God and the Cosmic Game

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Part I — God and the Cosmic Game

Question: How do you define God?

Sri Chinmoy: God is beyond definition. But according to one's own vision or receptivity, one will define God in one's own way. Some will say that God is all Love. Others will say that God is all Power. Each one will see God according to his own necessity, his own receptivity and, finally, according to the way God wants him to see the ultimate Truth.

I see God with form and without form. I see Him as boundless Consciousness, limitless and endless Consciousness. Again, I see Him as energy, infinite energy. But usually I see the Supreme in the form of a most luminous, golden Being. When I converse with Him, I also see this form. I am extremely fond of this particular form. Here on earth, where we judge beauty with the human eye, we feel that a particular child is most beautiful. But I wish to say that the Supreme that I pray to and converse with is infinitely more beautiful than the most beautiful child on earth. Again, the same Supreme, who is my Beloved, who is my Pilot, may assume the formless form of infinite Light, Peace and Bliss. But I personally prefer the personal form.

Some people don't even like to use the term "God." The Buddha did not use the term "God." He used the term "Bliss," or "Nirvana." But we have to know that this transcendental Bliss is none other than God Himself. Inside this Bliss is divine perfection and satisfaction. If you want to call it Bliss, you can. And if you want to call it God, you can do that, too. Whatever gives you satisfaction is the right way for you.

Question: Is there only one God?

Sri Chinmoy: There is one absolute God. But each human being, according to my philosophy, is a portion of God. The Supreme God is like the ocean. Each drop has a little of the consciousness of the ocean; therefore, we can say each drop is a tiny god, a portion of God. When you are a portion of the Infinite, you can say that you also embody the essence of the Infinite.

According to our Indian philosophy, there are as many gods as there are human beings. What do we mean by that? We feel that each human being has God inside him. We believe in the soul; we believe that we have God inside us. Most of the time our God is fast asleep. But when we pray and meditate, our God comes forward. There are many who are still fast asleep. Their God is still sleeping. But we are praying, we are meditating; so we are bringing to the fore our God. The soul, which is God's representative within us, has a complete and inseparable connection with the Absolute God.

Question: What has God learned from His Self-transcendence?

Sri Chinmoy: God has learned from Self-transcendence that His own Light and Delight are constantly increasing. He does not want to be bound either by His Vision or by Himself. He feels that if His Creation binds Him, then it is useless. And if He binds Himself, then He is useless. He does not want to be bound by anything that He has done or by anything that He has become. He wants freedom, constant freedom from what He is and from what He has done. So God has learned from Self-transcendence the message of His own Freedom. Each time He transcends Himself, God increases His Freedom-Power. When He uses His Freedom-Power in Heaven, it is His Vision-Power. It is all His Vision that He is spreading. And when He uses His Freedom-Power here on earth, it is His Compassion-Power. Out of His infinite Bounty, unconditionally He is making us good. So that is His Compassion aspect that He is using. Freedom He has transformed into Compassion. But in Heaven He is using His Freedom in the form of Light, so that He can see what He has done and what He is going to do.

Question: How can God transcend Absolute Truth? I mean truth is truth, isn't it?

Sri Chinmoy: Truth is not truth. Truth is only on the mental plane and God is beyond the mind. Absolute Truth is far beyond the mind. You are five feet eleven inches tall; that is your height, that is your truth. Your truth will last sixty or seventy years and then it will end. On the physical plane your truth is the human body, which is flesh and blood. But on the spiritual plane, you are the soul, the eternal and immortal soul, the birthless, deathless soul.

If your truth is the birthless and deathless soul, you are constantly transcending. But if your truth is the human body, then here on earth you are only growing up and decaying; finally you will die. So with human truth, there is a limit. There comes a time when, at the age of seventy or eighty, you are finished; the game is over. This is one truth. But the other truth, the soul's truth, is that you are immortal, infinite. One truth is earthbound truth, which is limited. At the age of seventy or eighty it is gone. That truth is of the body. Another truth is of the soul. And this truth embodies the message of self-transcendence.

Question: How can Infinity transcend itself?

Sri Chinmoy: Again, you are using the mind. We say that God is infinite. But "infinite" is a term that the mind is using. It is like saying that the form is just so big, just up to that particular point which we call infinite. Then the mind immediately asks, "Is it larger than this?" And then the mind makes another jump. In this way the mind goes on trying to bind that which cannot be bound. But when you use the heart, you realise that something can be infinite and, at the same time, it can transcend itself.

God is transcending Himself all the time because He feels that this is the only way He can enjoy freedom. And this freedom He can use in the form of Peace, Joy, Love, anything. Only we have to know which reality we are dealing with. If it is the physical reality, then your height is fixed. Flesh, blood, muscles, nerves: this is your reality and it will die. But the soul's reality is constantly evolving, evolving, evolving, evolving, evolving.

Question: Are dream and reality the same for God?

Sri Chinmoy: Dream and reality go together. They are at the same place. Inside dream is reality. There are only two different names of a single reality. We call it dream when we look up, and when we look down it is reality. We stand at a particular place and look at a mountain. When we look at the top of the mountain we call it dream, and when we look at the foot of the mountain we call it reality.

Question: Since the Supreme can count from one to forty-five immediately, does He create time in order to have a game?

Sri Chinmoy: He creates the time that can be measured, earth-bound time; also He creates the time that cannot be measured. If He wants to play a game which has limits, He can. So on earth, He uses limited time.

Question: Does God ever change His mind?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, from time to time the Supreme does change His plan, His opinion. He has every right. It is His world, His Game, and He is the Player. An ordinary human being has the right to change his mind, and the Supreme, being omnipotent and omniscient, also has the right. When He does change His Plan, He does it for our own good. We change our opinion because we don't know what the right thing should be for us. But in the Supreme's case, He knows that He is leading us from Light to more Light to abundant Light, infinite Light.

Question: Did the Supreme manifest just part of Himself as the Supreme, and is the other part — the evil forces — just lack of the Supreme?

Sri Chinmoy: No. Each human being is part of the Supreme. Multiplicity started from unity; from one He wanted to become many. Each human being represents His multiplicity. When multiplicity started, in that multiplicity some had more light, some had less light, some had no light. But when Creation started, even in the ones that were all darkness, still there was the Supreme. It is like this: in a shop there are varieties of things and some are more beautiful than others. Perhaps there is one that you may say is not beautiful at all. But somebody else will say, "Yes, it is beautiful." So like that, the one that is absolutely dark is appreciated by someone, even though his standard of beauty may be darkness itself.

When the Supreme started the creation, it was from an iota of His entire Being. Everything in the creation, every human being, is a very infinitesimal portion of the Supreme. So if you say that half of His creation is light and half is darkness, it won't be correct. When He started, it was all light. It is not categorically dark or light. It is light, but everything has a shade. When we make a comparison, we can say that one person or one thing has more light than the other. The one that has no light is simply an undivine force; the one that has abundant light is divine. When there is multiplicity, one individual is brighter than the other, and the one that is not bright at all is called dark.

Question: Is there any spiritual significance to an apparently healthy infant's death?

Sri Chinmoy: Either God sanctions and approves it, or God tolerates it. We don't know the past, we don't know what good or bad deeds the infant committed in his previous life, so we can't say why the infant has died. But either God's tolerance or God's sanction has to be there. And only God's Will knows whether it was an act of sanction and approval, or an act of tolerance.

Question: How does God let catastrophes take place?

Sri Chinmoy: Suppose our near and dear ones have died. It is a real catastrophe for us. But in God's Eye, it is only an experience that He is having in and through us. God is infinite and inside Him this particular experience is taking place.

Before the battle, Arjuna did not want to fight against his cousins and other relatives. You have read this in the Gita, India's bible. Arjuna said, "How can I do this?" But Sri Krishna showed Arjuna his Universal Form and said, "Look, enter into my Universal Consciousness!" Sri Krishna showed Arjuna that in his Universal Consciousness, Arjuna's enemies were already killed. He said, "It is all done. Arjuna, you just become the instrument."

We see that a disaster has taken place and we ask, "Why is God so unkind? Why did He allow this to take place if He is all Love?" But if we enter into His Will, if we have the capacity to identify ourselves with the Inner Pilot, then we will see that there is a reason. If we live in the soul, we will see that everything that happens here on earth has some meaning, because God does not do anything contrary to His own ultimate Fulfilment. With our human eyes we see unbearable pain and sorrow; the whole world is full of suffering. But when we pray and meditate, when we go deep within, we see that there is no such thing as suffering or joy. It is all the operation of God's Will. When this Will is in operation, sometimes we call it suffering and sometimes we call it joy, or we use some other term. A spiritual person tries to identify himself with the experience that God Himself is having, and not with what is taking place in the outer manifestation. If we identify ourselves with the outer manifestation, we will lose all faith in ourselves, in God and in the creation. There will be every possibility for our mind to mislead and misguide us.

So, in our spiritual life, we try to live in the soul. In the soul there is Light. When we become part and parcel of this Light, we become one with God's Universal Will. There we will see that it is God who is the Knower, the Known and also the Knowledge. God is the Experience, God is the Experiencer and God is the One who is constantly offering the Experience to us.

Question: Guru, why did the Supreme decide to go through suffering to realisation?

Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme did not decide to go through suffering. He wanted to go from Delight to greater Delight, and then to abundant Delight, greatest Delight. But then human beings started using their minds and created confusion. With their limited freedom they started running the wrong way and that wrong way led to eternal suffering. The Supreme did not want suffering. Only our minds created all suffering. The Supreme didn't do it; we did it. We did everything.

Question: When God knows everything, does He take into account the hostile forces?

Sri Chinmoy: He knows everything. These forces He takes as a challenge, and He sees if an individual is sincere enough to seek Him in spite of the hostile forces. Ultimately, God is going to win, but in the meantime God can either expedite the game or not. Those who are receptive are helped by God.

Question: How does the Supreme illumine the past?

Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme illumines the past by forgiveness. Real forgiveness means forgetfulness, conscious forgetfulness. If somebody really forgives you for something that you did, then he will not keep the memory even in his inner vision. But if he does not forgive you, he keeps it in front of his inner vision. Illumination is necessary because of darkness. Mistakes are darkness. So, the Supreme illumines our mistakes through forgiveness.

Question: Why does God constantly smile at man?

Sri Chinmoy: God constantly smiles at man because He has not invented and does not want to invent any other work for Himself. Smile and smile: that is the only work that He has invented.

Part II — God and everyday life

Question: Should we pay more respect to the divinity inside a man than the divinity inside an animal, or is it all the same?

Sri Chinmoy: Here on earth everything is evolving. A stone has a soul, but the development of the soul is not so clear, so vivid. Then comes the plant life, the animal life and finally the human life. We are not satisfied even with the human life; we are crying for the divine life. God is everywhere, even in this branch. But in you the soul is infinitely more developed than in this branch. So we have to see where the manifestation of God is more vivid. We have to pay more respect to a human being than to an animal. Again, when we are in the presence of a spiritual man, we show a little more respect to him than to an ordinary human being, because in him we see and feel more development, more manifestation of divinity.

Question: Guru, if the Supreme is in everything, then He must also be in the mind. So why is the mind bad?

Sri Chinmoy: There are two minds. One mind is extremely nice, extremely divine, extremely pure. The other mind, which is in the physical, is not so divine and pure. When we say that the mind is not as good as the heart, we are speaking about the mind that is inside the body. This mind does not allow our own heart to become big. Right now you are thinking of me; the next moment you will think of your friends who are somewhere else. The mind thinks of only one person or one thing at a time, and the next moment it goes somewhere else. This mind cannot hold four or five things at a time; it is very limited. It sees one thing at a time and it goes very fast.

Right now the mind that you are using is called the physical mind. If I smile at one of your friends, you will become jealous. The mind will say, "Oh, Guru didn't look at me." But when you use the other mind, the pure mind, you will say, "After all, so-and-so is my friend. Why have I to become jealous when she and I are one?"

The heart is all oneness. So, if you remain inside the heart, you will not feel jealousy. If I smile at someone else, immediately you will say, "Oh, she is my dearest friend." Then you will have no suffering, no anxiety, no doubt, no jealousy. You are a sincere girl, so try always to have the heart that tells you, "We are all one, we are all one." If I look at your mother and bless her, you will be very happy that I am blessing your mother and nobody else. Similarly, if you feel that these other girls in the Centre are also like your mother — members of your own family — then you won't feel miserable in the mind. The mind makes you feel that your spiritual sisters and brothers do not belong to you. But the heart makes you feel that everybody belongs to you. That is why the heart is better. Remain in the heart, pray in the heart, meditate in the heart. Then you will see that everybody is yours and you are everybody's.

I am trying to simplify the matter; otherwise it will become a philosophy. God is in everything. God is also inside a tiger, but will you stand in front of the tiger? No. The tiger will just eat you up. You have to know that the God that is inside the tiger is not to be worshipped by you right now. God is inside everything, but in some things He is manifested to a greater degree. You are a human being and I am also a human being. You eat rice, you eat bread, you eat pizza; I also eat these things. But there is a little difference between you and me; that is why you have come to me. So, the Supreme is in the mind also, but in the heart He is more accommodating, He is broader, He is kinder and more compassionate. Again, the water that I am drinking is good water, pure water. There is also water in the street, but I won't drink it. It is dirty, filthy. So, you have to know where God is more divine, more sympathetic, more loving.

God is inside cauliflower, tomatoes, everything. So you may say, "Oh, I am eating God!" But if you don't eat cauliflower, potatoes, tomatoes, rice, then you won't be able to live on earth. Here on earth always we are living at the expense of something. But we have to know who is more conscious. Human beings are more conscious than plants. Again, among human beings there are some who are more conscious than others. At the age of eleven you are praying to God. So, you are more conscious than millions and billions of people on earth who are not praying to God. I am showing preference to you and not to your friends and neighbours. Inside them also is God, but inside you God is more conscious right now.

The heart and the soul love God much more than the mind. That is why we say that the heart is better, the soul is better. It is a comparison. The mind is not totally bad; if we don't have the mind, we won't be able to think and we will be like a fool. But there are quite a few things which are better than the mind. Better than the mind is the heart, and better than the heart is the soul. Again, right now the mind is the boss. As long as your mind is the boss, it will make you feel miserable. But when you realise God, you will see that the mind is under your command. When you become the boss of the mind, at that time you are free.

Question: Has God a special Will for our outer life?

Sri Chinmoy: In God's Eye, the outer life has to be the expression or revelation of the inner life. So, if the inner life is divine, perfect, then the outer life also eventually has to be divine and perfect. There is only one way that is God's Way: what is within today will be used tomorrow to express and fulfil. So, we must come from inside out. From underneath the ground, the tree germinates and grows upward. Thus, God does have a special Will, but it is in the inner life. In the inner life when we recognise God's Will, it becomes easier to recognise His outer Will. God's Will operates first in the inner life and then in the outer life. But it is the same Will. God gives equal importance to both the inner life and outer life.

Question: Are the undivine forces kept out by will? Is that the only way?

Sri Chinmoy: By will and by God's Grace. Will itself is God's Grace. What we call will is actually God's Grace. In your family, perhaps your parents are not aspiring, your brothers or other members of your family are not aspiring. So how is it that you are praying and meditating? Just because God's Grace has descended and you have the receptivity to receive God's Grace. Without will, without determination, you can't do anything. But where do will and determination come from? They come from God, from the Supreme.

Question: Today I was on the George Washington Bridge and a man was threatening to commit suicide. At first I wanted to pray for his life, and then I remembered your saying once that we shouldn't ask the Supreme to do anything, but only pray for the Supreme's own Victory.

Sri Chinmoy: The first thing you have to do is ask the Supreme, "Tell me what I should do." In a fleeting second your human mind will say that committing suicide is undoubtedly bad; there is nothing as bad as this. So you will go and save the person and everybody will appreciate you. But how do you know that his suicide has not been sanctioned by the Will of the Supreme? Or perhaps the Supreme has chosen somebody else as an instrument to save this person. The Supreme is not only inside you and the rest of our spiritual family; the Supreme is also inside the policeman. Perhaps you are taking away the policeman's job. Perhaps the policeman is going to save the person and in this way his evolution will take place. Who knows the operation of the Supreme?

It takes only a second to know the Will of the Supreme. If you take a second, He will definitely tell you yes or no. Always you have to take inner permission from the Supreme. Otherwise, who knows whether He has commissioned you to save that person? The thing that you want to do and take the credit for, perhaps the Supreme wants the policeman to do. Now you are taking his credit away.

Since you are a seeker, the first thing will be for you to refer the matter to the Supreme. Then He will tell you what is best for you. Morality may tell you to save the man. But in your case, your oneness with the Supreme's Will is infinitely higher than ordinary morality.

In the Mahabharata, Krishna asked Arjuna to kill all his relatives. In the beginning Arjuna resisted with all his moral weapons. How could he kill his cousins and his nephews and his uncles? But finally he surrendered. He said, "Whatever is Your Will I shall do." Then he became a real instrument, a perfect instrument.

Question: For a long, long time whenever someone says 'God' to me, I hear the word 'God' and then I hear the word 'dog,' and 'dog' stays in my mind. Could you please tell me why this happens?

Sri Chinmoy: 'God' in reverse becomes 'dog.' In your case, when 'God' is replaced by 'dog,' what does it actually mean? Here it means faithfulness. God has all faith in us, in humanity. It is we ungrateful creatures who are wanting in faith in God. He is infinitely better than us in every way, but it is He who has abundant faith in us. A dog, in the spiritual sense — and even here in the field of manifestation — represents infinite faithfulness. A dog is ready to offer its very life to save its master. A dog is ready to offer its very existence at every moment, and what is the dog getting? A piece of bread. In the case of God also, when an aspirant is crying for Light, for self-discovery, for self-realisation, yet all around him ignorance is trying to devour him, it is God who comes and tries to save the person.

Your experience is most significant. When 'God' is uttered and then the word is replaced by 'dog', you have to feel that God wants from you constant and spontaneous faith. You have accepted the spiritual life. For an ordinary person, spirituality means peace of mind for one or two seconds, or spirituality means something that will bring harmony in the family. That is why ordinary people enter into the spiritual life. But a true aspirant enters into the spiritual life with a different motive. For him, spirituality means something that will give him realisation.

Someone can try to get realisation by hook or by crook. In India, many people have tried to realise God within a fixed time — two years, five years or ten years. And if they don't realise God, they commit suicide. But when one wants to realise God, one has to surrender to God's Will. Even the one who is crying for infinite Light must surrender to the Will of God. If one can consciously surrender to the Will of God, that means that one has abundant faith in God's Will in operation.

So, from your experience, I wish to tell you that it is very clear that you have to have faith in your own aspiration. Your spiritual name means divine satisfaction. This satisfaction will come only when you are faithful to the inner cause, and this inner cause is nothing else but God. Every day when you meditate, try to feel that you can satisfy the Supreme only when you have all faith in your life and in God's all-fulfilling cosmic Will for your husband, for your children and for your spiritual brothers and sisters. You must always follow the Light, which is God the aspiration and God the realisation. You are the aspiration today. Tomorrow, on the strength of your faith in your inner divinity, you become God the realisation. So God is faith and dog, the symbol of faith, is God.

Part III — How to know God

Question: Can one know the achievements of God through the intellect alone?

Sri Chinmoy: Through the intellect alone, one can never, never, never, never, never know the achievements of God. It is impossible! God's true Existence, true Height, true Heart, is millions and billions of miles away from the intellectual domain. Again, we can't say that God doesn't exist in the intellect. No. God is omnipresent. We can't say that God is not here or God is not there. But if one wants to know God's highest Height, His deepest Depth, His all-pervading Consciousness, then one can never know these through the intellect. The intellect is the helper. When we enter into the human creation, intellect does help us. Without intellect, we would all remain brainless sheep. But there comes a time in our evolution when we see the limitations of intellect. On the mental plane there is no peace. Your intellect is fighting against my intellect; two naked swords are fighting against each other. But these swords can never cut asunder the wall of ignorance which is blocking the inner Light, the Light Supreme. For that, we have to go far beyond the intellect.

Question: Is it possible to have a philosophical proof of God, or do you have to depend on faith?

Sri Chinmoy: Depend on your sincerity. If you see something, you can acknowledge it for what it is or you can just call it a mental hallucination. I am meditating in my highest. I am offering Peace, Light and Bliss in abundant measure, infinite measure. You are watching me and immediately you are seeing the reflection of God-Consciousness in me. My consciousness is changed to such an extent that you are bound to see that I am somewhere else. My face will radiate and you will see something inside me if you are meditating well. The other day one of the disciples meditated extremely well and received light from me. Then a visitor, who is not a disciple, asked her, "Is he your father?" She is my spiritual daughter, and she received so much light that a stranger said that we looked alike. Now, what kind of philosophical proof is needed?

Philosophy is in the mind; spirituality is in the heart. If you want philosophy, then you have to see something which you can easily define. If you want to define God with your mind, you will never be able to do it. You have to see God with your heart. If you use your mind, you will feel that I am showing off, rotating my eyes and all that. But if you use your spirituality, easily you will be able to see the proof. In this world the best proof is your own consciousness. If you come to a spiritual Master and meditate for a few minutes, you will see the difference in your consciousness. Let your sincerity be the judge.

Question: Does knowledge of our dreams help us to know God?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, if it is a good dream, if it is an inspiring dream, certainly it helps. But if it is an undivine dream, it will not help. If somebody is stabbing you and you are stabbing somebody else, or if you are in the battlefield or some catastrophe is taking place, you have to know that these kinds of dreams come from the vital world and they will not help you at all. But if you have a dream in which an angel appears before you, or if I am blessing you in a dream or if you see a sea of Peace right in front of you, then these kinds of dreams naturally will expedite your spiritual progress. So it depends on what kinds of dreams you have. If it comes from the vital world, the destructive world, then you can't make any progress. But you definitely can make progress when you see divine things or feel in the dream itself Peace, Light and Bliss in boundless measure.

Question: How can we cultivate the inner silence so that we can know God's Will?

Sri Chinmoy: I fully approve of your cultivating the inner silence. But why do you have to adopt such a difficult method when there is an easier process? The easier process is self-giving. Just give yourself totally and then see whether you are carried away by the waves or whether you become the ocean itself. That is the easiest and most effective way. One way is to dig, dig, dig and God knows when you are going to glimpse a tiny drop of water. The other way is just to throw yourself, let us say, into the sea of Peace, and not worry whether you will meet water animals or jewels inside. The one way takes time and is very uncertain. While you are digging, if you do not get a glimpse of water or consciousness, let us say, then you will be disappointed. You will say, "For six years I have stayed with Sri Chinmoy and I don't know anything. So the best thing is for me to leave him." But the other way, if you go slowly and steadily by giving yourself, throwing yourself into the sea of self-dedication, then you are getting real satisfaction out of life.

Question: In one of your books you said, "If you want to see God, you have to meditate twelve hours a day. If you want to come face to face with God, you have to meditate twenty-four hours a day." Is that possible?

Sri Chinmoy: It is quite possible. When you are on the verge of realisation, you will see that it is quite possible, because at that time you have acquired considerable capacity. Even while you are eating, you will see that you are meditating. While you are talking, while you are doing your office job, you will see that you are having your best meditation. At that time, you will be able to do four things at a time. After you make considerable progress in your inner life, you will see that your mouth is functioning and, at the same time, your heart, your inner being, is doing something else. So twenty-four hours a day your inner being will be able to meditate. It is quite possible.

Question: Are seeing God and feeling God the same thing?

Sri Chinmoy: No. You see a flower and you think, "Oh, it is so beautiful." But you may not feel the beauty in yourself. You can see the beauty of an object, but you may not feel the quality of that object as part of yourself. Again, in feeling there is seeing. Inside feeling, there is a kind of inner seeing. Again, the beauty of a flower you can see. But to get its real fragrance — that is a different matter. The fragrance has to enter into you and become part and parcel of you. Then you feel the very essence of the flower.

With your eyes, you see five or six petals. This is your immediate perception. But feeling also will give you some of the inner fragrance that the flower embodies. And if you can use the third eye, then you not only see what you have to see and feel what you have to feel, but also you become. At that time, you look at the flower and see the flower as such. You feel the fragrance of the flower. And you become the life-breath of the flower; you become the flower itself.

When a spiritual Master looks at a disciple, what happens? First he sees the face, the physical body. Then he feels the good and bad qualities — all mixed up — that the person embodies. And third, he claims all the good qualities and bad qualities of the disciple as his own, as his own responsibility. He immediately claims that person as his very own. So, when you use the third eye, at that time seeing, feeling and becoming are one. In the spiritual life, seeing, feeling and becoming go together.

Question: Guru, you have spoken of realisation as a tree. What determines how high a soul climbs on that tree?

Sri Chinmoy: Realisation is a very, very tall tree; it is always transcending its own height. The capacity of the soul and the patience of the soul determine how high the soul climbs. It depends on how much light the soul embodies. The soul may become tired after climbing for some distance and then it can take rest. There are many souls who have achieved partial realisation and now they don't want to come back into the world. They are afraid of the world. They feel the ignorance of the world will again try to devour them, so they don't come. They have reached a certain height and they don't want to go further. They have got limited or even vast Peace, Light and Bliss. But they don't want to come down again and work for earth, so they will never reach the Highest.

Either you have to reach the Highest and then come down, or you go up a little, come down and do something for the world, and then go up again. First you get for yourself and then you distribute; or while distributing, you empty yourself and then create more receptivity in yourself. If you are giving what you have — some inspiration, some aspiration — then naturally God will give you more. So, realisation is such that if you realise something and then offer it, while offering it, you are going up. Again, the higher you go, the more you can give. The realisation-tree is like that.

Part IV — Becoming intimate with God

Question: When I want to think of the Supreme as my friend, what is the most effective way of doing it?

Sri Chinmoy: While you are resting, sometimes you inwardly talk to yourself or you talk to a friend. Your friend may be hundreds of miles away from you. Physically you can't see him, but you can feel him. His vibration you can feel. No matter where he is, immediately you can feel his vibration. In the same way, try to imagine that there is a constant Friend, an eternal Friend inside you, and that is the Supreme.

When you are speaking to your friend mentally, he may not be there. God knows where he is, but still you are talking to him. He is not listening to you, but you are going on, going on. But when you talk to the Supreme, you have to know that definitely He is listening to you. When you can make yourself feel that there is Somebody to listen to you, when you can feel His Presence, then automatically your way of talking to the Supreme is complete.

You have come to the church and knocked at the door and you are sure that I am here inside the church. So you are talking to me, even though you don't see me with your physical eyes. Similarly, when you knock at your heart's door, feel that the Supreme is there inside your heart. If you feel that He is there, if you can feel His Presence, then that is enough. Then your conversation will be perfect.

Question: Does the Supreme make us depressed and do other things like that for a reason?

Sri Chinmoy: No! No, no, no! He has nothing to do with that. The Supreme does not want us to be depressed. Only we say to the Supreme that if He wants us to be depressed for a special reason, then we are ready. That is our surrender. But if we pray to the Supreme to keep us sad and miserable so that we will always think of Him, that is wrong. He is all Joy, all Love; so let us take His Joy and Love. He does not want us to have depression, but we cherish it. Again, what we call depression at a particular moment, in His Eye may not be depression at all. Only we take it as such.

Question: Can one just drop the mind and trust to God's guidance?

Sri Chinmoy: If one wants God's guidance, then right from the very beginning one has to offer his mind to God. There cannot be two teachers. So either accept God as your teacher or accept the mind. When you ask God for His guidance, do a favour for your mind. Carry your mind to God as you are carrying yourself to God. Then, both you and your previous teacher, mind, should be placed under His guidance.

Question: Is it better to enter into the divine Will or let the divine Will enter into us, if we have to make a choice?

Sri Chinmoy: When the divine Will comes and guides us, it is infinitely easier than if we try to enter into it. But again, it is better to enter into the divine Will than to maintain a separate will. If we can enter into the divine Will, then the divine Will can take care of our own will. At that time, our own will becomes more fruitful and perfect. For a child to go and grab the father's hand is one thing. But for the father to come and catch hold of the child is different. If the child is holding the father's hand, then if he sees a kite, he may get excited and let go. Then he will fall and hurt himself. But if the father is holding the child, then no matter how excited the child becomes, still he is safe.

Question: How can I best serve the Supreme in my Guru?

Sri Chinmoy: You can best serve the Supreme in your Guru by having constant faith in him. What is that constant faith? It is faith that your Guru cares for you infinitely more than any individual does, infinitely more than you even care for yourself.

Question: What does it truly mean to serve the Supreme in others?

Sri Chinmoy: You can serve the Supreme in others, but why do you use the term 'in others'? Right now, you are still wanting in oneness. As long as there is a sense of separativity, you have to acquire more aspiration before you can feel that there is somebody else whom you have to accept as your own.

First is 'I.' Only I exist. You don't exist. When I am in the desire-world I need only my own fulfilment. Then there comes a time when I have to admit that you also exist. When I have accepted your existence, what remains to be realised is oneness. First I will tell you to stay in the street, while I live in a house. Then, I will say that you also should have a good house, like me. Finally comes oneness, and this oneness is founded upon our already established oneness with God.

First I have the sense of separativity. I as an individual am the body, vital, mind, heart and soul; and you as an individual are the body, vital, mind, heart and soul. I still find it difficult to claim you as my own or to see you as my own. So there has to be a connecting link, and this connecting link is the Source, the Supreme. When we aspire, we come to realise that we have a Source and that others also have the same Source. If we do not know who He is, then it will be simply impossible for us to unite ourselves. But right now we do need somebody to connect us. As long as I know that you are His creation and that I also am His creation, I can invoke the Creator to make us inseparably one. But if I have already established my oneness with you, and you have already established your oneness with me, then we don't need a third person to tell us that we are one.

The mind is not allowing us to feel that we are the self-same reality. But if we remain in the heart, then we will never speak of serving the Supreme 'in others.' We will speak of serving the Supreme in ourselves, in our own aspiring consciousness. In the heart we are inseparable, but in the mind we are more than two; we are many. If we live in the mental world, we feel that we are serving the Supreme in many. The mental world will always offer the message of separativity, whereas the psychic world will always offer us the message of oneness, inseparable oneness.

Question: How are we going to be one with the Supreme if we're still tied up in the physical world, trying to manifest? We're using up all that we have.

Sri Chinmoy: To manifest means to be tied up? That is your conception? When you eat, you enter into the world of food and get the realisation of food; you realise the strength of the food. Then, the next moment, what do you do? You work. You go to your shop, you go to your office and work. First you identify yourself with something powerful; then you manifest it. We say food is God: Annam Brahma. But material food the body also needs. When your body is weak, you cannot do any work. When you enter into the world of food, that means that you are entering into the world of power, dynamic power. Then you manifest this power through work. So, realisation and manifestation have to go together.

Early in the morning when you meditate, you enter into the spiritual plane, inner plane, where there is Peace, Light and Bliss. That is realisation. Then, the next moment you have to offer it to your spiritual brothers and sisters. That is manifestation. When you are eating you are realising the food-power. When you are meditating, you are realising the spiritual power. Then, the next moment, even if you are talking to some very bad people, you are not disturbed. That is called manifestation. Or you will talk to someone and he will see in you something sweet, something divine, something kind. Most people say nasty, cruel, unkind things, but when you say something, it is kind and sympathetic. So is this not the manifestation of the realisation that you had early in the morning while you were praying to the Supreme?

When you meditate, you are entering into the world of realisation. And after that, when you enter into the everyday world, that is your manifestation. Meditation means realisation of the Highest. What you do after meditation — action — that is called real manifestation. Through realisation, manifestation must come. But if you ignore manifestation, if you ignore the everyday world, you will be living in the sky. If you want to remain only in the sky, it is impossible.

You may feel, "How can I think of God and, at the same time, mix with silly people?" But you can do it. When you drive a car, six or seven things you are doing together: turning the wheel, pushing the pedal, and so on. You have that capacity; you have acquired that capacity. Right now I am talking to you, but inwardly I am doing many things. I have acquired that capacity. So, when you people are one with the Supreme Consciousness, you will not be tied up with anything. But when you are not, then you are doomed.

Question: How can I love God since I don't know Him?

Sri Chinmoy: You can love God even though you don't know Him in the same way that you can love yourself without knowing what you truly are. Once you know yourself, you will see that you are none other than God. Right now, you love yourself thinking that you know yourself. But that is absurd; you do not know yourself. Similarly, you can also love God whom you do not know.

Question: I feel as though we don't love God enough and want to love Him more. How can we learn to love God?

Sri Chinmoy: What happens when we don't love God? If we don't feel our love for Him in the morning, our whole day is miserable; there is a sense of frustration. But if we do love God, then even if everything in our outer life is unpleasant, it does not matter.

If we don't meditate, no matter how much people appreciate us, we feel that something is missing. But if we do meditate, no matter how many calamities take place, still we are happy. So we have to know what we want. If we want divine satisfaction, we have to meditate on God as soulfully as possible. In the beginning it is difficult because God is only theoretical. But when we meditate for a while, we feel that God is something natural and normal. He is like us, except that He is illumined and divine. We start with the idea that we need God. Then we come to realise that we need only God and we must choose God above everything else. Then, God asks us to take Him as our very own and fulfil Him and please Him in His own Way.

Question: How can we love the Supreme with utmost intensity?

Sri Chinmoy: Here on earth you have something that keeps you alive, and that is your life-breath. So, if you can feel inside each breath the living Light and living Reality of the Supreme, then you are bound to love the Supreme with utmost intensity. When you hold your breath for a few seconds, you feel that you are about to die. Then, when you breathe, you feel such intensity. Inside that living breath, if you can feel the Supreme's Light and the Supreme's Love, then you will definitely love the Supreme.

This Light has something most significant to offer to your existence. And who is the Source of this Light? It is the Supreme. If you are constantly aspiring to go to the real Source, if you are all the time crying for a free access to the Source, then you will feel a real intensity from your inner cry and aspiration.

Question: How can we surrender to the Supreme?

Sri Chinmoy: It is very easy to surrender. You have already surrendered to ignorance. You can't say that you have not surrendered to anybody. So you know the art of surrender. You can surrender to the Supreme in the same way that you have surrendered to ignorance. Now you have only to change your master. At every moment you have to feel the need of a new teacher. The new teacher is the Supreme, so try to learn from Him. Somebody has taught you everything wrong; now there is Somebody waiting for you who will teach you everything correctly. The one who has taught you is not the real teacher, but you have surrendered to him for hundreds and thousands of years. Now the same surrender you will have to make to the Supreme, to the new teacher.

Question: I find that doubt, shame, fear and guilt stand between myself and true surrender to the Supreme.

Sri Chinmoy: Please think of the Supreme as your most beloved father, mother, sister, brother, everything. And think of Him as someone who is willing to do everything for you unconditionally. No matter how many things you do wrong, a day will come when He will give you everything. God is infinitely higher and more vast than anything you can conceive of as divine or undivine. All that you have, you can offer Him; and He will accept all your darkness as His very own. He willingly accepts it as His very own. In your case, all the negative qualities that stand in your way can be surrendered if you are sincere. Your sincerity will help in establishing oneness with the Supreme's Concern and Compassion-Light. The more sincere you are, the sooner you will reach your Goal.

Question: Do you kill hope and expectation by surrendering to God's Will?

Sri Chinmoy: Hope is a power. There are many people who don't hope. They don't know how to hope. They don't want to hope. But that is wrong. Hope is not delusion. Hope is not mental hallucination. No, no. Inside hope there is power. We hope to do something good or to become something good. The very act of hoping is a kind of power. God is still hopeful. That is why His creation still exists. If God lost all His Hope, then there would be no creation.

Then comes expectation. Expectation is also a power, a stronger power. We expect something from our life. Because we expect something, we feel that we can't waste our time like ordinary people. We expect something good, something divine from ourselves. Then, after expectation comes surrender. At that time we don't expect anything. We will do our best and offer the result at the Feet of the Supreme. So we hope to become good. Then we go to expectation: we expect to realise God. Finally comes surrender. Still we expect; but we shall not fix a date: "On such and such a day, I expect to become perfect. If by that time I can't become perfect, then I am giving up the spiritual life." That kind of idea we must not cherish. We shall do the right thing. We shall pray and meditate and leave it up to God to give us what He wants us to have. At the same time we must not feel that since we are praying, God will give us what we want. Some people feel that if they surrender to God, then naturally God will please them in their own way. But I wish to say that this is a very tricky way of acting. God's bargain is not like that. It is not that if we please God in our aspiration-life, then God will fulfil us in the desire-life. No. That is absurd. Surrender means that our will becomes one with God's Will. At that time, we execute only the Supreme's Will. We have no will of our own. So if we execute the Will of the Supreme, naturally at that time our will will be the will of aspiration and not the will of desire.

Question: What can a disciple do to make his body surrender to the divine Will?

Sri Chinmoy: You have to feel that the body is also a divine instrument. It is not only the heart or the soul that will work for God. The physical also has to work. If you bake a cake, or if you work at the press, or if you do any other service on the physical plane, feel that it comes directly from God. Feel that the inspiration is coming from God and you are just executing it. As the soul is necessary for the realisation of God, so also is the body necessary for the manifestation of God. You have to keep in mind that this body is not only a lump of flesh; the body is the instrument of manifestation. If you keep the instrument perfect, then only can the player play well. But if the instrument is bad, then what can you do? If you keep the instrument in good condition, then only can the player play. If you neglect the body, then how can the divine Player, God, use the body in His cosmic Game?

Question: I feel that the Supreme is displeased with me and that He is going to desert me.

Sri Chinmoy: It is all wrong. It is only we humans who become displeased. The Supreme is not displeased with you. He has many more things to do than to be displeased with you or me. He has no time to be displeased with us.

We have to know that everybody in this world will disappoint us, except the Supreme. You have to forgive me, but I tell you that your husband, wife, brother, sister, mother, father — all will disappoint you. Only the Supreme will not disappoint us. The husband and wife enter the spiritual life together. But there will come a time when the husband goes very fast and the wife says, "Oh, he is going so fast. I am totally lost." Then jealousy starts. When both are running at the same speed, they are very good friends. But then tomorrow the husband will go two steps ahead and immediately the whole world collapses for the wife. Very often it has happened to both husbands and wives. But if we feel that the Supreme is taking us to the goal, if we have faith in the Supreme only, then we are safe. It is absolutely true that we have to depend on human beings; we have to have faith in people. But we depend on human beings because we realise that inside them, God is there. Our faith should be in the Supreme in others. So we have to know that we are trusting someone not because he is good, not because he is great, not because he has done this or achieved that. No, we are trusting him just because we feel inside him the presence of the Supreme. But if we forget about the Supreme and trust someone because he is nice or kind, then no matter how nice or kind he is, we will be disappointed; we will be deserted. But if we see the Supreme inside him, this cannot happen. Even if someone deserts us, even if someone disappoints us, we will have faith that the Supreme in him has not deserted us. Right now his outer existence has disappointed us, the human in him has deserted us. But the Supreme in him will never desert us.

So if we have faith in the individual, then we will be disappointed. But inside the individual is the Supreme, who is your Guru, my Guru, everybody's Guru. Think only of Him. Trust only Him. Then, even if the person disappoints you or deserts you on the outer plane, you will not be miserable.

Part V — God and the human Guru

Question: Do you see God?

Sri Chinmoy: I have seen God and I see God at every moment. I first saw God at the age of twelve. That was my first concrete, solid and permanent experience of God. Now I see God constantly. For me, God is a Reality which is nearer than my own nose or eyes. When I see a physical object, my eyes are one thing and the object is something else. One is vision, one is reality. This moment I have to become vision in order to see the reality. But when I see God or think of God or speak about God, at that time the reality and the vision are one. Right now, you are the vision and I am the reality, or I am the vision and you are the reality. But when I see God, vision and reality are located at the same place. If I am the vision, then I am the reality as well. If I am the reality, then I am the vision as well. For God-realised souls, the vision and the reality are at the same place.

Question: How do you see your relationship to God?

Sri Chinmoy: It is the relationship of Father and son. Because of God's infinite Bounty and Compassion, this is possible. In addition, His infinite Compassion has kindled the flame of aspiration in my heart. When this flame of aspiration climbs high, higher, highest, it carries with it unconditional love, unconditional devotion, unconditional surrender. This happens with all seekers; only most aspirants are usually not aware of it. In my case, out of His infinite Bounty, I am conscious that my aspiration carries with it unconditional love, devotion and surrender.

The Supreme Being can assume any form He wants. But on the human level, if anybody asks me which form I treasure most, I will say His personal form. There is more familiarity in the personal form. Now, it might seem that familiarity could breed contempt. However, when I — or any true spiritual Master — deal with the Supreme Being on the familiar level, the seeker in me increases its intensity and capacity. When a spiritual Master deals with the divine Reality, his familiarity cannot diminish his love. When I deal with the personal aspect of the Supreme, I do not lose my love, devotion and surrender. The more familiar we become with the Supreme, the more we establish our oneness with Him.

This familiarity is a good opportunity for us to establish our heart's capacity and all-transforming oneness with the Absolute Supreme. Thus, the familiar, personal aspect of the Supreme cannot create problems for the true seeker. But in earthly relationships, this is not so, because people realise each other's weaknesses when they become familiar with each other. The Supreme Being, on the other hand, ignores our weaknesses, because He is manifesting Himself and has assumed these infinite forms in and through us. It is His creation and He is perfecting Himself in the process of evolution. He thinks of us as His own infinite extension, His own Reality-Light, and He helps and guides us on the inner plane.

Question: Guru, why does the Supreme allow you to suffer?

Sri Chinmoy: Allow me? Two reasons. One reason is that I am a very bad man. The other reason is this: He says, "Since you have a big mouth, you have to prove that you have a big heart also. Otherwise, you are a liar." 'Big mouth' means that I claim that I have realised God. He says, "You have realised God? Then prove it. How? By showing that you have a big heart. If you have a big mouth, then you have to have a big heart." Only a big heart has the right to produce big talk, say big things. Anybody can say big things, but when it is a matter of doing, most of the time they can't do it. So the Supreme says, "Since you have used your mouth and said many, many things about Me and about yourself and about humanity, now I want you to have a big heart, too. How can you have a big heart? Through identification. You have to identify with somebody's back pain, somebody's leg pain, somebody's tooth pain. Like that, identify, identify." It doesn't mean that I have back pain because I have taken somebody else's back pain. My back pain may be for some other reason. Somebody may have a very serious type of disease which I am taking as back pain. Then, in a few days, this back pain dissolves; it goes away. Again, if the Supreme wants me to immediately throw this disease into the Universal Consciousness, that also I can do, without taking it directly. Some mediums take pain from others and then they suffer. In my case, when He wants me to take, I take; and when He wants me to throw, I throw. On many, many occasions, He does not want me to take someone's suffering as my own pain. He says, "Don't take it into yourself. Just throw it."

Question: But He wants you to talk big, doesn't He? He wants you to tell us all those things.

Sri Chinmoy: He tells me more about you. He says that you people are not able to digest what I am saying and that I have to say more.

Question: If He makes you talk, then why should He make you suffer for talking?

Sri Chinmoy: He makes me talk. Then He says that the disciples at least should feel that I take their suffering. Even if I have taken the suffering of some disciples and told them, still they don't believe. I will say, "I have taken away your headache or your stomachache or your ulcer or your cancer or your heart attack," and they say, "Thank you, thank you." But then they go home and say, "He suffers every day from headaches and colds and all that. He cannot cure himself, and he says he is taking away my serious, serious disease. He does not have the capacity even to stop sneezing and coughing, and he says he has the capacity to take our disease."

The Supreme says we are all one, and then he says, "Prove it." When Sri Ramakrishna could not eat because of cancer in his throat, his consort and others begged him to ask Kali to cure him. He did not do it. Finally, he said to Kali, "I am suffering from cancer, and my disciples are telling me that I have to cure it. I say, 'How can I ask You?' But they insist." Kali said, "They are all your children. Tell them that you don't have to eat. While they are eating, it is you who are eating in and through them. Through hundreds of mouths you are eating, so you don't have to eat your own food." Sometimes I really suffer. I suffer because I love you people. But if I become indifferent, then I can get rid of anything.

Editor's preface to the first edition

In this book, a God-realised spiritual Master answers questions about God and the way God operates in human life.

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