God-Journey's Perfection-Return

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Part I: Questions and answers

Question: If a member of one's immediate family is sick, what is your feeling about praying to God for healing power?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us say that your mother is sick. Instead of saying, "Cure my mother, cure my mother," if you can say, "I place my mother at the Feet of God," you will be doing the best thing. Your best healing power will be to place your mother at the Feet of God, because He knows what is best.

When you offer your own will to the Will of God, you gain power, and this power will be utilised for God. God Himself will tell you how to utilise it. But if you try to heal on your own, in spite of your best intentions, you may stand against the Will of God.

Suppose you pray and meditate to acquire divine power so that you can cure people and help the world. You say, "I want to be a camel and carry the whole burden of the world on my shoulders." But if the camel is not illumined, then how can it help others gain illumination?

You are running towards your goal. If you ask God to give you something, then this is just an additional thing that you have to carry, and it may slow you down. So if illumination is your goal, think only of your goal and nothing else.

Again, if a remedy for a disease comes spontaneously from within and you don't have to exercise your mental power or will-power, then there is no question of ego, pride or vanity. If in your meditation, all of a sudden you see inner light, and in this light you get a cure for some fatal disease, then naturally you will be able to offer this inner illumination to the world at large. But otherwise, the best thing is to become illumined first. Then only will you be serving God in His own Way. Otherwise at times you will serve God in His own Way and at other times you will be feeding your own ego.

God will do it

Try your best;
Do your best.
Leave the rest
At God's Compassion-Feet.

Devotedly
He will, without fail,
Do and fulfil
What is left undone,
Unconditionally.

Do you know
Who God is?
He is your desire's Lord
And
Your aspiration's Slave.

A better world

Daughter, I have been
Looking for you everywhere.
Where have you been?
What have you been doing?
“I have been inside my mind.

Ah, that is why I have been missing you.
What have you been doing there?
“I have been thinking
Of how to create a better world.

I see, Daughter.
Please do Me a big favour.
When you create a better world,
Make Me an honorary citizen of your world.
Not only are you disappointed
In My world,
But I am also disappointed
Far beyond your imagination’s flight.

Question: How can I be a better wife and mother?

Sri Chinmoy: You have to feel that inside your husband, inside your son, is God. You love your husband and son, not because they are your dearest, but because inside them is your Dearest, everybody's Dearest. Inside your family you have to feel the presence of God. If you can vividly see and feel the presence of God inside your near and dear ones, you will see that you are ready to do everything for them.

Right now, when you do something for your husband or child, sometimes you do it unwillingly. You do it because you feel it is an obligation. But when you do something for God, you will see that it is done with pure joy; because when He asks you to do something, He gives you the necessary strength plus the inspiration. So if you can see and feel God's presence inside your husband and son, then you will be able to maintain that same kind of inspiration and joy.

Question: From the spiritual point of view, what is an artist?

Sri Chinmoy: From the spiritual point of view, an artist is a creator who inspires mankind to lead an aesthetic life, a life of inner and outer beauty, a life of harmony and a life of perfection. He creates and the world gets inspiration and aspiration from his creation. Then there comes a time when an artist feels that he is not the creator but just an instrument of God. God alone is the Creator and God Himself is creating in and through him. When he realises this, he becomes a divine artist. A divine artist is he who feels that he is the instrument of God Himself.

Question: If one was meditating in his past incarnation and made good progress, will he get a head start in this incarnation?

Sri Chinmoy: If somebody was really sincere in his spiritual life in his past incarnation, then in this life he will start his spiritual life at a young age. He will start with his spiritual life when he is ten or twelve or sixteen years old. But it may happen that the child is brought up in an unfavourable environment. So even if he had started his spiritual life in his past incarnation, in this incarnation he will go slowly and steadily because he does not get help from his parents or his environment. But if he was a very great aspirant in his past life and only just failed to realise God, then in this life he will definitely come into a highly developed spiritual family, so that from the very beginning he will be able to enter into the true spiritual life.

Question: I am a beginning seeker and I work in a bar. I was wondering if that will be detrimental to my spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: You have jumped into the sea of spirituality and have come to the point where spirituality is most important in your life. You have entered into a new life and now you are preparing yourself. In your particular case, during the time of your preparation, you are not ready to wrestle with the outside world. You are not strong enough. Right now you have two enemies. One enemy is outside: we call this enemy disharmony or conflict. The other enemy is within; it is your own ignorance or imperfection. Since you are a beginner, you have to fight with this inner enemy twenty-four hours a day. So the best thing is to minimise the strength of your outer enemies and work at a job that will not cause you extra difficulties. But a day will come when you will be able to face the world no matter what you are doing, no matter where you are working or who your neighbours are. At that time you will be able to stand tall on your own spiritual strength. When you have grown strong inwardly, when you have acquired inner wealth from your meditation, at that time the whole world will have to surrender to the Light and Peace inside you.

Question: Do disciples sometimes doubt their Master?

Sri Chinmoy: Each spiritual Master has some doubting and insincere disciples. Some may doubt the Master's realisation; they doubt whether the Master has actually realised God. Now, who is the loser here? If the Master is realised, then he is far above the disciples' doubt and suspicion. The Master will remain in his own highest consciousness. He will never be affected if these disciples doubt him.

Then, there are some disciples who are convinced to a degree that the Master is realised, but they doubt their own acceptance of the spiritual life. They feel that they are not totally sincere. These kinds of disciples can have faith in the Master but not in themselves. To doubt the Master is not good, but to doubt oneself is worse. And to doubt one's Master and oneself is the worst thing one can do.

Question: After we stop meditating, how can we maintain the level of consciousness we reached during our meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: Here we are all aspiring; that is why our consciousness is elevated. The meeting will last for about half an hour more. Then we shall go home and our consciousness will go down. How can we maintain our present level of consciousness? We can do it through constant remembrance.

After you leave the Centre and go home, you may not retain the same level of aspiration because of some family difficulty or other problems. But even if there is nothing to prevent you from continuing to aspire, your own limited being will not allow you to stay on the top of the tree. You aspire for half an hour with utmost sincerity and then relaxation starts. You feel that you have worked very hard and now you are entitled to rest.

But the spiritual life is not like that. If you want to maintain your standard, if you want to maintain the height of your aspiration, then your aspiration should be flowing constantly. Suppose you have meditated for an hour; then you may not be able to meditate again for another hour or so. It is difficult right now for all of us to meditate for eight hours. But no harm. For half an hour you can easily meditate. Then you can do something which will maintain and preserve your meditation. For the next half hour you can read spiritual books; then after that you can sing spiritual songs. Then you can go to the house of one of your spiritual brothers or sisters or, if that is not possible, you can call up someone on the phone and speak only about spiritual matters.

Again, you can write about your own experiences in your own way, not with the thought of publishing them but just to help your own consciousness. While you are writing them down, you are perfecting your spiritual nature. For half an hour you can write them down; then you will read what you have written. As soon as you have written down your experiences, you have created something. The creator always wants to enjoy his creation. Look at a gardener when he sees a beautiful rose. First he took great pains to plant a rosebush and to tend it; then after six or seven months when he sees the rose, he deeply appreciates and admires the beautiful flower. Similarly, you also may get joy from reading about your own experiences.

It takes fifteen or twenty minutes for you to eat. During that time try to remember what experiences you had while you were meditating early in the morning. Just imagine them. This imagination is not fantasy or self-deception. It is like charging a battery. You are charging your memory with your achievement, with your spiritual progress. Each time you think about your own experiences, you will be transported back to that time and you will get abundant Peace, Light and Bliss and so forth. So in this way you can always retain your meditation from the early morning and you will be able to maintain your standard until it is time for your next meditation.

But unfortunately people don't do this. We meditate for half an hour or forty-five minutes and immediately we feel that we are tired and exhausted. Then we do so many wrong things. It is a kind of negative reaction. We feel that we have seen one side of the river and now we want to go to the other shore. But the other shore is unfortunately all darkness. We have to try to remain on the shore that has light. So to preserve our meditation we will do other things which will increase or at least retain the power of the meditation.

During the week we have to go to work. Early in the morning we meditate and elevate our consciousness, but then we spend seven or eight hours at work and we are unfortunately compelled to mix with people who are unaspiring. We are thrown into a world of desire, fear, anxiety, worry and so forth, and our consciousness falls. So what do we do? Please meditate early in the morning and read spiritual books, sing spiritual songs, mix with spiritual people. Then, when you are in the office or involved in some other activity, try to remain in the consciousness of your early morning meditation and other spiritual activities. In your early morning meditation you have gained Peace, Light and Bliss, which is spiritual money. Keep that inside your own heart, which is the safest of all banks. Then, when you enter into the world, when you are in the office where it is all anxiety, worry and desire, you withdraw some of your spiritual wealth. You concentrate on your heart and bring forward a little of the Peace, Light and Bliss which you acquired early in the morning. It is your own wealth and you can use it. In this way you will be able to maintain your spiritual standard and keep your level of consciousness high.

Right now, we have to be very careful and wise in our day-to-day life about how we spend each hour. But a time will come when our life itself will be a continuous flow of aspiration. Now after our meditation we use the mind and think, "Oh, the time has come for me to read some spiritual books." But one day we won't have to make any conscious effort. Our inner being will inspire us to read spiritual books. Right now the inner being is inside, deeply hidden, but we are trying our best, through Yoga, to bring it to the fore.

Question: I believe in God, but it all seems so unreal to me.

Sri Chinmoy: Right now the existence of God is only a belief for you. But you have to know that one day this belief will change to reality. When you have seen inside yourself the infinite Peace, infinite Joy, infinite Love, at that time reality will dawn in your belief and you will get total fulfilment.

Question: Is purity necessary for someone following the path of Kundalini Yoga?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, if you want to open the chakras, then purity is of paramount importance. You can open the doors to these different centres with the key of purity. Each centre can be opened easily, satisfactorily and most effectively if you have the key of purity within you.

Purity is of paramount importance in the spiritual life whether you follow Kundalini Yoga or some other path. Inspiration and aspiration are of utmost necessity in the spiritual life. But inspiration without purity is simply useless; aspiration without purity is simply hopeless. If you have inspiration to enter into a more spiritual life, then this inspiration has to be surcharged with the soul's purity. And if you have aspiration to reach the Highest, then this aspiration has to be surcharged with the soul's purity. If purity is looming large in the seeker's life, then there is nothing either on earth or in Heaven which he cannot acquire.

Who are you?

Jealousy, do you know
Who you are?
In case you do not know
I shall tell you who you are.
You are the shameless weakness
Of humanity.

Doubt, do you know
Who you are?
In case you do not know
I shall tell you who you are.
You are the useless sickness
Of humanity.

You want to know

You want to know
What my life of hope does.
My life carries the sunrise.

You want to know
What my heart of despair does.
My heart carries the sunset.

You want to know
What my mind of doubt does.
My mind carries the night.

Question: Is there any real difference between one religion and another?

Sri Chinmoy: There is no fundamental difference between one religion and another because each religion embodies the ultimate Truth. Each religion is right, absolutely right, because each religion conveys the message of Truth in its own way. If you dive deep within, you will see that there is no difference at all between the religions. It is all one Truth called different names by different seekers. Your religion may say one thing and my religion may say something else. But our religions will never differ when it is a matter of the highest Truth. The ultimate Goal of every religion is to realise the highest Truth. On the way to our Goal we may quarrel and disagree, we may misunderstand each other. Why? Precisely because there are many roads that lead to the Goal. Some will follow one road and some will follow another road. Each road will be able to offer inspiration. After a while, one person will say that his road is by far the best because it is pleasing him. Then another person will say that his road is the best. But when both reach their destination, they will be at the same Goal: Truth. In Truth there is no quarrel, no conflict; Truth or God-realisation transcends all religions.

Question: Where is God and how do we fulfil Him?

Sri Chinmoy: We live in ignorance. That is why we feel that God is somewhere else. But if we go deep within, if we realise the Highest within ourselves, then we will see that our own consciousness is one with God's Consciousness. Right now, an ordinary human being will never dare to say that he and God are one, for he knows that his consciousness is tiny, limited, obstructed. But when the Christ said, "I and my Father are one," he said this from the realm of his deepest inner oneness with God. The Christ was conscious of the fact that his consciousness and God's Consciousness were totally one.

We have to shed soulful tears if we want to embody the Supreme consciously and if we want to fulfil and manifest the Supreme at every moment of our earthly existence. When a child cries, the mother comes running. Similarly, when we cry from the inmost recesses of our heart, our eternal Father, the Supreme, comes running to feed us, to illumine us, to carry us to the Golden Shore of the Beyond. The Supreme is our Father; He is our Mother; He is everything. We, like infants, have to cry and cry. Unfortunately, we have forgotten how to cry inwardly. We know how to smile, how to laugh outwardly; we know how to impose our proud ideas on others. We think more of perfecting other people's natures than of perfecting our own. We have no time to think of our own perfection. This is the tragedy of human life.

Every day when you meditate, try to feel that you are inside the Heart of God, the Inner Pilot. Although you have not seen the Supreme, just mentally imagine a human being who is absolutely golden. Imagine that He is right in front of you and you are inside His Heart or in His Lap or at His Feet. Do not think that you are eighteen or forty or sixty years old. No! Think that you are only one month old and that you are inside the very Heart of the Supreme or in His Lap.

Divine imagination is not a false way of looking at truth; it is the proper way to look at the truth. People who do not have the capacity to imagine cannot go very far. We see a poet and we may think that he is living in the world of imagination, but it is the poet who enters into the world of reality with his inner vision. Today's imagination is tomorrow's aspiration. Tomorrow's aspiration is the realisation of the day after tomorrow.

Question: Can you define the soul?

Sri Chinmoy: The soul is subtler than the subtlest, finer than the finest and, at the same time, larger than the largest. This is the description of the soul that you get in the Gita and also in our sacred Upanishads. This truth can be seen, felt and realised when we meditate.

The soul is the representative of God here on earth, a spark of God. God the Omniscient, the Omnipotent, the Omnipresent is one; but here in this world of multiplicity each soul represents a different aspect of God's multiplicity. When the soul takes human shape, it tries first to create possibilities and then inevitabilities. Then the soul tries to manifest the truth that it has already achieved. It sees the world of ignorance and tries to transform this ignorance into knowledge and wisdom.

There is an unmanifested Self, which we call purusha, and again, there is a manifested Self. The Self that is going to manifest on earth through the soul is called prakriti. Purusha is not indifferent, but it will always remain on the highest transcendental level of Consciousness. And the other Self, prakriti, will take part in the Cosmic Game through the individual soul.

When we become one with our soul, we enter into infinite Peace and Bliss — the highest Consciousness, which we call sat-chit-ananda. This is the triple Consciousness, where Existence, Consciousness and Bliss come together. When we live in the soul, eventually we enter into this triple Consciousness.

Question: You say that when the body dies the soul goes back to its own world. What is the soul's world?

Sri Chinmoy: The soul goes back to where it came from, to its original home, to take rest for some time. As earth is our body's world, so also there is a world which we call the soul's world. You have a home. You go to play in the playground and after you have played for a few hours you come back to your home. Then, after taking rest, tomorrow you go again to play. Similarly, the soul comes here on earth to play for a few years and then the soul goes back to its own region. Then it returns to earth in another body.

The soul's original abode is sat-chit-ananda. It means Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. There is a Bengali song, "Phire Chalo." It means, "Let us go home." This home is the home of the soul. The soul, the aspiring soul, is returning home, where it is all Light and Delight. In this home there is no death, no suffering, no sorrow, no decay; It is all Joy, Light and Delight.

Question: Can the soul experience sorrow?

Sri Chinmoy: No, the soul cannot experience sorrow. It is the outer senses — the emotions and the vital — which feel frustration and sorrow. The soul, which is in constant touch with the Source, is the fountainhead of constant joy.

Question: How can I know the quintessence of Infinity?

Sri Chinmoy: Mentally we will never know what Infinity is. It is all imagination. But there comes a time when imagination is transformed into reality. If somebody had once told me that there is a person by the name of Krishna Ganesan, until I had seen that person, he would have remained all imagination. But now I have seen you. Now you are a reality to me.

According to the physical reality, you are perhaps 5'6" in height, but inside the physical reality is the inner reality — your teeming inner experiences. Some of these experiences are very high, very deep, and some are not. Again, some of these experiences are from this incarnation and some are from previous incarnations. Even when I see the experiences only of this incarnation, I see that you have had thousands of experiences.

Now, who is holding these experiences? The soul or what we call the psychic being. In Sanskrit we call it chaitya purusha. This psychic being has gathered and kept safe the experiences of previous incarnations as well as of this one. The quintessence of all your previous incarnations has been preserved by the psychic being. Deep inside our existence, inside the soul, inside the psychic being, inside the mind, inside the vital, inside the gross physical, all these experiences are there.

But when the doctors operate, or when they examine you, they cannot discover it, this inner wealth of yours. Why not? Just because this infinite inner wealth that you have can be seen only by something which is also infinite. Only Infinity can measure Infinity; only Light can measure Light. We may see something right in front of us, but in order to evaluate it we have to have something which is equally powerful or equally illumined.

You will be able to see, feel and become one with Infinity when you become one with your spiritual heart, which is itself infinite. And this oneness you achieve through prayer and meditation.

Question: Guru, please explain how we should meditate on an aphorism of yours, such as: "Three hundred sixty-five opportunities to realise the Supreme, to reveal the Supreme and to fulfil the Supreme."

Sri Chinmoy: The main word is 'Supreme'. Do not try to see the Supreme in human form, or in the form of a cloud or a star or something else. No! Only try to feel the word vibrating in your heart. Then comes the word 'realise'. Try to concentrate on what this means. It is more than seeing or feeling something. Realisation means oneness. When you realise something, that means that you have established your conscious oneness with it. You have to identify yourself with something or someone; only then can you say that you have realised that person or thing. What you have inside you is the Supreme, and you have to realise Him. Then comes 'reveal'. The Supreme has made you realise what He is and now you have to reveal Him. You reveal the Supreme not for name and fame, but because He has made you His instrument. When you reveal Him, you show Him to the world at large. You reveal what you have within, the Supreme, showing Him here and all around. Then you have to fulfil Him. You have to fulfil the Supreme in the way He wants to be fulfilled, not in the way you want to fulfil Him. So you have to pray to the Supreme, "I wish to fulfil You the way You want to be fulfilled. Please tell me how I can fulfil You."

Now, 'three hundred sixty-five opportunities' means that each day you are getting an opportunity to make your promise or your prayer fresh. Every day you bloom like a new, fresh flower and the following day you grow into another flower — a flower of dedication, absolute dedication. When you read this aphorism, try to feel that you have become a real flower, ready for dedication.

In each meditation you will see a world. If you read these meditations four or six times most soulfully, I wish to tell you that each time you will get something more meaningful, more significant. It is not that you will have different ideas and a different truth. No! It will be the same truth, but each time you will see it being expressed more powerfully. This is how you can meditate on an aphorism of mine.

Question: You always speak of the heart. Isn't mental education also important in the spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: When I say we have to give more importance to the heart than to the mind, people don't understand me. They say, "What is wrong with the mind?" But I wish to say that the mind is really inferior to the heart. The mind is constantly contradicting itself, whereas the heart is not like that. The heart sees the truth; then it tries to follow the truth and finally it tries to embody the truth. Mental wisdom, outer education, is not at all required for the seeker who wants to enter into the infinite Peace, Bliss and Power. A university education is wonderful as far as the outer world is concerned, but in the realm of spirituality, in the realm of self-knowledge, this education is no education at all.

I wish to tell you a story. There was once a great scholar who was being ferried to the other shore by a boatman. On the way, the great Pundit said to the boatman, "Have you studied the scriptures? Have you studied the different systems of Indian philosophy? Have you studied the Gita, the Upanishads?"The poor boatman said, "No, I have not studied them. I do not know what they teach." The scholar said, "Then you are a real fool." Now, all of a sudden there arose a storm and the boat was about to capsize. The boatman said to the Pundit, "The boat will now sink. Do you know how to swim?" The Pundit did not know how to swim, so the boatman placed him on his shoulders and took him to the shore. Then he said, "What shall you do with all of your knowledge? I know only one thing — how to swim — and that has saved us."

What do we learn from this story? If we are in the sea of ignorance, if this world is the sea of ignorance, then what real help shall we get by learning subjects that are taught in the schools? Now, I am not saying that education is unimportant. Far from it! In the outer life it is most important. But by getting knowledge and information from universities, one must not feel that one has acquired real wisdom. The world is a sea of ignorance. In order to swim across the sea of ignorance, one needs only one thing, and that is meditation. And for that, one needs the heart, not the mind. If one can meditate well, one will eventually cross the sea. But by studying books, by getting outer information, one can never do it.

Question: Do we live more fully here in the occidental world and, if so, what are its special spiritual values?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, let us not divide the world into the oriental and the occidental. If we divide God's Body into two parts, then it becomes imperfect. But if we take East and West as complementary, then we see that the world becomes perfect.

Now, we have to enter into the inner life to see what good qualities a Westerner has. First and foremost, a Westerner knows the value of time. Each second counts in the West. Not only each hour, but each second counts. It is a great blessing to know the actual significance of time.

The second outstanding divine quality of the West is its dynamism. Unfortunately, some people misuse this dynamism and it becomes a kind of aggressive quality. With dynamism we can move forward or backward or downward; at least movement is going on. We are all the time moving, moving, moving. And if we are conscious, we will move forward and not backward.

The West knows the value of time and the significance of dynamism, so it already has two helping hands. But it has to learn a third lesson. Every individual, no matter where he is or what his standard is, can spend ten minutes a day to feed his soul. To feed his body he takes three meals a day. If he does not eat for one day he may feel he will die the following day. But what about his inner existence? There is a divine child in each human being that we have completely forgotten. If we feel the necessity of an inner life, we must then practise the inner life and feed this divine child every day.

The inner life is not at all foreign to us. It is something natural and spontaneous. The outer life has been imposed on us, but the inner life came with us from the soul's world. It is self-evolving. The outer life will be meaningful only when the inner life comes to the fore.

The spiritual life, the inner life, is not the sole monopoly of the East. The West has every right to accept the inner life and fulfil itself. It was in the West that a great, great spiritual Master once said, "I and my Father are one." As in the East we say, tat twam asi, "That Thou Art", so also in the West you have the message of Christ. Now, if God is the Father and you are His son, then you must also possess all the divine qualities that your Father has. The only thing is that up to now you have not cared for His qualities. If you can care for them, your Father is always ready to bestow upon you His highest and most precious riches.

Question: In the course of evolution, will there ever be a time when there will be no animal incarnations, but people will be born automatically realised and not have to go through the process of aspiration and inner development?

Sri Chinmoy: People and animals will continue to be born as they are now, but evolution will also continue. We are human beings right now. We are not animals, but we still have many animal qualities. We quarrel, we fight, we have wars, we do so many undivine things. We claim that we lead a higher life than animals, but when we enter into ourselves we see that we are human animals. Again, even though we have animal qualities and animal propensities, still we have made a little progress. There are some people among us who are really aspiring and crying for God. Eventually they will see the Truth, feel the Truth and grow into the Truth and Light. Evolution has accomplished this.

After four hundred or five hundred years there will still be animal incarnations. There will be animals and there will be people. But there will also be more perfection on earth. Today, say out of ten thousand people perhaps one person may aspire. But a time will come when only one person out of ten thousand will not aspire. It will be just reversed.

But we cannot say that evolution will reach the point where everybody will come to earth God-realised. It would be like this: I have worked for years and centuries in order to realise something and you won't have to work at all. No, everybody has to work hard; God's Grace will descend only when we work hard. Some people realise God when they are in their teens. Perhaps you may say, "Oh, I have been meditating for twenty or thirty years and he has only meditated for five or ten years. How is it that he has realised God?" But you do not know how hard he worked in his previous incarnation. Perhaps for years and years he meditated. We see him with our human eyes, but we don't use our third eye to look at what has happened in his previous incarnation.

The world is now imperfect. Gradually, gradually, the world will become perfect. It is not that at a fixed time, all of a sudden, the Light will dawn and non-aspiring people will suddenly run towards the goal. No, it is a slow, gradual process.

Question: How is it possible to have our inner life and our outer life synchronised so that we don't feel like two different people?

Sri Chinmoy: The inner life and the outer life cannot be given equal importance. The inner life has to be given greater importance. Our business is to enter into our own deepest Source. Then if we are really giving sincere attention to our inner life — to our aspiration, concentration and meditation — we will not be concerned with outer success. But that does not mean that we won't work. You are a doctor, so you will certainly deal with your patients; you will mix with your friends and all that. A boat is inside the water, sustained by the water; but the boat is not affected by the water. Similarly, we have to live in the world, but we should not be affected by the world. If the boat is not in water, then the boat cannot move. Likewise, if we are not in the world, then we cannot progress. We have to be in the world, but at the same time have full mastery of the world.

If you want to become one, inside and outside, then you have to pay infinitely more attention to the inner life than to the outer life. In each activity you have to feel the living breath of your inner life. If you can do that, then the outer life will be the image of your inner life and you will become one person, within and without. In the outer life, if the world calls you a failure, no harm. According to the world's eye you may be a failure, but according to your own inner life you will be extremely successful. And spiritual persons will even call your outer life a tremendous success. If you are truly successful in your inner life of realisation and aspiration, then you are bound to get outer success. But this success may not be and must not be what other people call success. It is you who will be the judge of your outer success in a divine way.

Question: There are many books on reincarnation on the market that you can buy, but I was wondering whether reincarnation is something that can be understood by the intellect?

Sri Chinmoy: After one has realised God, the laws of reincarnation can be felt and fully understood. By studying books one can never understand the laws of reincarnation. Even if one studies millions of books, he cannot fully and integrally understand reincarnation. One has to enter into his soul and enter into his past incarnations.

One has to be very careful when one deals with one's past lives. There are some spiritual Masters who have the capacity to tell you about your past, but in most cases they will not do so. But again, suppose somebody tells you that in your past incarnation you were a thief. What will be your immediate reaction? "I was a thief? Then it is useless for me to think of God in this life." Suppose somebody says that in your past incarnation you were the president of the United States. Now, in this incarnation you are nowhere near being president of the United States. So immediately you will be disappointed. You will say, "Oh God, I was such a great person then, and in this life I am nothing, nothing, nothing." But if somebody tells you that in your past incarnation you cried for God and meditated, but did not complete your journey, then you will get true inspiration. You will say, "I have already started my journey. In this life let me walk fast, faster, fastest and reach my Goal." Here knowledge of the past is of some value. However, I always say that one should not pay attention to his past incarnations. What you have eaten yesterday may have been sweet, but it cannot fulfil you today. Your past incarnations have not given you your realisation. If you really want God, then start walking from where you are now.

Question: When I meditate, I have this pressure in my head.

Sri Chinmoy: One reason you may feel pressure is because your mind-vessel is filled with impure thoughts and ideas. By sheer will you are trying to kill the undivine thoughts, and this is causing you pain. Again, when the vessel is filled with impure thoughts and you unconsciously pull down Peace, Light and Bliss, you become frightened. You never expected them to be so brilliant, so divine. Your mind is filled with all kinds of undivine thoughts and impurities and then divine Peace, Light and Bliss come. At that time they seem like strangers to you, so you resist them. You are driving at top speed in a car, and then suddenly you use the brake. You are going very high and suddenly you feel fear, so you try to stop. The pressure can also be from this. It can mean there is an obstruction such as fear inside you.

Please keep a candle burning in front of you and try to feel that it is actually burning inside you. The flame is your own aspiration, which wants to climb to the highest. The candle will outwardly convince your physical mind that your existence is inside the heart and not in the mind. After a few minutes try to feel that you do not have a head at all. You do not have arms and legs; you have only the heart's soft, sweet feeling of oneness with God, your Inner Pilot. It is here that you have to grow, where there is constant, infinite Light from the soul. The heart which is purified by the soul's light will never have any tension.

You have to know that the mind will never be able to identify itself with the Vast. It will always feel like a stranger, an intruder; so there will always be fear. But if you meditate in the heart, there can be no fear. It is all oneness. A child looks at his father who is so big, but he does not feel afraid. He knows that his father's strength will not be used to hurt him. But if the person is a stranger, then the child may be afraid. The heart always feels the message of oneness, and in oneness there can be no fear.

So when you feel pressure in your head, please feel that you are not the mind but the heart. That which separates you from everything cannot be yours; that which unites you with everything is the real you. Feel that the mind does not exist. Only the heart exists. The moment you feel that you are the heart, you will feel your oneness with the Vast, and boundless Peace, Light and Bliss will enter into you.

Question: Guru, is the outer world, the physical world, really out of control, or is it really being guided and influenced to a large extent by the inner world?

Sri Chinmoy: No, it is not influenced at all, or it is influenced only to a very little extent. Let us use the word inspired rather than influenced. If we are inspired, then we will do the right thing. But when we are influenced, immediately the vital comes, the mind comes, and there is no feeling of oneness. When we are inspired to run, at that time, we become speed itself; we become one with speed. But when we are influenced, it comes from someone or something that we cannot call our own, and that particular thing also cannot claim us. In inspiration, however, we have the feeling of oneness with the thing that inspires us and also with the goal.

If the inner world could really inspire the outer world, then the outer world would have real meaning and, by this time, the outer world would have succeeded in manifesting a considerable amount of divinity. But very often the inner world is too weak to inspire the outer world. Actually, the inner world has the capacity, but the outer world is not accepting its inspiration. The inner world is not given the opportunity. The mother has the capacity to wash and clean the child, but the child does not want to be cleaned. The inner world is like the mother, but the child won't listen. He just mocks her and says, "No, I don't want to be cleaned."

The outer world gets joy by separating; the inner world gets joy by uniting. In cases when the outer world is inspired by the inner world, at that time the outer world really has something to offer. When the outer world consciously accepts the inspiration of the inner world whole-heartedly, people realise the highest Truth. At that time, full realisation, full revelation and full manifestation can easily be achieved.

Question: Why don't the divine powers just come in and influence world events the way they should be influenced?

Sri Chinmoy: No, acceptance has to come in a divine way; otherwise, the world would break. Power can influence the world, but if the earth is not receptive it will break. Again, power does not always work. Sometimes it works but very often it does not work. The vital is a little bit afraid of dynamic power so it may listen to it for only one day. But the vital has its own aggressive power and this aggressive power doesn't want to listen to the soul's power; so then the battle starts.

It is love and oneness that works again and again; this is the mightiest power. This love of oneness the vital also kicks like anything. But the higher power of love is wiser. It says, "Take your time. I am ready to love you in ignorance, because I am dealing with eternal Time." Then eventually the light comes through the vital itself. There is light everywhere, even in obscurity, even in the obscure vital. When this light comes forward and wants to listen to the higher forces, then the vital will realise the Highest.

Question: Why does God have visiting hours when He is within us all the time?

Sri Chinmoy: Very good. In one of my essays in Blossoms of the Heart I say: "There are two choice hours for my God to visit me: Once when my soulful life is without haste; once when my life's mounting flame is without rest."

It is true that God is within us all the time, within our heart, but in the physical mind we have to remind ourselves of God's existence. When our consciousness becomes receptive, then we have a visiting hour with God. God's visiting hour with us comes first, when our life is at peace and second, when there is great aspiration in our life. When both these conditions are present, God visits us sooner than at once.

Because

Because
You meditated this morning
You have once more
Become
Master of yourself today.
Don’t forget this divinely adorable discovery.

Because
You smiled this morning
You have once more
Become
The beloved friend of the whole world.
Don’t forget this highly profitable discovery.

I never want to forget

I never want to forget
How ruthlessly I have ignored God.

I never want to forget
How compassionately God has forgiven me,
My darkness-pride
And
My ignorance-night.

Question: Is it bad to eat right after meditating?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. It takes at least half an hour to assimilate your achievements — the spiritual thoughts, ideas and visions you had during your meditation. Then, what you assimilate you are going to manifest in your outer life. When you meditate you take in inner food — Peace, Light and Bliss. Then, when you look at someone or someone looks at you, immediately he gets this food. Just by looking at you, his eyes will eat some of this food.

So please try to rest for half an hour after meditating, before you eat. Also, if you want to meditate after eating, please wait at least two and a half hours. Otherwise, your nerves will become heavy: the three major channels of the subtle body — ida, pingala and sushumna — will find it extremely difficult to allow the cosmic energy to pass through them.

Again, if you are very hungry and it is time for your meditation, please eat something light and then meditate. Otherwise hunger will play the part of a monkey inside you, pinching you all the time. I remember an incident in India. A young boy used to always come late to see his spiritual teacher. He was poverty-stricken and could not eat properly, so he was always hungry and could never meditate well. His spiritual Master observed this and he used to keep popped rice for this particular disciple. He would give this disciple two or three mouthfuls of popped rice and then the disciple would meditate. All the other disciples were surprised to see this, because they got nothing from their Guru. One day the Master had to tell them, "All of you come from rich families and all of you come here without hunger. But when this poor boy comes running here, I always see that he is hungry. So I feed him first and then he does his meditation well."

Question: What is the importance of opening the chakras?

Sri Chinmoy: To be very frank with you, from the highest spiritual point of view there is no necessity of opening the chakras. If the chakras, or centres, open up on their own by the Grace of the Supreme, well and good. But if you consciously try to open up the chakras and get Kundalini power, occult power, if you pay too much attention to the chakras, then you are just wasting your energy and precious aspiration. To see what is happening inside somebody's mind or see what is happening in the farthest corner of the globe or cure somebody's headache or stomach upset — these things you don't really want to do. What you truly want is to realise and fulfil God, to be His dearest child, to remain in absolute Peace, Light and Bliss. So I advise you not to think of opening your chakras but to increase your aspiration, love, devotion and surrender to God. Love will take you to God. Devotion will take you to God. Surrender will take you to God. But by opening up your chakras and showing miracles here and there you will not get closer to God.

So I always tell my disciples to care only for God. God has created all power, so if you can please Him, then He will give you power if it is necessary for you. But if you try to steal power by hook or by crook, then you are acting like a real fool. It is like going to a mango tree. I can climb up the tree and snatch one or two mangoes without asking the owner's permission. But then the gardener will order me to leave. However, if I can please the owner and get his permission to take some mangoes, then nobody can order me down and I can eat mangoes to my heart's content. But you have to know that it is not mangoes that will make us immortal; it is nectar, divine Nectar. It is not occult power but Peace, Light and Bliss that can make us immortal.

From the highest point of view, it is up to God whether He gives us occult power or other kinds of power. After realising God, if God says, "I want you to use your occult power," then you will use it. But if He says, "No, you will use only spiritual power for My divine purpose," then you will do that. Whatever He wants us to do we have to do.

Question: Sometimes when I talk to people about you a kind of fear comes over me. It enters into me and creates doubt and insecurity.

Sri Chinmoy: This fear is coming from the other people. You are trying to inspire them and waves of fear and doubt are coming from them. It means that those people are not ready for the spiritual life; it means that you are knocking at the wrong door. If you knock at the wrong door, you will get opposition. This opposition may take any form: fear, doubt or a kind of resentment. If a person is offering you fear or doubt, the best thing is not to persevere with the matter. If you try to dispel his doubt, you will not be successful. Try to wait for the right person, who will gladly ask you more about our path. It is best to meditate on the person for a few minutes before you say anything. Your heart will tell you whether he is the right person or not. In this way, you won't have to suffer from the unpleasant situation you are describing.

Question: From the spiritual point of view, does the new year have any specific significance?

Sri Chinmoy: From the spiritual point of view, the new year has a specific significance. On the eve of the new year, a new consciousness dawns on earth. God once again inspires each human being, each creature, with new hope, new light, new peace and new bliss. God always wants us to move ahead; He does not want us to look back. We know that while a runner is running fast, if he looks back, he drops to the ground. Similarly, if we are constantly looking behind at the year that we are leaving aside, we will think of our sorrow, misery, frustration, failure and so forth. But if we look forward, we will see hope dawning ahead deep within us. We will see a new light illumining our consciousness.

Each new year is like a rung on the ladder of consciousness that we have to climb up. When the new year dawns we have to make ourselves conscious of the fact that we have to transcend ourselves this year. We have to go beyond our present capacity, beyond our present achievement. When we have that kind of firm determination, God showers His choicest Blessings upon our devoted heads. God says, "The new year dawns and a new consciousness dawns within you. Run towards the destined Goal." We listen to God. We listen to the dictates of our Inner Pilot and we run towards the ultimate Reality. The new year energises us, encourages us and inspires us to run towards that ultimate Goal.

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