A God-Lover's Earth-Heaven-Life, part 3
65. Question: Can pleasure ever be pure?Sri Chinmoy: Pleasure cannot be pure. Joy can be pure; ecstasy can be pure. Joy is something finite. Ecstasy is something infinite. Joy is of this world but has divinity in it. Ecstasy is of the higher world and has divinity in boundless measure. Going from pleasure to joy is like walking from darkness into light. Darkness can be transformed into light, into aspiration. Similarly, pleasure can be transformed into joy. This can be done only through aspiration and dedication.
66. Question: Can one completely surrender to God and still be responsible to worldly needs and demands?Sri Chinmoy: One can be completely surrendered to God and still be responsible to worldly needs, but to worldly needs only according to God's Light. If God feels the need is a real need, that need can easily be fulfilled. Imaginary needs and demands are countless, but our true inner need is only one: illumination. If illumination is someone's real need, naturally God will fulfil that real need.
67. Question: How can man's suffering be transformed into joy?Sri Chinmoy: Man's suffering can be transformed into joy only when he takes his suffering as experiences necessary, although not inevitable, while climbing toward his self-transcending heights.
68. Question: Does it ever help to complain?Sri Chinmoy: No, complaining can never be of any use. Every time we make a complaint we limit ourselves and bind ourselves. Our life of aspiration is self-expansion for God-manifestation. If complaints start, they are our veritable enemies. Each complaint is an enemy, a fall, a descent from the all-loving and all-embracing reality-tree of which we are the loving, illumining and fulfilling fruits.
69. Question: What is the highest knowledge?Sri Chinmoy: The highest knowledge is the knowledge of one's conscious, constant and, at the same time, ever-transcending oneness with the Inner Pilot.
70. Question: How can I enter into the Garden of Love-Light?Sri Chinmoy: You can enter into the Garden of Love-Light if you can always be sincere to your promise to the Supreme within you.
71. Question: What does Guru mean when he says, "Go deep within"?Sri Chinmoy: It means that he wants you to realise that he and you are one and that you and the Supreme are eternally one.
72. Question: Is having faith the perfect answer to all questions?Sri Chinmoy: Having faith in God and having faith in oneself is the perfect answer to all questions. But our faith has to be something inner and deep within. It is not mere outer vital confidence in oneself. This faith is the river that is flowing into the sea of ever-growing, ever-illumining reality. If we have that kind of faith in ourselves and in God, it is the perfect answer to all questions.
73. Question: Can the soul also experience ignorance?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, the soul can experience ignorance, but it is not bound by ignorance. You may do something which makes your hands very dirty, but you know that if you use water and soap, your hands can be cleansed. Similarly, if the soul enters into ignorance, it knows that it has only to look at the Face of the Supreme and it will immediately come out of the meshes of ignorance. Most human beings do not know where the Supreme is, but the soul knows. Even while it is in ignorance, it sees its illumined oneness with the Absolute Supreme. The soul is not bound by ignorance.
74. Question: Is desirelessness essential for self-illumination?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, lack of desire is essential for self-illumination. Not the lack of many desires, but total absence of desire is necessary. Total transformation of desire is necessary for illumination.
75. Question: What is the essence of man?Sri Chinmoy: The essence of man is God the Love, God the Delight. In the outer world you can say it is God the Love. In the inner world the essence of man is God the Delight.
76. Question: What is the soul's secret?Sri Chinmoy: The soul has no secret, only you do not understand the messages of the soul, so you feel that the soul has many secrets. Only because you do not understand God's and the soul's messages do you feel that they have kept something hidden from you. Because we are ignorant of God's Light and Compassion-Height, we feel that He has secrets.
77. Question: How can I be more creative?Sri Chinmoy: You can be more creative if you can feel that creativity is the child of the world of imagination, which is reality itself in another plane of consciousness. Bring down this reality and allow it to work in and through you.
78. Question: What is the essential quality which a seeker would need in order to enter into this path?Sri Chinmoy: The essential quality that a seeker needs, not only to enter into this path, but to enter any path, is sincerity. The seeker has to ask himself whether he really needs someone to fill his life. Right now he needs someone because he has not yet established a free access to his inner life, where he is absolutely inseparably one with God. So, if the seeker feels that God is represented by someone, somewhere, the seeker has to go to that particular place and see that person who represents God.
A day will come when the seeker's own highest transcendental height will be consciously one with God, but he cannot claim the Highest as his very own right now because most of the time he is swimming or drowning in a sea of ignorance. He has to feel that he needs someone's help in illumining him. How can he search for that someone, somewhere? First of all that somewhere is really nowhere but inside his own heart. He first has to look within his heart. How can he look within? Only with sincerity. If he can feel that his whole life — body, vital, mind, heart and soul — is composed of sincerity, then he is not only meant for this path, but for any path, and he will make the fastest progress.
There are many paths and many Masters, and each path has a special quality of its own. All paths and Masters lead the seeker to the destined Goal, but each path has something different and unique. In our path we have divine love, devotion and surrender. To acquire these divine qualities, we must give of ourselves. While giving, we shall feel our oneness, and thereby fulfil our own necessity to be illumined and satisfied. So if someone wants to try our path, he has to feel the necessity of realising the highest Truth through divine love, devotion and surrender. If he has love, devotion and surrender along with true sincerity, then he is more than qualified to follow our path.
79. Question: What is the best cure for human frustration?Sri Chinmoy: The best cure for human frustration is a state of consciousness which never expects anything from anyone, even from oneself. The moment we expect something, we are bound to be either fulfilled or frustrated. If the individual has a desire and this desire is fulfilled, he is then satisfied for a few days. However, even if the desire is fulfilled, he will not be satisfied for very long because other desires will come and take its place. This moment a fleeting desire is satisfied, but the next moment another desire is frustrated. This game goes on forever.
Expectation creates frustration, but if there is oneness in us with everything in God's creation, then we become inspired. That does not mean we will become lethargic, and wallow in the pleasures of ignorance. Rather, we shall feel that we are not the doer, but that someone else is acting in and through us. We only expect if we feel that we are the doer. So if we feel that we are not the doer, then we will not have expectations. If we can think of ourselves as divine instruments, we can feel that God is having an experience in and through us.
In our human life we feel that if we are successful, we have everything and, if we fail, we have nothing. In the divine Life we don't lose or gain, we only rediscover what we are. We should be interested only in rediscovering our birthright of Eternity and Immortality, and bringing to the fore what we are. Everything that God has and is is in us, so why must we expect? Only because we have separated ourselves from divine Light do we expect. If we know how to rediscover within ourselves infinite Peace and Light, then we don't have to expect anything; we only have to claim them as our very own.
If we have expectation, we will always be frustrated. We should act only because God wants us to do something and we should feel that we are His instruments and He is working in and through us. When we act or speak only to please God in His own way, without expectation, then only will we cease to experience frustration.
80. Question: Is it possible for a disciple to learn from a more advanced seeker?Sri Chinmoy: It is not at all necessary for a seeker to go through all the mistakes personally in order to arrive at truth. If a disciple is a beginner and he happens to meet an advanced seeker — really advanced, not just one who has been a disciple for many years — the advanced seeker will be able to advise the beginner from his own experience. This relationship between the beginner and the advanced seeker might be compared to that between a mother and child. The mother tells the child not to touch the fire because she knows from her own experience that when she touches fire, she burns her finger. If the child does not believe his mother, then he does not profit from his mother's experience. But, just as the child can go to his mother and ask her what happens when she touches fire, so a beginner in the spiritual life can seek advice from an advanced seeker. The beginner recognises the advanced seeker because he sees that he is leading a divine, disciplined life. The advanced seeker sets an example.
If a beginner does not accept the advice of an advanced seeker, it will take him longer to reach the goal. Just as the good, positive advice parents give their children will help them run faster and grow up to be better adults, the advice of an advanced seeker, who is like a father or elder brother to those who have just entered into the spiritual life, can help the beginners to make faster progress. If the beginner has to do everything on his own and go through all the experiences, then he will waste a lot of time and reach the goal much later.
81. Question: How can I hear the voice of silence?Sri Chinmoy: You can hear the voice of silence only when you feel that the world of din and sound has nothing to give you, nothing which you can treasure. Only the world of inner existence, the world of peace, light and bliss, can satisfy your eternal thirst and hunger. But when you see and feel this inner reality, you must also grow into it. You have to bring to the fore the inner reality to change the face of the outer world, or it will remain imperfect. Go deep within. You will not be able to change the face of the world if you do not achieve some wisdom-light first. First you have to become a doctor before you try to cure a sick person. The world of ignorance must be transformed, but before you can transform it, you must enter into the world of wisdom-light. There you are bound to hear the voice of silence, which is all-illumining transformation.
82. Question: How can I learn to swim in the ocean of light?Sri Chinmoy: You can learn to swim in the ocean of light if you know how to cry like a child who misses his mother. The moment he misses her, he cries with all his heart to get her back again. If you really miss the Supreme, cry in your heart; His presence is the ocean of light which you can swim in easily if you really cry for Him.
83. Question: Which is the greatest: purity, love or oneness?Sri Chinmoy: Purity is essential for the entire being. If love is impure, it is all destruction. The human vital love is all destruction. So purity is necessary. But love is essential for achieving the feeling of oneness. A saint is pure, but often he is afraid to touch the world because it may make him impure. But if he really loves the world, no matter how impure the world is, he will touch it in order to help it become pure. When wisdom-supreme dawns, we discover that where there is oneness there can be no impurity. Real divine oneness is constant expansion and consciousness of the universal reality within and without us. It is only in limitation that there can be impurity. So oneness is undoubtedly the greatest of these three divine qualities, but oneness cannot be achieved without both love and purity. Inside oneness we see the perfection of love and purity.
84. Question: Is there a connection between the third eye and intuition?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, there is a connection, but the third eye is infinitely superior to intuition. The third eye is like the sun and intuition is like a few flames. With intuition we can get an immediate answer to a question. With the third eye one can look forward and backward, one can see past, present and future. All is at its disposal. The third eye has the power to transform the past through its adamantine will-power. Intuition does not have this power, but the two are good friends.
85. Question: How can the Supreme become more real to me?Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme can become more real to you if you can think of the Supreme as someone personal, as someone with whom you can establish an eternal friendship, as someone who sees you at every moment. Think of the Supreme with the idea that He alone is real. Everything that you have and see is unreal. He alone is necessary in your life. In this way, He becomes more real to you.
86. Question: When is a smile most effective?Sri Chinmoy: A smile from the Guru is most effective only when a seeker is receptive.
87. Question: Is the word 'failure' in God's dictionary?Sri Chinmoy: In God's dictionary there is no such word. What we see in His dictionary is "experience." "Failure" is an experience. "Success" is an experience. We can and we should accept them with the same joy. When God does something on the outer plane, because of our own preconceived ideas we call one result success and one result failure. But God does not use His Mind. God manifests an experience which the human being needs to go through. He gives whatever experience is necessary to have. But human beings have preconceived ideas about what success is. They depend on outer results. "Failure" immediately ruins all their inspiration and "success" carries them up to the skies. In God's case, it is all experience. When He starts, does and ends, He is only having a series of experiences.
88. Question: Can outer failure be turned into inner success?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, outer failure can be turned into inner success provided you take outer failure as an experience. If you cannot take it as an experience, you have at least to take it as an experiment. You experimented with something, and that experiment was not able to give you the satisfaction that you wanted. But if you can offer the experiment itself with joy to the Supreme, then the result of the experiment automatically is placed at the Feet of the Supreme.
An experiment is like a house. If you offer the house to the Supreme, then all the possessions of the house — the chairs and the other furniture — also are offered to the Supreme. If you can offer your experiment to the Supreme, then you are also offering Him the results — like the furniture of the house. On the strength of your offering, you become one with the Supreme, and when you become one with the Supreme, automatically the experiment becomes an inner success.
But if you can take your outer failure as an experience, which is infinitely superior to an experiment, then it will definitely be a success both in the inner world and in the outer world, for each experience consciously or unconsciously embodies the divine Light, which the seeker receives or brings to the fore according to his capacity and receptivity.
89. Question: Can generosity ever be a spiritual fault?Sri Chinmoy: Generosity can never be a spiritual fault, but we should try to know what compels us to be generous — whether it is our vital or our spontaneous heart, and whether it is something God-ordained. If our generosity is founded upon the pleasure of the vital, or if it is motivated in any way by the vital, then that generosity is not true generosity. It is only an aggrandisement of our ego in a subtle, clever way. If it is a gift of the heart to someone in need, then it may be good. But it need not be always good. We may feel that somebody is in need, whereas in God's Eye perhaps it is not so because that person does not really need the thing.
Sometimes it may happen that when we give something, instead of its being a help, our gift can become a veritable obstacle in someone's life of aspiration. We may think that somebody is very poor while we are very rich, so we want to give him a large amount of money so that he does not have to work very hard and will be able to spend all his time meditating. But when we give him a large amount of money, he only wallows in the pleasures of ignorance; he gives up work, he does not remain in the world of aspiration, and lethargy becomes his friend. Now money-power he has gained, but aspiration-power has gone away. This is a mistake.
Our heart is not always totally one with our soul's realisation. But if the heart is offering something as a gift, and if we know that it is God's Will, then that generosity is absolutely a spiritual truth, spiritual light, spiritual perfection. At that time it is not only generosity; it is the completion of our life-journey, our universal journey, our own fulfilment in many hearts, in many faces, in many dreams and in many realities.
90. Question: Is there anything more beautiful than true humility?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, gratitude. The soul's gratitude, the mind's gratitude, the vital's gratitude, the body's gratitude are much more beautiful than humility. One can be humble but he need not be grateful. Again, one can be grateful and not humble. But if one is sincerely grateful, then there is every possibility that his gratitude-power will lead him to recognise that somebody is superior to him. That was why this other person was in a position to give him something. When we receive something from somebody else, automatically we feel that that person is in some way superior to us. In this way gratitude-power can make us humble.
If we are grateful, we are grateful because of our achievements or because we have received something from somebody else, so we feel that we are under obligation to be humble. Otherwise, the next time we want to achieve or receive something from that person, he may not help us. But if we have not received anything from someone, why should we be grateful to him? We may feel humble when we are with him, but this humility will not make us grateful.
91. Question: How can I become more compassionate?Sri Chinmoy: You can become more compassionate when you look at someone who shows you compassion. You know that you made mistakes when you were a child, and your parents showed you compassion. Your parents were superior in terms of age and in terms of wisdom as well, but they did forgive you. They showed their compassion. When someone shows you compassion, it means that he is to some extent more perfect than you. That is why he can show you compassion.
You have to feel that there is someone who is infinitely more perfect than you are, and that is God. God is your superior, and He is showing you constant Compassion, infinite Compassion. You make mistakes quite often, but He forgives and forgives. Since God has millions of dollars of Compassion, He gives you thousands of dollars at the time of your need. Now, if there is somebody who is inferior to you, who is making many more mistakes than you are, he also deserves compassion from you. You can easily give him one hundred or two hundred dollars in terms of your compassion-power.
We should always try to have somebody as our ideal, or try to see our goal inside somebody. Until we realise that that somebody is our own higher part, our own illumined, more fulfilling part, until then we have to feel that he is better or superior. When I see a flower, I try to become as pure as the flower. When I look at a candle flame and feel its purity, I try to become as pure as the flame of the candle. But afterwards, when I can enter deep into my heart, I see that the same flame is burning there, the inner flame. Then I don't have to keep thinking of a candle or flowers outside me, for I discover that my inner being is always full of fragrance and purity and light.
Similarly, in the beginning we can become more compassionate by thinking of God, who has far more compassion than we have. But eventually we come to realise that God is also inside our own hearts. At that time we don't have to think of God as our superior and ourselves as His inferiors. Instead, we see that this God is nothing but our own higher, more illumined self. When we realise this, superiority and inferiority disappear into oneness, and we can claim God's infinite Compassion as our very own.
92. Question: How can I experience God's Essence?Sri Chinmoy: You can experience God's Essence by knowing and feeling that all the time, throughout Eternity, you are and have been God's substance. If you are God's substance, then there has to be someone who is your essence. Substance cannot exist by itself; it needs essence. So if you are the substance, then God is the essence. You have to know that there is an origin, and the origin is the essence. I am only the product. If I exist, then somebody is responsible for my existence. If I am the flower, then God is the fragrance. If I am the fruit, then God is the seed.
93. Question: What are the limitations of the mind?Sri Chinmoy: The greatest limitation of the mind is that it sees and feels everything and everyone — even its owner — in a separative way. The mind always separates. If the mind sees one person as an individual, it tries to see that person in hundreds of forms, shapes and ways. It does not see the human being as a whole, from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. It does not see the person as one integral reality. Like a doctor, it always operates and dissects. It gets tremendous pleasure from seeing everything piecemeal, in fragments. This sense of separation which the mind constantly enjoys is the most deplorable weakness of the human mind. The mind does not want to see reality as an integral unbroken whole.
The other major weakness of the mind is doubt. Unconsciously or consciously it doubts. It feels that doubt strengthens it. It feels that since it is in a position to doubt, it holds the supreme authority. But this is absurd. He who doubts does not hold the supreme authority. He who loves and becomes one holds the supreme authority. In order to become the supreme authority one has to love and become one, and not judge or pronounce a verdict and show one's supremacy. When one shows supremacy, immediately the feeling of oneness goes away. When there is a feeling of oneness, reality is vast, infinite. When the feeling of oneness goes away, reality becomes finite, infinitesimal. At that time there is no endless or transcendental Reality; there is only limitation. Here, there, within, without, everywhere is limitation and bondage.
94. Question: What is the best way to be an eternal beginner?Sri Chinmoy: The best way to become an eternal beginner is to think of oneself as the ever-blossoming dawn. Dawn is the beginning of the new day, so the dawn symbolises hope, illumination, realisation and perfection. Think that your whole being — your body, vital, mind, heart and soul — represents the dawn or vice versa. Every day the dawn plays the role of a beginner. It begins its journey at daybreak and ends its journey in the infinite sun. If you have that kind of feeling, then you will always feel that you are an eternal beginner.
The dawn invites and invokes. Whom does it invite and invoke? The sun, the eternal wisdom, infinite wisdom, immortal wisdom. The dawn invites and, when one listens to its invitation, one merges into the infinite Light and infinite wisdom of the sun and becomes one with it.
95. Question: How can I find joy and smile in moments of discouragement?Sri Chinmoy: Here you have to understand the role of imagination and give utmost importance to imagination. As I always say, imagination is a reality; it belongs to a world of reality. But that world is not in front of us or before us. Because it is not within our easy reach, we feel that imagination is all mental hallucination.
When you feel discouraged, please try to imagine the moments of happiness that you have had countless times. This is not like dealing with counterfeit coins. You did have happiness yesterday or a few days ago. Now just identify yourself with that time. Discouragement you can take as night. When night approaches, you do not lose all your hope and feel that you are totally lost. No, you know that tomorrow day is going to dawn once again. Twelve hours before, you were in day and twelve hours later, again you are going to enter into day. So either imagine yesterday, when your life was all satisfaction, or imagine what is going to happen tomorrow. Either enter into your immediate past and let the immediate past offer you its haven, or enter into the immediate future for your solace. In this way discouragement goes away. The present has thrown you into a sea of discouragement; everything is futile. But then you remember that there are many things and many people that inspired you and claimed you as their very own only twelve hours ago, and there will be many things only twelve hours later that will do the same. When you think like this, automatically discouragement disappears.
96. Question: What is a sincere question?Sri Chinmoy: There are two sincere questions, not one. On earth there is one sincere question and in Heaven there is one sincere question.
In Heaven the sincere question is, "Who am I?"
On earth the sincere question is, "Where am I?"
To "Who am I?" the answer is, "He I am."
To "Where am I?" the answer is, "I am in His Heart-Boat. He is in my Life-Breath."
97. Question: How can I repay Guru for his eternal gifts?Sri Chinmoy: You do not have to repay your Guru for his eternal gifts, in either a material or a spiritual way. Only you have to remember all the time — twenty-four hours a day throughout Eternity — that you are of him and you are for him. He is a representative of the Absolute Supreme for you and you are a most perfect, chosen instrument of the Supreme in your Master. If you can feel that you are chosen by your Master to do his work, to fulfil the mission of the Supreme, your very realisation of this is your supreme gift to your Guru and to the Supreme. Your realisation of who your Guru is — this is the supreme gift.
If anybody wants to give me a significant gift, then I want to tell that person just to realise me. I try my best to take you up in my fastest elevator when I meditate. I wait, wait, wait, but you people don't come. How long can I wait? So I go up and send down my elevator to get you. Then, when it comes, you press the wrong button and instead of going up, you go down and create problems. So then I come back to the ground level, to the very starting level, but even there I don't see you. I see that you are in the basement. You people have gone down instead of up and are enjoying the pleasures of ignorance. Then I have to go there to get you.
When you climb up with me to the Highest and realise me, your realisation of what your Guru is will be the supreme gift. And this I am not saying with pride or vanity, but with utmost sincerity. The greatest gift any disciple can give to the Guru is to realise him, to realise his height at least once during a meditation before the Guru leaves the body. The difficulty is that once you have realised the highest height, that height does not remain; he constantly transcends it. But if you really reach a very high height and if you can maintain it, if you can have a free access to that height and be able to go there at any moment even if that particular height is not the topmost, this achievement of yours becomes the greatest gift to the Master.
98. Question: Does God ever smile?Sri Chinmoy: God does nothing but smile. Not only does He smile while He is acting, but His action itself is the smile of His self-transcending Vision and self-manifesting Reality.
99. Question: What is divine music?Sri Chinmoy: Divine music is the music of the aspiring heart, illumining soul, awakening body, expanding vital and dreaming mind.
100. Question: How can I hear the soundless sound?Sri Chinmoy: You can hear the soundless sound provided you concentrate on your heart centre and try to feel that your spiritual heart is much larger than the universe itself. Try to feel that the heart is the house, the universe is a room and the soundless sound is an object in the room. If you can soulfully concentrate on the spiritual heart and imagine the things that I am asking you to, then you will hear the soundless sound.
Editor's introduction to the first editionThis is the third and last volume of a series of 100 questions asked by D, president of the New York Sri Chinmoy Centre. Questions 1-64 appeared in Parts I and II.