Flame-Waves, part 3

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Question: I used to feel and see a golden light around my heart, but now I no longer do. How can I regain this wonderful presence?

Sri Chinmoy: Let me start with the words "golden light". Each light has its significance. Golden light actually comes from a level of consciousness which we term the supermind. The supermind is infinitely higher than the physical mind. Above the physical mind is the abode of intuition, the overmind, and above the overmind is the supermind. The golden light descends from the supermind.

This golden light has a special significance. Golden light is divine manifestation. When this light of divine manifestation comes down and touches the earth consciousness, it becomes red. Sometimes the light recedes if it feels that it is unable to stay in the heart due to lack of purity. When the heart is not pure it is impossible for the light to stay indefinitely. When the heart is pure, this light first functions most properly and satisfactorily in the heart region, and then it moves into the vital and the physical.

If you do not see this light, do not be depressed. It is functioning on another level of consciousness. When a beginner sees light, he feels that he is making extraordinary progress. To some extent, it is true. God gives you light, naturally you will try to dive deep into the sea of spirituality. But if God feels that light is not required and that what you need is peace, then He will act through you in a different way. In you, because of your abundant purity, the light still abides. Now it is working inside your vital and sometimes it comes into the physical. To regain the visible presence of light is not necessary. If you want to follow the spiritual path, it is not the light that you want — it is God's constant Concern for you, God's real Love and God's Blessing. When you have God's Concern it can take the form of Light or Peace or Power. The most important thing is to please God in God's own Way. You can ask, on the strength of your surrender, "God, make me anything You want so I can be Your instrument." You are trying to regain the wonderful presence of this light. But you will not get utmost satisfaction from seeing this light because you are not fulfilling God in His own Way. If you want the Grace of God, I can pray to God on your behalf and I assure you you will get back the golden light. But it will not please you because you know that the highest aim is to please God in His own Way. When God gives us an experience, we should be most grateful to Him. And when He does not give us one, we have to be equally grateful, because He knows what is best for us. It is your business to meditate faithfully, wholeheartedly and soulfully, and God's business is to give you Light or Blessings or Peace or Power. God will give you what He has and what He is if you give Him what you have and what you are. What you have is ignorance and what you are is aspiration. So my request to you is to please God in His own Way and not to care for the thing that you once had and which now you are missing.

Question: How can you tell the difference between true intuition and imagination?

Sri Chinmoy: If you soulfully follow a spiritual path for a few months, if your prayer, concentration and meditation are intense, and if you know how to contemplate intensely also, then you will be able to feel inner guidance within you. When you meditate early in the morning, your inner being will tell you what is going to happen, what others are going to think of you. But in order to develop proper intuition, or the intuitive faculty, aspiration has to be very, very sincere and intense. Otherwise, it will be all imagination or mental hallucination.

Try to feel that there is a burning flame inside you which is mounting all the time. In the process of mounting high, higher, highest you will see that it is spreading its divine Light all around. And in this Light you are bound to develop a direct vision of Truth. You will see that the length and breadth of the world — your inner world — has been illumined. In darkness, we do not see anything. Even if you place the most valuable treasure right in front of me, I will not see it, because there is no light. But if the flame of aspiration within me is rising towards the highest and spreading its Light, then I will get an immediate flash of intuition. For in Light there is reality. In Light there is constant divinity. So when you have the flame of aspiration within you, divinity and reality are at your disposal. In this way, you will always feel these flashes of intuition and you will not remain in the world of imagination.

But again, if you imagine something nice about God, do not worry at all. If you imagine that God is all Compassion for you, but you have not yet felt God's compassionate aspect, or if you imagine that God is all Concern and Love for you, but you have not felt God's divine Love and Concern, no harm. Today it may be imagination but tomorrow you will feel it as the truth, because these are all realities. You have not yet felt it, but many spiritual seekers and all spiritual Masters have felt it and realised it.

Question: How can one tell the difference between the Will of God and wishful thinking?

Sri Chinmoy: In order to know God's Will, one need not be a great spiritual Master or a highly advanced spiritual soul. There are very few of these on earth, very few. But one has to be at least a seeker in order to know God's Will. And how can one be a real seeker? One can be a true seeker, an aspirant, if he feels that he is not only helpless, but also hopeless, meaningless and useless in every way without God. Without God he is nothing but with God he is everything. He is aspiration. He is Realisation. He is Revelation. He is Manifestation. If one has that kind of inner feeling about oneself, then one can be a true seeker overnight.

How can a seeker know whether something is God's Will or just his own fanciful or wishful thinking? A real aspirant, a sincere seeker, tries to meditate devotedly each day. And one who meditates devotedly each day will soon have a free access to God's inner realm and be able to hear the message of God.

Of course, it is easy to say that you have to meditate devotedly, but actually to meditate devotedly may seem like climbing up Mount Everest. When you start meditating you have to feel that your very life, your very existence, your very breath, is an offering to the Inner Pilot within you. Each time you breathe in, try to offer your life-breath consciously to the Inner Pilot within you. Only in this way can you meditate devotedly and have a devoted feeling towards God.

Now, how to feel God's Will. During your meditation there comes a time when your mind is totally blank, absolutely calm and quiet. There is only purity, serenity and profundity in your mind. All this purity, serenity and profundity have one common face, which is called tranquillity. When tranquillity is with them, they are perfect. When the mind has become calm, quiet, tranquil and vacant, here inside your heart you will feel a twinge, or you will feel something very tiny, like a soft bubble. It is a tiny thing, but there in golden letters is written a message. Even if you keep your eyes closed, no harm. Sometimes the message is transferred from the heart to the head, and with your mind you can see that the message has come. But if you have the capacity to go deep within, you will see that the message has already been inscribed in the heart. Just because you cannot see the message there, it has to come to the physical mind to convince you.

Inside the heart's inmost recesses, where everything is flooded with purity, a message cannot be written by anybody other than God. There no hostile force, no undivine force, can enter. But this is not true about the mind. In the mind there can always be a mental hallucination, a fabrication, or some self-imposed truth that we have created. But in the very inmost recesses of our heart, no disturbing thought, no struggling thought, no strangling thought will ever dare to enter. For there it is well protected, well shielded by God Himself, because God's own wealth and treasure is there. He Himself is there as a soldier, a gatekeeper, guarding His treasure. If you get a message from the head, it does not mean that the message will be wrong. No! Sometimes you may get a genuine message which has come directly up from the heart, and sometimes you may get a message from elsewhere. It enters into your mind and you feel that it has come from God, but this is not the case.

When you meditate, please try to feel the necessity of opening your heart fully and closing your mind fully. What mind? The physical mind, which thinks of your near and dear ones, your friends, the rest of the world. When you bolt the door of your physical mind and open the door of your heart, at that time the mind becomes calm and quiet and the heart becomes all receptivity. When your concentration and meditation are focused on the heart and the heart is receptive, then naturally what the heart treasures — the message from God — will come to the fore and you will be able to read it and utilise it in your day-to-day life.

Now, it is one thing to hear the message of God correctly and another thing to listen to it and fulfil it. There are quite a few who hear God's message, but in their outer life they cannot execute it. For that, you need faith in yourself — faith that you are not just a child of God but a chosen child of God. Everybody is God's child, but everybody cannot be God's chosen child because everybody is not consciously aspiring. The chosen are those who really want God here and now, those who feel that they do not exist, cannot exist, without God. Just because you aspire sincerely, you can claim yourself as a chosen child of God. But please try to feel that it is not your own capacity, but God's capacity, God's Grace, that has enabled you to become His chosen child. There are millions of people on earth who are not aspiring. Why are you aspiring? It is because God wants you to aspire. When we say that God is most pleased with those who consciously aspire, it is true. But, at the same time, we have to know that this aspiration which they have has come and is coming from God. From the beginning to the end we have to feel the necessity of expressing our deepest gratitude to God, for He is our aspiration, He is our realisation. He is the aspiration in us and He is the realisation for us.

The soul's will is God's Will. The soul, which is the representative of God, is inside the heart. God's Concern is offered to the heart, and the heart offers it to the entire being. When we are aware of God's constant Concern, we will not make any mistake. When God's Concern becomes ours, we feel that God is the doer, God is the player, and we are the instrument. And God, being the Supreme Musician, will naturally play most divinely and supremely on us.

Question: Did you see any basic differences in the quality of aspiration or the quality of the souls in different countries of the world? And do you feel that your trip was successful?

Sri Chinmoy: Aspiration I noticed in all the places I visited, although some places naturally had more than others. On the inner plane each country, each city is aspiring according to its capacity, but on the outer plane we can observe slight differences. For example, in one city I saw tremendous determination even in the people who were not spiritually conscious or aspiring. There was tremendous determination on the physical plane and the vital plane. In another city, even though there was aspiration on the inner plane, on the outer plane there was tremendous chaos, confusion, uneasiness, uncertainty. Aspiration was there — each place has aspiration — but when it is a matter of manifestation on the outer plane, at one place the inner message is properly carried, and at another place it is not.

Also, the inhabitants of different cities tend to invoke spiritual Light in different ways. In one city I visited they invoke spiritual Light more through the mind than through the heart. They are invoking Light, praying and meditating, but through the mind. And there are places where the people invoke Light through the aspiring and dynamic vital and the physical. I also saw some fortunate cities where the majority of the people invoke Light through the psychic, the inner heart.

The first time I went to Europe, I entered into an unknown world. I knew nothing about Europe, and Europe knew nothing about me. The second time I went, the European countries saw something in me. This time, they saw something more in me. The atmosphere, the vibration, was more respectful and devoted than on my previous visits. I wish to say that I am the same man, with the same consciousness and the same boundless love, as I was two years ago. But when there are friends, admirers and devotees around, then the rest of the world gives more attention. So fortunately or unfortunately, now that I am a little well-known, people see more in me. In my case, however, my disciples and other seekers do not have to become well-known in order for me to see what they are. To me they are all instruments of God, divine instruments. From the very outset, the first time I see someone I see him as a divine instrument who will definitely work for God either with my dedicated assistance or under the guidance of some other spiritual Master.

Another thing I noticed is that the world is aspiring more and more. On the outer plane we see quarrelling, fighting and war, so we misunderstand. But on the inner plane, I see that these places have more aspiration and more determination than they did during my previous visits. Just because they are becoming more spiritual, more divine, they are seeing more in our path.

Sometimes we are inspired to run towards the goal because there are many others who are running, and this makes us feel that the goal has something to offer. And sometimes we go to the goal, not because others are running, but because we ourselves have the intense inner cry. Our inner cry has increased, our need for Love and Truth and Light has increased, and so we run towards the goal. So this time people have been attracted to our path for two reasons. One reason is that people have come to know about me through radio, television and newspaper articles, through Mahavishnu and Devadip, and through my writings. And the second reason is that the aspiration of all the disciples who follow my path devotedly and faithfully has definitely entered into the world atmosphere, and this helps the rest of the world to see something more in me. This is why we can say that my visit to Europe has been a tremendous success.

Question: Your philosophy states that the soul is always making progress, but how do you reconcile that with the fact that when someone commits suicide his soul falls?

Sri Chinmoy: When one commits suicide the soul of that person actually does not fall. But it remains at a particular place and is covered by infinitely more veils of ignorance. It is absolutely covered by ignorance — layer upon layer of ignorance. It is the consciousness of the individual that falls. It goes backwards right to the starting point, almost to the mineral consciousness where there is no evolution. The soul is eclipsed by teeming ignorance, that is to say by infinite layers of ignorance. Before, the soul had perhaps ten layers, but now it has countless layers of ignorance. The soul has to begin again removing them one by one. Of course, it becomes infinitely more difficult for the soul to carry the individual to perfect perfection, liberation or salvation. The consciousness descends so far that it goes back absolutely to the starting point. That starting point, you can say, is the mineral life, where there is no consciousness, no sense of evolution.

But if the Supreme wants to operate in a particular human being who has committed suicide, on very, very rare occasions, the Supreme asks the spiritual Masters, who have the capacity, to take care of that soul and not to allow it to be enveloped by teeming ignorance. In these cases, whatever the soul already has, is enough to bring the Grace and Compassion of the Supreme, and He will not allow a veil to cover the soul more than usual. But this is done only on very rare occasions. Otherwise, if a person commits suicide, evolution stops for that individual indefinitely — for one hundred, two hundred, five hundred, six hundred years or even more. He cannot go forward, and the heaviest possible load is placed on his shoulders. The process of his evolution stops. Because he has violated the laws of the cosmic game, he has to undergo the cosmic punishment. This punishment can never be imagined by any human being on earth. The worst possible earthly torture is simply nothing in comparison to the cosmic punishment the individual gets when he commits suicide. You cannot say to the cosmic forces, "I have done something wrong and it is none of your business. I shall reach my goal when I feel like reaching it." You have jumped out of the cosmic game intentionally, without God's permission and against His intention. He has not allowed you to leave the game, but you have actively and openly defied Him and tried to ruin the game. For this wrong action the punishment is most severe. This punishment is so intense that with our human heart we cannot feel it, with our human mind we cannot imagine it.

Question: Different organisations like the United Nations or the government of a country have souls. I know that you feel that these different souls have different qualities. But is there something inherent in all of them that is unchangeable and the same?

Sri Chinmoy: One thing that every soul has is consciousness. It is in this consciousness that we see the role of Peace, Light, Bliss and Power. There is no soul that does not have consciousness. But we have to see the consciousness within us. We have to see how it wants to manifest itself: with the help of Power or with the help of Light or Bliss or Peace. There will be some souls who would like to manifest themselves through Light, others through Bliss and still others through Power. But if you want to know the common characteristics that each soul has, then I wish to say that there is no soul that totally lacks consciousness. This consciousness is like a house. A man has to live in his house. He may fulfil himself by becoming an artist or an engineer or something else, but still he dwells inside the house. Likewise, the soul becomes all Light, all Power, all Bliss or all Peace just as a man adopts any profession he wants to adopt.

There are souls that do not want to function at all through Power. Again there are souls that do not want to function through Bliss. These souls prefer to function through Light or Peace or some other divine qualities. But all of them have consciousness. The unchanging, or unchangeable quality within every soul is consciousness. But at the same time, this consciousness can be expanded. It cannot be annihilated, but it can be expanded. In each individual consciousness it can be expanded. But if we enter into the Universal Consciousness then it becomes infinitely easier for us to transform the limited human consciousness. We are constantly dwelling in the human consciousness. Ordinarily it is impossible for us to enter into the Universal Consciousness. But if we meditate on the Universal Consciousness it can illumine and perfect our individual consciousness.

Question: Many years ago, when people got certain diseases they would have died quite quickly. But medical science has developed medicines that allow people who have these diseases now to stay alive, although they are usually unable to function normally and have to remain in a hospital bed. If a person's life is prolonged by medicines in spite of the agony of the body, when it would have been given up at an earlier period of history, is there any spiritual benefit from it?

Sri Chinmoy: From the spiritual point of view it is not a matter of how many years you stay on earth, but of how you utilise your time. Every second, every moment has to be considered of paramount importance. You can go to India and to other parts of the world and find people who have been enjoying sound health for, say, two hundred years. They are two hundred years old but have no aspiration at all. Last year when I went to India I saw a man who was, according to some people, three hundred years old, and according to others only two hundred. But when I entered into him I saw that he had no aspiration. Now, in the spiritual world, people who do not aspire are dead soldiers. Whether they stay on earth or leave is of no importance in the Eyes of God. This old man was just wasting his time on earth.

But if you are aspiring and in spite of your aspiration you are caught by ignorance-forces and have contracted some disease, if the medical science can be of help to you by prolonging your stay on earth, and at the same time if you can continue to invoke Light from Above in order to continue your spiritual march, that is a great opportunity for you. If one is aspiring and making progress in the spiritual life, then if that person can stay even one second more on earth, it is a great blessing for him and also a great Joy for God. But if one is not aspiring, only wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance, and medical science enables that person to stay on earth for a number of years, then in God's Eye it is of no value. Only he who makes inner progress is of importance to God. If one stays on earth for two hundred or three hundred years, only killing time and not inspiring anybody else on earth, then he is a disgrace to God's cosmic evolution. But if a person is aspiring and hostile forces have attacked him, or if nature's law is causing him to suffer, and he has tremendous eagerness to do the right thing and to become the right thing, to please God and to fulfil mankind, then in his life on earth every second is of greatest value, not only for himself but also for God, and for humanity's life.

We have to know if the individual is aspiring or not. If he is a seeker, every second on earth is of paramount importance in God's Eye. If he is not, then he is a failure in God's Eye and he is a disgrace to aspiring humanity. If a person feels that just to stay on earth is enough for him, God may say, "All right. If that is your goal, you stay." But if somebody has a higher goal, if he has a real goal, God will give him the opportunity in every possible way to stay on earth and reach his goal. Otherwise, he has to come back again. Human life is like a constant battle. If you have been fighting for a long time and if you become too tired to continue, naturally you will go and take rest, and then enter into the battlefield again later. But if you do not become tired and if you do not have to go and take rest, then you will continue to fight against ignorance, against imperfection, for a long, long time, and perhaps you will win the battle once and for all. And once you conquer the undivine forces which are constantly attacking you, once you are successful, at that time you manifest God, the inner Divinity within you.

Question: Guru, you said if we wish to serve the world we must have the proper attitude. Could you explain please what that attitude is.

Sri Chinmoy: If we wish to work in the world and for the world, our attitude should be one of dedicated service. We have to feel that the rest of the world is ours, that everyone is a member of the same family. When the attitude of help comes into the picture, we become proud. When we help others, immediately we feel that we are superior to them. But if we take the attitude of service, if we remain in the ordinary consciousness we may feel that we are inferior to others; but if we remain in the divine consciousness, we feel that we have been given a golden opportunity to serve the vast world. Now this opportunity is given to us by the Inner Pilot, the Supreme who is within us and within everyone. So when we are working for others, we have to feel the Inner Pilot has given us the golden opportunity to serve Him in others.

If we are sincere and have the idea only of serving, and if we feel that somebody else could have been given this golden opportunity, then we become humble. Humility is not humiliation but rather the expansion of our consciousness. It is like this. The conscious Light that feels everything as one is in our heart. Now this Light comes and takes my hand as the instrument and says, "Touch your head." I touch it, and then the Light says, "Now touch your feet." But now I am unwilling, because I feel that this time I am becoming a slave whereas before, when I touched my head, I was the master. But when I know that my feet, my heart, my head are all one, I don't feel that it is beneath my dignity to touch my feet. Our attitude here should be the one of surrender, surrender to the command. So if we serve the world with the idea that the world is ours and we are part and parcel of the world, the question of superiority and inferiority can never arise.

We are asked to do something. Why is it that God has asked us and not somebody else? Because He feels that we have the inner surrender, the inner willingness, and we want to do it in a divine way. Now two persons can do something and their outer success will be the same; but their attitudes may totally differ. In God's Eye, the attitude is most important, not the so-called success. If we do something devotedly and unconditionally, then God feels that is a real success. If we achieve something by hook or by crook, by deceiving the world, we may get the success on the surface. But our conscience will torture us and then a day will come when everything will be exposed and we will become victim to both our own inner conscience and the outer public.

When we serve the world, we have to feel that we are not the doer, but that Somebody else is. We may not know Him, we may not see Him, but we can feel Him. God is nearer than our nose, nearer than our eyes, much nearer, but we don't have to see Him in order to know it. We have been sitting here meditating for half an hour; we may not have seen the golden Face of God, but we have felt something guiding and inspiring us. Hundreds of people are working at the United Nations, but why have just you people come here to meditate? It is because Someone has inspired you to do the right thing and to become the right person. And that Someone is God. If Somebody from within had not inspired you, then by this time you would have gone for your lunch break or left to mix with your friends.

Now others who are not paying attention to the spiritual life may be much greater than we are. In the eyes of the world greatness is determined by who has the authority, who has the power of autocracy; it depends on how much physical power or vital power or mental power one can wield. But in God's Eye, whoever wants to expand his heart's capacity, whoever has the heart's magnanimity, is really great. In God's Eye, greatness means goodness. Whoever is good becomes God's chosen son or chosen daughter.

In order to serve God in man and man in God, the first thing we have to do is pray and meditate. When we meditate, inside our meditation we will find the divine message or command, and we will also see how this order can be executed. If we discard prayer and meditation and become world-lovers, philanthropists, we are making a mistake. We will be like a human body without a backbone. No! First we have to become a God-lover, and then see humanity inside God. If through our meditation we see God and feel His Presence, then naturally we shall care for mankind. God is like the root of the cosmic tree. If we want to water the branches or the leaves and fruit, it is impossible; we have to water the base of the tree, the root. That is to say, we have to please God first and only in this way shall we be able to serve and fulfil mankind.

Question: When one enters into the spiritual life, does the kundalini automatically arise, or does this only happen in certain people?

Sri Chinmoy: There are various paths that lead to the Goal. Kundalini is one path that offers special power, but there are other paths which also offer similar powers. Let us say there are three roads leading towards the same destination. One road has quite a few trees and flowers, the second has a few trees and flowers and the third one does not have any at all. While walking the kundalini path, you see some power, but this power is definitely not the ultimate power. For those who have no spiritual or occult power, kundalini power seems very vast. But in comparison to the power that the Goal has, this power is nothing. Now on some other path, this kind of power is not there. The road is clear, and you just go and reach the Goal. Then once you reach the Goal, you get the omnipotent Power, whereas the follower of kundalini often just stays with his limited power. On very rare occasions have seekers fallen from the spiritual path because they have achieved spiritual power, but kundalini power, occult power, has taken many, many sincere seekers away from the Truth. Most of the time, kundalini power is a curse and not a blessing. If you misuse kundalini power, then you are ruined. You destroy all your possibilities to realise the Highest, and God knows how many incarnations it will take you to come back to the right path again. Now ninety-nine per cent of the time the kundalini power is misused. But if you properly use it, then you get inspiration to do something good for the world.

There are many spiritual Masters of the highest order who do not have kundalini power because they have not followed that path, but they have spiritual power which is much stronger. The real power, spiritual power, comes to the seeker in the process of his inner growth. Again, if God is pleased with a seeker who is following a different path, He can give the seeker a little bit of kundalini power. If He feels that the seeker may need kundalini power in the future in order to manifest Him in a specific way, then God sends some messenger who is working in kundalini to give that person power. All the different spiritual qualities are in God's room. If you enter into God's room, here you will see a box marked Peace, and others marked Light and Love and Delight and Power. Now you are only caring for Peace, but God feels that you may also need a little bit of Power. The world is such that if you don't show a little bit of power, people don't believe. So if God feels the necessity for Power in your life, even though you don't want kundalini power, God will give it. But if God does not feel any necessity, then even if you cry for kundalini power, He will not give it to you.

People start their spiritual journey with a good attitude; they care only for God, Truth, Light. But after walking for two or three or six months, they find that the path is very dry. They see that they are not getting name and fame or that they are not getting the miraculous power; so they give up and follow another path like kundalini. That path is easy because as soon as you get something, you can show all your miraculous power to the world and feel that you are something. But this power will never give you even an iota of peace of mind. First of all, you will be misunderstood by many because the use of occult power in no way elevates anybody's consciousness. Like a magician, you are showing something and it creates a kind of excitement that lasts for a few minutes or an hour. But then you and those who have become excited feel miserable because you know that this is not going to last forever, that there are higher truths and higher realities. You say, "We came into the world for peace, for love, for joy, for happiness, for satisfaction. Now is this the satisfaction that we want?" So you enter into the real spiritual life, where kundalini is not required. Here what is required is only an inner cry for Truth, Light and Bliss. Once you get Truth, Light and Bliss you won't care for kundalini power. It is just like a child who has five cents. He knows that he will be able to distribute those five cents to five children of his age. But when the child knows that his father has thousands of dollars, then he will not be interested in the five cents. So here, the thousands of dollars is the real spiritual power.

If you want to be satisfied with a little bit of kundalini power, meditate for a few hours daily, for six or seven years, which is nothing. In order to realise God it takes quite a few incarnations, unless you have a good spiritual Master. If you only concentrate on the chakras and meditate for kundalini, then as you complete your school course in fourteen or fifteen years, so also you will easily get kundalini power. And, if you are a very good student, you can skip a few grades and get kundalini power in just four or five or six years.

Question: Can you give us some suggestions on how we might use in our jobs the Light, Joy, Bliss and other things that we receive in our meditation here?

Sri Chinmoy: When you meditate here you do get something — either Peace or Light or Bliss, or some other divine qualities. These divine qualities are your treasure. When you want to buy something in the outer world you need money to buy it. You keep your money in your wallet and you use it whenever you want to. With your inner treasure, please try to feel that your wallet is your heart. When you meditate you earn money in the form of Peace, Light and Power — and you keep it in your heart. Do not feel that when you are here you get things and later, just because you are not meditating consciously, you no longer have any wealth. No! You work for eight hours a day for five days, and you get paid. This money you can use any time you want to. It is absolutely yours. Because you have prayed and meditated, you have earned this divine wealth. Now with ordinary money-power you buy things that you want. But with Light-power or Peace-power you try to conquer something instead of buying it. You conquer ignorance by inundating it with your inner Light and Peace. When you go to your office you have to associate with many people who are not aspiring at all. They have their own world, their own life. Now with your Peace, Light and Bliss you keep a solid, adamantine wall between yourself and these unaspiring people. On the outer plane you may be quite cordial, friendly and sympathetic, but on the inner plane you have to be very strong always. You have to remember that right now you are a tiny, fragile plant which can be easily destroyed. But you do have the power within you to create a protective barrier between yourself and your associates, a power to fight ignorance. This power, which is in the form of Peace, Light or Bliss, you get from your meditation here.

Now you must be constantly aware that you do have this inner power. If you do not feel it, then in spite of having it you will not be able to use it to solve your problems. You have money in your pocket, but if you forget that it is there, then naturally when you see something you want you will not be able to buy it. This very often happens. Even now we are all inseparably one with God, but we have forgotten. Only by practising meditation for years and years do we come to realise what it means to be inseparably one with God. People who have realised God say that God was always there within them but they had totally forgotten. All of us have divinity within us, but a spiritual Master has become conscious of it. We are praying and meditating in order to become conscious of the fact that inside us God exists. When you pray and meditate here, try to keep the experience that you get constantly alive inside you. You have something, but it is up to you to utilise it. If you do not use it, then after some time it loses its power. So when you meditate here you do get Power, Peace, Light and Bliss. Peace is power, Light is power, all divine qualities are power, power to stand against the ignorance of the outer world. So always try to remind yourself of the divine qualities that you achieve during your meditation and then you will see that it is quite easy to stand against ignorance. If you just remember the qualities that you have achieved, these very qualities will fight on your behalf against ignorance.

Question: Can an individual have a feeling of insecurity because of a feeling of separation from God?

Sri Chinmoy: We feel insecure in our outer life because we are not one with the rest of the world. When we feel our oneness with the rest of the world then we never feel insecure. Now what after all is this feeling of universal oneness, oneness with the rest of the world? It is the Consciousness of God, who is all-pervading and all-embracing.

An ordinary person may not think of God, but he immediately thinks of his brother, sister, friend, neighbour. Each human being appears to him as a stranger, someone alien and therefore unreal. He feels that only he exists. Others do not exist for him. The rest of the world is for someone else or for something else. But if he feels that the rest of the world is also for him and that there is no difference between his existence and the existence of others then his consciousness will immediately expand. There is only one existence. This One has become many, like a tree with many branches and many leaves, many flowers and many fruits. In the ordinary life, we immediately think of ourselves as individual entities. But if we can think of everyone as our very own, as part and parcel of our existence like the limbs of our body, then this problem of insecurity can be solved.

We feel insecure, we are bound to feel insecure as long as we do not feel the living Presence of God, as long as we feel that we are separated from our source, which is God. We feel insecure because we feel that our source is ignorance and that our ultimate destination is also ignorance. But if we can feel that we are not separated from God, but that God has sent us here to earth to be His instruments, then we shall not feel insecure. If we can feel that our source is Light and Delight, and that at the end of our soul's journey we shall return to that source, then we will not feel insecure.

We can feel that our source is God only when we aspire, pray and meditate. When we do not aspire, when we do not pray and meditate, we are bound to feel that our source is something unknown and unknowable. And this unknown and unknowable to us is ignorance. But the seeker who has launched into the spiritual path will feel that what is unknown today will become known tomorrow. Today his God is unknown but knowable. Tomorrow his God will be something known. The day after tomorrow his God will be at once the Knower and the Known.

When we know who the source is and who is piloting us all the time, we cannot be insecure. When we feel that we are responsible, that we are doing and must do everything, then we are insecure. But if we feel that there is a higher force guiding our destiny, and we are mere instruments, then we shall not feel insecure. When we feel that it is God's Will that we are cheerfully, soulfully and unconditionally executing, then how can there be any sense of insecurity?

Question: What is our duty to our close ones living on earth and also to the ones in the other world? I think it is probably good to pray for them, but sometimes I feel close to someone and sometimes I feel a long distance away. Also, I have a feeling sometimes that people may be reincarnated.

Sri Chinmoy: Here we are dealing with the feeling of oneness. Somebody may stay beside you for twenty-four hours, but you may not feel any sense of oneness. Here at the United Nations you have quite a few friends and colleagues. Every day you spend seven or eight hours with them, but when you go home they are totally forgotten, obliterated from your memory. On the other hand, while you are in the office with all these people, some sweet memory of your mother, who is in France, may be constantly knocking at your heart's door. Then you become like a boat, constantly plying between the shores of America and France. Why? It is because of your oneness: your constant inseparable oneness with your mother, which is making you feel her presence.

Similarly, the departed ones are on another shore. You are on this shore of life and they are on the other shore of life. If you are very advanced in the spiritual life, or if you are realised, you will always have a boat in which to go to the other shore at your sweet will and enjoy the company of your departed friends and relatives. And if they have come back to this shore, reincarnated in a different body, that also you will always be able to know. This entirely depends on your inner growth and inner achievement.

Now sometimes you feel that your departed dear ones are not close to you, and sometimes you feel that they are very close. Why? When the inner bond is not strong, you are bound to feel that there is something missing, something lacking, something imperfect in your connection with these loved ones. But if it is God's Will that you should keep a close connection with your dear ones who are on the other shore of the life-river, then you are bound to feel their living presence in your day-to-day life. If it is not His Will, then you have to feel that this connection is not at all necessary. Only the ones who are your brothers and sisters in the spiritual realm, here on earth, are really yours. The departed and dear ones were once also yours. God gave you the responsibility to think of some people, to help some people once, and now He has given you the responsibility to think of other people and to be of help and service to them. This does not mean that those departed souls do not exist in your life. They do exist, but the responsibility for them God has taken away from you. God has now given you a new responsibility, for new friends, for other souls who are on earth.

Again, you have every right, and it is a divine accomplishment if, during your meditation, you offer your goodwill to the departed ones. You may not know whether they are in Heaven or on earth. But if you offer your heart's goodwill and your soul's light, no matter where they are, whether in Heaven or on earth, they are bound to feel some light from somewhere. Their outer mind, if they have taken human incarnation, may not know that it is coming from you. But it is not at all necessary that they should know from whom it is coming. The only important thing is that something is coming. Who gives it is of no importance. Whether I bring down Peace and Light from Above, or whether your soul brings it down, or whether it descends of its own accord is of no importance. But whether Light enters into you from Above, and whether your inner being is surcharged with Light, is of paramount importance.

So offer your soul's light to your departed dear ones if you want to, but also feel that God has given you the supreme task of serving Him in those who are on earth, and that you should fulfil that task.

Question: Now, I would very much like to learn something about what the spiritual heart is like, and what connection it has with the other chakras and with the Kundalini power. Also, how does the ajna chakra, the centre between the eyebrows, affect the spiritual heart?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, let us know the difference between the ordinary human heart and the spiritual heart.

The human heart is in the chest, a small muscle which the doctors can show us. The spiritual heart is something which a seeker sees, feels and grows into. The spiritual heart is vaster than the vastest. Right now Infinity is an imaginary concept for us. But when we discover our inner heart, our spiritual heart, Infinity is no longer imagination; it is reality.

The universe, the Universal Consciousness, the Eternal Consciousness, the Infinite Consciousness, Immortality, Divinity and so forth — where are they? They are all inside the spiritual heart. On the one hand this spiritual heart houses Divinity, Immortality, Eternity, Infinity; on the other hand it transcends everything. We use the term Transcendental Consciousness. Again, we speak of the ever-transcending Transcendental Consciousness. The Transcendental Consciousness, turiya, is the highest, but this Transcendental Consciousness is not static. It is also constantly being transcended. God is infinite, eternal and immortal. But all spiritual Masters know that God is also ever-progressing. God Himself is in the process of evolution. He is making progress, constant progress, in and through everyone, in order to establish perfect Perfection on earth.

When we think of the chakras, we think of them as being inside something — that is, inside the subtle body. Sthula sharira is the gross physical body. Inside this body is the sukshma sharira, the subtle body. And inside the subtle body is karana sharira, the causal body. These bodies are totally different, but they are all members of the same family. The subtle body at times operates through the physical. At times the causal body, which is in seed form, can operate in and through the subtle body and the physical body. Although the causal body is like a tiny seed, from this seed a banyan tree can grow. It takes a few years, but then the banyan tree bears thousands of fruits. The potentiality of the seed is infinite.

Mentally we will never know what Infinity is. It is all imagination. But there comes a time when imagination is transformed into reality. If somebody had once told me that there is somebody by the name of Sri Krishna Ganesan, until I had seen that person, he would have remained all imagination. But now I have seen you. Now you are a reality to me. According to the physical reality, you are perhaps 5'6" in height, but inside the physical reality is the inner reality — your teeming inner experiences. Some of these experiences are very high, very deep, and some are not. Again, some of these experiences are from this incarnation, and some are not. When I see the experiences only of this incarnation I see that you have had thousands of experiences. Now, who is holding these experiences? The soul or what we call the psychic being. In Sanskrit we call it chaitya purusha. This psychic being has gathered and kept the experiences of previous incarnations as well as of this one. The quintessence of all your previous incarnations has been preserved by the psychic being. Deep inside our existence, inside the soul, inside the psychic being, inside the mind, inside the vital, inside the gross physical, all these experiences are there. But when the doctors operate, or when they examine you, they cannot discover it, this inner wealth of yours. Why not? Just because this infinite inner wealth that you have can be seen only by something which is also infinite. Only Infinity can measure Infinity; only Light can measure Light. We may see something right in front of us, but in order to evaluate it we have to have something which is equally powerful or equally illumined.

Here the third eye comes into the picture. Let us say that the heart is Consciousness and the third eye is Light, although there is no actual difference between the two. The third eye or ajna chakra can annul or destroy the previous karma, it can expedite the present evolution, and it can bring to the fore the future wealth. The third eye has infinite Light, and at the same time is infinite Light; and the heart or anahata chakra possesses infinite Consciousness, and at the same time is infinite Consciousness. These two are eternal friends. Let us say that the infinite Light is a building, and inside it is the heart, which is the resident. But the next moment, the infinite Consciousness, which I am now calling the heart, can become the building, and the infinite Light, which I am now calling the third eye, will become the resident. Like this they constantly change. Now, if the third eye is not fully open, the spiritual heart cannot function properly. That is why we try to open the third eye. Now, in order to open the third eye, this physical body must undergo some transformation. Purity must descend. We have to control the senses. We have to have infinite patience. We want to reach the Highest sooner than at once, but we cannot reach it by hook or by crook. We are crying for Infinity and Eternity, as a child cries for candy or milk. The Eternal Child in us is also crying, but we have to have infinite patience. Sri Ramakrishna used to cry every day to the Supreme Goddess, Kali: "O Mother, come! Come and stand in front of me." When the day had passed and the Mother had not come to him, he felt that the following day he would have to pray and meditate with more inner intensity. On the one hand, we must try our hardest to see our Beloved Supreme right in front of us; on the other hand, we have to feel that we are in the process of eternal time, and that we must have infinite patience. If we have infinite patience then the finite earthbound time expands itself into the infinite, or the infinite time enters into the finite.

God is omnipotent, not because He is larger than the largest but because this moment He can be the tiniest and most insignificant ant and the next moment He can be infinitely vaster than the ocean. Him we call God precisely because He can be whatever He wants to be: vaster than the vastest or tinier than the tiniest. Anoraniyan mahato mahiyan… The spiritual heart also has the same capacity. Although it is infinite, eternal and immortal, it can easily reside inside the gross physical heart. Again, it has the capacity to take the physical heart into its Vastness, into its Infinity, into its Eternity. At one moment the Infinite will separate itself from the finite; at the next moment it will welcome the finite into itself and become totally one with the finite. In the spiritual life, not only can the drop of water enter the ocean, but the ocean also has the capacity to enter into the tiny drop.

The spiritual heart is here [in the chest], here [in the forehead], everywhere. Because it is infinite, it pervades the entire universe. But although Consciousness and Light are inseparable, some spiritual Masters have seen Light before Consciousness, or Consciousness before Light. And the one which they see first, they feel is the Source of the other. It is like this. These two fingers are on the same hand. Suppose the name of this finger is Light and the name of this finger is Consciousness. If you see this one first then immediately you will say, "The Source is Light." And you will see that Consciousness itself is inside this Light. But if you have seen the Consciousness finger first, then you will say, "The Source is Consciousness." And you will see that Light is inside this Consciousness. Some spiritual Masters of the highest order see Consciousness first, while others see Light first. And depending on which they see first, they feel that the Source of everything is either Light or Consciousness. But a time comes when they see that both Light and Consciousness are inseparable. They go together, like the obverse and reverse of a coin. When I am buying something from you, if I give you a quarter, it does not matter which side is turned towards you. You accept it because you are sure that the other side is there, too. Whatever is required is there. So Light and Consciousness always go together.

Yes, we can separate them when we use our human knowledge, human wisdom. But when we use our divine wisdom, divine light, divine consciousness, we cannot separate the heart from the ajna chakra. They are complements, like husband and wife. We can say the third eye is the husband and the heart is the wife, since the heart usually is all sweetness and love, and the third eye is power and illumination-light. The wife's main quality is softness, kindness, while the husband's main quality is knowledge, wisdom and other mental things. But again, those who are very wise feel that the third eye is also the heart, for what else is the heart except that which gives us satisfaction? And what can give us satisfaction? Only Light! Only Light can give satisfaction. So if Light from the third eye gives us satisfaction, naturally we are dealing with the heart quality. What can give us a constant sense of wisdom? Wisdom comes only when we are deep inside the inmost recesses of our breath, inside our heart where Infinity, Eternity and Immortality play. To possess Infinity as our very own, to possess infinite Light and Bliss eternally as our very own — this is wisdom. So we can say that wisdom also comes from the heart. When we have the feeling of eternal wisdom, we feel that it comes from the heart. Like this the heart and third eye, the anahata chakra and the ajna chakra, go together. Like purusha and prakriti, God as the Father and God as the Mother, the heart and the third eye go together.

Now, about the connection of the heart with the chakras and the Kundalini power. There are six chakras. Starting at the base of the spine, they are: muladhara, svadhisthana, manipura, anahata, vishuddha, ajna. A seventh chakra, sahasrara, at the crown of the head, is not counted along with the other six, because it is not directly connected with them.

Kundalini power, you can say, is on the surface, absolutely on the surface of the spiritual heart. It is this way. On the surface of the sea are waves and all kinds of movement. When a child sees the waves of the ocean he is so fascinated. But an adult will try to go deep within the ocean to where there is quiet and calm, absolute tranquillity, for there he will get the greatest joy. The adult cares for the silent and eternal depths.

All the miracles that you may have heard of or may see are like the play of children in a garden. A child has the capacity to pick a flower or to pinch someone or to show how much strength he has by throwing a brick and doing all kinds of mischief. The Cosmic Mother observes the games of her children. Like an ordinary mother, she enjoys having her children playing around her. "My children can jump, they can run, they can throw," she says. "Let us enjoy the game, this Cosmic Game." But the Father feels that the children cannot go on playing all the time. They have to study sometimes, or they will remain fools.

When a child is playing he is getting joy, physical joy. But when he studies he gets another kind of joy, a joy which is deeper and more fulfilling. On the physical plane when somebody achieves something we appreciate him. If somebody does something great on the mental plane, we appreciate that person more. When somebody achieves something on the psychic plane, those who are in a position to appreciate him appreciate him even more. And when somebody achieves something on the soul's plane, God's plane, those who know of it appreciate him most of all. Maharshi Ramana did not care for study; Sri Ramakrishna did not care for study. There are many spiritual Masters who did not care for study. But all the scholars of the Western world should go and touch the feet of these illiterate men of infinite Wisdom. The higher, the deeper we go, the more convincing, the more illumining, the more worthwhile is the wisdom we get. In the spiritual realm, Kundalini power is like the achievement on the physical plane.

A mother feels that even if her son is sixty years old, he is still her young child, her baby. But when a father sees that his son is thirteen or fourteen years old, he immediately tries to give the son all his wisdom. He says, "You cannot call yourself a child any more. Tomorrow I may die and you will have to replace me and take full responsibility for all my jobs." But the mother says, "No! No! No! I want my children to remain here with me." Now I am not saying a word against the Mother. Only it is the Mother's nature to regard Her sons as Her eternal children. The Father says, "Yes, you are eternal children, true, but you have to work for Me. You have to take the responsibility of the entire universe. Showing off and doing all these things is good for five years, ten years, twenty years, but it cannot last forever."

The son of God, Jesus Christ, was on earth for thirty-three years, and only during the last three years of his life did he perform miracles. But do you think the world still adores and worships him because he could walk on water or cure people or resurrect a dead man? No, it is not because of his miracles that he is still worshipped, but because he brought down the Eternal Consciousness, the Infinite Consciousness within him. Ramakrishna performed practically no miracles, and there were many, many spiritual Masters who did not do miracles. They felt that performing miracles on the physical plane would be like acting in the capacity of a child in comparison to what they were capable of doing on the spiritual plane, in the heart's region where infinite Peace, Light and Bliss abide.

The Father tells the child to go beyond the Cosmic Game. For it is only when one goes beyond the Cosmic Game that one will attain infinite Peace, Light and Bliss. The Father says, "You have to go beyond the Kundalini into a higher state of consciousness. First enter into the sushupti, the state of deep sleep. Then go into swapna, the dreaming state; then into jagriti, the waking state; and finally enter into turiya, the Transcendental Consciousness. And, My children, you can even go beyond that and remain in sahaja samadhi, a constant, spontaneous and dynamic oneness with Me on all planes of reality."

The same Mother, the same cosmic Divine Mother who holds all the Kundalini power, who is the Kundalini power, is far, far beyond it. With Her aspect of the ever-transcending Beyond, She is mixing with Her consort, Purusha, Shiva, or the Absolute. With Her ever-transcending Consciousness, She is one with the Absolute. Again, with Her playful consciousness, She is playing with Her children in Her Cosmic Game. Kundalini power, and all the miraculous powers on earth, are fleeting, for Kundalini power is an earthbound power. But the Power of the Self is infinite, the Power of the Transcendental Self is infinite and immortal. The most important thing on earth for a spiritual seeker is the realisation of the Self, the awakening of the consciousness, for this is eternal. If somebody comes here and performs some miracle, we will be fascinated. But the moment we go home there will be nothing to sustain our faith in it. It seems to be all magic and trickery. And how long can we cherish the magician inside us or before us? But when somebody lifts up our consciousness even for a second or we ourselves do it on the strength of our intense aspiration, our faith in that experience lasts, because it is our own experience, our inner experience. Anything that lasts forever we need. It is Immortality, inner Immortality that we need, and this comes through the awakening and elevation of our consciousness.

Question: I would like to know the difference between prayer and meditation.

Sri Chinmoy: The difference between prayer and meditation is this: prayer is something absolutely intense and upward-soaring, while meditation is wide and vast, expanding itself ultimately into the Infinite. When we pray, we feel a vibration from the sole of our feet to the crown of our head. Our whole being is praying, invoking, calling upwards. Where meditation is concerned, we throw ourselves into a vast expanse, into a sea of Peace, a sea of Delight, into Infinity; or we welcome the Infinite Vast into us.

In prayer, we feel a one-pointed flame rising and soaring upward. The very nature of prayer is to reach God by going up. Our entire existence is going up like a flame. Even if we pray to God for humanity, for the entire world, we will see that by the very nature of prayer, we are going up. Prayer is intense and ardent. It does not usually spread. But meditation does spread; in fact, it is immediate expansion. Meditation, like the wings of a bird, is always spreading, widening into Peace, Light and Delight. The entire universe of Light and Delight we see, feel and grow into when we meditate.

Whenever we pray there is a subtle desire or aspiration for something. We pray to become good, or to have something divine which we do not now have, or to be free from fear, danger, doubt and so on. There is the feeling of being — let us use the term — a divine beggar. We are praying because we need something. Even when we pray for Peace, Light and Bliss, there is still a certain feeling of demand. Sometimes there is a personal feeling of give-and-take and the prayer takes this form: "I am bringing my prayer to You, Lord. I am giving, Lord. So You please do something for me. You please save me, help me, fulfil me."

But in meditation we do not do that. We just allow ourselves consciously to enter into the effulgence of Light, or we invoke the Universal Light to transform our ignorance into wisdom. The aspirant who has become successful in his meditation, and has been able to enter into the deeper regions of Infinity or Eternity, does not pray the way we pray in churches or synagogues or temples. In his meditation, he enters into the divine consciousness and leaves everything in God's Hands. Here we see the true surrendering attitude. The seeker feels it is not necessary to ask God for anything, since his divine Father knows exactly what he needs and when to give it to him. He lets God do what is best for him, what will allow him to manifest God in God's own Way. In the deepest meditation, the seeker just enters into his own infinite aspect. He dives deep into what he already has: an inseparable oneness with his Eternal Father. Then it is his Father's business to do what is best for him or give him what is best for him.

Now I wish to say something which you Westerners may not like. According to strict Indian philosophy and Yoga, prayer is not on the same level as meditation. It is a lesser form of aspiration than meditation. Some yogis have stated that prayer is just a beginning for sincere seekers who aspire to later enter into deeper meditation.

For the real seeker, I must say that meditation is more important than prayer. But prayer is also of great importance. I will never say that prayer is not needed at all. Prayer is needed, but if one meditates, then it is easier to attain the universal Consciousness or the unlimited Consciousness. When one prays, he most often has a definite objective in mind. But when one meditates, he is encompassing and embracing the entire universe. One has to know what one wants from life. If one wants Infinity, Eternity and Immortality — infinite Peace, Light and Bliss — then meditation will be of greater and more immediate help.

Appendix: these quotes, from other writings of Sri Chinmoy, were included in the first editions.

"The mightiest Power is the highest Compassion.
This highest Compassion is at once God the Quality and God the Quantity.
To realise God one needs God the Quality.
To help the world realise God one needs God the Quantity."

"Mind forgets but never forgives.
Heart forgives but never forgets.
Soul forgives and forgets all at once."

"He conquers who loves.
He loves who feels.
He feels who sacrifices.
He sacrifices who aspires.
He aspires who serves God in man."

"To conceal one's own ability is no virtue.
To reveal one's own ability is no crime.
Not to fulfil God's Will on earth is the clear indication of the death of virtue and the undeniable birth of crime in one's life of aspiration."

"Love will outlive the destructive mind.
Devotion will outlive the uncertain heart.
Surrender will outlive the negative life."

"Mind preaches more than it actually teaches.
Heart teaches more than it usually preaches.
The soul neither preaches nor teaches. It only learns. It learns the meaning of creation from God Himself."

"A seeker's struggling mind needs the right path.
A seeker's searching heart needs the right teacher.
A seeker's aspiring soul needs the right God."

Editor's preface to the first edition

The United Nations Meditation Group is a group of United Nations staff members, delegates and representatives from non-governmental organisations accredited to the United Nations who believe that there is a spiritual way to work for world peace as well as a political way. Twice a week the Group meets at the U.N. for non-sectarian meditations and spiritual discussions on brotherhood and world union.

The United Nations Meditation Group functions under the inner guidance of its Spiritual Director, Sri Chinmoy, who conducts the Group's meetings and also delivers the continuing Dag Hammarskjold monthly lecture series at the U.N. It is Sri Chinmoy who best sums up the credo to which the Group adheres:

"//WE BELIEVE...//
... and we hold that each man has the potentiality of reaching the Ultimate Truth. We also believe that man cannot and will not remain imperfect forever. Each man is an instrument of God. When the hour strikes, each individual soul listens to the inner dictates of God. When man listens to God, his imperfections are turned into perfections, his ignorance into knowledge, his searching mind into revealing light and his uncertain reality into all-fulfilling Divinity."

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