spreads. Bliss does not want expansion, but delight wants expansion, the expansion of its capacity. Also, in delight there is subtlety, transparency and light. Inside delight there is light in a flowing form. Light is flowing in delight.

Question: Should we try to justify our spiritual practices to others?

Sri Chinmoy: No, that is a mistake. When we try to convince others that what we are doing is right, in a certain sense we unconsciously try to convert them. If we know that we are doing the right thing, then we should simply do it. We know that the right thing for us to do early in the morning is to pray and meditate. But we will not go to our neighbour who is fast asleep at the time of our meditation and tell him to get up because it is the right thing to do. We will not say, "Look, I am praying and meditating; I am doing the right thing. You must not sleep at this hour, you also must get up." If we say that kind of thing, then our neighbour will simply say, "Mind your own business!"

In the spiritual life we don't try to justify ourselves. We just live for ourselves, for the God within us. God has told us to pray and meditate on Him. When the time comes for others to pray and meditate then God will illumine and awaken them. But if we go to them and say, "Look, we are doing the right thing and you are doing the wrong thing; it is our duty to awaken you and illumine you," then we will not be helping their spiritual progress in any way.

Let us stay with our own conviction. But if somebody challenges us and tells us that we are doing the wrong thing, at that time for a few minutes we can justify what we are doing. Even then I feel it is definitely better not to enter into an argument. If they say that we are doing everything wrong, then all right, let them say it. Justification is not illumination; not at all. The mind is so tricky. Even when we try to justify our own cause we don't get illumination. This moment the mind has taken the side of the heart. That is why the mind is trying to justify the heart's cause. The next moment, if the mind is separated from the heart, the mind will try to fight against the heart.

Question: Does each person have a different way of meditating?

Sri Chinmoy: If you want peace, then you have to meditate on peace. If you want love, then you have to meditate on love. If you want joy or any other divine quality, the best thing is to meditate on it. That is the only way you can get these qualities. Each individual will have a different way of meditating because his mind or his heart will want different qualities. You will be knocking at a particular door and somebody else will be knocking at another door. Each one has his own way.

The general rule for my students is to knock at my heart's door. That is an absolutely general rule. Once the door is open, if you want to go to the kitchen, you go. If you want to go to the living room, you go. If you want to go to my study you go. If you want to go to the meditation room, you go. But the general rule is to open the door first and then select the room that you want to enter.

In the heart there is no necessity of justification; it is all illumination. In the heart we see light which does not have to justify its existence. The sun does not have to justify its existence on earth. Light is light. Its very presence is illumination. When we accept the spiritual life, it is all aspiration. Aspiration itself is light, illumination.

We try to justify ourselves when we see that somebody is doubting us and we feel sure of what we are doing. If we are really sure, then immediately our justification capacity comes forward to prove that we are doing the right thing. But if we know that we are doing the right thing and we also are the right thing, then we don't have to justify. Let us become the sun. The sun does not justify its light because it knows that it is light itself.

Editor's preface to the first edition

For a number of years, Sri Chinmoy has been serving the United Nations as spiritual leader of the United Nations Meditation Group, recently renamed Sri Chinmoy Meditation at the United Nations. In this capacity, he has been offering regular meditations and lectures for United Nations delegates and staff since the spring of 1970. At these sessions, members of the United Nations community have often asked him spiritual questions, which he has answered extemporaneously. This book is part of a series which compiles all of these questions and answers.

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