Flame-Waves, part 5

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Question: What does power mean in the spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: In the ordinary life, power means supremacy. If you have power, consciously or unconsciously you will try to be one step ahead of me or one inch above me. Human power tries to make you lord it over others. It does not allow you to be one with someone else.

But spiritual power, divine power, is the power of expansion, identification and oneness. With spiritual power you try to identify yourself with the rest of the world. The sufferings, the joys of all human beings will become yours for a while. When you first achieve spiritual power, it takes the form of identification. But then you will go higher and deeper to oneness. Human power tries to make you lord it over others.

Identification lasts for a short time — for an hour, a half-hour, a minute. When you see a person suffering, you will momentarily identify with his suffering. And if you see someone in a very cheerful frame of mind, you will identify yourself with his happiness for an hour or so. Then it becomes, “out of sight, out of mind”. The particular person is not in front of you any longer, so you do not know whether he is suffering or in a happy mood. But when you have established oneness, no matter where the person is, in some way or other the suffering or the joy of that person will become part and parcel of your life. When you have oneness, it is for twenty-four hours a day.

After achieving oneness, you have to reveal and manifest your oneness. One thing is to embody oneness; another is to reveal it; still another is to manifest it. The difference is this. Say that you have any kind of power, the capacity to write a poem, for example. This is also a form of power. This capacity or power you embody. When you actually write the poem you reveal the power. Anybody can see it if they come and ask you. Then, if the poem is published and people are getting benefit out of it in any way, that is called manifestation, which is a third kind of power.

In the spiritual life, power will enable you to identify and help make you one with the rest of the world. Then it will help you to reveal your capacity, and finally it will help you to manifest your capacity — all without any sense of supremacy.

Question: In the message for the New Year for 1974 you mention diving deep within. Could you please speak about that?

Sri Chinmoy: When we dive deep within two things usually happen: we see all our good qualities and we see all our bad qualities. Normally when we see our bad qualities, we become frustrated. We feel that we are full of imperfection, and that in every field we are weak, insecure and useless. But when we go deep within and see these imperfections looming large, we are not disappointed or disheartened. Why? Because we see our perfections as well at the same time. We see our love for God, our love for mankind, our cry for Beauty, Peace, Light, Harmony, Bliss. Then it is up to us to choose either imperfection or perfection. When we choose perfection, we feel tremendous strength in ourselves. We feel that we can easily overcome the imperfections that we see within and around us.

But there is no end to our inner journey, and we can go still deeper within. When we go deep — very, very deep — at that time we do not see any imperfection either in ourselves or in anybody else. What we actually see is that we are having an experience and that they are having an experience. This experience is neither good nor bad. What you call bad I may call good, and somebody else may say it is neither bad nor good. These distinctions of good and bad are all in the mind, which is very limited. If we go a little within, we see good and bad as two different things. But if we go to the deepest, there is nothing bad. All creation and all experience is good.

If you accept a path, when you go deep within you feel that that path is everything. If you have a Master, when you remain deep within, you feel that that Master is everything. Otherwise, you will feel that that path is very bad, the Master is very bad, your friends are very bad, everybody is very bad, even God. And you will feel also that you yourself are very bad. But when you go deep within, even your so-called enemies will seem good because you will feel at that time that God is having an experience in and through them in a different way. You will say: “What right have I to criticise my enemies? After all, they are also God’s children.” Because you are spiritual, you will try to feel your oneness with the whole world. As an ordinary human being you may find it difficult to accept your enemy as your own. But the moment you accept the spiritual life, the life of God, how can you have an enemy? You will only have friends whose views are different from yours.

If I want to play an instrument and my right hand plays well, then my right hand becomes my friend. But if my left hand cannot play at all well, shall I call my left hand my enemy? No! The right hand has the capacity, so it plays. That is why I am very happy with my right hand. My left hand does not give me the same result as my right hand. It is not in a position to do the same thing for me that I expect from my loving and devoted friends.

In the inner life, if I see that somebody cannot do something, I immediately become one with that person’s incapacity. If somebody is helpless, hopeless and useless in the outer life, I become one with that person in his incapacity, weakness and imperfection. I know I am quite safe in the inner world. There I have capacity, there I have perfection, there I have everything. The other person does not have it, but just because I have established my oneness with that person, I can go deep within and bring from there Peace, Light, Bliss in abundant measure to pour into him. And when I pour these into him, I see and feel that the person receiving my inner wealth is none other than myself.

Right now we feel that the outer world is one thing and the inner world is something else. In the inner world we feel safety, purpose and a sense of perfection. In the outer world we feel that everything is chaotic, everything is meaningless, everything is useless, everything is hopeless. The more we can stay in the inner world, which is the deeper world, the easier it becomes for us to control our outer life. We see the outer world as an extension of our inner life. Once we accept Peace or Light as our very own, we feel that Peace is enough, Light is enough to carry us to our destined Goal.

To dive deep within means to cry for the perfection without. I go deep within for the perfection, harmony, peace and bliss of my outer life. The outer life is mine and the inner life is also mine. But if I do not have the seed, how am I going to get the plant and the tree? The seed and the tree must go together. The seed is the inner life and the tree is the outer life. If I sow the seed today, in a few months I will get the plant, which will gradually grow into a giant banyan tree. Without the seed, the tree cannot come into existence. And again, when there is only the seed and no tree, how will the world appreciate the capacity of the seed or get any benefit in the form of fruit? The ultimate capacity of the seed is the fruit, and it is with the fruit that we fulfil our daily need and hunger. But the first thing is the seed. So let us go deep within, to the life of the seed, and let us then grow into the life of the tree and the fruit. When the seed of the inner life has grown into the strong and sturdy tree of the outer life, the outer world and the inner world will perfectly harmonise.

Question: Which is better: morning meditation or evening meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: They can be equally beneficial, equally fruitful. But in the evening, meditation becomes a little more difficult because for eight or ten hours during the day you have been in the hustle and bustle of the world. You have met with many unaspiring people, and unconsciously their undivine thoughts and impure ideas have entered into you. Unless you are very powerful spiritually, you will have assimilated many unaspiring and uninspiring forces from the world. So it becomes very difficult in the evening to meditate with the same hope, with the same freshness. If you take a shower it will help. If you associate with spiritual people, it will also help you. But usually it will not be the same.

But the following morning, everything will be out of your memory, at least for a while. During the time that you slept, the distractions of the outer world were washed away. All the impurities that had come into you from others were washed away. During the eight hours that you are asleep your soul, like a divine thief, is observing. An ordinary thief will steal something from you. But this divine thief will only give and give. If you need peace at one spot, your soul will put peace there. It is like a mother. A mother comes into the child’s room secretly, early in the morning. So as soon as the child gets up, he will be able to get the things he needs and go to school. At night the soul gets the opportunity to do what is necessary for you while you are sleeping. But during the day, when you are absorbed in the activities of the outer world, it becomes extremely difficult for the soul to give and for you to receive. For these reasons, morning meditation is usually the best.

Now, when you sit down to meditate, if you are ninety-nine per cent in the world of sleep and one per cent in this world, then how can you have a fruitful meditation? In the morning if you can conquer your lethargy, take a shower and sit down fresh and alert for meditation, then it becomes one hundred per cent good. Otherwise, your meditation will be useless.

Early in the morning there is no hustle and bustle, there is no commotion. You have taken several hours of rest, and you feel the strength of a lion. Next to early morning, the evening is the best time for meditation, because in the evening the atmosphere is calm and peaceful. You feel a kind of soothing sensation. In the evening you are tired, and you feel that the whole world is also tired. But there is a slight difference between the world’s approach to the truth, and your approach, when both of you are tired. When the world is tired, it will not aspire. It wants to rest. But you feel that your tiredness or lethargy can be overcome only by bringing more Light, more energy into your system. An ordinary person will not pray or meditate. If he is tired he will go to sleep. He will feel that there is nothing else to do. But you will say, “No! I am tired, but there is a specific way for me to energise my life, and that is to bring down Peace, Light and Bliss.” When you pray and meditate, at that time new life, new energy enters into you and refreshes you.

If you want to meditate in the evening, then meditate a half-hour or forty minutes before you eat. If you are really pinched with hunger, you can drink a glass of water or juice or milk. But if you meditate after you have eaten a heavy meal, the thousands of subtle nerves in your body will be very heavy and you will not be able to meditate well. The body will be heavy, the consciousness will be heavy, the nerves will be heavy, and your meditation will be useless. When you meditate properly, your consciousness flies like a bird. If you meditate well, you feel that your whole existence, like a bird, is flying high, higher, highest. But when you become heavy, immediately you sink, and your consciousness will not rise. So if you are unable to meditate in the morning, evening meditation is the next best thing, not noon or 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. At these times, meditation is not good. But once you become very advanced in the spiritual life, any time is good for you. The best thing, however, is to meditate both morning and evening. If you meditate well in the morning, you get one million spiritual dollars. And if you meditate well in the evening, you get ten thousand spiritual dollars. But if you can get even one dollar more towards the spiritual sum that you need for your realisation, then if you are wise you will take it.

Question: Can you tell us exactly what the psychic being is? Also, if it is useful for the aspirant to try to establish some kind of relationship with his psychic being, how can he do it?

Sri Chinmoy: Just as the soul is the representative of God for us, the psychic being, to some extent, is the representative of the soul. Everything on earth, whether animate or inanimate, has a soul. You, as a human being, have a soul; this glass tumbler has a soul; animals have a soul; flowers have a soul. But the psychic being is found only in those human beings who have started to aspire consciously.

Animals do not have psychic beings. Not even all men have psychic beings, because there are many human beings on earth who do not aspire. When you walk along the street you can easily see that some people have had only a few human incarnations. Some have just come from the animal kingdom, and are in their first incarnation. They are half animal. Now these people do not have a psychic being yet. Only spiritual people who are sincerely and devotedly aspiring have psychic beings. Now the soul is not born on earth; the soul is born in the soul’s region. But even though there is a world that we call the psychic world, the psychic being only takes birth on earth when the seeker begins to aspire. The psychic being, this most beautiful child, is born on earth and also develops here on earth. The psychic being grows like a seed. It germinates into a small plant that grows into a huge banyan tree.

The psychic being is most beautiful. When one develops the psychic being, purity incarnate and divinity incarnate grow within his heart. When the psychic being is first formed, one may feel a very sweet, delicate sensation in the spine.

The psychic being is like the youngest child in the family, like a baby. In the physical world, the parents feel that it is their constant, bounden duty to please their young child. The baby cries and the parents give the baby what it wants. Constantly the psychic being is making fervent requests to the Eternal Father, the Supreme, or to the eldest brother, the soul, to make the whole body, the entire being, divine and perfect.

When the psychic being is six or seven years old in terms of human age, then it takes a little responsibility. But when there is something very urgent, very important, to be done, or when power is needed, the psychic being cries, and the soul within us takes the responsibility.

In the spiritual life, there are quite a few ways one can know if danger or success is imminent even if one has not developed occult vision or spiritual power. If the psychic being is developed, it will immediately bring the news that something serious is going to happen — something dangerous or some catastrophe. The psychic will be like a messenger boy. Also, if something most encouraging and inspiring is going to happen, the psychic being will bring this news too. The psychic knows and sees everything, but the psychic does not have the necessary power to change what will happen; it can just inform us. Only with the help of the soul or with the guidance and blessing of the Supreme can the psychic being change something. However, it does have the power to transform our human nature with purity. But the psychic being does not have the same amount of power that the soul has. And the soul does not and cannot have the same amount of power as God.

In our path we see the necessity of always consciously feeling the Presence of God. The psychic being helps us to feel the Presence of God all the time. There are many divine gifts that we get from God through the aspiration of the psychic being. For instance, we get constant joy, a constant sense of security and a constant feeling of our own progress from the psychic being. Right now we are making progress, but we do not feel sure about it. But if the psychic being comes to the fore and remains to the fore, then our progress is noticeable to all.

If you pay attention to the psychic being, you can bring it to the fore without fail. When you develop real surrender to the Supreme, giving your whole life over to the path of love, devotion and surrender to God’s Will, automatically the psychic being appears. To make your surrender beautiful, soulful and unconditional, you have to meditate every day. When you make complete surrender, immediately the psychic being comes to the fore. Before that, if you have love for God, the psychic may come to the fore. If you have devotion for God or do devoted service, the psychic may come, but that is not the rule.

If we can feel the presence of the psychic being, and if the psychic being prays and invokes the presence of God in our outer being, then we will make fast progress. But if we do not want to adopt that method, the most important thing we can do and the only thing that is necessary is to offer our conscious gratitude to the Supreme. The moment we offer our gratitude to the Supreme, our progress becomes the fastest.

The psychic being is like a messenger or a beautiful child. We do not actually need a messenger boy, or a little beautiful child. We do not absolutely need this little brother in the family to cry and speak to the Father on our behalf. We need only God. So if you do not want to have any connection with the psychic being, or if you feel that the psychic being is unnecessary, then you can do without its help.

Some of you sometimes see your psychic being, but if the Master does not tell you, then you may not know what it is. You may feel that you dreamt that you saw a most beautiful child. Or you may feel that you had a vision. In your case, also, once you saw it, but you did not know that it was your psychic being. A seeker can see the psychic being on rare occasions. Only someone who is realised or most advanced can see the psychic being at any time.

One can also see the psychic being of another. As a child, I saw the psychic being of my sister, Ahana, before I saw my own. I did not recognise it as her psychic being at the time. But one year later, when I started regaining all the spiritual and occult vision of my previous incarnations at the age of fourteen, I knew that it was her psychic being which I had seen.

The psychic being cannot come to the fore and grow most powerfully when the mind is still roaming in worldly information, worldly thoughts and worldly ideas. The psychic being comes to the fore only when we have the sweet, pure, innocent feeling of our oneness with the rest of the world, even with those we now consider our enemies. The psychic being has no enemies.

The psychic being finds it extremely difficult to deal with the developed mind. By the developed mind I mean the sophisticated mind, the dry and intellectual mind where there is no sweetness, but only a barren desert. The psychic being is a child. A child tries to play in the eternal garden of God, the Eternal Child. So the mind, which some people consider the greatest or the most developed part of our existence, is not and cannot be the real friend of the psychic being. The heart and the psychic being always go together. The heart, the psychic being and the soul forever go together.

A man will see his psychic being as a beautiful boy, and a woman will see hers as a beautiful girl. A man has a masculine psychic being and a woman has a feminine one. The soul, however is neither masculine nor feminine, but when it incarnates it takes on a masculine or a feminine body. If it takes a masculine form in the first human incarnation, then it goes on taking this form in all future incarnations, and the same if it takes a feminine form. Only three times since the creation has a soul changed from the masculine to feminine once it began incarnating in a human body. There are some spiritual Masters who tell people that in their past incarnations they were men and in this incarnation they are women, but this is not true. I have to say that, in the inner world, I know that the soul has changed this way only three times.

Now, the psychic being does not age like a human being. After forty or fifty years, the human body decays and we lose our strength, capacity and energy. As one matures spiritually, the psychic being comes to the psychic age of between eighteen and twenty-two. After that, it gains strength and capacity, but it does not age. It not only retains its beauty, strength, power, light and divinity of that time, but it actually continues to increase these. It may be two hundred years old in terms of human age, but the form that you will see will always be that of a youth. I am now forty-two, but my psychic being looks like a youth of twenty. My psychic being is now like a most powerful soldier or warrior.

When the seeker dies, the physical body is dissolved into the five principal elements. The vital enters into the vital world, and the psychic being goes to take rest in the psychic world. The soul will remember, however, which psychic being it had. Then, before the soul comes into the world for its next incarnation, it will go to its psychic being and say, “Now I am going down. You come also.” First the soul goes to the Supreme for His blessings and to make a promise about how much it will accomplish for the Supreme in its next incarnation. Then the soul goes down. On the way down it asks the psychic being to join it. The psychic being is very happy to come back at that time. After the psychic being, the soul takes a spiritual heart from the heart’s world. Next, if the mind is developed, the soul goes to the mental plane for subtle intelligence. Then it goes to the vital plane for the dynamic vital, and finally to the gross physical.

Question: For the past year I have been practising concentration and meditation with my attention focused on my navel chakra. But I don't seem to be making as much progress as I would like in controlling my thoughts. Have you got any suggestions?

Sri Chinmoy: What you are doing is extremely good. We have six spiritual centres in the body. You are concentrating on the centre which is called manipura. This is the centre that they usually give importance to in Zen practice. From this centre, according to our Indian spiritual teachings, you get dynamic energy. If you use this divine energy for a divine purpose, then you create. If you use it for an aggressive purpose, then you destroy.

Now if you want to control your thoughts, you should concentrate on the centre between the eyebrows. If you become very stiff and your concentration is intense, then you should not concentrate here for more than two minutes. Otherwise, you will become exhausted in the beginning. Now if you concentrate on the heart centre, you will get peace, love and joy. Try to hear the cosmic sound, the soundless sound, when you enter into the heart. If you bring love, joy, peace and bliss up from the heart to the centre between the eyebrows, then you will see that there will be no thoughts.

The heart is the safest place for you to concentrate and meditate on. If you do this, automatically you will get purification, because inside the heart is the soul, and the soul is one with the Infinite. It is from here that you will get everything.

Question: Could you speak a little about the significance of dreams?

Sri Chinmoy: When we have a dream, we have to know which plane of consciousness the dream comes from. There are seven higher worlds and seven lower worlds. When we have dreams coming from the lower worlds, the subconscious worlds — or you can say, inconscient worlds — we have to feel that these dreams have no value. They cannot change our nature. They cannot inspire us. They cannot give us any hope for our future fulfilment. When we get a dream from the vital plane, we will see that the dream will be constant movement. It is like a battlefield; everything is breaking and smashing, people are being killed. These dreams cannot help us at all in our spiritual life. The best thing we can do is forget them. If the dream comes from the mental plane, there will be some poise — not full poise, but a little poise, a little calm and quiet there. If it comes from the psychic plane, we will feel affection, sweetness, compassion and concern for the things or persons we are seeing. And if it comes from the soul’s plane, it will be all Light and Delight, all Peace.

When we have a dream from the lower worlds, we do not want to identify ourselves with it, for we are badly frightened by it. The dream comes to us as a threat. But a dream that comes from the higher worlds comes as an invitation. We get inner joy and inner satisfaction, and immediately feel our identity there. We enter into it; we grow into it. A dream that comes from the subconscious world, where we are quarrelling and fighting and doing many undivine things, will not necessarily materialise. But a dream that comes from the higher worlds is bound to materialise. Today’s dream is tomorrow’s reality. Why? Because the dream is coming from a world which is living and palpable. With our limited consciousness we do not know this. But when we meditate we consciously enter into many higher worlds, and the reality of these worlds enters into us in our dream.

If you want to have sweet dreams, inspiring dreams, then you should meditate most soulfully early in the morning — say 3:30 or 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. — and then go to sleep for about half an hour or forty minutes. If your meditation is sound and genuine, if it comes from the very depths of your heart, any dreams you have afterwards will be divine, significant dreams. They will be about angels and gods, or about your dear ones; or you will see some encouraging, inspiring things. If you want to have good dreams before 3:00 a.m., please try to meditate on your navel for about ten minutes at night before you go to bed. The navel is where emotion starts. Emotion itself is not bad; it is a question of how we use it. When we have human emotion, we only bind and bind. But when we have divine emotion, we extend; we extend our consciousness. So if you concentrate on your navel centre for ten minutes, you can bring the human emotion under control and allow the divine emotion to go up from the heart, upward to the highest.

If you read books for the interpretation of dreams, each book will give a different answer. Perhaps each book is right in its own way. But you have to get your own interpretation from your dreams. When you have a dream, try to feel your own existence in the dream; try to feel that you are inside the dream itself. Those who meditate daily will not find it difficult to do. But others may find it difficult. An ordinary man sees a dream as something totally separate from the rest of his life. He feels that he is living in the reality and the dream has nothing to do with reality. It is something sweet, something precious, something encouraging, something inspiring, and so forth; but he does not feel that it is more than that. But when a spiritual man has a dream, he immediately feels that this dream is the precursor of reality. Something more, he will see that this dream is tomorrow’s reality. How does he do that? He does it on the strength of his meditation. When he meditates for ten or fifteen minutes in the morning or in the evening, he widens his consciousness. Right now our consciousness is separated into three parts. At this moment we are in the waking consciousness. But when we sleep, we will have another consciousness: sound sleep, deep sleep. Then we have a third, dream consciousness, in the dream state. But one who meditates widens his consciousness into all three planes.

How can we derive benefit from our dreams? We can derive benefit from dreams if we feel that each dream is a step or stepping stone towards our divine Goal. There are some people who say they do not have any dreams at all, but they are mistaken. They do dream, but when they come out of the dreamland, they totally forget. Some people have the capacity to retain their dream consciousness while they are fully awake, early in the morning. If you feel that you had a dream at night but cannot remember it, then early in the morning, try to concentrate on this particular point, at the back of the head, just at the top of the neck. When you have dreams, either they will manifest through your physical mind or, for some time, for a few hours or even for a day or two, they will be registered there. So if you want to recollect any dream, try to concentrate there. If you can concentrate there for ten or fifteen minutes, you will be able to feel that you are knocking at a particular door. And when the door opens, you will be able to remember your dreams completely. Everything will come back to you.

When you have a frightening dream, please pay no attention to it. Suppose you dream that something bad is going to happen in your life. If you are frightened, you are already dead. But if you are not frightened, then during the few hours or the few days that lie between your dream and the actual occurrence you can fight against it. And the divine Grace is bound to come and help you at that time. Suppose you have a dream that a friend or relative of yours will pass away, and your dream is absolutely correct. Tomorrow he will surely die; but if you are frightened now, then today he is already dead for you. If you surrender to the dream, you will suffer unnecessarily before the actual hour. Also, your fear will immediately enter into the future victim and create an additional burden for that particular person. What you should do at that time is try to fight against the possibility of his death through prayer and meditation. Pray to God, “I have seen it. O God, save him, save him.” Instead of being frightened, try to offer your prayer to God. Perhaps you think that prayer is something feminine or delicate. No! Your prayer is your greatest strength. God’s strength is His Compassion and man’s strength is his prayer. Or you can meditate. That will be an even mightier strength. If you fight and God’s Grace descends, I assure you that you can delay the possibility of this person’s death. Many times it has happened that spiritual seekers have dreamt that their relatives are going to die and immediately they have started meditating and praying to God. Then, God’s Grace has descended. But God does not nullify the possibility. No, He may just delay the actual event.

Now, why does God help the aspirant in cases like this? God helps because God is not bound by cosmic law. Cosmic law is created by God, and at any time He can break His own law. That is why He is omnipotent. If He cannot break His own law, then He is not omnipotent. And you can make God break His law through your soulful prayer. God says, “This is to be done.” He has recorded this, but when human prayer enters into His Heart, He may cancel His own decree.

When you have hopeful dreams, illumining dreams, encouraging dreams, when you see that something significant is going to take place in a friend’s life — what you should do is consciously try to identify your soul with his soul. How will you do this? Through your meditation. He will eventually get joy from the event because it belongs to him. But this joy, by God’s Grace, you have received before he actually has. So if you are wise, you will go deep within and assimilate the joy that you have received and then try to offer it to him inwardly before he gets it directly from God. Otherwise, if you tell him, “You know, I had a wonderful dream about you,” he will be happy for a second, and then he will doubt you. He will say, “Oh, it is all mental hallucination.” Despite your best intention, his doubtful mind will throw cold water on your encouraging message. So instead of telling the person verbally, try to offer him the joy of the dream consciously through your meditation. At that time, he will get additional strength. Before he gets the experience of your dream, which will come to him in the form of reality, he will start getting inner peace, inner joy, which he cannot account for, because you have started injecting him, preparing him to receive something very high, very meaningful and fulfilling. And when you have dreams about yourself, go deep within and prepare yourself to be ready, to be a fit instrument for the reality, to receive the reality as it should be received.

One thing more I wish to say. It is not bad for an ordinary seeker to pray to God for dreams. Dreams are necessary, as experiences are necessary. But again, if you do not have dreams, if you do not have experiences, that does not mean that you are not fit for the spiritual life or that you are not fit for God-realisation. There are people who do not have any experiences. They curse themselves and think that God is displeased with them. Far from it! God is most pleased with them. Suppose I want to reach a door. Now there are two ways of going. One way is to go there consciously. My calculating mind says that I have to take four or five steps to get there: one, two, three, four, five. Each step is an experience for me. If my physical mind wants to be convinced at every moment while I am walking towards my goal — towards the door — then I can say that step one is an experience, step two is an experience, and so on. But again, if I know that my destination is there, it may not be necessary for me to have constant experiences each step of the way. What is necessary, in my case, is only my destination. So I just go there and God is ready for me.

If you want to have dreams or experiences, they can serve as preparatory steps — one, two, three — or they may not be necessary at all. The human mind always wants to be convinced and wants to get joy at every step when it does something. But if we live in the soul, in the heart, then we need not give that kind of importance to experiences and dreams. They are not necessary because God is preparing us in His own Way. If He does not want to give us convincing experiences, no harm. But again, if we pray to God for convincing experiences or sweet dreams, there is no harm in our prayer either. Eventually a day will come when we shall offer to God the highest prayer: “O God, if You want, give me dreams. If You want, give me experiences. If You don’t want to give me dreams or experiences, it is all up to You. Only make me worthy of Your Compassion. And if You don’t want to make me worthy of Your Compassion, it is also up to You. Only do with me as You will. Let Thy Will be done in and through me. I care for nothing except Your own fulfilment in and through me.” When we have that kind of prayer within us, then God comes to us and says, “Do not be a beggar. Do not cry for dreams; do not cry for experiences. Take Me, the Reality itself.”

Question: What is the best way of obtaining peace in our inner life and in our outer life?

Sri Chinmoy: In the outer life you cannot have peace unless and until you have first established peace in your inner life. Early in the morning, if you treasure a few divine thoughts before coming out of your home, then these thoughts will enter into the outer life as energising, fulfilling realities. But they perform their task only according to their capacity. The peace you get from the inner world you offer to the world at large. But the outer world does not want it; the outer world does not care for it. The world says it needs peace, but when you give the world the peace-fruit, it just throws the fruit aside.

In the morning you pray to God for peace, and then you come to the United Nations. There your colleagues, who have not prayed or meditated, are quarrelling and fighting. They are in another world. Now you may say, “I prayed for peace. How is it that my colleagues today are still quarrelling over minor things?” But I wish to tell you that if you had not prayed for peace, it could have been infinitely worse. Your prayer has definitely made the situation better than it might have been. Again, if your prayer had been more intense, more soulful, then I wish to say that the turmoil in your particular department could have been less. And if you had had a most powerful meditation early in the morning, I assure you the power of your own prayer and meditation in the inner world could have easily averted the wrong forces, the misunderstanding, among your colleagues.

It is in the inner world that everything starts. The inner world is where we sow the seed. If we sow the seed of peace and love, naturally it will produce a tree of peace and love when it germinates. But if we don’t sow the seed, then how are we going to have the plant or the tree? It is impossible! Unfortunately we do not all pray for peace. We pray for joy or for our personal satisfactions. Of course, it is true that we need these things. Today we may need joy, tomorrow we may need love, the day after tomorrow we may need the fulfilment of a particular desire. But again, there is a desire, an aspiration which everybody has, and that is the desire for peace.

The peace we try to bring forward from the outer world is not peace: it is only temporary compromise. You see the political situation. For a few months or years, two parties remain at peace. They feel that while keeping an outer compromise they will secretly strengthen their capacity. Then, when they get the opportunity or when the vital urge compels them, they fight. I wait for the opportunity when I can more powerfully, most powerfully, attack you. But the inner peace is a different matter. The peace we bring to the fore from the inner world through our prayer and meditation is very strong, very powerful, and it lasts. So when we have that peace in our inner life, the outer life is bound to be transformed. It is only a matter of time.

Question: Does the peace that you bring down during the meditations in the conference rooms have any effect on the delegates who do not attend these meetings?

Sri Chinmoy: All those who are at the United Nations have definitely come to bring about peace. But some people consciously run towards the goal, while others unconsciously run. If somebody consciously runs, naturally his progress will be swifter and more convincing. If someone wants to consciously partake of the fruit that we bring down with our soulful aspiration, then that person gets more nourishment and more confidence and he feels the all-fulfilling love, which is peace. On Fridays when we pray and meditate here for peace, it does help the United Nations’ aspiration. Sometimes I do feel that it affects the delegates who do not come here. But, forgive me, I have to say that for those who do not come here and do not consciously aspire for peace as we do, the effect cannot be the same. Here, all those who are coming to bring down peace from Above undoubtedly get infinitely more than those who do not attend these meetings. But we have to know that when we pray and meditate here, it is not only for the seekers who are here, but it is for everyone. We are like a father. The father works and then he shares his money with his family. So here, also, we are limited members of the world family. Whatever we earn, we try to share with others.

Question: All around us we hear of wars and conflicts. I want to know if these conflicts are all part of the divine order?

Sri Chinmoy: Very nice. It is true that sometimes it is a Divine Game. The good, the bad in everybody has to come to the fore, and then finally the good is victorious. Then again, there is something called the attack of the undivine forces within or around us. After you leave here, somebody may come and snatch away your wallet. Now is it your karma or some wrong action on your part that has caused you to be robbed? Far from it! You have prayed, you have meditated, you have done everything right here. But there are many undivine forces around us, and no matter how spiritual, how divine we are, they attack us. So we have to pray for constant protection from God.

Now, regarding the present-day political situation, it is not the intention of the Divine to let the forces fight it out so that, out of evil, good will come. At times we say that the Divine Game is being played; that the good, bad, Divine and undivine play and finally the Divine dawns. But right now, it is not like that. The present day wars are not God’s intention; they are the product of human weaknesses: “I want to prove to the world at large that my views are correct and that your views are all wrong. I want to prove that I am something, I have the capacity to lord it over you; you have to be under my feet.” This is the thing. It is the expansion of our authority, our blind authority, that we want.

What happens is that the wrong forces within us come to the fore and make friends with the undivine forces that are already around us. These forces around us are like mad elephants, ready to crush us at any moment. So the elephant inside us and the elephant outside come together, and wars begin. But again, inside us is also a deer that wants to run the fastest towards its divine Goal. Our aspiration or the aspirant within us is like the deer, and the vital within us is like a blind elephant. So the outer elephant and the inner elephant meet together and try to crush the deer within us, before it reaches its Goal. There is every possibility that the two elephants will destroy the deer. But once the deer reaches the Goal, then we are safe. The Goal is all Light, all Beauty, all Joy, all Power: and no elephant, no matter how powerful, can destroy this Goal. This Goal is our inner peace.

Question: Sometimes when I meditate, I feel that I am about to go through some experience, but nothing happens. What is the cause of that?

Sri Chinmoy: The reason nothing happens is that you have not reached the height, the ultimate. You are just on the verge of it, but you do not quite reach it. It is like lighting a stove. When you turn on the gas, you have to turn it to a certain point before the flame comes. You may come almost to that point, but you stop too soon. If you had turned just a fraction of an inch farther, you would have succeeded.

It is the same with your meditation. If you had gone just a bit higher or deeper, you would have had your experience. But your attention was diverted or something made you pull back instead of going on. Something inside you failed to maintain the same type of aspiration that you had before and then your consciousness fell. It is as if you were climbing up to the highest branch of a mango tree, but all of a sudden somebody called you from below and you forgot about the delicious mango at the top of the tree and you climbed down. This is what it is like when consciousness falls. But if you can maintain your height and not respond to any call from below, then you will reach the Highest, and here you will get the experience.

While you are praying and meditating, imagine that you have a bicycle inside you. When you ride on a bicycle, you have to pedal it all the time. If you don’t pedal, you cannot make any progress and you will fall down. While you are meditating you have to aspire all the time; otherwise you will fall. You cannot balance motionless at one point. In the spiritual life movement has to be constant. Either you move forward or you move backward. If you try to remain motionless, the ignorance of the world will pull you right back to your starting point.

While we are aspiring we have to make ourselves conscious at every moment that what we need is not success, but progress, progress, progress. Progress itself is the active form of success. When we start meditating early in the morning, if we think, “Today I have to get the highest experience or I will feel miserable,” then we are making a mistake. Right now we are full of ignorance, imperfection, limitation and bondage. But if we remain imperfect, how are we going to be the chosen instruments of God? And if we cannot become instruments of God, then God remains unmanifested. In the morning when we pray, if we cry for our progress, then automatically God will make us His chosen instruments. But if we cry for success, then God may give us the experience which we call success, but He will not utilise us as His instruments because we are already trying to get something from Him. We are demanding that He give us the highest experience of Peace, Light and Bliss, whereas we should be asking only for the opportunity and privilege of being His instrument to serve Him in His own Way.

So I wish to say that if experience is your aim, until you actually reach the height from which you can get the experience, please continue to aspire intensely. But if your aim is only to become an instrument of the Supreme, no matter how high or how deep you go, then you are bound to get all the experiences which God has in store for you, even without climbing up to the top of the tree. Right now it is you who are trying to climb up to a great height in order to get an experience. But it is very easy for God to bring the fruit down and give it to you. He is an expert climber: He can climb up and climb down. So if you can please God, even if you remain at the foot of the tree, God will climb up on your behalf and bring the experience down, if it is His Will that you have it.

Question: What is the difference between going high and going deep in meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: There is a great difference in the methods of meditation, although ultimately height and depth become one. When we want to go deep in meditation, we start our journey from the heart. The spiritual heart is the beginning point. From there, deep is not downward or backward, but inward. We should feel that we are digging or travelling deep, deep, very deep into our heart. But it is not like digging downward, somewhere far below our feet. No! Below the knees, the plane of inconscience starts. If we go downward, then it is not actually spiritual depth that we are getting, but only the low, lower, lowest planes of consciousness. The spiritual heart is infinitely vast; therefore there is no limit to how deep we can go. We can never go too deep; we can never touch the boundaries of the spiritual heart, because it embodies this vast universe that we see and, at the same time, is larger and vaster than the universe.

When we want to go high in meditation, then our direction is upward. Our aspiration goes upward; we are climbing, climbing fearlessly towards the Highest. We must pass through the mind, through the thousand-petalled lotus at the top of the head. Again, the distance is infinitely vast. There is no end to our upward journey because we are travelling in Infinity. We are climbing towards the ever-transcending Beyond. In terms of distance, if you want to measure, upward and inward are both infinite journeys towards one Goal, the Supreme.

We cannot go high by using only the mind, however. We must go through the mind, beyond the mind, and into the realm of the spiritual heart once more. The domain of the spiritual heart is infinitely higher and vaster than that of the very highest mind. Far beyond the mind is still the domain of the heart. The heart is boundless in every direction, so inside the heart is height as well as depth.

The higher you can go, the deeper you can go. And again, the deeper you can go, the higher you can go. It works simultaneously. If we can meditate very powerfully, then we are bound to feel that we are going both very high and very deep. The highest height and the deepest depth both are inside the spiritual heart. Height and depth go together, but they work in two different dimensions, as it were. But if a person can go very high in his meditation, then he has the capacity to go very deep also. It is a matter of choice.

Question: Does the psychic being have certain fixed characteristics, like age, or does it grow and change along with the person?

Sri Chinmoy: The psychic being is constantly in the process of evolution. But if you are interested in its so-called physical characteristics, then I wish to say that in a human being you will see it growing from a young child into a youth of about twenty-two years. But this is psychic age, not human age. When we see a young man of say twenty or twenty-two, he is fully mature. A person usually does not gain physical strength after that age. But the psychic being constantly acquires strength, strength, strength. The psychic being is not like a human being, who deteriorates and becomes old after forty, fifty, sixty years. The strength of the psychic being will always increase and increase. But its basic characteristics it sometimes retains and sometimes does not. It depends on how the psychic being wants to please the Supreme, the Inner Pilot. Some psychic beings feel that by keeping their characteristics they will be able to know their own way of operating. But some psychic beings do not care for this individuality. They say, “We won’t have any characteristics of our own. At every moment we shall be moulded by the divine Light. The divine Light will do everything for us.” The psychic being and the soul do not have infinite Power. Infinite Power, infinite Light, infinite Bliss only the Supreme has. So when abundant Light, infinite Light from Above descends into the psychic being, the psychic being automatically loses its own characteristics and personality, even though that personality is divine. The psychic being is very, very beautiful, extremely beautiful. You cannot express it in words or imagine it. Some psychic beings prefer to express themselves through Beauty, some through Love, some through Power, some through Bliss and some through the many other divine qualities. If you see that someone is very kind to people, always loving, always affectionate, then the psychic being is probably trying to express its Light through him in the form of divine Love. If someone shows the power aspect all the time — not the power that destroys but the power that energises and helps others — then his psychic being wants to express itself through Power. Like the soul, each psychic being wants to offer or manifest the ultimate Truth in a specific way. Also, as some souls want to manifest the Supreme in two ways, psychic beings may also do the same.

Question: Is it right for spiritual Masters to take the suffering of their disciples? If the disciples do something bad and they do not suffer themselves, how will they learn the lesson?

Sri Chinmoy: It is often true that if one does not have the firsthand experience, then one will not understand or learn properly. One will not understand the seriousness of his actions if he does not suffer the consequences. If I see that somebody has put his finger in fire and burnt himself, I know that that person is feeling pain but I will not suffer to the same extent that he does. But if God has given me a heart, I will feel the suffering that he is going through. It is not that these people are making mistakes for the first time, and it is not that they have never seen others make these mistakes. They have seen others make these mistakes, and they have seen how much suffering the others have gone through. But out of temptation, or because they have allowed some undivine forces to enter into them, they make the same mistakes and earn the punishment. But the spiritual Master has the heart of a real mother. If the mother knows that her child has done something wrong and will be punished, the mother says, “O God, let me suffer on my child’s behalf. Let him be protected.” This is a mother’s heart. And if the child is divine, if he is loving, if he is sincere, when he sees his mother suffering he says, “I deserved this suffering, but my mother is suffering on my behalf. She has all love for me. Let me not cause her more suffering. Let me not do this again.” When the son sees and feels that the mother is suffering for his misdeeds, if he has real love for his mother, he does not want to repeat them. His mother has shown her real love by accepting his suffering as her own. And the son also can show his real love by doing the right thing from then on. In the case of the spiritual children and the Master, the same truth is applied. The spiritual children do not want their spiritual Master to suffer again and again on their behalf.

You may say that if one does not suffer himself, he will not learn. This is true in most cases. But if a person is sincere, if he is aspiring, if he has love for his Guru, he will feel a kind of inner obligation not to do the same thing again. And what is more important, if he truly loves his Guru, he will suffer badly when he sees that his Guru is suffering, especially when his sincerity makes him feel that it is because of him that his Guru is suffering. The Guru takes on the physical suffering of his dear disciples, and when he does so it is much milder and briefer than it would have been in the disciples themselves, because the Guru has the capacity to throw this suffering into the Universal Consciousness. But when the disciple sees the suffering of his beloved Master, his divine heart of oneness simply breaks. In this way he does suffer and he does learn his lesson, although the direct karmic results of his actions go to the Master and not to him.

There are two ways to make progress. One way is to reap the results of what you sow. The other way is to be swept along by the Guru’s Grace. The Master sees that some of his disciples have a good heart, that they have sincerely accepted the spiritual life and are determined to reach the Goal. He sees that they are not ordinary people. They are praying and meditating, but while following the spiritual life sometimes they enter into the world of temptation and are captured by it. Then naturally they will suffer. But at the same time the compassion of the Master says, “Since you are serving God, or you are trying to please God in various ways through your daily prayer and meditation, let me help you so that you do not have to suffer.” This is sheer divine compassion. The Master hopes that when they see his suffering, eventually they will realise that it was they who were going to suffer.

But before he takes anyone’s bad karma or before he cures a person, a real spiritual Master will always ask God if it is His Will. I have to ask God if I should help someone even to cure a headache. You can tell the person to take an aspirin and his headache will go away, but I have to speak to God about it. Now God can say yes or no. If He says yes, that means He wants to allow a sense of gratitude to grow inside that particular disciple. He wants that disciple to feel that there is somebody who loves him and has taken his suffering upon himself. If God says no, it means that He wants that person to go through the normal process of suffering and learn the lesson by himself.

God has two ways of operating, either through Compassion or through Justice. This moment He can show all His Compassion and the next moment He can show all His Justice. If He wants to show His Compassion, which He quite often does, then He will tell the Master, who is His instrument, to take all the suffering of the disciple. If He wants to show His Justice, then He will tell the Master to allow that person to meet with the consequences of his wrong deed.

Question: Does Christmas, the way it is celebrated, elevate the consciousness in any way?

Sri Chinmoy: If it is a matter of spiritual consciousness, it does not elevate the consciousness. But if it is a matter of enthusiastic consciousness, vital consciousness, exuberant consciousness, it does help. Only at rare places, in some private homes where people are really devoted to Christ, there in those few places, the consciousness is elevated. On the whole, the decorations that you see in stores and on streets and so many other places do not at all elevate the consciousness. It is only a game, just like children playing. It helps to some extent in this respect, that when you have Christmas or some other special occasion, it takes away tension from the mind and strengthens the possibilities of the vital — not in a bad sense, in a good sense. In the vital some hope dawns and the tension of the mind goes away; that is in a good sense and it is a great blessing.

Question: You have written an aphorism which says: "God is at once finite and infinite. He is space. He is beyond space. He is measured. He can be measured. He must needs be measured. He is measureless. He is boundless. He is infinite." Could you please explain this?

Sri Chinmoy: God is finite and God is infinite. You have stressed the word “finite”. It means that you cannot agree with the idea that God can be finite. Omnipotent — this is our feeling about God. God is omnipotent, God is omniscient, God is omnipresent. Now, let us take this divine quality which we call omnipotence. If God can be only as vast as the universe, but not as tiny as the tiniest atom, then where is His omnipotence? When we think of omnipotence, our human mind has a feeling of a power very vast, measureless. But the term “omnipotent” simply means having unlimited power. This means that the Supreme has the power to be immeasurably vast or inconceivably small, at His sweet Will. At our sweet will we can do nothing, but just because God is omnipotent, at His sweet Will He can do anything He wants to. God is infinite because He is omnipotent. Again, God is finite precisely because He is omnipotent. For He who is omnipotent can do and be anything He wants to.

As human beings, we are evolving towards our transcendental Perfection. God is infinite, but He entered into this finite body of ours which lasts for fifty, sixty or seventy years, then dies. God is infinite, but He houses Himself in each tiny child. Here in the finite, He wants to enjoy Himself and play the tune of the Infinite. Only then does He get the greatest joy. It is in the finite that we are aspiring towards the Infinite, aspiring to achieve the Infinite. Again, the Infinite gets the greatest joy by making itself as tiny as possible. Finite and infinite: to our outer eyes they seem opposite to each other, but in God’s Eyes they are one. The finite and the Infinite always want to go together; the one complements the other. The finite wants to reach the absolute Highest, which is the Infinite. The Infinite wants to manifest itself in and through the finite. Then the game is complete. Otherwise it will be only a one-sided game. There will be no joy, no achievement, no fulfilment. In and through the Infinite, the finite is singing its song of realisation. And in and through the finite, the Infinite is singing its song of manifestation.

Question: Could you please tell us the best way to conquer the ego?

Sri Chinmoy: The easiest, best and most effective way of conquering the ego is to feel constantly not only that we are in God, with God and, at times, for God, but also that we are of God. In God and with God: this is very easy for us to feel. Also, we can easily say that we are for God. God is good, so we are for God. But the moment we can say wholeheartedly that we are of God, that we are made of God as something is made of paper or wood or some other material, then immediately our consciousness is changed. If we are of God, we are not helplessly or hopelessly bound by earthly human limitations. We feel that naturally we will have Peace, Bliss, Power and all divine qualities at our disposal. And when we feel that these divine qualities are within us and we are of them, then our immediate feeling is one of expansion. Light cannot remain without expanding. Peace cannot last without expanding. The very nature of divine Peace, Light, Bliss, Power and other divine qualities is to expand, expand, expand. So if we have the conscious feeling of our oneness with God, the feeling that we are of God, immediately we will feel the automatic expansion of our limited selves into unbounded Peace, Light and Bliss. Then we can go beyond the earth-consciousness and transcend our limited ego-bound selves. We go beyond the creativity, beyond the manifestation of the earth-plane.

We have to feel every day, if not every second, that our body, vital, mind, heart, soul and everything is of God, and that God is not something vague, but something real. To a seeker, God is the only Reality — not a reality, but The Reality. So, when we are crying for The Reality, we shall see that this Reality is all-pervading, all-fulfilling and at the same time, all-transcending. This Reality is God and if we feel that we are a part of it, if we can have our conscious place in the lap of the all-pervading, all-transcending and all-fulfilling Reality then we can easily conquer our limited earth-bound ego. At that time we will feel that God is not only here on earth, but everywhere. He is the vast universe and again, He is beyond, far beyond the universe.

Ego is our earth-bound consciousness. This earth-bound consciousness tries to limit us. My and mine, it says. My family, my house, my friends, my children — everything my and mine. When we think of earth, immediately we think of possession. Earth has all our friends and relatives; earth has its own joy, suffering and so forth. The very function of ego is to bind us and also to make us want to bind others. We are bound by the earth-atmosphere and, at the same time, we are binding earth because we are unwilling to aspire. We are constantly in desire, but not in aspiration. When we desire, we try to possess and be possessed.

But the consciousness of our aspiring soul makes us want to transcend, expand. When we expand, we transcend; and when we transcend, we expand. When we aspire, at that time we consciously enter into our own infinitude, divinity and plenitude. We came from Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. When we aspire, we enter into them consciously, but not with a sense of possession. We cannot possess anything — certainly not Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. But we can consciously, on the strength of our aspiration, re-enter our Homeland whence we came. We have every right to go back home with our conscious aspiration. To make a journey back home on the physical plane, we need money. In the spiritual life, our constant inner aspiration buys our return ticket to our eternal Home. Desire is pulling and pushing. Aspiration is just letting ourselves be carried back to our eternal Home.

If we live in the world of aspiration, ego is bound to be conquered because the fire of aspiration will purify the ego. It will not kill the ego, but it will purify it; and when purification takes place, realisation is bound to dawn. At the end of the road of purification is realisation. The more our outer nature is purified, the closer we are to God. And the quicker we are purified within, the faster is our realisation of the Ultimate Goal. Ego can be conquered, must be conquered and will be conquered only through constant aspiration.

Aspiration is the inner flame that is glowing all the time and spreading its flames all around, within, without. Aspiration is bound to carry us to the land of our origin. Here there is no ego, but only all-pervading Oneness — all-embracing, all-fulfilling, all-illumining Oneness. In this Oneness there is a constant sense of divine fulfilment, boundless fulfilment. In boundless fulfilment, there can be no limited ego, no limited bondage. Nothing limited, nothing imperfect, nothing obscure, nothing destructive, nothing binding can last there. It is all Infinity, all Reality. There Reality grows in the soul of Infinity, and Infinity grows in the soul of Reality.

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

"Lord, what is animal love?
  Animal love is a brute instinct.
  Lord, what is human love?
  Human love is a striking disappointment.
  Lord, what is divine Love?
  Divine Love is an illumining Experience.
  Lord, what is Transcendental Love?
  Ah, that is My Love.
  Transcendental Love
  My fulfilled Universal Oneness."

"Our vital loves to be loved.
  Our heart loves so that it can also be loved.
  Our soul just loves devotedly and eternally."

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:

  ... 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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