Flame-Waves, part 7

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Question: What is the relationship between the soul of the United Nations and the soul of the world?

Sri Chinmoy: If you look at the body of the United Nations, then you can easily know what the soul of the United Nations is. The soul is the seed and the body is the tree. This is the relationship between the soul of the United Nations and the body of the United Nations. Now, if you think of the soul of the world and the body of the world, then you will also know what they actually are. The soul of the world is a vision in the higher plane, or in Heaven; and the body of the world is something that exists on the physical plane for manifestation.

The soul of the world embodies the soul of the United Nations. There are many nations which have not joined the United Nations. There are many places on earth which unfortunately do not have any connection with the United Nations. But the soul of the world must have some connection with everything that is in God's creation. There is nothing on earth that does not have a direct connection in the inner world with the soul of the world. But the soul of the United Nations unfortunately does not have or has not yet established that kind of connection with the entire world. You can call this connection oneness or awareness of the things that have been created here on earth.

When the soul of the United Nations grows into perfection, then it becomes the satisfaction-triumph of the soul of the world; it actually becomes the world soul. The soul of the United Nations must eventually grow into the world soul because it has to embody and embrace the length and breadth of the entire world. When we speak of the United Nations we have to speak of united creation. If it is united creation, then it becomes one world. When we use the word "nation", at that time we imagine a plot of land, a country, a few thousand or a few million people put together. But when we think of creation, at that time we don't think of human beings or countries or plots of land; we just think of God in His Manifestation. Right now when we think of the United Nations, that idea does not immediately come forward. But a day will come when the United Nations will expand its vision and encompass the whole horizon. At that time it will be another world soul, another form of world-reality, where God the Creator and God the creation can easily be found in every action.

Question: Unless the peoples of the world as a whole aspire collectively, will there ever be abiding peace in the world?

Sri Chinmoy: Collective aspiration need not or cannot take place all at once. If collective aspiration means twenty people all meditating and praying together for world peace, then I have to say that even among twenty people the standard or height need not to be the same. If they are praying together but are not of the same standard, not of the same sincerity, then I tell you the result cannot be of deep value. Suppose your aspiration is of the highest and somebody else's is not as high as yours and the third person's aspiration is even lower. True, this kind of collective aspiration is better than nothing, better than no aspiration at all. But it produces many problems. When you meditate together, if you are of different standards, there will be some inner conflict. It is like somebody studying in college and somebody studying in kindergarten. It is very difficult to study together in the same class.

Suppose in your family there are three brothers. You are the eldest member in the family, so you know more about the inner world, more about God, more about spirituality. You have to run according to your own speed, according to your own inner light and wisdom, and they will also run in their own way. When we use the term "collective", we have an idea of people sitting together or doing something together. But this is not the right approach. We will do it in our own way, according to our own capacity. You will begin to aspire when the hour has struck for you, and somebody else will begin to aspire two months or two years later when his own hour has struck. The result in this case will be far better than that achieved by putting everybody together to meditate. Aspiration has to be spontaneous. You reach a certain goal, so you go and stand there as a perfect human being. Tomorrow my time will come and I will start aspiring sincerely; then I will go and reach the destination that you have already reached. And the following day somebody else will go.

Each day if some human beings can achieve perfection in the inner world, then that means that these particular human beings are freed from imperfections. No longer are they quarrelling and fighting. Peace will come about in the world from the perfection of individuals. When ten individuals have achieved perfection, then it becomes a collective perfection. But in the beginning, while you are walking along the path, if you feel that the whole world will aspire together, it will not work. The whole world will aspire, but in its own way according to its receptivity. And if your aspiration is genuine, it has to be much more sincere, much deeper and more profound.

It is the ideal for the world to aspire collectively. But the world is not ready. So collective aspiration will come when you aspire individually and somebody else aspires individually. But if you put all human beings together and meditate for world peace, it won't work out. It is through individual readiness that world peace will come into existence. And when a number of individuals have established peace in themselves and are ready to bring down peace into the world atmosphere, then you can say that it is collective aspiration.

Question: How can our imagination be used to help raise our consciousness or improve our meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, we have to know that imagination is not mental hallucination. If we take imagination as something unproductive, as something that has nothing to do with reality, then imagination will never be reality. If we think that imagination is the South Pole and reality is the North Pole, then it is all useless. We have to take imagination as a reality in another world, in an inner world or a higher world. And that world we have to bring into the world of reality that we are now living in. Imagination is a world of reality which is waiting for revelation and manifestation here in this outer world, which we know as reality.

Inside us are many worlds; imagination is one of these worlds. We have a free access to the world that is around us and before us, whereas we do not have a free access to the worlds that are inside us. So what we have to try to do is bring the world that is inside us into the world that is around us. It is like this: somebody is inside the house and somebody is outside the house. You are friendly with the person who is outside the house. You know him well because most of the time you stay outside. But when you come inside, you see that somebody else is there. You can also make friends with that person and ask him to come out with you and make friends with the person who is staying outside.

So, think of imagination as a reality in its own right which is on another plane of consciousness. That plane of consciousness you are trying to bring to the fore and make one with the plane of consciousness which we call reality. You are trying to establish friendship between the two: between the imagination-world, which is a reality-world in another plane of consciousness, and the reality-world which is the outer plane of consciousness. But this you can do only if you take imagination as a reality in another plane, in its own world.

Imagination plays a most significant role in the spiritual life. Suppose you are not having good meditations, but six months ago you had a very good, powerful, high meditation. What you can do is try to imagine that powerful meditation. Then your imagination will become reality. After fifteen minutes or half an hour, you will get a good meditation. Vivekananda was such a great spiritual figure, yet sometimes for six months at a time he did not have a good meditation. What did he do? He used to imagine a time when he did have a good meditation, and inside his imagination was aspiration. So imagination is very good.

Question: How can the various world religions respond more co-operatively and effectively to humanity's aspiration?

Sri Chinmoy: It is the followers of religion who have to come forward and offer the qualities of their respective religions to other religions. It is the followers of religion who can and must work effectively to create humanity's sincere aspiration. Religion as such cannot do anything, but the people who give life to religion and who breathe in the breath of religion must come forward and create a new aspiration in humanity's heart. If this is done, then all religions will be able to work together without losing anything of their own; on the contrary, they will gain everything for they will become one.

Question: Is man growing away from organised religion and moving towards meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: In some countries it is true that people are growing away from organised religion and running towards meditation. In other countries people are still fond of their religions and they feel religion is the only answer. On the whole, many people from various religions have resorted to meditation, but they feel that meditation is in no way an obstacle to their religious beliefs. On the contrary, meditation increases the power and the light in their own religious beliefs.

Question: People are often afraid of practices like meditation which are not prescribed by their own religion. Why is this?

Sri Chinmoy: People are afraid of practising meditation just because meditation is something new to them. Anything that is new to us often creates fear in us. Something more: in the West especially, prayer is given much more importance than meditation. People feel that if they meditate instead of praying, then they are being disloyal to their religious beliefs. This is one of the reasons why some people, especially in the West, are afraid of meditation. They have not been habituated to meditate whereas they have all along been praying. So anything that is new to our system, to our mind, to our understanding, creates a kind of conscious or unconscious fear in us.

Question: Can one find the fulfilment of his life in religion?

Sri Chinmoy: It depends entirely on the individual, on what kind of fulfilment he wants and needs from his own life and what kind of religion he is practising. If his religion is not broad, wide, all-embracing, then he is not going to get a fulfilment that is everlasting and complete. Partial fulfilment he will definitely get if he sticks to his own religion and does not want to come out of it. If he wants total fulfilment, however, then he has to enlarge his vision: he has to bring his religion into one world religion and he has to increase his heart's capacity. His capacity has to increase infinitely so that his own religion can function in and through all religions.

Again, if one really wants fulfilment, he has to know that real fulfilment will not come just from following a particular religion or even all religions. Real fulfilment can come and will come only from one's own sincere cry. Religion is like a house. Either in this house or in that house you can remain. But if you do not pray while you are inside the house, then there can be no real fulfilment. It is not following a religion but practising the principle that inwardly dictates the form of a religion which offers the way to real fulfilment. And this is what we call prayer and meditation.

Question: Is your path a religion?

Sri Chinmoy: No, mine is a path. A path cannot be a religion; a path only accepts — gladly accepts — the votaries or followers of all religions. It is a path, therefore, that anybody can follow. People from different countries, different cultures, different backgrounds can walk along the same path, but they perhaps will not be able to follow the same religion. One can walk along the spiritual path regardless of religion, regardless of culture, regardless of his inner and outer growth.

Question: How can religion be made more spiritual?

Sri Chinmoy: Religion can be made more spiritual just by bringing to it more widening beliefs, more illumining compassion and more fulfilling satisfaction, which are founded on one's consecration to God's Will. In order to make religion more spiritual, spirituality in its pristine purity must be brought into the heart of religion.

Question: How can I lose my suspicion of the outer world?

Sri Chinmoy: How can you lose your suspicion of the outer world? First you have to ask yourself whether your suspicion has helped you in any way. The answer will be no. It has not helped you at all. On the contrary, it has only lowered your consciousness, lowered your aspiration. Then you have to ask yourself one more question: are you wise or are you a fool? If you are a wise human being, then you will always act wisely. You are not a fool, so you are supposed to act like a wise individual. Anything that stands in the way of your God-discovery or Truth-discovery or life-manifestation has to be discarded.

Then you have to know where your suspicion is. Is it in the mind? Is it in the vital? Is it in the body? There can be suspicion in the physical and in the vital, but the suspicion that exists in these places is negligible. But the suspicion that is in the mind is like a mountain. So first you will enter into the place where suspicion is lurking all the time, which is the mind. Then you can tell suspicion, "Look, I have got nothing from you except misery, so why do I need you? You pretend to be my real friend, but you are not. A real friend does not create problems. It is only an enemy that creates problems. For a long time I did not know that you were an enemy; I considered you to be my friend. For this reason I allowed you to remain inside my mind. But now I know that you are not my friend. Just because you are my enemy, you have to leave. This is my house, absolutely mine. Here you have no place."

But again, you have to realise that nobody and nothing can remain an eternal enemy. You will invoke and create boundless Light inside the mind and then either you shall allow suspicion to come into your mind for its illumination, or your illumined mind will enter into the human suspicion which has been discarded from the mind. The mind will enter in order to transform and illumine suspicion.

Nothing negative, nothing undivine can always remain undivine, for God's Vision is eventually to make everything divine. But in the meantime certain things stand in our way inwardly and create problems for us. You have to tell them to remain far away and to let you reach your destination. Then, from the destination you can bring infinite Light to them. Or you can say, "Once I reach my destination, if you want to come and visit me, I shall allow you because at that time I shall have full authority and full capacity to transform you." At that time, either suspicion will come to you for transformation or you shall come to it with illumination. For once you are illumined, you are no longer afraid of your existence. So in this way you can conquer suspicion.

Question: Is there one divine quality which encompasses all the rest or does a seeker have to meditate on each one?

Sri Chinmoy: For a seeker, one quality is enough in his own life and that is gratitude. And in God's Life one quality is also enough, and that is God's Compassion. God's Compassion encompasses all His divine qualities, and the seeker's gratitude encompasses all his divine qualities. So if one wants to feel the presence of all his divine qualities, then he has to look in his gratitude. And if he wants to feel all the divine qualities of God, then he can easily find them in God's Compassion. If one wants to see all God's good qualities or all one's own good qualities individually, one can easily do that too. But if one wants to see one good quality which embodies all the good qualities, then in God's case it is His Compassion and in man's case it is his gratitude.

Question: Is the reason for this that there is a feeling of oneness in human gratitude and God's Compassion? Is that why these two qualities are so all-encompassing?

Sri Chinmoy: In oneness you get everything. A child has established oneness with his parents, so he knows he will get everything. If the parents have material power or any power, any capacity, then it is all his: the parents are going to give it to him. If you are one with someone, that means all his qualities are your very own, and vice versa. Your eyes are one with your legs and arms. Your arms want to perform something at a particular place. Your eyes show you how to get there and your legs take you. Just because oneness has been established in all your limbs, one complements and fulfils the other. So if you establish your oneness with God's Compassion on the strength of your gratitude for God's Compassion, then inside God's Compassion you will get everything.

But again, if you find it extremely difficult to think of God's Compassion all the time or your own gratitude, then try to bring to the fore individual aspects of God's Capacity. If God's Power is what you want, then concentrate on God's Power. If you want inner cry, which you need, then try to bring this to the fore. Or if you need sincerity, try to get this. Anything you need, you bring forward individually.

But if gratitude is there, then inside gratitude you will find power, sincerity, simplicity and all divine qualities, because gratitude means oneness. God has played His role by giving; you have played your role by expressing your gratitude. By giving, God has shown his oneness with you; and by offering your gratitude, you have become one with Him.

Question: Is the way to get rid of anxiety to ignore it?

Sri Chinmoy: You can get rid of anxiety for a short time by ignoring it, but if you want to get rid of it permanently, then you have to bring light into it. In the beginning, if you are weak, then ignore it. If you can convince your mind that anxiety does not exist, then you get temporary relief. If even for one day you are freed from anxiety, then you have accomplished something. By ignoring it you can keep it away for a few days, a few weeks or a few months, but you cannot indefinitely ignore it. The anxiety still exists and it will come back.

But in the meantime, while it is away, you may create or develop or acquire or achieve light. Then, if you have brought light into your system, when anxiety comes you can put light into it. At that time, anxiety is transformed and then it no longer exists. In this way it will not bother you again.

If you do not have enough light or illumining power inside you, then the next best thing is to ignore anxiety. But unless and until you have illumined anxiety, there can be no abiding satisfaction. In the beginning you ignore it and wait for God's capacity to develop in you, which is Light. Then, when the hour comes, you must enter into anxiety itself with your soul's light. But if you have this capacity right from the beginning, why do you have to ignore your anxiety? Everything in God's creation needs God's attention for its perfection. Anxiety is not a good quality; it has to be perfected. Since you have the capacity, pay attention to it and perfect it.

Question: Should we advertise in our offices that we belong to the U.N. Meditation Group?

Sri Chinmoy: No, we should not advertise, but we should not be timid either. Only we should try to inspire people. If someone is kind, sympathetic, thinking of leading a better life, a higher life, we can speak to that person. But we don't have to advertise or "missionise". That would make it something commercial, and people will misunderstand us. They will think we are trying to convert them. We shall not do that. Only we shall try to inspire people with our own spiritual light.

Let them see something in us. If they see something in us, which is joy and peace of mind, then they will ask where we got it. Then we can tell them that we go to a place to pray and meditate and if they are interested, they can come. But we should not go around advertising our views everywhere at the United Nations. That is the wrong approach.

Question: How can our own spiritual efforts within the Meditation Group assist the work that you are performing in serving the soul of the U.N. and the family of nations?

Sri Chinmoy: Each member of the Meditation Group must feel that his service is of paramount importance. Service can be of different types. Somebody may be able to come regularly to the meditations and somebody else may not be able to come to the meditations regularly because of the heavy pressure of his work, or because he cannot get a lunch break at the right time, or for some other reason. But if an individual comes to the meditation room, he should offer his prayers not only for his own soul but also on behalf of the ones who could not come to the meditation.

All the members of the Meditation Group must establish a soulful oneness. It is like a tree that is offering flowers. Each flower is of supreme importance. The Meditation Group is the tree: each individual is a flower, a flower of dedication. The seeker has aspired. That is why he has become a real flower. But now this flower has to dedicate itself. At every moment each member of the Meditation Group has to feel that the purpose of his life is dedication — dedication not only to one particular nation but to all nations.

We pray and meditate in this room. A few hundred members of the United Nations know about us, but most of them do not care for what we are doing. But still we have to care for them. We have to play the role of the mother. Very often children do not care for their mother. They take the mother for granted, knowing she will do everything for them, even if they do not do anything for her. In the inner world, I see that there are many, many who do not participate in our group or come to our meetings but who get a kind of inner strength unconsciously from us. The child won't come to the mother, won't listen to the mother, but he feels that if he has some need, the mother will be the first person to protect him and help him. Here also, those who do not come still feel our soulful assistance. When they dive deep within even for a few minutes, their inner beings tell them that there is a Meditation Group that prays and meditates for the U.N.

What we do for the United Nations as members of the United Nations Meditation Group or as members of a spiritual community — any community — is recorded in the soul of the United Nations. A day will come when we will be recognised as a true asset to the body and soul of the United Nations. And something more. Now we do not have even a proper place to meet in; from here to there we move. But one day there will be a permanent place at the United Nations for our Meditation Group. Now it is in its infancy, but a day will come when it will grow into a mature young man. It will shoulder inwardly and silently much spiritual responsibility. The politicians won't believe it; their minds won't believe it. But their souls will believe it, and their souls will make them believe it in their hearts' inmost sincerity. There will be many, many problems that will arise and there will be no outer way to solve these problems; but they will be solved. The human mind will say it was a stroke of fate that has solved the problem. But the heart will say, no, it was because there are some sincere seekers who are crying for world harmony and world peace. It is the accumulated prayer and meditation that we do regularly at home and, especially, twice a week here at the United Nations, that will solve these problems. So our prayer and meditation will be recorded in the gratitude-heart of all the U.N. members who really want a world of harmony and a world of peace.

Now, we are acting like farmers. A farmer cultivates the field, then he sows the seeds, and then he waters it. But all of a sudden, in the twinkling of an eye, the seed will not germinate. It takes time. We are all playing the role of farmers. In the depths of our hearts we have found fertile soil, and we have cultivated it. We have sown the seeds of peace, light and harmony. In the course of time, at God's choice Hour, those seeds will germinate. And when they grow into strong and healthy plants, the world will see them. Then a day will come when the plants will grow into trees, and the world will have more faith, abundant faith in our soulful attempt to establish world peace, world harmony and world oneness in an inner way. Finally, these little seeds of peace, light and harmony will grow into huge banyan trees. At that time, in number we may have two hundred or three hundred members or more, and the strength of our prayer, the strength of our sincere effort, will be acknowledged as the backbone, the supporting pillar of world peace. Something more, the world will feel that it is our prayer-dynamo, our meditation-dynamo, which is the source of world peace in the U.N. It will take time, but our Meditation Group is destined to play that sublime role. Everyone who is praying and meditating here is indispensable to bring about this transformation, illumination and perfection. We have all been given the golden opportunity by the Absolute Supreme to bring about this world harmony.

Question: People at the United Nations, in our offices, think of the Meditation Group as a family. Is that a helpful attitude?

Sri Chinmoy: Here at the United Nations we are trying to have a world family. If we can have a feeling of family, even with forty or fifty members, that is a great achievement. We do not have any dogmatic attitude. We do not say that if you do not accept our Meditation Group, then you will not be able to go to Heaven, or if you do not accept our Meditation Group, then there will be no perfection in your life. That we will never say. Only we pray and meditate and try to offer our dedicated service. Our family is not a religion; our family is only a conscious dedication to the Supreme in each individual. On the strength of our prayer and dedication we have formed a small family. We are not preaching or advocating any specific religion. But if others feel that we have a sweet, harmonious family, and that this family is not standing in their way at all, then they can also join us if they wish. Today our family is small, but tomorrow our family will become big, very big. This will happen not because we have converted people, but because we have inspired people to lead a better life, a more illumining and fulfilling life.

Question: How can I make the staff members of the United Nations feel that the Meditation Group is available to them?

Sri Chinmoy: You have friends, you have colleagues; you can speak to them. If once in a while you share with them your views on life, they will have no objection. If your colleagues don't accept your ideas, you need not discuss them any more. You can also give them some of our writings, and tell them about our various activities. You have every right to give some material to your friends, but not when you are supposed to be working. During office hours you are serving the U.N. and getting a salary, so you should not talk to your friends when you have work to do. But during lunch or after office hours you can do whatever you want. Another thing you can do is to inspire your colleagues by the way you act, and by your service and dedication.

You can be like a mother with her child. The mother knows that something is good for the child, so she gives it to him. But the child may say, "No, I don't like it," and reject it. Then what can the mother do? Here at the United Nations, the Meditation Group is like a mother. All her children, the workers at the United Nations, may not know that there is something that is good for them. But the mother will try to show them. She will offer them kindness, oneness, sympathy, peace, joy, light, satisfaction. So you give to your colleagues your peace, your joy and your concern for light and universal harmony. If they reject it, that means that their hour has not come. Then you can approach some other people.

It is your business to give, but not to say that what you give is the only thing worthwhile in God's creation, or that the Meditation Group is the only salvation. You can say, "We have something to offer. Do you care for it? If you care for it, we are more than willing to share it with you. If you don't care for it, then I am sorry." This should be your attitude.

Question: Is it possible that the United Nations will one day be a nucleus of world-wide spirituality?

Sri Chinmoy: That is not only a possibility. It is more than a possibility; it is an inevitability! The United Nations does not need to be in this building. This building need not be here at all. But the symbol, the truth, the light that the United Nations embodies is bound to cover the length and breadth of the world. The United Nations that we are seeing — the body and form — may not last. But the reality that is behind the United Nations, the dreams that each dedicated individual member has — not in his mind but in his soul — have to fulfil themselves. It may take fifty, two hundred, or four hundred years, but the dreams must eventually be fulfilled even if the outer form, the structure, does not remain the same. But the essential thing is the soul's full blossoming into perfection, the expansion of "United Nations" into "Oneness-World".

Previously there was the League of Nations, the dream of Woodrow Wilson. Now we see the United Nations. A few things are changed and modified and for the better. The League of Nations was Woodrow Wilson's dream. It no longer exists. Instead, it has blossomed into another dream, a greater dream. The United Nations is also a dream. And this dream will eventually take a better and more fulfilling form also. At that time it will be Oneness-World.

A League of Nations is like a cluster of flowers. A United Nations arranges the flowers harmoniously. When we have a Oneness-World, at that time we will not see several individual flowers; we will see all as one whole. That also will take place.

This outer form may not last, but there will always be another way of approaching the reality. And that reality is bound to dawn. It will dawn and we will have Oneness-World. This is God's Dream, God's Vision of Perfection. The Kingdom of Heaven that we talk about, that we have heard about, is Oneness-World, nothing else. Oneness-World must dawn. And even Oneness-World is not the ultimate thing in God's Vision. In God's Vision, oneness need not and cannot be total perfection. In oneness there should be constant aspiration to transcend. There are twenty members of a family and they have become one. But if there is no aspiration to grow higher, to grow deeper, to grow better, then that is not perfection. Even when oneness is established, we can't say that that is the end of the game. No, inside oneness there should be a continuous aspiration to go beyond, beyond, beyond. God's Vision is always a Self-transcending Reality, so after oneness we still have the message of continuous transcendence, which is real perfection.

So, first there was the League of Nations. Now we see the United Nations. From the United Nations we shall see the Oneness-World, and inside the Oneness-World we shall see the song of self-transcendence, world-transcendence, universal transcendence. And inside that transcendence we shall see perfection, which is satisfaction.

Question: What should be the attitude of those who work at the United Nations?

Sri Chinmoy: Each individual connected with the United Nations in any capacity must be worthy of the word "united". At the United Nations we are trying to unite all the nations, to establish world peace and world harmony. If we can serve the United Nations, consciously knowing at every moment the meaning of the role of the United Nations — unity — we will succeed.

Some of the members of the United Nations Meditation Group are conscious of this, but in spite of being conscious they are not taking it seriously, while others are not even conscious of it. They feel that they happen to work here just as they might happen to be at any other job. But each member of the United Nations Meditation Group must feel that his job is a golden opportunity to serve the Vision of God's Oneness.

The United Nations is the song of oneness, and the song of oneness we are going to sing. We are going to sing it just because somebody has inspired us. Who has inspired us? The Absolute Supreme. Therefore, we have to be grateful to Him. If we are grateful to Him, then we will be able to sing our song. We will have a more soulful voice, and in our voice, in our action — which is dedicated service — there will be more spirituality, divinity and feeling of oneness.

If we want to serve anyone or anything in the best way possible, the best thing is to discover gratitude in our life. We are grateful because we are given the chance. God could have given the golden opportunity to somebody else, but He gave it to us. There should be no fear, no doubt, no anxiety, no worry — only gratitude. People who serve the United Nations in any capacity should feel some sense of gratitude inside their hearts. Here they are given the opportunity of serving humanity. There are many places where people are not even given that opportunity, but here at the United Nations they are.

The workers at the United Nations may quarrel, fight and do many undivine things, but they have a goal. There are many places on earth where there is no such thing as a goal. Here we know there is a goal. We may not walk along the right road to reach the goal, but we know about the goal, and one day perhaps we will feel miserable that we just talk about the goal but we don't do anything to reach it. So when talking will no longer satisfy us, then we shall try to be really sincere. When we become sincere, we feel that there is something to intensify our sincerity, to illumine our sincerity, to fulfil our sincerity, and that thing is gratitude. Gratitude is self-expansion, gratitude is God-expansion within us. Once we offer an iota of gratitude to the Supreme in us, to the Inner Pilot within us, our heart is immediately expanded. There is no better way to expand our heart than to offer gratitude.

Question: How can we have purity in the mind?

Sri Chinmoy: You can have purity in the mind by constantly remembering the Supreme. Think of the mind as a runner. The runner is running very fast; you cannot catch it. But the Supreme runs infinitely faster than the mind. If you can think of the Supreme, He will give you the capacity to run very fast and reach the destination before the mind. As long as the mind embodies impurity, it feels it will be able to affect the other runners around — the body, the vital and the heart.But when we run faster than the mind with the strength of the Supreme, the mind gives way. It feels it is a hopeless case and it gives up the race. Then the mind will give up its impure thoughts, limited thoughts.

Question: Does it help our spiritual progress to understand things intellectually?

Sri Chinmoy: It is not at all necessary to understand something intellectually. There have been many spiritual giants who don't use the mind; they use the heart instead. On the strength of their heart's oneness with God, they felt and realised everything. Understanding is a very tricky word. When today we understand something in a particular way, that very understanding may not satisfy us tomorrow. We may develop another kind of understanding and see that yesterday's understanding was absolutely useless. So, to use the intellect is not the right way.

Again, the intellect may surrender to the heart's oneness and say, "I don't get abiding satisfaction from understanding intellectually. So let me get joy by identifying myself with the highest Reality." The decisions of the mind are constantly changing, so we can never find real certainty and satisfaction on the path of the mind. But if we follow the path of the heart, we see that the heart immediately identifies with the Reality — no matter what the substance or the essence of the Reality is. If this is the substance, if this is the essence, then heart will claim it as its very own. If we want to learn something soulfully and understand it fully, then the heart is the answer.

Sometimes the mind is ashamed of its conduct, ashamed of its cruelty. It is merciless not only to the other members of its family, but also to its own existence. But by becoming cruel to others or to itself, the mind cannot solve its problem. Only by looking for a higher reality can the mind become as happy as the heart. And this it eventually is bound to do. To say that the mind will never cry for Light, that the mind will never receive Light, would be a mistake. The mind will undoubtedly cry for Light and receive Light, and there will come a time on our earthly calendar when the mind will get the same joy as the heart. Otherwise, God's creation can never be perfect, and God will never allow us to remain imperfect.

Question: Is the mind ever self-giving?

Sri Chinmoy: The mind can be self-giving like the heart. But right now the mind that we use is the limited mind. When we live in the mind, we feel that we have only five cents and if we give it away, then we will have nothing. But there is also an unlimited mind. If we become one with the unlimited mind, then there is no question of becoming empty-handed in life. If the mind comes to feel that it is limitless, then no matter how much it gives of its own, it remains infinite.

Question: How can we increase the mind's sincerity?

Sri Chinmoy: We can increase the mind's sincerity by compelling the mind to remain inside the heart. This is the easiest and most effective way. The earth-bound mind is not sincere and cannot be sincere. But when the mind becomes calm, quiet and vacant, it automatically becomes sincere. If a great boxer does something wrong, undivine, he will not be afraid of a weakling who criticises him. If the other person is of his standard, however, the boxer may deny his deed. The greatest boxer may do many things that we may not approve of, but his life is an open book. He does not care what we think. So the superior who has the strength, the power, even if he does something wrong, does not have to tell a lie. By telling lies he is not gaining anything. But an ordinary person will try to hide.

Here we are speaking of mundane reality. On another level, if the heart identifies itself with infinite Reality, the infinite Power, and if the mind goes and takes shelter inside the heart, then the mind automatically becomes sincere. For the mind does not have to tell a lie and justify itself. It does not have to be afraid of anything. So the mind must take shelter inside the heart.

Question: Does the mind have a will of its own?

Sri Chinmoy: The mind has a will of its own; again, the mind can fall victim to hostile forces and it can also surrender to higher forces. Limited will everybody has. When we don't use our limited will, we can allow either God to conquer us or ignorance-force to conquer us. But if we use the mind properly, we will not surrender to undivine forces that assail us.

We have limited capacity. We don't have sufficient capacity to reach our destination. We are like helpless children. If the Goal sees that a little child is trying desperately to reach it, then the Goal comes to the little child. Either the divine Being who is at the Goal will come or the hostile forces will come. In the beginning, the mother stands at the destination and observes whether the child is making a sincere effort to come to her. If so, then the mother goes and stands in front of the child. With the limited mind we can walk towards the Goal, we can at least go one step forward. So if we use the limited capacity, the limited will, of the mind to aspire, a divine Being will come to us. Otherwise, an undivine being will come. So the mind, if it is sincere, can be inspired by the divine Will or, if it is not sincerely trying, it can be instigated by the undivine will.

Question: What is the difference between the mind of a world-renowned statesman and the mind of a world-renowned scientist?

Sri Chinmoy: Most statesmen or dictators live in the vital world. In the twinkling of an eye, they will try to make the whole world sit at their feet. As Julius Caesar said, "I came, I saw, I conquered." This is what a statesman or a dictator will feel. Quite often dictators will try to operate on the physical plane with vital strength. They don't use mental strength, although mental strength is superior to the vital strength. Psychic strength is superior to the mental strength, occult strength is superior to psychic strength and the soul's strength is superior to occult strength. Again, God's Strength is infinitely superior to the soul's strength. The more subtle the strength, the more effective it is.

A scientist uses another strength. His strength is the strength of imagination-reality. Imagination has a plane, a reality of its own. But we call it "imagination" until we see it with our ordinary, naked human eyes. Then we try to go to the intuitive world. The scientist often goes to the intuitive world, but on very, very rare occasions in world history will a statesman or dictator have that kind of mind.

Again, I must say that in the second World War, once or twice Churchill's utterances came from the psychic plane, intuitive plane. When he spoke, it was on a very high level. Kennedy and Nehru also spoke sometimes from the intuitive and psychic planes. But these are all very rare exceptions. Usually, dictators or statesmen try to dominate the physical world with their vital strength. But the scientist deals mostly with imagination-strength and, if he is successful, he goes one step ahead, to intuition. When the scientist discovers something, he enters into the subtle world and brings forward its capacity. His discovery has a physical shape, but its real essence comes from the imagination-world, intuitive world. He may think he has used the mind, but it is a reality in subtle form to which he is bringing physical form, in its own way.

So a world statesman will have access to vital or dynamic worlds, whereas the scientist will have access to the imaginative world or intuitive world. The worlds that the scientist explores are much higher than those explored by eminent political figures. But even the scientist surrenders to the spiritual person. Spirituality houses everything, including science. But, unfortunately, science does not give value to the spiritual life. The scientist wants constant proof on the physical plane, vital plane, mental plane. He wants to prove the reality he has seen. Spiritual people will say, "As the physical plane is real to you, even so, the spiritual plane is real to us. Why do I have to prove my existence by coming down to your level? If I am on the top of the tree, you climb up to the top of the tree to see whether I am enjoying the sweetest fruit or not."

The scientist right now has not climbed up as high as the spiritual Master. What the great spiritual giants have achieved in the march of evolution is right now far beyond the imagination of the scientist. So the discovery that the spiritual Masters have made is not yet possible for the scientist to accept, and he tries to deny the spiritual Master's discovery. Spirituality at that time tells the scientist, "No matter what you want to do with my existence, even if you deny it, I am not going to be the loser. I come from a very far-off land. This land is totally pure and this reality is absolutely authentic. If you want to taste my achievement, then come to the place where I can supply nectar. You have to come to my standard. If I want to prove my achievement to you on a mental level, then instead of giving you illumination, I will only add more confusion to your discovery. Your discovery will not and cannot give you abiding satisfaction, because it is mixed up with the mental and physical world."

Political figures, scientists and spiritual figures are all correct according to their own standards. Politics is trying to operate from a particular level. Science is trying to operate on a particular level. Each is trying to tell the world how creation has to be accepted, according to its own level of evolution. And spirituality also tries to offer its truth. It does not explain. It says, "Become one and then enjoy; I don't want to explain." In politics you have to prove, in science you have to prove. But in spirituality it is not necessary, because you become what you achieve. In politics, if you give a most wonderful speech to the nation, the speech may be one thing and you may be something else. Your life may be totally different from that; you don't remain in that consciousness. If you discover something, the atom bomb or hydrogen bomb, you don't become what you have created. You can claim whatever you have created in the political or scientific field as your own, but your possession has not become inseparably one with its possessor. In spirituality, however, whatever you realise on the spiritual plane, you become. The creator and creation become inseparably one because of their oneness-capacity.

Question: You have started offering songs to the United Nations Meditation Group to sing and I was wondering if you would like to expound upon the purpose of this?

Sri Chinmoy: Not only each song but each tune embodies aspiration. When we embody aspiration, we feel that we are serving the Divine in us. When we do not aspire, we feel that we are serving the undivine in us. Song is a universal language; it is the heart's easiest and most effective way to unite the inner world with the outer world, which is separate or has been fragmented into many pieces.

So this year I am executing an inner command to compose a good many songs. Like my paintings, each song is my dedication to aspiring mankind. Each song embodies my aspiration, my realisation and my dedicated oneness with you all.

It is my wish that the seekers of the ultimate Truth will learn these songs if they can sing well. While practising them, they are bound to get delight, and when they perform before the rest of the world, they should feel that they are offering their aspiration in the form of dedication.

Those who are listening to the songs will be meditating as much as those who are singing. Meditation does not mean to remain closeted, to keep your eyes and ears shut and not to know what is going on around you. Meditation is a form of self-dedication, and this dedication comes from our aspiration. Those who are singing can offer their dedicated service through their soulful music, and those who are listening to them soulfully and devotedly can also be doing their best meditation.

Suppose I sing fifty songs and it takes two hours. During these two hours, your mind can roam and think of millions of things, or you can feel that singing is not important, so you will feel drowsy and fall asleep. Or you can take it as an opportunity to do your best meditation because here the music is adding to your own aspiration. If you are trying to aspire, the soulful songs will add to your own aspiration.

Each song is a golden opportunity to increase our spirituality, to increase our aspiration. Each song is like an additional plant in our garden. Naturally the plant will offer us more beautiful flowers. Each song soulfully sung gives us tremendous inner joy, and this joy gives us the message of heart-expansion. Our heart expands when we are in joy. If we are wise, we shall adopt all means in order to expand our heart so that in our heart's joy and delight we can see the entire world.

A song is a seed. The seed will germinate and grow into a tree and the tree will mature and offer many flowers and fruits. The flowers will offer their fragrance and beauty to increase our aspiration, and the fruit will give us immortal joy. So these soulful songs will give us the message of Immortality by helping us to become one with the universal Light, the universal Delight, which they embody.

It is my wish to write at least fifty songs for the United Nations. We will have a book with fifty songs and it will be the possession of the United Nations Meditation Group. You will learn them and sing them at various places, and many things will be done with these songs. Very soon I shall be able to offer the Meditation Group quite a few songs, which will be most applicable to the United Nations ideas and ideals.

Question: During our Sixth Anniversary celebration on 14 April, you spoke about serving the United Nations with gratitude. Could you please elaborate on this?

Sri Chinmoy: We all serve the United Nations because we feel the United Nations offers us a unique opportunity to help bring about world peace, world harmony, and world oneness. We have tried in every way to serve the United Nations. "We" means each individual, not only as a member of the Meditation Group but also as a member of the United Nations staff. But people who are working at the United Nations and serving the United Nations are at times assailed with fears, doubts and anxieties that their services will be dispensed with. Misunderstanding, controversy and other unhealthy experiences they get quite often. So we have come to realise that there should be a new method of serving the United Nations, and that new method is with the heart's gratitude.

So far, in spite of our teeming ignorance, limitations and imperfections, we have achieved something for the world, we have done something for mankind by serving the United Nations. If we want to separate the United Nations from the world at large, we can say we have achieved something for the United Nations proper. If we want to separate the United Nations from our own existence, we can say we have achieved something for ourselves. Even if we take the United Nations as something other than the world or as something other than ourselves, still we can say we have achieved something.

Instead of saying there is one, we can say there are three complementary friends: the world, the United Nations and the individual Meditation Group member. If we can't take them as one, let us then take them as three intimate friends. These three intimate friends may at times find it difficult to see eye to eye with each other. The world is seeing something wrong with the United Nations and the individual is seeing something wrong with the United Nations, or the United Nations is seeing something wrong with the world or with the individual. They are finding fault with each other, but at the same time, they are friends. The different countries do not always agree with one another, but still they are friends. If they were not friends, they would not be in the United Nations proper. They would not be involved in United Nations activities. They do believe in the United Nations, they have faith in the United Nations, but they also have individual problems which they are trying to work out.

So, the world is a friend, the United Nations is a friend and the individual is a friend. Let us put it this way. Three friends, in spite of their misunderstandings and shortcomings, are trying to offer their best qualities and become one. When they offer their best qualities, when they sincerely give, then they become totally one in the inner life and in the outer life. At that time there cannot be a separate world or a separate United Nations or a separate individual. There is no sense of separation; it is all oneness.

Right now friendship is there, but inseparable oneness is not there. Just because there is some basic friendship, all the countries are together and all the individuals are together. But oneness is still missing. That oneness will come only when each individual is able to offer his own sincerity and other good qualities to both the United Nations and the world, when the United Nations can offer its good qualities — its body and soul — to the individual and to the world, and when the world can offer its good qualities to each member and to the United Nations proper. In this way three will become one.

They will become one on the strength of their gratitude — gratitude for what the world has done for the United Nations, for what the United Nations has done for the world, and for what the individual has done for the world and for the United Nations. Each has done something for the other two; therefore, they are grateful to one another. Once they feel true gratitude towards one another, they will become one. Their hearts will experience expansion, and in the heart's gradual expansion they will become universal. At that time, we will not be able to separate an individual member of the United Nations from the United Nations because they will be integrally one. The United Nations will not be able to be separated from the world because it will be part and parcel of the world. They will be one by virtue of their sincere and mutual gratitude. By offering gratitude, constant gratitude, the world, the United Nations and the United Nations member will become one. When they become one, they will be perfect instruments.

As long as they remain three individuals, they have to offer their gratitude to each other. When they become one, they will offer their gratitude to the Supreme Pilot for having made them perfect instruments. Why? Because they have become conscious and perfect instruments of the Supreme whereas others are not even conscious instruments. So they are grateful to the Supreme for having given them this opportunity.

Right now we are conscious instruments, but perfection is a far cry. But a day will come when in addition to being conscious instruments, we shall also be perfect instruments. So now we can offer gratitude just because we have become instruments. The Supreme, out of His infinite Bounty, has accepted us and given us the opportunity to become His conscious instruments. But a day will come when we will become perfect instruments. At that time we shall have to offer more gratitude, infinitely more. Now we should offer gratitude because we are chosen to be conscious instruments. But when we become perfect instruments, our gratitude will become boundless. The same thing applies to each individual and to each nation.

Question: When you shower Light on us when we are meditating, how can we be most receptive?

Sri Chinmoy: You can be most receptive on the strength of your own simplicity, sincerity, purity and humility. When you bring to the fore your own divine qualities — simplicity, sincerity, purity and humility — then you can receive the utmost. And inside simplicity, inside sincerity, inside purity, inside humility, please try to feel a sense of gratitude to the Inner Pilot, to your own Inner Pilot. Your gratitude-heart will be able to receive the utmost; it will bring down from Above Peace, Light and Bliss in boundless measure. It is a gratitude-heart that receives these divine qualities and also manifests them here on earth.

Question: How can man live forever?

Sri Chinmoy: How can man live forever? We have to know what we mean by "man". If we mean the flesh and blood and earthly limbs that we have, then with this body it is impossible to live forever. The five elements that constitute the physical body cannot last. If an individual identifies himself only with the physical body, which remains alive for sixty, seventy or eighty years, naturally there is no immortality. When the body is not aspiring — and in most cases it is not aspiring — then it is not worthwhile to stay on earth where there is so much suffering, so much frustration, weakness, limitation and bondage.

People may live on earth for eighty or ninety years, but if they have not given up their ordinary human life or, let us say, their animal life, there is no purpose in it. Only if one wants to act divinely and live in a divine way is there a reason for him to live eternally. But if one wants to live a divine life, then right now he has to develop inside himself a divine consciousness. Each individual has the animal consciousness, the human consciousness and the divine consciousness. From the animal consciousness we have gradually entered into the human consciousness, and from the human we are now trying to grow into the divine. This consciousness with our ordinary human eyes, we do not see; but with our inner vision we see it.

In the world of consciousness each individual is immortal. An individual identifies himself either with the soul or with the body. If he identifies himself with the body, which is far from perfection, then naturally he feels he cannot live forever. But if he identifies himself with the soul, then he knows that he is immortal. The body will die, but when it is a matter of consciousness — which every man has and which he inwardly is — man is eternal, man is immortal.

Again, it is our hope that there will come a time when the physical body, like the soul, will be able to establish its inseparable oneness with the divine. We have an inner life and an outer life. The inner life is aspiration, whereas the outer life is right now full of desire; it is earthbound. But a day will come when the desire-life will be transformed by the inner life, and aspiration will shine even in the so called physical. At that time, the transformed and illumined physical body will be able to last permanently. But right now the physical is half animal, manifesting only an iota of the divine Light. There shall come a time when the physical will receive boundless Light from Above and will be illumined. Once it is illumined, like the soul, it can remain permanently on earth, if such is the Will of God. But right now, at the present stage of human consciousness, it is impossible for the physical level of man to be immortal.

Question: How can we help the pilots of the United Nations — the Secretary-General and the Directors?

Sri Chinmoy: The pilots of the United Nations need our services, not our help. The moment we use the term "help", a kind of egocentric idea enters into us. If we help someone, that means we are in a superior position. When we help, we feel that we are one step ahead or one step higher than the ones that we are helping. But if we serve someone, then we offer our capacity with humility, on the strength of our loving concern and oneness. So let us use the proper term, "service".

How can we serve the Secretary General, who is the main pilot of the United Nations, and others who are high authorities at the United Nations? Let us call them the hero-warriors of the United Nations, since they are in the battlefield of life fighting for world harmony, for world peace and world oneness, for world illumination and world perfection. These members of the family have gone out to fight against the undivine forces, the forces that separate, the forces that do not want world harmony. These are our brothers, let us say. Our brothers have gone into the battlefield to fight, but we have not gone; we have stayed at home. We were not chosen by the Supreme to fight.

But we can serve the same supreme cause inside them through our constant prayer and goodwill. It is our bounden duty to try to create for our brothers success and victory. Our prayers will undoubtedly be an additional strength to them while they are fighting against disharmony, conflict and the wrong forces that separate the nations of the world. Our inner prayer is of paramount importance, and it does help them considerably. They are doing something for themselves, for us, for all of humanity. So it is our bounden duty to pray inwardly and outwardly for them at home, or wherever we are.

The pilots of the United Nations are serving mankind in the world arena. We can also do the same type of service, according to our capacity. They do it on a large scale, according to the capacity they have, and we do it on a limited scale according to the capacity we have. Our prayer is also a solid strength. This solid strength we can offer to them in silence, from our inner life of dedication to the world.

Question: Sri Chinmoy, it is very difficult to know what is a spiritual question. How much of the United Nations is a spiritual reality and a secular reality, or are these meaningless distinctions?

Sri Chinmoy: I beg to be excused. When I use the term "spiritual", I mean that if somebody asks me a scientific question I will not be able to answer it. If somebody asks me some historical, political or mathematical question, I will be nowhere. I use the term "spiritual" in a broader sense, to mean the reality that unites us, the reality that wants to fulfil us in a divine way. "Spiritual" here means oneness, unity. The goal of the United Nations is to unite all nations, all human beings. Real spirituality cannot be other than this: to see all human hearts, all human lives united for one supreme cause, which is to offer satisfaction to the Reality, to God's Creation and God's Vision.

"Spiritual" here means the unity of all human beings and all human aspirations. It means a better, more illumining way of life. I am using "spiritual" in a very broad sense, in the purest sense, as world harmony, world peace, world union and world oneness. This is spiritual.

As you know, the goal of the United Nations is unity. But unity is not oneness. First we attain unity, and then we go one step farther, to oneness. After oneness, we try to see satisfaction. Each individual must be satisfied on the strength of his oneness with and sacrifice for the other members of the family.

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

"I do not compete with the world. I compete with my ignorance.
I do not compare myself with the world. I compare myself with my soul's perfection.
I do not co-operate with the world's stupidity. I co-operate with my heart's purest sincerity."

"Three hundred sixty-five opportunities to realise the Supreme, to reveal the Supreme and to fulfil the Supreme."

"NO speaks through my mind: "If there is a God, then how is it that I have never seen Him? No God.""

"When Peace is multiplied, Truth is multiplied.
When Truth is multiplied, Love is multiplied.
When Love is multiplied, God is multiplied."

"What I can do. Although I am feebler than an insect, I dare to criticise God the Omnipotent.
What I can do. Although I am His child of love, I dare to forget and ignore Him.
What I cannot do. Although I am a man, I fail to live a true human life.
What I cannot do. Although I assert my own existence on earth, I do not know who I am and what I am here for."

"I tell the truth. The world is hurt.
I tell a lie. God is hurt.
What am I to do?
Silence. I must live in silence and become the smiling breath of silence.
Lo the world loves me, and God blesses me."

"What do I do?
I let God think for me.
What else do I do?
I let God speak through me.
What more can I do?
I can let God make me as divine and perfect as He is."

"Our desires expire when our attachments retire.
Our aspirations die when our temptations dye our life-breath."

"Where joy is wanting, love is wanting.
Where love is wanting, everything is wanting.
Where Truth is, Fulfilment is there.
Where fulfilment is, God is there, there alone."

Editor's preface to the first edition

The questions in this book were asked by members of the United Nations Meditation Group, an informal 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 under the guidance of Sri Chinmoy.

Sri Chinmoy 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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