The giver and the receiver

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Part I: Discourse

The giver and the receiver

My Lord Supreme, You accept from me my hungry desires as though these things are tremendously valuable.

My Lord Supreme, You accept from me my teeming worries and anxieties as though these things are extremely beautiful.

My Lord Supreme, You accept from me my poisonous doubts as though these things are remarkably meaningful.

My Lord Supreme, You accept from me my untiring insecurity and my unending impurity as though these things are going to adorn Your Heart.

My Lord Supreme, You accept from me my ocean-vast ingratitude as though it is something that is going to richly satisfy You.

My Lord Supreme, when You give me Your Peace, Your Love, Your Joy, Your Compassion and Your divine Blessings in boundless measure, I get joy, true. But Your Joy, while giving, far surpasses my joy in spite of the fact that I am the receiver and You are the giver.

My Lord Supreme, when I give You my undivine qualities unreservedly, You get much more joy and satisfaction in receiving than I get in giving.

My Lord Supreme, You are always great. You are always good. Will there ever be a time when I shall be able to defeat You in anything?

"My child, you have already defeated Me."

I have defeated You? Impossible, my Lord, impossible! How can I ever defeat You? Tell me, how?

"My child, I need you infinitely more than you need Me. My need for you far surpasses your need for Me. Does this not prove that you have defeated Me badly?

"Now let Me explain to you this secret and sacred philosophy of Mine. You do not know who you are, but I know who you are. You think that you are ignorance incarnate, but I see you as an experience of Mine. I see you as My own evolving Life. I see you as My own dream-manifesting Reality.

"It is not you; it is I. It is not yours; it is Mine. It is I who am always in the process of unveiling and becoming, and becoming and unveiling. Thus it is I who sing in and through you My Eternity's Song: Oneness. It is I who dance in and through you My Infinity's Dance: Perfection. It is I who cry and smile, and smile and cry, in and through you My Immortality's Silence-Sound: Satisfaction."

[Note: Sri Chinmoy gave the talk, The Giver And The Receiver, at Saint Paul's Chapel, Columbia University, 27 February 1980.]

Part II: Questions and answers on heart-power and mind-power

Question: When is mind-power equal to heart-power?

Sri Chinmoy: Mind-power can never be as soulful and fruitful as heart-power. Your question should be: When will mind-power reach its acme? When will mind-power offer its best result or fruit? Mind-Power reaches perfection when the feeling of universal love, universal brotherhood, universal identity and oneness looms large in the mind. Heart-power already has inseparable oneness with the universal Life. If mind-power fulfils its distinctive role by also becoming one with the universal Life, then it will not remain bound by worldly temptations, weaknesses, limitations, bondage and death. When mind-power surrenders to the soul-power in the heart, then mind-power is fulfilled forever. At that time, mind-power can play its own role most perfectly.

We can think of the mind as eyes and the heart as hands. With eyes we see; with hands we work. If we shape something beautiful, then heart-power fulfils its purpose. When our eyes can see all beauty and all purity, then mind-power reaches the zenith of perfection. Heart-power fulfills its role by becoming one with the ultimate Reality. Mind-power fulfils its role by seeing purity-beauty all around.

Let us not try to create competition between the mind and the heart. The mind and the heart each go in a specific way to reach the Highest. This represents equality but not uniformity. My eye is not the same as my nose, but my eye is equal to my nose. Each plays its own role. When they play their respective roles satisfactorily, they become perfect. Perfection lies in fulfilling one's own duty.

Question: Is it better to use heart-power or mind-power?

Sri Chinmoy: If it is the illumined mind, or the mind that has achieved light, then you can use it. But if the mind is still only in the process of searching for good, for light, then use the heart. In the heart, the light of the soul is always more prominent than it is in the mind. Heart-power is one with the soul's light. Mind-power at times glimpses this light and at times does not. Mind-power is tricky; heart-power is never tricky. Mind-power cherishes separativity; heart-power cherishes oneness. The ordinary mind uses power to dominate, to possess, to lord it over others. It gets joy from a conscious, deliberate, uncompromising sense of separativity. The heart derives fulfillment only from oneness. So let us use heart-power as often as possible. Only if the mind has achieved light should we use it.

Question: Do occult power and spiritual power originate from heart-power or mind-power, or both?

Sri Chinmoy: Occult power comes from mind-power and psychic or spiritual power comes from heart-power. One who wants occult power prays and cries for it. For spiritual power, one does not have to ask. Spiritual power comes spontaneously if one cries to the Supreme devotedly, soulfully and unconditionally to please Him in His own Way. Spiritual power comes from sincere aspiration and inner cry. We use spiritual power to guide ourselves so that we do not make mistakes but become perfect instruments of the Supreme. If we achieve occult power, we can do miracles; but miracles are short-lived. Anything that comes from the mind is short-lived, whereas anything that comes from the heart is long-lasting.

Question: How can we increase the power of the heart?

Sri Chinmoy: By self-giving and by being sincere in our inner cry. The more sincere we are in our inner cry, the sooner our heart-power increases. Sincerity is the living force, the quintessence, of everything divine in us. It is the motivating force that increases the heart-power in us. When we cry sincerely and soulfully, the right cause will present itself. Then we will throw our entire existence into this cause. We will give it all our aspiration-power and dedication-power. At that time, we will find that the power of the heart increases immensely.

Question: Can you have an experience in the heart without feeling it in the heart?

Sri Chinmoy: If you get an experience from the spiritual heart, you need not feel anything the heart muscle. But you will feel something that envelops and inundates the whole being. The physical heart need not express the experiences of the spiritual heart. The physical heart is only an organ. One experiences inner reality with the inner heart, the spiritual heart, even if it is not totally identified with the human heart.

Question: If a person who cares for mind-power asks a question about heart-power of a person who cares for heart-power, can the heart-power person satisfy the mind-power person with his answer?

Sri Chinmoy: If the heart-power person has solid heart-power and the mind-power person is receptive, then it can be done. If one party has receptivity and the other has capacity, then it is possible. The mind needs receptivity and the heart needs capacity. For the one with mind-power, receptivity is his capacity; whereas the capacity of the person with heart-power is his actual possession of light. If I have heart-power, then my capacity will enter into him and his receptivity will accept it. The heart can convince the mind only when the mind is receptive.

Question: Will the exclusive use of heart-power alone end wars and inter-personal conflict?

Sri Chinmoy: No, only the acceptance of heart-power by the mind, vital and physical will be able to end conflict, wars and destruction. Heart-power can stop wars and destruction when mind-power accepts it. Until then, heart-power will be ineffective. Heart-power has to be universally accepted. If mind-power does not accept heart-power as its beacon-light, then heart-power will not be able to manifest the Consciousness of the Supreme.

In a plane there are crew members of higher and lower rank. If the lower ranks do not accept the guidance of the higher ranks, the plane crashes. In God's Eye, all ranks are important. Mind-power has to be perfect, too. If mind-power is not perfect, heart-power will not be able to operate in and through the mind.

Heart-power can function in and through the mind, but mind-power has to be receptive. The mind is getting the opportunity to accept heart-power from the heart, but the mind has to avail itself of this opportunity. First, light comes into the heart, then into the mind. Once the mind is convinced, it will convince the vital, and the vital will convince the physical. The heart always accepts the soul's oneness-light. But until the mind accepts it and is perfected by it, it will not be able to work effectively on earth. Mind-power has to become the instrument of heart-power in order to manifest the Supreme's Will.

So, heart-power alone is not enough to establish the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. World peace, world harmony, world perfection will take place only when all the parts of the being accept the soul's light that flows through the heart. If they do not accept it, then no matter how much light the soul has, there can be no perfection, although light itself can remain. I have light. If you accept it, then your perfection will take place and my perfection will increase, because I have accepted you as part and parcel of my own life. You are a manifestation of what I am. If you see what I have and am and if you accept it, then my complete perfection takes place in and through you.

Manifestation has to take place through mind-power. If the mind does not accept the light of the heart, the heart itself cannot reach fulfilment. In the earth-consciousness, the highest is the mind. If someone has great mental capacity, he is admired by all. But mind-power and heart-power need one another. Mind-power needs heart-power to know what the ultimate Truth is. Heart-power needs mind-power to manifest the ultimate Truth.

Question: At the present stage of man's evolution, which prevails: mind-power or heart-power?

Sri Chinmoy: We cannot categorically say which part of the being prevails, because early in the morning we can be in the body-consciousness and at bedtime we can be in the heart. One day we ascend; the next day we descend. One day we are in the heart; the following day we are in the mind. We do not have any permanent achievement. Similarly, a country can be in the emotional vital at one time, and ten years later it may enter into the heart plane and become pure. If a country is warlike, then the undivine vital is to the fore.

If a country is crying for peace, it is living in the heart. Right now, there is not a single country that is predominantly in the heart. All are wanting in a sincere cry for peace. Again, like an individual, each country can change its consciousness. Right now we do not have the capacity either to destroy permanently or to build permanently; but there will come a time when we will give all value to building and not to destroying.

Now we cannot say that a country or an individual is living in the heart or in the mind. On the whole, America is now in the vital. This country has to aspire consciously, devotedly. And who is responsible for this aspiration? Not the country as a plot of land, but the individual members of the country. The country is always trying to aspire through its inhabitants, but the individuals don't care for aspiration.

Part III: Love and serve

Love and serve

Love and serve; serve and love. We love God. We serve God. When we love God, we see. When we serve God, we feel. What do we see? We see God's face. What do we feel? We feel God's Heart. God's Face inspires us. God's Heart illumines us.

Inspiration has many, many friends. Of all its friends, aspiration is by far the best. Illumination has many, many friends. Of all its friends, perfection is by far the best. Aspiration is our heart's inner cry. Illumination is our life's outer smile. The inner cry climbs high, higher, highest and tries to become devotedly, soulfully and unconditionally one with the ever-transcending Reality. The outer smile spreads all around and tries to manifest Divinity, Eternity, Infinity and Immortality.

A true seeker is he who continually wants to grow, glow and flow in the Heart of the Absolute Supreme. He loves God and serves God not because God is all powerful but because God is all goodness. He loves God because he knows that without God he does not exist. He serves God because he feels that without him, God does not exist.

At every moment, a true seeker has to love God and serve God with a pure heart and a clear mind. A heart of purity and a mind of clarity each seeker must possess in order to accelerate his inner progress and outer success.

A true seeker offers to God what he has and what he is. What he has is ignorance. What he is, is a gratitude-heart. When he offers his gratitude-heart, he becomes a chosen instrument of the Supreme. A chosen instrument at times pleases God in his own way; at other times he pleases God in God's own Way. There comes a time when the chosen instrument is transformed into an unconditionally surrendered instrument. An unconditionally surrendered instrument of God pleases God at every moment in God's own Way.

There are two worlds: the world of desire and the world of aspiration. In the aspiration-world, there are three things that we have to discover: divine love, divine devotion and divine surrender. Today's human love is tomorrow's frustration and the day after tomorrow's destruction. Divine love is today's illumination, tomorrow's perfection and the day after tomorrow's satisfaction, complete and perfect. Human devotion is nothing short of unconscious, unrecognised attachment. Divine devotion is conscious, spontaneous and continuous dedication to one's own higher existence-reality. Human surrender is the surrender of a slave, a forced surrender. Divine surrender is totally different. In divine surrender, the finite recognises and accepts the infinite as its very own. The drop enters into the ocean and becomes the ocean itself. In divine surrender the unlit, the obscure and the impure part of us enters into the illumined and illumining portion of our existence. Our ignorance-world enters into our wisdom-world; the little "I" merges into the infinite "I," which is the universal and transcendental Consciousness.

Before we enter into the aspiration-world, we remain in the desire-world. When we live in the desire-world, greatness is of paramount importance to us. Even when we first enter into the aspiration-life, in the beginning the message of greatness at times looms large. But the real message of the aspiration-world is goodness. Desire cries for greatness. Aspiration cries for goodness.

Greatness has two standards of existence: a higher and a lower. He who is great consciously or unconsciously wants to remain an inch higher than the rest of the world. But he who is good wants to remain consciously, soulfully and devotedly one with all human beings to love and serve the Supreme in them. In this feeling of oneness, perfection dawns, and in perfection, what looms large is Eternity's Satisfaction.

Julius Caesar declared: Veni, vidi, vici, "I came, I saw, I conquered." This is the height of the greatness-world. But the height of the goodness-world is totally different. It comes from the inmost recesses of the seeker's oneness-heart and declares: "I came into the world, I loved the world, I became one with the world."

This expresses a real acceptance of life, not a rejection of life. True spirituality is the acceptance of earth-life. A true seeker is he who accepts life, transforms life and perfects life so that the earth-life can become a conscious instrument of God. Earth-life is constant thirst, constant hunger. This hunger is the soul's eternal hunger to become inseparably one with the Highest, and then to manifest the Highest here on earth. True spirituality advocates both God-acceptance and life-acceptance. In true spirituality, the seeker first tries to realise God and then to manifest Him in and through his own life.

When the seeker is on the verge of realisation, he sees goodness within and goodness without. On the strength of his goodness, he feels a true and abiding satisfaction. But God-realisation cannot be achieved overnight. It is not like making instant tea or coffee. True spirituality is a slow and steady process. Slow and steady wins the inner race. Gradually the seeker makes inner and outer progress. In true spirituality, this progress offers the seeker at every moment a sense of satisfaction, and satisfaction alone can immortalise him. In the beginning of his spiritual life, the seeker finds success. This success inspires him; therefore, he makes friends with it. But the same seeker, when he is advanced, feels the necessity of progress only; for success is a short-lived experience, whereas progress is continually carrying him into the everlasting and ever-transcending Beyond.

[Note: Sri Chinmoy gave the talk, Love and serve, at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, on 15 October 1975.]

Love and serve: questions and answers

The following questions were asked at the New Jersey Centre on 27 May 1975, following lecture at the University of Victoria

Question: Why is God so subtle?

Sri Chinmoy: God is not so subtle. The only thing is that right now we are lacking in vision; we are blind. Even if the sun is shining brightly, even if we are in a brightly lit room, when vision is lacking, we don't see the light. Again, when we have vision, we see everything.

Just because our oneness-heart — our heart which is totally, inseparably one with God — has not been able to convince our mind that God is ours and that He is for us, we are not aware of His Presence. The moment our heart convinces our mind that God is for us, at that time God does not remain subtle. It is the mind that makes us feel that God is subtle, invisible and beyond our reach. Just because we are using the mind to see God, to fathom God, to know God, God and God-realisation remain a far cry. If we use the heart, the heart that identifies with and becomes inseparably one with the eternal Truth, Light and Bliss, then we discover that we are not only of God but also for God. Once we are able to remain inside the aspiring heart and become inseparably one with it, God does not remain invisible, subtle or unreachable. At that time, He does not remain an unreachable. He is all Reality — right in front of our noses. We discover that what we eternally are is nothing short of God Himself in the process of perfect self-discovery and self-manifestation here on earth.

Question: Throughout illusion, throughout enlightenment, throughout attachment and non-attachment why do we always say that God is good?

Sri Chinmoy: It is because we are evolving. In the process of evolution, what is good according to the light of a child need not seem good when the child is grown up. The individual has to remember that once he felt there was something which he needed badly, and God gave it to him. It was good according to his standard or his level of evolution at that time. But he eventually found out that that very thing did not give abiding satisfaction. He needed something more lasting, more illumining, more fulfilling.

When we are in the desire-world, God fulfils one or two desires of ours. At that time, we say that God was good to us because He fulfilled our desires. Eventually, we come to realise that just by satisfying our desires, we are not achieving anything significant. What was good according to our receptivity or light yesterday need not be good today. Yesterday God was good because He fulfilled our desires. Today God is good, not because He is fulfilling our desires, but because He has given us the inner cry to fulfil our aspiration.

Finally, he will come to feel that God is good because God Himself is playing in and through him; God Himself is having an experience in and through him. Before, he didn't have that kind of realisation. Before, he used to feel that he did something and God gave him the result. But when he made inner progress, he came to realise that he did nothing; it was God Himself who acted in and through him. God was the doer, God was the action and God was the result. The seeker himself had merely become an instrument.

Question: There is a lot of sickness and sadness in the world. What is the best way to seek spiritual healing?

Sri Chinmoy: The best way to seek spiritual healing is to offer gratitude every day for a fleeting second to the Supreme Healer. When we offer gratitude to Him for what we have or for what we are right now, then our heart of aspiration and dedication expands. That means that our receptivity increases. When receptivity increases, God's Light, which is all healing, can enter into us in abundant measure. It is in the heart of gratitude that God's Light can permanently abide.

Illness is all around. How can we cure it? We can cure it only through our gratitude-heart. We have to offer our gratitude to the Absolute Supreme that He has given us the sincere inner cry to cure humanity's suffering. There are many who do not care to cure illness either within themselves or within the world. There are many millions and billions of people on earth, but how many are crying to cure the sufferings and ills of mankind? Very few. But just because we are seekers, we are crying and trying to cure the age-old illnesses and sufferings of mankind. Now, who has given us this good will, this aspiration, this inner cry? God Himself. So it is our bounden duty to offer Him our gratitude. There are many around us — our friends. relatives, neighbours, acquaintances — who do not pray to God or meditate on God. But we do. And who has given us this capacity? God Himself. So, if at every moment we can offer our gratitude to God, then the receptivity of our heart increases. And inside our receptivity is all strength, all light, all power to cure the sufferings of mankind.

Question: How can one bring forth gratitude through oneself?

Sri Chinmoy: It is through the constant inner cry. We cry outwardly when we desperately need name, fame, outer capacity, prosperity and so forth. But when we cry inwardly, we have to feel that we are crying only to please and fulfil God in His own Way. The outer cry is for our own fulfilment, in our own way. The inner cry is for God-fulfilment in God's own Way. If there is a constant inner cry, that means we are trying to please God, satisfy God and fulfil God in God's own Way. If we can cry inwardly, in silence, then our gratitude increases, because inside the inner cry is the abode of gratitude, and inside the abode of gratitude is God.

Question: If I meditate upon the sensation "I am," will this bring realisation?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly it can. But you have to know when you say "I am" whether you are meditating on the universal "I" or the individual "I," which represents a limited human being. If it is a human individual that you are meditating upon, then that will never lead you to God-realisation. But if you are meditating or concentrating on the universal "I," which you represent and which you inwardly are, then it will definitely help you in your God-realisation.

You have to be conscious of what you are doing when you say "I am." When the Christ said, "I and my Father are one," at that time it was his universal oneness, his transcendental oneness with the Eternal Father, that he was expressing. Ordinary human beings will not be able to do that. An ordinary human being knows perfectly well how much ignorance he has and he is. This moment he may say, "God and I are one." The next moment, when his desires are not fulfilled, he will immediately say, "How can we be one if He does not satisfy me? What kind of friendship has He established with me or have I established with Him?" At that time, so-called oneness disappears.

Question: What level of communication have you found most rewarding regarding the world situation?

Sri Chinmoy: My work at the United Nations provides the most fruitful possibilities for world-wide communication. I invoke the soul of the United Nations, and when I clearly see the soul right in front of me, I communicate with the soul. Now, each worker, no matter in which capacity he or she is serving the United Nations, has an inner connection with the soul of the United Nations. So after I invoke the presence of the soul of the United Nations, I try to bring to the fore the aspiration of the seekers who are around me. Then my role is over. The soul of the United Nations will supply the seekers with boundless Peace, Light and Bliss, and each one will receive, according to his or her capacity, of course. When I meditate on the seekers at the United Nations and elsewhere, I try to bring to the fore their eagerness to receive. Then I bring forward their soul, which has the capacity to give. The soul has and the seeker needs. When I can bring both the giver and the receiver together, I feel that I have done my job.

Question: Why is it that in all the world there are only a few spiritual seekers? And why is it that only perhaps a few of those will ever see God?

Sri Chinmoy: Everybody will see God sooner or later. Everybody has to. God will never be satisfied unless and until each individual has realised Him. That is His will. But it is a long, arduous process. Today somebody becomes perfect, tomorrow somebody else becomes perfect, and the day after, a third person becomes perfect. God's Cosmic Game has to be consciously played by everyone. And in this Cosmic Game everybody has to become perfect. Unless and until everybody becomes perfect, God's Game will never be completed. Just because it is difficult, we can't say that we shall not be able to complete the Game.

A kindergarten student will naturally find it impossible to get a Master's degree immediately. It may take him twenty, twenty-two, twenty-four years, but one day he will also get a Master's degree. Here we are all seekers. Even those who are wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance, if they have a sincere belief in God, are seekers in their own way. Not only those who are praying to God and meditating on God but also those who have faith in God are seekers. If someone has faith that God can do something for him, although He may not be doing it right now, that person is an unconscious seeker. The very fact that someone has belief in God is a sign of that person's God-acceptance. In the course of time, those aspirants will become like us. They will feel that mere belief won't do, that they have to consciously try to manifest their belief, which right now is vision, and transform it into reality. When they have that kind of inner feeling, at that time they become conscious seekers.

When we become conscious seekers, devoted seekers, unconditional seekers, we accelerate our spiritual progress. Then God-realisation does not remain a far cry. But we have to start. Something seems difficult when we have not consciously started. Once we consciously start something, we have to know that that thing will not always remain difficult. If we start something unconsciously today, tomorrow we will not know that we actually started and, after a while, we may totally forget about the thing. But if today we pray to God soulfully and consciously, and if tomorrow we again do it consciously and soulfully, and if we continue in this way, then nothing will remain difficult.

Question: How do we know what God wants us to manifest, and how can we obtain those qualities or things?

Sri Chinmoy: We don't have to know. Only we have to pray to God every day: "O Beloved Supreme, do manifest Yourself in and through me. I do not know and do not need to know what You want from me. My fervent wish, my fervent aspiration, is only that You will manifest Yourself in and through me, that You will make me an unconditionally surrendered God-lover and instrument of Yours."

We do not have to know anything. We only have to cry sincerely to God to manifest Himself in and through us. If we become an unconditional instrument, what will God do? He will fulfil Himself in and through us in His own Way. So let us express our wish to manifest God not by asking, "God, tell me what You want me to do. Then I'll be able to please You," but by saying, "God, do what You want to do in and through me."

It is true that if you have Peace or Light, then you can manifest God. But instead of praying for these divine qualities, it is better to pray to God to give you what He feels you need most for your inner evolution and His fulfilment. It is good to feel, "God, if You don't want me to be Your perfect instrument, no harm. Somebody else can be, if that is Your Will. If You want to make even my worst possible enemy Your best instrument, do make him. I only want You to be fulfilled in Your own Way." If you can sincerely offer that kind of prayer to God, then your problems are solved.

Question: During meditation and prayer, some people concentrate on certain objects on the shrine, like photographs or some other things. Is it wise for them to cling to these objects, or is it wiser for them to meditate on something that has no form, that they cannot see?

Sri Chinmoy: When they meditate on something, they are not worshipping that particular thing as God. Only that thing is inspiring them. I look at this candle and I see the flame; but I am not taking the flame as God. I am taking the flame as a source of inspiration. This flame inspires me and increases my aspiration to dive deep within. When I can dive deep within, then one day I will realise God and see Him face to face. So, if something helps me to dive deep within, then I will accept that help.

Question: Eventually, when we realise God, will all these things drop off?

Sri Chinmoy: They will all drop off. Then no outer form will remain. We will become one with the Formless. But in the beginning, it is necessary to approach God through form. In the beginning, a child reads aloud. If he does not read aloud, he feels that he is not reading at all. He has to convince his parents, he has to convince himself, that he is reading the words. But when the child grows up, he reads in silence. By then, he and his parents know that he can really read, so the outer form can drop away. These outer forms are of paramount importance during the seeker's preliminary stages. Then they will go, because they are no longer necessary.

I may keep a flower before me when I meditate. The flower is not God, although inside the flower is God. But the flower inspires me. It offers me purity. I may burn incense. Incense itself is not God for me, but incense gives me a sense of purity and helps me in my spiritual progress. Anything that inspires me I shall use in order to increase my inspiration and my aspiration, whether it is a picture of someone, or a candle or a flower. For when my inspiration and aspiration increase, I feel that I have taken one step ahead toward God-realisation: I feel that I am nearing my goal. But a candle itself or the picture itself is not the object of my adoration.

Part IV: Questions and answers on happiness

The following questions on happiness were asked at the New Jersey Centre on 17 February 1976.

Question: Is it better to be sincerely sad or falsely happy?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, it is always better to be sincerely happy. Why should we give a chance to unhappiness? Let us be sincerely happy. That is the goal. Why should we even become falsely happy? Let us wait for happiness, cry for it. If we don't get pure, clear water to drink when we are thirsty, we don't drink filthy water; we wait for clear water. We look here and there until we get clean, pure water.

If you are sincerely unhappy, use the antidote. Cry more within. Be more spiritual. Increase your inner cry. Then your unhappiness will be illumined. Your inner cry will make your unhappiness go away. But do not stick to false happiness. Like a false coin it will be detected. Even you yourself will catch it. Again, if you are really happy, if you show off your happiness to others, they will only be jealous. If you are fortunate enough to realise God today, although others know they will get much benefit from your realisation, still they will become jealous. Your happiness does not matter to others.

The best thing is for you to be always happy, but not to show off your happiness. If you can't have real inner happiness, instead of displaying false happiness, try to use the medicine, which is your inner cry. That is the best. Instead of becoming insincere, the best thing is to immediately take medicine.

Question: Where does true happiness lie?

Sri Chinmoy: True happiness lies in self-giving to the Supreme inside you — only there; no other place. Constant self-giving to the Supreme inside you will give you happiness.

Question: What is the soul's happiness?

Sri Chinmoy: Constant oneness with the Absolute Supreme. The soul has established constant, inseparable oneness with the Supreme, in the Supreme. That is the soul's happiness.

Question: What is the difference between happiness, joy and bliss?

Sri Chinmoy: When you have joy, that joy is in the central being, in the heart itself. When you are really joyful, that joy usually remains inside the heart with utmost confidence. Inner joy means real inner security. But if you are happy, it can be on a much lower plane of consciousness — on the physical plane, the vital plane, or the mental plane. Happiness is like a bird that can only spread its wings. Joy is a bird that can fly from the heart. Joy is superior to happiness. Bliss is much higher, much superior to joy. It is infinitely superior to both joy and happiness. There is no comparison. If you can experience Bliss, you become immortal. It is something from a much higher plane of consciousness.

Question: How can we feel happiness when we displease you?

Sri Chinmoy: Don't displease me. The answer is there in the question. You know that if you displease me, you will not be happy. So the best thing is not to displease me. When you displease me, the real in you will always suffer; only the false will be able to be happy.

Question: How can we realise that only God's Will can give us happiness?

Sri Chinmoy: Just see what happens when you fulfil your own will. It is all frustration. When you fulfil God's Will, you get only joy. All of you have experienced this a few times, so you have enough proof. When you have fulfilled your own desires or achieved something in your own way, have you really got satisfaction? Immediately the answer will be no. But God's Way will definitely give you satisfaction.

Question: When we feel unhappy, is it because we are not listening to our Inner Pilot, or is the Supreme having an experience in us?

Sri Chinmoy: The Supreme is not having a necessary experience. It is only that you have fallen from your highest height. Sometimes the Supreme may want to have an experience of unhappiness in you, but only on rare occasions. If you people feel sad every day, that is not because the Supreme wants to have an experience. In your inner life, you have reached some height; then you fall. Every day, every hour you fall from your own reality-height. It is not that God has nothing else to do but to experience unhappiness in and through you. Your consciousness has dropped; therefore, you are unhappy. On rare occasions only will God deliberately experience unhappiness in and through you.

Question: How can we remain happy in the face of obstacles?

Sri Chinmoy: Make progress. Just because there are hurdles, will you give up the race? Between you and the goal there are a few obstacles, but you have to overcome them. If you say, "I don't want to overcome the obstacles, but I want to reach the goal," how can you expect to do it? If you are just at the starting point, you have to be prepared to encounter difficulties. When you have to cross a difficult hurdle, You will see whether you really want to reach the goal or not.

This is not actually a test; but if you do not encounter any obstacles, you will not value the goal. If God comes and stands in front of you at this moment, you will not value Him; nobody will value Him. In order to value Him, you have to work and strive and struggle for Him. God can come and give you realisation immediately, but you will not know how to value it properly. One great spiritual Master had a nephew who used to serve him in every way. When he gave this nephew just an iota of his own realisation, the nephew immediately said, "You and I have become one now in spiritual height." He felt that there was no need for him to serve his Guru anymore. In your case also, if you are not prepared, you will not value God. The goal is God. You have to make full inner preparation. What I call preparation in the real spiritual sense, your ordinary mind will call an obstacle.

Question: Is it possible to experience happiness on the spiritual plane while you are unhappy on the physical plane?

Sri Chinmoy: On the physical plane, yes; on the mental plane, no. Suppose you have a very bad headache or cold. If you have a good meditation, you will actually have real inner happiness while on the outer plane you may still have a headache. If your happiness is very strong and powerful, it can either take away the physical ailment, or take away the unhappiness that that ailment is causing you on the outer plane. Again, a physical ailment can be transformed into happiness itself if you have happiness in your inner world. If you are very strong, you will be able to transform physical misery.

Question: Could my own inner joy help the rest of my family, like my husband?

Sri Chinmoy: It is quite possible. Everything is divinely or undivinely contagious. Not only does the sadness or depression of others affect us, but their happiness also can easily enter into us. It is not only possible; it is inevitable. If you stay with a bad person, his badness is contagious. If you stay with a good person, his goodness is also contagious. Why do birds of a feather flock together? Because consciously they help each other. Your husband does not follow the spiritual life, but your very presence will give him joy in a very small measure. If you are happy, then eventually he also can become happy. But if he tries and cries, then he will have happiness sooner.

Sometimes, some of you come here feeling very unhappy. But after you mix with your spiritual brothers and sisters and meditate with me in your spiritual home, then you become happy. We try to create a spiritual atmosphere, and from that atmosphere you get happiness. You didn't have happiness, but some individuals had it. By mixing with them, you have caught their happiness, like a contagious disease.

Question: Is it more effective to pray for peace of mind or for cheerfulness when you are unhappy?

Sri Chinmoy: If you are unhappy, then pray to the Supreme for happiness. If you have restlessness, then pray for peace of mind. If you have a pain in your leg, you do not pray to God to cure your head. Your head is all right, so you pray to God to cure your leg. Here also, your disease is unhappiness. What you need to cure it is happiness. In peace of mind there is happiness, true; but peace of mind belongs to a different category. When your whole being is restless, when you can't meditate even for a fleeting second, when you are full of worries, anxieties and negative qualities, then what you need is peace of mind. If you do have real peace of mind, then naturally happiness will also be there.

You have to know where you are most affected and take care of that place first. Then afterwards you can examine the entire being. If your finger is hurt, take care of your finger. Afterwards, you can take exercise to improve the condition of your whole body. If your whole body is in perfect condition, your finger won't hurt. But when you are suffering at a particular place, try to administer medicine there.

Question: Often when I first wake up in the morning, I don't feel happy.

Sri Chinmoy: For a few minutes after you wake up, for four or five minutes, don't get up; just meditate in bed. Before you leave the bed, it is always advisable to think of the Supreme for a few minutes. Then get up and do your proper meditation. But you have to be sure you get up in three or four minutes. Otherwise, you will just go back to sleep and you will say that you have meditated for two hours.

Question: Will outer happiness help our spiritual progress?

Sri Chinmoy: If you are happy, it will help you to a great extent. If you are unhappy, you won't make any progress at all. On the contrary, you will be marching backwards. Real outer happiness is not self-deception. It does not come from wasting time and indulging in pleasure-life. Real outer happiness is something totally different. It comes from inner joy and inner satisfaction.

Question: Sometimes when I am happy I want to share my happiness with others and help them be happy. Is this possible?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. If you are happy, share with your near and dear ones. But first see if they are receptive, if they want to receive from you. Out of jealousy or for malicious reasons, they may not want to accept your happiness. Then it is a mere waste. And if you see somebody who is really hostile to you, or with whom you do not have any inner affinity, it is useless to try to share happiness with that person. Do share, but only if others are receptive. If not, then you are only wasting your inner wealth. They are not going to get any benefit, and you are going to give away some of your own happiness. When happiness is received, light and knowledge will increase. When it is not received, nothing at all is gained.

Part V: General questions and answers

Question: Guru, sometimes when I don't see you for a long time and I sit down to meditate on your picture, I feel there is a block that does not let me feel your love and concern that is flowing to me. I feel that you are displeased with me and that you have reason to be so.

Sri Chinmoy: Perfection is very good, and it is something that I deeply appreciate. But what happens is that you give more value than you should to a perfection that is beyond your capacity. You see that you may have a little impurity, a little jealousy, and you are discouraged. But you have to know that total perfection is beyond your capacity right now. It is like this. A child can learn A, B and C in one day. But it is beyond his capacity to learn from A to Z in one day. If he tries, he may get the A, B and C part, but then all the rest will make no sense. In your case, what happens is that you start to push or pull for what you consider perfection, but that perfection is twenty steps ahead of you. You have covered already a great distance, and you see your goal in front of you. So you think that you should be able to reach it at once, although you may be tired and your capacity is limited. But, like a runner nearing his goal, there is a limit to how fast you can go. Like a runner, you must be careful not to fall just before you reach the finishing line.

The block that you see does not come from me, and it does not come from you. It is a hostile attack that wants to take you away from my life and separate you from my love and my light. Forces like this want to make you unhappy. You set up a standard and say that only if something is done in this way is it perfection. But it is not good to allow your mind to calculate your progress or shape your goal. Your mind says that if you have this experience, then you will call it light; if you have another experience, then you will call it peace or power. But light itself is power. Peace is power. If you had real peace, then the atom bomb could drop down right next to you and you would not hear it. Certainly that kind of peace is power. In each thing is found all. So do not try to put everything in a certain place or call it by a certain name. Do not try to give reality a certain shape or form. Do not wait for the mind to be convinced; do not wait for the mind to measure your progress or your goal. The Supreme will show you reality according to His Will.

There are different ways to score a goal in a game. In soccer you can use your left foot, or your right foot, or your head. You should let God make the decision as to whether you will use your right foot or left foot or head. Before you aim, invoke the Presence of the Supreme's Eye. Then the mental sense of perfection will not enter. Then the mind will not say, "Only if you do this, or experience this, are you achieving perfection."

You must let God's Grace take you to the goal. Put all importance in the Compassion and Grace of the Supreme. If you don't try to shape your goal or measure the distance ahead of you, and if you let the Supreme act in and through you, then your goal and your soul will meet together. The Supreme's Grace will be able to work inside you and the Supreme's Grace will achieve everything for you.

Question: Although I am sure that this is my path and I get intense joy in my heart from my devotion to you, sometimes I feel a strong longing for a quiet, monastic life. Where does that longing come from, and if it has a negative origin, how can I best overcome it?

Sri Chinmoy: In your case, this longing for a monastic life comes from the jealous, deceptive vital — not from the frustrated vital, no, but from the deceptive vital. Right now your heart is getting boundless joy from your devoted selfless service at the Centre because you are working very, very hard to please me. Because your heart is getting such joy, your vital is jealous and is trying to convince you that there is much more joy somewhere else. It is telling you that you must go to a cave in the Himalayas in order to meditate and realise God. This is a very ancient path. It was your path once, but it is not your path today. It is not necessary; it is not correct today.

If austerity and self-denial were the way to realisation, then you ought to cut off your arms, then your nose, and your ears and your legs. You should cut off limb after limb in order to realise God. Then we would say: "He has really achieved self-denial." It is the same with the old kind of monastic life. If you go and sit in a cave in the Himalayas, do not think that realisation will be waiting for you like a ripe fruit which you can just go and eat. No. This is not possible today.

Perhaps if someone is living a very materialistic life — like those people who say, "Eat, drink and be merry!" — and one wishes to change, then it would be good to lead a monastic life for a very brief period. But that is all. One must strike a balance. One need not build a Taj Mahal in order to meditate every day; but it is not necessary to go to a cave either. Today one should live in a small apartment or a house — very simple, but not austere.

So what you are experiencing is just your vital trying to pull you away from your chosen path because it is jealous of your heart's progress. Everywhere we see this. The father is jealous of the son's progress. First the father teaches the son. But after some years the son goes to a university and gets a degree. Then he can teach even his father. So you must change your teacher. Up until now, you have been a very devoted student of your mind and vital, and now they are jealous of your heart's joy. You must tell them to become one with the heart or else you will have no need for them. You have to use everything in a divine way. Instead of using your legs to kick somebody, walk five miles to do that person a service. Instead of slapping someone, caress him, and so on. Force the other parts of your being to become one with your heart and enter into its boundless joy at having accepted our path.

Question: If we long to achieve Nirvana — that is, the total annihilation of the soul-existence — instead of aspiring for the manifestation of the Divine on earth, is that also an attitude of the deceptive vital?

Sri Chinmoy: There are different approaches. Some individuals make progress little by little. At each stage, they try to embody or manifest on the outer, material plane whatever they have inwardly acquired or achieved. These follow a prescribed course, step by step. Others wish to attain the Goal without any effort. In particular, they do not like the aspect of service on earth for humanity. They do not like the path; they only long for the Goal.

In your case, you have followed our path for some years and have made gradual progress. When you follow our path and have made some progress, the hostile forces — even the deities — bring down the Goal right in front of your head. It is a kind of temptation, let us say. It is like a parent who brings a toy which is up near the ceiling right down before the child's face. When the child grabs for it, the parent pulls it away thinking that the child will not value it. But a day comes when the child grows taller and gets a ladder that reaches the ceiling and he is able to get the toy by himself.

You have to understand this kind of temptation on three planes: the vital plane, the mental plane and the psychic plane. You have to know the difference between the formations of the vital, mind and heart. Temptation in the vital is deception. Temptation in the mind is illusion. But temptation in the heart is ultimately illumination because the heart sees through the illusion and the fantasy of the mind and envisions the Reality itself. The heart will only feel gratitude to the Supreme for bringing the Goal in front of it without any effort on its part. The heart says, "Supreme, I thank You because, out of Your infinite Compassion and Concern, You have given me the vision of my Goal.

What can you do when the Goal is in front of you? You may try to grasp it; that is the human reaction. The divine reaction is to be ready to drink the Nectar, but to wait for God's chosen Hour. At God's choice Hour, the illusion of the mind and the deception of the vital have to go. At that time, the heart knows that the Goal is being offered by the Supreme Himself.

When you have the vision of Nirvana in your mind, you take a mental delight in everything. You may say: "Oh, how divine! Everything is full of such peace, light and bliss, and I will have it all at my disposal." But with the heart it is a different story; there is no mental fantasy in the heart. In the heart you don't think; you just grow into the Goal. You don't think about the Goal; you just do what is necessary to achieve it without looking and measuring how far you have to go. For you know that the Goal is always inside you. So when the vision of the Goal comes to you, forget about the mind and the vital. Immediately change teachers and go to the heart.

Question: Guru, I wish to share with you an experience I had a few weeks ago. I was taking a bath in the river near my house when a voice seemed to call out my name. As I searched for the direction of the sound, a Christ-like figure was sort of delineated in my mind. My heart welcomed the vision by saying, "Brother Jesus, I do not need you; your brother Chinmoy is my Master." At this time, the figure in my mind turned into a black bird of prey and flew out of my mind, sounding off its belching screams.

Sri Chinmoy: This was a hostile attack. Since the vision turned into a black bird, that is the proof. What was present in you was not the Christ but a hostile force that took the form of the Christ. Your aspiration protected you and made you say that you had another Master. When you told him that there was no need for his help, since Chinmoy was your Master, my brother Jesus, the real Christ, would have blessed you and smiled at you on the strength of his oneness with me.

This can also be seen in another light, as a test. Even though I never test my disciples, it could be seen as a test of sincerity, strength and faith in your own Master. In your particular case, it was not a test, but your faith and sincerity came to the fore in rejecting the assistance of one particular Master because you had one already. I repeat: the real Christ, on the strength of his inseparable oneness with me, would have blessed you for your sincerity and faith in me.

Experience is a remover of doubt. Sri Ramakrishna on his deathbed had to reassure Vivekananda and purify his doubting mind. He said, "He who is Rama, he who is Krishna. in one form is Ramakrishna." Vivekananda cried bitterly, but his doubt vanished. This was a test. I do not test. I try to inspire and bring forward the soul in silence. In your case, the soul was to the fore and was able to deal with this particular experience.

Question: Guru, I also saw the Christ, full of love, light and compassion. I also received a message from Him. Is this all true or is it an illusion? Was my ego interfering? After the experience I wrote a poem.

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. In your case it was true. He came to fill you with his love and light. He didn't vanish because of your ego. He left because his mission was completed. If he had stayed longer, your mind would have started saying, "Those are not his eyes, those are not his ears. That is not the colour of his hair."

This experience took place because you focused your devotion on the picture of the Christ that you have in your room. And perhaps the artist who painted it never even saw the Christ! This I have said as a joke, but it is very serious.

Question: Does evil exist or is it in our minds?

Sri Chinmoy: First we have to know what evil is. Society has created good, bad and evil. In some religions, close relatives can marry. For them, it is good. In our society, it is bad. Killing the cow is evil for Hindus. Muslims will say, "Why? You can eat goose, chicken and so forth, and you cannot eat cows?" We say we love the cows so much because from the cow, light came. It is the symbol of Mother-Earth. For us it is good.

Each one has his own way of interpreting something. If somebody uses his mind to determine the nature of something, and if that particular thing does not give joy or satisfaction to the mind, then the mind will consider it evil. But the heart will say, "No, no! Something which gives no joy is not necessarily evil, only it has less light."

Anything that has been created by God has light. Your soul has light and a chair also has light. The only thing is, your soul has more light. If I turn off the light in this room, you may not see any light at all. As soon as you see darkness, then you say it is evil. But spiritual people don't use the term 'evil'. They say, "What it is, is less light."

The moment the mind declares something to be evil, the mind itself becomes dark. For example, if I say, "He is very bad," immediately that kind of bad consciousness enters into my mind. But if I say, in a positive way, "He can be better," or "He can also be good," then those good qualities enter into me. Here my declaration does not have the same destructive power as when I speak negatively.

Question: Does the inner light have a power of its own to reveal itself to a seeker even though that person has a Master?

Sri Chinmoy: The real inner light and the Master's light are the same. Where did you as a seeker steal the light? From your Master. The problem is that sometimes you are not able to utilise your inner light. You have it locked within, but you have misplaced the key. The Master secretly searches and helps you find the key, but he does not tell you that he did this. The Master, by serving you, is pleasing the Supreme. What you should ask is whether what you feel is the inner light is real inner light, and how you should use it.

Question: When I work during the night, I often feel very old. At that time, I also feel everything so clearly. What is that state of clearness?

Sri Chinmoy: At night, nature is fast asleep and everybody wants to sleep. Your children are sleeping. They are not making a noise. This is the time spiritual people use for their work, since it is the best time to create. At night, nature is helping you with her peace. You are getting additional power. So you have to be very wise. Create at night when the forces are best for you.

The feeling of being old signifies wisdom. You have wisdom at that moment, whereas others don't have it. A certain maturity has given you wisdom and the sense of being an experienced, wise soul.

Question: I've always thought that the people who did some work using their hands were more conscious than others.

Sri Chinmoy: No. Take Ramakrishna. There are many people who do not create or do physical work, and yet they are fully conscious. One does not become conscious only by doing physical work. He who prays and meditates well has more capacity to do things consciously than an ordinary person, even though that ordinary person may work with his hands.

Each has to appreciate his job, whatever he is doing. Farmers work with their hands. That is their job, true. However, if you are meditating while using your hands, then you become infinitely more conscious than a farmer who is just working mechanically.

When you do something mechanically, it is no good. But if one good thought comes from your meditation, that good thought that you have created enters into the physical work itself. Meditation is consciousness itself, and it makes us conscious.

Question: What should be one's attitude when some disciple is a block to one's manifestation?

Sri Chinmoy: If you feel that a particular person is standing in your way, refer the situation to me. I will deal with that person inwardly. I will see if he or she can receive my light. If I deal with that person outwardly, he or she may reject my advice. But when I act inwardly, that person may be able to receive my illumination and he will even think that it is coming from himself. He will believe that he has made a new discovery, and that he is the discoverer. But it is actually I who have inspired him and offered him this inner understanding.

If advice comes to him from a third party, such as yourself, immediately jealousy will start. If it comes from me, he will accept it. But if it comes from within, he will feel himself to be a real discoverer. If I cannot inwardly convince a person, then I may speak to him outwardly. But normally I will be misunderstood. This is why I prefer to deal inwardly.

Question: Guru, at times I feel that whenever I am about to attend a Centre activity, a resistance presents itself before me and tells me not to go or participate. Am I doomed to feel this resistance, even when I know that the activity will be for my benefit? Sometimes the more I appreciate the benefit, the more strongly the resistance presents itself. Why?

Sri Chinmoy: Please don't feel that the resistance comes from you. It is an attack coming from the mind. Your mind doesn't want to get the benefit of our Centre activities. Your mind acts like your master and wants you to feel that you are its possession. Your mind has a sense of supremacy and is attached to that supremacy. It feels that it has dominated your life for a long time. The resistance in the mind is not coming from you but from the hostile forces in your mind. The mind is saying, in effect, "If he does not feed me, then I will have to stop functioning." It fears for its very existence, which has been uppermost in your life until now.

Why are you helpless in the face of these attacks? Because you have allowed yourself to be helpless. The mind attacks to weaken you. From this moment on, change your master so that the heart is uppermost. Be one with the heart and not with the mind.

Question: My worst qualities are my impurity and impatience that brings bad temper to me. When we come to meditate with you and you look into our souls, do you get a general feeling of impurity or negativity, or do you know exactly if it has been bad temper or impurity?

Sri Chinmoy: I'll attempt to answer this question from many aspects and levels of consciousness. When I look at you plainly, I'm always five to fifty miles above your consciousness. At that time, I can easily feel and tell what your problem is. But when I go fifty miles or fifty thousand miles above your consciousness (Sri Chinmoy demonstrates this by entering a higher state of consciousness), at that moment I go beyond duality. I see no impurity or purity. There is no you or him or her; there is only a vast expanse of light. There is only myself; you are all extensions of my own consciousness.

I am like a tree. I go fifty thousand miles high, but I have my roots here with you and I claim your consciousness as my very own. You cannot claim my consciousness, because you can't believe that it is also yours. What happens is you see only the body, only the form. You see my eyes move back and forth when I enter into my highest consciousness, and you see the expanse of light that is being focused through my eyes. But you do not feel that it is yours.

I am like a big bird that flies very, very high but whose leg is tied at your level. I can soar to my highest height, but still I am connected to you. When I am in my highest, at that time there is no form. I am formless. I am not this Indian. I do not see this imperfection, that imperfection. I see nothing bad; I don't even see good. It is all Light. I never see your body, never, never. If I looked at your imperfections, I would not have disciples. I deal only with infinite Consciousness.

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